Argument of fair play

first_imgAttracting tumultuous response from parties over its recent exploits, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has been proactively exercising authority as the custodian of elections. With the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in effect with the upcoming elections, there have been several infringements forcing ECI to advocate norms and act accordingly. Naturally, it is the duty of ECI as a custodian to safeguard elections and maintain a free and fair environment so that the sanctity of the electoral process is not jeopardised under any circumstance. With ECI, the sense of autonomy that we presume it exercises has been at par with the judiciary, especially in recent past where other institutions have been subverted. And, since ECI is the referee to the contest, it invariably enjoys the highest respect from voters and parties alike. Now, while ECI has issued notices to those flouting rules, acted vehemently and authoritatively owing to its strong policy of ensuring the electoral process’ sanctity, it has attracted criticism as well as applause for its decisions. Enforcing MCC, ECI has been vocal on issues where it identified any violation, appropriately responding to letters complaining of violations, to maintain a level playing field. While a lot of criticism has been directed by the opposition parties over Modi’s biopic which is, as of now, scheduled to release on April 11 which also happens to be the first day of polling in the Lok Sabha elections 2019. Putting aside the astonishing coincidence of the biopic’s release and polling season, ECI did not raise objections over this and further left the decision of film’s release on Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). CBFC gave the nod and the film shall release on April 11 unless the Supreme Court says otherwise in a hearing today after a Congress worker filed a plea demanding a delay to its release claiming that it disturbs the level-playing field for other candidates in the fray. ECI has reserved its response and will make a decision after evaluating the developments in the apex court. ECI, while ambiguous in the biopic issue, expeditiously transferred four top cops of West Bengal and replaced Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary on Friday apart from sounding a cautionary note to UP CM Yogi and NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar for their violation of MCC norms. While Mamata and Naidu grew livid over ECI’s decision, demanding an explanation for the same, Yogi and Rajiv Kumar were reminded of their “oops” moment. Having been posted just two months ago, Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma along with three other cops were transferred in an urgent notice to the state’s chief secretary in which they were also barred from poll duty. With no explanation cited, as expected, speculation spread wide whether it was done because Anuj Sharma was considered as a close aide of Mamata. Meanwhile, down south, Chandrababu Naidu grew anxious over the fact that first a district Collector was transferred, then the Intelligence DG and two district SPs, and now the Chief Secretary. ECI further directed that outgoing Chief Secretary Anil Chandra Punetha be posted to a non-election post. ECI’s decision to transfer Punetha comes right after he had filed a writ petition in the Andhra Pradesh High Court on March 27 challenging the ECI order, transferring the Director General of Intelligence AB Venkateswara Rao. He contended that the EC did not have any “untrammelled powers” to interfere with the course of administration that is unconnected to polling. Yet, ECI, bypassing the jurisdiction argument and unmoved by Punetha’s petition which was rejected by the High Court, transferred him as well. Also Read – A compounding difficultyWhile ECI rocked Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal with unexplained transfers, its soft approach towards UP CM and NITI Aayog vice-chairman confuses the public over its intentions. ECI’s apprehensions that these civil servants might influence the polls in any manner (evident from the fact that these transferred officers are barred from poll duty) might be a probable justification of its surprise orders and hence, gives them the benefit of the doubt to not allow even an iota of suspicion to exist when it comes to polling. However, approaching the UP CM Yogi Adityanath with just a cautionary note asking him to be careful next time and conveying just “displeasure” while expecting NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar to “exercise caution in future” reverses ECI’s stance over its apprehensions. If on one hand, ECI contended civil servants as dubious and hence transferred them, then on other it could only express displeasure over serious flout of MCC. In public interest, ECI’s preferential treatment invites abject criticism of double standards. To add to this, ECI’s response on Namo TV – which also seemingly violates MCC owing to promoting events related to Modi being broadcasted 24 hours on it – is awaited. Elections are just around the corner and ECI must justify its decisions or the public faith might falter. If the one tasked with maintaining fair play is unfair, then how fair is the play after all?last_img read more

Ohio State mens volleyball coach Pete Hanson still aiming for championships after

Men’s volleyball coach Pete Hanson has more than 600 wins and one national title in his 30 years with the Buckeyes.Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsAs his players shook hands following a sweep of IPFW on Friday, Ohio State men’s volleyball coach Pete Hanson had claimed the 603rd win of his career.Hanson, who has coached the Buckeyes for 30 years, holds a career record of 603-324. Hanson and the No. 11 Buckeyes have passed several milestones this season, including the program’s 1,000th overall win and its 500th victory at St. John Arena. Hanson’s OSU career spans 18 20-plus win seasons, 10 national semifinal appearances, a runner-up finish and one national championship.Before beginning his illustrious coaching career, Hanson played volleyball at the collegiate level at Kellogg Community College in Michigan then spent his last two years at Ball State University, up until 1979. Upon graduation, Hanson took his first position as an assistant coach for Ball State men’s volleyball team.He then spent time as a women’s assistant and head coach with Wyoming before joining the Buckeyes’ men’s program in 1985.“I just felt like it would be a great way to give back and to help continue to grow men’s volleyball, and so it kind of led me here and I have been here for 30 years,” Hanson said.Hanson said he thinks the most passionate aspect of his job is watching young players succeed.“The thing that keeps me coming in every day and keeps me looking forward to next year is to bring in a young man and to convince him that Ohio State would be a great place for him to go to school, to get his education, to play volleyball, and then to help him through that journey,” Hanson said. “At the end of the day when they walk out of here with a degree in hand, and maybe they’ve already got a job lined up, that’s the really cool part. To think that myself, my two coaches and Ohio State had a part in that is a really, really neat feeling.”While the Buckeyes finished last season with a losing record for the first time since 1992, Hanson’s squad has started fresh in 2015 with an 11-3 overall record and a 5-1 mark in conference play.The ultimate goal he sets for his team is the same on the yearly basis: winning the national championship.“I think the long-term goal is to try to do the necessary things that are going to allow our team to compete for an elite championship and hopefully a national championship,” Hanson said. “Even though we’ve got this goal and 99.9 percent of the time we’re not going to reach it, it certainly is a goal worth having.”Hanson learned what it takes to make a championship run before he even joined the Division I volleyball ranks.“My senior year (at Ball State) we won the MIVA championship and qualified to go to the NCAA national championships,” Hanson said. “Just having successes along the way which is what we’re trying to do here with our guys, I was able to experience that and those are memories that I’ll have for a lifetime.”As he hunts for a second title as a coach, Hanson said he is grateful for his wife and two sons, ages 20 and 18, who have been supportive of his career.“There are times when you miss some of the kids’ activities and you’re not there at all the right times that you’d like to be,” Hanson said. “I think the big thing was that my wife and the two boys understood and they dealt with it as positively as they could.”Off of the court, Hanson enjoys playing golf in addition to spending time on the water.“Here in the past five to seven years, I’ve become really enamored with fly fishing,” Hanson said. “For the last six or seven summers, my wife and I go to Wyoming to visit one of her brothers, and he got me turned onto fly fishing in the backcountry. It is just the most relaxing and just a time that I can’t put a price on.”Hanson will have to put his next fishing trip on hold as the Buckeyes get set to take on Grand Canyon on Saturday and Sunday in Phoenix. read more

Crews Respond To Funny River Controlled Structure Fire

first_imgHowie Kent with the Division of Forestry: “The wildland part of it originated from the structure that was burned and it spread into the wildland towards some trees, and we had response from helitack and a couple of engines. We caught the fire at 2/10 of an acre, so just under a quarter of an acre.”  Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Division of Forestry and Central Emergency Services responded to a ‘controlled’ structure fire that spread into wildland area around mile 17 on Funny River Road, on Saturday, June 2. Kent: “An individual thought it was under the general burn permit, but that was not the case. Any kind of burning like that requires Department of Environmental Conservation permitting, which we do not do.”  A burn ban was instituted Sunday morning for the entire Kenai Peninsula due to increased winds and high fire danger. The ban has been temporarily lifted as of this afternoon.center_img An individual was burning a 30ft x 40ft structure that was not covered by a general burn permit. According to Kent, the fire had the potential to be much worse if crews had not responded as quickly as they did.last_img read more

