Sky is the limit for Powyer

first_imgJonathan Powyer is a high achieving referee with a difference.Jonathan is deaf but this hasn’t stopped him from achieving incredible things in Touch Football. At last weekend’s New South Wales Touch Association Referees Awards night, Jonathan was recognised with an elevation to a state referee, Level 4, currently the highest level a deaf referee has achieved in New South Wales, his next goal will be his Level 5 at the National Touch League.Jonathan is a committee member and one of the driving forces behind Deaf Touch Football, also managing to officiate and play at the Deaf National Championships. The Deaf National Championships is now an annual event with third event being held in Brisbane late last year.Jonathan’s passion for Touch Football has seen him travel around the country, refereeing the sport he loves. With an innate ability to read the game Jonathan’s rise in the refereeing stakes shows no sign of slowing. Touch Football Australia would like to congratulate Jonathan on his achievement and thank him for his contribution to the game.Related LinksNSW Referee Awardslast_img read more

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10 months agoRangers, Celtic rival Burnley, Huddersfield for Fran Sol

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Rangers, Celtic rival Burnley, Huddersfield for Fran Solby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWillem II striker Fran Sol is a target for a raft of British clubs.The Mirror says the 26-year-old, currently plying his trade in Holland with Willem II, is one of the Eredivisie’s top-scorers with 12 goals already to his name.Sol is nominally out-of-contract at the end of the season, although there is a one-year option in favour of his club who are certain to activate it given his current form.Celtic and Rangers have both sent scouts to watch him during the past few months.But they are not alone. Burnley, Cardiff, Huddersfield, Leeds, Derby and Swansea have also checked on him. last_img read more

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Indian to Aboriginal name change triggers mixed reaction on the street

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe shift in the title from minister of Indian affairs to minister of Aboriginal affairs has already provoked some strong reactions.APTN National News reporter Meagan Fiddler examines some responses to the question of: what’s in a name?last_img

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Alberta Health Services fires two employees over Indigenous racial slur

first_imgThe Canadian PressThe organization that delivers health programs for the Alberta government has fired two employees over a racial slur made against an Indigenous educator.Last week Alberta Health Services apologized for a text message that was sent between two workers that referred to a member of the Kainai Board of Education as a “rabid squaw.”Dr. Verna Yiu, CEO of AHS, said Monday that two employees have been terminated effective immediately.“This incident is not representative of who AHS is or what AHS stands for,” Yiu said in a release.“All AHS employees are expected to adhere to our Code of Conduct, which includes treating all people with dignity and fairness.”The slur was accidentally sent to an employee of the Kainai Board of Education, which provides services for the Blood Tribe in southern Alberta.Last Friday Annette Bruisedhead, deputy superintendent of the board, said the AHS employee later apologized.Bruisedhead called the comment a severe act of discrimination and racism that would not be tolerated.At the time Ramona Big Head, the principal of the middle school on the reserve, said she was the employee being referred to in the text.She said the AHS official and many others “share the same dark, racist thoughts.”A spokeswoman for the chief and council said the incident has hurt many people.Yiu said no further information about the terminations or the fired employees would be released.“AHS is committed to advancing the process of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and communities, and we will move forward from this incident together with our Indigenous communities and all Albertans.”news@aptn.calast_img read more

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Catalan separatists regain majority in regional election

first_imgBARCELONA, Spain – Catalonia’s secessionist parties won enough votes Thursday to regain a slim majority in the regional parliament and give new momentum to their political struggle for independence from Spain.It was hardly an emphatic victory, however, as the separatists lost support compared to the previous vote in 2015, and a pro-unity party for the first time became biggest single bloc in the Catalan parliament.The result left more questions than answers about what’s next for Catalonia, where a long-standing push for independence escalated to a full-on clash with the Spanish government two months ago.It was also a blow to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who as a result of the separatists’ defiance ousted the Catalan Cabinet and called the early election hoping to keep them out of power.Instead, the election’s outcome favoured fugitive former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who campaigned from Belgium where he is evading a Spanish judicial probe into the attempt to split from Spain. The investigation could lead to charges of rebellion and sedition that carry penalties of decades in prison.Puigdemont, who got the most votes of any separatist candidate, greeted the results with delight and called them a rebuke to Spain’s central government.“The Spanish state has been defeated,” Puigdemont said. “Mariano Rajoy has received a slap in the face from Catalonia.”In a televised appearance from Brussels, the 54 year-old former journalist didn’t make clear if he would try to return home, where an arrest warrant awaits him.The other main winner was Ines Arrimadas, the leading unionist candidate. Scoring 25 per cent of the votes, her pro-business Ciutadans (Citizens) party won 37 seats, which will be the biggest single bloc in the 135-seat regional assembly.“The pro-secession forces can never again claim they speak for all of Catalonia,” Arrimadas said, promising her party will continue to oppose the separatists. “We are going to keep fighting for a peaceful co-existence, common sense and for a Catalonia for all Catalans.”But pro-independence parties — Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia), left-republican ERC and the anti-capitalist CUP — together won 70 seats, two above a majority but two less than in the previous parliament. The three groups fell short of winning a majority of votes, though, getting 48 per cent of the total.“The election has resolved very little,” said Andrew Dowling, a specialist in Catalan history at Cardiff University in Wales. “Independence has won but in a way similar to 2015 — majority of seats but not in votes.”Dowling said that with the independence vote not reaching over half of the ballots cast, the European Union was not likely to get involved although the bloc will be keen on seeing the Spanish government actively address Catalonia’s grievances.Rajoy has said that taking over control of the region again would be something he would consider if independence is sought by a new Catalan government. Spain’s constitution bars secession.Thursday’s election saw a record turnout of nearly 82 per cent of the 5.5 million eligible voters in Catalonia.The election was held under highly unusual circumstances, with several pro-independence leaders either jailed or in self-imposed exile for their roles in staging a banned independence referendum that was declared illegal by Spain’s highest court.Eight of the absent politicians were elected as lawmakers. Unless their status changes, they will have to renounce their seats and pass them on to other party members or else the pro-independence bloc could be down a crucial share of votes.Weeks of campaigning involved little debate about regional policy on issues such as public education, widening inequality and unemployment. At the heart of the battle instead was the recent independence push that led to Spain’s worst political crisis in decades.Tensions have been high in Catalonia since an Oct. 1 referendum backed independence, when Spanish police used rubber bullets and batons against voters who tried to block them from removing ballots from polling stations. Separatist regional lawmakers made a unilateral declaration of independence Oct. 27, prompting Spain’s national government to take the dramatic step of firing the regional government and dissolving the Catalan parliament. Courts later ordered the arrest of the former Catalan leaders.No incidents were reported during voting Thursday.A new Catalan attempt to secede would also be an unwelcome development for the European Union, which is already wrestling with legal complications from Britain’s planned exit from the bloc. Senior EU officials have backed Rajoy, and no EU country has offered support for the separatists.Catalonia’s independence ambitions also have scant support in the rest of Spain.The outcome of the political battle is crucial for the region, which accounts for 19 per cent of Spain’s gross domestic product. An economic slowdown has been the most immediate consequence of the Catalan independence push. Spain’s central bank last week cut its national growth forecasts for next year and 2019 to 2.4 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively, cutting a percentage point off its previous predictions and citing the conflict in Catalonia as the cause.___Associated Press writer Aritz Parra reported this story in Barcelona and AP writer Ciaran Giles reported from Madrid. AP writers Joseph Wilson and Karl Ritter in Barcelona, Lorne Cook in Brussels and Barry Hatton in Lisbon, Portugal, contributed to this report.last_img read more

