first_imgMILO executives during the announcement of the Philippine team for the FC Barcelona training on Wednesday. Photo by Bong LozadaThirteen kids are set to go on a trip of a lifetime as they head to  Spain this October to experience the brand of football of the La Liga giant FC Barcelona.The selected youngsters, who were chosen after two-day camp conducted by MILO and FCB Escola Youth Academy, will be in Barcelona from October 15 to 23 for a series of trainings and other activities including watching a live La Liga match between Barcelona and Malaga at Camp Nou.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  View comments LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary LATEST STORIES But Willy De Ocampo, the Vice President and Business Unit Manager of MILO Philippines, said they are “committed to bringing everybody to Barcelona.”“Rest assured there won’t be anyone left behind, everyone will fly either on Saturday or Thursday,” said De Ocampo. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fightcenter_img Tamaraws come up short against the Green Archers anew From 150 participants, Lien Dale Manuel, Lara Angela Amante, Liam Arc Villaran, Kevin Hadap, Heaven Andrei Teodosio, Lorenzo Miguel Castillo Plaza, Alexis Caitlin Tan, Joseph Kyne Garces, Marcus Lucas Arias, Lorenz Albert Tortona, Enzo Gacutan Courbet, Boris Malcolm Uy, and Ethan Jacob Roxas impressed coaches the most during the camp held last September 2 to 3.“We believe that we have a really good team of kids who exemplify the right mix of values and skills that both MILO and FC Barcelona advocate,” said the brand’s sports executive Robbie De Vera Wednesday during the press conference in Taguig.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutFormer Barcelona defender Eric Abidal will also join the young footballers in the training camp where they will also undergo classroom sessions at FCB Escola and technical skills development on the pitch.Unfortunately, there were hiccups when it came to processing of visa with a some of the kids with only a few days left before the trip. Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH MOST READ Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf PLAY LIST 01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Benitez now free to walk out of Newcastleby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveRafa Benitez could walk out of Newcastle United today.The Mirror says the only thing keeping manager Benitez from walking out before now has been the £6million he would have had to pay to his sportswear tycoon boss for breaking his contract.But that clause has now expired, and Benitez can quit St James’ Park for nothing.However, he recognises any movement in the manager’s chair could end in relegation disaster.Even though he is putting his managerial head on the block by staying put, he doesn’t want to turn his back on the Geordie fans. last_img read more

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Arsenal boss Emery pressed about dumped Ozilby Paul Vegas9 hours agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal boss Unai Emery was reluctant to discuss Mesut Ozil’s situation last night.Emery did not consider Ozil for their Europa League win over Vitoria.Pushed about the German, the manager would only say: “Tonight is not the day to speak about that.”I prefer to speak about the match. We have all the players who played.”He’s not in the squad. That is the decision tonight. Now we are going to work towards Sunday.” last_img read more

first_imgVICTORIA, B.C. — Citizens’ Services Minister Jinny Sims announced yesterday that the provincial government will contribute $7 million for Shaw Communications to build a fibre-optic cable along the Hart Highway between Prince George and Dawson Creek.The fibre optic line that will be built from the Northern Cariboo to the Peace Region will be just over 400 kilometres in length, and is one of four connectivity projects being funded by the B.C. government. Shaw has had issues serving the Peace Region in the past, and yesterday’s announcement came just one day after an issue with a fibre line caused Shaw customers in Fort St. John, Taylor, and Dawson Creek to experience a service interruption. Last year, Shaw customers in the Peace experienced three separate outages due to issues with the company’s network.On Tuesday, Sims announced that the Province and Feds are both partnering with internet service providers on $38 million worth of Internet infrastructure across B.C., with the provincial government contributing $11.3 million in total. “This is not just an investment in high-speed internet, it’s an investment in the future for those living in rural, First Nations and Indigenous communities, so they have access to cutting-edge emergency services, high-quality health care, world-class education and improved ability to participate in the growing digital economy,” said Sims. “By working with our federal and local partners, we are leveraging relationships to give people in these communities the same internet access as those living in major urban centres.”The announcement was part of an event hosted by Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains, as the federal government committed a further $19,748,063 to the four projects.“Access to high-speed internet is not a luxury, it’s essential,” said Bains. “High-speed internet service is a basic tool that all Canadians should have access to, regardless of their postal code. Canadians need this service to do business, upgrade their education and build stronger communities. Thanks to our Connect to Innovate program, more Canadians will be able to participate fully in the digital economy.”last_img read more

first_imgCHETWYND, B.C. – RCMP responded to a Motor Vehicle Crash East of Chetwynd on Hwy 97 S. On Friday, October 4th, 2019 at 5:05 AM.According to the RCMP, when the police arrived, the driver of the vehicle had left the scene. After a thorough investigation police discover that the vehicle involved had been reported stolen out of Mackenzie BC.With help from members of the community, Chetwynd RCMP was able to track down the driver of the vehicle. The driver, who is well known to police, is a prolific offender from Prince George, the Peace Laird Area and into Alberta. The suspect remains in police custody, pending a future court date and could face charges of Possession of Stolen Property, Possession of Break and Enter Tools, and leaving the scene of an accident.The investigation is ongoing and police ask anyone with information on this matter to call the Chetwynd RCMP at 250 778 9221 or Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-8477last_img read more

first_imgNew Delhi: The world ranking says so and India football captain Sunil Chhetri too has no qualms in conceding that the national women’s team is better than the men’s side. The men’s team is currently ranked 103rd out of 211 countries. It was in the top-100 last year. The women’s side is currently at 62nd out of 152 nations. Chhetri, the poster boy of Indian football with second most goals among active international players, praised the national women’s team for its fifth consecutive SAFF title win. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh”Extremely proud of all of you. I have always maintained that the women’s team is much better than the men,” Chhetri said in a release from the All India Football Federation. “Go there, and give your best in Myanmar. I have been keeping a track of all of you playing. Keep up the good work,” Chhetri said. The women’s team will feature in the round 2 of the Olympic qualifiers which kick off in Mandalay, Myanmar from April 3. India have been clubbed with hosts Myanmar, Nepal and Indonesia. All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel also congratulated the women’s side on its success. “Congratulations to our women’s football team for winning the SAFF Championship. You have once again proved that you are the true champions. Keep up the good work and add many feathers of success to your crown. Best wishes,” he said.last_img read more

first_imgBILLERICA, MA — Members and guests of the Middlesex Canal Association are invited to a pleasant walk and talk on the remnants of the Middlesex Canal on Sunday, October 20, 2019.Those planning to join the walk should meet at 1:30pm at the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors’ Center (71 Faulkner Street, Billerica).The 2.5-hour walk will cover part of the Merrimack River branch of the canal in Billerica and Chelmsford, over about 3-4 miles of generally wooded terrain. Sites visited on the tour will include the recently restored guard lock, the anchor stone for the floating towpath that bridged the Concord River, and many stretches of the watered canal.The walk will be led by Robert Winters and Marlies Henderson.This is a joint walk sponsored by the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Middlesex Canal Association.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedMiddlesex Canal Association To Host Thoreau Lecture On October 27In “Community”Middlesex Canal Association To Hold Bike Tour Of Canal On October 5In “Community”Middlesex Canal Association To Host Fall Walk & Talk On October 30In “Community”last_img read more

