first_imgPagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Security was tight at the arena as a SWAT team stood guard outside.“We’ve already undertaken a lot of preparation, and with the way the world looks today this type of incident (Monday’s attack) is the kind of thing we have to prepare for. So it has been part of our planning all along,” Stockholm police spokesman Kjell Lindgren said.United manager Jose Mourinho said Tuesday he and his players were finding it hard not to think about the attack, which targeted fans leaving a pop concert by the American singer Ariana Grande and left 59 people injured.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ For Mark, a 19-year-old Manchester fan living in Stockholm, this was no ordinary match. “It was very special because of the events that happened in Manchester and now they qualify for Champions League,” he said. Vijay Patel, a 29-year-old Manchester fan from the UK, said the team came out even stronger in the aftermath of the attack. “It should motivate them… they’re not just winning for the team they’re winning for the city,” he said. Team supporters were celebrating hours earlier at a fan zone in Stockholm’s leafy Kungstradgarden park where they played football and took photos.ADVERTISEMENT Heat’s Big 3 era ends as deal struck for Bosh to go—report ‘Coming Home For Christmas’ is the holiday movie you’ve been waiting for, here’s why More than 5,000 measles deaths in DR Congo this year — WHO LATEST STORIES South Korea to suspend 25% of coal plants to fight pollution SEA Games: PH beats Indonesia, enters gold medal round in polo Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students PLAY LIST 01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes LOOK: Vhong Navarro’s romantic posts spark speculations he’s marrying longtime GF Shaun Payne, a 29-year-old United supporter, said Monday’s attack undoubtedly scarred the team, but he was optimistic that they would win.“They have nothing to lose tonight. They’ll go for it,” he told AFP.“It’ll provide extra motivation to represent the city and to hopefully bring the trophy back with us,” he says. Tight securityRob Coppen, a 28-year-old Ajax fan from Amsterdam donning the team’s kit, said the terror attack took the joy out of the final. “(The attack) has taken the spark off the game. It’s been a while since Ajax has been in a Euro final so it’s a pity.“But what can you do? Nobody asked for this, neither Manchester nor Ajax,” he said. Amy Edwards, a Manchester fan, was worried about safety at the final, but said she refused to let fear control her life. “I’m worried a little bit in case something happens tonight, but I guess it’s always a risk you take anyway and go to high profile games,” she said.“But you can’t stay inside,” she added. “Obviously the events in Manchester has put a dampener on everything but hopefully we can win and bring the trophy back tonight.” Manchester’s Wayne Rooney holds the trophy after winning 2-0 during the soccer Europa League final between Ajax Amsterdam and Manchester United at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, Wednesday, May 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)A crowd of Manchester United fans were cheering outside a Stockholm stadium on Wednesday as their team won the Europa League, a relief for the supporters after the Manchester terror attack 48 hours earlier.“It’s fantastic to see them winning. We were always confident that we would win,” said George Malloy, a 69-year-old from Dublin. ADVERTISEMENT View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games “I think it will be a good lift for the people of Manchester,” he added. Manchester fans were screaming and whistling in joy, while their Ajax counterparts were biting their nails as the English club won 2-0. FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingOutside the entrance of the modernly decorated Friends Arena in the Stockholm suburb of Solna, fans were upbeat and cheerful under sunny summer skies, but nervous about both the outcome of the match and security issues.Ahead of Wednesday’s match, players held a minute’s silence in honour of the victims of Monday’s suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena which left 22 people dead. Lakers win 9th straight, hold off Pelicanslast_img read more

first_imgArt Briles is no longer the head coach at Baylor, and if the latest report by Joe Schad is true, it looks like some of his assistants may be out soon too. Schad, formerly of ESPN, posted a long note to Facebook Tuesday afternoon, reporting that a former Baylor student named Dolores Lozano claims she was assaulted by former football player Devin Chafin and that both Briles and assistant Jeff Lebby knew about it. She even alleges that she and Lebby exchanged texts about the situation. She says that she brought allegations to the Waco Police, but Chafin was allowed to continue playing. She says the school never had a formal hearing either.Schad also reports details of the alleged assault and includes photos of the injuries Lozano reportedly suffered from the incident. dolores lozano facebookHere is a photo provided to me by former Baylor student Dolores Lozano pic.twitter.com/lHAwUnI0g3— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) June 7, 2016Jeff Lebby, currently the Baylor passing game/RBs coach, did not have immediate comment about Lozano’s claims— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) June 7, 2016The fallout at Baylor does not appear to be over just yet. Obviously, this is awful. Expect more repercussions here.last_img read more

Since its rather hazy inception at Burlington Central High School in Burlington, Ontario, in 1989, people from all over the world have attempted the beer mile: a four-lap, four-beer testament to just how insane elite runners really are. As the beer mile migrated south from Canada, the event gained traction on college campuses in the United States as an unofficial tradition to celebrate the end of track season, when young runners were in peak physical shape and seeking reprieve from a notoriously regimented sport.Seanna Robinson, the former women’s beer mile world record-holder, went to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, when the beer mile rules were still being ironed out. The competition still operates on the “Kingston Rules,” which outline the penalty lap that is incurred if a runner vomits before finishing. “The naked run, the Timbits challenge and the beer mile were just some of the many things we did that played at running and celebrating,” Robinson said. When Robinson started running beer miles at Queen’s University, women were only required to drink three beers, skipping the first. She argued for the beer mile to be the same for men and women.At around the same time Robinson was pioneering for four-beer gender equality, and setting her longstanding record, Patrick Butler — at the time a member of the Wesleyan University track team — purchased the domain BeerMile.com. He’d seen the Kingston Rules online and wanted to adopt them in the U.S., as well as to create a place to aggregate and keep track of “official” beer mile results from all over the world. That was in 1998, and there were 452 beer miles logged on the site that year. Now there are about 40,000 total races — 4,439 of them coming this year (as of Dec. 3).Butler knows the database isn’t complete — he estimates that less than 10 percent of beer mile results are actually submitted to the site. But it’s prominent enough that some competitors want out. “I probably get five or six emails a week from people saying, ‘Can you take my name off of your site? I’m trying to get a job,’” said Butler, who maintains the database himself as a passion project.Nick Symmonds, an Olympic middle-distance runner, isn’t concerned about being associated with the beer mile. If anything, he’s a proponent of the sport. “Most people don’t know what a 1:42.9 in the 800 means — which is what I did at the Olympics — but they understand what a 5:19 beer mile is,” he told me in Austin. Symmonds runs professionally for Brooks and definitely does not need to run beer miles in his spare time — for the prize money or the notoriety — but he schlepped to Austin from Seattle to create continued interest in track and field. When asked why he came to the World Championships, he said, “There’s a chance they’ll continue to watch us in two years [at the 2016 Olympics].” “Who’s got the legs, lungs and stomach to hold it all down?”The bald announcer was trying to get the crowd going before the races began. The event was meant to be held at Yellow Jacket Stadium, a proper 1,600-meter indoor running track. But last-minute concerns from the track’s owners about the imminent binge-drinking forced the race to move to a motor-racing track on the outskirts of Austin. Beneath an empty grandstand with seating for thousands, what would be the homestretch of a Formula 1 race had been transformed into a makeshift track — an oblong oval marked off by orange construction cones. The turns were too tight and the straightaways too long, but for an event that is as much about drinking as it is running, it was good enough.On the final straightaway loomed the party zone, straddled by two tables with beer lined up in rows of four. Each of the 117 participants got to choose his or her own beer, and the best runners could drink the night’s special “Beer Mile Brew.” Hops & Grain, a local Austin brewery and event sponsor, brewed the German-style blonde ale to contain only 2.2 volumes of CO2, down from a typical 2.6 volumes. Chuggability is critical in a beer mile.The women were up first, adjusting track shorts-wedgies with one hand and holding their first beers with the other as they waited to start. When the gun fired, the group of twelve toned, lean women cracked open their cans. While drinking, they waddled like drunk penguins from the back of the party zone to the front, then took off running. In the crowd, some people were sporting shirts reading, “You just got beat by a mother of six.” They were the friends and family of Chris Kimbrough, a 45-year-old Austin local, who broke the women’s world record in October on her first attempt with a time of 6:28.6.At the World Championships, though, Kimbrough was struggling; by the third beer she was doing that pre-vomit shiver that a body does when it wants to stop — and it would take her 32.3 seconds to finish beer No. 4. She stood no chance against Elizabeth Herndon, a 29-year-old professor and marathoner who came out of beer mile obscurity (and Ohio) to down her fourth beer, a New Belgium Fat Tire, in just 21.4 seconds. Herndon smashed the world record with a time of 6:17.8. Kimbrough placed fourth.Just minutes after organizers rinsed away the liquid vomit from the women’s race, 10 tank-top wearing men lined up at the same starting line for the elite men’s final. One guy was wearing jorts.James Nielsen, the highly contentious current world record-holder with a time of 4:57.0, was not among them. Nielsen said he “physically could not make it that week.” Others interpreted his absence as a clear indicator that he couldn’t defend his world record because it wasn’t legitimate.In a video he posted to YouTube, Nielsen downs his second beer in less than four seconds — a feat that other beer milers say is physically impossible. Symmonds and fan-favorite Corey Gallagher were both vying to break the elusive sub-five minute beer mile, if only to put Nielsen in his place.Bud Light Platinums featured heavily in the men’s elite race, and when the starting gun fired, iridescent blue bottles tilted skyward. Gallagher, wearing a single glove on his beer-chugging hand, downed the first in an astonishing 6.1 seconds, but coasted through lap one in 67 seconds (6 seconds slower than his final lap), allowing the guy in jorts to take the lead. But no one could drink like Gallagher. It didn’t take him longer than 10 seconds to finish any one beer, and with the final lap in sight he demolished his fourth beer faster than his previous two — in just 7.3 seconds. He rounded the last turn well ahead of the pack, the crowd screaming as he looked on pace to break 5 minutes. But he crashed through the finishing tape without breaking the threshold: 5.00.23.“This is the world record, James Nielsen is a cheat and a fake,” Gallagher declared post-race, swigging a replenishment drink from his silver plastic trophy.Nielsen vehemently denies all accusations of cheating. “I think people can drink beers even faster than me,” he said when reached by phone. “I am definitely not the human limit on how fast a beer can be drank out of a can — I’ve seen faster.” Canadian Corey Gallagher heads down the straight away trailed closely by Australian Jack Colreavy at the Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships in Austin Josh Baker for Flocasts AUSTIN, Texas — Beer miles are won and lost in the “party zone.” When participants in the world’s most athletic binge-drinking event cross into it, they stop running, hastily down a minimum 5 percent ABV beer and then take off again. The zone is only 10 meters long.The best male beer-milers spend somewhere between 4 and 6 seconds in their first stop in the party zone; the best women stay for about 11 seconds. By their fourth time through — the beer mile requires four laps of running, four beers of chugging — the competitors slow. With shaky legs and winded lungs, these same men average about 14 seconds and the women about 31 seconds.1For this calculation, I did not include the final beer split of Kelly Williamson at the Beer Mile World Championships because the time was such an outlier at 1 minute and 30 seconds.But things are different at the Beer Mile World Championships, which were held here for the first time in early December. The champions drank their final beers almost twice as fast as the average elite runner in the competition — 7 seconds and 21 seconds for the male and female winners, respectively. In a race with the motto: “Chug, Run, Repeat,” the fiercest competitors guzzle through the party zone as fast as Olympic triathletes put on their post-swim socks. Members of the Women’s Elite race chug beers at the starting line of the Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships in Austin Kirby Lee for Flocasts Athletes competing in the open heat of the Flotrack Beer Mile World Championship crack open their first beers at Circuit of the Americas in Austin Kirby Lee for Flocasts “This thing has been going on for 30 years with thousands of results and no one’s really paid attention, and then all of a sudden it’s on national news and people are noticing,” Nielsen said. The video of his world record-setting mile has been viewed 1.35 million times.Some of the participants at the World Championships admitted to running the beer mile in part to dispel the myth that elite runners are some strange breed of nutrition-obsessed freaks. “People think we hang out in a cabin eating chia seeds,” said 42-year-old Luis Armenteros, who placed third in the men’s sub-elite division with a time of 6:03.2. “I can’t drink everyone under the table, but I can drink a lot.”“There is the perception that elite runners are machines whose bodies are temples, but we have our vices,” said Jack Colreavy, a 25-year-old runner who traveled from Sydney, Australia, to race in the elite men’s group, but who was unable to finish. “And mine is drinking beer.” read more

