About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Napoli boss Ancelotti defends Genk stalemateby Carlos Volcano23 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveNapoli boss Carlo Ancelotti defended their 0-0 draw at Champions League opponents Genk.The Azzurri hit the woodwork three times and saw Kalidou Koulibaly’s effort cleared off the line at the Luminus Arena.“It was a good performance and we had several chances for the breakthrough,” Ancelotti said on Sky Sport Italia.“Our finishing wasn’t very effective and we were a little unlucky too. The only risk we had at the back came after a slip, so we were always in control.“It’s an extra point, we showed grit and determination, but could’ve finished our chances better.”
This assurance against the background of what she notes are concerns from some stakeholders, who describe the conference as a “talk shop”. Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, says the upcoming Eighth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference is expected to generate tangible outcomes that are implementable.This assurance is against the background of what she notes are concerns from some stakeholders, who describe the conference as a “talk shop”.“It [has been] my intention, [since] I became Minister with responsibility for the diaspora, that we would change that and ensure that our conferences have direct outcomes which are implementable and specific” the Minister added.Senator Johnson Smith further indicated that “we will be reporting on results of the last [conference in 2017, in terms of] where we would have slipped and succeeded, and also looking at how we take these conference outcomes forward, in an actionable way”.She was speaking with JIS News following the 2019 conference’s launch at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, last week.The event is slated for June 16 to 20 at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, under the theme – ‘Jamaica and the Diaspora: Building Pathways for Sustainable Development’.Meanwhile, Senator Johnson Smith advised that the Ministry and its legacy partners are working to ensure that this year’s conference is “one of the best ever”.“The Ministry’s team is ready and the legacy partners are ready. We have more sponsors coming on board and everybody is very energised,” she further indicated.Senator Johnson Smith also informed that there will be a Conference launch in New York on Tuesday, April 9, at the office of the Consulate General of Jamaica, beginning at 6:00 p.m.Additionally, she said a focus group meeting on the draft National Diaspora Policy, will be held with a broad cross-section of Jamaicans living in New York.“We do intend that one of the significant outcomes of the conference is to finalise the consultations, so that we have a Policy that’s ready for presentation to Cabinet and tabling in Parliament,” she said.The Minister further advised that similar launches are slated for Miami and Toronto. “It [has been] my intention, [since] I became Minister with responsibility for the Diaspora, that we would change that and ensure that our conferences have direct outcomes which are implementable and specific” the Minister added. Story Highlights Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, says the upcoming Eighth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference is expected to generate tangible outcomes which are implementable.
Kolkata: Celebrating the traditions of Bengal’s royalty, ITC Royal Bengal is a visual treat to the guests looking to soak themselves into premium luxury facilities. The latest addition to the ITC’s premium luxury segment combines the unique fervour of the state through its contemporary architecture and culinary offerings. Apart from the 374 rooms and suites, the hotel offers 82 serviced apartments with a common open space for the guests looking for long Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Pujaduration stay options. Packed with state-of-the-art gym and elegantly designed furniture, the Grand Presidential Suite and the Presidential Suite are spread across an expanse of 6620 sq.ft. and 3500 sq.ft. respectively. With luxury wafting through its spaces, ITC Royal Bengal presents an exquisite confluence of contemporary architecture and warmth of old hospitality. The hotel offers an exquisite rejuvenating wellness experience spread across 24,000 sq ft, including, Kaya Kalp – The Royal Spa. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway Special care has been taken to add the imprints of local drawings on the carpets, reinforcing the Responsible Luxury element that promotes regional heritage and tradition via all aspects of the hotel, be it decor, interiors, hotel facade design or food. The hotel enables a sense of destination through a showcase of local cuisine, arts and culture. A stand-out in-room tech feature is the amalgamation of all services through the E-Butler iPad. The sprawling property boasts of a culinary fare tempered with the touch of local delicacies. The three buffet restaurant Grand Market Pavilion presents a unique fare of dishes from the seven sister states of the North-East. Diners can choose from the spicy dishes of Nagaland, Nepalese-inspired dishes from Sikkim, and a blend of tribal and Bengali cuisine from Tripura. Experimental in its culinary delights, the restaurant, which is reminiscent of Kolkata’s historical market, also features popular local dishes as well as the international ones. The critically acclaimed ‘honestly vegetarian’ Royal Vega with its careful selection of seasonal delicacies and spices from across the country, presents a vegetarian treat to the non-meat eaters. This signature restaurant also features ‘Sherherwali’ the royal vegetarian cuisine of Murshidabad town of West Bengal. The hotel also houses a lobby level jazz bar, The Brass Room which brings the city’s fondness for live music to life, Darjeeling Lounge, which is based on the city’s adda culture, offering the finest teas from the region as well as from the world and Ottimo – Cucina Italiana, ITC’s signature pan-Italian brand. Nakul Anand, Executive Director, ITC Ltd said, “The addition of ITC Royal Bengal to our luxury hotel portfolio further strengthens our presence in Eastern India. Bengal is ‘Royal’ in a unique way – it has celebrated the royalty of the intellect through the centuries, where literature, poetry, painting, sculpture, theatre, cinema, science, have not only blossomed, but are inherent to the fabric of Bengal. In keeping with ITC Hotels’ philosophy of Responsible Luxury and creating indigenous experiences, ITC Royal Bengal is rooted to the ethos of the land and pays a tribute to these finest experiences that while being indigenous to the State are celebrated globally.” With a height of 133 meters, the 27 stories ITC Royal Bengal has been built with an investment of approximately Rs 1,400 crore. The 14th addition to the ITC’s luxury segment seeks to redefine the city’s hospitality and tourism landscape. Located adjacent to ITC Sonar, both the properties will together offer 693 rooms, suites and serviced apartments, 15 signature dining destinations, 22 meeting venues and a sprawling 1,00,000 sq ft of MICE -banqueting space for large scale exhibitions, meetings and events in Kolkata. ITC Royal Bengal is truly emerging as the gateway of East India.
TORONTO – Black Press Group Inc. will begin printing the Calgary Sun newspaper this summer under an outsourcing agreement with Toronto-based Postmedia Network Inc., which will eliminate 52 positions as a result.Other printing work for weeklies and community dailies currently done at the Calgary plant will be moved to other Postmedia production locations.Postmedia says 26 full-time and 26 part-time positions in Calgary will be eliminated when the plant closes.It says all employees will receive a combination of working notice and severance based on length of service.Postmedia didn’t announce financial details of the restructuring costs or its outsourcing agreement with Black Press of Surrey, B.C., which has plants in Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, as well as several cities in British Columbia and the United States.Printing of the Calgary Herald, also owned by Postmedia, was previously outsourced in 2013 to TC Transcontinental Printing.
New Delhi: Foreign portfolio investors can now invest in municipal bonds, markets regulator Sebi said in a circular Wednesday. The circular comes almost two weeks after the Reserve Bank of India permitted FPIs to invest in municipal bonds as a measure to broaden access of non resident investors to debt instruments in the country.As per the RBI, foreign investment in municipal bonds should be within the limits set for FPI investment in State Development Loans (SDLs). The limits for FPI investment in SDLs is 2 per cent of outstanding stock of securities. All other existing conditions for investment by FPIs in the debt market remain unchanged, the central bank had said in a circular on April 25. In 2017, Sebi eased rules on issuance of municipal bonds in order to boost such bond market. It allowed municipalities with surplus in their books in three immediately preceding financial years to issue public debt securities.
