SwitchGuard keeps your Nintendo Switch safe from thieves filthy paws

first_imgThe SwitchGuard is pretty self-explanatory. Pintoro It’s safe to say just about everyone wants a Nintendo Switch, making it a prime target for thieves.Pintoro is offering deterrent in the form of SwitchGuard, a clear acrylic lockbox designed to keep the portable console safe from unwelcome hands, as previously reported by Nintendo Life.”The best way to deter theft of your Nintendo Switch at a tournament, in your dorm, in an office, or in your home!” the company wrote. The 29 best games on the Nintendo Switch Post a comment Gaming Accessories Consoles 29 Photos Now playing: Watch this: 2:38 Charge your Nintendo Switch over-the-aircenter_img The box costs $50, which is pricey but cheaper than replacing your Switch if it gets snatched. Nintendo sold more than 8.7 million units of the Switch between its March 2017 launch and November 2018, and it’s expected to sell 17.3 million worldwide in 2019, so there are no doubt plenty of concerned owners out there.First published at 6:31 a.m. PT.Updated at 7:20 a.m PT: Adds Pintoro comment.Nintendo Switch review: Pure fun on a big-screen TV or on the go.Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is out: Here’s everything you need to know. The top lock stops people from getting at the Switch inside, while a cable lock and slot secure the SwitchGuard itself. It also has numerous cutouts for ventilation — Switches can get pretty hot! — and for you to run various cables through.The company acknowledges that the box is more of the deterrent than an absolute security solution. It could be smashed open with a hammer when you bring it to a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament.”The SwitchGuard is an excellent option for deterring thieves from picking up your Switch and just walking away,” Pintoro wrote in an emailed statement. 0 Share your voice Tags Nintendolast_img read more

Videos show how Punjabi families illegally cross over to the US

first_img IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPauseMute0:01/1:34Loaded: 0%0:01Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE-1:33?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading … The U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona.ReutersVideos of what appear to be Punjabis illegally crossing the US-Mexico border have surfaced. The clips show men, women and children squeezing through a gap in a tall black fence separating the United States and Mexico. While the gaps between the rods are very small, one gap is big enough for a slim person to fit through.After they crossed the fence, they had to go through a barbed wire with the help of traffickers. The traffickers then instructed them to take care and bid them farewell.In one of the clips, a Punjabi woman can be heard saying, “Mein taan langh nahin sakdee (I can’t cross)” but goes through the passage into the US after four other people including two children go through the gap and show her how.Another short video shows a woman with a small boy and a male companion with two bags go through the same passage onto the other side.A third video shows two young girls, accompanied by two women and three men cross the border. They help each other while the traffickers instruct them to go slow.Times of India reported that Satnam Singh Chahal, executive director of North American Punjabi Association, said that women and children crossing the border is a new trend. Chahal went on to explain that while he understood women being asylum seekers, he was surprised by the number of children the parents took along.”If these videos reflect the desperation of Punjabi families to reach abroad along with their kids, they also reflect very poorly on the governments back home. These videos also show hopelessness and complete lack of faith among people in the governments,” Chahal was quoted as saying by TOI.The videos come just a month after six-year-old Gurupreet Kaur died of a heat stroke in the Arizona desert when she and her family illegally crossed into the US from Mexico. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib Respond To Trumps Racist Tweetscenter_img Closelast_img read more

White House again hit with staff upheavals

first_imgUS president Donald Trump speaks to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly after an event with reporters in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US on 10 October. Photo: ReutersAnother round of upheaval engulfed president Donald Trump’s White House on Tuesday, with the future of several senior aides in doubt just a week after U.S. congressional elections.Three Trump cabinet members – chief of staff John Kelly, homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and interior secretary Ryan Zinke – could soon be gone, said sources familiar with internal discussions in the Republican administration.Turnover among White House personnel paused during the run-up to last week’s elections after senior Republicans asked Trump to refrain from firing staff, hoping to minimize perceptions of disorder.Attorney general Jeff Sessions was forced out by Trump last week just hours after the results came in from the 6 November elections, which handed majority control of the House of Representatives to Democrats.Trump’s first 22 months in office have seen frequent shakeups. A study this year by the Brookings Institution, a think tank, found Trump’s White House has had the highest turnover of senior-level staff of the past five presidents.In an unusual move, sources said, Trump was also ready to dismiss Mira Ricardel, deputy national security advisor, at the request of his wife, Melania Trump, after a clash between the two over the first lady’s recent trip to Africa.Melania Trump’s office acknowledged the acrimony.Trump was expected to remove Nielsen, a source close to the White House said. Nielsen took the job after Trump made Kelly his chief of staff. But now the president is considering getting rid of both them, the source said.Zinke has been under investigation for several ethics controversies including travel and a business deal in his home state of Montana, casting doubt on how long he would remain at the helm of the agency.A final decision on his future could be postponed beyond this week. He is scheduled to travel to California on Wednesday and Thursday to visit communities hit by deadly wildfires, the Interior Department said on Tuesday.Trump last week said Zinke was doing an “excellent job” but left open the possibility of replacing him. “We’re looking at that, and I do want to study whatever is being said,” Trump told reporters last week.Adding to the sense of upheaval at the White House, Special Counsel Robert Mueller was planning to file more indictments in his 18-month investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign, sources said.last_img read more

Theater District Open House A Peek Behind The Curtain Of The Alley

first_img 00:00 /10:41 Listen Share X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: – / 7Amy Bishop sits down with the Alley Theatre’s Managing Director, Dean Gladden, to preview the company’s 2016-2017 season. A few of the highlights include:A description of an upcoming Hip Hop playA vampire story written by the creators of the recent Harry Potter stage productionA local playwright from Cypress, TX, who is making his Alley debutA tribute to the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s deathThe final run of the current version of A Christmas Carol… And more!last_img

Webster Donation Puts JSC Mission Control Restoration Into Hyperdrive

first_img 00:00 /01:13 Space Center HoustonSpace Center Houston hopes to restore Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center to exactly as it looked during the Apollo years.The $3.5 million donation will be funded by the hotel occupancy tax. Hotels expect the control room restoration will attract more overnight stays from visitors to the area. William Harris is president and CEO of the non-profit Space Center Houston.“Currently it’s one of our most popular stops on the behind-the-scenes tram tour of Johnson Space Center, and you can go into the visitation area and we do an orientation so people can see the actual room through the glass, exactly.” The control room on the floor below continues to be used for the International Space Station. Space Center Houston is raising $5 million for the renovation to the second floor control center, which was declared a National Historic Landmark and taken out of operation in 1995.“Our goal is to restore it to the Apollo era. So, restore the consoles, illuminate them, add other artifacts, so it looks like a working space as it did, you know, forty, fifty years ago.” Curators can look at old pictures and film to see how the control room once looked, and retired control center employees are helping to convey what the environment was like. The Space Center hopes to complete restoration by 2019, in time for the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. Share To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: X Listenlast_img read more

