10 Aug

Elie Saab the Lebanese designer is known through

first_imgElie Saab, the Lebanese designer, is known throughout the world for his fashionable tailoring. Now, he is to lend his name to a series of luxury boutique hotels to be built in the Middle East. The first, costing a reported Dh600 million (US$163 million), will be built at The Tiger Woods Dubai, Tatweer’s mixed-use development at Dubailand, in the emirate of Dubai. The hotel, which is to have 89 suites and 14 bungalows of various sizes, will overlook Al Ruwaya, an 18-hole golf course that is the first to be designed by Tiger Woods. The development should be ready in September 2009.last_img read more

7 Aug

Jan Pieter Koene Short films channel Shorts TV has

first_imgJan Pieter KoeneShort films channel Shorts TV has hired Jan Pieter Koene to head up its EMEA operation, replacing former boss Alan Musa who announced his departure for Nickelodeon/Comedy Central last month.  Koene has worked at various channels and channel operators including Fox Sports, Chellomedia’s Film1/Sport1 and Discovery Networks.Carter Pilcher, chief executive of Shorts International said: “Jan Pieter’s extensive background in pay TV channel distribution and marketing is perfectly suited to lead the ongoing channel development and expansion.”Shorts is currently carried by operators in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Romania, Eastern Africa, and Turkey, reaching eight million homes in all.The US channel ShortsHD is available to 20 million homes through AT&T and DirectTV.Parent company Shorts International is co-owned by Shorts Entertainment Holdings and Liberty Global.last_img read more

7 Aug

Phillip Luff Food Network has launched on UPC Roma

first_imgPhillip LuffFood Network has launched on UPC Romania, thanks to a recent deal between the channel’s owner Scripps Networks UK and EMEA and Liberty Global.Food Network is now available on channel 59 as part of UPC Romania’s ‘Maxim’ package, with the channel to air new series such as Trisha’s Southern Kitchen and Australian Food Adventures.“As Scripps Networks UK and EMEA continues to expand its international reach, we are pleased that UPC Romania now carries our full portfolio, providing viewers the choice of a wide range of world class lifestyle content to choose from,” said Phillip Luff, Managing Director, Scripps Networks UK & EMEA.“Romania is now one of 130 countries across the region receiving all Scripps Networks channels, with more to come.”The deal follows the recent launch of Food Network and Food Network HD on direct-to-home satellite platform Telekom Romania.last_img read more

