Klopp provides an injury update on Trent AlexanderArnold

first_imgLiverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revealed they are taking assessing Trent Alexander-Arnold’s fitness on a daily basis ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Manchester UnitedThe English full-back was forced to withdraw in the closing stages of Liverpool’s decisive Champions League victory against Napoli at Anfield on Tuesday night.Arnold remains a doubt for this weekend’s clash against United at Anfield with Joel Matip and Joe Gomez definitely out.“With Trent, it’s not as serious as it is with the other two boys, but of course it is absolutely not top-class news, that’s clear,” said Klopp on the club website.Victor Wanyama, Tottenham Hotspur, Premier LeaguePochettino admits Wanyama remains in his Spurs plans Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Kenyan international, Victor Wanyama, was the protagonist of a summer transfer saga, but in the end, he is set to stay at Tottenham Hotspur.“It was unlucky as well, especially with Joel; the last second of the game. When you asked me in the press conference I had no idea about it because I had to go doing different stuff pretty much immediately and I didn’t see him on the pitch because I spoke to Carlo [Ancelotti].“The rehab has already started pretty much, the same for Joe.“Trent, we have to see. For him, it is day by day how we judge it. It’s not cool but as long as we still have enough players, it is our job to always find a solution for it – and we will have a solution for the weekend, but of course, it is not perfect.”The German added that full-back Nathaniel Clyne has been back in training for the last four days and is set to return from injury.last_img read more

AGDC Selects Two Possible Reroutes For The Kenai Spur Highway

first_imgThe AGDC in April 2017 provided the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) with a site map of the LNG plant in Nikiski, showing locations for the three liquefaction trains, two LNG storage tanks, material offloading facility and north and south plant entrances. Story as aired:  Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation has said they’ll need to move the Kenai Spur Highway around the natural gas liquefaction and export terminal that the state plans to build in Nikiski. Download ADGC’s Spur Highway reroute filing Both of these options run roughly a quarter mile east of Bernice Lake and route back to the Kenai Spur Highway around Mile 25. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Kenai Peninsula Borough have been engaged in the process and both are on hand as well to speak with the community.center_img The AGDC is planning to schedule a public meeting in Nikiski around February to give additional details to the community. Would veer from the existing highway around Mile 19 and pass through the inside of Miller Loop RoadWould leave the highway intact around Mile 18 and run outside Miller Loop to the east. Following the site map, the AGDC filed a map of eight possible alternatives for relocating the Kenai Spur Highway around the LNG plant site to FERC. In December, the AGDC narrowed those possibilities down to the final two. Audio PlayerJennifer-on-AGDC-road-plans.mp3VmJennifer-on-AGDC-road-plans.mp300:00RPdlast_img read more

The new Apple Card wont let you switch from iPhone to Android

first_imgApple Card and iPhones, two peas in a pod. Apple The Apple Card, Apple’s new digital and physical credit card, is a bold, brilliant move that reimagines credit card payments on the iPhone. What makes the move so gutsy has nothing to do with the service itself and everything to do with drawing you deeper into Apple’s ecosystem.The Apple Card’s benefits sound immediately appealing: Apple promises security measures designed to avoid common avenues of credit card fraud. It gives you up to 3 percent cash back and a visual financial tracker that helps you stay on top of your payments. And there are no fees for going over your limit, using the card internationally or even paying off the card late — things that other cards are happy to charge for. You will, however, accrue interest on top of your balance.The world of payments isn’t new to Apple, which launched Apple Pay, its mobile payment system, in 2014. But a full-fledged credit card, backed by Mastercard’s payment network and Goldman Sachs, represents Apple’s cannonball dive into banking in a way that will have ripple effects for Visa, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and every other digital payment player. apple-card-side-vendorEverything from management to verifying transactions takes place on the iPhone. Apple The competitors should pay attention. Apple has an uncanny ability to leverage its cult status to create hype around products and services in a way that compels others to follow, even if they got there first. But it’s Apple’s rival phone brands that should be most concerned — Samsung, Huawei and Google’s Pixel — not because they may want to create their own credit cards (they probably won’t), but because anyone who signs up for an Apple Card is essentially binding themselves to the iPhone for as long as they have the card. Many owners of Apple products are already locked into the ecosystem by virtue of their Macs, iPads, iTunes and App Store purchases. Staying in the Apple family is more convenient. iMessages and Notes on the iPhone also sync with the Mac, for example, and AirDrop is a wonderful way to seamlessly transfer files between devices. But it’s still possible to coexist with a Macbook Air and an Android phone. I do this at least 50 percent of the time. But a credit card that works on the iPhone alone will only make you more dependent on your iPhone. See It See it This story originally published March 27 at 4:30 a.m. PT and updates frequently. It was last updated April 3. See It Now playing: Watch this: A physical Apple Card is a workaround because Apple Pay isn’t everywhere. Apple is also adding value by giving subscribers a way to flaunt their status with an instantly recognizable titanium card. It’s genuis, really #AppleCard #AppleEvent https://t.co/6rBY9wne8n— Jessica Dolcourt (@jdolcourt) March 25, 2019 Apple Card = iPhone 4 lyfeThe iPhone is fundamental to the inner workings of the Apple Card itself. Most of the Apple Card’s functionality lives in the digital Wallet app on your iPhone. This involves more than tracking your balance and paying off your card online. The Apple Card relies on the Secure Element chip in your iPhone to process transactions with each purchase, which means you have to have one if you want to use the credit card. You also need the Wallet app to monitor your account — remember, this data is calculated on your device, not online, so you can’t just look up your account details from a browser window on your desktop or in a separate app like you would with your usual bank. Apple thinks this will safeguard you from hacks because the details of your digital transactions are computed on your phone. No iPhone, no Apple Card.2019-03-25-10-34-07You track your Apple Card account maintenance on the phone, not online. Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET The physical card is meaningless on its ownHow does the physical Apple Card fit in? Great question. Apple also gives you a physical card with your name engraved on a titanium rectangle and that’s it — no numbers, no expiration date, no CVV (those three numbers on the back that verify your card), no other identifying details that would allow someone to commit fraud against you if they see your card or take it from you. You’ll use the physical Apple Card like any other payment card that has a magnetic stripe and a chip. If you need to access those details like the expiration date and CVV digits, you’ll fire up the iPhone’s Wallet app to take a peek. Another reason not to lose your iPhone.The titanium card isn’t meant to be used as your primary way to pay. It’s a fallback that exists because not all point-of-sale terminals accept Apple Pay. Contrast that with Samsung Pay, which can also work like your credit card’s magnetic stripe. However, in making the card look so iconically Apple, the company geniusly turned a negative — Apple Pay doesn’t work at every payment terminal — into a coveted status symbol by creating a product that people will instantly recognize. A titanium card is the Apple Card. But it won’t work without your iPhone. It’s showtime for Apple’s streaming service CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Tags Boost Mobile Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X $999 Read more $999 See All See It $999 Apple Card perks make iPhone payments easierApple wants to manage all aspects of your credit card through the iPhone, from issuing a line of credit in “minutes” (you must have a high enough credit rating to qualify) to paying for things in any online or brick-and-mortar store and transferring payments to others through the app. You won’t have to load a new card into Apple Pay, you can use the card across your Apple devices and you can authenticate with Face ID or Touch ID. The iPhone’s Wallet app will also help you track your finances and estimate how much you’ll have to pay if you can’t clear your monthly balance at once.Plus, you’ll accrue Daily Cash — between 1 and 3 percent cash back — which can go toward any purchase or even paying down your monthly bill. Those cash back rates aren’t top of the scale, but the convenience factor will be high, especially if you use some of that cash back to buy next year’s iPhone.2019-03-26-18-31-12The physical Apple Card is made out of titanium. Apple What happens if you quit Apple Card?We’ve walked through the Apple Card’s perks, but there’s still one more reason why Apple’s credit card locks you to an iPhone: What happens if you cancel? People open or cancel lines of credit every day, but they can have repercussions that impact your credit score. Common wisdom suggests that frequently opening and closing cards can make you appear less reliable, so deciding to get the Apple Card means you’ll want to hold onto it for a while — and, by extension, an iPhone. Credit card advice sites such as Credit Karma and Nerd Wallet warn against closing your oldest account, which has the effect of lowering the average age of your credit history. That, in turn, makes it look like you have a shorter history paying down debt than you might actually have, and history is good when you apply for a loan, rent an apartment or put a down payment on a house.Apple didn’t publicly say it won’t support Android, which would make it available to families or individuals with both iOS and Android devices. But its security setup and home in the Wallet means that it’s iPhone or bust. If you want to use an Apple Card, you’re using an iPhone. And if your iPhone is tied to your credit card, why would you ever own anything else? Apple Card’s fine print: 7 things we learned about Apple’s new credit card Apple Card won’t drive Google, Samsung to offer their own credit cards Apple Card: Sign-up info, launch date and privacy deets $999 4:02 Aug 30 • Apple will launch iPhone 11 on Sept. 10 in Cupertino Apple Card FAQ: What you need to know Apple Pay Mobile payments Google Huawei Samsung Apple 69 Comments Apple iPhone XS Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Aug 30 • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11R and 11 Max: Price, specs and features we expect on Sept. 10 Best Buy reading • The new Apple Card won’t let you switch from iPhone to Android, probably ever Aug 26 • Every Apple TV Plus show announced so far Sprint Aug 29 • New iPhones, Apple Watch and more: Apple’s September event preview Phones Tablets • Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) 97 Photos Apple Event Apple Event Share your voicelast_img read more

