Go back to the enewsletter Aman Wellness a new c

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletterAman Wellness, a new concept to be introduced across the Aman collection in 2016, promises to reach further and deeper with the dual introduction of its Individual Wellness Immersions, together with a parallel series of date-led Group Retreat Experiences, headed by globally celebrated health specialists, and held at a range of Aman’s most outstanding spa destinations.Drawing on the ancient healing modalities for which Aman spas have become renowned, both the Individual Wellness Immersions and the Group Retreat Experiences seek to take guests through an invigorating process of renewal, designed to ground, purify and deeply nourish.The first Individual Wellness Immersions will launch at Amanpuri and Amanbagh from 1 August 2016, complemented by an ongoing calendar of Group Retreat Experiences taking place throughout the year.Amanbagh in Rajasthan and Amanpuri in Phuket, Aman’s flagship holistic hideaways, provide powerful environments for change with carefully calibrated programmes which balance every aspect of health and wellness. The new Individual Wellness Immersions are based on a personalised routine which includes daily spa treatments, a considered diet or cleanse, suggested exercise and expert advice. Sensitively curated, programmes range from three to 14 nights at Amanpuri and four to 21 night life turnarounds at Amanbagh.In one of the most peaceful pockets of Phuket, the tropical realm of Amanpuri offers the ideal natural setting for an immersive retreat, offering a distinct path back to wellness. As well as initial assessments and regular consultations, every day of an Individual Wellness Immersion is personalised to include two to three movement and specialist therapy sessions, a 60- or 90-minute spa treatment and group movement classes.Amanpuri’s Immersions are based on four different principles. They include the Fitness Immersion, designed by sports therapists and nutrition experts for those who want to improve their fitness levels, and incorporating a wide variety of movement workouts from Muay Thai boxing to beach boot camp classes, circuit training, Pilates and yoga. Meanwhile the Weight Loss Immersion aims to remove the emotional barriers faced in managing and shifting weight; it includes water-based movement sessions to assist in the reduction of stress and inflammation in the body. The Cleanse Immersion is ideal for those who want to reduce stress levels and promote self-healing through a pronounced return to internal homeostasis. Finally, the meditative Awareness Immersion is designed for those wishing to tap into their inner realm, heightening awareness and daily mindfulness. Meditation, yoga and silent reflection combine with grounding modalities such as craniosacral therapy, reconnective healing and Reiki to encourage inner stillness.Escape to the whisper-quiet retreat that is Amanbagh, a secret garden oasis set amongst India’s rugged Aravalli Hills, to embrace the ancient wisdom and powerful long-term benefits of Ayurveda. Drawing on the ancient healing system of India, Amanbagh’s four to 21-night Ayurvedic Immersions offer a unique opportunity to experience what is believed to be the longest surviving complete system of knowledge in the world. Amanbagh’s in-house Ayurvedic physician oversees every detail.A calendar of devoted date-led retreats range from three to ten days in length and take place in an atmosphere of active healing at Aman’s key spa destinations. Each is unique, yet all have been designed to help bring guests back to balance, into a state of natural equilibrium from which each individual can feel the very best they can be. Showcasing the skills of globally renowned specialists who work in synergy towards the realisation of the guests’ personal goals, the retreats exclusively bring together handpicked contemporary masters of their field, from tai chi masters and spiritual mentors, to sports scientists and nutritionists.Amongst the variety of the Group Retreat Experiences will be ‘Spiritual Immersion’, which will take place at Amankora in Bhutan between 13 to 21 September. Led by Dr Karma Phuntsho, a Buddhist scholar who will guide a journey both literally and spiritually between the five lodges of Amankora, the retreat will combine cultural adventures with yoga, meditation, spa treatments, and lectures amidst the dramatic landscape of Bhutan.Aman’s three resorts in Bali, Amandari, Amankila and Amanusa will host retreats in August, September and October respectively, all of which will concentrate on Alignment & Awareness, with a focus on mindful living. Further Group Retreat Experiences include a five day retreat between 1 and 9 October, combining yoga and bodywork to address issues such as low energy and sleep disorders at Amanemu, Aman’s onsen-only resort in Shima which launched in March 2016.Later in the year between 1 and 15 November in Hangzhou, China, Amanfayun will also host a five day retreat focussing on balancing body and mind, reducing stress and chronic pain and achieving overall increased wellbeing. All Aman Wellness experiences have been designed to encourage a process of release, allowing participants to leave behind negative holding patterns and embrace a strong newness of spirit, whilst taking what they have learnt to give them fresh intentions and the knowledge to adopt a more meaningful and reflective way of living.Go back to the e-newsletterlast_img read more

UPC Slovakia has added six channels including ESPN

first_imgUPC Slovakia has added six channels including ESPN America to its line-up.The US sports channel airs coverage of NHL hockey and NBA basketball matches as well as NASCAR racing events. The cable operator is also adding HD public service channels Jednotku HD and JOJ Plus HD, along with movie channel Filmbox Extra 1 and local channels TV Bratislava and TV Ružinov.UPC Slovakia offers 130 channels, including 13 in high-definition.last_img

ARSON PROBE AFTER ABANDONED CARAVAN SET ALIGHT IN

first_imgARSON PROBE AFTER ABANDONED CARAVAN SET ALIGHT IN DERRY was last modified: December 8th, 2016 by John2John2 Tags: The abandoned caravan had been parked beside a three-bedroom house on the main road leading in and out of the estate.Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident and no other properties were damaged as a result of the fire.Anyone with information about who started the fire is asked to ring police at Strand Road on the 101 number.Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. ARSON PROBE AFTER ABANDONED CARAVAN SET ALIGHT IN DERRYFIRE AND RESCUE SERVICEGLENABBEY ROADPSNISKEOGE LINK POLICE have launched an arson investigation after a caravan was set alight on the outskirts of Derry last night.The fire broke out on Glenabbey Road, off Skeoge Link Road around 7.30 pm.The road was sealed off by police to allow fire crews to extinguish the blaze. ShareTweetlast_img read more

