TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Southampton midfielder Lemina: Bielsa key to leaving Marseilleby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveSouthampton midfielder Mario Lemina has explained why he left Olympique Marseille.Lemina quit OM for Juventus before landing at Saints.He explained to Eurosport: “I spent only two years in Marseille. When I arrived, I thought I would stay longer. The first year, with Elie Baup was complicated but the next one with Marcelo Bielsa was magnificent. “We discovered another OM, more spectacular. With the coach, I learned a lot. It’s really very interesting to work under his orders. When he left, it was a shock for me and that’s what made me want to go.”Bielsa is now leading Leeds United in their promotion push frm the Championship.
The National Works Agency (NWA) will be undertaking major road upgrading works between Eastwood Park Road and Manor Park in St. Andrew. The project will include improvements where Constant Spring Road intersects with Red Hills Road, West Kings House Road, Dunrobin Avenue, Shortwood Road, West Avenue and Oaklands, Immaculate Conception and Constant Spring Tax Office and Olivier Road. The National Works Agency (NWA) will be undertaking major road upgrading works between Eastwood Park Road and Manor Park in St. Andrew.The 3.5 kilometres of roadway will be widened to accommodate four lanes of traffic, new management solutions and improved pedestrian facilities.Manager, Communication and Customer Service at NWA, Stephen Shaw, told JIS News that the project is aimed at reducing traffic congestion, which is a major problem for commuters along Constant Spring Road and motorists travelling to Kingston from the parishes of St. Mary and Portland.“The Constant Spring Road is one of the major roads in the Corporate Area and it is really oversaturated right now. The number of motor vehicles that we see on a daily basis is about 30,000. It is way over capacity, and so we want to add capacity to the road. It requires us moving from what we now have, which is two lanes, to four lanes; and so at the end of all of this, when we shall have completed the work, we expect to see a more efficient flow,” he explained.Mr. Shaw was speaking to JIS News at a stakeholders meeting held at the Karram-Speid Auditorium, Merl Grove High School, located on Constant Spring Road on Wednesday, November 29.“We expect to see less congestion, improvement in travel times, we expect to see persons getting to work in a more efficient way – much quicker, and also getting home from work in a quicker way,” he added.Mr. Shaw said there are serious traffic snares along Manor Park heading towards Long Lane all the way to Stony Hill, and this has caused issues for persons who work in the commercial hub of Kingston.“We really want to ensure that persons can get to work and get home from work in a more efficient way,” he said.He said that in addition to commuters, businesses along Constant Spring Road will benefit from the road expansion.“Business will benefit in a significant way from their employees coming to work in a more refreshed way, having had more rest at home,” he pointed out.Mr. Shaw told JIS News that the timeline for the project will be announced to the public soon.“Right now, we are dealing with some of the nuts and bolts. The contract price has been determined. We are awaiting some word from the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation as to a date for the contracts to be signed, and as soon as that contract is signed, then we will be in a position to indicate a start date and end date for the project,” he said.The project will include improvements where Constant Spring Road intersects with Red Hills Road, West Kings House Road, Dunrobin Avenue, Shortwood Road, West Avenue and Oaklands, Immaculate Conception and Constant Spring Tax Office and Olivier Road.There will be new signalised intersections where Constant Spring Road intersects with Mannings Hill Road, Constant Spring Terrace and Hillman Road, Clifton Boulevard, Manor Centre, Manor Park circulation, Stilwell Road and Long Lane.Central Avenue will become a one-way corridor, and a temporary bridge will be created within the Manor Park circulation.Mr. Shaw said that sewer lines will also be upgraded. “It is going to be an integrated project to include water, sewer and road, so what we want to happen, is that at the end of the process, we won’t have a situation where Constant Spring Road becomes an issue where we have a sewer system that is failing or waterlines that are defective.“We want to have all of these things taken out of the way, so when we are finished the work, there will be no form of interruption.”Approximately 88 parcels of land will be affected by the expansion, and Mr. Shaw said that negotiations are under way with the property owners.“We have been going through with the National Land Agency (NLA) to try and conclude as many of these matters as is possible. We have concluded some of the agreements,” Mr. Shaw said. Manager, Communication and Customer Service at NWA, Stephen Shaw, told JIS News that the project is aimed at reducing traffic congestion, which is a major problem for commuters along Constant Spring Road and motorists travelling to Kingston from the parishes of St. Mary and Portland. Story Highlights
Visitors to Kuala Lumpur can now get a very different experience by exploring the city from the air with the latest tourism product- The KL Sky Tour. The KL Sky Tour offers a variety of packages that are very affordable and yet still offer the thrill and excitement of touring a city from the air. There are four tour packages to choose from that vary in terms of time and distance travelled.The 6-minute KL Express Package tour takes you around the iconic landmarks of KL city centre. Fly over the Dataran Merdeka, the National Stadium and the KL Tower. Passengers will get spectacular views of the Petronas Twin Towers.In the City Explorer Package, a 15-minute flight takes over every iconic structure in Kuala Lumpur including the Batu Caves, King’s Palace and KL city centre. From there the flight path takes them to the Jalan Duta area to see the Federal Territory Mosque and the National Palace. Before the tour ends, there will be a flight around the iconic buildings of the city centre.The experience of adventure in the Jungle Escape Package as KL’s concrete jungle meets its real jungle. This flight lasts 30-minutes and takes passengers around the city centre before heading away from the city to the pristine rainforests along the Quartz Ridge to the Batu Dam.Climb to over 6,000 feet over the valleys and mountains to Genting Highlands, see everything of KL in the 45-minute of the City Indulgence Package. Discover the valleys and mountains covered in lush rainforests to the Genting Highlands home of Malaysia’s casino heaven.Flying back to the city, passengers will enjoy the panoramic view of the Kuala Lumpur city skyline as they descend to the Batu Caves and Kuala Lumpur royal quarters before heading for the city’s iconic buildings.All flights depart from the KL City Helipad at the Titiwangsa Lake Gardens. There is a requirement of a minimum number of three passengers per flight and advance bookings are required.
Virgin Media has added 11 new live channels to its cloud-based Virgin TV Anywhere entertainment service.The channels consist of four ITV networks, four A+E Networks UK channels and three Viacom networks and take the total number of channels available on the service to 75.The introduction of ITV, ITV 2, ITV 3 and ITV 4 means that viewers can watch shows including Coronation Street and Britain’s Got Talent on the move. The A+E Networks channels are History, H2, Bio, and CI, which air shows like American Pickers and Dance Moms.The Viacom channels, which were previously available on computers only but are now also available to stream on tablets, are MTV, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.Virgin TV Anywhere is available online to all Virgin TV customers, and through mobile and tablet apps for Virgin TiVo customers. The apps offer extra tools like remote recording options and are currently available for iOS devices, with Android due to follow later this year.
Cyfrowy Polsat-owned OTT service Ipla has added combat sports channel FightKlub to its programming line-up. FightKlub will be part of the Ipla Sport and larger Ipla Mix packages, which includes sports channels found in the Ipla Sport offering.FightKlub covers Polish and world boxing as well as this week’s World Judo Championship in Rio de Janeiro. Ipla is available via PCs, Android and iOS mobile devices, LG, Samsung and Panasonic smart TVs and the Netia Player service.