RIP Fusion Sport Fords surprisingly fun midsize sedan

first_img 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better 2017 Ford Fusion Sport: A 325-horsepower midsize sleeper sedan 58 Photos 1:34 Ford Fusion V6 Sport blows the competition away More From Roadshow Tags Now playing: Watch this: 2019 Ford F-150 review: Popular pickup keeps on truckin’ Enlarge ImageThe Fusion Sport makes 325 horsepower from its 2.7-liter, twin-turbo V6 engine. Jon Wong/Roadshow The Ford Fusion sedan is expected to go out of production in the coming years, all part of the Blue Oval’s plan to scale back its car lineup in order to build more crossovers and SUVs. A new report from CarsDirect this week confirms the 325-horsepower Fusion Sport will be the first variant to go — in fact, it won’t even live to see 2020.A Ford spokesperson told CarsDirect that discontinuing the Sport will allow the company to focus on higher-volume, more popular Fusion models. The rest of the Fusion line received a modest update for the 2019 model year, which included the standard fitment of Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 driver assistance tech.The Fusion Sport was introduced in 2017, and honestly, we rather liked it. With a 2.7-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 under its hood, the Fusion Sport put 325 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque to the ground, and standard all-wheel drive and adaptive dampers made it pretty engaging to drive on winding roads. It was a real sleeper, and came loaded with driver assistance features and Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment tech.That said, the Fusion Sport was kind of a hard sell. Despite its ample power and sophisticated suspension tech (it could even mitigate potholes), it was never quite as sharp as similarly sized rivals from Germany and Japan. Even now, at over $40,000, a 2019 Fusion Sport is some $3,600 more expensive than a comparably equipped, all-wheel-drive Fusion Titanium, which uses a more efficient (but still plenty potent) 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.It’s unclear exactly when the rest of the Fusion range will get the ax, though we’ve heard the Fusion name could be resurrected on a Subaru Outback-like crossover-wagon thing. For now, though, pour one out for the Fusion Sport: the powerful midsizer that struggled to gain traction. Sedans Ford Subaru Comment 1 Ford Share your voice 2016 Ford Explorer review: Go road-tripping in Ford’s updated, EcoBoost-powered SUVlast_img read more

Political Roundup Primary Runoff Results And Roundtable Discussions On School Safety

first_img To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: 00:00 /32:59 Listen X It’s time again for the Houston Matters weekly political roundup when we discuss national, state, and local political stories — with an eye for how they might affect Houston and Texas.This week, our experts discuss results of the Texas primary runoff elections, to primary results across the country, to Gov. Abbott’s roundtable discussions on school safety.Our panel of experts this week includes David Branham, professor of political science at the University of Houston-Downtown, and Houston Chronicle columnist Erica Grieder. Sharelast_img

Schools Not Prisons Security Lessons From Rebuilding Sandy Hook Elementary

first_img Share Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT NewsIn the aftermath of the Sante Fe school shooting, some state leaders have questioned whether the design of public schools could be changed to improve security.In the months and years after a gunman killed 28 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, their community embarked on the painful and painstaking task of tearing down the old building and starting over. In the process, they built not just a new school, but a high-tech security marvel.Phil Santore is the vice president and managing principal of the Connecticut-based security and consulting firm DVS. The company was lead security consultant when the new Sandy Hook Elementary was built.Santore says that consulting engineers juggled many different voices during the rebuilding project – families of victims, law enforcement, local elected officials and state legislators – as they developed a strategy.“The first component was maintaining the mission of the school, and that’s the educational mission,” Santore says. “The first thing we had to remember was this is a school and there’s going to be seven-year-olds walking through these doors and we didn’t want them walking into something that felt like a prison. That was a real key driver in everything we needed to do.”After that, Santore says they focused on managing traffic, securing the physical perimeter of the building and hardening the facility with better locks. He says the design was a tricky balancing act.“Remember, we’re not trying to build Fort Knox,” he says. “We’re trying to buy enough time until law enforcement arrives.”One strategy in the redesign was to looks at potential threats and vulnerabilities, then working to reduce those risks.“For an example,” he says, “at Sandy Hook all the classrooms are in the back side of the school, if you will. So if someone did get onto the property and drove past the front of the school and did a drive by shooting, their chance of hitting a student would be much, much less than if the classrooms were in, say, the front of it or by the roadway.”The school is also designed to control who comes in and out of the building by managing the perimeter of the building. That can be costly.“That’s a problem everywhere,” he says. “I’ve not run into a public school that doesn’t have a budget issue.”Still, he says schools need to invest in good locks, good doors, and good management of those doors. Lastly, he says, schools should work on designing quick communication systems both inside and outside of the school in the event of an incident.Written by Jen Rice.last_img read more

Texas School Districts Struggled To Use Law That Could Stave Off State

first_img Share For school districts with chronically failing campuses, a recently passed law that allows them a reprieve from state sanctions was supposed to be a lifeline. A year on, less than a tenth of those districts are on track to take advantage of it.About 60 Texas schools in more than two dozen districts were considered failing for four or more years in 2017, putting them at risk for being shut down by the state next year. Several of those school districts considered using Senate Bill 1882, which allowed them to partner with outside organizations to turn those schools around and get an extension from harsh state penalties, but only five are currently on track to do so.Others had trouble meeting the tight application deadline or faced backlash from school communities that protested giving up the management of their low-performing schools, many of which are located in majority Hispanic and black neighborhoods.“They’ve taken on a new process, challenging because it is new, and they’ve done it in a really hard context of a long-term, low-performing campus,” said David Anderson, policy analyst at Raise Your Hand Texas, which has been following the implementation of this law. “It’s sort of a perfect storm in the sense of hard to do.”The Texas Education Agency last week made a first round of decisions on six districts’ partnership applications, rejecting one district’s proposal, approving another’s contingent on technical changes and requesting interviews with the proposed partner organizations for the last four. It plans to make final decisions before the next school year begins.Three years ago, Texas passed a strict law intended to force districts to take responsibility for bolstering schools that failed to meet standards by setting deadlines for improvement and imposing sanctions on those that didn’t meet them. After a slow phase-in, the state is poised next school year to impose those sanctions, which include forcibly shutting down schools considered failing for more than three years or taking over the school boards of those districts.SB 1882 at first seemed like it could offer some help for school administrators in need of more time to implement fixes: districts that partnered with a nonprofit, charter organization or university to overhaul failing schools could receive a two-year reprieve from state penalties as well as additional state funding.But the process was harder than it seemed. “People go through a couple of stages of this where they initially say, ‘Oh my, that’s a bunch of money.’ Then they see what they really have to do to make it work, and that is daunting,” Anderson said.Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said he was unwilling to wait months to decide how to proceed with three schools that had been listed as failing for four or five years. “We would be insulting your intelligence as well as any potential partners to have them consider something and have a plan in by March 1,” he told board members in November, according to the Dallas Morning News. The TEA released the guidelines in late February and March, and districts faced an April 30 final deadline to submit their applications.Some Dallas ISD board members and community members also didn’t want to give up the reins of their schools, said board member Miguel Solis. Under SB 1882, districts are required to sign contracts giving the charter group or university authority over the schools’ operations and employees.“The fear from some of my colleagues was that the innovation that we are actually doing related to school choice in Dallas ISD would have been at risk of being taken away from the district’s control and basically given away to universities to run as they pleased,” Solis said. Instead, Dallas ISD officials are planning to close and consolidate some schools and use the district’s own program to try to turn struggling schools around by paying high-performing teachers stipends to work at them.Solis argued the state should be spending more money on innovative programs districts already have in place. “We have data that shows this is a more effective innovation strategy,” he said.Victoria ISD Superintendent Robert Jaklich proposed partnering with local University of Houston at Victoria to manage two schools that had been failing for five years. It would have received an estimated additional $1,921 per student — $2.1 million total — from the state each year of a proposed three-year partnership.But he couldn’t get the contract together in time and so got a terse letter from the state last week saying his request for an extension on state sanctions had been denied. Jaklich isn’t too worried about the rejection: he’s positive that school leaders have managed to turn those schools around, and that they’ll receive passing marks in August’s accountability ratings, largely based on standardized test scores. “We’re extremely confident that all of them are going to make it,” he said.Not all school administrators are as optimistic. Houston ISD has been the key example for the high stakes of the upcoming state penalties, with 10 failing schools putting Texas’ largest district at risk of state takeover. In a disastrous board meeting that ended in multiple arrests, Houston ISD proposed applying for a turnaround partnership to hand over the management of its schools to a charter group called Energized for STEM.Community members turned out in protest, furious at the drastic proposal on a tight timeline, and district officials and board members backed away from the proposal.Houston ISD has another option for a reprieve. It could receive a waiver from its state ratings this year because of the massive financial and phsyical destruction it suffered under Hurricane Harvey — which would delay the sanctions another year.Anderson thinks more districts will be poised to apply for partnerships next year, with more time to plan, and especially as schools continue to trigger potential state takeover. “The campuses people weren’t so concerned about because they were three-year low-performing, if they turn into four-year [low-performing campuses] in August, you have this whole discussion again,” he said.Disclosure: Raise Your Hand Texas and the University of Houston have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.last_img read more

