Rodolphe Belmer has been named as directorgeneral

first_imgRodolphe Belmer has been named as director-general of Canal Plus Group and a member of the pay TV operator’s board.Belmer, whose appointment was proposed to the company’s supervisory committee by Bertrand Méheut in his capacity as president of the board, will have overall responsibility for pay and free TV activities in metropolitan France, in charge of editorial, distribution, technology and advertising.Belmer was previously deputy director-general and CEO of Canal Plus France. In his new enlarged role he will be responsible for supervising the development of new free-to-air channel D8, as well as pay TV activities. Méheut will remain in charge of Canal Plus’s international activities.Belmer was confirmed as Méheut’s successor by the shareholders’ oversight committee  in February, following speculation that the latter could retire in 2013 ahead of his planned departure.last_img read more

In This Issue… Dudley agrees with Yellen on rat

first_imgIn This Issue… * Dudley agrees with Yellen on rates… * Which sends Gold higher! * Chinese GDP weakens to 8.1%… * Buying Gold on the dips… And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Rates To Remain Near Zero Through 2014 … Good day… And a Happy Friday to one and all! It’s Opening Day here in St. Louis as baseball comes back to the town that loves its Cardinals and baseball. The people of the city will be dressed in red today, the ballpark will be a sea of red, and the excitement for the day begins… But, we could be in trouble weather wise… It’s already rained in some parts of the city and is expected to rain all day and night here… UGH! The Cardinals are the reigning World Series Champions, and should have opened their season at home… But no… they played a week on the road to start the season… If they had opened at home, last week was sunny and 80 all week… OK… Sorry… I guess if the game gets rained out, we can all go see the Opening of the 3 Stooges Movie! HA! Sorry… but guys my age all grew up watching the 3 Stooges, and laughing until it hurt… In my old writing style… I would be associating some Gov’t leaders with the 3 Stooges right now, but since I don’t do that any longer, I should just move along, for these are not the droids I’m looking for… Well… the currencies and metals added to their gains yesterday as the day went along. The euro traded briefly at 1.32, and the Aussie dollar (A$) trade through $1.04… There was more Fed Heads speaking, and Fed Head Dudley agreed with Fed Head Yellen who had said the previous day that keeping interest rates near zero through 2014 was needed… Dudley said, “I haven’t seen any set of information that should suggest to me we should change that view.” So, that got the ball rolling with Gold, for as I’ve explained many times in the past 4 years since interest rates around the world headed to zero… Gold competes with deposit rates… So, if there are no deposit rates, Gold is the chief beneficiary… And now knowing that 2 Fed Heads agree with Fed President, Big Ben Bernanke, that rates need to remain near zero through 2014, really got the ball rolling for Gold, and as I left the office, with my tail dragging, and totally exhausted, Gold was up $17 on the day… But… all the euphoria in the risk assets got some cold water thrown on them by the latest GDP data from China overnight… China’s 1st QTR GDP grew at the slowest pace in 11 quarters, but was still a robust +8.1%… If you keep with what I told you years ago, that you should believe 1/2 of what the Chinese report, then that puts 1st QTR GDP at +4%, which is still far greater than most countries around the world… So, the moderation of the Chinese economy continues… But that really takes a bite out of the Commodity Countries’ currencies… Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, all felt the bite of slower Chinese economic growth. I think this slower GDP report might spur that reserve requirement reduction we were looking for last weekend, even with inflation bumping higher last month. A move to reduce reserve requirements would be like a rate cut, and even though in the old days, that was viewed as debasing a currency, these days, the markets reward countries that promote growth… And the global growth countries would be jumping up and clicking their heels together! I’ve spent a couple of days this week talking about Singapore and the Sing dollar (S$) well, as I explained the other day, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) met last night, and I was quite pleased with their decision… The MAS decided to maintain its currency’s appreciation and increase the slope of its trading band… Apparently the MAS is very concerned about rising inflation in Singapore, and as I’ve explained in the past the MAS uses the S$ to combat inflation… They do this by adjusting the trade-weighted band of currencies by changing the slope, width and center of the band. A flatter slope allows slower appreciation or even depreciation over time, but… that’s not what the MAS has decided it will do going forward… The will increase the slope, which means they will allow additional currency appreciation! Heading over the North Pole from China, we land in Canada… and the Canadian dollar /loonie finally got back to parity to the U.S. dollar yesterday, as the price of Oil rebounded from a dip this week. The price of Oil rebounded to $103, and I’ve told you many times that a higher Oil Price is needed to move the loonie higher, as the Bank of Canada (BOC) refuses to hike rates. You know… I like the Canadian dollar / loonie for a number of reasons, but what I don’t like is the BOC sitting and watching a housing bubble and doing nothing… Finance Minister, Flaherty, said that he “prefers to allow the Housing Market to correct itself” Vancouver and Toronto are the locations of the biggest housing problems… But to sit there, and do nothing is not prudent in my opinion… Speaking of Oil… I read a report last night that made a lot of sense to me… the researcher pointed toward the growth in U.S. M3 Money Supply as a strong