The VW Beetle is officially out of production

first_imgEnlarge ImageIt’s the end of an era — again. Volkswagen Update, July 10: The final Volkswagen Beetle, a coupe clad in Denim Blue paint, rolled off the assembly line in Puebla, Mexico, today. Before the third-generation car departed from this mortal coil, though, we were given the chance to head down yonder Mexico way and assist in the assembly of some of VW’s final Beetles. Head south by one paragraph to read our account of that experience.I step into a production-line-adjacent conference room at the Volkswagen Beetle factory in Puebla, Mexico. The air inside is tinged with the aroma of what seems to be a nearby bathroom leaking its wretchedness into the air conditioning vents. A presentation slide entitled “How will be work” details the day’s schedule upon a projection screen at the other end of the room. I’m ushered around a table along with a handful of US and Canadian media colleagues. We’re given a schedule rundown and safety briefing that lasts a mere 15 minutes, and then we’re directed toward the production floor to help build a home-stretch batch of Volkswagen Beetles. In just a few weeks’ time, VW’s Bug will be swatted.This factory-floor fast-tracking runs in stark contrast to my Volvo S60 production line experience in South Carolina just two months ago. With Volvo, I was put through a half-day’s training to learn how to perform just one task on the line. Today with the Beetle, I’ll be installing front bumper and radiator covers, mounting the right-rear wheel, bolting in the rear suspension and placing the front emblem.I don’t mind the opportunity to be involved in more of the Beetle’s production process, of course. We’re talking about one of history’s most recognized and influential machines. Since the Beetle’s inception in 1938, more than 23 million bugs have crawled out of VW factories the world over, from Germany to Nigeria, Indonesia to Ireland and presently, Mexico. Getting a chance to build some of the final examples of the “People’s Car” is one of those stories I’ll likely tell my grandchildren.Volkswagen Beetle EvolutionEnlarge ImageVolkswagen Beetles rising through eight decades. Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow Slug bugMy first task is to install the front bumper cover on a Stonewashed Blue Beetle headed to a Chinese customer. Bumper assembly would have been a rather simple process had I been given a crack at more than one car. That’s not in the cards, though, so I go about my duties like a toddler navigating along the Brooklyn Bridge’s railing. Thankfully, I’ve got a supervision safety net of pros standing around me. For these men and women who work the line every day, proper component mounting is a matter of muscle memory. Click together a few electrical connectors, bang on the body panels just right so they snap into place (kind of like you’re playing “punch bug” with the Beetle itself) and six screws later, the little Beetle’s cute face is complete. That’s not the end of my job at this station, however. I still have to install a black plastic panel that sits under the hood ahead of the radiator, which is simply a matter of lining up the component and banging it in. Easier said than done, I soon realize. My infantile banging proves futile, so a line worker helps me by realigning the piece and then popping it into place as effortlessly as your most recent breath. Once that’s complete, the car continues down the line, never for me to see it again.The latter three assembly tasks prove smoother with other Beetles. My toddler fumbling isn’t disruptive enough to make a mess of mounting the right-rear wheel. Nor is installing the rear suspension, which is simply a matter of torquing four bolts on each side and letting the computer validate my worth by lighting up with green OKs. Installing the front VW emblem is actually an automated process, but I get to place one on a Bug’s nose anyway, because why let a good photo op go to waste?2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final AssemblyEnlarge ImageVW Beetles get an inspection under the lights before heading out the factory doors and onto their test drives. Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow By the numbersSurprisingly, robots perform just 48% of the Beetle’s assembly. The other 52% is by hand. Today’s Beetle, which has slid to become VW’s least popular vehicle in the US, shares its assembly line with Volkswagen of America’s best-seller: the Tiguan compact crossover SUV. This popularity chasm is evident as I stretch my eyes down the production line. About one in every 10 vehicles is a Beetle, and there are moments walking along the floor where nothing but Tiguans flood my sockets.Over the course of three shifts within a 24-hour production day (Monday to Friday and sometimes two shifts on Saturday), 937 new vehicles emerge off the line, 170 to 180 of which are Beetles. In addition, every unit is test-driven. Fun fact: According to surveys distributed by the plant’s human resources department, the test drivers are the factory’s happiest employees.Come on, get happyAfter getting to play on the production line, VW lets me briefly test-drive some Beetles outside the factory. I’m surprised at how heavy the (1998-2011) New Beetle’s steering is, and how it feels sportier to drive than the current (2012-2019) Beetle, which is a comparative snooze fest. I’m most excited to drive the 2003 Beetle Ultima Edicion (Final Edition), the last of the original air-cooled Beetles. The Ultima Edicion is much quieter than any classic Beetle I’ve heretofore experienced. Modern seating makes it categorically comfortable, too, but from there, its modernity slopes into the abyss.The Ultima Edicion has no power steering, but that’s fine, as there’s little weight over its nose. The car’s clutch, brake and gas pedals, however, delineate evolution in reverse. The clutch is as light as any economy car’s third pedal from 2019. The brake pedal trails the clutch’s contemporary ease, but scrubbing speed isn’t terrifying: Unlike with earlier Beetles, you needn’t stomp halfway to the floor before barely stopping in time. Even still, the pedal’s modulation is precision’s distant cousin. Traveling farther back in time, the throttle is straight out of World War II, somehow feeling heavier and clumsier than Beetles I’ve driven from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.The Ultima Edicion proves more ponderous than I’d expected, but it’s a heartening reminder of an automotive icon whose production has lasted longer than the average human lifespan.Volkswagen Beetle Última EdiciónEnlarge ImageThe 2003 Volkswagen Beetle Ultima Edicion is what I consider to be the ultimate expression of the original, air-cooled Bug. Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow Is this really goodbye?The Beetle’s demise is the lamentable result of how the world has moved away from the spunky and toward the practical. In its ’60s heyday, the original Beetle checked a slew of boxes for the pragmatic but imaginative American consumer. Today, crossover SUVs speak to buyers padlocked by bottom-line idealism. The current Beetle lacks the cargo space, interior volume and ride height that today’s consumer demands. Consequently, the Beetle is now an unsustainably sluggish-selling lifestyle play. VW delivered roughly 14,000 Beetles in the US last year, according to GoodCarBadCar. That’s a far cry from 423,000 US sales in 1968, according to Euronews.And so, as America and the rest of the world have moved beyond Beetle Mania, so, too, must the Bug’s factory in Puebla. The Beetle’s discontinuation will free up space to build more of VW’s popular Tiguan.While Volkswagen currently has no plans to resurrect the Beetle after manufacturing ends in mid-July, I’m willing to bet money the Bug will return sometime next decade. VW’s new, incredibly limber electric MEB platform can spawn a litter of vehicles as diverse as the ID Buzz Cargo and the ID Buggy. It seemingly wouldn’t take much of a business case or a ton of development money for VW to engineer an electric Beetle off that flexible architecture. As a result, assembling some of the last Beetles really feels like “See ya later,” as opposed to a final goodbye. At least, that’s what I hope.Originally published June 24. Tags 2019 VW Beetle Final Edition review: The last goodbye 2020 Porsche 718 Spyder first drive: A Boxster with way more bite 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe review: Stylish and sure-footed More From Roadshow Share your voicecenter_img Volkswagen Automobiles Convertibles Classic Cars Coupes Hatchbacks 7 Comments Volkswagenlast_img read more

ICC 2019 World Cup Lungi Ngidi ruled out of match against India

first_imgThe Proteas have been dubbed as ‘chokers’ for repeatedly failing to perform on the stage of major ICC tournaments. This time around, they were not looked upon as one of the favourites. The sudden retirement of AB de Villiers last year denied them the services of their most dynamic limited-overs player.However, the return to form of Hashim Amla in the practice match and the continuing success of Quinton de Kock gave the Proteas hope of producing a better effort this time than expected. Unfortunately for the Faf du Plessis-led team, while de Kock has failed to convert his good starts into big scores, Amla is yet to get an opportunity as he was forced to leave the field very early on in his innings.The bowlers have also disappointed by allowing both the teams they bowled to in the first two games to score over 300 runs. With Ngidi now also out of the third game of the tournament for Proteas, it’s an uphill task for them to stay in the hunt for the title. Ngidi won’t play against India due to injuryTwitter/ICCIf two losses in two matches are not bad enough, South Africa are now faced with another major problem. One of their key pacemen, Lungi Ngidi, has been declared unavailable for the team’s third match of the World Cup, against Indian on June 5.Ngidi suffered a hamstring problem during his team’s game match against Bangladesh at The Oval. This forced him to leave the field after having bowled just four overs in the game. South Africa were already plagued by injuries with Dale Steyn unable to play the first two matches and still not certain to take part in the fixture against India. On top of that, Hashim Amla suffered a blow to the head during the opening game of the tournament against England which caused him to retire hurt immediately and then sit out of the match against Bangladesh.Dangerous times for SAIf Steyn doesn’t recover and Amla too is unable to get back in the playing XI, South Africa’s campaign, already looking very unsteady, would be in danger of completely going off the rails.last_img read more

Bigg Boss Marathi season 2 Vidyadhar Joshi aka Bappa gets eliminated

first_imgVidyadhar Joshi gets eliminated from Bigg Boss Marathi 2?Colors MarathiBigg Boss Marathi season 2 has once again reached its elimination phase where among 5 of the nominated contestants – Surekha Punekar, Parag Kanhere, Vidyadhar Joshi, Shiv Thakre and Veena Jagtap – will have to leave the house in tonight’s Weekend Cha Daav episode.On Saturday, Mahesh Manjrekar announced that among the nominated contestants, Veena has been saved from this week’s elimination while Parag has landed in the danger zone.And though Manjrekar had decided to reveal the name of the Bigg Boss Marathi 2 contestant who got the least votes from the viewers on tonight’s episode, according to The Khabri, Vidyadhar Joshi aka Bappa has been eliminated from the show. Bigg Boss Marathi 2 contestantsColors Marathi#EXCLUSIVE #BBMarrathiFirst only on THE KHABRIVIDYADHAR has been ELIMINATED— The Khabri (@TheKhbri) June 22, 2019Meanwhile, Abhijit Bichukale has been sent to judicial custody at Central Jail in Satara for his involvement in 2012 extortion case after he was granted bail in another cheque bouncing case that has been going on in the court since 2015. It now remains to be seen if Abhijit would be replaced with a new contestant and it will be interesting to know who will take his place in the Bigg Boss Marathi 2 house.last_img read more