Texas Schools That Want To Arm Their Employees Have Two Choices

first_imgMarjorie Kamys Cotera/Via The Texas TribuneMock weapons used to train educators in Harrold, Texas. The North Texas school district was the first to allow educators to carry guns on school grounds in 2007.Following a deadly mass shooting at Santa Fe High School, Gov. Greg Abbottrolled out a 40-page plan to keep schools safe. Proposals ranged from beefing up existing mental health screening programs to encouraging voluntary use of gun locks at home, but one component seemed to divide lawmakers, districts and Texas schools: arming school employees.If Texas schools want to arm their staffs, they have two options. One is the Marshal Program, which Abbott proposed using state funds to help schools implement. It allows local school boards to authorize employees to carry a handgun on campus, but they must be specially trained and licensed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. Under the program, armed school personnel can’t carry firearms around students.The other option was already around when then-Gov. Rick Perry signed the Marshall Program into law in 2012. Created by Harrold Independent School District Superintendent David Thweatt in 2007, the Guardian Plan allows local school boards to determine training standards and authorize specific employees to carry on campus at all times.Here are four things to know about the two existing plans that allow school districts to arm their employees:The Marshal Program creates a new kind of peace officerFor districts that choose to adopt the Marshal Program, teachers and other school staff members who undergo the required training are taught to act as armed security officers — or peace officers — in the absence of law enforcement.“The Marshal Program is about creating an entirely new class of peace officers — certified and [Texas Commission on Law Enforcement] trained — who can act in a moment of crisis to disable and neutralize an active shooter,” said state Rep. Jason Villalba, the Dallas Republican who authored the bill that created the Texas school marshal program Abbott wants to expand. “That’s why the program is so starkly different than what Mr. Thweatt calls the guardian plan.”The Guardian Plan, on the other hand, lets school staff carry guns with or without marshal training. It doesn’t train school personnel as peace officers, but lets them carry their weapons as long as they undergo district-specific training and have a handgun license. And it doesn’t have a maximum requirement for how many teachers can be armed, unlike the Marshal Program which lets schools only designate one employee a marshal for every 400 students.Despite the differences in approach for the two plans, they both aim to mitigate tragedies in the event an active shooter comes on campus grounds.“That’s the reason we’re doing it, and I think we can do that because they’re not going to know from where our particular defense is going to come,” Thweatt said.“When [an active shooter] comes to the school, they’re going to get swarmed from multiple directions,” he added. “Armed shooters go where they know there’s going to be little resistance, but if they don’t know where they’re going to get resistance, they’re not going to come to our schools.”Rural districts are more likely to adopt one of the plansMore than 200 of Texas’ 1,000-plus school districts have adopted one of two programs. And a majority of those districts tend to be in rural communities, according to Dax Gonzalez, a spokesman for the Texas Association of School Boards.“Generally speaking, districts with police departments … do not tend to allow staff to carry firearms,” Gonzalez said. “Those 217 are likely smaller, more rural districts that feel they cannot be serviced by local law enforcement quickly enough.”Villalba told POLITICO in February that he believes anywhere between 20 to 50 districts have adopted the marshal program. At least 172 Texas districts have adopted the Guardian Plan.Training and gun storage requirements varyArguably one of the biggest differences between the two programs is different requirements for teachers or other employees who want to carry a gun.Marshals have to receive 80 training hours and keep their firearms under lock and key. The Guardian Plan, on the other hand, lets teachers keep their firearm with them at all times — as long as they have a concealed handgun license and go through 15 to 20 hours of training.It’s worth noting that these requirements could change, however. Abbott previously proposed streamlining the training course under the Marshal Program — which he called “burdensome”— and eliminating the lockbox requirement.Villalba was critical of Abbott’s tweaks to the Marshal Program, saying that parents might be upset if teachers didn’t have to lock up their weapons.But several Texas Republicans, including Jerry Patterson, Texas’ former land commissioner who helped get the state’s concealed handgun law passed in 1995, say the lockbox requirement does more harm than good.“The lockbox requirement is silly. The gun needs to be carried on the person and accessible immediately,” Patterson said. “Not where you have to run to the office, go through a combination and then get the gun. If you carry it all the time, you won’t lose the weapon.”Individuals schools and districts that adopt the Guardian Plan are also allowed to choose their own training requirements. At Harrold ISD, for example, employees who choose to carry go through at least 15 hours of training that includes videos of hostage scenarios and shooting drills. Fayetteville ISD, which adopted the plan in February, doesn’t require a specific amount of firearms training (though most staff do around 20 hours per year). And at Keene ISD, which adopted the Guardian Plan in 2016, Superintendent Ricky Stephens previously told The Texas Tribune he requires staff to undergo 80 hours of initial training and 40 hours annually after that.Only one plan receives money from the stateTo adopt either plan, districts have to find a way to pay for training, purchase firearms and ammunition and, in some cases, a lock box.But only the Marshal Program has received state funding to help pay for those expenses.When the Marshal Program was first signed into law, the state had a grant program in place to help districts cover training costs. But that money ran out and funding has not been reauthorized. That’s why Abbott proposed that the state pay for school marshal training this summer to ease the burden on individual districts.Funding for the Guardian Plan was notably missing from the governor’s proposal, however. Instead of getting approval from the Legislature, authorization for the plan is outlined under the Texas Government Code, which lets certain school district employees who have a handgun license to carry their weapon.Since there’s no legislative recognition of the Guardian Plan, Thweatt said, districts that adopt the plan have to pay for it themselves. Thweatt said Harrold ISD reimburses employees who participate for the cost of guns, ammunition and training.“I’ve never received any funding [from the state] for the Guardian Plan,” Thweatt said.Note: This story was inspired by a discussion on education policy happening now in our Facebook group, This is Your Texas. Sign up here to join the conversation.Disclosure: The Texas Association of School Boards has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here. Sharelast_img read more

State CID files chargesheet against Bimal Gurung 71 others

first_imgDarjeeling: State CID on Monday filed the charge-sheet for the June 8, 2017 case in which Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supporters and leaders had locked horns with security forces in Darjeeling while a Cabinet meeting was on in the hill town. Around 72 persons including Bimal Gurung have been named in the charge-sheet.A CID team on Monday filed the charge-sheet on Monday at the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Darjeeling. “A total of 72 persons has been named in the charge-sheet including Bimal Gurung, Asha Gurung, Roshan Giri, Dipen Malay, Prakash Gurung and Swaraj Thapa,” stated Pankaj Prasad, Assistant Public Prosecutor, Darjeeling. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeA total of 7 persons including Binay Tamang, Mandip Sharma, Amod Mukhia, Jyoti Kumar Rai, Dewraj Dewan and John Rai has been discharged owing to lack of evidence. “However, the charge-sheet stated that investigation is still open and that the CID can file a supplementary charge-sheet later on,” added Prasad. The accused have been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including Sections 307 (attempt to murder); 120B (criminal conspiracy), along with different sections of the West Bengal Maintenance of Public Order Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) under the leadership of Gurung had locked horns with the security forces on June 8, 2017. The GJM party was on agitation in the Hills. Police reports claim more than 45 security force personnel were injured in the clash. A police booth was set on fire. Around 15 police vehicles were torched along with a state government Bus. Army was deployed in Darjeeling, Ghoom and Kurseong to control the situation. On that day, the GJM had taken out rallies and staged a sit-in demonstration a short distance away from Raj Bhawan where the Cabinet meeting was taking place. Later, the demonstration turned violent and clashes ensued. The GJM in turn had alleged that many of their supporters were also injured in the clashes. Police had lodged a suo moto FIR and a case had been started at Darjeeling Sadar Police Station on June 9. The case was handed over to the CID on June 29, 2017. On September 6, arrest warrants were issued against Gurung, Asha Gurung, Roshan Giri and 5 front rung GJM leaders. The CJM Court had ordered them to appear in court and surrender in November 2017. Bimal Gurung, Asha Gurung, Roshan Giri and others failed to appear on the designated date. On March 28, 2018, the CID had prayed these absconders be declared as offenders and their movable and immovable properties be attached. The court then issued an order of attachment of Gurung’s house. It was attached on August 2. Following this, properties of other leaders including Prakash Gurung were also attached as per the court order. Prior to this, in June, Bimal Gurung and Roshan Giri’s names were struck off from the electoral rolls in Darjeeling.last_img read more

