Winning the Paywall Debate

first_imgThough it may seem anti-climactic to you, given the rigorous discussion and testing around other publications’ paywalls, this is giant for us. We’ve finally moved from discussion to doing, and I, for one, could not be happier. Movement and experimentation, not standing still and hiding, is how smart business decisions are made.Previously, half of our content was behind a paywall that pushed people to subscribe. Now, the majority of our new content will be paywalled for at least a day or two, as it’s released. Editors will gradually rotate all pieces in front of the paywall during the week, so that every single piece will get its chance to circulate for free. This allows editors to better control the timing and PR strategy surrounding the release of content, but especially helps the efforts of the marketing team. Because our issues go live each week, the impact of our paywall is to encourage people to pay for instant access to our content.One of the most unanticipated pushbacks has been not from readers, but from writers who worry about cutting off eyeballs to their page. Our editorial staff has done a good job of communicating the necessity of testing, and I hope that my points below help other publications open a constructive dialogue about paywall strategy with their writers.1. Our financial vitality is necessary in order to further our editorial mission. Being a subscription-based publication, we rely on money from our readers in ways that other places do not. I’m not giving away free copies of The Nation at the dentist’s office; our basic annual rate for a printed magazine is $79 (a pittance compared to $138 for The Economist). We are not beholden to advertisers or a ratebase, leaving us to refreshingly cover what we want how we want. News media across the board have been fighting an uphill battle against free news on the web for years; The Nation is not immune. But I sense a shifting of the tides, and the industry has been teaching readers, little by little, that good, factual journalism costs something. Sending a reporter to Egypt or Russia or a photo-essayist to Detroit costs more than travel fees—these reporters are in Syria or Russia or Detroit, and readers should expect to have to pay people for the work that surrounds these issues. Believe it or not, solid, rigorous reporting isn’t done from a desktop or pieced together from a bunch of Wikipedia facts. Real journalism, like a crane operator or a chef, requires nuanced skill, time, and expertise. Writers know this. But it’s easy for them to lose sight of this in a vacuum—especially in an era we’ve created where we make clicks and pageviews count more than actual content, which practically demands a reversal. What needs to be reiterated is how, in order to avoid becoming a slogfest of half-truths and online “facts,” we need money to fund their work. If we’re not relying on advertising, then we need to rely on circulation. And in this day and age, a paywall is just another type of circulation.2. Our readers, not our advertisers, are our future. I liken our readers to Packers fans. Green Bay is the only community-owned sports franchise in the country. Cheeseheads are rabid about their Packers because they have a psychological stake in the team (no dividends are paid out; extra monies go to a variety of non-profits throughout Wisconsin). The structure is different, but the sentiment is similar: The Nation’s writers give readers a point of view they don’t often read. We need them both on board to continue our work. As long as we push affordable business initiatives to a new audience, we can build said audience with a greater psychological investment in our content provided by the writers. The readers and writers work in tandem, walking along a tightrope of limited funds, and without those funds, both will falter.3. Leverage the exclusionary aspect to inspire a bigger audience. It’s not rocket science: the glut of crap on the internet is astounding, and we all read it, but we don’t remember it (when was the last time you quoted a Yahoo News statistic at a meeting?). Everything has been’ed to the point where news has become trivia questions, not actual substance. But the writers can fight that, with their own followings and via their own audiences, by talking about their “exclusive” content on The Nation. It’s a way to leverage money for the paywall, but also for readers of their content. They want more eyeballs, not less; their resistance is to the general idea that a paywall will reduce eyeballs. This may be accurate on the outset. But the ownership is on everyone at the magazine—from the PR team to the writers’ own connections—to emphasize the importance of their pieces, offer teasers, and establish a firm stance that there is a reason we are asking you to cough up some money (in our case, $9.50) to read content. We’re like an exclusive club that costs next to nothing to join.4. Finally, this too shall pass. This is only temporary. This is only a test. Remember: it will either work or it won’t. If it works, then you’ve got the eyeballs, and we’ve got money to pay you. If it doesn’t, we experiment with something new and try a different angle. I promise you, it’s not in my interest to pour money into a continually failing strategy. Trust that your business staff is doing the best they can in your interest and in the publication’s, and that we won’t do something that will hurt the future of magazine. We’re doing something revolutionary at The Nation: we’re finally testing different paywall strategies. Sharing this is like dumping my purse on the table of a restaurant—it’s a mixed bag of embarrassment and pride. Why haven’t we done this sooner?It’s a little tricky, of course, being a subscription-based publication with a 150-year history of an audience allied to very strong editorial content. We have become increasingly forward-thinking with our approach to advertising, but at the core of it, our subscribers fund the magazine. At The Nation, Editorial Rules. We’ve been slower to test for all the reasons you think: less money; limited staff; an audience of truth-seekers who find paywalls a moral hindrance if nothing else; a founding prospectus that emphasizes our role to engage open, critical discussion of political and social issues; a staunch belief in the freedom of the press.last_img read more

5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Monday December 10 2018

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Below are 5 things to do in Wilmington on Monday, December 10, 2018:#1) WCTV Fundraiser at Red Heat TavernWant some good food while supporting a great cause? Wilmington Community Television (WCTV) is hosting a fundraiser at Red Heat Tavern (300 Lowell Street) from 4pm to 10pm. All you need to do is bring the flyer below (print it out or show it on your phone) and 10% of your check will go to WCTV. This is for dine-in or take-out. It’s an easy and delicious way to support the station.#2) Family Holiday SingalongThe Wilmington Memorial Library (175 Middlesex Avenue) is hosting a holiday sing-along on Monday, December 10 at 6:30pm! David Polansky, an award-winning singer, musician and composer, will present a repertoire of classic holiday songs and original compositions that will encompass Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa! All ages. Register HERE.#3) Wilmington Board of Selectmen MeetingThe Wilmington Board of Selectmen meets at 7pm in Town Hall’s Room 9. (Executive Session precedes the meeting at 6:30pm.) The North Wilmington Train Station, Butters Row Bridge Replacement, the Woburn Street/Lowell Street Intersection, Russell Disposal, and more are on the agenda. Read the full agenda HERE. The meeting is open to the public.#4) Wilmington Housing Authority Meeting MeetingThe Wilmington Housing Authority meets at 5pm in Deming Way’s Community Hall. The Capital Improvement Plan and Vacant Land With Development Potential are on the agenda. Read the full agenda HERE.#5) Wilmington Job Seekers Network MeetingThe Wilmington Memorial Library (175 Middlesex Avenue) is hosting a meeting of its networking group at 10am. Find out what the new tax code is all about and how it may affect you. Beth Logan is an Enrolled Agent with a tax practice and business consulting in Chelmsford. She teaches classes on taxes to laypersons and other Enrolled Agents. She is a nationally published author including articles and two books on taxes.  She has an MBA from the University of Maryland and two engineering degrees. Register HERE.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email You To Our Sponsor:Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Related5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Monday, September 9, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Thursday, September 5, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Sunday, September 8, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”last_img read more

Randhir Kapoor finally declares Rishi Kapoor is almost cancerfree now

first_imgRishi Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor, Karisma Kapoor, Randhir KapoorInstagramAfter maintaining suspense around Rishi Kapoor’s illness for the last few months, Randhir Kapoor has finally confirmed that the veteran actor was indeed suffering from cancer while giving an update on his current health condition.None of the member of the Kapoor family had disclosed the kind of disease Rishi Kapoor has been suffering from until filmmaker Rahul Rawail shared that Rishi Kapoor is now cancer-free on his recent Facebook post.Validating Rawail’s statement on Rishi Kapoor becoming cancer-free, Randhir Kapoor told PTI, “He is undergoing treatment, he is much better. He is almost cancer free. He will take some time to come back as he has to finish his course. He will be here in the next couple of months. Very soon.”This is time that a member of the Kapoor family has disclosed the nature of Rishi Kapoor’s illness. Earlier, Neetu Kapoor has posted a cryptic message about Rishi Kapoor’s health in her Instagram post suggesting that the veteran actor has indeed been diagnosed with cancer.A few days ago, Rishi Kapoor too had broken his silence on his current health condition and said that he is much better now and looking forward to working again.Rishi Kapoor had left to the US along with his wife Neetu Kapoor in September, last year to undergo the treatment for his cancer. Randhir Kapoor too had said that they have been doing medical tests and will update the media about Kapoor’s current health condition without revealing the nature of the disease.And now that Rishi Kapoor has finally battled the deadly disease and has been announced cancer-free, his fans along with the industry people are waiting for his return to India.last_img read more

Rushanara records landslide win in UK polls

first_imgRushanara-AliAnother Bangladeshi origin Labour Party leader Rushanara Ali has won his seat again in the Britains snap polls.Rushanara Ali recorded the landslide victory in the Bethnal Green and Bow seat for the third consecutive time.The first Bangladeshi origin British MP, Rushanara bagged 42,969 votes while her rival Conservative Party candidate Charlotte Chirico got 7,576 votes.In 2015, Rushanara received 32,387 votes while her Conservative Party candidate Mathew Smith was voted 8,070, marking a 24317-vote victory for Rushnara.The Sylhet-born UK politician was first elected in 2010.last_img

