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Report: Raiders working out Kyler Murray, Ohio State QB this week, but why?

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first_imgA ruse? A trick play? Due diligence? An April fool’s joke?Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer has reported the Raiders are holding a private workout with Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Kyler Murray at Oklahoma on Monday. The Raiders’ brief roadie will conclude in Ohio State on Tuesday when they work out quarterback Dwayne Haskins.The question is, why?The Raiders have and apparently like Derek Carr, who has started 78 of the team’s 80 games since he was drafted. Just last week, coach Jon …last_img

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Qantas the safest airline

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first_imgWorst CrashesDate                 Aircraft                                     Airline                       Fatalities           Location          Jan 29             CRJ                                           SCAT                         21                     Almaty Airport. KazakhstanJuly 7              DHC-3T Turbine Otter               Rediske Air               10                     Soldotna Airport, USAOct 3               Embraer Brasilia                        Associated                  16                     Lagos, NigeriaOct 14             Cessna 208B                             AereoServicio              14                     Loreto Airport. MexicoOct 16             ATR-72-212A                             Lao Airlines                49                     Pakse Airport, LaosNov 17             Boeing 737                               Tatarstan                   50                     Kazan Airport. RussiaNov 29             Embraer ERJ 190                     LAM                            33                     Bwabwata NP Zambia Ten Best Airlines *Qantas                                  Air New Zealand            Emirates                      Etihad                         Cathay Pacific              Singapore Airlines        Virgin Atlantic              EVA Air                       All Nippon Airways                 Royal Jordanian          * Rated seven stars for safety and product. AirlineRatings.com the world’s only safety and product rating website has announced its top ten safest airlines for 2013 from the 448 it monitors.Top of the list is Qantas which has a fatality free record in the jet era (since 1951). Making up the top ten with seven stars for safety and in- flight product are in alphabetical order: Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Eva Air, Royal Jordanian, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.AirlineRatings.com’s rating system takes into account a number of different factors related to audits from aviation’s governing bodies and lead associations as well as government audits and the airline’s fatality record.Of the 448 airlines surveyed 137 have the top seven-star safety ranking, but almost 50 have just three stars or less.Over its 93 year history Qantas has amassed an extraordinary record of firsts in safety and operations. In 2008 in its successful defence, to the British Advertising Standards Association, of its claim that it is the world’s most experienced airline Qantas was able to list almost 30 notable industry leading achievements.These included the war time operation from Perth, Australia of what was then, and still is, the world’s longest air route by elapsed time from Perth to Colombo, Sri Lanka giving passengers an award dubbed “The Order of the Double Sunrise.”This service, using Catalina Flying Boats, took about 28 hours non-stop and was performed in radio silence to avoid the Japanese. When the flights ended on July 18 1945, the aircraft had made 271 crossings and had carried 858 passengers more than one million miles without a single accident.Qantas was the first international airline to operate around world service with its Lockheed Super Constellations in 1958 and the first to take delivery of the Boeing 707 outside the US in 1959.The Australian airline was also amongst the first to pioneer technical breakthroughs such as long range operations for twin-engine planes and the development of the Future Air Navigation System. Qantas was a leader in using the Flight Data Recorder to monitor plane and later crew performance in 1962. Only six parameters were available unlike today’s FDRs which monitor 500 on the most advanced planes.Qantas has also been a leader in a wide variety of recent cockpit innovations such as automatic landings using Global Navigation Satellite System as well as precision approaches around mountains in cloud. Dubbed GLS and RNP these technologies are cutting edge.Qantas was the lead airline with real time monitoring of its engines across its fleet using Satellite Communications, which has enabled the airline to detect problems before they become a major safety issues.And 2013 was the safest for flying since 1945, with only 269 deaths from 29 accidents.According to the Aviation Safety Network the results are well below the 10-year average of 32 accidents and 719 fatalities.The worst accident was the crash of a Tatarstan Boeing 737-500 operating Flight U9-363 from Moscow to Kazan, which killed all 44 passengers and six crew aboard. The 737-500 was on its second approach to land in strong winds on November 17 and was about to go around for a third time when it hit the runway and exploded in flames.Tatarstan, a small regional airline from central Russia has not completed the critical International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). Airlines that have completed IOSA have a safety record 77 per cent better than those which have not.On October 17, 49 passengers and crew lost their lives when a Lao Airlines ATR72 crashed while on approach to Pakse in Laos. Flight QV301 left Vientiane almost four hours late because of bad weather at the destination airport. It took off at 2.45pm local time and on descent to land hit a severe rain squall associated with tropical storm Nari which had battered the Philippines.Like Tatarstan, Lao Airlines was only rated as a four-star (out of seven) airline by AirlineRatings.com in part because it had not completed IOSA. Other major airlines in SE-Asia that have not completed IOSA include; Air Bagan; Cebu Pacific; Lion Air and Merpati Air.The most miraculous escape was for the 304 passengers and crew that walked away from the spectacular crash of the Asiana Boeing 777 at San Francisco International Airport in July. Only three passengers died, when the Boeing 777 hit the runway sea wall and flipped over.center_img Lowest Ranked Airlines  One StarKam Air                                Scat                                        Bluewing Airlines                       Two StarAfghan Airways               Daallo Airlines                Eritrean Airlines              Lion Air                         Merpati Airlines              Susi Air                         Air Bagan                      last_img read more