The Impact of High and Growing Government Debt on

first_img“The Impact of High and Growing Government Debt on Economic Growth – An Empirical Investigation for the Euro Area,” by Cristina Checherita and Philipp Rother, European Central Bank, Working Paper Series 1237, August 2010.These papers reflect serious research by world-class economists from the US, Europe and Sweden – and they all confirm the detrimental consequences of extreme governmental indebtedness.Misery on the Rise AgainIn the past year, Okun’s impartial arbiter averaged 10.5%, the highest on record for the third year of an officially recognized economic recovery and almost double the average of the 1950s. The latest readings have occurred despite US gross public debt in excess of 103% of GDP and with the Federal Reserve’s unprecedentedly large balance sheet that approaches nearly $3 trillion.Other measures of well-being confirm the Misery Index. The Poverty Index in 2011 appears to have reached 15.7%, the highest reading in five decades. Not surprisingly, two unenviable records have been set: 46 million, or 14.6% of the population, are now in the food stamp program, up from 7.9% in 1970 and a record-high 41% pay zero national income tax.In the eleven quarters of this expansion, the growth of real per-capita GDP was the lowest for all of the comparable post-WWII business cycle expansions. Real per-capita disposable personal income has risen by a scant 0.1% annual rate, remarkably weak when compared with the 2.9% post-war average. It is often said that economic conditions would have been much worse if the government had not run massive budget deficits and the Fed had not implemented extraordinary policies. This whole premise is wrong.In all likelihood the governmental measures made conditions worse, and the poor results reflect the counterproductive nature of fiscal and monetary policies. None of these numerous actions produced anything more than transitory improvement in economic conditions, followed by a quick retreat to a faltering pattern while leaving the economy saddled with even greater indebtedness. The diminutive gain in this expansion is clearly consistent with the view that government actions have hurt, rather than helped, economic performance. Sadly, many of those who the government programs were supposedly designed to help the most have suffered the worst.The Way OutThe original theoretical argument in favor of deficit spending originated in J.M. Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936). A search of Keynes’ work reveals no recognition of the “bang point,” or the condition where a government engages in deficit spending for such a prolonged period of time that a massive buildup of debt leads to denial of additional credit to the government because of fear that the existing debt will not be repaid. Nor did Keynes address the situation where a large number of countries are all simultaneously getting deeper and deeper in debt and there are gradations of debt among these countries – serious shortfalls in the basic Keynesian theory.Keynes, as opposed to some of his interpreters and predecessors, may have implicitly recognized that a bang point could occur, because he did not recommend constant budget deficits. Instead, he advocated cyclical deficits, counterbalanced by cyclical budget surpluses. Under such a system, government debt in bad times would be retired in good times. However, Keynes’ original proposition was bastardized in support of perpetual deficits, something Keynes himself never advocated.Milton Friedman, whom many consider to have been the polar opposite of Keynes, also never addressed the concept of a bang point, but he may also have understood implicitly that such a situation could occur. The reason is that Friedman advocated balanced budgets, which if followed or required constitutionally as Friedman argued, would prevent a buildup of debt. This view was largely rejected as being inhumane since in a recession, government policy would not be responsive to unemployment and other miseries of such a condition. What should have been discussed is whether some short-term misery is a better option than putting the entire country and economic system in jeopardy, as numerous examples in Europe currently illustrate.The most sensible recognition of budget policy came not from Keynes nor Friedman, but from David Hume, one of the greatest minds of mankind, whom Adam Smith called the greatest intellect that he ever met. In his 1752 paper “Of Public Finance,” Hume advocated running budget surpluses in good times so that they could be used in time of war or other emergencies. Such a recommendation would, of course, prevent policies that would send countries barreling toward the bang point. Countries would have to live inside their means most of the time, but in emergency situations would have the resources to respond.In the context of today’s world, this approach would be viewed as unacceptable because it would limit the ability of politicians to continue their excessive spending, thereby saddling future generations with obligations and promises that cannot be honored. But isn’t Hume’s recommendation exactly what we taught our children in preparing them to manage their own personal finances?Lacy Hunt is the executive vice-president of Hoisington Investment Management, a firm with over $5.8 billion under management, and one of the nation’s top-performing bond managers. Lacy’s work has been published in Barron’s, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Journal of Finance, the Financial Analysts Journal and the Journal of Portfolio Management. Previously he was the chief economist for the HSBC Group, one of the world’s largest banks, and the senior economist for the Dallas Fed.At the Casey Research/Sprott Summit, he will be making a comprehensive presentation on the policy options the government has left to it, the consequences of those options, and how investors can position themselves. He will also be participating in an on-stage exchange of views on the Fed with G. Edward Griffin, the author of the best-selling Creature from Jekyll Island and long-term Fed critic.One of the really great things about these Summits is that most of the faculty, including Lacy, attend the entire event, giving you a rare opportunity to meet them in person and get your specific questions answered.Friday FunnyI have seen a number of iterations of this particular “funny,” but this one goes a couple of steps further in explaining the dynamics, so I wanted to include it here.Suppose that every day, ten men go out for a beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.The fifth would pay $1.00The sixth would pay $3.00The seventh would pay $7.00The eighth would pay $12.00The ninth would pay $18.00The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.00So that’s what they decided to do. The men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day the owner threw them a curve.“Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.00.”Drinks for the ten men now cost just $80.00.The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes, so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men – the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get their “fair share?”They realized that $20.00 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.And so:The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).The eighth now paid $9 instead of 12 (25% savings).The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).Each of the six was better off than before! And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.“I only got a dollar out of the $20” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, “But he got $10!”“Yeah, that’s right,” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!”“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn’t I get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!”The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.For those who understand, no explanation is needed.For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.Casey Report Editors in the NewsIn the way of weekend reading/watching, following are links to some media coverage senior Casey Report editors Bud Conrad  and Doug Casey received this week.The first is an interview with Bud Conrad by the always competent Jim Puplava of the Financial Sense Newshour. In it, Bud discusses his analysis of how the new abundance of natural gas is a game changer for the US. He lays out how the new technology has provided the US with a huge new source of energy that is growing in production and use. Here’s a link to the interview.Better still, you can get the whole story with the details in charts and graphs showing a new method for predicting the price of natural gas, and Bud’s investment prediction, by signing up for a no-risk trial to The Casey Report.Doug Casey ripping things up at the Agora Financial Conference. My dear business partner of some years is many things, but a shrinking violet is not one of them. Regular correspondent Brett of the Contrary Investing Report is in the audience at the Agora Financial Conference now going on in Vancouver, and filed the following recap of Doug’s remarks. Here’s the link.Weekend ReadsMuch of these fall into the category of yet more examples of central planning and the consequences that inevitably follow. Some are quite eye-opening, starting with…Fire Ice – We have all seen the news about the deadly wildfires now sweeping the western United States. Would you believe that there is a proven technology that could have snuffed those fires out long ago? That could snuff them out right away? Yet the company that possesses the technology – which other states have used very successfully – remains sidelined. Perhaps, as one observer put it, by whichever politically well-connected company now has the contract to fight the fires. Here’s the link to the eye-opening story of Fire Ice.Bloomberg on Cops Going on Strike – You probably heard that Mayor Bloomberg of NYC proposed that the nation’s police go on strike until gun control laws are enacted. If not, here’s the story – and a fact-based response to his contention that police are increasingly at risk from being shot by members of the public. The truth, however, is just the opposite – with police shootings, such as set off the Anaheim riot, on the increase. Here’s the story from the always excellent Reason.com.Also from Reason, a Mind-Numbing Story About the IRS – Imagine a family being asked to pay millions in taxes for a piece of worthless art. Worthless not because it’s not fine art (though not to my taste), but because the government’s own rules make it illegal to sell. Here’s the story.Airports and Border Crossings in Canada Wired with Listening Equipment – from Our Friends at the  International Man. One of the participants in the forum at InternationalMan.com tipped us off to this story, that the Canadians are wiring their airports and border crossings so that they can listen in and record your conversations as you wait to go through. What has happened to the world? Oh, that’s right, I remember – the central planners, in this case those charged with protecting our “security,” have been at it again. Next time you are in a Canadian airport, any airport, remember, mum’s the word.And Finally…Ending on a positive note, the following just came across the wires. Though the story comes from Cuba, it points to a better, freer future for us all.That’s because while a centrally planned, command economy can last a long time, it can’t last forever. And when the house of (poorly arranged) cards comes crashing down, the free market will reemerge.Here’s the headline of the story, and a link to read it.Cuba to end Soviet-style economy and will implement market-friendly policiesHere’s the linkAnd with that, I will sign off for the week by thanking you for reading and for being a Casey Research subscriber.Remember, the early-bird pricing for our upcoming Summit ends July 31 – don’t miss it.See you there!David GallandManaging DirectorCasey Research “Government Size and Growth:  A Survey and Interpretation of the Evidence,” by Andreas Bergh and Magnus Henrekson, IFN Working Paper No. 858, April 2011; Dear Reader,Before I begin today’s musings, I would like to give a musical nod to Bush, a band that seems to me to be largely overlooked. If you are unfamiliar with them (and don’t mind some fairly hard rock), here are a few selections to keep you company this fine day… Glycerin… Everything’s Zen (live)… Comedown.And so, with feet and fingers tapping madly, we move on…What (Almost) Everyone Fails to Understand About Our EconomyI want to start today’s missive with a couple of unusual charts. Unusual because they contain no reference points. Here’s the first.And here’s the second.We’ll return to those charts momentarily. First, however, a confession.As much as I read, and despite interacting with very smart people on a daily basis, until just recently I have missed something about our economy that, on reflection, should have been as obvious as the computer screen I spend far too many hours staring at.Allow me to emphasize the point in somewhat stronger terms.That I could have overlooked this particular aspect of the US economy and the overarching consequences that follow from it for all these years should, if I were a lawyer, cause me to be disbarred. If I were a doctor, the medical practice board would be entirely within their rights to revoke my license. If I were a politician, my benefactors would be entirely justified in cutting off my bribes donations. If I were a… well, you get the idea.Interestingly, as smack-up-the-side-of-the-head obvious as this feature of the economy is, and has been for years, virtually everyone else has failed to spot it as well.So, what is this mystery?Succinctly, it is that, like Europe (where, during my recent trip there, the spark of awareness was lit), the economy of the United States is, and has been for decades, increasingly under the control of central planners at the expense of the free market.As proof of that contention, we return to the two charts above. Here, again, is the first, but with the contextual reference points in place.