first_imgMaurizio Sarri’s constant brushes with Italy’s football authorities may probably cost him the chance of ever becoming Chelsea’s next boss, Sky Sports believes.A 20k Euro fine and two-game ban in January for a reportedly homophobic abuse of Roberto Mancini seem to be taking the west London club away from appointing him. The 60-year-old Sarri, however, denied being homophobic but was still banned for “directing extremely insulting epithets at the coach of the opposing team”.There are indications that Chelsea has so far refused to pay the £7m release clause being demanded by Napoli’s owner. But it’s his growing list of transgressions that could end Sarri’s chances of replacing Antonio Conte.There have been a series of transgression incidents involving Sarri, including an obscene gesture to supporters of Juventus in Turin, oral abuse of his own players and sexist remarks about female journalists.Maurizio Sarri, JuventusMaurizio Sarri satisfied despite Juventus’ draw at Fiorentina Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Maurizio Sarri was satisfied with Juventus’ performance on Saturday afternoon after finishing a tough game at Fiorentina 0-0.Even after his recent touchline spat with Mancini, the former Manchester City manager, when asked what happened, said:“You have to ask Sarri what happened. Men like him shouldn’t be in the world of football.“He is 60 years old and must be ashamed.”last_img read more

first_imgAC Milan are a long way off from being in any position to challenge Juventus right now, admits club icon Paolo MaldiniThe Rossoneri are only 14th in the Serie A standings with just one win in their first three games of the new season.And Maldini, who returned to Milan this summer as a Sporting Strategy & Development Director, admits that it will take time to get the club back into a position to challenge Juventus.“Projects are important, but you can’t yet compare Milan to Juventus,” he told Sky Italia.“The anti-Juventus? Let’s be serious, we’re still a long way off being that,Mario Mandzukic, JuventusJuventus confirm Mario Mandzukic could leave this month Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Sporting director Fabio Paratici confirmed reports that Mario Mandzukic could leave Juventus for a move to an unnamed Qatari team.“We’re aiming to reach the top four in the league and have a great run in the Europa League.“This is a serious project, we want to take Milan back to the highest levels.”Milan last won the Serie in the 2010/11 season and have been unable to finish higher than sixth in the past five years.Gennaro Gattuso’s side will take on Dudelange in the Europa League on Thursday before another league fixture against Atalanta on Sunday.last_img read more

first_imgAung San Suu Kyi. File photo Some of the actions Aung San Suu Kyi has taken as Myanmar’s civilian leader are “regrettable” but her Nobel Peace Prize will not be withdrawn, the head of the Nobel Foundation told Reuters in an interview in Stockholm on Friday.Lars Heikensten, speaking days before the awarding of this year’s peace prize, said it made no sense to withdraw awards in reaction to things that happened after they were given, as judges would constantly have to discuss laureates’ merits.UN investigators issued a report in August accusing Myanmar’s military of carrying out mass killings of Muslim Rohingya with “genocidal intent” in an operation that drove more than 700,000 refugees across the border to Bangladesh.Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for campaigning for democracy and now leads the Myanmar government, was accused in the same report of failing to use her “moral authority” to protect civilians.“We see what she’s been doing in Myanmar has been questioned a lot and we stand for human rights, that’s one of our core values,” Lars Heikensten, the head of the Nobel Foundation, said.“So of course to the extent that she’s responsible for that, that is very regrettable,” he added.Government spokesman Zaw Htay did not answer phone calls seeking comment on Monday. He said last month he would no longer speak to the media over the phone, only at a biweekly conference.Myanmar has rejected the UN findings as “one-sided”. It says the military action, which followed militant attacks on security forces in August last year, was a legitimate counterinsurgency operation.Suu Kyi said last month that in hindsight her government could have handled the situation in Rakhine state better, but did not acknowledge any major crimes.“We don’t believe it would make sense to try to withdraw prizes … it would involve us in constant discussions about the merits about what people are doing afterwards, after they have received the prize,” Heikensten said.“There has always been and there always will be Nobel laureates that are doing things after they’ve been awarded the prize which we do not approve of or which we don’t think are the right things. That we cannot avoid I think,” he added.The Stockholm-based Nobel Foundation oversees the administration of all the Nobel Prizes, which are awarded by different organizations in Sweden and Norway.The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awards the Peace Prize, said in August that its rules did not allow awards to be withdrawn.The laureate of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday in Oslo.last_img read more

first_img X Listen Share To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Courtesy of Greater Houston PartnershipGreater Houston home sales increased by 23 percent year-over-year in November.center_img In November, Realtors sold 5,706 single-family homes, 1,055 more than the same month a year ago, according to a monthly report from the Houston Association of Realtors. That’s a 22.7 percent increase.Tim Surratt, a real estate agent with Greenwood King Properties, said that’s great news, “but if we go back two years, it’s really only a 10 percent increase. In 2015, we were still having some instability for the oil prices and all of that. And so it looks like our market is very stabilized here in Houston.”He said the recovery is also finally having an effect on the sales of homes above $500,000.They jumped 32.5 percent from November 2015 – the first time this category saw an increase in sales in more than a year.“People are just feeling confident to get back into the market,” Surrat said. “They kind of sat on the sidelines to see if prices would come down, and they absolutely have not come down. And because of that, they couldn’t put off those purchases any longer.”The median price for a single-family home in Greater Houston went up by 8.3 percent from a year ago, to $222,000, a record for a November. 00:00 /01:01 last_img read more

