LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Photo by tristan tamayo/INQUIRERAlaska remained in the hunt for a playoff spot in the PBA Governors’ Cup after taking down Globalport, 101-88, Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.The Aces, who lost the first six games of the conference, won its second straight to improve to 2-6 and climbed to the 10th spot while the Batang Pier slipped to 3-5.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Murphey Holloway had 25 points to lead the Batang Pier with 25 points and nine rebounds.Globalport point guard Stanley Pringle was absent from the game as he went back to the United States to mourn the passing of his father.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next A strong fourth quarter push propelled Alaska over the Batang Pier with Calvin Abueva and Noy Baclao scoring all of their combined 20 points in the period as the Aces outscored Globalport, 34-21, in the final 12 minutes.“I’m happy to see these guys put together another win,” said Aces head coach Alex Compton in Filipino. “Because during our 14-game losing streak there were times when we were ahead then the other team will catch up and now instead of folding we bounced back and that’s the thing I’ve been waiting to see.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingAlaska was in the worst period of its storied history when it lost 14 straight games dating back to the Commissioner’s Cup before the Aces broke the curse in Pampanga beating San Miguel, 90-79.LeDontae Henton put up a massive double-double of 31 points and 21 rebounds to lead Alaska while Calvin Abueva finished with 12 points and five boards. San Sebastian repulses EAC to even slate at 5-5 Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo View comments Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul MOST READ
ATLANTA – JANUARY 09: Cheerleaders of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets run around with flags before the game against the Duke Blue Devils at Alexander Memorial Coliseum on January 9, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)There is a run on student half-court shot contest wins today. Earlier, a Virginia student nailed a shot to win $18,000. Now, Georgia Tech student Caleb Espy drilled a half-court shot on his first try to win free Domino’s pizza for a year. “Espy” is a pretty apt name for someone with a shot that impressive. We would probably opt for the $18,000 if we had the choice between the two prizes, but free pizza whenever you want is a pretty valuable prize for a college student.
PASADENA, CA – JANUARY 01: Quarterback Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles warms up prior to the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2015 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)Former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston had a solid day at the NFL Combine today, but he did run the 40-yard-dash a bit slower than many expected. Winston clocked in at 4.97 seconds, leading many to poke fun at his weight, yet again. Porn star Mia Khalifa, a self-proclaimed Seminoles supporter, is even getting in on the fun.Khalifa posted a humorous meme of Winston mid-sprint, and suggested that he’d have run much faster if he were seeking out her “new scene.” What a time to be alive.What my BFF sends me @JamezRave pic.twitter.com/uvsjfSLCsv— Mia Khalifa (@miakhalifa) February 21, 2015
VANCOUVER – The largest suppliers of Loblaw Companies Ltd. will have to pay a new handling fee, the company said.Suppliers using Loblaw’s distribution centres will pay 0.79 per cent on the cost of goods they sell to the company, while those shipping directly to stores will pay 0.24 per cent, said spokesman Kevin Groh in an email, adding the fee doesn’t apply to the company’s small suppliers.“We have always had handling fees,” he said. “We have simply held them flat for nearly a decade, as we’ve invested billions to create a highly efficient supply chain.”Groh could not immediately provide information on existing fee rates, however said this fee is in addition to existing ones.“In the end, our company, suppliers and customers benefit from products making it to our shelves efficiently and consistently.”Players in the Canadian grocery industry often charge suppliers various fees. Suppliers may pay listing fees, for example, to have their product stocked.Loblaw started sending letters last week informing the suppliers who will have to pay the new fee, Groh said.The move could result in about $80 million in savings for the company, wrote BMO analyst Peter Sklar in a note sent to clients on Friday.In the short-term, the program could save $160-million before taxes, he said, but that’s unlikely in the long-term as vendor co-operation will wane. Suppliers will work hard to claw back the charge in future price negotiations, he said, and slash the expected savings in half.Loblaw can’t validate estimates, Groh said.Sklar said he found the letter “strongly worded, as it discourages suppliers from discussing the new fee with Loblaw merchants.” He believes that’s an attempt to minimize suppliers’ negotiating abilities.“While these types of ‘asks’ can improve Loblaw’s earnings in the short term, our concern is that longer-term relationships with, and innovations by, suppliers could be impaired,” he said.Groh said suppliers can continue to discuss merchandising strategies with the company’s merchants.The move comes shortly after the company announced it would lay off 500 office workers, including various executives, earlier this month. At the time, Groh said the grocery industry faces a variety of pressures, but the layoffs aren’t a response to a single one, including a rising minimum wage.Grocers are grappling with rising minimum wage laws in certain provinces, and pressure from discount retailers and Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.Loblaw has sent at least one other letter similar to this to suppliers in the past.In July 2016, the company told suppliers it will apply an automatic 1.45 per cent price deduction on all shipments it receives beginning Sept. 4. It also said the grocer would reject any future cost increases from suppliers, unless they are related to higher input costs.The Competition Bureau is investigating Loblaw programs, agreements and conduct related to pricing strategies and programs with suppliers.The investigation started with a review of Loblaw’s proposed acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart in 2014. While the bureau reached a consent agreement with Loblaw that required it to sell certain stores and imposed some restrictions, the bureau continued to investigate its supplier practices.The bureau is also separately investigating allegations of price fixing in the bread aisles of major grocer’s, including Loblaw, Sobey’s Inc., Metro Inc. and others who have said they are co-operating with the investigation.Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter.
Speaking to reporters earlier today outside Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Trudeau said starting the Liberal campaign in B.C. felt right in 2015 and feels right again in 2019.He says his decision to launch from Vancouver four years ago instead of Ottawa was criticized by some as a terrible mistake — but that his party eventually showed that campaigns happen across the country.Trudeau also capped off his 2015 campaign with a rally in North Vancouver, an area where his mother grew up and that his grandfather, James Sinclair, represented for 18 years as a Liberal MP.The Canadian Press VANCOUVER — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is kicking off his election campaign in his second home of British Columbia, just like he did in 2015.Four years ago, Trudeau was on a plane headed for Vancouver when then-prime minister Stephen Harper asked the Governor General to dissolve Parliament.Trudeau will headline another West Coast campaign launch this evening in the riding of Vancouver Kingsway, a seat held by the New Democrats for over a decade.