4 Aug

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first_imgSponsor Advertisement But until we hear the FOMC news, I suggest one blue pill a day might be necessary.As I mentioned in The Wrap yesterday, the smallish rally in gold in early Far East trading ran into a not-for-profit seller about 30 minutes before the London open, and it was more by good luck than by good management that I managed to file Friday’s column at the precise low of the day, which came at 10:15 a.m. BST, which was 5:15 a.m. EDT.  With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, this might have been an early a.m. London gold fix.After that, the gold price recovered into the Comex open, but once the London p.m. gold fix was in, gold got sold down again, hitting its New York low of $1,306.60 at 2 p.m. EDT in electronic trading.  The subsequent rally ended on its high of the day at the 5:15 p.m. close, which is a chart pattern I don’t ever recall seeing on a Friday.Gold finished the day at $1,327.90 spot, up $6.90 from Thursday’s close.  Net volume was around 175,000 contracts.It was virtually the same chart pattern in silver, with the only difference being the timing of the New York low price tick.  That came just minutes before the 1:30 p.m. EDT Comex close.  Then, like gold, it was up, up and way into the 5:15 p.m. electronic close.Silver finished the Friday session on its high tick as well, at $22.265 spot, up 53 cents on the day.  Net volume was way up there at around 51,000 contracts.The price patterns for platinum and palladium were very similar to gold and silver.  Their respective low ticks were at 10:15 a.m. in London, with their subsequent rallies also lasting until around 9 a.m. in New York, where they got capped until Zurich closed for the day.  The rallies after that lasted right into the New York electronic close as well.  Here are the charts. But does all this really mean anything in the grand scheme of things?  I’m sure that by this time next week, there will be some clarity, but at the moment, everything is just one big question mark.But until we hear the FOMC news, I suggest one blue pill a day might be necessary.  But after the “news” the red pill may be just what the doctor ordered.That’s it for the day, and the week.Enjoy what’s left of your weekend, and I’ll see you here on Tuesday. The dollar index closed in New York on Thursday afternoon at 81.52.  It’s high at around 1:30 p.m. Hong Kong time was 81.73.  After that it traded in a broad 40 basis point range, closing on Friday at 81.50, basically unchanged from where it started the day.  The dollar index  also closed unchanged on Thursday as well.The gold stocks opened unchanged, rallied a bit into the London p.m.  gold fix, and then got sold down into negative territory at the New York low tick.  But as soon as gold began to rally at 2 p.m. EDT in electronic trading, the shares followed suit.  The HUI finished up 1.37% on the day.The silver stocks mirrored their golden brethren almost exactly, but the Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed up only 0.66%.Undoubtedly the shares would have done better on the day, but the equity market closed well before trading ended in the precious metals market in New York.The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that six gold and 17 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday.  The link to the Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.There were big withdrawals from both GLD and SLV yesterday, most likely a direct response from the hammering that the two precious metals took on Thursday.  An authorized participant withdrew 193,116 troy ounces from GLD, and an AP withdrew 2,210,826 troy ounces of silver out of SLV.The U.S. Mint had a tiny sales report.  They sold 32,000 silver eagles, and that was it.There wasn’t much activity in gold over at the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday.  They didn’t report receiving any, and only shipped out 6,318 troy ounces of the stuff.  The link to that activity is here.It was a bit busier in silver, as nothing was reported received, and 636,040 troy ounces were shipped out the door.  The link to that action is here.I was certainly happy with the Commitment of Traders Report that came out yesterday, as there was real decent improvement in the commercial net short position in silver, and the commercial net short position in gold decreased by as well.In silver, the commercial net short position declined by 19.3 million ounces and currently sits at 117.5 million ounces.  According to Ted Butler, the Big 4 traders improved their position by 13.0 million ounces out of the total 19.3 million ounces.  Ted pegs JPMorgan’s short position around 75 million ounces, which is a hair under 16% of the entire Comex futures market in silver on a net basis.In gold, the commercial net short position improved  by a bit over 12,200 contracts, or 1.22 million ounces, and is now down to 8.02 million ounces.  Of that improvement, Ted said that JPMorgan appears to have added 2,000 contracts to their long-side corner, which now sits at just under 19% of the entire Comex futures market in gold on a net basis.The amazing thing about yesterday’s report was the fact that of all the selling done by the technical funds and small traders in both gold and silver, only 1,041 silver contracts of the total amount [5.2 million ounces] was added by the way of fresh shorting by the technical funds, and none in gold at all.  As silver analyst Ted Butler said in his quote in Friday’s column:If the commercials succeed in causing technical traders and other momentum type traders to sell, then the commercials will likely continue to rig prices lower so that they (the commercials) can continue to buy. In retrospect, this was why we fell so steeply in the first half, namely, the technical funds not only sold and liquidated long positions, they established record or near record new short positions as well on the dramatic decline in price. Throw in the massive liquidation in GLD and that’s why we dropped so much in gold (and silver). Since the technical funds kept selling, the commercials kept lowering the price and kept buying. This is how JPMorgan came to hold a long market corner in COMEX gold futures.The reason I’m narrowing it down to a question of new short selling by technical funds is because data from the Commitments of Traders Report indicates that there has been virtually no build up of technical fund or other speculative new long positions on the rally in gold and silver prices to over $1,400 in gold and $24 in silver.  There can be no selling of new long positions that don’t exist. Of course, there could be some selling from old long positions, but logic would hold not massive amounts.As for the price action since the Tuesday cut off, it’s impossible to tell how much of the price decline in both gold and silver was caused by long liquidation versus new short selling by the technical funds and small traders.   The one thing that we do know with absolute certainty is that the commercial traders continued doing what they did during the last reporting week; gobbling up every long that was being sold, and also taking the long side of every short sale that was being transacted.  Unfortunately, none of this will be known to us until next Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report.As I’ve said a few times in the past, it always seems like I’m waiting for the next COT Report.I have quite a number of stories for a Saturday column, and some of them I’ve been saving for today for content reasons.  I hope you can find the time over what’s left of the weekend to read the ones that interest you the most.But can this manipulation ever be obvious enough for the mainstream financial news media, gold and silver mining companies themselves, and the World Gold Council to notice it and say something about it? Those are the parties that could stop it. – GATA’s Chris Powell commenting on Lawrence Williams’ article from Friday headlined “Gold Knocked Down Again, and Again”.Today’s pop “blast from the past” certainly needs no introduction, and neither does the artist.  It was his first big hit back in 1970, and I remember spinning the 45 RPM single on 50-watt FM radio station CHAR in Alert, N.W.T. [now Nunavut] in Canada’s [very] high arctic back in the early 1970s when I was stationed there over forty years ago.  Where the hell has all that time gone?  The link is here.  Enjoy.Mozart’s unfinished opera Zaide, K. 344, was started in 1779 and then abandoned.  The tender soprano air, “Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben” is the only number that might be called moderately familiar, and you’d have to be an opera junkie to know it.  But, having said that, what an aria it is!  It was resurrected in its most well-known form today from the  Miloš Forman film, Amadeus, and if you haven’t seen this movie, you owe it to you to do so.  Here’s the recording from the original soundtrack, and it’s a piece I listen to frequently.  It’s with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields with Sir Neville Mariner conducting.  The soprano soloist is Dame Felicity Lott, and she is incredible.  The link is here.So, are we done to the downside yet?  Beats me.I was somewhat surprised that JPMorgan Chase et al didn’t press their advantage during the Comex trading session in New York yesterday, as they had it all set up to do exactly that after the pounding gold and silver took in advance of, and during, the early London trading session.  The sell-off appeared to hit a down-side crescendo just before, or at, the London a.m. gold fix at 10:30 a.m. BST.Comments made by Eric Sprott in his latest interview over at King World News yesterday may be very apropos at this point.  Eric raised the possibility that gold had been knocked down in preparation for the Federal Reserve’s cancellation of its plans to “taper” its bond buying, so that the resulting increase in gold will come from a lower base.That wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest, as we’ve all noticed the fact that the gold price is smacked in advance of any negative news that is about to be released, with the monthly jobs report coming to mind as a “for instance”.Of course we won’t know until they draw back the curtain after the FOMC meeting this coming week.  Whatever the news, it will be interesting to see how gold “reacts” to it, or is allowed to “react”.  Time will tell.Here are the six-month gold and silver charts updated with yesterday’s price action.  As you can see, the gold price punctured its 50-day moving average, but only briefly; and the silver price just touched its 50-day moving average. Lawyers canceled Casey Research’s trip to what may be the world’s next monster oil field. Here’s why…Concerned it would give our readers an unfair advantage, lawyers cancelled Casey Research’s trip to a secret location where the drills are turning on what appears to be the world’s next monster oil field.  But they can’t stop us from revealing the name of the small company that controls 2 million acres on what appears to be the ‘next Bakken’. And on Monday September 16, we’ll do just that.  Full details here.last_img read more