OSU then-junior defenseman Cara Zubko (2) passes the puck during a game against Minnesota on Nov. 15 at the OSU Ice Rink. OSU lost, 5-3. Credit: Ed Momot / For The LanternAfter dropping both games against the Wisconsin Badgers last weekend, the Ohio State women’s ice hockey team opens its home schedule on Friday against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, winners of last season’s NCAA tournament.The Buckeyes lost both games against Wisconsin by a combined score of 15-0, but spent the following week in practice trying not to dwell on the past.“I think what’s key is to not look back on what’s happened, but to look forward,” senior forward Julia McKinnon said. “Obviously, every team says that at the beginning of the year, but I think we need to focus on D-zone for us most importantly, blocking the shots, looking to get man-on-man.”The difficulty for OSU as it welcomes Minnesota and its high-powered offense is continuing to balance preparing for opponents with the developmental aspects of hockey.“Yes, I can implement systems where the score might have been a little bit closer, but I want our team to get better at being hockey players and knowing what our weaknesses are and what our strengths are,“ OSU coach Jenny Potter said.Eight Golden Gophers are ranked in the top 30 scorers in the country, and Potter spent much of this week preparing her squad for another up-tempo competitor.“We’ve been playing to high speeds in practice, not just stepping in and expecting to be skating that fast, knowing that that team’s coming in,” senior defender Cara Zubko said.Zubko said she believes that at this stage of the season, it was good for both OSU’s newcomers and veterans to receive the lessons that come with back-to-back blowouts on the road.“I think no one goes into the first weekend of the year expecting losses like that. But I think it was a wake-up call in a good sense that, just because we know we have lots of work to do,” Zubko said.Zubko was not the only member of the program looking to take positives away from its series against Wisconsin, and the team is eager to get right back on the ice tonight against another tough conference opponent.“I think it’s a lesson in life as far as how much work you put in, or lack thereof,” Potter said. “For us as a group, seeing where we are and where we want to go, with Wisconsin being a great team, Frozen Four team last year, ranked No. 2 right now, this team wants to be in those positions, so it’s a stepping stone.”Against Minnesota, OSU will look to compete with one of the best, if not the best, program in the nation. The Golden Gophers set an NCAA record with eight goals in a single period en route to an 11-0 victory over St. Cloud State last Saturday, and are led by freshman forward Sarah Potomak, who ranks fourth in the nation in scoring.But for a glass-half-full team like the Buckeyes, the opportunity to erase memories of last week’s sweep by facing off against another elite team is one not to pass up.“We know we have lots of work to do,” Zubko said. “We can’t look back on that, there’s a lot of hockey and a big season in front of us and we’ll be ready for this weekend.”The Buckeyes drop the puck in Game 1 against Minnesota at 6:07 p.m. on Friday and at 2:07 p.m. on Saturday in Game 2.
Remember the video of Ohio State men’s basketball players Aaron Craft, Jon Diebler and Jared Sullinger singing Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A?” Do you wish you could see those three sing the song live? If the OSU men’s basketball team had a midnight madness, that performance could happen. Started by Charles “Lefty” Driesell at the University of Maryland, midnight madness is currently a major part of the college basketball world, and it took place last Friday night. Driesell came up with the idea in 1971 to have his Terrapins’ first practice of the season at the earliest possible time that the NCAA would allow: midnight. Schools across the country have since adopted that idea, with the midnight practice now transforming into more of a preseason party hosted by the basketball team than work on the court. Students, alumni and fans gather at a teams’ arena to see their program introduce that year’s team. Different schools do different things, but the event usually involves the team performing a song or dance, the head coach giving a speech, and an intrasquad scrimmage. This year, Connecticut had a dunk contest, Syracuse got Carmelo Anthony to show up and interact with the crowd, and Maryland had an alumni scrimmage featuring some of their current and former NBA players. Nonathlete celebrities show up for the madness as well. Rapper Wale performed at Georgetown’s event last season, and 50 Cent appeared at Villanova’s five years ago. Basically, all the big-time programs have some form of a season tip-off event highlighted by entertaining performances and all-star game-type defense scrimmages. Except for the Buckeyes. It’s not as if OSU doesn’t have a big enough basketball program to host such an event. Two 30-win seasons and a national title game appearance in the last five years, along with an anticipated top-five team this year puts the Buckeyes among the nation’s top teams. Why not celebrate something that OSU does well? With the current state of the football program, the men’s basketball team should be the pride of the athletic department. Hosting an event that takes attention away from the football team and focusing it onto a basketball program that has done nothing but win and represent the school well in recent years needs to happen. The possibilities for the event are endless. A scrimmage between players, both former and current, would certainly entertain. Who wouldn’t want to see Sullinger posting up Greg Oden or William Buford trying to shake Evan Turner? Ohio natives Kid Cudi, Bow Wow, or Chip tha Ripper could perform. If those three aren’t available, I’m sure the crowd wouldn’t mind being serenaded by the voices of Craft and Sullinger. Who knows, maybe known Buckeye fan Lebron James would show up. Either way, OSU is missing out on a big part of the college basketball world, and it’s time for change.
Los Blancos boss Santiago Solari believes the European competition is part of the club’s history and go hand by handReal Madrid and Viktoria Plzen will face off tomorrow night in the UEFA Champions League.And for interim manager Santiago Solari, Los Blancos and the European tournament go together.“It’s always very nice, this competition, which is linked to the history of our club, inseparable,” said Solari according to Goal.Mourinho: “Lionel Messi made me a better coach” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho believes the experience of going up against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi at Real Madrid made him a greater coach.“When we hear the Champions League anthem, we all get excited. It’s fantastic to be back in this competition. This is my third game in this role, so I’m very happy that I get a chance [in the Champions League]. I enjoyed it a lot as a player.”“When you look for a solution to a problem in football, it’s never just one thing, it’s step by step,” he added.“We’ve taken two steps, two games. We had to play well to win them, you don’t win games without doing things well, and they were tough games.”“We did a lot of good things in these two games and we have to do what we did well again, but also improve what we didn’t do well. Every team can always improve,” he commented.
Angela Lang/CNET In its fifth year, Amazon’s Prime Day kept up its record of breaking records. The 48-hour sale this week was the “largest shopping event in Amazon history” and “surpassed the previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined,” the company said Wednesday. Amazon didn’t disclose specific total sales figures. Additionally, Monday brought in more new Prime members than any previous day, and Tuesday brought in nearly as many, making them the two biggest days ever for member signups.Prime members bought more than 175 million items during the Prime Day stretch. Amazon also benefited from its regular promotion of its own devices, with “the biggest event ever” for these gadgets, when comparing two-day periods. Some of the biggest sellers worldwide were Amazon’s Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, and Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote. Prime Day has attracted great attention worldwide, after starting as a much smaller sale in 2015. Now hundreds of other retailers join in the summer sale, and consumers tend to delay their purchasing in anticipation of Prime Day. Meanwhile, activists and unions this year used the occasion to stage protests and highlight their concerns about the world’s biggest online store, from working conditions in warehouses to climate issues to Amazon’s ties to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Amazon Prime E-commerce Amazon Amazon Prime Day 2019: Everything to know 1:43 CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Amazon Fire TV Stick With Alexa Voice Remote See it 2 Comments The protests weren’t the only issues to mar Prime Day over the years. While this year’s event worked out smoothly, glitches to Amazon’s site and mobile app have previously hampered the sale. Last year’s event had a botched opening that served customers error pages instead of deals. Despite those problems, last year’s Prime Day also broke sales records.Because Amazon is still growing, this latest Prime Day sales record isn’t expected to hold for long, with Cyber Monday in November typically becoming Amazon’s biggest sales day each year. Unlike Prime Day, deals on that day are available to all shoppers, not just Prime members.As it usually does for big sales days, Amazon offered up a bunch of big statements about Prime Day — for instance, that a record number of Prime members shopped on Prime Day in the US this year. Some of the biggest sellers in the country were the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, Instant Pot DUO60 and 23andMe Health + Ancestry kits.In the United Arab Emirates, a new addition to Prime Day, some best-sellers included Al Ain Bottled Water, Ariel Laundry Detergent and Fine Towel Tissue Roll. Tags $74 Review • Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice remote: The $40 voice of Amazon TV 15 Photos Share your voice Mentioned Above Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote Mobile Internet Now playing: Watch this: All of Amazon’s Alexa smart speakers Preview • Amazon Fire TV Stick adds speed, Alexa voice remote, keeps $40 price
The Latvian creator of banned drug meldonium said on 10 March that he was quite sure other top athletes are â€“ and should â€“ use it. Ivars Kalvins expressed sadness over the banning of the drug that has cast a pall over the career of tennis star Maria Sharapova, describing it as one of the most significant accomplishments of the tiny nations scientists.The five-time grand slam champion has revealed she tested positive in January for the drug meldonium, which its Latvian inventor once said had been used to toughen up Soviet troops fighting at high altitudes three decades ago. Kalvins also claimed that Sharapova is not alone in taking the drug, which was only added to the banned list on 1 January 2016. Kalvins said: I am quite sure that a lot of athletes at the top level are using mildronate [meldonium] â€“ and they should use mildronate to protect themselves in case of overloading. Because if there is overloading then the cardio muscle, cells will die out because [of the] lack of oxygen there. In the case of using mildronate these cells will survive. And this is like an insurance, insurance that sportsman will not die on the field of their sport event.Kalvins invented the drug in mid-1970s when Latvia was still a Soviet republic. He told local newspaper Diena in 2009 that it had been used to boost troops fighting stamina in the 1980s â€“ at that time Soviet forces were battling insurgents in Afghanistan. Meldonium, which is available cheaply over the counter without a prescription in the Baltic states and Sharapovas native Russia, is normally used to treat heart conditions such as angina. The drug, which is marketed as mildronate by the Latvian pharmaceutical firm Grindeks, is a source of some national pride.But the drug, which boosts blood flow and may enhance athletic performance, was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) as of 1 January 2016. Sharapova said she received an email about the list of banned drugs but failed to click on the link which listed them. She said her family doctor had first given her the drug 10 years ago after she frequently became sick, had irregular electrocardiogram results, a magnesium deficiency and a family history of diabetes.If Sharapova would not [have] used mildronate for 10 years, probably she would have discontinued her career five years ago, or four years ago or six years ago, who knows? Kalvins said. This is not increasing performance, but insurance that if you will go over your bodys boundaries, you still will be kept healthy, he added.For the health conditions Sharapova says she has, however, doctors say the scientific evidence for mildronate is limited compared with many medicines widely available in Europe and the United States, where Sharapova lives and trains, which have full regulatory backing and years of robust safety and efficacy data. Kalvins says he has not yet seen the scientific, clinically tested proof that mildronate should be banned as doping.If there is no scientific evidence or scientific background, why has it happened after 32 years of being on market as the safest cardio-vascular cardio protector? There is only one other option: there are some political reasons for it, he said.Kirovs Lipmans, chairman of Grindeks and its biggest shareholder, said use of the drug did not constitute doping and he criticised the government for not defending its reputation against Wada. Government officials said Wada was acting independently and they could not influence its decisions.