Seven new giant radio galaxies discovered

first_img GRG are radio galaxies with an overall projected linear length exceeding at least 3.3 million light years. They are rare objects grown in low-density environments. GRGs are important for astronomers to study the formation and the evolution of radio sources.Jonatan Rentería Macario of the Autonomous University of Zacatecas and Heinz Andernach of the University of Guanajuato have lately analyzed images available in two recent radio surveys covering large areas of sky. The data provided by the Jansky Very Large Array (JVLA) 1-2 GHz Snapshot Survey of SDSS Stripe82 and the 150-MHz LOFAR Two-metre Sky Survey Preliminary Data Release (LoTSS-PDR) allowed the researchers to distinguish an impressive number of more than 2,000 extended features suggesting the presence of large radio galaxies. As a result, they confirmed the existence of seven new GRGs.”For our search, we selected two recent radio surveys that cover large areas of sky. (…) Here, we report the discovery of seven new GRGs in two recent surveys, the JVLA 1-2 GHz Snapshot Survey of SDSS Stripe82 and the 150-MHz LOFAR Two-metre Sky Survey Preliminary Data Release (LoTSS-PDR),” the authors wrote in the paper.Two of the seven new GRGs reported in the paper were detected by the JVLA Snapshot Survey, while the rest was found the data provided by LoTSS-PDR. The largest of the newly discovered GRGs, designated J1301+5105, has the projected linear size of about 8.44 million light years, making it one of the biggest giant radio galaxies known to date. Currently, with a projected size of approximately 16 million light years, the J1420-0545 holds the title of the largest giant radio galaxy discovered so far.J0152+0015 is the smallest GRG reported in the study. Its projected linear size is approximately 3.35 million light years. The rest of the giant radio galaxies reported in the paper have sizes ranging from 4.08 to 5.09 million light years. According to the study, other interesting radio sources found by the two surveys will be inspected in more detail in the future, which could reveal the presence of more GRGs, especially radio-faint and distant ones.In concluding remarks, the researchers noted that their discovery proved that visual inspection of radio images is a successful method for finding new GRGs. “Our results show that current and forthcoming low-frequency surveys with excellent sensitivity to low surface brightness features have a large potential to discover significant amounts of giant radio galaxies as well as sources of complex or currently unknown types of morphologies,” the authors concluded. GRG J1301+5105 in LoTSS-PDR. The cross marks the host and the straight line is 10.3′ long. Credit: Macario and Andernach, 2017. Giant radio galaxy found by Indian astronomers © 2017 Phys.org (Phys.org)—Mexican astronomers report the discovery of seven new large extragalactic radio sources called giant radio galaxies (GRG). The GRGs were found by visual inspection of radio images provided by two astronomical radio surveys. The findings were presented October 31 in a paper published on arXiv.org. More information: New Giant Radio Galaxies in the SDSS-JVLA Stripe82 and LoTSS-PDR Survey, arXiv:1710.10731 [astro-ph.GA] arxiv.org/abs/1710.10731AbstractExtragalactic radio sources with projected linear size larger than one Megaparsec 1 Mpc = 3.09e22 m = 3.3e6 light years) are called Giant Radio Galaxies (GRGs) or quasars (GRQs). Over the past few years our search for such objects by visual inspection of large-scale radio surveys like the NRAO VLA Sky Survey (NVSS) and Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty Centimeters (FIRST) has allowed us to quadruple the number of GRGs published in literature. Here we report the discovery of 7 new GRGs in two recent surveys, the JVLA 1-2 GHz Snapshot Survey of SDSS Stripe82 and the 150-MHz LOFAR Two-metre Sky Survey Preliminary Data Release (LoTSS-PDR). Citation: Seven new giant radio galaxies discovered (2017, November 7) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-11-giant-radio-galaxies.html Explore further 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.last_img read more

KMDA to set up foot overbridges to smoothen traffic

first_imgKolkata: Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) has decided to set up a few foot overbridges on Kazi Nazrul Islam Sarani and Eastern Metropolitan Bypass for faster movement of traffic and safety of the pedestrians.An underpass and a pedestrian footbridge will come up at Ruby intersection. Because of heavy traffic crossing the stretch on EM Bypass near Ruby, commutation has become a nightmare for the pedestrians. Because of offices, the concentration of people surrounding Ruby is fast increasing. The underpass will come up on the Mukundapur side while the foot overbridge will be constructed near the station of Garia-Airport Metro route. Experts suggested that there will be a huge concentration of people along EM Bypass and unless steps are not taken now, it will difficult to manage traffic and pedestrian movement in a few years’ time. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeFoot overbridges will also come up at the intersection of Ajaynagar and Patuli. Both these areas are accident prone as pedestrians find it difficult to cross EM Bypass. The pedestrian flyover will create an uninterrupted flow of traffic along the stretch. Foot overbridge will also come up at Dum Dum Park crossing. Once these foot overbridges come up, the time taken to travel to Kolkata Airport from Garia will lessen. Also, they will minimise the number of road accidents.last_img read more

Married LGBT adults healthier happier Study

first_imgFor years, studies have linked marriage with happiness among heterosexual couples. A new study now shows that the benefits of marriage extend to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) couples as well.In the study, published in the journal The Gerontologist, LGBT participants who were married reported better physical and mental health, more social support and greater financial resources than those who were single. For the research, Jayn Goldsen from the University of Washington, and her colleagues used survey data from more than 1,800 LGBT people, aged 50 and older, in locations where gay marriage was already legal in the US in 2014. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfAbout one-fourth were married, another fourth were in a committed relationship and half were single. Married respondents had spent an average of 23 years together, while those in a committed, unmarried relationship had spent an average of 16 years.Among the study participants, more women were married than men.Researchers found that, in general, participants in a relationship, whether married or in a long-term partnership, showed better health outcomes than those who were single. But those who were married fared even better, both socially and financially, than couples in unmarried, long-term partnerships.Single LGBT adults were more likely to have a disability; to report lower physical, psychological, social and environmental quality of life; and to have experienced the death of a partner, especially among men, the findings showed.last_img read more

Jackfruit seeds could substitute cocoa beans to make chocolate

first_imgNew research has found that the seeds of jackfruit – a large fruit found in many tropical countries – are a potentially low-cost substitute for cocoa beans, the primary ingredient of chocolate.Considering that the worldwide demand for chocolate is outstripping the production of cocoa beans, the finding reported in the American Chemical Society Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry would be welcome news for chocolate lovers.While in some countries, the sweet-smelling jackfruit seeds are boiled, steamed and roasted before eating, providing a cheap source of fibre, protein and minerals, they are mostly thrown away as waste. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfGlobally, farmers produce about 3.7 million tonnes of cocoa annually, but estimates suggest that demand for these beans will grow to 4.5 million tonnes by 2020.Researchers at the University of São Paulo who were looking to put the waste jackfruit seeds to better use discovered that compounds found in them produce many of the same aromas as processed cocoa beans and therefore could potentially be a cheap substitute for use in chocolate manufacturing. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe Brazilian researchers made jackfruit seed flours by acidifying or fermenting the seeds prior to drying. They roasted these flours for various times and temperatures using processes similar to those used to enhance the chocolaty flavour of cocoa beans.Using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, the team identified several compounds from the jackfruit flours that give chocolate its distinctive aromas – such as caramel, hazelnut or fruity.While there are several reports on the use of waste jackfruit seeds to produce starch, “for the first time we found that after roasting, jackfruit seeds imparted an aroma similar to that of chocolate”, the researchers say.They conclude that the cheap and abundant jackfruit seeds are thus “a potential replacement” for cocoa beans for the manufacture of chocolate.last_img read more

