August 4, 1997Framing in a light scoop room.
Russian pay TV operator NTV Plus has added five new channels to its line-up.Youth channel 2X2 airs edgy series from the US, Europe and Asia, including Family Guy, South Park and The Simpsons.Music channel Europe Plus TV is a joint venture between Russia’s European Broadcasting Media Group and thematic channels distributor Red Media. It airs pop and chart music videos and programming from Russian and European artists.Healthy lifestyle channel Live! airs yoga, dance and aerobics classes, while educational channels Education and First Education offer arts and science programmes.
Michael ShaneBloomberg has upped its managing editor of Bloomberg Digital, Michael Shane, to the new role of global head of digital innovation.Shane will remain based in New York but will spend time in each region looking at new opportunities to grow audience, engagement, and revenue – focusing on six months to two-years or more into the future.According to a memo sent to staff by Bloomberg’s global head of digital, Scott Havens, Shane will also continue to partner with and work across many diverse teams – including editorial, product, engineering and sales – where he will help drive a “more aggressive slate of global innovation”.“Michael’s remit will also include business model and commercial innovation and he’ll have his keen eye on disruptive threats and opportunities that our industry poses,” said Havens.Shane joined Bloomberg in 2014, prior to which he worked at Vox Media, where he was part of the team that drove the growth of tech site The Verge.
As of the close yesterday, the double bottom in gold was about 15 bucks away—and it’s a given that they’ll be gunning for it—plus more, if what they did to the silver price yesterday is any indication.And as I type this paragraph at 12:45 a.m. EDT gold, which had traded mostly flat for the greater part of the thinly-traded Far East trading day on their Friday, came under pressure shortly before 1 p.m. Hong Kong time—and is down a bit more than 10 bucks. Silver came under the same price pressure shortly after 9 a.m. Hong Kong time and is down about two bits. Platinum isn’t doing much. Palladium tried to rally during the early going in Far East trading, but then got sold down below its New York close by 9 a.m. Hong Kong time—and is actually up a buck or so at the moment. Volumes in both gold and silver are astonishingly high already. The dollar index, which was trading flat, began to rally around 12:40 p.m. in Hong Kong—and is now up 40 basis points.Today, at 3:30 p.m. EDT, we get the latest COT Report for positions held at the close of Comex trading on Tuesday. I’d guess we’ll see slight improvements in the Commercial net short positions in both gold and silver, but that is entirely inconsequential compared to what the report would show if one could be produced at precisely this moment.It’s obvious that JPMorgan et al are going all out to get as favourably positioned as possible in the Comex futures market, as I expect whatever lows are set going forward will never be seen again once the the inevitable rallies that will follow all this, begin. The Fed meeting—and the ensuing ‘strength’ in the dollar index—are just the smoke screen that they’re using to do the dirty.And as I hit the ‘send’ button on today’s column at 4:57 a.m. EDT, I see that the HFT boyz and their algorithms are back—showing up in all four precious metals at 7 a.m. GMT in London. The LBMA must open at 7 a.m. and not 8 a.m GMT this week. They dropped the gold price another $18 in minutes—and at one point silver was down over 50 cents from its Thursday close. Both are now off their lows by a bit. Platinum and palladium also got hit as well, but they’ve rallied back to almost unchanged, at least for the moment.Here’s the silver chart as of 4:55 a.m. EDT.Gold volume has exploded to 95,000 contracts—and silver’s volume is 21,000 contracts. The dollar index, which had been up over 50 basis points at one time, is now up ‘only’ 42 basis points.With today being month end—and Hallowe’en—it appears that JPMorgan et al have nothing but tricks up their sleeves for all the precious metal enthusiasts today—and I must admit that I’m not expecting great things when I roll out of bed and check the charts later this morning.But this too, shall pass.See you tomorrow. Silver price is now back to where it was in the first quarter of 2010The gold price wasn’t allowed to do much in early Far East trading on their Thursday—and developed a negative bias around 1 p.m. Hong Kong time—and by the time JPMorgan et al were through, with the low tick coming at 11:30 a.m. EDT, they had gold down around fifteen bucks from it’s Thursday close. It recovered a few dollars off that low by noon, but then chopped sideways for the remainder of New York trading session.The high and low tick were recorded as $1,216.50 and $1,195.50 in the December contract.Gold closed yesterday at $1,198.80 spot, down $12.80 from Thursday’s close. Net volume was very high at 195,000 contracts.The silver price didn’t do much in Far East trading up until shortly before 2 p.m. Hong Kong time. At that point the HFT boyz and their algorithms showed up—and the rest, was they say, was history. The low tick was in at 11:15 a.m. EDT—and from there it bounced off that low a few times before rallying a bit. After 12:30 p.m., the price chopped sideways in a tight range until the 5:15 p.m. EDT close of electronic trading.The high and low in silver were reported as $17.205 and $16.33 in the December contract, which was an intraday move of a hair over 5 percent.Silver finished the Thursday session at $16.46 spot, down 63 cents from Thursday’s close. That’s a new low price for silver going back to March of 2010. Net volume was a whopping 74,000 contracts.Platinum also ran into the same not-for-profit seller shortly before 2 p.m. in Hong Kong. It’s low came minutes before 12 o’clock noon in New York. It rallied a few bucks from there before trading flat for the remainder of the Thursday session. Platinum was closed down 17 bucks.The palladium price got smacked twice yesterday. The first time was at the New York open at 6 p.m. on Wednesday evening—and the second time was at the London p.m. gold fix on Thursday. Like platinum, JPMorgan et al set the low of the day just minutes before noon EDI—and the price didn’t do much after that. Palladium was closed down 16 dollars on the day.The dollar index closed at 85.99 late on Wednesday afternoon in New York—and then took three steps up to its 86.41 high tick, which came shortly after London opened on their Thursday. From there it quietly sold back to the 86.00 mark by 12:20 p.m. EDT. It gained some back by 2 p.m.