reason for the elevated Oil prices… in the report they showed that M3 had grown more than 150% since 1998, while global Oil reserves grew 33%… Which means more dollars in circulation chasing a certain amount of Oil reserves, and you get inflated Oil prices… But remember… the price of getting Oil out of the ground continues to rise too… And, don’t forget what I told you a month or so ago, about how the Saudi’s need to keep the price of Oil high, to keep the money flowing, and prevent riots like those seen all over the Middle East last year. And don’t forget that there’s a strong correlation between Oil prices and the U.S. dollar, that began around 2004, and is now at a 82% historic average… years ago, there was no such correlation, but as time has gone on, and investors learn that they can hedge against dollar weakness with commodities like Oil… the correlation has come about… Buying Gold is another investment that hedges against dollar weakness… but it’s also a commodity… it’s a currency… it’s an uncertainty hedge… No… it’s Super Man! Just having some fun… I know a lot of people think that Gold’s shiny days are over… But, I’m not one of them! And apparently long time acquaintance, Frank Holmes, the CEO of U.S. Global Investors, isn’t one of them either… Frank was interviewed for and he said that, “buying the dips in Gold has been the right move for a decade.” If you’re interested in reading what else Frank had to say about why buying Gold on the dips continues to be the right move, you can click here:. OK… The pressure on the euro and the ECB coming from Spain continues to be strong… The return of the Spanish Flu? I read a report that called the problems in Spain the return of the Spanish Flu… I’m not sure that associating a debt problem with a pandemic that killed between 50 and 100 million people is a good thing… In fact, I’m sure it isn’t! Well.. as I said earlier this week, the European Central Bank (ECB) is becoming the Fed of Europe… and with that title, the ECB will look to buy Spanish debt, and not continue the 3-year loans they’ve been making… We’ll have to wait-n-see what the markets think of that. But judging from the performance of the euro this morning, It looks like the markets don’t really care, as the euro is up from where it was when I came in and turned on the screens this morning. There’s a story out this morning that says that Japan’s top Pension Fund is going to begin to invest in emerging markets stocks as early as this quarter. The Pension Fund oversees $1.3 Trillion, will begin to focus on markets including Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Korea, Taiwan and South Africa… This is good news for these countries and their stock markets, and vis-à-vis each respective currency… for… the currency of each country has to be bought to buy stock in that country! Speaking of South Korea… things are brighter there this morning, after the North Korea rocket launch failed… There was another earthquake, this time hitting in Mexico… That’s two earthquakes this week around the world… The data cupboard told us yesterday that the Trade Deficit for February narrowed to $46 Billion from $52.5 Billion… remember that February has fewer days, before you go out and buy something that was imported to make up for the difference! HA! PPI (wholesale inflation) showed a .3% increase month-on-month, and an annualized figure of 2.8%… The Initial Jobless Claims gained 13,000 last week, moving to 380,000 from 367,000… Today, we’ll see the stupid CPI (Consumer Inflation) … And the U. of Michigan Consumer Confidence report… Then There Was This… I meant to talk about this yesterday, but, completely forgot, until I heard it mentioned again in a TV interview that I saw. (Thanks JMR Doug!) Here’s what I’m talking about… There are reports out that say the Big Banks are once again beginning to give loans to bad credit people… OMG! More Sub Prime? Have we not learned anything? I shake my head in disgust here folks, because… This will all end up in the crying pool… I’m not someone that doesn’t believe in giving people a chance, but at the same time, I’m someone that believes in the once bitten twice shy, babe… More Sub Prime… again, it’s an election year… right? To recap… Dudley agrees with Yellen that rates will remain near zero through 2014… That pushes Gold higher on the day. Oil rebounds to $103. Chinese GDP weakens to 8.1%, thus proving that the moderation is in, not the collapse that many economist called for. Sub Prime 2? When do we ever learn? And Frank Holmes tells us about buying Gold on the dips! Currencies today 4/13/12… American Style: A$ $1.0405, kiwi .83, C$ $1.0065, euro 1.3165, sterling 1.5935, Swiss $1.0955, … European Style: rand 7.8755, krone 5.7770, SEK 6.7515, forint 225, zloty 3.1730, koruna 18.7760, RUB 29.46, yen 81, sing 1.2455, HKD 7.7610, INR 51.33, China 6.3025, pesos 13.07, BRL 1.8260, Dollar Index 79.45, Oil $103, 10-year 2.01%, Silver $32.37, and Gold… $1,675.05… and getting back to our old Friday practice of taking a peek at the U.S. Debt Clock… click here… That’s it for today… A Big Congratulations to our little Christine and hubby Matt, on the birth of a baby boy yesterday… That’s 3 boys now for Christine & Matt… 2 more and they’ll have a basketball team! I meant to wish our Blues good luck on the start of the Playoffs yesterday and forgot… The Blues forgot how they beat the Sharks 4 times this year, and lost the first game… We’ve been disappointed for over 40 years, but I was hoping this was going to be “the year”… It’s best of 7, so they can come back… I made it through today’s letter without mentioning it’s Friday the 13th! Until now that is… Be careful out there today! So… Opening Day in St. Louis! If you’ve never been here for this, you should… Since 2007, I get chills every time the players come in, the Clydesdales go around the stadium, and look around at the sea of red… and with that, I’ll get out of your hair for today, before I really begin to get sappy! I hope you have a Fantastico Friday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837 read more