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10 months agoInter Milan agree to meet terms demanded by Arsenal midfielder Ramsey

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first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Inter Milan agree to meet terms demanded by Arsenal midfielder Ramseyby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveInter Milan are close to a deal with Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey.La Repubblica says Inter met Ramsey’s agent on Wednesday, where an agreement was reached in principle for the Welshman to arrive on July 1.It’s suggested Ramsey, 27, is demanding €6-7m a season – and the Nerazzurri are prepared to meet the demand, given the urgency to invest.A deal for January hasn’t been ruled out with coach Luciano Spalletti eager to work with Ramsey immediately.AC Milan, whose CEO is ex-Arsenal man Ivan Gazidis, is also interested in Ramsey. last_img

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New York Post Under Scrutiny For Ridiculous Article Title

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first_imgNew York Post article says Johnny Manziel receiver admits to randomly killing jogger.new york post title johnny manzielIt’s become common practice for online publications to beef up article titles in an attempt to lure in readers. What you’ll see below is a little beyond the realm of what’s considered acceptable, however.Monday, reports surfaced that former Texas A&M wide receiver Thomas Johnson – who played for the Aggies for one year – had admitted to murdering a man in Dallas on a jogging trail. Tuesday morning, the New York Post went with a very questionable title for its version of the story.I mean, come on @nypost. pic.twitter.com/DEsvuU9DyU— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) October 13, 2015Johnny Manziel, obviously, has nothing to do with the story.So far, the publication hasn’t backed down and changed its title. But it hasn’t been getting a very favorable response on social media.last_img read more

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K Line Gets Nod to Shed Heavy Lift Subsidiary

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first_imgzoom Japan’s shipping firm Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) has received board approval to dispose of its subsidiary company, the owner and operator of heavy lift vessels, SAL Heavy Lift GmbH (SAL).The subsidiary would be transferred to SALTO Holding GmbH & Co. KG. (SALTO), according to data provided by K Line.The move comes on the back of a number of difficulties that SAL encountered as the company “struggled after financial crisis in 2008 and profitability of owning asset has been depressed, heavily affected by low-price in energy markets.”After reviewing its business portfolio in mid-term management plan in 2016, K Line decided “that the best solution should be to transfer the business to SALTO.”K Line said that it is not estimated that financial loss will be recorded in this fiscal year following the transaction.Japan’s shipping major entered into an agreement to take 50% shares of SAL in 2007 in order to diversify its business. In 2011, K Line took all the rest of the shares and SAL became a 100% subsidiary company.last_img read more

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On May 9th Forum Uranium Corp and Mega Uranium L