first_img Share Creative Commons ImagesA Federal Court has ordered the IRS to repay Texas for an ACA tax on State Medicaid programs.A U.S. District Court decision has ordered the Internal Revenue Service to repay Texas and five other states more than $839 million because of an unlawful Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax on state Medicaid programs, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Tuesday. A news release from Paxton’s office detailed that Texas stands to be repaid $304 million.In October 2015, Paxton led a multi-state lawsuit against the federal government over the Obama-era regulation that threatened to curtail Medicaid funds unless Texas taxpayers paid a portion of the Health Insurance Providers Fee to help fund the ACA. The court’s decision also means that Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska and Wisconsin also stand to be repaid ACA fees by the IRS.Texas and Wisconsin will argue at a hearing on September 5 that the ACA, as amended by the recent tax bill, is unconstitutional in its entirety.last_img read more

first_img More information: Role of the Bering Strait on the hysteresis of the ocean conveyor belt circulation and glacial climate stability, PNAS, Published online before print April 9, 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1116014109AbstractAbrupt climate transitions, known as Dansgaard-Oeschger and Heinrich events, occurred frequently during the last glacial period, specifically from 80–11 thousand years before present, but were nearly absent during interglacial periods and the early stages of glacial periods, when major ice-sheets were still forming. Here we show, with a fully coupled state-of-the-art climate model, that closing the Bering Strait and preventing its throughflow between the Pacific and Arctic Oceans during the glacial period can lead to the emergence of stronger hysteresis behavior of the ocean conveyor belt circulation to create conditions that are conducive to triggering abrupt climate transitions. Hence, it is argued that even for greenhouse warming, abrupt climate transitions similar to those in the last glacial time are unlikely to occur as the Bering Strait remains open. 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. The team began with evidence of wildly fluctuating temperature extremes in the northern hemisphere that occurred during a portion of the last big Ice Age. During that time, temperatures rose and fell in Greenland as much as 10°C over just a period of a few years. This, the team theorized, happened because glaciers in the northern hemisphere grew to such a size that ocean levels dropped sufficiently to cause a land bridge to appear between Siberia and Alaska, cutting off flow between the Arctic and Pacific oceans.To find out if their theory was correct, they turned to a heavy-duty global computer simulation where they first ran data to show conditions with a land bridge in place cutting off the Pacific Ocean from the Arctic, and then with the Strait open as it is today. Their simulation backed up their theory which goes like this: When a land bridge appears, cold fresh water from melting glaciers is unable to flow into the Pacific, so instead, it overflows into the Atlantic Ocean. And that creates a problem because normally the AMOC causes cycling of warm water from the south to flow north, and cold water from the north to flow south. The engine for this system is cold salt laden water in the north sinking beneath incoming warm water. If the cold water in the north is fresh, as it would be if it were coming from the melted glaciers, then it wouldn’t sink and the whole AMOC system would stop. And if it stopped, air temperatures could change quickly. The computer simulation actually showed the same temperature fluctuations over Greenland as researchers have found, via core ice samples, occurred the last time the Strait closed during the last Ice Age.In contrast, the computer simulation showed much more stable temperatures in the absence of a land bridge allowing glacial melt to flow into the Pacific Ocean. This the team concludes, means we don’t have to worry about wildly fluctuating temperatures any time soon, so long as the Strait remains open, which virtually everyone agrees will be the case for the foreseeable future as global warming is expected to lead to warmer water and rising ocean levels. (Phys.org) — A diverse group of climate researchers has found after running computer simulations that the strait that separates North America and Russia might be serving as a global temperature stabilizer. This, they write in their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is because when the strait is blocked, melting glacial freshwater in the Arctic Ocean can’t make its way to the Pacific, causing it to back up and eventually flow into the Atlantic, disturbing the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and eventually air temperatures. Bering Strait influenced ice age climate patterns worldwide Satellite photo of the Bering Strait. Image: NASA.center_img Explore further Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences © 2012 Phys.Org Citation: Bering Strait may be global temperature stabilizer (2012, April 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-04-bering-strait-global-temperature-stabilizer.htmllast_img read more

first_imgOlder employees tend to feel more stressed than younger employees when their employers don’t provide them with the support and resources they need to do their jobs well, according to a new study. The study, published in the “Journal of Vocational Behavior”, found that both younger and older workers had lower levels of overall stress when they were given more autonomy on the job, had good relationships with their bosses and felt they were respected and treated fairly at work. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfBut when such resources were lacking, older workers reported significantly higher stress levels a year later than their younger colleagues, the researcher said.”With the workforce becoming more age-diverse and older at the same time, it is important to understand the differences between younger and older workers to help them cope with the demands of their work lives more effectively,” said co-author Lale Yaldiz from the Portland State University in the US. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveFor the study, the researchers surveyed 243 municipal public works employees between the ages of 24 and 64 over the course of a year.The findings suggest that older workers place a greater value on having autonomy and a supportive work environment because those resources allow them to adapt to the psychological and physical changes that come with aging. For example, older workers tend to prioritise emotional needs and care more about having socially meaningful interactions and mentoring their colleagues than younger workers whose focus tends to be on gaining the skills they need to advance in their careers, the researcher said.Since older workers appear to be more susceptible to stress, organisations can help workers by being transparent about how decisions are made and implemented, not discriminating, valuing employee input when making key decisions and providing channels for employees to voice concerns, the researchers added.last_img read more

first_imgPercussionist and singer Pedrito Martínez, seen in this undated photo, has appeared on more than 100 recordings. Martin Cohen photo For so many North American eardrums, the story of Afro-Cuban music begins and ends with Buena Vista Social Club.The beloved 1997 album — and the 1999 documentary about the unlikely studio sessions that birthed it — transformed a crew of forgotten Cuban maestros into world-renowned players whose songs would cast an immense, singular shadow.Roberto Fonseca is quite literally stepping out of it. His new album, “Yo,” lunges in fantastic and unexpected directions while remaining rooted in Afro-Cuban musical traditions — traditions the 38-year-old Havana pianist became highly fluent in during the years he spent performing alongside Buena Vista alums, including the late vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer.“For me, playing with them was like going to the son montuno school,” Fonseca said, referring to the percolating style that forms much of Cuba’s sonic DNA. “I was trying to learn how to play and how to feel.”Across “Yo,” Fonseca’s touch ranges from lightning-lithe to thunderously heavy, often holding the music’s melodic and percussive center at once. He comes out swinging with “80s,” a thrilling album-starter that resembles Nigerian Afrobeat, with chattering rhythms and vintage jazz fusion in its oily electronic timbres. Dizzying and dazzling, it sounds like falling down the stairs and landing on your feet.“To me, music doesn’t have frontiers, doesn’t have borders,” Fonseca says over the phone from a tour stop in New Orleans, perhaps the only city in this hemisphere crammed with more musical magic per square foot than Havana. “When people listen to my music, they feel good, even if they’re not from Cuba.”Fonseca has helped push Afro-Cuban music further into the 21st century on other recordings, too — his work with British dubstep pioneer Mala produced an intriguing 2012 album called “Mala in Cuba.” But, Fonseca said, his desire to move Cuban music ahead feels more personal, almost internal.“It would have been easy to name myself ‘the Buena Vista Social Club new generation,’ ” Fonseca said. “But now it’s my career, and people are really accepting. We are starting from zero here, and I’m feeling really good. My music is my life, and my life is my music.”New York percussionist and singer Pedrito Martínez seems to be following similar impulses on the excellent, eponymous debut album from the Pedrito Martínez Group, out Tuesday.The album grinds the band leader’s original compositions up against tunes made famous by Led Zeppelin and the Jackson 5 — all played with a zeal that should burnish Martinez’s reputation as one of the most vital and charismatic Afro-Latin percussionists on the planet. The 40-year-old conga player first learned Cuba’s rhythmic dialects in the streets of Havana, but he said his curiosity is continuously stoked by the music of New York City.“Everything comes from tradition, and what you do is add,” Martínez said over the telephone. “It’s Afro-Cuban music interpreted by someone who’s been in the United States for 15 years.”Martínez first left his native Cuba for a tour of Canada in 1998, and in 2000, took first place at the Thelonious Monk International Afro-Latin Jazz Hand Drum Competition, held at the Kennedy Center. Since then, he’s appeared on more than 100 recordings, all while performing regularly at private Santeria ceremonies at apartments across various New York boroughs.His group — an ace quartet that includes keyboardist Ariacne Trujillo, bassist Álvaro Benavides and percussionist Jhair Sala — still maintains a weekly residency at Guantanamera, a Cuban restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. Martínez said the gig has helped him learn to a play with a dynamism and intensity that can rip across rooms of any size.“We made this band in a little restaurant where people are eating and talking,” Martínez said. “You don’t know how they’re going to react when you start getting loud and excited. But I get up there and do what I know how to do. I do it from the bottom of my heart. And that’s what they feel.”© 2013, The Washington Post  Facebook Commentscenter_img Related posts:Analysis: Obama-Castro handshake offers hope for US-Cuba ties Freedom eludes Cubans U.S. woman, 64, makes history with Cuba-Florida swim Ties between North Korea, Cuba hinted at in route of seized freighterlast_img read more