Major bus timetable shakeup starts TODAY and heres the affected routes

first_imgGet the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailBus passengers face yet more timetable changes from today as two of the region’s main operators amend a number of journeys. Bosses at First Potteries say traffic congestion in Stoke-on-Trent has been a factor behind the move. D&G has also announced revised timetables for some services. Areas affected include Hanley, Endon, Newcastle, Trentham, Blurton and Clayton. It marks another set of changes for passengers to digest, with First making what bosses called ‘minor adjustments’ at the end of October. Read MoreStoke-on-Trent bus journeys fall by FIVE MILLION in seven years (and the new bus station is being blamed) Now the firm has listed 13 services that will be affected, with some involving frequency changes and others new timetables. Meanwhile, D&G will be altering three. Police search for missing woman “With all the constant changes to the timetables, it makes it really difficult for me to keep up to date. I’ve noticed that lots of older people who live close to me are having to catch taxis together to get about. “They have a bus pass, but because the buses are so unreliable, there’s no point in using them.” Last month, StokeonTrentLive reported that the city had seen the second biggest decline in bus use in the country – going from 15.6 million in 2009/10 to 10.3 million in 2016/17. Bus user Megan O’Donnell, aged 17, from Tunstall, added: “I don’t like that the 99 service has gone on a Sunday. This will affect my future weekend plans.” Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us @SOTLive or message us on our Facebook page . And if you have pictures to share, tag us on Instagram at StokeonTrentLive . Punter found hiding in bushes Driver named following fatal collisioncenter_img First Potteries has announced changes The changes will also see D&G taking over the 8A service from Hanley to Endon. Previous operator First withdrew the service, meaning none of its buses would go from the Norton Arms pub to Endon. D&G says it will run hourly from the city centre to Endon, taking in Smallthorne, Norton and Brown Edge. First’s changes explainedServices 3/3A Hanley – Tunstall – Kidsgrove – Talke/Crewe Minor changes to bus times on Mondays to Saturdays Services 4/4A Hanley – Newcastle – Chesterton – Audley/Kidsgrove Frequency changes on Saturday mornings and late afternoon timetable Service 5 Hanley – Abbey Hulton Late Saturday afternoon buses are retimed and will not serve Stafford Street in Hanley Services 6/6A Hanley – Victoria Road – Longton – Meir – Coalville/Blythe Bridge Frequency changes on Saturday morning and late afternoon timetable. Minor changes on Mondays to Fridays. Services 7/7A Hanley – Smallthorne – Chell – Kidsgrove/Biddulph New timetable, 7 days a week. Services 8/8A Hanley – Norton – Ball Green/Endon Service 8A is withdrawn so the section of route between Norton Arms and Endon will no longer be served by First buses. D&G is providing a replacement. A new timetable is introduced between Hanley and Ball Green Services 11/12/12A Hanley – Bentilee – Longton – Newcastle New timetable seven-days-a-week. Services 21/21A Hanley – Stoke – Hanford – Trentham Service 21A will no longer operate. There will be a new 21 timetable, with all trips serving Pacific Road and Constance Avenue Services 23/23A Hanley – Stoke – Blurton – Newstead Service 23A will no longer operate. There will be a new 23 timetable, with all trips serving Christchurch Street and Station Bridge Road. Service 37 Meir – Hanley – Newcastle – Lymedale Business Park Trips towards Lymedale will depart from Meir slightly earlier Services 72/72A Newcastle – Clayton – Westbury Park Amended arrival times in Newcastle Service 98 Newcastle – Porthill – Burslem – Smallthorne – Ball Green New timetable on Mondays to Saturdays Service 99 Newcastle – Porthill – Tunstall – Chell – Bradeley New timetable on Mondays to Saturdays. First says it is making the alterations in light of ‘increasing traffic congestion’ in the Potteries. A spokesman said: “We are making a small number of changes to our services, which will see changes to journey times on some routes to combat increasing traffic congestion and changes in customer demand.” Kevin Crawford is D&G’s operations manager. He said: “These changes will help provide a better service to passengers. At the moment, the 2 and 9 routes end up running together at the same time between Hanley and Stoke. “These changes will mean that the services will be spaced out to provide a more regular and usable service to passengers.” D&G’s changes explainedService 23: Hanley – Stoke – Fenton – Blurton* This hourly service will run five minutes earlier. Blue 2: Hanley – Stoke – Royal Stoke University Hospital – Newcastle – Westbury Park* The service will no longer serve Clayton and Westbury Park and will instead terminate in Newcastle. Yellow 9: Biddulph – Bradeley – Hanley – Stoke – Penkhull – Royal Stoke University Hospital – Newcastle* This will be extended to replace the Blue 2 on the Clayton and Westbury Park section of the route. The routes will then be as currently served. Timings The timings of the buses will also be changed to provide a service every 15 minutes alternating between the Blue 2 and Yellow 9 between Newcastle and Hanley via Royal Stoke University Hospital, Stoke, Stoke Railway Station and College Road. Yellow 9 will run between Westbury, Newcastle, Hospital, Penkhull, Stoke, College Road, Hanley, Smallthorne, Bradley and Biddulph up to every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday. Blue 2 will run between Birches Head, Hanley, College Road, Stoke, Hospital and Newcastle up to every 30 minutes Monday to Friday and between Birches Head and Hanley on Saturdays every 30 minutes. *Route details prior to changes Commenting on taking over the 8A, Kevin added: “We are delighted to be taking over the 8A from First Potteries, who currently operate this service. As soon as we heard that this service was being withdrawn, we put wheels in motion to ensure that the people along the route continued to receive a bus service. “We hope that people will continue to use the service and hope people will be pleasantly surprised.” Hanley bus station and, inset, a D&G bus But passengers say it is proving tricky keeping up with the regular changes to routes in North Staffordshire. Josephine Baddeley, from Etruria, said: “There aren’t enough buses from Etruria that go directly to Biddulph where I work. “There’s one around 9am, but it’s too late for me to catch. I then need to catch a bus to Hanley to then get the 7A service to work. Read MoreTop stories on StokeonTrentLive Dad slams ‘disgusting’ hospital windowlast_img read more

Multimedia Polska is beginning the integration of

first_imgMultimedia Polska is beginning the integration of Stream, the service it provider it agreed to acquire last year, and says it has identified additional synergies from the merger.The addition of Stream’s 99,000 subscribers to Multimedia Polska’s 728,000 as a result of the PLN153 million (€35 million) deal will give the operator a base of 827,000 or 1.668 million revenue-generating units, and 1.4 million homes passed, making it the country’s second largest operator.Mulimedia Polska said it planned to offer its full range of services to Stream’s customers, including broadband speeds of up to 120Mbps and its full range of digital TV services.Multimedia Polska president Andrzej Rogowski said the company had calculated it would not incur significant additional expenditure to upgrade Stream’s networks to offer its services.last_img read more

UK broadcaster Channel 5 is launching an ondemand

first_imgUK broadcaster Channel 5 is launching an on-demand player for its Milkshake! kids programming strand on connected TV platform YouView.Targeted at two-to-seven year-olds, Milkshake! offers a range of shows including Little Princess, Fifi and the Flowertots and Roary the Racing Car.“We’re very pleased to have Milkshake! on board and that they have chosen YouView as the platform on which to launch their player. We want YouView to entertain the entire family and, with favourites such as Mr Men available on-demand, there is no doubt kids will love the latest addition to YouView. We look forward to welcoming other content providers onto the YouView platform in due course,” said Richard Halton, CEO of YouView.last_img

Sky Deutschland is ontarget to become EBITDA posi

first_imgSky Deutschland is on-target to become EBITDA positive for the first time this year, benefitting from an increasingly “down-market” free-to-air market in country, according to vice president of on-demand programming Peter Schulz. Speaking at the Connected TV World Summit in London, Schulz said that Sky Deutschland still has a lot of potential to grow, with 3.4 million households subscribing to the service out of 38 million pay TV households, adding that Sky’s on-demand services are adding value to its core linear product and are helping it to “speak to a new type of customer.”“For the first time in history, we’re confident that this year on a yearly basis we will become EBITDA positive. So we’re on a turning point and we’re right in the middle of that new era of television,” said Schulz.“As many of you will know, for many years pay TV has struggled in Germany and there’s still a well established universe of free-to-air channels, operated by public broadcasters – two major private channel groups and of course a big variety of independent channels on top of that. These channels are all fighting each other for market share, but in that respect they seem to be placing their bets on volume, not so much on quality programming,” he added.Schulz said that while ad spend has not increased over the last couple of years, channel numbers keep increasing meaning that “content is spreading thinner across more channels.”“The trend is obvious. Free-to-air is even more down-market than ever before. And even though there are more channels to choose from, the value perception of the proposition of free-to-air television seems less compelling, which drives even more people to quality pay services,” he said.last_img read more