Washington: India and the United States have asked Islamabad to “meaningfully address” the international community’s concerns on terrorism, including that emanating from across the border from Pakistan. The concern was raised in an statement by the Indian Embassy here after Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and his American counterpart Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale held Foreign Office Consultations here at the State Department, nearly a month after the Pulwama terror attack. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi Jinping “Both sides called on Pakistan to meaningfully address the concerns of the international community on terrorism, including cross-border terrorism,” the statement said. Tensions between India and Pakistan flared up after a suicide bomber of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14. India has provided a dossier to Pakistan, detailing the role of JeM in the Pulwama terror attack. India has also said that Pakistan has failed to take any credible action against JeM and other terrorist organisations, which continue to operate with impunity from Pakistan. Also Read – US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses in Xinjiang On Monday, Gokhale called on US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and they agreed that Pakistan must take “concerted action” to dismantle terrorist infrastructure and deny safe haven to all terror groups on its soil. Gokhale and Hale also reaffirming their commitment to the Indo-US Strategic Partnership and they reviewed the progress made since the first Ministerial 2+2 meeting held last September and discussed ways to further expand cooperation. While cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region formed an important part of their deliberations, they also discussed counterterrorism cooperation and a range of global and regional issues of mutual interest, including the current situation in Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran and Venezuela, the State Department said in a readout of the meeting. “They affirmed the vitality of the US-India strategic partnership and the importance of joint leadership to strengthen the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region,” the State Department said, amidst China increasingly flexing its muscles in the region. The Indo-Pacific is a biogeographic region, comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea. Beijing asserts nearly all of the South China Sea as its territory, while Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts. During the meeting, Gokhale and Hale affirmed their support for increased cooperation to include advancing initiatives undertaken as part of the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue process. “Recognising that the US and India share complementary visions for the Indo-Pacific, they agreed to deepen cooperation toward their joint goals in the region, including in conjunction with other Indo-Pacific partners,” the State Department said. According to the Indian Embassy, Gokhale and Hale exchanged views on building convergence in the Indo-Pacific and agreed to work with each other and regional partners to promote inclusivity, stability, peace and prosperity in the region.
Cheap flights carrier Jet2.com will launch new flights to Bergerac, Sharm el Sheikh and Corfu as part of its summer 2010 schedule.The announcement of the new routes, which commence in May next year from Leeds Bradford International Airport (LBIA), comes after the airline experienced its busiest month since its establishment six years ago.Jet2.com chief Phillip Meeson explained that the increase in bookings was down to the UK’s poor weather in July.”We’ve seen a huge increase in bookings this August and it looks like people don’t want to be caught out again next year,” he commented.”We’ve got some great new destinations coming on sale, which will make sure people can at least guarantee some summer sun.”The carrier said that it expects the new routes to be popular given that temperatures are currently ranging from 26 degrees C to a scorching 40 degrees C in Sharm el Sheikh.LBIA was recently given the green light from the city’s council to proceed with its £28 million passenger terminal development.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map RelatedJet2.com to launch new summer flights from Manchesterflights to Kos, Venice and Gran Canaria from Manchester next summerJet2.com announces new service between Manchester and CreteCheap flights carrier Jet2.com has announced it will launch a new service between Manchester and Crete in May next year.Jet2.com to launch five flights from Newcastle next MayJet2.com to launch five flights from Newcastle next May
14Apr Rep. Kesto hosts healthy cooking presentation April 27 Lawmaker is chair of House Health and Fitness Caucus Categories: Kesto News,News State Rep. Klint Kesto invites residents to join him and a local chef this month to learn how to cook healthy foods.Rep. Kesto, R-Commerce Township, is chair of the House Health and Fitness Caucus, which promotes healthy lifestyles to his fellow lawmakers. Now he is taking his message on the road as he is joined by Chef Amber Poupore of The Clean Plate and Cacao Tree Cafe to help residents of the 39th House District lead healthier lifestyles.The presentation, “Cooking Healthy with Klint Kesto,” takes place Monday, April 27, at the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital Demonstration Kitchen, located at 6777 W. Maple Road in West Bloomfield. The event runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and admission is free.“I think it’s very important that Michigan residents maintain their health, and eating foods that both taste good and are good for you is a huge part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” Rep. Kesto said. “It’s important that healthy eating begin at a young age, so we will show parents that snacks can be healthy and give them recipes they can prepare at home for their children.”No appointment is necessary. Anyone with questions may contact Rep. Kesto by calling 517-373-1799 or via email at KlintKesto@house.mi.gov.#####
US premium cable channel Epix has hired Jonathan Dakss from NBCUniversal to fill a key digital post.Dakss will become chief digital officer at the network, which is a joint venture between Viacom, its Paramount Pictures subsidiary, Lionsgate and MGM.To this point, he has been VP, NBCU Media Labs. This saw him overseeing programmes focused on virtual reality and 360-degree video, social television and second screen discovery, metadata usage, real-time captioning and other duties.At Epix, he will report into Rob Sussman, general manager and executive VP, business operations and strategy, and will be based in New York.Besides NBCU, Dakss has run his own company, WatchPoint Media, which was sold to GoldPocket Interactive, where Dakss then sold digital video products to Comcast, Cablevision, Dish Networks and Time Warner Cable.“Jonathan’s experience developing new revenue-generating products and business solutions at digital powerhouse NBCUniversal will be a great asset to the EPIX team,” said Rob Sussman. “We’re thrilled to have him join us to advance our leadership position and direct a digital team that has been at the forefront of TV Everywhere innovation, being the first cable network to launch on Xbox, PlayStation, Roku, and Android devices, as well as our recent launch of offline viewing on Android and iOS.”
Gold1,581.161,607.171,600.33 Rock & Stock StatsLast Gold Producers (GDX)41.7247.2760.35 Dear Readers,I’m in Shanghai as I type, and the “China Miracle” is in full bloom. Few variables are more important in the world of metals and mining investment than the strength and sustainability of the extraordinary bull run the Chinese economy has enjoyed for years. So many pundits, critics, and cheerleaders keep pouring out opinions on this question that they saturate the news – but leaves no one the wiser.I’m sorry to say that, as arrogant as I am, I do not have quite the hubris to tell you that I have figured China out and know what is and will be. Certainty is not an option here, and if anyone offers it to you, I suggest you check your wallet afterward.But I can tell you that I’ve traversed China from south to north, from east to west. I’ve spent days driving through the countryside, passed through China’s largest cities and smallest villages. I have seen a China that is visibly, radically different than the China I saw for the first time a mere six years ago. Ten percent growth compounded over six years is a 177% difference – and the reality behind such numbers is unmistakable. Yes, there is still great poverty here and a lot of people living on a subsistence basis, but this is not a poor country. The fraction that has been lifted to middle class and above is enormous, and the country’s GDP is now the second largest in the world.Shanghai