US hotel rates up 2 Hotel Price Index

first_imgU.S. hotel rates up 2%: Hotel Price Index DALLAS — Even with several major political shifts and currency fluctuations around the world in 2016, travellers fared pretty well with average nightly hotel prices unchanged globally from 2015, as reported in the latest Hotel Price Index from The U.S. had a slight average price increase (up 1%) throughout 2016, while declines from most other regions tempered the overall global picture.The HPI is an annual report on hotel prices in major destinations across the world, tracking the movement in prices that people actually paid (per night, including taxes and fees) for their accommodation. The data is from bookings made on the hundreds of thousands of hotels on the websites worldwide.Seven out of 10 of top international travel destinations saw a significant price decrease, including a 7% drop for Thailand (now $93 per night) and a 2% drop for China (now $134 per night), compared to 2015.International trends such as Brexit have prompted a strengthening of the dollar and best value prices for trips to European hubs. Among cities analyzed in the HPI, the most popular international destinations were London (prices down 11% from 2015 to $230 per night) and Paris (prices down 12% to $184 per night).More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backDespite global economic uncertainty and the average price of hotels in the U.S. increasing 2% during 2016, international travellers were undeterred. The top 10 most popular American destinations remained consistent. New York (prices down 3% from 2015 to $252 per night), Las Vegas (prices up 5% to $138 per night), Orlando (prices up 2% to $112 per night), Miami (prices down 5% to $186 per night), San Francisco (prices down 3% to $218 per night), Honolulu (prices up 5% to $263 per night), Los Angeles (prices up 5% to $183 per night), San Diego (prices up 2% to $157 per night), Chicago (prices down 3% to $202 per night) and Washington D.C. (prices up 1% to $212 per night) rounded out the top 10. Wednesday, March 8, 2017 Share Posted bycenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: America, Trend Watch Travelweek Group last_img read more

Porters nonstop flights to Myrtle Beach return midFebruary

first_imgPorter’s nonstop flights to Myrtle Beach return mid-February Tags: Myrtle Beach, Porter Airlines << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Travelweek Group center_img TORONTO — Porter Airlines’ seasonal service to Myrtle Beach is set to begin Feb. 13, with twice weekly flights on Wednesdays and Saturdays and added frequency during March Break.The nonstop service out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is scheduled to run through May 19, says Porter.“The warm air and ocean breezes of Myrtle Beach are just two hours away with Porter,” says Robert Deluce, President and CEO, Porter Airlines. “It’s the perfect time of year to think about getting away for a few days of relaxation.”Oceanfront hotels, sandy beaches and 100+ golf courses in the area make Myrtle Beach an ideal vacation for the entire family, he adds.Resort options with Porter Escapes include the Doubletree Resort by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront, Sheraton Broadway Plantation and Westgate Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Resort. Clients can also book attractions including Legends in Concert and Brookgreen Gardens, and tee times, in advance. Posted by Thursday, November 29, 2018 last_img read more

Qantas confirms Jetstar talking to AirAsia about possible merger

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Qantas has recently confirmed that wholly owned subsidiary Jetstar has been talking to Malaysia-based low cost carrier AirAsia about a possible joint venture.This news comes after Qantas eyed Malaysian Airlines earlier in the year as a possible partner earlier in the year in order to set up a strong presence in Southeast Asia.“Qantas confirms that its wholly-owned subsidiary Jetstar and AirAsia have entered discussions regarding a potential cost-saving joint venture,” said Qantas.“However, these discussions are at a preliminary stage and no binding agreements have been reached.”If successful, this cooperation should better position Qantas to battle it out with Singapore Airlines and its low-cost subsidiary Tiger Airways.The announcement also comes days after an Australian federal government aviation White Paper indicated that foreign ownership laws on Qantas may be slackened.last_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter Passengers flying with

first_imgGo back to the enewsletterPassengers flying with Emirates at the ‘pointy end’ will discover a new range of luxury products aimed at making flying an even more comfortable experience. The airline has forged collaborations with BYREDO skincare, Bowers & Wilkins and Emirates’ longstanding partnership with Bulgari for its refreshed amenity kits in First and Business class.BYREDO for Emirates Wellness kitEmirates First Class customers will find the BYREDO travel wellness range of skincare in their private suites. The allergen-free and Chamomile collections were exclusively created for Emirates for a relaxing and hydrating experience in flight. The collection by European luxury brand, BYREDO, was first introduced in Emirates’ new fully enclosed suites on the Boeing 777 last year and is now being rolled out across the fleet. All the products in the collection are manufactured using the best raw materials with a distinct focus on craft and quality.BYREDO for Emirates Wellness kit in First ClassProducts included in the BYREDO for Emirates Wellness kit are:Cleansing Face Towelette, leaving a clean base to enjoy the maximum benefit from skincare.Facial Toner brings freshness and essential hydration, improving overall skin texture.Eye Cream gently hydrates sensitive skin around the eye leaving it softer and suppler.Chamomile roll-on Sleep Oil to apply on pulse points to ease into relaxation.Chamomile Pillow Mist spray for textile to create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphereThe kits are paired with a faux leather notebook and branded pen.Bowers & Wilkins Active Noise-Cancelling E1 headphonesTo amplify the viewing experience on ice, Emirates’ award-winning in-flight entertainment system, the airline is rolling out brand new Bowers & Wilkins Active Noise-Cancelling E1 headphones in First Class. These headphones were designed by award-winning audio brand Bowers & Wilkins and created exclusively for Emirates using a unique hybrid noise cancellation technology optimised for the Emirates First Class cabins.Bowers & Wilkins Active Noise Cancelling E1 headphones in First ClassThe headphones are lightweight and made of the finest materials, including aluminium and sheepskin leather for a comfortable fit. Customers can use the headphones to view up to 3,500 channels of on-demand entertainment on a 32-inch TV screen. The entertainment selection on ice across all classes includes up to 950 movies, 400 TV channels and 2,400 music and podcast channels.Bulgari Amenity KitsThe new set of amenity kits for both First and Business Class feature Bulgari’s fragrance – Eau Parfumée Au Thé Vert (Green Tea) – and contain skincare essentials to keep customers feeling fresh and pampered throughout the flight.The First Class kit bags, made from faux leather, come in eight designs with a new range of colours for men and women. Eight additional designs are available in Business Class – four for men and four for women. The amenity kits are available on long-haul overnight flights and designs are refreshed every nine months. The bags have been designed for multipurpose uses after the flight to store headphones, make up or jewellery.Bulgari Amenity Kits – men’s collection in First ClassBulgari Amenity Kits – ladies’ collection in First ClassIn addition to the Bulgari amenity kits, First Class customers will also be given Hydra Active moisturising sleep suits on long-haul overnight flights.Fans of the First Class experience can purchase the Emirates sleep suits, First Class blanket or the Bowers & Wilkins PX headphones from the Emirates Official Stores.Fine dining on EmiratesOn all Emirates flights, customers can enjoy a selection of the finest cuisine prepared by gourmet chefs, accompanied by some of the most exclusive wines, champagnes and spirits in the world. Emirates recently revamped its spirits offering across all classes to include exclusives like the Hennessy Paradis Imperial and introduced the Emirates Vintage Collection – a selection of fine wines which have been stored for up to 15 years. This includes the Château Cheval Blanc 2004, Château Haut Brion 2004, Château Mouton Rothschild 2001 and Château Margaux 1998 served in First Class on select routes.In Business Class, Emirates is serving exclusive champagnes like the Moët & Chandon Rosé Imperial served on all flights from Dubai later this month. A global on-board exclusive, Veuve Clicquot Extra Brut Extra Old, will also be available for a limited time on select routes.Emirates’ premium on-board experience is complemented by on-ground comfort with a network of 42 dedicated Emirates Lounges located within major airports around the globe, including its newly-opened Cairo lounge and refurbished New York lounge at John F Kennedy International Airport. First and Business Class passengers can also travel to and from the airport via Emirates’ complimentary Chauffeur-drive service – available in over 70 cities including Emirates’ latest destination, Santiago.Go back to the enewsletterlast_img read more