Rebecca Hawkes assesses the changing face of pay T

first_imgRebecca Hawkes assesses the changing face of pay TV broadcasting in the MENA region at a time of transition as new OTT TV services enter the fray and political crises disrupt the market.Pay TV operators in the Arabic-speaking world have long aimed to transcend both the dominance of free-to-air TV and the blight of content piracy. Now, being liberally added to the competitive mix is a dose of digital disruption.New sources of online entertainment are being lapped up by the growing digital-savvy, youthful population of an increasingly internet-connected Middle East and North Africa. In the space of just a few years, the region’s video-on-demand market has gone from sparse to distinctly crowded.The first regional over-the-top video players such as Icflix, Istikana and Starz Play Arabia were joined, in 2016, by US giants Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Then, in April 2017, Asian subscription video-on-demand service Iflix, backed by western pay-TV giants Liberty Global and Sky, entered the fray – in partnership with Bahrain-based telco Zain.By the end of this year, research analysts at IHS Markit forecast that MENA’s OTT video players will have a combined total of 1.33 million subscriptions, with the sector accounting for US$80 million (e68 million) in revenues. Yet, by the end of 2021, these figures will have escalated to 4.2 million subscribers and standalone revenues of US$360 million.Indeed, the compound annual growth rate for MENA’s OTT sector will be 35% between 2016 and 2021, says IHS. The CAGR for the regional pay TV sector during the same period is forecast to be just 6%.Gaining groundLionsgate-backed Starz Play Arabia, which launched its Hollywood-rich SVOD service in April 2015, announced in July it had attracted 700,000 paying subscribers – in large part through localising its offering and teaming up with local telecommunications companies for mobile and IPTV distribution and direct billing. In addition, it has priced its services according to the market, at US$7.99 in the Gulf, and US$4.99 in Maghreb countries such as Morocco.Starz Play’s CEO, Maaz Sheikh says the MENA-wide platform is now aiming to finish the year with over a million paying subscribers. “We are holding the leadership position in the market now and are on course for this but it’s still a challenging, competitive market,” he says. “We have areas that are performing better than expected at this point [of service development] such as the number of paid subscriptions, consumption and user engagement. However churn is higher than predicted, which is challenging.”Half of Starz Play’s UAE subscriber base also subscribes to Netflix, says Sheikh. “In the UAE Netflix’s premium western content is relevant to the large western expatriate population. However, when you go into North Africa, Netflix’s proposition is not so relevant to the local population,” he says. In North Africa Netflix is also priced more expensively than its competition, with its region-wide tiered price tag of between US$7.99 and US$11.99.Constantinos Papavassilopoulos, senior analyst at IHS Markit, agrees that while the US streaming giant remains a threat to the regional players, Netflix is not the leading SVOD service across the whole of MENA. Netflix itself does not publish regional subscription figures.“The price is high for most of the population living outside the Gulf, and the service is not yet localised, which is also hampering its growth,” explains Papavassilopoulos. “It also doesn’t have many direct billing agreements with local mobile telecommunications operators, like its competitors, and credit card penetration is low in MENA.”Indeed, rival platforms Icflix, Starz Play and MBC’s paid streaming service Shahid Plus have been very effective in this area, securing more than 40 deals between them with regional telcos. Netflix currently has an arrangement with Batelco in Bahrain, and Amazon is yet to announce any local partnerships.Shining StarsStarz Play is hoping to maximise its early-mover advantage, particularly in North Africa. For example, a recently announced strategic partnership with Orange Egypt will see Starz Play now bundled with the mobile operator’s 4G service, in what remains a lucrative market for content providers.CEO Sheikh also points to a growing subscriber base in Jordan, Morocco, and in Algeria where the launch of Starz Play bundled with Ooredoo Algeria has proved “very successful”. The platform is now offering 2,500 hours of Hollywood content in French, with prime content such as the latest Walking Dead shows airing on the same day as the US with French subtitles for Maghreb viewers.Diversifying its content further, Starz Play has also recently tied-up with YuppFlix to provide subscribers with 1,500 hours of South Asian movies. Subtitled in Arabic, the films are proving popular with both the large Indian diaspora and Arab audiences. “Our Bollywood consumption is, as expected, highest in the Gulf but it is also performing well in North Africa,” says Sheikh.Netflix, meanwhile, recently unveiled what is expected to be the start of its original Arabic content push. In October, it announced development of a stand-up comedy special with Lebanese comedian and actor Adel Karam. Produced by Creative Arab Talent and filmed in Beirut’s Casino du Liban, the show will stream to Netflix subscribers worldwide in 2018.Given its stated aim ‘to become a leading producer of quality localised content from all over the world’, similar announcements from Netflix are expected to follow. Netflix’s director of technology and corporate communications EMEA, Yann Lafargue, says that “one of our desires in the region is to find a great scripted series for the Middle East and this remains the case”.“With a US$6 billion budget for content production alone this year and US$7 billion for next year we are actively seeking to expand our Netflix audience base both in MENA and around the world through varied content offerings,” he says.Lafargue adds that in order to do so the company would look to “experienced creators with great stories to tell from all over the world, including the Middle East”.Adding locally produced content to predominantly western fare is a desire shared by Starz Play Arabia, which hopes to enter the local production market in 2018 with a strong Arabic drama series – both to attract subscribers and bring down the operator’s churn rate.One regional SVOD operator with a head start on local co-productions is Icflix, whose Moroccan film Burn Out, directed by Noureddine Lakhmari, celebrated its theatrical release on October 11 2017.CEO Carlos Tibi says that Arabic content has been the “key differentiator” for Icflix, over the past 18 months: “We [also] co-produced our first Tunisian feature Chbabek El-Jenna (Borders of Heaven) and launched our first animated TV series Dunia, introducing the first Arabian teen female superhero.”In addition, Icflix has produced the original Arabic social comedy WOH! in Tunisia.Since the Dubai-based MENA-wide SVOD service launched in 2013, it has registered 1.5 million users, says Tibi, to a service priced – like Starz Play – at US$7.99 in the Gulf and US$4.99 in the Maghreb.Tibi adds: “We have taken on board the many lessons learnt during the last four years of operation and have renewed our focus on original Arabic content as opposed to the over priced Hollywood films and series. With this strategy, we expect the company to move to profitability within 18 months to two years.”Asian influenceThe most recent SVOD entrant in the MENA market, Iflix, is also looking to local and regional content to fuel its success as it expands, from its home base in South East Asia, into emerging markets around the globe.Arriving in MENA this year, Iflix is now available in Kuwait, Saudi, Bahrain, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and Egypt. In the territories where its telco partner Zain operates, Iflix is bundled for free with the mobile service. It is also seeking further telco partnerships in markets such as Egypt where Zain does not operate.Iflix is also offered to consumers direct online or as an app, at a monthly price of US$4 in the Middle East or US$3 in North Africa.