TSX Toronto Stock Exchange 1477935

first_img TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) 14,779.35 14,594.03 13,932.97 Gold (SGE) 1,297.41 1,183.74 1,250.25 Silver Stocks (SIL) 10.40 8.52 12.54 Dear Reader, Never forgetting that our reason for owning gold is prudence, not speculation (that’s what the stocks are for), we often try to illustrate the point with real-world stories. This week we have a highly instructive update from our friend, a feisty gold dealer in Moscow who’s just lived through a massive economic upheaval. I encourage you to give it a read, but don’t discount it as a “Russian thing” that could never happen here, wherever “here” may be for you. We’ve seen the same behavior throughout history and across the world. Word to the wise. First, however, I want to alert you to a terrific new investment opportunity our colleagues at BIG TECH have uncovered in the coming revolution in lighting. Yes, the humble light bulb has been with us for a long time—too long, in fact. It’s time for lighting to enter the 21st century, and the Casey technology team has zeroed in on the best way to profit. What I like most about our tech investment publications—aside from the fact that they have delivered excellent returns for us while gold was taking its overlong breather—is that a “better mousetrap” can make investors money even in economic hard times. Perhaps especially in economic hard times. And I’m sorry to say, I do expect global economic conditions to continue deteriorating. Even if I’m wrong, however, a better mousetrap should still make tons of money for investors. That makes solid tech speculations great pair trades for our gold stock speculations—it’s even possible we could win on both. Give it some thought, and see if the opportunity our tech team has uncovered looks right for you. Sincerely, Unemployment benefits. Here’s a headline for you: “Level of Unemployment in Moscow Will Rise to 0.5% by 2017.” And this is from 0.35% (25,100 people) who are officially unemployed here today. There are about 13 million residents in Moscow, and the real rate of unemployment or underemployment is way higher than that. The highest level of benefits here is about $78 per month, and that’s really for former top managers. You can count on benefits for about three months, and they will literally hound you with seminars, job fairs, and check-ins. Just to put this number in perspective… the cheapest apartment here costs $50,000 to $60,000, and it would be just a hole in the wall. As a result, Russians simply don’t register with the unemployment office; they try get along on their own. The majority of Russians have a savings-oriented mentality, so gold would fit rather snugly into their financial frame of reference. It’s time for Russians, Americans, and everyone else to wake up, face up to the dangers of statist debauchery, and prepare ourselves for the hard times to come! A couple days later I overhead this conversation at an electronics retailer: “Honey, I still have some rubles left on me—let’s get a third flatscreen TV.” Now here we are in the middle of January, and 1 USD goes for 65 rubles. Have any lessons been learned? Have Russians turned into hard money enthusiasts? Unfortunately, US dollars and euros (and even flatscreen TVs) are still seen as better hedges against chaos than gold. What about all those articles about the Russian central bank buying gold? Actually, very few Russians are meaningfully aware of these purchases. It hasn’t influenced people’s financial decisions yet… although it should—the Bank of Russia bought 171 tonnes of gold last year, more than any other central bank in the world. Meanwhile, as I write, a Russian language website is teeming with ads offering to sell those appliances bought for 40,000 rubles in December just for 32,000 rubles! Does this mean there won’t be a gold bull market in Russia? I think it would be a mistake to draw that conclusion, and here’s why… First, there was an upsurge in gold and silver sales at the end of 2014. Some local sources said coin sales grew by 50%, some by 100%. Our sales volume also definitely picked up in December compared to last fall, but April 2013 was much more active in terms of volume and interest. Keep in mind that all of this is from a very low base. The most promising sign is that regional bulk buyers reappeared after a long absence—these guys come in with cash and buy 50, 100, or 150 ounces of gold at a time. They are mostly provincial businessmen looking to “deep freeze” their savings for the long term, always taking the newest and cheapest one-ounce gold coins. The concept of precious metals ownership is slowly seeping into psychological makeup of Russian businesspeople. A major financial event or a sudden spike in the USD gold price will serve as the real catalyst for a gold stampede. The loss of trust in Western currencies for economic or political reasons may stir Russians to action, too. Second, gold ownership is just one wholesome habit in what I call “personal fiscal hygiene.” Russia in many ways runs far ahead of the developed world in terms of debt prudence and anti-welfare mentality. Here are just two examples in support of this: Mortgage debt. Russians also buy real estate on credit, but the size of the market is miniscule. There is about $51 billion in residential mortgage debt outstanding in a country of 144 million people, of which only 3.5% is in currencies other than the ruble. This is pocket change compared to the US—yet you should hear all the anti-debt rhetoric in the local media. Louis James Senior Metals Investment Strategist Casey Research An elderly woman at the supermarket cashier, in response to the rumors about a possible freeze of bank accounts, said, “They will take away our money like they did in the early ‘90s?” I replied, “Why not try gold and silver for the long term?” She testily snapped, “What are we gonna do with them—eat ‘em for dinner?” Rock & Stock Stats Last Oil 45.59 57.12 97.32 Gold 1,294.28 1,177.22 1,264.33 Moscow Update: Gold During the Crisis Editor’s Note: Dmitriy Balkovskiy is a Russian coin dealer in Moscow we’ve interviewed before. Since the ruble’s crash, he’s witnessed some interesting developments in his country, so we asked him for an update. By Dmitriy Balkovskiy I would like to expand on Jeff Clark’s piece “Gold Was Up 73% Last Year” with some real-life stories from inside Russia. First, a small correction… Jeff describes an investor sitting in a Moscow café and reading about gold’s phenomenal rise in rubles in a Russian newspaper. In reality, gold-related info in a Russian newspaper would be buried on page 17 and very difficult to locate. “Serious” gentlemen deal in stocks or real estate; gold coins and bars are for the naïve. In this respect, Russia is no different from the USA, and even worse. Now to my episodes… Our small office is located about 200 meters from the Kremlin’s entrance, right across the street from it. So sometimes we get visitors from within those walls. In the early afternoon of December 16, a Ukrainian construction worker came in wishing to buy a one-ounce Austrian Philharmonic. He had just finished several months of work at the Kremlin reconstruction site and wanted to get rid of his rubles and take home a hard asset. (Note: December 16, 2014 has already been named the Russian Black Tuesday. On that day, the ruble fell from 58 to 72 per USD in several hours.) Now this guy must have been burnt a few times in his life, because he wanted to check the coin for authenticity in every possible way. When he first entered the door, the coin sold for about 86,000 rubles. It took us about 30 minutes to complete the checking procedure to his satisfaction—but when we looked at the price again it had soared above 100,000 rubles. Unfortunately all he had in his pocket was 90,000 rubles. The coin had literally slipped from his grasp. He told me he had long wanted to buy a thick gold chain, and so we suggested a jewelry store nearby. “Prices do not change there as often,” we told him. Off he went with a sigh. That same day I went to a nearby branch of Sberbank (the biggest banking chain in Russia), which was full of people, probably 100 customers. They looked grim and determined to withdraw rubles and buy dollars and euros ASAP. I addressed bank tellers I know there: “So our dear countrymen are vacuuming hard currency at historical highs again?!?” Girls giggled in response. It is both painful and funny to see Russians repeating the same mistake again and again. TSX Venture 678.18 677.45 983.39 One Month Ago Gold Junior Stocks (GDXJ) 27.62 21.84 37.10 Silver 18.30 15.73 20.01 A discouraged friend told me, “I’ve got to buy euros to pay my rent (rents are often fixed in euros in Moscow), but any exchange office I go, they have run out of euro cash.” Gold Producers (GDX) 21.74 17.30 23.72 One Year Ago Copper 2.50 2.90 3.29last_img read more