ExOC suspended over Feni madrasa student rape murder case

first_imgFormer OC of Feni’s Sonagazi police station Moazzem Hossain. File PhotoFormer officer-in-charge of Feni’s Songazai police station Moazzem Hossain has been suspended for not “carrying out his duties properly” after the alleged rape and murder of Feni madrasa student Nusrat Jahan Rafi.The decision was taken as per the recommendations made by the investigation committee of the police headquarters, sources told Prothom Alo on Friday morning.The investigation committee also recommended suspending Songazi police station sub-inspector Iqbal Hossain and taking departmental action against both of them for their role in the murder of Sonagazi Senior Fazil Madrasa student Nusrat, who was set on fire.Five burkha clad people took part in setting Nusrat on fire for filing a case against the principal of the madrasa Siraj Ud Doula, who allegedly sexually harassed Nusrat.The investigation report was recently submitted to the Inspector General of Police Javed Patwary.The committee also found that Feni superintendent of police Jahangir Alam Sarkar and additional deputy commissioner PK Enamul Kabir did not carry out their duties properly after learning about the incident.The report said the then OC of Sonagazi police station Moazzem Hossain and SI Iqbal Hossain tried to make it look like a suicide.SP Jahangir Alam did not visit the crime scene though he came to know about the incident around 10:00am. Rather he left for Chattogram Hill Tracts. He returned after being instructed by the deputy inspector general of police of Chattogram range, it added.The committee has recommended taking departmental action against the SP, police HQ sources said.The committee’s observation about the additional deputy commissioner PK Enamul Kabir will be informed to the ministry concerned.On 6 April, Nusrat Jahan Rafi was set afire at a centre of Alim examination allegedly by students loyal to principal Siraj Ud Doula of Sonagazi Senior Fazil Madrasa after he was arrested and subsequently suspended as she had accused him of sexually harassing her.Critically injured Nusrat was immediately taken to the DMCH for better treatment where she underwent a surgery under life support on 9 April.Nusrat, however, succumbed to her injuries around 9:30pm on 10 April.There were allegations that police tried to make the incident look like a suicide attempt. OC Moazzem was withdrawn due to her family’s no-confidence in him.On 13 April, the police headquarters formed a committee to find out the role of its officials in the incident. The committee finalised the report on 30 April.last_img read more

Wall carvings in Saudi Arabia appear to offer earliest depiction of dogs

first_imgRock art at Shuwaymis appears to show two dogs leashed to a hunter. Credit: M. Guagnin et al., Journal Of Anthropological Archaeology, 5, 2017 (—A combined team of researchers from Max Planck University and the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage has documented what might be the oldest depictions of dogs by human beings. In their paper published in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology , the team describes the wall engravings and the means by which they attempted to date them. The researchers note that the dogs depicted in the rock bear a striking resemblance to modern Canaan dogs, which still live a feral existence in the area. They also acknowledge that a lot more research is required before a consensus can be reached regarding the age of the engravings. Prior research has suggested that humans first arrived in what is now Saudi Arabia approximately 10,000 years ago. Those first visitors were believed to be hunter-gatherers—researchers have found images of them carved into stone walls in the area. Prior research has also found evidence that people in the area domesticated animals and became herders approximately 7000 to 8000 years ago. They, too, have been depicted in stone etchings, and researchers have also found the bones of some of their livestock. Now, it appears that during the time between these two periods, people may have domesticated dogs and used them to hunt other animals for food. This new evidence is part of a collection of stone carvings the team has been studying at two sites in Saudi Arabia: Jubbah and Shuwaymis.The stone carvings depict hunters, armed with bows, surrounded by dogs, some of which appear to be tethered to the waists of their human masters. It is not currently possible to directly date stone carvings, of course, so the researchers had to use other types of evidence. They noted the weathering of the rock, for example, which can be used as an approximate aging test. But more importantly, they noted the location of the engravings and the sequence of engravings in the area. Those depicting tamed, leashed dogs appear to occur in a general timeline from approximately 8000 years ago. If the age of the engravings can be confirmed, it would push back the earliest depiction of leashed dogs by approximately 3000 years. © 2017 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Journal information: Science Like humans, dogs found to have fitful sleep after negative experiences Citation: Wall carvings in Saudi Arabia appear to offer earliest depiction of dogs (2017, November 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from More information: David Grimm. Oldest images of dogs show hunting, leashes, Science (2017). DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6365.854 Maria Guagnin et al. Pre-Neolithic evidence for dog-assisted hunting strategies in Arabia, Journal of Anthropological Archaeology (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.jaa.2017.10.003 , … ii/S0278416517301174 Explore furtherlast_img read more

Morocco inaugurates tourist office in New Delhi

first_imgMohammed Sajid, Minister of Tourism and Air Transport of the Kingdom of Morocco, announced the opening of first tourism office in New Delhi, India, recently. Morocco in an endeavour to double its tourist footfall from India by 2019, has set up a full-fledged Moroccan National Tourism office in New Delhi as the first step towards promotion of Morocco as a desirable destination for Indians.”This office will help us in planning various strategic promotional and awareness programs to tap the robust tourism sector in India”, the minister said. He further stressed that Morocco is keen to enhance its cooperation with India in the tourism sector, in harmony with its new orientation towards emerging as a preferred destination outside the traditional asian tourist market.” Also Read – Add new books to your shelfMoroccan-Indian relations are getting stronger, as Morocco prepares to implement several measures to welcome more Indian tourists in 2019. Tourism remains a vital pillar of the Moroccan economy and the country’s second biggest employer after agriculture, while India is the fastest growing outbound market after China with UNTWO predicting 50 million travelers by 2020. With 7% GDP global growth rate, rising personal income levels and changing lifestyles and a huge middle class with the availability of low-cost airfares and diverse travel packages, India is rapidly Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsivebecoming one of the fastest growing outbound travel markets in the world. Indian tourists are among the world’s highest-spending globetrotters. Their spending power has been estimated to be four times that of the Chinese and Japanese. Mohammed Sajid, Minister of Tourism, Air Transport, Handicraft and Social Economy of the Kingdom of Morocco, is on an official visit to India, along with an important delegation including Adel El Fakir, Director General of the Moroccan National Tourism Office, Imad Barakka, Director General of Moroccan Society of Tourism Engineering, Zakaria Belghazi, Director General of Civil Aviation and Fatima Zahra Jabri, Head of the Department of Partnership in Royal Air Maroc.last_img read more

Man wanted for TMC workers murder held in Chhattisgarh

first_imgBilaspur: A man was arrested from Chhattisgarh’s Bilaspur city in connection with the killing of a Trinamool Congress worker in West Bengal on June 4, police said Sunday. TMC worker Nirmal Kundu was shot dead by unidentified bike-borne persons in Nimta area of north Dum Dum municipality, part of North 24 Paraganas district and the area under the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority. The accused, Sudip Das, was nabbed by a team of the West Bengal Police’s Crime Investigation Department (CID) on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday from the house of a relative of his friend in Chilhati village here, SHO of Sarkanda Police Station Santosh Jain said. “The Kolkata Police got a tip-off about Das’ presence in Sarkanda, following which they alerted us. A raid was carried out and he was nabbed,” Jain added. The Kolkata Police got Das’ transit remand from a local court on Saturday and took him to West Bengal on Sunday for further investigation, he added.last_img read more