first_img 0 Comments   Share   The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo “He was jumping around like a young fella out there today at practice,” head coach Bruce Arians said, smiling. “I think he was pretty excited.”And for good reason: it’s been six years since Palmer last played in the playoffs.Palmer, remember, missed out on the Cardinals’ playoff appearance last season because of a knee injury.“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “As the season starts, you dream of being in this position. You always want to make the playoffs, but to have that first-round bye and a chance to play all your games at home is pretty special. So, it’s a dream come true.”Palmer enjoyed the best season of his 13-year career, setting franchise records for passing yards, touchdowns and passer rating, among other marks.More importantly, he enters the NFL’s second season healthy.Palmer is more than a year removed from an ACL injury that ended his 2014 season in Week 10. Also, a finger injury that led soreness just below his shoulder is no longer an issue.“He’s over it,” Arians said. “We readjusted the tape job Saturday morning. He had a very sore lat (muscle) from changing his motion, which is very natural for pitchers when they come back and they throw, and they’ll get a sore lat. For a quarterback, it’s a weird feeling and it worried him some. But once we readjusted the tape job so that he could use his finger and come off the ball last, the soreness went away and he’s really good right now.” TEMPE, Ariz. – There was an extra bounce in the step of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer as he practiced on Wednesday, and it had everything to do with that day’s work.Maybe not so much because of the specific preparation — the Cardinals worked on Green Bay; they’ll focus on Minnesota and Washington the next two days to cover all three scenarios for their divisional round matchup — but because of what the preparation was for, the playoffs. Palmer dislocated his right index against Philadelphia. He missed one third-quarter snap, but otherwise showed no ill effects, outside of being forced to alter his throwing motion to keep his finger on the ball longer.The changed movement put a different strain on Palmer’s body.“Just from the dislocation, just having to throw it a little bit different is always different on your body. Certain muscles are so used to one specific pattern or one specific movement, and when you change that movement things get thrown out of whack,” he said. “We changed some things up with the way I treated it and the way I taped it, and it’s feeling much better. I haven’t had that issue much since.”When Palmer leads the Cardinals out onto the field next Saturday, Jan. 16 at University of Phoenix Stadium, it will be just his third-ever playoff game.There was the AFC Wild Card loss to the Jets in 2009 and a brief appearance in the Wild Card matchup against Pittsburgh in 2005, a game in which Palmer completed a 66-yard pass to Chris Henry on his first attempt but was injured on the play when he was hit low by Kimo von Oelhoffen, resulting in torn ACL and MCL ligaments in his left knee. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Top Stories Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) watches from the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Palmer’s resume is missing a postseason victory.“I’m just excited about this (playoff appearance),” he said.  “I don’t think much about any other regular season game or playoff game. I’m just excited and thankful, kind of like I just said, for where we are right now; to have this bye and to have our first one at home and hopefully the second one, and then obviously, a chance to go to that third.  That’s what I think about.  I don’t think much about the past.” Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and sellinglast_img read more

first_imgCable industry body Cable Europe has criticised the European Commission’s latest Radio Spectrum Policy Programme text as falling short setting clear rules where new wireless services cause interference with existing services, including cable TV reception.“We are encouraged to see that coexistence of new and existing services is regarded as important in the latest text agreed on EU spectrum policy. Promoting competition, investment and the efficient use of spectrum are also key achievements in future-proofing this policy area. But we are disappointed to see that the new rules fall short of answering the simple question of what the European consumer is supposed to do if a new device interferes with their television, internet connection or any other consumer equipment operating on the same frequency,” said Cable Europe managing director Caroline Van Weede.Cable Europe said the latest developments gave room for hope that the EC wished to promote the efficient use of spectrum and competition, but also hailed the example set by the Netherlands, which has made commercial agreements on interference a pre-condition of spectrum acquisition.last_img read more

first_imgIn recent years, Orange, with more than 236 million customers in over 30 countries, has established itself as a key player in the multiscreen OTT TV environment, delivering cutting-edge TV services, in addition to their telephony and broadband services.This case study examines:How partnering with Viaccess-Orca enabled Orange to launch innovative TV services on every screen, across multiple countries such as Spain, France and PolandThe way in which VO’s Voyage, TV Everywhere solution, helped Orange build a solid foundation for success in multiscreen TVThe current blueprint of results in each Orange-VO project, for each countrylast_img read more