The Trump administration announced a plan Friday t

first_imgThe Trump administration announced a plan Friday that would affect about 40 percent of the payments physicians receive from Medicare. Not everybody’s pleased.The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services calls its proposed plan a historic effort to reduce paperwork and improve patient care. But some doctors and advocates for patients fear it could be a disaster.The CMS plan, published in Friday’s Federal Register, is now open for public comment until early September. It would combine four levels of paperwork required for reimbursement, and four levels of payments, into one form and one flat fee for each doctor’s appointment (although there would still be separate filing systems for new and established patients).In a letter previewing the plan to doctors earlier this month, CMS administrator Seema Verma said that physicians waste too much time on mindless administrative tasks that take time away from patients.”We believe you should be able to focus on delivering care to patients,” Verma wrote, “not sitting in front of a computer screen.”Initially, that sounded pretty good to Dr. Angus Worthing, a rheumatologist in Washington, D.C. Then he tested the claim with his own analysis.During a typical 15- to 45-minute appointment with a patient, Worthing figures, “I might spend one to two minutes less in front of the computer, documenting and typing.”Dr. Kate Goodrich, CMS’ chief medical officer, notes that “saving one to two minutes per patient adds up pretty quickly over time.”But Worthing says the small savings in time is not worth the reduced payment he’d get. The CMS plan would offer a flat fee for each office visit with a patient, whether the doctor is a primary care physician or a specialist.Rheumatologists, in general, could expect a 3 percent reduction in Medicare’s reimbursement because they typically see and bill for more complicated patients, says Worthing, who chairs the government affairs committee for the American College of Rheumatology.And he notes that his personal net income from Medicare patients would drop even more — by about 10 percent. That’s because 70 percent of his costs — for rent, payroll and other expenses — are fixed or rising.Worthing is leading efforts by rheumatologists to persuade CMS to adjust its funding formula before the plan goes into effect in January.”The proposal is well-intentioned, but it might cause a disaster,” he says, if it leads to fewer medical students going into rheumatology and other specialties that require doctors to manage complex patients. And physicians might stop taking Medicare patients altogether, or avoid those with more difficult problems.Al Norman, a 71-year-old Medicare patient, says he can see that disaster coming.If you’re frail or if you are very healthy, you’re worth the same to a doctor [under the proposed plan], and obviously that means that the people who are more disabled or frail are less desirable patients,” says Norman, who worked on elder care issues in Massachusetts before retiring last year.Many doctors predict that the proposed payment changes would establish a financial incentive to see fewer Medicare patients. Goodrich disagrees.”That’s an unintended consequence we wanted to mitigate on the front end and avoid,” Goodrich says. Under the proposed system, doctors who need more time with patients could file for an “add-on” payment of $67 per appointment. That would require a small amount of additional documentation, she admits, but would still reduce a doctor’s keyboard time, according to CMS estimates.This “add-on” payment is “intended to ensure that physicians are being appropriately compensated for seeing the most complex patients,” Goodrich says.Still, critics of the plan say there are other unintended consequences CMS may not have anticipated.Dr. Paul Birnbaum, who has been practicing dermatology in the Boston area for 32 years, says he’s worried that paying doctors a reduced fee per appointment would translate to lots of short visits.”You would just see more people,” Birnbaum says. “You’d move people through faster. And so you have somebody come back for repeat office visits. And that, over time, would be inflationary.”More frequent trips to the doctor would mean more copays for patients and higher costs for Medicare, he says.The Trump administration is not suggesting the payment changes would save Medicare money. In her letter to doctors, Verma said some physicians would see their Medicare payments increase.And it’s not just doctors who treat elderly patients who are likely to be affected. If the Medicare payment changes take effect, private insurers might follow suit, in part because it’s easier for all insurers to use common billing procedures.Theoretically, obstetrician-gynecologists would be among the biggest winners; they treat fewer complex Medicare patients. Still, many OB-GYNs are worried about the coming changes, too.”There will be winners and losers and my real fear is it’s not the physicians [who will lose the most.]. My real fear is that it’s the Medicare beneficiaries,” said Dr. Barbara Levy, vice president for health policy at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.Some Medicare advocates are urging CMS to postpone these changes and consider a trial run.”If we’re going to talk about this kind of wholesale, large-scale reconfiguration of the way reimbursement is given to doctors,” says Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, “it’s probably best to do that in a demonstration project where we can closely study the ramifications.”CMS hopes to enact any changes to Medicare fee schedules on Jan. 1, 2019.The main challenge remains convincing patients and physicians that the changes are worth doing in the first place.This story is part of NPR’s reporting partnership with WBUR and Kaiser Health News. Copyright 2018 WBUR. To see more, visit WBUR.last_img read more

Nearly a third of households in the United States

first_imgNearly a third of households in the United States have struggled to pay their energy bills, the Energy Information Administration said in a report released Wednesday. The differences were minor in terms of geography, but Hispanics and racial minorities were hit hardest.About one in five households had to reduce or forego food, medicine and other necessities to pay an energy bill, according to the report. “Of the 25 million households that reported forgoing food and medicine to pay energy bills, 7 million faced that decision nearly every month,” the report stated.More than 10 percent of households kept their homes at unhealthy or unsafe temperatures. The data come from the federal agency’s most recent energy consumption survey in 2015. That year, expenditures for energy were at their lowest in more than decade, according to the agency. “We only conduct the Residential Energy Consumption Survey every 4-5 years,” survey manager Chip Berry told NPR by email. “This is the first time in the history of the study (goes back to late ’70s) that we have [measured] energy insecurity across all households, so there’s not much in the way of historical comparison.”The study found that about half of households experiencing trouble reported income of less than $20,000. More than 40 percent had at least one child. And people of color were disproportionately affected: about half of respondents who reported challenges paying their energy bills identified as black. More than 40 percent identified as Latino.”It’s not shocking, because the communities of color disproportionately face all the highest burdens, whether it’s housing, lack of jobs or education,” Tracey Capers, executive vice president of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, a community development initiative in New York, told The Associated Press. A 2016 study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and Energy Efficiency for All found that African-American and Latino households “paid more for utilities per square foot than the average household.” Housing for the low income also tended to be less energy efficient, researchers found. Families in that group were at higher risk for respiratory diseases and stress. “Households can spend more than 20 percent of their total income on their electricity needs,” George Koutitas, CEO and co-founder of Gridmates, a crowdfunding platform told NPR. Gridmates funnels donations to utility companies for struggling customers’ energy bills.Low-income heat assistance programs, he says, only go so far. Weatherization programs that insulate a home “take a lot of time and they are not very responsive.” Bill assistance alternatives, he says, are underfunded and have been canceled. Citing lack of need and fraud, the Trump administration called for an end to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program last fall and winter.”Please I beg you to bring back this assistance with electricity,” a woman in northern Texas wrote, after a state assistance program called Lite-Up Texas ran out of money, according to The Texas Tribune. “I am going to freeze during this cold season.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit read more