Ukrainian cable operator Volia has launched HDTV s

first_imgUkrainian cable operator Volia has launched HDTV services in the city of Vinnytsia in west-central Ukraine. Vinnytsia is the 14th city in which the operator has launched its HD package. Subscribers to any of the operator’s basic digital services can upgrade to HD. Channels in the package include Discovery HD Showcase, Animal Planet HD, Travel Channel HD, National Geographic HD, MyZen HD, Fashion One HD, Nat Geo Wild HD, Outdoor Channel HD, Soccer Plus HD and Volia Cinema HD.Volia’s HD service is currently available in the cities of Kyiv, Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Donetsk, Lviv, Rivne, Khmelnitsky, Kherson, Sevastopol, Cherkassy, Poltava and Sumy.last_img read more

Dear Reader Both Doug and I have been traveling l

first_imgDear Reader,Both Doug and I have been traveling lately, making even Internet communication rather challenging, so this week we’re featuring another interview with one of the speakers from our recently held Summit. But before we get to that, I’d like to pass along news of a new Casey phyle getting started in Custer County, Colorado. Those of you who are interested in joining this phyle – or seeing if there’s a phyle close to your home – please send an email to to learn more.Peter Schweizer is probably one of the few Americans who truly understands how deep the cronyism runs in our political system, and he’s revealed a lot about that and what he thinks mainstream citizens can do to start counteracting it in his book Throw Them All Out. He spoke with Chief Technology Investment Strategist Alex Daley about the very sad state of ethics in the nation’s capital.Doug and I will be back next week, most likely. Until then, invest wisely.Sincerely,Louis James Senior Metals Investment Strategist Casey Research To hear Peter’s Summit presentation, along with all our other speakers and breakout sessions, order a copy today of the Navigating the Politicized Economy Summit Audio Collection. Available on CDs and in MP3 format, it’s a must-have for every shrewd investor, as it will help you prepare to handle both the cultural and economic shifts ahead. And the specific, actionable investment advice will likely cover the cost of this package several times over. Learn more and order today.last_img read more

And as I type this paragraph the London open is a

first_img And as I type this paragraph, the London open is about fifteen minutes away.  Gold, silver and platinum are up a hair—and palladium is flat.  Nothing to see here.  Net gold volume is around 10,500 contracts at the moment, with virtually all of it in the new front month, which is August.  Net silver volume is a bit over 3,600 contracts.  Nothing to see in the volume data, either. The dollar index made it up to 97.39 around 11 a.m. Hong Kong time on their Thursday morning—and it’s been heading south at a goodly pace since.  It kissed the 97.00 mark around 2:30 p.m Hong Kong time, but ‘gentle hands’ were at the ready.  However, it’s still hovering very close to that mark with the London open less than five minutes away at this point—and is currently down 28 basis points. Today is the last trading day in the June contract—and First Day Notice numbers will be posted on the CME’s website this evening—and I’ll have them for you in tomorrow’s column. And as I send today’s effort off into cyberspace at 5:35 a.m. EDT, I see that all four precious metals have crept a bit higher, but it’s obvious that a willing seller was present shortly after 9 a.m. BST in London, as gold, silver and platinum all got sold down a bit.  With three wildly different supply/demand fundamentals, this sort of co-ordinated ‘action’ would never happen in a free market. As expected, gold’s gross volume is getting up there, but the net volume is only 21,000 contracts.  Silver’s net volume is sitting right at 6,000 contracts—and the dollar index, which has bounced off the 97.00 mark three times in the last couple of hours, is down 22 basis points.  I get the impression that it would like to move a lot lower, but those ‘gentle hands’ are obviously still around. I have no idea what will happen during the Thursday trading session, but we certainly aren’t out of the woods yet from a down-side perspective.  Of course there’s always a chance that JPMorgan et al could get over run with some black swan event coming out of left field.  But if it does happen, it will be—as Ted Butler has been saying for at least a decade now—the first time. So we wait. I’m off to bed—and I’ll see you here tomorrow. The gold stocks gapped down about 2 percent at the open—and managed to rally into positive territory shortly after 10:30 a.m. EDT on gold’s tiny rally after its new low tick—and then they faded from there, with the HUI closing down 0.32 percent. The platinum price traded a small handful of dollars higher through all of Far East trading—and into early trading in London.  Then, like silver, the price got rolled over just after 10:30 a.m. BST/11:30 a.m. in Zurich—and its new low price for this move down came shortly before and after the close of COMEX trading at 1:30 p.m. EDT.  Platinum finished the Wednesday session at $1,117 spot, down 6 bucks from Tuesday. The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 10 gold and 51 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Friday.  The largest short/issuer was Canada’s Scotiabank with 39 contracts—and the largest long/stopper was JPMorgan with 42 for its in-house [proprietary] trading account. The CME Preliminary Report for the Wednesday trading session showed that gold open interest in May fell by 26 contracts—and is now down to 10 contracts remaining.  Those contracts are being delivered tomorrow as per the above paragraph.  Silver’s open interest fell an amazing 147 contracts, leaving 71 still open, but only 51 were posted for delivery on Friday.  What’s with the other 20 contracts left over undelivered?  Beats the hell out of me—and I await the First Notice Day report this evening for some sort of resolution to this. There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday—an an authorized participant added a smallish 143,355 troy ounces to SLV. For the third day in a row there was no sales report from the U.S. Mint. It was another quiet day in gold at the COMEX-approved depositories on Tuesday, as only 2,500 troy ounces were received, all at HSBC USA—and nothing was shipped out.  And it was pretty quiet in silver as well.  Only 94,733 troy ounces were received—and 130,239 troy ounces were shipped out.   The ‘in’ activity was at HSBC USA—and most of the ‘out’ activity was at the CNT Depository. Over at the COMEX-approved gold kilobar depositories in Hong Kong on their Tuesday, they received 4,092 kilobars—and shipped out 3,416 of them.  The link to that activity, in troy ounces, is here. I have a decent number of stories for you today, but I’m a little short of precious metal-related stories, as not much has been happening this week.  I hope you’ll find a few that you feel are worth reading. If, for instance, copper futures experienced 53 or 61 days of world copper production (50,000 tons per day) being bought and sold by speculators on the COMEX during one week, as just occurred in silver futures, that would mean between 210,000 to 240,000 COMEX copper contracts would be repositioned, an impossibility for a market with a total open interest of less than180,000 contracts. Further, the concentrated short position of the eight largest traders in COMEX copper comes to 15 days world production, less than a tenth of the 163 days of world production in COMEX silver. If NYMEX crude oil experienced 53 days of world oil production (93 million barrels a day) being sold in one week, as just occurred in COMEX silver, that would be the equivalent of 5 billion barrels of oil or 5 million NYMEX futures contracts. NYMEX crude oil is the largest oil futures contract in the world and has a current total open interest of around 1.6 million contracts and it would be impossible for any group of speculators to sell or buy 53 days of world production in a year or longer, no less in a week as just occurred in COMEX silver. In terms of the concentrated short position of the 8 largest traders in NYMEX crude oil, it comes to less than 4 days of world oil production, compared to the 163 days of production held short in COMEX silver. It is only when you compare what just occurred in COMEX silver to other commodities does the extent of the manipulation come through. I’d use the words preposterous and absurd to describe the situation, but the COT report is factual and as real as rain. Instead, what is preposterous and absurd is for anyone to pretend that what is going on in silver is somehow normal. This is particularly true for silver investors and mining companies and their shareholders which are being held hostage to the most defective price discovery process in history. — Silver analyst Ted Butler: 27 May 2015 It was a very quiet trading day from a price perspective, but three of the four precious metals set new lows for this move down yesterday, although they did not close at them—so the slicing continues. Volume in gold, of course, was enormous as the big traders had to be out yesterday at the COMEX close—and all the rest have to be out by the end of today’s close.  Volume will be lighter, but still very decent. Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals updated with Thursday’s price/volume data. The dollar index closed late on Tuesday afternoon in New York at 97.22.  It rallied about 15 basis points in early Far East trading on their Wednesday morning before heading lower.  It dipped to its 96.90 low of the day around 2:45 p.m. Hong Kong time, but at that point ‘gentle hands’ appeared and brought it back above the 97.00 mark.  After trading flat for a couple of hours, a ‘rally’ began that took it to its 97.78 high minutes after 9 a.m. in New York—and from there it chopped lower in the close.  It finished the Wednesday session at 97.30—up 8 basis points from Tuesday’s close. The silver equities got sold down at the open as well, but they never got a sniff of positive territory—and Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 1.38 percent. If you read Ted’s quote above, I urge you to read it one more time—and if you didn’t, it’s not too late to make amends.  Here’s Nick Laird’s “Days of World Production to Cover COMEX Short Positions” graph in all physically traded commodities on the COMEX.  This chart was in my Saturday column, but I thought I’d post it here for reference purposes.  Ted mentions that the Big 8 traders are short 163 days of world silver production, but Nick’s chart indicates the number is actually 178 days. Palladium followed platinum pretty closely up until the price got turned over at 11:30 a.m. Zurich time as well.  Its low of the day came during early trading in New York—and it rallied back to unchanged—$778 spot—by the close. Silver traded basically unchanged until shortly after the morning gold fix in London yesterday—and its new low tick for this move down also came minutes after the COMEX open—no coincidence, I’m sure.  The silver price rallied a bit until 10:20 a.m. EDT, before getting sold down until 11:15 a.m. EDT.  From there it traded flat into the close of electronic trading. The high and low ticks in silver were recorded by the CME Group as $16.81 and $16.58 in the July contract. Silver finished the Tuesday session at $16.65 spot, down 7 cents from Tuesday’s close.  Gross volume was 38,500 contracts, but netted out to only 25,500 contract.  The surprise in these numbers was the heavy roll-overs out of July, with 2,156 contracts into September—and 3,918 contracts into December.  I don’t know if it means anything—and I’ll try to remember to ask Ted today. Three of the four precious metals set new lows for this move down Well, the HFT boyz, along with their algorithms and spoofing, were nowhere to be seen on Wednesday as the gold price traded in about a seven dollar price range.  However, a new low price tick was set for this move down minutes after the COMEX open.  The highs and lows from yesterday aren’t worth the effort of looking up. Gold closed in New York yesterday at $1,188.00 spot, up the magnificent sum of 20 cents the ounce.  Gross volume, as expected, was over the moon at 363,000 contracts, but it all netted out at only 37,000 contracts as the large traders had to be out at the close of COMEX trading. Integra’s Lamaque South Gold Project and Sigma-Lamaque Milling Complex and Mines are located directly east from the city of Val-d’Or along the prolific Abitibi Greenstone belt in the Province of Québec, Canada, approximately 550 km northwest of Montréal. Québec is rated one of the best mining jurisdictions in the world. Infrastructure, human resources and mining expertise are readily available. The Company’s primary focus is on production planning for its high-grade Lamaque South project. The Lamaque South property is divided into three clusters, the North, South and West cluster. The primary targets are the high-grade Parallel Zone in the North Cluster and the Triangle Zone in the South Cluster. The acquired Sigma Mill, located 1 kilometer from the Parallel Zone and 3 kilometers from the Triangle Zone, is a fully-permitted, 2,200 ton per day mill and tailings facility. The Sigma-Lamaque Mill and Mining Complex include the historic Sigma and Lamaque Mines which operated for 75 and 52 years respectively and produced more than 9 million ounces of gold in total. Please visit our website for more information. Here are three red-winged blackbird photos, one female—and two different males, that I took from the car as I was driving down a country road just outside the city limits about ten days ago.  There’s no way that they would allow you to get close enough for a good photo if you were just on foot.last_img read more