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first_imgOn May 9th, Forum Uranium Corp. and Mega Uranium Ltd. announced a new basement-hosted uranium discovery on the Opie target on  the NW Athabasca property. Seven of nine holes drilled on the Opie zone encountered uranium mineralization at shallow depths,  within a zone of strong red hydrothermal alteration in basement rocks. The zone remains open along strike and down dip, so there is great potential for more mineralization within the zone. There are 15 more gravity targets , untested by drilling, which could prove to be multiple mineralized zones on the property. With further discoveries like Forum’s,  the western Athabasca Basin, could prove to be on the same scale as the Eastern Athabasca Basin. Attached is the link to a more descriptive analysis of the discovery and buy recommendation issued by Dundee Securities. GLD added 67,954 troy ounces of gold…but over at SLV an authorized participant added a whopping 3,299,537 ounces of silver.It was nice to see some positive price action in gold for a change…and by 3:00 p.m. Hong Kong time it was up about ten bucks…and was still up ten dollars going into the London p.m. gold fix, which came shortly before 10:00 a.m. in New York.The gold price then jumped about $15 once the fix was in…and by lunchtime in New York, it had reached its high of day, which Kitco recorded as $1,584.80 spot.  From there, gold got sold off ten dollars in short order…and then traded sideways into the close of electronic trading.Gold closed the Thursday session at $1,574.30 spot…up $34.00 on the day.  Net volume was immense once again at 182,000 contracts.Silver had a pretty decent day as well…and was up about 50 cents by 3:00 p.m. Hong Kong time.  From there the price slid until 1:00 p.m. in London…about twenty minutes before the Comex open.  From there, the silver price rose in fits and starts until noon in New York.  And, like gold, that was the high tick of the day…$28.35 spot…and from there silver got sold off to the $28 mark at the close of Comex trading…and then traded flat into the close electronic trading at 5:15 p.m. Eastern time.Silver finished the Thursday trading day at $28.05 spot…up 78 cents.  Volume was pretty heavy at 44,000 contracts.The dollar index oscillated within about a 40 basis point price range yesterday…bouncing off the 81.6 price level for the second time in as many day…and finished up about 15 basis points.  Not much to see here.The gold stocks gapped up at the open in New York.  The London p.m. gold fix at 10:00 a.m…and the New York high at noon yesterday, are the most prominent features on this chart.  After the high tick was in, the stocks faded a bit, but held onto a large portion of their gains.  The HUI finished up 4.45%.For the most part, the silver stocks were on fire yesterday, but three of the seven stocks that make up Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index did not share in the fun…and the SSI finished up only 2.87%.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report was another yawner, which it has a tendency to become once we get past the first full week of deliveries in any delivery month.  They reported that 35 gold and 21 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Monday.Both GLD and SLV had changes to report yesterday.  GLD added 67,954 troy ounces of gold…but over at SLV an authorized participant added a whopping 3,299,537 ounces of silver.  Considering the lousy silver price action of earlier this week…and the smallish increase in the price of silver yesterday…I would assume [like the counterintuitive deposit in SLV on Monday] that this deposit had something to do with covering a short position.  But, as I mentioned yesterday, we won’t really know for sure until the report comes out over at shortsqueeze.com next week…and even then I don’t think that this addition will be in it, because I believe that it occurred after the cut-off date.  We’ll see.The U.S. Mint did not have a sales report yesterday.Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday, they reported receiving 605,838 troy ounces of silver…and shipped 288,396 ounces of the stuff out the door.  The link to that action is here.Today’s first chart is courtesy of Washington state reader S.A.  As you can see, it’s the 3-year dollar index…and as one commentator over at Zero Hedge put it yesterday…”When the US dollar is your ‘safe haven’, you know you’ve hit rock bottom.”  Amen to that.(Click on image to enlarge)Here’s another happy looking chart…and should make everyone on a ‘blue pill’ diet feel a little better.  The chart and dialogue say it all.(Click on image to enlarge)I said I was going to post the charts on silver yesterday that German gold analyst Dimitri Speck sent me earlier this week, but they got preempted by others, so here they are now.  The first one is the 14-year silver chart from August 1998 to the end of 2011.  Three stand-out features are the 12 o’clock noon London silver fix…and in New York it’s the secondary decline at the London p.m. gold fix at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time…and, surprisingly enough, the high for silver on average over the last fourteen years of Comex trading comes at twelve o’clock noon in New York…exactly what happened with silver during yesterday’s price action.  You can read into that what you wish.(Click on image to enlarge)Dimitri’s second chart for silver is just for 2011…and even a cursory glance tells you that it’s an entirely different looking beast than the previous chart.  Now the three stand-out features on this chart are the usual London silver fix at noon local time…but the high in Comex trading in New York is now 10:30 a.m….not noon.  And the amazing thing is that there is now a secondary low equivalent to the London silver fix that occurs shortly after 3:00 p.m. in electronic trading…and the whole chart has a negative bias to it as well.  As you can tell, the selling in the New York session last year became much more ferocious once the high was in for the day.(Click on image to enlarge)Dimitri’s gold Intraday Price Movements charts for gold showed up on the Internet about ten years ago and caused a sensation when they did.  This is the first time he’s done it for silver, so these charts are new for me as well.I have the usual number of stories…and I hope you find a few that float your boat.The vast majority of people do not seek wisdom; they seek affirmation of their core beliefs. – Author unknownI don’t know what to make of yesterday’s price action.  I was certainly happy to see prices move higher…but I found the huge volume that went with it rather disturbing.  I’d rather see light volume on big price moves…and that certainly wasn’t the case yesterday.Well, all the stories that I’ve been posting this week have led me…and probably yourself…to the obvious conclusion that the entire world is starting to float off the rails, especially in Europe.  But don’t kid yourself, if Greece goes, it won’t be too long before the rest of the E.U…and it’s beloved currency…follow it down the drain.  Right after that will come the rest of the world, as the economic, financial and monetary systems of this planet are one giant Gordian Knot…and no amount of cheating or ‘thinking outside the box’ will make any difference.  There’s no way out of this where there will be one man standing.  And if there is one man standing, it will redefine the word Pyrrhic Victory.The only thing left of value will be hard assets…with gold and silver at the top of the list…whether it is remonetized or not.Today we get the much anticipated [at least by me] Commitment of Traders Report…and as I’ve mentioned several times already this week, it will be one for the record books.  I’m particularly interested in seeing the situation in silver…the Commercial net short position…and the positions of the ‘1-4’ and ‘5-8’ short holders in that metal.  It’s just too bad that it won’t include what happened during the 24 hours and 15 minutes after the Tuesday cut-off, as that included the absolute low.Here’s the Total PMs Pool for all precious metals that Nick Laird keeps updated on a daily basis.  We just hit another new high [barely] in physical ounces in all four precious metals combined.  If you check the period from the end of December to the close of trading yesterday on this chart, you will see that the ‘total ounces held’ has been in a permanent up-trend.  During that time period gold rose and fell about $250…and silver rose and fell more than $10…platinum rose and fell about $310…and palladium rose and fell about $150.  None of this price movement had anything to do with the physical market…it was all paper trading in the Comex futures market.(Click on image to enlarge)The gold price did nothing through all of Far East trading on their Friday afternoon, but shortly after London opened, the price has ticked up about ten bucks.  Silver traded within a 20 cent range during the same time period, but is also up in mid-morning London trading.  Volume’s are already monstrous, so it’s obvious that these rallies are running into massive resistance from JPMorgan et al.  It will be interesting to see how things unfold once trading begins in New York at 8:20 a.m. Eastern time.And as I hit the ‘send’ button at 5:20 a.m. Eastern time, it appears that the rallies in both gold and silver have been stopped in their respective tracks for the moment.  Gold is currently up ten bucks…and silver is only up 17 cents.There’s still the opportunity to either readjust your portfolio, or get fully invested in the continuing major up-leg of this bull market in both silver and gold…and I respectfully suggest that you take a trial subscription to either Casey Research’s International Speculator [junior gold and silver exploration companies], or BIG GOLD [large producers], with all our best (and current) recommendations…as well as the archives. Don’t forget that our 90-day guarantee of satisfaction is in effect for both publications.I hope you have a good weekend…and I’ll see here tomorrow sometime. Sponsor Advertisementlast_img read more