(Click on image to enlarge)As you can see, the chart tracks the purchasing power of the US dollar since 1914, the year that the government, through its stooges at the Fed, took command of monetary policy. Laughably, the stated mission of these central planners was to preserve the value of the dollar. Predictably, exactly the opposite resulted.And here’s the second chart, also with the reference points in place.(Click on image to enlarge)As you can so clearly see, after severing the last connection with the gold standard in 1971, after which point the central planners took command of fiscal policy, we have seen an exponential growth in government debt.(Of course, the numbers on the national debt are grossly understated as it doesn’t account for the tens of trillions of dollars of unfunded and unpayable obligations tied to Social Security, Medicare and so forth.)Now, I could go on and on, finding dozens of examples of the shift from a free market to a command economy, but in the interest of time will stop there.The point, which I hope is now clear to all, is that the economic model that allowed the United States to rise out of abject poverty at its inception to become the most powerful economy the world has ever seen has been tossed aside in favor of a model that has proven time and again to be fundamentally flawed and always doomed to fail.That the central-planning model, here and around the world, has been advanced by a fiat global reserve currency is undeniable. However, as the two charts clearly show, the consequences of having central planners controlling monetary and fiscal policy have created a ticking time bomb set to explode.A few additional comments are warranted.The first has to do with who the central planners actually are. And the best way to understand that is by considering who they are not.Who they are not is successful entrepreneurs. Stating what should also be obvious, were they successful entrepreneurs, they would be otherwise engaged in creating jobs and building wealth for themselves and their co-workers.Instead, the central planners almost always hail from the halls of academia, their stock and trade consisting entirely of a college degree and a façade of really knowing what they talk about. As a friend likes to say, “The biggest problems in this world are not caused by a lack of knowledge, but by people who pretend to know when they don’t.”Over the years I have met and even gotten to know people who have gravitated toward jobs involved with setting government policies. And to a person, they have never held a real job outside of academia, or if they did, they failed at it. Yet they are unhesitant in telling everyone who will listen in tones most professorial how the world should work, and why enlightened government policies – not the free market – are the only answer.These people have taken over our country, and in fact, the world. The current mess we are in should not be a surprise to anyone. All anyone has to do is look at the history of the Soviet Union, or communist China, pre-economic liberalization, to see how the story of command economies ends. How it always ends.So, where do things go from here?Earlier today I dropped an email to our editors, which I will quote from here as it deals with what I see as the fate of the global economy over the next six months or so.“It’s all about the debt.“The sovereigns owe a lot of money that they can’t repay. As they try to roll over their existing debts and have to borrow more, the lenders – if any can be found – will want higher and eventually unaffordable interest rates. When the lenders dry up, the only solution will be for the central bankers to monetize, but the world will be watching closely, so this will likely trigger a death spiral in the fiat currencies.“There are intractable problems on a fundamental, systemic basis that cannot be resolved in an orderly fashion. The day is coming when the lending locks up again, after which point everything starts to fall apart.“So, no, I don’t think it’s a muddle by outcome, but a systemic crash… hopefully big enough to cause a rethink about the entire current setup with funny money and central economic planning.“But that would take a very big crash.”Now, I know that a lot of dear subscribers, having accepted our arguments for including tangible assets as a core portfolio holding for many years now, have struggled during the latest retracement and consolidation period in the precious metals and associated stocks.But if you step back and look at the big picture as it is constantly revealed in the headlines and regular releases of poor economic data, I think the conclusions we came to back before the crisis hit, that the Fed (and all the central bankers) are stuck between a rock and a hard place, remain the correct conclusions.There is no simple or easy way out of this situation as the central planners are forced into a haphazard and highly destructive retreat. And the consequences won’t just be economic or political… the mini-riots in Anaheim this past week are just a straw in the wind.So, how does one cope in a command economy headed, like all its predecessors, into the trash bin of history – in this case, on a global scale?First and foremost, diversify. Everything contains risk, so spreading it around to mitigate the chances of getting hit especially hard from any one investment sector makes a lot of sense.Personally, I use a spread sheet program to analyze my holdings from a number of different angles, including percentage dedicated to natural resources; percentage in non-US-dollar-denominated assets; percentage outside of the United States; percentage with any one financial institution; percentage in dividend earning stocks; percentage liquid vs. illiquid; percentage in common equities; percentage in cash and so forth.The idea is that if any one area becomes overweight or underweight, I look to make adjustments. In addition, I set certain goals – for example, the percentage of our net worth we want outside of the United States – and manage to that number.In short, pay close attention to where your assets are allocated and don’t go overboard in any one sector.Secondly, skew toward things tangible. Over the next few years, we are going to see massive dislocations as the fiat currency system cracks apart, starting with the euro and then, after a final rush into the “safe harbor” of the US dollar, spreading to the dollar itself.As much as possible, own things with a tangible value. Precious metals are fine, but don’t go overboard as that makes you susceptible to a change in government regulations that could literally be invoked overnight. Consider property, and even income-producing property (in low-tax jurisdictions). But, again, don’t go overboard because real estate is always a fixed target, which means the government can tax it or even confiscate it, and you won’t be able to do much about it. Owning currencies of countries with large resources is a proxy for owning something tangible, though an imperfect proxy.Be careful. It will only get more challenging to build net worth going forward. Whether it be higher taxes on capital gains (a certainty at some point) or the cancellation of tax breaks, or more demands on business owners from legislation such as Obamacare, generating – and more to the point, keeping – net worth will not be easy. Therefore, rule number one has to be to avoid risking big chunks of money.Sit tight, and be right. Per my comments above, I remain convinced that our Casey Research base case – of a global economic crisis that will get much worse before it gets better, and that the central planners have few options left to them other than monetary debasement – is correct.For those of you who already have allocations to the tangibles, and to the gold stocks (which are massively undervalued at this point), sit tight and you will come out right. If you are just now rethinking how to reposition your portfolio to get through what’s next, then do yourself a favor and take a low-cost, money-back-guaranteed subscription to our BIG GOLD service and start adding positions on the inevitable pullbacks.These are, of course, only some of the strategies you can use. The most comprehensive analysis of the situation, and how to prepare for what’s next, will be at the upcoming three-day intensive Summit we are co-hosting with Sprott, Inc., Navigating the Politicized Economy, in beautiful Carlsbad, California, September 7 – 9.Speaking of the Summit, one of the smartest people you’ll rub elbows with at the event will again be Dr. Lacy Hunt, the former economist to the Dallas Fed (but a Fed fan no longer) and the nation’s top-performing bond fund manager. Earlier this week, Lacy shot me over the following article that is well worth your attention.Unintended Consequences of Well-Motivated PoliciesBy Dr. Lacy HuntIn the early 1960s, when JFK was in the White House and William McChesney Martin was Fed chairman, Keynesian economics was in full bloom. One of its major tenets was the Phillips Curve, which posits a stable inverse relationship between the rate of inflation and the unemployment rate. Yale professor James Tobin (1918-2002) and others argued that the social outcome could be improved by a more activist monetary and fiscal policy. Specifically, they contended that the unemployment rate could be lowered while only resulting in slightly higher inflation.The argument posited the notion that economic-policy makers had sufficient knowledge to intervene or fine-tune the economy with tools like those of a surgeon. Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Carter (two Democrats and one Republican) followed this policy. At one point, President Nixon made the famous statement that “We are all Keynesians now.” Moreover, as the White House led, the Fed chairmen of the era – Martin, Burns and Miller – generally acquiesced.To judge the effectiveness of this policy, an objective standard is needed. Arthur M. Okun (1928-80), Yale colleague of Tobin, developed such a standard, which he called the Misery Index – the sum of the inflation and unemployment rates.Under the activist, Phillips Curve-based policy, some reduction in unemployment was temporarily achieved. However, inflation accelerated much more than was anticipated, and the net result was higher unemployment and faster inflation, an outcome not at all contemplated by the Phillips Curve. The Misery Index surged from an average of 6.7% in the 1950s, to 7.3% in the 1960s, to 13.6% in the 1970s, with peak rates above 20% in the early 1980s.Many US households suffered. Wages of lower-paying positions failed to keep up with inflation, and when higher unemployment resulted, many of those people lost their jobs. Those on the high end had far more resources that enabled them to protect their investments and earned income, so the income/wealth divide worsened. A half-century later, the United States has never regained the prosperity of the 1950s.Working independently in the late 1960s, economists Milton Friedman and Edmund Phelps, who would both eventually be awarded the Nobel Prize in economics, had determined that while the Phillips Curve was observable over the short run, this was not the case over the long run. While the economics profession debated the Friedman/Phelps research, the US had to learn their findings the hard way.Growing Evidence of the Long-term Depressants from Activist PoliciesIn addition to the compelling evidence that more active monetary and fiscal policy involvement did not produce beneficial results over the short run, three recent academic studies, though they differ in purpose and scope, all reach the conclusion that extremely high levels of governmental indebtedness diminish economic growth. In other words, deficit spending should not be called “stimulus” as is the overwhelming tendency by the media and many economic writers.Whereas government spending may have been linked to the concept of economic stimulus in distant periods, these studies demonstrate that such an assertion is unwarranted, and blatantly wrong in present circumstances. While officials argue that governmental action is required for political reasons and public anxiety, governments would be better off to admit that traditional tools only serve to compound existing problems.These three highly compelling studies are:“Debt Overhangs: Past and Present,” by Carmen M. Reinhart, Vincent R. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff, National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 18015, April 2012;last_img read more