Sponsor Advertisement MAX Resource Corp. (TSX:MXR) is focused on a newly-defined copper/silver/gold porphyry system at Majuba Hill in Nevada that is highly prospective for a bulk-tonnage, open pit deposit. MAX recently completed a Phase II core drilling program and additional soil sampling in a step-out drilling program at the DeSoto discovery near the past producing Desoto silver mine at Majuba.Drilling earlier in the year encountered long intervals of high-grade silver and copper near surface in five of eight holes, as well as significant gold intercepts, such as 44.2 m of 71.0 g/t Silver, 0.15 g/t Gold and 1.14% Copper. Further assay results and soil geochemistry are expected in February/March 2012. Permitting is underway for an extensive Phase III delineation drill program at Desoto to begin in the spring of 2012.For more information: www.maxresource.com or firstname.lastname@example.org You have to ask yourself why the precious metals are getting trashed in the face of one of the biggest financial crisis of our lifetimes.Gold set another new low for this move down about an hour before London opened yesterday. From that low, the gold price rallied right a bit right up until the Comex open…and was under a bit of selling pressure from that point onward.But the major selling pressure came once the Comex was through trading at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time…with the low price tick of the day [$1,540.70 spot] coming just moments before 4:00 p.m. in New York in the very thinly traded electronic market. From that low, gold recovered a few dollars going into the close at 5:15 p.m. Eastern.Gold finished the Thursday trading day at $1,544.30…down another $12.20. Net volume was pretty decent at around 143,000 contracts.It was pretty much the same price pattern in silver…except the engineered sell-off was far more intense. Silver’s low price tick [$27.51 spot] came at the same time as gold’s…and the silver price recovered about 20 cents going into the electronic close.Silver closed the day at $27.72 spot…down 46 cents from Monday. Net volume was pretty high at 37,000 contracts, more or less.The dollar index traded in a narrow 10 basis point range of 80.60 for a goodly portion of Tuesday. That lasted until shortly before 9:00 a.m. in New York…and then away it went to the upside until about 3:20 p.m. Eastern time where it traded sideways into the close. The dollar index closed up about 65 basis points.The gold stocks started off in positive territory…and then got sold off…but recovered back to unchanged just before lunch in New York. It was all down hill from there. The HUI got smacked for another 3.83%.The silver stocks really got crucified again…and Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index took it on the chin for another 5.95%.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 1 gold and 123 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Friday. The big short/issuer was Merrill with 113 contracts…and the short/stoppers were a mixed bag. The link to the Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.There were no changes in either GLD or SLV yesterday. Ted Butler and I were discussing the big 1.6 million ounce surprise deposit in SLV on Monday…and Ted figured it probably had something to do with covering a short position in SLV shares. We’ll know more when the new report is posted over at shortsqueeze.com a week from today.The U.S. Mint had a sales report worthy of the name yesterday. The sold 3,000 ounces of gold eagles…500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes…and 150,000 silver eagles. Month-to-date the mint has sold 34,500 ounces of gold eagles…1,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes…and 1,135,000 silver eagles.It was a busy day over at the Comex-approved depositories on Monday. They reported receiving 1,526,942 troy ounces of silver…and shipped 305,421 ounces of the stuff out the door. The link to that action is here.German gold analyst Dimitri Speck was kind enough to send me several of his excellent charts…and I’m more than happy to post them here. I’ll post the gold charts today…and the silver charts tomorrow.The first chart shows the “Intraday Price Movements” in gold over about eighteen years. The high at the London open…and the low at the London p.m. gold fix…are the most prominent features.(Click on image to enlarge)The second chart shows the intraday price movements for the first quarter of 2012…and there are subtle differences, but the overall price pattern is the same…and only the times of the highs and lows have shifted.(Click on image to enlarge)And lastly, here’s the chart for 2011 on its own…the same, but slightly different once again. The negative price bias in London really stands out in this chart.(Click on image to enlarge)I have a lot of stories again today…and I hope you have time to read through most of themWhile the US Dollar and Treasury debt are the twin foundations of the system, the major modern indicators of how the system is functioning are the stock market and the precious metals, Gold in particular but also Silver. A stock market investment is a bet ON the system, a purchase of physical Gold and/or Silver is a bet AGAINST it. This is clearly shown by the lengths to which the financial powers that be will go to support the stock market – and to undermine the price of the precious metals. – Bill Buckler, The Privateer, 12 May 2012Well, the pain continued unabated again yesterday. Everything that occurred up to and including the close of Comex trading at 1:30 p.m. in New York yesterday, should be in this Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report…and as I pointed out in this space yesterday, it should be a stunner.Unfortunately, ‘da boyz’ leaned on the precious metals particularly hard after the Comex close yesterday…and that data won’t be in Friday’s report.Here are the 3-year charts for all four precious metals, with the exception of palladium, which had a price bounce yesterday, every other precious metal is more oversold than its been in the last three years.(Click on image to enlarge)(Click on image to enlarge)(Click on image to enlarge)(Click on image to enlarge)As I mentioned further up in this column, you have to ask yourself why the precious metals are getting trashed in the face of one of the biggest financial crisis of our lifetimes. One only has to read Bill Buckler’s quote above to understand.But once this engineered ‘correction’ has run its course, it’s my guess that JPMorgan et al will be nowhere to be found [fingers crossed!] on the next rally…unless it’s a short-covering rally that they themselves instigate.I’ve been watching the precious metals ever since they opened for trading in the Far East earlier today…and in London this morning. Once again, the ‘salami is being sliced’ to the downside…as more new lows were set in all four precious metals shortly after the London open. Net volumes as of 4:49 a.m. Eastern time were monstrous in both metals. In gold it was 46,000 contracts…and in silver it was just under 10,000 contracts. The dollar index rallied about 25 basis points overnight, but topped out shortly after the London open…and is now back to virtually unchanged from Tuesday’s New York close.One has to wonder just how much more ‘oversold’ this market can get, as we are already in record territory in that regard…and I’ll be watching the price activity during the Comex trading session in New York with great interest when I get out of bed later this morning.See you on Thursday.
(Interviewed by Louis James, Editor, International Speculator) L: Doug, after conversations like the one we had last week, we often get letters from angry readers who accuse you of hating America, disloyalty, and perhaps even treason. These people don’t know or understand what I do about you – that you love the idea that was America. It’s the United State it has become for which you have nothing but contempt. Perhaps we should try to explain this to them? Doug: I doubt it would work; it’s a tough row to hoe, trying to explain things to people who are so set in their thinking that they truly and literally don’t want to hear anything that might threaten their notions. A person who feels threatened by ideas and who responds with emotion is acting irrationally. How can we have a discussion with someone whose emotion trumps their reason? How do we even begin to untangle the thinking of people who will gather this week to give thanks for the bounty produced by freedom and hard work – the famous puritan work ethic – by eating a turkey bought with food stamps? But we can outline the ideas, for the record. L: I’ll bring a copy if they ever do put you on trial for thoughtcrime – which is frighteningly close to being real these days and called treason to boot. Doug: It’s not just close; it’s here. Just try telling an unapproved joke in a security line in an airport these days. L: True enough. Where to begin? Doug: At the beginning. America was founded as a confederation of independent countries – that’s what a state is. Or was, in our language. The original United States of America was a confederation of countries that banded together for protection against larger and more powerful countries they feared might be hostile. This is not a disputed interpretation of history, but as solid a fact as the study of history produces – and yet a largely neglected one. L: We did cover this ground briefly in our conversations on the Civil War and the Constitution. Doug: So we did… the short version being that the US Constitution was essentially a coup; the delegates to what we now call the Constitutional Convention were not empowered to replace the existing government – only to improve upon the Articles of Confederation between the then-independent states. The framers of the Constitution drafted it with the notion of a national government already in place, but calmed fears of loss of state sovereignty by calling the new government the “United States of America” – a verbal sleight of hand that worked for over half a century. Then the southern states decided to exercise what these words imply; their right to leave the union. While slavery was and is a wholesale criminal activity I object to in every way possible, the southern states did have the right to secede, both legally and ethically. But the question was settled by force, not reason, and the wrong side won. L: Another coup? Doug: More like an exposure of the first one for the whole world to see. But by then it was way too late. Despite this, the relative freedom of the US – because it was for many years far freer than other countries – made it possible for artists, engineers, inventors, and businesspeople to flourish and create a society more wealthy and powerful than any the world had ever seen. This is what I call the idea of America – the America That Was. But the seeds of destruction were already sown at the very beginning – with the Alien and Sedition Acts being perhaps the first highly visible step in the wrong direction. Then came the forceful assertion of one national government, with states reduced to administrative regions via the War of Southern Secession, from 1861-’65. I’m no fan of state governments, incidentally, but at least they’re smaller and closer to their subjects than the federal government. Another major step in the wrong direction occurred with the Spanish-American War of 1898, where the US acquired an overseas empire by force. The next major step downhill was the creation of the Federal Reserve and the income tax, both in 1913, just in time for World War I. It took time for these things to make the system crash, because it was still a fairly free economy. L: But crash it did in 1929… Doug: Yes. And it led to the Great Depression of 1929-’46, which lasted so long entirely because of the unmitigated disaster of the New Deal (which we discussed recently). The New Deal injected socialist-fascist ideas into mainstream American thought like a poisonous acid, corrupting the heart of the idea of America that once made the place great. The process was completed with Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, which really established the basis of the welfare-warfare state. It truly set the stage for the total ethical, economic, social, political, and even military disaster now unfolding before our eyes. Still, the beating heart of the idea of America – which is to say both social and economic freedom – took time to corrupt. Like a strong man who doesn’t know he’s headed for a heart attack, American culture didn’t really peak until the 1950s. The bullet-finned 1959 Cadillac is a symbol of this peak, in my mind. L: Then we had Johnson and his “guns and butter” policy – War in Vietnam and War on Poverty at the same time – followed by tricky Dick kicking the last leg out of under the stool by taking the dollar off an even theoretical gold standard. Doug: Yes. Nixon was arguably even a worse President than Johnson, with the devaluation of the dollar in 1971 and his creation of the War on Drugs. Things have spiraled out of control since then. In The Casey Report, we’ve written reams about these last decades and how they led to and shaped what’s happening now. But I have to say, the focus has been largely financial. L: Which is as it should be, in a publication designed to help investors navigate these turbulent