Indigenous icon Morales losing grounds among native people

first_imgPeople sit in front of signs against Bolivian President Evo Morales` bid for re-election in 2019 in La Paz. Photo: ReutersIn 12 years as president of South America’s poorest country, Evo Morales has accomplished many of the goals he set forth when he became the first indigenous person to lead Bolivia.The 58-year-old leftist and former coca farmer has presided over an economy that has grown by an annual average of 4.6 percent since he took office, more than twice the rate for all of Latin America.After nationalizing the country’s bounteous natural gas reserves, he pursued market-friendly economic policies and invested export revenue in social programs that helped lift more than two million people, nearly a fifth of the population, from poverty.With a new constitution in 2009, he even changed the name of the country from the Republic of Bolivia to the Plurinational State of Bolivia, reflecting diverse ethnicities that for centuries had felt like second-class citizens.For Bolivia’s more than 4 million indigenous people, support for Morales appeared to pay off. The poverty rate dropped from 59.9 percent in 2006 to 36.4 percent last year. Access for indigenous communities to electricity, sewerage and water service all grew, according to the World Bank. Here in Charagua, in the country’s remote southern lowlands, Guarani people recently dissolved the local municipality and launched Bolivia’s first experiment in autonomous government. The move, made possible by the new constitution, is meant to replace distant, homogenous rule with policies tailored to the local, indigenous reality. Yet here and across Bolivia, indigenous people are increasingly turning against Evo, as the poncho-wearing Morales is known. The dissatisfaction – over everything from proposed development of indigenous lands to his successful gambit to end term limits – is marring what had been widespread acclaim for a leader emblematic to first peoples’ movements worldwide.   “His way of thinking and his actions aren’t indigenous,” said Gualberto Cusi, a former judge and ethnic Aymara, an influential Andean tribe from which Morales himself also hails. Cusi, who was barred from the Constitutional Court by Congress last year after disagreements with the government, now leads a group of indigenous dissidents. Many Aymara have flourished under Morales’ rule. Building upon a long history selling textiles along Lake Titicaca, they now thrive in commerce, like importing Chinese electronics they sell as far afield as the Amazon rainforest.  But even they are increasingly fed up. “He should go,” said Joaquin Quispe, a cook whose Aymara family moved from Bolivia’s interior to El Alto, a city where a swelling indigenous influx in recent years made it outgrow nearby La Paz, the country’s administrative center.What particularly bothers some are moves by Morales, using supporters in Congress and the judiciary, to consolidate power.Although his own 2009 constitution set a limit of two five-year terms, Morales asked voters in a 2016 referendum to let him run again in 2019.When they said no, Morales convinced the Constitutional Court to let him anyway. The court, consisting of jurists nominated by Congressional allies, ruled that term limits are a violation of his “human rights.” Morales’ spokeswoman, Gisela Lopez, declined to make the president available for an interview and didn’t respond to requests for comment for this story. A close ally, former Senate President Jose “Gringo” Gonzales, said Morales hasn’t abandoned indigenous peoples, but has evolved as president to represent and work with everyone.  “He can sit for one minute with a businessman and the next with a worker,” said Gonzales, who stepped down from the Senate last week for undisclosed reasons. “He still has the humility and simplicity that were highlighted when he took office.”Morales is now the longest consecutively serving head of state in the Americas. He is the sole leader remaining from a wave of leftists, including Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, who dominated Latin American politics early this century.His name, which graces schools, stadiums, and cultural centers, is increasingly voiced in street protests and scrawled in graffiti. All over the divided country, “Bolivia said no!” sprayings compete with ”Evo Yes!” signs painted by supporters of his party, Movement Toward Socialism, or MAS.Morales won’t go before voters again until late next year. And the opposition remains fragmented, meaning no other leader in Bolivia as yet compares in political stature.Still, in a July poll commissioned by newspaper Pagina Siete, support for the president among likely voters fell to 27 percent from 31 percent last November. A survey by pollster Ipsos this week showed a similar level of support, at 29 percent of likely voters, with a six-point drop over the past year in his approval rating, now at 43 percent.Over the past eight months, Reuters traveled across Bolivia to better understand the waning support for the president among indigenous peoples. From his native Altiplano, the high, arid plateau home to the Aymara, to gas-rich lowlands, where the government has authorized extraction on indigenous lands, many native Bolivians say they no longer feel represented by Morales.“A NEW ERA”For many, the years following Morales’s 2005 election were marked by jubilation and hope.Before his official inauguration in January 2006, Aymara “maestros,” or ritual leaders, held their own ceremony at the pre-Incan site of Tiwanaku, west of La Paz. Morales, in a traditional red tunic, climbed the Akapana pyramid, where shamans presided over a fire ritual and presented him with a staff symbolizing his right to lead the assembled tribes.“Today begins a new era for the native peoples of the world,” Morales said. Tens of thousands of indigenous activists, along with native delegations from as far away as Chile and the United States, cheered.Within months, he began asserting his plans to “decolonize” Bolivia and give locals more voice in government and a greater share of national wealth. On May 1, Labor Day, he ordered troops to occupy natural gas fields and nationalized all hydrocarbons.“The time has come, the longed-for day, a historic day for Bolivia to retake absolute control of our natural resources,” he said in a speech while surrounded by soldiers at an oil field operated by Petroleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras, the Brazilian energy company.Morales began renegotiating energy contracts for a bigger share of the profits, a move that ultimately many companies agreed to. The negotiations earned him plaudits from supporters and boosted government revenues at a time when gas prices were soaring.With the windfalls, Morales enacted measures including school vouchers for kids and pensions for workers who had never held formal employment.For the day-to-day business of governance, Morales appointed women, indigenous peoples and labor leaders to his cabinet. He embraced grass-roots organizations and forged a so-called “Unity Pact,” comprising leaders of Andean, lowland and Amazon tribes. Together, they helped draft the new constitution, approved by 60 percent of Bolivians in a 2009 referendum. That year, in a landslide, Morales won a second term.Tensions with indigenous groups first emerged in 2011.  Enjoying what by then was steadily improving economic growth, Morales proposed a 300-kilometer road through the Isiboro Secure Indigenous Territory, or Tipnis, a Jamaica-sized refuge in the Amazon. The highway, Morales argued, was necessary to bring basic services to remote tribes.But native groups and environmentalists were enraged.The road, they argued, more likely would facilitate drug trafficking, illegal logging and other unwanted activity. Protesters marched for more than a month, during which police and demonstrators clashed in clouds of tear gas and flurries of rubber bullets. “When Evo took office we thought indigenous people would never have to march again,” said Adolfo Chavez, a native Tacana and former president of The Confederation of Indigenous People of Bolivia, or Cidob, a grouping of 34 lowland tribes.The marching succeeded, at least for a time. That September, Morales halted work on the road for further study. But relations with some native groups were damaged.Two major indigenous rights organizations, Cidob and The National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qullasuyu, left the Unity Pact. Since then, the split has widened into divisions that fall along political lines, not rivalries among Bolivia’s three dozen ethnicities.Soon, government supporters began to pressure both groups, using MAS loyalists to stage what some members described as coups within the organizations. Politics and loyalty to Morales began to matter more than the indigenous cause, they said.  Cidob leader Chavez was voted out in 2012. Chavez, who left Bolivia and now lives in Peru, says he was a victim of political persecution for leading the Tipnis demonstrations. Pedro Vare, Cidob’s current leader, in local media has continued to back Morales and criticize the protesters. Reuters was unable to reach Vare for an interview.One rainy evening in December 2013, MAS activists broke down the door of the two-story La Paz headquarters of Conamaq, as the other indigenous rights group is known. Once inside, they forced members, some of whom were visiting La Paz from remote regions and living there during their stay, to leave.“We had nowhere to go,” recalls Cristobal Salles, an Aymara and Quechua speaker who was a Conamaq councilman and now farms potatoes.  Dissent at both groups vanished.Hilarion Mamani, a 41-year-old  Quechua who led the Conamaq takeover, told Reuters a purge had been necessary. Using a charge long wielded against opponents by some leftists in Latin America, Mamani said previous leaders were acting on behalf of “North American imperialists.” Now, he added, “there are no divisions.”That’s because most of the previous members went on to form  dissident indigenous groups. Those groups have campaigned to enforce presidential term limits and against renewed efforts to build the Tipnis road and other projects on native lands.  In 2014, Morales began his sustained effort to stay in power.Despite the constitutional limit of two terms, Morales argued that his first administration shouldn’t be counted because he had been elected under a previous constitution. In the Constitutional Court, by then composed mostly of judges nominated by allies of Morales in Congress, he found a sympathetic audience.Except for one justice – Cusi, the fellow Aymara who at that time sat on the court. Cusi sought a strict interpretation of the charter and argued against another term. But the other judges prevailed. Morales ran for re-election and, with 60 percent of the vote, won a third term starting in January 2015. Before long, relations with native groups grew worse still.  In February 2015, a government comptroller discovered a $10 million shortfall in a state fund for indigenous projects, finding records of initiatives that had been funded, but never carried out.  Two of Morales’ former rural development ministers were convicted of misusing public funds and served brief jail terms.Some onetime Morales supporters were outraged. “It seems corruption has been institutionalized,” Edwin Prada, a lawyer and former advisor to Conamaq, said in an interview.Morales in public comments has said the fund was poorly run. Reuters couldn’t reach either of the two former ministers for comment.That year, natural gas prices fell from a peak in 2014. The country’s economy, while still healthier than that of many neighbors, cooled.Criticism of Morales and his party grew.   “LORD KING EVO MORALES”In  March 2015, residents of El Alto, formerly a bastion of Morales support, handed MAS its first big electoral defeat. They voted out the city’s MAS mayor, who had polarized local voters because of municipal spending, and elected Soledad Chapeton, an Aymara from a center-right party who became the city’s first female mayor.Morales, meanwhile, kept working to prolong his own mandate – first through the failed referendum and then through another plea to the Constitutional Court. By last year, the court was firmly allied with Morales.After opposing other government initiatives, Cusi, the Aymara judge, was impeached by the Senate. The day before the May 2017 ruling, Cusi donned chains in front of government headquarters and scoffed at what he considered his foregone ouster. “Lord King Evo Morales,” he said before television cameras, “order your puppet senators to condemn me.”  Officially, Cusi was accused of failing to fulfill duties. But many government critics called his removal political.“They found a pretext to oust me,” Cusi told Reuters. Now the head of a Conamaq breakaway group, Cusi recently announced he would seek the office of attorney general.With the go-ahead to pursue a fourth term, Morales stoked even more ire.Early last year, students at the Public University of El Alto, a bastion of political activism, began demonstrating for more educational funding. The ruling on term limits sparked further discontent, fueling demonstrations that continued into this year.In a clash with police, one student died. Police said the student, Jonathan Quispe, was killed when students hurled marbles. University officials said he was shot by police. Reuters couldn’t independently determine what led to Quispe’s death.Last August, Congress approved a project to restart the Tipnis highway. Other construction projects are also drawing fire.At a cost to taxpayers of $7 million, Morales last year inaugurated a three-wing museum with large modern windows in Orinoca, the remote Altiplano town where he grew up herding llamas. The “Museum of the Democratic and Cultural Revolution” tells Bolivia’s recent history through Morales’ own achievements.This month, Morales presided over the opening of a new 28-floor presidential palace in La Paz. He calls the $34 million building “the big house of the people.”The projects, some critics say, are further proof Morales lost touch. “He always said he would consult the people,” said Salles, the former Conamaq leader. “Now he doesn’t.”In Charagua, the lowland Guarani region, residents are struggling with autonomy. One recent afternoon, locals at a school auditorium hashed through problems now plaguing their experiment, the first of three autonomous regions approved by voters recently.Charagua, roughly the size of Panama, in the 1930s was the site of successful resistance against Paraguayan invaders who sought to seize area gas reserves. Despite having gas, however, Charagua remains poor, accessible only by dirt roads. The regional budget, financed in part by La Paz, remains the roughly $4.5 million it was before autonomy. But locals say the national government has all but abandoned them otherwise.“We are worse than before,” said one resident who identified himself as Victor before storming out of the auditorium. “I want a recall on this autonomy.”Reuters was unable to reach the Morales cabinet official in charge of indigenous autonomy.Guarani leaders there said they, too, are unhappy. Ramiro Lucas, a 44-year-old leader of a southern portion of Charagua, lamented that the region recently had to halt school breakfasts because money was needed for health centers. “Now we have land, but what good is that if we don’t have resources?” he told Reuters.last_img

