Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 5 ways to recognize low testosterone ACCRA, Ghana (AP) — At least 200 people died in the explosion at a gas station last week in Ghana, the emergency services department announced as many people were still searching for missing relatives on Monday.Flooding from torrential rains caused the fuel depot at a gas station to catch fire, killing those who had taken shelter there on Wednesday as well as many in the surrounding neighborhood. The disaster spotlighted shortcomings in the capital’s infrastructure. The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Comments Share Three days of mourning were declared starting Monday and in two days a memorial service will be held for the victims.But for many residents searching through the hospitals and morgues of the city, they weren’t even sure if their missing relatives were dead or just being treated.“I have been to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and found nothing that looked like my cousin. I have followed up to the 37 Military Hospital and Police Hospital only to be disappointed,” said Philip Dogbe.Others hoped against all odds that even five days later, their missing loved ones would turn up in a hospital ward or just come wandering back home.“I am only hoping that my brother is in one of the hospitals that l have yet to visit, being treated with burns. I am hoping he will come home,” said Richard Allotey.One man waited outside a hospital, crying, as he related the last words he heard from his fianc Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/2ab40/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has criticised European governments for their handling of the volcanic ash crisis. “This volcano has crippled the aviation sector, first in Europe, and is now having worldwide implications. “The scale of the economic impact is now greater than 9/11, when US airspace was closed for three days,” said Giovanni Bisignani, head of IATA.”We must move away from this blanket closure and find ways to flexibly open air space, step by step,” he told a news briefing in Paris. “Risk assessment should be able to help us reopen certain corridors, if not the entire airspace.”We are far enough into this crisis to express our dissatisfaction at how governments have managed the crisis…It took five days to organise a conference call with the ministers of transport.”Mr Bisignani said: “This is a European embarrassment and it’s a European mess”.Mixed Results from Test Flights Desperate to take to the skies once again and recoup heavy losses, many European airlines – including Air France and Lufthansa – have conducted test flights without apparent problems from the ash cloud. However, safety concerns were renewed when a senior US official confirmed that build-up of glass was found in the engine of a Nato fighter plane which flew through the cloud. Airline Aid The unprecedented airspace shutdown, which has now entered its sixth day, has cost the aviation industry over 200 million dollars per day. The European Union said it was ready to authorise the same exceptional public aid that it had allowed for airlines in the wake of the September 11 attacks to prevent financial disaster. The post-9/11 rules allowed for “state aid given because of exceptional events,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said. Travellers finally come homeAirports in northern England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Belgium, France and Germany are slowly grinding back into action and will allow planes back into the air from this afternoon.This morning three flights left Amsterdam airport bound for Shanghai, Dubai and New York and German flag carrier Lufthansa said it was “immediately” resuming flights on its long-haul routes after special permission from German authorities.Scottish airspace re-opened at 7am, followed by Manchester Airport at 9am, the Midlands around midday and airports in the South from 6pm.Three Royal Navy ships in Britain have also been sent to help transport holidaymakers home from France and Spain. British Airways have also confirmed that they will be resuming a select number of flights to and from London from 7pm.That means some of the estimated 150,000 Brits stranded abroad could finally start to make their way home.But travel experts warned most airports would only operate a skeleton service and a “controlled re-opening.”QantasQantas has extended its European flight cancellations into at least midday tomorrow and warned travel would remain difficult due to a backlog of flights. The airline said that it would waive refund penalties for tickets issues prior to 17 April 2010.It is estimated that one million passengers have been grounded globally, with 12,500 Qantas passengers stranded in various locations around the world. ConTgo’s SMS services ConTgo has seen unprecedented usage of its Mobile Travel Assistant (MTA) as a result of the flight chaos caused by the ongoing volcanic eruption in Iceland.A record 35,000 messages were delivered last Friday, while more than 65,000 messages have been delivered during the last three days compared to the daily average of about 5,000 messages. “Travel companies who provide the Mobile Travel Assistant to their travellers have been able to reduce some of the pressure caused by the sheer number of phone, internet and email enquiries they have received as a result of tens of thousands of flight cancellations,” said CEO Johnny Thorsen.