Recommended Links

first_img Recommended Links TV Investing Guru: Returns Could Have Been Better Using an Unlikely Source! When a PhD applied his investing calculator to a famous TV investor’s portfolio, the results were amazing. So much so that he then used his calculator on the portfolios of other investing experts and back-tested their returns. What did he find? This free presentation reveals everything. Learn more. Editor’s Note: You’ll find a very important theme in the Daily Dispatch this week. We’re going to discuss how to build your own personal “financial empire.” Each day this week, in place of our regular daily market commentary, you’ll receive an essay with advice on how to build lasting wealth. Over time, learning and following these keys to wealth creation can turn you into a multimillionaire. This essay is part of the “field guide” we send to every new reader of our flagship research service, The Casey Report. ———- The Casey Report will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to build a lifetime of crisis-proof, inflation-proof wealth. In today’s world, a field guide for navigating the financial markets has never been more important. World governments are engaged in a gigantic experiment with our money. They’ve taken on debts and obligations they can’t possibly hope to repay. When their creditors come knocking, the governments will react desperately. Their actions will cause financial busts, financial booms, inflation, social unrest, and, in some cases, war. We don’t know what the next month will hold. We don’t know what the next year will hold. However, we do know that in a world where governments constantly meddle with business and money, there will be extraordinary booms and busts. For most people, these booms and busts will be a source of confusion and financial loss. Most people will never know what causes them…or how to react to them. So, they’ll get tossed around like a ship on rough seas. The Casey Report is the antidote to feeling powerless in today’s world. It will show you how to survive any crisis that lies ahead. Even better, it will show you how to build a fortune during volatile times. The Casey Report is your field guide for building a personal financial empire…no matter what kind of economic conditions we see. Following the principles laid down by The New York Times best-selling author and multimillionaire speculator Doug Casey, The Casey Report will provide you with a robust mental framework that will help you build a lifetime of lasting wealth. It will put a highly skilled, highly connected team of investors to work for you, every day. We follow a unique set of principles in The Casey Report. They don’t teach these principles in high school or college, but throughout the centuries, people have used them to build empires of wealth. These principles are like pillars that support a building. Each pillar is in a different spot, but they all work together to keep the building strong. Here are the pillars of your personal empire of wealth. PILLAR #1: The development of one or more large active income streams “Active” income is the income you earn from actively working in a business, whether as an owner or an employee. If you didn’t inherit millions of dollars and you’re starting from scratch, developing one or more large active income streams is crucial to building lasting wealth. Being a business owner is better than being an employee. You get more control and more upside. But if entrepreneurship isn’t your thing, don’t worry. Highly paid employees can develop very large income streams. There are thousands and thousands of rich salesmen, athletes, executives, doctors, and lawyers out there. As for age, it’s only a number. No matter what your age, it’s never too late to start earning and saving money. Multiple income streams are better than just one income stream. Multiple streams of income provide more stability and greater upside than a single income stream. And keep in mind, if your goal is to build lasting wealth, making a lot of money isn’t enough. You have to save that money. If you make a million dollars a year and blow a million dollars a year, you won’t build lasting wealth. You’ll be a high-earning broke person. In order to build lasting wealth, you must save a substantial portion of your income…and use it to acquire assets. This brings us to… — #1 Currency Collapse Survival Blueprint in America? This blueprint outlines the 3 ESSENTIAL steps every American should take right now. The good news is, these steps are easy and fairly straightforward to implement. You can do all of these from home, with very little effort. Click here to learn more. PILLAR #2: The accumulation of ownership stakes in enduring, high-quality businesses that can be held for long periods of time For centuries, the key to great wealth has been the ownership of enduring, high-quality businesses like Standard Oil, U.S. Steel, McDonald’s, Disney, Starbucks, Nestlé, and Coca-Cola. It will be that way for many more centuries to come. Enduring, high-quality businesses built the fortunes of Rockefeller, Rothschild, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates. Building a highly successful business from scratch is the surest way to a huge fortune. That’s how Bill Gates came to be worth more than $50 billion. He founded the world’s most successful software company. But buying ownership stakes in existing private or public businesses can also be extremely lucrative. For example, consider the story of someone who bought an ownership stake in Johnson & Johnson in 1990. At the time, J&J was an established blue-chip leader in consumer products and pharmaceuticals. It was one of the best businesses in America. In April 1990, someone who bought an ownership stake in J&J began earning the company’s annual dividend payment of $0.15 per share. This translated into a 2% yield on the investor’s capital. Over the next 25 years, J&J grew from $11 billion in sales to $74 billion in sales. It also increased its dividend payment every single year. The dividend increased through recessions, bear markets, and terrorist attacks. By 2015, the person who bought an ownership stake in J&J in 1990 had watched the value of his stake grow by 1,321%. He was earning an annual yield of 42% on his original investment. And he made all this money by owning one of the world’s best businesses. If you’re worried about governments devaluing currencies, make sure you own stakes in world-class businesses. They maintain their value through inflation and deflation. World-class businesses can be publically traded or they can be private. They are a critical component of your plan to build lasting wealth. Regards, Brian Hunt Editor’s Note: In tomorrow’s edition, find out how the accumulation of world-class deposits of oil, gold, and other key resources can help make you rich. Casey Research’s flagship service The Casey Report is dedicated to helping subscribers build a lifetime of crisis-proof wealth. Led by multimillionaire speculator and New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey, The Casey Report is one of the world’s most respected investment advisories. Right now, you can take a risk-free trial to find out if The Casey Report is for you. Click here to get started. –last_img read more