—and then traded sideways into the close. The index finished the Thursday session at 86.18—up 19 basis points on the day.Once again the gold shares got crushed, as the HUI closed lower by 7.44%—the biggest one-day decline that I can remember—and I can remember quite a lot. The HUI is down almost 12 percent in the last two trading days.The silver equities fared better, but that’s only a relative term in this situation, as Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index got hammered for another 5.65 percent.The CME Daily Delivery Report for Day 1 of the November delivery month showed that 2 gold and 44 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Monday. In silver, the only short/issuer was Jefferies—and R.J. O’Brien and Canada’s Scotiabank stopped 25 and 18 contracts respectively. The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.As I said in yesterday’s missive, barring any surprises, the November delivery month will be a yawner—and it’s certainly lived up to its advanced billing.The CME Preliminary Report for the Thursday trading session showed that November open interest declined by 207 contracts and now sits at only 67 contracts left—minus the two in the previous paragraph. In silver, the November open interest is now down to 164 contracts, minus the 44 posted for delivery tomorrow that were mentioned above.There was another withdrawal from GLD yesterday, as an authorized participant took out 38,449 troy ounces and, once again, there was no change in SLV.Since there were no withdrawals or additions to SLV during the reporting week, which ended on Wednesday, there was no report from Joshua Gibbons yesterday.For the second day in a row, there was no sales report from the U.S. Mint.I’ll certainly be interested if they update their sales report for today, which is the last business day of the month. If they don’t, the sales report for Monday should be quite something, as the mint has now gotten into the practice of withholding sales at the end of the month if it pushes silver eagles sales for the current month, too high.There was no gold received at the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday, but 96,450.000 troy ounces were shipped out—and that amount is precisely 3,000 kilobars, probably heading to China. The link to that activity is here.It was a very quiet day in silver, as nothing was received—and only 7,060 troy ounces were shipped out.Nick Laird surprised me with the latest withdrawal from the Shanghai Gold Exchange for the week ending October 24. It was another very chunky amount, as 59.684 tonnes were reported withdrawn—and here’s Nick’s most excellent chart.Once again I don’t have a lot of stories for you today—but there are several in here that fall into the absolute must read category so I hope you can make time for them.Since the commercials are so collusive and in control of the technical funds’ trading activities, they can do with the technical funds as they see fit. I truly believe that the key to understanding the manipulation is to know that the commercials control everything that the technical funds do; just like a puppeteer controls a puppet. If it were otherwise, we wouldn’t see the clear pattern in managed money behavior in silver (and other COMEX/NYMEX metals) of massive technical fund buying as prices rise and selling on declining prices, always ending in extreme positions at reversal points. With this in mind, the only explanation that seems plausible to me as to why the commercials let the technical funds off the hook the last two occasions of extreme managed money shorting is because the commercials were biding their time and waiting for a more opportune time to put it to the technical funds. Let’s face it, the technical funds have been like the goose that laid golden eggs for the commercials. You don’t cook and eat a goose like that without a thought. What I’m saying is that the commercials know that they can maneuver the technical funds into any extreme position at any time they want and that earlier in the year the commercials let the technical funds off the hook because they knew they could do it again whenever the commercials desired. (That’s my explanation, but if anyone has a different take, please drop me a note). – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 29 October 2014Yesterday’s price action in all four precious metals in general, but gold and silver in particular, should have come as no surprise, as JPMorgan et al attempt to drive as many of the Managed Money traders as possible off the long side and onto the short side in gold.I must admit that I was more than taken aback by the hatchet job that they managed to perform on the silver price, because with the Managed Money already holding a record short position, the selling had to come from somewhere other than the Commercial category—and that only leaves the small traders in the Nonreportable category as the long sellers/short buyers.Of course it’s possible that the Managed Money has gone even shorter than they already have, but without a Commitment of Traders Report to look at, it’s impossible to tell—and none of the price action of the last three trading days, including today, will be in the COT Report that comes out later this afternoon.Here are the 6-month charts for both both gold and silver—and as I mentioned at the top of this column, the silver price is now back to where it was in the first quarter of 2010.
There is a lot of pornography on the internet. There are a lot of teenagers with smartphones. It seems obvious that teens would watch.But maybe it isn’t.In The New York Times magazine, Maggie Jones writes that parents underestimate how much pornography their kids watch on their phones. And many teens who watch porn before taking sex ed or forming sexual relationships end up with skewed ideas about intimacy, consent and pleasure. Combine this with mainstream depictions of sex and relationships, and, as Jones writes:These images confound many teenagers about the kinds of sex they want or think they should have. In part, that’s because they aren’t always sure what is fake and what is real in porn. Though some told me that porn was fantasy or exaggerated, others said that porn wasn’t real only insofar as it wasn’t typically two lovers having sex on film. Some of those same teenagers assumed the portrayal of how sex and pleasure worked was largely accurate. That seems to be in keeping with a 2016 survey of 1,001 11-to-16-year-olds in Britain. Of the roughly half who had seen pornography, 53 percent of boys and 39 percent of girls said it was “realistic.” And in the recent Indiana University national survey, only one in six boys and one in four girls believed that women in online porn were not actually experiencing pleasure: As one suburban high school senior boy told me recently, “I’ve never seen a girl in porn who doesn’t look like she’s having a good time.”Solutions like removing pornography from the internet or smartphones from teenage life are difficult to the point of being technologically or socially impossible. So some educators are trying something new … porn literacy.For this show, we’d like to hear your stories about how pornography has affected you or your children’s ideas about sex. Call us at (855) 236-1212 and share your story. And don’t worry, you won’t have to tell us your name.GUESTSMaggie Jones, Contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine; @maggiepjonesDr. Emily Rothman, Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health. Co-author of the course, “The Truth About Pornography: A Pornography-Literacy Curriculum for High School Students Designed to Reduce Sexual and Dating Violence”; @emrothmanAl Vernacchio, Sex educator & speaker. Author of “For Goodness Sex: Changing the Way We Talk to Teens About Sexuality, Values and Health”; @alvsexedErika Lust, Adult film director and producer; creator of the pornography education website “The Porn Conversation,” designed to be a resource for parents; @erikalustFor more, visit https://the1a.org.© 2018 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio. Copyright 2018 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.