The proportion of babies born out of wedlock has increased more than eightfold in Cyprus since 2000, from 2.3 per cent to 19.1 per cent in 2016, Eurostat data published on Monday show.Back in 1986 just 0.5 per cent of babies were born out of wedlock in Cyprus, rising only to 1.5 per cent ten years later, in 1996. Now, nearly one-fifth of babies are born to unmarried parents.Of the 5.1 million babies born in the EU in 2016, the proportion of babies born outside marriage has grown significantly in all member states compared to 2000, but more in Mediterranean member states than in northern Europe.It has tripled in Malta (from 10.6 per cent to 31.8 per cent) and Italy (from 9.7 per cent to 28 per cent) and doubled in Spain, Greece and Portugal.Greece, with 9.4 per cent, has the lowest rate of all EU members, followed by Croatia (18.9 per cent) and Cyprus with its 19.1 per cent.With six in every ten babies born to unmarried parents, France had the largest proportion of live births outside marriage in 2016, closely followed by Bulgaria and Slovenia, both 57.6 per cent.More than half were also recorded in Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal and the Netherlands.The numbers remained relatively stable in Nordic and Baltic member states. You May Likecaesarposts.comThe World’s Scariest Bridgescaesarposts.comUndoHealthy9 health benefits of ginger, and how to add more to your diet | GuideHealthyUndowww.tungstenfashions.comLord of the Rings Fans – Tungsten Rings Just $49.99 – Free Shippingwww.tungstenfashions.comUndo Famagusta municipality says Varosha entry goes against UN regulationsUndoBritain preparing for a no-deal BrexitUndoModi versus Wild: Indian PM to join Bear Grylls in wildernessUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
State Rep. Amanda Price, R-Park Twp., today was sworn into office for her second term as state representative of the 89th District as the 97th Legislature convened for the first day of business in Lansing. Lt. Gov. Brian Calley administered the oath of office to Price, who was joined by her husband, Rodger. Price’s Ottawa County district includes the townships of Grand Haven, Olive, Park, Port Sheldon, Robinson, Blendon, Crockery and Spring Lake, and the cities of Ferrysburg and Grand Haven. Categories: News,Photos 09Jan Rep. Price sworn in for second term in Michigan House
Tags: #SB, 105, coffee with cole, Cole, Office Hours Categories: Cole News,Featured news,News Lawmaker announces upcoming May and June office hoursState Representative Triston Cole invites residents of the 105th House District to meet with him locally during district office hours this spring to discuss important state and local issues of interest.“I want to get to know all the constituents in my area so that they know I am invested in the 105th District and I am adequately representing their needs and interests in Lansing,” said Rep. Cole, R-Mancelona.Rep. Cole will be available to meet with Northern Michigan residents on Friday, May 27, at Dairy Grille, 1111 Bridge St. in Charlevoix, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.The Mancelona lawmaker will also be hosting office hours at two separate locations on Friday, June 10, at Briley Township Hall, 11331 West St. in Atlanta, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. and at Albert Township Hall, 4360 Hanson Ave. in Lewiston, from 2 to 3 p.m.Rep. Cole will also be available to speak with constituents on Monday, June 20, at Royal Farms, 10445 US-31 in Ellsworth, from 11 a.m. to Noon and at Northern Bear Country Store, 9918 Alba Highway in Elmira from 1 to 2 p.m. “Coffee with Cole” provides residents of Antrim, Charlevoix, Otsego, Montmorency and Oscoda counties opportunities to share ideas, concerns and issues regarding Michigan’s state agencies or legislation with Rep. Cole in person.Those unable to attend district office hours can contact the representative by email at TristonCole@house.mi.gov or by calling 1-(855)-DIST-105.###### 17May Rep. Cole invites local residents to attend ‘Coffee with Cole’
05Oct Rep. Tedder hosts in-district office hours for October State Rep. Jim Tedder of Clarkston invites residents to join him for local office hours during the month of October.“I am committed to making state government accessible and accountable to the people,” Rep. Tedder said. “Taking their issues and concerns to Lansing is my top priority as a legislator.”Office hours take place at the following times and locations:Friday, Oct. 13 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the Waterford Area Chamber of Commerce, 2309 Airport Road in Waterford Township; andMonday, Oct. 23 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce, 5856 S. Main St. in the Village of Clarkston.No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Tedder at 517-373-0615 or via email at JimTedder@house.mi.gov. Categories: Tedder News
Categories: News,Steven Johnson News The Michigan House of Representatives this week overwhelmingly approved state Rep. Steve Johnson’s House Bill 6012, which was part of a legislative package to ensure Michigan drivers will no longer be required to pay cash on the roadside if stopped for a traffic citation when driving out-of-state.Currently, when a Michigan driver is issued a traffic citation in another state they must either provide cash on site, have their driver’s license confiscated or possibly go to jail until payment is made.Rep. Johnson’s bill ensures states work together so that bonds and citations are appropriately settled if a driver from another state is issued a traffic citation.“This change is a common-sense provision that protects Michigan law enforcement officers and travelers from having to engage in an uncomfortable roadside cash transaction,” said Johnson. “In addition, my bill ensures that out-of-state drivers are afforded the same privileges in Michigan if their home state is part of this agreement.”By entering into an agreement with other states, Michigan and out-of-state drivers will be protected from adverse traveling requirements and laws.House Bill 6012 advances to the Senate for consideration.##### 28Sep Legislation to remove roadside cash payments passed by House