“There is no lock-in period as we didn’t want people to be afraid to try Iflix,” says Nader Sobhan, head of Iflix MENA. “Pay TV is still expensive for the mass market. The complexity of receiving content also alienates a large number of people from trying it. We want to democratise content.”The company, which was founded in 2015 by Malaysia’s Catcha Group and Evolution Media Capital, focuses on markets where, typically, pay TV penetration is low, data costs are high, there is little or no credit card penetration, and the need for ultra-compression and watching content offline is key. This makes MENA well suited to the service, which has already cut its teeth in Asia’s developing markets, says Sobhan.“I respect the industry we are in, which provides an amazing choice for the consumer but we’re not just targeting the elite, we are working in a mobile-first environment. This is not what anyone else [in MENA] has focused on,” says Sobhan. “Our model works…we have a data driven approach to content.”Rather than focusing on rival SVOD brands, the competition Iflix says it most fears in the region is piracy. Content theft is rife in MENA and although the quality and viewer experience is poor, pirates continue to attract viewers. “We need to design something that cannot be replicated. [To be successful] the experience must continue to be better and more engaging than that offered by pirates,” says Sobhan.On top of that, Iflix is placing teams on the ground to absorb cultural preferences and acquire local and regional content that is relevant to each part of the wider region.“We are a global player with local roots,” says Sobhan. “We can also apply our experience in Asia, knowing what content works, for example in the Philippines and Pakistan, and can apply that to the diaspora living in MENA.”Enduring providersAlthough the region’s OTT sector is moving at pace, it would be wrong to suggest that MENA’s established pay TV players are being pushed out of the picture.Indeed, premium pay TV operator OSN, which was born of the Orbit/Showtime Arabia merger in 2009, has been very active this year. Through aggressive pricing, packaging, and a revamped and renamed OTT service, it has now, says IHS’s Papavassilopoulos, “stopped the bleed of subscribers” witnessed in recent years.Long considered too expensive for much of the region’s population, OSN this year introduced flexible pricing, with a basic pack of 32 channels starting at US$20 in the Gulf and even less in North Africa. This has also enabled it to better compete with SVOD services offering slimmer packages of more affordable content.OSN’s “transformational strategy… reflects the ground realities of a growing population of young, tech-savvy consumers, seeking relevant exclusive content across multiple platforms,” explains CEO Martin Stewart. “Our strategy has been to recalibrate key parts of our business to ensure we align with the digital era, to ensure we achieve our short and long-term goals.”Doing this has meant becoming more “customer-centric” Stewart concedes. And by improving content delivery options and enlarging its subscriber base, OSN is also creating more value for the pay-TV platform’s stakeholders – a key factor in maintaining exclusivity deals with content studios.“One of the greatest challenges to the success of MENA’s pay TV sector remains penetration, as broadcasters continue to seek to improve both their subscriber and revenue market share,” says Stewart. “At OSN we address this by offering quality content, across various platforms, which caters to the diverse demographics in our region.”Other than Warner Bros, which is shifting its content to rival MENA pay TV platform beIN Media, OSN has retained regional content deals with the leading Hollywood studios, including Disney, Paramount, HBO, Universal and 21st Century Fox. Coupled with these western jewels, it has been amassing a treasure trove of Arabic, Pinoy and South Asian content.With attractive content and new flexible ways of consuming it, IHS senior analyst Papavassilopoulos believes there are now “huge opportunities in North Africa and the Levant for OSN to grow their market share by offering these slimmer subscription packages with lower pricing”.Stewart agrees these markets provide increased opportunities for pay TV operators, particularly as mobile penetration remains about 50% in North Africa and the Levant, compared to the 100% 4G penetration rate in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.While refusing to disclose subscriber numbers, Stewart confirms both OSN’s linear and digital platforms have recorded “consistent growth” this year. Currently its major markets are Kuwait and Saudi Arabia (home to OSN’s two shareholders KIPCO and Mawarid Holding), along with the UAE, where it is based.The implementation of the new pricing and packaging model has “significantly scaled up our subscriber base” and the August launch of the operator’s revamped OTT service WAVO has been “another big win for us this year”, says Stewart.Political repercussionsMore broadly, for MENA’s TV sector as a whole, 2017 has not been as buoyant a year as anticipated.Regional advertising revenues were squeezed as a result of tumbling oil prices and fiscal consolidation. Then, in June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt severed all diplomatic and economic ties with Arab neighbour Qatar.As a result, the four countries involved have banned the reception of Qatar’s Al Jazeera Media network and sister pay TV platform beIN Media.While beIN Media has since been reinstated in the UAE, new subscriptions to the pay TV platform remain forbidden and existing ones non-renewable in the huge TV markets of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, as well as in the smaller Gulf state of Bahrain.As a result, IHS’s Papavassilopoulos forecasts that “this is the first year since 2010” where there will be a drop in subscribers to pay TV services in MENA.“My estimate is that 2017 is a lost year, with a drop of 25% of subscribers because of political tensions in the region. We had estimated that there would be 5.6 million pay TV subscribers in MENA at the end of the year, but this figure is now revised to 4.2 million,” says the analyst.If regional political tensions continue, beIN Media could experience a 40% drop in its subscription base, believes Papavassilopoulos.“There has already been a significant commercial and financial impact on beIN and we could see a lasting affect on its image, particularly among Saudis and Egyptians,” he adds.OSN may inadvertently benefit from the migration of ex-beIN subscribers. However, content pirates also look to gain from Qatar’s economic isolation.Sports fans in countries affected by the beIN Media ban are now reliant on pirates to access hugely popular premium content such as English Premier League football, for which beIN holds the exclusive regional rights.Without a resolution to the political turmoil in sight, IHS estimates there will be a 16% drop in the region’s overall pay TV revenues in 2017 from the US$2.5 billion it had forecast to a total of US$2.1 billion.In spite of difficulties posed by the year’s events – both political and commercial – OSN CEO Stewart believes the future of pay TV in MENA remains bright.