Oil prices were steady on Friday after a run up on supply disruptions, especially in the Americas, where wildfires continue to rage near Canada’s huge oil sand fields, tightening a market suffering global oversupply.The disruptions helped offset the impact of a stronger dollar this week .DXY, which potentially reduces demand for crude as it makes dollar-traded imports more expensive for countries using other currencies.International benchmark Brent crude futures LCOc1 were trading at $44.95 per barrel at 0203 GMT, 6 cents below their last settlement but flat with its first close this week.U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $44.17, down 15 cents but over 1 percent above this week’s first close.”Supply disruptions and closures helped push crude oil prices higher, despite the stronger U.S.-dollar,” ANZ bank said on Friday.A massive fire around the Canadian oil city of Fort McMurray has forced the evacuation of all its residents and the closure of 690,000 barrels per day (bpd) worth of production out of Canada’s total oil sands output of 2.2 million bpd.Adding to the production outage in Canada is an ongoing decline in U.S. output.”While the wildfire in the oil-sands regions of Canada is still wreaking havoc with many producers, U.S. oil output continues to feel the impact of low prices,” ANZ said.Data by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that U.S. crude oil output has fallen by 410,000 bpd this year, and by 800,000 bpd since mid-2015, as many producers succumb to a rout that saw prices tumble 70 percent between mid-2014 and early-2016.Analysts said that the hits to North American output, combined with disruptions in Latin America, were contributing to a fast erosion of global oversupply that peaked as high as 2 million barrels bpd last year.”Unplanned oil supply disruptions have been a key element so far this year that have contributed to a tighter oil market than was otherwise expected,” said analyst Guy Baber of Simmons & Co.
wikimedia commonsChevron Phillips has reportedly issued an all clear after an incident at its facility in Baytown.An “upset unit” incident occurred at the facility at around 11 last night, according to the East Harris County Manufacturers Association website.An all clear was given just before midnight.The alert said that flames, flaring, noise, sirens and smoke were noticeable during the incident.Viewers reported a loud BOOM that shook houses around Chevron Phillips #Baytown plant. Facility says it was an “UpsetUnit Incident.” Won’t explain further. Ppl as far as Liberty heard/felt it! Details on #abc13 all morning. pic.twitter.com/dHSS5jz4cH— Courtney Fischer (@CourtneyABC13) April 2, 2018The company hasn’t released any additional information about the incident. Share
Jashne bachpan, organised by Sanskaar Rang Toli of National School of Drama was inaugurated by eminent actor Dr Mohan Agashe. Held at Abhimanch auditorium, National School of Drama campus, the inauguration was followed by a performance of Dakghar by Bodhir Bidya Bhawan, Kolkata.The participating groups at Jashnebachpan 2012 are from different regions of the country and will perform in various Indian languages at Abhimanch, Sammukh and Shri Ram Centre. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The plays will be performed in Hindi, Bangla, Assamese, Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam, Nepali, Manipuri, Tamil and English and most of the plays will have sub titles.Scheduled from November 18 to 28, the focus of the festival is performances by special children. Three plays will be performed by special children including Dakghar as the opening performance and Dastaan-E-Dilli by Arth-Aastha, Delhi as the closing performance besides Buddhuram by Seagul Theatre, Guwahati. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThis 11 day theatre festival will showcase 17 plays and will see performances directed by Dadi D Pudumjee, Feisal Alkazi and Radhika Alkazi, Swatilekha Sengupta, KG Krishnamurthy, Bhagirathi, Susanta Mondal, Kiran Bhat and Dr Sripad Bhat, N Jadumani Singh, Jaimini Pathak, Mandya Ramesh, Anurupa Roy, Krishna Bhuyan, Saggherr Loadhii, Kannan, Manish Saini, Rajiv Krishnan, Bijon Mondal.In addition to this an interaction session is scheduled to take place from 19 to 29 November daily from 10.30 am onwards with the directors, group leaders and members so that the participant groups of Jashnebachpan interact to absorb energies, skills and processes in order to gain inspiration for their future work.Apart from Jashnebachpan, Saanskar Rang Toli organises Bal Sangam, a festival of Indian performing folk and traditional arts presented by children practising these arts from different regions of the country every alternate year.
Kolkata: New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) has installed three bi-convex mirrors to prevent road accident, keeping in pace with the ‘Safe Drive Save Life’ programme that has been announced by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.This is for the first time when such step has been taken by NKDA. Three mirrors have been installed so far, two in Action Area III and one near the New Town Business Club.Though the flow of traffic in the areas where the mirrors have been installed, is not been very heavy, there are certain intersections where it becomes difficult for the drivers to spot vehicles coming from the opposite direction and accidents are averted by sheer chance. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeFor quite some, the drivers in New Town, many of whom are women had approached senior NKDA officials and requested them to take some measure to prevent accident.They maintained that as they could not see the vehicles that had to go for panic braking to avert accidents.Accordingly, NKDA conducted a study and found that installation of bi-convex traffic mirrors were best to address the problem. Debashis Sen, chairman NKDA said drivers have expressed satisfaction over installation of the mirrors.NKDA has taken several steps to reduce road accidents on Biswa Bangla Sarani. Traffic signals have been installed and steps have been taken to seize stray cows that had posed a serious threatto drivers. Earlier, road accidents on the main thoroughfare were quite frequent as stray animals often used to come in front of the vehicles.