4 Aug

Yesterday I talked about the purpose of art If y

first_imgYesterday, I talked about the purpose of art. If you missed it, you can catch up here.Now, we’ll talk about how to buy it without losing your shirt.Art is one of life’s most subjective pleasures. “Good” art is something you enjoy looking at. “Great” art is something you’d like to hang on your own wall and see every day.On top of being expensive, the art world is confusing. Take, for instance, the $450 million paid for Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi in 2017.A New York art dealer paid $10,000 for the painting in 2005 at an estate sale. He had it repaired and authenticated, and then he sold it for around $75 million in a Sotheby’s private sale in 2013. The buyer flipped it to a Russian billionaire for $127.5 million six months later. Rumor has it the $450 million buyer acted on behalf of Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman.There is no quantifiable reason Salvator Mundi sold for $450 million. That’s just what the buyer decided he’d pay. Therefore, that’s the price. Rumors now swirling allege da Vinci didn’t actually complete the picture himself. If true, it could be worth very little.Then there’s the dream of buying a nice painting from a starving artist who later becomes the next Andy Warhol.Warhol himself was once a starving artist. I know because a grandfather of a close friend of mine gave Andy kitchen appliances in exchange for a bunch of his paintings. He held on to those paintings and others because he liked them. When he died, he left his hoard to a fine art museum along with a large donation sufficient to construct a wing now housing them.The odds of finding the next Warhol are close to zero. They’re worse than picking the next junior gold stock that will make a blockbuster discovery. Essentially, forget about it.How I Bought Art ProfitablyTake a look at the piece below. It’s called Triangular Yellows by Richard Anuszkiewicz. I picked it up from the framing shop recently. Richard Anuszkiewicz, Triangular YellowsI like this piece because it’s mathematical. When you look at the arms and base of the triangle closely, they appear curved, almost tubular. If you zoom in, you’ll have to excuse the glare from the gallery lights reflecting off the glass.Anuszkiewicz made the two-dimensional piece appear three-dimensional by narrowing the distance between the soft blue lines running down the triangle’s arms and base. This piece is not a painting. It’s six colored lithographic prints carefully assembled on top of each other.I almost bought this last year, but I hesitated. When I saw it this year, the price was 12.5% higher. I bought it anyway because I like looking at it.Anuszkiewicz produced 40 prints of the piece I bought. He personally signed and numbered each of them. There’s also a small watermark imprint from the studio where I bought it. If I want to sell it, they’d prefer I let them do it. I have four pieces from this studio, and I could sell any of them fairly quickly if I needed to.I Got Some Advice Along the WayA few years ago, a friend introduced me to an older couple in town. She told the couple I was interested in art and thought we should meet. They’re in their 80s. Out of respect, it’s better I not mention them by name.They invited me to their home one afternoon. It’s a winding ranch-style house with a 180-degree westward view of the bay. They see the sun set on the water 365 days a year.Every room in the house had beautiful art covering the walls, even the bathrooms. Some pieces I recognized. Many I didn’t. They even had a storage closet filled with unframed pieces. I quickly realized this was a hobby, a passion, and an investment.My host began to tell me that his wife found art when their four kids moved out. Like many housewives, she struggled with the abrupt change that comes after two decades of purpose vanishes overnight. He encouraged her to find a hobby. She found art.She stumbled on a burgeoning program at the local college. It built an over-equipped art studio on campus. It then lured up-and-coming professional artists into spending one month of residency on-site creating anything they wanted to. The only catch was they’d have to leave behind a signed, numbered series of their best piece.The college’s studio director then went to the local community looking for donations. He promised key donors they’d get the right to buy signed, numbered, limited edition prints several times per year in exchange for supporting his radical workshop. He called it Graphicstudio.That was in the 1960s. Over the ensuing years, artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Mapplethorpe, Alex Katz, Jim Dine, and dozens of others spent time at the studio. They all left behind a signed, numbered series of prints for donors and the college.The studio is full of incredible art produced by notable artists. Some, like pop artist Christian Marclay, are up-and-coming now. One of his pieces is for sale right now for $72,000. Just a few years ago, it was $5,000. Between then and now, Marclay’s work ended up in notable museums around the world, boosting demand for his work.The college sells pieces slowly, which to some degree controls the price. It’s rare to see more than one of a series available for sale.Take this piece, for example. It’s by Alex Katz. The material used in this print is cyanotype, also used in blueprints.In blueprints, the background is cyanotype and the structure is white. In this case, Katz did the opposite, using cyanotype as the medium.I bought this piece last year. In May, another donor had his for sale. The asking price was 11% higher than what I paid. Alex Katz, White Hat and SunglassesThere are 25 of these prints in total. I found one other for sale in Europe for €10,000. Alex Katz is a notable artist. He’s also 91 years old. I’m optimistic this piece will appreciate in value over time.Price appreciation is good. Having a way to unload the art if needed is even more important. I doubt the crown prince could find a buyer willing to pay $500 million or $1 billion for his Salvator Mundi. That’s of course assuming it’s a real da Vinci.On the other hand, I feel fairly certain I could sell my Katz, though I can’t imagine wanting to. The piece is a pleasure to look at every day.If you want to build your own collection of art, the first step is the most fun. Get out and see as much art as you can. Find interesting pieces, artists, and venues, and visit them. Sit on a bench and look at the pictures that speak to you. When you find something you want to look at every day, buy it. Buy it because you like it, not because you think you’ll make a quick buck selling it.Remember, art is one of life’s most selfish pleasures. All you have to do is enjoy it. Best of all, it’s completely subjective. Only you get to decide the difference between good and great art.Regards, By E.B. Tucker, editor, Strategic Investor E.B. Tucker Editor, Strategic InvestorP.S. One more thing before you go… I want to personally invite you to our second annual Legacy Investment Summit this September in Southern California.Last year’s event was a huge success… but this year’s promises to be even bigger. And I hope you can make it. You’ll have the chance to meet me and all of our other Casey Research gurus including Doug Casey, Nick Giambruno, Dave Forest, and Marco Wutzer. Click here to reserve your spot today.last_img read more