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesSeptember 5, 2014; USA TODAYIt is beyond debate that the controversy surrounding the Internal Revenue Service’s review of 501(c)(4) applications is missing the point. Last week’s report released by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found the IRS rent with mismanagement, poor communication, and inappropriate questioning of 501(c)(4) applicants. Contrary to the findings of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and contrary to the continuing focus of the House Committee on Oversight and Governmental Reform, the Senate report concluded that liberal groups often received the same inappropriate treatment by IRS reviews as conservative groups did, suggesting that the IRS looked for political triggers such as “ACORN,” “Occupy,” and “Progressive” like they looked for words such as “Tea Party,” “9/12,” and “Patriot.” Republicans countered in a dissenting report that more than four-fifths of the investigated groups were Tea Party and other conservative groups.The tit-for-tat back and forth between Congressional Republicans and Democrats isn’t taking this controversy very far toward a productive end. If Lois Lerner and her colleagues were guilty of going rogue on reviews of 501(c)(4) applications, legal and administrative actions should be taken. But the personal culpability of Lerner and others is in some ways a complete side issue that is taking the attention of Congress and the American public away from the underlying core issues.Potentially explaining the shoddy review and shortcuts of Lerner and her colleagues is a historically underfunded tax-exempt division at the IRS. This issue has finally been picked up recently by a number of outlets calling for increased funding for the tax exempt division of the IRS, but Nonprofit Quarterly has been raising this issue from long before the Lerner imbroglio—with specifics. The budget and staff levels for the tax-exempt unit have shrunk over the years while the nonprofit sector and the regulatory oversight challenges it presents have increased. Unbelievably, House Republicans have responded with efforts to punish the unit by further cutting its budget, though truth be told, there is generally little enthusiasm from either political party for putting money into the IRS in general, much less its tax-exempt division.Our call has been to free the tax-exempt unit from being punished and starved by Congress by dedicating the private foundation excise tax, a funding source originally meant to pay for oversight of the sector, to the IRS’s tax-exempt unit, potentially even boosting the operations of state charity officers that oversee nonprofits at the state level as well. In fact, we made that point in Congressional testimony while other national organizations were either sidestepping the issue entirely or calling for the tax-exempt unit to be funded by imposing new fees on struggling nonprofits. Guaranteeing adequate funding for the tax-exempt unit at the IRS would not only help address the miscues and malfeasance that appear to have occurred in the reviews of the 501(c)(4) applications, but also shortcomings in the reviews and oversight of 501(c)(3)s and other 501(c) organizations that are within the tax-exempt unit’s purview.Substantial funding goes into federal coffers through the private foundation excise tax, currently a two-tiered tax of 1 percent or 2 percent on private foundations’ net investment income. The amounts are far in excess of what the tax-exempt unit has been appropriated in the past—hundreds of millions of dollars, easily enough to put the tax-exempt division on the path toward sufficient resources and staffing for its mandated nonprofit oversight functions.That still leaves out two important elements of a necessary fix for the tax-exempt unit. First is quality management. It is sad to say, but the Lerner imbroglio lays bare problems of management and oversight within the IRS. Whatever the pros and cons of the TIGTA report, one has to ask: Where was the Inspector General before Lerner’s acknowledgement (in response to a question at an American Bar Association meeting in May of 2013) that her unit had used names such as Tea Party, etc. to select 501(c)(4) applicants for special review, which she characterized as “wrong…[and] absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate”? If this had been happening for a long time, it would appear that the IRS managers above Lerner and her colleagues, not to mention the IG, were missing in action. The tax- exempt unit deserves high quality management—because the nonprofit sector deserves high quality oversight from the Service.The other missing element, of course, is clarification of the regulations that determine what is or isn’t a “political” nonprofit where electoral political activities outweigh their 501(c)(4) social welfare functions. The IRS has already tried and stumbled with an effort to generate clearer regulations and rules on political nonprofits, generating more public comments on a tax regulation than ever in history. Most of the comments were aimed at the IRS’s overly inclusive definitions, compelling the Service to rethink its framework. But the IRS should be encouraged to proceed and not be dissuaded by opponents that view any constraints on nonprofit political activity as wrong. The Bright Lines Project is just one of a number of groups that have generated thoughtful approaches to revised 501(c)(4) regulations worthy of review and adoption, clarifying what 501(c)(4)s should be permitted to do, but also protecting vital—and legal—501(c)(3) activities, such as political advocacy, lobbying, and nonpartisan voter registration and get-out-the-vote functions.The answers are there for the IRS as an agency. Lois Lerner is just one person who, if she did something or directed other people to do things in contravention of the law, should be prosecuted—perhaps, as we have recommended in the past, by an independent counsel who would take this issue out of the hands of congressional committees. However, fixing the IRS itself requires more than congressional committees debating which political side received greater or lesser targeting by the review process acknowledged by Lerner in 2013. It requires adequate funding of the tax-exempt unit which has been starved for financial and staff resources over most of its history, ongoing quality management and oversight (including from the TIGTA), and clearer and stronger rules and regulations concerning the definitions and operations of 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations.—Rick Cohen ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share51TweetShare39Email90 Shares“That Way” by Justin BaederMarch 2, 2017; PoliticoIt’s a sentiment shared by many nonprofit organization senior staff and board members: Resources are tight, we’re managing with mission in mind, so wise administrative moves like providing ethics training are lower priority and easy to cut from budgets and schedules. Then problems come, amplified by public disclosure, and the decision to forego formal training looks especially shortsighted.The most recent illustration of this fallacious thinking is the Trump White House. The George W. Bush and Obama administrations received the training as part of their respective transitions. The Trump team was slated to do the same, and the General Services Administration (GSA) had already issued a request for quote (RFQ). The cost of the training for senior White House aides and Cabinet nominees was estimated at about $1 million.Shortly after Trump’s election, however, a letter was sent to GSA and bidders saying that “the transition team shifted its priorities,” according to Politico.As a result of a change in Presidential Transition Team leadership after the Nov. 8, 2016, election, there have been changes in the PTT’s goals for the political appointee orientation program.The change? Vice President-elect Mike Pence took over leadership of the transition process from Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) shortly after some his aides were found guilty of offenses related to the “Bridgegate” politically-inspired bridge lane closure scandal. Under Pence’s leadership, the team decided to undertake all training activities internally instead of contracting for services. The Trump team’s goal was to minimize transition expenses as a symbol of its promise to be frugal with taxpayer dollars, and it ended up returning to the government millions in unspent transition funds.The costs of this frugality, however, appear to make the budget-cutting success look like a Pyrrhic victory. Despite White House descriptions of past and ongoing internal ethics training, some political appointees at cabinet agencies report receiving “very little training.”“It looks like a good program, and I wish they had implemented it,” said Norm Eisen, a White House ethics lawyer in the Obama administration who now leads the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “It might have spared them the numerous ethics and other messes they have encountered.”Probably true. Regardless of whether formal training would have helped, the fact of formal training having been delivered would at least have demonstrated the administration’s due diligence and regard for the importance of operating in an ethical manner. It’s an important point for nonprofit leaders to keep in mind when designing and budgeting for their own ethics and governance training activities.—Michael WylandShare51TweetShare39Email90 Shares
Share57Tweet32Share5Email94 SharesPixabay. Public domain.July 13, 2017; The ConversationAt West Virginia University’s College of Law, there is a new program called the Appalachian Justice Initiative promoting the idea that humans are entitled to clean air, clean water, and clean soil beneath their feet. The University is in the northern section of the state where there are underground coal mines. The initiative calls this “environmental human rights.”In a column in The Conversation, Nicholas Stump, a member of the initiative, wrote that the link between human and environmental rights in the United States is not yet as fully formed as it is elsewhere. He believes that this missing link is the reason why many do not yet understand it as a “moral issue.”The idea of environmental human rights dates back to the environmental movement of the 1960s and 1970s. It follows other, more established conceptions of human rights, such as civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights, and often is classified as part of a so-called third generation of “newer” human rights.Over 100 countries have some type of environmental rights in their constitutions. In 2015, the UN created its Sustainable Development Goals, but various governments backed away from a clean environment as a human right.The U.S. has worked to protect human rights through the Constitution and its amendments, states’ laws, and international treaties. However, the U.S. Constitution has no ecological references, therefore any environmental protection is done by statute. A few states, such as Pennsylvania and Hawaii, mention the environment in their constitutions, but they lack consistency in wording and enforcement.There are two categories of rights: substantive—things we are entitled to have—and procedural—things we are entitled to do. The core idea of environmental human rights is that people are entitled to live in a healthy, clean and safe environment. Typically, societies honor these rights by passing laws that protect air, water, soil and food. We also expect, particularly in democracies, that people should be able to obtain information, participate in decision-making, and seek legal remedies for environmental harms such as toxic waste spills.Appalachia could be the center for the nation’s discussion of environmental rights; it is an example of ecology damaged by an economic driver that did not benefit the general population. Surface mining and mountaintop removal mining have permanently scarred sections of the Appalachian Mountains and produced poisons that include arsenic, selenium, and airborne polluting ash and dust.Appalachia, wrote Nicholas Stump, is a classic example of the “natural resource curse,” a social science theory that explains how regions with prime natural resources get exploited; those who work in such areas suffer from reduced lower education opportunities and are seldom able to share in the wealth of the resource. Whether gas, gold or coal, corporations or wealthy individuals control the resource to the detriment of individual workers. Accordingly, the marginalized worker suffers more when the environment suffers. Housing is more affordable in areas that have environmental damage, so the poor live where the air, water, and soil is the worst.Further,Much media coverage of Appalachia is classist and one-dimensional. For example, during the 2016 presidential campaign the region was portrayed as a unified bloc of “Trump country,” although it actually is much more socially and politically complex.In fact, a dense network of grassroots activists and ordinary Appalachian citizens has long contested environmental injustices, exemplified by the long and bitter fight against Big Coal. But these efforts seldom are acknowledged in the national media or leveraged into real and lasting legal reform.The preamble to the U.S. Constitution observes that the document was established to “promote the general welfare” of the people. However, the Founding Fathers could not foresee the threats to pure water and air and clean soil that would endanger every citizen’s general welfare. The rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” enumerated in the Declaration of Independence are not so far removed from a right to an environment and landscape that can sustain them.—Marian ConwayShare57Tweet32Share5Email94 Shares