Disabled voters who face polling station barriers

first_imgDisabled voters who face polling station barriers at tomorrow’s general election will be able to secure free legal advice that could help them cast their vote.Disabled people who have been prevented from casting their vote on election day can contact discrimination experts Unity Law through the hashtag #PolledOut (accompanied by the location of the polling station).Unity Law argues that preventing a disabled person from voting could breach the Equality Act, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Human Rights Act.And it hopes to be able to fix some of the problems on the day of the election, ensuring that disabled people who contact them will be able to cast their vote.They have also pledged to take legal action on behalf of disabled people who contact them and are still unable to vote.Unity Law plans to share its data from the day after the election with the Electoral Commission, and the disability charity Scope, which has campaigned in this area.At the 2010 election, Scope found that two-thirds of polling stations had one or more significant access barriers to disabled voters.Unity Law is representing the disabled activist Adam Lotun, who was prevented from voting at last year’s European elections because of an inaccessible polling station.A year on, he has still received no confirmation from his local council that he will be able to vote in tomorrow’s general election.Doug Paulley, a disabled activist who is backing Unity Law’s campaign and was himself once forced to vote in the street because of an inaccessible polling station, said: “Most people agree that the right to vote, and to do so in private, is a fundamental tenet of our democracy. It is a fundamental right, long fought for over the centuries.“To have this denied means that those disabled people who want to vote but are unable or are demeaned in having to vote in the street, or to waive their privacy, are being denied something which nearly every other adult in the UK takes for granted.”Chris Fry, managing partner of Unity Law, said: “It is a scandal that 800 years on from the signing of the Magna Carta, the rights of the individual remain out of reach.”Meanwhile, new research has shown that none of the seven main political parties in England, Wales and Scotland have a website that achieves international standards on accessibility.The disability charity AbilityNet said the results of its new investigation were “bleak” for disabled people, and showed the sites were “difficult and frustrating” to use, while none of them complied with minimum legal standards on accessibility.The charity found that the three best websites belonged to Labour, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats, followed by the Greens.The three least accessible sites belonged to the Conservatives, UKIP, and Plaid Cymru.Each site was tested by disabled people with a variety of impairments, while they were also checked by AbilityNet’s accessibility experts.Robin Christopherson, head of digital inclusion at AbilityNet, said: “What our tests do show is that disabled people are being denied access to information that could help them make an informed choice.“In an election where every vote counts, the political parties should take note and put web accessibility at the top of their agendas.”Another report, by the respite holiday charity Revitalise, has found that, in the UK’s 50 most marginal seats, only three (six per cent) of the websites belonging to councils administering polling stations had adequate online access information on voting for wheelchair-users.The study found that 44 of the 50 websites (88 per cent) had no accessibility information for disabled people at all.last_img read more

The equality watchdogs disability commissioner ha

first_imgThe equality watchdog’s disability commissioner has told UK airlines to “show leadership” and promise to pay full compensation to disabled passengers whose mobility equipment is damaged in transit.Lord [Chris] Holmes spoke out after it emerged that airlines were still relying on a loophole provided by the Montreal Convention that allows them to offer only minimal compensation for wheelchairs and other equipment damaged by airlines, 14 years after a campaign was launched to address the issue.Disability Now magazine launched its Flight Rights campaign in 2002*, after concerns were raised by leading disability consultant Phil Friend, who helped launch the campaign, about the frequency of wheelchairs being damaged or even lost by airlines.But despite European regulations, introduced in 2006, that provided new rights for disabled passengers – which mean airports and airlines must now provide them with free assistance – the issue of compensation for damage and loss to wheelchairs is still unresolved.Under the convention, compensation for damaged items – including wheelchairs – is calculated on the basis of weight rather than value. This week, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) told Disability News Service that it had decided to investigate how often mobility equipment was being damaged by airlines or airports across the UK and what measures were in place to support disabled passengers when such incidents occur.The CAA decision came following publicity about the case of disabled actor, writer and director Athena Stevens, whose electric wheelchair – worth more than £25,000 – was badly damaged when she tried to take a British Airways flight to Glasgow from London City Airport.Eight months on, Stevens is still trying to secure the compensation necessary to repair her wheelchair and reimburse other significant financial losses, and this week wrote an open letter accusing both the airline and the airport of breaching her rights, lying, double standards, jeopardising her health, discrimination and appalling customer service.Lord Holmes was highly critical of both British Airways and London City Airport.He said: “Disabled people are often deterred from flying for fear of loss, damage or destruction of their mobility equipment. Athena’s story is a case in point.“She has been left without a replacement chair for eight months. We’re not talking about a suitcase or a set of golf clubs – this is a person’s mobility and independence.”He said UK airlines had a “moral responsibility” to stop hiding behind the Montreal Convention when they damage mobility equipment.Efforts by the European Commission to introduce new regulations that include measures to allow disabled air passengers to receive full compensation for damaged wheelchairs were approved by MEPs more than two years ago, in May 2014.But the European Council – made up of EU heads of state, including UK prime minister David Cameron – has so far prevented it becoming law.Lord Holmes said: “This is an issue which cannot wait any longer. We are therefore calling on British air carriers to show leadership and proactively adopt this policy voluntarily to ensure that disabled people are offered full and, most importantly, timely compensation if their mobility devices are damaged by the carrier.”Phil Friend (pictured) said that he was still frequently asked for advice about mobility equipment that had been lost or damaged by airlines, 14 years after he helped launch the Flight Rights campaign.He said the situation was slightly easier now because companies such as Fish Insurance will insure equipment against damage by airlines, although they will not cover the full cost of expensive electric wheelchairs.But he said: “The whole air travel experience is still back in the dark ages as far as disabled people are concerned. And we are paying the same fares as everyone else.”He added: “The whole experience on air travel is fraught with concerns and enormous anxiety.“Your anxiety levels increase, you’re just not sure what state your chair will be in when you get it back.”He said the 2006 EU regulations had led to “an incremental improvement”, but they had not dealt with the issue of “proper compensation for people who lose very, very expensive equipment”.A London City Airport spokesman said: “We have been in communication with Ms Stevens from the outset and the airport has made every effort to assist her in resolving this situation. Because this is a legal matter we are unable to provide further comment.”British Airways claimed that “in those circumstances when we are responsible, we pay compensation to the value of the damage caused over and above the limits of the Montreal agreement”.But Stevens has told DNS that the airline was lying and that it had told her it “would not pay above [Montreal Convention rates], even if it was seen to be their fault”.*The relevant Disability Now stories are no longer available online other than through specialist archiving websites**The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published advice for disabled air passengerslast_img read more