first_img(Interviewed by Louis James, Editor, International Speculator) L: So Doug, the world didn’t end in 2012, so it’s onward into another new year. It’s time to tune in to your guru-vision and tell us what trends you see shaping up and what actions they imply taking. Doug: Yes, it looks like the Mayans missed this one; perhaps they’ll get another kick at the cat a few millennia from now when it’s once more time to turn the page on their calendar. Better luck next time, Mayan astrologers! But although nothing seems to be happening on that front, it’s appropriate that I’m speaking to you from Punta del Este in Uruguay, which is one of the most happening places in the world at this time of year – North American and European winter, South American summer. I went to a New Year’s Eve party last night with some rather interesting temporary denizens of the place, and of course this was the subject of much conversation. None of them happened to be American, incidentally, and all but one – who is very involved in local politics – is extremely bearish on 2013. L: Do you mean bearish on the global economy? Bearish on geopolitics? Or bearish on civilization itself? Doug: All of the above. A “Mad Max” type outcome is definitely a possibility, as much as I hate to anticipate something really serious – as opposed to just a financial/economic meltdown. But the West has a huge amount of accumulated capital that it can still dissipate – a task the politicians are working on diligently. I expect the US will get a VAT, and/or an asset tax. Perhaps they’ll take a page from Cristina Kirchner’s book and nationalize everyone’s pension – for the good of the government, as well as the safety of the pensioners, of course. In the near term, we’re looking at increased tensions of every kind around the globe, and greater market volatility. By the way, we enjoyed a professional-grade fireworks display put on by our host in his back yard. It struck me that I was witnessing exactly the kind of freedom that makes me like living down here so much, and makes me dislike returning to the US. In the US, you’d have to be a city to put on that kind of fireworks show, or go through God-know-what sort of licensing to get the explosives involved. The smell of gunpowder at midnight is most invigorating, especially mixed with the smoke of Cuban cigars. I’m not saying Uruguay is totally free, especially not economically – the president is actually a communist. But he’s a surprisingly mellow communist, and not at all corrupt. Most unusual, actually. He lives on a small farm and drives an old car. Of course the things he’s doing – raising welfare benefits, eliminating financial privacy, initiating an income tax, and letting petty thieves run wild, among many other things – are making the place much less desirable to hang out. L: So, aside from economically stupid laws, they let people do pretty much as they will with their personal lives? Doug: That’s the good news. It’s a quiet, unambitious, backward, bureaucratic little country. But they still pretty much leave you alone. And strange things can happen. At the party I mentioned, a friend who mostly lives in Argentina told me about what was in Sunday’s El Pais, the national paper. It turns out that a top local politician – most of whom are socialists or ex-communists – just discovered Frederic Bastiat’s book, The Law. He was so taken with the free-market ideas in it, he had the entirety of the book published as an insert in the paper, at his own expense. I don’t know how many people will actually read it, and I doubt it will have much effect, but as a possible straw in the wind, it’s pretty interesting. Shocking, actually. L: A hundred years ago you might have seen a copy of The Communist Manifesto, so perhaps the pendulum will swing back in our direction in the next hundred years. A good reminder that it’s important to internationalize both one’s assets and one’s lifestyle. It’s hard to predict what will happen in any given country, although the trend is going from bad to worse just about everywhere. Doug: Yes; as the Greater Depression deepens, governments all around the world are going to get increasingly desperate, take increasingly stupid measures, and the people on the bottom rungs of the ladder – the very ones the governments will claim to be helping – are going to get pushed off in greater and greater numbers. That’s going to make for more social unrest, vandalism, and violence all around the world. It’s wise to find a crib away from likely epicenters of turmoil. You still have to look at the world objectively, and prepare to be, or move to wherever there’s the least trouble on the ground, among the places you actually enjoy being in. This is especially so for Europeans and their cousins in the US, where things are deteriorating fast. L: So, what are your own reasons for bearishness? Doug: I’m exceptionally bearish because we’ve been in the eye of this hurricane for going on three years. It seems to me that the bigger the eye of the storm, the bigger the storm must be. We are definitely heading for the trailing side of the hurricane soon. And it will be vastly bigger, and last much longer, and be much different than the leading edge. I can’t emphasize enough that all these trillions of currency units that governments all around the world are printing up by the truckload… L: Or helicopter load. Doug: [Chuckles] Yes, well, bank-wire load, as it were, these days. They no longer need to bother with the printing press; they can just create more out of nothing with the stroke of a key. All that cash in the US, the EU, Japan, and elsewhere is going to come out of the banks where it’s sitting at some point, and the inflation that’s been masked so far will kick into a much higher gear. Take Uruguay, for instance, which is actually a very expensive country – to go out to dinner here in Punta del Este costs considerably more than in the US. When I first came here, things were very cheap. I’ve seen the same thing in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Spain, and other markets in which I’ve made a lot of money in real estate, based on the same trend. This is happening all over the world. The US has been so successful at exporting its inflation – abusing the reserve currency status of the US dollar – that it’s become a relatively cheap place to live, at least among the more developed nations. The local symptom of this global sickness is that here in Punta, very expensive condominium buildings are popping up all along the coast, spreading faster than dandelions in springtime. Nobody lives in most of them, though some are occupied for a month or two in the summer, and yet, year-round you have to pay maintenance and security costs of at least $2,000, and sometimes $3,000 or $4,000 per month. The only reason people would pay that kind of money to maintain empty condos, as far as I can see, is to hide money. L: Why do they need to hide it? Doug: Each will have his own reasons. Sadly, Uruguay is no longer the Switzerland of South America it once was. There was once no income tax here and financial privacy – which no longer exists anywhere. A government run by ex-communists destroyed all that. That was shooting themselves in the foot, of course. But real property rights are still pretty strong here, so people are building all these condos as a place to stash money in the form of bricks and mortar. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will work out for them, because as the global Greater Depression deepens, people are going to have to start liquidating them, and the local market is going to crash. The monthly maintenance costs plus a need to retrieve the invested capital is going to result in a wave of selling. A lot of people are going to get burned. Not just here – almost everywhere. As my friend Richard Russell has said, in a depression everybody loses. The winner is the one who loses the least. L: Maybe you can let us know when that happens – sounds like it will be a great contrarian buying opportunity at that time. Doug: Sure. Most people will be too nervous to act, but I keep an eye on several real-estate markets for just that sort of contrarian opportunity. Meanwhile, I may just head for the exits now myself, not wanting to be unable to liquidate the real estate I’ve got in Uruguay later. At any rate, I view this developing situation as an example of what’s brewing in many markets all around the world. L: Can you give us more specifics? Doug: I think the most important thing to bear in mind is that we are approaching the absolute peak of the bond bubble, which has gotten vastly bigger than I ever imagined it could. Interest rates in the developed economies around the world are two percent, one percent, or even negative. This is fueling a bond bubble of truly catastrophic proportions. When it bursts, it will be an order of magnitude worse than the tech stock-market crash of 2001 or the real-estate bubble that burst in 2008. When this one goes, it won’t just wipe out the people who thought they were being prudent savers. Because it’s a financial market, it will also hit stocks and real estate again, at least in Europe and the US. Here in Uruguay and places like Argentina, real estate is largely a pure cash market. But in the so-called more developed economies, real estate still floats on a sea of debt. It amazes me that people in the US are elated because the real-estate market is supposed to be up 4.3%, as of the latest figures. Well, of course it is; you can borrow money for effectively zero, given where interest rates and inflation are. L: Is that a sign of the bulging piles of money banks have been sitting starting to leak out into the economy? Doug: Looks that way. And when interest rates start rising steeply, as they’ll have to do once inflation sets in, rising to double digits as they were in the 1980s, it will crush real estate further and deeper than we’ve seen so far. It will do so all around the world, but the US will be hardest hit, I think. There’s no question in my mind: the bond bubble is by far the largest distortion we’re facing in the economy today. Bonds are incredibly dangerous, insanely risky speculations today. They’re reward-free risk. Bond owners are facing huge default risk, huge interest rate risk, and huge inflation risk. But nobody seems to see it or talk about it. L: I understand. But honestly, Doug, you’ve been saying that for a while. What makes you think this will be the year the bond balloon finds the pin it’s been searching for? Doug: You’re right – that particular bubble should have found its pin two or three years ago. I admit I thought it’d pop last year. It’s like watching a clown over-inflate a balloon; the longer he inflates it, the more you wince, because you know it’s going to blow up in his face. And the longer it takes, the closer the inevitable comes to being imminent – and the bigger the explosion becomes. It would have been so much better if the idiots who run the US government had allowed the market to fully liquidate past mistakes and distortions back in 2008. If they’d let all the big banks, brokers, hedge funds, and corporate welfare junkies fail, it would have been very unpleasant, but the country could have survived it, and come out stronger and with a healthier balance sheet as a result. The real wealth – buildings, farms, technologies, the skills of workers – would still be there. And the financial elite would have been wiped out – which would have been a good thing. But instead, they’ve ensured that the rich have gotten even richer, guaranteed by the government. They tried to drown a fire with a flood of gasoline, and it’s going to burn the country down. You know the old saw about not predicting both an event and its timing, but I don’t see how this thing can go beyond 2013. L: Well, you were right about the politicians in Washington preferring to compromise than to allow the fiscal cliff to hit the fan, so maybe you’re right about this one too. So, we should beware of the bond bubble bursting. Beware of real estate getting crushed when interest rates go up. What about stocks? Wouldn’t a lot of money fleeing falling bonds go into the stock market? Doug: Yes, a lot would, but a lot of companies would be failing as well, so I’m ambivalent about equities in general. Earnings could collapse. Companies with many millions – or even billions – in cash on their balance sheets could still get hit fast and furious by high inflation. P/E ratios are not low these days; Wall Street is not a bargain. So I’m generally neutral to bearish and therefore out of the stock market. That’s the best policy when you can make an equally compelling case for something going up or down. L: That’s exactly how I see copper and the other base metals these days. But gold is another matter. Doug: Of course. And even though gold has hit new highs in nominal dollar prices, gold has still not matched its previous peak in inflation-adjusted dollars. Really, in practical terms, nobody knows or cares about gold yet. The average guy doesn’t even know it exists – and the average guy on Wall Street thinks it’s only good for paperweights, of which the world already has a surplus. L: Gold is cheap at $1,670? Doug: No. But it’s got to go higher. The fact is that precious metals are the only financial assets that are not simultaneously somebody else’s liability. The huge counterparty liability in today’s markets has yet to make itself evident, but it will – it’s in the hundreds of trillions. That’s what the derivatives that Buffett has been talking about for a decade are all about. That makes the best single speculation I can think of today gold and silver mining stocks. For the last two years, gold stocks have been getting cheaper, even though gold has continued rising, year-on-year. That makes these stocks a better deal than they’ve been for many years. And it’s such a tiny little market, the upside when the larger world catches on will be breathtaking. My sense, based on watching these markets for 40 years, is that we’re coming up on an explosion of resource stock prices of historic proportions. The kind of stocks you and Jeff cover are absolutely the place to be. [Ed. Note: Doug is talking about the BIG GOLD and Casey International Speculator portfolios.] L: The data support you on that. If you adjust for inflation by looking at the price of gold stocks in terms of gold, they are selling for less than they have for years – almost as low as during the crash of 2008, or even back in 2001, before this bull cycle for metals got going. Doug: They are now extremely high-potential and relatively low-risk speculations – despite mining being a crappy, 19th-century choo-choo-train industry. L: [Laughs] I used that phrase of yours in the International Speculator coming out Thursday and make the same point. Doug: You provide a shopping list? L: Of course. Jeff’s got one in BG too. Doug: Good. This may be the last chance for people late to this bull market to get in at prices similar to what they could have paid before it got going. And as a matter of fact, gold was cheaper in real terms back in 2001 than it was at $35 per ounce back in 1971. People seem to have forgotten that these are the most volatile stocks on the planet. There have been a half-dozen markets I’ve personally seen over the years where junior miners and explorers went up 1,000% as a group. Perversely, people are afraid to buy these stocks now – L: The very reason they should; you have to be a contrarian to buy low and sell high. Doug: – at precisely the time when they should. I promise you, when the Mania Phase of this gold market kicks in, everyone will be piling in, and it will drive share prices not just through the roof, but to the moon. Then they’ll collapse 95% later, of course, the way they always do. But now is the time to buy them. However, since there are several thousand of them, it’s critical to be highly selective. L: Well, if speculating when others dare not were easy, everyone would do it, and there would be no speculative opportunity, so of course I agree. But back to 2013 – if you don’t think the global economy will collapse this year, can you say when? Doug: As I said last time, 2013 is going to be ugly, but it will just be a warmup for 2014. Back at the New Year’s party I went to here in Punta del Este, I asked my best friend down here the same question. He’s very rich and very shrewd. He’s of the opinion that the world will see catastrophic events of historic proportions – not just one, but several – over the next ten years. I think he’s right, and that brings us back to another point we started with: I cannot stress strongly enough that anyone who hopes to survive financially, and perhaps even physically, needs to internationalize. L: There’s the Mr. Cheerful we all know and love. Doug: Hey, I’m looking at the bright side… L: Okay then. Thanks, and we’ll talk again next week – and soon in person, in Vancouver. If you’ve never heard Doug Casey speak in person, now’s your chance – he’ll join a star-studded cast of natural resource and financial experts who will be presenting at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference January 20-21 – it’s the world’s largest investor-focused, resource-exploration conference. Doug will also be signing copies of his new book, Totally Incorrect. Other Casey Research presenters are Chief Mining and Investment Strategist Louis James; Chief Energy Investment Strategist Marin Katusa; Senior Precious Metals Analyst Jeff Clark; and CEO Olivier Garret. On the evening of January 21, there will be a VIP event for Casey’s Club members and our NextTen and Explorer’s League honorees (details to come). This is one event you don’t want to miss – you’re guaranteed to walk away with actionable investment strategies that will put you in perfect position to profit from the coming boom in natural resources. Click here for registration information.last_img read more