Share9TweetShareEmail9 Shares“Spotted seatrout in net closeup.” photo: Tim Donovan/FWC, Florida Fish & WildlifeJuly 12, 2018; Cronkite News (Arizona PBS)Environmental advocate organizations have been working overtime to hold onto regulations to protect wildlife, plant life, and human beings. Their latest challenge comes via proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which was signed into law in 1973 by Richard Nixon. In February 2017, we reported on the Listing Reform Act, which means to add a financial review of the cost of adding species to the endangered list. Now, nine bills have been presented by the Congressional Western Caucus to mitigate and purportedly modernize the ESA.The bills have been endorsed by a long list of stakeholders, such as American Loggers Council, American Petroleum Institute, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Exploration & Mining Association, and National Association of Home Builders, and the Agribusiness & Water Council of Arizona. Simultaneously, the bills have been derided by nonprofits like the Sierra Club and the Center of Biological Diversity. The Center, which sees itself as “an advocate for all life on the globe,” has called the suggested legal changes “extinction bills.”Noah Greenwald, the endangered species director for the Center, called out one of the nine in the package, the STORAGE Act, in particular. The STORAGE Act amends regulations to remove some protected places. It would “prohibit designation as critical habitat of certain areas in artificial water diversion or delivery facilities”—in other words, areas around man-made dams. Greenwald says this exemption is “callous,” due to their role as vital habitats for species like salmon and yellow-billed cuckoos.Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), a sponsor of the STORAGE Act, believes the ESA does not serve everyone, because ranchers and farmers, among others, are not included in the process, including. “Right now, locals and private entities really have a prejudice against them,” he stated.Another of the bills would allow the Interior secretary to remove species that are on the endangered species list if an “objective, measurable scientific study” from states, researchers, or others demonstrates the species has recovered. The director of the Grand Canyon chapter of the Sierra Club, Sandy Bahr, believes that approving the bill, sponsored by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), would empower local interest groups to delist endangered species, “just trying to get rid of something that is an inconvenience to them.”“These decisions are supposed to be based on science and not on the politics,” Bahr said. “What Biggs is proposing is to inject more politics into the protection, or lack thereof, relative to endangered species. I would not trust that they (local groups) would be presenting reports or information that was based on the science.”The caucus members insist that the bills are aimed at bringing decision-making authority back to local stakeholders, in the belief that Washington DC cannot know the on-the-ground issues in their districts. They also displayed a lack of trust in the ESA, saying that less than three percent of the listed endangered species have recovered enough to be removed from protection.Greenwald, naturally, defends the Act, stating, “It has staved off extinction for 99 percent of the species under its care and put hundreds on the road to recovery.” The proposed bills would “absolutely push wildlife over the edge and into extinction,” he said.The Mexican gray wolf is a touchpoint for those on both sides of the issue. Ranchers had hunted the gray wolf to the point that there were only five left; scientists stepped in and bred them. Now, there are 114 wolves, and ranchers are complaining the wolves are bothering livestock again. Gosar said, “Ranchers and farmers have lost livestock, have been non-compensated, and looking at the Mexican gray wolf, taking it into different areas that it was never part of the territorial aspect.”“The gray wolf is an example of why the Endangered Species Act should be stronger, not weaker, as they are proposing,” said Bahr. It’s important, she observes, that it is species are protected in their own habitats from declining so far that the only way to save them is to breed them in captivity.Of course, Gosar says he wants to protect animals, too—as a source of tourism revenue.“Arizona’s got lots of wonderful things, and vistas, and we want to make sure that the critters are there too, because that’s what draws all our tourists from around the world to see,” Gosar said. “When local people are invested in that and they’re a part of the recovery, and the success story, it’s even better.”If these bills pass, will species be lost to extinction? Nonprofit advocates are not taking any chances.—Marian ConwayShare9TweetShareEmail9 Shares
Russian broadcaster CTC Media has named Nikolay Surikov as chief financial officer.Surikov was previously chief financial officer of VTB Bank subsidiary VTB Factoring and served as corporate reporting director of service provider MTS from 2004-08.Boris Podolsky, CEO of CTC Media, said: “I am delighted to welcome Nikolay to the CTC Media management team. He is one of the best financial professionals in Russia and a top performing executive. I had a pleasure of working with Nikolay in the past and highly value his professionalism and deep knowledge of finance and accounting. Nikolay’s extensive experience within leading Russian companies and an impressive track record of successfully implemented projects makes him a great addition to our team.”
BBC four controller Richard Klein has been hired to lead rival ITV’s factual charge, as part of a series of new appointments.He will become the UK commercial channel’s director of factual, with former Channel 4 daytime chief Helen Warner becoming director of daytime. The pair join ITV this summer to take over the duties formerly handled by ex-director of daytime and factual Alison Sharman.Furthermore, Jo Clinton-Davis has been upped to the newly created role of controller of factual. She has been overseeing Sharman’s duties since the latter left ITV in February.Klein has been in his current role at pubcaster the BBC for four-and-a-half years, overseeing arts and cultural channel BBC4. However, the future direction of the net has been subject of much debate since its budget was cut during the BBC’s DQF cost-saving initiative.Klein had begun his career at the BBC as a current affairs producer before moving into factual commissioning in 2000. At BBC Four, he is credited with bringing international series such as Borgen, The Killing and The Bridge to UK screens. He also commissioned a series of successful programmes that grew BBC4’s audience share by double during his tenure.“ITV has a strong and proud record of factual programmes, from 7Up to Long Lost Family, and I am delighted to be joining [ITV’s director of television] Peter Fincham so that I have the chance to follow in that tradition.”“[Richard Klein has] been a highly successful controller of BBC Four and I know he’s looking forward to a return to mainstream television and the challenge of making high quality programmes for broad audiences,” added Fincham.Warner, meanwhile, was formerly Channel 4’s head of daytime, where her commissions included Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals and Coach Trip. She was more recently an author.