times. Doug: Yes, but the corruption goes way beyond that, beyond even the senseless wars and idiotic foreign policy we discussed last week. America, once the land of the brave and the home of the free, is well on its way to becoming a police state – worse than any we’ve seen in the past, including the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. L: How could it get worse than that? Doug: Because Big Brother has better technology now, allowing possible manipulation and control of the population that Stalin and Hitler never dreamed of. And because the US used to be such a great place, a lot of people have been tricked into believing it’s the same as it was. But there’s no more resemblance between the America of old and the US of today than there was between the Rome of the Republic and the Rome of the later emperors. Furthermore, most Americans have conflated the government with society. They’re not only different things, but often antithetical. L: I thought you said you’re an optimist! Doug: I am. But that’s for the survivors who make it through the wringer the global economy – and every person on this planet – is about to go through. I keep telling you that the coming Greater Depression is going to be even worse than I think it is. You may think I’m joking, but I’m not. I do think that, primarily for reasons we discussed in our conversation on technology, what comes next will not only be even better than I imagine, it will be better than I can imagine… but first we have to go through the wringer. I see no way around it. I truly don’t. L: Okay, I know you believe that. Can you substantiate the police-state claim? Doug: Well, rather than give you anecdotal evidence – of which there are masses more each day – let me refer to a rather perceptive blog post by a George Washington law professor named Jonathan Turley, titled 10 Reasons Why the US Is No Longer the Land of the Free. I’m sure I don’t see everything the way the professor does, but the list struck me as quite accurate and very important for people to understand. L: I’m sure I don’t want to hear this, but okay, shoot. Doug: [Chuckles] Maybe you don’t, but I know you value the truth. These points underline something I’ve said for years: the Bill of Rights is a completely dead letter. It’s essentially meaningless and rarely even gets the benefit of lip service. Quoting it will result in derision, if not arrest as a dangerous radical. Frankly, I didn’t think the civil liberties situation could get worse than it was under Cheney-Bush, but it has. Obama has repealed none of what they did – and added more. So, let’s go through the list. First: Assassination of U.S. citizens: “President Obama has claimed, as President George W. Bush did before him, the right to order the killing of any citizen considered a terrorist or an abettor of terrorism.” Of course the very concept of terrorism is highly malleable, with over 100 definitions floating about – as we’ve discussed. But apart from that, it’s now accepted that the president and his minions have the right to kill almost anyone. This conceit will get completely out of control after the next real or imagined major terrorist incident. L: This reminds me of the extraordinary powers given to government agents to battle the War On Some Drugs – like the RICO statutes – which have now been turned against ordinary citizens who have nothing to do with the drug trade. Doug: Exactly. Once you give the state a power – for whatever good reason you imagine it needs it – it will use that power for whatever those in charge feel is in their interests. And those in charge are never saints. Next: Indefinite detention: “Under the law signed last month, terrorism suspects are to be held by the military; the president also has the authority to indefinitely detain citizens accused of terrorism.” This was a precedent set by Guantánamo, where scores of the accused continue to rot without even a kangaroo-court trial. Arbitrary justice: “The president now decides whether a person will receive a trial in the federal courts or in a military tribunal, a system that has been ridiculed around the world for lacking basic due process protections. Bush claimed this authority in 2001, and Obama has continued the practice.” As the government becomes more powerful, it’s completely predictable that everything – including the justice system – will become ever more politicized. And government very rarely relinquishes a power it’s gained. I particularly like the Supreme Court ruling in April 2012 that allows anyone who’s arrested for anything – including littering or jaywalking – to be strip-searched. L: Note to readers: you can’t hear Doug’s voice, but I assure you that his use of the word “like” is sarcastic. Doug: Just so. Moving right along: Warrantless searches: “The president may now order warrantless surveillance, including a new capability to force companies and organizations to turn over information on citizens’ finances, communications and associations. Bush acquired this sweeping power under the Patriot Act in 2001, and in 2011, Obama extended the power, including searches of everything from business documents to library records.” Privacy is now a completely dead concept, from both a legal and a practical point of view. If you want to retain privacy, you now have no alternative to relocating outside the US. L: Or any advanced Western country. I’ve read that there are more surveillance cameras per square mile in London than anywhere else. Doug: I’ve heard that too. The opposite being true in rural Argentina is one of the things I like about it. Back to the list: Secret evidence: “The government now routinely uses secret evidence to detain individuals and employs secret evidence in federal and military courts. It also forces the dismissal of cases against the United States by simply filing declarations that the cases would make the government reveal classified information that would harm national security…” “National security” essentially amounts to nothing more than government security, which amounts to cover for the individuals in the government. Nazi Germany and the USSR were national-security states. As I’ve tried to explain in the past, once a critical mass is reached, it’s impossible to reform a government. I believe we’ve reached that state in the US. War crimes: “The world clamored for prosecutions of those responsible for waterboarding terrorism suspects during the Bush administration, but the Obama administration said in 2009 that it would not allow CIA employees to be investigated or prosecuted for such actions. This gutted not just treaty obligations but the Nuremberg principles of international law.” Torture by field operatives under the stress of combat is one thing; torture as official policy is something else again. But torture is now accepted in the US. Worse, there are far more serious war crimes than torture being committed in the name of the US that are going unpunished. L: This is, after all, a far darker version of the same US government that deliberately infected black US citizens with syphilis just to see what would happen, and sent US citizens of Japanese descent to concentration camps during WWII. Doug: Exactly. The next point is: Secret court: “The government has increased its use of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has expanded its secret warrants to include individuals deemed to be aiding or abetting hostile foreign governments or organizations. In 2011, Obama renewed these powers, including allowing secret searches of individuals who are not part of an identifiable terrorist group.” You no longer live in a free country when there’s zero privacy for citizens, but 100% secrecy for the government and those it employs. Immunity from judicial review: “Like the Bush administration, the Obama administration has successfully pushed for immunity for companies that assist in warrantless surveillance of citizens, blocking the ability of citizens to challenge the violation of privacy.” The government has outsourced some of its functions – not least the use of contractors in war zones. Increasingly, being associated with the government gives you a “get out of jail free” card. In the USSR they called this a “krisha” – a roof. Continual monitoring of citizens: “The Obama administration has successfully defended its claim that it can use GPS devices to monitor every move of targeted citizens without securing any court order or review.” Bad as this is, it’s just one example. There’s also the use of domestic drones, and hundreds of thousands of cameras that take pictures of everyone everywhere. Extraordinary renditions: “The government now has the ability to transfer both citizens and noncitizens to another country under a system known as extraordinary rendition, which has been denounced as using other countries, such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan, to torture suspects.” Yes, if someone is kidnapped, there’s plausible deniability if the torturing is done abroad by a third party. And they’re likely to have even fewer compunctions. L: That’s a pretty depressing list, Doug. Doug: And this is just the beginning. As I’ve said before, I don’t call the shots – just try to tell the truth as I see it. The point is that you couldn’t assemble a list like this even 15 years ago. But now it’s part of the firmament. Worse, it’s going to grow. As the economy turns down over the next few years, the people – acting like scared chimpanzees – will ask the government to “do something.” And it will. The trend is going hyperbolic. L: I can’t argue… and I agree it is not likely to be stopped. So if this is a sure trend, are there investment implications? Doug: This just goes to reinforce what I’ve been saying for some time. As great as a US citizen’s risk is in the marketplace these days, the greatest single risk to their wealth and health is the government. People simply must internationalize to diversify their political risk. I can’t stress that strongly enough. L: Would you go so far as to say that being a taxpayer in the US now is like being a Jew in Germany in the mid-1930s? Doug: That’s a good analogy. It’s costly and upsetting to uproot, but the risk if you don’t is unimaginably worse. And I would warn people in other countries to take the same precautions. All of these nation-states are dying dinosaurs that will cause a lot of damage as they thrash about in their death throes. No place is completely safe, but you improve your odds by not putting your eggs all in one basket. L: Okay, I guess we’ve covered that plenty of times. Is there a “police-state play” – any investments one could make before the new Iron Curtain slams down? Handcuff manufacturers? Doug: Nah – they have those plastic zip-binder things now; they’re so cheap that I doubt the manufacturer can even make big money in volume. But I do remember a speech I attended in the ’90s given by William Bennett, the ex-Drug Czar, who recommended investing in prisons. I excoriated him as a sociopath at that meeting – but he was right. However, that ship has sailed; it’s hard to believe the US can incarcerate more than the current 2.3 million people. Besides, I find it morally offensive to capitalize what I consider to be criminal enterprises. No, for now the only absolutely crystal-clear imperative is as above: You’ve got t have a Plan B ready in case you need to get out of Dodge – and you need it pronto. And to those who will be celebrating Thanksgiving this week, I urge you to remind those you carve the turkey with that it was hard work and the freedom to profit from it that created the bounty the pilgrims celebrated. It was this enterprising spirit and the liberty to exercise it that was the heart of the idea of the America That Was – the idea that made America great. Those corrupt politicians who have been undermining these values for so long, and the willfully ignorant ideologues who support them, are responsible for turning this country into the United (Police) State of America. They should be criticized and opposed at every opportunity. L: Okay, Doug. Thanks for another challenging but enlightening conversation. Doug: My pleasure. On this day before the Thanksgiving holiday, we here at Casey Research want to thank you for being a loyal subscriber to Casey Daily Dispatch. People like you who support our work have enabled us to experience enviable growth (earlier this year, Inc. 5000 magazine – again – listed us among the fastest-growing private businesses in the US). Every year, thousands of investors from around the world grow right along with us by “crisis investing” – making calculated speculations designed to leverage calamities like the one Doug is warning about. At a time when most investors are struggling to make money, subscribers of our oldest and most reputable service are currently sitting on a number of triple-digit gains in select precious-metals companies. That service is Casey International Speculator, and on Friday – for one day only – we’re offering 50% off a yearly subscription. As you’re a loyal reader of the Casey Daily Dispatch, we’re offering you a chance to claim your 50% off subscription before everyone else. Learn more about this offer and how Casey International Speculator can help you grow your portfolio. Thank you again for your continued support, and have a Happy Thanksgiving.