first_img(Interviewed by Louis James, Editor, International Speculator) L: We are speaking today with Casey Research Chief Economist Bud Conrad. Bud, in my mind, the thing that makes your insights so valuable is that you’re not actually a career economist with a Ph.D. in the subject. You are an engineer, and you bring an engineer’s systems analysis perspective to bear on economic questions. So, how does the system of the world’s economy look to you today? Is it really on the mend, as so many economists are saying? Bud: That’s a very broad question. Thanks for mentioning my background. We so often see economists arguing with economists about their points of view. I think it helps to step back and have a fresh look at things, focusing on what the data tell us, rather than focusing on their ideas based on theories… which I don’t think are correct. L: That reminds me of the old joke about a physicist, engineer, and an economist stranded on a deserted island. The only food they have is a can of beans, but they have no can opener. The physicist has an idea to use fire to open the can, but that would ruin the beans. The engineer has an idea to use rocks to open the can, but that would ruin the beans as well. The economist says: “Let’s assume a can opener.” Bud: [Chuckles] I have to say, I really do think that the intellectual bedrock of modern economics is very weak. The reality today is that governments around the world – not just the United States, but also in Europe with the ECB and Japan with Abe’s mandate to the Bank of Japan requiring it to maintain an inflation rate of 2%, and other governments as well – they are all moving in the direction of printing more money. The United States is not the worst offender, but only because we have a rich country that can afford substantial deficits. We have a system in which the government finds it easy to print money in an effort to meet everyone’s needs. Those needs include the baby-boomer generation going into retirement, with $75 trillion in future obligations, and a large and ever-growing military – much larger in proportion to GDP than what any other country in the world is maintaining. Coupled with this, we have a lack of interest in raising taxes among politicians, who see that as unpopular with voters. The politicians have no will to fix our deficits. The deficit has been papered over by the Fed printing money. However, the problem is not a matter of just this last year. Nor is it just this last recessionary period that started in 2008. The bubbles really started forming back in the 1990s when Greenspan turned on the spigots after the 1987 stock market crash. That brought on the first modern big bubble, the one in tech stocks. The dot-com bubble was very large, and its bursting should have been a lesson and a warning about what was to come. In response to the crash that followed the popping of the dot-com bubble, Greenspan lowered interest rates to around 1%. At the time, that was a new record in easy-money policy on the part of the Fed. This led to the housing bubble. The bursting of this bubble was not well predicted, not by most people, but it was by me. L: When and where, Bud? Bud: I predicted the end of the housing bubble back in 2006, when you and I were both working on the International Speculator, before we pulled out the big-picture economics and started publishing that material in The Casey Report. There was an issue in 2006 called The Coming Currency Crisis in which we said the housing bubble was bursting. But in 2007, Bernanke was still saying that the problems in the housing sector were contained. Of course, it is the nature of his job to avoid frightening people with dire comments, but in looking at the minutes of the Fed meetings it’s clear that they really didn’t have a clue as to what was going on. L: Ah, I remember that one. We got a lot of things right – made me laugh to see Bernanke on TV after the crisis hit in 2008, saying that no one could have seen it coming. Bud: Indeed. I knew we were in a bubble, just looking at the subprime lending phenomenon. Many in the mortgage industry knew we were in a bubble. The Fed’s response to the bursting of the housing bubble and everything else that’s gone wrong since 2008 has inflated a third bubble – the bond bubble, which I think is now peaking. It’s harder to predict when a bubble will burst than to identify the fact that we’re in one, which is what I’m saying now. We have the lowest interest rates in 250 years – lower than at any time since the founding of the country – created by the Federal Reserve forcing interest rates to zero in the short term. In addition, we have the Fed encouraging banks to help lower rates through buying Treasuries. On top of this, we also have some $350 trillion of swaps derivatives of interest rates – more than half of all the derivatives out there are interest-rate derivatives. Banks use these swaps to transmit lower rates to other debt instruments based on what can they can get from the Fed. This drives all rates down. L: Sounds pretty questionable… Good thing the government saved us from evil bankers in 2008, cleaned house, and set us all on the path to righteousness. Bud: I don’t think our financial situation is any more solid than before the crisis. We’ve still got many undisclosed, not yet written down, toxic financial items out there. It may be better than the middle of the worst part of the crisis, but that’s not saying much. L: So what happens next? Bud: We’ve seen 30 years of declining interest rates. I think we’ll begin to see them move in the other direction this year. I think rates on everything from high-yield corporate bonds to government bonds – which are considered the safest – are way lower than they should be. Consider the high probability of inflation ahead, the currency exchange rate risk, and the eventual default risk. All three risks are totally undiscounted by the market, because of the distortion created by the Fed. That will hit its limit at some point. Some people say the Fed can keep up its juggling act forever. I don’t agree. L: Doug has been describing the bond market as “a triple threat to your capital” for some time now. I understand that it is difficult to predict exactly when a market bubble will pop, but can you give us some indicators to watch for? What would be conclusive evidence that the popping is actually under way? Bud: That’s a tough question. I’ve done extensive work on when countries explode. The premier take away from Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff’s best-selling book, This Time Is Different, is that when debt gets to 90% of GDP, that’s when things get risky. Well, we have $15 trillion in GDP and $16.4 trillion of debt. That’s well-publicized now, because of the political wrangling over the debt ceiling, which we’ve actually already exceeded. L: So we’re already in the red zone? Bud: We do have some advantages over other countries. We have a big military, which does cost us, but also tends to make other powers more cooperative. Most of our debt is denominated in our own currency, which gives us a big advantage over a smaller country that has debt denominated in US dollars – if their currencies fall against the dollar, their troubles are compounded. So we can probably push things further than the 90% threshold. That’s not a hard number by the way, just an average within a fairly wide footprint. However, with our level of debt to GDP, most countries would already be looking at something on the order of 10% interest rates, whereas we’ve got something in the neighborhood of 2% for the 10-year Treasury. This is an extreme distortion from what the market would dictate under such circumstances. So, will interest rates start rising now that we’re over 100% debt to GDP? I know rates can’t go much lower, so I expect they will be heading up from here. Look at the trillion dollars a year in new debt we’re accumulating, and consider that in four years we will have more than $20 trillion in government debt. At 5% interest, that would require a trillion dollars a year in interest payments. We only collect $2.5 trillion in federal taxes. I don’t see how we could reach such a number without something breaking. That’s four years away, but since we know it’s coming, we should already be preparing for the problems that can be anticipated. All that’s needed for things to break down is some event that causes a panic. Such an event might be some foreign government with a huge trade surplus with the US that it has invested in US Treasuries deciding that the 2% they’re getting paid to hold them is not worth it in the face of 5% inflation in the things they need to buy, like raw materials. If something like that were to happen, it could spark a race to head for the exits on US bonds. This highlights a real Achilles heel we have, compared to other countries that don’t have as huge a trade deficit as we do. L: So a good sign that the balloon is going up would be that the interest rates start rising despite the government’s efforts to keep them down? Bud: Yes. There will come a time when the Fed announces a new easing program and the market ignores the announcement so that rates rise rather than fall, and stocks fall rather than rise. At that point the game is surely over. Watching interest rates is certainly important in terms of keeping track of the turning tide. If they move from 2% toward 4% – which is not a very large change in historical terms – they could then accelerate and push the whole mess off a cliff very quickly. L: The Keynesians will just answer that all this deficit spending will stimulate the economy, which will then grow at a more rapid rate and enable us to afford the debt. But is that even possible? Wouldn’t we need a double-digit GDP growth rate, such as China used to enjoy, to pull that off? Bud: Well, in the simplest terms, if your debt is growing faster than your GDP, you won’t ever be able to pay it off. It’s simple math. Now if you look at the kind of debt problems governments get into, there comes a critical point at which people recognize that the problem is too big to be solved. The most recent high-profile example of this is what happened to Greece. In such a case, there are only a few things you can do. The first is to find someone bigger to bail you out. Greece found that the ECB was able to bail it out – at least for a time, but they’re still in trouble. The United States is too big for that. The second thing you can do is to hope you can grow out of it, as you just suggested some might argue. The US’s debt growth has been bigger than GDP growth for decades. It’s just not credible to argue that we can grow our way out of our debt. The next alternative is to simply declare default, as Argentina and Russia have done, among others. This is what many countries along the southern fringe of Europe are likely to do, in my opinion. The public in these countries is rebelling against the austerity plans the ECB is requiring. Default of some kind is their only alternative. Default is very destructive in the short term, greatly reducing the ability of governments to borrow and spend in the future. It’s also politically very unpalatable, especially in places like the US, where most people can’t even conceive of their government defaulting on its obligations. This leaves only one alternative: printing money to try to kick the can down the road. This is the path we are on. It too is highly destructive, but that destruction is hidden and delayed. It is not, however, sustainable, and I think we will see a breakdown in the not-too-distant future. L: How “not-too-distant?” Bud: My current intuition is that we will begin to see this happening in the near term, meaning this year. As that gets going, it will build momentum and accelerate. That’s my current prediction: the third bubble created by the many years of easy money policy by the Fed, the bond bubble, will pop soon. L: In discussing this last week, Doug and I likened this to a house of cards. Everyone knows it’s shaky, and nobody wants to get caught when it comes down. That means that when it starts, the collapse should come very quickly. Do you think we could see a 2008 level of crisis arising from the bursting of this bubble as early as this year? Bud: I don’t want to predict exactly what will happen when, but I am willing to say that we have seen the lows in interest rates and they will start rising this year. L: That’s still a bold statement. Do you have a theory as to why European countries – most of which are far more overtly socialist than the United States – are struggling to embrace austerity measures, while in the US, aside from some small budget cuts generating big headlines, there’s no real consideration being given to actually trying to live within our means? Bud: I would simply say that the Europeans have better PR. I really don’t think they are that much different. The ECB has said it will do whatever it takes to defend the euro – that means printing more euros. The public statements about austerity have been effective enough that they haven’t had to do much printing in the last six months, but Europe looks no better off to me now than it did six months ago. France is weakening greatly, and that’s one of the pillars of strength being relied upon to help carry the others. The ECB is kind of a paper tiger. It’s supposed to be able to print up money and rely on the strong countries to back them up. But can anyone take the idea of France bailing out Italy and Spain seriously? It’s just another house of cards. Most people don’t realize that not only is there the ECB, but each country has its own central bank. While in theory the central bank of each country is not allowed to print euros, a loophole that is not understood is that the TARGET2 money transfer system causes them to enlarge their balance sheets. This is the same thing as printing money. This is particularly true of the German Bundesbank, which is owed money by the ECB, which is owed money by Spain and other importing countries. The system is unsustainable, and I think the process of collapse is starting, though it may take a while to gather momentum. I admit that I’m surprised by the current relative strength of the euro. I think that it will weaken from here. I see enough problems in the world’s financial system and our own to say that while the dollar may not look particularly weak in foreign exchange, all of these paper currencies are tragically flawed. At some point people will wake up to their lack of intrinsic value and not care whether it’s pesos or dollars you’re offering them – they won’t take anything backed by nothing. L: Gee, Bud, you’re as gloomy as Doug! Bud: [Laughs] It’s not a contest! It’s just what the data are telling me: Europe is in recession. Next up is Japan, which is trying to bail itself out for the 43rd time in the last 20 years by printing money. I think the US will be the third domino to fall – I think we’re heading for stagflation by the end of this year. L: We should also probably warn people against speculating in real estate, because even though those assets are real, real estate is going to get slaughtered if interest rates rise. Bud: Good point. But the fact remains that the size of this bubble is bigger than the other two that have popped already. The debt market is on the order of $53 trillion across all sorts of debt. The stock market is only $15 trillion. The home real-estate market is $20 trillion. So when the debt market crashes, it’ll be two or three times worse than the previous bubbles bursting. The resulting wealth transfer will be much larger than most economists can even understand – most don’t really focus on debt. It’s critical that the measuring stick they’re using, the dollar, is made of rubber. They are going to be caught off guard, and many people are going to be wiped out. L: Okay, so how do we position ourselves to invest? Bud: I don’t know if I would pick an inverse interest rate ETF or futures market short position yet. The fundamental thing is not to keep your cash in a bank account that is essentially paying you a zero interest rate. I look to invest in safe-haven assets like the precious metals, essential needs like energy, and real estate – particular things like productive agricultural real estate. I might even add stocks in general to the list… L: Doug disagrees on that last one. Bud: Mainstream economists are saying that the worst is over and that the blue chips will head higher. I’m saying the worst is not over, and with inflation on the way, higher nominal stock prices will not translate to big returns in real terms. They might do better than your .01% CD, but the gains will not be attractive in terms of increased purchasing power. I didn’t recommend stocks because I think they’re going to be big winners, but simply as a way to avoid losing money on bank deposits. I’d rather own gold, personally. But the important thing to understand is that as paper money is being made worthless, we need to protect ourselves. L: Okay, I get it. I think I need a beer… or better yet, a hug from my children – that always makes me feel better. But I do appreciate your candid assessment. It helps to explain some of the things Doug’s guru-vision has been telling us. Thanks. I think. Bud: You’re welcome. Thanks for giving me a chance to give my warning. I just hope people will listen. Bud Conrad is the author of Profiting from the World’s Economic Crisis. He also shares his economic and investment insights in The Casey Report, a monthly advisory that focuses on profit opportunities in emerging trends. For more information on the topics discussed, listen to Bud’s recent interview with Jim Puplava of Financial Sense.last_img read more