Bittercubes bar at its Uptown production facility

first_imgBittercube’s bar at its Uptown production facility.Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:21 pmChristine McRoberts has called Milwaukee’s Uptown neighborhood home for her entire life.She grew up in the area and, years later as an adult, purchased a nearby house where she has lived for the past 26 years.McRoberts is the longtime owner of neighborhood staple McBob’s Pub & Grill, located at 4919 W. North Ave. Her brother first opened the Irish restaurant in 1986, but she took over operations three or four years later, instantly falling in love with the work and her customers, she said. Located just seven blocks west of the tavern, which is famous for its fish fry, is McRoberts’ brainchild and a new addition to the neighborhood: Tusk. The casual restaurant, which opened in November, serves scratch-made shareable platters, soups and salads, and, she said, attracts a different crowd than her veteran concept.McBob’s and Tusk both sit on a once-vibrant strip of West North Avenue that, at some point, was weathered by the economic impacts of various citywide issues – segregation, crime, property devaluation – that have long-plagued Milwaukee’s central and west side business communities.McRoberts said she recalls a time during the late ‘80s to early ‘90s when the neighborhood was “very questionable.”Uptown is confined east to west by North Sherman Boulevard and North 60th St., to the north by West Center Street, and to the south by West North Avenue. North Avenue is home to the majority of Uptown’s commercial properties, some still troubled, vacant or run-down in appearance. Bittercube’s bar at its Uptown production facility. Vennture Brew Co. is located at 5519 W. North Ave. Vennture’s taproom has both beer and coffee on tap. Tusk and Vennture are located adjacent to each other on West North Avenue.But thanks to the establishment of the Uptown Crossing Business Improvement District 16 in 1995, the neighborhood has gradually made progress, and new businesses, like Tusk, have been moving in.“The changes in the neighborhood have been amazing,” said McRoberts, who recently stepped down from her position on the Uptown Crossing BID board after more than 20 years.Tusk occupies a 98-year-old building, located at 5513 W. North Ave., formerly home to Hartter’s Bakery, a family-owned business that shut down in 2004 after 40 years of operation.The two-story building sat vacant for 10 years before McRoberts started leasing its commercial kitchen, originally for catering and to support operations at McBob’s, she said.Meanwhile, plans were in the works for another forgotten 1920s-era structure located just next door.Simon McConico, Robert Gustafson and Jake Rohde spent two years renovating and restoring the ground floor and basement of the building, located at 5519 W. North Ave., now home to Vennture Brew Co.The new brewery and coffee shop opened in July. It produces about seven-and-a-half barrels of beer each week – more than 150 barrels since it opened – tapping a rotating selection of IPAs, sours, saisons and dark brews.It also roasts its own coffee, offering a line of cold press brew on tap.Aside from its obvious function as a café and taproom that sometimes doubles as a remote workplace, Vennture is also a venue for various gatherings and events.“We’ve done a bunch of random things, like bringing in food trucks, that allow people to use this space and to create more opportunity for people to get out and do something in their own neighborhood without having to go to Bay View or the East Side or out west,” said McConico. “It’s something that people can walk to or bike to, and a lot of people really like that.”As locals themselves, the owners are involved in their community: Gustafson is part of its BID and McConico participates in his neighborhood association.And in turn, McConico said, they have a better understanding of the neighborhood’s needs; a local craft brewery used to be one of them.“This is one of the most interesting nexuses of ethnic and racial diversity in the city, where everything kind of meets, and that is super important to us, as well,” he said. “I’m not sure yet how we can create a space that feels comfortable to everyone, that’s still something we have to figure out, but you can’t do that by being in the middle of Brookfield or on the East Side.”Without an in-house kitchen, Vennture does not serve its own food, but since Tusk opened, people have been able to order a meal there and enjoy it at the brewery. In return, Vennture supplies Tusk, as well as nearby eatery Wy’east Pizza, with byproducts from the brewing process to make food.Such partnerships are a defining characteristic of the area’s tight-knit business community, McConico said.“There’s a collaborative spirit here,” he said. “The more interesting things that we can do to bring people to this side of town, the better it is for all of us.”That collaborative spirit also provided a landing pad for Milwaukee-based Bittercube last fall when it moved its operations to a vacant building at 4828 W. Lisbon Ave., becoming the third food and beverage business to open in the Uptown neighborhood in a five-month span.The slow-crafted bitters producer, which first launched in 2009, had operated a production site and tasting room at the Lincoln Warehouse in Bay View since 2014, but as the company grew and production increased, it needed a larger footprint.For a month during its transition between facilities, Bittercube set up shop in Tusk’s commercial kitchen before the restaurant officially opened. McRoberts had reached out to co-owner Ira Koplowitz months earlier, he said, voicing her support and welcoming the company to the neighborhood. From an economic standpoint, relocating to a larger facility in Uptown made more sense than remaining in Bay View, where rent is more expensive, Koplowitz said.The move allowed Bittercube to not only lease a 9,000-square-foot building, but also have the means to renovate the space and open a bar and storefront there.“We needed to invest into the infrastructure of a building,” Koplowitz said. “And if we had done that in Bay View or Walker’s Point, we would have a space that would have been the same size as the one we were in before and we wouldn’t have had that capital to invest into the other business extensions.”Koplowitz believes the comeback of the Uptown neighborhood is still in its infancy, which sometimes makes it challenging to attract customers, but he said he sees great potential for the area and hopes for further development along the busy North Avenue business corridor.BID 16 is currently working to make that happen, said vice president Chris Hau, a principal at Milwaukee-based Quorum Architects Inc.Smaller scale projects over the past two years, including a new pocket park that now fills a vacant lot at 56th Street and West North Avenue and the nearby installation of Washington Heights’ first Bublr Bikes station, have given way to greater visions and plans for the neighborhood.After working with the city to identify six sites in need of improvement, the BID partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Community Design Solutions center to go through a design charrette process for those properties.Hau said the potential project plans will be unveiled in February, and the BID will be seeking both public and private investors and partners to help spur the development.“Our future goal is to really expand upon the current development that has happened and the new businesses that have invested in the neighborhood,” he said. Get our email updatesBizTimes DailyManufacturing WeeklyNonprofit WeeklyReal Estate WeeklySaturday Top 10Wisconsin Morning Headlines Subscribelast_img read more