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In This Issue Dollar recovers losses after FM

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first_imgIn This Issue. * Dollar recovers losses after FMM. * Cyclone hits Australia. * Oil trades in a tight range. * Connection problems for Chuck! And Now. Today’s A Pfennig For Your Thoughts. Greece Makes Its Proposal . Good Day!…And a Happy Friday to one and all! This was a holiday-shortened week, but it still seemed quite long to me, as I kept thinking all day yesterday that it was Friday.. UGH!  The new Polar Vortex has come south.. Can you believe that? Sure it will only last a day, and we’ll have temperatures back to normal in a couple of days, but for today. Well, this is not the weather I signed up for! Oh, quit your complaining, Chuck, back home in St. Louis this stuff goes on and on and on, until you’re at wit’s end.  And besides. It’s a Friday! Time to get everything finished, and get to work on a weekend! I’m experiencing wireless/ internet problems this morning, so this letter may or may not go out on time. UGH!  I guess the shoddy ISP service we get here, can’t stand the cold. The Great George Harrison greets me this morning with his song: While My Guitar Gently Weeps. George Harrison was a very talented guitar player and writer of music. One of my faves.  OK. well, with the internet down, I’m using my iPhone to get news. Gee, that’s fun. NOT!  But from what I can tell the dollar has the conn again, and has recovered all that it lost right after the Fed Meeting Minutes (FMM) on Wednesday. Apparently, it was not enough to get their heads handed to them when they read that the Fed Members were not “all-in” on a rate hike for June, so just wait when we get to June and these same guys get left at the rate hike alter. At least that’s the scenario I’m sticking with, for the economic data continues to disappoint, and print negative in most cases, proving that the economy is not ready for prime time.  And next week we may get a clearer picture of the Fed’s plans, as Fed Chairwoman, Janet Yellen will make the trek up the Hill and give her testimony on the economy to lawmakers. This will be repeated the following day to the other side of the legislation, first the Senate, then the House. I would think that given what we already know from the FMM, that it has a very recognizable dovish slant, that Yellen will do her best to keep everyone guessing. I think she prefers that guessing game with the markets. But we have that looming on the docket for next week. So. Greece made their proposal to receive an extension of 6 months to their original agreement that is to end on the last day of this month.   And as expected Germany lashed out at the proposal. So, that wrangling over a proposal didn’t do the euro any big favors, heading into the weekend. The Eurozone flash PMI’s are printing this morning. Another problem for the euro I do believe, so the euro is trying to do the heavy lifting, and it’s just not working out in the euro’s favor today. And the Swedish krona is getting whacked this morning, as it seems the Riksbank didn’t just like seeing the krona get whacked when they announced negative rates, and sat back to watch the krona drop. Then after sufficiently waiting, the announced the implementation of QE, and sat back again to watch the krona drop more. A couple of days passed, and the krone was attempting to gather some momentum, when the Riksbank decided to give the krona one more shot! Overnight, the Riksbank told the markets that they aren’t finished cutting rates, and then reminded the markets that they don’t have to wait for a scheduled meeting to make a rate cut. Well, needless to say, that pulled the rug from under the krona. And unfortunately, for the Norwegian krone, it’s getting dragged through the mud too. So. my iPhone is a hotspot, which means I should be able to connect to my phone’s wireless server. But. my stupid laptop won’t do that. (I do recall when I was last here in October, telling our IT guys that I had this problem, but then I forgot about it.. until now!) The good news is that my iPad will. but I’m not going to attempt to type out a letter on an iPad. So. I can get some data, not all, but some, and some news but other than that, I’m flying in the dark here. UGH!  The things I must go through. I ask that question to myself or anyone that’s listening all the time.. Why must things be so difficult for me? Ahhh, questions that go unanswered. the stuff that keeps us trying to figure this all out, eh? The Aussie dollar (A$) is flat this morning, so no new negativity toward the A$ overnight. We need to keep our friends in Australia in our thoughts today, as they had Cyclone Marcia hit shore in Queensland overnight. It was a Category 4 going on 5 when it hit. YIKES!   And right behind that cyclone is another. So, things could be getting quite hairy down in Australia. I hope everyone is safe. Alrighty then! We have house guests here and it was a sleepover. and Larry, our guest, had a hotspot that worked on my laptop! YAHOO! I’m back in the saddle again, our where a friend is a friend. the old cowboy.. Gene Autry..  So. here’s the skinny. everything is as I told you above, but the Eurozone flash PMI’s were actually better than expected, but that’s  really not the focus of the markets today. Their focus is all about the Greece situation. And it finally appears to be weighing down the euro. The price of Oil bumped up a buck overnight, so it seems to be in a very tight range, and the petrol currencies bump and grind along with the tight moves. The Russian ruble is a little weaker this morning, but. it appears it will end the week with a weekly gain, the third week in row that the ruble has done that. Interest rates are still very high in Russia, and the currency has responded well to the news of a peace agreement. Maybe, just maybe, cause we never know for sure, but maybe the ruble has turned the corner?  