27 Nov

ICC ranking: R Ashwin becomes world’s No.1 Test all-rounder

first_imgIndian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.India’s Ravichandran Ashwin on Monday became the number one Test all-rounder in ICC rankings following his fine show with the bat in the fourth cricket Test against England in Manchester.Ashwin scored 40 and 46 not out at the Old Trafford though India lost the Test by an innings and 54 runs. As a bowler, Ashwin went wicketless in his 14 overs in England’s first innings.The Indian off-spinner, who now has 372 rating points, displaced South Africa’s Vernon Philander (365) at the top of the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for Test all-rounders.Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan was at third spot while Englishman Stuart Broad has moved ahead of Australia’s Mitchell Johnson in fourth position.Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara has regained the number one Test batsman spot following his 10th double century in Galle against Pakistan while India’s Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli slipped down the ladder.Sangakkara, who won the ICC Cricketer of the Year and ICC Test Cricketer of the Year awards in Colombo in 2012, scored 221 and 21 in the Test, which earned him 31 ratings points that helped him dethrone AB de Villiers from the top pedestal.The South African had snatched the number one spot from his team-mate Hashim Amla in October 2013 and spent a total stretch of 287 days and 33 Tests at the top.last_img read more

13 Oct

American household income finally topped 1999 peak last year

first_imgWASHINGTON – In a stark reminder of the damage done by the Great Recession and of the modest recovery that followed, the median American household only last year finally earned more than it did in 1999.Incomes for a typical U.S. household, adjusted for inflation, rose 3.2 per cent from 2015 to 2016 to $59,039, the Census Bureau said. The median is the point at which half the households fall below and half are above.Last year’s figure is slightly above the previous peak of $58,665, reached in 1999. It is also the first time since the recession ended in 2009 that the typical household earned more than it did in 2007, when the recession began.Trudi Renwick, the bureau’s assistant division chief, cautioned that the census in 2013 changed how it asks households about income, making historical comparisons less than precise.Still, the Census data is closely watched because of its comprehensive nature. It is based on interviews with 70,000 households and includes detailed data on incomes and poverty across a range of demographic groups.Elise Gould, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, said that adjusting for the change in methodology, median income still remains below its 1999 peak. Yet she added that the census report shows that American households have made significant economic progress in 2015 and 2016.“We are definitely pulling ourselves out of the deep hole of the Great Recession,” Gould said on a conference call with reporters.Median household income rose $4,641, or 8.5 per cent, from 2014 through 2016. That’s the best two-year gain on records dating to 1967, according to analysts at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.Yet that improvement comes after a steep recession and a slow recovery that left most American households with barely any income increases. The lack of meaningful raises has left many people feeling left behind economically, a sentiment that factored into the 2016 elections.The report also showed that income inequality worsened last year, extending a trend in place for roughly four decades. Average incomes among the wealthiest 5 per cent climbed 5.5 per cent to $375,088. Average incomes for the poorest one-fifth of households, meanwhile rose 2.5 per cent to $12,943.Other measures of Americans’ economic health improved. The poverty rate fell last year to 12.7 per cent from 13.5 per cent, Census said. The number of people living below the poverty line declined 2.5 million to 40.6 million.That brings the proportion of households living below the poverty line back to pre-recession levels, though it remains about one and half percentage points higher than its lowest point, in 2000.A family of four with an income below $24,563 was defined as poor last year.And the proportion of Americans without health insurance fell to 8.8 per cent, the report showed, down from 9.1 per cent. It is the lowest proportion on record.The Census report covers 2016, the last year of the Obama administration.Robert Greenstein, president of the CBPP, argued that the agenda being pursued by President Donald Trump and congressional Republican leaders would reverse those gains.The income gains reflect mostly a rise in the number of Americans with jobs and in people working full time, the agency said. That means households were more likely to include a full-time worker. It also suggests that pay raises for those who already had jobs remained meagre.About 1.2 million more Americans earned income in 2016 than in 2015, and 2.2 million more had full-time year-round jobs.Incomes rose for most demographic groups. African-American median household income jumped 5.7 per cent to $39,490 in 2016 from the previous year, the most of any group. Among Latinos, it rose to 4.3 per cent to $47,675. For whites, the gain was 2 per cent to $65,041.Asian-Americans reported the highest household incomes, at $81,431, which was little changed from 2015.Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the CBPP, said the gains among African-Americans typically occur later in an economic recovery as employers widen their searches and step up hiring among traditionally disadvantaged groups.“The solid economy is helping to close racial gaps,” he said. “It won’t make them go away, but it is headed in the right direction.”The report found that the gender gap in wages narrowed last year for the first time since 2007. Women earned 80.5 per cent of men’s earnings, up from 79.6 per cent in 2015.Still, underneath the broad improvements nationwide, pockets of hardship remain. Poverty rates fell in the Northeast and South in 2016 but were mostly unchanged in the Midwest and West.Una Osili, a researcher at the Salvation Army and a professor of economics at Indiana University, said the non-profit group reported a spike in requests for health-related assistance in the Midwest last year, driven mostly by demand for opioid addiction treatment.That happened even in states like Indiana, where the unemployment rate and poverty fell, she said.In Nevada and some other Western states, the economic recovery has raised housing costs, offsetting some of the benefit of income growth.In those states, “the recovery is a good thing, but your rent is now higher,” Osili said.last_img read more

