Polish politicians from the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party are mulling changes in the country’s media rules that could restrict foreign ownership of media assets to as little as 15%, according to local reports.The PiS government plans to introduce new legislation covering concentration of media ownership in the autumn. According to leading daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, the government has been working on the legislation in secret, and will publish its plans in mid-September.According to online magazine Super Express, citing an unnamed senior PiS legislator, meanwhile, the government wants to introduce restrictions on foreign media ownership that would limit the share of foreign capital in media groups to 15%.Such a move would have a major impact on commercial broadcaster TVN, currently owned by Scripps Networks Interactive, which itself is being acquired by Discovery.A threshold of this type would go far beyond a proposal submitted by media regulator the KRRiT in March for a limit on any one company or group of companies controlling more than a 30% market share in terms of advertising revenue or audience share.The Russian government introduced a highly controversial 20% limit on foreign ownership of media in 2014 that saw, among others, Modern Times Group exit its interests in the country.Any attempt by Poland to restrict ownership of media could attract the wrath of the European Union, already in conflict with the Polish government over its attempts to subject the judiciary to political control.Super Express quoted deputy culture minister Jarosław Sellin as saying that other EU states had regulations in place to prevent domination of the media market by foreign entities.
Vivendi-owned French pay TV operator Canal+ has secured the pay TV rights to the FIFA Women’s World Cup from commercial broadcaster TF1.Under its deal with TF1, Canal+ will air all 52 matches of the tournament, which takes place in France in June and July 2019.TF1 will meanwhile air the 25 best matches from the competition, including all the matches of the French team, free-to-air. Canal+ will also make these matches available to its subscribers.“We are delighted with this agreement with Canal+ Group, which enables us together to make available the totality of the competition in the clear and on pay TV. The French public will have access to this major event, with the best fixtures and all the matches of the French team on TF1 Group’s channels. The agreement enables a significant distribution of women’s football to the general public that is inscribed in the event programming strategy of the group,” said François Pellissier, TF1 director of sports.“We are very happy to be able to offer our subscribers a competition of global reach in its totality. Coming the day after the acquisition of the women’s D1 for the 2018-22 period, this agreement expresses Canal+’s deep engagement with the development and broadcasting of women’s sport in general and football in particular,” said Thierry Cheleman, Canal+’s director of sports.Canal+ this week secured the rights to the D1 French women’s football championship, while commercial broadcaster M6 – TF1’s rival – secured the rights to matches of the French women’s national team. D1 matches were previously aired by Eurosport and France Télévisions.
Mark Richer, the long-time president of the US TV standards body the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) is to retire later this year. Richer, who has led the standards development organization since 2000, previously served as ATSC Executive Director in 1996-97 in between senior technology leadership roles at PBS and Thomcast Communications.Mark RicherThe ATSC Board of Directors has meanwhile elected Lynn Claudy of the National Association of Broadcasters as Board Chairman for 2019, succeeding Richard Friedel of Fox, who served as Chairman from 2016-18.Claudy, who has been involved with the ATSC for three decades, is the National Association of Broadcasters’ (NAB) SVP of technology. He joined NAB in 1988 as a staff engineer and held positions of director of advanced engineering and technology and vice-president before assuming his present position in 1995. Claudy appointed Friedel to lead the search committee to identify the next ATSC President.“t’s been an honour and a privilege to participate in the dynamic television industry over the years. I’m particularly proud of the ATSC’s role in redefining the future of television with ATSC 3.0, but our work isn’t done by any means. I look forward to assuring a smooth transition to new leadership in the months ahead,” said Richer.“Mark is well known and respected for his leadership skills, deep industry knowledge, unwavering integrity, future-focused vision and wry sense of humour. With broadcaster deployments of ATSC 3.0 now underway, he’s going out on top. And while Mark will be missed, the ATSC is well positioned for the future,” said Claudy.
Canal+ Group saw its revenues slide from €1.298 billion to €1.252 billion year-on-year in the first quarter, driven down by the continued loss of subscribers to its domestic French pay TV operation.Owner Vivendi said that Canal+ overall grew its subscriber base by 700,000 during the last 12 months, thanks to its success in attracting new customers internationally.In addition to its struggling French pay TV arm, Canal+ revenues were hit by an unfavourable year-on-year comparison in production arm Studiocanal’s numbers. The outfit was hit in comparative terms by the success of Paddington 2 in Q1 2018. Studiocanal is planning to make up the lost ground with a Paddington animated series planned for late this year, with a Paddington 3 movie also in the works.Vivendi new initiatives including online video unit Dailymotion and African telco GVA, recorded revenues of €15 million, down 6.2%. Vivendi said that Dailymotion’s new focus on premium content was paying dividends however, with the audience for premium content on the platform doubling over the year. Dailymotion also launched programmatic advertising at the end of 2018.Overall, Vivendi’s revenues were lifted by the strong performance of the jewel in its crown, Uniiversal Music Group, which saw revenues increase by 22.9%, or 18.8% at constant currency, to €1.502 billion. Vivendi also recorded €89 million of revenues from its consolidation of publishing outfit Editis, taking its total to €3.459 billion for the quarter, up 10.7% or 5.7% at constant currency.
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. Rebecca 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.