Increasing numbers of local authorities are breach

first_imgIncreasing numbers of local authorities are breaching the Equality Act by designing “dangerous and discriminatory” road layouts that put blind and partially-sighted people at risk of serious harm, say disabled campaigners.The concernshave been raised by the user-led campaign group National Federation of the Blind of the UK (NFB UK),which has grown increasingly concerned by schemes being introduced across thecountry.Among thosecouncils it has highlighted are Manchester City Council, Leicester CityCouncil, and Enfield council in north London.In Enfield,the council has introduced bus stops that place blind and disabled pedestriansat risk of colliding with cyclists.The “boarder”bus stops have cycle lanes between the bus stop and the boarding point for thebus.Sarah Gayton, NFB UK’s shared space coordinator, said: “I was shocked at what I saw in Enfield. I had been told it was bad buthad no idea quite how bad it would be. “Anybody can see the designis flawed and is inherently dangerous. “The scheme is a disasterfor blind people. It is difficult to see how this could have been approved asacceptable.”InManchester, the city council plans to introduce more than 30 bus stops inChorlton as part of a new cycling scheme, including 14 boarder bus stops.It alsoplans 17 bus stop “bypasses” or “islands”, which place the bus stop on anisland, with pedestrians forced to cross a cycle lane to reach it.NFB UK points to researchcarried out by Danish researchers which found that the number of collisionsinvolving passengers entering or exiting a bus rose from five to 73 afterbicycle lanes were introduced.Other Danishresearch showed two-fifths of busdrivers across five cities in Denmark had witnessed bus passengers involved incollisions at both the types of bus stops.NFB UK said that it had offered to work with Manchester City Council onthe cycling scheme in August 2018 but its offer was not taken up.  It now wantsa halt to the introduction of all further bus stop boarders and bypasses acrossthe country.Many of theseschemes include zebra crossings, and cyclists often fail to stop at thesecrossings, leaving blind and other disabled pedestrians unsure whether they cancross to exit or enter a bus.Last month, NFB UK filmed a succession of cyclists riding through a zebra crossing introduced as part of a bus stop bypass scheme in Manchester, even though a blind man with a white cane was waiting with his cane on the crossing (pictured).Gayton said:“Both the bus stop boarders and bypasses really need to halt until we can worktogether to work out a different solution.”InLeicester, NFB UK points to the removal of controlled crossings at keyjunctions, as part of the Connecting Leicester scheme, which it says has madekey routes from the train station inaccessible. AndrewHodgson, NFB UK’s president, said some of the schemes introduced in London had“created real distress for blind and disabled people”, and that the Enfieldscheme was “dangerous and discriminatory”.NFB UK andthe user-led accessible transport campaign organisation Transport forAll supported a petition delivered to the prime minister last month byEnfield residents which called for stronger equality laws on the design andre-design of roads.The petitionalso calls on the government to force local councils to commission independentequality impact assessments of all road and community re-design proposals andthen “to abide by the findings and recommendations of those assessments”.An Enfieldcouncil spokesperson said it “emphatically” rejected the suggestion that it hadbreached the Equality Act and said that it was “fully committed to equality ineverything we do”.She said thecouncil had engaged with disability organisations including Enfield Disability Action,Guide Dogs for the Blind and Enfield Vision, and had workeddirectly with the Centre for Accessible Environments.She said: “Webelieve that the current design for bus boarders in Enfield does make it clearthat pedestrians have right of way. “Inaddition, the installation of buffer strips, ramps, signage and distinctive pavingall inform cyclists that they are entering an area used by pedestrians and mustgive priority to pedestrians.“In ourresponse to NFB UK, we reiterated that as we continue to deliver thisprogramme, we will continue to explore more ways to constructively engage witha range of community groups. “As part ofthis, we are interested to hear the views of organisations who represent peoplewho are visually impaired/have particular accessibility requirements. “This is thecase in both informing early design work, and also in listening to any specificissues that are raised post-construction.”She saidthat Transport for London (TfL), which funded its Cycle Enfield programme, wasconducting a London-wide review of bus stop boarders, and she added: “We will considerany outcomes of this carefully in conjunction with TfL and if appropriate makeadjustments.”A ManchesterCity Council spokesperson said it was studying more than 1,800 responses to apublic consultation on its proposed Manchester to Chorlton walking routeand cycleway and would “take them into account before the designs arefinalised”.He said thecouncil, along with Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking commissioner ChrisBoardman and Trafford Borough Council, was “committed to providing awalking route and cycleway which is safe and accessible for all road users”.  He said: “Wehave met with representatives of blind and partially-sighted residents toensure they had the opportunity to review the designs and provided extratime for them to respond to the consultation.  “We thankthem for their valuable input into this process and will take their commentsfully into consideration during the process of finalising the designs.”But he saidthe council was “not aware of a specific offer from NFB UK to ‘cooperate’ withus on the design of this scheme”.A LeicesterCity Council spokesperson said it had met national guidelines in removing thetwo controlled crossings, which had “significantly reduced thenumber of vehicles in these locations and their speed”, while alternativepedestrian routes remained available. She said: “We listen to all comments received onschemes we propose. Ultimately, we have to decide what will be the mostsensible solution to achieve a layout where people, not vehicles, dominate.”She said Leicester’s city mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby,had taken part in a blindfolded walk around the city with local sight losscharity VISTA, which included the two sites, and he was now “considering theconcerns raised with him”.Sir Peter said: “I welcomed the opportunity to walkthrough the city with representatives of VISTA and a member of [NFB UK]. “While we have done a lot in recent years to make thecity centre much more accessible to people with disabilities, it was veryuseful to find out what barriers and challenges still remain.”A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

Stephen Hawkings Final Paper on Black Holes Is Now Online

first_img Next Article Stephen Hawking’s Final Paper on Black Holes Is Now Online Image credit: Chris Williamson | Getty Images via engadget –shares It presents a solution for the black hole information paradox. Enroll Now for $5 Stephen Hawking 3 min read Add to Queue Mariella Moon Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand 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. October 15, 2018 Stephen Hawking never stopped trying to unravel the mysteries surrounding black holes — in fact, he was still working to solve one of them shortly before his death. Now, his last research paper on the subject is finally available online through pre-publication website ArXiV, thanks to his co-authors from Cambridge and Harvard. It’s titled Black Hole Entropy and Soft Hair, and it tackles the black hole paradox. According to Hawking’s co-author Malcolm Perry, the paradox “is perhaps the most puzzling problem in fundamental theoretical physics today” and was the center of the late physicist’s life for decades.The information paradox arose from Hawking’s theoretical argument back in the 1970s that black holes have a temperature. As such, they’re bound to evaporate over time until there’s nothing left, releasing energy now called the “Hawking Radiation.” See, it’s believed that when an object enters a black hole, its information gets preserved on its surface forever even if it vanishes from sight. If a black hole evaporates, though, then so will that information. That creates a paradox, because according to the rules of quantum physics, information can never be destroyed.The new paper shows how that information can be preserved by photons called “soft hair” surrounding the edge of black hole, which you might know as the event horizon. According to Hawking, Perry, Andrew Strominger and Sasha Haco, a black hole’s temperature changes when you throw an object (say, a planet’s atoms) into it. The hotter it gets, the more its entropy (its internal disorder) rises. That entropy is what’s preserved in a black hole’s soft hair.Perry said he called Hawking a few days before he passed away to discuss their work. “It was very difficult for Stephen to communicate and I was put on a loudspeaker to explain where we had got to. When I explained it, he simply produced an enormous smile. I told him we’d got somewhere. He knew the final result,” he told The Guardian. The scientists admit that there’s a lot of work to be done, though: “It’s a step on the way, but it is definitely not the entire answer,” Perry said. “We have slightly fewer puzzles than we had before, but there are definitely some perplexing issues left.”You can read the paper in full in its pre-published state. Earlier this year, Hawking’s last paper on the multiverse theory was also published in the Journal of High Energy Physics, in case that’s more up your alley. This story originally appeared on Engadgetlast_img read more