13 Oct

NEATs 2018 Community Can donates over 600 jars to Peace Region food

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Volunteers with the Northern Environmental Action Team were busy canning over the summer for members of the community who are in need.NEAT said that Fort St. John residents came together during two canning sessions to prepare 628 jars filled with applesauce, berry jam, pickled carrots and beans, stewed herbed tomatoes, relish, and other preserved foods that were donated to local food banks. Members of the Northern Environmental Action Team presenting Community Can donations to the Salvation Army. Supplied photo Members of the Northern Environmental Action Team presenting Community Can donations to the Salvation Army. Supplied photo Members of the Northern Environmental Action Team bringing Community Can donations to the Women's Resource Society. Supplied photo Members of the Northern Environmental Action Team bringing Community Can donations to the Women’s Resource Society. Supplied photo Food security is a growing concern in the Peace Region area where prices can be much higher than elsewhere across the country.NEAT says that teaching food preservation skills and providing healthy donations to outreach organizations can help shed light on these issues.NEAT extended thanks to the North Peace Savings & Credit Union and Enbridge for their support of its Community Can initiative, as well as to those members of the community who donated locally-grown fruits and vegetables, their time and their canning skills to make the Community Can a huge success this year.“The Community Canning Program has been a wonderful support to The Fort St. John Food Bank,” said the Salvation Army’s executive director Cameron Eggie. “It pleases our volunteers & staff to be able to give out a healthy-homemade product and it really makes our guests feel supported by their community. Thank you NEAT!”last_img read more

13 Oct

Thieves broke into Action Property and left empty handed

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – At 5:07 am, caught on surveillance camera what appears to be two thieves entering Action Property trying to rob the establishment.Wanda Smook shares with me they had just driven by the business 10 minutes prior to the break-in and there was no one there at that time.“The thieves broke in which immediately triggered our alarm system and Vivint called the RCMP. My maintenance man attended and determined that nothing was missing,” said Smook, “The thieves went straight to the lockbox so they were hoping to find money there I believe. Finding none and with the alarms going off they left.” If you have any information regarding this incident please call the Fort St. John RCMP a 250-787-8100. Should you wish to remain anonymous, please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip online.last_img read more