Why Musicals For The Deaf Are Not A Contradiction

first_img – / 5Please Sir, I want some more.Even for people unfamiliar with the story of Oliver Twist, many still know that famous line.Now, imagine someone saying it in sign language.Recently, Theatre Under the Stars gave a performance of the musical Oliver!. But on this night at the Hobby Center, there aren’t just actors onstage. On the floor to the right, in the dimly-lit performance hall, there’s another spotlight on two people dressed in black and gray, acting out the scenes in American Sign Language, or ASL.A musical for people who can’t hear? It may seem contradictory at first.“Deaf people get music,” says the Hobby Center’s Audience Services Manager Judi Stallings. “Just because they can’t hear everything, it doesn’t mean they don’t understand it. They get the rhythm, the flow, the fluidity of the music.”The Hobby Center is partnering with TUTS and the University of Houston’s American Sign Language Interpreting program to make the arts more accessible to Houston’s deaf community. It’s the first time they’re trying something like this.Brittany Best is majoring in American Sign Language Interpreting at UH and is one of the seven seniors responsible for translating the lines of the 58 characters in Oliver!. It’s pretty demanding.“I’ve got to know the actors’ lines; I’ve got to know my interpretation of those lines; and I’ve got to know what they’re doing onstage, because I’m not looking at them,” Best says. “So I’ve got to know all three and keep in line with the music (and) the tempo of the song.”The preparation began weeks in advance.“They engaged in complete script analysis and, along with me, worked through the script line, by line, by line,” says Sharon Hill, Program Coordinator and faculty member for UH’s ASLI program. She’s been instrumental in getting the project started.ASL is its own language and doesn’t have the same sentence structure as English, which means that translating word for word doesn’t always work. That’s also why subtitles aren’t usually ideal when trying to translate dialogue and music.“As Long as He Needs Me is really a challenging song,” says UH senior and ASL interpreter Barae Frizzel. “I almost spent a day just trying to study that piece. (There are) no signs that you can match to it. It’s more of a feeling and emotion that you have to connect with your audience.”When the lights come up at the end of the show, some people up front are waving their hands in the air. (Think jazz hands, but with more excitement.) That’s the deaf version of applause.Kristina Rodriguez, another student who was signing in the performance, has a unique experience with sign language. Both her parents are deaf and she grew up speaking ASL. This was her mom’s first time to a TUTS show.When she was asked what it was like to see her daughter in a live performance.Kristina translated the question and answer: “I’ve never seen my daughter act that way and have so much expression on her face. It was really exciting to watch. I’m just really happy to see her here.”It was also the first time for Robyn Brittan, another member of the deaf community.Sharon Hill translated her comment: “I see, as a deaf person, that I have access in my language. I miss not one piece of the show.”Stallings says this is a test-run to see if it’s something the Hobby Center can begin to offer more often as part of their accessibility initiative they began this year.“People that I know in the deaf community have assured me, ‘Don’t leave me out just because you think I can’t hear the music,’” she says. “There’s still something there for them.” 00:00 /04:01 Listen X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Sharelast_img read more

Stages Repertory Theatre Announces Plans To Build A 305 Million Complex In

first_img– / 4Stages Repertory Theatre announced plans to build a three-stage, $30.5 million dollar complex in Montrose. Managing Director Mark Folkes said construction would begin this summer.“This is essentially a doubling in capacity as an organization,” said Folks. “We currently operate in just over 30,000 square feet in our home this move brings us just over 66,000 square feet.”The plan includes building from the ground up and renovating a warehouse they purchased from the Museum of Fine Arts last year.“It was used to store pieces of their permanent collection that were not on display at the museum,” said Folks. “We are re-purposing that warehouse basically to create the support system for the work that we do. So that will be the home of our production workshops, of our rehearsal and education spaces.”He said thankfully, the warehouse foundation is slightly raised. Because in the last three months, potential flooding has been a major topic of conversation.“We’ve been very thoughtful in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey about the design of the facility to ensure that the core of the infrastructure is not sitting on the first floor.” said Folks. “So, things like electrical systems that will live on the second and third story of the structure to protect should we face another catastrophic event like that in this city.”Stages plans to move to the new complex and re-open in fall 2019 without disruption to the performance schedule.  Share To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: X Listen 00:00 /01:25last_img read more

Nine Tech Terms You Need to Know Before Starting a Business

first_img Enroll Now for Free This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. No matter what kind of small business you’re starting or running, you will be expected to understand the jargon and culture of online information technology. That will be true whether you’re building your website yourself or hiring pricey contractors to lead your business to Internet glory.Full Web fluency is almost never necessary for success. As a busy entrepreneur, you have a million things to do. But a working knowledge of the terms and concepts businesses use online can be critical.Here is a basic guide to online terminology worth learning for business owners of all industries:1. Basic programming languages: There are dozens of programming languages used online, but HTML, HTML 5 and XML are the most common. They are written in short commands that tell a Web browser what to display onscreen. Also important are CSS and CSS3 — short for cascading style sheets — which determine the layout of multiple Web pages at once. Javascript is another, more complex programming language that is used to add interactivity to HTML websites.W3Schools.com can be a useful resource that contains definitions, tutorials and do-it-yourself programming exercises.Related: How to Recruit a Great Programmer as a Partner2. Static Web content: This refers to Web business content that remains more or less the same – such as the main pages on your site, contact information and “About Us” links. Think of these pages as your digital storefront. They have to be perfect, so they’ll take the most up-front investment of time and resources to create. It’s important to know that these pages are the foundation the rest of your online strategy will be built on.Website builders Yola and Wix.com allow you to make your own static content, but can require assistance from programmers if you want a custom site. 3. Dynamic Web content: This refers to Web material produced in real time, such as blogs, tweets, Facebook posts and LinkedIn updates. The point of dynamic content is to be fresh, well-thought out and compelling enough to drive customer awareness. Understanding the difference between static and dynamic Web content, and when each is required, can help you keep your business relevant online. Sophisticated content automation tools that pull in content from around the Web or automatically update social networking accounts can help make your content dynamic and compelling to customers. This includes traffic-boosting tools such as TweetAdder, which can help users quickly identity and interact with potential followers, and more involved content curation services such as Curata, which can aggregate specific content from around the Web for your blog. 4. Software as a service (SaaS): Unlike business applications such as Microsoft Office which are installed directly on your computers, software-as-a-service apps are installed on a computer or server outside your office and are accessed over the Web. Examples include task management tool Basecamp and office applications suites like Google Apps. These products back up information automatically, allow access to data from most any computer connected to the Web, and offer remarkable collaborative features. These applications offer businesses flexibility as employees can use them from anywhere. And because an external third party hosts SaaS applications, they also have the potential to ease the burden on your own I.T. staff. Other related terms for this family of products include “Web services,” “cloud-based app” and “Web app.” When deciding on a SaaS product, you might consider using Get App, an app search tool specially dedicated to businesses looking for software to use in their shops, or Google Marketplace.Related: One Way to Navigate the Business App Marketplace5. Organic search: This is the world of products, content and marketing efforts determined by proprietary algorithms that appear on the left side of results from the major search engines. The trial-and-error processes of “search engine optimization” and “search engine marketing” often require considerable effort and luck. If your business is looking for Web traffic, it’s important to understand the basic ways in which Google and others will direct users to your site. 6. Paid search: These are the sponsored advertisements that appear at the top and along the right side of search pages from search services like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Paid search requires using an ad service such as Google AdWords or Yahoo Advertising Solutions. Businesses bid on relevant search terms they hope will attract customers. Also called pay-per-click advertising, businesses pay only when an ad is actually clicked. Knowing how paid search works is critical to any serious online marketing effort. You might need help to manage the bidding process for a serious paid-search campaign. Consider paid search management tools such as Word Watch or ClickSweeper, which can automate parts of the bid process. Related: How to Run Business Software Between Macs and PCs7. ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’: These terms are the referrals social media services such as Facebook and Twitter can provide to a brand. Businesses often enter into the time-consuming process of creating their own social media content to drive both likes and follows. Companies can also purchase marketing on these platforms and reach potential customers directly.8. Payment gateways: These are the online version of credit-card terminals. They encrypt and connect sales orders on your website to your merchant bank. Examples of major payment gateways include Authorize.net and VeriSign. 9. Point-of-sale: The generic term for technology attached to a checkout location, either online or near an actual cash register. New mobile point-of-sale solutions such as Square and Intuit’s GoPayment use smartphone-attached card readers, so payments can be processed just about anywhere.While this list is by no means exhaustive, mastering these basics can give you a solid foundation upon which to expand your online tech chops.  February 2, 2012 Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now 5 min readlast_img read more

January 20 2004 The compost bins in camp have mov

first_imgJanuary 20, 2004The compost bins in camp have moved to the south side of the poulonia garden. Agriculture crewmembers are working on additional bins. All of the food scraps from the Arcosanti cafe, and from individual kitchens, is composted and used as fertilizer by the Agriculture and Landscaping departments.[Photo & Text: aa] Agriculture employee, Brad Crutchfield, assembles wooden pallets for a new compost bin (right). Hiroshi Kondo, volunteering from Japan, strips juniper branches to use them in the composting process (left).[Photo & Text: aa]last_img read more

DERRY CITY AND STRABANE DISTRICT COUNCILELISHA MCC

first_img DERRY CITY AND STRABANE DISTRICT COUNCILELISHA MCCALLIONFleadh Cheoil na hÉireann to come back to DerryFoyle MPSinn Fein “And I hope to be able to update on progress within the coming months.“Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann was undoubtedly the stand-out event of a tremendous year in Derry as part of the City of Culture Celebrations.“More than 430,000 people attended the Fleadh making it the biggest and best Fleadh held in the long history of Comhaltas Ceolteoirí Éireann.“It celebrated our rich cultural and musical heritage in an inclusive way that showcased everything that is great about Derry. Thousands thronged Shipquay Street during the Fleadh in 2013SINN Féin’s Elisha McCallion says she convened a meeting in the city earlier this week to discuss ongoing work to try and secured the return of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann to Derry.Said the Foyle MP: “I convened a useful meeting with representatives from Comhaltas, Maeve Walls – DfC, An Chulturlann representatives, DCSDC officers and party colleague Sandra Duffy to discuss ongoing work aimed at securing Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann for Derry. “There is no doubt that 2013 was the best Fleadh ever so we are all very determined in our efforts about bringing the Fleadh back to Derry.“This meeting is part of our ongoing efforts to secure the return of the Fleadh and I will continue to meet with key stakeholders to work towards that goal,” added the former Mayor of Derry.Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann to come back to Derry was last modified: January 31st, 2019 by John2John2 Tags: ShareTweetlast_img read more