“Although the mobile revolution in MENA may be among the fastest in the world, overall broadband infrastructure and digital readiness is disparate across the region,” says Stewart. “There is tremendous opportunity for digital content while demand for linear TV is growing as customers become more specific about their preferences.”Ultimately, all those providing entertainment in MENA would agree with Stewart’s analysis: “The old formula of ‘one size fits all’ is not relevant anymore; operators have to provide content that is sought-after and relevant to the audience.”In FocusProducing the goods: content production in MENAThe Arabic production sector has, like many regional industries, faced diverse and often severe challenges lately. Syria’s production output has been crippled by war, while currency devaluation had a knock on-effect on operations in Egypt. Production in the Gulf is, however, on the increase, with state-of-the-art facilities and talent already present in the UAE. Saudi Arabia too plans to build a media city by 2023 and traditional media hub Lebanon has once again played host to key free-to-air TV productions in 2017.Across the board, more investment is expected in Arabic content from a less traditional source, thanks to the entrance of SVOD players with deep pockets, such as Netflix, Amazon, and Iflix.“The local content industry has been developing at a rapid pace over the past three to four years, especially in the Gulf. The free-to-air TV market is so strong in MENA that the whole industry has been conditioned by it and the type of content it requires. But this will change,” says Maaz Sheikh, CEO, Starz Play Arabia.Another believer in change, Nader Sobhan, CEO of Iflix, says: “The creativity that was there in the Arabic production market has been stifled by the Ramadan model. Arabic production is locked into making drama and comedy series often for that particular period – though the fall in ad revenues has slimmed down some of the big Ramadan productions.”He says Iflix is now looking at producing content in the ‘off-Ramadan’ season, as well as playing with different episode lengths, and with mini-series, and different genres – a break from what has been the regional norm. The SVOD platform, for example, has already acquired horror series Al Rahbus – not a common genre in the history of Arabic productions.Ultimately, Sobhan says: “Local producers are actively embracing us. Producers are always happy when there’s another buyer in the market.”Starz Play has aspirations to enter local content production market too “but the project has to be right; it has to different in the market and to wow our audience,” says CEO Sheikh.Netflix is yet to reveal its full hand, however, it has staged events in the UAE “and got Arabic content providers excited,” says Sheikh. Commentators await to see the results of regional tie-ups, but none doubt the US streaming giant will produce local content before long.OSN, meanwhile, remains committed to the local production industry. It has “both strategically and financially invested in the creation and facilitation of exclusive quality Arabic content for its customers across the region,” says CEO Martin Stewart.This year OSN has developed an all-new localised Arabic show called WWE Wal3ooha for OSN Sports, and is now airing the locally produced Qalb Al Adala (Justice), the UAE’s first ever legal drama (below). “We also exclusively premiered the first Saudi weekly series, Bashar, which features Saudi actors,” adds Stewart.Ultimately, investment from the region’s entertainment platforms gives, “the [local] content makers a platform and opportunity to express their art and creativity and allow them to grow and exist in the market,” says Iflix CEO Carlos Tibi. In FocusFlying free-to-air: broadcasters look to diversify in tough marketIt has not been a smooth year for MENA’s free TV sector, with the erosion in advertising budgets to digital competition proving troublesome for the region’s free-to-air players.“We entered 2017 cautiously optimistic but the year has proved more challenging than we were expecting, in terms of both revenues and content consumption,” says MBC’s official spokesman and group director commercial, PR and CSR, Mazen Hayek. “Home-grown turbulence linked to oil prices, government spending and consumer spending” have all made for a bumpy ride in 2017, he adds.While the company “remains cash-flow positive and the most lucrative, profit-making media group in the Arab world,” Hayek says MBC is now vigorously exploring other commercial avenues to absorb the fall in advertising. Just over a decade ago, advertising provided 90-95% of MBC’s revenues. Now Hayek claims 80% of the broadcaster’s revenues come from advertising and 20% from other sources – including branded content, and increasingly deals with telcos to distribute MBC’s HD channels on various paid mobile, satellite and IPTV platforms.Following the February launch of a dedicated channel for Ooredoo TV subscribers in Qatar, MBC announced a similar distribution partnership with Etisalat. MBC’s portfolio of 17 HD channels is now available exclusively in the UAE to subscribers of Etisalat’s E-Vision IPTV platform, and a new joint channel is under development. This is in addition to E-Vision carrying MBC’s subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service Shahid Plus.Shahid Plus has grown “big time” and is now “400 times bigger year-on-year”, says Hayek. MBC is working to improve the interface of this revenue-generating over-the-top product, which is also available to subscribers around the world.In another effort to offset the drop in ad revenues, MBC has also cut production costs, for both its flagship shows and drama series, this year. However, the broadcaster continues to invest in major productions, with another season of Arab Idol aired in 2017. Among its other popular localised formats, production is underway on season 4 of The Voice and the second seasons of Project Runway and Top Chef.Its key Ramadan drama this year, Black Crows, about women in the terrorist organisation Daesh, was shot in Lebanon and made by MBC’s production company O3. MBC claims it was the most-watched drama in the region during Ramadan and had global recognition. “Next year we will try to join forces with top networks around the world to produce compelling content to follow this,” says Hayek.It is an initiative Hayek says is close to his heart. “It is time to be proactive, for media networks to produce content to show ‘enough is enough’. It is time to use the power of entertainment to change perceptions and to show the criminal reality of villains who portray themselves as heroes,” he says.As well as generating strong content and a healthier ratio between ad and non-ad revenues, keeping on top of technology and of the competition posed by the global digital players is now key to MBC’s future success, says Hayek: “We are not thinking as a TV company anymore… The game is practically set vis-á-vis traditional TV players, but now digital competition is key – Netflix, Facebook, Google, social media. Whoever captures eyeballs and ad revenues is a threat. And Facebook and Google capture half of the digital ad market in MENA.”There is a balance to be struck, nevertheless. “You want to play the business of the future [but ultimately] it is content that matters. As long as you have people who want to watch, to consume, then you are relevant,” he says.MBC is hoping for improvement in the region’s advertising market in 2018. For example, its renewed partnership with Arabsat, which delivers MBC’s Pro Sports and HD channels via satellite exclusively from 26° East, now allows for more targeted content and advertising divided between the Gulf, the Levant and North Africa. This makes the channels a more attractive commercial proposition than when they were carried on just one beam covering the whole of the Arab world.Another technological boost will come with the arrival of 5G, which will boost digital content delivery and help expand bandwidth capacity in the region. Yet, through lessons learned in 2017, MBC will budget cautiously for the coming year. “I wouldn’t say 2018 is going to be a period of growth but hopefully of stability,” says Hayek.last_img read more