first_img Share APThis undated artist rendering provided by the Galveston Police Department shows a depiction of a boy that police are asking for the public’s help to identify. The young boy’s body was found on a beach in Southeast Texas. Galveston police say the boy, aged 3 to 5 years, was found Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. Police are sifting through hundreds of tips and leads to discover the name of the little boy whose body was found on a deserted beach in Southeast Texas last week. (The Galveston Police Department via AP)The mother of a 4-year-old boy whose naked body was found on a South Texas beach last year admitted to authorities that she beat him and denied him medical care after he suffered a head injury from running into a wall, then drove to Galveston in the middle of the night and dumped the body in the water, according to court documents.Galveston police identified the child as Jayden Alexander Lopez. Authorities had named him “Little Jacob” after no one came forward to report him missing.Galveston police chief Vernon Hale announced Wednesday that the child’s mother, Rebecca Rivera, and her girlfriend Dania Amezquita-Gomez, had been arrested and charged with fabricating or tampering with physical evidence.An affidavit says Rivera, in an interview on Tuesday, told authorities she woke up in the middle of the night after her son had died, carried his body to her vehicle and drove to Galveston with her other young child and Amezquita-Gomez.According to an affidavit, she said she put her dead son into the water because he went to the beach previously and he liked the water.Last month, in an interview with authorities, Amezquita-Gomez acknowledged being in the vehicle but did not give any other details about where they went or about the dead child being in the vehicle, according to the affidavit. She reported being too drunk to remember the details.APThis undated photo provided by the Galveston Police Department shows Rebecca Rivera. Galveston police on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, announced that the unidentified 4-year-old boy whose body was found eight months ago washed ashore in South Texas had now been identified as Jayden Alexander Lopez, and his mother, Rivera, and her girlfriend have been arrested and are charged with fabricating or tampering with physical evidence. Investigators say they’re trying to determine whether the mother was connected to her son’s death. (The Galveston Police Department via AP)Rivera admitted that she abused the boy, saying “she was stressed out and took this out on Jayden by striking him with ‘whatever I could find,’” according to the court documents.Rivera told authorities that about two weeks before the boy’s death, he had bumped into a wall, causing a head injury. Rivera told police she used alcohol to clean the injury but she and her girlfriend began to argue, causing the alcohol to spill onto the child’s face.According to the court documents, she said her child’s face started to swell, and over the next two weeks his health “deteriorated.” He reportedly complained of stomach aches and became visibly more lethargic, the mother told police.Rivera also told police her girlfriend blamed the child for problems in the couple’s relationship, the affidavit says.Jail records did not list attorneys for either woman.Bryan Gaines, a supervisory senior resident agent with the FBI, called the crime “appalling” at a press conference Wednesday announcing the arrests.“No one reported Jayden as missing. No one was looking for Jayden. Jayden had no advocate other than us,” he said. “Someone took a beautiful, innocent child and discarded him in the ocean as if he was a piece of trash.”Investigators made the unusual move of releasing a photo of the face of the dead boy earlier this year, hoping it would generate new leads about his identity. Authorities had previously released a sketch of the child with a phone number to call with tips. Police on Wednesday said tips led to a possible name for the boy and a DNA comparison led to the positive identification.Lois Gibson, the forensic artist who created the sketch, said she was at home when she heard news of a break in the case.“I cried, I cried with relief,” said Gibson, who works as forensic artist at the Houston Police Department.last_img read more

first_imgBy Tiffany Ginyard, Special to the AFRO(Updated 01/29/2019) – When skaters gather, 11 p.m., Jan. 19 (due to inclement weather the date was postponed to Feb. 16) at the historic Shake and Bake Center in Upton, it will be for much more than the fun and sport of the skate. It will also be to honor the legacy of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.The Shake and Bake Skate Committee is hosting this first annual MLK Appreciation event, the first of its kind since the doors of the historic “family fun center” were re-opened in March, 2018, to re-establish Shake and Bake as a hub for community engagement, family gathering and youth empowerment.“The purpose of this event is to continue raising awareness in the community about what we [the committee] are all about–unifying the residents in the neighborhood with the skate community,” said committee president, Mary Thomas, who is not a native Baltimorean, but has laid down roots in the vibrant skate community comprised of skate clubs, and “rollers” from all corners of the DMV, individuals whose dedication to the art, craft, and camaraderie of roller skating range from six months to 66 years.The committee has hosted a community outreach event every month since its grand-reopening under the management of Baltimore City Department of Parks and Recreation, including community appreciation night, fundraisers for breast cancer research, neighborhood clean-ups, and holiday dinners for neighborhood residents.The life of Dr. King was guided by virtues of courageous self-expression, compassion and cooperation, as is the culture of Baltimore’s diverse skate community. These are principles that  not only make for a safe and orderly environment for people to get their roll on, but that translate into a message of peace, harmony and well being outside the rink. It’s a message, Thomas says, the skate community wants to impart to the people in the Upton/Penn-North communities, where The Bake is anchored as a safe haven for young people.“As long as we keep focused on uniting and not division,” Thomas said of the intention of the MLK Late Skate, and the committee’s overall mission. “People will continue to come together. That’s all we need. Skating is how we do that. Standing on eight wheels and rolling around the rink can be pretty challenging. It was for all of us at one time. And so we unite around getting better.”The late skate is for adults 21 and over. Tickets are $10. A continental breakfast will be served. Late Skate at ‘The Bake’Honoring King’s Legacy of Compassion and Cooperationlast_img read more

first_img HOUSTON — Major dangers for the U.S. Gulf Coast area loomed after an explosion at a Texas chemical plant early Thursday and the threat of major flooding further east near the Texas-Louisiana line as Harvey’s floodwaters began receding in the Houston area after five days of torrential rain.Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas, struggled with rising water as the area was pounded with what remained of the weakening storm, while Houston’s fire department said it would begin a block-by-block search Thursday of thousands of flooded homes. Assistant Fire Chief Richard Mann said the searches were to ensure “no people were left behind.”The confirmed death toll climbed to at least 31, including six family members – four of them children – whose bodies were pulled Wednesday from a van that had been swept off a Houston bridge into a bayou.Houston’s two major airports were up and running again Wednesday. Officials said they were resuming limited bus and light rail service as well as trash pickup.“Unfortunately, it seems that our worst thoughts are being realized,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said after the van that disappeared over the weekend was found in 10 feet of muddy water.The Houston-area chemical plant that lost power after Harvey engulfed the area in extensive floods was rocked by two explosions early Thursday, the plant’s operator said. The Arkema Inc. plant had been left without refrigeration for chemicals that become volatile as the temperature rises.The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said in a tweet that a deputy was taken to the hospital after inhaling fumes. Nine other deputies drove themselves to the hospital as a precaution.The company shut down the Crosby site before Harvey made landfall last week, but a crew of 11 had stayed behind. That group was removed and residents living within a 1.5-mile (2.4-kilometre) radius were told to evacuate Tuesday after the plant lost power.More news:  Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perksAnother threat was emerging east of Houston where weather conditions deteriorated close to the Louisiana line.Beaumont and Port Arthur worked to evacuate residents after Harvey completed a U-turn in the Gulf of Mexico and rolled ashore early Wednesday for the second time in six days. It hit southwestern Louisiana as a tropical storm with heavy rain and winds of 45 mph.When Harvey paid its return visit to land, it hit near Cameron, Louisiana, about 45 miles from Port Arthur.Port Arthur found itself increasingly isolated as floodwaters swamped most major roads out of the city.More than 500 people – along with dozens of dogs, cats, a lizard and a monkey – took shelter at the Max Bowl bowling alley in the city, said the establishment’s general manager, Jeff Tolliver.“The monkey was a little surprising, but we’re trying to help,” he said.Floodwaters also toppled two oil storage tanks in South Texas, spilling almost 30,000 gallons of crude. It was not immediately clear if any of the spilled oil was recovered. More damage to the oil industry infrastructure is expected to emerge as floodwaters recede.Forecasters downgraded Harvey to a tropical depression late Wednesday from a tropical storm but it still has lots of rain and potential damage to spread, with 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimetres) forecast from the Louisiana-Texas line into Tennessee and Kentucky through Friday. Some spots may get as much as a foot, raising the risk of more flooding.For much of the Houston area, forecasters said the rain is pretty much over.More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in July“We have good news,” said Jeff Lindner, a meteorologist with the Harris County Flood Control District. “The water levels are going down.”At Hermann Park, south of downtown, children glided by in strollers and wagons, joggers took in midday runs and couples walked beside cascading fountains and beneath a sparkling sun. People pulled into drive-thru restaurants and emerged from a store with groceries.At the same time, many thousands of Houston-area homes are under water and could stay that way for days or weeks. And Lindner cautioned that homes near at least one swollen bayou could still get flooded.Officials said 911 centres in the Houston area are getting more than 1,000 calls an hour from people seeking help.Altogether, more than 1,000 homes in Texas were destroyed and close to 50,000 damaged, and over 32,000 people were in shelters across the state, emergency officials reported. About 10,000 more National Guard troops are being deployed to Texas, bringing the total to 24,000, Gov. Greg Abbott said.In Orange, Texas, about 30 miles east of Beaumont, residents of a retirement home surrounded by thigh-deep water were rescued by National Guardsmen and wildlife officers, who carried them from the second floor and put them aboard an airboat.Harvey initially came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane in Texas on Friday, then went back out to sea and lingered off the coast as a tropical storm for days, inundating flood-prone Houston.Harvey’s five straight days of rain totalled close to 52 inches, the heaviest tropical downpour ever recorded in the continental U.S. Share By: Nomaan Merchant & Juan A. LozanoSource: The Associated Press Thursday, August 31, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Texas, Travel Alert Houston’s airports re-open as floodwaters recede but dangers still loomlast_img read more