Like I said, we just don’t know. I heard a speaker on the TV yesterday on a business newscast talking emphatically about how the currency pegs that are in place are in no danger of being broken. Hmmm. Isn’t that like a sports team owner given the “vote of confidence’ to his manager, that soon finds out that he’s fired?  I think so. But, we’ll have to wait-n-see how this all plays out, eh? And Gold sure got whacked again yesterday. UGH!  I see that Gold futures are attempting to rebound, but with the pressure that the short paper trades put on Gold, this is getting to be a very difficult thing to live with for me that is.  I see that Germany has repatriated more of its Gold. Good for them!  One thing that I keep focusing on is that the Central Banks (except here in the West) are accumulating Gold, and calling it back so they hold it. There’s smoke there folks. and you know what I always say about how where there’s smoke, there’s fire.  I don’t know what it is these Central Banks are doing, but to me they just keep giving us a warning signal after warning signal. And they’re doing it right out in the open, so everyone can see! The U.S. Data Cupboard is lacking any beef today. the Markit PMI will print. I would look for a grinding down of the index number which last month was 53.9.  Yesterday, the Leading Index number fell from the previous month, but the Initial Jobless Claims were better.. Last week the print for claims rose 25,000 and this week it fell 23,000. So, basically, it’s flat for February. What’s so good about that? Well.. it’s time to go to the Big Finish. I know this isn’t my best effort today, but I really did what I could with what I had at the time. For What’s It’s Worth. Well, since I’m running so far behind in time this morning, I cheated and just went to Ed Steer’s letter to find this. the whole article can be read here: http://sputniknews.com/business/20150213/1018240631.html “Almost 91 domestic credit institutions have been incorporated into the new Russian financial system, the analogous of SWIFT, an international banking network. The new service, will allow Russian banks to communicate seamlessly through the Central Bank of Russia. It should be noted that Russia’s Central Bank initiated the development of the country’s own messaging system in response to repeated threats voiced by Moscow’s Western partners to disconnect Russia from SWIFT. Chuck again. yes, I talked about this a few months ago, and how the Russians were going about getting around the U.S. blocking their ability to use SWIFT.  It’s all a part of the de-dollarization Almost 91 domestic credit institutions have been incorporated into the new Russian financial system, the analogous of SWIFT, an international banking network. The new service, will allow Russian banks to communicate seamlessly through the Central Bank of Russia. It should be noted that Russia’s Central Bank initiated the development of the country’s own messaging system in response to repeated threats voiced by Moscow’s Western partners to disconnect Russia from SWIFT. Chuck again.. yes, I talked about this a few months ago, about how Russia was going to get around the U.S. blocking Russia’s ability to use SWIFT. It’s all about their de-dollarization that’s been going on, folks. To recap. Chuck’s internet connection is down and he’s flying in the dark. Germany balks at Greece’s proposal to extend the current agreement 6 months. and it weighs on the euro. Eurozone flash PMI’s print better than expected. Oil trades in a tight range, and the ruble ends the week with 3 weeks gained. Gold got whacked again, and Russia starts its own SWIFT system. Currencies today 2/20/15. American Style: A$ .7850, kiwi .7555, C$ .8030, euro 1.1305, sterling 1.5380, Swiss $1.0540, . European Style: rand 11.6470, krone 7.6050, SEK 8.4285, forint 270.25, zloty 3.6970, koruna 24.3400, RUB 62.06, yen 118.55, sing 1.3590, HKD 7.7565, INR 62.09, China 6.1330, pesos 15.07, BRL 2.8695, Dollar Index 94.60, Oil $51.91, 10-year 2.10%, Silver $16.55, Platinum $1,162.13, Palladium $782.50, and Gold. $1,213.02 That’s it for today. Having people here talking while I’m writing is different for me. I usually only hear the songs on the iPod, which right now is playing 10cc: The Things We Do For Love. I guess which would have been a good song last weekend, eh?   I didn’t make it to the ball fields yesterday, and it got really cold overnight here, so I guess I’ll have to wait until tomorrow. I was surprised I didn’t receive any nice or not so nice comments about my wish for when I grow old that I wrote about yesterday. No biggie, just thought it would.  Well, it’s the 20th of February, only another week until March. and you know what March brings, right?  Spring training games. I have my seats I have my parking passes, I am all set to watch my beloved Cardinals play baseball at Roger Dean Stadium!   Well, no 3-day weekend until the end of May, so. hunker down and work diligently, and it’ll be here before you know it!   And with that, it’s time to get off the bus, and get this out the door. I hope you have a Fantastico Friday! Chuck Butler Managing Director EverBank Global Marketslast_img read more

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Welcome to Invisibilia Season 4 The NPR program a