12 Oct

Iran allowed to continue advanced nuclear research

first_imgWASHINGTON — White House releases details of Iran nuclear deal amid calls for transparencyThe White House has released a summary of the deal reached between six major world powers and Iran to curb its nuclear program. Iran has denied it wants to use the program to eventually build nuclear weapons but agreed to scale it back after the international community applied strict financial sanctions.It allows Iran to continue research and development on its nuclear centrifuge technology, announcing the conclusion of technical talks on the implementation of an interim deal pausing Iran’s nuclear program. The deal, signed  in Geneva in November, is to go into effect on Monday and to last for six months while Iran and the P5+1 – the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany – attempt to negotiate a comprehensive agreement to end the long-standing crisis.The agreement is seeking to hold the most advanced parts of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for an easing of western economic sanctions on Iran. Iran has accepted to halt 20 percent of enriched uranium until January 20 and start diluting half of its uranium stock of which 20% was already enriched, according to the deal.The White House summary said a “Joint Commission” had been established by experts from Iran, P5+1 countries and the EU as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor the implementation of the agreement. Some of the limited and temporary easing of sanctions against Iran will include the release of $6 billion in relief which is a small part of total $100 billion that will still be restricted.The Undersecretary of the US Secretary of State Wendy Sherman has informed the lawmakers regarding the details in a closed meeting. Some congress members said the plan is already increasing their concerns. Republican senator Lindsey Graham, known as the most critical of Obama administration’s foreign policy claimed “I am more worried than ever after the briefing,” IAAE has asked to keep the technical details secret, according to White House spokesman Jim Carney.last_img read more

10 Aug

November 8 2002 The olive trees at Arcosanti are

first_imgNovember 8, 2002 The olive trees atArcosanti are all descendents of a rescue mission in the early 1960’s.Camelback Road in Phoenix was widened and the olive trees lining thestreet were to be removed. Soleri and the Cosanti staff rescued a fewof the trees and planted them at Cosanti. From those trees, Solerisuccessfully propagated hundreds of new ones to fill the landscapingneeds for Cosanti and Arcosanti. The October workshop spent a morning with the landscapingdepartment harvesting this years crop of rich black olives in the MindsGarden. [Photo: nk & text: sa] Workshopper NancyHackenmiller is picking olives in front of the vaults. [Photo: nk &text: sa] Workshopper StevenTalcott is checking the crop. The next step will be to pierce the skinof each olive to help release the bitterness. The olives are soakedtwice in a salt brine for 2 – 3 month each. Then resident RandallSchultz takes over the rest of the process at his company ‘High DesertFarms’. High Desert Farms is located in Cordes Lakes and providesdelicious canned and dried goods to shops all over the country. Therethe olives are pulled out of the brine, rinsed thoroughly, sorted bysize and color and then canned with various herbs and spices. They aresold at the ArcosantiGallery and Visitors Center and used at special dinners at theArcosanti Cafe. [Photo: nk & text: sa]last_img read more

7 Aug

Satellite operator Spacecom has lost all communic

first_imgSatellite operator Spacecom has lost “all communications and signals” from its Amos-5 satellite at the 17°E orbital position, it announced over the weekend.The company said that the failure happened on Saturday and that it was working to re-establish communication with the satellite, but that it did not have further information about the cause of the “anomaly”.“Spacecom is working around the clock, doing the utmost to speed service recovery for its customers. Our service teams are looking for solutions for our customers to enable their broadcast signals and data communications streams to continue with minimal interruption,” said Spacecom CEO and president, David Pollack.Launched in 2011, the Amos-5 satellite offers direct-to-home TV, VSAT communications and broadband and other services to Africa.The satellite features a fixed pan-African C-band beam and three steerable Ku-band beams — all covering Africa with connectivity to Europe and the Middle East.last_img read more

6 Aug

Linear TV viewing figures may be on the decline b

first_imgLinear TV viewing figures may be on the decline, but overall numbers are on the rise – and young people are to thank. This is according to a new study from The National Research Group commissioned by Snap Inc. The report outlines the evolution of video, trends in mobile content, and the role of Snapchat (the social messaging app owned by Snap Inc.) in entertaining today’s young consumers.The UK Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB), had observed in 2018 traditional linear TV viewing among UK citizens of all ages is on the decline, with the sharpest decrease among Gen Z and Millennials. These groups spend 34% less time with traditional TV than they did in 2012, and approximately 15% less time since last year.However, the new report points out that a holistic analysis which includes streaming and time-shifted TV shows that content consumption is growing. BARB predicts that the UK will reach new heights in terms of viewing minutes per day by 2022, with viewing spread across a wide variety of devices and platforms.As far as that highly-coveted age bracket goes, the report found that young people are watching more mobile video than ever before. It states that 33% of every hour spent online is dedicated to video.This spells good news for online video creators, with young people increasingly focusing on premium short-form content. Nearly two thirds of Gen Zs and Millennials watch premium mobile short-form content (described as videos of fewer than 10 minutes) weekly, and about 40% watch daily. The report concludes that, on average, two in five people on Snapchat watch Discover feed content every day. Snap Inc. has historically had issues making money, with Q1 2019 revenue sitting at $390 million. That was a record quarter for the company that lost its heads of finance, sales, chief strategy officer, president of hardware, and CFO in the past year – but the company still has failed to turn a profit. Snap will hope that a greater focus on mobile video viewing habits will trend towards greater success going forward.last_img read more