first_img The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) would be subject to greater transparency and drivers would have more choice in their car insurance policies under plans reintroduced by state Rep. Jeff Yaroch of Richmond.Yaroch’s plan is even more urgent given the MCCA’s announcement this week it is again raising its annual fee related to the fund for catastrophically injured drivers in Michigan. The fee will increase to $220 per insured vehicle – up 15 percent – on July 1.Yaroch’s House Bill 4210 would subject the MCCA to Freedom of Information requirements. It also would require the MCCA to publicly disclose on its website all data used in computing annual per-insured-vehicle assessments, expected losses and expenses.“If we are going to reform auto insurance in Michigan we must take a hard look at the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association,” Yaroch said. “We need more transparency and accountability within the MCCA – and we need it now. My proposal should be on the table if we’re serious about helping Michigan drivers, who are paying the highest average car insurance rates in the nation.”The MCCA is a private, nonprofit entity which reimburses insurance companies for auto-related medical claims over $555,000. Michigan requires all car insurance companies to belong to the MCCA and pay an annual per-insured-vehicle assessment to fund the association. The fees are passed on to drivers.“The MCCA jacks up its fees every year, and we have no way of knowing if these increases are justified,” Yaroch said. “We’ve got to find out what is happening with the money we have to pay to drive a car.”Yaroch’s second measure, House Bill 4211, provides Michigan drivers with choice in the personal injury protection (PIP) medical coverage portions of their car insurance policies by creating a new coverage level.Under Yaroch’s plan, drivers could continue choosing the current unlimited medical coverage, or choose a PIP coverage level of $555,000 – the amount at which the MCCA currently reimburses auto insurers for auto-related medical expenses. The $555,000 coverage level would increase when the MCCA fee is scheduled to increase to ensure health care coverage protections for drivers who choose that option.“Michigan drivers should have a say in the amount of medical coverage they have on their car insurance policies,” Yaroch said. “By forcing every driver to buy unlimited medical coverage, there’s no structure in place to prevent car insurance premiums from skyrocketing. Creating a new coverage level provides long-overdue choice and will offer some financial relief to Michigan drivers.”Both of these bills are reintroductions from last session and have been assigned to the House Insurance Committee for consideration.##### Categories: News,Yaroch News 28Mar Rep. Yaroch: MCCA fee increase proves need for car insurance reformlast_img read more

first_imgMiddle East and North African streaming service Icflix has partnered with Orange Egypt to offer its service to mobile users.Orange Egypt customers will be able to access thousands of hours of Hollywood, Bollywood and Jazwood (Arabic) content during their one-month free trial, after which customers will be able to continue their subscription for EGP49 (€2.85) per month.A weekly package will also be available for EGP15 and a daily package for EGP 10. Customers who opt for the service will be billed directly by Orange or have the costs deducted from their prepaid credit.“The strategic partnership will offer mobile customers a value-for-money entertainment experience, allowing them to binge-watch TV series or stream their favourite movies on their smart phones, through a simple subscription process. This will give customers the freedom to choose, when, where and how they watch their favourite movie or TV series,” said Amine Lalami, chief commercial officer, Icflix.last_img read more