Levels of satisfaction among claimants of the gove

first_imgLevels of satisfaction among claimants of the government’s new disability benefit are far lower than for other benefits, according to new Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) figures.The survey found that only two-thirds (68 per cent) of personal independence payment (PIP) claimants were satisfied with the service they received from DWP, compared with an average of 82 per cent across all 10 benefits surveyed.The report covered the period from summer 2014 to summer 2015.PIP, which is gradually replacing working-age disability living allowance (DLA), has been mired in controversy, delays and backlogs ever since its launch in April 2013.Government documents have previously estimated that the number of working-age claimants would be cut by as much as 28 per cent by 2018, with 900,000 fewer people receiving PIP than if DLA had not been replaced.Some disabled people had to wait more than a year just to be assessed, while Atos – one of two government contractors carrying out the assessments – had to fend off claims that it misled the government over how many assessment centres it would provide across London and the south of England.And earlier this month, research by Caroline Richardson, Stef Benstead and Emma Nock for the user-led Spartacus online network concluded that DWP had failed to provide “adequate” or “robust” evidence to justify changes set to tighten eligibility for PIP, through changes to how assessments take account of the way a claimant uses independent living aids and appliances.In the survey, one in five PIP claimants (19 per cent) believed they had received incorrect or contradictory information, while only two-thirds (69 per cent) said that DWP had done what it had said it would do (compared with an average of 87 per cent across all 10 benefits).And more than a quarter (26 per cent) of PIP claimants reported some difficulties or problems in their dealings with DWP, compared to 12 per cent overall, and as low as four per cent for attendance allowance and five per cent for state pension claimants.Overall levels of satisfaction were lower and levels of dissatisfaction were higher for PIP than for any of the other nine benefits.But there was some good news for DWP, as the survey showed that, for each of the 10 benefits, more than 90 per cent of staff encountered in person were polite.For all but three of the benefits, this level of satisfaction was at least 96 per cent, while for PIP it was 97 per cent, although based on a sample size of just 38.The report, commissioned by DWP, concluded that PIP claimants were “more likely to report their calls left unanswered; explanations of decisions inadequate; information incorrect or contradictory; timings unclear; and progress updates lacking”.A DWP spokeswoman said: “The survey results show the significant progress made since the PIP rollout began in 2013.“The vast majority of claimants have been satisfied with the service they were provided with, but we’re not complacent and are making improvements.“Crucially, PIP decisions are now made in 11 weeks – three times faster than in January 2014.“Since the introduction of PIP we have continued to make improvements to the system.“We accepted the majority of the recommendations of the first independent review of PIP, carried out by Paul Gray, and have also recently changed the process for providing support to terminally-ill people, meaning they now receive their payments at an earlier point than ever before.”last_img read more

A council has been accused of being vindictive a

first_imgA council has been accused of being “vindictive” and trying to “silence” a disabled people’s organisation (DPO) by withdrawing funding for its advice service, just months after the DPO published a critical report about social care provision in the borough.Labour-runMerton council, in south-west London, has been accused of discriminatingagainst disabled people by withdrawing funding from the only advice service inthe borough that provides welfare rights experts who will visit disabled peoplein their own homes.Thecouncil’s equality impact assessment of the decision to withdraw funding from Merton Centre for Independent Living (MCIL)* concluded that it provided “high qualitycasework support” and was “serving a small number of vulnerable disabled peoplevery well”.It alsoconcluded that the loss of funding would mean “potentially a negative impactidentified for deaf and disabled residents”.But thecouncil decided not to offer funding of £75,000 a year to replace an existing£80,000-a-year grant, arguing that MCIL’s high-intensity service was helpingtoo few people.MCIL willcontinue to provide advice and advocacy services in welfare rights and socialcare, and visit service-users at home, but it has had to close its housingadvice service.The loss ofthe funding may also impact other services, including the advice and support itprovides to victims of disability hate crime.Last October, MCIL published a 96-page report intothe flaws and failings of Merton council’s adult social care provision.That report concludedthat a growing number of disabled people were resorting to legal action againstthe council to secure the support they needed, and warned that Merton council appearedto be carrying out reassessments and reviews of people’s care packages with theaim of cutting their support.RoyBenjamin, MCIL’s chair, said he believed the council was now being “vindictive”in the wake of the social care report.He said: “Itis very much about settling scores. I feel angry… because we are a strong voiceand it’s an attempt to silence us, and clearly any decision to cut ourresources is going to impact on our ability to meet the needs [of disabledpeople in the borough].”He added: “Wealready were not in a position to meet all the need that was identified. Thisis only going to exacerbate [that].”Last year,MCIL supported 332 individual Deaf and disabled people with advice andcasework, and provided information, signposting and guidance in another 170cases, leading to a contribution of nearly £700,000 to the local economy in2017-18.Benjaminsaid it was an “irrational decision” and “discrimination” to cut the funding, becauseof its impact on disabled people who find it difficult to access mainstreamservices.MCILprovides a high-intensity advice service, often following disability benefitscases right through to the appeal stage.Benjaminsaid: “We are the only pan-disability organisation in the borough. We are theonly organisation that offers any sort of domiciliary service for those peoplewho can’t get to [Citizen’s Advice] or other advice providers.”MCIL wasoriginally one of six partners that put together a joint bid for funding.When thatbid was unsuccessful, the council asked the six individual organisations to putin individual bids for funding. MCIL said itwas the only one of the six that was unsuccessful in its bid for funding.The councilnow provides no funding at all to MCIL.A Mertoncouncil spokesperson refused to answer a series of questions about whether itwas being “vindictive” and “settling scores”, if it was discriminating againstdisabled people, and why it ignored the conclusions of its equality impactassessment.But EdithMacauley, the cabinet member for community safety, engagement and equalities,said in a statement: “Merton is one of only a few London boroughs not to havecut overall funding for the voluntary sector and we are spending around£4million between 2019 and 2022.   “All bidsfor funding of the information and advice element of the Strategic PartnerProgramme 2019-22 were scored against the funding criteria, but not everyorganisation’s bid was successful. “MertonCentre for Independent Living’s two bids, the first of which was as part of aconsortium and the second bid in a round which was only open to unsuccessfulbidders from the first round, scored less highly than the other bids which werereceived. “Merton CILchallenged their score, which was upheld after their bid was reviewed by acouncil officer who was unconnected to it.     “Theprogramme has commissioned a wide range of high quality and accessible supportthrough this funding, including a central information and advice offer,complemented by a range of services, including specialist legal support andservices with proven outreach to communities with some of the most challengingneeds. “We havebeen actively working with Merton CIL and our new providers to ensure thatanyone who needs advice and support has access to it.”*To donate money to Merton CIL, visit this pagePicture: Roy Benjamin (with guide dog) at a sponsored walk to raise funds for MCIL in 2015last_img read more