No one is going to lift a finger to stop them, or utter a word in protest The gold price did little of anything up until noon Hong Kong time—and after that it quietly sold off to just under the $1,300 mark. The two attempts to break back above that price got sold down almost immediately—and after the second sell-off that came just after the London close, gold traded flat for the remainder of the New York session. The high and down price ticks aren’t worth the trouble of looking up. Gold closed the Monday session at $1,296.90 spot, down $5.40 from Friday’s close. Volume, net of April and May, was extremely light at 88,000 contracts. The dollar index closed on Friday at 80.43. It traded pretty flat until around 12:30 p.m Hong Kong time—and then began to head south, hitting its 80.20 low just before 12 o’clock noon in New York. After that it traded almost ruler flat into the close, finishing the Monday session at 80.22—down 21 basis points on the day. The interesting thing to note is that virtually all of the major price declines in all four precious metals occurred between noon in Hong Kong and noon in New York yesterday. It’s a pretty safe call to say that there was absolutely no correlation between the dollar index and precious metal prices yesterday. Like gold and silver, platinum and palladium were under selling pressure for virtually the entire day, with most of the selling pressure really getting started around noon Hong Kong time. Then platinum got hit for $20—and palladium got smoked for over 3% starting shortly after the London close—about the same time as gold and silver got sold down. After the spikes down in their respective prices, they didn’t recover much. And as I hit the ‘send’ button on today’s efforts at 5:28 a.m. EDT, all four precious metals continue to struggle higher as JPMorgan et al throw everything they can at their prices. Gold volume is almost triple what it was about three hours ago. Silver is still above the $20 spot price mark, but struggling. Volume is well over double what it was before this rally started, but still very low all things considered—around 8,300 contracts. The volumes in both silver and gold are almost all confined to their respective current front months—so it’s obvious that the HFT boyz are out in force. Platinum and palladium are still up, but have made little upwards progress since London opened, as even the tiniest rally is being sold down. The dollar index is now a hair below the 80.00 mark—and currently down about 25 basis points from Monday’s close in New York. I haven’t the foggiest idea what price scenarios will greet me when I power up my computer later this morning, but the one thing that is obvious, is that JPMorgan et al have no intentions of letting precious metal prices rise at the moment, as they have obviously drawn a line in the sand here. Could they get over run? Sure, but if they do, it will be—as Ted Butler is wont to say from time to time—the first time it has ever happened. So the odds aren’t lookin’ good. But one of these days it will be different. I’m off to bed. See you here tomorrow. With the gold price, along with the general equity markets, both in the red yesterday, it was a bit of a surprise to see the gold stocks in the green. Of course, once the gold price got smacked back below the $1,300 spot price mark after the London close, down went the gold stocks as well. But, despite that, they continued to rally after that—and closed virtually unchanged—down 0.07%. Sponsor Advertisement Silver got sold off about 15 cents within the first 15 minutes of trading at the Sunday night open in New York. The subsequent ‘rally’ latest until 10 a.m. Hong Kong time—and then it got sold down [unsteadily] to it’s low of the day which came at the noon silver fix in London. The subsequent rally got capped the moment that it hit the $20 spot price mark—shortly after the London close as well—and that was it for the day. The high and low tick were reported by the CME Group as $20.015 and $19.775 in the May contract. Silver finished the day at $19.865 spot, down 9 cents from Friday’s close. Net volume was fumes and vapours at 15,500 contracts. The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 8 gold and 3 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories tomorrow. The Issuers and Stoppers Report isn’t worth linking. I note that there are about 1,300 gold contracts still open in the April delivery month, along with a tiny handful of silver contracts. There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday—and as of 10:36 p.m. yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either. There was a decent sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday. They sold 1,500 troy ounces of gold eagles—3,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes—and 659,500 silver eagles. Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Friday, they reported receiving 37,779 troy ounces of gold, most of which went into the depositories over at HSBC USA. Only 291 troy ounces were reported shipped out. The link to that activity is here. In silver, there was 498,354 troy ounces reported received—and all of it disappeared into the Delaware depository. 39,020 troy ounces shipped out. The link to that action is here. I have a decent number of stories for you today—and I’ll leave the final edit up to you. It’s important to remember that the Mint is producing and selling Silver Eagles at record capacity this year, yet is still, in effect, unable to keep up with demand. This is a familiar circumstance with Silver Eagles over the past few years, a circumstance not witnessed with Gold Eagles in general. Along with the highly unique movements in COMEX warehouse inventories, this is another decidedly physical factor specific to silver. While I don’t know who the big buyer of Silver Eagles may be, certainly we can conclude that the buyer strongly expects higher silver prices in time (no one buys anything investment related with the expectation of lower prices). A subscriber passed along a thought that was already in the back of my mind, namely, that buying Silver Eagles from the Mint might be a way for a big buyer to accumulate physical silver with very little impact on price. I can’t help but think that the COMEX silver warehouse shuffling and extraordinary Silver Eagle sales are two big factors in a developing silver physical story that could [and should] end in pronounced shortage. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 05 April 2014 Even though volumes in both gold and silver were very light on Monday, it was obvious that there was a seller there to make sure that gold closed below $1,300—and silver below $20 spot. Why platinum got hit—and palladium hammered—certainly had nothing to do with any real-world supply/demand fundamentals that I’m aware of. But, like they are in gold and silver, JPMorgan et al can do pretty much as they please in the precious metal arena, as no one is going to life a finger to stop them, or utter a word in protest. Yesterday’s price action in all four precious metals had their boot prints all over it. Here are the 6-month charts for both gold and silver once again. Nothing has changed as far as Ted’s [and my] opinion of the situation, as the technical set up still indicates that “da boyz” could peel another $100 off the gold price—and a more than a buck off silver. We could also blast off from here as well—and I certainly don’t want to say “This time it’s different”—as that will be the kiss of death for sure. As I said on several occasion last week, the latest being Saturday, that all we can do is wait this out and see what develops. In Far East trading on their Tuesday, all was quiet once again, although prices developed a positive bias right from the open in early morning trading—and volumes were very light, although not quite as light as they were on Monday. That all changed in gold and silver around 1:30 p.m. Hong Kong time, as gold spiked above $1,300 the ounce and silver above $20 the ounce. Platinum and palladium were up a decent amount as well, but their rallies were much more subdued. And as I type this paragraph, London has been open about 35 minutes—and it’s obvious that the prices of both gold and silver are being actively capped, as volumes have exploded—and are up more that 100% from what they were before the price spikes occurred. So it’s obvious that JPMorgan et al are throwing a blizzard of Comex paper at both metal to kill these rallies. The dollar index, which had been trading as flat as the proverbial pancake for most of the Far East trading session, began to head south around 2:45 p.m. Hong Kong time—about 15 minutes before the London open. This is what the Kitco gold chart looked like at 5:25 a.m. EDT. The silver shares followed a similar price/chart pattern, but Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down a somewhat more substantial 1.18%. Freegold Ventures Limited is a North American gold exploration company with three gold projects in Alaska. Current projects include Golden Summit, Vinasale and Rob. Both Vinasale and Golden Summit host NI 43-101 Compliant Resource Calculations. An updated NI 43-101 resource was calculated on Golden Summit in October 2012 and using 0.3 g/t cutoff the current resource is 73,580,000 tonnes grading 0.67 g/t Au for total of 1,576,000 contained ounces in the indicated category, and 223,300,000 tonnes grading 0.62 g/t Au for a total of 4,437,000 contained ounces in the inferred category. In addition to the Golden Summit Project the Vinasale also hosts a NI 43-101 resource calculation which was updated in March 2013. Indicated resources are 3.41 million tonnes averaging 1.48 g/t Au for 162,000 ounces, and Inferred resources are 53.25 million tonnes averaging 1.05 g/t Au for 1,799,000 ounces of gold utilizing a cutoff value of 0.5 grams/tonne (g/t) as a possible open pit cutoff. Please send us an email for more information, email@example.com
