Following the successful hosting and securing of the 2015 Touch World Cup mid last year, Touch Football Australia today confirmed an historic partnership with Japan Touch Association (JTA). The agreement (MoU) demonstrates the strong desire and commitment of the worldâ€™s leading Touch Football nation to help facilitate growth of the game internationally and build further on the great relationship between both countries. The key elements of the five-year agreement focus on improving Japanâ€™s competitive standard of international competition through coaching support and athlete improvement and participation at events.Touch Football Australia CEO, Colm Maguire was in Japan last week with an Australian touring party of High Performance representatives, signing off on the MoU together with JTA Chairman, Shusaku Kuchimoto, and officials in Tokyo. â€œWe are delighted to be in a position to partner with and form a long-standing agreement with Japan Touch Association and help shore up their future on the international stage,â€ he said.â€œThe agreement provides a robust pathway for their growth and competitiveness against international teams in future years and enshrines our commitment to support them in their quest for excellence and improvement,â€ Maguire added.â€œThe overall objective of the MoU is to assist the overall High Performance and development objectives of the JTA by facilitating overall access to TFA resources both human and material: these are inclusive of coaching support which we have thoroughly enjoyed through our current visit and participation in international and domestic events.â€œTo this end, this will see Japanese teams joining the 2016 Trans Tasman Series event in Auckland (April) for the first time and expanding their presence in future yearsâ€™ instalment of the Trans Tasman and other events.â€By extension, Australian Menâ€™s Open captain, Steve Roberts, fresh from his Touch World Cup success and who was also in Japan conducting coaching clinics alongside TFA High Performance Manager, Wayne Grant, has been confirmed as head coach of the Japanese teams, effective from the 2016 Trans Tasman event. Maguire went on to say the agreement is part of the ongoing commitment by both Touch Football Australia and Touch New Zealand to open the doors to the world to participate more often against the two best nations in the world. â€œNotwithstanding the level of competition but our events are also the best in the world and buoyed by the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the 2015 Touch World Cup and the mounting desire to participate in our events, we will further expand into 2017,â€ Maguire said. â€œThis will include the facilitation of entry of Japan and other nations around the world to join the 2017 Trans Tasman event in Open and Senior divisions.â€œOur key partners at Touch New Zealand are equally excited to extend the invitation for Japan to compete and significantly open up their development and exposure opportunities.â€ Related Files160125_tfa_and_jta_mou_media_release_v1_0-pdfRelated LinksTFA/JTA Agreement
The No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country committed to Ohio State this evening and with his pledge, a five-star wide receiver (or two or three) could be following him to Columbus. Tate Martell, a four-star quarterback in the 2017 class out of Las Vegas, announced his commitment to Ohio State on Twitter. The 5-foot-10, 203-pound prospect out of Bishop Gorman (Nevada) is very close with Tyjon Lindsey, a five-star wide receiver in the same class. They played together at Bishop Gorman before Lindsey moved back to California this winter. Lindsey congratulated Martell on Twitter regarding his commitment. Martell responded, “You are next!” OMM I HAD NO IDEA THIS WAS COMING..CONGRATS TATE MAN NO MATTER WHAT WE’RE ALWAYS BROTHERS, TOGETHER OR NOT. Love u https://t.co/fs6kw8Z08x— Tyjon A. Lindsey ® (@tyjonlindsey) June 13, 2016Thanks bro! You are next! https://t.co/GtChALHEPf— Tate Martell (@TheTateMartell) June 13, 2016There has long been speculation that Martell and Lindsey will end up playing for the same school. Ohio State has now obviously added half of the potential package deal and the Buckeyes are believed to be the favorite to land the other half. Lindsey, a speedy 5-foot-8 wideout out of California, is currently crystal-balled to Ohio State. 247Sports.He recently did this at Rivals’ 5-Star Challenge. HOUSE CALL . #RivalsChallenge WR MVP @RivalsCamp pic.twitter.com/g3cStTWmMg— Tyjon A. Lindsey ® (@tyjonlindsey) June 12, 2016Martell will surely be recruiting Lindsey to Columbus, but the Corona, Calif. product won’t be the only five-star wide receiver the quarterback tries to push to the Buckeyes. Jeremy Birmingham of Eleven Warriors says five-star wide receivers Trevon Grimes and Donovan Peoples-Jones will also be a “priority” for Martell. Martell (@TheTateMartell) will three five-star WRs his priority: Trevon Grimes, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tyjon Lindsey.— Jeremy Birmingham (@Birm) June 13, 2016Peoples-Jones (No. 6), Grimes (No. 28) and Lindsey (No. 30) are all ranked in the top 30 of 247Sports’ Composite Rankings for 2017.Ohio State’s 2017 class is the No. 1 class in the country. MORE FROM COLLEGE SPUN:The 10 Most Aggressive Fan Bases In CFBIn Photos: Golfer Paige SpiranacESPN Makes Decision On Dick Vitale
Stocks closed lower in shortened session on Wall Street Friday as energy stocks declined along with the price of oil. The benchmark S&P 500 closed in what’s known on Wall Street as a correction — 10 per cent below its most recent high.Trading volume was light with the markets open for only a half day after the Thanksgiving holiday.On Friday:The S&P 500 index fell 17.37 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 2,632.56.The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 178.74 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 24,285.95.The Nasdaq composite dropped 33.27 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 6,938.98.The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 0.40 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 1,488.68.For the week:The S&P 500 fell 103.71 points, or 3.8 per cent.The Dow lost 1,127.27 points, or 4.4 per cent.The Nasdaq declined 308.89 points, or 4.3 per cent.The Russell 2000 gave up 38.85 points, or 2.5 per cent.For the year:The S&P 500 is down 41.05 points, or 1.5 per cent.The Dow is down 433.27 points, or 1.8 per cent.The Nasdaq is up 35.59 points, or 0.5 per cent.The Russell 2000 is down 46.83 points, or 3.1 per cent.The Associated Press
Gurugram: The failure of public agencies in the city to meet its deadline of revamping the city roads ultimately compelled the policemen to go beyond their call of duty and fill up the potholes. Two traffic policemen went the extra mile to ease vehicular flow at Agrasen Chowk, one of the busiest intersections in Old Gurugram, on Thursday. With MCG delaying repair work, they plugged potholes in the area to ease jams and reduce the risk of accidents. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderZonal officer of traffic police, ASI Yaduveer and constable Ajay, arranged cement, concrete and other items and dirtied their hands to finish the pending work. The activity, which is not part of their job, was lauded by commuters. Many of them clicked pictures and some offered financial help which the cops declined. Agrasen Chowk, located next to Sadar Bazaar, witnesses heavy traffic coming from the Old Railway Road and moving towards Rajiv Chowk. The potholes were slowing down vehicular movement, leading to snarls of a kilometre or more. Earlier, Yaduveer had requested junior engineers of both SDO and MCG to plug the potholes but to no avail. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsOn Wednesday, a biker met with an accident due to the potholes and was injured. “On Thursday, after coming to work I first arranged cement, concrete and other items. Then, we started plugging the potholes,” Yaduveer said, adding traffic movement was diverted for some time owing to work. On Wednesday, police commissioner Muhammad Akil held a meeting with traffic police, directing them to take steps at their level, if required, to improve the traffic situation. A senior police officer said that it was appreciable that cops went beyond their official duties to resolve such problems but “the civic agency should have filled the pothole”. “During monsoon, police ensured the city kept moving. Now, they are taking steps to resolve jams,” Rajeev Yadav, a resident of Sector 4, said, adding it exposed the inefficiency of government agencies.
Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government is likely to begin the evacuation of people affected by cyclone Fani from May 2 as the severe cyclonic storm is heading to make a landfall on the state’s coast, an official said here on Tuesday. The state government has also asked the concerned district collectors in the coastal regions to remain prepared to meet any eventuality. “The cyclone is currently headed northwest and after May 1, according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), it will recurve and move towards Odisha. By late evening on May 3, the cyclone is expected to make landfall near Puri. However, the IMD informed that this too is expected to change,” said Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra Singh “If the cyclone makes landfall in Odisha on the evening of May 3, we will start evacuating the affected people on May 2.” As many as 879 cyclone shelters were already set up. Besides, 20 Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) units, 335 fire services and 12 NDRF units were on standby. Fani could become an ‘extremely severe cyclone’ by Wednesday, said the IMD. It predicted that after May 2, south-coastal Odisha and adjacent districts will receive heavy to very rainfall. Thereafter, on May 3 and 4, coastal and interior Odisha is also likely to receive extremely heavy downpours, while wind speed may touch 170 km per hour.
NEW DELHI: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has issued a standing order stating that he will hold the power to create posts in government departments, PSUs and boards, and directed officers to bring important service matters to his notice.In February this year, the Supreme Court had given a split verdict on the contentious issue of who should control administrative services in Delhi and had referred the matter to a larger bench of the apex court. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarIn his order issued last month, Sisodia, who also holds the finance portfolio, said proposals involving major deviations from rules and precedents will be disposed of at the level of the finance minister. It stated that proposals for allotment of land free of cost or at concessional rates will be examined by the department’s deputy secretary or special secretary or top officers, but will be disposed of by the finance minister. On appeals to the Lieutenant- Governor under the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, Sisodia, in his order, said such matter will be examined by a joint secretary or special secretary, but the principal secretary will submit it to the L-G and the finance minister. Also Read – Union min Hardeep Singh Puri, Delhi L-G lay foundation stones for various projects in DwarkaFiles pertaining to this matter to the L-G will be routed through the finance minister, he said. “All important matters requiring policy decision may be brought to the notice of deputy CM/FM. “Where a proposal has the support of the minister of an administrative department and it is not considered proper to accord concurrence to the proposal, the case should be submitted through principal secretary to the finance minister,” Sisodia said in the order. According to him, pending decision of the Supreme Court in this regard, service matters in the domain of service department will be disposed of as per interim orders of the apex court but they will be brought to the notice of finance minister as specified in the schedule.
The Ohio State baseball team entered this season expecting to win another Big Ten title.But with just three regular-season games remaining, the defending champions are fifth in the conference standings.Instead of trying to close out another season atop the conference, the Buckeyes are fighting for their postseason lives. “It’s definitely a bit of a change of pace for us,” senior Ryan Dew said. “I think we need to take two of three this weekend to be sure to get into the tournament.”The Big Ten Tournament accepts only the top six teams from the conference. The Buckeyes are on the fringe as they are in a four-way tie for fifth place. Consequently, the Buckeyes need to win this weekend’s series in order to ensure themselves a spot in the tournament.However, that will be no easy feat as the Buckeyes play host to first-place Minnesota, and the Buckeyes have lost their last four Big Ten series. “This team has had a black cloud over it and I don’t know how to get out from under it,” coach Bob Todd said. He said all the breaks seem to be going the opponent’s way this season and that’s just the game of baseball.One break that may go the Buckeyes’ way this weekend is the return of pitcher Alex Wimmers. The All-American ace has been sidelined the past four weeks with a hamstring injury, but might be ready to take the mound this weekend.“We’ve got Dean (Wolosiansky) and (Drew) Rucinski pitching lights out. So if we get Wimmers back like he always is we can take three games this weekend,” senior Cory Kovanda said. Although Todd was vague when addressing whether Wimmers would be ready to go this weekend, players hinted that he could be back. Wimmers’ return would serve as a huge boost as he is 9-0 on the season and injects confidence into his teammates whenever he toes the rubber. “Obviously he’s a huge talent,” Dew said. “Every time he takes the mound we know we are going to win.”Win is exactly what the Buckeyes must do if they wish to continue their season. And even with their recent struggles, the team is still confident in its ability to take this weekend’s series. “We’re a very close team and we’re confident in ourselves,” Dew said. “When we play a complete game, most of the time we win. I know we can do it and the team is confident we can.”Dew and Kovanda, two of eight seniors on this year’s team, expressed their desire to keep playing in their final season at OSU. They also want to send Todd, their storied head coach, off with another Big Ten championship.Earlier this year, Todd announced that he would be retiring at the end of the season. In his 23-year tenure at OSU, the Buckeyes have missed the Big Ten tournament only once. “I’ve only missed it once in my life,” Todd said. “For this team, that has so much potential and so many high expectations, which I thought were justified — For us to be in this position is very uncharacteristical.”The Buckeyes open the three-game series against the Golden Gophers Thursday at 7 p.m. at Bill Davis Stadium.
The former footballer says Pep Guardiola’s team has everything to be crowned champions once again of the English Premier LeagueSpeaking to the Premier League’s official website, and reported by The Sport Bible, legendary footballer Paul Scholes believes Manchester City will win again.According to the former player, Pep Guardiola’s club will be crowned kings of the 2018-2019 season.“I think Manchester City will win the Premier League again,” he told the EPL.Solskjaer praises Harry Maguire after Man United’s 1-0 win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer singled out Harry Maguire for praise after helping Manchester United keep a clean sheet in their 1-0 win over Leicester City.“They won the league by a distance last year and they look just as good as ever when I saw them the other day. So I expect City to win the league.”“We don’t know what Chelsea are going to be like, we don’t know what Arsenal are going to be like with their new coaches,” he added.“But I’d go for City to win the league, Liverpool second, Manchester United third and I’ll go for Tottenham fourth.”