first_img Recommended Links Communists, Trotskyites, Maoists We remember discussing the radicals’ strategy back in 1969. This is where the nostalgia comes in… Last night, we stayed at a tiny hotel in Paris, near where we first got to know the city 43 years ago. We had gone for a semester abroad, after discovering that the tuition at the University of Paris was only $80. That meant that even with airfare, it was cheaper to go to the Sorbonne than to the University of Maryland. The semester turned into a lifelong relationship, marked by equal periods of affection and disgust. We didn’t speak French at the time, but we had had four years of it in high school. That seemed like plenty. (Although it later proved comically insufficient.) But we were adventurous back then. And penniless. So, we got ourselves to Paris… and hung out at the bars around St.-Germain-des-Prés. It was a very different city in the 1960s. It was a world leader in fashion, technology, movies, food, and philosophy. But Paris had a problem back then, too. Communists, Trotskyites, Maoists, anarchists, syndicalists, and students – in 1968, they rebelled, ripped up the streets to build barricades out of the paving stones (the streets were covered with asphalt soon after), and engaged with the police in pitched battles. By the time we arrived a year later, skirmishes between gendarmes and radical groups were still going on. The organized rebels would race around a corner, throw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police who formed up into protected phalanxes with their clear plastic shields. Then the cops would suddenly charge the insurgents, swinging their billy clubs at anyone they could reach. Trained and practiced, the terrorists would retreat quickly. This left the police with nobody to rough up except innocent onlookers. That is how your editor nearly got hospitalized. Walking down the street, he was mistaken for a radical… knocked to the ground and worked over by three policemen, who eagerly went about their work with happy cudgels. Revolutionary Strategy Sitting in a café with a bandaged face, we discussed the revolutionaries’ strategy with a young French intellectual of Trotskyite tendencies. Even almost a half-century later, we recalled the conversation when we passed the café (still in business) where it took place. “Oh… sorry to see you got beaten up,” he said. “But it’s just collateral damage. We’re making headway. “The police don’t like it when we attack them. It’s a point of pride, more than anything else. So, they overreact. But the more they show on TV people like you getting beaten up by the cops, the more the working class comes over to our side. We’re going to win.” The revolutionaries did not win. They did not topple the Fifth Republic. But they eventually got much of what they wanted – free schooling… free drugs and medical attention… a high-cost, zombified, crony economy… a bureaucratized, tightly regulated society… even a 35-hour workweek. And now look at it. “Yes, it’s a mess…” repeated the voice behind us. Regards, Bill Bonner’s Analyst Issues Urgent Buy for This Wednesday This stock is in the same position as two other well-known stocks right before they jumped 121%… and 205%. Bill Bonner is investing $250,000 in it through his family trust later this week… but if you click here, you could get in on it before him. – Major Shift in World’s Largest Financial Market (40x Larger Than the Stock Market) Could it send gold to $11,000/oz.? Four of the world’s smartest billionaires might think so. They’re all “backing up the trucks” on gold. Learn more here.center_img Bill Editor’s note: The rising tide of global terror is only strengthening the “Deep State’s” grip on you and your life. And in his latest warning, Bill explains exactly how this shadowy group of unelected elites is corrupting our financial system… and pushing the U.S. economy closer and closer to an imminent breakdown. But he also offers some individual financial solutions you can put in place on your own to help you and your children live in a safe, prosperous, and free country. Watch here now. — Editor’s note: Agora founder Bill Bonner was just in Paris…While he was there, he was reminded of the time he spent there in the 1960s… Back when he was knocked to the ground and nearly hospitalized by three policemen… VIENNA – Real money must reflect the realities of the real economy. If it becomes detached from economic reality, like a clock that no longer tells the right time, it becomes a hazard to everyone. Appointments are missed. Trains crash. You show up at the airport and find the plane left two hours ago! Air France is on strike. Our flight – with Austrian Airlines – left an hour late as a result. “This is a mess,” we said to nobody in particular, as we waited for a plane this morning. “Welcome to France,” said a voice behind us. Murdered by Barbarians Puzzling out the secrets of money and interest rates was interrupted by the news… and nostalgia. The gruesome details: An 86-year-old French priest was forced to kneel in his church. Then his throat was cut. “Murdered by Barbarians,” screamed a headline in the French newspaper Le Figaro. “We must be pitiless,” said former president Nicolas Sarkozy. “It’s war.” He may have picked up a few lines from Saint Bernard, rehearsed nearly 1,000 years ago. In the Burgundian town of Vézelay, on March 31, 1146, St. Bernard of Clairvaux delivered his famous oration on responding to the Muslim threat: Will you allow the infidels to contemplate in peace the ravages they have committed on Christian people? […] Fly then to arms; let a holy rage animate you in the fight, and let the Christian world resound with these words of the prophet: “Cursed be he who does not stain his sword with blood!” In France – as in the U.S. – saintly politicians compete to see who can most convincingly promise to “get tough.” Of course, getting tough is just what the so-called Islamic State (known in France by its Arabic acronym, Daesh) wants. The strategy is ancient. More than 2,000 years ago, radical Jewish groups conducted a war of terror against their Roman masters, hoping to provoke a crackdown by the authorities… leading to the radicalization of the masses. Did it work? Depends on how you look at it. The Jews got their crackdown. Vespasian and Titus put down their insurrection, leveled Jerusalem, destroyed The Temple and, according to Josephus, killed 1.1 million Jews.last_img read more