Oprah had the time of her life on HAL Alaska cruise and

first_imgOprah had the time of her life on HAL Alaska cruise and these photos prove it Tags: Holland America Line Thursday, July 27, 2017 Travelweek Group SuperSoul 100 Member Angela Davis had guests on their feet and moving to her empowering words during a spiritually enriching performance. Another SuperSoul 100 Member, Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter India.Arie, took to The Mainstage for her powerful SongVersation performance.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTWhile sailing to Victoria, British Columbia, breast cancer survivor Jayne Jamison (Senior Vice President/Publisher and Chief Revenue Officer, O, The Oprah Magazine) led more than 150 walkers on a non-competitive 5K walk on deck to help raise awareness and funds for cancer research. Holland America Line, O The Oprah Magazine, and cruisers raised more than $10,500 for five international cancer organizations.After viewing scenic Glacier Bay, Oprah Winfrey took to Eurodam’s Mainstage to host A Conversation with Oprah. Speaking at two full-house engagements, Winfrey shared her journey to success, her self-proclaimed Year of Adventure and the desire for this cruise to be the start of something meaningful for those on board. Sharecenter_img “We are in the business of trying to expand the way people see themselves and their lives, and that’s what travel does,” explained Winfrey. “I want it to be more than just a trip. I want it to be the start of something big that started with this adventure of a lifetime that fuels and feeds in a way that is grand and deep and wide.”More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesOn what it meant for Holland America to be part of the event, Orlando Ashford, president of HAL, said: “The first cruise in our partnership with O, The Oprah Magazine was tremendous. The energy and inspirational atmosphere on Eurodam was felt by all and truly something special. The incredible caliber of talent and performances on the Share the Adventure Cruise exceeded expectations, and we leave this week with a lifetime of memories and lessons on how to live your best life.”The July 15 cruise was the first of several special cruises with Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine. Four additional Adventure of Your Life cruises with SuperSoul 100 Members (to be announced) will set sail as follows:Nov. 29, 2017 – 11-Day Southern Caribbean Wayfarer roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on ms KoningsdamMarch 3, 2018 – 7-Day Tropical Caribbean roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on ms Nieuw AmsterdamAug. 11, 2018 – 7-Day Alaska roundtrip from Seattle on ms EurodamOct. 28, 2018 – 7-Day Eastern Caribbean roundtrip Fort Lauderdale on ms Nieuw Amsterdam Posted by SEATTLE — Oprah Winfrey is all for living your best life, which is exactly what she did while sailing onboard Holland America Line’s ms Eurodam to Alaska.Holland America Line and ‘O, The Oprah Magazine’ Share the Adventure Cruise set sail from Seattle to Alaska on July 15, bringing together renowned visionaries for a week of ‘O-mazing’ talks and activities.Throughout the voyage, guests took part in morning meditation with yoga instructor Sara Ivanhoe and learned about healthy eating with ‘Impatient Foodie’ founder Elettra Wiedemann. ‘O, The Oprah Magazine’ editor-in-chief Lucy Kaylin and editor-at-large Gayle King shared a peek behind the scenes of the award-winning magazine, while books editor Leigh Haber led conversations with Pulitzer Prize-winner Elizabeth Strout for the first-ever O’s Reading Room. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

TravelManagers Famil Delivers Best of Oahu

first_imgTravelManagers’ Famil Delivers Best of OahuTravelManagers’ Famil Delivers Best of OahuFor many of the personal travel managers (PTMs) who attended TravelManagers’ recent annual national conference in Honolulu, the chance to extend their stay and join one of the pre- or post-conference famils was too great to pass up. For thirteen participants, this entailed a four-day, three nights experiencing the highlights of the island of Oahu, from outrigger canoe surfing at Waikiki Beach to a tour of some of Hollywood’s most famous movie locations at Kualoa Private Nature Reserve.TravelManagers’ exclusive pre-conference famil included hotel inspections at luxury properties such as Honolulu’s Kahala Hotel and Resort – Erin Beckford, Melanie Carter and Kate Bevan (L-R)For PTM Kate Bevan, who is representative for Croydon, VIC, the group’s time on Oahu’s famous North Shore was one of the main highlights of the famil, and something she now feels confident in recommending to her clients.“The beaches of the North Shore are lovely from the ground, but to see them from the air was even more amazing,” Bevan says of her first-ever helicopter ride. “I also really enjoyed our lunch at Turtle Bay Resort – it’s such a scenic spot that I could happily have spent much longer there, stand up paddle-boarding or just swimming in the lovely lagoon.”Bevan’s fellow PTM, Kerry Cleasby, last visited Hawaii twenty years ago, and appreciated the opportunity to revisit Oahu and refresh her memories and knowledge of the destination.“I had forgotten how naturally beautiful Waikiki is, with pristine beaches and water, a striking mountain backdrop and so much to do,” she reports.Cleasby, who is representative for South Brisbane, QLD, says her visit also gave her a fresh perspective on selling Hawaii as a family destination – knowledge that she is looking forward to passing on to her clients.“When you’re travelling with kids, it’s the details that make a difference – such as which hotels and room types are suitable for having two or three kids in the room, what family-friendly activities are on offer, and where to find the best family-friendly restaurants.”The famil, which was exclusive to TravelManagers, was hosted by Hawaii Tourism Oceania (HTO), who created an itinerary that showcased the best of Oahu on the ground and from the air, but also ensured that participants departed Hawaii with plenty of local knowledge to pass on to their clients, including which resort had the most amazing pool, how to manage tipping and where to find a great happy hour.“I’ll definitely be coming back to Oahu,” declares Erin Beckford, who is representative for Anna Bay, NSW. “The experiences and food were amazing, and I now know where to stay and what to do – although I may need a bigger budget next time around!”On day three of the famil, the group paid a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center where, as well as a site tour and dinner, they were treated to the HA The Breath of Life show. This dazzling demonstration of Polynesian dance and music brings together more than 100 local performers, special effects, animation and surround sound to provide visitors with an unforgettable taste of Hawaiian culture and story-telling.“The show was amazing,” enthuses Bevan. “It was well put-together and informative, and the demonstration with the fire-knives had me holding my breath!”Of course, no visit to Oahu would be complete without some serious shopping and eating. Their visit conveniently coincided with Hawaii’s 24th annual Made in Hawaii festival: a wonderful opportunity to pick up all manner of Hawaiian-made products.“I also loved wandering around the International Marketplace,” says Bevan. “The Street Party pass was an excellent way to be able to sample amazing food from the hawker stations in the Street Food Hall.With a fresh perspective on Oahu as a destination, the PTMs all report that they would happily return, with families in tow next time.“We were treated like VIPs everywhere we went,” says Cleasby. “We experienced some amazing restaurants and hotels and, having had a fresh look at what Hawaii has to offer, I think this would be a great family holiday.”In the meantime, at least one of the PTMs has returned home with a small souvenir that will serve as a daily reminder of her time in Oahu.“I’ve always wanted a swaying hula girl like the ones you see on car dashboards,” grins Bevan. “Now I’ve got one on my desk.”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599. TravelManagers’ Erin Beckford, Kate Bevan and Hawaii Tourism Oceania’s Alicia Palma (HTO) take a gondola ride through the Polynesian Cultural Centre (PCC)About TravelManagersTravelManagers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.8 billion for 2018. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 540 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are secure and only used for client purchases. Source = TravelManagerslast_img read more

Rep Howell hails House budget approval

first_img Categories: Howell News,News 03May Rep. Howell hails House budget approval State Rep. Gary Howell voted on Tuesday for approval of the House version of the state budget, which includes record funding for K-12 education and funds the state at a level below that recommended by the governor.Howell, of North Branch, voted in favor of the budget for the new fiscal year, a conservative blueprint that invests in the state’s future.“I am pleased that we are providing K-12 schools the most money they have ever had, including additional funding for at-risk students,” Rep. Howell said. “We also are opening more opportunities for skilled trades training, which will help fill high-demand jobs in the state.“Additionally, our budget is restrained to the point that our proposal is below the amount recommended by Gov. Snyder,” Howell said. “We have trimmed inefficiencies and government waste to save taxpayer money.”Highlights of the budget include:Allocating the highest funding in state history for K-12 schools with a proposed $14.3 billion; improving access to skilled trades training through career and technical education.Making life better in communities across Michigan by adding money for road repairs, public safety departments, parks and other programs to improve our daily lives.Increasing funding for public safety by adding 100 more Michigan State Police troopers.Making health care more effective and efficient, with an enhanced focus on improving mental health care.Paying down retiree debt and adding to state government’s main savings account for tough times, pushing that emergency fund above $1 billion.The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.last_img read more