In This Issue   Antipodeans see profit taking

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Antipodeans see profit taking. *  Pound sterling is star performer overnight! *  China prints strong data! *  Silver to get boost from India? And Now. Today’s A Pfennig For Your Thoughts. Retail Sales Disappoints! Good Day! .  And a Happy Friday to one and all! This will be short-n-sweet today, I feel like dookie, and really just want to go back to sleep! But, even this out of whack feeling won’t stop me from getting the Pfennig out! Rain, sleet, snow, feeling like dookie, or anything else, will keep the Pfennig from going out!  Just typing that last sentence, makes me feel better, let’s hope that trend continues! The trend that has continued in the currencies is the lack of volume in trades. This has gone on way too long, and really has me concerned. The Currencies trading is usually around a $5 Trillion per day size business.. I doubt we’ve come close to that $5 Trillion in a month of Sundays. And when you have this lack of volume, you get wild swings. The wild swing that happened last night came from the Antipodean currencies of Australia and New Zealand.  These two had just spent the previous night and day in the spotlight, but just like that, the euphoria was thrown to the side of the road, and profit taking set in. Before you could say, “what, the what?” these two had lost a chunk.  and a wild swing from day to day occurred. One thing that you can’t rule out here is Central Bank intervention. Remember, these Central Banks, have mentioned over and over again that the currencies are at historical highs, against the backdrop of weak commodity prices. In other words, they think the currencies should be weaker, and after a day of Huge gains in these two, what better day to intervene and sell the currencies by the Central Banks?  I have no idea if this happened, and we wouldn’t know for a few weeks, I’m just saying. Remember a couple of days ago, when the euro had gotten whacked , I said, that the euro just needed a couple of days to allow the markets forget the pain. Well, that appears to be the scenario for the euro, as yesterday the euro began to creep higher, and overnight it has added to the gains, the moves are small, in that the single unit is still below 1.36, but rising nonetheless!  There’s really been no data to speak of here, so the euro is trading on its own, and doing much better than earlier in the week! The star performer overnight and through this morning’s session is the British pound sterling. I had read yesterday that Bank of England (BOE) Gov. Carney was going to be a key speaker at the annual Mansion House jamboree, and Carney decided to use this venue to tell everyone that the BOE may raise interest rates from a record low earlier than investors expected.  Now, this is where I want to get on my soapbox and yell at the top of my voice to the markets, that we’ve seen this all before! Remember? Carney kept promising a rate hike in Canada, and after a couple of years, where were Canadian rates? That’s right, unchanged. Carney had a bag full of promises then, and I would have to think that this horse hasn’t changed colors.  Of course if he does deliver a rate hike much earlier, then I will admit that he is a horse of a different color! But, I think the pound sterling will suffer much like the Canadian dollar/ loonie did after a run up in price, only to see the selling when the markets grew tired of waiting for Carney’s rate hike. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of a rising sterling as it’s taking place. It just means you need to be nimble when you begin to see the pieces of sterling’s armor begin to fall to the ground. Well, the World Cup kicked off (pun intended) yesterday with the host country Brazil beating Croatia.  And the tourists and soccer fans are pouring into Brazil, and exchanging their base currencies for Brazilian reals. The real has really responded favorably lately, and its strong move has me worried. I know that some of you weren’t around the last time we saw the real go on a tear ( a few years ago it was the best performing currency with a 34% gain one year!) the Brazilian Gov’t and Central Bank teamed up to bring the real to its knees, and beg forgiveness for being so strong.  This time, the gang of two, as I like to call them, are singing a different tune, and besides real isn’t nearly as strong as it was before.  But in the past year, real has moved from 2.4550 to 2.2315, where it trades today..  (remember, real is a European priced currency, so the lower the price, the more value it returns in dollars)  Just remember, that reals can be very volatile, which is why I always say that it should only be bought in the speculative portion of your investment portfolio.  Good investors know that by doing that, they’ll not worry about the volatile moves. The South African Credit Rating was downgraded by Fitch overnight from stable to negative. YIKES!  Maybe Fitch didn’t get the memo that the strike in S. Africa mining had ended! Needless to say that this downgrade news was not taken kindly by the S. African rand.. The rand has really taken it on the chin for the last year, and hasn’t been able to find a bid anywhere. I think the S. African Central Bank will have to hike rates to get the bleeding to stop here in the rand. But I doubt that will happen any time soon, so batten down the hatches rand holders. China printed some good data overnight. Chinese Industrial Output rose at a 8.8% clip in May from a year earlier, up from the 8.7% clip in April. And Retail Sales for May increased 12.5%!!!!! Now that’s a Retail Sales figure a country can be proud of! (we’ll talk about the U.S. Retail Sales report in a minute) Recall that a week or so ago, I told you that I thought the Chinese Gov’t was going to step up the stimulus for the economy. Well, these reports are either telling us that the Chinese Gov’t did step up the stimulus and it’s already working, or that the economy didn’t need any more stimulus other than the “mini-stimulus” that was already in the works! I prefer to think that it was the latter of the two! In India overnight, the rupee lost some more ground, as it still attempts to remove the knife from its back, but there were a couple of new items that should help the rupee going forward. First, India’s state-run solar company announced plans to auction contracts to build 100 megawatts of solar-thermal capacity. And the second new item was that India imported Gold at the highest capacity in 10 months!  Now, while these news items will actually help Silver and Gold more than they will help the rupee, I think the good overall feeling in India will continue to grow, and that will play well in the sandbox with the rupee. Speaking of the solar story being good for Silver. I just put the finishing touches on the July issue of the Review & Focus, and in it I go through the math of how Silver plays out in the production of megawatts solar panels. so, be sure to look for the R&F at a newsstand near you! No. wait Chuck! The R&F is only available to clients of EverBank World Markets! Oh well, you have a couple of weeks to sign up so you can receive this excellent letter each month! HA! And speaking of Gold. It added another $9 to its price yesterday. but the two darlings of the precious metals, Platinum and Palladium got whacked yesterday when the news of an apparent end to the mining strikes in S. Africa hit the streets. I think this was good for these two, given that they had really rallied recently and left a lot of investors behind. But now these investors can step into these metals at much cheaper prices and feel good about it! The fundamentals for all the metals haven’t changed, folks. The U.S. Data Cupboard will print the May PPI (wholesale inflation) reports this morning, but don’t expect PPI to pop out and surprise us. Year on year will probably print at a +2.4% clip, which doesn’t mean a hill of beans to me.  But what did mean a hill of beans to me was yesterday’s Retail Sales print from the Data Cupboard.  May Retail Sales disappointed everyone by only gaining .3%  instead of .6% that was expected.  Car Sales, which I had already told you would be strong, were the bulk of this report, which means consumer spending on other stuff, just wasn’t there. The markets didn’t look at it like that, instead they chose to look at how April’s anemic .1% gain was revised upward to .5%…  That’s quite a large “revision” don’t you think?  I find this revision to be suspect!  In my mind, how can grownups print that revision with a clear conscience? For What It’s Worth. My good friend, Dennis Miller, who writes an excellent letter for retirees or people getting close to retiring, like me!, sent me a note yesterday, and said that some data he saw showed  in the last 12 months Student Loans had increased $124 Billion, and the total for Student Loans was now greater than the total of Credit Card loans.  Hmmm, I thought, for a minute, and my mind immediately thought about how Student Loans last a very long time, while Credit Card loans might get paid off at any time.   So, that tells me that Student Loans are a bigger deal..  You may recall me venting earlier in the week about the President announcing some sort of bail out on Student Loans.  So, now I’m fuming. Then Alex Daley, the economist from the Casey Research group chimed in, and said that he had been screaming about this for a while. Let’s listen to what Alex had to say, “There is a bailout coming, as Student Loans are up 400% in 5 years, and non-payment rates have climbed 50% already, even with defaulting being nearly impossible legally.”   Now, I’m on fire! Smoke is coming out of my ears! I need to get some cold water thrown on me! Houston, we have a problem here. and it’s not a failure to communicate! It’s a problem surrounding not making people be responsible or accountable for what they sign up for!  It’s the storyline in this country that keeps getting more and more blown out of proportion, and will continue on that path, until it doesn’t. And then, people will wonder.. I wonder how this ever started in the first place.. Chuck again. Well, I never left actually! The FWIW section today was brought to you by ME! OK, stop acting silly, Chuck, this stuff is important! That’s right, I’m sorry. But I just can’t fight this any longer. I can rant and pound my fist till I turn blue, but it won’t do any good. There’s just no “accountability” any longer. It’s always someone else’s fault, and if you get in over your head, the Gov’t will bail you out. It’s all about the Gov’t’s need to make you more dependent on them, folks. when will people wake up and smell the coffee! To recap. The currencies and metals are mixed today. With pound sterling coming out on top as the best performer overnight, on some Carney promises. The Antipodean currencies saw profit taking or Central Bank intervention overnight. And China, and India both printed some good data or had good stories that should be good for the currencies going forward, and good for Silver and Gold.  U.S. Retail Sales for May were disappointing, but April was “revised” upward, very curiously I must say. Currencies today 6/13/14. American Style: A$ .9380, kiwi .8650, C$ .9210, euro 1.3575, sterling 1.6960, Swiss $1.1120, . European Style: rand 10.7740, krone 6.0080, SEK 6.6715, forint 226.85, zloty 3.0495, koruna 20.2640, RUB 34.47, yen 102.05, sing 1.2510, HKD 7.7515, INR 59.75, China 6.1503, pesos 13.02, BRL 2.2315, Dollar Index 80.63, Oil $107.05 (look at this soar, on the Iraq problems) , 10-year 2.60%, Silver $19.51, Platinum $1,443.75, Palladium $818.85, and Gold.. $1,272.90 That’s it for today. Well, my calendar popped up to tell me to not to forget that tomorrow is the 15 year anniversary for Jen Mclean at EverBank!  I could go on about how long Jen and I have worked together, but then that would be revealing her age!  Let’s just say, it’s been a few years, eh? Thanks for staying with me all these years, Jen. Well, the sun is coming up! Yes, the sun! We are supposed to have two days of sunshine here in St. Louis, with rain returning on Sunday. Sunday is Father’s Day. I miss my dad. But doesn’t everyone that has lost their dad? My dad was a tough guy, the Union steward for Teamsters 500, fought in WWII, but knew when someone needed love instead of a kick in the butt. He taught me so much, and I know I never told him I loved him near enough. So.. if your dad is still around, make sure to give him a hug, yes, guys even you.. and tell him you love him.  And just like on Mother’s Day weekend, I have a short poem for Dad. So, let’s go make this a Fantastico Friday, even though I’m going back to bed! Over the years As we grow old, We remember our father So brave and bold. In the garden, Leaning on the plow, He would listen to me; I see him now. He would give advice And understand; He was always there To lend a hand. God made fathers Strong and firm, For he knew our lives Would have great concerns. So he gave us fathers To teach us to pray, And guide our lives, And show us the way. So on his day Let’s take the time To say “Thanks, dad. I’m glad you’re mine.” Chuck Butler President EverBank World Marketslast_img read more