Markus TellenbachInternational pay TV channel provider Scripps Networks Interactive is to take majority control of Polish broadcaster TVN for €584 million in cash plus assumption of debt.Scripps has struck a deal with ITI Group and France’s Canal+ Group to take a 52.7% stake in TVN in an all-cash deal. Scripps will also assume €840 million of debt. Following completion, which is subject to regulatory approval, Scripps will launch a mandatory public tender offer to further increase its stake in the broadcaster, as required under Polish law.TVN’s portfolio of free-to-air and pay TV channels includes flagship commercial channel TVN and thematic channels TVN 7, TVN Style, TTV, TVN Turbo, 24-hour news channel TVN24 and business news channel TVN24 Biznes i Swiat. Together, TVN’s channels took a 22% viewing share in Poland last year. The deal also includes advertising sales arm TVN Media.Scripps, which currently airs two channels – Travel Channel and Polsat Food – in Poland, is acquiring the stake through UK holding company Soutbank Media.TVN owns a 32% in Polish pay TV operator nc+, where Canal+ is the other main shareholder. Bertrand Meheut, president of Canal+ Group, said that the deal would enable it to “re-centre our strategy in Poland around pay TV”. He said that Canal+ will continue to have sa strong presence in the country and would continue to develop nc+, formed in 2011 from the merger of TVN’s n with Cyfra+. “We are gong to pursue our close collaboration with TVN, which holds 32% in nc+. As majority shareholder in TVN, Scripps Networks Interactive will be a key partner and we are very happy to have them on board,” said Meheut.Scripps was advised by Barclays and Blackstone Advisory Partners, with legal advice provided by Latham & Watkins LLP and Domański Zakrzewski Palinka sp.k.Canal+ Group was advised by JP Morgan Ltd, with legal advice provided by Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.Scripps’ move into Poland follows its 2011 acquisition of a 50% stake in UK pay TV channel provider UKTV, jointly owned with the BBC.”This agreement with Scripps Networks Interactive is evidence of the hard work and commitment of every single employee of TVN in building the biggest and most successful media company in Poland. Scripps Networks Interactive understand the importance of the Polish market, and the value of developing compelling content that connects with consumers. We are delighted to be joining the Scripps Networks Interactive family, and we’re excited about developing and strengthening our business for many years to come,” said Markus Tellenbach, president and CEO of TVN.“This transaction is an important milestone in the ongoing strategic development of our international business, and provides us with substantial further scale in Europe. Poland is a vibrant media market with significant growth potential. TVN has an incredible portfolio of channels and services, and has delivered consistently strong creative and financial performance under the leadership of Markus Tellenbach. The business will be a strong addition to Scripps Networks Interactive, and we’re looking forward to working with the whole TVN team to achieve our significant ambitions in the region together,” said Kenneth W Lowe, chairman, president and CEO of Scripps Networks Interactive.
Gill PritchardUK broadcaster Channel 4 has named Gill Pritchard as director of audience technologies and insight.Pritchard, who will take up her post with immediate effect and report directly to CEO David Abraham, will be responsible for transforming the way Channel 4 collates and uses data and viewer insight in order to generate new ideas and maximise Channel 4’s competitiveness, the company said. She will lead all activities relating to research, data capture, database management analytics and its dissemination and commercial use throughout Channel 4.Pritchard, who will be tasked with building a new group within Channel 4 that will include the existing research and insight team, the viewer support team and audience technologies, joined Channel 4 as director of strategy in 2008 and was subsequently promoted to director of strategy and corporate development with responsibility for the channel’s corporate development function, including all M&A and partnerships.Keith Underwood, Channel 4 head of strategy, will now take overall responsibility for strategy and Glyn Isherwood, Channel 4 director of finance, will take on corporate developmentPrior to joining Channel 4 Pritchard held a number of senior positions at BBC Worldwide including director of Children’s and head of strategyPritchard said: “Building on our reputation for innovation and the advantage of having such a young, technology-savvy audience, Channel 4 will use the latest technologies and analytics to become the most viewer centric broadcaster in the UK. In this exciting new era our priority is to foster the use of data-driven relationships with audiences throughout Channel 4, helping to deliver pioneering new ideas and business models for the fully converged future.”
Netflix and Canada’s documentary festival and conference, Hot Docs, are unveiling a five-year funding and development initiative for Canadian filmmakers.The Hot Docs ‘Canadian Storytellers Project’ will invest in funding and professional development programs for Canadian documentarians who may be indigenous, French-speaking, deaf and/or have a disability, or that are persons of colour.This will include the support of ten fellowships annually for Hot Docs’ Doc Accelerator program for emerging filmmakers. A handful of emerging filmmakers are already being supported via the program with support from Netflix at this year’s Hot Docs.In addition, the’ CrossCurrents Canada Doc Fund’ will financially support 25-40 independent doc projects from emerging filmmakers over the next five years with grants ranging from C$10,000 – $50,000 (£5,000-28,000).The Doc Fund will accept applications for its first round of funding this autumn.The news arrives after Netflix made a C$500m originals deal with the Canadian government to invest in original English and French-language programming over the next five years.“Netflix and its members around the world are passionate about documentary films and series,” said Netflix vice president of original docs and comedy Lisa Nishimura.“We are thrilled to partner with Hot Docs to support Canadian storytellers. This project will promote opportunities for emerging filmmakers, who offer a diversity of perspectives and connect their unique voices to global audiences.”
Sports broadcaster Eleven Sports has teamed up with Facebook to make the social media platforms its free-to-air partner in the UK and Ireland.The partnership is the latest extension to Eleven’s various collaborations with Facebook and comes ahead of the planned launch of its own online streaming service in the UK and Ireland, expected later this week.Eleven recently hired Scott Fenton to head up its marketing and communications activities in the UK market ahead of the launch of the OTT TV service. Fenton was previously head of international marketing and brand strategy for EMEA at UFC and has also worked for the NBA and ESPN.In July, Eleven announced that it would launch two UK and Ireland channels in partnership with IMG to carry Serie A and La Liga football that would be distributed via the new streaming service.Scott FentonAs part of the latest deal with Facebook, Eleven will make at least one match per week from both Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A available free of charge on its UK Facebook page. A selection of games from the other top-flight football leagues available on Eleven Sports will also be shown on Facebook across the season.Games to be featured on the social media platform include Cristiano Ronaldo’s debut for Juventus, as well as matches featuring Real Madrid, Barcelona and Napoli.The Facebook matches will kick off on August 17 with Girona v Valladolid, followed by Chievo v Juventus the following day and Valencia v Atletico Mardrid on August 20.Eleven will also show the first two rounds of the 2018 PGA Championship, on August 9-10, in full, live on Facebook in the UK and Ireland.The move follows Facebook collaborations in other markets including Germany, Poland and Belgium. Last weekend Eleven streamed a Trophée des Champions match between PSG and Monaco on Facebook in Portugal – a first for the Portuguese market, where Eleven launched a service recently in partnership with cable operator Nowo.Eleven said it was also in discussion with other major platforms in the UK and Ireland to make its content available more widely in those markets.