By Marin Katusa Chief Energy Investment Strategis

first_imgBy Marin Katusa, Chief Energy Investment StrategistIn the third century, greed got the best of Rome’s emperors. As they spent through the silver in the treasury, one emperor after another reduced the amount of precious metal in each denarius until the coins contained almost no silver whatsoever.It was the world’s first experience with currency debasement and hyperinflation. As people saw the value of their savings evaporate, society grew angry and demanded a scapegoat. Christians became that scapegoat, and Romans turned on them with incredible violence.This pattern – currency debasement leading to social upheaval and violence – would repeat many times over.In medieval Europe, the number of women on trial for witchcraft climbed in sync with the debasement of currency. In revolutionary France, the Reign of Terror that slaughtered 17,000 wealthy counterrevolutionaries aligns perfectly with the deterioration of the purchasing power of the assignat note.And in the most vile example: dramatic hyperinflation in Germany in the 1920s allowed Hitler to rise to power by blaming Jews for the country’s economic woes.The connection between currency debasement and social upheaval makes sense – hyperinflation only occurs in times of domestic drama. For example, in 1946 Hungary experienced the greatest episode of hyperinflation on record – in the context of a small, economically limited nation wracked by the Great Depression and then Nazi occupation in World War II. Zimbabwe earned second place in hyperinflation’s record books when its dollar inflated 7.96 billion percent from early 2007 to late 2008. The cause? Robert Mugabe’s land-reform policy slashed agricultural output and destabilized a fragile society.That brings me to today… and to Iran, where that volatile mix of domestic drama and hyperinflation is pushing a fragile society to the brink of revolution.If history repeats itself and Iran descends into revolution, the outcome is both unclear and obvious. In the unclear category: the details of the resulting regime and how far an Iranian revolution might spread through the Middle East. What is obvious, though, are the generalities: a post-revolution Iran would remain Islamist and vehemently anti-US.Another generality is also crystal-clear. An Iranian revolution – and the potential for that to spawn a new set of Shia-based alliances across the Middle East – would be very good for oil.And if Iran’s currency continues its dramatic nosedive, that revolution – and oil-price spike – might be just around the corner.Dark Days for Iran’s RialOn October 3, riot police converged on Tehran’s Grand Bazaar. With water cannons and batons, they dispersed a large crowd of demonstrators who were calling President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a traitor for his mismanagement of Iran’s economy.The location was significant: The Grand Bazaar is often described as Tehran’s economic heartbeat, and its merchants kick-started the 1979 revolution that ended Iran’s monarchy and ushered in the Islamic Republic.The spark that lit the protest flame this time? The Iranian rial had lost a third of its value against the dollar in the three previous days.But that was simply the latest drop in a currency devaluation that has been both rapid and profound.The rial had been slowly losing value against the US dollar since international sanctions against the country’s nuclear program took effect in mid-2011. The devaluation was gentle for the first year, but picked up speed in June. A few months later, the currency started to freefall.On the weekend of September 8-10, the rial lost 9.7% of its value. On October 1 alone, the rial declined 17%. By the next day the black-market exchange rate reached 35,000 rial to the US dollar, marking an 80% decline in the past year.The massive devaluation is fanning the flames of Iran’s burning fiscal situation. International sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program have accomplished one desired aim: major inflation. The Iranian government says inflation stands at 25%, but unofficial estimates put it much higher, between 50-70%.It all translates into far higher prices on staples like food and fuel. Iranians now pay three times as many rial for meat as they did a year ago. Iran’s farmers rely on animal feed and vaccines that are imported and therefore priced in US dollars, and they have to pass on the increased costs to consumers.In the meantime, unemployment is also rising unchecked. Overall unemployment is close to 15%, while youth unemployment is almost 30%.The Iranian InfluenceSoaring food prices, deteriorating employment prospects, and heavy-handed police tactics kicked off a revolution in another Middle Eastern country not long ago. Tunisian vegetable vendor Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire in December 2010 to protest precisely those problems; the ensuing riots started his country down a rapid road to revolution. Tunisia’s transition turned heads across the Middle East, and the Arab Spring was born.Iran’s ayatollahs are now facing a very similar situation. The rial is dying and hyperinflation is creating real potential for full-fledged economic panic. Continued protests like the one in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar would represent a real threat to the ruling regime.The response from above is easy to predict. Iran’s ruling clerics did not hesitate to use force to repress the widespread discontent sparked by President Ahmadinejad’s re-election in mid-2009, and used the same riot police in the Bazaar last week to silence dissidence. Bigger protests will almost certainly draw an even more aggressive response.The regime will also likely offer up a scapegoat. Ahmadinejad is the most likely candidate – he has been clashing with the conservative elite for several years now, and his second and final presidential term ends next summer anyway.Will a combination of repression and Ahmadinejad’s head silence the masses? Maybe, maybe not. When people see their life’s savings evaporate – Poof! – in a pile of worthless paper, they get really mad. And really mad people with little to lose is precisely the fuel that feeds revolutionary fires.However, don’t let Western ideals like democracy and the separation of church and state cloud your idea of a reformed Iran. A new regime in Iran would still be Islamist; indeed, the country would almost certainly remain guided first by religion and second by politics. Generations of Iranians have been taught to believe in Shia Islam above all else, with hatred of the United States coming in a close second. Those pillars of Iranian culture would remain.As such a new Iran could closely resemble the old Iran – but in the meantime, instability could easily spill across the country’s borders. Shia populations in other parts of the Middle East could well gain confidence from Iran’s uprising and begin uprisings of their own, destabilizing the region’s delicate Shia-Sunni balance.Suddenly, Shia populations in eastern Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Bahrain could demand greater recognition, an end to discrimination, maybe even some form of autonomy. The significance of this cannot be understated. The Middle East is a balancing act on many levels, but maintaining peace between Shia and Sunni Muslims is perhaps the most important balance of them all.Iran, unsteady after a regime change and constrained by international sanctions, would undoubtedly reach out to these Shia populations. Shia connections around the Middle East, long held back by Sunni rulers, would strengthen. A pan-Shia block of allegiances could emerge, replacing the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah partnership with a bigger, stronger group standing against Saudi Arabian – and American – interests in the Persian Gulf.Truly, a riled-up Shia population connected through a new, Iran-based set of allegiances stretching across the Middle East is a recipe for regional disaster.Disaster in the Middle East is a recipe for high oil prices – and a bull market for the ages.Whether the drama remains confined to Iran – where a popular revolution puts a new leader in place who blockades the Strait of Hormuz as a show of strength – or spreads to Saudi Arabia, where a marginalized Shia population finally rises up against their Sunni rulers, Iran’s currency woes mean instability and infighting in the world’s most important oil region. Additional Links and ReadsMad Money‘s Jim Cramer Interviews Sandstorm Gold CEO Nolan Watson (CNBC)Nolan Watson is the president and CEO of Sandstorm Gold, a company Marin has recommended several times. Nolan also holds one of the top spots on the Casey NexTen list of rising resource-sector superstars under the age of 40. In this interview, Nolan explains the royalty model that Sandstorm uses to reduce risk while retaining exposure to metal prices.Chavez Win Means More of the Same for Venezuelan Oil (Reuters)Hugo Chavez’s re-election means that Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA will remain highly politicized and hobbled under the weight of supporting Chavez’s financial demands. Since PDVSA is forced to spend most of its earnings supporting massive government social programs, the company cannot reinvest sufficiently in its operations – and as a result Venezuelan oil production will almost certainly continue to slide, even though it taps into the biggest crude-oil reserves in the world.US: Gas Replaces Coal as the Favored Fuel (Financial Times)We have seen articles like this before, but updated numbers on the switch from coal to gas for power generation in various parts of the US serve as a good reminder of the magnitude of the shale-gas revolution. In the southeast, for example, Southern Company’s coal plants long provided 70% of the region’s electricity, but in the past four years that share has dropped to 40% and continues to decline.Miners Pressured as Uncertainty Sours Uranium Market (Reuters)Eighteen months after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, the spot price of uranium hit a two-year low this week, putting the squeeze on the already-depressed shares of uranium miners. Slowing economic growth in China, which is expected to provide much of the support for uranium going forward, is weighing on the metal’s recovery.last_img read more