4 Aug

The dollar index closed on Wednesday afternoon in

first_imgThe dollar index closed on Wednesday afternoon in New York at 82.95.  Once it opened in Far East trading on their Thursday, it sank to its low of the day…82.77 shortly before 2:00 p.m. Hong Kong time.  The rally that followed ran out of gas at the 83.16 mark just minutes before 11:00 a.m in New York.  From there it fell down to 82.89 by 12:30 p.m….and the subsequent rally didn’t get far.  The index closed at 82.95…unchanged from Wednesday.As you can tell from the chart below, the big drop in the precious metal prices around the Comex close was not related to anything going on in the currency markets.Despite the fact that the gold price didn’t make it into positive territory…and then got hit for $29 just before the Comex close, the gold stocks managed to stay in positive territory all day long.  It was obvious that someone was bottom fishing.  The HUI finished up 2.25%.The silver stocks put in a pretty decent performance themselves as well…and Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed up 5.24%.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report for the final day of the June delivery month showed that 4 gold contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories sometime today.First Day Notice for the July delivery month showed that 23 gold and 479 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Monday.  The two big short/issuers were Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia with 238 contracts…and Jefferies with 200 contracts.  JPMorgan was the big stopper with 337 contracts in its proprietary trading account…and 38 in its client account.  The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is worth a peek…and the link is here.Once again I was surprised by what I discovered in both GLD and SLV yesterday.  Not only wasn’t there any change in GLD for the second day in a row…an authorized participant added a further 482,493 troy ounces of silver to SLV…the second day in a row that silver has been deposited.  Both Ted and I are waiting for the big withdrawals that we feel are coming…but they haven’t put in an appearance as of yet.  Maybe today…for maximum psychological effect.For the second day in a row, there was no sales report from the U.S. Mint.In silver, the Comex-approved depositories didn’t receive any on Wednesday…but shipped 401,855 troy ounces out the door.  The link to that activity is here.In gold, these same depositories reported shipping out 34,146 troy ounces of the stuff on Wednesday…and didn’t receive any.  The link to that action is here.It was another busy day at the bullion store yesterday, but not quite as busy as Tuesday or Wednesday.  Today is Friday, I expect today will be very busy.Here’s a gold and silver chart courtesy of Nick Laird…and this is what he had to say about them…”Gold and silver have now both put in their fifth wave down. If this is to be the last wave down then I would consider that this wave down will be of a lesser degree than the prior wave down…which would imply that we are almost at a bottom.”(Click on image to enlarge)I’m happy to report that I have considerably fewer stories for you today than I did on Thursday…and I hope you can find time to wade through them all.Being around the markets for as long as I have, I have resisted the temptation to flat-out state that silver prices can’t possibly go lower than any certain level; although it is just as true that I have thought the bottom has been put in on many recent occasions. Right now we are caught between unreasonably low prices that must adjust to the upside at some point…and an historic deliberate manipulation to the downside of unprecedented proportion that must end. Accordingly, I feel it is way too late to even think about selling…and the only reasonable thoughts should be of where to buy at the lowest possible price. – Silver analyst Ted Butler…26 June 2013These guys just don’t quit, do they?  