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first_imgWelcome to Invisibilia Season 4! The NPR program and podcast explores the invisible forces that shape human behavior, and we here at Shots are joining in to probe the science of why we act the way we do. In Episode 4, they’re asking: are we destined to repeat our patterns or do we generally stray in surprising directions? – a question increasingly relevant in an age when algorithms are trying to predict everything about our behavior. Here’s an excerpt from the episode.On paper, Shon Hopwood’s life doesn’t make a lot of sense, not even to him.”I don’t have a great excuse as to why I did these things. And everybody always wants that,” he tells me. “It closes the circle for people. But that’s not really how it happened.”To the naked eye, it looked like Shon Hopwood was born into a really good pattern. He grew up in the neighborly, low-crime community of David City, Neb., to a great Christian family that encouraged self-reliance. “My parents basically opened the door in the morning and would say, ‘See you in a few hours.’ It was a good childhood.”Fresh air, loving family, safe community: Those are some pretty good patterns.But for some reason, in college, Hopwood started veering off the graph. He wasn’t that interested in school, so he dropped out and returned to David City to work, and that was all going fine, until one day when his friend Tom asked him down to the bar for a drink.”And he just asked me, he said, ‘What do you think about robbing a bank?,’ ” Hopwood says.”And you know most people would have said, ‘No!’ Or ‘What are you talking about?’ Or walked away, or a million other responses. And my response was, ‘Yes! This is a great idea!’ “And so Hopwood’s path forked. He would become a bank robber.Of course Hopwood had second thoughts. He had them right up to the moment he walked into the bank dressed as a handyman. “I walk in the bank and I pull a mask up and I drop the tool box on the ground. It makes a huge noise so everyone turns and looks at me. And I unzip my coveralls, pull out a 22[-caliber] rifle and yell, ‘Everyone get down. This is a robbery!’ “After that Hopwood recruited a small group of friends and just hit one bank after another until one day, four guys from the FBI tackled him. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison, which was bad enough, but what really cut was that a bunch of people in his hometown disowned his completely blameless parents.”They have to have some reason for why I did these things, because otherwise it just doesn’t compute. Because it didn’t make any sense that me and the people that were involved with me had robbed these banks. I mean one of my co-defendants was the son of the town attorney,” he says.We need to find a predictable pattern, and when it eludes us, we ache for it.Now, because we live in the age of computers, our ability to discern patterns has expanded. Today a computer can scan more data in a minute than you or I could sift in a lifetime, and in that data see things we could never see. Beautiful things and horrible things and even — we’re told — the future.A competition to find the patterns that determine the path of a human lifeAbout two years ago a Princeton sociologist named Matthew Salganik decided to stage a massive computer competition.The idea was inspired by Netflix. In 2006, the company distributed huge amounts of user data to programmers all over the world so they could write computer models that found hidden patterns that improved its predictions for which movies subscribers would like. The competition totally worked out for Netflix. The companies movie choice predictions substantially improved.So Salganik’s plan was to do the exact same thing, except instead of staging a competition to improve predictions of movie preference, he wanted the competition to improve predictions about the things sociologists cared about: high school GPA, which child would persevere when faced with adversity, who would become homeless. Could we, he wondered, harness the pattern-finding abilities of computers to discover new things about how individual lives turned out?”Looking at lots of people and looking at broader patterns helps us have a fuller understanding of what’s possible,” Salganik says. If his competition worked well, it could make the world a better place. After all, if computers could locate the things that predicted stuff like higher grades, policy makers could design better interventions.So Salganik set to work. He got a massive trove of data on 5,000 kids who had been followed from the day they were born, then made that information available to data geeks and researchers across the globe. Four hundred teams were given incredibly detailed information about the kids from birth until age nine, then told to predict their grades — and a handful of other outcomes — at age 15.One day last fall, Salganik sat down to crunch the numbers, figure out which models were best able to predict where the children in the study had ended up, and what he found deeply surprised him.What Salganik wanted to see was at least one computer model entry able to predict with reasonable accuracy the outcomes of each child in the study.But none of the computer models did as well as Salganik expected.If they had, the screen in front of him would have been filled with tall, colorful towers — bars stretching from the floor of the y-axis to the top, indicating that the predictions had gotten close to 100 percent accurate. Instead what he saw was a bunch of squat bars crowded around the bottom like flattened mushrooms, indicating that the predictions were a lot closer to 0 percent accurate than 100 percent.”I would say this is not impressive,” he tells me as he looks at the graph. “I think this is sad. Disappointing.”But was it? Or was it just an accurate representation of how unpredictable our individual lives are?Duncan Watts works at Microsoft Research. He does computational social science, including prediction studies similar to the one that Salganik was doing. In fact over the years, Watts says, he’s done tons. He says when it comes to predicting stuff like what will happen in a particular human life, Watts thinks the outcome that Salganik found is just the outcome.”We find exactly the same pattern everywhere we look… when you’re talking about individual outcomes, there’s a lot of randomness,” Watts says.”And the other half of this conversation is that people don’t like that answer, and so they keep wanting a different answer. They say nature abhors a vacuum. Humans abhor randomness. We like deterministic stories,” Duncan says.We like the idea that patterns can tell us what will happen in life because that idea makes us feel more secure he says.”If you think you can predict things— even if you’re wrong — it means that you get up in the morning and you feel confident,” Watts says. “And so you can invest your time and energy today in things that won’t pay off until tomorrow.”Watts believes being more realistic about patterns is important but hard to pull off because it involves accepting something that feels like a contradiction: that patterns are important and predictive — you can identify things in the lives of kids that tend to help or hurt them — but you can’t say for sure whether those same things would influence the life of any individual kid because randomness has a lot more power over complex things like life than we like to think.Randomness, Watts says, is as important as pattern, though obviously it doesn’t get the same respect in our algorithmic world.A life that no one could predict turns againWhich brings us back to the unusual trajectory of Shon Hopwood.Hopwood was working in the prison law library, checking out books, when a fellow prisoner asked him for help with his case. The guy wanted help to draft a petition the U.S. Supreme Court.Hopwood had never studied law and only had a high school education but he wanted to be helpful so he spent two months working on an argument, then sent off the petition and basically forgot about it.”Then one day I’m walking out to the recreation yard at 6:30,” Hopwood says, “and a friend of mine comes running and screaming out of the housing unit. And this being federal prison my first thought is, ‘What did I say to this guy yesterday that he wants to come and fight me at 6:30 in the morning?’ “The Supreme Court had accepted the appeal he had written.That highly unusual event led to other unusual turns in trajectory, until one fine day, Hopwood found himself moving a box of belongings into a small office at Georgetown University Law School.The bank robber had become a law professor.Proof that even though we yearn for predictable patterns, no matter how many computers we have, it might just be impossible to predict where any single life will go. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