In This Issue Dollar bias throughout Friday C

first_imgIn This Issue.*Dollar bias throughout Friday. *Currencies & metals try to rebound today. *Aussies still forecasting budget surplus. *IMM short dollar positions increase.And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts!Corporate Profits Plateauing?Good day. And a Marvelous Monday to you! Well. it was an absolutely beautiful weekend, weather-wise, here in St. Louis, too bad it was an absolutely awful sports weekend, with the Cardinals falling on their collective faces, and the Rams losing again! UGH! But the weather is here, I wish you were beautiful, as Jimmy Buffett says. And with that, it’s on to what you opened the letter to read.The Friday action in the currencies and metals began the day with a bias to buy U.S. dollars, and that remained in place as we finished the week on a high note for the dollar.  Gold got taken down again on Friday. You can’t tell me it was anything other than a manipulated take down!  And given the grotesque large short positions that the price manipulators hold, there could be even more downward movement in Gold & Silver. But. one has to wonder if they (price manipulators) have the intestinal fortitude to conduct another take down at this point, I mean their take down on Friday brought Gold & Silver below their 50-day moving averages. I think if they go for more downward movement, that even the CFTC will be able to see it for what it is.The currencies & metals are attempting to rebound this morning, but the upward moves have been small to this point.  But there’s not much in the way of news that would cause this turn-around.  An ECB (European Central Bank) member told reporters over the weekend that the ECB oversight for Eurozone banks would be gradually phased in during 2013. There will be much “back and forth” even between Eurozone members on this ECB oversight, but it’s coming. Besides that news, the data cupboard for Europe is pretty bare until later this week, so the euro will be on its own, and of course any words that swing it one way or the other, by speakers, of which there appears to be quite a few in the next few days.  Spain still hasn’t requested assistance, and pretty soon, the markets are going to forget about Spain, and move on to someone else.Could that someone else be the U.S.?  Well. that’s been the M/O of the markets for some time now. We are about 2 weeks away from a Presidential election here in the U.S. and we’re also about 2 weeks away from dealing with a debt ceiling again. This debt ceiling problem has taken longer to get here than I thought it would, when I first mentioned it this last spring. I thought for sure that by the end of August, we would be having those wonderfully joyous discussions about raising the debt ceiling! But NOOOOOOO! But it will get here, soon.Speaking of U.S. debt. I was doing some research for an article that I’m writing on Debt, and what to do with it. When I came across 3 things that makes you stop and scratch your head, wondering why we do this when we don’t have the funds to pay for it? And. don’t get mad at me about the time frames here, this is how the data was presented.1.    Welfare spending has topped $1 Trillion per year2.    There has been a 64% increase in the Food Stamp Program in the last 4 years3.    There has been a 114% increase in the Food Stamp Program costs in the last 4 years.Now. last week I made a generalization about people receiving Gov’t assistance. And I apologize for that generalization.  And discretionary spending, like these programs aren’t going to make or break us. But the general thought on my part is simply, if we don’t have the funds to pay for something, we don’t buy it. no spending without funds in the bank. if we follow that , we can at least slow down the annual additions to the national debt.Did you see this weekend’s Pfennig & Pfriends? It was a video of the Big Boss, Frank Trotter’s presentation at the Freedom Fest this year. In the presentation, Frank shows why we believe that the dollar is in for a long term problem, given the Gov’t’s propensity to want to devalue the dollar to pay back debts with cheaper dollars. OK. Japanese leaders must be jumping with joy, as the Japanese yen is finally showing some weakness. Japanese yen moved through its 200-day moving avg (DMA) last night, and is sliding toward 80. I think if we see yen go through the 80 figure, we could very well see a prolonged slump for yen, and one that I’ve been waiting to see for some time now. I haven’t read anything that says that the Bank of Japan (BOJ) was in selling yen, so this is just investors, traders, hedge funds, growing tired of waiting for further movement (stronger) in yen, and deciding to blow out of positions.In Australia overnight, the Aussie Treasurer, Swan, released the Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook reports. The good news in the report is that the Aussies are still forecasting a budget surplus in the current fiscal year. Cool beans!  Now. one would think that investors would find this to be a good reason to buy Aussie dollars (A$) but not today, thank you! And I told you previously about how the markets are forecasting more rate cuts for next year, with the total being around 75 Basis points (3/4%) .  I’m of the opinion that these forecasts are too aggressive, but I wouldn’t rule out rate cuts next year. The reason I’m of the opinion that these forecasts are too aggressive, is I truly believe that China has turned the corner, and by next spring, when I head off to Cardinals Spring Training, it will be very evident that China is growing and demanding raw goods and materials again. and we all know who they go to for these raw materials, right?  That’s right Australia.I was dong some reading this weekend, and came across an article that expressed what I truly believe to be the upcoming case. And that is the Corporate Earnings in the U.S. will begin to show rot on the vine. The reason I believe this, is you can only squeeze so much blood from a turnip. In other words, most of the profits they had been booking for the past couple of years, came as a result of reduced overhead, and not improving machinery, etc.   David Nicklaus of our St. Louis Post Dispatch said it best.. “The plateauing of profits isn’t a surprise. Cost-cutting efforts generated much of the boom, and there’s a limit to how much efficiency companies can squeeze out of their workers and equipment.”Going further with the thought that company profits have topped out, you have to think about how the U.S. economy is growing at less than a 2% clip, and now the multinational companies have a recession in the Eurozone and a slowdown in China to contend with. Sure, the QE3 stimulus can give life support here for a while. but as I previously stated about QE3. I think the markets, and the people have become comfortably numb, and QE3 doesn’t have the same bang for the buck as the previous rounds of Quantitative Easing. This is similar to what Japan found out nearly 2 decades ago. But, here in the U.S. our Fed Heads don’t believe that we’re on the same road that Japan went down and that “our QE is different”.The IMM futures positions report from last week, showed that dollar short positions rebounded, this after two weeks of being closed out. The euro was the biggest beneficiary of these dollar short positions, and the record level of Canadian dollar long positions were pared back after the dovish comments by Bank of Canada Gov. Carney.And U.S. Existing Home Sales fell by 3.3% in September. This obviously gives us conflicting thoughts on the Housing Market, as New Home starts were stronger.  Home prices rose in September from a year ago, by 11.3%… And THAT, my friends, is probably why the Home Sales fell.Then There Was This. From The Economist. “The renminbi / yuan is displacing the dollar as a key currency. In a speech on the same day, a deputy governor of China’s central bank pointed out that China no longer hovers up dollar reserves with its past abandon. And according to a new study by Arvind Subramanian and Martin Kessler of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, DC, the dollar’s influence is waning in the emerging world. Currencies that used to shadow the greenback are no longer following it so closely. Some are floating more freely. But in other cases they are steadily falling under the spell of a different currency: the yuan.The greenback has in the past played a dominant role in East Asia. But if anything, the region is now on a yuan standard. Seven currencies in the region now follow the yuan, or redback, more closely than the greenback.”Chuck again. Well, this doesn’t surprise me. for you’ll remember that I was the first to say that the Chinese were making moves to replace the dollar standard.  it now appears that, especially in Asia that the renminbi/ yuan will continue to grow in stature as its economy and trading activity grow in size, once again.To recap. The bias to buy dollars held true throughout Friday’s trading session, but appears to be giving back gains this morning. That is, except the Japanese yen, which is showing the rot on its vine as it heads toward 80. Dollar short position is futures increased last week, reversing the previous two weeks of dollar short positions being pared back.  U.S. Existing Home Sales fell 3.3% in September, and Chuck talks about U.S. debt again. and again. and again.Currencies today 10/22/12. American Style: A$ $1.0330, kiwi .8185, C$ $1.0065, euro 1.3070, sterling 1.6050, Swiss $1.0805, . European Style: rand 8.6170, krone 5.65, SEK 6.5715, forint 213.50, zloty 3.1410, koruna 19.0585, RUB 30.89, yen 79.80, sing 1.2215, HKD 7.75, INR 53.47, China 6.2540, pesos 12.85, BRL 2.0265, Dollar Index 79.50, Oil $90.58, 10-year 1.79%, Silver $32.32, and Gold. $1,726.15That’s it for today. Well. it comes down to Game 7 tonight in San Francisco. I couldn’t watch the game unfold last night, turned it off and went to bed. So frustrating. I guess we’re having our “Indian Summer” as the days are very warm. I’m sure that will change quickly! The 3 grandkids were over Friday night, my two grandsons, Everett and Braden, (about 6 months apart) are beginning to acknowledge each other, and they are off doing something. In a couple of years, they are going to be a handful! Friday night, all our neighbor friends showed up at the patio door to watch the game with me. A great surprise! We had fun, even though the Cardinals lost! Alvin Lee is playing “I’m Going Home” on the iPod, right now, which tells me it’s time to get this out the door! So. I hope you have a Marvelous Monday!Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 www.everbank.comlast_img read more