In This Issue   Safe Havens get unwound   R

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Safe Havens get unwound. *  RBA disses the A$ again! *  Spending more than we make, why not? *  China’s Gold shipments up 51% this year so far. Saber Rattling Quiets Down.. Good Day! .  And a Tom Terrific Tuesday to you! Well, Front and Center this morning, I feel like I’m becoming like the main media, and focusing on stupid stuff instead of the things that we should be focusing on, for this morning, I’m going to talk first about a couple of emails I received yesterday from people that were quite upset with me for calling the country of Ukraine, “the Ukraine”. I do understand the difference, but really, a simple explanation would have done the trick!  So, I apologize to all Ukrainians who felt I was putting them back in the Russian stable.. Ok, dear readers, you get what I’m talking about here, right?  I mean you don’t call Japan, “the Japan”, or France, “the France”. But funny thing, you do call our country The U.S.! As if we’re still a group of colonies! HA! Well, do you get the feeling that there’s little to talk about today, and Chuck is doing his best to beat around the bush this morning? If you do, you win a Gold Star!  Speaking of Gold, yesterday, the shiny metal gained over $20 and pushed ahead of the psychological level of $1,350. But that was all “fear trading” as I talked to you yesterday morning about the saber rattling going on in the country of Ukraine. Overnight, all that saber rattling appeared to be exaggerated, and Gold has backed off the $1,350 level, by $12. Have you ever listened to the Moody Blues, Seventh Sojourn Album? For over 40 years it has always been one of my faves. New Horizons from that album is playing right now, and I had to turn it up, as this is a song that gives me peace of mind.  How can I be my usual smart alec self after listening to this song?  I’ll do my best! But you should really, dig that album out of your old albums bin, and put it on the turntable again.. Well, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) kicked off this busy week of Central Bank meetings and Job Jamborees with a meeting of their own last night, and kick things off is what they did! The RBA decided to kick the Aussie dollar (A$) off the path to recovery last night, by emphatically mentioning that the “currency remains high by historical standards”.  Once again, I used to like the RBA and thought of them as prudent, for they always seemed to have price stability as their main goal. By wishing, and hoping, and thinking and praying that the A$ will get weaker the RBA is inviting inflation into their economy, and that’s not providing price stability, folks. Shame on you RBA! Yesterday, it was all about the safe havens, and today it’s back to kicking sand in the face of Japanese yen, Gold, and francs.  The U.S. Sec. of State, Kerry, is visiting Kiev today, so he must have put the fear of God into the Russians and had them back off, and end the saber rattling. Or maybe, as I said above, it was all exaggerated.  Russian President, Putin has decided that there’s no need to send troops into Ukraine, and that has everyone breathing easier this morning. And with that we have the safe havens on the selling blocks today. The euro is attempting to get back on the rally tracks this morning, after getting sold yesterday. I doubt that the euro will get much traction though, as we head into the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting on Thursday. So, any traction it gets will be hard fought for!  I still believe that we’ll see better things from the euro this year as I feel the single unit will be able to add on to last year’s positive gains.  The euro is far from being out of the woods, given the peripheral countries of the Eurozone’s problems, but as long as relative calm can continue to be cast over the Eurozone, the euro will find ways to inch forward in price. The U.S. Data Cupboard was choking on the data it had to spit out yesterday. First and foremost, the U.S. PMI (manufacturing) index didn’t show that it had any problems with the “bad weather” in Feb, and gained.  That’s a good sign for the U.S. economy and the first one we’ve seen in awhile.  But then we had the Personal Income and Spending data. We simply cannot help ourselves when it comes to spending money, and in some cases spending money we don’t have!  January consumer spending was up .4%, while January consumer income was up only .3%.. So once again, we spent more than we made.  When you put the exploding Consumer Credit numbers up with these spending reports then the picture begins to become HD quality.  Oh, and an ugly step-sister to all this is the larger than should be comfortable to Fed Heads, Margin Debt, just keeps growing. I don’t want to spoil the party so I’ll go. I would hate my disappointment to show.  So, just go ahead and spend, and you’ll find out in the end, that it would have been better to save. On a sidebar, (I’ve seemed to go on a lot of these today, eh?) When the stock market last crashed (remember the tech bubble?) I had gone on record, months prior to the mess exploding, saying that IF the Fed, led by Big Al Greenspan, wanted to truly slow the stock market down, all he had to do was raise the initial Fed Call, margin rate, which stands at 50%… When I was a young man learning how a margin dept works at the brokerage firm Stifel Nicolaus, the initial Fed call margin rate was 65%… When it was dropped to 50%, stocks took off and never looked back, well that is, until the tech bubble popped.  Just a bit of history for you. And getting back to spending more than we make. a report that EverBank posted on Google+, says that 1 in 3 Americans don’t save. And that only 68% of Americans spend less than they make and save the difference.  That’s down from 73% at the start of the depression, when everyone was scared straight, and decided to shore up their own personal balance sheet. (remember that series “Scared straight”?)  Well, that’s what happened, but now it’s back to spending, and not just one’s own money, but spending other people’s money!  One day a huge appreciation and the next day a huge depreciation. That’s what’s gone on with the Chinese renminbi / yuan these last two days. It’s as if the People Bank of China (PBOC) is testing the waters of volatility. Just to see how it works, plays out, affects markets, etc.  For there is no reason that they would allow a huge appreciation one day, and reverse it the next day, unless they were testing the waters of volatility.  Well, today is Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday. I was in error last week when I talked about it being National Pancake day. National Pancake Day is today. So, drop by an IHOP and get your free stack of pancakes!  I could use some pancakes, I think, today, as my stomach is rolling around and not behaving.  Saturday was Mardi Gras. Here in St. Louis, I think we have the 2nd largest Mardi Gras celebration, so it’s a big deal here. For What It’s Worth. I’ve told you all about this fellow named Koos Jansen, who does tons of work researching Gold shipments, etc. in China.. He normally posts his thoughts on a website called and the GATA people post it too.  Koos then goes to Google+ and makes a post.  This morning, Ed Steer posted it too, so it’s all over the place, but not in places that you dear Pfennig reader would normally see, so I have if for you here!   Here’s Koos Jansen.. “The Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) is back on schedule publishing their trade reports on Friday that cover the previous trading week. Last Friday’s report covered the trading week February 17 – 21. For me the most important numbers is always the amount of physical gold withdrawn from the vaults as this equals Chinese wholesale demand. Withdrawals in week 8 (February 17 – 21) accounted for 49 tonnes, year to date there have been 369 tonnes withdrawn from the vaults. If we divide the later by the number of days of the corresponding period (52) we come up with an average demand of 7.09 tonnes per day – this includes weekends and the one week holiday at Lunar year when the SGE was closed. I got a few request regarding demand compared to last year and daily moving averages. Great ideas which I have carried out (request are always welcome, we’re doing this together). Compared to last year demand is up 51 % over the same period. Of course we had the shocker in April 2013 when withdrawals exploded to 117 tonnes in week 17. I don’t expect any spikes that big this year so probably this year’s growth compared to 2013 in percentages will be decreasing when we’ll pass April. Nevertheless, the daily average of 2013 was (2197/365) 6.02 tonnes, while this year we’re up to 7.09 tonnes. China is on schedule to establish a new record, if the world can supply any more gold. The longer this insatiable demand continues, the more I start to ask myself where this gold is coming from. We know form Swiss refineries they’re having a very hard time to source this much gold for China.”  – Koos Jansen Chuck again. Great stuff! The Chinese like to be secretive about their shipments, production and overall usage of Gold, but more and more these numbers are coming to the front page, and none of them indicate to me that China has given up their goal of having more Gold than any other county on earth, to: 1. Make the rules when the countries sit down and show their Gold, and 2. To back the renminbi with Gold to make it the most attractive currency on the block! To recap. It’s Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday for everyone else that isn’t Irish!  The saber rattling in Ukraine has quieted down, and Putin said there’s no reason to send troops into Ukraine. So, with the quieting down, the safe havens which were what it was all about yesterday, are getting sold this morning.  The euro is back on the rally tracks, and the RBA dissed the A$ last night, saying that it was “still high”.  And Chuck learns a lesson on talking about countries.. Currencies today 3/4/14. American Style: A$ .8960, kiwi .8405, C$ .9040, euro 1.3765, sterling 1.6695, Swiss $1.1305, . European Style: rand 10.8075, krone 6.0015, SEK 6.4370, forint 225.60, zloty 3.0410, koruna 19.8690, RUB 36.10, yen 101.90, sing 1.2690, HKD 7.7610, INR 61.85, China 6.1236, pesos 13.27, BRL 2.3435, Dollar Index 79.99, Oil $103.82, 10-year 2.64%, Silver $21.19, Platinum $1,445.00, Palladium $747.00, and Gold. $1,333.08 That’s it for today. I believe that we will have some cooks (people in the office) making their best Fat Tuesday creations for today. I sure hope my stomach settles down so I can partake! Well, after today, you’ll only have me 5 more days before I head to Spring Training! After walking across the wind tunnel bridge this morning, I have to say that I can’t wait! I have to go where it’s warm, and that’s not here! The Sun continues to move north. Mike and Chuck keep track of it as it rises in the East. We had a fund raiser at a pizza joint last night for the Lindbergh High School Water Polo Team. All the kids, and grandkids were there, so dad got to buy dinner for everyone! My two grandsons, Everett and Braden were entertaining, and at one point they both decided they needed to go to the bathroom. I thought, that’s not going to turn out good. HA! Funny kids! I hope they generated enough money for the program. Oldest son, Andrew is the head coach of the water polo team, so even after Alex graduates this spring, we’ll still be going to games. And with that, Mike is here, that means this is late!  Not as late as yesterday, as I had to retype the whole letter, long story. So, I hope you can make this a Tom Terrific, Shrove and Fat Tuesday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Marketslast_img read more