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Dr Nick Nelson walks through busy Highland Hospit

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first_imgDr. Nick Nelson walks through busy Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif., to a sixth-floor exam room, where he sees patients from around the world who say they have fled torture and violence.Nelson, who practices internal medicine, is the medical director of the Highland Human Rights Clinic, part of the Alameda County health system. A few times each week, he and his team conduct medical evaluations of people who are seeking asylum in the United States.The doctors listen to the patients’ stories. They search for signs of trauma. They scrutinize injuries, including electrocution scars, bullet wounds and unset broken bones.As the Trump administration looks to reduce the number of applicants for asylum, citing loopholes and fraudulent claims, this clinic — and others like it in San Diego, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago — seeks evidence that can help determine whether someone should gain asylum in the U.S.The Highland clinic opened in 2001 as a place for asylum-seekers and refugees to get care. Five years later, the staff started offering forensic exams that aim to discern whether there is evidence of torture or abuse. Nelson, who took over as director in 2012, says his team does between 80 and 120 evaluations each year.Nelson and his colleagues diagnose physical and psychological ailments and, in many cases, substantiate these patients’ claims about how they were hurt.Sometimes the asylum-seekers have health coverage that pays for the exams, but the county covers the cost for those who don’t.”Our job is to make sure that the asylum office understands all the medical and psychological facts about a person’s case so that they can make a decision,” Nelson says.He bases his findings on an internationally recognized protocol for torture documentation.Sometimes, Nelson says, attorneys ask him to answer specific questions, such as, “Is this burn scar consistent with a cigarette burn?” or “Are these marks on his back consistent with being beaten with PVC pipe?”Nelson has had some medical training on what to expect to see in cases of torture. He also applies his general expertise as a doctor in knowing how to interview and examine patients, and has learned something about the countries these asylum-seekers are fleeing and the injuries they may have endured.For example, when someone is hit with a long, stiff object, it produces a pair of parallel bruises like railroad tracks, he says.”That’s a specific thing that I didn’t learn in medical school or residency,” he says, “but that I have learned through taking care of a lot of people who have been tortured.”In most cases, Nelson says, he finds evidence to support the stories his patients tell him. But there are also exams that don’t yield definitive evidence.Nelson also addresses the asylum seekers’ health needs, sometimes finding cases of tuberculosis or HIV that previously had gone undiagnosed. Nearly all of the patients he sees need mental health referrals, he says, because of years of torture or abuse in their native countries.One of the patients Nelson recently treated is 60-year-old Juan Lopez Aguilar, a Maya man who fled Guatemala three years ago, saying he and been beaten and threatened off and on for nearly four decades because of his ethnicity. He feared for his life back home. Lopez Aguilar’s son also was murdered in 2005 and his daughter fled because of threats, his attorney says.”I’m worried,” Lopez Aguilar tells the doctor through a translator, as he sits in the exam room. “There are a lot of gangs. They want to kill people in my community.”Nelson first examined and interviewed Lopez Aguilar earlier this spring and wrote a report corroborating the man’s account for his asylum case. The legal case was first presented in 2015 but not formally filed until last year.Lopez Aguilar, who grew up in a family of peasant farmers, tells Nelson that his community was attacked by soldiers when he was in his 20s and that his father was killed during that attack. Lopez Aguilar moved to another part of Guatemala, where he continued to be the victim of “race-based harassment, extortion and threats,” Nelson says.The man’s story echoes those of other clinic patients, Nelson says, and violence and discrimination against indigenous Mayan-speaking Guatemalans is common.Lopez Aguilar, who has worked as a dishwasher, has now returned to the clinic for a regular medical visit. He tells the doctor in his native language that he has been having severe headaches and dizziness since soon after he arrived in the U.S.His wife and some of his children are back in Guatemala, he explains, and he can’t petition to bring his wife to the States unless and until he is granted asylum. That won’t be before 2020, when his court date is scheduled.Men like Lopez Aguilar have faced increasingly tough odds since early June, when U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that gang violence and domestic abuse would no longer be considered grounds for granting asylum.To be eligible for asylum, applicants must prove they face physical violence, or fear it, based on factors such as race, ethnicity or religion.Even before the Trump administration’s recent crackdown, getting asylum was a difficult and time-consuming proposition. In 2017, only about 38 percent of asylum seekers in the U.S. were granted that status by the immigration court, according to data from the nonpartisan Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.The harsher federal policies, including detentions at the border, have generated anxiety and uncertainty among those seeking asylum and their advocates and immigration lawyers.”Every day is a roller coaster,” says Oakland attorney Haregu Gaime, who frequently refers her clients to the Highland clinic.Niloufar Khonsari, executive director of Pangea Legal Services, a Bay Area legal advocacy group, says the obstacles won’t deter people from seeking a safe place to live or from seeking judicial help to stay in the U.S.When applicants are examined at the Highland clinic, Khonsari says, it “definitely makes a difference for judges.”Gaime says the clinic’s reports frequently help corroborate her clients’ experiences in a way that their testimony alone cannot.”Sometimes a traumatized person is not able to relay what happened to them in a way that tells the full story,” she says.Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which favors stricter controls on immigration, notes that there are limits to a doctor’s ability to interpret these cases. Doctors may be able to determine if somebody suffered an injury, he says, but not necessarily the circumstances that led to it. “And they can’t determine if it was because of political persecution,” he says.Mehlman says there is no question that there is violence in Central America and that gangs are rampant, but the U.S. can’t accept everyone who is danger.On the same morning that Nelson sees Lopez Aguilar at Highland clinic, he also examines Gebremeskl Tefamicael, an asylum seeker from Eritrea. Nelson takes notes as he listens to Tefamicael’s story of being conscripted into the military, then imprisoned and tortured.Nelson asks Tefamicael exactly what his tormentors used to tie him up.It was a rope made from tree bark, the patient responds, as Nelson writes in his notebook a description of the scars on Tefamicael’s wrists.Afterward, Nelson’s report for the court states that Tefamicael’s physical scars and psychological state are consistent with the man’s description of what happened to him.Nelson says he got involved with the clinic because he wanted to treat people who were underserved. People fleeing their countries and seeking asylum here are “definitely one of the more needy, underserved and generally marginalized” communities, he says.Often, Nelson doesn’t hear until months or years later whether his patients have been granted asylum. But when the request is approved, he says, he sees a tremendous change in them.Getting asylum doesn’t take away the trauma, but it relieves these people of the fear of returning to a country where they are not safe, Nelson says.”When someone who has got a real basis for an asylum claim gets granted, and you were part of demonstrating why that should be the case,” he says, “that feels really good.”Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit news service, is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, and not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Anna Gorman is a senior correspondent at KHN, and based in Los Angeles. Copyright 2018 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit Kaiser Health News.last_img read more