The good news in resourcerelated political risk c

first_imgThe good news in resource-related political risk continues: no new disasters, such as nationalization of a major mine. The Middle East remains in conflict, and Africa remains a dangerous place to do business, as has been the case for decades. The most alarming news for us was that Mexico’s Green Party just won a larger portion of the nation’s Congress. It remains a small minority with about 10% of the seats, but that’s more than the German green party… and look what it’s done. Worse, the green party is in alliance with the ruling PRI, which needs it to form a majority coalition. That means the ruling party has to give the greens a lot of what they want. Some of what the greens want is just crazy. However, Mexico is a place where poverty still abounds and the harsh facts of life still matter in politics. Nothing has actually changed yet, and the country does have a stable and workable mining code. It’s too soon to write the place off, but we’ll be watching it closely. Stupidity Watch There’s more bad news than good, as usual. Here’s the latest: June 2015: Top Five Countries This month’s top-scoring countries are: Sweden, Finland, Ireland, the US, and Canada. They are all considered very low risk. Ireland (Casey Country Score 0.06). Thanks to the combined effects of the Minerals Development Act in 1940 and a number of significant tax measures announced in 1956, Ireland has become one of the most pro-mining places in Europe and in the world. Zambia: News is out that Zambia is considering cutting the mineral royalties for underground mines. The cut would push the tax below the recently revised 9%. The original (now abandoned) tax hike saw the government charging as much as 20%. We hope common sense will eventually triumph over political stupidity. This Month’s Country Scores This month’s report examines 66 countries with significant mining activity. We plan to expand this to cover oil- and gas-producing countries and other resource industries. This month the focus remains on mining. Below are the individual country scores, followed by regional groupings and other notes. Europe looks the most investor friendly. The region includes both EU members and emerging European and Balkan countries, such as Russia and Serbia. This group is diverse, but on average its constituent countries tend to have stable and attractive investment climates, which makes them good mining jurisdictions. About the Casey Country Score Before we recommend a company, we always analyze the country (or countries) in which it operates. We examine the government’s level of support for mining, foreign investment, and private enterprise, and try to avoid countries with policies detrimental to investors. To this end, we tap multiple sources with knowledge of the country in question, including government officials, miners, geologists actually working on the ground, independent journalists, and NGOs. Whenever possible, we visit the country to see how the data measure up against the observable reality. It’s impossible, of course, to get our boots on the ground in all the countries we’re interested in as often as we’d like. So to fill the gap, we’ve developed the Casey Country Score (CCS) as a quick way to assess a country’s investment climate. The CCS measures multiple aspects of a country’s investment appeal, including the ease of registering property, investor protection, transparency of government institutions, and logistical infrastructure, among others. Lower scores are better. While the vast majority of countries receive a score between 0.0 and 1.0, some may slightly exceed 1.0 if, for example, they have high inflation in addition to other poor scores. Notes: 1] We designed the Casey Country Score to aggregate multiple ratings from such international organizations as the Fraser Institute, the World Bank, Transparency International, and others, and we augment that data with current indicators, such as inflation. The score gives more weight to mining-specific data than to indicators pegged to the economy as a whole, but of course, it reflects the overall investment climate in a country too. Our proprietary formula assigns a single score to each country. The results give us a rough but interesting insight into how countries stack up against each other as investment jurisdictions, for mining and in general. 2] As we’re focused on resource investments in the Casey International Speculator, the letter for which we created the CCS, we selected countries for this report where mining (excluding the oil and gas industry, but including nonmetals) is a significant industry. We used the size of the country’s mining industry in relation to its GDP as a benchmark and considered mainly those where the figure was 1% or more. 3] For Finland, Sweden, Serbia, and the United Kingdom, mining (excluding oil and gas) fell below our 1% benchmark according to the most recently available data. Yet these countries are interesting mining jurisdictions with a lot of investment opportunities. We made a judgment call and left them in. United States (Casey Country Score 0.08). The US ranking in the current Fraser survey dropped a tick, but with excellent infrastructure, low inflation, and high investor protection, it’s still a great mining jurisdiction overall. Some states are obviously not as mine friendly as the ones that rely heavily on mining in the West: Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, and Utah. This is well understood by both resource investors and the Canada-listed mining companies that operate there. The Big Picture: Regions Sweden (Casey Country Score 0.04). Sweden is a jurisdiction with excellent infrastructure and famously low corruption and inflation. The country features high-quality geological databases and readily available exploration services. Australia scored very well in the Fraser Survey, the World Bank’s report, and the Corruption Perceptions Index. We tend to agree with this result: the country is a good mining jurisdiction, much better than the Asia & Oceania average. There are other outliers in each group that can render a regional average less useful, and we always look at individual countries to determine if they’re worth our investing consideration.center_img Important points to note: Canada (Casey Country Score 0.08). Canada is another country with a long-established mining industry and an extremely favorable investment climate in the majority of its provinces. We don’t have any particular concerns about Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, among other Canadian provinces, when it comes to mining friendliness. There can be variances within a country between its administrative divisions, such as provinces in Argentina or states in Brazil and the US, and each can have significantly different investment appeal. Mongolia: Khan Resources petitioned a US court to weigh in on its protracted dispute with Mongolia. The move comes after the country decided to invalidate a $100 million arbitration claim by the Canadian company. Our view remains that Mongolia’s intention to revoke Khan’s claims was monumentally stupid. It will make it that much harder to attract investment, which the country badly needs. Finland (Casey Country Score 0.05). Finland is a top Fraser Survey jurisdiction and was an undisputed leader in most of the other reports we drew input from. We note, however, that while stable, government processes in Finland can be very slow. Peru: Violent protests against the Tia Maria copper mine rocked Peru again last month. Five deaths and many more injured reported so far. The government declared a state of emergency in the region. The conflict is suspended, but the truce looks fragile. Louis James has provided his take on the situation. Short version: the government is pro-mining, but don’t invest in companies in Peru unless they can convince you they have strong local support. Romania: The country has hiked taxes for mining activities by just under 7%. The government says it wants to align tax rates with inflation. Romania last touched mining taxes in 2013, when it upped them by a whopping 28%. Not a good trend. And stupid: it makes no sense to raise taxes on a business that has almost ground to a halt in your country but which could attract foreign investment, if the politicians would just let it be. Chile: Country’s environmental regulator has filed charges against Canadian miner Lundin Mining Corporation. The reason: alleged environmental violations in its Candelaria copper deposit located in Chile’s Atacama region. It may be that the company is at fault and the authorities are just doing their jobs. We haven’t been down there to check. But the move is part of an ongoing pushback against mining, so view this as another turn toward economic stupidity in Chile. European Union: Last month European Parliament voted in favor of a mandatory certification system for importers of so-called conflict minerals. The bill is largely aimed at Africa, where minerals play a role in several violent conflicts. As a result, 800,000 European companies will have to ensure that revenues from the minerals they use are not funding conflicts. The move doesn’t really affect our investments but is an interesting example of stupid regulation in the EU that will tax business and make not one bit of difference to the people it’s intended to help.last_img read more