The Poundland lorry which smashed into Foyleside Shopping centre this morningPOLICE are investigating after a speeding lorry smashed into the Foyleside Shopping Centre in Derry.The incident happened in the early hours of this morning.It is claimed the 40ft-plus articulated Poundland lorry hurtled at speed down Linenhall Street. It is not yet know what injuries the driver sustained or if anyone else was injured in the crash.As part of its investigation, police have sealed off Linenhall Street, Market Street and Orchard Street.SPEEDING ARTICULATED LORRY SMASHES INTO DERRY’S FOYLESIDE SHOPPING CENTRE was last modified: September 11th, 2016 by John2John2 Tags: ShareTweet Then it crashed into a wall outside the Millennium Forum.The lorry then struck a car outside the theatre before smashing into the Orchard Street entrance of the Foyelside centre.The Millennium Forum and the Orchard Street entrance to the shopping centre are expected to remain closed for the quite some time for structural issues.But the shopping centre will open as usual today at 1 pm for normal Sunday trading hours. LINEHALL STREEMillennium ForumORCHARD STREETpoundlandSPEEDING ARTICULATED LORRY SMASHES INTO DERRY’S FOYLESIDE SHOPPING CENTREt
Missing person Sam ComberPOLICE have appealed for help with finding Sam Christopher Comber, also known as Sam Harold, who was last seen in Derry on Sunday 14 May.The 39-year-old is described as being of slim build with short hair, shaved at the sides and longer on top.When last seen, he was wearing a black hooded top with grey sleeves. He was wearing black tracksuit bottoms with three blue stripes down the side and white trainers with black around the laces and was carrying a rucksack.Inspector Marty Mullan said: “It is believed the 39-year-old bought items from a supermarket in the Quayside area at approximately 2.25 pm before cycling towards the Peace Bridge.“The bike was later found in a layby in the Newbuildings area.”Sam, or anyone who knows of his whereabouts, is asked to contact the Duty Inspector at Strand Road on the non-emergency number 101 quoting reference 157 of 16/05/17. Missing Sam Comber last seen on Sunday in Quayside shopping centrePSNI IN DERRY SEEKING PUBLIC HELP IN TRACING MISSING SAM COMBER was last modified: May 16th, 2017 by John2John2 Tags: ShareTweet INSPECTOR MARTY MULLANPSNI IN DERRY SEEKING PUBLIC HELP IN TRACING MISSING SAM COMBER
Prize Two: Win 6 VIP entries to Pulse on Saturday 25th August for the Pulse 29th Birthday Bash and €100 Bar Tab to spend in Pulse VenueAll you have to do to enter is visit Derry Daily on Facebook at this link: www.facebook.com/Derry-Daily-626725070695609 and find the entry post on the timeline. Winner announced on Friday 24th August.Since opening in August 1989, the Letterkenny club has blazed a trail of commercial success, establishing itself as the Northwest’s No.1 Entertainment Venue.Pulse has undergone five major refurbishments over the years, with three name-changes from Neros to Pulse to today’s name ‘Pulse Venue’.A look back at the history of Pulse VenueA look back at the history of Neros / Pulse VenueEmphasis within the venue has always been to provide the very best in modern design and the latest hi tech sound and lighting systems, currently featuring Donegal’s largest function 1 dance stack system, and Ireland’s biggest 3d led matrix display.A one-price admission to Pulse Venue, which comprises of 6 rooms, 9 bars under one roof-the living room which features local talent DJs playing country & party music, Pulse live experience which plays host to Ireland’s top bands.A look back at the history of Pulse VenueOn the ground floor we have our main club playing the very best in national and international DJs and a reserved lounge just off the main club where you can book your party whether it be a hen party, stag party, birthday party we cater for all.Plus we have the Secret Garden which you can access from all areas. All 6 rooms combine to give you choice, comfort and value. Saturday nights have a strict age policy and dress code that has always been firmly enforced guaranteeing a level of sophistication and style befitting a mature clubber.We have some very exciting acts confirmed for our student nights where the exuberance of youth, high energy music and casual fashion combine to create a pulsating atmosphere.Pulse Venue has seen some world class DJs and music acts over the last 26 years, including JLS, Calvin Harris, Pete Tong, Eddie Halliwell, Chuckie, Marko V, Laid Back Luke, Bingo Players + Many Many More.“Management and staff would like to say a big thank you to everyone (past and present) who contributed in any way to the success of the club over the last 29 years. We appreciate and value your continued support.”Visit our Facebook: Pulse LetterkennyWebsite www.pulsevenue.ieSponsored PostCOMPETITION: Win VIP entries and bar tab at Pulse Venue’s 29th Birthday Bash! was last modified: August 22nd, 2018 by RachelRachel Tags: The PULSE VENUE in Letterkenny Co. Donegal is celebrating 29 years in business this weekend with two unmissable nights of celebrations – and we have an amazing prize for you to join the party!For the 29th birthday celebrations on Saturday 25th August, PULSE are going back to the night where it all started 29 years ago and as a thank you to all customers all drinks, yes all drinks, will be the same price as it was back 29 years ago in August 1989. competitiongiveawayletterkennythe pulse nightclub COMPETITIONCompetition: Donegal Daily and Derry Daily has TWO sets of VIP entry packages to give away for Friday and Saturday night at Pulse Venue.Prize One: Win 6 VIP entries to Friday 24th August Red Hot Country night with live music from Michael English and €100 Bar Tab to spend in Pulse Venue ShareTweet Entertainment on Friday night (24th August) in association with Red Hot Country is Michael English followed by the Saturday Night Live Experience (25th August) with Johnny Brady. In the main club, Today FM’s Fergal D’Arcy, in the Living Room we have DJ Tubsy and there is champagne reception on arrival each night.