The price pattern in silver was similar except th

first_img The price pattern in silver was similar, except the sell-off after the price spike in New York on Thursday evening was much more intense—and the spike low didn’t occur until around 11:40 a.m. EDT in New York trading.  The price bounced back quickly, but then traded quietly higher into the close.  JPMorgan et al obviously wasted little time in getting silver back below the $21 spot price mark. The high and low tick were recorded as $21.315 and $20.78 in the September contract. Silver closed in New York yesterday at $20.89 spot, down 27 cents from Thursday’s close.  Volume, net of July and August, was 36,000 contracts. When it does, it will be ugly The gold price showed signs of going parabolic in what had all the hallmarks of a ‘no ask’ market shortly after trading began at 6 p.m. EDT in New York on Thursday evening.  But, as I mentioned in The Wrap yesterday, “da boyz” were at the ready—and within a couple of hours, the gold price was in full retreat.  The low tick came about 9:15 a.m. in New York yesterday morning—and from there the price chopped quietly higher until shortly before 2 p.m. EDT.  From there it traded basically flat into the 5:15 p.m. close. The high and low tick were recorded by the CME as $1,325.50 and $1,305.00 in the August contract. Gold closed in New York on Friday at $1,310.90 spot, down $7.30 from Thursday’s close.  Volume, net of roll-overs, was around 98,000 contracts. The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 25 gold and zero silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday. I was happy to see that after two days of withdrawals from GLD, there was an increase yesterday—as an authorized participant added 57,741 troy ounces.  And as of 8:16 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV.  To tell you the truth, dear reader, I’m not expecting to see any deposits into SLV for a considerable period of time, as the authorized participants are still attempting to cover their short positions in lieu of metal they never deposited during the June rally. The U.S. Mint had a tiny sales report yesterday as 1,000 troy ounces of gold eagles were sold—and 30,000 silver eagles.  Month to date the mint has sold 24,500 troy ounces of gold eagles—4,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes—and a pitiful 1,025,000 silver eagles. Ted Butler nailed this a month ago, as it’s obvious to anyone who wishes to objectively examine the U.S. Mint data, that silver eagles sales have crashed by at least two thirds in July, as the ‘big buyer’ that has been sucking up silver eagles [and Canada’s silver maple leaf] for the last several years, has obviously stepped away from the table for the moment. Whether this is going to turn into a permanent withdrawal remains to be seen—and because the Royal Canadian Mint only provides quarterly sales reports for their bullion products—we won’t know what’s going on there for about another three months.  But the crashing silver eagles sales don’t bode well for silver maple leaf sales going forward, either.  It’s certainly my suspicion that it’s the same buyer at the trough in both. Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday, there was a decent amount of gold received—103,561 troy ounces to be exact.  Virtually all of it went into the Manfra, Tordella & Brookes, Inc. depository.  Nothing was reported shipped out.  The link to that activity is here. It was another big day in silver again, as nothing was reported received, but 999,492 troy ounces were shipped out the door.  All the activity was at the CNT Depository—and HSBC USA.  The link to that action is here. Since the 20th of the July falls on a weekend, the always punctual and predictable Central Bank of the Russia Federation updated their website with June’s data on Friday.  Included in that update was the amount of gold bullion they purchased for their reserves that month.  It turned out to be a chunky 500,000 troy ounces. It was more or less the same chart pattern in the silver stocks, but because “da boyz” were more aggressive with silver to the downside, the rally off their 1:30 p.m. lows was only able to get Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index back up to a loss of 0.70%. The gold stocks gapped down a bit less than 2 percent at the open—and then chopped sideways until the 1:30 p.m. Comex close.  A rally commenced at that point which lasted right into the close, as the HUI cut its losses on the day to only 0.30%. Platinum spiked up as well, but also got sold down until about noon in Zurich.  The subsequent rally ended/got capped shortly before 9 a.m. in New York—and from there it got sold down to its low of that day, around 1 p.m. EDT.  From there it rallied a few dollars into the close.  Platinum closed down 13 bucks on the day. The palladium price chart was a mini version of the platinum price chart.  Palladium closed down only 5 bucks from Thursday’s close. In the last three months, the central bank has purchased 1,500,000 troy ounces of gold, which is pretty close to 100 percent of their own production.  If you look at Nick Laird’s excellent chart above, you’ll note that Russia has stepped up its gold purchases in the last three months. One wonders if that has anything to do with the Crimea/Ukraine situation?  Now if they could be convinced to buy all their silver production as well, then the fox would certainly be amongst the pigeons, as Russia’s 1,700 tonne yearly production represents a bit over 6.5 percent of yearly world silver production, which is a material amount. Well, the Commitment of Traders Report for positions held at the close of Comex trading on Tuesday, July 15 was certainly not what I had hoped for, at least in silver. The Commercial net short position in silver increased again, this time by 678 contracts, or 3.4 million ounces.  The Commercial net short position now sits at 293.5 million troy ounces.  The Big 4 trader’s short holdings [read JPMorgan] increased by around 1,200 contracts—and Ted Butler pegs JPMorgan’s short-side corner in the Comex silver market at about 19,000 contracts, or 95 million troy ounces.  The ‘5 through 8’ largest short holders covered about 3,000 contracts of their short position during the reporting week. In gold, the Commercial net short position actually improved by 9,097 contracts, or 909,700 troy ounces.  The Commercial net short position in gold has obviously declined by that amount—and is down to 15.69 million troy ounces, which is still a horrendously large number. The 8 largest short holders added 1,000 contracts to their short positions—and Ted says that JPMorgan sold another 3,000 contracts during the reporting week—and their long-side corner in the Comex gold market continues to shrink, and is now down to 2.2 million troy ounces, or 22,000 Comex contracts. Ted said—and I agree—that probably not all of the decline on Monday and Tuesday was reported to the CFTC in a timely manner, so hopefully there’s some spill-over into next Friday’s Report.  If that doesn’t prove to be the case however, it’s a given that next Friday’s COT Report will be even uglier than even I imagined it might be, because in my comments in The Wrap yesterday, I stated that JPMorgan et al threw everything they had at that spike in gold and silver prices in New York Thursday morning.  That data alone should be enough to curl your hair. Of course we have two more reporting days between now and the Tuesday cut-off—and anything can happen between now and then—but as it stands at the moment, the next COT will be pretty horrific, because almost the entire technical fund short positions in both metals are still in place, plus there will be more to add.  This does not bode well for gold and silver prices somewhere down the road. Here’s Nick Laird’s “Days of World Production to Cover Comex Short Positions“—and it looks just as grotesque as it always does in all four precious metals. It’s also obvious that the situation in the precious metal market—and particularly in silver—is getting stranger by the day. 1]  There’s no physical silver available to deposit in SLV, so the authorized participants have had to short the shares in lieu of depositing real metal. 2] The frantic in/out movement in silver within the Comex-approved warehouse system is approaching the absurd.  According to Ted Butler’s calculations from the Comex warehouse reports, the extrapolated turnover year-to-date is somewhere between 200 and 300 million troy ounces per year at the moment. 3] The big buyer of silver eagles [and probably silver maple leafs as well] has stepped away from the table.  Silver eagles sales have imploded as a result—and we’ll find out in October whether the same applies to silver maple leafs. 4] The silver charts show a neutral RSI, but the Commercial net short position is sky high—and back where it was about four years ago—and the technical funds net long positions are almost at a record high. 5] With all of this going on, silver is sitting under $21 the ounce—and below the cost of production of most primary silver producers.  One can scarcely imagine what the price will be when JPMorgan et al get through harvesting this near-record technical fund long position for fun, profit and price management purposes. How all this is going to resolve itself—and over what time period—is unknown, but when it does, it will be ugly. How did it come to this? After almost twelve hours of writing this column, I’m done for the day—and the week. Enjoy what’s left of your weekend—and I’ll see you on Tuesday. I have a decent number of stories for you today—and I hope you can find the time in what’s left of your weekend to read the ones you like. “The herd instinct among forecasters makes sheep look like independent thinkers.” – Edgar R. Fiedler, author of The Three Rs of Economic Forecasting—Irrational, Irrelevant and Irreverent Today’s pop ‘blast from the past’ is by a Canadian rock group that needs no introduction, as their name is known world-wide.  This hit dates from the early 1970s—and has an unusual story behind it.  The link is here. Today’s classical ‘blast from the past’ is an old chestnut from Peter I. Tchaikovsky.  It’s the Polonaise from his opera Eugene Onegin.  I’d be the most surprised person in the world if you haven’t heard this piece in one form or another during your lifetime.  The link is here. Except for the brief price spikes shortly after the precious metal market opened early in Far East trading on their Friday, it was a nothing sort of day all around.  But it should be obvious to all but the willfully blind that “da boyz” were involved in gold and silver yesterday when they had to be. Here are the 6-month gold and silver charts updated with Friday’s data. Sponsor Advertisement The dollar index closed at 80.53 late on Thursday afternoon in New York and, like Thursday, didn’t do much during its respective trading session.  It chopped sideways in a 2 basis point range until around 9:40 a.m. EDT, when a spike took it up to 80.68—but by 2 p.m. it was back to unchanged on the day—and that’s where it closed, at 80.53.  That’s the third day in a row that the dollar index has closed at that value.  Here’s the 3-day chart so you can see it for yourself. Avrupa and Antofagasta intersect copper-rich VMS in Pyrite Belt, Portugal •             First Greenfields discovery of massive sulfide mineralization in 20 years in the Iberian Pyrite Belt •             10.85 meters of massive and semi-massive/stockwork sulfide mineralization grading 1.81% Cu, 2.57% Pb, 4.38% Zn, 0.13% Sn, and 75.27 ppm Ag •             Including 7.95 meters @ 2.21% Cu, 3.05% Pb, 4.82% Zn, 0.15% Sn, 89.8 ppm Ag •             Followed by 2.90 meters @ 0.71% Cu, 1.27% Pb, 3.17% Zn, 0.092% Sn, 35.4 ppm Ag •             Avrupa and Antofagasta sign an amended Joint Venture Agreement Please visit our website to learn more about the company and current exploration program.last_img read more

Discount 49 36 34

first_imgDiscount-49%-36%-34% Looking at this table, emerging market stocks might seem like a no-brainer. But let’s be honest…• You should have to pay more for U.S. stocks…After all, the United States is still the most powerful and stable economy on the planet. And investors pay premiums for safety.Emerging markets, on the other hand, are far less stable.China, the world’s biggest emerging market, is a communist country. Brazil, another huge emerging market, has had five currency crises in the last eight decades.In short, emerging market stocks come with heavy baggage. Because of these risks, many investors want to “be paid extra” for owning emerging markets. ​They want better returns or higher yields.With this in mind, you have to ask yourself: Are emerging market stocks worth the risk?• Emerging market economies are growing rapidly…According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), emerging markets grew 4.1% last year. For perspective, the U.S. economy grew 1.6%.This year, the IMF expects emerging markets to grow 4.5%. It expects the U.S. economy to grow 2.3%.For 2018, the IMF projects that emerging markets will grow 4.8%, compared to 2% for the U.S. economy.In other words, emerging market stocks are cheap and offer more growth potential. This is what every investor looks for.But this has been true about emerging markets for years. And yet, they’ve basically done nothing while U.S. stocks have soared to record highs.What would make this time any different?• Commodity prices have taken off…Palladium is up 14% this year. Silver’s up 12%. Copper has gained 9%.Keep in mind, commodities have been falling for the better part of the last six years. The Bloomberg Commodity Index (BCOM), which tracks 22 commodities, declined 58% between April 2011 and last January. Since then, it’s up 21%.This has given emerging market stocks a huge boost.You see, countries like Brazil, Russia, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia export far more commodities than they import.When commodities rise, these exporters make more money. Their economies grow faster. Their stock markets climb higher.Higher commodity prices could be the catalyst that emerging market stocks have been waiting for. But that doesn’t mean you should blindly invest in them.Tomorrow, we’ll tell you what we don’t like about emerging market stocks.At the end of that issue, you’ll know whether emerging market stocks deserve a spot in your portfolio.Chart of the Day: How “Broad” Is Your Exposure?China is driving the rally in emerging market stocks.Earlier we told you that China is the biggest emerging market economy. It’s also by far the largest holding in EEM. It makes up 26% of the index. It has more impact on the fund than India, Brazil, Russia, and Mexico combined.The chart below shows the performance of the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI), which tracks large Chinese stocks, since last April. If it looks familiar, it’s because FXI has moved almost in lockstep with EEM over the same period.This is important to understand.You see, a lot of investors buy emerging market ETFs thinking they’re getting broad emerging market exposure. But many of these funds are heavily concentrated in big countries like China.In short, if you own EEM, you’d better be bullish on China.Regards,Justin SpittlerDelray Beach, FloridaFebruary 16, 2017We want to hear from you.If you have a question or comment, please send it to feedback@caseyresearch.com. We read every email that comes in, and we’ll publish comments, questions, and answers that we think other readers will find useful. EEM1.3411.871.31 S&P 5002.6518.681.97center_img Emerging market stocks have been “dead money” for almost a decade.Emerging markets are countries that are on their way to becoming “developed” like the United States or Germany. Brazil, Russia, India, and China—the so-called “BRIC” countries—are the biggest emerging markets.More than 80% of the world’s population lives in these countries. Since 2008, these economies have accounted for 80% of the growth in global economic trade and output.You would think this would have made them great investments. But emerging markets have actually been a horrible investment lately…Take a look at the chart below.It shows how the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM), which tracks more than 800 emerging market stocks, performed from 2007 through 2015. You can see that it went nowhere.You would have actually lost about 0.15% of your money if you held EEM over this period, and that includes dividends.• Because of this, many investors have given up on emerging market stocks…But that could soon change.Last year, EEM gained 8.6%. It was its first annual gain since 2012.This year, it’s already up 10%. That’s more than double the S&P 500’s 4% gain.More importantly, it looks like EEM just “broke out.” Below, you can see it recently bucked a downtrend it’d been stuck in since early September.• This is good news for emerging market stocks…As we often point out, stocks usually keep rising after a breakout like this.And that’s exactly what EEM’s done. It’s rallied about 6% since piercing its downtrend.It’s now at the highest level since July 2015.Of course, you probably want to know if emerging market stocks will keep rising.Over the next couple days, we’re going to try to answer that question.We’ll dive deep into the fundamentals of emerging market stocks. We’ll look at the good and the bad. By the end, you’ll know if emerging market stocks are right for you.Let’s start with what we like about them…• Emerging market stocks are much cheaper than U.S. stocks…You can see this in the table below.This table compares EEM with the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), which tracks companies in the S&P 500.EEM’s price-to-book (P/B) ratio is 49% lower than SPY’s P/B ratio. Its forward price-to-earnings (forward P/E) ratio is 36% lower. It’s also 34% cheaper according to the price-to-sales (P/S) ratio. Price/Book(P/B) Forward Price/Earnings(Forward P/E)Price/Sales(P/S) last_img read more