WHO Cannabis Rescheduling Recommendations Are Too Little for Some

first_img Next Article Listen Now The proposal would be great progress for medical marijuana and CBD but does much less for those who think adults can make their own choices about recreational cannabis. –shares Each week hear inspiring stories of business owners who have taken the cannabis challenge and are now navigating the exciting but unpredictable Green Rush. Add to Queue 5 min read February 6, 2019center_img Green Entrepreneur Podcast Brought to you by Marijuana Business Daily Image credit: FilippoBacci | Getty Images WHO Cannabis Rescheduling Recommendations Are Too Little for Some Legal Marijuana The World Health Organization (WHO) made great strides in its recommendations on how cannabis should be scheduled, but the global industry believes there’s more work to be done.Martin Jelsma, drugs and democracy program director at the Netherlands-based Transnational Institute, emphasized to Marijuana Business Daily that there are “very positive elements in the WHO recommendations,” including:Recognition of “medical usefulness” with its removal from Schedule IV.Additional clarity about CBD not being under international control.Resolution of the inconsistency of having cannabis under the 1961 and THC under the 1971 Convention.But the recommendations – first reported by Marijuana Business Daily – didn’t go far enough, Jelsma said. “(It’s) quite disappointing that the WHO recommends to keep cannabis in Schedule I,” he added.Pavel Pachta, director for international regulatory affairs at the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute in the Czech Republic, agreed the recommendations “might be a disappointment for the proponents of recreational use.”Few people expected a really bold move, especially since it is the first time in nearly 50 years that cannabis classification has been considered by the international body. “Complete descheduling of cannabis is more a political matter, not a scientific issue for WHO experts,” Pachta said.The recommendations are nonbinding and must be voted on by the 53 member countries of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). The earliest a vote could take place is in March, but a delay in the release of the recommendations may push the consideration to next year.A government official from a member state who asked not to be identified told MJBizDaily that the CND chair is currently seeking input on whether to hold the vote this year.Validation for legalization.“It is auspicious that WHO has adopted a rational approach to cannabis and its compounds, incorporating advances that have long been accepted by the scientific community,” Diego Olivera, head of Uruguay’s National Drugs Council, told MJBizDaily. “The recognition of medicinal uses and a more adequate assessment of the potential for abuse of THC are elements that support the processes of responsible legal regulation such as the Uruguayan case.”Most view this as a positive step, albeit just a single step, forward for the blossoming industry.“I am sure politicians and industry leaders will follow the WHO development closely as it will set the tone to a large degree for the future in the industry,” said Michael Prytz, investment manager for Invest in Denmark and senior adviser for Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.If the recommendations are followed, “more countries will establish medical cannabis programs, and proponents of medical use of cannabis and its derivatives will now have the possibility to refer to the obligation of parties to the 1961 Convention to make cannabis medicines available to patients,” Pachta said.Key industry players also welcomed the recommendations — especially the clarifications around CBD.“The WHO’s decision is another positive step forward for the global movement to end prohibition and the many harms it causes,” Brendan Kennedy, president and CEO of British Columbia-based Tilray, told MJBizDaily. “By changing the international standard for the classification of CBD, the WHO is opening the door to governments to establish regimes that properly regulate CBD products.”If the recommendations are accepted, business prospects around the globe could expand exponentially.“It could turn the CBD-based products into a regular commodity and will open the world market,” said Inbar Maymon-Pomeranchik, founder of Israel-based Biodiligence and executive director of Ananda Developments. “With far less limitations, products range will be unlimited. Once it will be possible, countries like Israel, with amazing technologies, will be able to export products in a very easy way.”Greg Engel, CEO of Canada’s Organigram, agreed: “Does it become the next Omega 3? As the restrictions come off, it opens the door for that market to evolve quickly.”Tempered reactionsNot everyone is as quick to embrace the recommendations as the bastion of hope. Nathan Emery, a business executive from Lesotho, Zimbabwe and South Africa, noted that “the CND is a reactionary dinosaur in regards to cannabis and should probably be ignored — and definitely not tied to other UN assistance or censure, where developing countries would capitulate to their pressure points in developing a cannabis industry because they rely heavily on multilateral assistance.”In addition, the Transnational Institute’s Jelsma worries about possible implications for medicinal preparations.“On the one hand, the WHO notes that ‘preparations’ (defined as mixtures containing a scheduled substance) on the basis of treaty article 2.3, are subject to the same measures of control as the drugs which they contain, except for specific exemptions made for preparations under Schedule III,” he said.But the WHO also recommends an exemption for THC as a component of a pharmaceutical preparation that “cannot be recovered by readily available means.”“It appears that the WHO attempts to introduce a somewhat arbitrary and ill-defined distinction between products like Sativex and Marinol (which are specifically mentioned as examples) and other types of medicinal cannabis preparations,” Jelsma said.Such an exemption could “favor specific products of the pharmaceutical industry over more natural oils/extracts without a clear rationale.”A government official who asked not to be identified explained to MJBizDaily that a country could ship products in Schedule III to another country without asking for international quotas or import permits from the country of destination, simplifying international trade.This article originally appeared in Marijuana Business Daily and is posted here under a content partnership with Green Entrepreneur.last_img read more

Keystone XL Pipeline Bill Dies in US Senate

first_img 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List A bill to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline failed in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, sparing President Barack Obama from an expected veto of legislation that several fellow Democrats supported.The measure fell just short of the 60 votes needed for passage, despite frantic last-minute lobbying by supporters, especially Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who faces a runoff election on Dec. 6. She has staked her hopes of winning a fourth Senate term on the Keystone gambit.The tally was 59 to 41 on TransCanada Corp’s $8 billion project, with all 45 Republicans supporting the bill.Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, who will become Senate Majority Leader in January after his party made big gains in this month’s midterm elections, said after the vote that consideration of a Keystone bill would be “very early up” in the next congress.Obama opposed the Keystone bill and wants the State Department to finish its review of the pipeline. He has said he would not approve the pipeline if it significantly raised greenhouse gas emissions.If the bill had passed, Obama was widely expected to veto it, a power he has used only three times during his six years in office. Obama raised new questions about the project during a trip to Asia late last week, saying it would not lower gas prices for U.S. drivers but would allow Canada to “pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else.”Republican Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota, who co-sponsored the Keystone bill with Landrieu, has pledged to keep trying to force approval of the project that the administration has kept under review for more than six years.Hoeven may introduce a new bill in January or February, or he could attach a Keystone measure to a broader bill that Obama would find difficult to veto.The Senate will have 63 “yes” votes for Keystone next year and is “starting to coast” to the 67 that would be needed to overturn an Obama veto, Hoeven predicted. “Getting to that magic number is a possibility,” he said.Despite the loss, Landrieu was upbeat. “There’s no blame, there’s only joy in the fight,” she told reporters.Unlock its BenefitsConstruction workers, unions and energy companies say the pipeline, which would transport more than 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to Nebraska en route to the Gulf of Mexico, would create thousands of jobs.But the project has galvanized environmentalists who say developing Canada’s oil sands would spike carbon emissions linked to climate change and that much of the oil would be sold abroad.Tom Steyer, the billionaire ex hedge-fund manager who raised millions of dollars to support environmentally-minded candidates in the midterm elections, said the Senate “decided to stand on the right side of history.”The State Department has delayed a final decision on Keystone pending a legal decision in Nebraska over the pipeline’s route that is expected in coming weeks. The department has said in previous reviews that Keystone would not significantly boost greenhouse gas emissions.Tuesday vote was taken hard in Canada where development of the oil sands is important to Alberta’s budget. “We are disappointed that U.S. politics continue to delay a decision on Keystone XL,” a spokesman for Canada’s Natural Resources Minister said via email.Russ Girling, the chief executive of TransCanada, said his company will not give up: “We will continue to push for reason over gridlock, common sense over symbolism and solid science over rhetoric to approve Keystone XL and unlock its benefits.”TransCanada, which has already built a pipeline from the Gulf Coast that would connect with Keystone XL in Nebraska, says the new link would take two years to complete once approved. As oil prices have fallen more than 25 percent since the summer, the pipeline could be an increasingly important piece of the puzzle for development of the oil sands.TransCanada shares closed down 57 Canadian cents at C$56 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday. (By Timothy Gardner and Susan Cornwell. Additional reporting by Susan Heavey, Valerie Volcovici, Ros Krasny, Amanda Becker, Richard Cowan, David Lawder, David Ljunggren in Ottawa, Nia Williams in Calgary and Julie Gordon in Vancouver; editing by Steve Orlofsky, Bill Trott, Paul Simao, Matthew Lewis, Cynthia Osterman and Ken Wills) November 19, 2014 Keystone XL Pipeline Bill Dies in U.S. Senate Legal Issues This story originally appeared on Reuters Reuters 4 min read The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Add to Queue Next Article Apply Now » –shareslast_img read more