city of derry airportlondon stanstedWin Flights from City of Derry Airport to London in flybmi’s biggest ever giveaway! ShareTweet Lucky winners of the tickets will be able to jet off from City of Derry Airport to London Stansted on flybmi’s daily service.For more information on flybmi’s Golden Ticket giveaway and daily flights from City of Derry Airport to London Stansted service, visit www.flybmi.comWin Flights from City of Derry Airport to London in flybmi’s biggest ever giveaway! was last modified: November 30th, 2018 by John2John2 Tags: Visit www.flybmi.com for clues and details of where to find the tickets. The first clues will go live from Friday 7th December 2018.Where & When:Tickets will be placed in each of the four locations around the city on Tuesday 11th December between 12noon and 16:00hrs. Simply use the clues on the flybmi websites to find them.Why: REGIONAL airline flybmi is running their biggest ever giveaway of 20 return tickets from City of Derry Airport to London Stansted. Visitors and residents from the local area will have a chance to take part in a treasure hunt in the city to find one of 20 return tickets which will be hidden in four locations around the city.How:
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Theresa May at Stormont talks this afternoonSDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has welcomed signals that a deal is finally within reach between the DUP and Sinn Féin. “People understand that simply forming a new Executive is not in itself enough.“The real change necessary is an end to the cycle of two parties who have proved themselves very good at the art of political standoff but very bad at the responsibility of government.“That is the joint DUP/Sinn Féin status quo that must now end.“Any new Government must use its power to tackle the real challenges faced by this society, it must be a new government which ends the decade long pattern of DUP intransigence and Sinn Féin weakness and most of all it must be a new government which proves itself of actual relevance and value to all our people,” he added.EASTWOOD: POLITICS MUST ADDRESS CHALLENGES AND CRISES WE FACE was last modified: February 12th, 2018 by John2John2 Tags: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Theresa May are at Stormont House for the talks which are said to be at a “decisive stage” although no deal between Sinn Fein and the DUP has been agreed.Mr Eastwood said the SDLP would await the publication of its detail before giving full judgement.The SDLP Leader added that after a year of political failure the focus must immediately return to the threat of Brexit, a stagnant economy and the crises in our health service and in school budgets – priorities entirely absent in the negotiation between the DUP and Sinn Féin. In order to help bring that focus, Mr Eastwood has once again set out the SDLP’s priorities if a Programme for Government negotiation begins in the week ahead.The Foyle MLA said: “For over a year the people of the North have been badly let down. I therefore welcome signals that a deal is finally within reach between the DUP and Sinn Féin.“Having been frozen in failure for over a year, a deal must not be a moment of self- congratulation for Sinn Féin and the DUP. If a deal is done, it must instead be a moment when our politics returns to the real challenges and crises facing this society.“It is clear that, during these yearlong secret talks between Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill, there has been no real mention of Brexit, of our ailing economy and no priority given to the crises engulfing our health service and our school budgets. People deserve to know that up to this point the talks between Sinn Féin and the DUP have not focused on these issues – as parties they simply weren’t interested in them. “Therefore, if a Programme for Government negotiation begins in the next week, the SDLP will be making Brexit, the economy, health and education our priority. A new Executive which deals with these priorities is the only basis through which inclusive government is possible.“To bring that focus I am again setting out the SDLP’s proposals and priorities including on Brexit, increased childcare provision, City Deals for Derry and Belfast that finally see the expansion of the Magee campus, the delivery of key road and infrastructure projects such as the A5, the A6 and the Narrow Water Bridge, increased new build social housing and practical interventions to tackle poverty.“This sits in addition to forging ahead with the health service transformation plan, bringing certainty to patients and professionals in our hospitals, and resourcing our schools to provide the highest quality education for our children.“For a year northern politics has ignored the economic and social rights of our people -the SDLP will once again be putting them back on the table. BREXITEASTWOOD: POLITICS MUST ADDRESS CHALLENGES AND CRISES WE FACEPRIME MINISTER THERESA MAYstormontTAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR ShareTweet
Facebook Matt Digby Matt Digby is the Sports Director at WOAY-TV. He joined the station in January 2015 – right in the middle of Big Atlantic Classic Week. Read More Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Linkedin Athens, WV (WOAY) – The Mountain Lions swept Wheeling Jesuit 3-1 in both of their games earlier this afternoon at Anderson Field. Concord opens their Mountain East play 2-0 and improves to 8-6 overall while Wheeling Jesuit falls to 0-2 in their conference play and 1-9 overall.The Mountain Lions will stay in Athens to host a doubleheader with West Liberty Monday at 1:00 p.m and 3:00 p.m Home Sports News Sports Concord Baseball Sweeps Wheeling Jesuit in Athens Previous PostGino’s Top 5 Plays Twitter Pinterest Mail Tumblr Next PostUpdate: Deputies have found the missing girl safe SportsSports News Concord Baseball Sweeps Wheeling Jesuit in Athens By Matt DigbyMar 18, 2018, 19:23 pm 375 0 Google+
Google+ Previous PostHigh School Sports Scoreboard – April 9 Linkedin Terell Bailey Bio Coming Soon Tumblr Next PostNew River Gorge CVB Launches New Look, Website CHARLESTON, WV (AP) — Federal prosecutors have issued a sweeping subpoena for records related to a resort owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice.A spokeswoman for the state commerce department provided a copy of the subpoena to The Associated Press on Tuesday.The subpoena requests contracts, communications and financial records from the state relating to The Greenbrier resort and its annual PGA golf tournament. It names Justice as well as his son, daughter and other high-ranking resort employees.The Republican governor issued a statement denying wrongdoing.“I’ve always done the right thing in my personal life, my business life, my political life and every part of my life,” he said. “The people of West Virginia know that I have always been an open book, so of course, I am fully cooperating with the investigation.”Authorities are requesting records from Jan. 1, 2014, to March 6, 2019.The commerce department previously sponsored The Greenbrier’s golf tournament but Justice ordered the arrangement to stop after taking office in 2017, saying in a news release that he didn’t want any perception of impropriety. Brian Abraham, general counsel in the governor’s office, reiterated that point in an interview.“It looks like any and all money that would have been paid to those entities would have been done before he was governor,” he said.A spokeswoman for prosecutors at the Southern District of West Virginia declined to comment.In addition to Justice and his children, Jay and Jill, the subpoena names eight others who currently or formerly had business ties with the governor, but doesn’t explain the reason their records are being sought.They are former Greenbrier Classic executive directors Habibi Mamone and Tim McNeely; Greenbrier resort chief operating officer Elmer Coppoolse and vice president of operations Terry Miller; Greenbrier Sporting Club vice president and general manager Larry Klein; Justice Holdings chief financial officer Elaine Butler; Bluestone Industries vice president of treasury Summer Harrison, and Jill Justice’s husband, Adam Long. Home NewsWatch Local News Feds subpoena WV, seeking records on governor’s resort Mail Twitter Pinterest Local NewsNewsWatch Feds subpoena WV, seeking records on governor’s resort By Terell BaileyApr 09, 2019, 22:53 pm 554 0 Facebook