3 Aug

Missouri is within days of losing its last remaini

first_imgMissouri is within days of losing its last remaining health center that provides abortions. Unless a court intervenes, it will become the first state in the nation without such a clinic.Planned Parenthood officials say they are filing a lawsuit in state court Tuesday, asking for a restraining order to prevent its St. Louis clinic from being forced to stop offering the procedure after a state license expires Friday.Planned Parenthood officials say they’ve been unable to reach an agreement with officials at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, who want to require several doctors who perform abortions at the health center to submit to questioning as a condition of renewing the license. “This means that more than 1.1 million women of reproductive age in Missouri will live in a state where they cannot receive the health care they need,” Planned Parenthood President, Dr. Leana Wen, said in a statement to NPR. “This is a world we haven’t seen in nearly half a century.”Planned Parenthood says state officials have indicated the questioning could lead to criminal proceedings or board review for those physicians, who provide the procedure at Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region. In her statement, Wen described the state’s actions as “harassment” meant to “intimidate” physicians who perform abortions.Bonyen Lee-Gilmore, director of State Media Campaigns for Planned Parenthood, said the situation in Missouri has been unfolding for years and is the result of what she describes as a “weaponized inspections process.” “This didn’t happen overnight. It’s been a slow drip of restriction after restriction, and we’ve been warning for some time that abortion access is on the line,” Lee-Gilmore said.The news comes just days after Missouri’s Republican governor, Mike Parson, signed a law criminalizing abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy. In a statement upon signing, Parson said the abortion ban sends “a strong signal to the nation that, in Missouri, we stand for life, protect women’s health, and advocate for the unborn.”That law makes Missouri the latest in a growing number of states to ban the procedure in the early stages of pregnancy, often before women even know they’re pregnant. Doctors convicted of violating the Missouri law could face prison time. Several states have passed similar early bans in recent weeks, but none have taken effect so far. Legal challenges are underway, and federal judges in Mississippi and Kentucky have already blocked such laws.But even without banning the procedure, restrictive health regulations can force clinics to stop offering abortions or close altogether. A Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia, Mo., stopped performing the procedure in October 2018, after it was unable to fulfill a state requirement that doctors performing the procedure have admitting privileges at a hospital within about 15 minutes of the clinic. Planned Parenthood officials say there are some hospitals in Missouri that will perform abortions under rare circumstances, such as a medical emergency.Missouri is now one of six states with only one remaining clinic, according to data from the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights. The St. Louis clinic will continue to provide services such as birth control and health screenings, but will have to stop offering abortions unless a judge grants a restraining order. Patients seeking abortions in Missouri would then have to travel hundreds of miles, to clinics in Kansas or Illinois, Wen said. Wen said it would be the first time in decades that an entire state would be without a health center offering abortions.”This is a tragedy for Missouri women and doctors. And it’s a disturbing preview of what anti-choice politicians are trying to implement across the country,” Wen said.Planned Parenthood officials say they have reached agreements with state health officials on other rules, including a requirement that physicians perform two pelvic examinations on women seeking surgical abortions.Dr. Colleen McNicholas, an abortion provider at the St. Louis clinic, said in a statement provided by Planned Parenthood that repeat pelvic exams are “medically unnecessary and invasive.””For some patients, this can even be re-traumatizing,” McNicholas said in the statement. “In this case, we had to weigh this against abortion access for an entire state — a nearly impossible decision and state officials know it.” Planned Parenthood has stopped offering medication abortions in Missouri because of that requirement.Dr. Sarah Horvath, a fellow at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists who is aware of the negotiations in Missouri, said via email that such policies “harm the patient-physician relationship and erode patient trust.”Asked about the state’s move to question abortion providers, Horvath said the procedure is “highly over-regulated due to stigma and politics. … Doctors should be able to provide health care without fearing interrogation.” Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