Have you ever wondered what really happens behind the scenes at a rock concert? My good friend Stew is a top audio engineer—you know, the guy who wears thousand-dollar headphones and stands below the stage manning dials at rock concerts the world over. I shadowed him backstage a handful of times, and the scene was not what I thought it would be. Sure, they all dressed the rocker part, but I was blown away by everyone’s professionalism. Today Chris Wood and I are taking you backstage at a much more conservative venue—but one that could make your retirement a whole lot richer. Chris is the managing senior analyst at Casey Research; his responsibilities include recruiting and training new analysts in “The Casey Way,” and heading up research for the entire technology team. He also teams up with our chief analyst Andrey Dashkov and me to manage the Money Forever portfolio. When I started Miller’s Money Forever, I already subscribed to Casey’s contrarian mantra: Look where nobody else is looking. The most successful investors take invaluable nuggets of information uncovered by world-class analysts and watch their investments grow long before the mainstream catches on. This is the game for my colleagues on the metals and mining, energy, and technology teams, as well as my own squad. When we applied this philosophy to a highly diversified, high-yield portfolio designed to enrich retirees and conservative investors alike—all while guarding their nest eggs against catastrophic loss and the silent killer, inflation—I imagined our portfolio would hold many household names. Turns out, it does: 5 or 6, I’d say, out of our 20 current holdings. Whether we’re recommending a company whose products you likely have in your cupboard or an international, high-yield energy play, our approach stays the same. The take-home message is that this approach works. At our most recent publication date, the stock, high-yield, and stable-income portions of our portfolio showed gains of 23.6%, 13.2%, and 2.7% respectively—without taking on more risk than befits a low-stress retirement. On that note, let’s talk to Chris about how we’re making that happen and how our method can make your retirement a rich one.Dennis Miller: Welcome. Thanks for taking the time to chat, Chris. Please tell our readers a bit about your background.Chris Wood: My pleasure, Dennis. My background is really in valuation. I double majored in economics and finance in college, then spent several years as a commercial appraiser and valuation consultant where I appraised a huge variety of commercial properties and private businesses. Then I returned to graduate school, and a few months after I received my MBA with a finance concentration, I started at Casey Research. When I arrived at Casey, the learning curve was much steeper than I’d expected. I mean, I had an MBA and a lot of real-world experience valuing companies. What could I have to learn? Turns out a lot. For most of my appraisal and business valuation jobs, I’d used discounted cash flow and sales comparison analyses to determine a business’ or property’s market value. There were subtleties I won’t get into here, but the basic idea was to calculate the most probable price at which the subject would trade in a competitive and open market at a given point in time. Publicly traded equities are a different beast because that figure is already available. It’s the stock price, or in the case of a whole business it’s the market capitalization (i.e., the stock price multiplied by the number of shares outstanding). So, the job of analysts at Casey Research boils down to determining if the prevailing market price of a stock is cheap, fair, or expensive. Our goal is to find stocks that are “on sale.” Now, that can mean a couple of things. They might just be out of favor with Wall Street and have a stock price that doesn’t reflect their true value based on their current operation. It can also mean understanding and believing in their business plan and profiting as they add value to their bottom line. In the world of publicly traded equities, investors should never pay fair value. You want to buy the stock at a discount and think about selling it when it reaches fair value.Dennis: I want to make sure our readers caught that. You’re saying we never want to pay fair value for a stock; that’s when we want to sell it?Chris: Exactly. Of course, you already knew that. Consider Hess, which you and your analyst team recommended back in August 2012. The stock was out of favor with Wall Street, but Hess is operating in one of the world’s top oil areas—the Bakken Shale—and its valuation ratios were very attractive. It had also begun to realign its business focus in a way that made sense to us. We made the call ahead of others, and as the market realized what we already knew, the stock price increased. We determined that the stock was trading at a discount—trading below fair value—and when the market caught on, the stock price came to meet us. As a result, we realized a 78.3% gain on Hess, including stock appreciation, dividends, and income from the covered call options we wrote on the company.Dennis: Subscribers ask me what it means to “look where no one else is looking.” When a new analyst asks you that question, how do you answer?Chris: Well, it’s an underpinning of a contrarian approach to investing, but it translates into different specifics for our various teams. For the metals team, it’s quite literal. They trek all over the world visiting early-stage, under-the-radar miners on the verge of making a big strike. For the technology team, it often means digging into the science of an undiscovered small biotech outfit that could have a blockbuster cancer drug on its hands. At Money Forever, you and your analysts apply that same approach to a wide variety of sectors.Dennis: Our publication focuses on retirement money, not speculating on the next hot technology trend or company trying to get the next miracle cure through the FDA. How do you teach our analysts to apply those principles to less-speculative investments?Chris: Well, let’s look at what your goals are. You want a safe portfolio that beats inflation and throws off enough income so your subscribers can retire rich. Buying a bunch of utility stocks and holding a few mutual funds won’t cut it. Your subscribers need income and appreciation. That means we look well past charts and dig into companies—much deeper than just reading the annual reports. Then we validate the data. We train our analysts to go beyond the 10-Ks and 10-Qs—to contact the company and ask tough questions; to independently verify as much as possible; and to take every answer from management with a grain of salt. The average S&P 500 company is paying a 1.83% dividend. While a company might be performing well and increasing dividends, it could take a decade or more before dividend increases surpass inflation and allow you to take some money out to live on. That’s why we hunt for stock with real potential to appreciate on top of dividends. Lots of companies are considered out of favor by Wall Street—many for good reason. We uncover why they’re out of favor and what they’re doing to turn things around. There are plenty of opportunities out there; we train our analysts where to look and what to look for.Dennis: I imagine finding qualified analysts is challenging. Can you expand on the skills and qualities they need?Chris: Of course. In addition to being strong analysts and writers, they have to be self-motivated, passionate about what we do, and able to come up with good investment ideas and defensible conclusions. All the spreadsheets and number-crunching in the world is of no value in this business if you can’t say, “I recommend XYZ because of this, this, and this” and defend your conclusion. The recommendations we make affect our subscribers’ livelihoods, and we take that seriously. Our analysts would never recommend a company in which they wouldn’t invest their own money. And we do invest in many of the stocks we recommend—after our subscribers get their chance, of course.Dennis: During a recent meeting, you said that part of the analyst’s job is to filter out the noise. Can you explain to our readers what you meant?Chris: Nearly every public company has a marketing team with a hand in its press releases. Management wants the company and the stock presented in the best, most favorable light regardless of whether it’s delivering good, bad, or neutral news. Though technically accurate, what pundits say about a company on MSNBC in a quick sound bite or a press release is often an incomplete story and sometimes misleading. These snippets of information are not a sound basis for investing your money. We do our own due diligence—and a lot of it—to filter through the doublespeak and spin. No matter where we pull information from, we look for what’s left unsaid and why. There’s noise about anything from tulips to technology, from Amazon to Zillow. We teach our analysts to drown out that hype and consider what’s left out: facts uncovered by our own independent research.Dennis: Any final thoughts?Chris: I want to tell your readers about your role in the process. Money Forever crosses all sectors, and since you’ve literally worked with hundreds of businesses and industries, you’ve really helped me train the analysts. I’m going to tell a story about you if that’s OK.Dennis: Sure, go ahead—as long as it has a happy ending.Chris: Our team was discussing one of our current holdings, and one of our analysts mentioned new programs it was implementing to streamline its operation. We quickly learned you had worked with hundreds of different distributors all over the world. You immediately jumped on the new initiative, took the company’s profit and loss statement, and showed us what a significant impact it will have on its bottom line. You helped us cross the bridge from raw information to understanding the financial impact on our portfolio candidates. That’s the final step in the process: understanding what the financial impact will be of a company’s current initiatives and then investing before the MSNBC sound bite comes out.Dennis: Chris, thank you so much for taking the time to help our subscribers understand what takes place behind the curtain. I’m proud to be associated with such a group of dedicated and free-thinking professionals.Chris: Thank you. My pleasure, Dennis; thank you for inviting me. We’re proud that Casey’s contrarian investment philosophy is working just as well for our highly diversified retirement portfolio as it has for speculators across all sectors, and I’m gunning to share all of our highly curated picks with you. It just takes one easy step: sign up for our monthly newsletter without any risk to your pocketbook. You’ll gain immediate access to our entire portfolio, our unique catalog of special reports, and every single back issue of Miller’s Money Forever to boot. If it turns out you’re not as enthused about our newsletter as the thousands of other conservative investors making money right along with us, we’ll refund each and every penny of our special charter price, no questions asked. Forge your own path to a rich and independent retirement by clicking here now.On the Lighter Side The World Cup is down to the knockout round. Belgium knocked out the US team 2-1 after extra time. There’s still a lot of excitement ahead, though: France plays Germany tomorrow, and Brazil plays Colombia. Meanwhile, we’ll be celebrating Independence Day here in the US. And Tuesday was Canada Day up north, as the Canadians on our team reminded me. Happy holidays to all! And finally… I received a cute email last week: A lady was planning a holiday picnic and told her friend she’d asked her Aunt Tillie to bring a big bowl of her famous tuna salad. Her friend responded, “I thought you didn’t like tuna fish?” The lady answered, “Oh, I don’t like it at all, but her salad keeps the flies off the food and punishes any that might chance to land in the bowl.” I hope everyone enjoys great weather and family fun this weekend. Until next week…