Sunwing confirms departures from Buffalo; flights from Waterloo to DR Posted by Travelweek Group Tags: Punta Cana Friday, July 29, 2016 TORONTO — Sunwing Vacations will offer all-inclusive packages with departures from Buffalo International Airport for a third season, as well as direct weekly flights between Waterloo and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.Sunwing Vacations will offer, for a third year in a row, all-inclusive packages departing from Buffalo to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and Cancun, Mexico over the coming winter season.Departing on Sundays between February and April, 2017 to Cancun and Saturdays between February and April, 2017 to Punta Cana, vacationers can take advantage of weekend flying schedule to each destination.Easily accessible from many of Southern Ontario’s cities such as St Catherine’s, Niagara, London, and Hamilton, Buffalo Niagara International Airport has gained popularity in recent years with vacationers on both sides of the border looking for a sunshine getaway.A short drive from the Canadian border, travellers from the airport can take advantage of low-priced on airport parking and a swift onward journey through the compact airport terminal to their final destination.More news: Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWT“We are delighted to return to Buffalo for a third consecutive season. Buffalo Niagara International Airport is a convenient hub for our customers living in Southern Ontario and we are pleased that our vacation packages have been so well received over the past two winters.” said Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations for Sunwing Vacations. “The return of these popular flight services will allow travellers to escape the cold winter months and enjoy the sunny beaches of Cancun and Punta Cana.”New for the coming winter season, Sunwing Vacations will provide direct weekly flights between Waterloo, Ontario and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.Beginning Thursday December 22, 2016 and continuing through March 23, 2017, the new service will connect residents of the Waterloo region with the popular Caribbean vacation destination in just over four hours.“We are delighted to be able to offer direct flights from Waterloo Region to Punta Cana this coming winter,” said Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations for Sunwing Vacations. “Our sunshine flights have been well received by travellers from the Waterloo Region for the past seven seasons and we are sure Punta Cana will prove a popular choice this year.”More news: Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”For more information, visit sunwing.ca Share << Previous PostNext Post >>
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 Posted by Tags: Promotions, Sunwing TORONTO — Sunwing wants to give travellers a break from the dreary weather with its ‘Wintervention’ Sale, on now through Feb. 23.The sale offers some of the lowest prices of the season and savings worth up to $1,000 per couple on packages to resorts in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.Grand Sunset Princess All Suites and Spa Resort in Riviera Maya, one of the resorts taking part in the sale, is family-friendly with spacious rooms that can accommodate up to five people. The beachfront resort was designed with families in mind, says Sunwing, with 12 pools, a spa and a kids club.Also included in the promotion is the popular beachfront resort Riu Bambu in Punta Cana. Guests get unlimited access to the Splash Water World water park, plus there are daily supervised activities at the RIULand kids club. Teens can unwind at their own hangout area, RIU4YOU.Clients looking to elevate their vacation experience can take advantage of generous savings at the luxurious Royalton Negril Resort and Spa in Jamaica. This beachfront resort welcomes guests with five-star accommodations and amenities, plus daily supervised activities at the kids and teens club. Up to $1,000 per couple in savings with Sunwing’s Wintervention sale Share Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>
BBC Worldwide has launched its authenticated SVOD service BBC Player in Malaysia in partnership with Telekom Malaysia.The rollout marks the second country to receive the branded TV everywhere service, following the BBC commercial arm’s launch of BBC Player in Singapore last year in partnership with StarHub.Subscribers to Telekom Malaysia’s IPTV service, HyppTV, will be able to sign in to the BBC Player to access “the very best of BBC content”.Viewers will be able to access the service online and via iOS and Android mobile apps and will be able to watch content from BBC Worldwide’s global brands – BBC First, BBC Brit, BBC Earth, BBC Lifestyle, CBeebies, and BBC World News.BBC Player viewers will also have exclusive access to season 24 of popular car show Top Gear after it starts to broadcast in the UK this month.“To launch BBC Player in Malaysia so soon after its successful introduction to Singapore is testament to both the very high quality of this product and the digital demand for our programming,” said BBC Worldwide global markets president, Paul Dempsey.“This latest launch clearly signals the potential for Player to offer something new to our partners and audiences in further markets.”The BBC Player was built using broadcast and VOD specialist Ostmodern’s Skylark content management system (CMS).Ostmodern CEO, Tom Williams, said: “We are delighted to be working with BBC Worldwide on this new service. It demonstrates the power of Skylark as an integration framework, while also showcasing the powerful content curation and editorial workflow tools in the CMS.”
STRABANE Community Project’s new ‘Grass Roots Concept’ has been announced as a joint winner of this year’s £2k Social Enterprise Competition run by Derry City & Strabane District Council as part of Enterprise Week 2019.£2,000 from the Council’s ‘Social Enterprise Innovation Seed Fund’ was up for grabs recently at Strabane District Caring Services as budding social entrepreneurs from throughout the City & District pitched their creative ideas for innovative projects they want to see get off the ground.Following the Social Enterprise Competition, £1k has now been awarded to ‘Strabane Community Project’ and ‘The Playtrail’ to help both groups set up a new shop / kitchen and training facilities. ShareTweet Derry and Strabane CouncilStrabane Community ProjectThe Playtrail£2k Social Enterprise Competition‘Grass Roots Café & Food Market’ joint winner of £2k Social Enterprise Ursula Doherty, Manager of Strabane Community Project said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded £1k from theSocial Enterprise Innovation Seed Fund!“This will make a huge impact in terms of us being able to buy cooking utensils, crockery and chefs’ clothing to help us to take this exciting project forward.“At the Strabane Community Project we’ve always been keen to develop a range of skill-building programmes, including cooking skills, money management and personal development, education programmes, training, etc.“Our café has also been greatly supported by the public and local businesses, community groups and outreach services who make use of the facilities to deliver meetings and events.“Our plans are under way for phase 2 of Grass Roots and work will be commencing in early April of the installation of a new larger kitchen to meet that increasing demand. “Indeed, it will also be a ‘training kitchen’ providing Level 1 & 2 accreditation in catering & hospitality. “Non-accredited courses will also be available for families and individuals who’d like to learn cooking skills or ‘How to cook on a budget’ programmes which will be delivered by the NW Regional College.“Importantly, we’re keen to help people come together and learn more about cooking – and in doing so better promote healthy living for residents in Strabane and the surrounding areas.”Danielle McNally, Business Officer with Derry City & Strabane District Council and a member of the four-strong panel who judged the £2k Social Enterprise competition, said: “I was delighted to judge this year’s pitching competition and hear from the many groups and social entrepreneurs from across the Council area who are interested in developing their new project idea.“Importantly, the ‘Social Enterprise Innovation Seed Fund’ is about rewarding and encouraging creativity, talent and innovative ideas within social enterprise.“As part of this year’s prize package both ‘Strabane Community Project’ and ‘The Playtrail’ will not only secure £1k in financial support, but can also avail of business support services from the Council which will help them grow.“It’s wonderful to see that funding for the larger working kitchen will provide much-needed training opportunities – and also benefit this great community space that is doing so much to unite residents across different backgrounds, ethnicities and ages.”‘Grass Roots Café & Food Market’ joint winner of £2k Social Enterprise was last modified: April 15th, 2019 by John2John2 Tags: Strabane Community Project will use the prize money to purchase cooking utensils, crockery and chefs’ clothing for larger kitchen facilities which will offer training opportunities and cooking workshops for people in the local area.Set up in 1987 to support older and more vulnerable residents in the area, Strabane Community Project also opened one of Northern Ireland’s first ‘social supermarkets’ under the management of Ursula Doherty in January 2018 to help people living in food poverty.The innovative new ‘social supermarket’ sells products reduced in price by up to 70% to people receiving welfare payments and tax credits. This allows them to purchase a range of cheaper items – including fresh and frozen food, dried goods, as well as fruit and vegetables – provided as surplus stock by the charity Fare Share
Sponsor Advertisement The only question to be answered is…how much more is left to go to the downside.I was expecting another leg down in the precious metals sometime between Christmas and New Years…but it began yesterday. Ted Butler had been expecting since the Sunday night open in New York.Gold rose gently in early Far East trading, with the ‘high’ tick…around $1,702 spot…coming shortly after 1:00 p.m. in Hong Kong…and by the Comex open it was back to unchanged from Monday’s close.The first of many engineered price declines began shortly before 10:00 a.m. in New York…which may have been an early London p.m. gold fix. It was sold down in stair-step fashion from there, with the final down-leg coming shortly after the 1:30 p.m. Comex close. That was gold’s low price tick of the day…recorded by Kitco as $1,660.10 spot.From there the gold price recovered somewhat…but that smallish rally only lasted until 4:00 p.m. Eastern…and then it traded sideways into the 5:15 p.m. electronic close.Gold finished the Tuesday session at $1,670.90 spot…down $27.20 for the day. Net volume was a very chunky 195,000 contracts.Of course it was silver that JPMorgan et al were really after…and they certainly did a number on it. The sell-off was much more severe, but the price pattern was the same, so I’ll spare you the play-by-play.Silver’s high tick…around $32.55 spot…came shortly before noon Hong Kong time. The low price tick, like gold’s, came ten minutes after the Comex close…and Kitco reported that as $31.25 spot.The subsequent rally pared the losses by a bit…and silver finished the day at $31.64 spot…down 64 cents on the day. Once again silver had an intraday price move of well over a dollar. Net, volume was pretty decent at around 46,000 contracts…but with a price decline of that magnitude, I was hoping for more.The dollar index started the Tuesday trading session at 79.56…then rallied a hair until shortly after the London open before starting to weaken…with the biggest decline coming between 10:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. in New York. The index nadir [79.27] occurred at that point…and the dollar index closed at 79.36…down about 20 basis points from Monday’s close.Only Jon Nadler could find a co-relation between the precious metal price activity and the dollar index on a day like yesterday…as any sane and rational person would see no relationship at all. But if you do see some, I’d love to hear your explanation.The gold stocks held up surprisingly well in the early going, but it was the engineered price decline between 11:20 a.m. and precisely 12 o’clock noon in New York that did the most damage to the shares. But once the low was in at 1:40 p.m….the gold stocks recovered…and the HUI only finished down 1.43%.Not surprisingly, the silver stocks got hit harder…and Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 2.10%.