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Quebecdeveloped mustard seed biofuel to be used in United Airlines flight

first_imgMONTREAL – Passengers aboard a United Airlines flight heading to Zurich from San Francisco on Friday will be propelled in part by a biofuel created by a Quebec company aiming to clean up the skies.Agrisoma Biosciences Inc. is the firm behind the biofuel made from Carinata mustard and company founder and president Steve Fabijanski believes it could help dramatically decarbonize the aviation industry.“For me, this is a very good example of Canadian innovation and especially innovation from Quebec in terms of looking at green solutions,” he said in an interview from Paris with The Canadian Press.Thirty per cent of the jet fuel used in the Boeing will be replaced by the biofuel, leading the company to proclaim the plane will emit 30 per cent less greenhouse gases than a regular flight.Fabijanski said he believes his company’s product is the greenest biofuel ever used in a plane to date and that partnering with United Airlines will serve as a showcase for attracting new projects.With a flight time of 11 hours, the California-to-Switzerland flight will be the longest transatlantic trip to date using biofuels and the second time Agrisoma’s mustard-based product will be used in a commercial flight.Last Jan. 28, it was used in a 15-hour transpacific Qantas Airways flight between Australia and the United States. In that instance, the biofuel replaced 10 per cent of the jet fuel.Currently, the technical and regulatory rules limit to 50 per cent the amount of biofuel that can be used in commercial aircraft.“Fifty per cent is the goal (for the company) and at 50 per cent, you’re making a significant impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Fabijanski.As the number of air passengers has steadily grown, the aviation industry has set as a goal reducing CO2 emissions by 50 per cent compared to 2005 levels. The industry is responsible for two to three per cent of global emissions.Steven Guilbeault, an environmental activist and co-founder of Equiterre, says Agrisoma’s biofuel paves the way for air carriers to take a significant step in reducing their carbon footprint.“As an ecologist, what matters to me is that this type of technology is spreading and, as a Quebecer, I won’t hide the fact it makes me proud that it was developed in our backyard,” he said.The head of Cycle Capital Management, one of Agrisoma’s principal investors, didn’t hesitate to promote the virtues of biofuel.“If we put just 10 per cent of this fuel in all the planes around the world, we would accomplish great things,” said Andree-Lise Methot, the founder of the clean-tech venture capital fund manager.On top of the aviation industry, Methot said one of the main qualities of Carinata mustard is that it can grow on land that is not meant to feed people. So unlike ethanol, for example, its cultivation is not done at the expense of food.Once the oil is extracted from the plant, the residue becomes a protein-rich byproduct that can be used as feed for livestock.“Carinata grows when nothing grows, it grows in difficult conditions, it’s what I call a seed adapted to climate change and, in addition, it yields two beautiful products: biofuel and organic food for animals,” she said.last_img read more

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The PRRD allows Old Fort Residents to return home

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District Board of Directors has given most Old Fort Residents approval to return to their homes starting today.In a special meeting on Sunday, the Board received a summary report from Westrek Geotechnical Services.  The report said the landslide will to continue to move “Based on present conditions, the potential for the massive rockslide to move again is high, possibly causing the earthflow and both adjacent landslides to also move.”The report goes onto say “A larger rockslide could reach the temporary access road but does not pose any imminent risk to any houses.” The Board of Directors voted in favour of letting residents back into their homes, except for one property located 7605 Old Fort Road.  This has been the only home damaged by the slide.Residents will now a attend a meeting at the Northern Grand Hotel where the PRRD will discuss the re-entry plan. Some residents will be allowed home starting at 3 p.m. Sunday.More to come…last_img read more

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EU unveils ethics guidelines for Artificial Intelligence

first_imgBrussels: The European Union presented ethics guidelines Monday as it seeks to promote its own artificial intelligence sector, which has fallen behind developments in China and the United States. The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, unveiled a framework aimed at boosting trust in AI by ensuring, for example, data about EU citizens are not used to harm them. “Ethical AI is a win-win proposition that can become a competitive advantage for Europe: being a leader of human-centric AI that people can trust,” Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip said. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe guidelines list seven key requirements for “trustworthy AI” established by independent experts consulted by the Commission. Among them is one ensuring that data about citizens will not be used to harm them or to discriminate against them. The measures also call for mechanisms to ensure accountability for AI systems and for AI algorithms to be secure and reliable enough to deal with errors or inconsistencies. The Commission now aims to launch a pilot phase in which industry, research and public authorities test the list of key requirements. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostIt will also involve companies from other countries and international organisations. The Commission aims to improve cooperation with “like-minded partners” such as Japan, Canada or Singapore and continue working with the G7 and G20 groups of leading economies. The updated guidelines flow from the Commission’s AI strategy unveiled in April last year, which aimed to bring public and private investment in the sector to at least 20 billion euros annually over the next decade. Europe is trying to catch up with both the US and China. A study published last month showed that China is poised to overtake the United States in artificial intelligence with a surge in academic research on the key technology. A burgeoning sector, AI is already used to recognise people in photos, filter unwanted content from online platforms and enable cars to drive themselves.last_img read more

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Man arrested for murdering former Wing Commander’s wife in Dwarka

first_imgNew Delhi: Delhi police has arrested a man from Jaipur Rajasthan for the murder of Meenu Jain, the 52-year-old wife of a former IAF wing commander Vinod Kumar Jain who was found murdered at her house in Dwarka on Saturday.Fifty six year old Dinesh Dixit was arrested from Jaipur on Monday evening for the murder. Police said that Dixit has told police that he was in contact with the deceased lady for the past several months and has also visited her many times in the past. The two met in a social media platform. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehiclesPolice investigation led cops to a white swift desire car which was seen entering the Air Force Naval officers Enclave in Dwarka sector 7. On investigation the number plate, it was found to be fake. However, further investigation led cops to Dixit, who the police got to know frequented Meenu Jain in the society. “On his last visit , Dixit visited the deceased on 24 April and remained there till the nest morning. He has disclosed that he smothered the lady and fled to Jaipur with the robbed items”, said DCP Dwarka Anto Alphonse. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarVinod Kumar Jain who now works as a commercial pilot with Indigo was in the flight when the murder was reported. The father of the deceased called her on Friday evening but Meenu did not receive the phone. Thereafter, her father and brother came to see her at her flat in Air Force Naval officers Enclave in Dwarka sector 7 but noticed that the gate of the house was locked from outside. Unable to get the door opened and suspecting something amiss the duo then entered the house from her neighbour’s side. As they entered the house they saw Meenu Jain lying on floor unconscious. They also found that the house was ransacked and some items missing from the house. “Since the door too was locked from outside, and there was no sign of forced entry we always suspected that someone known has committed the murder.” said a senior police officer.last_img read more