Rise of the Spy StateBy April 1991, Zimmerman was deeply concerned about the state’s growing ability to spy on the average person.He’d discovered a clause in Senate Bill 266 that allowed the government to engage in mass surveillance of the American people. That’s why he released his email encryption software for free online.He also made the computer source code public. So, other people could publish the software on their own websites as well.Eventually, the coding community made scores of copies, spreading the encryption technology across the US and Europe.The US government hated that private individuals now had easy access to sophisticated encryption technology… something governments had long held a monopoly on. That’s why it targeted Zimmerman for a criminal investigation.Ultimately, the investigation turned into a bitter lesson for the US government.Anyone could download the code. And privacy enthusiasts had already spread copies all over the internet. So, there was no way for the government to stop it.That’s because there was no single point of failure. There was no business to shut down, no corporate office to raid, no CEO to shake out, and no central database to confiscate.In the end, the government dropped all charges against Zimmerman.As I’ll explain in a moment, this failed witch hunt is just one of reasons I’m confident the government can’t stop Bitcoin… another private, encryption-based technology.A Swiss Bank Account in Your PocketBitcoin is a non-state currency and payment network. It’s also secured by unbreakable cryptography.Anyone in the world can use Bitcoin, just like anyone in the world can use email. And, if you take certain steps, you can essentially make anonymous transactions.You see, Bitcoin doesn’t use the traditional financial system. It has no central authority. Instead, it runs on a decentralized and voluntary network scattered around the world on many thousands of computers.Bitcoin does not rely on so-called “trusted” intermediaries or third parties. It has no counterparty risk and no single point of failure.In short, owning bitcoin lets you escape the matrix… the financial prison that governments have erected with fiat currencies, central banks, and privacy-killing regulations serving as the bars on the door.It’s like a Swiss bank account in your pocket.Unlike paper currencies, bitcoin is an inherently international asset. It has incredible value as an international transfer mechanism. You can take any amount of it in and out of any country. You don’t need permission from any government.You can send it across any border—or any number of borders—as often as you want. And there’s nothing anyone can do about it.With Bitcoin, there’s no central location for a SWAT team to raid. There’s no “capo” to arrest. Governments can do nothing but play an endless game of whack-a-mole across the globe.It’s basically impossible for the US government, the Chinese government, or any government to kill Bitcoin without shutting down the entire internet… and keeping it off.Bitcoin is simply bigger than any government. That’s why it’s extremely appealing to anyone who respects privacy and holds a healthy disdain for government. Justin’s note: The markets and our offices are closed for the holiday. So for today’s Dispatch, instead of our usual market commentary, we’re sharing an important essay from Casey Report editor Nick Giambruno on why bitcoin is the new “crisis currency.”As you may remember, I interviewed Nick on this idea last month. In short, Nick thinks people will turn to bitcoin during periods of great turmoil. And that may happen sooner than you think, as he explains below…By Nick Giambruno, editor, The Casey ReportWhen two federal agents showed up to harass suspected arms trafficker Phil Zimmerman, Phil was out of his element.He wasn’t your usual gun runner. He wasn’t linked to any cartels, spies, or other shady characters. But he had written a bit of computer code that the US government considered a weapon.In the early 1990s, Phil Zimmerman invented what is now the world’s most widely used email encryption system. It’s called Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), and it ensured privacy between the sender and receiver.Zimmerman also made PGP freely available to anyone over the internet.The US government considered the strong cryptography behind PGP a military “munition.” They charged him with violating the Arms Export Control Act. The penalty… Three to five years in prison and a $1 million fine.In truth, the US government attacked Zimmerman for trying to protect something it loathes: personal privacy. Recommended Link Recommended Link — This former Silicon Valley insider has just “leaked” what could be the biggest technology investment story of 2018…While Reuters reports Wall Street is quietly ditching FANG stocks, and Bitcoin has taken a beating, Silicon Valley investors, Fortune 500 execs, and members of the U.S. government are pumping millions into this… It has nothing to do with stocks, or options, or any traditional investment you’ve ever seen… Nobody else sees this coming… Click here for the full story. Have You Read Today’s Hottest New Financial Book? The Official U.S. Edition of the Unclaimed Millions Handbook Click for details. — This Terrifies PoliticiansIt’s also instructive to look at BitTorrent, the file sharing software, to appreciate why governments can’t stop Bitcoin.BitTorrent is a similarly decentralized technology. It’s commonly used to download pirated digital content.BitTorrent has been around for over 15 years. It’s easily accessible to anyone, despite the US government’s best efforts to shut it down. There’s no reason to expect the government would have any more success eradicating Bitcoin than it’s had with BitTorrent, or Zimmerman’s encryption code.Bitcoin’s resilience to government interference terrifies politicians. This is why it’s such a disruptive and exciting technology.I’ve seen this firsthand in Latin America, where bitcoin helps people get around capital controls. (Governments use capital controls to trap money within their borders so they have more to steal.)Bitcoin helps people bypass these restrictions. That’s because governments can’t freeze, seize, or block the transactions.Bitcoin has become an escape hatch for people living in crisis-stricken countries. But I think it’s valuable to ordinary people everywhere.Bitcoin Bypasses Unsound BanksBitcoin is hugely popular in Venezuela and Zimbabwe right now.That’s no coincidence. Both countries are suffering through chronic economic crises. They have some of the highest rates of inflation in the world.Their governments also strictly control access to foreign currencies. This traps their citizens in a prison of rapidly depreciating fiat currencies. It’s been difficult to escape… until now.Bitcoin offers regular people a safe haven. They can easily use it to send and receive wealth. That might mean paying for goods and services when the local paper money becomes worthless, or discreetly receiving a much-needed influx from relatives who have managed to get out.Whatever the particulars, bitcoin bypasses unsound banks, worthless currencies, and government confiscation schemes.When a crisis hits, a government can easily steal the money in your personal bank account. It can also steal purchasing power by printing more currency. But it’s next to impossible for it to steal bitcoin or prevent people from using it.In a crisis, bitcoin is invaluable to the common man. Whenever there’s a crisis anywhere in the world, its price and volume spike.That’s why I’m calling bitcoin the new “crisis currency.”It’s also why I think bitcoin use will soar during the next global financial crisis, which I believe is not far off.The Original Crisis CurrencyFor thousands of years, gold has been the safe-haven asset. Unlike fiat currencies, physical gold in your possession cannot be easily confiscated, nationalized, frozen, or devalued at the drop of a hat.This is why gold is the traditional “crisis currency.” Now, with the advent of the digital age and bitcoin, people have another crisis currency to lean on.That said, bitcoin is no substitute for physical gold, nor is it a threat to gold’s value. I still think gold is the best way to preserve wealth over the long term.I see bitcoin as a complementary tool for advancing your financial freedom.Today, very few aspects of your private life are beyond the reach of the government… the US government in particular. But bitcoin offers a relatively simple way for ordinary people to maintain some financial privacy and discreetly grow their wealth.It has some of the same crisis benefits as gold. It’s also a solid speculative investment and a convenient way to start internationalizing your wealth.I think everyone should own some bitcoin.Regards, Nick Giambruno Editor, The Casey ReportJustin’s note: Casey Report subscribers can read Nick’s latest issue on this idea right here.If you’re not a subscriber, investing in bitcoin is just one of the ways to protect yourself—and profit—in the years ahead. Nick has a full portfolio of recommendations to build your personal financial empire.You can access these picks with a subscription to The Casey Report. And by signing up today, we’ll also send you a free copy of Doug Casey’s brand-new book. Keep in mind, this book is so controversial, we may have to take this offer down soon. Click here to see why.In Case You Missed It…The biggest power shift in the last 100 years is happening now.And it’s creating a tipping point in the next generation of energy metals. You see, a new type of energy is taking over.It will power our businesses, our homes and our automobiles. And it will create a major commodities bull market centering around a few select metals. If you know where to put your money ahead of time, you could see once-in-a-lifetime gains. Click here to learn more.