Most investors outside North America not only saw

first_img Most investors outside North America not only saw their currency lose value but also lost money in their stock market. His fellow Russians were hit especially hard. Whoever owned gold, though, had avoided these debilitating losses and was actually sitting on a profit. The article concluded by congratulating those with the foresight to buy gold, which unfortunately didn’t include many of his fellow citizens—but it did include him. Dmitry has every right to feel pleased with himself. While inflation raged all around him, the currency fell through the floor, and global crises remained escalated, his investment in gold had done exactly what it was supposed to do: protect him against currency and monetary calamity. In fact, he’d gained more with gold than he lost in ruble purchasing power. He’d read warnings that this could happen—warnings others had dismissed as the ravings of loony gold bugs. He had been skeptical, frankly, and it hadn’t happened exactly as he thought it would, but now he sure was glad he’d decided to play it safe and bought some gold as insurance. He wondered what those in North America thought about this phenomenon… Did they see the writing on the global economic wall—or did they imagine they were immune because their stock market had risen so much while gold remained weak in their currency? Did they really believe their central bankers were wizards endowed with supernatural powers that others lacked? Didn’t they remember Ben Bernanke insisting in 2007 and 2008 that there was no crisis and that everything was under control? It seemed to Dmitry that many of them were kidding themselves, because he knew that at some point, the very thing that happened to inflation rates and currency values in his country could happen to theirs. And how gold would respond—as he now knew firsthand. Like him, sensible Americans who bought gold while it was on sale wouldn’t know the timing but would be prepared for the inevitable outcome of the currency-destroying policies their central bank had adopted, just like all the others. He hoped they saw it coming and envied their chance to take advantage of relatively low prices. Dmitry could hardly wait for tomorrow, the day the January BIG GOLD would be released. And it wouldn’t be just any issue, but a 50-page blockbuster edition that interviewed 17 experts on precious metals and included two actionable steps to kick-start 2015: a discount on international bullion storage; and a new recommended stock—one that Jeff Clark described as a must-own company that came with both safety and high potential. He hopes his friends check it out. Dmitry sipped his coffee drink at his favorite café in Moscow, flipping through the newspaper in front of him. It was full of bad news: currency troubles, ongoing sanctions from the West, rising inflation, and more. But he ignored all that. He turned to the investment section and began to scan the page, looking for the latest price of one specific investment. He went past the headline that screamed Russia’s inflation rate was up to 11.4% last year, as well as the article detailing the ruble’s debilitating 46.5% fall. He knew all those things and had experienced them firsthand. He went directly to the page that quoted the price of gold in rubles. And there it was. And this time, it wasn’t just a short price quote, but a full article on the topic of gold, starting with a headline that warmed his heart. “Gold Price in Rubles Rises 73% in 2014” The article detailed how gold had soared last year due to the depreciation of the ruble. What especially pleased him was that gold rose more than the ruble fell. It also outpaced the rise in inflation. The article included a chart of the last six weeks’ price movement, during which the ruble had taken an especially ugly drop. Dmitry wasn’t surprised to read that it wasn’t just the gold price in rubles that was up last year… The price of gold rose against ALL currencies in 2014—except the US dollar. Yes, gold was up in the euro, Japanese yen, Swiss franc, Canadian dollar, British pound, Australian dollar, New Zealand dollar, Chinese renminbi, Indian rupee, Swedish krona, Brazilian real, Israeli shekel, and South Korean won. Even more interesting was that gold outperformed most stock markets around the world…last_img read more

For more than 60 years it has been the standard o

first_imgFor more than 60 years, it has been the standard of care to try to speed up childbirth with drugs, or to perform a cesarean section if labor was seen as progressing too slowly.Now a new set of recommendations is changing the game.In February, the World Health Organization released a set of 56 recommendations in a report called Intrapartum Care for a Positive Childbirth Experience. One key recommendation is to allow a slow labor to continue without trying to hurry the birth along with drugs or other medical interventions. The paper cites studies showing that a long, slow labor — when the mother and baby are doing well — is not necessarily dangerous.A little history is required to understand the importance of that one recommendation, says Dr. Aaron Caughey, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Oregon Health & Science University, who did not work on the report. In 1955, Dr. Emanuel Friedman studied 500 women and concluded that labor is normal when, during the intense phase of contractions, the cervix opens at a rate of at least one centimeter (about 0.4 inches) an hour. “Dr. Friedman showed that 95 percent of women progressed” at this rate, says Caughey. “And that became the standard of care.”Called Friedman’s Curve, the standard persisted until 2010 when a large-scale study of more than 100,000 women by Dr. Jun Zhang, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, concluded that healthy mothers at low risk for birth complications and their babies did just fine even when labor progressed more slowly than one centimeter per hour. In 2014, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology put out a consensus paper co-authored by Caughey overturning Friedman’s Curve, which had been followed by most doctors since the 1950s.But change in practice comes slowly, says Caughey, and many physicians around the world still consider a long, slow labor reason enough to speed it along with a drug like oxytocin or to wheel the mother into an operating room for a C-section.The big take-home message from the report is that a slow labor can be a safe labor. But just as important are the other recommendations that emphasize the kind of care women should be entitled to throughout labor and delivery. Worldwide, 140 million babies are born every year, most of them without complications to mothers or babies. But the recommendations emphasize that too many women suffer during childbirth or don’t have the kind of birth experience they want.The new WHO recommendations include allowing a woman to be accompanied by a companion of her choice during childbirth, honoring her decisions about pain management and delivery position, and providing her with confidentiality and privacy. These guidelines are important all over the world but are particularly relevant in poor countries where resources are scarce and women in labor are often crammed into overcrowded wards.For a closer look at the overall guidelines, we spoke with Dr. Olufemi Oladapo, medical officer in the maternal and perinatal health team at WHO and an author of the recommendations. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.The new recommendations say that a long, slow labor is not a good reason in itself to give drugs to speed labor, perform a C-section or otherwise medically step in. Can you talk about that specific recommendation?This is a game-changing kind of recommendation. It goes against an ages-long benchmark categorizing how quickly labor should progress. Previous thinking was that less than one centimeter per hour was abnormally slow. But we now know that this benchmark is unrealistically fast for some women, and interventions to correct the rate of dilation can do more harm than good. If a woman is dilating slower than one centimeter per hour, as long as she’s making some progress, she can still have a vaginal delivery. Using that old, fixed rule for every woman doesn’t make sense. Just like in many things, humans tend to differ.What do women themselves want in the childbirth experience?Women want to be involved in making decisions. They want a sensitive, caring, well-motivated staff taking care of them. They want to be in control of the process. And, of course, they want a healthy baby and to be healthy themselves. That’s what women are saying they want.The guidelines emphasize respect and dignity. What are some instances of “disrespectful and undignified care” referred to in the report?My department published a review of disrespect of women globally during childbirth. It’s worse in some places than others, but it’s everywhere. It has to do with physical abuse, like slapping the woman on the thigh during delivery. Or yelling and shouting at her to push the baby out. There is negligence, for example, if the woman is left alone for long periods during labor.Are cultural differences taken into account in these recommendations?Yes. An example is the recommendation having to do with birth position. A woman should be allowed to choose the position she wants, maybe squatting or sitting. That might be the position of her culture.Many of these recommendations are aimed at encouraging a normal, vaginal delivery for healthy women not at risk for medical complications. What if some women request cesarean section even though it’s not medically necessary? We make clear that if someone wants an intervention, it’s the responsibility of the provider to explain the pros and cons of an unnecessary medical intervention. In some cultures, the medical intervention is considered the better quality of care.In China, during the one-child policy, many women had cesarean section, maybe because they knew they would only have one child. [An initial C-section usually means other births will also be C-section, which can be even riskier. If mothers know they will only have one baby, they don’t worry about C-section risks.]Now that the policy has changed, I understand that’s changing. But an invasive intervention means the woman is taking an extra risk. You have to explain to the woman that even in a high-income setting, the risk of a cesarean is not zero.How will you spread the word on these recommendations?There has been a lot of social media. We’ll hold regional conferences: Africa in April, Southeast Asia in June. Others will follow. Each region can run individual workshops.What do you hope comes from these guidelines?We hope that every woman receives care that maintains her dignity from the time she walks into a facility until she is discharged.Susan Brink is a freelance writer who covers health and medicine. She is the author of The Fourth Trimester, and co-author of A Change of Heart. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit read more