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Mexico Keeper Ochoa would love a move to Napoli

first_imgGuillermo Ochoa could be lining up a switch from Standard Liege in Belgium to last seasons runners-up in Serie A – according to his agent. Ochoa received worldwide acclaim for his performances for Mexico during the 2014 World Cup and is currently on duty in Russia for his national side, starring in their opening game victory against Germany.Speaking to CalcioNapoli24 as reported by Football Italia today, the goalkeeper’s representative Jorge Berlanga had this to say: “He’s played for many teams, he’s now at Standard Liege and he’s a leading light for the Mexican national team at the World Cup, like he showed against Germany.”“Who wouldn’t like to play in the Champions League? Still, no offers have arrived regarding this.”“On the other hand, he would be very happy to join Napoli and be coached by Carlo Ancelotti.”Maurizio Sarri, JuventusMaurizio Sarri satisfied despite Juventus’ draw at Fiorentina Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Maurizio Sarri was satisfied with Juventus’ performance on Saturday afternoon after finishing a tough game at Fiorentina 0-0. Para que estemos motivados este lunes. ??¡A seguir trabajando duro, Incondicionales! ⚡#NadaNosDetiene | #Rusia2018 pic.twitter.com/bWzg1L5nYT— Selección Nacional (@miseleccionmx) June 18, 2018Mexico will be hoping to build on their huge victory over the reigning world champions in Russia, with their next game against South Korea scheduled to take place this coming Saturday.last_img read more

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Alaskas Minimum Wage Will Increase 5 Cents In January

first_imgThe current minimum wage is $9.84 through December 31, 2017. According to Beaty, all actual hours worked in a pay period multiplied by the Alaska minimum wage is the very least an employee can be compensated by an employer. Tips are not part of the equation. The minimum wage will rise from $9.84 to $9.89 effective January 1, 2019. By law, Alaska’s minimum wage must remain at least $1 per hour over the federal minimum wage. Heather Beaty with the State Department of Labor and Workforce Development: “This increase will affect anyone who is working for minimum wage, and this modest increase will help protect minimum wage workers and their families over inflation over time.” Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Alaska’s minimum wage will see a 5 cent increase as of January 1, 2019, for all workers, regardless of whether their pay is calculated by time, or commission.last_img read more

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Mayoral hopefuls active amid doubts over balloting

first_imgAtiqul Islam & Tabith AwalEnthusiastic mayoral aspirants in the just-announced by-election to Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) to be held on 26 February have informally started electioneering.However, the opposition parties doubt if the election will ultimately be held while the ruling camp is not in any comfortable position about this election ahead of all-important general elections scheduled for later this year, according to leaders on both sides of the political divide.Smaller parties are also taking preparations for joining the polls although they have acknowledged informally that the contest will be limited to candidates to be fielded by the AL and the BNP.The Awami League leaders think, the timing for the DNCC by-poll is not very suitable for the party, especially after the humiliating defeat in Rangpur City Corporation election. The AL’s mayoral candidate Sharfuddin Ahmed Jhantu lost to Jatiya Party’s Mostafizar Rahman Mostafa by a margin of around 100,000 votes.The AL does not afford to lose another election after the Rangpur debacle, party leaders say.Potential opposition candidates are suspicious whether the election will be held in a free and fair manner, a few contenders say.The election commission on Tuesday announced the schedule for the mayoral by-election to the DNCC, fixing 26 February for balloting. The position fell vacant with the death of incumbent Annisul Huq on 30 November 2017.The commission will also hold election to 36 councillor posts and 12 reserved seats in 36 new wards – 18 of the DNCC and 18 of the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) – the same day.Any major party is yet to formally introduce its nominee in front of the city dwellers although the AL and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have almost finalised their names.The AL unofficially sent a green signal to Atiqul Islam, former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, who started contacting the people speaking about vote and development.The BNP is expected to choose businessman-cum-BNP leader Abdul Awal Mintoo’s son Tabith Awal, who ran against AL contender Annisul in the 2015 elections.Tabith Awal has already been asked to begin electioneering by party chairperson Khaleda Zia, party leaders said.Other political parties such as Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Gano Sanghati Andolon, Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, and Islami Andolan Bangladesh are about to announce their candidates for the DNCC polls.Announcing the poll schedule, chief election commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda said DNCC by-election is a challenge for them.Hours later, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir asked the authorities to deploy troops a week before the balloting day.Earlier in 2012, the AL allegedly deferred the Dhaka city corporation election by creating legal complications as its leaders thought time was not ‘suitable’ for them.Three years later, the ruling party leaders went for the polls, apparently to divert attention from an indefinite siege programme launched by BNP chief Khaleda Zia and splitting the Dhaka City Corporation into DSCC and DNCC. Sayeed Khokon and Annisul Huq won as AL candidates amid allegations massive rigging.This time around, AL president, prime minister Sheikh Hasina has directed all her party leaders to employ all-out efforts for the DNCC polls.The tenure of city councillor or mayor is five years. But, the ones to be elected through by-election would get only two and a half years, according to the EC.Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujon or Citizen for Good Governance) secretary Badiul Alam Majumder told Prothom Alo that anyone can go to the court and ask why he/she would not be elected councillor or mayor for five years.Now, it is the duty of the government to clarify the matter, he added.Asked about the legal complications, AL presidium member Faruk Khan said, ”We have no headache over this. This should be seen by the EC.”According to AL insiders, the candidates were earlier selected on the basis of survey results by different organisations. But in case of DNCC elections, the AL has unofficially announced the name of former BGMEA president Atiqul Islam as the mayoral candidate.The leaders, however, are not sure if he was chosen the way late Annisul Huq was picked or on the basis of any survey result.Atiqul, a successful businessman, is not well known in the political arena and has to depend on the ruling party strength, sources in the party said.Aspirants from various professions lobbied for securing AL ticket and many used posters to greet the city people.But premier Hasina gave a green signal to Atiqul Islam when he met her in December. At a party meeting at Ganabhaban, the AL chief hinted at nominating Atiqul.An AL central leader told Prothom Alo that the party was yet to overcome the hangover of defeat in the RCC elections. “It will be hard to make up for any loss the party candidate may suffer to the BNP candidate in Dhaka,” the leader said on condition of anonymity.The ruling party is yet to make up its mind if it will join DNCC polls fielding a single candidate of the 14-party alliance.Leaders of alliance partners said they would take decisions once the AL finalises its plan.AL presidium member Faruk Khan, who is a member of local government nomination board, told Prothom Alo that the nomination board would sit soon to pick the candidate.About apprehensions over fair polls, the AL leader said, “The BNP and the Jamaat foil elections. Many questions are raised when they boycott elections. As these two parties did not boycott elections in Narayanganj, Comilla and Rangpur, questions were also not raised in those elections.”Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, which did not field any candidate in the last mayoral election, has this time nominated its Dhaka metropolitan north unit president Selim Uddin as the mayoral candidate.As he started talking about his candidature at different indoor programmes, the matter came up for discussion at the meeting of the 20-party alliance with BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia on Monday.However, a highly placed source of Jamaat said they are not giving focus on the candidature of mayoral elections.Although Jatiya Party (HM Ershad) won the mayoral post in Rangpur, the party is not serious about the DNCC elections.Speaking to Prothom Alo, party secretary general ABM Ruhul Amin Hawlader said, “The decision is not taken yet. Scrutiny for nomination is going on.”It is not clear if new political alliance ‘Jukta Front’ will give any candidate or not. Joint secretary Mahi B Chowdhury of Bikalpadhara Bangladesh, a key component of the alliance, was the candidate in the last election.Convener of another partner of the alliance, Nagorik Oikya, Mahamudur Rahman Manna said his party is thinking about giving a candidate.He, however, said there are fears whether elections would be held at all and if voting, in case the election is held, would be fair.According to Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) and Ganasanghati Andolan, they are discussing whether the left-leaning parties can give a single candidate.Chief coordinator of Ganasanghati Andolan Zonayed Saki became a candidate in the last elections. He would be the candidate this time as well. He has started exchanging views with stakeholders. As Ganasanghati Andolan is not a registered political party, he is to join elections as an independent candidate.Speaking to Prothom Alo, Zonayed Saki said the government and the election commission should remove all legal obstacles. The city people want to see the elected representative for running DNCC.Abdullah Al Kafi alias Kafi Roton was the candidate of Communist Party of Bangladesh during the last elections. He wants to be the candidate again. According to the CPB, the nomination of the candidate may be finalised at the presidium meeting scheduled to be held Wednesday.Kafi Roton said he would join the election and he hoped the election would be fair this time.Islami Andolan Bangladesh of Charmonai Pir has nominated Sheikh Fazley Bari Masud for contesting the mayoral election. Masud, president of Dhaka Metropolitan North, was a candidate last time.AL’s possible candidate Atiqul Islam paid tribute to late Annisul Huq, and said, “I want to begin my work where former Annisul Huq left (to complete his unfinished tasks).”Tabith Awal of the BNP said, “We saw vote rigging in the last election. We do not want to see repetition of it under the present election commission. We hope the commission will hold a fair election in Dhaka ahead of the national elections to earn the trust of the people.”*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam and Imam Hossain.last_img read more