Salman Khan reacts to Disha Patani’s “age difference” remarkInstagramSalman Khan’s much-awaited and probably one of the biggest films of the year, Bharat, is all set for a massive release all over the country this week. Keeping his ritual of delighting his fans with his film, Salman is again all set to set the screens on fire with the film. The film has already seen a record number of advance booking and going by the numbers, Bharat will undoubtedly emerge as one of the highest box-office collectors of the year.However, the producers of the film seem to have lost their faith in the star power that Salman Khan holds among his fans. Why do we say that? Well, as per a report in Deccan Chronicle, not entirely satisfied and confident about the way the film has turned out, the producers have not only cancelled the press show but also the pre-release screenings.Reason? Probably the last two Eid releases of Salman Khan – Race 3 and Tubelight – both of which were panned by the critics and the audience alike. Though Race 3 managed to recover its making cost along with making a considerable profit, the faith the producers and directors had on relying on just Salman Khan’s star power had taken a major jolt.The DC report also states that the film was first shown to Salman Khan’s father, Salim Khan, who suggested few edits. On his suggestion, few of Salman’s scenes were edited out of the final project.Katrina Kaif will be seen playing the female lead in the film. Kaif came onboard after Priyanka Chopra decided to opt out of the project at the last minute owing to her decision to marry Nick Jonas. Disha Patani will also be seen romancing Salman Khan in the film. Sunil Grover, Jackie Shroff also have interesting parts in the film.
X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: On Monday’s Houston Matters: Texas candidates have just a few hours left to make their cases to voters before Election Day. We learn how they’re spending their time. And today marks one year since more than two dozen people were shot and killed at a church in Sutherland Springs near San Antonio. We talk with Texas Public Radio’s Joey Palacios about how the South Texas community is faring a year later.Also this hour: A new report from Rice University says, as Houston continues to grow, its local governments are struggling to provide services to residents in an equitable and cost-effective way. We find out how the report is meant to help Houston-area officials consider reforms to ensure long-term stability.Then, how many of Houston’s skyscrapers can you name? We take a tour of downtown to learn the names of — and stories behind — some of the iconic buildings that adorn our skyline.Then, we discuss developments in Houston sports with Jeff Balke.WATCH: Today’s Houston Matters 360-Degree Facebook Live Video. Listen 00:00 /50:45 We offer a daily podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. This article is part of the Houston Matters podcast Share
However, the goal of the company wasn’t to build its own dedicated AR sphere, but to host other artists in a new environment, said Onedome co-founder and chief marketing officer Leila Amirsadeghi. “We don’t want to be creators, we want to be curators.”The Unreal Garden is only a first step in Onedome’s plans for curated immersive art spaces. In December, the company plans to open a separate exhibition called LMNL in its San Francisco location, which will include 15 interactive installations in separate rooms. “There will be secret passages,” teased Amirsadeghi.And in the coming years, Onedome plans to open additional locations across the U.S. Amirsadeghi said that it won’t directly compete with other location-based immersive entertainment, including the location-based VR experiences that have been popping up in malls and movie theaters everywhere in recent months. “There is so much room for all of us,” she said. Popular on Variety ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 San Francisco-based Onedome is unveiling a decidedly different take on location-based immersive entertainment in the Bay Area later this week: The company will open its very first augmented reality art exhibit to the public in downtown San Francisco this coming Friday.Dubbed “The Unreal Garden,” the exhibit lets consumers freely roam an enchanted world of plants, animals and digital art objects, brought to life with traditional projection technologies as well as Microsoft’s Hololens AR headset, combined behind the scenes with technology from HP.The exhibit includes a total of 10 art pieces from 9 artists, including Android Jones, John Park, Jasmine Pradissitto, Andy Thomas, Shuster + Moseley, Scott Musgrove, Werc, Ray Kallmeyer and Vladislav Solovjov. Onedome helped to digitize their artwork and port it to the Hololens. The company also worked to combine all of the individual pieces to a group experience, allowing visitors to work together to unlock special visual effects.
UPDATED: Olivia Jade Giannulli, daughter of actress Lori Loughlin, is a YouTube beauty vlogger and social-media star with millions of followers.She’s also (for now) a freshman at the University of Southern California. But in the wake of her mother being implicated as part of a broad college-admissions bribery scam — alleging that Loughlin illegally schemed to get the 19-year-old enrolled at the university — Olivia Jade is likely going to lose the lucrative brand-sponsorship deals she’s landed over the years.HP had worked with Olivia Jade and Loughlin for a campaign promoting HP’s Sprocket photo printer, but the company said it does not have any business deals with them at this point. In a statement, the company said, “HP worked with Lori Loughlin and Olivia Jade in 2017 for a one-time product campaign. HP does not currently have a relationship with either of them.” Sephora said on Thursday it has dropped its business deal with the influencer. “After careful review of recent developments, we have made the decision to end the Sephora Collection partnership with Olivia Jade, effective immediately,” the cosmetics retailer said in a statement.In addition, online fashion retailer Lulus also said Thursday it has no plans to work with Olivia Jade again. “Lulus has not worked with Olivia Jade since August 2018 and we have no plans to do so in the future,” Colleen Winter, co-founder and CEO of Lulus, said in a statement.Olivia Jade had also cut brand deals with partners including Amazon, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Smashbox Beauty Cosmetics, Smile Direct Club, Too Faced Cosmetics, Boohoo, and Unilever’s TRESemmé.A rep for Olivia Jade declined to comment, as did Estée Lauder Companies, which owns Smashbox and Too Faced. The other brands and companies Variety reached out to did not respond to requests for comment.“It wouldn’t come as a complete surprise if the brands currently working with Ms. Giannulli took a closer look at the status of their relationship with her and possibly reconsidered next steps for engagement,” said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO of social-media marketing firm Socialbakers. “Brands should always do their proper due diligence on the content and news associated with influencers that they would engage with and are engaging with over time.”Loughlin, best known for her role on “Full House” (and Netflix’s “Fuller House” revival), on Wednesday turned herself in to the FBI in advance of a court hearing. The actress and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, allegedly paid $500,000 to have their two daughters — Olivia Jade and her older sister, Isabella Rose — designated as recruits for USC’s crew team. Prosecutors said those claims were false as neither of the Gianulli sisters is a member of the university’s rowing team. Mossimo Giannulli was released on $1 million bond Tuesday.Some 50 people so far have been named as participating in the scam, which law enforcement officials dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.” Those include “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman and TPG Growth founder Bill McGlashan. The status of Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose at USC going forward is unclear. In a statement Tuesday, USC said it fired two of the employees named in the scandal and said it is cooperating with law enforcement on the investigation. The university did not address the status of the Giannulli sisters or other students.“USC is in the process of identifying any funds received by the university in connection with this alleged scheme,” its statement said in part. “Additionally, the university is reviewing its admissions processes broadly to ensure that such actions do not occur going forward.”Currently, Olivia Jade has 1.9 million subscribers to her YouTube channel and 1.3 million Instagram followers.“I don’t know how much of school I’m going to attend,” she said in a YouTube video posted on Aug. 14, 2018, the day she started at USC. “But I do want the experience of game days, partying. I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know.” Two days later, she posted a video in which she apologized for the comments. Popular on Variety ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15