In This Issue… * WSJ says Fed is considering more action… * Gold soars again… * Oil rebounds… * BOC leaves rates unchanged… And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Now, Back To You, U.S.! Good day… And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! Another night in a very quiet house… I guess I could go crazy, and turn my stereo up real loud… Or get one Alex’s electric guitars, plug it in and rock out… But, I’m sort of like the 75 year old fisherman that comes across a talking frog, that says if the fisherman will kiss it the frog will turn into a beautiful bride for him, but the 75 year old fisherman decides that at his age, that he’d rather have a talking frog! HA! How about that! A little funny to start the day with! I could have all that loud stuff, but at my age I would rather have the quiet… Sometimes! There’s a time to be loud… Speaking of a time to be loud… did you see the story in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) about the Fed considering more action amid new recovery doubts? Well, folks, that story spoke loudly to the markets, and once again the focus has shifted to the U.S. problems… yes, it’s been like a tennis match, back and forth, but last night and this morning, the focus is on the U.S. and its disappointing economic data… or… even like a newscast, where one anchor is the U.S. and the other is the Eurozone, and the Eurozone says, now back to U.S.! So… I have to ask the question… “What happened to those bright and cheery forecasts for the economy that the Fed Heads were talking about in their April meeting?” Well, the Fed Heads meet again this month… and maybe Big Ben Bernanke will give us a hint at this testimony on the economic outlook today and tomorrow… But I doubt it… With the focus shifted squarely on the U.S. right now, and what flavor of Quantitative Easing (QE) might be implemented, thus throwing the dollar under the bus once again, the currencies and Gold are kicking sand in the dollar’s face this morning. Gold is up $17, and the currencies are healing a bit, including the beleaguered euro. The Aussie dollar (A$) has gained more than 1-cent overnight, first on the WSJ story, and then a HUGE boost from a stronger than expected 1st QTR GDP report that showed the Aussie economy grew at 1.3%, VS .06% forecast… Interesting though, that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cut rates just the night before… I said going into the RBA meeting that I didn’t think the economy needed another rate cut, but the RBA thought otherwise… Of course, that’s like me calling balls and strikes from the stands, and arguing with the umpire who’s on top of the action! But, as a follower of the Australian economy for almost 20 years now, I feel I have some say… And when the RBA used the weak 4th QTR GDP as their excuse to cut rates 50 basis points in May, only to see the 4th QTR GDP get revised up, and then now seeing the 1st QTR blow the forecasts out of the water, I think I was right to say no rate cut was needed! I liked seeing what Aussie Treasurer, Wayne Swan told reporters after the GDP report printed, “Australia is outperforming the world, and it is an island of growth.” – Wayne Swan… That sounds a lot like me talking, as I do call Australia the proxy for global growth… Hey! 1.3% is a good number for a country that has seen its share of rate cuts in recent months, but I don’t think we should all be getting in the conga line and doing the bunny hop on it… BUT! It’s good that the Aussie dollar has responded… Well the G-7 teleconference that was called yesterday, gave us some insight into what the Japanese are thinking regarding the strong yen… I would have to say that Finance Minister, Azumi, scared the currency boys and girls with his comments, and almost immediately, fearing Intervention, traders began to blow out of yen… But, it still held the so-called “safe haven” title… But then overnight with the WSJ article shifting the focus back on the U.S., the “safe haven” trades unwound, and yen lost one whole figure to 79 and change… I’ll keep an eye on Japan for the next week or so, as I feel that this could be nothing more than a tempest in a teacup, with yen returning to the so-called “safe haven” chair, soon.. But if it doesn’t, this could be the beginning of what I’ve expected to see for some time with yen, and that is a general weakening of the currency.Oh! And what did Azumi say to rile the markets? He said that “G-7 remained supportive of intervention to address extreme currency moves”… I know this is in the line of talking the talk… but Japan, over the years, has shown a willingness to intervene, so that has to be in the back of the minds of traders… Well… when I went to get the latest price on Oil this morning, I said to myself, “Self, the price of Oil sure has rebounded this week, I bet those petrol currencies are doing better”… Yes, the price of Oil has rebounded this week after hitting a low of this week of around $81, it has rebounded to $85… You know, sometimes I think I sound like a broken record saying that the price of Oil plays into the price values of the petrol currencies that include: Norway, Canada, Russia, Brazil, U.K. and so on… When it goes down, it drags these currencies down, and when it goes up it gives these currencies a boost… So… for instance, the Russian ruble, is on a 3-day rally… just like Oil is… Now, this is not to say that Oil is the only thing that makes up the value of these currencies… It’s just a boost or drag, that’s all… There’s a lot of hope surrounding what actions the Eurozone policy leaders might come up with, and that has stopped the bleeding of the euro for now. So, add that hope for the Eurozone, and the WSJ story throwing the dollar under the bus, and you’ve got the ingredients for a euro rally… But, any euro rally is tempered, for sure! There is no one saying, “I’m going all-in” and they shouldn’t! Hope is good, but the Eurozone needs more than hope…The European Central Bank (ECB) meets tomorrow… I think a lot of that hope is for a rate cut from the ECB… And I do think ECB President Draghi, will deliver that tomorrow… I’m probably the only person thinking that… But that’s OK… I remember being the only person in 2001, saying that the dollar was going to go on a multi-year downtrend… I have a slide that I show at presentations, that shows the prices of things in 2001 and now, and then I list some other things from 2001 to now, but