In This Issue Happy Birthday Chuck… Bernank

first_imgIn This Issue. * Happy Birthday Chuck… * Bernanke worried about growth in US… * Japan posts a trade surplus… * Indian rupee falls… And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Happy Birthday Big Guy… Good day… And Happy Birthday to Chuck! Yes it is Chuck Butlers birthday today, and I know all of you Pfennig Pfanatics will join me in wishing our fearless leader a very happy birthday today!! He is spending his birthday surrounded by his family in what he considers one of the greatest places on earth, the spring training home of the Cardinals. More thoughts on Chuck at the end of today’s Pfennig, but I just wanted to make sure I started today’s Pfennig off on a positive note. The dollar is starting of the day with a positive move vs. most of the currencies, after spending most of yesterday bouncing around in a fairly narrow range. I couldn’t find anything which caused the move higher this morning, with most analysts crediting a return of ‘safe haven’ buying for the increase. Both Fed Chairman Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Geithner were in front of Congress yesterday, and Bernanke was sounding a cautious tone regarding the US economic recovery. There was also a private report released which caused further concern on China’s growth prospects and the existing home sales in the US were disappointing, so the combination of these two items along with the caution tone of Bernanke are probably what is making investors return to the dollar. The 10 year treasury would certainly support the ‘safe haven’ theory. Yields on the 10 yr US bond have are down 4.3 basis points today, and now yields 2.25%. The yield on the 10 year had moved from below 2% at the beginning of the month to a high of 2.38% at the beginning of this week, a fairly dramatic move for bonds. With bonds, yields and the price of the bond are inversely related with bond prices moving lower as the yields move up. So bonds investors were selling bonds in a big way over the first 3 weeks of March, investing the proceeds into the equity markets and currencies other than the US$. But these same investors now seem to be moving back into the bonds, causing prices to rise and yields to fall back to 2.25%. Chuck has long warned Pfennig readers that the US treasury market is a bubble waiting to be popped, and the dramatic move in bond prices earlier this month should serve as a warning for investors. Bond yields just can’t remain as low as they have been, as inflation starts to put pressure on bond prices. Existing home sales in the US dropped .9% during the month of February, compared to an impressive 5.7% increase during the month of January. Economists had estimated a increase for sales of .9%, but the revision to January’s number helped offset the unexpected loss of sales. Today we will get the usual weekly jobs numbers, which are expected to show 350k newly unemployed with continuing claims of 3,380k. We will also see an index of House prices which are expected to have risen .3% MOM in January, and the Leading Indicators which are predicted to have increased .6% during the month of February. As I mentioned earlier, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform yesterday and sounded a more cautious tone on the prospects for the US economy. He warned the committee members that “Higher energy prices would probably slow growth, at least in the short run”. He went on to explain that rising gas prices “create at least short-term inflation pressures, and moreover, they act as a tax on household purchasing power and reduce consumption spending, and that also is a drag on the economy.” His cautionary tone matches the warnings we heard from NY Fed Head Dudley earlier this week. It seems the FOMC members are trying to make sure investors know the economic recovery is not a ‘sure thing’ and we will certainly hit some bumps on our road to recovery. Higher oil prices are creating a strong head wind which the US economic recovery is going to have to struggle against, and Bernanke and his partners on the FOMC are hoping the rising prices are just a quick gust which we can pedal through. Leaders of the European Union also continue to battle headwinds in their economic recovery. A report out this morning showed Euro-area services and manufacturing output shrank more than expected during March. The euro-area purchasing manager’s composite index fell to 48.7 from 49.3, with any reading below 50 indicating a contraction. But this data was offset a bit by an earlier report that showed German investor sentiment surged to a 21 month high. The euro also caught some love from the US financial leaders. Both Treasury Secretary Geithner and Fed Chairman Bernanke told the US congressmen that the risk from Europe’s debt crisis is fading. “In the past few months, financial stresses in Europe have lessened, which has contributed to an improved tone of financial markets around the world, including in the United States,” Bernanke said. Treasury Secretary Geithner went on to say “The European economies at the center of the crisis have made very significant progress.” But Secretary Geithner also warned that slower growth which is being predicted for the EU will have a negative impact on future growth here in the US. I haven’t written about the Japanese yen all week, but a report on Japan’s trade has finally given me a reason to visit the yen. Japan reported their first trade surplus in five months on higher than forecast exports. The news adds to growing evidence that the world’s third largest economy is finally growing again. Japan reported a trade surplus of 32.9 billion yen, a sharp reversal of a record deficit posted in January. The surplus was even more surprising to analysts who had predicted another trade deficit. Exports to the US were mostly responsible for the surplus, increasing 11.9% in February from a year earlier. Auto exports were the main driver of the increase in shipments to the US. The yen increased slightly vs. the US$ after the surprise news, but pared its gains in early US trading. The yen had been one of the best performing currencies over the past few years, but has reversed course this year dropping nearly 7.5% vs. the US$. At least some of this sell-off in the yen has been due to the re-emergence of the carry trade, where investors borrow and sell low yielding currencies to purchase higher yielding currencies to book the interest rate differential. Carry trades have a fairly close correlation to global growth, with more investors willing to invest in them when they are confident. This is part of the reason the yen has underperformed this year, as investors have sold it while investing into the higher yielding currencies of Australia and New Zealand. It will be interesting to see what will happen to the yen if the Japanese economy recovers. Perhaps these carry trade investors will need to find a different currency to borrow and sell; the euro certainly looks like a plausible alternative. A top official in India’s finance ministry predicted rates may be cut in April. Economic Affairs Secretary R. Gopalan said “If inflation remains at this level after factoring in various things, then interest rate reversals may start in April.” He went on to stress that growth is important, and current interest rate levels are hampering it. Finance officials have been hinting that they are prepared to start cutting rates ever since they left them unchanged at the last meeting on March 15th. India’s Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has taken steps to cut India’s trade deficit, hoping to support the Indian rupee. The main item in his plan is a doubling of the tax on imports of gold. Gold accounts for 14 percent of India’s imports, so the higher tax rate will definitely help the budget. These moves are seen as positive steps for the Indian economy, in spite of the protests from jewelers who closed their shops for five days. Investors should be encouraged by the Finance Minister’s plans to reduce the current account and budget deficits, and the currency should benefit from the rising economic fundamentals. Indian interest rates are among the highest offered, second only to those in Brazil. Higher rates have helped propel the Indian rupee to a 3.61% increase this year. The commodity currencies of Australia and New Zealand were off slightly after a report signaled Chinese manufacturing will contract for a fifth month. The report, authored by HSBC, showed a Purchasing Managers Index fell to 48.1 in March, the lowest level in four months. This indicates Chinese manufacturing is continuing to contract. The New Zealand dollar was also sold off after a report showed GDP rose .3% during the last quarter of 2011, slightly below economist’s estimates of a .6% growth. The slower growth figure dampened expectations that Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Alan Bollard would increase rates by September of this year. The kiwi has had a 4% increase in value vs. the US$ this year on the back of these interest rate expectations, so we could see a further pull back by the kiwi. To recap… It is Chuck’s Birthday. The dollar moved higher on ‘safe haven’ buying after Bernanke and Geithner warned that higher gas prices would have a negative impact on US growth. Existing home sales were disappointing and reports out of Europe showed manufacturing is shrinking. Japan reported a trade surplus for the first time in a while, helping to push the yen higher. India’s top finance minister is predicting rates will be cut in April, and a tax on Gold imports is set to double in April. Finally, New Zealand GDP increased less than predicted in the 4th quarter of 2011, causing some to predict rates will be stay put through 2012. Currencies today 3/22/2012. American Style: A$ $1.0378, kiwi .8086, C$ $1.0045, euro 1.3163, sterling 1.5807, Swiss $1.0919. European Style: rand 7.7197, krone 5.7892, SEK 6.7673, forint 223.21, zloty 3.1682, koruna 18.8187, RUB 29.421, yen 82.89, sing 1.2671, HKD 7.7652, INR 51.165, China 6.2994, pesos 12.8224, BRL 1.8180, Dollar Index 79.827, Oil $106.05, 10-year 2.26%, Silver $31.8775, and Gold $1,635.99. That’s it for today… Happy Birthday to Chuck! I’m sure he is probably enjoying his coffee sitting on his patio or on the beach looking out at the ocean. His family is down in Florida to celebrate with him, so I’m sure they will have a great time. We will be celebrating here with Chinese for lunch! The Blues lost a tough one, but are still leading all other NHL teams going into the end of the season. I hope everyone has a Tub Thumping Thursday, and thanks for reading the Pfennig!! Chris Gaffney, CFA Vice President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837 www.everbank.comlast_img read more

A coalition of state attorneys general is suing th

first_imgA coalition of state attorneys general is suing the Trump administration for weakening the federal nutrition standards for school meals that are fed to about 30 million children across the country.”Over a million children in New York — especially those in low-income communities and communities of color — depend on the meals served daily by their schools to be healthy, nutritious, and prepare them for learning,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. Joining James in the lawsuit are the attorneys general of California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico and Vermont. As we’ve reported, last year the Trump administration gave school lunch administrators more flexibility in serving up refined grains, including white breads, biscuits and white pastas. The move weakened standards set during the Obama administration aimed at serving more nutritious and fiber-dense whole grains, which are a key part of a healthy diet. In addition, the Trump administration put the brakes on targets to reduce the amount of salt allowed in school meals. At the time, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue wrote: “If kids are not eating what is being served, they are not benefiting, and food is being wasted.”But public health advocates have cried foul. “The ‘flexibilities’ the administration is offering [schools] are both unnecessary and undermining,” Laura MacCleery, policy director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said. Her group has also filed a lawsuit in federal court in Maryland. The suit argues that the U.S. Department of Agriculture violated the National School Lunch Act. The group argues that the weakened standards put millions of children at greater risk of health problems associated with a diet that’s high in sodium and low in whole grains. “When I think about what policies are available to move the needle on the health of kids, this is the big one,” MacCleery says. “The Trump administration is blowing it.”Letitia James echoes this: “The Trump Administration has undermined key health benefits for our children — standards for salt and whole grains in school meals — with deliberate disregard for science, expert opinion, and the law,” she wrote in a statement announcing the lawsuit.The School Nutrition Association, which represents 58,000 school nutrition professionals, has pushed for and supports the changes made by the Trump administration’s final rule on school meal “flexibilities.” “SNA appreciates USDA’s efforts to preserve strong standards to benefit students while addressing long-standing challenges to ensure they choose and consume healthy school meals,” SNA President Gay Anderson said in a statement. School nutrition directors have argued that it’s tough to implement changes that may turn kids off, so they need more time to figure out how to lower sodium levels and boost whole grains. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