31 Jul

Disability charities are facing questions over why

first_imgDisability charities are facing questions over why they helped the government disguise the reason it had to change “discriminatory” guidance that was preventing thousands of disabled people with invisible impairments from securing blue parking badges.The Department for Transport (DfT) announced this week that it was proposing alterations to guidance that would “herald the most significant changes since the blue badge was introduced in 1970” and would “remove barriers to travel for people with conditions such as dementia and autism” in England.Junior transport minister Jesse Norman claimed this “accords with the government’s manifesto commitment to give parity of esteem to mental and physical health conditions”.The changes were welcomed enthusiastically by non-user-led disability charities such as Scope and the National Autistic Society (NAS), with NAS even quoted in DfT’s own press release, and they were widely supported by the mainstream media, including the Guardian, the Mirror and the BBC.But what they and Norman failed to mention was that the changes had been forced on the government by a legal action taken on behalf of an autistic man with learning difficulties.David* had had a blue badge for 30 years but was told by his local council that he no longer qualified because of new DfT rules**.His family took legal action against DfT and his local council because of new guidance issued by DfT in October 2014, following the introduction of the government’s new personal independence payment (PIP) the previous year.DfT was forced to settle the judicial review claim 15 months ago, by agreeing to review the new blue badge guidance.It was that review that led to the government’s announcement this week that it was consulting on changes to the blue badge scheme.Louise Whitfield, a solicitor with civil rights and judicial review experts Deighton Pierce Glynn, said she was “extremely surprised at the way in which the government is presenting the consultation”.She said: “The main reason that people with those conditions have been excluded from blue badge eligibility is because of the changes that the government deliberately made to the blue badge criteria when they introduced PIP to replace disability living allowance (DLA).“This meant that people who automatically had a blue badge before because of the DLA they received (higher rate mobility component), were no longer automatically eligible because they did not get enough points under the ‘moving around’ PIP criteria.“This problem was compounded by the inadequate DfT guidance, leading many local authorities to decide that people with non-physical disabilities were not entitled to a blue badge, and would never be entitled, because they did not have the right kind of disability to meet the criteria.“We have successfully challenged a number of these decisions, but there must be thousands of people who should have had blue badges but didn’t because of the change in the criteria coupled with the unclear guidance.”She highlighted the government’s failure to carry out an equality impact assessment of the blue badge eligibility changes and the new guidance before they were introduced in 2014.Such an assessment would have shown that thousands of people with invisible impairments were set to lose their right to a blue badge, with London Councils estimating that 3,500 people fell into this category in the capital.Whitfield said: “It is also somewhat disingenuous of the government to present the consultation on the new proposals as if this had been all of their own making, when in fact many organisations, individuals and legal representatives on their behalf have been trying to get the government to undertake a review since the change in the blue badge criteria several years ago.”She added: “We have repeatedly chased the government and their solicitors for updates on the review and have been told very little over the last 15 months.“Nor have they had the courtesy to inform me or my client that the consultation is now underway.  The last time we chased them they didn’t even respond. “Sadly, my client who brought the judicial review has now passed away, but I will be encouraging all my other clients to respond to the consultation making clear how devastating it has been for them to lose their existing badge and then have to battle for months, if not years, to get it reinstated just so that they can leave their home.”The Department for Transport (DfT) accepted that it had faced a legal challenge over the regulations when they were changed, but failed to answer a series of questions, including whether it had failed to carry out an equality impact assessment on the 2014 changes; why it failed to tell Deighton Pierce Glynn about the new consultation; and why it failed to mention the legal challenge in its press release and consultation document.In a statement, a DfT spokesman said: “Blue badges give people with disabilities the freedom to get jobs, see friends or go to the shops with as much ease as possible.“We want to try to extend this to people with invisible disabilities, so they can enjoy the freedom to get out and about, where and when they want.”An NAS spokeswoman admitted that it had “focused on the good news” in its statement on the government announcement.She claimed NAS had opposed the government’s decision to link blue badge entitlement in England to only the “moving around” part of PIP mobility and had “raised this issue at the time and have continued to raise this issue since”.She said its concern had always been “broader than the link with PIP” and that its “underlying aim has been to change the blue badge rules because it has always been a real struggle for those with a hidden disability to get one” and that “not very many autistic people ever qualified for higher rate mobility of DLA to get that automatic entitlement”.She said NAS had not been “directly involved” with the legal case.She added: “The government’s proposals go beyond that change and so are likely to ensure that more autistic children and adults who need a blue badge can get one and won’t first need to access DLA or PIP.”*Not his real name**The guidance currently states that it is only those who qualify for the standard or enhanced mobility rates of PIP under the “moving around” criteria – those with physical impairments that mean they cannot walk very far – who should automatically qualify for a blue badge.Those who qualify for the PIP enhanced mobility rate because they have problems planning and following journeys are no longer automatically entitled to a blue badge, as they were if they claimed the upper mobility rate of DLA for the same reasons.The updated blue badge application form included in the guidance document has no sections in which disabled people with problems planning and following journeys can provide evidence to show why they need a blue badge.Authorities in Scotland and Wales have already made changes aimed at addressing the problems with DfT’s guidance.last_img read more