Coronal mass ejections at Mars © 2014 Phys.org Conrad notes that a lot of the press regarding the study of Mars by scientists with NASA and other groups, tends to focus on the search for water, or evidence that water was once there—with the implication that if it was, then surely evidence will be found that life was there too. But that is not really the case, she asserts—there are likely a whole host of factors that must all be there for life to have been possible.Some of those factors might include a global magnetic field (likely produced by an internal dynamo) which would shield the planet from ionizing radiation. Another would be temperature and its variations—too hot or too cold for only part of any given period would likely prevent life from taking hold. Wind might also play a factor—she notes that as life is first starting, it’s not likely very mobile, thus wind that would carry essential material such as iron deposits to replenish supplies exhausted by new life forms would be essential. There is also the matter of an atmosphere—having one offers a shield against ultraviolet radiation and also serves as a cloak, moderating temperatures.But such factors, she continues, are much more difficult to find than water. Scientists are reasonably sure that Mars once had an atmosphere and global magnetic field—it’s more difficult to pin down whether they were existent at the same time, and if so, if temperatures were in a range during that period that would have allowed life to come about.Conrad notes that missions to Mars are proving fruitful regardless of whether proof of life is found or not. Such missions, she maintains are allowing us humans to learn more about how life could come about, which could prove useful once we’re able to study more distant planets more carefully—and that includes a manned mission, which should allow researchers, she believes, to do the kind of impromptu research that most often leads to breakthroughs. Citation: NASA scientist offers perspective on the factors that may lead to life on a planet (2014, December 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-12-nasa-scientist-perspective-factors-life.html Explore further This artist’s concept depicts a planetary system. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech (Phys.org)—NASA space scientist Pamela Conrad has offered a Perspective piece in the journal Science, reminding readers that the search for life on planets such as Mars, isn’t limited to just looking for water. Instead, she notes, most researchers believe that a combination of events must occur, likely simultaneously for life to get a start and then to be maintained. Journal information: Science More information: Scratching the surface of martian habitability, Science 12 December 2014: Vol. 346 no. 6215 pp. 1288-1289, DOI: 10.1126/science.1259943 AbstractEarth and Mars, though formed at the same time from the same materials, look very different today. Early in their histories they evolved through some of the same processes, but at some point their evolutionary paths diverged, sending them in perhaps irrevocably different directions. Knowledge of the factors that contributed to such different outcomes will help to determine how planets become habitable and how common habitable planets may be. The Mars surface environment is harsh today, but in situ measurements of ancient sedimentary rock by Mars Science Laboratory reveal chemical and mineralogical evidence of past conditions that might have been more favorable for life to exist. But chemistry is only part of what is required to make an environment habitable. Physical conditions constrain the chemical reactions that underlie life processes; the chemical and physical characteristics that make planets habitable are thus entangled. 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.
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted informing the launch of the state-owned animation academy on the occasion of International Animation Day on Sunday.”Today is International Animation Day. You will be happy to know that in July this year, we have launched a state-owned animation academy — the Webel DQE Animation Academy — at Salt Lake Sector V. My best wishes to all,” Banerjee tweeted. The Webel DQE Animation Academy provides the platform for creative individuals to learn, share and develop themselves as animation professionals. The lessons for the courses are being imparted by qualified and experienced faculty members. Webel in technical collaboration with DQ Entertainment (International) Limited is offering various long-term and short-term courses. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeDQ Entertainment (International) Limited is a world-renowned name in television, feature films, home video, visual effects, mobile and next-generation console games etc. Webel is an undertaking of the state Information Technology and Electronics department that collaborated with DQE for the state-of-the-art academy. A MoU was signed between Webel and DQE at the Bengal Global Business Summit which was held at the Convention Centre in New Town in January this year.
Marriott-Starwood merger finally closes, what happens now to their loyalty programs? Friday, September 23, 2016 Share By: Scott Mayerowitz Source: The Associated Press << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Loyalty Programs, Marriott, Starwood Hotels & Resorts NEW YORK — Several of the best-known names in travel are now united in one hotel company.Marriott International closed Friday morning on its US$13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, bringing together its Marriott, Courtyard and Ritz Carlton brands with Starwood’s Sheraton, Westin, W and St. Regis properties.In total, 30 hotel brands now fall under the Marriott umbrella to create the largest hotel chain in the world with more than 5,700 properties and 1.1 million rooms in more than 110 countries. That’s more than 1 out of every 15 hotel rooms around the globe.Marriott now eclipses Hilton Worldwide’s 773,000 rooms and the 766,000 that are part of the Intercontinental Hotels Group family, according to STR, a firm that tracks hotel data.“We’ve got an ability to offer just that much more choice. A choice in locations, a choice in the kind of hotel, a choice in the amount a customer needs to spend,” Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday.Starwood’s guest loyalty program – Starwood Preferred Guest – was also a “central, strategic rationale for the transaction,” Sorenson said. The program’s members are deeply loyal to it, have generally higher incomes and tend to spend many nights on the road.Starting Friday, members of Starwood and Marriott’s two loyalty programs will be able to link their accounts together. Gold elite members in one program will get gold status in the other. Platinum elite members will get platinum in the other. Marriott silver members will see Starwood’s lowest category, Preferred Plus.Each Starwood point will be worth three Marriott Rewards points.Starwood put itself up for sale in April 2015. The Stamford, Connecticut, company had struggled to grow as fast as its rivals, particularly in “limited service hotels,” which are smaller properties that don’t have restaurants or banquet halls. They are often located on the side of the highway, near airports or in suburban office parks.To get Starwood, Marriott had to outbid China’s Anbang Insurance Group. U.S. and European anti-trust regulators were quick to approve the sale but the Chinese government hesitated, delaying the sale by months.“We may have been a little too optimistic about how fast we could get this thing closed,” Sorenson said Thursday.Marriott and Starwood – like other hotel chains – own very few individual hotels. Instead they manage or franchise their brands to hundreds of individual owners, often real estate development companies. Those individual hotel owners are responsible for setting nightly room rates. It isn’t uncommon for a developer to own a Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and Sheraton in the same city.The purchase gives Marriott more leverage with corporate travel departments who often look for one giant chain to house all of their employees. It also gives Marriott more power over Expedia and Priceline, the two giant online travel agencies that sell rooms on behalf of hotel companies in exchange for a commission. The hotel industry has spent the last year trying to get travellers to book directly with them instead of the travel agencies to avoid paying those fees.There are still many details to work out.Marriott has thrived as an “asset light” company, owning a handful of hotels. Starwood has been selling off properties, while signing long-term management agreements for those same hotels. As of June 30, it still owned 23 properties. Sorenson said he believes there is a strong market to continue selling off many of those iconic hotels.“There is always a market for the St. Regis in New York,” he said, adding that other assets in the portfolio have comparable stature. “In great global cities, real estate like that always has a value.”The new company will keep Marriott’s Bethesda, Maryland headquarters but hasn’t announced if it will keep any presence at Starwood’s Connecticut or New York offices.Then there are the 30 brands. Some have performed better than others but Sorenson said all of them will probably survive the merger.“I think so. Every one of them has hotels in them,” he noted.For now, Starwood and Marriott will keep separate loyalty programs. Starwood has a credit card deal with American Express as well as close partnerships with Delta Air Lines and Uber. Marriott has a much larger program with partnerships with Chase and United Airlines.“Nothing changes immediately. We have to see how those partnerships evolve,” Sorenson said.Gary Leff, who writes about points and miles at ViewFromTheWing.com, called the three-to-one exchange rate of Starwood points to Marriott points “just right.”“It’s one of the many reasonable and positive steps that Marriott has taken along the way as it acquires Starwood,” Leff said. “But there’s a whole lot still to happen between now and the programs actually being combined.”