first_img Dmitriy: Yes, I know; it was the first picture of a major politician holding a gold bar since De Gaulle. And yes, the Russian central bank bought another 900,000 ounces of gold in April. We now have more gold than the Swiss. But does it make Putin a gold bug? No. He is a hardcore pragmatist above all else. And frankly, the picture of him holding the gold bar was done to make him look manly and prosperous. He has an excellent PR team. The Russian leadership is perfectly aware of gold’s disruptive role to the US dollar. But to them, the yellow metal is just another tool. They don’t care about sound money at all—they are conservative statists, all of them. For example, Elvira Nabiullina, Putin’s recent appointee at the Bank of Russia, is familiar with Ludwig von Mises and is well known in Moscow’s libertarian circles. Yet even she is about to introduce inflation targeting… not exactly a libertarian thing to do. The best refutation of Putin’s alleged gold bug sympathies is the fact that he has not abolished the VAT on bullion bars, though there were rumors of such several years ago. Russia is overburdened with social obligations, and the people in charge do not wish to draw undue attention to the real alternative to the existing monetary regime. Western gold bugs should keep in mind that the US dollar is not the only fiat currency around. Jeff: Is Putin as aggressive with Ukraine as portrayed in Western media? Dmitriy: Putin wishes to save Russians from extinction, restore our pre-revolutionary glory, and destroy NATO in the process. It seems that many in the liberty crowd view the situation there as something akin to Germany and USSR taking over Poland in 1939. It is nothing of the sort. Ukraine is the most artificial state in the whole of Eastern Europe, held together only by foreign subsidies and with zero chance of long-term survival. There is no internal cohesion. This is not to say that everyone in the southeast of the country wants to join Russia, although I would estimate at least half probably wouldn’t mind. The standard of living in Russia is higher and there is no silly “Ukrainization” sponsored by Western taxpayers. I would be surprised if this country lives to see the New Year in its present form. To give a fresh example of the situation there, a couple of weeks ago I had lunch with a lady in charge of Crimean affairs in the Customs Ministry. She told me, “It is unbelievable, the whole place seems to be frozen in the 1980s, there’s nothing there, no terminals, no equipment…” Jeff: Do you anticipate Russians ever getting involved in precious metals? Dmitriy: Yes. There is actually huge potential for this to occur. Russians are extremely adaptable, built to survive, and they’re on a constant lookout for new opportunities. Here are a couple compelling statistics. First, in 1989, it was illegal to own foreign currencies and 99% of the population never even saw American dollars or German marks, let alone owned them—but five years later, every grandma in the country had one or two $100 notes for a rainy day. Second, there are about 200,000 millionaires in Russia today. Yet if you scour every coin dealer and online auction in Russia, you will not find more than 500 one-ounce gold investment coins at any one time. The supply is minuscule. I firmly believe that when the existing world financial system finally crashes and burns, as it inevitably will, Russians will rush into precious metals. Mini-rushes, as in the fall of 2008 and August of 2011, were just a foretaste of things to come. And when Russians stampede, I can tell you it is a sight to behold. So I wish patience to my gold-owning colleagues all over the world. Our time will come. Jeff: As the saying goes, we live in interesting times. We appreciate your input, Dmitriy. Dmitriy: You’re welcome, Jeff. We’ll talk again soon. If any of your readers would like to contact me, I can be reached at With Russia rising to the forefront of world affairs as well as natural-resource-related events, we thought it timely to find out more about Russians’ attitude toward gold. We’ve been in touch with Russian bullion expert Dmitriy Balkovskiy for over a year and decided to get his take. Here’s the view from Russia… Jeff Clark: Thanks for joining us, Dmitriy. Tell us about your background. Dmitriy Balkovskiy: I live in Moscow, but have studied and worked in both the US and New Zealand. I edit, a Russian bullion investment news service. We translate and publish commentary about precious metals from English-speaking sources, including many of your articles. We’ve been online since June 2010, and our site is libertarian oriented. Our archives now have more than 2,400 articles from 520 authors. Jeff: You mentioned to me previously that Russia is not quite as bullish on gold as the West portrays. Dmitriy: It seems to me that Western gold investors are too optimistic about Putin’s love affair with gold. The reality is not as straightforward as it’s sometimes portrayed by Western media. First, a little background. The old Soviet Union viewed gold and silver as strategic metals and a matter of national security. Private ownership of precious metals in any form except jewelry and numismatic coins was strictly forbidden. People went to jail for merely owning a gold bar. The official gold content in one Soviet ruble equaled 0.167674 grams in 1936, 0.222168 grams in 1950, and 0.987412 grams in 1961. Here’s a picture of a Soviet-era 50-ruble banknote, which amounted to the average weekly wage in the 1980s. There is also a one-ounce silver St. George, with a 600,000 mintage. Jeff: Are American Eagles or Canadian Maple Leafs available? Dmitriy: Not at banks. And what is available is extremely expensive. As an example, the only reasonably priced gold bullion at the Russian Agricultural Bank, one of the top 10 rated banks in Russia, is the St. George coin. On June 5 it was quoted at 12,650 rubles per quarter-ounce ($1 = 34.5 rubles), which equates to $1,467 per ounce. The cheapest one-ounce silver coin costs $55. However, most silver coins on offer are actually a half-ounce, with some priced at $100 an ounce or more. A one-ounce silver St. George is not available, and as with gold, there are no Eagles. I would estimate that about 75% of coins sold are silver commemoratives. They are bought mainly as business or personal gifts, not as an investment. Since only banks can transact in bars and they aren’t competitive on price or selection, private investment coin dealers fill the gap. Today Moscow boasts five or six small companies offering gold and silver investment coins at prices comparable to Europe or the US. They have appeared over the past four to five years, but are still absent in less populated areas. Jeff: So banks are the main source for buying bullion? Dmitriy: Yes. I’ll note that banks are allowed to charge premiums based on spot prices for bars, but not with coins. Regulations list bars as “raw gold,” but banks are stuck with what they paid for coins because they’re considered a “finished” product. If a bank paid $1,700 for a batch of gold coins, it must resell them at this price until the whole batch is sold off. So the banks frequently end up selling coins with markups of 100% or more. The vast majority of bullion outside Moscow and St Petersburg is mostly of local mintage. Jeff: You told me about a creative angle for smuggling. Dmitriy: In 2012, one of our Siberian contacts, an owner of a small gold mining operation (8,000 to 12,000 ounces annual production), was in Moscow looking for ways to “export” his gold. Since he operates without a mining license, he turned his metal into very crude cutlery and smuggled it to China as “forks and knives.” The miner estimated that China receives about two to three metric tons of gold per year this way, saying he knows other “tableware makers” like him. It may be a relatively small amount compared to official imports from Hong Kong, but it shows the opacity of gold supply and demand here. The Russian government still has not liberalized small-scale gold prospecting, in spite of prior promises. Jeff: So how does the average Russian view gold? Dmitriy: To be honest, without any enthusiasm. Russian Business TV does regular polls on our investment and savings preferences, and the latest poll from May showed that of 13,442 respondents, 523 were in favor of “investing in precious metals”—less than 4% of those surveyed. You have an established gold bug community in the English-speaking world, with thousands of articles and personalities, whereas the topic here is a complete unknown to over 95% of the population. I should mention that political ideology also plays a role in shaping Russians’ perception of gold. For liberals, the West is flawless and will reign forever, so there is no sense in betting against the masters of the universe and, consequently, no point in buying gold. For conservatives both communist and nationalist, the West is evil and forever scheming to undermine Russia. The Rothschilds and the CIA rule everything, and gold investment is another one of their frauds to rip off the Third World. It is amusing to note how both extremes view the West as all-powerful. Jeff: I’ve seen a photo of Putin holding a gold bar, and I think he looks pretty appreciative. I’m not holding my breath that I’ll see Obama holding a bar of gold anytime soon…center_img The highlighted writing at the bottom says, “Banknotes are backed by gold, precious metals, and other assets of the State Bank.” Of course, gold was not exchangeable for rubles; it could only be bought in jewelry form. In 1989, it averaged 50-60 rubles per gram. Jeff: But the USSR has been gone for a quarter-century. Hasn’t the situation with precious metals changed? Dmitriy: Repressive Soviet laws are still on the books in modern-day Russia. It is illegal to buy or sell bullion bars anywhere except at banks that have a precious metals license, and very few have them. So if you buy or sell a gold bar from your friend or relative, you commit a criminal offense. There are also special rules for transportation of bullion bars, and breaking them entails a prison term. Taking bullion bars out of the country is illegal. Selling and buying of foreign-made bullion bars is also illegal. To top it off, there are enormous hurdles for bullion coin importers. I hasten to add that these laws are not strictly enforced; there are no gold owners languishing in Russian jails. But the laws remain on the books. To make matters worse, bullion bars are subject to 18% VAT, and as a result, spreads are enormous. For example, one major bullion bank—Nomos—on May 29 sold 50-gram gold bars for 85,938 rubles ($1,547 per ounce) and bought them back for 67,890 rubles ($1,222 per ounce). The gold pm fix that day was $1,255. Jeff: Wow. Is it the same for coins? Dmitriy: Coins are the only reasonably priced bullion vehicle available for ordinary Russians. They are not subject to as many restrictions, are VAT free, and sold in banks and licensed numismatic shops. The quarter-ounce gold St. George is popular, with four million minted in just the past several years. However, as many as 50% of these coins have serious quality issues—reddish spots and even small “craters,” as you can see here.last_img read more