Googles Dart hits version 20 with major changes for developers

first_imgWe recently asked whether Dart programming was dead, but news of its death might well have been exaggerated. Version 2 of the programming language has just been released, with a range of updates and changes that should cement its popularity with admirers and win new users too. With Dart playing a big part in Google’s much-anticipated Flutter and Fuchsia projects, there’s a possibility that version 2.0 represents a brand new chapter in Dart’s life. News of a Dart ‘reboot’ first emerged in February 2018. Anders Thorhauge Sandholm said at the time that “with Dart 2, we’ve dramatically strengthened and streamlined the type system, cleaned up the syntax, and rebuilt much of the developer tool chain from the ground up to make mobile and web development more enjoyable and productive.” It would appear that six months later the team have finally delivered on their promise. They’ll be hoping it makes a positive impact on the language’s wider adoption. What’s new in Dart 2.0? There’s a whole host of changes that Dart developers will love, all of which can be found in the changelog on GitHub. Most notable is a stronger typed system, which includes runtime checks that will capture errors more effectively, and, for those developers working on Flutter, you can now create an instance of a class without using the “new” keyword. Among other updates, other key changes to Dart include: “Functions marked async now run synchronously until the first await statement. Previously, they would return to the event loop once at the top of the function body before any code runs.” “Constants in the core libraries have been renamed from SCREAMING_CAPS to lowerCamelCase.” “…New methods have been added to core library classes. If you implement the interfaces of these classes, you will need to implement the new methods.” All the changes you’ll find in Dart 2.0 amount to the same thing: improving the developer experience and making the code more readable. The obvious context to all this ‘reboot’ is that Google is betting on the growth of Flutter and Fuchsia over the next few years. With these improvements, it’s possible that we’ll begin to see Dart’s fortunes changing. CodeMentor may have called Dart the ‘worst programming language to learn in 2018’ at the start of the year, but it will be interesting to see if it’s popularity has grown by the time we hit 2019. You can download Dart 2.0.0 for Windows, Mac, and Linux here.last_img read more

In This Issue A sticky question… Budget negoti

first_imgIn This Issue.*A sticky question… *Budget negotiations stall… *BOJ to announce more stimulus… *Gold and Silver reverse…And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts!Is all debt bad???Good day. I was met with the above question as I walked through the door last night.  As I came home from work my 14 year old asked me the answer to the question ‘Is all debt bad?’.  My daughter, Lauren, is in the middle of exams and she was upset that she had missed this question on a civics exam.  She occasionally reads the Pfennig, and has listened in on enough of our dinner conversations to realize that much of the world is currently in a debt crisis.  So when she was presented with a true false question regarding debt, she answered True – all debt is bad. From reading your comments about yesterday’s Pfennig, many of you would have given Lauren extra credit, but unfortunately I had to let her know that her answer is technically wrong.  As I explained to Lauren, not all debt is bad.  There are times when a country, company, or individual needs to borrow money.  Debt can be used to fund all sorts of very good projects, and keeps economies rolling through slowdowns.  But debt is meant to eventually be paid off, not accumulated in a never ending cycle. So yes, Lauren missed that question on her civics exam; but in a way I am glad she missed it as I don’t think it is a bad thing that my daughter is a bit scared of debt.  I just wish some of our leaders in Washington would match my daughter’s concern over debt accumulation. But enough of my dinner table economics lecture, let’s get to the currency markets.It was a ‘risk off’ day in the currency markets, but the moves were dampened by the holiday thinned trading desks.  The yen finally reversed its recent sell off, and the dollar also climbed a bit as US lawmakers moved further apart on a budget deal.  President Obama told business leaders that budget talks have regressed and accused Republicans of wasting a lot of time with political posturing (perhaps a bit of the pot calling the kettle black). Today we have an absolute plethora of data which will be released here in the US.  We start off the morning with GDP projections for the 3rd quarter which are expected to show the US economy grew just under 3% compared to previous estimates of 2.7% growth.  It is Thursday, so we will also get the weekly jobs numbers which are projected to show another 360k workers filed for jobless claims last week.  Continuing claims are predicted to have increased to 3200k in another indication the labor market will be very slow to recover.  This employment data will be followed up with existing home sales and leading indicators.  Yesterday’s data showed a drop in Housing starts (down 3% MOM) but an increase in building permits (3.6%MOM).  Definitely some conflicting data, so the existing home sales may help give investors a better picture of the housing recovery.  Finally, the leading indicators are expected to show a decrease of .2% during November following an increase of the same amount in the previous month.The yen had dropped for three straight days as investors worried the new Prime Minister would successfully push for more aggressive rounds of stimulus.  The BOJ ends their two day meeting today, and are expected to announce additional stimulus moves. Adding to the worries regarding the yen was a Japanese government report released yesterday which showed the trade deficit widened in November. Traditionally Japan has run a trade surplus, and the deficits have caused investors to re evaluate their demand expectations for the yen.  A country which runs a trade surplus creates demand for their currency, while trade deficits will typically drive the demand for (and value of) a currency lower. The yen has bounced back a bit this morning as some investors apparently believe the three day selloff was overdone.The euro continued to climb through most of the morning yesterday, moving just above $1.33 for a short period.  But the renewed worries out of Washington caused it to give back some of these gains and it is now holding in the $1.32 handle.  I had a reader scold me for not writing more on the Swiss Franc and its recent rise.  I haven’t mentioned the Swiss franc simply because of its peg to the Euro.  So as the euro moves, so will the Swiss franc.  The 3.44% increase in the euro over the past month has been matched with a 3.36% increase in the Swiss franc vs. the US$.  As long as the Swiss National Bank defends the peg to the euro, there is really no need to talk about the Swiss as it is tied to the euro.  Now it will certainly be interesting if/when the peg is relaxed, and you can bet Chuck or I will inform all of you when we start hearing any indications of that.  Until then, readers can simply watch the euro.Several readers asked me to comment on the big drop in gold prices over the past couple of days.  Many of you pointed me toward various manipulation theories, but I think there are two possible explanations for the recent drop in prices.  First, there was improved confidence that a compromise would be reached between the two parties over the fiscal cliff.  As we approached the year end, demand for gold climbed as investors looked for an asset they could hide in if/when our leaders in D.C. took us over the cliff.  A second possible explanation is year-end selling due to the probable increase in tax rates.  Silver has had a nice 12 percent rise this year, and gold is up 6.72% so investors could just be taking these gains off the table before 2013.  By the way, this will be the 12th consecutive year of gains in the price of gold. No matter what caused the selloff, both metals rebounded yesterday as concerns over the fiscal cliff agreement returned.  Negotiations in Washington have deteriorated, so my first theory on what caused the recent sell-off has been flipped and gold is now climbing again.  Most of the gold refineries are also going into a end of year / holiday shutdown, so additional supply will be limited over the next couple of weeks.On a longer term basis, I am confident that demand for precious metals will be increasing.  The fiscal problems facing many of the Western nations will shake global investor confidence in ‘fiat’ currencies.  And my thoughts on the ‘rise of the Chinese consumer’ also support higher metals prices.  As consumers in both China and India see even a slight increase in disposable income, a percentage of that income will likely be invested into the precious metals markets.  Gold and Silver are much more accepted as forms of wealth storage in the Asian cultures, so any increase in disposable incomes should lead toward an increase in demand.  Just another reason I think precious metals should be a part of every investors diversified portfolio.And then there was this. The Fed’s holding of interest rates at record low levels have had a very different impact on two separate classes of investors.  A story I spotted on Bloomberg this morning pointed out the dramatic divergence between savers and professional investors.  The story, written by Bob Ivry starts out with this line “Deepak Narula’s mortgage-bond fund is up 39 percent this year.  George Sanchez’s monthly annuity payout is down 41 percent.”  Ivry goes on to explain some of the unintended consequences of the FOMC’s interest rate policies. “The near-zero interest rate the Federal Reserve charges financial firms, as well as securities purchases that will balloon the central bank’s balance sheet to almost $4 trillion next year, have made it easier for Narula’s $1.6 billion fund to thrive and more difficult for Sanchez, a former college library director, to enjoy retirement.”The story includes an excellent quote by Nobel Prize-winning Columbia University economist Joseph E. Stiglitz: “Monetary policy has been indirectly, surreptitiously helping the top and hurting the bottom.”  Stiglitz blames the Fed policies for starving money-savers of income and boosting certain asset prices, widening the gap between the rich and the rest of the country.  Bob Ivry has written some excellent pieces on the Fed, and I always enjoy reading his take on things. To recap. Debt is not always bad, but the constant accumulation of debt is! Budget negotiations hit a snag, sending investors back toward safe havens.  Today will be a big day for data here in the US markets, but holiday thinned trading desks should keep volatility down. The BOJ is expected to announce more stimulus, but the yen has already been adjusted for the expected increase in supply. Gold reversed its recent sell off, and started moving back up on worries on the budget negotiations. And the FOMC’s zero rate policies have caused a divergence in returns for savers vs. professionals.Currencies today 12/20/12. American Style: A$ $1.0493, kiwi .8343, C$ $1.0113, euro 1.3255, sterling 1.6262, Swiss $1.0974. European Style: rand 8.5159, krone 5.5498, SEK 6.5114, forint 216.0, zloty 3.0708, koruna 19.0335, RUB 30.6835, JPY 84.10, SGD 1.2184, HKD 7.7501, INR 54.8544, China 6.2306, pesos 12.7715, BRL 2.0619, Dollar Index 79.163, Oil $89.88, 10-year 1.78%, Silver $31.22, Gold $1,670.62, and Platinum $1591.24.That’s it for today. Congratulations to Antione Lawrence as his lovely wife Brooke gave birth to a beautiful baby girl yesterday.  It is the couple’s first child, and the first of three babies on their way for the WorldMarkets desk (Both Mikes, Harrell and Meyer, are also expecting).  We anxiously awaited the news yesterday morning after Antione let us know he and Brooke were headed into the hospital.  Both baby and mom are doing fine, and I’m sure proud papa Antione is beaming!  Sounds like we could see our first snow of the year, it is currently raining but the temps are supposed to drop and the rain should turn to snow later today.  I will wrap up today’s Pfennig on that great news.  I hope everyone has a great day, and thanks for reading the Pfennig!Chris Gaffney, CFA Vice President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837last_img read more