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6000 Rohingya stranded on Bangladesh border Official

first_imgAt least 6,000 Rohingya civilians fleeing renewed violence in Myanmar are stranded near the border with Bangladesh which is blocking their entry, a senior Bangladeshi official said Tuesday, as the United Nations urged Dhaka to assist them.Bangladesh has blocked thousands of civilians from the stateless Muslim minority from entering the country since Friday, when fresh fighting broke out between Myanmar’s security forces and Rohingya militants in neighbouring Rakhine state.The UN refugee agency says 3,000 have managed to cross into Bangladesh in the past three days, but the vast majority have been stopped at the border despite heavy fighting in nearby villages.“Around 6,000 Myanmar nationals have gathered on the border and are trying to enter Bangladesh,” a senior Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) official told AFP, referring to the Rohingya.The official said the situation across the border, which is demarcated in parts by narrow stretches of the Naf River, was “still volatile”.“Last night we heard heavy gunfire by automatic weapons in phases and saw smoke billowing from burnt villages across the border,” he said.Another BGB official estimated the number of Rohingya in limbo could exceed 10,000, as many were believed to be hiding in the hills and forests to escape nearby violence.“We’ve been ordered not to allow Rohingya to enter Bangladesh,” said one border guard, who asked to remain anonymous as he was not permitted to speak to media.“But how can I deny shelter to this newborn who is dying from cold?”UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on Bangladesh to step up assistance to civilians escaping the violence, noting “many of those fleeing are women and children, some of whom are wounded”.But there are already 400,000 Rohingya living in squalid camps in Bangladesh and the government has instructed its border guards to prevent another influx at all costs.Bangladesh on Monday proposed joint military operations with Myanmar against Rohingya militants fighting in Rakhine state, hoping to stem the flow of refugees.Soldiers had detained and returned nearly 500 Rohingya trying to cross the border since Monday, Shariful Islam Jamaddar, a deputy commander of BGB, told AFP.Mohammad Ismail had taken shelter from the rains under a plastic sheet erected by border guards just inside Bangladeshi territory, but the shelter has since been torn down.“The border guards let us take shelter here, but I don’t know now what I will do with my son,” he told AFP, gesturing to the shivering boy.Army convoys have been driving Rohingya who have managed to cross into Bangladesh back across the border several times a day, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.Amid the turbulence and monsoon downpours, an 11-year-old Rohingya girl named Marium was separated from her parents.“I went to the toilet when the (border) guards drove away my parents. Where shall I find them now?” the young girl told AFP in tears.last_img read more

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Texas Democrat Beto ORourke Risks RisingStar Status In LongShot Race