VoIPs SIP Explained

first_img FEATURES $300 Zultys Technologies ZIP 2×2 Put a sip in your setup, and take your telephones to a whole new level. –shares (866) GO-AVAYA Grandstream Networks GXP-2000 PoE, speakerphone, call encryption $230 4 min read Add to Queue The analog phone may soon be relegated to the world of 8-tracks and brick-size cell phones. When you look at moving up to VoIP, those old desk clunkers will be the first to go. In their place, you’ll get something new, and there’s a good chance it will be a SIP phone. SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol, a signaling protocol that establishes sessions in an IP network. A session may be a simple two-way voice call, or it might be something more advanced, involving conferencing or multimedia. Most important, it’s become a hot choice for VoIP systems.One nice feature of SIP is interoperability. You’re not necessarily tied to one vendor. You could install a SIP-based IP PBX from one vendor and SIP phones from another. That’s good news for growing businesses that already have an IP-PBX system and are looking to upgrade or expand their stables of desk phones. You have a wide variety of choices, so you can shop for features, voice quality and price.What’s really glamorous about SIP is that all its extra feature potential makes your standard, plain-old-telephone-service phones look like old appliances. We’re talking about unified messaging, click-to-call and teleconferencing, among other features. Chances are, you can find one to fit all your business needs.The Zultys Technologies ZIP 2×2, a $230 (all prices street) upper-midrange phone in their line, features two Ethernet ports, Power over Ethernet and three-way teleconferencing. The phone also sports advanced encryption standard, a good idea for sensitive conversations and for entrepreneurs working in the legal field.The $280 Cisco 7940G comes stocked with a large display, a built-in headset port and a speakerphone. Cisco aims this particular phone at “transaction type” workers, and it comes with two programmable line and feature keys. In the same price range, the $300 Siemens OptiPoint 410 Standard also comes with PoE, a speakerphone and a built-in LAN switch.In the budget range, the Grandstream Networks GXP-2000 comes in at a very affordable $110. You still get two Ethernet ports and multiparty conferencing, and you can add PoE with an optional cable kit. The Avaya 4602SW IP Telephone, on the other hand, lands in the middle of our price range at $170, with 12 programmable call appearance/feature keys, two Ethernet ports and a speakerphone. All the major SIP phone manufacturers have a variety of models, with differences coming down to features like display size, ability to customize and number of call appearances.Other considerations include whether you prefer physical buttons to access most features or don’t mind scrolling through a display menu. Voice quality is always a top priority, so look for phones with good jitter-buffer technology. Also, if you have Cisco equipment and want to use PoE, be sure the SIP phones you buy support Cisco’s pre-standard proprietary version of PoE.Other manufacturers to check into include Alcatel, Nortel Networks, Polycom, Snom Technologyand Tiger Netcom. Some IP phone manufacturers are planning to make SIP upgrades to some of their existing phones via a firmware update. Talk to your IT consultant or value-added reseller and fellow business owners for information and recommendations. Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand PoE, speakerphone, built-in LAN switch CONTACT ETHERNET PORTS New SIP-based VoIP phones will keep you chatting on the cutting edge. 2 Avaya 4602SW IP Telephone Amanda C. Kooser Shopping List 2 $170 2 Next Article MANUFACTURER/ MODEL 2 Magazine Contributor PoE, speakerphone, built-in headset port October 1, 2005 PoE, speakerphone 2 (800) 553-NETS (800) SIEMENS $110 Siemens OptiPoint 410 Standard $280 (408) 328-0450 Technology Cisco 7940G STREET PRICE PoE, speakerphone, built-in headset port VoIP’s SIP Explained This story appears in the October 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Enroll Now for $5last_img read more