The prime minister has become the third senior Conservative figure in a week to refuse to say in front of television cameras whether his party plans to tax key disability benefits after the general election.David Cameron was asked by SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon in last night’s (2 April) leaders’ debate on ITV how his party planned to find the £12 billion-a-year in welfare cuts announced by the chancellor in last month’s budget.Cameron refused to say where those cuts would come from and whether they would include taxing disability benefits.Last week, the BBC reported that it had seen leaked documents that suggested the Conservatives were considering taxing disability benefits as one way to cut the social security bill by £12 billion a year by 2017-18.Among the options, drawn up by civil servants in the Department for Work and Pensions, were an introduction of means-testing for the contributory form of employment and support allowance (saving a possible £1.3 billion a year), taxing disability living allowance (DLA), personal independence payment (PIP) and attendance allowance (possibly saving £1.5 billion a year), and restricting eligibility to carer’s allowance (saving £1 billion a year).George Osborne, the chancellor, refused to promise that there would no further cuts to disability benefits, when interviewed by Channel 4 News, but would only say that the party would “protect the most vulnerable”.And Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, said on BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show that the party might not provide any details before the election of how they would find most of the £12 billion in cuts, because “no decisions have been made”.But Duncan Smith added: “What throughout I’ve always said is I didn’t come into this job after years looking at this to just make cheese paring cuts.“What we’ve come in to do is to reform the welfare system, so that we don’t waste money on organisations and groups and things that don’t actually help life change.”So many people tried to sign an open letter on the Disabled People Against Cuts website – calling on Duncan Smith to “come clean about cuts affecting disabled people” – that the site crashed.And Richard Exell, a disabled senior policy officer at the TUC, said in a column that taxing DLA and PIP would be “particularly felt by low-paid disabled workers”.He also said that the government’s own figures suggested that more than 600,000 disabled people “could find it more difficult to keep their jobs or to move into employment if their DLA or PIP became liable for tax, reducing their ability to pay for services that remove barriers to employment”.Disability Rights UK (DR UK) said that it was “really concerned about the BBC’s report that officials have developed options for politicians to make spending cuts that would again unfairly hit disabled people and carers”.A DR UK spokesperson said: “DLA/PIP is not an out-of-work benefit; but it could become one, because if it is taxed it will certainly act as an incentive not to work.“It makes no sense to tax DLA/PIP since the purpose of the benefit is to help cover the extra costs of disability – things like getting around, and getting support – and so create more of a level playing-field between disabled people and other citizens.”The DR UK spokesperson added: “Furthermore, many disabled people already pay most, if not all, of their DLA/PIP over to local authorities if they get social care support – what we might call the ‘care tax’. In effect, what this proposal would do would be to tax a tax.”A letter, published this week by the Guardian, and signed by leading disabled campaigners and organisations, including members of the WOWcampaign, Black Triangle, Disabled People Against Cuts, Pat’s Petition and People First England, called for the next government to carry out a proper assessment of the “human cost” of the cuts already made by the coalition before even contemplating any further cuts.The letter said: “The news of some leaked documents, explaining further horrendous cuts to carers and sick and disabled people, have left them terrified of what is going to happen.“We would have thought it imperative that any government respecting human rights would check the consequences of the cuts disabled people and carers have already endured, before imposing further draconian cuts.”Of the seven party leaders who took part in the ITV debate, only two were willing to mention the issue of disability poverty.Natalie Bennett, leader of the Greens, said that two-thirds of the households affected by the bedroom tax included at least one disabled person, and she pointed to the imminent closure of the Independent Living Fund, whose users were having their support “slashed away”.Bennett said: “We have to be a human, fair, decent society. We have to support the most vulnerable.”Sturgeon also raised the issue of cuts to welfare, when she asked Cameron: “You’re proposing an additional £12 billion in welfare cuts. Where are those cuts going to fall? Who’s going to pay the price of those cuts?”She added: “Let’s explain what that means: one million people on disability benefit across the UK are going to lose £1,100 of their benefit. That’s not the kind of economic plan I want.”Cameron said: “In the last parliament we found £21 billion of savings in welfare because everybody knows that welfare was overblown and needed to be properly dealt with.“What is the alternative to making cuts in welfare? Putting up taxes and working people’s pay. I don’t want to see that happen.”