As a science columnist for The New York Times Car

first_imgAs a science columnist for The New York Times, Carl Zimmer had reported extensively about genetics and the role gene mutations play in various ailments. After a while, he got to wondering about what secrets his own genetic code holds.”I wanted to know if there was anything I needed to worry about,” Zimmer says. “We all think back to our relatives who got sick and then wonder, ‘Is that in me?’ “So Zimmer worked with a genetics counselor to get his entire genome sequenced — an experience he describes as “very nerve-wracking.” He worried that he would discover a mutation that would put him on the path for a particular disease.As it turned out, the counselor told Zimmer he has a “boring genome.” Though Zimmer initially hoped for a more “exciting and exotic” assessment, the counselor reminded him “A boring genome is a really good genome.”Zimmer writes about the broader implications of genetic research and testing in his new book, She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions and Potential of Heredity.Interview HighlightsOn how the new genetic editing technology known as CRISPR worksWhat happens with CRISPR is that scientists will design a molecule — think of it as a probe — and it will search around in the DNA in a cell until if finds a very specific short sequence. And it will grab onto it, and it brings on with it basically molecular scissors, which will then cut the DNA at that spot — kind of like cutting tape. And you can cut out a segment of DNA. And if you just do that, DNA will heal itself. Basically the two loose ends will stitch themselves together, and now that piece is just missing. Or you can add in a little piece of different DNA, and you can actually get the cell to put in that new piece of DNA where you just cut out the old one.On whether CRISPR technology could be used to treat diseases in humansWe’re just on the verge of human trials. They will be starting, hopefully very soon, for diseases like sickle-cell anemia. There’s actually a lot of research on muscular dystrophy as well. There are a few key diseases where scientists think these would be the best places to start. To basically inject CRISPR molecules into people’s bodies; these CRISPR molecules would then go to certain kinds of cells and repair one particular spot in their DNA. And that treats the disease.We shouldn’t look at this as a panacea. … There have been earlier kinds of treatments known as gene therapy, where you basically try to add an extra gene into someone’s cells. And that [seemed] like it was just a slam dunk, but then it turned out to not work very well for years and years. … So CRISPR could be even more exciting and truly revolutionary. We just have to wait and see what this first generation of human clinical trials show us.On his visit to an insectarium where a scientist is breeding genetically modified mosquitoes that are resistant to malariaFirst of all, you have to gown up before you go in there. … And then you go through an air lock, and then you’re in this room where there are mosquitoes living in all their different life cycles.So there’s a dark room where the female mosquitoes are laying their eggs, because they like to do it in the dark. And then the scientists pull the eggs out from these rooms and they inject DNA into them and then they put them in water, because that’s where mosquito larvae like to develop.And so you go into this other room where there are these tubs of water, and these snake-like things are slithering around in there and then they develop into adults. And the females need to drink blood; so [researchers] found that the containers for movie popcorn work really well. What they do is, they basically clamp a warm container of calves’ blood on top of them, and then the mosquitoes are underneath — on the underside of the plastic lid — basically poking through and drinking the blood and fattening themselves up. …You can tell that they’ve been genetically altered because they have red eyes, which is kind of spooky. But you look at that and you say, well, that means that these could be the cure for malaria. It really could happen. And hundreds of thousands of people die every year of malaria. We’ve thrown everything we can at it and this parasite is still knocking us down worldwide. So, maybe this could be it – so, that’s actually quite exciting.On how genetic testing was used in the Golden State Killer caseFor the Golden State Killer case, what somebody decided to do was take the DNA that they had from these crime scenes, and upload it to one of these open-access sites — not a commercial site — and then see if they could find any close matches. And they found that there were some people that looked like they were distant cousins of this person. And they went and did the genealogical research to figure out “Well, how would they be related?” And then said “OK, who are the possible relatives that this person could be, and where do they live?” And that actually helped narrow down their search until they made an arrest.On whether genetic testing companies will protect user privacyYou can choose different levels of privacy with a lot of these services. So, for example, some people will say “I want you to look at my DNA. I want you to tell me about my ancestry.” … For 23 and Me they’ll give you a few bits of information about your medical conditions, and that’s it. But they will try to get you to opt in to sharing your data for their own basic research. At 23 and Me, for example, there’s a whole team of researchers who are studying all sorts of … diseases, sleep patterns and so on. And then they will also go into partnerships with drug development companies who will take their data, looking at, say, 50,000 people with lupus and 50,000 people who don’t have lupus, and try to look for the genetic differences. Those could point the way toward possible drugs.Phyllis Myers and Seth Kelley produced and edited the audio of this interview. Bridget Bentz and Seth Kelley adapted it for the Web. Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.last_img read more

Americans could be forgiven for not knowing that m

first_imgAmericans could be forgiven for not knowing that much about measles. After all, it’s been 51 years since an effective vaccine was introduced, quickly turning the disease from a common childhood experience to a rarity, and nearly two decades since the disease was declared eliminated from the U.S. But outbreaks have surfaced throughout the country over the past few months, affecting more than 700 people.Most of the cases are linked to people who have traveled abroad — to countries where measles is more common — or spread within insular and close-knit communities, like New York’s Orthodox Jewish community. But now public health officials are concerned that we have reached a risky point where measles could regain a foothold in this country. This could still be prevented if vaccination rates in these communities go up.Here’s what you need to know about measles, its spread, and who is at risk.How contagious is measles? Measles, caused by the rubeola virus, is one of the most contagious infectious diseases. If an infected person coughed in a room, 90% of nonvaccinated people in that room would become infected. The virus can linger in the air for up to two hours, according to the Centers for Disease Contol and Prevention.Someone infected with the virus can begin spreading the disease four days before showing any outward signs of infection, making it harder for public health officials to contain outbreaks.How common are serious complications? Symptoms of measles include high fever, cough, runny nose, white spots inside the mouth, and rashes that spread across the skin.While most recover from the infection, measles can lead to serious complications. About 1 in 4 individuals who contract measles will be hospitalized. One in 10 children with measles will develop ear infections, which can lead to permanent hearing loss. One in 1,000 will develop swelling of the brain (encephalitis), which can result in permanent brain damage. A similar proportion will die from the infection.Who is most at risk of contracting and having serious complications of measles? Unvaccinated young children have the highest risk of contracting measles and developing serious complications from the disease. The CDC typically advises that the first dose of the vaccine be administered at 12 months, making young infants especially susceptible. However in light of the current outbreak, CDC officials recommend the vaccine for infants between 6-11 months who are traveling to countries with measles outbreaks.What is herd immunity, and are we at risk of losing it? Herd immunity is a term that describes how many people in a population need to be immune for the population as a whole to be protected. Herd immunity protects those in a population who, for whatever reason, can’t be safely vaccinated. The proportion of a population that needs to be immune for herd immunity depends on the disease and how it is transmitted.Epidemiologists explain it like this: 100% – (1/the basic reproductive number of the disease)% = Herd immunity thresholdThe basic reproductive number of a disease is the average number of people one person can infect in a totally susceptible population. Less contagious diseases require a smaller percentage of a population to be immune to prevent spread of a disease. But measles’ reproductive number is high, between 12 and 18, meaning that one person, on average, infects 12 to 18 other people. How this works out is that 93% to 95% of the population must be immune to prevent a single case of measles from spreading. Above that threshold, the virus just keeps hitting walls of immunity, and can’t spread. But below that threshold, the virus can gain a foothold and spread among vulnerable members of a population.It’s been said that measles was “eliminated” in 2000 from the U.S., but now we’re seeing a new outbreak. What’s the difference between eliminating and eradicating a disease? According to the CDC, a disease is eliminated from a geographic region when no more endemic cases of the disease occur within that region. Outbreaks can still happen but are triggered by travel to countries where the disease is not eliminated.A disease is eradicated when the worldwide incidence of infection drops to zero. Smallpox is an example of a disease that has been successfully eradicated.Measles is still present in many countries around the globe, so eradication is still a way off.Where are the biggest outbreaks, domestically and globally?The largest U.S. outbreaks are occurring in Rockland County and Brooklyn, N.Y. Washington state had over 70 cases in early 2019, though authorities recently declared the outbreak over in the Pacific Northwest, as there have been no new infections in over six weeks.Most of these outbreaks have occurred in small, insular communities with low vaccination rates, often owing to high levels of vaccine hesitancy. Globally, recent outbreaks dwarf U.S. numbers. The biggest outbreak in the past six months has been in Madagascar, with just under 70,000 cases; and in the past 12 months, Ukraine, India and Brazil have seen large outbreaks, among other countries.Does the vaccine’s effectiveness wane? Should adults get revaccinated?According to the CDC, people who received two doses of the MMR vaccine are considered immune for life and do not need to be revaccinated. However, adults born between 1957 and 1967 should be revaccinated, as early vaccines were less effective than the vaccine available after 1967. Adults born before 1957 are assumed to have contracted the disease as a child and thus have natural immunity.Women who are considering getting pregnant should also check on their vaccination status, according to the CDC. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit read more