31 Jul

The equality watchdog is failing disabled people b

first_imgThe equality watchdog is failing disabled people by attempting to “mainstream” disability and treat it the same way as the other eight characteristics protected by the Equality Act, peers have warned.The House of Lords was debating the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s decision that it no longer needed a disability commissioner, and to scrap its statutory disability committee and replace it with a new disability advisory committee.The debate was secured by the disabled Tory peer Lord [Kevin] Shinkwin, who quit the commission in December over what he saw as the collusion of former women and equalities minister Justine Greening with EHRC’s decision to scrap the disability commissioner role.Lord Shinkwin (pictured) had refused to attend EHRC board meetings after his appointment in protest at the decision to appoint him as a general commissioner instead of the disability commissioner role he had applied for.He told fellow peers that disabled people were “nowhere near attaining equality” with members of other protected characteristics.He said; “The goal of equality might be the same, but the nature and extent of the disadvantage that goes with disability are so different that while mainstreaming disability might sound laudable in theory, in practice it means that disability, as the heaviest stone, falls to the bottom of the inequality pond.”He said this was why EHRC needed the “sharp focus on disability issues” provided by a disability commissioner.And he criticised the government for failing to speak out about Greening’s involvement in abolishing the role.He said: “Of course, I think there is a strong case for a disability commissioner, otherwise I would not have applied for the position.“But now it has been abolished, the case that the government need to make is why disabled people should trust them when they cannot even bring themselves to express regret for the involvement of a former minister in the abolition of disabled people’s last powerful voice.”The disabled Liberal Democrat peer, Baroness [Celia] Thomas, said that if disabled people were asked if they would prefer a statutory disability committee chaired by a disabled commissioner or just an advisory committee and all the EHRC commissioners having a duty to oversee the disability agenda, she was “pretty sure they would go for the former”.She said: “The reason is simple: as we have heard, so much of life, public and private, is denied to disabled people even now and there are still so many battles to be fought… they would want the strongest voice possible to get things changed.”She added: “We need somebody shouting the odds from the rooftops on our behalf.“Disabled people want a body that will not rest until it has brought about real change – not a body that has all the right words but not enough action.”Baroness Deech, the crossbench peer who chaired a Lords committee that investigated the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on disabled people, said that it was “not enough to treat disabled people equally with everyone else” and that “mainstreaming” disability “has not worked, so far”.She said: “There are situations where, to get to a level playing field, disabled people need favourable treatment, a concept with which employers struggle.“Witnesses to our committee thought that the inclusion of disability within the EHRC had diluted the focus on disability that had existed and had given rise to a sense of a loss of rights by disabled people.”She said her committee’s report recommended that EHRC’s disability committee “should be re-established as a decision-making body with ring-fenced resources”.She said that disabled people wanted “a champion, not to be just one of nine protected characteristic groups, and that call has not been answered”.Another disabled peer, the Liberal Democrat Lord Addington, asked if there was any evidence that the commission’s new approach was working better.He said: “I ask because that approach is not one that is reassuring to the huge and diverse disability communities.”But Baroness Prosser, a Labour peer and former EHRC deputy chair, defended the commission’s strategy.She said: “In recognition of the fact that all other issues under the commission’s remit were dealt with in the mainstream debate, the board of the commission took the view that disability would best be dealt with in the same way and therefore it would no longer seek a commissioner with that narrow remit.”Baroness Gale, Labour’s shadow spokeswoman on women and equalities, said she was “not so sure” that a case could be made for a separate disability commissioner, as it could lead to calls for a separate commissioner for the other eight protected characteristics.She said the commission’s briefing for the debate said that “it believes that the changes it has made were designed to strengthen, rather than weaken, its approach to advancing the rights of people with disabilities”.Baroness Williams, a Home Office minister, said the commission recognises the “particular rights and protections for disabled people” under the Equality Act through its new disability advisory committee.And she said the disability commissioner role was “not a statutory post but simply an EHRC-created role: a set of responsibilities connected to the former disability committee that the commission decided to change as part of its overhaul ​of its disability arrangements”.She said her understanding was that Lord Shinkwin had been appointed “as a commissioner, not specifically as a disability commissioner” and she said that “any decision to give EHRC commissioners specific roles and responsibilities is a direct matter for the EHRC”.She added: “I assure him that the new EHRC arrangements work better for disabled people than the old ones.”Baroness Williams said EHRC believed that its previous approach treated work on disability “separately from other work programmes”, led to “work on disability being seen as the responsibility of specific individuals in the commission rather than the collective ​responsibility of the board and the organisation as a whole”, and “led to some miscommunication as well as missed opportunities”.last_img read more