A mental health charity has been heavily criticised for its decision to announce a partnership with a controversial US insurance giant that has made significant financial gains from government incapacity benefit reforms that it influenced through its lobbying.The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) said the new partnership with Unum would see the two organisations work together to tackle the stigma of mental health in the workplace and encourage employers to safeguard the mental health of their employees.But disabled activists who learned of the partnership this week are horrified that a mental health charity would join forces with an organisation that has made money from the controversial programme to reform incapacity benefits and has bragged about steering government policy on those reforms.They point out that many thousands of people with mental distress have either died or had their health further damaged by the reforms.Mo Stewart, the disabled activist who has led efforts in the UK to raise concerns about Unum’s influence, has written to a trustee of the charity to alert him to the company’s background.She told Disability News Service (DNS) she had “spent the past six years researching the links between this American insurance corporate giant with the British government*, their funding of a research centre to produce policy-based research that was used to justify the introduction of the fatally flawed WCA, and the fact that they were identified as the second worst healthcare insurance company in America”.She said: “It remains cause for serious concern that this American corporate giant continues to infiltrate the agencies concerned with the welfare of our most vulnerable people.”Professor Peter Beresford, co-chair of the user-led, grassroots network Shaping Our Lives, also raised concerns about the partnership.He said: “Organisations like MHF (and Mind and Rethink etc) hog the resources, the credibility and still largely sign up to a traditional psychiatric/medical model which isn’t really working and isn’t really helpful.“For this sort of thing to be lurking as well means – well – what friends and allies have we really got, if such liaisons are underpinning organisations claiming to speak for us?”Unum was once described by a senior US law official as an “outlaw company” and it has been repeatedly exposed in the US courts for its refusal to pay out on large numbers of genuine insurance claims by disabled people.In 2011, Unum launched a major marketing campaign to promote the need for its income protection insurance (IPI) policies, just as the coalition began its three-year programme to reassess about 1.5 million existing claimants of old-style incapacity benefit through the work capability assessment (WCA).Disabled activists insist that the hated WCA is simply a public sector version of the tests used by companies like Unum to justify turning down valid IPI claims, and that by making the process of applying for the out-of-work disability benefit employment and support allowance (ESA) harsh and stressful, it has made IPI look more attractive.Three years ago, DNS revealed the existence of a Unum document from 2005 which bragged that government policy on disability assessment and management was “moving in the same direction” as Unum’s own views, and was “to a large extent being driven by our thinking and that of our close associates”.In 2002 – six years before the Labour government launched the WCA and the new ESA – Unum submitted a detailed memo to the Commons work and pensions committee.In the memo, Unum called for fundamental reform of the welfare system, and said the government “must ensure both that work always pays more than benefits, and more importantly that it is clearly seen to do so”, while laying out proposals with a strong resemblance to the ESA/WCA reforms that would be introduced several years later.The Unum memo suggested retaining a form of IB for those “genuinely incapable of undertaking any work whatsoever”, as Labour did with the ESA support group.It stressed in the memo that the company – then known as UnumProvident – was “confident that its policies and approach to [IPI] claim management and rehabilitation can be replicated more widely for those on IB” and that it would “particularly welcome the opportunity to put them into practice”.Despite this memo, and other evidence, John Letizia, head of public affairs for Unum UK, said in a statement: “Unum does not and never has lobbied on the topic of welfare reform or related matters.”He said: “As with many other businesses, Unum partners with various organisations on issues of mutual interest.“Our research in this case aims to tackle the stigma of mental health in the workplace in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation, a fantastic charity with who we wish to help reach and educate businesses on this important issue.”The Mental Health Foundation refused to respond to the particular criticisms of Unum, but a spokesman said: “As a UK mental health charity that seeks to reach the broadest possible audience, we are always looking for ways to amplify our message and to develop new evidence to ensure everyone is able to enjoy good mental health.“That includes entering into partnerships with companies to help increase our reach and our capacity to undertake new research.“These are sometimes difficult judgements to make and we are guided by an assessment of whether the output of a partnership will break new ground and positively benefit people’s lives.“To that end, we took a decision, which we stand by, to work with Unum on an important project which we are confident will uncover fresh insights on how employers can build a more supportive environment for people experiencing mental distress into their everyday business activity.”He added: “On the issue of welfare reform, like many charities we have raised concerns about the disproportionate effect on mental health that some welfare reform measures have had.“We remain concerned, and as an organisation that speaks truth to power, we continue to raise questions and promote debate through our policy, research and campaigning activities.“We will not hesitate to raise any concerns directly with Unum, if needed, and have found them open to constructive dialogue.”*Her book, Cash Not Care – The Planned Demolition Of The UK Welfare State, will be published later this year by New Generation Publishing
The Department for Work and Pensions has refused to name the charities and other organisations being paid millions of pounds to help deliver its new disability employment programme across England and Wales.All six of the new Work and Health Programme contracts went “live” last week, and DWP announced the main contractors in October.But it has refused to say which smaller organisations are helping to deliver the programme as sub-contractors.DWP’s reluctance to do so is likely to be linked to criticism that has been aimed at disability charities that were set to play a significant role in the new programme.When Disability News Service contacted seven of the largest disability charities – most of which are not user-led – in December 2016, none of them ruled out seeking Work and Health Programme contracts.But disabled activists have raised concerns that winning such contracts could mean that these and other charities would be unwilling to criticise the government on social security reform.All seven of the charities contacted in December 2016 insisted then that any contracts they won from the government would have no impact on their campaigning work.There are also major concerns about the programme itself, which is part of the government’s much-criticised Improving Lives work, health and disability strategy, with its “cruel and disastrous” emphasis on “work as a cure”, the placement of employment advisers in health services, and the continued use of benefit sanctions to “punish” disabled claimants.Disability News Service submitted a freedom of information request last month in a bid to discover which voluntary and private sector organisations would be helping to deliver the Work and Health Programme (WHP).But when DWP responded to the request earlier this month, it said the subcontracting organisations were still “subject to change”, but that it would “seek to publish a list of the confirmed main sub-contractors supporting the WHP” following “go live of all WHP contracts” in the week beginning 15 January.That date passed last week, but no list has yet been published.When DNS asked why it had not been released, a DWP spokeswoman said the department “will seek to publish a list of the sub-contractors in due course”.She refused to comment further.Linda Burnip, co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts, said: “It is no surprise that DWP are unwilling to release details of firms involved in colluding to exploit disabled people for their own profits and this simply confirms the underhand way DWP run their programmes and their diabolical practices. “We look forward, together with Boycott Workfare, to finding out which organisations will be involved in implementing the new disability employment programme.”Denise McKenna, co-founder of the Mental Health Resistance Network, said: “No one who is on the side of disabled people is celebrating the delivery of the Health and Work Programme, as it will wreck lives.“Perhaps the successful bidders will choose to celebrate their wins in private, because they know these contracts are shameful.“Disabled activists have called out charities on their close links with the DWP and their failure to remain independent of Tory ideology.“The private firms who take on these contracts, along with the charities, will be closely watched by activists.“Their identities can’t be protected by the DWP forever.“We are used to the DWP being secretive. After all, they have so much to hide.”The main WHP contractors are Remploy (in Wales); the charity Shaw Trust in central England and the home counties; Reed In Partnership in north-east England; Ingeus in the north-west; and Pluss in the south of England.Remploy, formerly owned by the government, is now mostly controlled by the US company Maximus.Maximus has a disturbing track record of discrimination, incompetence and fraud in the US, while Remploy slashed the pay of service-users who were taking part in inspections of health and care facilities, after taking on three Care Quality Commission contracts, and has since been heavily criticised for its performance in delivering those contracts.