Just when you think the end might be in sight, the market gets bombed going into the Comex close…and then again in early Far East trading on their Friday morning.But at some point there are few, if any, technical fund longs holders left…or that are prepared to sell…and nobody left willing to go short at the current price level.  When that point is reached, the bottom is in.  You have to ask yourself the question…was the bottom in when we set new lows in Far East trading earlier this morning?That can’t be answered for sure until JPMorgan et al in New York have had once more kick at the can during the Comex trading session today.Today is the last day of the week, the month…and the quarter.  As I said in my Tuesday missive, the rest of the trading week could be interesting…and that has certainly proved to be the case.  One would like to think that when today’s trading is done, we’ll have seen the last of the engineered price declines in all four precious metals.Today we get the Commitment of Traders Report for positions held at the close of Comex trading on Tuesday, June 25th…and the first thing I’ll be looking for is if all of last Wednesday’s and Thursday’s action is included in these numbers.  They should be, but I’ll wouldn’t put anything past these crooks.Of course the data from the engineered price decline that we experienced on Wednesday and Thursday of the current week, won’t be in included.  Whatever happened on those two days won’t be known with any certainty until the COT Report on July 5th.As I pointed out in the first paragraph of The Wrap, all four precious metals got hit to varying degrees starting at 8:30 a.m. Hong Kong time on their Friday morning…and all of them had recovered those loses by the 8:00 a.m. BST London open.  Gold volume is already monstrous…69,000 contracts as of 3:30 a.m. EDT…and virtually all of the HFT variety.  Silver’s net volume is heavy as well…around 13,000 contracts.  The dollar index is hovering just under the 83.00 mark.I wouldn’t want to hazard a guess as to what today’s price action will look like during the New York session today…but I’ll be mentally prepared for any eventuality when I switch my computer on later this morning.Enjoy your weekend…a long weekend for us Canadians…or what’s left of it, if you live west of the International Date Line…and I’ll see you here tomorrow. These guys just don’t quit, do they?[The only reason that today’s column is here at all is thanks to super computer genius Gary at b-com.ca here in Edmonton, who dropped everything to help me out when I walked in their store the moment it opened this morning.  Now THAT’s service! – Ed]The gold price rallied during early Far East trading on their Thursday morning, but ran into a not-for-profit seller around 11:00 a.m. Hong Kong time.  Then, starting around 1:30 p.m. local time, the gold price gradually declined until shortly before the 1:30 p.m. Comex close in New York.From that point, the gold price got sold down almost thirty bucks, hitting its low of the day…$1,196.10 spot…just minutes after 2:00 p.m. in electronic trading.  The price basically traded sideways from there.Gold closed at $1,200.80 spot…down by $24.40 from Wednesday.  Volume, although not as monstrous, was still very chunky at 261,000 contracts.Silver’s Far East rally on their Thursday morning also wasn’t allowed to get far…and after that, the price wandered around in a 2 percent price range until it, too, got sold down going into the Comex close.  The subsequent rally, if you wish to dignify it with that name, didn’t get far either.The low tick, just like gold’s, came minutes after 2:00 p.m. in New York…and Kitco recorded that as $18.31 spot.Silver finished the Thursday session down a penny from Wednesday…closing at $18.51 spot.  Net volume was huge…66,000 contracts.  Maybe some of it was carry-over from Wednesday?Here are the charts for platinum and palladium yesterday.last_img read more