first_imgA former nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., was arrested and charged with reckless homicide and abuse in February for making a medical mistake that resulted in an elderly patient’s death. Criminal charges for a medical error are unusual, patient safety experts say. Some are voicing concern that the move sets a precedent that may actually make hospitals less safe by making people hesitant to report errors. The nurse, RaDonda Vaught, pleaded not guilty. Her next hearing is scheduled for April 11. She told NPR in an emailed statement from her lawyer that Vanderbilt terminated her employment after the incident.The district attorney’s decision to charge Vaught comes after both the Tennessee Department of Health and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services investigated the incident. The state health department investigation, which concluded in October 2018, did not revoke Vaught’s nursing license.The CMS report emphasizes the hospital’s responsibility in the mistake. “The hospital failed to ensure all patients received care in a safe setting,” the report says. Vanderbilt University Medical Center officials would not comment on the case. The report details how Vaught mistakenly took the wrong medicine out of a dispensing cabinet. She was trying to give the patient, Charlene Murphey, a dose of an anti-anxiety medication, midazolam (brand name Versed), before an imaging scan during a December 2017 hospital stay, the report states. Vaught instead gave Murphey vecuronium, a paralytic drug used during anesthesia that had the same first two letters, according to the report. Murphey died in an intensive care unit the following day.The Nashville District Attorney’s office told the Tennessean it made the decision to bring criminal charges against Vaught specifically because she administered the fatal medication after overriding the safety mechanism in the dispensing machine.Medical errors are common. Some researchers estimate they’re the third leading cause of death in the United States. And many in the patient safety community say they don’t understand what prompted the DA’s office to prosecute this case in particular. DA spokesman Stephen Hayslip told NPR in an email that “the actions of this office will become more evident as the evidence is presented to the court.” He declined to comment further.Nurses around the country have come to Vaught’s defense, speaking out on social media and on opinion pages. The American Nurses Association issued a statement criticizing the charges, saying that “the criminalization of medical errors could have a chilling effect” on health care workers’ willingness to report errors. The phenomenon of criminally charging health care providers after a patient is harmed is rare, “but it grows less unusual every year,” says Stephen Hurley, a Wisconsin lawyer who has defended nurses in similar cases and advised hospitals on the topic.Most high-profile cases tend to involve death, a significant injury or a patient well-known in the community, he says. And prosecutors tend to focus on nurses, he says, rather than physicians or hospital administrators, though he’s not sure why.Suen Ross, the ANA’s director of nursing practice and workplace environment, thinks that it’s unusual for health care providers to be charged with a crime after a medical mistake that didn’t involve malicious intent or intoxication. She calls Vaught’s case “unprecedented” because neither of these factors are cited in the CMS report.Ross says it’s important for health care workers to feel free to report errors without fear of retribution. All health care mistakes — even small ones — should be analyzed to understand the underlying issues that caused them, Ross says. A non-punitive approach encourages transparency, she says, and “that prevents future mistakes or errors from happening.” This approach to preventing errors is well-accepted in the medical and nursing communities, which makes a criminal case like Vaught’s all the more surprising, says Kirstin Manges, a nurse and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania who studies patient safety.”That could have happened to me, or it could have happened to my friend,” Manges says. “Nurses aren’t superheroes. We’re people.”Manges says that most medical errors occur because of systemic problems. Human error is inevitable, she says, and hospitals should account for that by instituting safety checks and protocols.Problems tend to happen in busy, unpredictable circumstances, Manges says. When nurses are fatigued or have many tasks occupying their attention, that’s when safety checks are most important, she adds.”We work in environments that are fast-paced,” she says. “We may not always work in ideal situations.”The safety checks Manges describes can take many forms and are designed under the assumption that doctors and nurses will have occasional slip-ups. For example, many hospitals require a nurse to scan a bar code from the pharmacy and on the patient’s identifying bracelet before giving a medication, or to use preprogrammed intravenous pumps that prevent medications from being administered too quickly. Even the medication override function that Vaught used, Manges says, can have an important function: Nurses need to be able to quickly access medications in an emergency situation when they can’t wait for verification from a pharmacist.And when health care workers do make mistakes, Ross argues hospitals usually shouldn’t punish staff. Disciplinary action is warranted, she says, only when there’s evidence that staff acted irresponsibly.When the Institute of Medicine — now known as the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine — put out a major 1999 report titled To Err Is Human, Manges says, it became the norm to focus less on punishment and more on learning from mistakes.But Vaught’s case has the potential to change that, she fears.”It shifts that conversation from ‘to err is human’ to ‘to err is criminal,’ ” Manges says. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

first_imgTwo people got very sick, and one died, during a trial of an experimental procedure known as fecal transplant, according to a statement issued Thursday from the Food and Drug Administration. As a result, the agency is suspending several clinical trials investigating the procedure until safety standards can be assured. Researchers are studying fecal microbiota for transplantation, or FMT, as a treatment for several intestinal conditions, including recurrent, antibiotic-resistant Clostridium difficile infection, which led to 29,000 deaths in 2015. FMT, which involves transplanting stool from a healthy person into the colon of a sick person, is still not approved by the FDA. This week’s case involved two immuno-compromised adults who received investigational fecal transplants that contained a strain of antibiotic-resistant E. coli, according to the FDA. Both individuals received stool from the same donor, who was not screened for disease-causing bacteria before the procedure. While the FDA does not currently approve FMT for any use, the agency provides some guidelines for clinical trials of FMT, and seeks “to strike a balance between assuring patient safety and facilitating access to unapproved treatments for unmet medical needs,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, in the FDA statement.In response to these adverse outcomes, the FDA announced new standards requiring researchers in clinical trials to demonstrate proper screening procedures for donor stool. “This case is really unfortunate,” says Dr. Dale Gerding, a researcher at the Veterans Administration who consults on a number of FMT trials currently under review by the FDA. “I think it reinforces the need for FDA oversight over FMT. It’s exceedingly useful some patients, but we need to be sure that it’s safe.” Fecal transplants have been successful in treating C. difficile infections in several trials. According to Gerding, recurrent bouts of C. difficile infection likely stem from an abnormal intestinal microbiome that allows C. difficile to multiply unabated by “good” bacteria. Recurrent bouts of the infection are also increasingly resistant to antibiotics, leaving patients with few options.Fecal transplants from a healthy individual can normalize the patients’ microbiota, quelling the infection and relieving symptoms. Studies show that it works better than other treatments for recurrent infection. “Anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of patients no longer have recurrent cases after a single FMT,” says Gerding.But despite its success, Gerding cautions that there are still many unknowns. “FMT is very promising, especially for C. difficile infection, but we don’t know as much about how effective it’s going to be for other diseases like inflammatory bowel disease,” he says. Despite these unknowns, interest in FMT is surging, with some patients taking a do-it-yourself approach.Gerding hopes this recent case will underline the need for enforcement of safe procedures. “This death is the most extreme side effect I’m aware of in the history of FMT,” says Gerding. “Moving forward we have to clearly be sure that we’re enforcing safety measures that ensure that donors are tested for potential pathogens.” Jonathan Lambert is a freelance science journalist based in Washington, D.C. You can follow him on Twitter: @evolambert Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more