If youve ever seen someone with testicles get kic

first_imgIf you’ve ever seen someone with testicles get kicked in the groin, then you probably know that male genitals — often portrayed as a symbol of male strength and virility — aren’t actually that tough.But can testicles — or rather, the sperm they produce — be harmed by something as seemingly innocent as a pair of briefs?A study published Wednesday in the journal Human Reproduction finds lower sperm counts in people who wear tight-fitting underwear. But some experts question whether undergarment choice could make a meaningful difference for fertility.If it does matter, it all comes to down to temperature. As it turns out, a man’s love spuds just can’t take the heat.”Any exposure [to heat] that significantly increases temperature is likely to affect spermatogenesis [or sperm production],” says Dr. Jorge Chavarro, associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and an author on the study. “That’s the main reason we have scrotums and testes that are external to the abdomen.”By hanging below the torso, testicles stay cooler — by about 4 to 6 degrees, typically — than the rest of the body. That helps them make happy, functional sperm cells. But when you slap on a pair of briefs, that natural cooling system is disrupted. Your dangly bits are held close to your abdomen and they heat up, harming sperm production.At least, that’s one hypothesis. Several studies have examined this issue, but Chavarro says many of them weren’t large enough, or yielded inconclusive results. Chavarro wanted to know whether the type of underwear worn really influenced sperm count.To do that, he’d have to look at some sperm. Lots of it.In their study, Chavarro and his team examined semen samples from 656 men. These men were selected from couples seeking infertility treatments at Massachusetts General Hospital between 2000 and 2017.Each man had filled out a survey for the clinic that included a question about what underwear he typically wore. This allowed Chavarro to compare men who wore boxers to men who wore tighter-fitting underwear like briefs or bikinis.After correcting for a number of factors, such as age and weight, the researchers saw a trend. “We found that men who wear looser underwear had significantly higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear,” Chavarro says.But Chavarro notes that even though the average sperm count was lower in men who wore tight-fitting underwear instead of boxers, this value was still well within healthy levels. That suggests the difference between underwear types shouldn’t be overblown, Chavarro says.”For most men, it probably doesn’t make a lot of difference,” he says. “The men who are most likely to benefit are the men who are on the border – who have relatively low sperm count.”Even with Chavarro’s caveats, some experts aren’t convinced. Germaine Louis, dean of the College of Health and Human Services at George Mason University, published a similar study in 2016 examining semen from 473 men, and failed to detect differences in sperm count or fertility outcomes.”There’s absolutely no difference in how long it took people to get pregnant whether [the men] were wearing briefs or boxers,” Louis says.She worries that underwear guidance would only add stress to the equation.”Couples are already stressed out enough when they’re trying for a pregnancy,” Lewis says. “We just don’t need to introduce any other stressors.”Still, Chavarro says that switching to boxers is relatively cheap compared to most fertility treatments. For couples trying to improve their chance at a pregnancy, changing the man’s underwear habits could be low-hanging fruit.”This is something that’s a relatively easy change to do,” Chavarro says. “It involves them going to buy new underwear, but that’s a relatively low-cost intervention.”Dr. Bruce Gilbert, professor of urology at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, says Chavarro and his colleagues ignored several factors that may have influenced sperm count, such as the type of pants typically worn by each patient. Wearing tight jeans, for instance, could outweigh any benefits derived from wearing loose boxers.”If people were just running around this world in underwear that would be one thing,” he says. “But you and I and most people are going to be wearing something over our underwear.”Plus, the questionnaire was vaguely worded, Gilbert says, and should have included more specific questions about each patient’s behavior. “I would like a bit more information from their set of patients before I change what I tell my patients,” Gilbert says. “I can’t say this is going to change my clinical practice.” Paul Chisholm is an intern on NPR’s Science desk. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

Fourteenyearold Caydden Zimmermans school days

first_imgFourteen-year-old Caydden Zimmerman’s school days start early and end late.He has a 90-minute bus ride to get from the homeless shelter where he is staying in Boise, Idaho, to his middle school. He wakes up at 5:45 a.m., quickly brushes his teeth and smooths some gel in his hair, and then he dashes downstairs to catch his school bus.About 2.5 million children in the U.S. currently are homeless, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness. That number is rising as house prices and rental costs continue to grow in cities large and small, and the trend is clearly visible in Boise — the fastest-growing city in the nation.Caydden has been living at City Light Home For Women and Children for a couple of months now with his 11-year-old brother, Keston, and his grandma, Pam Cantrell. Cantrell says they moved there after getting an eviction notice at their former duplex.”The landlord decided to sell the property, and we just could not find a place we could afford,” Cantrell says. “The more I looked, the more depressed I got. I just, I didn’t know what to do.”Like Cantrell and her grandsons, many low-income families in Boise struggle to find housing they can afford. Cantrell gets a small disability stipend from the government, but that’s nowhere near enough to cover rent and other expenses.The boys’ mother is addicted to drugs and struggles with mental illness, Cantrell says, which is why grandma is the boys’ full-time caretaker now.”I grew up being alone, raised by my older brother and my grandma,” Caydden says. “She means everything. Without her I wouldn’t be here. I’d probably be dead somewhere.”After three months of searching, the shelter became their only option. Cantrell is grateful to have a place to stay but says not having a permanent home is really hard on her grandsons.”My youngest one, he can be a little terror, because he’s upset by it,” Cantrell says. “He gets angry, and he’ll sit in the corner and say, ‘I hate this place, I hate this place.’ “”It’s just an effort to try not to break down”It’s difficult for Caydden too, but you wouldn’t know it. Caydden is a social 14-year-old with a big smile. One of his favorite things about school is seeing his friends.”My friends know about it — me being homeless — they don’t tease me on it,” Caydden says. “They just know that I’m doing it, I’m trying to work hard. And it’s just an effort to try not to break down.”Homeless kids tend to score lower on standardized tests and have lower graduation rates. It’s harder to concentrate when you’re anxious and worried. And sometimes Caydden does break down with his friends.”They always bring me up when I’m feeling down,” he says. “They make me smile when I’m sad.”Caydden’s grades have improved since he started at this alternative middle school for students who struggle in traditional academic settings. The school district received a grant to pay for a bus to transport homeless students who are scattered across the Boise area.Homeless students often bounce around to different schools as their living situations change. That can make it nearly impossible to keep up, so Pathways Middle School Principal Eric Eschen wants to do everything he can to keep tabs on students like Caydden.”He’s a very positive student, very giving, a very good friend,” Eschen says. He points to a recent time when Caydden approached him to alert him that another student was making a mess with mustard in the bathroom. He took it as a sign that Caydden cares about the community and the school. For homeless kids, sometimes school can be a place of refuge and consistency in an otherwise hectic and messy world.Eschen keeps an eye on Caydden because, like a lot of students in his situation, he struggled with absences last year.”That really affected him and affected his progress, so we’ve got some catch-up to do this year,” Eschen says.At the end of the school day, it’s another 90-minute bus ride before Caydden meets his grandma on the steps of the homeless shelter. They wait outside for Caydden’s brother to arrive on another bus. Meanwhile, Caydden checks in with Cantrell about the week’s schedule.”Grandma, on Friday are you just going to go in and wait for me and Keston?” he says. “Cause you’ve got laundry.””Yeah, I probably will,” Cantrell says. She has to keep Caydden apprised of her comings and goings at the shelter so that he won’t worry.Growing up fastCaydden has had to grow up faster than your typical 14-year-old. With his dad out of the picture and his mom’s drug addiction, he often had to be responsible for his little brother.”Help get him ready for school, I had to make sure Mom wasn’t … gone,” Caydden says. “I had to feed Keston when Mom was passed out for days. There was one time when we only had cereal for, like, two weeks.”Caydden has been trying to convince his grandma that she should let him get a job so he can help with rent. He’d like to earn money at a fast-food restaurant or, at the least, raking leaves and shoveling snow.”It’s like something I want to do,” Caydden says. “I just want to help out.”But Cantrell, aware that her grandson has already been through more than most teenagers, won’t have it.”You are not getting a job. You need to be a child as long as possible, Caydden,” she says, patting his knee. “You don’t want to be in a big hurry to grow up, honey.””This is home!”A few weeks later, there’s good news in Caydden’s world — they found a house. It’s about 700 square feet that they share with another woman from the shelter. Caydden sleeps in the basement, in a tiny room with concrete walls and a small window. Cantrell and Keston sleep on inflatable mattresses in the living room.”It’s not the greatest, but it’s not the worst,” Cantrell says. She’s been working on sprucing up the place. She plans to brighten up the living room with fresh paint.But for Caydden, it’s a huge improvement.”I feel much more comfortable and safe,” he says. He loves that the house is near Boise State University and has a weed-filled backyard that backs up to an alley. On football game days, he figured out that he can sell parking spots in the yard to game-goers.”Last weekend we made 90 bucks!” Caydden says. He’s scheming about trying to sell sodas on game day, too.But probably most importantly, he can claim something he hasn’t been able to for quite some time:”This is home!” he says, smiling.This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau. Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio.last_img read more