The feature film “Kill the Messenger,” directed by Michael Cuesta and starring Jeremy Renner, opened in theaters across the United States in mid-October. The film tells the story of an enterprising reporter who stumbles on the biggest story of his career: the crack epidemic in Los Angeles having roots in the CIA’s funding of the Nicaraguan Contras a decade earlier. Webb goes after the story and ultimately pays with his career and his life. (He died at the age of 49, alone and unemployed, on Dec. 10, 2004. His death was ruled a suicide).Gary Webb was not the first to write this story. In December 1985, Associated Press reporters Robert Parry and Brian Barger first broke the story of a Contra-drug connection in their piece “Reports Link Nicaraguan Rebels to Cocaine Trafficking.” But their story was largely ignored by the rest of the media – after all, it would be another 10 months before Wisconsin native Eugene Hasenfus was shot down over Nicaragua, and a business card in his wallet led straight to the White House. The unraveling of a complex enterprise eventually called “The Iran-Contra Scandal” remains a dark chapter in U.S. political history.Recommended: The exposure of Eugene HasenfusBut Gary Webb’s three-part series, totaling about 20,000 words and published in August 1996 in the San Jose Mercury News – a small, regional paper in California – broke into the public’s consciousness for two reasons. First, as Robert Parry wrote in a 2011 article: “Webb’s series wasn’t just a story about drug traffickers in Central America and their protectors in Washington. It was about the on-the-ground consequences, inside the United States, of that drug trafficking, how the lives of Americans were blighted and destroyed as the collateral damage of a U.S. foreign policy initiative.”The second reason was the Internet. The San Jose Mercury News was one of the first newspapers in the country to understand that its website was not simply a place to post PDFs of their print edition. Gary Webb ca. 1998 with his documentation from the Dark Alliance series. (Via Dark Alliance Facebook)The series was released over three days, and each installment featured links to source material and even audio clips – which was unheard of at the time. The website for the series was well designed and compelling, even by today’s graphic standards. The paper itself wrote at the time: “‘DARK ALLIANCE’ represents the San Jose Mercury News’ most ambitious attempt to date in using the World Wide Web to deliver a news story.”The use of the Internet allowed the small paper to have a global reach, and it did. At the height of viewing, the site had over 1.3 million hits per day. (The New York Times, by comparison, in Fall 1996 was averaging less than 1 million hits per day and only topped 1.5 million in November following the crash of TWA Flight 800.)But in one sense, without being too trite, Webb’s reporting suffered because he did not have “the Web” to research his topic. Jeff Cohen, co-founder of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, notes that there was plenty of evidence to support Webb’s story in Senator Kerry’s drug hearings in 1986, or Lt. Col. Oliver North’s handwritten notebooks that came before the Iran-Contra investigators in 1987. The problem is that Webb would not have easily found copies of those to read in the San Jose Public Library in 1996. (By contrast, in researching a story on Eugene Hasenfus earlier this month, with four clicks of the mouse, I could read part of the transcript of a 1990 trial in federal court in which a former CIA agent discussed using Radio Shack “fuzz busters” for a radar detector in a Contra resupply plane.)Gary Webb was, by his own admission, in new territory. He had never done an investigative story of this kind. His specialty was investigating government and private sector corruption – first in Ohio, then in San Jose, a city of less than 850,000 at the time. He had never done an international story; he had never done a Washington, D.C. story, either. He had no contacts, but he had gumption. Gary Webb was the old-style 20th century news reporter: If he was doing a story on a court proceeding, he went to the court; if he was doing a story about drugs in Los Angeles, he got out of the car and walked in the neighborhood. Webb took to heart the slogan of John Ross, the great journalist of Mexico and San Francisco, who would say, “Ir a lugar de los hechos”: Go to the scene of the crime. And Gary Webb did go. His investigation took him into prisons in L.A. and Nicaragua, to secret airstrips in the jungle, and to dangerous neighborhoods in his own state. Dark Alliance rattled a lot of cages – it led to a Congressional investigation, and ultimately a CIA Inspector General’s report, which would corroborate some of Webb’s findings. But the San Jose Mercury News’ scoop also shook up a lot of the newspaper world. The New York Times, L.A. Times, and The Washington Post all went after Gary Webb to tear down his credibility and that of the story. Some of these attacks were no doubt spurred by personal jealousy, but recently declassified CIA documents, described in a report last month by Ryan Devereaux writing for The Intercept, tell a darker story. A six-page report titled “Managing a Nightmare: CIA Public Affairs and the Drug Conspiracy Story” explains how the CIA used its “ground base of already productive relations with journalists” to quiet the impact of Webb’s reporting.Gary Webb resigned from the San Jose Mercury News in November 1997, but he continued to follow the trail, and he eventually released an expanded version of the reports as a book in 1998, with all of his sources listed. However, he would never work as a journalist for a daily newspaper again.Now, with a major film in theaters, people are again remembering the work of Gary Webb, and 10 years after his tragic death, realizing that a lot of what he had to say was absolutely right. But it is also occasioning a new attack on Webb’s work. The most recent piece, “Gary Webb was no journalism hero, despite what ‘Kill the Messenger’ says,” is by Jeff Leen, assistant managing editor for investigations at The Washington Post. Leen, who joined the Post the year after the Mercury News stories broke, like so many others who attacked Webb’s reporting 14 years ago, wrote last week: “Webb’s story made the extraordinary claim that the Central Intelligence Agency was responsible for the crack cocaine epidemic in America.”In fact, Webb’s reports never said that, they said: “The [Contra] army’s financiers – who met with CIA agents both before and during the time they were selling the drugs in L.A. – delivered cut-rate cocaine to the gangs through a young South-Central crack dealer named Ricky Donnell Ross.” He was talking about foreknowledge and perhaps “blind-eye” oversight by the members of the CIA – a fact somewhat acknowledged in the CIA Inspector General’s own report of December 1997.The official report, while seeking to downplay the claims in Dark Alliance, does admit some parts were true:We found that the allegations contained in the original Mercury News articles were exaggerations of the actual facts. … It is clear that certain of the individuals discussed in the articles, particularly Blandon and Meneses, were significant drug traffickers who also supported, to some extent, the Contras. … While the Department of Justice’s investigative efforts suffered from lack of coordination and insufficient resources, these efforts were not affected by anyone’s suspected ties to the Contras.Former U.S. Senator John Kerry, who now is Secretary of State, was less forgiving in his comments to The Washington Post on Oct. 4, 1996: “There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of and carrying the credentials of the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the Contras.”Joel Bleifuss, writing on Oct. 28, 1996 for In These Times, had a different perspective than Webb’s detractors: “One profoundly troubling aspect of this burgeoning scandal is how the mainstream news media have chosen to cover – or not cover – this story.”Leen writes, “The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, in a rare show of unanimity, all wrote major pieces knocking the story down for its overblown claims and undernourished reporting.” Too bad they did not devote that energy to following up on the leads opened in 1985 by Bob Parry, illuminated in the 1986 Kerry hearings (the United States Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations), and refueled by Gary Webb’s 1996 on-the-ground reporting.