A disabled benefit claimant with high support needs who has lost more than £40 a week after having to transfer onto the new universal credit – forcing him into even greater poverty – has challenged the government to defend its drastic cuts and reforms.Mark Golden, from Yorkshire, estimates that he paid more than £100,000 in income tax and national insurance during his working life before he was forced to leave his job by a serious injury at work.Now the wheelchair-user is having to confront the reality of the impact of the introduction of universal credit on disabled people, after being forced off employment and support allowance (ESA) and onto the new system.The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has repeatedly refused to provide details of exactly how universal credit will affect disabled people in different situations financially, insisting instead that more than a million disabled people will be better off by £100 a month under universal credit.But Golden’s case appears to demonstrate how many disabled people with high support needs will be forced into even deeper poverty by universal credit.On 1 December, Golden – who has both physical and mental health impairments – had to move from Bradford to Bridlington so he could be nearer his family, because of his deteriorating health.Because of his change of circumstances, he was told that he would have to move from the ESA support group – and associated disability premiums – onto the much-criticised universal credit.He was shocked to be told that he would receive only £149 a week in living costs benefits on universal credit, compared with £191 a week on ESA, severe disability premium (SDP) and enhanced disability premium (EDP).Out of that £149, he must also contribute £17 a week towards his housing costs.Out of the remaining £132, he must also pay child support (£10 a week), credit card repayments (£20, after having to replace his fridge-freezer and washing-machine), contents insurance (£2 a week), about £6 a week on his mobile phone (he has no landline or broadband), TV licence (£3 a week), gas and electricity (£27 or £28 a week), and £10 a week he budgets for clothing and footwear (he gets through five or six pairs of trainers a year because he drags his left foot).He already has to restrict his use of central heating, only turning it on when the temperature in his flat falls below ten degrees, even though he has Raynaud’s disease, which affects extremities such as the fingers and toes in cold temperatures.This leaves about £50 a week for food and other essentials like toiletries and cleaning products, but that is without the £20 a week he budgets for MOT and car repairs, the £20 a week he previously spent on petrol, which he can no longer afford, and council tax of more than £20 a week he has been asked to pay, which he is hoping the council will reduce.He has been left with a choice of spending his little remaining weekly income on food, heat or transportation. He is likely to have to sell his car, leaving him even more isolated than he is already.He will eventually receive some compensation for the loss of SDP – likely to be less than £20 a week extra, backdated to when he moved onto universal credit – once regulations laid before parliament this week are voted on by MPs.He also receives personal independence payment of £145 a month to cover some of his disability-related extra costs, but he uses this to pay for personal care, provide the support he needs for visits to shops and other busy locations, and to pay for taxis when he is too ill to drive.In a letter to his MP, the Conservative Sir Greg Knight, Golden described both how inaccessible he had found the universal credit process and the impact on his income, writing: “As a constituent of Bridlington I would like to inform its MP of what is happening in his constituency. And how Universal Credits is so unfit for purpose.“The whole process has left my health even worse and I can totally understand why people are actually taking their own lives due to the process and awards of Universal Credits.”He told Disability News Service that he wanted the government to explain how it could justify the “dread and high stress levels” caused by the introduction of universal credit, which was leaving him and others with less money and “causing even more hardship and very difficult decisions on what areas you can cut back on in an already frugal lifestyle”.He said this was “pushing people into even more poverty and hardship” and having a “massive” impact on both their physical and mental health.He said: “Over the past few years, disabled people of this country have been made to jump through the government’s hoops to receive what they are entitled to, in many cases going through not only the benefit allocation but also the appeals processes.“At times, it makes one feel like you are having to grovel for what you’re entitled to.”A DWP spokesperson said: “People can access support online, via our helpline or in the jobcentre and Mr Golden regularly uses his online journal to communicate with the DWP.“In some circumstances, home visits can also be arranged to support a claimant with their claim.“Where a claimant is unable to make or maintain their claim online, they are able to do so using the claims by phone process.”She said the government was “committed to supporting people with disabilities and health conditions.“The SDP is not part of universal credit because we have simplified disability provision within universal credit.“This change ensures that around one million disabled people will receive more in universal credit than the legacy benefits system.”Despite this, a report by the Commons work and pensions committee suggested last month that even claimants with higher support needs would be worse off under universal credit because of the loss of SDP and EDP, saying that universal credit “does not match what those claimants could have received under the legacy system, with the premia in place”.DWP continues to refuse to say if it accepts this statement is correct.Only last week, the minister for disabled people, Sarah Newton, told her Labour shadow, Marsha de Cordova, that it would be too expensive to find out how many disabled people claiming SDP had been moved onto universal credit since June last year – and in the previous 18 months – in circumstances like Golden’s.Golden will be one of the last recipients of SDP to be moved on to universal credit, at least for several months, as new regulations came into force yesterday (Wednesday) that prevent any further migration of such claimants – apart from those involved in a small pilot programme – until the main “managed migration” process begins next year.Ministers laid this and another set of regulations before parliament on Monday (14 January), following a statement made by employment minister Alok Sharma on 11 January.The other set of regulations – which will have to be approved by MPs – will allow the government to run the small pilot, which will involve a maximum of 10,000 claimants of legacy benefits, including ESA, moving onto universal credit, which will begin in July.The regulations will also provide transitional protection for former recipients of SDP like Golden who have already moved across to universal credit, and those who will do so in the future.But even when these protections are introduced, ministers have previously suggested there will be compensation of only about £80 a month, compared with potential losses for Golden of more than £180 a month.The government will report on findings from the pilot before introducing legislation that will allow it to extend the “managed migration” to a further three million people on legacy benefits, including hundreds of thousands on ESA.The DWP spokesperson said: “The department will be providing a transitional payment to those who have already moved to universal credit who had SDP before they moved and who are eligible. This will be a lump sum and ongoing payments. “The transitional payments are within the main managed migration regulation package, laid today (Monday), which will be debated prior to the pilot, when parliamentary time allows.“Both the lump sum payment and the ongoing payments will commence after the managed migration regulations are passed.”She added: “The aim of the pilot is to ensure that claimants on all legacy benefits, with a range of differing characteristics, are successfully migrated to universal credit.“The department is currently working closely with a wide and diverse range of stakeholders to design the managed migration process and we are considering our approach to the pilot.” 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…