4 Aug

Sponsor Advertisement

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

Anyone who watched Happy Days remembers the moment

first_imgAnyone who watched Happy Days remembers the moment (episode 5.3, 1977). The Fonz on water skies, in his leather jacket and powder blue swim trunks; Richie Cunningham driving the boat. “Do you really want to do it?” Richie yells back to Fonzie. A thumb’s up is his reply. The famous fifties cool guy soared over a shark pen, and the series was never the same. From that idiocy an idiom was born. “Jump the Shark” describes the moment when a television show begins to decline in quality, the point where writers reach for a gimmick to keep a show going. The term has been extended “beyond television, indicating the moment when a brand, design, franchise, or creative effort’s evolution declines,” says Wikipedia. We can now add foreign affairs to the list. Interest in Middle East wars—policing actions, occupations, red lines, or whatever Obama Administration obfuscation you choose to use—has waned among the American people. Other than the few million people who hang on every word coming from Fox News, most people are sick and tired of billions of dollars being spent blowing up people in order to make the world safe for democracy. Remember Barack Obama was the choice of Americans back in 2008, because they feared the other guy wanted to “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran.” The Nobel committee was so convinced, it awarded the brand new president its Peace Prize in the blind. Then the peace president fell in love with drones that made death and destruction easy. “Turns out I’m really good at killing people,” Obama said quietly to his aids, “Didn’t know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine.” Back on July 21, Politico reported that 67% of Americans said US military actions should be limited to direct threats on the country’s security. A direct threat was needed, and ISIS miraculously makes the front page. “They [ISIS] have the capacity and I believe they have the intent,” said Senator John Barrasso. “They have stated it in terms of their opposition of the whole Western world. They are the richest, most powerful, and most savage group of terrorists in the history of mankind, and they have taken over an area truly the size of Indiana bordering Syria as well as Iraq. So I think it is a direct threat to the United States.” Really? Damascus is 5,673 miles from New York. There’s no ISIS air force or navy. Oh, but a 21-year old Middle Eastern man in a hoodie, Farah Shirdon, told VICE News, “God willing, we will make some attacks in New York soon… Mobilizing for a brilliant attack, my friend.” Coming from a former movie theater employee from Calgary, I guess that’s a direct threat. “I know so many people, thousands upon thousands upon thousands, that are living in the West that are ready right now to make an operation in your land,” he proclaimed. After this scary pronouncement, the US public is coming around, putty in the military-industrial complex’s hand. As I write, 45% of Americans support opening up a boots-on-the-ground can of whoop ass on ISIS. And while 37% don’t want boots on the ground, the vast majority, 72%, believe that the US will employ ground troops. House Speaker John Boehner fueled the fire on TV, telling George Stephanopoulos, “We have no choice. These are barbarians. They intend to kill us. And if we don’t destroy them first, we’re gonna pay the price.” As if ISIS isn’t enough to shake Americans to their core, US authorities have created another threat to our freedom-loving life and limb. The Obama Administration has, as Casey Summit speaker, Justin Raimondo, writes, “simply invented a new enemy, one more fearsome—and, simultaneously, more familiar—to Americans than ISIS.” The new bogeyman is called “Khorasan,” which is a former province of Iran, now divided into three separate provinces also named Khorasan. Their leader was once head of “Al Qaeda in Iran,” which, Raimondo explains, is “a shadowy group that has never pulled off a single action or engaged in any propagandistic activities, and for all we know never really existed at all.” The Administration is having a hard time getting people interested. Beheadings are supposed to get our attention, but the post-9/11-state worship hasn’t taken hold yet. So now we have Khorasan, which Raimondo calls “a marketing ploy, and the target is the American people.” Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain explain, After spending weeks depicting ISIS as an unprecedented threat—too radical even for Al Qaeda!—administration officials suddenly began spoon-feeding their favorite media organizations and national security journalists tales of a secret group that was even scarier and more threatening than ISIS, one that posed a direct and immediate threat to the American Homeland. Seemingly out of nowhere, a new terror group was created in media lore. The Associated Press spread the word for the administration, warning Americans, “… the fear is that the Khorasan militants will provide these sophisticated explosives to their Western recruits who could sneak them onto US-bound flights.” AP cautioned that while ISIS has grabbed most of the attention, the Khorasan Group “is considered the more immediate threat.” White House leaders wouldn’t go on record, giving the appearance that this is all top-secret situation-room stuff, but Khorasan operatives were said to be wiring up planes to explode, so the US had to act. Attorney General Eric Holder claimed when the US started bombing Syria, “We hit them last night out of a concern that they were getting close to an execution date of some of the plans that we have seen.” But Khorasan appears to be Obama’s WMD. CNN reported this super-secret terrorist group was “perhaps in its final stages… of planning that attack.” Then a couple days later, the New York Times called the group’s plotting “aspirational” and said, “… there did not yet seem to be a concrete plan in the works.” NBC’s Richard Engel tweeted “Syrian activists telling us theyve [sic] never heard of Khorasan or its leader.” Greenwald and Hussain checked Nexis for mentions of Khorasan prior to the AP September 13 story. There were only three obscure mentions calling into question the very existence of Khorasan. Greenwald and Hussain write, “… it turns out the very existence of an actual ‘Khorasan Group’ was to some degree an invention of the American government.” We can’t say someone didn’t warn us. H.L. Mencken wrote years ago, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” Of course Mencken was right, but wasn’t the government’s theater previously better scripted and more believable? Now the leader of Khorasan is wearing a tight leather jacket and swim trunks, jumping the shark.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