—Norman Stockwell is a freelance journalist based in Madison, Wisconsin, and serves as operations coordinator for WORT-FM Community Radio. He first met Gary Webb in the summer of 1998. See his stories in recent Tico Times special editions marking the arrest of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and the 30th anniversary of the La Penca bombing. Facebook Comments Related posts:The undoing of Gary Webb and today’s news organizations The exposure of Eugene Hasenfus Solís put on the defensive as joint US-Costa Rican patrols come up for renewal Talk of ‘Yankee imperialism’ rankles US Embassy in San José
In This Issue. * Currencies are mixed today. * Euro goes back and forth around 1.27. * Kuroda wants more yen weakness. * Gold is Money. And Now. Today’s A Pfennig For Your Thoughts. The Riksbank Joins The ZIRP Group! . Good Day!… And a Tom Terrific Tuesday to you! What a wonderful lunch date I had yesterday with old classmates and friends. Last year, 4 of us decided to have lunch and catch up, it was decided then that we would try to duplicate that fun, every quarter. Well, a year later, we finally got around to doing so! But this time, it was like a surprise party, for our small group had grown! The original group was me, my friend from kindergarten, Robin Sullivan, Stanley Johnson, and Linda Moore (Bilger). We then added, Ray Holthausen, Mark (Jr.) Walker, Jim Cooper, Kathy Ries, and Pam Scholtes. (the last two are married but I didn’t really catch their married names!) We laughed and laughed at the goings on in our lives, got somber about bad things, and then laughed again. It was simply wonderful! I told them all I would mention them in the letter today, so if the group grows any more, I might have to use initials! HAHAHAHAHA! Well, The currencies are mixed this morning, with the dollar holding on to some semblance of dignity with the euro, and the euro-alternatives, like Norwegian krone, and Swedish krona, but not with the renminbi, Aussie dollar (A$), and Gold. The Big Event this morning is Sweden’s Central Bank, The Riksbank’s meeting. Recall, yesterday, I told you about the upcoming rate cut discussion by the Riksbank, and thought that the Riksbank would do the dolt thing and cut rates even lower than they previously were, which. were so low you wouldn’t be able to limbo under them. Well, guess what the Riksbank did? That’s right, the dolt-thing. The cut their internal rate from 25 Basis Points (1/4%) to zero. The Riksbank has now joined the ZIRP (zero interest rate policy) group, that includes the U.S., Japan, Switzerland, Eurozone, U.K. and a few others. For those of you keeping score at home, Sweden’s internal rate was .25%…. Yes, that’s right, so to cut them from there is pointless isn’t it? Well, not according to Lars E.O. Svensson, a man who last year, left the Riksbank’s board in protest, because he didn’t think the Riksbank was doing everything they could to prevent deflation. He believes that the Riksbank should cut rates to zero, or even minus -.25%, and “even that will probably not be enough, so they will also have to think about implementing more unconventional measures, like asset purchases (QE) and maybe even a currency floor.” OK, given what this guy said, I’ll play a little game here. Svensson is a Princeton graduate, guess who his former colleagues at Princeton were? .. Jeopardy music plays. give up? Well it’s none other than Ben Bernanke and Paul Krugman! What in the heck is in the water there at Princeton? Or, better yet, who’s teaching these guys this stuff? Oh well, the good news is Svensson quit the Riksbank last year, so, he might be spouting off now about cutting rates to below zero, but he has no vote in the matter. Thank goodness! Alrighty then, that’s more time than I’ve spent on Sweden in a couple years’ worth of Sundays! The Aussie dollar is stronger this morning, so let’s go “down under” and see what’s up in the S. Pacific. After enduring the dreadful month of September for the A$, the currency has found a base around 88-cents, give or take a cent either way. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) really was the driving force that pushed the A$ down from 94-cents at the beginning of September to a recent low of 86-cents. The RBA has been quiet lately, and that scares the bejeebers out of me. I don’t like when a Central Bank that has been so vocal about their currency suddenly goes silent. What are they up to? That’s what I would be asking if I ever got the opportunity to talk to the RBA. You may laugh about that idea, but have I ever told you about how I used to call the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) and talk directly to the Gov. Don Brash? Yes, back “in the day” I had met Don Brash in L.A. and after talking to him about monetary policy, and the bond market in N.Z. he gave me his card and told me to call him when I had questions about what they were doing. OK, you don’t have to invite me to a party two times, and so I exercised that offer to call. And to Don Brash’s credit, he picked up the phone each time, and would take time to discuss what was on Chuck’s mind regarding the N.Z. economy, etc. They don’t make Central Bankers like Don Brash any longer. Sorry for the trip down memory lane, there, but sometimes I think it’s important that dear readers like you understand my background and how I come to some of these idea as to when a Central Bank is either prudent or doltish! Alrighty then. The Japanese yen continues to teeter back and forth from falling into the deep, dark abyss or holding on to some semblance of dignity. (Ahem, Chuck, did you realize that’s the second time you’ve used that phrase this morning? Well, I hadn’t when I typed it, but now that you’ve brought it to my attention, shame on me! ) The Bank of Japan (BOJ) Gov. Kuroda, told everyone that would listen to him last night that the BOJ would do more in terms of monetary measures, if inflation fails to materialize and hold steady in Japan. Another dolt comment, for sure, because this is simply Kuroda saying that the yen is not weak enough to bring about inflation in our country. Japan, is a basket case. I’ve told you that for a long time now, and it all begins with their Gov’t debt. So, look for the Japanese yen to get back to the task at hand, which is to become weaker and return to 110. This morning yen is 108, so 110 might not even be weak enough. In China overnight, the Peoples Bank of China (PBOC) allowed another appreciation of the renminbi / yuan. Again, don’t forget that the only piece of Chinese data this week will print on Thursday, when their National report on manufacturing (PMI) will show its true colors. I think that the PMI will be surprisingly good, and that’s why the PBOC has allowed the renminbi / yuan to appreciate two days in a row. It’s been pretty quiet in China lately, with little news regarding new steps being taken to remove the dollar as the reserve currency of the world. You know that I’ve kept you on top of the news regarding China’s Gold reserves. And how they back up the truck when the price manipulators drive the price of Gold down. Well, now China is docking the cargo ships and filling them with cheap Oil. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), The trading unit of state-run China National Petroleum Corp has bought 36 cargos of crude Oil in the open market so far in October, the largest purchase EVER in a single month! WOW! Who says the demand for Oil is shrinking due to the slowdown in economies all over the world? Not in China! And the euro is really spinning its wheels this morning, trading back and forth around the 1.27 handle. The euro rallied to as high as 1.2765 yesterday, but then someone said, Hey! What the heck is going on here? We’re not supposed to like the euro right now! And the single unit abruptly fell back to 1.27. But overnight and through the morning session, it’s been a 10-pip move around 1.27. So for those of you new to class, that’s 1.2690 to 1.2710. I find that the euro holding on to this level with the Fed’s FOMC meeting tomorrow hanging over it like the Sword of Damocles, very interesting. There’s very little to talk about with regards to domestic news from the Eurozone, so it’s all about how it trades in relation to the dollar. Well, here in the U.S. today, we’ll get to see the color of the September Durable Goods Orders, which the last two months had seen the gyrations of large airplane orders, and then the adjustment downward. But we should be getting back to normal stuff with the September report. The “experts” believe that Durable Goods Orders for Sept. will have grown .5%… Nothing to get all lathered up about, but in this day and age of economic reports before the election, you have to wonder why so muted? The U.S. Data Cupboard also has the S&P/ CaseShiller Home Price Index from August to print today. Here’s my thought on this data. August was a slow month, and the U.S. Treasury yields hadn’t fallen back as they did in Sept and Rocktober. For those of you new to class, the 10-year Treasury is the benchmark for setting mortgage rates. So, if mortgage rates were still higher, relatively speaking, Houses weren’t selling like funnel cakes at a State Fair, and if that wasn’t happening, the price of homes weren’t rising. Now, when we get around to see this data for Sept. and Rocktober, the 10-year’s yield had fallen, thus lowering mortgage rates again, and thus producing buyers, which drives up the prices. You know, the thigh bone is connected to the knee bone, the knee bone is connected to the shin bone, and so on. Oh, and Consumer Confidence will print today for Rocktober. Let’s just say, for grins and giggles that the survey people asked me if I was confident in this economy. What would I say? What would I say? Oh, we don’t have time to go through that here, but on the Butler Patio, this discussion could become quite lively! But, with the stock market not exactly looking as if its next stop is the moon, Consumer Confidence should drop a bit. But who knows, we’re only a week away from mid-term elections! I mentioned Gold was up a bit above. It’s not much of a move, but it’s positive, and that’s a move in the right direction, eh? And I have something of interest for you from my fave Gold researcher and analyst, Koos Jansen in the FWIW section today. One of my fave reads every morning that always has something to say about Gold & Silver, Ed Steer’s letter, has been AWOL this past week. I sure hope Ed’s OK. Before we head to the Big Finish today, I wanted to talk about this. It came to my attention yesterday that we had an additional death over the weekend, this time in the music world. Long time bassist Jack Bruce, who was 71, died. Jack Bruce was THE bass player of rock bands in the 70’s, folks. For those of you old enough, (like me) You’ve heard Jack Bruce’s playing and singing over the years. I guess the most famous band he was in was the band, Cream, along with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker. My good friend, Preston, who played drums in the traveling band I played in, and I were huge fans of both Bruce and Baker. A rock legend gone. For What Its’ Worth. OK. I really built this up above, and it’s just an off the wall story about Gold & Silver, but I thought it to be interesting, and since it’s my letter. here it is! Oh, by the way, Koos Jansen can be found on the website: www.bullionstar.com And with no further ado. here’s Mr. Koos Jansen, with his article about how Gold is Money. “Would you like to receive a percentage of your salary in gold? Yes I do! I’m working for the first company in Singapore, BullionStar.com, that offers its employees to be paid in gold or silver. Any BullionStar employee – an economic agent that is free to choose to whatever he or she wishes to allot value – can choose what percentage of its remuneration will be settled in bullion. Of course, everyone working for any company can choose, once it has received its fiat salary, to exchange a percentage of the salary for gold. However, my employer facilitates the automation of this process; effortless and effectively. By this arrangement both me and my employer are acknowledging gold as money. Just as the Chinese Gov’t has done.” Chuck again. Pretty cool, eh? I remember the first time my employer offered direct deposit of my check.. How cool that was! (Hey back in 1979, that was cutting edge technology!) But here’s why this is important. I truly believe that Gold will be a part of the future monetary system on planet earth. Why? Because a debt based monetary system is not sustainable. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! So. having someone’s wages, well, a percentage of the wages, paid in Gold or Silver is saying that Gold or Silver is money. It’s that simple folks. And over in the East, Asia and the Middle East, Gold is important to their lives. They believe that it’s a store of wealth. Shoot in India, if you don’t have Gold to offer, your daughter is not getting married! (or I think that’s how it works) Here in the U.S. most investors view Gold as a commodity that’s traded on whims. So, all in all, I wish EverBank had a program like BullionStar! To recap. The Big Event this morning has been the Riksbank meeting where they cut rates to zero from 25 Basis Points. The krona is getting whacked, because the forward guidance from the Riksbank was muted. The currencies are mixed this morning, with the krona and krone losing ground to the dollar, the euro flat, and the Aussie and renminbi currencies gaining VS the dollar. We’ll see some data here in the U.S. this morning, but none of it will light a fire under the markets, as everyone wants to see what the FOMC says tomorrow. Currencies today 10/28/14. American Style: A$ .8840, kiwi .7895, C$ .8915, euro 1.2705, sterling 1.6125, Swiss $1.0530, . European Style: rand 10.9215, krone 6.6235, SEK 7.3740, forint 243.30, zloty 3.3275, koruna 21.8345, RUB 42.48, yen 108.10, sing 1.2730, HKD 7.7575, INR 61.33, China 6.1421, pesos 13.52, BRL 2.4941, Dollar Index 85.59, Oil $81.15, 10-year 2.27%, Silver $17.28, Platinum $1,260.70, Palladium $780.09, and Gold. $1,228.20 That’s it for today. Well, the College Football Playoff Committee (CFPC) will publish their first ranking for the playoffs this evening. Should be interesting, but before everyone has a heart attack about the rankings, remember, there are 6 weeks of games still to be played, there will be changes! The World Series resumes this evening, with the Giants holding a 3-2 games edge. I can’t get over how great everyone looked yesterday! When we were young men, all those at the table played football together. There’s always a special bond among teammates, and we don’t have to see each other every day, or talk once a week for that to continue to bring us together. Good luck to Stanley Johnson who is rehabbing from an awful stroke he had late last year. I’m going on 5 days of feeling half-way decent, waiting for the shoe to drop. But hey! Maybe it won’t! I can always be optimistic, eh? And with that. I’ll get out of your hair today, and send you on your way to making this a Tom Terrific Tuesday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets
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A disabled solicitor has accused his governing body of forcing him to abandon disabled clients without legal representation, after it withdrew permission for his new law centre to take on legal aid cases.The Law Society of Scotland (LSS), the professional body for Scottish solicitors, had granted permission to Legal Spark law centre to take on legal aid cases in November.Following that decision, Legal Spark took on cases from disabled people who had been unable to secure legal representation for their discrimination cases.Among them was a disabled student who had to quit their university course because they were not given adequate support, and another disabled client who had previously been unable to secure legal representation because they lived in an isolated part of the Highlands.But LSS has now decided that it made a mistake and has withdrawn permission for Legal Spark to carry out legal aid work.The founder of Legal Spark, disabled solicitor Daniel Donaldson (pictured) – who set up the law centre to help disabled people and other clients excluded from the legal system – said the LSS decision would deprive disabled people of access to justice.He had been hoping to take legal aid cases for disabled people who have experienced discrimination, cuts to their social care provision and other issues.He said: “My clients will just be dropped. The Law Society of Scotland have left me no alternative.“The situation as it has turned out is stopping disabled people availing themselves of their legal rights.”Legal Spark has contacted 134 lawyers, a list provided by LSS, who take on civil legal aid cases and specialise in discrimination law, and none of them have been able to take on Legal Spark’s clients.Donaldson – who qualified as a solicitor six years ago – spent a year discussing Legal Spark with LSS, which originally branded his plans “refreshing” and “innovative”.Now he says the organisation is discriminating against his disabled clients.He said: “It’s deeply disappointing. Instead of working with Legal Spark to find constructive solutions, they have discriminated against and ignored our clients by refusing to listen to them.“They have cancelled meetings, refused to go to mediation and each time a politician contacts them on our behalf, the Law Society avoid the issue.”He said LSS told him it made the decision because Legal Spark didn’t meet its precise interpretation of regulations, “despite us spending over a year in conversation and being actively encouraged by Law Society staff”.He added: “The Law Society gave us their blessing, then took it away.“The timing could not be worse, as our clients were achieving success in pursuing their claims of discrimination.“This is direct disability discrimination – there is nowhere else for our disabled clients to go.”He is encouraging people to sign an online petition and write letters of complaint to LSS.A Law Society Scotland spokeswoman said her organisation had made “a mistake” in originally granting Legal Spark permission to carry out civil legal aid work, before realising that it was “not entitled to provide this type of advice under the society’s civil legal assistance quality assurance scheme”.She said: “The committee made a final decision on 16 June that a waiver could not be granted for public protection reasons and as the compliance certificate for Legal Spark had been issued in error, it could no longer provide advice funded by legal aid. “The committee agreed that given the circumstances, Legal Spark could continue working with its legal aid clients until 30 June, to allow sufficient time to make alternative arrangements for clients.”She said law centres have to be “underpinned by a solicitor practice unit [which she said Legal Spark was not] in order to be able to be on the civil legal aid quality assurance scheme register and provide legal aid funded advice”.She added: “While it is rare for something to go wrong, clients have to be able to seek redress and as it currently stands, Legal Spark is not in a position to meet those requirements.”By noon today (28 July), the Law Society Scotland had failed to explain why it has refused to enter into mediation, although it claims that it was “still in communication with Legal Spark”.Donaldson continues to dispute LSS’s position and claims that under the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980, Legal Spark should be allowed to take on civil legal aid cases.He said: “The LSS have a legal requirement to promote access to justice. They have ignored this entirely. Where’s the justice for our disabled clients?”
A disabled student has told Labour’s annual party conference that she has been forced to resort to crowdfunding to obtain a wheelchair that is suitable for her needs, because of “chronic” government under-funding.Rebecca Boot (pictured) told the party’s annual conference in Brighton that because she had a cheap powerchair that was not suitable for her impairment, it caused her pain and regular dislocations of her joints.She said her powerchair cost about £2,500 and was one of the cheapest available, but because it has “no suspension and poor shock absorbancy” she spends much of her time in bed “recovering from the pain” it causes.The chair she needs costs four times as much, but she does not believe she will be able to secure it through the “under-funded and over-stretched” NHS wheelchair service.She told the conference: “Not having the right chair costs me sleep, it costs me study time, and it costs me time with my family and my friends, while I lie in bed recovering from the pain that my wheelchair has caused.“The Tories’ chronic under-funding of NHS wheelchair services is costing me my freedom and it’s costing the local authority in personal care funding.”She added: “Having the wrong wheelchair means I am living a life of social exclusion and isolation and unfulfilled potential.”Boot said she had been forced to make the decision to crowdfund the money for a new powerchair, which she believed was “not acceptable”.And she said this was “just one example” of how the Conservative government had failed disabled people, as reported last month by the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities.She told Disability News Service afterwards that she was “getting desperate for a wheelchair that doesn’t cause me too much pain”.She said she was unable to spend more than a few hours at a time in her wheelchair because she starts to develop muscle cramps.Boot, who is just beginning her second year at Aston University, said: “It doesn’t cause problems in terms of going to lectures because they are a maximum of two hours but it means I have to go back to my room and lie down afterwards.“It means I am missing out on the social stuff surrounding university life.”She told the conference: “Wheelchairs are vehicles of freedom. My wheelchair enables me to be here with you today, to go to university and to socialise with my friends.“My wheelchair means I can choose what I do with my life and when. But I, like many others, have the wrong wheelchair.”She added: “A safe wheelchair that works properly should be a right, not a privilege.”