Slingshot Facebooks Snapchat Competitor Is Now Officially a Snapchat Clone

first_img Next Article Add to Queue Slingshot, Facebook’s Snapchat Competitor, Is Now Officially a Snapchat Clone Guest Writer –shares Laura Entis Mobile Apps September 5, 2014center_img Poke, Facebook’s failed first attempt at developing a Snapchat competitor, was essentially a direct rip-off of the service. Slingshot, its sophomore effort that launched in June, had one distinguishing feature that saved it from a similar clone status: In order for users to open a message on the service, they had to first “sling” (i.e. return) a message of their own back to the sender.Ultimately, the feature was built to encourage engagement and discourage lurking. “With Slingshot, we wanted to build something where everybody is a creator and nobody is just a spectator,” Facebook said in a blog post announcing the launch.As we wrote then, Facebook was likely underestimating social media users’ collective desire to consume content versus create it. Forcing individuals to respond to a message before opening it makes for a disjointed, strangely high-pressure messaging experience.Related: Facebook Launches Slingshot, Its Snapchat CompetitorSo it’s not all that surprising that just over two months after Slingshot’s launch, Facebook has killed this reciprocity feature.As spotted by The Next Web, when users send a photo or video in response to one from a friend, they’ll receive a message that reads “Sling a shot to see a shot? Not necessarily! After shooting a photo or video, now you can choose whether to sling it as a locked or unlocked shot.”Allowing users to freely lurk may help the service gain traction, but it also completely negates Facebook’s claim that Slingshot is not a Snapchat cloneIt totally is now. To be fair, it’s far from the only one — earlier this summer Instagram launched Bolt, its own Snapchat rip-off.Related: This Is the 23-Year-Old Entrepreneur Who Just Turned Down $3 Billion From Facebook 2 min read Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Register Now »last_img read more

Listen Teen vaping sparks FDA crackdown

first_img This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. KHN’s coverage of children’s health care issues is supported in part by the Heising-Simons Foundation. Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 9 2018Federal regulators want to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes at retail locations like gas stations and convenience stores. They also want to require anyone buying e-cigarettes online to verify their age. The new restrictions come as the Food and Drug Administration has been trying to rein in a dramatic increase in vaping by young people. Smoking of traditional tobacco cigarettes has fallen to a record low, but the popularity of e-cigarettes among youth is raising alarm bells.Colorado Public Radio’s John Daley reports on the effort for Kaiser Health News and NPR’s All Things Considered.last_img read more

Diets that are more climatefriendly are also healthier finds study

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 24 2019A new Tulane University study examining the carbon footprint of what more than 16,000 Americans eat in a day has good news for environmentally conscious consumers– diets that are more climate-friendly are also healthier.The research, which is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is the first to compare the climate impact and nutritional value of U.S. diets using real-world data about what Americans say they are eating.”People whose diets had a lower carbon footprint were eating less red meat and dairy — which contribute to a larger share of greenhouse gas emissions and are high in saturated fat — and consuming more healthful foods like poultry, whole grains and plant-based proteins,” said lead author Diego Rose, a professor of nutrition and food security at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.As food production is a major contributor to climate change, researchers from Tulane and the University of Michigan sought to learn more about the impacts of Americans’ daily dietary choices. They built an extensive database of the greenhouse gas emissions related to the production of foods and linked it to a large federal survey that asked people what they ate over a 24-hour period.Researchers ranked diets by the amount of greenhouse gas emissions per 1,000 calories consumed and divided them into five equal groups. Then they rated the nutritional value of foods consumed in each diet using the U.S. Healthy Eating Index, a federal measure of diet quality, and compared the lowest to the highest-impact groups on this and other measures.Americans in the lowest carbon footprint group ate a healthier diet, as measured by this index. However, these diets also contained more of some low-emission items that aren’t healthy, namely added sugars and refined grains. They also had lower amounts of important nutrients – such as iron, calcium, and vitamin D – likely because of the lower intakes of meat and dairy.Related StoriesMother calls for protein shake regulation after daughter diesAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskOverall, diets in the lowest impact group were healthier, but not on all measures. Rose says this is because diets are complex with many ingredients that each influence nutritional quality and environmental impacts. “This explains the nuanced relationship we observed between these outcomes,” he said.Diets in the highest impact group accounted for five times the emissions of those in the lowest impact group. The highest impact diets had greater quantities of meat (beef, veal, pork and game), dairy and solid fats per 1000 calories than the low-impact diets. Overall, the high-impact diets were more concentrated in total proteins and animal protein foods. A companion study the researchers released earlier this year found that 20 percent of Americans accounted for almost half of U.S. diet-related greenhouse gas emissions.Rose hopes the research will help the public and policymakers recognize that improving diet quality can also help the environment.”We can have both. We can have healthier diets and reduce our food-related emissions,” Rose said. “And it doesn’t require the extreme of eliminating foods entirely. For example, if we reduce the amount of red meat in our diets, and replace it with other protein foods such as chicken, eggs, or beans, we could reduce our carbon footprint and improve our health at the same time.”Source: https://tulane.edu/last_img read more

Inaccurate tests carried out on tuberculosis patients lead to high mortality rate

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 8 2019Inaccurate tests carried out on tuberculosis patients in developing countries often fail to reliably detect resistance to drugs, leading to incorrect treatment and a higher mortality rate. These are the results of study by an international group of researchers led by a team at the University of Bern published today.Around ten million people around the world develop tuberculosis every year and 1.5 million people die from tuberculosis each year. 87% of those affected live in or come from developing countries. According to WHO, resistance to drugs used to treat tuberculosis—as well as the proliferation of multi-resistant tuberculosis strains—is one of the most pressing global health problems. WHO sees an urgent need to improve quality and coverage of diagnosis and treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis.This was the starting point for a comparative study led by the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) at the University of Bern, Switzerland. The study compared the results of tests to detect drug resistance in patients done in developing countries with the results of testing at the Swiss tuberculosis reference laboratory in Zurich. For the first time, researchers were able to demonstrate that many cases of drug resistance remain undetected due to inaccurate tests, and that this led to patients being treated incorrectly and, thus, to more deaths. The results were published in the prestigious journal Lancet Infectious Diseases today.High mortality Researchers collected and investigated samples and clinical data from 634 patients from heavily affected countries over the course of four years, including Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Peru and Thailand. The samples of the bacterial pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) were analyzed at the National Center for Mycobacteria at the University of Zurich. This center served as a reference laboratory and compared its results with those of the resistance tests from the various countries. According to the reference laboratory, 7% of the bacterial cultures were shown to be resistant against one drug (monoresistant), 26% against several drugs (multiresistant), and 5% were resistant against most drugs (extensively drug resistant). In 20% of cases, the results from the local laboratories differed from those from the reference laboratory. Almost 60% of patients in whom resistance was not discovered, and who thus received insufficient treatment died. Overall, the mortality rate among patients with discrepant test results was almost twice as high as the mortality in patients for whom the test results coincided.Related StoriesCancer mortality at an all time low finds reportSpecial Collection tracks development of new diagnostic tests for tuberculosisECDC-WHO report: TB remains a major public health challenge in the European regionNew tests are needed”Patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis rely on quick and accurate test results and on treatment which starts immediately and is carried through to completion,” says Kathrin Zürcher from the ISPM, co-lead author of the study. However, treating drug-resistant tuberculosis can last up to two years and is expensive, comes with many side effects, and has a success rate of only around 60%. “This makes correct diagnosis even more important in the most heavily-affected countries,” says Kathrin Zürcher. At present, the resistance tests available in many countries heavily affected by drug resistant tuberculosis are time-consuming and resource-intensive: results are only obtained after 8 weeks, making a quick start to the correct form of treatment impossible. “We need new, comprehensive point-of-care molecular tests which deliver results within hours or days,” says Matthias Egger from the ISPM, co-last author.There is still much work to be doneThe researchers recommend investing more in the development of molecular-based tests: “Sequencing the bacteria’s entire DNA offers the most promising approach when it comes to finding mutations and, with them, any resistance to drugs” says Marie Ballif, co-first author. “However, we still have a lot of work to do to make these tests viable and accessible in the countries which are most heavily affected”. In the meantime, the researchers say that the capacity of tests which have thus far been recommended by the WHO must be improved to make the treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis more effective. “If we don’t improve existing tests and invest in new ones that are quicker and more accurate, we will be unable to control the spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis,” says Matthias Egger. Source:https://www.unibe.ch/last_img read more