Lois Lerners emails are back from the dead—sort o

first_imgLois Lerner’s emails are back from the dead—sort of. The former IRS director’s BlackBerry, however, is still long gone. The IRS intentionally destroyed it in June 2012 (after congressional staffers interviewed Lerner about the IRS targeting conservative groups) as the Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel acknowledged in a recent sworn declaration. We’ve all met someone we just don’t trust but don’t know why. There’s often a pretty good reason to feel that way. Has someone ever made an insincere attempt to flatter you? Their words might be complimentary, but their body language, tone, and/or context let you know the compliment is phony. Does this guy really think I’m that stupid? So, up goes your trust wall. If he’ll lie about this, he’ll lie about anything. The IRS debacle is a prime example of why we build trust walls. The emails Congress requested had (supposedly) been deleted when several hard drives crashed. I asked our in-house technology guru, Alex Daley, what the probability was of that happening. Here’s what he had to say: Everyone who ever owned a computer knows that hard drives are finicky beasts. In fact, Google uses a LOT of hard drives and so they have published all kinds of research on their failure rates. The gist: there’s about a 1 in 36 chance a hard drive fails in any given month. The math says then that if the IRS was practicing good data center management practices—we have to assume, however silly it might seem, that the agency responsible for holding the most personal information on American citizens outside the NSA is following best practices—then the chance of seven hard drives failing at the same time and wiping out the data on them is about 1 in 78 billion. How rare is that? The odds of winning the Florida Lottery are roughly 1 in 23 million. So it’s 340 times more unlikely than you winning a state lottery. The odds of winning the Powerball are 1 in 175 million; for Mega Millions, the odds are 1 in 259 million. Of course, we give the IRS too much credit. The risk of hard drives failing increases with age, and we suspect the IRS, like much of the government, isn’t spending a lot of time rotating hard drives. The odds also increase if you keep all the drives in one place, using old-fashioned persistence techniques. Then a fire, flood, electrical issues, or any other number of problems could easily wipe out the whole lot at once. At one point there seemed to be only one plausible explanation for allowing so much data to disappear: negligence. Turns out, however, the data weren’t even gone. As Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton announced on Monday: Department of Justice attorneys for the Internal Revenue Service told Judicial Watch on Friday [August 22] that Lois Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe. The Obama administration attorneys said that this back-up system would be too onerous to search. The DOJ attorneys also acknowledged that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is investigating this back-up system. …. There are no “missing” Lois Lerner emails—nor missing emails of any of the other top IRS or other government officials whose emails seem to be disappearing at increasingly alarming rate. All the focus on missing hard drives has been a diversion. It sure seems clear why so many Americans feel put down. Does the government really think we’re that stupid? Maybe. I look at it this way: I suppose it’s possible a dog can eat your homework. It’s still a lousy excuse that no one will believe. It’s no wonder politicians rank so low on our trust scale.Whom Can You Trust? The IRS is in our lives, period. If you live here in the US or you’re a US citizen living abroad, you can’t sever the relationship. Here’s the upside, though: for the most part you can choose to conduct your private affairs with trustworthy people. One of the most common emails I receive is from subscribers looking for a trustworthy broker or financial advisor. Most come with sad tales: they had to fire their advisor because something felt fishy. Maybe they’d been directed to overly risky investments or high-fee mutual funds. Some couldn’t pinpoint their advisor’s exact offense but just knew in their gut something was amiss. We should all expect the people we pay to help manage our money to put our interests ahead of their own. One subscriber said that paying fees to an advisor to put his money into high-fee investments made it almost impossible to end up with the growth he needed. He clearly wasn’t getting the service he deserved and had good reason to look elsewhere. I recently finished reading The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, M.D. Dr. Brizendine shares quite a bit of scientific evidence to support the existence of female intuition. In brief, women score higher on tests for reading nonverbal communications and on average have more receptors for those cues than their male counterparts. That explains why my youngest daughter recently fired an attorney. I was quite proud. She explained, “I got tired of feeling like I was being talked down to!” When I asked her to elaborate, she felt he thought she was stupid and should blindly follow his advice without question. She was picking up on the little things that might seem trivial but cause our subconscious mind to take notice. At one point in my career, I sought advice from a top public speaker. (Maybe I wanted to be more like my daughters.) This speaker had an uncanny ability to “read, sense, and feel” his audience. He did this mostly through nonverbal clues and suggested I read Body Language by Julius Fast to help my subconscious mind tune in to nonverbal cues. I read the book and learned that much of it was based on works like ‪Kinesics and Context: ‪Essays on Body Motion Communication by ‪Ray L. Birdwhistell. So I read those books too and worked to sharpen my subconscious mind’s nonverbal recognition skills. Afterward my student critiques even went up a full point. Perhaps that also helped me picked up on the suspect explanations coming from the IRS. It’s certainly helped me trust my gut when deciding whether or not to do business with someone. An attorney, stockbroker, money manager, or certified financial planner can have a great track record and all the requisite credentials you could ask for. That’s not enough. If he or she makes you uncomfortable but you aren’t sure why, don’t ignore your instincts. Switching course and hiring someone new can be an expensive headache, but in the long run, you’ll be glad you did.On the Lighter Side Last Saturday we went to the Frog Follies in Evansville, Indiana. It’s a huge vintage car show, with almost 4,500 cars, all made before 1949. My grandson mentioned that a lot of old people really like car shows, and he’s correct. The classics remind us of our youth, and we often have stories to tell about particular models. I hope future generations preserve their history to share with their grandchildren, too. I snuck away from the grandkids last week for an interview with Kerry Lutz of the Financial Survival Network about annuities. With that in mind, I hope all of our subscribers read through our free special report, The Truth About Annuities: Three Dangers You Must Avoid When Shopping for Annuities. Download your complimentary copy here. And finally… Until next week…last_img read more