(Click on image to enlarge)Considering the bear raid by “da boyz” yesterday, the shares held up remarkably well…and don’t forget about what I [and others] have said about buying “while blood is running in the streets”. That expression fits the circumstance before you, perfectly.The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 154 silver contracts were posted for delivery tomorrow. Jefferies was the short/issuer on all of them…and the Bank of Nova Scotia and JPMorgan were the biggest long/stoppers with 116 and 27 contracts respectively. Even with the year starting to wind down, I’m still expecting a reasonable amount of delivery activity between now and then, as the CME reported that there are 325 gold and 636 silver contracts still left open for the December delivery month…from which you have to subtract the 154 silver contracts mentioned above. The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.There were no reported changes in either GLD or SLV yesterday.Switzerland’s Zürcher Kantonalbank updated their gold and silver ETFs as of December 17th. Their gold ETF showed an increase of 28,964 troy ounces…but their silver ETF showed a decline of 498,112 troy ounces.The U.S. Mint had a smallish sales report yesterday. They sold 7,500 ounces of gold eagles…and that was all.The Comex-approved depositories reported receiving 218,678 troy ounces of silver…and shipped 301,002 ounces out the door on Monday. The link to that activity is here.Well, I received an ‘answer’ from the ombudsman over at Scotiabank on Monday, but it sat unopened in my in-box until yesterday, as I didn’t want what I said in my Tuesday column to be influenced by what was in the reply.I didn’t need to worry, as he weaseled his way out of answering it in almost the same manner as the first time. He could have easily have found the answer to my question, as it would certainly be at hand if he’d been allowed to give it to me.Here are the entire contents of his e-mail…Dear Mr. Steer, I am responding to your attached follow-up e-mail, I wish to begin by assuring you that I am not trying to increase your frustration level but I must say that, as I have stated earlier, I find Scotiabank’s earlier response to you to be perfectly reasonable. In fact, I find it completely logical that any clarification about information in an article published by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission should come directly from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Yours truly, Charles Dougall OmbudsmanIn the end, it was another “non-denial denial”. They just chose to get out of it by answering a question that I never asked…and avoided the direct question that I did ask. I don’t think they’re being obtuse…I just think that they don’t want to tell the truth. It’s for this very reason that I suspect Scotiabank/Scotia Mocatta of being the “new non-U.S. bank” that suddenly got outed by the CFTC in the November Bank Participation Report. Scotiabank could have ended it all by just telling me…no, it wasn’t them. But they didn’t say that…and I’m suspecting that the reason is because they didn’t want to get caught in a lie later. I guess that’s the lesser of two evils than being caught telling the truth at this point in the game.If you didn’t read it, or don’t remember the question I presented to the ombudsman, the link to yesterday’s GSD column is here.The Queen and The GoldI stole this photo from Eric King’s website…and it’s posted in one of his blogs with James Turk further down in this column. I’m still thunderstruck that Her Majesty [and Prince Philip] were trotted out. There is obviously big trouble in River City that we just aren’t privy to.Here are a couple of charts that Nick Laird sent my way yesterday…and both are show-stoppers. The first shows how many ounces of gold can be bought for $1,000 going back to 1718.(Click on image to enlarge)This second chart shows the lost purchasing power of the U.S. dollar in percentage terms over the same 300-year period. One chart is actually a ‘derivative’ of the other.(Click on image to enlarge)They don’t teach this stuff in school…and as you’re probably already beginning to suspect, there’s a good reason for that. They don’t want the sheeple to know how badly their being fleeced…and by whom…and why.Here’s a cute photo that my sister sent me yesterday…and you though squirrels on your roof were a problem.I have a more reasonable number of news items for you today…and I hope you can find time to wade through them the ones that interest you during the busy holiday season that we all face.It is one thing for an exchange to rush to the aid of important members when an outsider may be doing something wrong and against the insider members’ interests; but it’s a very different story if there was no outside wrongdoing and the insiders were the guilty party. That’s exactly what happened in 2011 on separate occasions…and is still happening to this day in COMEX silver. It is a circumstance without precedent, namely, an exchange working against the public’s interest when there is nothing that the public is doing that is wrong. The thought that the New York Stock Exchange would diligently work to lower overall stock prices is too absurd to contemplate, as it would be shooting itself in the foot. But that’s exactly what the COMEX is doing in silver. The exchange should care less about price levels, but because the most important member of the COMEX (JPMorgan) is up to its eyeballs on the short side, that forces the exchange to be an active partner in attempting to bring about lower silver prices. This is so bad, it is almost inconceivable. Yet the evidence is right in front of us. – Silver analyst Ted Butler…15 December 2012Well, yesterday’s price action in New York should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that JPMorgan Chase and the rest of their Merry Men showed up in New York yesterday. Using my Ovaltine secret decoder ring…and holding the Kitco chart up at a 33 degree angle in polarized light, it was easy to spot the secret message inscribed in the silver chart. It said “Season’s Greetings to all. Up yours. Jamie…et al“The only question to be answered is…how much more is left to go to the downside. The gold price took out its 200-day moving average by a whisker yesterday…but did not close below it. Silver still has a ways to go yet. But can they, or will they do more to the downside? I don’t know for sure, but suspect that the answer is yes.If they are clearing the decks for a major price rise in the New Year to correspond with the Fed’s attempt to raise the velocity of money by increasing the inflation rate…by a U.S. dollar devaluation, or other means…sending a message to the markets by running up the precious metal prices by a very noticeable amount would be one of the tools they would certainly contemplate using.In order to do that, I’m sure that “da boyz” would like to cover as many short positions as they can in the interim…and that means further price pain to the downside until they get the last possible speculative long position holders to sell. Once they get to that point…whatever prices that takes…no further price reduction is possible, as it’s the very act of technical fund selling [or buying] that ultimately drives the spot price.Here are the 1-year charts for both gold and silver. It’s hard to tell how much more damage they can do to the downside as far as price is concerned, but Ted Butler says it could be considerable…especially in silver.(Click on image to enlarge)(Click on image to enlarge)In the meantime, the CME Group and the CFTC will continue to protect the largest Commercial short holders in all four precious metals…and CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton will continue to reassure us that nothing is amiss…and the evidence provided by the weekly Commitment of Traders Report is just a figment of our collective imaginations.JPMorgan Chase is the ringleader, of course…but I’m also getting the impression that Canada’s own Scotiabank/Scotia Mocatta is a major player in this short-side price management scheme as well…along with a handful of others, including the raptors.With what’s been happening over in the gold vaults at the Bank of England these days…maybe Her Majesty will spill the beans. Maybe the pope will be next to go on the tour. Where are John Cleese and Michael Palin when you really need them? Too bad Monty Python’s Flying Circus got cancelled, as I’m sure that they would have had a field day with this story.I mentioned the COT Report just a few paragraphs back…and yesterday was the cut-off for the one that comes out on Friday. I certainly hope that all of yesterday’s price and volume action is reported to the CFTC in a timely manner. Since the cut-off was at the 1:30 p.m. close of Comex trading, I very much doubt that the volume associated with the absolute low of the day, which came after the Comex close, will be in it.Not much happened during the Far East trading day on their Wednesday…and now that London has been open a few hours, both gold and silver are trending a bit higher. Of course, that doesn’t mean much if you use yesterday’s New York price action as a template. Instead of hitting the precious metals during the thinly-traded Far East market like they’ve been doing for the past month or so, they smacked it hard in the most liquid market of all…New York…with no news associated with it. The dollar index actually fell as all this was going on.As I hit the ‘send’ button at 5:15 a.m. Eastern time, gold’s volume is sneaking up there…and silver’s volume is about average. The dollar index is down about 10 basis points.All eyes will be on the Comex when trading begins at 8:20 a.m. Eastern time. With JPMorgan Chase putting everyone on notice that they’re back in town, it’s a given that the price action in the precious metals for the balance of 2012 will not be smooth sailing.See you on Thursday. Aben Resources (TSX.V: ABN) is a Canadian gold and silver exploration company with a focus on developing properties in the Yukon and Northwest Territories. The Company owns a 100% interest in the 18,314 acre Justin Gold Project located in SE Yukon. A 2,020 metre diamond drill program was carried out in 2011 to test never before drilled zones. Aben made a significant new greenfields gold discovery when it intercepted 60m of 1.19 g/t Au in hole JN11009 at the POW Zone. Additionally, a new high grade silver-copper zone was discovered at the Kangas Zone with hole JN11003 returning 1.07m of 7320 g/t Ag (234 oz/ton) and 3.52% Cu. Aben carried out an aggressive exploration and drill program in 2012 to follow up on the initial discoveries. The first drill hole in 2012, JN12011, returned 46.4m of 1.49 g/t Au and extended the gold mineralization at the discovery zone 85 metres laterally. The Company has four other prospective Yukon and NWT projects in its portfolio along with a seasoned management and geological team. Aben’s chairman, Ron Netolitzky, is credited with exploration success on numerous properties including three Western Canadian gold and silver projects which became producing mines. Please visit our website to learn more about the company and request information.
