Festive demand for gold in India got off to a tepid start, with local prices still at a heavy discount to the global benchmark, a bad sign for a period when buying is typically strong.Though sales picked up this week with the onset of the festival season, demand was lower than usual, retailers said, even as jewellers splashed newspapers across the country with ads promising good deals and discounts.Following the nine-day Hindu festival of Navratri, India celebrates Dussehra on Thursday, when buying of gold jewellery, coins or bars is considered auspicious.The fourth quarter is typically a strong period for gold purchases in India, the world’s second biggest bullion consumer, due to festivals and weddings.”This year fewer customers are visiting our showrooms compared to last year,” said Tanya Rastogi, a director at Lala Jugal Kishore Jewellers in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.”For the last two to three years, gold has been giving negative returns. It has badly affected investment demand,” Rastogi said.Still, next month India will celebrate Dhanteras and Diwali, when demand could improve, she added.Global gold prices are on track to post their third straight annual loss this year, already down nearly 40 percent since hitting a record high in 2011.Dealers in India were offering a discount of $8 to $12 an ounce this week, compared to $7 to $11 last week.Demand from rural areas has been hit particularly hard as farmers suffer from the first back-to-back drought in India in three decades.Two-thirds of gold demand in India comes from farmers and residents of small villages who see jewellery as way to store wealth. But lower-than-normal monsoon rainfall this year due to El Nino weather pattern has eroded rural incomes.”Demand from rural areas has moderated due to drought. Jewellers from the countryside made thin purchases in the last few weeks,” said a Mumbai-based dealer with a private bank.Elsewhere in Asia, demand remained lacklustre. In top consumer China, prices on the Shanghai Gold Exchange ticked up to a premium from a small discount late last week, though dealers at bullion banks said physical buying wasn’t strong.”Demand is very sluggish,” said Ronald Leung, chief dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers Ltd in Hong Kong, adding that a strong dollar and a recent price rally was hurting demand.In Hong Kong this week, premiums dropped to 80 to 90 cents an ounce, from $1.20-$1.30 last week.
In this Nov. 5, 2014 file photo, Washington Mayor-Elect Muriel Bowser speaks during a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington. Bowser won on the strength of the Black vote.The District’s mayor-elect recently announced her transition team that will aid her move toward power. Residents seem pleased by what they see thus far.Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser (D) appointed former D.C. Superior Court Judge Mary Terrell, Brookings Institute and public financing expert Alice Rivlin, retired Pepco executive Beverly Perry, Mary’s Center leader Maria Gomez and union leader John Boardman as the co-chairs of her transition team on Nov. 7. Bowser also appointed four former mayors of the city, Sharon Pratt Kelly, Anthony Williams, Adrian Fenty and Marion Barry, who now is the Ward 8 council member, as co-chairs of the committee.“We have just 56 days to work on our transition,” Bowser said. “We all are committed with a sense of urgency.”She said that she will make further appointments in the form of working committees specializing in areas such as criminal justice, employment and economic development.Bowser will take the reins of the District’s government in early January 2015.Lorenzo Green, who serves as an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Ward 8, is impressed with Bowser’s selections.“I feel that she is moving in the right direction,” Green said. “She has selected people from the city’s past and present, and they should serve her well.”Green was also pleased that Bowser opted to make her transition announcement in Ward 8 at an office building under construction in the Historic Anacostia neighborhood. While Green is pleased with Bowser’s efforts, Martin Moulton, a Libertarian and resident of Ward 6, has some reservations.“It seems like to me that we are getting the same old people running things,” Moulton said. “I like Miss Bowser, but seem like to me that corporate money is dictating things. Corporate money buys politicians and matters like housing, jobs and schools are being ignored.”He continued, “We have qualified people in the city who can help her run it. We have a diverse population and there are people with top talent who live here already. We need competition for those jobs that Bowser is offering, not just the same old faces.”Rivlin served on the transition team of D.C. mayor Vincent Gray (D) in 2010 and is a well-known economist and has served on the Federal Reserve Board as a governor and vice chair. She has worked as the director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and founding director of the Congressional Budget Office. She has also served as the chairman of the District’s financial control board from 1998-2001, which was the agency that helped the city get out of its perilous fiscal state during that time.Terrell is known locally for her efforts to support young people through her term on the Superior Court bench from 1997-2008. She is also the founder of the High Tea Society, an organization that encourages Black girls to learn and practice social graces and etiquette.Gomez is the president and CEO of Mary’s Center, headquartered in Ward 4. Mary’s Center provides social and health care services primarily to Latino residents in Washington, D.C.Perry is the former senior vice president for governmental affairs for Pepco and has raised money on behalf of the African American Civil War Memorial. Boardman is the head of UNITE HERE Local 25, a hotel union that backed Bowser in her mayoral bid.The Rev. Anthony Motley is impressed by Bowser’s selections but said that a key element is missing.“I don’t think there is someone from Ward 8 or Ward 7 on her transition team other than Mr. Barry,” Moulton said. “She made a pledge to pay attention to the concerns of residents east of the [Anacostia] and she said that she will have a deputy mayor dedicated to east Washington. I think she could have selected someone other than Barry.”Barry’s presence on the transition team is a relief to Debora Rowe, the executive director of Returning Citizens United Inc.“We know that Barry will watch out for our interests because he has been a returning citizen,” Rowe said, referencing the six months Barry served in federal prison in the early 1990s for drug charges.
Niantic first previewed the game to a small group of journalists in San Francisco in March, and began testing it in Australia and New Zealand last month. The tweet said that fans should keep their “eyes peeled and wand ready for more information” as the game goes live in their region, suggesting that Niantic may be planning a staggered roll-out across the world.“Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” has been developed by Warner Bros. games in partnership with Niantic, and uses Niantic’s real-world platform to combine location-based gaming with augmented reality (AR). The game tasks players to find magical places around them, collect special artifacts and fight death eaters and other creatures from the Harry Potter universe.The game uses many of the same mechanics as “Pokemon Go,” but also embraces some of the latest in mobile AR. For encounters with magical creatures, the game opens in AR mode, and allows players to cast spells by tracing swipes on their screen. “Pokemon Go” maker Niantic is getting ready to launch its next big game: “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” is set to launch in June 21, the company revealed in a tweet this week. Popular on Variety ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15