Greece finally struck a deal… Over the weekend G

first_imgGreece finally struck a deal… Over the weekend, Greece held an “emergency summit” with its creditors. Negotiations dragged on for 17 hours. At 9 a.m. Monday, the two sides finally agreed on a deal that will keep Greece in the eurozone. Greece will receive €86 billion ($95 billion) in bailout funds. In exchange, it must radically transform its socialist economy. Greece agreed to slash spending, raise taxes, and fix its bloated pension system. It will also sell government assets to pay off some of its debt. Investors are happy to avoid a “Grexit.” The Euro Stoxx 50, an index of European blue chip stocks, climbed 1.8% on the news. The German DAX rose 1.5%. No word yet on when Greek banks will reopen. We told you how the Greek government closed all Greek banks during the crisis and how it would only let people withdraw €60 ($66) per day. The Athens stock exchange is still closed too. •  The Greek debt crisis will fade from the headlines for now… But this bailout doesn’t solve the real problem. Greece owes Europe more than €300 billion it can never repay. Yesterday’s bailout just kicks the can down the road… again. Its Greece’s third bailout since 2010. Europe and the International Monetary Fund had already loaned Greece more than €240 billion since 2010, before this latest bailout. BBC reported that the European Union believes this latest bailout could help Greece pay its bills for three years. After that, Greece will likely run out of money again. So expect to hear about the Greek debt crisis again sometime in 2018. On the brighter side, Greece’s debt crisis has created screaming bargains in some Greek stocks. The Athens stock market is down 84% from its 2007 peak. Nick Giambruno plans to recommend a Greek company in the next issue of Crisis Speculator. He’s found an exceptional Greek business trading for pennies on the dollar. This company is unique because it’s the victim of not one but two crises. That’s all we can tell you for now… more on this opportunity soon. I’ve just seen a shocking file from Bill Bonner… He’s been tracking a threat so big that it could cut us off from basic things that we depend on every day: ATMs, credit cards and more. Sounds crazy, but it looks like it’s finally about to hit. Stay Safe – See It Here. Recommended Links – Until Midnight Tonight, You Can Claim 1 Free Year of Professional Speculator It normally costs $2,500… But until midnight tonight, editor Paul Mampilly is sharing one of the biggest predictions of his career and letting you claim 1 free year of his work to see his top recommendation, and why he believes it could make you an extraordinary 26 times your money over the next decade. Click here for details.  — •  In other news, Japan is close to restarting its nukes… In March 2011, a massive tsunami slammed Japan. It killed 18,000 people. It also caused a meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It was the worst nuclear disaster since Three Mile Island. Before the tsunami hit in 2011, Japan got 27% of its power from nuclear. Japan was the third-largest generator of nuclear power on the planet. But the country shut down all its nukes after Fukushima. Now, four years later, Japan plans to restart its first nuclear reactor in mid-August. It will fire up another reactor in September. Japan currently plans to restart 15 reactors total. Japan is a tiny island with few natural resources. It has been paying vast sums to import energy to keep its lights on. Japan paid $270 billion to import fossil fuels (mostly natural gas) in 2013. That caused Japan to have a trade deficit of $112 billion… its worst trade deficit ever. Louis James, editor of International Speculator, and his analyst team recently explained how has Japan no choice but to turn its nukes back on… There’s no way Japan can meet its electricity needs without restarting its reactors. Oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices will not stay low forever either. Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority should begin to streamline the restart application process. We then expect a faster pace of restarts in the second half of 2015 and beyond. •  This is good news for the price of uranium… Uranium is what powers a nuclear power plant… just like coal powers a coal power plant. We asked Louis if Japan’s nukes could “move the needle” in uranium prices. Here’s his reply… As it happens, I’m kicking rocks on a uranium exploration project today. There certainly is buzz among the analysts here about the restart of that Japan reactor bringing more buying to the sector. It’s happened before. I’m not so sure, with other forms of energy (like natural gas and coal) so cheap and looking to remain that way. But whether or not the market ticks up on that news, it’s a clear sign of where things are headed, for Japan to be doing this. Very bullish. Uranium is in a bear market. The price of uranium is down 72% from its all-time high of $130 per pound set in 2007. Japan restarting its reactors may or may not revive uranium prices in the short term. But there’s no question that uranium has a promising future. There are currently 437 nuclear power reactors operating worldwide. 60 more are under construction, another 165 are planned, and 331 more are proposed. The number of nuclear power plants in the world could easily double in the next couple decades. China alone plans to build 46 new ones by 2020. It will take a lot of uranium to fuel all those new plants. That means uranium prices will likely have to rise from their depressed levels. Paladin Energy, a uranium miner, reports that the cost of extraction for 60% of global production is above uranium’s market price. In other words, many uranium miners are struggling to make any money at all. Unless uranium prices rise, it’s not worth their while to produce the uranium needed to fuel all those new nuclear power plants. Louis James recently told International Speculator readers about his favorite uranium pick. He said this company is the “best-positioned producer to benefit from the coming bull market in uranium. This is true regardless of any potential weakness in uranium prices in the short term.” Louis thinks this company’s stock will eventually “go much higher” than its price before the Fukushima disaster. And right now, it’s selling for dirt-cheap. This is the company you want to own when the uranium price turns higher. You can learn about it by taking a risk-free trial to International Speculator.last_img read more

By EB Tucker editor Strategic Investor

first_imgBy E.B. Tucker, editor, Strategic Investor E.B. Tucker Editor, Strategic InvestorP.S. I’ll be at the second annual Legacy Investment Summit in Southern California from September 23-25. I’d love to meet you and chat about investments, traveling, art, and more.I hope to see you there.If you’re interested in joining, don’t delay… Spaces are filling up fast. Click here to reserve your tickets. Regular readers know I like to share what I’m doing outside of the markets.I believe it’s the experiences away from the desk that do more for long-term success than anything you can accomplish at the office.With that, I’m excited to share details on my latest trip with you. It’s a special two-part series on art that I hope you find useful.Let’s get started…Last month, I went to Marfa, Texas. It’s an out-of-the-way place with a population of 1,800. It’s not a place you’d expect to see world-famous art.In the 1970s, artist and architect Donald Judd moved to Marfa. He had risen to a somewhat famous status in New York City but he was frustrated with the art scene.Judd wanted to be away from people. He liked the American West. He took out a map and circled rural areas that seemed like they’d suit him. Marfa won. Marfa, Texas is three hours southeast of El Paso, not far from the Mexican borderFor about 100 years prior, Marfa wasn’t much more than a dried-up town where the train used to stop. After the end of the coal-powered steam engine, the town’s status as a water refueling station didn’t mean much. Downtown MarfaMarfa also has a military history. During World War II, there were several military training areas in the region. Judd bought a small, walled complex of abandoned buildings in the town formerly used by a military quartermaster. He transformed the complex into his home and studio.The locals thought this was strange. They were right. Judd went on to buy an old 340-acre military site south of town. It housed Nazi POWs during the war. With dozens of abandoned buildings on-site, he set out to turn the base into a permanent art installation.Permanent art means it sits there forever. The idea is you look at it, ponder it, and then move on. I’ll explain why that’s an important part of art later.In the picture below, notice the large silver boxes positioned in a straight line. They’re made of aluminum. Each one weighs 2,000 pounds. Judd had each of the 100 boxes fabricated with different internal dimensions. He placed them in three perfect lines roughly 30 years ago, and they haven’t moved since.Standing in the middle of this building is a unique experience. The giant quarter-pane windows let in a lot of west Texas sunlight. The symmetrical organization of the exhibit is purposeful. Former military building at Donald Judd’s Chinati Foundation in MarfaJudd insisted people not take photos while looking at his work. He was on to something. These days, people can’t look at anything without taking a photo of it on their smartphone. Judd realized that when you stare at a device and not the art, you’re not experiencing it.The Point of ArtJudd died in 1994. He left behind several foundations to preserve his work. He was an odd guy.For instance, he had thousands of books in his library organized by the author’s birthdate. I saw his library in Marfa. He also built uncomfortable furniture for the library. He thought that while reading you shouldn’t get too comfortable, or you’d lose focus.This is all part of why I enjoy art. It’s odd. The point of it is merely to observe and enjoy. It took me decades to discover this simple pleasure.I grew up in rural eastern North Carolina. I don’t remember people talking about art. My guess is they feared being mistaken for a liberal, which was essentially a communist in their eyes.Most of the artworks I saw were dark oil paintings depicting a fox hunt, a Civil War scene, or something related to early American history. I just didn’t get it.It wasn’t that we were hayseeds – far from it. We visited all the major U.S. cities. We visited the requisite museums to see the important stuff. What I didn’t know was how to look at a piece of art and simply enjoy it.Let It Speak to YouPeople said a piece of art spoke to them. My first thought was if a painting talks to you, you’re clinically insane. All of a sudden, that phrase made sense to me. It happened one day five years ago.I was in Paris waiting for Bill Bonner. In 2014, I helped him launch The Bill Bonner Letter (now The Bonner-Denning Letter). If you keep up with Bill, you know he spends a lot of time in “out of the way” places.That summer, he was on the way to his chateau in central France. It’s a few hours south of Paris. Since the directions were complicated, he asked me to wait for his other guests in Paris before heading south.With a few days to kill in Paris, a friend from Brussels gave me a list of several lesser-known museums to visit. He’s a major player in the art world. He told me there are around 130 museums in Paris. Most people only visit the Louvre.I ended up at a small museum on the north side of Paris. It had nothing but Claude Monet paintings. I spent half the day sitting and staring at his works. I figured out why I didn’t understand the detailed oil paintings I remembered from childhood. Monet smashed that style, kicking off the Impressionist movement.I’m simplifying a big part of art history, of course. The style change of the 1870s wasn’t something we should reduce to a few sentences. However, the contrast between Monet and his predecessors is shocking. Impressionist paintings are generally bright and a little messy, and they’re begging you to find the portrayed scene within that mess.I discovered that I liked Impressionist work. I liked Monet and his contemporaries. And that’s enough to enjoy art.Back to MarfaMarfa is an art mecca. If you enjoy culture, excellent cuisine, and progressive art all situated in the middle of nowhere, you might want to visit.On the drive from El Paso, you’ll pass a seemingly random building. It’s a replica of a Prada store. The shoes and handbags are real, yet there’s no one in the store. The contrast of the haughty brand against the barren west Texas landscape is interesting. “Prada Marfa” permanent art exhibit near Valentine, TexasOf all the art I saw over several days in Marfa, I did have a favorite.When Judd bought the abandoned military base south of Marfa, he had a plan. He gave each of his artist friends one of the buildings. He asked that they each create a permanent art installation in their building.Judd’s friend Dan Flavin chose six U-shaped former barracks. He painted the walls and ceilings white. He asked viewers to enter the building at the tip of the “U,” walk to the back, then turn and view each of the six exhibits. Dan Flavin’s permanent light exhibit at the Chinati FoundationFlavin designed the exhibit before his death in 1996. Other artists took his plans and completed the work. Walking building to building looking at the six exhibits from each side is a unique experience. If you enjoy art, it’s something to see.Art Can Be an InvestmentTraveling to see obscure art is an exciting hobby. It will also keep you away from homogenous mobs of Americans flocking to see overcrowded sites like Yellowstone or Mount Rushmore.The art a person enjoys seeing says something about them. The art a person chooses to hang on his wall says everything about them.I’ve turned my art hobby into an investment. I don’t intend to make a fortune from the pieces I buy. However, I also don’t want to own things I can’t sell.There’s nothing wrong with buying a painting you like for sale on Main Street in a ritzy tourist town. Just don’t expect to ever sell that painting for more than $100. I call this consumption art. I want to own investment art.I found a way to enjoy and invest in art at the same time. I had some help discovering it. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow in part two.Regards,last_img read more