itself may not be the financial capital of China any more, as in a politically dominated economy like this, all the big decisions get made in the political capital of Beijing, but the wealth here is tremendous. The proliferation of high-tech buildings, modern housing, shopping malls, expensive cars, and more defies belief.But the real shocker is the modernization of small towns and villages. Oxen have been replaced with tractors, rags replaced with bright new clothes, mud brick and thatch replaced with real brick and glass and electricity and satellite TV. The material improvement in the lives of hundreds of millions of people is spectacular.To me, the most important economic consideration is that whatever the degree of misallocation of capital may be here, the allocation of most capital is to infrastructure, factories, power generation, mine development, agriculture, housing, and generally to durable and productive assets. China is gearing up to flood the world with products on a scale that could be an order of magnitude greater than what we’ve seen so far.What if the EU disintegrates and the US sinks back into recession? What will China do with all its productive capacity then? Some would be wasted – factories and luxury cars can both rust for lack of capital to maintain them – but the productive capacity would still exist. With the investment already made, my guess is that the cost of goods manufactured in China would plummet. Particularly with so many state-owned enterprises – for which jobs and production may become more important than profit – selling at no profit would be better than shutting down. The central committee may even see flooding the world with inexpensive products as a way to help China’s trading partners while helping themselves.Is China in a bubble? Could the China Miracle turn into a China Nightmare?I suppose it could; some massive misallocations of capital will certainly have to be liquidated. But a system that was already misallocating capital to an extreme degree can see major improvement simply by misallocating capital massively.Remember that, unlike the US, the Chinese government is not borrowing money to build a network of high-speed trains across the country; it’s paying for it out of excess savings. On the household level, people who save 40% of their income every year could lose half their savings and still have a lot more net worth than the average, highly indebted American. And they’ll still want new cars, or electric bikes, or even airplanes (I’m told that civil aviation has been legalized in China).By the way, the high-speed trains are linking more and more cities and are seeing heavy usage. You don’t have to drive out of the cities to an airport; you don’t have to be there an hour before departure time; you don’t need to spend hours making connections; and there are many other advantages. Most critical is that the population density, I’m told, is sufficient to make the thing turn a profit. Plus, where there’s high-speed rail, the regular lines are freed up for cargo only – and those trains now carry cargo up to 200kph.My point is that if China is in a bubble, and if it does pop, this system will still be here, as will all the new highways, houses, factories, etc. This is not a deeply indebted nation of lawyers and hairdressers, but a cash-rich nation building up its productive capacity. If growth here were cut in half, it would still be substantially greater than in the US or EU.What about social unrest? Well, that’s one reason for China to keep manufacturing, even if profit drops off, but my sense is that, a few idealists aside, there is very little real pressure or even desire for major reform. People can see that things are improving, and they just want to improve their own lives.What about China’s military buildup and saber-rattling regarding those islands it and Japan both claim? Well, I was having dinner recently in a very large Chinese restaurant, where a large group of people were making round after round of toasts. The strength of the anti-Japanese sentiment that the alcohol loosened was astounding. Many Chinese – even though few are left alive who witnessed it – deeply, deeply resent Japan’s invasion during WWII. But I haven’t met anyone here who wants war – they’d much rather just become richer than Japan and show the world who is smarter and better.Similarly, I’d have to say that there is some sense of people here wanting to take over the world, but they don’t want to conquer it; they want to buy it. China wants to be an economic superpower and seems prepared to remove any obstacles to that goal – including outdated Marxist ideas.Whether that’s good or bad is an important discussion, but it’s not what we’re here for today. The point for now is that all of this is bullish for China’s continued demand for raw materials, including metals.One more factor I’d like to touch on is the question of “internal demand” – are there enough people in China with the money and the desire to buy the output of China’s factories and keep the economy here growing? I don’t think so… not all of the output of all of the factories. But reduced demand from the rest of the world does not mean no demand, and China’s internal demand is certainly growing.An anecdote: I happened to be near the famous Kumbum Monastery near Xining, Qinghai, in western China, so I stopped in for a look. The ancient Tibetan architecture and relics were fascinating, but I noticed that the biggest gold-plated temple of them all was not ancient, but built five years ago. The monks are re-paving the streets with heavy blocks of tight-fitting granite. I saw – literally – piles of cash at the Buddha’s feet and elsewhere, as the throngs left their offerings. But I saw only one other Westerner the whole day I was there. The renewal of this monastery is a testament to China’s capacity to spend internally.(Click on image to enlarge)New temple at the Kumbum Monastery, home of the “yellow” branch of Tibetan Buddhism. If you abase yourself 100,000 times, you can get a better life – but in your next life, not this one. I don’t know how much gold is on that roof, but I do know that it’s paid in full – there’s no mortgage – and people seem to have plenty more to give.What I am trying to say is that China’s economy may slow, but I don’t think it will dry up and blow away. There may be a lot more correction in industrial metals in the near term, driven by lower demand from China, as the growth rate moderates. There will certainly be an acute downward plunge if or when we get another 2008-style meltdown. But mid- to long-term, major demand is baked in the cake. There will be money to be made in metals and mining for decades to come – and should we be so lucky as to get a meltdown before the metals peak, what a fantastic buying opportunity that would be.We’ll be watching to see how that unfolds and will let you know when we see major turning points and buying opportunities.Stay tuned.Sincerely,Louis JamesSenior Metals Investment StrategistCasey ResearchLouis will be sharing his latest findings on the junior mining sector and his favorite stock picks in Carlsbad, California at the Casey Research/Sprott, Inc. Summit, Navigating the Politicized Economy. The event will be held September 7-9 and will feature an esteemed faculty of financial experts and Washington, DC insiders who will help you understand today’s overly politicized economy so that you can leverage it to outsized gains.You’ll hear David Walker, former United States Comptroller General, 1998-2008, and founder and CEO of the Comeback America Initiative… John Mauldin, best-selling author, chairman of Mauldin Economics, and publisher of the wildly popular Thoughts from the Frontline and Outside the Box… Donald Coxe, strategy advisor to BMO Financial Group, with $500 billion under management… Dr. Lacy Hunt, executive vice president of Hoisington Investment Management (he presented at the last Casey Summit and was voted its most popular speaker)… and, of course, our own Doug Casey, as well as a host of other financial luminaries and members of the Casey Research team. TSX Venture1,190.871,254.572,017.86 Silver Stocks (SIL)17.7020.0327.62 Silver27.2328.1340.01 Gold and Silver HEADLINESGold Discoveries Not Keeping Pace with Mined Production (Metals Economics Group)Metals Economics Group (MEG) released a study on gold reserves replacement. MEG reports that 99 significant gold discoveries (defined as a deposit containing at least 2 million ounces of gold) have been made from 1997 to 2011, yet they will potentially replace only 56% of the estimated gold mined during the same period. Actual numbers may be lower, as not all of them may be deemed economic to mine. Economic viability involves many factors such as location, infrastructure, political risk, capital and operating costs, and market conditions, all further reducing the amount of resources that will reach production.The situation is better for some individual