first_imgIn This Issue. * Traders look for clues in the minutes. * Dollar recovers today. * BOE Minutes are very dovish. * Buying up all the supply? And Now. Today’s A Pfennig For Your Thoughts. It’s All About FMM Today. Good Day!… And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! WOW! What an absolutely beautiful day here yesterday! The calm before the storm so to speak unfortunately. Rain is expected today, and cooler temps.  Oh well, if you didn’t have days of rain, you would take the sunshine days for granted! This should be somewhat short-n-sweet this morning, as there’s not much going on, and I hear my pillow calling out to me to return. Of course, that won’t happen, as I’ll be good to go by the time I finish the letter!  Argent greets me this morning with their song, Hold your Head High. Well. You know the mini-rallies we saw in the currencies the last few trading sessions? Guess what is going on with it this morning. Give up?  Nah, I’m sure you nailed this and are somewhat miffed that I would think you would give up so easily! HA!  But the dollar has reversed its course of the last few trading sessions, and get this, the traders are pointing to the Fed’s Meeting Minutes that will print this afternoon, as the reason they’ve decided to push the dollar to the head of the class today. What, did they just realize that the Fed’s Meeting Minutes (FMM) print this afternoon? This kind of knee jerk reactions to stuff that’s been on the docket for a long time, but that’s what we have in place of real fundamentals.    So, if everyone is pointing to the FMM, we might as well discuss them, eh?  Speaking of FMM, I keep having the Steely Dan song, FM pop into my head. So. Apparently, traders think that the FMM is going to reveal some additional information about when the Fed will hike rates.  As of right now, everyone, but Chuck, has the June FOMC Meeting circled as the rate hike meeting. So, what has traders all lathered up about the FMM? Do they think that the Fed will reveal that they’ll move the rate hike up by a meeting, or something like that? Well, if they do think that, they’re barking up the wrong tree, folks. But it is what it is, right? And that means traders and participants believe that the dollar should be stronger because of what the FMM MIGHT say.  Sentiment. once again rules.. UGH! We will have a few Central Bank meetings this week, and one of them is the Swiss National Bank (SNB).. Boy, you have to wonder if they have anything else up their sleeve, for that last trick they pulled out of their sleeve really damaged the markets’ psyche. the “carry trade” , where an investor sells a low yielding currency short (because borrowing costs are low) and then uses the proceeds to buy a high yielding currency and hopes that neither currency moves much, is now something that traders won’t touch with someone else’s ten foot pole. They saw, and a lot them experienced, the damage that the SNB caused when they dropped the peg on the cross with euros, and the franc went on a one-day moon shot. this caused so many losses across the board, that now traders are not going to test the carry trade waters again anytime soon.   So, what’s the SNB have up their sleeve this week? Well, I’ll bet a dollar to a Krispy Kreme that the SNB is going to announce a rate cut. Well, what so special about that, Chuck? (I hear you asking)  Well, the SNB doesn’t have any interest rate to cut. So this would take them into negative rates territory.. A return to the wild and crazy days of the 70’s, when Swiss deposits were charged interest. Well, the SNB won’t go directly there, go past Go, and go directly to jail, just yet. They’ll start out like everyone else that has implemented negative rates, and that is they implement them on deposits at the central bank.  But, if Banks are getting charged negative rates for their deposits, it won’t take them long to pass those negative rates to bank depositors. So, get ready for that..   It really ticks me off when Central Banks do this sort of.  boy I typed quite a few words that described what I was thinking, but there’s no way any of them would get past the border patrol, so I’ll leave the finishing of that thought to you, dear reader! So, yesterday, I carried on about the Sunday Pfennig, and today, I have even more follow up to that discussion!  The Bank of England (BOE) printed their last meeting’s minutes (BOEMM)  and they were quite dovish. So, first and foremost, the last vote to keep rates unchanged was 9-0. That means not one BOE member voted to hike rates.  And then there was some conversations in the BOEMM that caught my attention, such as one member thought that “the next change in monetary policy was as likely to be a loosening as a tightening”.    So, take it for what you will, to me, the overall feeling from reading the BOEMM was that there will be no rate hike this year, and the first chance of a rate hike happening will come in 2016, but. the economy’s wherewithal the rest of this year will dictate what plays out in 2016. But, the British pound sterling didn’t get sold on this dovish BOEMM. Strange, eh?  I mean if here in the U.S. the dollar is getting bought today because traders anticipate a hawkish FMM, but in England, the pound is not getting sold because of a dovish BOEMM. Strange days indeed, so peculiar momma! There was finally some news from the Eurozone / Greece meetings, and the euro gets exposed, and can no longer hide in the shadows of the no news is good news mantra..  So, here’s the skinny. Greece is going to submit a request for an extension of 6 months of their loan agreement, which runs out at the end of this month. However, Germany is not interested in any request to extend the agreement. They say they want Greece to honor its present agreement. And Greece is trying every which way to wiggle off the austerity hook. In the end, Germany might cave in to “save the Eurozone”, but will do so kicking and screaming. For if they don’t cave in, it will force Greece to look elsewhere, and when they do, that will cause the grexit that everyone keeps talking about. Greek Exit.. I won’t get into my slowest Buffalo theory that the great mind of Cliff Caven taught me about, as I’ve done that before. But, that’s what I think about when I hear about grexit! Greece cheated to get into the euro club. They hid their debt. Of course we all know who showed them how to do that, but  we won’t get into that right here, right now, what I’m getting at is that Greece should have never been part of the euro, they didn’t meet the criteria, and therefore didn’t cut the mustard, but they’re in now. What’s a parent to do? Just hold them close, hug them and let them know they’re loved, and hope you hug the bad out of them!   No wait, what the heck am I talking about here?  Oh well, Greece is there in the euro club, so now they have to be dealt with, or see them walk. And if they walk, then Italy and Spain and Portugal might think that’s a good idea too. And then we would have the Northern euro, and the Southern euro. Think that’s crazy? Well, I do too, but. I’ve seen crazier things happen! The price of Oil slipped a buck in overnight trading, and left the petrol currencies wondering which way it was going to go now, up or down. That’s right I said up or down, not drown. The Russian ruble has been on a good roll in recent trading sessions, and some of that can be attributed to the stronger Oil price, but most of it can be attributed to the peace agreement that went into place this last weekend.  Get those sanctions removed so that not only Russian but too the Eurozone can now move freely about the country and kick start an economic recovery. Gold just keeps heading in the wrong direction and there doesn’t seem to be anything to stop it from doing so. The price manipulators took their pound of flesh a few weeks ago, that got this weakness started. The FMM plays into the price of Gold today too. So, everywhere we go, people want to know, no wait! Everywhere we go today, the FMM will be a long shadow following us around.  Yesterday, I told you how China had imported 315 Tonnes of Gold in the first 6 weeks of this year. Using my new math skills, I compute that out to be 2,730 Tonnes annualized. Now, we all know that can’t happen, because the annual production of Gold is only about 2,000 Tonnes. Well, no wait, Chuck, it’s not just new production the Chinese are buying. They are buying old holdings too from the LBMA. (London Bullion Market Assoc.)  So, I guess they theoretically get that much Gold in one year, but given their over 1,000 Tonnes of Gold, accumulated, each year,  in the past couple of years, there would have to come a time when there was no more supply right? And then the short positions would be called on to deliver, and when there was no supply, what would happen to those short positions?  That’s right. they would have be closed, thus driving the price of Gold higher.   I know there are some writers out there that are calling for a return of Gold to its price of pre-2000, which was about $250.  I tell you this to be fair and balanced.  But I can’t get my arms around this idea, given all I know about Central Bank accumulation. The U.S. Data Cupboard is chock-full-o-data today, and I mean chock-full-o-data!  We start the day with Housing Starts for January. Shoot Rudy, there certainly haven’t been any in the N.E. this winter! That’s followed by Building Permits, PPI (wholesale inflation), Two of my fave data prints, Industrial Production and  Capacity Utilization, the Net TIC Flows, and then the Fed’s Meeting Minutes.  None of it, will be anything to write home about in my opinion, and of course that could be wrong, but I just don’t see it out there. The Net TIC Flows are interesting in that what this data used to do is tell us the net foreign purchases of securities. In other words, how many Treasuries did foreigners buy two months ago (yes it takes two months to calc this data). This used to be a good indicator of foreigners willingness to finance the U.S. debt accumulation. But then the Fed got involved in buying most of the Treasury supply, and then “other entities” began picking up the slack. No one knows who’s behind these “other entities”, my guess is that it’s the Fed, just slipping in the back door, so as not to be noticed. So, to me this data is so convoluted now, that it has lost its appeal. For What It’s Worth. Well, I had more than a couple of dear readers send me the link to this story on And it’s one that catches my attention, because of all the Pirate blood in me. As a kid I drew up maps where X would mark the spot to dig for Gold, I was always  Pirate robbing other ships of their Gold. So, this story brings back those memories. you can read the whole thing here: “Scuba divers have discovered the largest trove of gold coins ever found off Israel’s Mediterranean coast — about 2,000 pieces dating back more than 1,000 years, the country’s antiquities authority said Tuesday. “The largest treasure of gold coins discovered in Israel was found in recent weeks on the seabed in the ancient harbor in Caesarea,” the authority said in a statement. It was by pure chance that members of a diving club in the Roman-era port had come across the coins, which the authority said weighed nine kilograms (almost 20 pounds) but described as “priceless”. “At first they thought they had spotted a toy coin from a game and it was only after they understood the coin was the real thing that they collected several coins and quickly returned to the shore in order to inform the director of the dive club about their find.” Chuck again. Aye, my mates, we’ve come on a bounty! I can see myself as a young boy with a plastic sword raising it high, and my foot on the treasure chest, proud that I had captured this bounty. Great stuff, eh?  To be a pirate again!  To recap. The dollar’s 3-day weakness is over this morning, as traders are thinking that the Fed’s Meeting Minutes this afternoon will prove to be more proof that interest rates will be rising in June.  I don’t know what they are all lathered up about, even IF there was something in there that they thought gave them the inside scoop on rates, they are just words. Remember when the Fed told us they would be raising rates when the Unemployment Rate hit 6.5%? Those proved to be just words. And that’s what today is all about folks. words. Currencies today 2/18/15. American Style: A$ .7795, kiwi .7510, C$ .8040, euro 1.1375, sterling 1.5425, Swiss $1.0635,  . European Style: rand 11.7150, krone 7.5195, SEK 8.3910, forint 270.35, zloty 3.6815, koruna 24.2525, RUB 62.34, yen 119.35, sing 1.3605, HKD 7.7580, INR 62.33, China 6.1330, pesos 14.96, BRL 2.8275, Dollar Index 94.31, Oil $ 52.74, 10-year 2.13%, Silver $16.46, Platinum $1,174.00, Palladium $782.00, and Gold. $1,206.32 That’s it for today. I can hear the thunder rolling across the sky outside this morning. Sounds like a nasty storm for sure! I guess I won’t be sitting out on the deck drinking my coffee this morning while I wait for the review. Had a wonderful visit from a good friend, Walt, yesterday. He lives just north of me here, and he made the drive down to spend the day with me. we talked, and talked, while looking at the beautiful colors of the ocean. What a great person he is! The Walker Brothers are singing their song: The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine In the Sky Anymore. Great voices of the past. But what a good song on a rainy day!  I wonder how the Pop Music is going on the desk these days. As If!  Big Hair must be coming back! HAHAHAHAHA!  Did you eat your pancakes yesterday? It’s Ash Wednesday for Catholics, and the start of lent. Which means, back home that the fish fries on Fridays are back! That’s always fun. and good fish!  They don’t fry fish like that down here. it’s done differently.. Maybe I should open a fish fry place and show them how it’s done! Nah. that sounds too much like work!   Alrighty then, time to get out of your hair for today, and send you on your way to having a Wonderful Wednesday! Chuck Butler Managing Director EverBank Global Marketslast_img read more