Hamburg leads charge with Germanys first diesel ban

first_img © 2018 AFP Hamburg on Thursday became the first German city to ban older diesel vehicles from some roads, a measure that is largely symbolic but disputed by carmakers and the government. Hamburg is the first German city to ban older diesel vehicles from certain roads in a bid to reduce air pollution A 1,600-metre (one-mile) stretch of highway and a 580-metre section of another major road are now closed to diesels which do not meet “Euro-6″ emissions standards, with signs to indicate that the restriction is now in force.The first ban came after the Federal Administrative Court found in February that such restrictions were a legitimate way for local authorities to bring air pollution below European Union health thresholds.But Hamburg’s partial ban is being met with skepticism in Germany.”It’s symbolic politics. The authorities are blocking only two roads, so only 1,787 residents out of the 1.8 million inhabitants of Hamburg are affected by these restrictions,” wrote Spiegel in a commentary online.The move was simply aimed at showing the EU that authorities were taking action to bring down pollutant levels, the magazine suggested.Nevertheless, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is watching the trend warily, mindful of the number of jobs at stake in the auto industry, which risks being shaken up if other German cities follow suit. The cities of Stuttgart in the south and Kiel in the north are mulling their own diesel restrictions in the battle against air pollution, while Munich, Cologne and Duesseldorf are closely monitoring the Hamburg experiment.The diesel engine industry has come under intense pressure after Volkswagen admitted to fitting 11 million vehicles with illegal devices to cheat pollution tests.Jens Kerstan, the official in charge of environment in Hamburg, acknowledged that the ban would cause hardship for “innocent car owners, but it is unavoidable because carmakers tricked us and the government has tried for many years to do nothing.”Germany’s federal government has often appeared to take the car industry’s side.It has pushed back against diesel bans and rejects the idea of a “blue badge” drivers could stick on their windscreens that would identify the least polluting vehicles.Instead, Berlin has offered longer-term measures like a cash pot to extend public transport and build up cities’ electric vehicle fleets. Hamburg is first German city to order diesel banscenter_img Citation: Hamburg leads charge with Germany’s first diesel ban (2018, May 31) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-hamburg-germany-diesel.html Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

US tops WEF competitiveness ranking but obesity weighs on score

first_img Citation: US tops WEF competitiveness ranking but obesity weighs on score (2018, October 17) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-10-tops-wef-competitiveness-obesity-score.html Explore further © 2018 AFP The United States has the world’s most competitive economy, a World Economic Forum ranking showed Wednesday, but inequality and health problems including obesity took a toll on its score. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img In the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Competitiveness Report, the United States topped the 2018 rankings, “confirming its status of most competitive economy in the world” US global competitiveness rising once again “The United States tops the 2018 rankings, … confirming its status of most competitive economy in the world,” the WEF said in its annual Global Competitiveness Report.The organisation that hosts the annual Davos pow-wow of business and political elites said it used a new methodology for the 2018 edition of the report to reflect shifts in a world increasingly transformed by new, digital technologies.The methodology shift helped the United States unseat Switzerland, which had spent nearly a decade at the top of the WEF ranking. In Wednesday’s report Switzerland found itself in fourth place, after the US, Singapore and Germany.This year’s report studied how 140 economies fared when measured against 98 indicators organised into 12 pillars, including institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, business dynamism and innovation capability.Overall, the United States scored an average of 85.6 points when the nearly 100 indicators were measured on a scale of 0 to 100.That is still a far cry from what WEF considers the optimal conditions for a competitive economy, but well above the global average of 60 points.WEF hailed the United States for its business dynamism and vibrant entrepreneurial culture, its flexible labour markets, the depth, breadth and relative stability of its financial system and its market size.’Innovation powerhouse'”They’re an innovation power house,” Saadia Zahidi, a member of the WEF’s managing board, told AFP. When asked if President Donald Trump could take credit for the ranking, Thierry Geiger, head of analytics and quantitive research at WEF, stressed that most of the data used in the report was from before Trump came to power last year.”The things we capture are long-term drivers,” he told reporters.Zahidi meanwhile warned that “there are also a lot of worrying signs” for US competitiveness.WEF cautioned that “there are indications of a weakening social fabric … and worsening security situation,” pointing to a US homicide rate that is five times higher than the average for advanced economies.The country also raked in a relatively low score in terms of checks and balances, judicial independence and transparency.Zahidi also pointed to the country’s low score in terms of participation by women in the labour force, where it ranked 37th, as well as 40th place for press freedom.Obesity and opioidsParticularly worrying is the low US ranking in terms of health, the report said, blaming “the country’s unequal access to healthcare and broader socio-economic disparities.”WEF told AFP in an email that “non-communicable diseases (e.g. obesity and opioid crisis) are taking a huge toll.”In fact, Wednesday’s report found that US healthy life expectancy—the number of years a newborn today can expect to live in good health—ticks in at just 67.7 years in the US.That is lower than in Sri Lanka and China and three years below the average in advanced economies. It is a full six years behind Singapore and Japan, the report found.The WEF report also cautioned that the US rate of adoption of information and communications technologies was fairly low compared to other advanced economies.WEF founder Klaus Schwab said understanding and being open to the technologies driving the so-called “fourth industrial revolution” was vital to a country’s competitiveness.”I foresee a new global divide between countries who understand innovative transformations and those that don’t,” he said in a statement.Zahidi however stressed that “technology is not a silver bullet on its own.””Countries must invest in people and institutions to deliver on the promise of technology.”last_img read more

One obstacle less but its still a tricky platform for Mun YeePandelela

first_img Diving 28 Apr 2019 Time on divers Pandelela and Dhabitah’s side to arrest dip in form PETALING JAYA: Our divers have one less problem to think about with the absence of North Korea’s Kim Mi-rae-Jo Jin-mi from the women’s 10m platform synchro event at the World Aquatics Championships.But it is still going to be tough for Leong Mun Yee-Pandelela Rinong to rise to the occasion and bag their third bronze medal at the world meet.The North Koreans showed their mettle by winning gold at the Diving World Series leg in Montreal in April. The North Korean aquatics team yesterday turned down a last-minute appeal by the South Korean hosts to make the trip to Gwangju. The meet begins today with our divers looking to claim early Olympic spots for the 2020 Tokyo Games. Mun Yee was roped in to renew her partnership with Pandelela after Kimberly Bong picked up a shoulder injury while training in China.But with only two weeks of training, it will be an achievement if Mun Yee can get the job done with Pandelela, who has not taken part in any competition for almost a year due to a back injury. “We will try our best to get the Olympic slot (the top-three pairs qualify for Tokyo) but it’s not going to be easy,” said Mun Yee. “China, for sure, will be very strong and we have to think of Canada, Australia and Britain too.“We’ll just do our routines well and cut down on the mistakes,” added Mun Yee, who at 35, is the oldest diver in the women’s field. Mun Yee partnered Pandelela to deliver the first medal, a bronze, for Malaysia at the world meet in the 2009 edition in Rome.Four years later, they came in third again in Barcelona.China’s Lu Wei-Zhang Jiaqi will be the pair to beat although they are making their debut. They have been impressive lately with two golds at the Diving World Series. Related News Mun Yee (left) and Pandelela {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} Diving 29 May 2019 Junior diver Kimberly Bong likely to partner Pandelela at world meet Related News Diving 29 Apr 2019 Divers Hanis and Mun Yee must get in sync before the world meetlast_img read more