My boyhood friend Tom G. has been a member of our hometown Citizens Corps for many years. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sponsors it and trains volunteers in emergency preparedness. When emergency responders become so swamped that fire, police, and medical personnel cannot handle things, these volunteers step in. Thousands of hours and millions of taxpayer dollars are spent training citizens in case some unforeseen catastrophe overwhelms the system. They work and train hard, and fortunately they haven’t been called on to any major degree. We live in Central Florida. Having ridden out a few hurricanes in my life, we’re as well prepared as we can be. We have a generator, food, batteries, candles, a water purification kit, and much more. My wife and I visited Punta Gorda after it suffered the brunt of a hurricane in 2004. After driving one block to the grocery store, we raced out of there with burning eyes and handkerchiefs covering our noses and mouths. We immediately drove back to the motel, changed our clothes, and put what we were wearing in a plastic bag. We’d never seen anything like that before—and it left quite an impression. Honestly, what’s the chance of a hurricane doing that kind of damage to us? We’re over 50 miles inland from both coasts and 70 feet above sea level. In 2004, the eye of three hurricanes passed right over our little town for the first time in recorded history. Even if the probability is less than 1% (similar to a fire), the fallout would be so bad that we prepare anyway. What about a financial catastrophe? Folks near my age have lived through a few bubble bursts and recoveries. Most of us, however, did not experience the big one like our parents did in the 1930s. Though one thing’s for sure: It was bad, and it shaped the attitudes and values of a couple generations. What does a full-blown financial crisis look like? It’s when your world collapses financially. It might come on the heels of medical problems and the resulting high bills and lost income, or it might come in tandem with runaway inflation or a political meltdown.Financial Preparation The goal of preparation is adequate protection. When the crisis comes, it may affect everyone. Those who prepared well are likely to fare much better and avoid catastrophic consequences… which brings us to core holdings.Core holdings are, quite literally, survival insurance. They are assets we sock away and then hope, pray, and plead with the gods that we never have to sell. They should make up 10% of your overall net worth and be diversified in form and location. In light of the warning signs, now is a good time to review your own core holdings. They form the base of our investment pyramid, which I outlined in my book Retirement Reboot (complimentary with a subscription to Miller’s Money Forever, wink, wink). While we’re proud of how well the Money Forever portfolio is performing, we want to re-emphasize that the first step in any financial plan is building your core holdings. The investments in our portfolio risk some capital with the intention of profiting down the road. Core holdings are a different animal altogether. What types of investments should be in your core holdings? Well, that depends on the risk you’re trying to protect against.Protecting against inflation. Start with precious metals—gold and silver in particular. I recommend starting with “junk” silver, which you should be able to buy locally. Then add gold, silver, and platinum coins. One of the best ways to buy competitively is to go to a coin show. You will find several dealers displaying their wares and can quickly determine the market price. As you increase your holdings, consider holding some metal internationally. The Hard Assets Alliance (a Casey Research affiliate) makes that very easy. When you place your order, it garners bids from several dealers throughout the world so you get minute-by-minute competitive pricing. Jo and I have an account with it, and it’s easy and convenient. You can have the metals stored internationally, here in the US, or have it shipped to you. Don’t confuse these holdings with gold stocks or exchange-traded funds. Those are not core holdings. They’re paper investments purchased with the intention of selling for a profit at a later date. While they may move consistently with metal prices, unless you have a huge account, your paper is not redeemable for metal. You may want to own these in your portfolio, just like any other asset you think will go up in value. Your core holdings, however, need not be limited to metals. We hold foreign currency-denominated CDs from EverBank that are FDIC-insured. While their yield is currently low, we hold them as a hedge against inflation. When the US dollar buys less, certain foreign currencies increase in value and will buy more. By way of example, I have held Swiss francs for years. They used to be worth $0.80 on the dollar; now they are worth more than $1.10. Farmland is another great hedge against inflation. It’s a valuable asset and is in limited supply. There’s no new land growing in Kansas.Protecting against confiscation. Historically, governments resort to extreme measures like confiscation when inflation gets out of hand. Confiscation can take more than one form. President Roosevelt, by Executive Order 6102, made it illegal to own gold. Once people surrendered their gold, the government raised its official price from $20.67 to $35.00 per troy ounce. Think about that for a minute… One day you’re forced to sell 100 ounces of gold coins to the government and receive $2,067.00 in paper for it. The next day they revalue it and decree that it would cost $3,500.00 to buy it back, but they’re not going to sell it to you. Gold didn’t go up in value overnight; the value of the dollar went down. A second form of confiscation results in taxes, sometimes marketed as “emergency taxes.” A government that’s spending more than it takes in will eventually have its day of reckoning. Fearing a collapse, they’ll resort to extreme measures. I wrote about the confiscation in Cyprus last year, and we’re seeing similar things happening in Argentina. Who are the targets? Anyone with money. While no one can predict for sure what our government will do, prudent investors diversify some of their investment capital offshore. The recently passed Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) highlights how the government is taking great measures to harass any prudent investor moving his money out of harm’s way. Citizens of Cyprus have made it quite clear that those who moved some of their money offshore were spared. Once