end with a note that in 2001, Chuck had more hair, less weight, and few believers… People laugh, but it’s true… back in 2001, I would walk into rooms to speak and if it weren’t for some people left over from the previous talk in the room, and members of my family and Frank’s family, there would be no one to speak to… Nobody believed then, that the all-mighty dollar was ready to go into a multi-year downward trend… Why go listen to the short, fat, bald guy talk about something they didn’t believe in?Things have changed over the years… but one thing that hasn’t… My conviction then and now that debt is bad… The Bank of Canada (BOC) left rates unchanged yesterday… Once again disappointing all those, that includes me, that believed the BOC when they said that interest rates would have to be raised sooner than later… Well, they’ve watered down that statement to: “some modest withdrawal of the present considerable monetary policy stimulus may become appropriate.”That’s Central Bank parlance for: we’re not doing a darn thing! You know… I read a lot about Canada, as I’ve always held the Canadian economy in high regard, because they have “stuff” that other countries want and need… Well, from what I read, the 2nd QTR economic growth has been very strong, as the impact of temporary shutdowns in the energy and non-energy mining sector were reversed in the 2nd QTR… Therefore, what I’m saying is that I believe the BOC will rue the day that they didn’t react to this 2nd QTR growth when they could, and be proactive… I’ll say right here, right now, that 2nd QTR GDP will be 3%! Ok… yesterday, I received quite a few emails from readers thanking me for talking about the Bilderberg Group… And one or two that said I was crazy… Well, to those that thought me to be crazy for talking about this group, I have this ditty for you: No one could have said it better than David Rockefeller, founder of the Trilateral Commission, a Bilderberg member and board member of the Council On Foreign Relations in his Memoirs: “Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure-one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.” Then There Was This… OK… there I was eating my dinner last night, and reading the paper, when I came across this, and I turned around to yell at the wall! Serenity now! From McClatchy Newspapers… “The federal General Service Administration (GSA) has handed out more than $1 million in taxpayer-funded bonuses since 2009 to dozens of employees who were under investigation for misconduct. The GSA which oversees the business of the federal government and is its landlord and contracting office, is still facing questions over the nearly $1 million Las Vegas event, which featured $7,000 worth of sushi rolls, a mind readers for entertainment and $20,000 worth of gifts iPods.” Chuck again.. Ok.. there are a ton of things I would like to say here, but knowing my state of mind after reading this story, I had better not… I’ll leave that up to you, because I promised to not call Government leaders or Agencies names any longer… To recap… The WSJ said that the Fed is considering more action amid new recovery doubts last night, and the focus shifted back to the U.S. problems, thus unwinding so-called safe haven trades… Gold is up $17 this morning, and the beleaguered euro has climbed back to 1.25. The A$ is up over 1-cent this morning after printing a better than expected 1st QTR GDP of 1.3% (.6% forecast) , and Oil has made a 3-day rebound, which has lifted the spirits of the petrol currencies like Norway, Canada, Brazil and Russia… Currencies today 6/6/12… American Style: A$ .9865, kiwi .7635, C$ .9685, euro 1.25, sterling 1.5485, Swiss $1.0410, … European Style: rand 8.42, krone 6.0860, SEK 7.2065, forint 239.80, zloty 3.48, koruna 20.4280, RUB 32.50, yen 79.20, sing 1.2785, HKD 7.7585, INR 55.45, China 6.3635, pesos 14.13, BRL 2.0210, Dollar Index 82.51, Oil $85.10, 10-year 1.60% (see the exit from safe havens in the 10-year?) Silver $29.36, and Gold… $1,636.10 That’s it for today… Well, did you see Venus cross the sun yesterday? I didn’t… That’s funny, I was taking a drink of water, and Jack Johnson’s song, Drink The Water started playing on my iPod… funny… I’ve had a great run of fave songs this morning… I had to deal with our home email getting hacked this week… I just don’t understand what drives these people to put their talents to destroying other people’s things… Oh well, all taken care of… and now that I’m getting ready to get this out the door, Led Zeppelin’s song, Baby I’m gonna leave you is playing… HA! OK… I hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837 www.everbank.com
The current situation won’t last indefinitely Except for the fact that “da boyz” and their algorithms showed up at the New York open, it was pretty much a nothing sort of day in the gold market yesterday. With the gold price on an obvious very tight leash, it was a given that the price wasn’t going to be allowed above the $1,300 spot price mark, or the 200-day moving average. The high and low ticks were recorded by the CME as $1,298.30 and $1,287.70 in the June contract. Gold finished the Friday trading session in New York at $1,292.70 spot, down $4.10 from Thursday’s close. Net volume was very quiet—only 84,000 contracts. Silver was under a bit more selling pressure in late Far East and early London trading yesterday—and it got hit a bit in early New York trading as well. Ever since the price touched $20 the ounce at the New York open on Wednesday, JPMorgan et al have been chipping away at it ever since. The high and low ticks were reported as $19.53 and $19.255 in the July contract. Silver closed on Friday at $19.345 spot, down 11.5 cents from Thursday. Volume net of May and June was 35,500 contracts. There was also 3,000 contracts traded in September and December—and whether that was roll-over/spread related, is impossible to tell. Sponsor Advertisement The dollar index closed at 80.04 late on Thursday afternoon in New York. It dipped slightly below the 80.00 level a few times, but manged to rally back to unchanged, finishing the Friday session at 80.05. The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold and 63 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday. The only two short/issuers in silver were Jefferies once again, along with ABN Amro, with 38 and 25 contracts respectively. And, once again, it was “all the usual suspects” as long/stoppers, with JPMorgan being the tallest hog at the trough with 42 contracts in total. The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here. There was a small 8,620 troy ounce withdrawal from GLD yesterday, which I would guess was a fee payment of some kind. And, as of 7:31 p.m EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV. Once again there was no sales report from the U.S. Mint. There was no in/out activity in gold over at the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday and, in silver, there was 613,090 troy ounces reported received—and 24,900 troy ounces were shipped out. The link to that activity is here. I was happy to see that the Commercial net short positions in both silver and gold showed declines in yesterday’s Commitment of Traders Report. It wasn’t a lot in silver, as the Commercial net short position dropped by only 915 contract, or 4.58 million troy ounces—and now sits at 97.2 million ounces. Ted Butler says that JPMorgan’s short-side corner in the Comex silver