There will never be complete clarity on who the enemy is (unless you live in a Muslim country, in which case the uniforms of the Western crusaders conveniently identify them). The global economic recovery is a fiction.Over the past week, it was revealed that Eurozone unemployment has now reached an all-time high to this point in the crisis… and real GDP has gone negative in the US. Wait a sec, some of you might say, that sure doesn’t look like a recovery!And you’d be right. Despite throwing literally trillions of dollars in new debt at the debt crisis (anyone else see something wrong with that logic?), the global economy continues to struggle.As I’m now running late, I’m not going to belabor this point. Instead, I’ll step out for a quick cup of coffee and let Casey Research Chief Economist Bud Conrad weigh in on the topic.Real GDP Dropped 0.1% in Q4 2012 – What Are the Implications?By Bud ConradExpectations were for GDP growth of about 1.6%, but a negative growth of minus 0.1% was a surprise.(Click on image to enlarge)Is a negative print indicating a possible recession ahead? Stocks were down in the US, but only by 44 points on the Dow, so the surprise was not so big a worry to the market. What’s going on?I’m reminded of the saying, “There are lies, damned lies, and (government) statistics.”This is the advance estimate of GDP, which will be revised two more times before it becomes official. It relies mostly on the first two months of the quarter and will change when December data is added. So the small negative is not really a meaningful number yet, as it will be revised.The cause of the drop was that national defense spending fell a whopping 22% in the quarter. When filtered through the various other effects on the economy, that made the real GDP 1.3% weaker than it would have been if defense were unchanged.I don’t think military spending gives us societal benefits, so I question if it should even be in GDP, but it is, and in the past it has made the economy look stronger, especially during its growth under Bush. There is also a tendency for military spending to grow in the third quarter, as that is the last quarter of the government’s calendar. The story is that once money is allocated, you have to spend it before you lose it. So a drop in relative spending in the fourth quarter is not uncommon.It was probably made worse by plans to implement the sequester at the beginning of the year (now delayed).There will be a new budget battle coming up over whether to go ahead with the sequester (cut) of defense spending in the next few months. There may be an argument that we can’t afford cuts when the economy is weak. I have my own bias that the government is too big and that, when you include the social programs that induce household spending, the GDP is far too dependent on the government for its growth. The combined effects of government are something like 40% of GDP, and that will be with us for a long time.The market is not taking the negative GDP as indicating a new recession, because other parts of the economy are continuing along with reasonable growth. Consumer spending, the main engine of US growth, rose 2.2%. Construction on new homes and apartments jumped 15.3%. Business spending on equipment and software was up. So the private-sector economy was not appearing weak.By one interpretation, the GDP number is probably a little worse than the headline because the inflation, as measured by the implicit price deflator, was also down.(Click on image to enlarge)If the deflator were 2%, as it has been reported in recent months, rather than the Q4 number of 0.6%, then the real GDP would have been 1.6% worse, at a negative 1.7%.ImplicationsIn the face of the deficit crises, I have often shared my opinion that the government would “kick the can,” as it consistently has. The tax rise on the wealthy was also Obama’s political promise and had been expected. Raising taxes, including the payroll tax, which was just accomplished, could cut household spending and hurt the GDP. If the economy is too weak to cut spending, then we will continue with the huge deficits that we cannot afford.Going forward, the debt ceiling will have no effect except to elicit hot air from politicians. It is their own shell game that goes back to the fig leaf that was instigated to replace the requirement that the administration had to get approval from Congress for each new debt offering in the early part of the last century.My prediction going forward is that Congress will make no major changes to the deficit until the dollar weakens and interest rates rise, forcing action. The Fed is monetizing at the rate of a trillion dollars a year, which covers 80% of the deficit. For now, the Fed has bailed out the federal deficit so politicians don’t need to do anything.The economy has been driven by Fed bubble blowing: first the stock market dot-com bubble (Internet stocks attracted day traders), then the housing bubble (flippers and the meme that real estate never goes down), and now a massive bond bubble (there’s no other safe place to put your money). The collapse of the biggest bubble ever in bonds will start once confidence in the Fed is lost in seeing that they can’t keep rates suppressed forever.The weak GDP report suggests the Fed will keep its attempt to pump up the economy, even as each QE program is having less and less effect. Simply put, as the government won’t cut its deficits, the Fed will keep up the QE because there is no exit strategy from this mess. As rates begin to rise, the deficit will become unmanageable due to the rising scale of interest payments. But this debt bubble will burst because low interest rates cannot be forced forever. If history is any guide, the time will come when Fed stimulus will decrease confidence in the dollar more than it helps the economy, and at that point the deficit-boosted economy will collapse. The slowing GDP is an early warning we will be keeping a close eye on.Ed. Note: How much would it be worth to you personally to be thoroughly informed on the bubble in bonds, when it is likely to burst, and how you can profit – or avoid the losses? Bud Conrad will be providing his comprehensive analysis of the bond bubble in the upcoming issue of The Casey Report. You don’t want to miss it, and don’t have to… just take us up on our fully guaranteed trial offer for The Casey Report. If you don’t love the publication, simply cancel for a full refund within the first 90 days – and keep all the issues you’ve received as our way of saying thanks for giving it a try. Learning more is as easy as clicking here now.Final ThoughtsDavid again. Given the highly politicized nature of today’s world, it is important to take the effort to understand the fundamental realities, rather than blindly accept the fictions that spew forth from officialdom and its quislings on Wall Street and in the media.Things have reached the point where the reality gap between those deluded souls living in North Korea under the rule of Kim Jong Wu Ever and those living in the degraded Western democracies is rapidly narrowing. In North Korea, they are told that the South Koreans want to eat their babies or some such; in the United States, people are told that just across the border in Mexico, the streets are paved with headless corpses.(You might find the map linked to here of interest as it compares the murder rates of various countries against those in US cities. Let’s see, there are approximately 10 murders per 100,000 people in Mexico… half that of Washington and less than a third of that in Baltimore.)In North Korea, the people are told that the Jong family are one tick off from being deities and believe it. In the US and Europe, people are told that debt issuance and money printing without end is the “solution” to the financial crisis and believe that too.The bottom line on today’s musings is that it really behooves us all to revisit our beliefs and kick the tires on our assumptions, looking for some kernel of observable truth that we can use to guide us through the challenges ahead.One such reality is that gold has been considered sound money around the globe for most of recorded human history. While it’s been in a consolidation phase for over a year now, and could remain flat to down for a while longer, you have to ask yourself what’s more likely to retain its value? Currency units created out of thin air or an ounce of gold?Wherever possible, try to align your finances and your life with reality. While that may make you subject to periodic losses and inconveniences as popular delusions and the madness of crowds push markets, and countries, in unsustainable directions – in time, you’ll come out on top.Friday FunniesIf you’re not familiar with the work of Steven Wright, he’s the humorist who once said, “I woke up one morning, and all of my stuff had been stolen and replaced by exact duplicates.” His mind sees things differently than most of us do; here are some of his gems:1 – I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.2 – Borrow money from pessimists – they don’t expect it back.3 – Half the people you know are below average.4 – 99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name.5 – 82.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.6 – A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.7 – A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.8 – If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain.9 – All those who believe in psychokinesis, raise my hand.10 – The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.11 – I almost had a psychic girlfriend… but she left me before we met.12 – OK, so what’s the speed of dark?13 – How do you tell when you’re out of invisible ink?14 – If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.15 – Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.16 – When everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.17 – Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy.18 – Hard work pays off in the future; laziness pays off now.19 – I intend to live forever… so far, so good.20 – If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?21 – Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.22 – What happens if you get scared half to death twice?23 – My mechanic told me, “I couldn’t repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.”24 – Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?25 – If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.26 – A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.27 – Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.28 – The hardness of the butter is proportional to the softness of the bread.29 – To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.30 – The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.31 – The sooner you fall behind, the more time you’ll have to catch up.32 – The colder the x-ray table, the more of your body is required to be on it.33 – Everyone has a photographic memory; some just don’t have film.34 – If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.And the all-time favorite –35 – If your car could travel at the speed of light, would your headlights work?Weekend Reads and WatchesInterview with Dennis Miller. Earlier this week, our own Dennis Miller sat for an interview with Kerry Lutz of the Financial Survival Network. It’s a good interview as it provides insights into the scale of the problems now facing retirees and those who would like to retire, and some of the solutions Dennis has uncovered. Here’s the link to the interview.Busy-Bodies of the Month. I really like Reason TV. In this installment, they reveal their busy-bodies of the month – in this case an absolutely mind-boggling new proposal to criminalize nicotine. Here’s the link.Perfect-Worlders Try to Kill Bambi. Along a similar line, this morning Dennis Miller sent me a link to a ridiculous story about a former police officer and his wife facing jail time for rescuing an injured deer. Here’s the link.Live Again. Earlier I mentioned the upcoming Harvest Celebration at La Estancia de Cafayate, March 14 – 19. For those of you who haven’t yet seen it, a short film titled Live Again was made at La Estancia that will give you a sense of the place. Here’s the link.Until Next Week!Sorry for going on a bit long this week. Starting work well before the crack of dawn and trying to compensate by getting juiced up on mate and coffee and ramped up with loud music has that effect on me.Before signing off, however, I want to mention that there are two new Casey Phyles forming – one in Nashville, TN, and one in Cleveland, OH. If you would like to join one of these meet-up groups, or one in your area, drop us a note at email@example.com.I also want to mention that we’ve nailed down the dates for our fall Casey Research Summit in Tucson, Arizona: If you are interested in participating, mark October 4 – 6, 2013 on your calendar. We’re still working on the details, but you’ll hear from us as soon as more information becomes available. If you want to stay up to date and be the first to learn when registration opens for the Summit, simply get on our waitlist (being on the list doesn’t oblige you to attend the Summit).And with that, I will bid you farewell for the week by thanking you for reading and for being a subscriber to a Casey Research publication.David GallandManaging DirectorCasey ResearchCafayate, Argentina Dear Readers,It is said that death and taxation are the only certainties in life.Expanding on that list, however, we also know there are “physical laws” derived from extensive observations, in some cases dating back to antiquity. For example, sticking fingers in fires will result in unpleasantness.Then there is the realm of what one might call “common knowledge.” For example, the historical record makes it appear certain that, universally, power corrupts the human mind, and the greater the power, the greater the corruption.For a relevant example, look no further than Kim Jong-Il, who at an early age evidenced what psychologists term the “big six” personality disorders commonly shared by dictators: sadistic, paranoid, anti-social, narcissistic, with schizoid and schizotypal thrown in for good measure.Without the power devolved to him by his equally degraded father, Kim Jong-Il would have been hard pressed to get a date anywhere else in the world. As supreme leader, on the other hand, he was unhesitant in pressing into service a “Mansions Special Volunteer Corps” – a harem of attractive women plucked out of the population to attend to his every prurient whim.Tangling things up in this area of common knowledge is that we humans are quite adroit at adopting unproven ideas as certainties, even though they may be anything but. While the list of entries in this particular ledger are almost infinite, as just one example, I would point to the absolute certainty with which so many people view the notion that humans are the biggest culprits in climate change (previously referred to as “weather”).Another of these false certainties is that a government can create currency units out of thin air in unlimited amounts without triggering a subsequent devaluation of the currency units already in circulation. Furthermore, these days it is taken almost as common knowledge by a large swath of the population (at least by those who pay any attention at all to such things) that flooding a country with unbacked money is a good thing.Not to go on, as I am wont to do, but I would also mention the misconception by many that the United States, the most powerful country in the world (see reference to Kim Jong-Il above), remains the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.While one might subscribe to a different definition of the words “Free” and “Brave,” from where I sit, the United States is increasingly looking like a large Club Fed populated by a people whose re-education as serfs laboring on behalf of the state is almost complete.Recently, support for that contention was provided when Phil Mickelson pointed out that his taxes had reached 63% of his annual income and that, as a result, he was contemplating moving to a lower-tax state than California. For daring to want to keep more of his earnings than the state, which sinks not a single putt for its share, he was soundly pilloried in the press.Sadly, rather than telling his many critics to bugger off, he issued a series of apologies for speaking out against his tax-slave status.But the hour is growing late, and so enough of this rambling on.Moving along, I thought it worth trying to divine something approaching certainty about a few of the key aspects of today’s world that have the very real potential to affect us all in ways most profound.What We Now KnowIn no particular order, here are just a few important aspects of today’s world that appear to be true to me.The crusades are alive and well and will continue indefinitely. Since the first crusade in 1095, the Christians and the Muslims have been at war pretty much continually. In other words, the war has been going on for over 900 years.Back then, the battles were pretty straightforward affairs involving a wide range of sharpened instruments and projectiles, with no mercy asked and none given even if it was.In modernity, however, the war has evolved in most interesting ways. For example, there are no longer distinct lines of battles. Instead, thanks to the natural evolution of societies, the advent of political correctness accompanied by a whopping dollop of bureaucratic pandering, the Muslims are thoroughly embedded in previously staunchly Christian societies. (Interestingly, the opposite is not the case.)Adding to the fog of war is the nature of the weaponry and, by extension, tactics. Whereas in antiquity the warring parties had no real technological advantage, or at least not of a lasting nature, today the range of possible weapons and tactics is almost limitless.Case in point, the next attack on a major city is as likely to come in the form of a few jars of some particularly nasty germ dropped in the water supply as it is from a reengineered Stuxnet computer virus.Furthermore, as the potential enemies are numerous and reside within many borders, including your own, the possible responses to such an attack are rendered ineffective and even counterproductive. That’s how the moronic act of attacking Iraq after a small group of Saudis and Pakistanis in planes took down the World Trade Center buildings came about. The US had to attack someone, and so it picked the appropriate fall guy and set to work.Recapping what we know now in this instance:The crusades will continue indefinitely. The US government will do whatever it takes to keep the statists in power.That the nation is no longer governed by principles should be obvious to everyone at this point. Well, perhaps with the exception of the principle of self-preservation for the politicos.That they are masters at survival can be seen in the high reelection rate of members of Congress, despite the polls indicating their popularity as only a smidgeon above stepping into a pile of fresh dog droppings.In the current economic environment, however, their skills at blaming others and kicking cans down the road is being tested, witnessed by the adoption of concepts such as unlimited money printing, a concept previously reserved for banana republics and Weimar Germanys. Unfortunately, as I have expressed in my writings before, the quantitative easing is likely to be one of the last “soft” options as the crisis deepens.In the United States, the government is just a couple of ticks away from turning the de facto capital controls currently in place into those of a more hardened type. With the new FACTA foreign financial assets reporting regulations now in effect, all the necessary functionality is in place, leaving only a quick turn of the knobs to dial in punitive tax levels on such holdings or take some similar action to make the “unpatriotic” act of daring to move assets offshore into one that is also distinctly ill-advised.Then there is the inevitable grab for the trillions of dollars now in US pension plans, something that Doug has warned about for years. A recent story out of Bloomberg a couple of weeks ago sure looks like a straw in the wind to me. And I quote.The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is weighing whether it should take on a role in helping Americans manage the $19.4 trillion they have put into retirement savings, a move that would be the agency’s first foray into consumer investments. “That’s one of the things we’ve been exploring and are interested in in terms of whether and what authority we have,” bureau director Richard Cordray said in an interview. He didn’t provide additional details. Here’s the link…All that’s missing is the next stock market crash, and this initiative will rise to the fore. That the Sheeple will fall right in line with the logic of a government takeover of the pensions can be understood by looking at a number of surveys showing the majority of Americans don’t have any real savings.One study by the Employee Benefits Research Institute found that 56% of US workers have less than $25,000 saved. And that’s workers. Fully 54% of folks who have actually retired also report that they have less than $25,000 to live on.What this means is that over 50% of Americans are either currently, or will someday soon, be wards of the state. So, that’s something else we know.