Entrepreneur Staff 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. –shares Next Article Enroll Now for $5 Stephen J. Bronner Add to Queue News Director June 8, 2017 Apple Presents a Pretty Good Take on ‘Shark Tank’ With Its First Foray Into TV Image credit: Planet of the Apps 3 min read Apple debuted its first TV series, Planet of the Apps, on Tuesday, and guess what? The first episode was actually good!In the show, entrepreneurs pitch the apps they’ve built to a panel of judges made up of Gary Vaynerchuk, Honest co-founder Jessica Alba, Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow and will.i.am, who is involved with a few tech companies.Related: All the Updates From Apple WWDC 2017The first half of the pilot follows the Shark Tank format: The contestants introduce themselves and their apps to the panel. The difference here is they have 60 seconds to do so in an “escalator pitch” — in which they literally ride down an escalator. The judges then use iPads to vote on whether they’d like to learn more about each given app. If at least one judge does, the contestant presents further. If one of the judges is still interested after this second round, the entrepreneur can choose which leader they’d like to have as a mentor.For me, the nice thing about watching Planet of the Apps was that the judges’ feedback always aligned with my thoughts. Only three concepts made it to the next round — one failed in the second round — while the judges swiftly passed over most of the others. And I didn’t question those decisions.During the second half of the show, the entrepreneurs behind the two apps that were chosen, Pair and Companion, discussed next steps with their partners, Alba and Vaynerchuk, respectively. The advice was stock for any frequent readers of Entrepreneur — know what the value of your product is, look at it from all angles, understand what makes it different from the competition — but the judges delivered it intelligently and entertainingly. If this show proves anything, it’s that Alba has serious business chops.In the final segment of the show, the entrepreneurs pitch a panel of venture capitalists from Lightspeed Venture Partners with their mentors at their side.Related: Why Apple’s Video That Imagines a World Without Apps Makes Me SadBecause the first episode is free, I definitely recommend giving it a watch if the concept strikes your fancy. But in terms of its mass appeal, I have my doubts. As opposed to Shark Tank, which features pitches for general consumer goods, Planet of the Apps strictly focuses on programs that run on mobile devices. I suspect most people just don’t care about apps outside of the most popular ones we all use consistently.I also have my doubts about the show’s potential reach because of its limited distribution. Since it’s an Apple-produced series, it’s only available via iTunes, and you have to pay to watch. This limits its potential audience severely.We’ll just have to wait and see if Planet of the Apps can escape these limitations. ‘Planet of the Apps’ is the latest take on the pitch show, but its appeal may be limited. Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Apple
2019 Entrepreneur 360 List –shares November 1, 2013 Next Article Automatic Teller Machines allow people to convert money into
the digital currency, Bitcoin. 10 Stories From the Web to Know About This Week, Nov. 1, 2013 Add to Queue 3 min read The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Image credit: Robocoin Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Brad Crescenzo Bitcoin launches ATMS, quantifying innovation, Marissa Mayer’s no telecommuting policy gets vindicated, Latinas take over, marketers can’t decide if Facebook ads work, Steve Blank gets fired, Twitpics come out… This week’s notable news and tantalizing tidbits for entrepreneurs:1. Say ‘Hello’ to Robocoin: Bitcoin recently took a giant leap into the realm of legitimacy and real-world application with the debut of its first ATM. Dubbed Robocoin, the machine allows currency to be exchanged for bitcoins, and vice-versa. (Wired)2. The chemistry of success: Graduate student Kiriti Rambhatla offers a new way to quantify innovation within a company. Don’t worry, there’s not much math. (Forbes)3. Yahoo gets vindicated: The roar from critics has been quashed by data, as CEO Marissa Mayer’s unpopular no telecommuting policy proves successful. Productivity and employee engagement are up. (Fast Company)Related: Say What? Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer Buys a Funeral Home4. The right way to outsource: Outsourcing is a great way to keep startup costs down. Here is a smart guide to finding the right people for your small-business needs. (The Guardian)5. Steve Blank’s first job in Silicon Valley: Steve Blank, father of the Lean Startup movement, recalls his first job in Silicon Valley and what he learned getting fired and rehired in the same day. (LinkedIn Today)6. Google’s Spotlight Stories: Teaming up with Motorola, Google is creating a new interactive program that puts users at the center of an animated featurette… literally at the center of a 360 degree virtual reality movie, viewable with a Moto X smartphone. (Wired)7. Does Facebook advertising work? Professional marketers are torn when it comes to agreeing on the effectiveness and value of Facebook advertising. Two recent third-party surveys convey this conundrum with contradicting data. (Businessweek)Related: Is Facebook Really a Failure to Marketers?8. Twitpics see the light: Twitter updated its website and mobile apps to incorporate photo and video previews in tweet streams. Coming at a critical time before an expected $1.3 billion IPO next week, the micro-blogging giant is surely looking to create new revenue streams and lure advertisers. (SF Gate)9. Latina-owned businesses explode: In the last decade, Hispanic Americans have been starting and growing new businesses at twice the rate of the general population, according to a new study by researcher Geoscape and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. A large part of that growth has come from Latinas. (Huffington Post)Related: 7 Tips for Women Who Want to Own a Franchise10. Scammers cometh: Randy Shain, founder of BackTrack Reports and investigative due diligence expert, predicts that with the SEC’s decision to allow the solicitation of capital from unaccredited investors will come a new wave of scammers. (Venture Beat) Technology Apply Now »
–shares Mark Zuckerberg Wants to Help Cure All Diseases By the End of the Century Entrepreneur Staff Add to Queue Next Article Facebook Entrepreneur Staff 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. 2 min read Everything is coming up Zuckerberg! After sharing some truly incredible earnings numbers Wednesday ($5.38 billion in revenue! 1.65 billion active users!) the hoodied CEO posted a note making clear his intentions to make the world a better place.”While helping to connect the world will always be the most important thing I do, there are more global challenges that I feel a responsibility to help solve — like helping to cure all diseases by the end of this century, upgrading our education system so it’s personalized for each student, and protecting our environment from climate change,” he wrote. RELATED: Watch a Young Mark Zuckerberg Talk About This Crazy New Thing Called ‘The Facebook’ Zuckerberg also announced a proposal from Facebook’s board of directors to jumpstart the world healing, describing it in short: “I’ll be able to keep founder control of Facebook so we can continue to build for the long term, and Priscilla and I will be able to give our money to fund important work sooner. Right now, there are amazing scientists, educators and doctors around the world doing incredible work. We want to help them make a bigger difference today, not 30 or 40 years down the road.”You can read the entire note from Mark Zuckerberg here. Apply Now » April 28, 2016 Image credit: Facebook