market remained basically unchanged at 100 million ounces, which represents over 100% of the entire Commercial net short position in silver in the Commercial category. The word “grotesque” is a barely adequate description of this situation. Ted also mentioned that the 10,000 contract non-technical fund long position hiding in the bushes in the Manged Money category hasn’t moved an inch, which is wonderful news, as they’re obviously in this to make a big killing when we get a price rally of some significance. In gold, the Commercial net short position declined by a respectable 8,150 contracts, or 815,000 troy ounces of paper gold. The Commercial net short position in this precious metal now stands at 10.23 million troy ounces. Ted said that JPMorgan sold 5,000 long contracts during the reporting week—and their long-side corner in the Comex gold market now stands at 36,000 contracts, or 3.6 million troy ounces of the stuff. Here’s Nick Laird’s “Days of World Production to Cover Short Positions” of the 4 and 8 largest traders on all physical commodities traded on the Comex. The silver equities sold off just over a percent at the open—and the chopped higher all day, actually finishing in the black, as Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed up 0.23%. The platinum price traded within a one percent price range all day on Friday—and closed down three bucks. Palladium was under pressure in early London trading, but rallied sharply around 12:30 p.m BST—and the traded flat for the remainder of the day, closing up five bucks. Here are the charts. Freegold Ventures Limited is a North American gold exploration company with three gold projects in Alaska. Current projects include Golden Summit, Vinasale and Rob. Both Vinasale and Golden Summit host NI 43-101 Compliant Resource Calculations. An updated NI 43-101 resource was calculated on Golden Summit in October 2012 and using 0.3 g/t cutoff the current resource is 73,580,000 tonnes grading 0.67 g/t Au for total of 1,576,000 contained ounces in the indicated category, and 223,300,000 tonnes grading 0.62 g/t Au for a total of 4,437,000 contained ounces in the inferred category. In addition to the Golden Summit Project the Vinasale also hosts a NI 43-101 resource calculation which was updated in March 2013. Indicated resources are 3.41 million tonnes averaging 1.48 g/t Au for 162,000 ounces, and Inferred resources are 53.25 million tonnes averaging 1.05 g/t Au for 1,799,000 ounces of gold utilizing a cutoff value of 0.5 grams/tonne (g/t) as a possible open pit cutoff. Please send us an email for more information, firstname.lastname@example.org The gold stocks gapped down a bit at the open—and chopped lower for the remainder of the day, closing just off their lows—and the HUI finished down another 1.00%. I don’t have much to add to today’s column—and I’m fresh out of words of wisdom. Like you, I’m just sitting here waiting for the precious metal market to hatch into something—and that will come when “da boyz”—which also includes the Fed, the Exchange Stabilization Fund, the BIS, and most likely the Bank of England and the European Central Bank—decide that a higher gold price would be in everyone’s best interests. And as I’ve said on many occasions over the last decade, the Russians and Chinese are more than aware of this Anglo/American price management scheme—and could end it any time they wish. They just might, but it will occur only when it serves their interests best. Next Tuesday Putin, along with his Chinese counterpart, are meeting in Beijing—and it’s a good bet that the subject will come up. But whether they’re prepared to do anything about it, is another matter entirely. But if they wanted to throw the mother of all spanners into the West’s banking system, especially the “too big to fail” U.S. banks—along with Canada’s Scotiabank—that would do the trick nicely. That’s all I have for the day—and the week. Enjoy what’s left of your weekend, and I’ll see you on Tuesday. And just as a point of interest, JPMorgan’s short position in silver is equivalent to about 50 days of world silver production on this chart. I have a reasonable number of stories for a Saturday column, including a couple that I’ve been saving for most of the week because of content or length issues. It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished—unless they kill in large numbers, and to the sound of trumpets. — Voltaire, 1694-1778 Today’s pop “blast from the past” is by an American rock group that got a lot of air time from me when I was spinning 45s at radio station CHAR-FM in Alert, N.W.T. [now Nunavut] back in the very early 1970s when I was in my early 20s. This was probably their biggest hit, but they had lots of others as well—and you’ll find most of them in the right side-bar over at the youtube.com Internet site. The link is here. Today’s classical “blast from the past” takes a somewhat different tack. As you know, I’m a huge classical music fan—and spent 11 years on the board of directors of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in programming and fundraising. Naturally, I have always been enamoured with the movie “Amadeus“, the somewhat fictional account of Mozart’s life as told by Kapellmeister Antonio Salieri, his supposed arch rival—and if you haven’t seen this movie, you owe it to you to do so. I’ve always wondered what a Mozart-type child prodigy would be like if one showed up in the world today. Well, one has. I heard her a couple of years ago when she was only six years old—and I was impressed back then. Now she’s 8—going on 9—and her abilities are already light years ahead of where they were a couple of years back. The only thing holding up her playing progress is her physical size, as her hands are too small to reach a full octave on the piano—and she’s restricted to playing a child-sized violin. Gifted is not the right word here—and words fail me to really describe her, as the world has seen nothing like her, at least not since I was born. Here name is Alma Deutscher—and she is a force to be reckoned with already. Don’t let her child-like voice fool you into thinking she’s a little kid. Yes, in some ways she is, but when it comes to music, she is not of this earth. Here is a 6:14 minute video clip from NBC’s Today show that was posted on the youtube.com Internet site on November 4, 2013. Watch it to the very end—and mark my words, the world hasn’t heard the last of her. I thank Roy Stephens for digging this up late yesterday evening. The link is here. With such light volume yesterday, I’m not prepared to read too much into Friday’s price action except to note that the price movement at the New York open was straight down for the second day in a row, rather than straight up. As I mentioned in yesterday’s column, we seem to be in some sort of holding pattern at the moment, but for what reason I don’t know? We may or may not find out in the fullness of time, but the odds are 100% in our favour that the current situation won’t last indefinitely. Here are the 6-month charts for both gold and silver once again—and the holding pattern is obvious. I forgot to include the photo of snow geese [with a few Canada geese mixed in] that I took just east of Edmonton, Alberta on Day 1 of the trip—and the second photo on Day 2 is of cattle on a ranch in extreme southern Saskatchewan once again—and the U.S. border is just over the far-distant hill in the background of this shot.