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

19 Jul

Researchers use nanoparticles to treat snake bites

first_imgThe stable, low-cost nanoparticles have the potential to be administered subcutaneously immediately after the bite at the site of envenoming by this spitting cobra to halt or reduce the extent of local damage and mitigate the systemic distribution of toxins post-envenoming,”the researchers say. Source:https://www.plos.org Related StoriesScorpion venom contains compounds that could help fight Staph and tuberculosis bacteriaAssessing antimicrobial properties of silver and copper nanoparticlesHeat from nanoparticles zaps cancer cells from insideThe standard treatment for snakebites is the intravenous administration of IgG immune molecules that recognize venoms. However, such antivenom therapies must be administered quickly—and by trained healthcare workers— to be effective and are highly specific to particular venoms. There is an ongoing need for a snakebite treatment which can be used in a rural setting and works against the bites of diverse venomous snakes.In the new work, Kenneth Shea, of the University of California, Irvine, and colleagues engineered nanoparticles that bind to and sequester an array of phospholipases A2 (PLA2)and three-finger toxin (3FTX) molecules found in Elapidae snake venoms. The Elapidae family is a large family of venomous snakes that includes cobras, kraits, tiger snakes, sea snakes, coral snakes and mambas, among other species. The researchers tested the ability of the nanoparticles to block Naja nigricollis (black-necked spitting cobra) venom in mice that received varying doses of the nanoparticles, injected into the skin. Envenomings by this snake in sub-Saharan Africa inflict serious cutaneous necrosis that may leave permanent tissue damage in the victims.In experiments on isolated cells, the nanoparticles were found to sequester a wide range of Elapidae PLA and 3FTX venoms. Moreover, with collaborator José María Gutiérrez from the Instituto Clodomiro Picado (Universidad de Costa Rica), experiments with mice demonstrated that injections of the nanoparticles at the site of venom injection significantly mitigated the typical necrotic effects—including blistering and ulcers— of the spitting cobra venom. The nanoparticles administered to mice that had not received venom did not have an effect on skin and did not induce systemic toxicity. “Synthetic polymer nanoparticles bind elapid snake venom toxins and inhibit venom-induced dermonecrosis.” Credit: Shea, et al. (CC BY 4.0, 2018) Oct 5 2018Venomous snakebites affect 2.5 million people, and annually cause more than 100,000 deaths and leave 400,000 individuals with permanent physical and psychological trauma each year. Researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have now described a new approach to treating snake bites, using nanoparticles to bind to venom toxins and prevent the spread of venom through the body.last_img read more

19 Jul

UTMB researchers develop less expensive way to produce vaccines

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 6 2018Researchers at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have developed less expensive way to produce vaccines that cuts the costs of vaccine production and storage by up to 80 percent without decreasing safety or effectiveness. The findings are currently available in EBioMedicine.Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent and eradicate infectious diseases. Currently, many vaccines have to be manufactured in cell culture or eggs, which is expensive and carries the risk of contaminations. In addition, most vaccines must be kept refrigerated during the transportation from manufacturers to health care clinics. In tropical and subtropical regions, such cold storage requirements could contribute to more than 80 percent of the vaccine cost.Related StoriesNovel vaccine against bee sting allergy successfully testedVaccine drama on display in California’s CapitolMore effective flu vaccine begins clinical trials across the U.S.”The ability to eliminate cell culture or eggs and cold storage will change the process of vaccine development,” said UTMB’s Pei-Yong Shi, professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology. “Importantly, this vaccine technology could potentially serve as a universal platform for development of live-attenuated vaccines for many viral pathogens.”To achieve these goals, the UTMB team engineered a live-attenuated Zika vaccine in the DNA form. Once the DNA is delivered into our body, it launches the vaccine in our cells, leading to antibody production and other protective immunity. With this production method, there is no need to manufacture the vaccine in cell culture or eggs at factories. Because DNA molecules are shelf stable, the vaccine will not expire at warm temperatures and could be stockpiled at room temperature for years.Using UTMB’s Zika vaccine as a model, the research group showed that the DNA platform worked very efficiently in mice. After a single low dose, the DNA vaccine protected mice from Zika virus infection, mother-to-fetus transmission during pregnancy and male reproductive tract infection and damage.”This is the first study to demonstrate that, after a single low dose, a DNA vaccine could induce saturated protective immunity,” Shi said. “We will continue testing this promising Zika vaccine platform and then apply the platform to other viruses.” Source:https://www.utmb.edu/newsroom/article11934.aspxlast_img read more