Facebooks Content Moderation Rules Are Both Careful and Shocking

first_img Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Enroll Now for $5 The rules for dealing with violent and disturbing images often require moderators to ask whether they are ‘newsworthy’ or ‘raise awareness.’ May 22, 2017 Image credit: JaysonPhotography / Shutterstock.com Add to Queue Entrepreneur Staff Nina Zipkin 3 min readcenter_img Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture. Next Article There is no doubt that it takes a huge effort to moderate all the content that gets uploaded to Facebook. But over the past few months, the social giant has shown signs of strain.Back in August, shortly after the company fired a team of human editors overseeing the Trending section of the site in favor of an algorithm, a false news story found its way to the top of the queue.In February, CEO Mark Zuckerberg published a wide-ranging open letter on his Facebook page about the direction he hopes to take the company, touching on the need for more vigilance in the face of “fake news” and also a stronger infrastructure to handle the raft of content that is posted by users on a daily basis.Related: After Murder, Facebook to Hire 3,000 People to Review Videos“There are billions of posts, comments and messages across our services each day, and since it’s impossible to review all of them, we review content once it is reported to us,” Zuckerberg wrote. “There have been terribly tragic events — like suicides, some live streamed — that perhaps could have been prevented if someone had realized what was happening and reported them sooner. There are cases of bullying and harassment every day, that our team must be alerted to before we can help out. These stories show we must find a way to do more.”This spring, after a murder in Cleveland was livestreamed on the platform, Zuckerberg announced that over the course of the year, 3,000 people would be hired to better tackle and improve that review process.But now, an investigation conducted by the Guardian has identified some of the standards that Facebook operates from when it comes to moderating content, and they are perhaps more confusing than you might expect.Related: Facebook Wants to Help You Spot Bogus News StoriesWith regard to the videos of violent deaths or suicides, they are designated as disturbing content, but the reasoning Facebook has for not necessarily taking them down is because they can build awareness about mental illness, according to The Guardian’s findings.Specifically in cases of suicide, documents that The Guardian has been privy to explain that the current company dictate is “to remove them once there’s no longer an opportunity to help the person. We also need to consider newsworthiness, and there may be particular moments or public events that are part of a broader public conversation that warrant leaving up.”When it comes to violent language, a call to action to harm the president would be taken down because he is a head of state, but directions about how to snap a woman’s neck would be allowed to remain on the site because it is not “regarded as credible threats.”Related: Facebook Pledges to ‘Do Better’ After Posting of Murder VideoFor instances of animal abuse and graphic violence, those images and videos are also designated as disturbing, but are allowed if they are being used to educate and raise awareness, but they are not if there is an element of “sadism and celebration.” For images or photos pertaining to child abuse, that rule is also applied.According to the Guardian, moderators often have seconds to make a determination about how to characterize or whether to remove the content.It’s clear that Zuckerberg and his team have a daunting task in front of them, so Facebook’s rules will need to constantly evolve to meet the challenge. –shares Facebook Facebook’s Content Moderation Rules Are Both Careful and Shockinglast_img read more

GoFundMe CEO Gigantic gaps in health system showing up in crowdfunding

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 16 2019Scrolling through the GoFundMe website reveals seemingly an endless number of people who need help or community support. A common theme: the cost of health care.It didn’t start out this way. Back in 2010, when the crowdfunding website began, it suggested fundraisers for “ideas and dreams,” “wedding donations and honeymoon registry” or “special occasions.” A spokeswoman said the bulk of collection efforts from the first year were “related to charities and foundations.” A category for medical needs existed, but it was farther down the list.In the nine years since, campaigns to pay for health care have reaped the most cash. Of the $5 billion the company says it has raised, about a third has been for medical expenses from more than 250,000 medical campaigns conducted annually.Take, for instance, the 25-year-old California woman who had a stroke and “needs financial support for rehabilitation, home nursing, medical equipment and uncovered medical expenses.” Or the Tennessee couple who want to get pregnant, but whose insurance doesn’t cover the $20,000 worth of “medications, surgeries, scans, lab monitoring, and appointments [that] will need to be paid for upfront and out-of-pocket” for in vitro fertilization.The prominence of the medical category is the symptom of a broken system, according to CEO Rob Solomon, 51, who has a long tech résumé as an executive at places like Groupon and Yahoo. He said he never realized how hard it was for some people to pay their bills: “I needed to understand the gigantic gaps in the system.”This year, Time Magazine named Solomon one of the 50 most influential people in health care.”We didn’t build the platform to focus on medical expenses,” Solomon said. But it turned out, he said, to be one of those “categories of need” with which many people struggle.Solomon talked to Kaiser Health News’ Rachel Bluth about his company’s role in financing health care and what it says about the system when so many people rely on the kindness of strangers to get treatment. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.Q: KHN and other news outlets have reported that hospitals often advise patients to crowdfund their transplants. It’s become almost institutionalized to use GoFundMe. How do you feel about that?It saddens me that this is a reality. Every single day on GoFundMe we see the huge challenges people face. Their stories are heartbreaking.Some progress has been made here and there with the Affordable Care Act, and it’s under fire, but there’s ever-widening gaps in coverage for treatment, for prescriptions, for everything related to health care costs. Even patients who have insurance and supposedly decent insurance [come up short]. We’ve become an indispensable institution, indispensable technology and indispensable platform for anyone who finds themselves needing help because there just isn’t adequate coverage or assistance.I would love nothing more than for “medical” to not be a category on GoFundMe. The reality is, though, that access to health care is connected to the ability to pay for it. If you can’t do that, people die. People suffer. We feel good that our platform is there when people need it.Q: Did anyone expect medical funding would become such a big part of GoFundMe?I don’t think anyone anticipated it. What we realized early on is that medical need is a gigantic category.A lot of insurance doesn’t cover clinical trials and research and things like that, where people need access to leading-edge potential treatments. We strive to fill these gaps until the institutions that are supposed to handle this handle it properly. There has to be a renaissance, a dramatic change in public policy, in how the government focuses on this and how the health care companies solve this.Related StoriesHome-based support network helps stroke patients adjust after hospital dischargeStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggestsResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairThis is very interesting. In the places like the United Kingdom, Canada and other European countries that have some form of universal or government-sponsored health coverage, medical [costs] are still the largest category. So it’s not just medical bills for treatment. There’s travel and accommodations for families who have to support people when they fall ill.Q: What have you learned that you didn’t know before?I guess what I realized [when I came] to this job is that I had no notion of how severe the problem is. You read about the debate about single-payer health care and all the issues, the partisan politics. What I really learned is the health care system in the United States is really broken. Way too many people fall through the cracks.The government is supposed to be there and sometimes they are. The health care companies are supposed to be there and sometimes they are. But for literally millions of people they’re not. The only thing you can really do is rely on the kindness of friends and family and community. That’s where GoFundMe comes in.I was not ready for that at all when I started at the company. When you live and breathe it every day and you see the need that exists, when you realize there are many people with rare diseases but they aren’t diseases a drug company can make money from, they’re just left with nothing.Q: But what does this say about the system?The system is terrible. It needs to be rethought and retooled. Politicians are failing us. Health care companies are failing us. Those are realities. I don’t want to mince words here. We are facing a huge potential tragedy. We provide relief for a lot of people. But there are people who are not getting relief from us or from the institutions that are supposed to be there. We shouldn’t be the solution to a complex set of systemic problems. They should be solved by the government working properly, and by health care companies working with their constituents. We firmly believe that access to comprehensive health care is a right and things have to be fixed at the local, state and federal levels of government to make this a reality.Q: Do you ever worry that medical fundraising on your site is taking away from other causes or other things that need to be funded?We have billions being raised on our platform on an annual basis. Everything from medical, memorial and emergency, to people funding Little League teams and community projects.Another thing that’s happened in the last few years is we’ve really become the “take action button.” Whenever there’s a news cycle on something where people want to help, they create GoFundMe campaigns. This government shutdown, for example: We have over a thousand campaigns right now for people who have been affected by it — they’re raising money for people to pay rent, mortgages, car payments while the government isn’t. This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.last_img read more