Food Blogger Strikes Again Taking On Chemicals in Cereal

first_imgPersonal Health 3 min read Next Article Reporter –shares Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Add to Queue Food Blogger Strikes Again, Taking On Chemicals in Cereal Kate Taylor There’s no stopping the Food Babe.Just one day after food blogger Vani Hari launched a petition calling for Kellogg and General Mills to drop a preservative from their cereals, she’s already getting a huge reaction. The petition has gained more than 30,000 signatures and General Mills has responded to indignant cereal shoppers on social media saying that the company is on the path to remove the chemical from its products.Hari is calling for the removal of the Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) from cereals and packaging, where it is used in small amounts to protect flavor and freshness. BHT is currently approved by the FDA but has been criticized as unnecessary and potentially dangerous by groups such as the Environmental Working Group.According to Hari, she chose BHT as a target for her campaign after noticing that in Europe, companies had replaced BHT with other, supposedly safer, alternatives. Related: How This Food Blogger Convinced Chick-fil-A to Go Antibiotics Free”They’re American companies,” says Hari. “They should be doing that for [American customers]!”In the past, Hari has mobilized followers to convince Chick-fil-A to cut corn syrup and Subway to discontinue its use of a chemical she called “the yoga mat ingredient.” After her proven success in making changes, the pressure is on for companies to respond quickly — even if they insist they aren’t doing anything wrong.As Hari’s followers took to social media to confront General Mills and Kellogg, General Mills responded on Twitter saying that, in fact, the company had a plan in place to cut BHT from its products.”This change is not for safety reasons, but because we think consumers will embrace it. We’ve never spoken with Vani Hari and she did not play any role in our decision,” General Mills said in a statement to Entrepreneur. “Our removal of BHT from cereals is well underway and has been for more than a year.”Kellogg also apparently has plans to make changes.”We are always listening to the needs of our consumers and know some people are looking for options without BHT,” said Kellogg Company spokesperson Kris Charles in a statement to Entrepreneur. “And so, we have already been actively testing a number of natural alternatives to ensure the same flavor and freshness.”Of course, promises to change aren’t enough for Hari. Her next step in the plan: pressuring Kellogg and General Mills to release a timeline of when BHT will be cut from all products for good.Related: Can a Food Blogger Force Starbucks to Change Its Pumpkin Spice Latte? Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. February 6, 2015 Register Now »last_img read more

Chinas Robotics Rush Shows How Its Debt Can Get Out of Control

first_imgRobots China’s Robotics Rush Shows How Its Debt Can Get Out of Control Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Reuters 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. Next Article This story originally appeared on Reuters August 3, 2016center_img 7 min read –shares Image credit: Reuters | Stringer Enroll Now for $5 Add to Queue Down a side street bracketed by massage parlors and cheap hotels in this city on the banks of the Yangtze River, a humanoid food service robot trundles around the corner of a table in a cafe, red eyes flashing in tune with synthesized classical music.The Wuhu Hands On Café’s waiter, named “Hero,” has no customers on a drizzly Friday morning. He is, though, a symbol of Wuhu city’s hopes of becoming a major center for robotics, and the local government’s ability to chase that dream through the debt markets, whether it makes commercial sense or not.”Hero” was the result of six months research at a nearby robotics park that has cost 2.2 billion yuan ($332 million) to establish. For the park’s next stage, including a hotel, an exhibition center and a cultural plaza, Wuhu is raising another 1.2 billion yuan through a so-called local government finance vehicle (LGFV), and offering a raft of incentives for firms to set up there.The problem is it is not alone. Dozens of other medium-sized Chinese cities like Wuhu, which is west of Shanghai in Anhui province and has a population of around four million, have similar robotics park plans.And the ease with which municipalities can use off balance companies like LGFVs to finance infrastructure — some needed, some not — is rapidly boosting China’s already high debt burden. Meanwhile, investors gambling that Beijing will not allow the debt to default while infrastructure remains a critical support for growth, have bid up LGFV bonds to new highs.Beijing’s drive to make the nation a leader in robotics through its “Made in China 2025” initiative launched last year has set off a rush as municipalities up and down the country vie to become China’s robotics center.The investment boom comes as the industry is already showing warning signs of overcapacity, despite increasing demand for robots in auto manufacturing and electronics.Growth in demand for industrial robots in China fell by more than two-thirds to 17 percent in 2015 — and yet more than 40 robotics parks have sprouted throughout the country in the last two years, according to industry data. In June, the National Business Daily reported Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology Xin Guobin warning that China’s robotics industry is showing signs of over investment and of “a high-end sector becoming low-end.”China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.Shoring up growthLGFVs first gained popularity in China in the 1990s as a way to fund municipal projects without running afoul of new restrictions on cities’ official borrowing.They played a key role in shoring up economic growth in the global financial crisis but also became a major source of China’s debt burden. Outstanding debt was $26.56 trillion, or 255 percent of gross domestic product at the end of 2015, up from 220 percent just two years before, according to the Bank for International Settlements.A short-lived crackdown by Beijing on LGFV financing in late 2014 was quickly watered down as growth sputtered to a twenty-five year low last year.In China as a whole, LGFV bond financing climbed 72 percent in the first five months of 2016 from the same period last year to 740 billion yuan, while the vehicles’ total outstanding bond debt now stands at around five trillion yuan, according to Everbright Securities data sourced from the Chinese information provider WIND.”Loads of infrastructure-investing companies are exhausting every means they can get to get money,” says Li Yujian at Bohai Trust, which offers high-interest loans to companies who cannot get all the financing they need in mainstream debt markets.Commanded not controlledFor a command economy, China has a very decentralized fiscal system with local governments responsible for about 85 percent of fiscal spending but receiving only 50 percent of tax revenues. Officials turn to debt to fill the gap.As a result, Beijing often lacks a clear picture of what local governments are doing, and cities have little reliable data on their neighbors, leading to a dangerous tendency for duplication — especially when Beijing throws its weight behind a given sector, like robotics.The convoluted work-arounds to funnel cash to oftentimes risky local projects also tend to muddy the question of who is actually responsible should matters go awry.”We are just a financing platform. We raise money and we lend it out,” says Yang Bin of the Wuhu city-owned Jiujiang Area Construction Investment Corporation, which sold the bonds for the robotic center’s expansion.The money will be spent by building contractors for the robotics park. There are also local and central government subsidies to attract firms to use the facilities.The lynchpin of this elaborate edifice remains government backing, implicit and sometimes explicit. Market participants say investing in LGFV debt is essentially a bet on Beijing’s interest in keeping credit flowing smoothly to local governments.”All of those companies have very weak standard credit metrics. The reason they can borrow is because of local government support, which depends on central government policy,” says Jie Peng of Western Asset Management in Singapore, which invests in some LGFV debt in large Chinese cities.The support, including a 3.2 trillion yuan Beijing-backed local government debt swap last year, means LGFVs can offer relatively high interest rates while allowing bondholders to feel they are not likely to be heavily exposed to the consequences if investments sour.The yield to maturity on the Jiujiang Area Construction Investment Corporation’s 1.2 billion yuan bond is 3.8 percent, about 0.5 of a percentage point higher than official local government debt in the same part of China.To many investors, that looks like a good deal — LGFV debt has outperformed most other corporate debt over the past year as defaults in other sectors have risen.The local debt boom, though, has raised fears of a new round of wasted investment. Elsewhere in China, cities are building gargantuan sports stadiums, far bigger than they need; hundreds of amusement parks, many of which do not have the attractions to compete against rivals in neighboring towns; and innovation centers without enough entrepreneurs.Aspirational start-upsIt is unclear whether the National Wuhu Robotics Park, which currently produces around 1,000 industrial robots a year but plans to boost output to 10,000, will be a success.Firms are eligible for subsidized rent, subsidized loans, debt guarantees and monetary awards to attract top talent.But despite such support, the park contains only a handful of large established enterprises — including Anhui Effort Intelligent Equipment Co. Ltd., a major manufacturer of automotive and industrial robots.Most of the approximately 20 robot manufacturers are aspirational start-ups, or equipment firms hoping to find a new niche. The latter include firms like Anhui Goodluck Science and Technology Co. Ltd. — which also makes agricultural equipment, chainsaws and lawn mowers.Robotics park officials and the Wuhu City Jiujiang Economic Development Zone Committee declined to be interviewed for this article, while a park spokesperson did not respond to an emailed request for comment.Some of the items under development border on novelties, like “Hero” made by a company called Okayrobot. Besides waiters and military grade segways, Okayrobot is also investing in items as diverse as air conditioned helmets, horizontal showering pods for hospitals and robotic exoskeletons that allow the very old and the disabled to walk.”Allowing 75-year-old mothers and fathers to live like young people, that is what Okayrobot wants to do,” says general manager Wang Lipeng, gesturing to a PowerPoint showing an exoskeleton-clad man hoisting a woman in his arms, next to another emerging from a fireball.”The policies here are very good,” added Wang. “And that has drawn the interest of a lot of firms to invest and produce.”(By Nathaniel Taplin; Additional reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Martin Howell)last_img read more