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In 1983 Utah was the first state to lower its blo

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first_imgIn 1983, Utah was the first state to lower its blood alcohol limit from 0.10 to 0.08 for impaired driving. It would take nearly two decades for every state to follow suit, but as they did, the nation’s rate of alcohol-related traffic deaths dropped 10 percent. Now, Utah is pioneering the move to lower it once again. Beginning Dec. 30 — yes, the day before New Year’s Eve — Utahns will have to be extra careful about drinking and driving. On Sunday, the state’s blood alcohol content limit will drop from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent, marking the strictest DUI law in the country.To give you an idea of the difference in consumption, for a man weighing 180 pounds, it takes about four drinks to reach a BAC of 0.08 percent, according to the American Beverage Institute. But to reach .05, it’s about half as many drinks and can be even fewer for women.Utah law limits the type of and strength of alcohol depending on where it is purchased, with different limits on beer and heavy beer.Still, the current limit of .08 is “a significant amount of drinking” for a lot of people, says Utah state Rep. Norm Thurston, a Republican.Thurston sponsored the bill to lower the limit in 2017 at the request of the National Transportation Safety Board, which has been urging states to lower DUI limits to 0.05 since 2013.Thurston says he believes the new limit will save lives because it sends a strict message to anyone who has been drinking not to get behind the wheel. “You would think that we’re already there as a society,” but Thurston says he meets a lot of people who say they think it’s safe to drink and drive, “just a little bit.”Critics slammed the Republican, a practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for running the bill. The church urges its members not to consume alcohol, and many accused him, as a Mormon, of trying to legislate drinkers and non-Mormons.The American Beverage Institute, an alcohol trade organization, has been a vocal critic of the law. Spokesman Jackson Shedelbower says he doesn’t believe the change will save lives. The lower limit targets social, moderate drinkers, not “legitimately drunk drivers,” he says.”Nearly 70 percent of alcohol-related fatalities in this country are caused by someone with … a BAC of 0.15 and above,” Shedlbower says, three times the new limit in Utah.So, will drunken driving arrests in Utah increase starting Dec. 30? Probably not, says Sgt. Nick Street with the Utah Highway Patrol.”Troopers and officers throughout the state should already be arresting based on impairment, not based on a per se limit, and that standard is not going to change,” he says.Street says he believes the law has already changed drivers’ behaviors, even though it hasn’t taken effect yet.”I think people are making better decisions on the front end of a night,” by using ride-hailing apps or choosing designated drivers. Copyright 2018 KUER 90.1. To see more, visit KUER 90.1.last_img read more

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