26 Jul

Post Apocolypse Aftermath How Is California Adapting to New Cannabis Regulations

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Green Entrepreneur App Ryan G. Smith Looking at any cannabis industry blog or publication, you might think that the California cannabis industry is currently in shambles.New regulations went into law on July 1, forcing retailers to purge non-compliant product from their shelves. This included concentrates, topicals, vaporizer cartridges and edible products that did not meet the new packaging or labeling standards.Related: Beware the ‘Weed Apocalypse’Consumers were delighted to take part in the “Green Saturday” sales but the industry was in a state of panic. Many retailers were forced to close for days, or even weeks, while waiting for new, compliant inventory to arrive. Manufacturers faced delays in receiving their new packaging or passing laboratory testing standards. Some claimed the industry would never recover from these new standards — significantly more stringent than regulations placed on agriculture and food products.Was the Hysteria Warranted? But what really happened when a lawless environment was finally graced with regulation? As the data is beginning to show, sales are not only climbing but California’s journey is just beginning as it steps into its role as the cannabis capital of the world.Even while brands and retailers are still scrambling to navigate these new rules, the sales statistics signal the maturation and eagerness of the legal market to adapt to these new regulations.Our wholesale platform captured some telling data points from the first few weeks of post-compliance sales in California.Wholesale Cannabis Orders Are SpikingThose concerned about the future of California cannabis can put their worries aside, as dispensaries are already spending more than ever — yes, even with dozens of infused-product brands out of stock indefinitely.During the second full week of July 2018, retailers spent 59 percent more on products from the prior week and a whopping 196 percent increase from what was spent the week leading up to the July 1 regulations. Based on orders so far in July, retailers are expected to spend triple the amount they spent in June.The volume of orders is also quickly increasing to meet retailers’ high customer demands. Cart size, or the average amount ordered per retailer, increased 22 percent from the week of June 18 to the week of July 9.Related: These Stats on Cannabis Sales Will Shock YouCompliance Is Converting to SalesUnbeknownst to many, California is still home to a thriving underground cannabis market — a natural consequence of dozens of city- and county-wide bans throughout the state. Still, it’s never been more vital for cannabis operators to know exactly who they are dealing with when it comes to high-value wholesale transactions.Companies that updated their product images with a “Compliant” badge on the LeafLink platform grew their business 201 percent in July, compared to 46 percent for brands without the badge. It just goes to show that the typical modern cannabis business owner is alert, informed and cautious when it comes to getting in step with tight regulations.It’s worth adding that complying with these new regulations is not just a matter of ethics, consumer health, and safety; it is a legal requirement that comes with heavy fines and penalties for operators if they fall out of line.Though the process is costly and time-consuming, compliance will continue to be an inevitable part of doing business — and making profits — in cannabis.Related: His Software Solution Aims to Ease the Pain of Running a Dispensary Keep up with the latest trends and news in the cannabis industry with our free articles and videos, plus subscribe to the digital edition of Green Entrepreneur magazine. Add to Queue Download Our Free Android App Image credit: Justin Sullivan | Getty Images Co-Founder and CEO LeafLink Next Article –shares August 1, 2018 News and Trends Post Apocolypse Aftermath: How Is California Adapting to New Cannabis Regulations? 3 min read Guest Writer They called it the ‘Weed Apocolypse.’ The day when the Golden State cannabis market would implode. Were they right?last_img read more

26 Jul

Sales Teams Are Making a Big Comeback at Tech Firms

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Sales Next Article –shares July 23, 2014 The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. 4 min read Salespeople have had a bad reputation in Silicon Valley. Young, lean startups looked at the “consumerization of IT,” and decided that if their software was good, the product would sell itself.To this new breed of entrepreneurs, sales teams looked inefficient and old — a holdover from a less advanced age of business. Salespeople were the sleazy used car dealer, or the slick-haired Wall Street type, trying to convince customers to buy things they didn’t really need. But the Valley has learned to love salespeople again.Related: How to Shift the Culture of Your Sales ProcessDropbox, which got wide notice in 2011 for claims that it didn’t need salespeople, has announced it will open an office in New York to beef up its sales team. (In fact, Dropbox was already building a high-powered sales team by late 2012). Meanwhile, tech giants young and old, including Oracle and Salesforce.com (which probably knows a thing or two about selling), have steadily expanded their sales teams to drive growing enterprise customer bases. The sales team is back in a big way.The unsung heroes of Silicon Valley. Why are tech companies only now relearning the value of salespeople? Despite all the headlines about brilliant hackers and coding entrepreneurs, Silicon Valley owes a lot of its success to great salespeople. One of the Valley’s most iconic figures, Steve Jobs, was not an engineer but a creative visionary and master salesman, revolutionizing the way companies communicate with their customers.While other sales leaders may play a more behind-the-scenes role, there’s no questioning the importance of sales teams as a key driver of tech companies’ growth. Today, an average of 17 percent of the workforce at top growing companies are salespeople. This includes 14.5 percent of Twitter employees, 15.7 percent of LinkedIn employees, 32 percent of Salesforce.com employees and 26 percent of Box employees, according to estimates of the companies’ LinkedIn profiles.Without the relentless work of today’s salespeople, the energies and resources that go into the creation of innovative products and services would be wasted. Cutting-edge companies recognize that salespeople are a crucial part of the digital revolution.Sales goes back to basics. Part of the reason that sales has regained its strong reputation is that salespeople have adapted in response to business innovations. The Internet has brought on a data deluge, where customers have access to more information about products than they could ever possibly digest.Related: How to Recruit Salespeople Who Will Deliver Dramatic ReturnsWhile companies can increasingly leverage Facebook and other social-media platforms to connect with customers, at the end of the day, people still want to talk with a real human being. That need has been there since the beginning of time and is just as strong today.Among the Google search results, the flood of white papers and the automated nurture campaigns, the salesperson has evolved to stand out as the most valuable resource for customers. Companies have come to realize that salespeople play a crucial role in today’s information-overloaded society. Salespeople have evolved to become thought leaders and consultants and seriously smart people who can give customers the answers they can’t find with a search engine or on a company website.The return of sales. Companies are aggressively hiring to fill inside sales roles in New York, San Francisco, Boston and even Austin to power their growth engine, which scales not with bits and bytes but with actual smart human beings who provide value and generate revenue.With this newfound demand for salespeople, companies are taking two approaches. First, they’re going to unconventional places to find talented employees who can be developed into fantastic salespeople. This can be a long road, but for companies that commit to it, these sales recruits can drive tremendous value.Additionally, companies are spending billions of dollars ($12.8 billion in North America alone, to be precise) on tools and software that help accelerate the overall sales process for each salesperson. Such tools include software the helps salespeople say the right thing at the right time, or tools that help salespeople track engagement, and even tools that can predict who is more likely to buy.They help salespeople spend more time having meaningful conversations, so they can focus on becoming the teachers, consultants and thought leaders that companies need them to be.Related: It’s Time to ‘Untrain’ Your Sales Force Apply Now » Founder and CEO of ToutApp Tawheed Kader Add to Queue Sales Teams Are Making a Big Comeback at Tech Firms Guest Writer 2019 Entrepreneur 360 Listlast_img read more