first_imgThere is no metric more important than “conversion rate” when it comes to your sales funnels. How many people you can push from one stage of the funnel to the next will decide whether you land barren prospects or flourishing new accounts.Optimizing a funnel for conversions, however, can be a challenge. To help you out, I’ll show you 6 tactics you can use today to fine-tune your sales funnel for higher conversions.1. Track conversion rate at every stage of the funnel“If you can measure it, you can also improve it.”Embrace this idea when developing your sales funnels. You should know exactly how many people enter your funnel and how many drop off at each stage. Once you know where prospects are dropping off, you can take steps to plug the leak.Start by mapping out your entire sales funnel.Top of the funnel should include any channel where you’re turning raw traffic into leads.Middle of the funnel should nurture channels where you qualify leads until they’re accepted by sales.Bottom of the funnel is where you turn SALs (sales accepted leads) into actual customers.After you’ve mapped out the funnel, track two metrics:Conversion rate for each channel, each stage and the overall funnel. You should know exactly how many of your blog readers give you their email addresses, and how many of your Twitter followers turn into qualified leads.Total number of prospects. While conversion rate is important, it is also critical to keep your funnel well-fed with prospects. Tracking this metric will ensure that a) your funnel is never dry, and b) you know your best traffic sources.While tracking the total number of prospects is relatively straightforward, you might struggle to measure conversion rate for indirect traffic sources (especially if you do a lot of offline marketing). Think of creative ways to track such traffic such as custom URLs with UTM parameters.2. Follow usability heuristics in your designsWay back in 1995, Jakob Nielsen of the NNGroup shared 10 usability heuristics for UI design. These heuristics focused on keeping users clued into the status of the page, developing a consistent user-experience, and emphasizing flexibility. If you look at the list, you’ll realize that they are as applicable today as they were 20 years ago.Keep these heuristics in mind when you’re designing the first version of your site. This is particularly true for B2B buyers who are often asked to perform more cognitively complex tasks (such as filling out multiple form fields). For instance, Nielsen recommends that users should always know the “system status.” This essentially means that at no time should users be confused about where they are on the page and what they should do next.You might accomplish this by using breadcrumb navigation or a progress bar on a multi-step checkout page. As an example, consider LeadPages’ opt-in box. The progress bar at the top lets users know at all times how far along they are in completing the form.You should, of course, modify your page once results from your A/B tests come in. The first version of your design, however, should always follow usability best practices.3. Align your sales funnel with your buyer’s journeyYour buyer’s journey maps out the path your buyers take to go from “prospect” to “customer.” It is different from a sales funnel in that it describes a cognitive process, not an administrative one. You use the buyer’s journey to understand your customers better, not to organize your own sales process.To maximize conversions, you need to align your sales funnel with your buyer’s journey. You should know exactly what your customers want at every stage of your funnel.Consider the first stage in the buyer’s journey – Discovery. During this stage, your customers are unaware of your product or even their own problems. Their queries largely focus on finding answers to these initial questions.This stage essentially describes the top of your sales funnel. As a seller, you should strive to find out what questions your buyers are asking and creating content to address them. If you can establish yourself as a go-to authority for clear, unbiased answers to buyers’ questions, you will find it much easier to drive leads into your funnel.The buyer’s journey, thus, must move alongside the seller’s journey.4. Develop more detailed customer personasA common factor in poorly converting sales funnels is the lack of detailed customer personas. If you’re defining your customers solely by their demographics – age, location, income, etc. – you likely don’t know them well enough to create high-impact marketing pages.Expand your customer personas to include psychographics as well as demographics. This means answering more detailed questions about your customers, such as their likes, spending habits, etc.Jamie Beckland shared a side-by-side comparison of demographic versus psychographic data. The latter gives you a more precise understanding of your ideal customer(s).It is easier than ever to develop a psychographic profile of your ideal customers thanks to tools like Facebook’s Audience Insights. Start by entering a few seed characteristics like age, location and 1-2 likes, and Facebook will tell you what else your customers like, their lifestyles, and their demographics.For example, Facebook tells me that 48% of Californians over 25 who like TechCrunch and Gizmodo are married, and that a majority of them are involved in the IT industry. This data is far more insightful than simple demographics. Use it to fine-tune your sales funnel.5. Develop a robust onboarding processIf you’re selling a product, getting a customer to sign up isn’t enough; you also have to retain them long enough for the relationship to be mutually profitable.The data shows that only 2.7% of mobile app users stick around after 30 days. There is also a 60% chance that users who don’t come back within 7 days will never return again.A robust onboarding process is one panacea to this retention problem. This is usually your first touch after conversion. How you reach out to customers here will often set the tone for the rest of your relationship. Your onboarding should focus on giving users the results they desire. As Lincoln Murphy points out in SixteenVentures, you should strive to give users some “initial success”:“Since it’s hard to nail it down and there’s no universal definition for it, I prefer to consider a customer ‘onboarded’ once they’ve achieved ‘initial success’ with your product (consider this First Value Delivered – FVD).”This emphasis on initial success requires a rethinking of the entire onboarding process. Instead of optimizing for your own metrics, optimize for the customer’s success instead. Ask what single thing your customers really want from your product and re-tool the onboarding journey towards it.For instance, if you’re selling a marketing automation tool, your customers likely want to use it to save time and send automated emails. They won’t see “initial success” until they send their first automated sequence to their list. Once you know what gives your customers value, you can orient your onboarding process towards it.6. Personalize the customer experiencePersonalization is the difference between a “Dear User” and a “Dear John” greeting on a landing page. According to one report, this personalization can lead to a 19% lift in sales.Personalization should be a core part of your sales funnel, so every interaction after a lead enters the funnel ought to have a personalized touch. This can be something as simple as mentioning the prospect’s name in email subject lines, or as complex as real-time landing page personalization.For personalization to be effective, make data collection a priority in your funnel. Develop a plan to gradually collect more data as prospects progress further down the funnel. You can start off by asking for a name and an email, but as you nurture the leads, ask for additional data such as company name, position, revenue, etc.If you do this right, you’ll be able to create highly personalized experiences that will improve conversions and make for happier users.Crafting a conversion-focused sales funnel can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are a number of tactics you can use to optimize your funnel for conversions. This includes re-designing your funnel pages, optimizing your onboarding process and adding personalization to every stage of the funnel.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThislast_img read more