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 1 2018A study commissioned to help guide revisions of best practices in providing palliative care finds that there is a wide and varied body of evidence to support such clinical practice guidelines.The systematic review by researchers from the RAND Corporation found that the research base for palliative care was larger than generally appreciated, although there was limited evidence across some areas of clinical practice such as how to care for patients during the last days of their lives.Published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, the study was conducted to support the fourth edition of the National Consensus Project’s Clinical Practices Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care, which establishes best practices in end-of-life care. While previous guidelines have been developed through consensus among experts, the systematic review was incorporated into the just-released fourth edition of the guidelines.”Our review will help guide best practices going forward and help focus future research efforts to build a high-quality evidence base for end-of-life care,” said Sangeeta Ahluwalia, the study’s lead author and a senior policy researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “While the palliative care evidence base has been rapidly growing, we now better understand where there are gaps.”Palliative care is a rapidly growing field aimed at improving quality of life for patients with serious illness and their caregivers. Inpatient palliative care programs have increased sharply in recent years, with two-thirds of hospitals with 50 or more beds reporting that they have an interdisciplinary palliative care team.Researchers from the Southern California Evidence-based Practice Center at RAND reviewed the research literature to assess the status of evidence across eight domains of palliative care: the structure and process of care; physical aspects of care; psychological aspects of care; social aspects of care; spiritual, religious and existential aspects of care; cultural aspects of care; care of the patient nearing the end of life; and ethical and legal aspects of care.Related StoriesAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyGender biases are extremely common among health care professionalsIntroduction of default physician order reduces unnecessary imaging for cancer patientsThe most promising approaches to palliative care structure and process identified by the review include home-based palliative care, interdisciplinary team care and telehealth interventions. The findings support continued growth in these areas, with attention needed on workforce expansion, quality assessment of these services and innovative payment models.The study also found there is now documented evidence for comprehensive palliative care and music/art therapy addressing physical and psychological aspects of care. However, the existing evidence base for social needs assessments and culturally-sensitive care remains very limited.There is also documented evidence that grief and bereavement support services appear to improve key outcomes for caregivers, but the evidence base for effective approaches for care focused on the last days of life is very limited.Evidence for physician orders and advance directive interventions showed the strongest evidence in the ethical and legal aspects of care domain. Ethics consultations improve consensus in the intensive care unit, which can help reduce use of high-intensity and often life-prolonging treatments at the end of life.”Our review documents a substantial body of evidence to support clinical practice guidelines for palliative care, but the quality of evidence remains limited,” said Susanne Hempel, the study’s senior author and co-director of the Evidence-based Practice Center at RAND. “This comprehensive review underscores the importance of targeting future research toward building high-quality evidence in key areas of clinical practice, and patient and caregiver needs.” Source:https://www.rand.org/news/press/2018/10/31/index1.html
Facebook’s planned virtual unit Libra, already under heavy attack from US President Donald Trump and global regulators, faces scepticism among the wider cryptocurrency community as well. Trump warns Facebook over its plan to create a digital currency This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2019 AFP The volatility driven by mining of cryptocurrencies and speculation worry many, but those in the tech sector worry about corporations such as Facebook running currencies Citation: Facebook’s Libra currency under fire (2019, July 14) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-facebook-libra-currency.html Explore further One theme—besides Brexit—dominated discussion among the movers and shakers from London’s financial technology or FinTech industry as gathered for their annual get-together: the future of virtual currencies.”Can I just ask you to raise your hand if you would not be willing to use Libra?” asked the moderator at an event at London’s recent ‘FinTech Week’.In the room, filled with about 100 experts and media who closely track the sector, about two-thirds of participants raised their hand to express distrust at the upstart currency.Helen Disney, founder and boss of Unblocked Events, which promotes the blockchain technology that powers many cryptocurrencies, acknowledged growing doubts over who exactly would oversee and regulate Libra’s operation.Power to the peoplePeople are “concerned about how the governance… would work”, Disney told AFP.”The cryptocurrency community is very libertarian in thinking,” its “about giving power to the people, democratisation of finance, keeping away from big banks and companies who control (the) economy,” she saidLast week’s gathering came one month after Facebook announced to the world its plans for the virtual currency.Libra, which is widely regarded as a challenger to dominant global player Bitcoin, is expected to launch in the first half of 2020.Whereas Bitcoin is decentralised, Libra will be co-managed by 100 partner firms, including Facebook’s newly-minted financial services division Calibra.The companies behind Libra—which will be backed with a basket of real-world currencies—include payment giants Visa, MasterCard and PayPal, as well as taxi-hailing services Lyft and Uber.To access Libra on smartphones, users will go through a virtual wallet that will also be named Calibra.While Facebook boasts an enormous customer base dotted across the globe that should facilitate Libra’s uptake, it firm also been plagued by privacy concerns that could make users hesitate.”Can’t wait for a cryptocurrency with the ethics of Uber, the censorship resistance of Paypal, and the centralisation of Visa, all tied together under the proven privacy of Facebook,” said Sarah Jamie Lewis, head of non-profit research organisation Open Privacy.Libra has meanwhile raised eyebrows among the world’s financial regulators, including the Bank of England, the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve.But Disney believes that Libra will finally force regulators to present clear regulation guidelines, as demanded by the cryptocurrency community itself.”We have been waiting for a long time for a clearer signal (regarding) the regulation of cryptocurrencies and digital assets,” she said.But James Bennett, head of cryptocurrency research firm Bitassist, argues that Libra should not be seen in the same light as Bitcoin.”In the long run, people may realise that Libra is not a cryptocurrency,” Bennett said at the FinTech Week event.”A true cryptocurrency should be resistant to attacks by all parties, from sovereign states to global corporations,” he said, adding that “cryptocurrency is a type of money used to transfer value over the internet that cannot be stopped, confiscated or destroyed by any single entity”.’Based on thin air’Trump has meanwhile unleashed a vicious attack on virtual currencies, slamming them for their alleged shadowy nature and arguing that Libra had no standing nor dependability—unlike the dollar.”I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” Trump tweeted Thursday.