Pinning donations on the image of Madonna della Ca

first_img Pinning donations on the image of Madonna della Cava Image of the Madonna della Cava processed through the North End Fr. Claude blesses the feast The Madonna Della Cava Society of Boston’s North End held their 98th annual feast on the weekend of August 10-12, 2018. The MDC society brought out the image of Maria SS Della Cava, Principal Patron of Pietraperzia, Sicily, and processed until dark throughout Boston’s North End.The society honors Maria SS Della Cava, Principal Patron of Pietraperzia, Sicily. Her image was rediscovered miraculously in the year 1223 by a mute from Trapani who was directed by Our Lady to proceed to the outskirts of the town where her portrait would be found. In the process, his speech and hearing were restored. The first words emitted by the mute were, “VIVA MARIA SS DELLA CAVA.” Read more at the society’s website, MadonnaDellaCava.com. Firecrackers announce the procession of Madonna della Cava Madonna Della Cava image with Prado’s Paul Revere statue and Old North Church Image of the Madonna della Cava processed through the North End In memory of deceased memberscenter_img While you’re here …we have a small favor to ask. More people than ever are reading NorthEndWaterfront.com but we need your help making ends meet. Advertising doesn’t bring in enough to pay for reporting or editorial work. Keeping this website going takes a lot of time, money and hard work. But we do it because we believe community news is important – and we think you do too. If everyone who reads this site, who likes it, puts in a bit to pay for it, then our future would be much more secure. Checks can be made out to North End Boston LLC, 343 Commercial St. #508, Boston 02109 or contribute online using the following links:*Make a One-Time Contribution* or *Become a Patron* Surprise proposal in front of the Madonna image Band plays at Madonna Della Cava Feast City Councilor Lydia Edwards with Kenny Lanza at the Madonna della Cava feast Madonna Della Cava in front of St. Stephen’s Church Photos by Matt Conti*Advertisement*last_img read more

By FFWPU Liberia Four Pastors from Liberia includi

first_imgBy FFWPU LiberiaFour Pastors from Liberia including Pastor John P. Teayah, Vice NL, Pastor Floribert Mwanga, Husband of the national leader, Pastor Philip Karfiteh and Pastor Jemamah Gbolumah attended a 40-day workshop in Ivory Coast hosted by the Regional President Dr. Dong Ho Cho from On December 10, 2016. They were certificated and came back with high spirit and have since been encouraging blessed families in Liberia to get involve with the Heavenly Tribal Messiah activities.On January 7, 2017, we had one-day workshop in the Gaye Town community just outside of Monrovia with 40 Participants. They were very inspired and asked us to host another workshop so that they can bring their partners to also listen this good news.During the workshop one of the participants, a female who is a graduate from Theological University said with all her studies that she had till now, she have never heard such a truth and promised to study more to get better understanding of the Divine Principle.last_img read more

Is It Time to Call Tesla the Future of Made In America

first_img Next Article Ford Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. –shares Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Image credit: Olivier Le Queinec / Shutterstock.com Register Now » Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. April 10, 2014 Guest Writer 3 min read Add to Queue Is It Time to Call Tesla the Future of Made In America? Not Quite. When you think car and you think America, what comes to mind?If it was Ford’s F-150 pickup truck, than you’re on the money. (I mean, check it out: pretty darn American looking). In addition to being the country’s top selling vehicle last year, the pickup truck also landed in the top spot on Cars.com’s American-Made index, which measures how “American” a car is based on factors like where the car’s parts come from, whether the car is assembled in the U.S. and if it is bought in large numbers by American consumers.But according to a recent report by Morgan Stanley, Ford F-150 better watch its tail lights. Why? Tesla is fast approaching. The report predicts that once the Elon Musk-led company opens its $6 billion battery factory, Tesla vehicles will zoom into the top spot.Related: Elon Musk Admits to ‘Conversations’ With Apple About TeslaDoes this mean the future of Made in America, as Quartz reports, lies in Musk’s hands?It all depends on how you define “Made in America.” If the motivation behind the Made in America movement is job creation — that American manufacturers need to keep and create more jobs here — then the answer is no, probably not.  At least not for a while.That’s because, despite the amount of press Tesla and Elon Musk get, it’s still a fringe player in the automotive industry.Sales of Tesla’s battery-powered vehicles, priced from about $70,000, totaled around 22,450 last year. “With 6,900 deliveries in the [fourth] quarter [Tesla’s Model S sedan] is still a niche vehicle,” Kevin Tynan, an auto analyst for Bloomberg Industries told Bloomberg. According to the company’s annual report, as of December 31, 2013, it had 2,964 full-time employees world-wide. (The percentage of those employees who work in the U.S. was not released in the report. An inquiry to Tesla was not immediately returned).Related: Can Consumers Bring Manufacturing Jobs Back to the U.S.?Meanwhile, Ford sold a total of 6.3 million vehicles last year, with 3.1 million in North America alone. The company employed 181,000 people globally, with 84,000 of those employees working in North America (while the report did not specifically list the number of American employees, a 2011 estimate put the automotive maker at employing 65,000 Americans, a number that has surely grown as the auto industry has continued to recover since the recession).Once Tesla sets up its so-called “gigafactory,” the company predicts that it will employ an additional 6,500 Americans. But that’s not slated to happen until 2020, by the company’s own estimate (Tesla has yet to narrow down the factory’s location to a single state).All of this is to say that even if Tesla eventually does manage to nab the top spot on Cars.com’s “American-Made index,” let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Larger, if admittedly less flashy, auto makers are still embodying the term “made in America” to the fullest. Which, in our estimation, rests less on the concept that their car parts are assembled in the U.S. and more on the fact that they continue to employ a whole ton of Americans.Related: Secrets of the 10 Most-Trusted Brands Laura Entislast_img read more

In Risky Move Microsoft to Open NYC Flagship Right Near Apples

first_img September 29, 2014 Add to Queue Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Guest Writer 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. –shares Next Article Locationcenter_img 2 min read Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Laura Entis A Microsoft store is coming to Fifth Avenue.While the company currently has more than 100 retail stores in North America, its Fifth Avenue location will be its first in Manhattan, the company confirmed to The Wall Street Journal.”As our first flagship store, it will serve as the centerpiece of our Microsoft Stores experience,” David Porter, corporate vice president for Microsoft retail stores, wrote in a blog post. “This is a goal we’ve had since day one—we were only waiting for the right location. And now we have it.”The location is expensive, prestigious and certainly makes a statement. It’s also just a few blocks away from Apple’s flagship New York store, where lines for new Apple product launches often run blocks deep.Related: This Tool Promises to Find the Best Location for Your BusinessFor a company often accused of being perpetually late to the game, Microsoft’s decision to open its Manhattan flagship store a few blocks away from Apple’s flagship, which opened over eight years ago, is an interesting choice.Since Microsoft opened its first retail location in 2009, the software company has been steadily ramping up the number of physical stores it operates. While a large percentage of what Microsoft sells are services, not physical items, customers can purchase products such as Surface Pro, Windows Phones, Xbox One at its retail stores, as well as visit a “help desk” (pretty much the equivalent of Apple’s “genius bar”).Still, in this respect, Microsoft is chasing Apple, which opened its first retail store in 2001 and currently has more than 250 stores in the U.S. alone.No word yet on when we can expect the Fifth Avenue location to open, but the company will launch new retail stores in Toronto, Tulsa, OK Bethesda, MD and Cerritos, CA before the year’s end.Related: Wait, What? Microsoft CEO Says Company Needs to Rediscover Its Soul. In Risky Move, Microsoft to Open NYC Flagship Right Near Apple’s Enroll Now for $5last_img read more