first_img Share Photo via Twitter @BetoORourkeO’Rourke is forsaking a safe seat in Congress and a rising-star career for the longest of odds in an attempt to unseat Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.He’s running for U.S. Senate but as the Sunday morning sun rose over a park near the Texas-Mexico border, Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke had another run in mind.Wearing well-worn shorts and sneakers, the onetime punk rock guitarist was leading a group of supporters on a jog around a duck-dotted pond. Not everyone was game, though, including 76-year-old retiree Merrie DeVoe who said she’d instead be going to church.“But we’ll be praying for you,” DeVoe said.That could come in handy since O’Rourke looks not to have a prayer of unseating incumbent Republican Ted Cruz, whose presidential campaign only two years ago racked up millions of GOP primary votes nationwide. Even before Cruz, O’Rourke’s party hadn’t won a Senate seat in deep-red Texas since Lloyd Bentsen was re-elected in 1988.High-energy and bilingual, with a lanky, 6-foot-4 frame and a mop of dark hair that’s begun turning a distinguished gray, the 45-year-old O’Rourke reminds some Democrats and even a few Texas Republicans of a Spanish-speaking Kennedy.Feeling so fortunate to be up and at it with a morning run in Dallas. pic.twitter.com/iFyxdsFWZi— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) January 26, 2018But many wonder why he’s giving up a rising-star congressional career and safe seat in his native El Paso for a race that looks unwinnable.“It’s going to be hard but it’s absolutely worth doing,” O’Rourke said over lunch of chicken fajitas at Jose’s Cafecito restaurant in the nearby town of Weslaco, amid a blitz of recent campaign events along the border. “The odds are certainly long.”Still, he said he saw little hope of changing the country’s direction under President Donald Trump by just returning to the House. So lately, he’s been holding jogging sessions, rallies and town halls across the state while raising a respectable nearly $4 million.If it’s a suicide mission, O’Rourke’s campaign is a colorful one, with lively, occasionally profane rhetoric and attention-getting events that sometimes seem as much about partying as policy.He wants to legalize marijuana and ease immigration policies and opposes Trump’s border wall, likening it to the Berlin Wall that future generations will rue. But O’Rourke says also he’s courting Trump voters since the president has “asked the right questions about people who have felt left behind.”At his rallies, he invites anyone to ask him anything, which provides openings to slag his own party.“I feel like the Democratic Party up in D.C. is corporate politics,” O’Rourke told the audience of around 250 quaffing microbrews at an open-air beer garden stop. “They’re listening to the corporations and the special interests and the PACs. And the folks who write the checks are calling the tune. It’s not you and it’s not me.”O’Rourke opposed ending the government shutdown, accusing the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, of “offering a wall to the president in exchange for doing obvious, correct things.” He said his party shouldn’t have made concessions in return for Republican assurances to soon take up legislation on young immigrant “dreamers” brought to the country illegally.A booming Hispanic population means Texas could one day be more favorable to Democrats, but the demographic shift won’t come fast enough to help O’Rourke. He also supports abortion rights, which is a tough Texas sell — even among some Hispanic Democrats who are devout Catholics.O’Rourke’s campaign has refused outside political money and doesn’t employ consultants. Before announcing his Senate run, O’Rourke called U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, head of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, about possible financial help.“He said, ‘Hey Beto, I’ve got to tell you, from the DSCC’s perspective, I would be fired for malpractice if I invested any money in Texas,’” O’Rourke recalled.O’Rourke said he hopes to woo Republicans angry that Cruz spent so much time outside Texas running for president. O’Rourke pledges to campaign in each of Texas’ 254 counties before the election.Along the way, he’s drawn larger-than-expected crowds, even in deeply conservative, rural areas like Lubbock.“If anyone can do it, Beto can,” said Illiana Noemi Holguin, chairwoman of the El Paso Democratic Party. She said he’s laying a foundation for his party’s future candidates by “going to all of these small, rural counties where, frankly, not a lot of Democratic candidates have gone.”U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Laredo, said O’Rourke rallies in border towns could help improve traditionally low turnout in one of Texas’ few reliably blue strongholds: “He’s trying to build up the enthusiasm.”Cruz, believing he’s comfortably ahead, has decided he can largely ignore O’Rouke through November. At last count this fall, Cruz’s campaign fund was worth around $6 million compared to O’Rouke’s roughly $2.8 million. Asked about criticisms that Cruz was more interested in being president than senator, a spokeswoman didn’t mention O’Rourke while saying Cruz has “kept the promises he made” to Texans.Even some at O’Rourke’s events aren’t expecting miracles. “I don’t think it’s necessarily about winning the race as much as it is slowly changing the tide where, maybe next race, it is winnable,” said Pete Banda, 26, who attended a town hall in San Benito.A fourth generation Irish-American whose favorite phrase is “right on,” O’Rourke is the son of a longtime Democratic county judge and a Republican mother “who we’ve almost convinced to vote for me.” His first name is Robert but his parents called him Beto from birth.In the summers between semesters at Columbia University, where he studied English literature, O’Rourke played guitar and occasionally bass for an El Paso punk band called Foss. Bandmate Cedric Bixler-Zavala later fronted the better-known act The Mars Volta.O’Rourke stops short of calling his campaign punk rock-inspired but does see similarities.Punk rock means acting “without waiting for the corporation or someone else, somewhere else, to give you orders, or to show you how to do it,” he said.last_img read more

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Trump Says He Will Void Birthright Citizenship Law through Executive Order

first_img Share Updated at 10:45 a.m. ETPresident Trump is planning to use an executive order to strip birthright citizenship from America’s laws, rather than trying to change the Constitution through an act of Congress. The potential move, which would likely trigger numerous legal challenges, would seek to end the conferring of citizenship to children of noncitizens who are born in the U.S. — which is currently guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” Trump said. He discussed the plan in an interview with Axios on HBO that is slated to air Sunday.Birthright citizenship is granted in the 14th Amendment’s first sentence: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”The concept is based on jus soli — “right of the soil” — meaning that children born in the U.S. have a claim to citizenship, even if their parents lack legal documentation to be in the country.Trump has mentioned the idea of voiding the amendment before, most notably in August of 2015, when the birthright issue became part of his hard-line policies on immigration as a presidential candidate. Now Trump is discussing the birthright citizenship law roughly one week before U.S. voters will head to the polls for the 2018 midterm election.The amendment became law in 1868, as a rebuke to the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, which held that freed slaves were not U.S. citizens. Since then, its meaning and reach have been debated in courtrooms and in American society, with many questions centering on the phrase “the jurisdiction thereof.”“That means that they are subject to the laws of the United States, that they can, for example, be prosecuted for violating American law,” constitutional law professor Suzanna Sherry told NPR in 2015.The law excludes the children of foreign diplomats — and in the 1860s, it was intended to give peace of mind to immigrants.As Sherry, who teaches at Vanderbilt University, told NPR in 2015, “the United States had experienced quite a bit of immigration, and immigration was viewed as a very good thing. And so this was essentially putting out a welcome mat to immigrants by ensuring that their children born here would be citizens.”To change the law, Sherry said, you would need to either amend the 14th Amendment through Congress or ask the Supreme Court to overturn its earlier interpretation of the law and limit its benefit to people who are in the U.S. legally.The president says he has the power to act on his own.“You can definitely do it with an act of Congress,” Trump said in the Axios on HBO interview. “But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.”He added, “We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years, with all of those benefits. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous, and it has to end.”Birthright citizenship is the law of at least 30 countries, including many U.S. neighbors in North and South America. All of the countries in Europe grant citizenship by jus sanguinis — by “right of blood.”The president said he has spoken about the issue with the White House counsel. As for when it might happen, Trump said, “It’s in the process. It’ll happen — with an executive order.”Responding to the president’s words, Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, predicted, “This will set up the court fight.”CIS identifies itself as a nonpartisan think tank, but it has called for tougher U.S. immigration policies, and the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated it a hate group.If Trump moves ahead with his plan, Krikorian said via Twitter, “the order will be enjoined, case will eventually reach SCOTUS, which then will finally have to rule on the meaning of “subject to the jurisdiction.”Critics of birthright citizenship have said it encourages pregnant women who want to immigrate to travel to the U.S. to have their babies, hoping to gain citizenship for their children and potentially ease their own path to becoming U.S. citizens.While it’s difficult to track the exact number of children whose parents are in the U.S. illegally, the Pew Research Center has reported that in 2014, 3.2 million children — nearly 6 percent of all K-12 students in the U.S. — had at least one unauthorized immigrant parent and were citizens because they were born in the U.S.Krikorian said the executive order is “long overdue,” but Trump’s idea to revoke birthright citizenship is “ill-timed” and misguided, says Kristen Clarke, the executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.“Aside from being unconstitutional, such an executive order would exacerbate racial tensions, exploit fears and drive further polarization across the country at a moment that calls for the promotion of unity and inclusion,” Clarke said.Jess Morales Rocketto, whose Families Belong Together group has fought the Trump administration’s family separation policy along the U.S.-Mexico border, was more blunt.“This is ethnic cleansing,” Rocketto said. “This is an attempt to whiteout America’s history and heritage as a nation of immigrants. And it’s unconstitutional.”Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