gold producers than for industry as a whole:“Over the past decade, the top 26 global gold producers (those that mined at least 600,000 oz. of gold in 2011) collectively replaced almost 208% of the gold they produced. Individually, 21 of these major producers added enough reserves through exploration and acquisitions to keep ahead of production, maintaining a strong pipeline of projects to insure stable or increased gold production.”The researchers conclude that the biggest challenge to replacing reserves is not that there is no gold left to dig up, but that all the “easy” gold has been mined:“Increasing risk of political, regulatory, and tax instability in many resource-rich nations, declining grades, rising costs, and dramatically longer development times, the amount of gold available for production in the near term is likely far less than has been found.”The report suggests that a shortage in gold mine production in the coming years should be an expected outcome. This has obvious implications for the price.Tea Compound + Radioactive Gold Nanoparticles = Prostate Cancer Treatment (Mineweb)Researchers at the University of Missouri discovered that gold nanoparticles can be used to treat aggressive prostate cancer. Nanoparticles and a compound found in tea leaves are more efficient in targeting prostate tumors than toxic chemotherapy. This new cure would require doses that are thousands of times smaller than chemotherapy and do not travel through the body, inflicting damage to healthy areas.This particular discovery won’t have a significant impact on demand, as the amount of gold needed for cancer treatment is tiny, but it does show there is continuing interest in medical uses for the precious metal.Infographics on Gold Mania (InformedTrades)Follow the above link to see a compilation of gold charts, some based on our own research, that point to the possibility of a gold mania.Other News: San Diego PhyleThere’s a new Casey phyle forming in San Diego. If you’re in the area and would like to participate, please contact our firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. Copper3.533.394.43 Gold Junior Stocks (GDXJ)18.6220.9538.44 One Month Ago TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange)11,665.7011,759.3413.340.83 Oil92.6681.8098.11 One Year Ago
By Kevin Brekke, World Money Analyst Maybe it’s just me, but I’m starting to see a greater than usual number of articles covering the rise in the number of Americans leaving the country. This seems in line with the figures released by the US Treasury that show those renouncing their US citizenship is growing. Just for kicks, I plotted the number of US renunciations since 1998 against the gold price. Except for the “everybody feels good about America” bubble that burst in 2008, the slope of both lines is strikingly similar. If one believes that gold is a crisis barometer, this makes sense. As the fiscal crises in the US persist, the higher taxes are likely to climb, adding more incentive for the wealth creators to leave… and take their wealth with them. The IRS appears to be losing one taxpayer for every dollar rise in the gold price. Taxation Cliff The omnipresence of warnings about the impending “fiscal cliff” will certainly not help to soothe any unease among those contemplating expatriation. This clever yet vivid metaphor describes the fate that likely awaits the US economy should DC legislators fail to extend the expiration of several key tax breaks and incentives that sunset in January. If the original legislation is left unaltered, taxes will rise and further constrain an already stretched consumer. In turn, absent moderate growth in consumer spending, employers will lack the incentive and confidence to begin hiring. Today, elevated unemployment is a chronic problem facing the US economy, and is seen by Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke as a challenge that will take quite some time to correct. A stagnant to falling work force means at best a wobbly stream of tax revenue, and more probably falling tax receipts. With all levels of government starved for revenue the circle completes, as they are forced to raise taxes and cut government employees to meet the operating costs of government services and pension benefits. And this highlights a further taxing dilemma that might lay in wait for taxpayers. As desperate as the fiscal situation might be at the federal level, hundreds of state and local governments are in dire straits. So we may see a perverse scenario in which the tax breaks that are extended by Washington are offset by a rise in income, property, and other taxes and fees by state and local jurisdictions. Regulatory Cliff Yet, another ledge on the cliff-of-state concerns the rise in costly and intrusive regulations dreamed up in Washington. One of the most far-reaching and sinister is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA. I have covered this area in past International Man articles, so most readers will be familiar with it. But for anyone who’s been in a cave for the last two years, in a nutshell, this new compliance regime effectively forces all foreign financial institutions to identify, track, monitor, and report the movement of funds by all US persons (and entities with a US person or persons as the beneficial owner) and report it to the IRS. That is a grossly simplified explanation, but nonetheless accurately conveys how broad the reporting net has grown. Failure by any foreign institution that is deemed to be “financial” to comply with FATCA reporting will result in 30% of the funds in question to be withheld and forwarded to the IRS as a penalty. A Crumbling Ledge The ledge on which US international investors stand just got a bit narrower. On Sept 11, 2012, the IRS released the draft versions of four compliance reporting forms for individuals and entities. They are: – Form W-8IMY, Certificate of Foreign Intermediary, Foreign Flow-Through Entity, or Certain US Branches for United States Tax Withholding – Form W-8ECI, Certificate of Foreign Person’s Claim that Income is Effectively Connected with the Conduct of a Trade or Business in the United States – Form W-8EXP, Certificate of Foreign Government or Other Foreign Organization for United States Tax Withholding – Form W-8BEN, (Individuals), Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding As shown, FATCA regulations have continuously expanded to the point that it covers all forms of wealth structures. For any US person with an interest in a foreign entity, this is an important progression. Professional advice and counsel should be sought to avoid missing a filing deadline, or otherwise failing to comply with FATCA. The financial and manpower burden that FATCA will impose on foreign institutions to comply is big and getting bigger. In response, many foreign banks and brokerages have opted to bar US persons as clients and forgo the hassle. In this sense, FATCA should be seen as the back-door implementation of exchange controls. And it will get worse. Anyone sitting on the fence about internationalization must take steps to get some wealth outside the US now. That window is closing fast. If you’re going to successfully internationalize – whether assets, income or personally – you’ll need some good resources to do it. Join us at the International Man Network and gain access to our library of reports on a wide range of diversification topics from moving gold overseas or finding an international broker to getting set up on the ground in a number of different countries around the world. Click here for more information.
• Companies can’t raise prices easily when they have a lot of unused capacity… E.B. explains: You see, if demand picks up, there’s an idle machine nearby whose owner is willing to put it to use. He’s just glad it’s being used. He’s definitely not in a position to charge more since there are several idle machines to choose from. In fact, it’s more likely he’ll undercut his competition just to have the work. As we mentioned, deflation will hurt deeply indebted companies the most: Companies that borrowed money during the Fed’s credit experiment will also be hit hard. For example, if a company borrowed $100 million to build a new factory, it has to repay that cheap money over 10 years. But its competitors sit with idle factories willing to produce at any price to avoid bankruptcy. To compete, it has to drop prices…so it has less money coming in to pay its debts…and forget about profits. • Profits for companies in the S&P 500 have fallen three straight quarters… They are on track to decline a fourth straight quarter. That hasn’t happened since the 2008–2009 financial crisis. These companies are also bleeding cash… Companies in the S&P 500 spent 108% of their operating income on dividends and buybacks during the fourth quarter. According to investment research firm Yardeni Research, that’s the highest level since the 2008–2009 financial crisis…when corporate