the government shut the currency window, however, it was too late for the others.How bad could things get? I have no idea. Argentina has already confiscated much of its citizens’ retirement plans and forced them to invest in the government’s debt. Can we say for sure that inflation of this magnitude will or won’t happen in the United States? No. I am neither a prophet nor a soothsayer. Though I can tell you this: the Federal Reserve had been in business for around 100 years and had $800 billion on its balance sheet as recently as 2007. Now it has $4 trillion, which is somewhere between a 400- and 500-year money supply. What will happen if it tries to sell that debt? The minute the world loses confidence in the dollar or it loses the status of being the world’s reserve currency, the decline in purchasing power could be horrendous. Even if the probability is a fraction of 1%, our biological clocks are ticking. Most of you are close to leaving the workforce or already out. The adverse consequences of high inflation and/or outright government confiscation of wealth are so catastrophic that an unprepared investor may never be able to recover. Even the Citizens Corps will not be able to help; we’ll be left to fend for ourselves, which could mean bunking in your adult child’s guest room instead of doing the million other fun things you’d planned for retirement. It’s time to make sure your core holdings are where they need to be, just in case. Jo and I review our financial holdings each year at tax time. That reminds me… We store our emergency food and mark the expiration date on the cases. About a month before expiration, we load the cases in the van and take them to the local food bank, then head to Sam’s Club to reload. Hurricane season will be here before we know it. It’s time to check our inventory. I hope we never have to open a can and can continue to help feed the homeless. That helps me sleep better at night. By the way, you can catch a peek of our portfolio, risk-free, if you try our newsletter today. You can see exactly which investments we make in order to achieve a good return, with minimal risk, even should very high inflation hit. You can access it now by subscribing to Miller’s Money Forever with a 90-day money-back guarantee. If you don’t like it, simply return the subscription within those first three months and we’ll refund your payment, no questions asked. And the knowledge you gain in those months will be yours to keep forever.On the Lighter Side For the radio buffs among you, I recently did an interview on bonds for GoldSeek. It’s an in-depth interview about how bonds work today and the common pitfalls to avoid. Our friend Stan the Annuity Man has just released a new book, The Annuity Manifesto. As a consumer advocate, Stan believes (as do I) that you’re better off with no annuity than with the wrong one. His book is a commonsense explanation of all types of annuity products and how they should be used. My wife Jo made an interesting observation on Easter Sunday. Many churchgoers here in Florida attend in blue jeans, shorts and flip-flops. Other families are dressed to the nines: little boys in suits and ties and girls in pretty dresses, patent leather shoes, and bonnets. It makes for an interesting sight. Jo remembers how important it was as a young girl to get a “new” Easter outfit. I suspect part of the reason was she had outgrown last year’s version. And finally… Our friend Tom B. dusted off some more memories for us. It was one of the best advertising campaigns in American history and actually a public service. EVERYBODY in America anticipated, read, and chuckled at those funny Burma Shave ads. Until next week…
Dear Reader, Two weeks ago, gold dropped almost back to where it was last December. The resulting negative sentiment gripping the precious metals market and indeed the whole metals and mining sector is profound and far reaching—as bad as last December, or worse. Which is odd, because the better stocks have not returned to their December lows. Producers have cut costs, explorers and developers with quality assets have been able to raise the money needed to advance, and we’ve actually been able to book some profits this year. But that’s typical; markets tend to overreact, and that, of course, creates opportunities. That said, the Casey consensus is now that broader markets are set for a major correction—much greater than the 1,000 point slide the Dow has seen over the last month. We may at long last be on the verge of leaving the eye of the global economic storm, as we’ve called it. Our colleagues at The Casey Report are preparing a special report on this subject, which we will send to all paying subscribers. But whether or not a “waterfall event” is about to hit Wall Street and beyond, if we’re facing the possibility of another 2008-type downturn, it’s only prudent to rig for stormy weather. What does that mean? It means rebalancing more toward cash and culling underperformers to that end—especially companies low on funds or losing money. Being contrarians, however, we also want to prepare to go bargain hunting. It’s in this context that I want to share some price-to-book-value research we’ve done, as you’ll see below. It’s important to keep the difference between price and value in mind when the two diverge. And they already have. Things could start moving very quickly in the weeks ahead. We’ll do our best to keep you appraised and advise you on how to proceed. Subscribers should check our portfolio pages frequently this month. Before we get to today’s article, however, I’m pleased to announce our new documentary-style film on the only way for Americans to legally minimize their taxes without leaving the US. It’s called America’s Tax-Free Zone, and you can watch it for free. As I’m sure longtime readers can guess, the focus is on Puerto Rico’s new tax incentives. Doug Casey, Peter Schiff, and other experts walk viewers through the facts and what to do. I hope you enjoy the video; I’d love to have more of you become my neighbors here in the US Caribbean. Now, on to the main event. More next week, Sincerely, Copper 3.01 3.14 3.30 Rock & Stock Stats Last One Month Ago Gold Producers (GDX) 20.69 23.43 24.50 Gold 1,238.29 1,234.90 1,323.00 Gold Junior Stocks (GDXJ) 32.47 37.60 37.38 One Year Ago Silver 17.27 18.66 21.95 Louis James Senior Metals Investment Strategist Casey Research Gold (SGE) 1,243.72 1,249.15 1,302.08 TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) 14,227.68 15,458.88 13,036.36 Silver Stocks (SIL) 10.39 11.98 12.80 TSX Venture 810.13 972.51 951.58 Oil 82.92 93.20 100.87