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Baltimore Gears Up for Pride Weekend

first_imgJune is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, honoring the 1969 Stonewall riots in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. These riots were caused after police raided The Stonewall Inn, a hotel where many LGBT people lodged. The Stonewall riots was a defining point in the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States, considered by most to be the most important event leading to the modern-day fight for LGBT rights in this country.(Photo credit: Flickr/Stock Photo)The city of Baltimore will celebrate Pride Month June 17-18. The Parade & Block Party will be on Saturday, June 17 in the Charles North neighborhood and the festival will be held on Sunday, June 18 in Druid Hill Park. People of color will be represented at the parade and festival this weekend, organizers said.The president of Baltimore Pride and The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore (GLCCB) is an African-American man, Jabari M. Lyles, who said in a statement concerning the GLCCB and Baltimore Pride: “Our work will always be centered on the needs and experiences of Black people, brown people, transgender, and gender-diverse people, young people, people with disabilities, seniors, and those living with HIV/AIDS.” The master of ceremony for both days are also African American. Lucky is Saturday’s emcee and Kevin Lai will host on Sunday. Activities geared for the African-American LGBT community are:2nd Annual Baltimore Pride and Open Mic which will take place Friday, June 16 at 7 p.m. at The Impact Hub (10 E North Avenue). Big Freedia, a New Orleans rapper and “Queen of Bounce” music will headline the Baltimore Pride Block Party on Saturday, June 17 at 9 p.m. Baltimore has been celebrating Pride Month with a parade and festival since 1975. Baltimore Pride has grown from a small gathering of few dozen activists to a huge festival welcoming over 30,000 revelers at Baltimore’s largest LGBTQ visibility event.last_img read more

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Elegy to the nomadic Tibetan life

first_imgTransforming every last sunday of the month into a treat for film buffs, the ongoing series of the best and rarest films from the first edition of Dharamsala Film Festival brings you Summer Pasture-a riveting snapshot of the diminishing nomadic community of Tibetan herders. It is a critically acclaimed feature length documentary by filmmakers Lynn True, Nelson Walker, and Tsering Perlo.Termed as ‘a consistently compelling portrayal of Tibetan hinterland’ by New York Times critic Stephen Holden, it was filmed during the summer of 2007. The film offers a rare opportunity to see the lives of a highly insular community in ransition. It was awarded the Best Feature Length Film award at the 2010 Banff Mountain Film Festival.last_img read more

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ICLR 2019 Highlights Algorithmic fairness AI for social good climate change protein

first_imgThe ongoing ICLR 2019 (International Conference on Learning Representations) has brought a pack full of surprises and key specimens of innovation. The conference started on Monday, this week and it’s already the last day today! This article covers the highlights of ICLR 2019 and introduces you to the ongoing research carried out by experts in the field of deep learning, data science, computational biology, machine vision, speech recognition, text understanding, robotics and much more. The team behind ICLR 2019, invited papers based on Unsupervised objectives for agents, Curiosity and intrinsic motivation, Few shot reinforcement learning, Model-based planning and exploration, Representation learning for planning, Learning unsupervised goal spaces, Unsupervised skill discovery and Evaluation of unsupervised agents. ICLR 2019, sponsored by Google marks the presence of 200 researchers contributing to and learning from the academic research community by presenting papers and posters. ICLR 2019 Day 1 highlights: Neural network, Algorithmic fairness, AI for social good and much more Algorithmic fairness The first day of the conference started with a talk on Highlights of Recent Developments in Algorithmic Fairness by Cynthia Dwork, an American computer scientist at Harvard University. She focused on “group fairness” notions that address the relative treatment of different demographic groups. And she talked on research in the ML community that explores fairness via representations. The investigation of scoring, classifying, ranking, and auditing fairness was also discussed in this talk by Dwork. Generating high fidelity images with Subscale Pixel Networks and Multidimensional Upscaling Jacob Menick, a senior research engineer at Google, Deep Mind and Nal Kalchbrenner, staff research scientist and co-creator of the Google Brain Amsterdam research lab talked on Generating high fidelity images with Subscale Pixel Networks and Multidimensional Upscaling. They talked about the challenges involved in generating the images and how they address this issue with the help of Subscale Pixel Network (SPN). It is a conditional decoder architecture that helps in generating an image as a sequence of image slices of equal size. They also explained how Multidimensional Upscaling is used to grow an image in both size and depth via intermediate stages corresponding to distinct SPNs. There were in all 10 workshops conducted on the same day based on AI and deep learning covering topics such as, The 2nd Learning from Limited Labeled Data (LLD) Workshop: Representation Learning for Weak Supervision and Beyond Deep Reinforcement Learning Meets Structured Prediction AI for Social Good Debugging Machine Learning Models The first day also witnessed a few interesting talks on neural networks covering topics such as The Lottery Ticket Hypothesis: Finding Sparse, Trainable Neural Networks, How Powerful are Graph Neural Networks? etc. Overall the first day was quite enriching and informative. ICLR 2019 Day 2 highlights: AI in climate change, Protein structure, adversarial machine learning, CNN models and much more AI’s role in climate change Tuesday, also the second day of the conference, started with an interesting talk on Can Machine Learning Help to Conduct a Planetary Healthcheck? by Emily Shuckburgh, a Climate scientist and deputy head of the Polar Oceans team at the British Antarctic Survey. She talked about the sophisticated numerical models of the Earth’s systems which have been developed so far based on physics, chemistry and biology. She then highlighted a set of “grand challenge” problems and discussed various ways in which Machine Learning is helping to advance our capacity to address these. Protein structure with a differentiable simulator On the second day of ICLR 2019, Chris Sander, computational biologist, John Ingraham, Adam J Riesselman, and Debora Marks from Harvard University, talked on Learning protein structure with a differentiable simulator. They about the protein folding problem and their aim to bridge the gap between the expressive capacity of energy functions and the practical capabilities of their simulators by using an unrolled Monte Carlo simulation as a model for data. They also composed a neural energy function with a novel and efficient simulator which is based on Langevin dynamics for building an end-to-end-differentiable model of atomic protein structure given amino acid sequence information. They also discussed certain techniques for stabilizing backpropagation and demonstrated the model’s capacity to make multimodal predictions. Adversarial Machine Learning Day 2 was long and had Ian Goodfellow, a machine learning researcher and inventor of GANs, to talk on Adversarial Machine Learning. He talked about supervised learning works and making machine learning private, getting machine learning to work for new tasks and also reducing the dependency on large amounts of labeled data. He then discussed how the adversarial techniques in machine learning are involved in the latest research frontiers. Day 2 covered poster presentation and a few talks on Enabling Factorized Piano Music Modeling and Generation with the MAESTRO Dataset,  Learning to Remember More with Less Memorization, Learning to Remember More with Less Memorization, etc. ICLR 2019 Day 3 highlights: GAN, Autonomous learning and much more Developmental autonomous learning: AI, Cognitive Sciences and Educational Technology Day 3 of ICLR 2019 started with Pierre-Yves Oudeyer’s, research director at Inria talk on Developmental Autonomous Learning: AI, Cognitive Sciences and Educational Technology. He presented a research program that focuses on computational modeling of child development and learning mechanisms. He then discussed the several developmental forces that guide exploration in large real-world spaces. He also talked about the models of curiosity-driven autonomous learning that enables machines to sample and explore their own goals and learning strategies. He then explained how these models and techniques can be successfully applied in the domain of educational technologies. Generating knockoffs for feature selection using Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) Another interesting topic on the third day of ICLR 2019 was Generating knockoffs for feature selection using Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) by James Jordon from Oxford University, Jinsung Yoon from California University, and Mihaela Schaar Professor at UCLA. The experts talked about the Generative Adversarial Networks framework that helps in generating knockoffs with no assumptions on the feature distribution. They also talked about the model they created which consists of 4 networks, a generator, a discriminator, a stability network and a power network. They further demonstrated the capability of their model to perform feature selection. Followed by few more interesting topics like Deterministic Variational Inference for Robust Bayesian Neural Networks, there were series of poster presentations. ICLR 2019 Day 4 highlights: Neural networks, RNN, neuro-symbolic concepts and much more Learning natural language interfaces with neural models Today’s focus was more on neural models and neuro symbolic concepts. The day started with a talk on Learning natural language interfaces with neural models by Mirella Lapata, a computer scientist. She gave an overview of recent progress on learning natural language interfaces which allow users to interact with various devices and services using everyday language. She also addressed the structured prediction problem of mapping natural language utterances onto machine-interpretable representations. She further outlined the various challenges it poses and described a general modeling framework based on neural networks which tackle these challenges. Ordered neurons: Integrating tree structures into Recurrent Neural Networks The next interesting talk was on Ordered neurons: Integrating tree structures into Recurrent Neural Networks by Professors Yikang Shen, Aaron Courville and Shawn Tan from Montreal University, and, Alessandro Sordoni, a researcher at Microsoft. In this talk, the experts focused on how they proposed a new RNN unit: ON-LSTM, which achieves good performance on four different tasks including language modeling, unsupervised parsing, targeted syntactic evaluation, and logical inference. The last day of ICLR 2019 was exciting and helped the researchers present their innovations and attendees got a chance to interact with the experts. To have a complete overview of each of these sessions, you can head over to ICLR’s Facebook page. Read Next Paper in Two minutes: A novel method for resource efficient image classification Google I/O 2019 D1 highlights: smarter display, search feature with AR capabilities, Android Q, linguistically advanced Google lens and more Google I/O 2019: Flutter UI framework now extended for Web, Embedded, and Desktoplast_img read more