Button Raises 30 Million in Series C Funding to Build the Future

first_img Buttone-commerceJeb MillerMichael JaconiMobile CommerceNewsSeries C Funding Previous ArticleDiary Entry from Cannes Lions 2019: Why Everyone Was Talking About ‘Connectivity’Next ArticleSay It Now and Booxscale win Amazon’s European Alexa Cup Button , the platform that enables companies to drive revenue through mobile commerce, announced that it has raised $30 million in Series C funding. Icon Ventures led the round, along with participation from Capital One Ventures and returning investors Redpoint Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, and DCM Ventures. Jeb Miller, General Partner of Icon Ventures, will be joining Button’s board of directors. This funding round represents another major milestone for Button following a breakout year in 2018 where the company drove over $1 billion in mobile commerce.“The internet of the future will be defined by actions, not ads. Button is the first platform built to monetize actions and commerce in mobile, and with the world heading in this direction, it’s a good place to be,” said Michael Jaconi, Co-Founder and CEO of Button. “In this digital world dependent on technology giants, we’ve all lived through an era of questionable methods of monetization, ambiguous treatment of user data, and models dependent on one party losing. The future we believe in and the future we are building is one where all parties win. If you’re apublisher wanting to build a commerce strategy or a brand looking for a third channel, Button is the platform that exists to deliver on this promise.”Marketing Technology News: 4C Launches New Cross-Channel Video Solution to Help Marketers Reach Cord-Cutters and Cord-Nevers Across Streaming EnvironmentsWith Button’s patented, higher-converting technology, brands grow their mobile businesses, publishers increase their mobile revenues, and consumers enjoy better buying experiences by getting exactly what they want at the tap of a button. Button’s partners include nine out of 10 of the largest retailers on the Forbes Global 2000 and all 10 of the top US e-commerce retailers ranked by sales share on eMarketer, as well as innovative publishers like Samsung and United Airlines who are driving their mobile revenue with commerce.“The rapid growth of mobile commerce makes it a critical space for Samsung to deliver more convenience and value for consumers. This is why we are pleased to build scalable mobile experiences with partners such as Button and the leading brands on Button’s platform,” said Sang Ahn, VP & Head of Strategic Partnerships, Samsung Content & Services.Marketing Technology News: PubNub Selected as Winner for Best Overall Bot Solution in the 2019 AI Breakthrough Awards‘‘United Airlines leads the travel industry in mobile innovation. We are constantly seeking opportunities to take friction out of our customers’ travel journeys, deliver contextually relevant experiences, and increase engagement with our MileagePlus members by offering more ways to earn and use miles than any other U.S. airline,” said Luc Bondar, Vice President, Loyalty, at United Airlines. “That is why we integrated Button’s platform with United’s MileagePlus X app, adding more of the world’s leading brands to our program and supercharging the miles our members can earn while shopping on the go.”With the new round of funding, Button will accelerate its investment in product development to build a more dynamic mobile infrastructure, grow its strategic partnerships, expand its team and international footprint, and scale its platform to continue making it easier for customers to purchase on mobile. Founded in 2014, Button employs more than 100 people across New York, San Francisco, and London, and its technology is used across the globe. Button was also recently named one of Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For and Inc.’s Best Workplaces.Marketing Technology News: Absolutdata Named Best Overall AI-Based Analytics Company in 2019 AI Breakthrough Awards Program“Button’s vision of building an internet driven by commerce is a vision that we believe in and one that the world seems to be turning to,” said Jeb Miller of Icon Ventures. “With their technology, the world’s best brands on their platform, and year-over-year growth that continues to exceed expectations, we are excited to help Button scale internationally through the network and relationships that we’ve developed.”“Button has become a leading platform for enhancing monetization and engagement strategy in mobile commerce,” said Aman Sharma, Partner, Capital One Ventures. “Button’s technology is enabling brands to bolster their revenue strategy in the fast-growing mobile economy; we couldn’t be more excited to support the team as they continue to build a better way to connect with customers and do business in mobile.”Marketing Technology News: Gigapaces Partners with Tableau to Accelerate Machine Learning and Data Visualization Button Raises $30 Million in Series C Funding to Build the Future of Mobile Commerce MTS Staff WriterJune 28, 2019, 6:34 pmJune 28, 2019 last_img read more

Study highlights the need to educate oncologists about molecular profiling

first_img Source:Georgetown University Medical Center “This is a significant knowledge and practice gap, not an issue of negligent treatment,” she says, adding that while genetic testing has been available for a number of years, the two comprehensive molecular profiling tests now on the market were only approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late 2017. Both test for up to 500 genetic mutations, deletions, copy number variations and rearrangements for which targeted and immune therapies are approved, or are under testing and expected to be approved.The study is part of a larger body of research conducted by Singh and John L Marshall, MD, the study’s senior investigator, which aims to look at trends in the use of molecular profiling globally.”Use of these tests in many malignancies, is standard of care and our goal is to help oncologists think about how molecular profiling links to the targeted therapy that can help their patients,” Singh says.”The rapid expansion of knowledge is outpacing our ability to incorporate it into our daily clinical practice, even for experts in a field. We must ensure that we bridge this gap so all patients may reap the benefits of our progress,” says Marshall, chief of the oncology division at MedStar Georgetown and director of the Otto J. Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal Cancer at Georgetown Lombardi. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 31 2019A questionnaire aimed at assessing how well community oncologists understand “molecular profiling” results from tumor specimens found that 69 percent of participants either said they don’t know the answers, or they responded incorrectly. In six different clinical scenarios, the oncologists were asked to match a genetic alteration to the targeted therapy designed to attack those cancer-causing aberrations — information that is key to effective personalized treatment.The results of the survey, taken at several case-based research events by 292 community oncologists who were either based in hospitals or private clinics, are being presented Sat, June 1 at the 2019 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago. Investigators at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center conducted the study.Related StoriesResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerLiving with advanced breast cancerResearchers also found that community-based oncologists use molecular profiling far less frequently than do academic-based oncologists (59 of whom were polled on use of these tests). For example, community oncologists say they use this service in 33 percent of lung cancer cases they treat whereas academic oncologists use these tests in 74 percent of their lung cancer patients. The results from molecular testing help determine what treatment should be used and if patients may be candidates for clinical trial enrollment.center_img Molecular profiling to direct targeted therapy has moved very quickly from the laboratory to the clinic, and this study shows that oncologists urgently need to be educated about this potential therapeutic strategy.”Bhavana Singh, MD, MSc, a Fellow at Georgetown Lombardi’s Clinical Partner, MedStar Georgetown University Hospitallast_img read more