The number of inspections by the social care regul

first_imgThe number of inspections by the social care regulator that are cancelled or rescheduled every month has risen by more than 360 per cent in just one year, the watchdog’s own figures have revealed.The figures – revealed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following a freedom of information request by Disability News Service (DNS) – show that 25 inspections of adult social care services were cancelled in April 2015, but that this shot up to 103 in April 2016.The figures also show the number of inspections that had to be rescheduled rose from 25 in April 2015 to 130 in April 2016.The freedom of information request was originally submitted by DNS in an attempt to discover the impact of changes to CQC’s troubled Experts by Experience (EbE) programme, in which people with experience of using services accompany CQC inspectors on their inspection visits of health and care services.The EbE programme was hit by criticism after three of four new contracts to run the programme were awarded to Remploy, the formerly government-owned disability employment business which is now mostly owned by the scandal-hit US company Maximus.In February, DNS reported that the decision to hand the three contracts to Remploy/Maximus had led to confusion, chaos and a stream of resignations, with some Experts even being told to print their own ID badges.Experts had previously been paid more than £17 an hour to take part in CQC inspections, but many were furious when they discovered Remploy planned to cut their pay to just £8.25 per hour (or £9.40 in London), although CQC later agreed to subsidise these wages for existing Experts for the first six months of the Remploy contracts.The new figures released to DNS show that inspections that were cancelled or rescheduled as a result of “insufficient non-CQC resources” (which includes those where there problems with securing Experts to take part in inspections) rose from six in July 2015 (when CQC began to collect the figures) to 26 in April 2016, an increase of more than 330 per cent.One Expert said the figures were “embarrassing”, but he said they did not surprise him because he was currently having more inspections cancelled by Remploy than those that went ahead.He said: “The inspectors [I speak to] are all saying the same thing: there are not any Experts available. That is what they are being told by Remploy.“Quite a lot of this I suspect is because of Remploy’s chaotic handling of the contract.”He said he had real concerns about the impact of so many cancelled inspections on CQC’s ability to root out abuse and other poor practice in care homes, community-based social care services and home care agencies.He said he believed that the inspection programme was “woefully and dangerously underfunded”, while inspectors were “dropping like flies because they are way too over-worked”.A CQC spokesman refused to say whether the increase in cancellations and rescheduled inspections due to “insufficient non-CQC resources” was connected with the decision to hand the contracts to Remploy/Maximus and the subsequent reported chaos within the EbE programme.And he refused to say whether the overall cancellation and rescheduling figures were due to funding problems within the regulator.But he said it was “clear that the majority of our inspections are able to go ahead, as planned”.He said: “When we do have to make arrangements to reschedule planned inspections of adult social care services, there are many possible reasons behind this. “For example, in adult social care these include urgent inspections or enforcement activity being required elsewhere; changes to the provider’s service, such as closure or relocation; and changes needed due to sickness, annual leave and other personal circumstances.“When making these decisions, we always prioritise our activities according to where we have the greatest concerns as this is in the best interests of people who are receiving care.”But he refused to explain why the number of cancellations and rescheduled inspections had risen by more than 360 per cent in just one year.He added: “The Care Quality Commission continues to have formal meetings with suppliers of the new Experts by Experience services which began in February 2016 on a monthly basis and we will continue to closely monitor their progress in helping us deliver our programme, which will significantly expand the number of Experts by Experience that we involve on inspections.“Our commitment to inspect every adult social care service that was registered on or before 1 October 2014 at least once using our current regulatory approach by the end of March 2017 remains and we are on track to do so.”last_img read more

Theres a Gender Pay Gap for eBay Sellers

first_img Register Now » February 19, 2016 Even on eBay, men make more.That’s the new finding from a study of over a million eBay transactions across the U.S. published Friday in the journal Science Advances.How much more? Comparing sales on brand-new items, women make on average about 80 cents for every dollar a man does.With help from eBay Labs, sociologist Tamar Kricheli-Katz and economist Tali Regev peered into transaction data from 2009-2012, looking at which sellers were men, which were women, and how much each made selling identical items online.Regev says what’s interesting about studying pay disparities on a website like eBay is that unlike workforce wage gap studies, the difference in pay in an online auction can’t be explained by human factors, such as experience.“In labor markets you can always say there are differences between men and women,” Regev says. But when two people are selling the exact same brand new product on eBay? “There’s not much you can say about the differences in the product itself,” Regev adds.The pay gap on eBay mirrors what economists know about the American labor market. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that women make approximately 81 cents on the dollar, a figure that’s been widening recently. For female CEOs, the gap is worse: they make about 70 percent compared to male chief executives.Kricheli-Katz and Regev weren’t satisfied just seeing the eBay data though; they wanted to be sure online auctioning biases were real. So they set up their own experiment. They invited 116 people, both men and women, to bargain for a $100 gift card. Some study participants bought their gift card from an imaginary online vendor named “Allison,” while some placed bets on “Brad’s” $100 card. “Allison” made on average 7 percent less than “Brad” for the exact same gift card.But it’s not just women who get a raw deal hawking on eBay.In a separate study published in the Rand Journal of Economics last October, professors at Yale Law School and Harvard University found when photos of baseball cards on eBay were held in a black hand, they made 20 percent less than white-handed sellers.“The way we interact in markets is affected by our beliefs about status and the social script we have in mind,” Regev says.Regev’s colleague Kricheli-Katz says she hopes people presented with this new data will become more aware of their own biases. “Maybe if people know that, this process will become more conscious, and over time the gap will narrow,” she says.But sometimes, it does pay to be a woman on eBay.Women outsold men in certain categories, including baby products and toys for pets. Women also had higher “star” ratings, indicating better feedback from buyers. And when women sold used goods, the wage gap nearly disappeared: women earned on average 97 cents on the dollar.The researchers think there may be something about the perceived gender of a product that affects the gap. Is it possible women get more for items like handbags, but men get more for a set of golf clubs?The answer to that question … will be sold to the highest bidder. There’s a Gender Pay Gap for eBay Sellers Hilary Brueck 3 min read Add to Queue This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine –shares Gender Gap Next Article Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Businesslast_img read more