26 Jul

Does This Photo Prove the Loch Ness Monster Is Real

first_img September 16, 2016 Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. It’s Friday, we’re a little punchy, so sure, we’re going to say yes. As reported in The Scotsman, this photograph was taken by Ian Bremner, 58, who was driving around the Highlands when he saw something bizarre doing the backstroke in Loch Ness.Bremner, who works at a whiskey distillery, told The Scotsman that he was out trying to capture images of red deer, but found a much more sought-after prize in his viewfinder instead. (Note to Bremner: you’ll probably have better luck finding deer if you’re not pointing your camera into a large body of water.) “When I saw it on my screen I said ‘what the hell is that?’” Bremner said.Related: Brain Break: Forget About Unicorns. Check Out This Blue LobsterThe Loch Ness Monster, as you may know, is a long-necked, one or more humped beast that folks have been searching for since the 1930s. “I’m normally a bit of a skeptic when it comes to Nessie and I think it’s just something for the tourists,” Bremner said, “but I’m starting to think there is something out there.”Is it really the fabled monster or a close-up of a garter snake in someone’s swimming pool? We’ll take the whiskey-loving photographer’s word that it’s the real deal. Happy weekend everyone! –shares Brain Break Next Article Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Does This Photo Prove the Loch Ness Monster Is Real? Image credit: Ian Bremner 2 min read Enroll Now for $5 Entrepreneur Staff Add to Queue Entrepreneur Stafflast_img read more

24 Jul

Bpmonline Introduces Major Update to its Intelligent LowCode Platform for Process Automation

first_imgBpm’online, a global business software company leading in the space of low-code, process automation and CRM, announced the release of the latest version of its intelligent platform. Bpm’online 7.14 is tailored to make enterprises more efficient in building, optimizing, and maintaining business transformation processes.Key features in this update include more robust customization options, improved data processing and management, optimizations to further improve the user interaction with the software, and much more.“At bpm’online we believe you can’t build lasting customer relationships without powerful business processes and coherent strategy in place. Striving to deliver immense value to our customers, we launched the update that remarkably enriches their experience with our software,” stated Katherine Kostereva, CEO and Managing Partner of bpm’online. “We’ve been listening to our clients’ feedback to make enhancements that perfectly match the customers’ needs.”Highlights of the core new features of bpm’online version 7.14 include:New architecture capabilities of bpm’online Self-service PortalBpm’online portal architecture has been revamped and is now available for all bpm’online products – studio, marketing, sales and service – in three editions:Self-service portal for companies that want to automate the processing of cases from internal and/or external users, while maintaining limited access to data.Customer portal for companies that need an affordable tool for the automation of complex processes.Partner portal for companies that need to organize the processes of servicing external users involved in all stages of the sales process.Marketing Technology News: Factual Launches Measurement Intelligence to Track Real-World Conversions and Optimize Campaigns Across New and Emerging Digital ChannelsEnhanced CRM functionalityLatest CRM improvements include enhanced functionality to accelerate marketing, sales and service:Extended Dynamic Content capabilities to send even more personalized emails to each segment of bulk email recipients.Advanced functionality for email template configuration.The ‘File preview for bpm’online’ add-on to preview documents and images attached to any section record without downloading it.Robust low-code capabilities, administration and development tools Updated low-code tools allow users to accelerate day-to-day operations, improve development speed and boost productivity:Enhanced tools for system customization.Revamped access rights management interface.Smooth processing of “Decimal” type constant parameters..Net Framework version support.Marketing Technology News: RCN Chooses TiVo’s Next-Gen Platform to Give Subscribers a Superior User ExperiencePowerful data management toolsThis set of features enables users to keep customer data clean and get rid of unnecessary information in the system. Updated features include:Ability to schedule automatic duplicate search in any bpm’online section.Tools to merge any records in any system section or lookup.Updated mobile app to drive better cross-platform UXEnhanced mobile app allows users to boost their efficiency on the go. Key improvements include:Ability to work with dynamic, static and favorite folders configured in the main application.Enhanced performance and page load time.Marketing Technology News: Mobile Is Key to Boosting Guest Experiences Say Hoteliers bpm’online version 7.14BPMonlinecrmdata processing and managementKatherine KosterevaMarketing TechnologyNews Previous ArticleMovable Ink Integrates with SmarterHQ to Enhance Real-time Email Personalization with Unified, Cross-Channel Customer DataNext ArticleCMC Honors AARP with the 2019 Marketer of the Year Award Bpm’online Introduces Major Update to its Intelligent Low-Code Platform for Process Automation and CRM PRNewswireApril 29, 2019, 7:50 pmApril 29, 2019 last_img read more