HAMBURG (Reuters) – Suedzucker (SZUG.DE), Europe’s largest sugar refiner, said on Thursday that trading conditions remained intensely difficult with low sugar prices and no turnaround likely for the company’s current financial year. FILE PHOTO: A company logo of Suedzucker Group is pictured at the headquarters in Mannheim, Germany March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski“Our group forecast for the current financial year still shows no visible turnaround,” CEO Wolfgang Heer told the annual meeting of Suedzucker shareholders. “Sugar prices remain at a low level which does not cover costs.” He said in an advance release of his speech that a restructuring plan in the company’s sugar business, which includes closures of sugar factories in Germany, France and Poland, was on schedule. But the first financial benefits will be seen in the second half of the company’s 2020/21 financial year. Suedzucker had on July 11 reported a 40% drop in first-quarter earnings due to low global sugar prices. Global sugar prices hit their lowest in 10 years in late 2018 amid heavy world oversupply and have only stabilised at depressed levels in 2019. Suedzucker said in January it would close sugar factories in Germany, France and Poland and cut production capacity by 700,000 tonnes per year to save about 100 million euros annually. Despite the tough current market, Heer said Suedzucker remained optimistic for the future. The sugar business restructuring will focus production on the most cost-effective regions, he said. Other European sugar producers have also announced output cuts. “The moves to reduce volumes of sugar in the EU should reduce the excess supply and so reduce pressure on prices,” Heer said. “The global trend of rising sugar demand speaks for higher world market prices in future.” Suedzucker’s Polish factory in Strzyzow will close at the end of the current 2018/2019 sugar production season, Heer told shareholders. The Brottewitz and Warburg factories in Germany and the Cagny and Eppeville factories in France will close at the end of the next 2019/2020 sugar season, he said. Heer defended the company’s decision to reject a plan from French farmers to buy the two French factories, owned by Suedzucker unit Saint Louis Sucre. The sale would have hindered efforts to cut the over-production of sugar in the EU, Heer said. It would have created a new competitor for beet supplies to Suedzucker’s remaining French plants. The two French sites are also still needed for sugar storage and the group’s animal feed business, he said. Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Michelle Martin and Jane MerrimanOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
NDRF personnel prepare for emergencies in view of Cyclone Fani, in Bhubaneswar, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. – PTI SHARE Orissa NDRF personnel prepare for emergencies in view of Cyclone Fani, in Bhubaneswar, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. – PTI COMMENTS Published on May 05, 2019 SHARE SHARE EMAIL PK Sinha, Cabinet Secretary – Ramesh Sharma Restoring power and telecommunication facilities are the top priorities in relief efforts in the Fani-Cyclone affected areas, according to directives issued by the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC).The committee under Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha has directed the Ministry of Power and Department of Telecommunications to coordinate with Odisha Government for the same.“Power Ministry has moved DG sets of 500 KVA, 250 KVA and 125 KVA capacity and also provided Workmen Gangs, who are engaged in restoration of power lines and towers. Senior officials of Power PSUs have been stationed in the affected areas to oversee restoration operations. Neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal have been requested to provide additional assistance to Odisha, particularly power,” an official statement said.“Sixty per cent of affected telecom towers are expected to be operational by evening and diesel supplies are being provided to make them functional using DG sets in the absence of regular power supply. Sufficient stocks of diesel and other fuels are available in Odisha,” the statement added.Relief measures in the cyclone FANI affected areas of Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh were reviewed by the committee with the States and Central Ministries/Agencies concerned on Sunday.“Odisha informed that power and telecommunication facilities are gradually being restored in the Cyclone affected areas. Major damages to the power transmission and distribution systems are reported in Bhubaneswar and Puri. Mobile services have been restored partially. In both the cities, about 70 per cent water supply will be restored by today evening. Odisha also requested for supply of storage water tanks,” the statement said.Sinha also suggested that Public Sector companies in Power and Oil and Gas sector contribute towards relief efforts under their CSR funding. The Ministry of Steel has provisioned about 3,500 steel electric poles and additional quantities are being arranged. The manufacturing of additional poles has also been undertaken.Railways have reintroduced 85 of the 138 cancelled trains. The main line to Bhubaneswar has commenced operations while Puri will be ready to receive trains in about 4 to 5 days. Flight operations to Bhubaneswar resumed with 41 flights operating yesterday, even though the local airport suffered extensive damage.The Defence Ministry through special transport planes and helicopters moved medicines and other relief material. Naval and Coast Guard vessel near Odisha coast have enough water supplies to be supplied to affected areas. cyclones PK Sinha, Cabinet Secretary – Ramesh Sharma COMMENT