profits nosedived. Companies will have even less money for buybacks, acquisitions, and dividends when deflation arrives. • There’s little reason to own U.S. stocks right now… E.B. is telling readers to hold cash and physical gold. A cash reserve will help you avoid losses if stocks fall. It will also allow you to buy stocks when they get cheaper. Holding physical gold is another simple way to avoid losses. As we often remind you, gold is money. It’s preserved wealth for centuries because it has a unique set of qualities: It’s durable, easily divisible, and portable. Its value is intrinsic and recognized around the world. Investors buy it when they’re nervous about stocks or the economy. This year, gold is up 18%. It’s at its highest price in well over a year. • E.B. isn’t out of stocks completely… E.B is investing in companies that can do well no matter what happens with the economy. And he’s found the ideal business to own during deflation… Earlier this month, he recommended a world-class licensing company that “caters to the masses.” The company owns dozens of popular American brands. But it doesn’t manufacture anything. Instead, it gets paid a cut every time one of its logos appears on a jacket or pair of shoes. According to E.B., it’s the type of business you want to own during deflation: This is a great business model. The company makes money on every product sold. But it doesn’t bear any of the risk of running a factory or a retail store. The stock is also dirt cheap. It’s trading 83% below its 2014 high. If you’re concerned about the stock market like we are, we urge you to take action today. At minimum, we recommend you hold more cash than usual…own gold…and only invest in businesses you know can survive a major financial crisis. For other ways to “crisis proof” your wealth, watch this short presentation. In it, E.B. explains why the coming crisis could cause stocks to plunge 50%…trigger a collapse of the banking system…and even provoke the government to ban cash outright. It’s one of the most important messages we will deliver all year. Click here to view this free video. Chart of the Day The U.S. stock market is in its longest “dry spell” in two decades… Today’s chart shows the performance of the S&P 500 over the past year. You can see it’s now gone a whole year without setting a new high. You don’t often see this during bull markets. Bloomberg Markets reported over the weekend: On Monday [Yesterday], the S&P 500 will extend its streak without a record to 253 trading days, matching the drought that lasted through February 1995. Only two other long-term rallies went without new highs for longer — 272 days through 1984 and 361 days through 1961. Bull markets end when a benchmark index falls 20 percent from a record. According to Bloomberg, this kind of “dry spell” usually marks the end of a bull market: More often than not, such dry spells are ominous for equities. Among the 13 instances since 1946 that began with stocks going as long as they have now without posting new highs, 10 ended in bear markets. U.S. stocks are treading water right now. We encourage you to invest with caution. It’s an immediate threat to your wealth right now…and it’s another sign we’re headed for a major financial crisis. What we’re covering today stems from the Fed’s “monetary experiment” that began in 2008. As you may know, that year, the Fed dropped its key interest rate to effectively zero. It then started borrowing and printing trillions of dollars. This experiment has been nothing short of a disaster. Over the past eight years, the Fed’s pumped $3.5 trillion into our financial system. And our national debt has more than doubled. Casey Research founder Doug Casey says the Fed has set us up for a massive financial crisis…one that will ultimately destroy the U.S. dollar: These reckless policies have produced not just billions, but trillions in malinvestment that will inevitably be liquidated. This will lead us to an economic disaster that will in many ways dwarf the Great Depression of 1929–1946. Paper currencies will fall apart, as they have many times throughout history. E.B. Tucker, editor of The Casey Report, agrees that the dollar will collapse eventually. But he says there’s a more immediate threat to protect yourself against today… • Deflation is a huge threat to your investments right now… Deflation is when prices for goods and services fall. It’s the opposite of inflation. To many people, deflation sounds like a good thing. After all, who wouldn’t want to pay less for food, clothing, and electronics? While deflation can be good for consumers, it’s terrible for many businesses. It’s especially bad for businesses that have borrowed too much money. After all, deflation in the U.S. makes the dollar stronger, which makes it harder to pay back loans. For example, if a company borrows $100,000 and we get 5% deflation, it effectively has to pay back $105,000. • E.B. says the Fed planted the seeds of deflation during the 2008 financial crisis… In 2008–2009, the Fed’s flawed thinking went like this: people are “hoarding” money instead of spending it. If we could just convince people to spend more money, the economy would recover. So its solution was cheap money…lots of it. As we mentioned, the Fed printed massive sums of money and cut rates to zero, in hopes that it would jumpstart spending. It backfired. The chart below shows the “velocity” of the U.S. money supply, which measures how fast money changes hands. As you can see, velocity is at its lowest point since 1959. Regards, Justin Spittler Delray Beach, Florida May 24, 2016 We want to hear from you. If you have a question or comment, please send it to email@example.com. We read every email that comes in, and we’ll publish comments, questions, and answers that we think other readers will find useful. – [Shocking New Video] He Predicted the Collapse of the Soviet Union… Now He’s Issued a Dire Forecast for America Doug Casey just released an urgent broadcast. And one thing is clear: For unprepared investors, what’s coming in 2016 could be devastating. For serious investors ready to take action now, the next seven months could be more profitable than the past seven years. I almost couldn’t believe what he says at 5:27. Click here now. Leaked: Critical Two-Minute Warning from Accountant’s Computer Have you seen this obscure video yet? Yesterday, it leaked from the personal computer of a former insider at one of the world’s largest banks… And it has some folks predicting it could save a major portion of your savings within the next month. Not only that, they’re saying this video can also hand you some of the greatest profit opportunities of your life. Up to five triple-digit gains by December. Are the rumors true? There’s only one way to find out… Click here to air a private viewing now. — • U.S. capacity utilization is at its lowest level since the financial crisis… This metric measures the percentage of property, plant, and equipment that’s currently in use. A low number means a lot of factories are sitting idle, instead of producing goods. You can see in the chart below that U.S. capacity utilization is below 75% for the first time since 2008. This means nearly three out of every ten machines in the U.S. are sitting idle right now. Recommended Links • The Fed’s printed cash is not moving around the economy… E.B. explains why the Fed’s plan backfired: Instead of being spent on goods and products, the Fed’s cheap money has been funneled into investments. Instead of buying more cars and houses like the Fed intended, folks bought more stocks and bonds. With folks investing the new cheap money instead of spending it, the S&P 500 has more than tripled since 2009. Bond prices have hit record highs too. Meanwhile, the “real” economy is worse off in many ways. The U.S. economy is growing at its slowest pace since World War II. And the real median household income is about $2,500 lower today than it was in 2007. • Thanks to rock-bottom interest rates, U.S. corporations have borrowed almost $10 trillion in the bond market since 2008… Last year, they borrowed a record $1.5 trillion. But like consumers, companies didn’t use the borrowed money to buy real, tangible things. They didn’t buy machinery, equipment, or anything else that would grow their businesses. Instead, they borrowed to buy other companies and their own stock on the open market, also known as a share buyback. • Companies in the S&P 500 spent nearly $1 trillion on acquisitions and buybacks last year… That’s about $200 billion more than they spent on new machinery, equipment, and research and development. This is a big problem. A company can boost its earnings by buying other companies or its own stock. Neither actually improves the business. But they can make profits look bigger “on paper.” Since the financial crisis, hundreds of giant corporations have used acquisitions and buybacks to hide problems. But those problems are becoming too big to ignore.