Scientists teach neural network to identify a writers gender

Explore further This is a new development in the field of computational linguistics. The research was funded by a Russian Science Foundation grant. The findings were published in the Procedia Computer Science journal.Many scientific studies show that writing style can reflect certain characteristics of a writer – gender, physiological personality traits, and level of education. Speech patterns are a valuable psycho-diagnostic tool, and are often used by human resources professionals and security services. By analyzing a person’s speech, researchers can diagnose certain illnesses such as dementia and depression, and the person’s inclination toward suicidal behavior. The demand for identifying certain characteristics of a writer’s personality is increasing against the backdrop of the development of internet communications—companies want to know which demographics like their products and services.Using the numerical values for various parameters in a text, researchers in this area (linguists, psychologists, IT experts) have created mathematical models to identify certain traits in the writer’s personality. Using neural networks, the researchers analyzed the effectiveness of various machine-learning algorithms for text analysis.During the research, the scientists compared the accuracy of gender identification by text based on two types of data-driven modeling: first, machine-learning algorithms (such as a support vector machine and gradient boosting), and, second, a deep learning neural network (such as convolutional neural networks and the long short-term memory recurrent neural networks).”Using these advanced neural network models, we have achieved great results in identifying the gender of the writer based on text, under conditions in which the author is not attempting to hide his/her gender,” said Alexander Sboyev, assistant professor at MEPhI. “Our next step is to teach the neural network to identify the gender of a writer who is deliberately trying to hide it.”Thus, in the following texts, originally published on dating websites, the neural network easily identified the writer’s gender 10 out of 10 times, despite the fact that authors were free to sign their texts with a name typical of the opposite gender.This text was written by a female: “I am a handsome, fit 30-year-old man. I have a high-paying job at a large oil and gas company. I live in my own flat in Moscow, and also own a small but nice house in an Italian village. I am into sports, mainly football. I love going out on weekends, I can’t stand homebodies. My perfect girl would be modest and beautiful, and would have an attractive body, based on today’s standards. She would share my interests and would not be jealous or try to make me jealous. In the future, I do not plan to be the sole provider in a family, as I believe that when it comes to families, both men and women must earn the money. I would like to have separate budgets as well. I will not tolerate cheating.”This text was written by a male: “Hello! I am very angry, very! Why do you keep treating us like this?! We are people, too, all of us are equal! Are you sexist? I will not tolerate this anymore! I’m going to smash your car into pieces; I will spray paint all over it. You just wait, you monster. It sucks to be you.”This research indicated that the approach based on using convolutional neural networks and methods of deep learning to identify a writer’s gender, is the most optimal. The team of researchers is currently working on identifying a writer’s age. 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. A team of researchers from the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, the National Research Center Kurchatov Institute and the Voronezh State University has developed a new learning algorithm that allows a neural network to identify a writer’s gender by the written text on a computer with up to 80 percent accuracy. Citation: Scientists teach neural network to identify a writer’s gender (2018, April 27) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-scientists-neural-network-writer-gender.html Provided by National Research Nuclear University More information: Alexander Sboev et al. Deep Learning neural nets versus traditional machine learning in gender identification of authors of RusProfiling texts, Procedia Computer Science (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.procs.2018.01.065 Introducing Cloud Text-to-Speech service for developers read more

Demystifying the future of connected and autonomous vehicles

first_imgArgonne researchers are modeling and simulating how connected and autonomous vehicles could affect energy and mobility in metropolitan areas. Credit: Shutterstock / metamorworks Transforming transportation with machine learning No doubt the emergence of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) will have new and exciting effects on patterns and modes of transportation, but when it comes to measuring those effects, the future gets a little hazier. To complement their POLARIS analyses and measure energy effects, researchers used Argonne’s Autonomie tool. Autonomie is the industry-leading tool for predicting fuel consumption from current and future vehicles. For their analysis, researchers relied on Autonomie to measure the impact of CAVs on energy use.Quantifying energy and mobility impactsTo quantify the mobility and energy impacts of CAV adoption, researchers took into account a number of interrelated metrics. Among them are changes in vehicle miles traveled (VMT), value of travel time (VOTT), amount of congestion and energy consumption.Value of travel time measures the perceived burden of time spent on travel, the assumption being that, the lower the burden of travel time, the more an individual is willing to travel on the road.”We looked at VOTT as a critical factor affecting both mobility and energy because, no longer having to deal with the burden of driving, CAV drivers may choose to spend more time on the road, knowing they can use their travel time to do other, productive activities,” said Argonne Vehicle and Mobility Simulation Manager Aymeric Rousseau. “We focused on understanding the impact of VOTT on mobility and energy for different vehicle technologies and consumer behaviors.””Overall, our research found that people with access to partially automated CAVs do tend to take longer trips, as the value of travel time decreased, and the driver was alleviated from the focus on driving. We also saw congestion increase in certain scenarios,” Auld said. “We also found changes in fuel usage, including an increase in fuel use as CAV market penetration went up, with the increase in VMT.”Future stepsTo improve their ability to represent and analyze the complex interactions affecting transportation and mobility, researchers are working to enhance POLARIS and Autonomie to better account for CAV technology choices (like varying levels of automation) and their impacts on traffic flow. They’re also looking at new mobility technologies, such as transportation network companies and car sharing services.”Our modeling and simulation approaches are vital to anticipating the transportation and energy needs of our nation. By continuing to enhance these tools and techniques, we’ll be better equipped to deliver tools and solutions that address future needs,” Rousseau said.This work is being sponsored by the DOE Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) under the Systems and Modeling for Accelerated Research in Transportation (SMART) Mobility Laboratory Consortium, an initiative of the Energy Efficient Mobility Systems (EEMS) Program. David Anderson, a DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) program manager, played important roles in establishing the project concept, advancing implementation and providing ongoing guidance. How might these technologies affect how people travel and how energy will be used? Will they lead people to spend more time on the road or less? How will they alter the way we consume fuel, the time we spend on the road, or the amount of traffic on our roadways?To answer such questions, and understand future mobility, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are deploying advanced modeling and simulation tools. And in a collaborative three-year project, supported by DOE’s SMART (Systems and Modeling for Accelerated Research in Transportation) Mobility Consortium, Argonne researchers are using these tools to predict the impact of CAVs on energy and mobility in metropolitan areas.”Our goal is to acquire a system-level understanding of how transportation is changing, including how different modes of transportation interact, the decisions made by travelers that underlie those interactions, and how automation affects all of it,” said Argonne Computational Transportation Engineer Joshua Auld. “This level of understanding will provide insights to help cities better plan and adapt to future transportation changes.”Argonne’s work advances the SMART Consortium’s mission to increase our understanding of the impacts that will arise from future mobility systems. Project collaborators include the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of New South Wales, Texas A&M University, the University of Michigan, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Washington, George Mason University, as well as multiple cities and planning agencies.Modeling and simulationNow two years into their project, Auld and fellow collaborators have developed a model to represent the adoption of partially and fully automated CAVs at varying levels of market penetration, using predictions based on cost and an individual’s willingness to pay. Researchers have integrated this model, along with a traffic flow model for CAVs, into the Planning and Operations Language for Agent-based Regional Integrated Simulation (POLARIS) platform, Argonne’s transportation system simulator.POLARIS simulates mobility and traffic flow by predicting the individual behavior of “agents,” which can represent people, households and organizations. It analyzes how millions of these agents interact and make decisions on the use of automobiles, bicycles, transit, etc. In turn, these decisions affect the transportation system as a whole. Researchers used POLARIS to simulate mobility and travel flow impacts of these different scenarios. Citation: Demystifying the future of connected and autonomous vehicles (2018, June 4) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-demystifying-future-autonomous-vehicles.html Provided by Argonne National Laboratory This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore furtherlast_img read more

Ayodhya Playing chess from both sides RSS the only loser as in

first_img COMMENT BL Interview Even 26 years after a marauding mob demolished the Babri masjid with the chant — “Mandir Vahin Banayenge (Will build the temple there)” — the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) have not let go off their “promise”.This is despite the fact that those who took the temple construction issue seriously have been gradually sidelined. Cancer surgeon-turned-Hindutva protagonist Dr Pravin Togadia is the latest in this list comprising Acharya Dharmendra and Sadhvi Ritambhara among others. After his two-decade-long association with the Sangh Parivar, Togadia was forced out of theVHP as its international working president early this year. He proceeded to float his outfit— the Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad (AHP)— with the same aim. Even at 63, his passion for the temple remains undiminished as he questions the parent organisation he had joined as a 10-year-old-boy. Excerpts:After a high-voltage drama, the RSS piped down in Ayodhya on November 25, providing no new dates or directions. What is your take on this?Even the RSS has divergent views. The currently dominant pro-Modi group merely wants to go about business-as-usual, create a mahaul (atmosphere) — not to construct the temple — as a prelude to the next elections, one after another.This dragging of feet has disillusioned many in the Sangh Parivar.Both the BJP and the RSS have over the years declared their commitment to build the temple once they secured majority in the Lok Sabha. Why didn’t they,since 2014?This precisely is my question. With a Swayamsevak like the PM, and the BJP’s majority in the Lok Sabha, this could have been done. The BJP-RSS coordination meetings take place every three months. They could have decided to enact a law in 2014 itself and the temple would have been constructed by now. Do you think the RSS leadership is not serious about the issue but merely posturing?Unfortunately, yes. If they call the Congress, the SP, the BSP and the others “anti-Hindu”, how will they see themselves? An RSS man is in power as the PM and the RSS men are ‘agitating’ against him! They are in power as well as in the Opposition, as if playing chess from both the sides. With this dual play, the loser will only be one: the RSS. This is what happened during the Vajpayee regime and 2004 brought the Congress back to power. I’m afraid history may repeat itself in 2019.But the Ayodhya case is still pending in the Supreme Court. What can the government do?Precisely because of this, the Sangh Pariwar wanted the BJP to enact a new law to settle the issue once and for all. Secondly, if the apex court can sit through the night in the Afzal Guru case for an urgent hearing, how can it relegate the centuries-old Ayodhya issue to the backburner, again and again.After all, the Modi government did enact a law in the triple talaq and the SC-ST case. Then why not on the temple issue?What do you plan to do next?We will not let the temple issue become an orphan.It is our baby as all others have abandoned Ram Lalla. We will find a logical conclusion and construct the temple at the Lord’s Janmabhoomi. Come what may.Is the particular place in Ayodhya the real Janmabhoomi of Shri Ram?Yes…just like the way a particular house in Porbandar, Gujarat, is the Janmabhoomi of Gandhiji where his memorial exists. Published on November 27, 2018 SHAREcenter_img International Working President of Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), Praveen Togadia (aka Pravin Togadia), at the inauguration of the VHP’s Central Pranyasi Mandal and Prabandh Samiti meeting, in Hyderabad on December 28, 2014.Photo: P.V. Sivakumar   –  P_V_SIVAKUMAR SHARE SHARE EMAIL national politics COMMENTSlast_img read more