first_img Next Article Green Entrepreneur Podcast Listen Now Editor in Chief of Green Entrepreneur Competition –shares Jonathan Small Back in 2003, Tim Blake was looking for a way to celebrate all of his cannabis growing comrades in Mendocino County, California. He noticed that other agriculture industries usually had celebrations at the end of harvest, so why shouldn’t marijuana growers? “I always like those country fairs  — the sights and smells and I thought, we should do that with cannabis,” he says.Only one problem. Although medical marijuana was legal in the state back in the day, many of his growing friends weren’t exactly on the up and up. This made advertising the event impossible. But word got around and somehow Blake managed to gather 100 people at his farm called Area 101 and give out a dozen or so rewards for their flower. Some people were so concerned about being caught that they wore masks to the event. Even some of those who won awards for their pot didn’t come up to the stage to accept their prize for fear of being identified. But an iconic event was born. The Emerald Cup. The first-ever open public consumption cannabis competition in the U.S.Related: This Is How Your Cannabis Is GrownCannabis Isn’t the Only Thing GrowingThis weekend marks the 15th Emerald Cup. The event is no longer held in the woods but at the sprawling Sonoma County Fair Grounds in Santa Rosa. Thirty-thousand people are expected to attend this year — a number that’s grown since the legalization of recreational marijuana in the state. Back in the day, you had to have a medical license to get in the door. Now all you need is a photo ID that proves you’re legal age. The lively event is home to cannabis vendors, organic food trucks, garden parties, presentations on topics such as “Cannabis Spirituality” and “The Future of Vaping,” live music and even a live podcast from stoner icons Jay and Silent Bob.There’s a Morrocan-themed VIP room, regenerative agriculture exhibit, and a consumption area that’s clearly designated by neon green signs that read  “Cannabis consumption is all good beyond this point.”  The air is so thick with smoke here, you’d think the entire Emerald Triangle was on fire. True to Emerald Cup tradition, five hundred entries across multiple categories including flowers, concentrates, edibles, CO2 cartridges, topicals and a range of CBD categories, will compete for Emerald Cup honors. Winners receive hand-crafted glass trophies made by local artists and a ton of bragging rights. Related: The Cannabis Industry’s Largest Conference Showcases a Maturing Industry  Image credit: Jonathan Small December 16, 2018 3 min read At The Emerald Cup The Cannabis Runneth Over Entrepreneur Staff Each week hear inspiring stories of business owners who have taken the cannabis challenge and are now navigating the exciting but unpredictable Green Rush. Add to Queuelast_img read more

first_imgNielsen’s TV Ratings Platform Moves To AWS PRNewswire5 days agoJuly 18, 2019 Nielsen’s Core National TV Measurement Processing Modernizes Its Traditional On-premise Servers To A Cloud-based InfrastructureNielsen announced that as part of an ongoing initiative to transform the technology infrastructure that powers its products and services, it has migrated its core National Television Audience Measurement processing from traditional on-premise server processing to a cloud-based infrastructure. These assets serve as the foundation for the industry currency, underpinning over $70 billion dollars in advertising revenue in the U.S. annually.Working alongside with Amazon Web Services (AWS), this major initiative provides Nielsen with the key foundation to improve scalability, redundancy and reliability, which has never been more crucial in an industry that has seen the rapid advancement of technical capabilities and innovation.Marketing Technology News: Sesame Workshop Names Samantha Maltin Chief Marketing Officer“The move to a cloud-based engine is a significant undertaking and underscores Nielsen’s commitment to invest in technology that will benefit our clients and the industry as a whole. Cloud processing allows for greater flexibility and velocity, as we build new and enhance existing products. It will also give us the opportunity to spend more time innovating and less time on managing infrastructure,” said Scott N. Brown, Head of Product, TV and Audio at Nielsen.“Nielsen’s move to AWS will help them become a more agile organization in the cloud and accelerate their work in helping companies around the world understand viewership data,” said Stephen Orban, General Manager at AWS. “AWS’s breadth of services, scalability and reliable infrastructure will help Nielsen drive product innovation that offers new ways for their network, publisher, agency and advertising customers to monetize their data.”Marketing Technology News: WebCEO, the Agency Oriented Marketing Platform, Launches a New Local SEO ModuleWith an emerging cloud-based infrastructure and sharpened Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence expertise, Nielsen is now modernizing their platform in order to give clients data to both monetize today’s media landscape as well as the landscape of tomorrow. This will speed up the company’s product roadmap, as well as enable more creativity and flexibility with the measurement data and services Nielsen packages and delivers to networks, publishers, agencies and advertisers.Marketing Technology News: Progress Named a Leader in the New 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Multiexperience Development Platforms AIAWSMarketing Technology NewsNewsNielsen Previous ArticleKaltura Launches New Integration with Zoom Video CommunicationsNext Article4 Tips for Using Stock Photos in Marketinglast_img read more