Insys Therapeutics, an opioid manufacturer, has agreed to pay $225 million to settle the federal government’s criminal and civil investigations into the company’s marketing practices. As part of the settlement, Insys Therapeutics admitted to bribing doctors to prescribe their opioid painkiller.Last month, a federal jury in Boston found five top Insys Therapeutics executives guilty of racketeering conspiracy for these same practices. Now, the federal government is holding the company accountable. In the agreement, the drug maker admitted to orchestrating a nationwide scheme in which they set up a sham “speaker program.” Participating doctors were not paid to give speeches, but to write prescriptions of Insys Therapeutics’ fentanyl-based medication, Subsys. Often the painkiller was prescribed to patients who did not need it.Over the next five years, the company has agreed to close federal monitoring and the federal government reserves the right to charge the company in the future if there’s a violation. “For years, Insys engaged in prolonged, illegal conduct that prioritized its profits over the health of the thousands of patients who relied on it,” said United States Attorney Andrew Lelling in a statement. “Today, the company is being held responsible.”This settlement, as well as the criminal prosecution of Insys executives, is part of the federal government’s efforts to punish pharmaceutical companies for their role in fueling the opioid epidemic. “Today’s settlement sends a strong message to pharmaceutical manufacturers that the kinds of illegal conduct that we have alleged in this case will not be tolerated,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt in a statement. “I want to assure the families and communities ravaged by this epidemic that the Department of Justice will continue to act forcefully to hold opioid manufacturers accountable for their actions.”The founder of Insys Therapeutics, John Kapoor, is among the highest ranking pharmaceutical executives to be convicted amidst the opioid epidemic. Sentencing of the former billionaire is scheduled for September. A spokesperson for Insys Therapeutics did not respond to a request for comment regarding the settlement. However, in August 2018 the company announced the settlement-in-principle and a spokesperson said in a statement, “Insys Therapeutics in no way defends the past misconduct of former employees.”The company has faced significant financial troubles that they attribute to legal costs. Earlier this year, an Insys spokesperson said the company may not survive. Copyright 2019 WGBH Radio. To see more, visit WGBH Radio.
You’re saving money by sending them home, but is the technology they use secure? 10 Tips for Home-Based Employee Computer Security 3 min read –shares Keith Ferrell Add to Queue Apply Now » May 15, 2009 If you’re looking at ways to trim operating costs without trimming staff, sending employees home to work may be near the top of your list. Just be sure employees’ home workspaces are as secure as your business’s.Quite a few security issues come to mind when thinking of employees working from home, but here are bMighty’s top 10:1. Anti-Malware And Defenseware –Are the employees’ home setups equipped with the same protection from malware, spyware and intrusions as the equipment at the main facility? Not just similar, and not just same-level. You should have identical levels of protection deployed on all equipment that will be handling company information or processes.2. Upgrades And Patches –Are the employees’ auto-update settings all enabled to ensure that virus defs and patches are current and stay so?3. Shared Use –Do other members of the employee’s household use the home office? This one is important — inadvertent exposure of company information as a result of an employee’s child or spouse’s actions is no less troublesome for your business… and in some cases can put you in legal jeopardy.4. Home Network Security –Is the household running a wireless network? How secure is it? Believe me, you may not want to know, but believe me, you had better know. And so should your IT manager.5. Backup Practices –How will the employee backup the day’s work (or whatever backup period your business requires)? How will you ensure that the backups are made, and that the backed up data is accurate and secure?6. Encryption –How much of your business data would be safe from prying eyes if the employee’s home were burglarized and the work-from-home computer stolen?7. Disaster Recovery –What happens to your data–and your access to it–should your employee become incapacitated? Do appropriate members of the employee’s household understand your ownership of data residing on machines in their home–machines that may be the employee’s personal property? Do you, for that matter, have the necessary passwords to access that data if the need or circumstance arises?8) Termination Troubles –If the work-from-home strategy proves not to solve your overhead concerns and you are forced to terminate the employee, how confident are you of your ability to reclaim all company data? Like the point immediately above, this one can be further complicated if the employee was using personal equipment for business purposes.9) Compliance Considerations –Many of the points raised above come into even sharper focus (and concern) if any of the materials the employee is working with are subject to regulatory compliance. Make sure the law lets employees work with information at home before you send the information home with them.10) Peace Of Mind –Okay, this one’s wholly subjective, but you should ask yourself–and discuss with the employee–your mutual comfort levels with company information being handled, worked on, stored at the employee’s home.We’ll be looking, in the weeks ahead, at some of the issues and questions that these issues and questions raise. (Should you equip the employee’s home with a dedicated machine and connection for business use only, for instance.) Brought to you by Information Week SMB Technology Next Article The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List
Now We Know the Truth: Going All-Digital with AI Is a Mistake Henry Vaage IversenJune 21, 2019, 9:00 amJune 19, 2019 Two of Scandinavia’s leading financial institutions have very different strategies for their conversational AI-powered customer service but with one unifying element at the core: human augmentation“We should go digital” is a common refrain in the financial services industry. Competition is increasingly happening online with smartphone apps, digital transactions and products that automate the customer experience. In the rush to avoid getting left behind, banks and insurance companies are looking to AI-driven virtual agents to smartly improve their limited customer service, with many even considering going all-digital on their conversational AI support efforts. But while the extensive use of digital technology has been a competitive edge across the industry, savvy financial institutions now know the truth: Going all-digital is a mistake.Relying solely on automation to handle all customer service interactions is a slippery slope. Even the most advanced AI can, and will, stumble when tackling complex queries, spouting off responses that could potentially turn customers away, and negatively impact a brand.Major European companies like Tryg and DNB have clearly understood that the path to finding the customer experience ‘sweet spot’ lies in using technology to augment existing human support staff. Both companies, for example, while implementing conversational AI technology in different ways, found that by leveraging the efficiency and predictability of AI against the expertise of their employees, they are able to achieve results without sacrificing the quality of service for which their customers have grown accustomedAugmenting customer support with AIMitigating complexity was a key challenge for Tryg in providing security and peace-of-mind to its 4 million customers. Rather than using Artificial Intelligence as customer-facing first-line support, the insurance company built a virtual agent named RoSa designed to make internal operations more streamlined and efficient.“When our outbound support teams speak to customers, they have all of the knowledge from the virtual agent instantly available and at their fingertips,” said Head of Process Excellence, Bjartmar Jensen at Tryg. “If the customer asks a question they don’t know the answer to, he or she can simply ask RoSa and get an answer immediately. In fact, 97 percent of the time RoSa has the right answer, or can provide useful relevant links, explain contract conditions, and provide guidance to internal processes.”By making the company’s entire wealth of knowledge easily accessible to its employees, Tryg has ensured that none of its customers risk being greeted by support agents who are too inexperienced to handle their problems. Instead, using RoSa, even new employees can give customers expert advice and resolve inquiries according to best practices.Since the virtual agent launched in July 2018, Tryg’s outbound customer support teams have been able to substantially resolve more cases and decrease the number of calls from support to back-office teamsFinding the right balance between human and machineDNB is Norway’s largest bank, comparable in terms of assets to the top banks in the U.S. The bank chose to position its virtual agent, Aino, front-and-center in its digital customer-service strategy. The partially government-owned bank needed a solution to deal with thousands of daily inquiries to its website that, while easily handled by human support staff, still required considerable time and resources.