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Michigan PTSI Awareness Day hosted on Capitol lawn

first_img State Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville, today addressed attendees of the Michigan Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) Awareness Day event on the Capitol lawn.Hosted by Honor for All, a group that seeks to raise awareness for PTSI, the event commemorated veterans who have died as a result of PTSI.Rep. Barrett, chairman of the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, and a U.S. Army veteran currently serving in the National Guard, introduced House Resolution 108 to declare June 27, 2015 as PTSI Awareness Day in the state of Michigan.“We’re trying to erase the stigma with Post Traumatic Stress and increase outreach to our veteran community suffering from these hardships,” Rep. Barrett said. “We want those who are untreated to step forward to receive treatment so that they can go on to lead healthy and sustainable lives.”The Department of Veterans Affairs reported 500,000 veterans sought PTSI care from their medical centers in 2012.It is expected that approximately ten thousand veterans will return to Michigan each year over the next three to five years. After spending a significant amount of time in combat and exposure to traumatic events, many will be at a high risk for PTSI.### Categories: Barrett News 25Jun Michigan PTSI Awareness Day hosted on Capitol lawnlast_img read more

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In This Issue… Currencies metals rally halted

first_imgIn This Issue… * Currencies & metals rally halted… * A Minsky Moment on the way? * Dr. Steve & the manipulators… * Retail Sales to print today… And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Moody’s Downgrades 6 Eurozone Nations… Good day… And a Tom Terrific Tuesday to you! Well, I came home from unusually colder weather in Orlando , to snow and normally cold weather for this time of year here. The snowflakes were very large and wet, so it was easy to remove from the streets, etc. My darling daughter, Dawn, had to deal with taking Alex to the hospital while we were gone. Alex has a very bad case of skin herpes around his eye… This is not uncommon for wrestlers, but the big thing for him was that his wrestling season was over! Speaking of being over… Yesterday, Chris told you about how the Greek Parliament had approved the latest round of budget cuts, which should have put the next bailout payment on the greased tracks. Chris also explained how this was causing a reversal of the short positions in the euro, which really had turned the “Risk On” campers… Well, that euphoria in the currencies and metals was short-lived because just as soon as the currencies were ready to tell the “shorts” to move over Rover, and let Jimmy take over, the Ratings Agencies came swooping in, to rain on the risk assets parade. Yes, yesterday evening it was announced that Moody’s Investor Service had downgraded six European nations.. While there was nothing new here, since S&P and Fitch had already gone through this exercise last month, Moody’s did grab the markets’ attention by being the first rating agency to warn the U.K. that their rating could be at risk. So the Happy Days that Chris told you about yesterday, are now a thing of the past… and we must pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and get back to work today! It is Valentine’s Day, and baring a Valentine’s Day massacre in the currencies today, maybe we’ll just see the profits taken out of the currency and metals this morning, and move along to the next drama that Greece will bring us. I caught up with two of my fave people in the world in Orlando last week… Mary Anne and Pamela Aden… or as many know them, The Aden Sisters… We had a long talk about writing style… They kept telling me that I was their favorite writer, and I kept telling them that I was sure they had me mixed up with David Galland! Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that Mary Anne and Pam talked about “noise” in the markets, and how it has taken away the fundamentals of the markets… I totally agree, and this “noise” from the ratings agencies are a prime example. I just finished reading Addison Wiggin’s latest draft for a book. I’m going to do a quick review for the book… There’s so much to learn about what happened to the dollar, and what is yet to happen here… When the book gets printed and issued, I’ll let you know, because I think that everyone that thinks they know all there is about the dollar will be surprised to find out they learned something new here… One of the things that Addison talks about in the books is how Gold isn’t in a bubble… I found this to be interesting because I too, have said this over and over again about Gold… I say that my test for a bubble is to ask a group of regular people, like say, my FGB friends, if they own Gold, and until all of them raise their hands, Gold isn’t in bubble, is the best way to measure this! And then there was a great lunch with friend Dennis Miller, and Steve Sjuggerud. I’ve known Dr. Steve for some time, and he knows how much I love guitars (he’s a collector of guitars), so we always have a great conversation about them. Dr. Steve said something though that really rang a bell with me.. and that was… he doesn’t let the reports of price manipulators in Gold & Silver bother him. For he believes that if the demand remains strong, it will eventually win out… And, so with that I’m turning over a new leaf, and while I will continue to mention price manipulation when I see it, I’m not going to lose any more hair over it (not that I have any more to lose!) But you get the point… I was beginning to allow the manipulators to mess with my blood pressure, and my outlook for a day.. and no longer! Thanks Dr. Steve! OK.. I could on about the meetings I had at the Orlando Money Show, but those two were the best… So.. back to the news today… This morning, although it’s not helping the euro right now, both Spain and Italy auctioned bonds and both saw their borrowing costs decline to their lowest levels in 11 months! Once again bond buyers ignore the ratings agencies… But then, a very large chunk of any Eurozone country bond auction, is bought by the other members of the Eurozone. So, it’s like “we’re all in this together” type attitude. And don’t forget that the Eurozone debt is being underpinned by 3-year loans made in December by the European Central Bank (ECB), which will offer a second round of financing, known as LTRO, at the end of this month. There’s still a spread between German and Italian or Spanish Bonds.. and that’s the way it should be. The way it was before the