Hundreds or even thousands of disabled people are so alarmed by the idea of Britain leaving the European Union (EU) that they are considering moving to Scotland, information from disabled activists suggests.One disabled campaigner has told Disability News Service (DNS) that she has been contacted personally by 70 disabled people who want to leave for Scotland in the wake of last week’s referendum result, in which Britain voted to leave the EU by a margin of 52 per cent to 48 per cent.Pat Onions (pictured), co-founder of Pat’s Petition, who lives in Scotland, said disabled people had been in touch by text, phone, email and on Facebook.She said: “Scotland wants to remain in the EU. They felt their human rights would be protected. They felt it was a safer country to live then England.“They felt Tories would remain in power after Brexit even with a general election in the autumn [and that] no-one in England cares about people with disabilities anymore.”She added: “Feelings amongst disabled people are running high. They are scared – more than before with such uncertainty. Scotland seems like a safe place to be.”Two other disabled campaigners have separately told DNS that they want to move north of the border, in the hope that Scotland will vote for independence and join the EU as an independent nation.Doug Paulley has played a leading role in using the legal system to fight disability discrimination in England, and is currently awaiting a Supreme Court ruling on whether disabled people should have priority in using the wheelchair space on buses.He is so concerned at the loss of safeguards that are currently provided by EU legislation that he is considering a move north of the Scottish border.Paulley, who lives in Wetherby, Yorkshire, said: “I’m not sure I want to be part of a country that has lost all its safeguards for disabled people’s rights and is already victimising disabled people.”He said the government was already “fairly openly hostile to disabled people” and was “making them pay for austerity”, and that an EU exit would mean a “significant loss of protection” on independent living and equality.He said: “We don’t know how much worse it’s going to be. Being in Europe could have been protecting us from things being even worse than they already are.”Paulley said he saw Scotland as a “safe environment”, and even if there was a delay in it joining the EU, he said he would “rather be in a country that is wanting to be in the EU than one that is isolationist”.He insists he is serious about the idea, although he accepts the difficulty of transferring his care package from one part of the UK to another.He said: “I don’t want to do anything too quickly because I wouldn’t want to do anything based purely on the shock [of the EU vote] but in reality as a disabled person you can’t anyway, so it will take a while to research and organise, [but] I am definitely starting.”Martin Kelly, founder and chief executive of the Disability Experts consultancy, said he too was considering a move to Scotland.He said: “My wife is Scottish and is keen to return following the result and I’m not against the idea either.“We said we would look into moving to Scotland if the vote was to leave. This is because we want to be member of the EU, we feel we have the protection of EU laws as people with disabilities.“I was devastated by the result because I don’t feel as protected as I used to.“I’m concerned that our human rights will be altered and I’m concerned that any progress we have made since the Disability Discrimination Act and the Equality Act will be undone by an autonomous government.”John McArdle, co-founder of the user-led grassroots network Black Triangle, which is based in Scotland, said: “I have had a lot of people express that opinion.“I don’t know whether it means they will just pack up and move north.”But he said the referendum had “hardened people’s fears and sense of insecurity”.He said: “The feeling is that people are terrified that there has been such a right-wing shift in British politics because of Brexit.”He said this had led to a rise in hate crime, which had affected disabled people who were being blamed for claiming benefits and causing the country’s financial problems.McArdle said: “People look north to us and see a lack of any of that and all this hatred and division and see broadly speaking [in Scotland] social solidarity.“That’s what is making people feel they would prefer to live in a country like Scotland rather than England, with the way things are going.”He said he believed that some disabled people would move north, but for a combination of reasons and not just the Brexit vote.He said: “This may just be a tipping point.”McArdle said one reason could be the Scottish government’s move to set up its own Independent Living Fund, following the closure of the fund in England last year, and new wide-ranging powers for the Scottish government to control benefits such as disability living allowance and personal independence payment, as a result of the Scotland Act.Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, pledged in her party’s manifesto for this year’s Scottish parliament elections that an SNP government would “protect disability benefits” and “reform assessment procedures to ensure they work for service users, and stop the revolving door of assessments and related stress and anxiety for those with long-term illnesses, disabilities or conditions”.
A wheelchair-user has successfully tested a system that allows an unoccupied car to be parked after its driver has left the vehicle, using technology that could be publicly available within a year.The organisations developing the system, demonstrated in the last few days at a hotel in Greenwich, London, believe it could make life far easier for drivers who are wheelchair-users, who often find it difficult to secure suitable parking spaces.The system allows a driver to stop, remove themselves and their wheelchair from the car, and then use the technology to park the unoccupied vehicle remotely.It was tested by freelance mobility consultant Toby Veall (pictured), who drove to the hotel, before leaving the Toyota Prius and removing his wheelchair, and calling up the support of an operator to park his vehicle for him remotely, using 3G and 4G cellular technology developed by telecommunications provider O2.For locations like underground carparks that don’t have cellular reception, the wheelchair-user can park the vehicle using an app on a tablet device, using in-car wi-fi.Veall said the system had huge potential for increasing disabled people’s independence.He said: “I think it’s a really exciting prospect for the future, and hopefully it is sooner rather than later.”One of the main problems facing drivers who use wheelchairs is finding a suitable parking space, he said.This can be because other cars park too close – particularly when there are no accessible spaces available – so the doors cannot be opened wide enough to allow a wheelchair to be removed or stowed, or due to uneven surfaces like gravel or grass, and hazards such as steep kerbs or slopes.Veall said: “The use of a simple app to remotely park the car would be warmly welcomed by myself and many others with mobility problems and help to remove parking anxieties and improve independence.“The more I think about it, the more potential uses I can think of.”The “teleoperated autonomous vehicle service for people with reduced mobility” has been developed as part of the GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) project.The two-year, £8 million research programme, led by TRL (the formerly government-owned transport research laboratory) and funded by government and industry – including O2 and robotics specialists Gobotix – aims to investigate the use of automated vehicles, including automated passenger shuttles and urban deliveries, and test how drivers of regular vehicles respond to the presence of automated vehicles on the roads.Dr Ben Davis, technical director of Gobotix, said: “Everybody is waiting for the arrival of fully automated vehicles, but there’s a lot that vehicle manufacturers can be doing already with existing technology to help improve accessibility and mobility for older and disabled drivers.“Many modern cars can be adapted so that they are driveable by a remote pilot and what we’ve demonstrated as part of GATEway is proof of that. “By offering a remote teleoperation service, we can remove common concerns around boarding and alighting.“It’s about empowering those with reduced mobility to retain independence through the use of technology.”He said the system could be available to disabled drivers within a year.He said: “The technology is inherently simple to install.“In fact, in a lot of vehicles they probably wouldn’t have to add anything to the vehicle apart from the software that enables this to be possible.“If the appetite among the automotive manufacturers was there, there is no reason why this couldn’t be available to consumers within 12 months.”
Disabled people who employ personal assistants (PAs) are being investigated by the government for failing to pay their PAs the minimum wage during overnight “sleep-in” shifts.HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has admitted to Disability News Service (DNS) that individual PA employers have been investigated, just like large service-providers such as Mencap.The government has publicly warned – following a high-profile tribunal ruling involving the charity – that many care workers should have been paid at least the minimum wage for the hours when they were sleeping on an overnight shift.Many of them should now be able to claim for up to six years back-pay.But the revelation that individual disabled people who use PAs are also being pursued by HMRC for years of back-pay is now beginning to cause alarm in the independent living movement.In April, the employment appeal tribunal ruled against Mencap and said the charity should have been paying care workers at least the minimum wage for “sleep-ins”.Mencap is now appealing against the ruling.The government took some action to try to calm fears about the impact on the care industry of the ruling yesterday (Wednesday) by temporarily suspending enforcement activity by HMRC – until 2 October – and scrapping fines for those who failed to pay sleep-in staff the minimum wage before 26 July 2017.But the government statement also made it clear that it was committed to ensuring that “workers in this sector” would receive the back-pay “they are legally entitled to”.And HMRC has today (Thursday) confirmed to DNS that it has been taking enforcement action against some individual disabled employers for allegedly failing to pay their PAs the minimum wage on overnight sleep-in shifts.One such employer has contacted DNS to say she is being investigated by HMRC because of a complaint from a PA about back-pay dating back three years, although she has not yet provided any further details.Sue Bott, deputy chief executive of Disability Rights UK (DR UK), said she had heard from two other disabled people who employ PAs and have been under investigation by HMRC.She was contacted after raising concerns through the DR UK website that PA employers could be caught by the tribunal ruling.She said the tribunal appeal ruling could have “far-reaching consequences” if it was confirmed by the court of appeal.Bott (pictured) said: “You can imagine the difficulty it will cause individual employers.“I do think it’s right that PAs are paid the national minimum wage for each hour.“In principle, I do think that’s right, but obviously I am concerned given the lack of resources in health and social care and how difficult it would be for individual employers to respond to a retrospective demand.”She believes the problem of PA employers not paying the minimum wage for sleep-in hours was “pretty common”.She said: “People just don’t receive enough money in their personal budgets to be able to pay national minimum wage for every overnight hour.”A government spokesman said today: “HMRC enforces the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage in line with the policy and guidance set out by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.