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 21 2019In 2017, the majority (58%) of the almost 27 000 newly reported hepatitis B cases in the European Union and European Economic Area were classified as chronic infections. This follows a consistent upward trend in reported chronic hepatitis B cases since 2008.There is evidence of on-going transmission of hepatitis B and continued importation of cases to many European countries according to the available surveillance data for countries of the European Union and the European Economic Area (EU/EEA) for 2017. Incomplete data as well as varying national surveillance systems and practices however impair more detailed epidemiological analysis of reported data.The majority of EU/EEA countries consistently reporting experienced a steady decline in newly reported acute hepatitis B infections from 1.1 per 100 000 population in 2008 to 0.6 in 2017. This reflects overall global trends and is most likely a result of successful national vaccination programmes: in these countries, the proportion of acute hepatitis B infections among people below 25 years of age declined from 20% in 2008 to 12% in 2017. The proportion of chronic cases under 25 declined from 21% in 2008 to 10% in 2017.However, during the same time period notifications of chronic hepatitis B overall increased from 6.7 per 100 000 population to 10.2 in 2017 with the highest rates reported among the 25-34-year-olds. Overall, the reported data on chronic hepatitis B seems to mirror the intensity of local testing and screening policies – thus countries with comprehensive testing programs in place appear to have the highest notification rates. The high number of chronic infections from northern Europe has a strong influence on trends with e.g. 62% of chronic hepatitis B cases in 2017 notified by the United Kingdom.Incomplete data affects interpretationTransmission data are key to understanding the epidemiology of hepatitis B. However, information on the transmission mode was only complete for roughly a third (29%) of the reported acute cases in 2017 and only 13% of the notified chronic cases. Hence, data are unlikely to be fully representative, and observed trends and differences between countries are hard to interpret.Related StoriesAustralia leads the world in childhood immunization coverageFSMB releases new report surveying digital credentials in healthcareCould formal health technology assessment be a solution to high healthcare costs in the US?For the 718 acute cases with complete information, heterosexual transmission was most commonly reported (27%), followed by nosocomial transmission (16%), sex between men (13%), non-occupational injuries (10%) and injecting drug use (10%). Italy, Poland and Romania accounted for 74% of the acute cases attributed to healthcare-associated hepatitis B infections in 2017.Where this information was available, transmission from mother to child and in healthcare settings were the most commonly reported routes for chronic hepatitis B infection (41% and 28% respectively). Poland reported 90% of chronic cases related to nosocomial transmission.Of the 12 018 cases (45%) with information on importation status, 3 778 (31%) were reported as imported. The influence of migration on hepatitis B epidemiology highlights the need for countries to develop evidence-based screening interventions that target the most affected migrant communities. It also highlights the importance of monitoring routine surveillance indicators of migration, such as importation status.The relatively high number of 26 907 reported hepatitis B infections in 2017and especially chronic cases, in combination with the diversity in reported transmission routes across Europe suggest that countries need to maintain and strengthen local hepatitis prevention and control programs.The World Health Organization’s European Action plan for the health sector response to viral hepatitis outlines ways to do this. Based on the information from the ECDC prevalence database, authorities can identify the key population groups and areas of high hepatitis prevalence for targeted efforts. Source:European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)last_img read more

Nissan’s chief planning officer said Friday the Japanese automaker does not plan to change its road tests for self-driving vehicles after the recent fatal accident of an Uber autonomous vehicle. 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. Explore further Nissan said Friday that it plans to equip 20 models in 20 markets with autonomous driving technology by fiscal 2022, one of the pillars of a strategy launched last year.Driverless cars are still not allowed on public roads in Japan, although its major automakers are all working on the technology. Vehicles now sold commercially will stop on their own before a crash or automatically remain inside lanes during highway driving, but drivers must be present and keep their hands on the wheel.Nissan—which makes the best-selling EV the Leaf, the March subcompact and Infiniti luxury models—said Friday it aims to sell 1 million electrified vehicles a year by fiscal 2022.Electrified vehicles refer to both pure electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles that have both an electric motor and a gasoline engine and other green vehicles like plug-ins.Klein declined to give a breakdown of the electrified models planned but he said that fuel cells, which run on hydrogen fuel, were too costly to be practical anytime soon. Citation: Nissan not changing autonomous drive tests over Uber crash (2018, March 23) retrieved 18 July 2019 from In this Feb. 23, 2018, file photo, Nissan Motor Co.’s Easy Ride robo-vehicle moves during a test ride in Yokohama, near Tokyo. Nissan’s chief planning officer said Friday the Japanese automaker does not plan to change its road tests for self-driving vehicles after the recent fatal accident of an Uber autonomous vehicle. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File) Some fear a setback for the technology after a pedestrian was killed Sunday night in a crash involving a self-driving Uber SUV in the U.S., the first death involving a fully autonomous test vehicle.Uber immediately suspended all road-testing of such autos in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto. The ride-sharing company has been testing self-driving vehicles for months as it competes with other technology companies and automakers like Ford and General Motors.Philippe Klein, the chief planning officer at Nissan, said the automaker is ensuring its tests are safe. He said specially trained drivers keep their hands on the wheel on such vehicles, prepared to “take over the car” to ensure the “highest possible safety” in its tests.The Uber crash is still under investigation.Toyota Motor Corp., which is working with Uber on driverless systems, said in a statement earlier this week it has halted automated-driving tests in the U.S. because of the possible “emotional effect on its test drivers.” Toyota said it did not know the specifics of the accident or its causes.Honda Motor Co. has declined comment on the accident but said it was not changing its work on developing self-driving technology. Tokyo-based Honda’s autonomous drive technology differs from that used by Uber.Nissan has been conducting autonomous driving tests in London, Tokyo and California. The company, which has an alliance with Renault SA of France and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. of Japan, has been aggressive in pursuing the technology. Toyota suspends self-driving car tests after Uber death Nissan Chief Planning Officer Philippe Klein speaks to journalists during a media roundtable at Nissan headquarters Friday March 23, 2018 in Yokohama, near Tokyo. Nissan’s chief planning officer said Friday the Japanese automaker does not plan to change its road tests for self-driving vehicles after the recent fatal accident of an Uber autonomous vehicle. (AP Photo/Yuri Kageyama) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. read more

first_img Abhishek Bhalla New DelhiJuly 13, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 12:46 IST Surgical strikes after the Uri attack in 2017 and the aerial strike this year on a terror camp in Balakot by the Indian Air Force has demonstrated that India has the political will to respond against terror, Indian Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat said on Saturday.Speaking at an event in New Delhi to commemorate 20 years of the Kargil War Gen Rawat said, a political will along with proactive diplomacy is key for success in military matters”We are working in a coordinated manner for a cogent and synchronized national response against sub-conventional and asymmetric threats by any adversary. Surgical strikes post-Uri and Balakot have amply demonstrated our political and military resolve against terror. Any act of terror will not go unpunished,” he said referring to current challenges for the armed forces and lessons learned from the past.The reference to the synergy between the military and diplomacy could be in the context of the Doklam standoff with China and Balakot air strikes. In both instances, the military and diplomatic channels made efforts to work in a coordinated manner to leave little scope for speculation.Speaking of the transformation of the Army since the Kargil War in 1999, Gen Rawat said tri-service wings dedicated to space, cyber and special operations are the way forward for jointness or synergy in the armed forces to combat future challenges.We have come a long way since Kargil. We need to be prepared for future wars and cannot let our guard down, he said.He stressed on the need for capability enhancement and fast track procurement.”While the armed forces have to be prepared for multi-spectrum challenges but at the same time need to be ready for conventional wars,” Rawat added.The Army Chief said the changing dynamics of cyber and space domains is the biggest challenge for the future. We must be prepared for future conflicts that will be more violent and unpredictable as technology will be the key driver in future wars. He talked about threats of cyber attack to critical infrastructure and the constant battle to shape perception in the information domain.Also read: Battle of the Bulge: Bipin Rawat’s radical plan to restructure armyALSO WATCH| Army better prepared to tackle 26\11-like attacks, says General Bipin RawatFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byIram Ara Ibrahim Next Surgical strikes and Balakot demonstrate political will to fight terror: Army Chief Bipin RawatGen Rawat said a political will along with proactive diplomacy is key for success in military mattersadvertisementlast_img read more