implementation of the euro, and the way it will be from here on out! Long time readers might recall me saying on more than a few occasions in the past that Greece, Italy and Spain were all rogue countries with debt before the euro, and that they should get down on their knees and thank their Gold every night that they were included in the euro… The Big Boss, Frank Trotter, was kind enough to join me in one of my presentations, shows a chart of Greek bond rates that illustrates what I’m talking about here… Before 1999 (implementation of the euro) bond rate in Greece were 19-20%… but then after the Eurozone was formed, the bond rates plunged and remained low until someone said, Hey with all this debt, these yields aren’t right”… and back to 16% Greek bond rates went… Should Greece have gotten a free ride on their careless deficit spending and debt? NO… but, no one was paying attention… I wasn’t… I stopped trading foreign bonds in 1998, so I’ll use that as an excuse! I think the thing to take from this comes back to the U.S. should we be able to continue to add to our debt by 1 Trillion dollars every year with historically low bond rates? NO… But, until someone stops and says… Hey this debt is too high for bond yields this low” the Treasury Bubble will just keep building and will take a lot of investors down when it pops… it will be a Minsky Moment… For those of you new to class or Hy Minsky… A Minsky Moment is an idea that the great economist, Hy Minsky, originated… When a market fails or falls into crisis after an extended period of market speculation, or unsustainable growth. A Minsky moment is based on the idea that periods of speculation, if they last long enough, will eventually lead to crises; the longer speculation occurs the worse the crisis will be… Hy Minsky is responsible for much of my economics education, even though my time with him was brief… And 10-year Treasury yields remain below 2%… And the band Ace sang.. “How Long”? Speaking of debt, no wait, I wasn’t speaking of debt, I was talking about the Treasury Bubble, but wait… Treasuries are issuances of debt, so technically, I was speaking of debt! (Don’t question yourself, Chuck!) Did you see that the President presented his 2012 Budget, with a $1.333 Trillion Deficit… And that’s only if the ducks all get in a row… I saw this tide bit (Thanks Dennis) and it really hit home… From 7/31/11 to 1/31/12 (6 months) the U.S. National Debt grew from $14.5 Trillion to $15.4 Trillion, an increase of $1.1 Trillion… In the first 206 years of our country’s history (through 8/82) the U.S. accumulated a national debt of $1.1 Trillion… And now we do it every year? Just that the heck is going on here? Our Government is spending us into the point of no return! And that will continue to weigh heavily on the dollar folks… I told an audience last week that I know it seems a little strange taking dollars out of your dollar denominated portfolio to buy currencies and metals… But diversifications one of the ways to beat the awful things our Gov’t and Central Bank are doing to our kids’ and grandkid’s futures.. But then that’s just me.. I could end up being wrong… The U.S. data cupboard is chock-full-o-data today… But the Big Kahuna data print comes in the form of January Retail Sales … Which when I look back at the Butler Household Index (BHI) I see that there were tons of shopping bags brought into our house IN January, so look for a better than the average bear print here today… Then there was this… from the U.K. Telegraph..and before I post this, I want you to know that I don’t condone what Iran is doing.. I’m just continuing to point out how countries all over the world are tired of the U.S. debt destruction of the dollar, and are now working out ways to get around dollar use… So, here the snippet of the article… “Last week the Tehran Times noted that the Iranian oil bourse will start trading oil in currencies other than the dollar from March 20. This long-planned move is part of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s vision of economic war with the West.“The dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme is nothing more than a convenient excuse for the US to use threats to protect the ‘reserve currency’ status of the dollar,” the newspaper, which calls itself the voice of the Islamic Revolution, said.“Recall that Saddam [Hussein] announced that Iraq would no longer accept dollars for oil purchases in November 2000 and the US-Anglo invasion occurred in March 2003,” the Times continued. “Similarly, Iran opened its oil bourse in 2008, so it is a credit to Iranian negotiating ability that the ‘crisis’ has not come to a head long before now.”Chuck again… India is now going to pay for their Oil from Iran with a 45% allocation of Gold. China has been signing currency swap agreements with other countries for 2 years now. So it’s going on all over… countries want out of having to hold large dollar reserve to facilitate the terms of trade with their partners.To recap… The currency and metals rally that lasted all day yesterday, ended last night with a thud, as Moody’s downgraded 6 Eurozone nations and warned the U.K. that their credit rating could be cut. The euro has lost the 1.32 handle, and the rest of the currencies have given back the gains they made yesterday. And Retail Sales headlines the data prints today… Currencies today 2/14/12… American Style: A$ $1.0710, kiwi .8325, C$ $1.00, euro 1.3165, sterling 1.5720, Swiss $1.09, … European Style: rand 7.7225, krone 5.7220, SEK 6.67, forint 221.25, zloty 3.1812, koruna 19.0575, RUB 29.95, yen 78.15, sing 1.2645, HKD 7.7535, INR 49.36, China 6.2995, pesos 12.73, BRL 1.7166, Dollar Index 79.19, Oil $101.36, 10-year 1.98%, Silver $33.45, and Gold… $1,715.10 That’s it for today… Well, Happy Valentine’s Day to all my girls… Kathy, Dawn, Rachel and Delaney Grace! Delaney was not happy about having to go home from Orlando yesterday, she really had a great time at Disney World… You should have seen her all dressed up in her princess dress for the Princess Tea Party… Simply darling! My main presentation at the Money Show was a full room and big room too! It went well… the second has just about run its course.. I’ll have to think of something else… Thanks to Chris for taking the conn on the Pfennig… just getting him ready for March! I have a new set of eyes reviewing the Pfennig each morning now, and when I went cut and paste this to them I lost it all and had to retype the whole thing! UGH! I hope you have a Tom Terrific Tuesday, cause mine’s not starting that way! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837 www.everbank.comlast_img read more

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