“The government is aware that people who have used their direct payments to fund sleep-in shifts could be personally liable for back-pay.“These people are themselves extremely vulnerable, and the government is committed to doing all it can to prevent those individuals from suffering financial difficulties as a result of this issue.“We can confirm that the pause in HMRC investigations will apply to these individuals as well as to businesses, and that HMRC will not be applying penalties.“The particular needs of this group will also be the subject of government considerations over summer.“The government will continue to look at this issue extremely carefully alongside industry representatives to see how it might be possible to minimise any impact on provision of social care, and ensure that action taken to protect workers is fair and proportionate.”There is so far no agreement among independent living experts as to whether PA employers themselves would ultimately be liable legally for any back-pay.Anne Pridmore, director of Being the Boss, a user-led organisation which supports disabled people who employ PAs, and who employs overnight PAs herself, said she was deeply concerned by the tribunal ruling and the government statement.She said she believed that “the buck stops with us” as employers of PAs, even if local authorities or clinical commissioning groups have not been paying enough in care packages to afford to pay minimum wage for overnight hours.She should be safe herself from any action by HMRC, as her current package allows her to pay more than minimum wage as an average hourly payment across her PAs’ 24-hour shifts.But she fears that when the national minimum wage rises again in October, she will no longer be able to do so. Her care package has not been increased in nine years.She said: “At the moment I am within the law, but from October I won’t be. There are many of us in the same position.”Tracey Jannaway, director of the PA services social enterprise Independent Living Alternatives, said she believed the responsibility for meeting the back-pay would probably fall on the council or NHS body that funded the personal assistance, rather than the PA employer.She said the legal system had previously found the funding body responsible for ensuring that PA employers had the resources necessary to meet all their legal obligations, such as the minimum wage, national insurance, pension payments and insurance.Jannaway said it was “highly probable” that this would apply to PA employers and sleep-ins, but that it would probably take a legal test case to confirm this.She said years of conflicting rulings on night-time pay had left many people with their “heads in the sand”.And she said if the ruling was extended to “all people doing sleep-ins or indeed all live-in workers the implications will be far reaching and hard hitting” because “very few” people receive the necessary funding to pay for hour-by-hour overnight personal assistance.Even if local authorities and NHS bodies are found responsible for the night shift back-pay of PA employers, the financial implications will be “colossal” and probably “result in people having their hours reduced” because of the existing social care funding crisis.Jannaway added: “It does seem unreasonable to pay someone an hourly rate if they are genuinely doing a sleep-in where they are only ever woken in an emergency – say once or twice a year.“It would be better for HMRC to agree what is the reasonable sum for this work. However, those people who really do work the sleep-in are entitled to be paid.“At ILA, we argue for the hourly rate for night cover. However, some local authorities simply will not/cannot fund it.”
The public “tit for tat” row between the government and Motability has intensified after senior figures in the organisation and the minister for disabled people gave evidence to MPs.The Treasury and work and pensions select committees are holding a joint inquiry following political and media criticism of how the car scheme for disabled people is run.Following the evidence sessions on Monday, the committees have asked the National Audit Office (NAO) to investigate the scheme.Sarah Newton, the minister for disabled people, suggested during one of the evidence sessions that letters she would release to the committee would show that Lord Sterling, the Tory peer who co-founded the scheme more than 40 years ago, was wrong to accuse work and pensions secretary Esther McVey of making a series of untrue and misleading statements about the scheme to MPs last month.Lord Sterling – who also gave evidence to the committees on Monday – had said in his letter that McVey was wrong to claim that it had been her intervention as minister for disabled people in 2013 that led to Motability agreeing to pass £175 million to former disability living allowance (DLA) claimants who were going to lose their Motability vehicles in the programme to be reassessed for the new personal independence payment (PIP).The committees also suggested that they might use their report to call on the government to allow rival organisations to set up as competitors to Motability, which they said might drive down the price paid by disabled people to lease vehicles through the scheme.Newton said the level of pay and bonuses received by executives of Motability Operations (MO), which runs the scheme on behalf of the Motability charity*, was “quite shocking” and there were “serious questions” to be asked about its governance, including the level of its financial reserves.She said ministers had repeatedly challenged MO about the level of reserves and remuneration and asked it to spend more “to the benefit of disabled people”.But she said that no-one had raised any problems with her – since she became minister last year – about the service Motability provides to disabled people, and she believed it worked well for its customers.Referring to Lord Sterling’s letter to McVey, Newton said it was “really sad to have this public tit for tat” and she promised to provide the committee with letters sent by ministers to Motability in 2012 and 2013.She said: “I have read the correspondence and it sets beyond doubt that the department really pushed Motability to increase the amount of funding to support people through the transitional [DLA to PIP] arrangements.”She added: “The letters speak for themselves.”Newton said McVey had suggested that one of the outcomes of an NAO inquiry could be to examine if there should be more competition for Motability, if that was “to the benefit of disabled people”.MPs on the two committees had earlier questioned senior figures from both MO and the charity that oversees the scheme, Motability.Among the MPs asking questions was Labour’s John Mann, whose concerns about the scheme have helped raise the profile of issues around its governance, but who was himself criticised in Lord Sterling’s letter to McVey.Mann suggested that Motability was “a very good scheme that has now become rather bloated” and that because running the Motability scheme was very low risk, MO did not need such high levels of reserves, currently at £2.4 billion.Mike Betts, chief executive of MO, said his organisation did face significant risks, including the fact that a one per cent drop in the value of used cars can cost MO about £50 million.Betts (pictured, giving evidence) defended the sums held in reserve, which he said helped keep down how much money it has to pay to borrow money to buy its new cars, and was invested in the cars used by its customers rather than in cash.He said that MO also currently holds about £540 million in cash, but that the company needs this because it spends £300 million a month buying cars.But Mann said that written advice he had received from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) stated that it would not expect an organisation like MO to keep £2.4 billion in reserves to cover risk**.Lord Sterling, who chairs the Motability charity, insisted that disabled people “receive every spare penny”, but “only when we think it is safe to do so” and as a result of “the two boards [working] carefully together”.Declan O’Mahony, director of the charity, said the two organisations “see this as a period of elevated risk” – because of uncertainties about future interest and exchange rates and levels of depreciation on diesel cars – and so it was “not a time when we see an opportunity to transfer further reserves immediately” from MO to the charity (and therefore to disabled customers).The committee heard – as reported by Disability News Service last month – that the reassessment of Motability customers who had been receiving DLA for the new PIP had led to 75,000 disabled people losing their eligibility to stay on the scheme and having to return their vehicles, out of 175,000 who had been reassessed so far.Betts said MO had made profits of about £129.6 million in 2016 and £212.7 million 2017, although profits are invested back into the company.When asked whether MO should be making higher donations to the charity Motability, he said these payments would increase – now it had achieved a sufficient level of reserves – but it was too soon to say by how much because it would depend on the next year’s profits.When Frank Field, chair of the work and pensions committee, asked why MO was not donating more to the Motability charity, Neil Johnson, MO’s chair, said: “We are very happy to make charitable donations, providing we can see the sustainability of the scheme,” but he said there were “some real concerns in the car market at the moment”.But the former Tory MP Charlie Elphicke – currently an independent MP, after being suspended from the Conservative party because of an ongoing police inquiry – said he could not see why MO did not make an immediate donation of “£100 million-plus” to the charity.The committees also discussed the large salary and bonuses that have been paid to MO executives, particularly Betts, who received £1.7 million in one year.Field told Betts that “a large, large, large amount has gone into your pocket” and asked him about his “extraordinary rewards”.Betts said: “I had no role in setting my own pay. I had a mandate to transform the business.“That has happened and the reward has been for success. The customers are the beneficiaries of that transformation.”When Field asked how they would feel about the two committees recommending that NAO carry out an inquiry into how the scheme was run, Lord Sterling said the charity would welcome a review so “the issues raised could be put to rest once and for all”, while Johnson said MO would also welcome an inquiry because “the air needs clearing”.Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury committee, pointed out that, while Motability did not receive any direct funding from the government, its business was reliant on DWP payments of disability benefits, while it also received “significant” VAT and insurance tax concessions.Morgan said: “From the evidence I have heard, I don’t understand quite the corporate governance arrangements between the company, the scheme and the charity, and that alone means the NAO on behalf of parliament and the committees should be asked to conduct an inquiry into this.”Morgan and Field have now written to NAO, asking it to carry out such an investigation.*The charity Motability is a DNS subscriber**The committees subsequently published the letter, which also said that “as the firm is required to have sufficient financial resources to meet their liabilities as they fall due, we would expect the senior management of the firm to assess the adequacy of their resources in the context of their size, risk profile, complexity of regulated activities, strategy and circumstances”.