“The challenge for us is in handling the enormous amount of incoming traffic efficiently, while at the same time giving the best possible experience to our customers,” says Oyvind Brekke, EVP and Head of Digital Innovation at DNB. “Since launching our virtual agent in June 2018, we have already automated 50% of all incoming chat traffic.”In a confident move by DNB, customers visiting the bank’s website are required to first interact with Aino who will attempt to solve their query on-the-spot. This takes care of the menial, repetitive tasks that would otherwise tie up support lines, freeing customer service staff to concentrate on more nuanced queries that the artificially intelligent virtual agent identifies and passes on.To date, Aino has had over 1 million conversations with customers and can answer 3,500 different questions. Initially, the bank was seeing automation rates as high as 70%, however, DNB quickly discovered that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. “The results are a lot higher than we expected in such a short time,” adds Brekke. “We work hard every day to make Aino even better and to find the right balance between human and machine.”That balance is the key to Aino’s success. The bank dialed its capabilities back when the data made it clear that automation of around 50% of first-response queries (with high-quality automation) created the best customer experience. Overall, DNB now automates 17% of all its customer interactions across channels thanks to Aino, with that number expected to grow as its capabilities continue to expand. AIconversational AICustomer Experinececustomer serviceCustomer SupportHuman SupportVirtual agents Previous ArticleP&G’s Marc Pritchard and Brand Leaders from Taco Bell and LEGO Take on the Future of Advertising, Platforms and Purpose at Wake up with the EconomistNext ArticleTechBytes with Evgeny Popov, Global Vice President at Lotame
RELATED COMMENT Published on Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister for Food Processing Industries. File photo – Kamal Singh The mega food park has been set up at a cost of Rs 107.34 crore Govt plans to set up NBFC for lending food processing firms Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Sunday inaugurated Cremica Food Park, which is the first mega food park of Himachal Pradesh.“Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal today inaugurated Cremica Mega Food Park Pvt Ltd via video conference. The Park is located at Village Singhain Una District of Himachal Pradesh,” the ministry said in a statement. The mega food park has been set up at a cost of Rs 107.34 crore. This is the first mega food park operationalised in Himachal Pradesh. The inauguration took place in presence of Jai Ram Thakur, Chief Minister, Himachal Pradesh and Anurag Singh Thakur, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, Hamirpur, according to the statement. The Cremica Mega Food Park will benefit people of Una district and nearby districts of Kangra, Hamirpur and Bilaspur. The park has been set up in 52.40 acre of land at a cost of Rs 107.34 crore. The facilities being created by the developer at Central Processing Centre (CPC) of this mega food park include Multi-crop pulping line with bulk aseptic packaging (24 MT/ hour), Frozen storage (1,000 MT), Deep Freeze, Dry Warehouse, QC Laboratory and other food processing facilities. The park also has a common administrative building for office and other uses by the entrepreneurs and 3 PPCs at Solan, Mandi, and Kangra having facilities for primary processing and storage near the farms. Speaking on the occasion, Badal said the mega food park will leverage an additional investment of about Rs 250 crores in 25-30 food processing units in the park and generate a turnover of about Rs 450-500 crore annually. It will also provide direct and indirect employment to 5,000 persons and benefit about 25,000 farmers in the CPC and PPC catchment areas. The minister said that the modern infrastructure for food processing created at the park will benefit the farmers, growers, processors and consumers of Himachal Pradesh and adjoining areas immensely, and prove to be a big boost to the growth of the food processing sector in the state. Badal also said that the present government is fully committed to providing an environment that is smooth, transparent and easy for investors wanting to start an enterprise in India, and in a bid to make India a resilient food economy and the Food Factory of the World, the government has made food processing a major thrust area of ‘Make in India’.The food processing ministry is focusing on boosting the industry so that agriculture sector grows exponentially and becomes a major contributor to doubling the farmers’ income and ‘Make In India’ initiative of the Government. To give a major boost to the food processing sector by adding value and reducing food wastage at each stage of the supply chain with particular focus on perishables, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries is implementing Mega Food Park Scheme in the country. The mega food parks create modern infrastructure facilities for food processing along the value chain from farm to market with strong forward and backward linkages through a cluster based approach. Common facilities and enabling infrastructure is created at Central Processing Centre and facilities for primary processing and storage is created near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centers (PPCs) and Collection Centers (CCs). Under the Scheme, the Centre provides financial assistance up to Rs 50 crore per mega food park project. SHARE SHARE EMAIL February 10, 2019 COMMENTS Himachal Pradesh SHARE
Rahul Gandhi, Congress President – PTI national politics With efforts to placate Rahul Gandhi and make him withdraw his resignation not yielding the desired results till Tuesday, the Congress is readying it self for post-Gandhi phase. On Tuesday too, Gandhi reiterated his position and communicated the same to a host of leaders who tried to reach out to him. His family, including his sister and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, is also supporting his move.A senior Congress leader told BusinessLine that the CWC may meet again soon to discuss the possibilities for finding a replacement for Rahul Gandhi. Senior leaders have also understood that the first family of the party has problems with the top leadership of the party. Priyanka supports move“During the meeting, Priyanka Gandhi said Congress ke hathyare (those who murdered the Congress) are sitting in this room. We were stunned at such a statement from her. Rahul Gandhi also spoke from his heart. I wondered how one person can be so honest,” the senior leader said. Vehemently supporting her brother, Priyanka Gandhi also reportedly suggested that the replacement for Rahul Gandhi can be found within one or two months so that the BJP does not take an advantage of the situation.The discussions on replacements include two options. If Rahul Gandhi is not ready to give one more month for the party, senior leaders such as AK Antony or Ghulam Nabi Azad could be assigned the post. If he is willing to continue, the party can appoint one or two working presidents or form a panel of people to look at the routine organisational duties. Another source in the CWC said Rahul feels that the structure of the Congress has become like a fossil and it will be difficult for him to move it in the fight against the RSS-led Sangh Parivar. Some leaders feel that Rahul should at least accept the party’s Parliamentary leadership so that he can fight the RSS without having any organisational charge in the Congress. “Rahul Gandhi led a lonely battle. He had to deal with even District Congress Committees during the campaigning. Whatever he said in the meeting was 100 per cent correct,” a leader said.Rahul Gandhi specifically named leaders such as Ashok Gehlot, Kamal Nath and P Chidambaram in the meeting and said they were more keen on the victory of their children than the fight against the BJP. On Rafale deal, too, the Congress President felt let down by his colleagues as he led the campaign alone.Requests to continueApart from Congress leaders, several alliance partners and leaders of other parties also demanded Rahul to continue in the post. DMK’s MK Stalin, Rashtriya Janta Dal’s Lalu Prasad Yadav and actor Rajnikant urged Rahul to continue. “Rahul’s offer to resign is suicidal. Opposition parties had the common goal to dislodge BJP but failed to build a national narrative. The result in a particular election can never alter the reality in as diverse and plural a country as India,” Yadav said in Twitter. Published on COMMENT politics COMMENTS Priyanka, too, supports her brother’s decision; suggests finding a quick replacement to deny BJP an advantage May 28, 2019 Disquiet in Congress as workers raise ‘fix responsibility’ demand SHARE SHARE EMAIL RELATED Rahul seems to be firm with his decision to step down as party president SHARE