“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who are not.” Thomas JeffersonDrifting back to this particular point, this fairly startling reality is all the excuse the government needs to shove both its mitts into the nation’s pensions and take what it needs to keep Washington DC in the wealth redistribution/political pandering business.The taking is as simple as requiring that all pensions contain at least “XX%” of safe Treasury bills or some new form of government-backed paper whipped up for the scam. Or, alternatively, you must withdraw your money from your IRA and pay the penalty – the rationale being that you are bound to lose your money if you manage it yourself and therefore the penalty and taxes for withdrawing are merely a deposit on future government handouts you are sure to need.It is, of course, ironic that the very people now contemplating helping retirees with their finances are the ones most responsible for bankrupting the country and devastating the finances of retirees by rigging interest rates to an artificially low rate. I would be remiss at this point if I didn’t tip the hat in the direction of the plain-talking, straight-shooting Dennis Miller, author of Retirement Reboot and editor of the highly praised Miller’s Money Forever, a monthly publication dedicated to helping those in or nearing retirement get their financial act together, and keep it together, through good times and bad.Earlier this week, Dennis sent along 95 pages of comments he received from a survey on what his subscribers wanted to learn more about. The top three topics were all related to moves people can make to generate reliable income – annuities, reverse mortgages, and dividend-paying stocks – all topics Dennis and his team have written extensively on.In fact, he has produced a number of special reports, The Cash Book, The Yield Book and The Annuity Guide, all of which are available at no additional cost to paid-up subscribers.Listen, this stuff is serious. If you are behind the 8-ball on your retirement savings, don’t even begin to hesitate to subscribe to Dennis’ service.Of course, we’ve got to make some money, so we can’t give the service away, but at just $99 a year – and you receive Dennis’ book Retirement Reboot (a $9.95 value) as a premium – it’s an extraordinarily good value.As the publication includes a 3-month, 100% money-back guarantee, you have zero risk in trying the service out.For details, click here.Which brings me to my final entry for today’s musings about what we now know… The biggest consequence of this sloppy Forever War is that the helpless (and some would chirp, hapless) Western governments and the military-industrial complex that props them up are at liberty to improvise countermeasures and strategies without any real limitations.Thus, every new attack, or perceived new threat, results in a new set of actions pretty much made up on the spot to punish the perps and counter the next attack. To name one relatively tame example, the act of a single Jihadist fitting a bomb in his sneakers resulted in the loss of countless of hours, and more than a little dignity, when the bureaucrats instituted a requirement that John Q. Sheeple must remove his shoes in order to board a plane.In addition, because these governments have no idea where the next attack is likely to occur or what form it will take, the perfect-worlder bureaucrats increasingly in charge of Western governments have begun to exercise the precautionary principle to the point of dangerous absurdity.In the event you are not familiar with the term, the precautionary principle basically holds that if there is a threat to the public, even though it is not proven, the burden of proof that it is not a threat falls to those claiming that it is not a threat.Thus, for example, if the military states that it sees a threat emanating from, say, Iraq and certain analysts disagree, the burden of proof falls upon the dissenting analysts. Because as often as not the perceived threats are little more than abstractions that are virtually unprovable, the threat-seers invariably win out, and off go the jets.Hoping to make the point clear, one might counter the gun waving of today’s military by theorizing that the most effective way of eliminating the Jihadist threat would be to pull all the troops out of the Middle East and to stop the constant meddling in the affairs of those countries. As this thesis is unprovable without actually taking the measure in order to gauge its effectiveness, the military-industrial complex and the headline-grabbing politicians and their bureaucratic stooges are free to dismiss it out of hand and continue to layer on the countermeasures they believe will head off the threats of further attacks.Unfortunately, many of those countermeasures are not just inane and ineffective, but require stomping on personal liberties. But, for the reasons just mentioned, there is no effective argument against them.“Why do you want me to go through an X-Ray machine in order to travel?” you might ask a TSA agent.“Because we’re at war with the terrorists, and it’s our job to keep the public safe!”“But I’m not a terrorist!”“Oh, yeah? Prove it. Starting by stepping into the X-Ray machine.”Likewise, arguments against building electronic files on everyone, including all their communications and Facebook contacts, fall on the deaf ears of bureaucrats who are charged with heading off the next attack.And because of the nature of the crusade, in the absence of a radical change of direction, the hit to personal freedoms will only get worse. Because this “war” is never-ending and has no hard targets of any consequence, which means that the tentacles of the government’s countermeasures will grow until they reach into every corner of our lives.The real consequences, however, will be felt only after the next large-scale attack. After that, the ardent advocates of the precautionary principle will kick their machinations into high gear, and you won’t be able to sneeze without first getting permission.(Somewhat related is the idea that schools should be turned into day-visit penitentiaries complete with metal detectors, bullet-proof glass, and armed guards, further inculcating the culture of paranoia and fear that now exists in the US. Managing by exception, a key tenet of the precautionary principle – and attacks on schools are very much the exception – is never a good idea. But that won’t stop the US from turning its schools into mini-Camp Feds.)Any way of ending the crusades and turning this terrible trend back?Not that I can see. Well, I suppose the better-armed Western governments could really take off the gloves, turn the Middle East into the proverbial parking lot, then round up anyone within their borders unwilling to denounce Islam and throw them into gas chambers re-education camps. But that’s not going to happen (and, lest you get the wrong idea, I am not advocating it in the slightest), which means that there is no way to end the Crusade.Instead, all you can really do is recognize it for what it is and, more importantly, recognize the direct consequences to you and your family in the months and years just ahead. Personally, I opted out from a seat within ground zero and, along with Doug Casey, plan on watching events unfold on CNN while sipping on a nice Malbec here in Cafayate.(Speaking of which, the next Harvest Event and Casey Research conference at La Estancia de Cafayate is coming up March 14-19. This is the single best opportunity to find out for yourself what’s going on in this up-and-coming wine-growing town. For details and a registration form, write Dave Norden a note at dnorden@LaEst.com today.)So, what else do we know now?The United States is perilously close to becoming a one-party, socialist state. As a result of winning the last election, President Obama, a man whose ego needs no encouragement, may come to believe he has a mandate and will try to become far more than a token president – to wit, the first black elected to the office. Instead, he’ll try to become the first among firsts. The socialists in charge have effectively taken over medical services, are now focusing on taking away guns, and, based on the comments made during Obama’s inauguration speech, are planning to continue pushing the agenda of radical environmentalism, which, in turn, is a fulcrum point into more regulations on private business.It’s all about legacy at this point, and part of that legacy could very well be a follow-on term for the beloved Evita Michelle Obama, a woman whose mere presence can cause a liberal to grow weak at the knees. Or soft in the mind, as was in evidence on the always entertaining Huffington Post when one Nina Bahadur unleashed a torrent of drivel under the following masthead.(My personal favorites from Nina’s list were #21 – She’s a fan of pillow forts, and #45 – She has a sweet tooth. Who knew?!)The potential consequences of back-to-back Obamas and their devoted army of sycophants are many, and few of them good, as the roots of the tree they sprung from are of steadfast socialist stock.The historical record shows unequivocally that there is a line that, if crossed, makes the whole “from each according to their ability to each according to their needs” thing devolve into economic collapse and, often, fascism. At that point the slogan changes to something akin to, “From the burning houses of the greedy capitalists to the impoverished masses.”Any way this situation could turn around? Again, none that is easily imagined. We as a nation are way past the more genteel era when it was considered bad form for a sitting president to campaign for his party. Instead, it’s Chicago-style bare-knuckle politicking all the way, with overt distribution of favors to the inert to ensure reelection.The one possible way that the rising socialist tide is held up is if there is a major financial crash and the ruling elite somehow lose their ability to pin blame on someone else.In other words, the country is either headed for certain ruin as the productive class becomes further outnumbered by the recipient class and then turned into little more than tax cows, and the equivalent of Atlas Shrugs occurs. Or we have a whopping good crash that chases the socialists out from the shadows.Note that either scenario involves a crash. Which begs the follow-on question: how will the government react when things go off the rails?Will the population, confronted with inescapable ruin, come to their senses, starting by remembering that there actually isn’t such a thing as a free lunch? Or will they redouble their calls for the government to do more? While no one can see the future, I expect the latter. That is when the risk of socialism sliding into fascism will be greatest.Which brings us to the next certainty, if there can be any such thing (other than death and taxes)… It is nearly impossible to anticipate or to respond in any way other than with ineffective surgical strikes or blunt-force invasions.In the case of the former, as much as some misguided individuals might wish it to be the case, this is not a war that will be a series of drone strikes. And we need look no further than Afghanistan to see the failures of trying a blunt-force invasion when the enemy is fleet of foot and deeply embedded in the population, but is not the population as a whole. (If it were the population as a whole, as was believed to be the case in Germany in WWII, then the war would be a simple matter of unleashing widespread hell.) The next attack can come literally anywhere in the world and in any form.