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Wednesday 7 JanuaryRACING2.50 LingfieldDandy 20/1 > 14/13.30 LudlowPetit Ecuyer 12/1 > 7/16.40 KemptonSalmon Sushi 4/1 > 3/1FOOTBALL11/8 Real Madrid 9/4 DRAW 5/2 Athletico MadridWhat’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 08000 521 321
–shares Image credit: Mercedes via PC Mag Mercedes Benz This story originally appeared on PCMag Tom Brant Next Article Apply Now » The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. July 28, 2016 Mercedes Unveils First Heavy-Duty Electric Delivery Truck 2 min read Electric trucks are already on the road in some cities, but they’re best suited for packages and other light duties. Now, Mercedes-Benz wants its customers to use them for a lot more, up to 26 tons of cargo.The concept is called eTruck, and it uses some of the same technology in the curent generation of electric trucks, but with a much higher capacity and a range of up to 124 miles. Mercedes unveiled the eTruck this week at an event in Stuttgart, Germany, and said it could hit the road with commercial operators in the early 2020s.Other than a futuristic paint job, the exterior of the truck isn’t all that unique. It’s based on an ordinary heavy-duty, three-axle urban delivery truck. But the chassis has not only been completely revamped, it also takes a different approach to electric drive compared to consumer electric vehicles currently on the market.Instead of a single battery pack and one electric drivetrain, the eTruck has an electrically driven rear axle with motors directly adjacent to the wheel hubs. It’s the same design Mercedes uses in its hybrid electric buses. There are three lithium-ion battery modules, which gives the truck enough range for a typical day of deliveries.”Electric drive systems previously only saw extremely limited use in trucks,” Wolfgang Bernhard, head of Mercedes’ trucks and busses division, said in a statement. “Nowadays costs, performance and charging times develop further so rapidly that now there is a trend reversal in the distribution sector: the time is ripe for the electric truck.”Earlier this month, Mercedes teased a concept bus in which commuters can wirelessly charge their smartphones, recline in Ikea-like seating pods, and make small talk with their driver while computers do all the driving.As cities prepare for an electric truck future, highway authorities are doing the same. Another German company, Siemens, recently proposed an electric highway for long-haul semi trucks. It uses a catenary line suspended above one lane of the roadway, similar to the power supply electric railways have been using for more than a century. Siemens plans to test it on a 1.25-mile stretch of highway in Sweden over the next two years. 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List News reporter Add to Queue
Former Robert Half Executive Joins Upwork as Senior Vice President of Marketing Senior Vice President of Product and Design Hayden Brown Is Promoted to Chief Marketing and Product OfficerUpwork, the largest freelancing website, announced that Lars Asbjornsen has joined the company as senior vice president of marketing. Asbjornsen spent the last 17 years honing his expertise in marketing, digital service development and global candidate sourcing as an executive at global staffing firm Robert Half. In addition to welcoming Asbjornsen to Upwork, the company also announced the promotion of Hayden Brown from senior vice president of product and design to chief marketing and product officer. In this expanded role, she will work closely with Asbjornsen to drive product innovation in lockstep with the company’s marketing efforts.“Throughout my career, I’ve focused on developing strategies and programs to address the service and revenue opportunities associated with a rapidly changing workforce and evolving customer needs,” said Lars Asbjornsen.“Upwork is on a mission to positively impact the future of work as we help businesses grow while creating more economic opportunities so people have better lives. We can’t accomplish these bold goals without extraordinary talent in place,” said Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork. “Lars is an ideal fit for Upwork as we move forward, and Hayden has proven herself to be invaluable to driving our efforts ahead. Their teams are now well-positioned to showcase our vision and what sets Upwork apart and deliver on our customers’ needs.”Marketing Technology News: From Sensing to Sensemaking: Converging Big Data with Plant AIDuring Asbjornsen’s time at Robert Half, he pioneered and led the early development of the company’s online presence, digital marketing and demand generation programs in addition to bearing responsibility for all major online candidate sourcing efforts and partnerships. Asbjornsen also introduced several “industry firsts” in terms of creating novel solutions with global partners, and as a core member of Robert Half’s business transformation team, his focus and leadership skills were instrumental in building and launching the company’s platform-based digital service offerings. Prior to joining Robert Half, Asbjornsen worked with a number of companies, including Viant, e-Merchant Group and ContextVision, developing their strategies and go-to-market programs.“Throughout my career, I’ve focused on developing strategies and programs to address the service and revenue opportunities associated with a rapidly changing workforce and evolving customer needs,” said Asbjornsen. “I am thrilled to join Upwork to continue extending the company’s marketing capabilities, particularly in terms of attracting and converting businesses into Upwork customers as they discover bigger and more programmatic talent solutions for their workforce and project needs.”Marketing Technology News: Usabilla Named a Strong Performer in 2019In their respective appointments, both Asbjornsen’s and Brown’s roles come at a time when Upwork has been repeatedly recognized for its strong leadership. CEO Stephane Kasriel was recently named a finalist for the prestigious EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Award while Chief Business Affairs and Legal Officer Brian Levey was named to the newly formed Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Upwork also recently welcomed Adam Ozimek, a former senior economist at Moody’s Analytics, as its new chief economist.Marketing Technology News: Information Builders’ WebFOCUS Named a FrontRunner in Business Intelligence in Fourth Consecutive Report EY EntrepreneurLars AsbjornsenMarketing TechnologyNewsSecurities and Exchange Commission Previous ArticleMajesco Research Underscores a New Small-Medium Business Market Reality that Demands New Insurance Strategies to Capture the Window of OpportunityNext ArticleViant Launches New QSR Solution Upwork Bolsters Its Leadership Team with the Addition of Staffing Industry Expert Lars Asbjornsen PRNewswireMay 30, 2019, 3:33 pmMay 30, 2019