Facebook adds new tools to stem online bullying

first_img The initiative calls for new tools and programs to help users control “unwanted, offensive or hurtful experiences on Facebook,” global head of safety Antigone Davis said in a blog post.”Everyone deserves to feel safe on Facebook,” Davis said.Facebook users will be able to hide or delete groups of comments, including responses, instead of having to remove them one at a time, according to Davis.The feature was rolling out on desktop computers and Android-powered mobile devices, and promised to reach versions of the application on Apple gadgets in coming months.Facebook also began letting people report bullying or harassment on behalf of friends reluctant to complain to the social network themselves.”Being the target of unwanted attention can be stressful and some people may not feel comfortable reporting a bully or harasser,” Davis said.”If you see a friend or family member being bullied or harassed, now you can report someone on their behalf.”A team at Facebook reviews complaints to determine whether reported posts violate policies at the social network.An appeals process implemented earlier this year regarding photos, videos, or posts taken down due to hateful, violent, or sexually explicit content will extend to decisions regarding bullying, according to Facebook.”You will soon be able to ask for a further review if you report a piece of content for bullying or harassment and you think we made a mistake in determining whether it violates our policies,” Davis said.Facebook is also testing ways to let users search for or block words considered offensive in comment sections of their posts. A majority of US teenagers say they have been victims of online harassment or bullying, and that social media companies aren’t doing enough to fight the problem, a recent survey showed.The Pew Research Center survey found that 59 percent of US teens reported being bullied or harassed online, and 63 percent said it was a major problem for people their age.”Name-calling and rumor-spreading have long been an unpleasant and challenging aspect of adolescent life,” said Monica Anderson, the lead researcher for the Pew report.”But, the proliferation of smartphones and the rise of social media has transformed where, when and how bullying takes place,” Facebook on Tuesday stepped up ways to battle bullying and harassment at the leading social network. Facebook says it will add new tools to help users avoid unwanted or hurtful comments, amid growing concerns about cyberbullying on social networks Online harassment a problem for many US teens: survey This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img Citation: Facebook adds new tools to stem online bullying (2018, October 2) retrieved 17 July 2019 from © 2018 AFP Explore furtherlast_img read more

Evidence against bishop Franco Mulakkal in Kerala nun rape case police

first_imgSHARE SHARE EMAIL crime, law and justice RELATED Sexual assault charge: police inspect room where Bishop stayed COMMENT gender Published on Keralacenter_img COMMENTS courts and legal As per the initial investigation of the police, Roman Catholic Bishop of Jalandhar Franco Mulakkal abused his position and repeatedly raped a nun from Kerala, a special team probing the case told the Kerala high court today.Responding to a petition seeking speedy investigation, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Kottayam, K Subhash informed the court that the investigation was proceeding effectively and impartially. After the submission by the officer, the HC disposed of the petition with a direction to the police to investigate the case properly.The government counsel told Justice B Sudheendra Kumar that a decision on arresting Mulakkal, who has so far claimed innocence, will be taken after he is interrogated and evidence is examined.In the statement, Subhash said he and his team would continue their investigation in Jalandhar.The police statement was based on initial investigation and available evidence. It is revealed that the accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal committed unnatural offence and committed rape repeatedly on the nun against her will, the statement read.The bishop confined the nun to a guestroom in St Francis Mission Home in Kuravilangad in Kottayam district of Kerala, the statement alleged.No laxity or indifference has been shown till date in the investigation of the case, it said.The petition was filed by the Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement (KCRM), which claimed that the police were not taking speedy action in the case.In her complaint lodged with Kottayam district police, the nun accused Mulakkal of raping and having unnatural sex with her multiple times between 2014 and 2016.State police chief Loknath Behera on August 1 reviewed the progress of the case and permitted the investigation team to proceed to Jalandhar, New Delhi and other cities as part of the investigations. SHARE August 13, 2018 religionlast_img read more

Singapore cautions wealth managers on aggressively courting HK business

first_imgSINGAPORE/HONG KONG: Singapore has cautioned wealth managers against aggressively marketing their services or making other efforts to woo clients to the city state by capitalising on rival Hong Kong’s political turmoil, people with knowledge of the matter said.Officials from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) made the request last month to wealth managers, including DBS and a unit of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, the people said, declining to be identified given the sensitivity of the matter.The central bank told bankers it wanted to ensure wealth managers in Singapore were sensitive to the situation in Hong Kong and did not design campaigns specifically targeting business from Hong Kong, the people said.The move comes as Hong Kong has been thrown into turmoil by a proposed extradition bill – declared dead this week by its CEO Carrie Lam – that for the first time would have allowed China to seek extraditions from the city, sparking demonstrations that attracted at least a million protesters. Corporate News 28 May 2019 Asia’s billionaires develop taste for boutique wealth managers Related News Related News World 28 Jun 2019 Wealth managers head to Singapore as China concerns dim Hong Kong’s lure Tags / Keywords:center_img Business News 10 Jul 2019 Hong Kong’s penny stock enigma remains unsolved {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} Some tycoons in the Chinese-controlled territory have moved funds, or considered doing so, given provisions in the bill that would have allowed China to potentially freeze funds or other assets in the city.The unrest has also encouraged some wealth managers to choose to set up in Singapore after also considering Hong Kong, the main offshore hubs for wealth management in Asia, Reuters has reported.When asked for a comment for this story, MAS referred to comments last month by its managing director, Ravi Menon, that there were no signs of “any significant shift of business or funds” from Hong Kong to Singapore.He had said that any upheaval in Hong Kong could actually be negative for Singapore.It was not immediately clear how many banks had received the MAS guidance. Private banks routinely and legally help clients to move and manage their assets in different parts of the world.”The message was that we shouldn’t be taking undue advantage of what’s going on in Hong Kong,” a senior banking source said on condition of anonymity.”We have to act responsibly and not launch campaigns to convince clients that this is a good time for them to move their assets,” he said, adding he was not aware of any banks making a big push to get business from Hong Kong in the current climate.”We are getting a lot of enquiries. What can we do if clients are looking to moving money here? We can’t stop the flows,” the Singapore-based banking source added.DBS and OCBC declined to comment.Offshore moveHong Kong and Singapore compete fiercely to be considered Asia’s premier financial centre. Global private banks including Credit Suisse and UBS, as well as Asian wealth managers have their regional operations in the two hubs.The riches held by Hong Kong’s tycoons have until now made the city the larger private wealth base, with 853 individuals worth more than $100 million – just over double the number in Singapore, according to a 2018 report from Credit Suisse.Singaporean banks, including DBS and OCBC, have been rapidly expanding their businesses in Hong Kong and China over the past few years, and the Greater China region accounts for a significant portion of their revenue.Like their global peers, Singaporean wealth managers also have Greater China desks in Singapore dedicated to clients in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan and help them open bank accounts and set up family offices or trusts.”The fact is that we are getting inquiries from clients in Hong Kong. They want to know how this will impact their assets and the Hong Kong markets,” an industry executive said.”If they really want to move offshore, we have to help them with that,” the executive added. – Reuters Bankinglast_img read more