Samsung Flags 53 Billion Profit Hit From Note 7 Failure

first_imgSamsung Next Article Add to Queue Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. on Friday said it expected to take a hit to its operating profit of about $3 billion over the next two quarters due to the discontinuation of its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.The outlook brings to about $5.3 billion the total losses the global smartphone leader has forecast as a result of the overheating issues, after it said on Wednesday it would suffer a $2.3 billion hit to third-quarter profit.The premium device that was meant to compete with Apple Inc.’s latest iPhones at the top end of the smartphone market had to be scrapped earlier this week, less than two months after its launch, due to safety fears.The South Korean tech giant said in a statement on Friday it expected the blow to profit to be in the mid-3 trillion won over the next two quarters — in the mid-2 trillion won range in the October-December period and about 1 trillion won ($900 million) for the first quarter of 2017.Samsung shares, which have fallen about 8 percent this week, edged up 0.6 percent as of 0228 GMT on Friday, versus a 0.5 percent gain on the broader market.To make up for the lost revenue, Samsung said it would expand sales of gadgets like the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge phones, and make “significant changes” in its quality assurance processes to improve product safety.Investors and analysts said that while the company had to move quickly to reassure the market about the potential financial costs, deeper losses from one of the tech industry’s most spectacular product failures could not be ruled out.Reputational damage remained the great unknown and potentially more harmful than recall costs, with rivals in the cut-throat industry eager to pounce on any sign of weakness in the market leader’s standing among consumers.”The sales impact on other models remains unclear,” said Kim Sung-soo, a fund manager at LS Asset Management, which owns Samsung Electronics shares.”The end of the premium model will damage Samsung’s brand, and hurt demand for its other models. It is difficult to measure such impact.”Samsung posted earnings of $7.2 billion in the second quarter, with mobile profits — its biggest earner — soaring 57 percent.Rebuilding trustThe Note 7 debacle has come at an awkward time for South Korea’s biggest family-run conglomerate, which is in the middle of a leadership succession and is facing calls for a major restructuring from U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management.Park Jung-hoon, a fund manager at HDC Asset Management which owns shares in Samsung affiliates, said that although future losses would not be as bad as the third quarter the company had to work hard to rebuild confidence.”What’s important is whether the flagship S7 can fill the gap left by the Note 7, and how much trust Samsung can regain from consumers by the time the S8 comes out,” he said. Analysts expect the S8 to be released in the first quarter.Key to brand recovery would be rapidly finding out and communicating what went wrong with the Note 7, which was recalled when some devices were found to be combustible and finally discontinued when customers reported similar faults in their replacements.The company blamed faulty batteries for the original problem but it has given no inkling about the cause of overheating in the replacements.”Samsung must announce clearly what the reason was and dispel uncertainty,” Park said.Investors were also expecting the company to show its “commitment to shareholders” by announcing share buybacks or higher dividends, he said.Samsung has announced financial incentives for U.S. and South Korea customers who exchange Note 7s for other Samsung products, as part of efforts to stem customer defections.(Reporting by Se Young Lee and Hyunjoo Jin and Joyce Lee; Editing by Stephen Coates) Image credit: Reuters | Kim Hong-Ji October 14, 2016 Register Now » Samsung Flags $5.3 Billion Profit Hit From Note 7 Failure Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business 4 min read This story originally appeared on Reuters Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. The premium device that was meant to compete with the latest iPhones at the top end of the smartphone market had to be scrapped earlier this week. –shares Reuters last_img read more

Equinix to Offer Enhanced Cloud Connectivity with Amazon Web Services

first_imgFaster Connection Capacities Help Accelerate Enterprise Cloud TransformationsEquinix, Inc., the global interconnection and data center company, announced it is strengthening its relationship with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to offer enhanced cloud connectivity that helps enterprises accelerate their journey to AWS via a private cloud network onramp.Building upon its existing collaboration to offer private and secure connectivity with AWS Direct Connect, Equinix is participating in the launch of the new AWS Direct Connect Service Delivery Program, which allows Equinix customers to use Hosted Connections with 1G, 2G, 5G and 10G capacities on Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ (ECX Fabric™). The enhanced capabilities allow enterprises with mission-critical workloads to benefit from lower latency and higher bandwidth capacities for hybrid cloud architectures on Platform Equinix®.To support hybrid workloads, the availability of new 1G, 2G, 5G and 10G capacities allows Equinix customers using ECX Fabric to easily connect to a range of AWS services via AWS Direct Connect locations in the same metro where the customer’s infrastructure is located. For other workloads requiring low latency, higher bandwidth and data sovereignty adherence, Equinix customers can use the new higher capacities on ECX Fabric to access all AWS services via AWS Direct Connect locations in metros different from where the customer’s infrastructure is located.Marketing Technology News: Gartner Survey Shows Inside Sales Organizations Risk Losing 24% of Employees This YearHighlights/Key FactsThe need to deploy hybrid cloud architecture by connecting to cloud service providers, such as AWS, is becoming increasingly important for global enterprises as digital transformation fuels the need for on-demand access to cloud-based services. Equinix is a long-time AWS Direct Connect provider, supporting both Dedicated Connections and Hosted Connections in Equinix IBX data centers globally. In March 2019, AWS announced an update to the AWS Direct Connect Partner Program, validating Hosted Connections and Dedicated Connections as the preferred AWS Direct Connect models. AWS also recommends customers rely on Dedicated Connections and Hosted Connections for sensitive workloads.Marketing Technology News: Thunderhead and Proximity London Announce Partnership to Deliver Best-in-class Customer EngagementTo enable hybrid cloud deployments for enterprises, Equinix offers more AWS Direct Connect onramps than any other data center provider. AWS Direct Connect is available to customers via ECX Fabric in 27 strategic markets, including Amsterdam, Chicago, Dallas, Dubai, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Manchester, Miami, Munich, New York, Osaka, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Warsaw and Washington, D.C.ECX Fabric is an on-demand, SDN-enabled interconnection service that allows any business to connect between its own distributed infrastructure, and any other company’s distributed infrastructure, including the world’s largest network service and cloud providers, on Platform Equinix. Direct and private connectivity to strategic cloud service providers like AWS is essential as digital transformation fuels higher demand for localized digital services at the edge. According to the Global Interconnection Index (GXI) Volume 2, a market study published by Equinix, interconnection between enterprises and cloud and IT providers is projected to grow 98% per annum through 2021, supporting businesses building out new digital services and migrating existing workloads to third-party cloud platforms.Marketing Technology News: James Liu Appointed to Board of Directors of Opera Limited Amazon Web ServicesAWS DirectEquinixEquinix Cloud Exchange FabricMarketing TechnologyNews Previous ArticleAccenture Named a Leader in Gartner’s Inaugural Magic Quadrant for Oracle Cloud Applications Services, WorldwideNext ArticleIntroducing Stonly: The Innovative Solution to Help Drive Customer Success Equinix to Offer Enhanced Cloud Connectivity with Amazon Web Services PRNewswire5 hours agoJuly 23, 2019 last_img read more

Swiss police investigate fatal crash fire involving Tesla

Citation: Swiss police investigate fatal crash, fire involving Tesla (2018, May 15) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-swiss-police-fatal-involving-tesla.html © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Tesla’s Autopilot engaged during Utah crash The Bellinzona city fire brigade reportedly pulled from its Facebook page a comment that suggested the vehicle’s lithium ion batteries could have triggered a phenomenon involving a “rapid and unstoppable increase in temperature” before Thursday’s accident.Reached by phone on Tuesday, the fire brigade said simply that an investigation was underway and declined to comment further.Bellinzona police said the German driver, 48, crashed while driving on the highway in circumstances that have not yet been clarified.Tesla said in a company release that it’s saddened by the crash and is fully cooperating with authorities to find out the facts. “Tesla has not yet received any data from the car and thus does not know the facts of what occurred, although it appeared to be a high-speed collision,” the statement said.The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is investigating at least two recent fires involving Tesla vehicles. Last week the agency opened a probe of a Model S that caught fire after crashing into a wall in Florida. Two 18-year-olds were trapped in the vehicle and died in the flames.The U.S. agency also is looking into the performance of the company’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system after a Tesla Model X SUV crashed into a barrier on a California highway. The driver in that incident died, but Tesla said he was pulled from the vehicle before it caught fire.Police in Utah are looking into a collision involving a Tesla electric car that hit a fire department vehicle over the weekend. Drive told investigators she had the vehicle’s semi-autonomous Autopilot mode engaged when she slammed into the back of the truck. Police in southern Switzerland say they are investigating the death of a German man after a Tesla car he was driving crashed into a guardrail and burst into flames last week. 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. read more