The father of a man who took his own life after be

first_imgThe father of a man who took his own life after being found “fit for work” believes his son would still be alive if he had not been failed by the benefits system the government and its contractor, Atos.Stephen Carre, 41, from Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire, died in January 2010, after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) confirmed its decision that he was ineligible for its new out-of-work benefit, employment and support allowance (ESA).His father, Peter, said his son had suddenly stopped working in July 2007, and then lived off his savings for two years until his money ran out in 2009. His parents then paid his mortgage until he finally began claiming benefits in April 2009.Stephen (pictured) had previously worked for the Civil Service and then various electronics and communications companies, including as a telecommunications consultant, with firms such as Cisco, Ericsson and Lucient, mainly on software installations which manage mobile phone charges.After he quit his job, he rarely left his home, refused to talk to friends and relatives, or answer the door or telephone, and often spent days on end in the same room, surrounded by his possessions.He finally began talking again to his father and step-mother, Frances, in early 2009, and in April 2009 they persuaded him to apply for ESA.Peter said his son had struggled to cope with his anxiety and depression, although he had a girlfriend he saw occasionally.He said: “He couldn’t go anywhere on his own for the first time. I had to go with him to his psychiatrist. He would only go to certain shops, and only on a certain day.”Peter even had to accompany Stephen to the assessment centre two or three times before he was comfortable with the idea of attending his benefits eligibility test on his own.ESA had been launched by the Labour government less than a year earlier, and concerns about the test, the work capability assessment (WCA), had not yet fully emerged.At his assessment, a doctor employed by the government contractor Atos Healthcare decided that Stephen failed to match any of the criteria for eligibility and awarded him zero points, when he needed 15 to qualify for ESA.The assessor concluded that there was “no evidence to suggest that the client’s health condition due to their depression, is uncontrolled, uncontrollable or life threatening”.When that conclusion was rubber-stamped by a DWP decision-maker, Stephen asked DWP to reconsider the decision, as he believed it “disagrees wildly” with the opinion of his GP, his community psychiatric nurse and his psychiatrist.On his appeal form, he wrote that the medical assessment “bears no relation to the medical I had”, and that the report was completed by the assessor eight days after the assessment took place.He found out early in January 2010 that DWP had agreed with its earlier decision, so he was ineligible for ESA.Although he began the next stage of the appeal process, he took his own life sometime in the next few days. His body was found on 18 January 2010.Frances said she believes Stephen had made a sudden decision to kill himself, as he had recently been shopping and there was fresh food in his fridge.Two months later, at his inquest, the coroner heard from Stephen’s GP and psychiatrist, who both said they had not been asked by the Atos assessor or DWP to provide details of his state of mental health.The coroner, Tom Osborne, announced that he would write a Rule 43 report, a letter warning of a risk of future deaths if changes are not carried out by individuals or organisations.In the letter, Tom Osborne said the evidence had shown that the “trigger” that led to Stephen’s decision to take his own life had been “the rejection of his appeal that he was not fit for work”.He added: “I feel the decision not to seek medical advice from the claimant’s own GP or psychiatrist if they are suffering a mental illness should be reviewed.“Both doctors who gave evidence before me confirmed that if they had been approached they would have been willing to provide a report of Mr Carre’s present condition and prognosis.”DWP were told of Stephen’s death by his father, but they failed to inform the tribunal service, so when Peter Carre attended the appeal on his son’s behalf, he brought Stephen’s ashes with him.Because of the inadequacy of the Atos assessment, the appeal had to be adjourned.The following year, the tribunal ruled that Stephen should have been eligible for ESA and that the form completed by the Atos assessor was “not a sound basis” on which to turn down his ESA claim because of the eight-day delay between the assessment and the completion of the form, while there had been “no indication how much [of the form] was completed”.The tribunal concluded that the Atos assessor’s report was “a suspect document”, because it did not appear to have dealt with the information provided by Stephen’s ESA50 claim form.Later that month, the manager of Stephen’s local benefit delivery centre, in Luton, wrote to Peter Carre and said she agreed with the tribunal appeal that Stephen should have been eligible for ESA.Peter wrote back, and told her there had been a “dismal failure” by both the benefits service and Atos and that he had attended Stephen’s tribunals on his behalf “to bring to notice the inept handling by the registered medical practitioner at Stephen’s medical review”.Peter Carre told DNS that Atos, its assessor and DWP had all failed Stephen.He said: “Anyone could have seen that Stephen was incapable of work. It is totally beyond me how they could have found him fit for work.“If they had gone to his GP or his psychiatrist, I have no doubt the result of his assessment would have been different and he would probably still be with us today.”In a written statement responding to questions from DNS, a DWP spokesman declined to comment when asked if ministers would apologise to the family of Stephen Carre.He said: “Suicide is a tragic and complex issue and there are often many reasons why someone takes their life, so to link it to one event is misleading. “Since this inquest took place under the previous government we have made significant improvements to the work capability assessment, including improving the process for people with mental health conditions.“The percentage of people with mental health conditions who get the highest level of support has more than tripled since 2010, and we will continue to ensure that those who are able to work get all the help they need to move into a job when they are ready.”He said improvements made since 2010 include “improving the opportunities people have to present medical evidence”.The DWP spokesman said claimants were “encouraged to provide all evidence that will be relevant to their case at the outset of the claim, including medical evidence supplied by their GP or other medical professionals, while WCA assessors are “expected to seek further evidence in situations where it would help them to place someone in the support group without calling a claimant in for a face-to-face assessment”.He said a DWP decision-maker will “assess all available evidence and seek more if required to reach their decision”.But he admitted that DWP was still in discussions with Maximus – which took over the WCA contract from Atos earlier this year – to “pilot new evidence-seeking processes for claimants with mental health conditions”.Atos refused to respond to requests for a comment.last_img read more

AntiPiracy Bill Could Do More Harm Than Good for Small Companies

first_img –shares Anti-Piracy Bill Could Do More Harm Than Good for Small Companies Next Article Director of the Entrepreneur Partner Studio A bill in Congress that aims to punish “rogue” websites that publish or sell pirated content could potentially harm small businesses as much as it could help them.The “Stop Online Piracy Act” aims to punish online businesses that host copyrighted content without authorization — including peer-to-peer content sharing sites, among others. It was introduced last month by House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Rep. Lamar Smith (D-TX).So far, the bill has gained support from major entertainment industry players including the Motion Picture Association of America. During a Congressional hearing this week, MPAA senior executive vice president Michael O’Leary argued that these rogue websites negatively affect the revenues of major Hollywood studios as well as the “95,000 small businesses across the country involved in the production and distribution of movies and television.”But while the SOPA bill could provide added protection for some small businesses, such as those in the entertainment industry, those who oppose the bill argue that the potential downsides outweigh the benefits. “While you’re trying to protect people who have innovated in the past by giving them an additional level of protection for their intellectual property, in doing so you risk penalizing the innovators of the future,” says Andrea Matwyshyn, assistant professor of legal studies and business ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia. “You create a more constrained innovation space in an environment that’s more hostile to IP.”Entrepreneurs — especially those who are or plan to aggregate or remix content, or share content in new ways online — should pay attention to how the SOPA bill plays out in Congress and what the consequences will be, Matwyshyn says. No specific timetable has been set for a vote, she says.This week, tech giants including Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter and AOL collectively voiced opposition to the bill, writing a letter to the Committee on the Judiciary. As currently written, the SOPA bill would allow copyright holders to obtain court orders to disallow other companies from doing business with the sites that are alleged to be in violation of copyright. It could also force search engines and domain registries to censor the infringing sites. The companies argue that the bill would undermine the intent of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which reduces the liability of online companies — large and small — that act in good faith to remove infringing content from their sites.A similar bill, called the Protect IP Act, passed the U.S. Senate earlier this year but was effectively put on hold by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), over its potential to “muzzle speech and stifle innovation and economic growth,” he said.When a statute has a “heavy-handed approach” such as SOPA or the Protect IP Act, there is potential that individuals or companies with deep pockets will leverage their legal expertise and the legislation to eliminate the ability of new entrants into the IP space with novel business models, Matwyshyn says. “There’s a relatively clear consensus, in at least some corners of the legal community, that this is not the best way to achieve the goals that Congress is aiming for,” she says. Entrepreneur Staff Technology Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brandcenter_img Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Add to Queue November 18, 2011 3 min read Jason Fell Enroll Now for $5last_img read more

Verizon ATT Set to Make Final Round of Bids for Yahoo Web

first_imgYahoo! Verizon, AT&T Set to Make Final Round of Bids for Yahoo Web Assets Enroll Now for $5 Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. This story originally appeared on Reuters June 13, 2016 Reuters Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brandcenter_img 3 min read Image credit: Reuters | Robert Galbraith –shares Add to Queue Next Article U.S. telecommunications rivals Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. are set to go through to the third and final round of bidding in the auction for Yahoo Inc.’s core internet assets, according to people familiar with the matter.After holding a board meeting to review second-round offers, Yahoo will start reaching out to bidders as early as Monday to notify them whether they will make it to the next round, one of the people said.Verizon, the biggest U.S. wireless carrier, is seeking to challenge AT&T, the second largest U.S. wireless provider, in the third round of bidding, even though its latest offer was at the low end of the $3.5 billion to $5 billion range of the second-round bids that came in last week, the people said.Yahoo hopes to conclude the auction by next month, according to one of the people. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company started exploring a sale of the assets after coming under pressure from activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP.A consortium led by Quicken Loans Inc. founder Dan Gilbert, and backed by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett, will also make it through to the final round, the people added.Some private equity firms that had made it through to the second round will not be invited to submit third-round bids, another of the people said.The people familiar with the matter asked not to be identified because the bids were confidential.Yahoo, Verizon and AT&T declined to comment. A Quicken Loans spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on behalf of Gilbert’s consortium.Not all offers involve exactly the same assets, with some bidders indicating they are not interested in some of the patents and real estate assets on offer, sources have previously said.Verizon is primarily interested in Yahoo’s advertising technology tools. It has been examining how the other assets up for sale, such as search, mail and messenger services, could be combined with the corresponding businesses of AOL, which it acquired last year for $4.4 billion, Reuters reported last month.AT&T has been seeking to catch up with Verizon in advertising technology as it seeks to expand in mobile video offerings.A sale of Yahoo’s internet assets would leave the company just owning a 35.5 percent stake in Yahoo Japan Corp., as well as a 15 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which accounts for most of its value.In December, Yahoo scrapped plans to spin off its Alibaba stake, after investors fretted over whether that transaction could have been carried out on a tax-free basis.(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Additional reporting by Malathi Nayak and Dan Freed in New York and Liana B. Baker in San Francisco; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)last_img read more