17 Jul

Ashish Khetan has resigned from AAPAshish Khetan has resigned from AAP

first_imgCOMMENTS SHARE SHARE EMAIL political development political candidates parties and movements Published oncenter_img Aam Aadmi Party leader, Ashish Khetan, has quit the party, AAP sources said today, a week after another leader, Ashutosh, announced his resignation. Khetan, who did not deny the resignation, said he was not involved in “active politics at the moment” and was not interested in rumours. According to sources in the party, Khetan had sent his resignation to AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal on August 15. It was the day Ashutosh had announced his resignation from the party. Both resignations are yet to be accepted by Kejriwal, party insiders said. “I had resigned from DDC in April, to join the legal profession. That is all. Not interested in rumours,” Khaitan tweeted, referring to the Delhi Dialogue and Development Commission, an advisory body of the Delhi government. “I am completely focussed on my legal practice and not involved in active politics at the moment. Rest is all extrapolation,” he said in another tweet. Khetan had resigned as DDC vice-chairman citing “frustration” due to the tussle between the Centre and the AAP-led government. AAP sources claimed Khetan wanted to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from the New Delhi parliamentary seat that he had lost to BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi in 2014. But his demand was not being accepted by the leadership and he had been upset for a while. COMMENT SHARE August 22, 2018last_img read more

16 Jul

UPSR workshop to return with valuable exam tips

first_img Nation 08 Jul 2019 Top tips from panel at SOBA LAB PJ Related News Metro News 11 Jul 2019 Tamil school pupils attend UPSR workshop KUNTUM, the children’s edutainment magazine published by Star Media Group, will conduct a one-day UPSR workshop on July 27 at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya.This is a must attend workshop where pupils will get valuable tips and examination techniques on preparing for the UPSR exams. The primary objective of this Kuntum UPSR workshop is to motivate and empower UPSR candidates to achieve excellent results in their examinations. Seize this opportunity on the benefits of attending this workshop which will be conducted by experienced and qualified trainers. AdChoices广告During the workshop Year Six pupils will be taught to identify common mistakes made and how to avoid them, techniques to answer Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) questions, secrets of answering questions quickly and correctly, techniques of scoring high marks, acquiring skills to motivate themselves and more.This one-day workshop would feature sessions for the core subjects such as Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mathematics and Science for the pupils to better prepare themselves for the examination. The programme starts at 8am and finishes at 6pm. The registration forms can be obtained from the July issue of Kuntum and the payment completed with the form has to reach the organisers by July 19. A letter of confirmation and the workshop programme will be sent to each participant upon receipt of registration and payment.The registration fee is RM135 per pax inclusive of one year free Kuntum subscription for non-subscribers of the magazine. All Kuntum subscribers are entitled for a special rate of RM90 per pax. The fee is inclusive of lunch, two tea breaks and UPSR notes.All participants will also get a certificate each. Places are limited and are available on a first-come-first-served basis.Participants can look out for delicious Texas Chicken for lunch as well as sweet treats from Krispy Kreme Malaysia with a Signature Original Glaze doughnut and also a goodie bag of chocolates worth RM50 from The Cocoa Trees. Don’t miss out on this opportunity!For enquiries, call 03-7967 1388 ext 1617/1647 from 10am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Central Region Economy 22h ago Much to benefit from Malaysia-China tiescenter_img The UPSR workshop orgnaised by Kuntum at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya, last year. — Filepic Related News Tags / Keywords: {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more