They’ll probably be retroactive. Actually, remove the word “probably.” Plenty of laws in response to prior financial crises have been enacted retroactively. Any new fiscal or monetary emergency would provide easy justification to do so again. If capital controls or savings confiscations were instituted later this year, for example, they would likely be retroactive to January 1. For those who have not yet taken action, it could already be too late. Controls will likely occur suddenly and with no warning. When did Cyprus implement their bail-in scheme? On a Friday night after banks were closed. By the way, prior to the bail-in, citizens were told the Cypriot banks had “government guarantees” and were “well-regulated.” Those assurances were nothing but a cruel joke when lightning-fast confiscation was enacted. “If I scare you this morning, and as a result you take action, then I will have accomplished my goal.” That’s what I told the audience at the Sprott Natural Resource Symposium in Vancouver two weeks ago. But the reality is that I didn’t need to try to scare anyone. The evidence is overwhelming and has already alarmed most investors; our greatest risk is not a bad investment but our political exposure. And yet most of these same investors do not see any need to stash bullion outside their home countries. They view international diversification as an extreme move. Many don’t even care if capital controls are instituted. I’m convinced that this is the most common—and important—strategic investment error made today. So let me share a few key points from my Sprott presentation and let you decide for yourself if you need to reconsider your own strategy. (Bolding for emphasis is mine.) 1: IMF Endorses Capital Controls Bloomberg reported in December 2012 that the “IMF has endorsed the use of capital controls in certain circumstances.“ This is particularly important because the IMF, arguably an even more prominent institution since the global financial crisis started, has always had an official stance against capital controls. “In a reversal of its historic support for unrestricted flows of money across borders, the IMF said controls can be useful…” Will individual governments jump on this bandwagon? “It will be tacitly endorsed by a lot of central banks,” says Boston University professor Kevin Gallagher. If so, it could be more than just your home government that will clamp down on storing assets elsewhere. 2: There Is Academic Support for Capital Controls Many mainstream economists support capital controls. For example, famed Harvard Economists Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff wrote the following earlier this year: Governments should consider taking a more eclectic range of economic measures than have been the norm over the past generation or two. The policies put in place so far, such as budgetary austerity, are little match for the size of the problem, and may make things worse. Instead, governments should take stronger action, much as rich economies did in past crises. Aside from the dangerously foolish idea that reining in excessive government spending is a bad thing, Reinhart and Rogoff are saying that even more massive government intervention should be pursued. This opens the door to all kinds of dubious actions on the part of politicians, including—to my point today—capital controls. “Ms. Reinhart and Mr. Rogoff suggest debt write-downs and ‘financial repression’, meaning the use of a combination of moderate inflation and constraints on the flow of capital to reduce debt burdens.” The Reinhart and Rogoff report basically signals to politicians that it’s not only acceptable but desirable to reduce their debts by restricting the flow of capital across borders. Such action would keep funds locked inside countries where said politicians can plunder them as they see fit. 3: Confiscation of Savings on the Rise “So, what’s the big deal?” Some might think. “I live here, work here, shop here, spend here, and invest here. I don’t really need funds outside my country anyway!” Well, it’s self-evident that putting all of one’s eggs in any single basket, no matter how safe and sound that basket may seem, is risky—extremely risky in today’s financial climate. In addition, when it comes to capital controls, storing a little gold outside one’s home jurisdiction can help avoid one major calamity, a danger that is growing virtually everywhere in the world: the outright confiscation of people’s savings. The IMF, in a report entitled “Taxing Times,” published in October of 2013, on page 49, states: “The sharp deterioration of the public finances in many countries has revived interest in a capital levy—a one-off tax on private wealth—as an exceptional measure to restore debt sustainability.” The problem is debt. And now countries with higher debt levels are seeking to justify a tax on the wealth of private citizens. So, to skeptics regarding the value of international diversification, I would ask: Does the country you live in have a lot of debt? Is it unsustainable? If debt levels are dangerously high, the IMF says your politicians could repay it by taking some of your wealth. The following quote sent shivers down my spine… The appeal is that such a task, if implemented before avoidance is possible and there is a belief that is will never be repeated, does not distort behavior, and may be seen by some as fair. The conditions for success are strong, but also need to be weighed against the risks of the alternatives, which include repudiating public debt or inflating it away. The IMF has made it clear that invoking a levy on your assets would have to be done before you have time to make other arrangements. There will be no advance notice. It will be fast, cold, and cruel. Notice also that one option is to simply inflate debt away. Given the amount of indebtedness in much of the world, inflation will certainly be part of the “solution,” with or without outright confiscation of your savings. (So make sure you own enough gold, and avoid government bonds like the plague.) Further, the IMF has already studied how much the tax would have to be: The tax rates needed to bring down public debt to pre-crisis levels are sizable: reducing debt ratios to 2007 levels would require, for a sample of 15 euro area countries, a tax rate of about 10% on households with a positive net worth. Note that the criterion is not billionaire status, nor millionaire, nor even “comfortably well off.” The tax would apply to anyone with a positive net worth. And the 10% wealth-grab would, of course, be on top of regular income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, etc. 4: We Like Pension Funds Unfortunately, it’s not just savings. Carmen Reinhart (again) and M. Belén Sbrancia made the following suggestions in a 2011 paper: Historically, periods of high indebtedness have been associated with a rising incidence of default or restructuring of public and private debts. A subtle type of debt restructuring takes the form of ‘financial repression.’ Financial repression includes directed lending to government by captive domestic audiences (such as pension funds), explicit or implicit caps on interest rates, regulation of cross-border capital movements, and (generally) a tighter connection between government and banks. Yes, your retirement account is now a “captive domestic audience.” Are you ready to “lend” it to the government? “Directed” means “compulsory” in the above statement, and you may not have a choice if “regulation of cross-border capital movements”—capital controls—are instituted. 5: The Eurozone Sanctions Money-Grabs Germany’s Bundesbank weighed in on this subject last January: “Countries about to go bankrupt should draw on the private wealth of their citizens through a one-off capital levy before asking other states for help.” The context here is that of Germans not wanting to have to pay for the mistakes of Italians, Greeks, Cypriots, or whatnot. Fair enough, but the “capital levy” prescription is still a confiscation of funds from individuals’ banks or brokerage accounts. Here’s another statement that sent shivers down my spine: A capital levy corresponds to the principle of national responsibility, according to which tax payers are responsible for their government’s obligations before solidarity of other states is required. The central bank of the strongest economy in the European Union has explicitly stated that you are responsible for your country’s fiscal obligations—and would be even if you voted against them! No matter how financially reckless politicians have been, it is your duty to meet your country’s financial needs. This view effectively nullifies all objections. It’s a clear warning. And it’s not just the Germans. On February 12, 2014, Reuters reported on an EU commission document that states: The savings of the European Union’s 500 million citizens could be used to fund long-term investments to boost the economy and help plug the gap left by banks since the financial crisis. Reuters reported that the Commission plans to request a draft law, “to mobilize more personal pension savings for long-term financing.” EU officials are explicitly telling us that the pensions and savings of its citizens are fair game to meet the union’s financial needs. If you live in Europe, the writing is on the wall. Actually, it’s already under way… Reuters recently reported that Spain has …introduced a blanket taxation rate of .03% on all bank account deposits, in a move aimed at… generating revenues for the country’s cash-strapped autonomous communities. The regulation, which could bring around 400 million euros ($546 million) to the state coffers based on total deposits worth 1.4 trillion euros, had been tipped as a possible sweetener for the regions days after tough deficit limits for this year and next were set by the central government. Some may counter that since Spain has relatively low tax rates and the bail-in rate is small, this development is no big deal. I disagree: it establishes the principle, sets the precedent, and opens the door for other countries to pursue similar policies. 6: Canada Jumps on the Confiscation Bandwagon You may recall this text from last year’s budget in Canada: “The Government proposes to implement a bail-in regime for systemically important banks.” A bail-in is what they call it when a government takes depositors’ money to plug a bank’s financial holes—just as was done in Cyprus last year. This regime will be designed to ensure that, in the unlikely event a systemically important bank depletes its capital, the bank can be recapitalized and returned to viability through the very rapid conversion of certain bank liabilities into regulatory capital. What’s a “bank liability”? Your deposits. How quickly could they do such a thing? They just told us: fast enough that you won’t have time to react. By the way, the Canadian bail-in was approved on a national level just one week after the final decision was made for the Cyprus bail-in. 7: FATCA Have you considered why the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act was passed into law? It was supposed to crack down on tax evaders and collect unpaid tax revenue. However, it’s estimated that it will only generate $8.7 billion over 10 years, which equates to 0.18% of the current budget deficit. And that’s based on rosy government projections. FATCA was snuck into the HIRE Act of 2010, with little notice or discussion. Since the law will raise negligible revenue, I think something else must be going on here. If you ask me, it’s about control. In my opinion, the goal of FATCA is to keep US savers trapped in US banks and in the US dollar, in case the US wants to implement a Cyprus-like bail-in. Given the debt load in the US and given statements made by government officials, this seems like a reasonable conclusion to draw. This is why I think that the institution of capital controls is a “when” question, not an “if” one. The momentum is clearly gaining steam for some form of capital controls being instituted in the near future. If you don’t internationalize, you must accept the risk that your assets will be confiscated, taxed, regulated, and/or inflated away. What to Expect Going Forward First, any announcement will probably not use the words “capital controls.” It will be couched positively, for the “greater good,” and words like “patriotic duty” will likely feature prominently in mainstream press and government press releases. If you try to transfer assets outside your country, you could be branded as a traitor or an enemy of the state, even among some in your own social circles. Social environment will be chaotic. If capital controls are instituted, it will be because we’re in some kind of economic crisis, which implies the social atmosphere will be rocky and perhaps even dangerous. We shouldn’t be surprised to see riots, as there would be great uncertainty and fear. That’s dangerous in its own right, but it’s also not the kind of environment in which to begin making arrangements. Restrictions could last a long time. While many capital controls have been lifted in Cyprus, money transfers outside the country still require approval from the Central Bank—over a year after the bail-in. Ban vs. levy. Imposing capital controls is a risky move for a government to make; even the most reckless politicians understand this. That won’t stop them, but it could make them act more subtly. For instance, they might not impose actual bans on moving money across borders, but instead place a levy on doing so. Say, a 50% levy? That would “encourage” funds to remain inside a given country. Why not 100%? You could be permitted to transfer $10,000 outside the country—but if the fee for doing so is $10,000, few will do it. Such verbal games allow politicians to claim they have not enacted capital controls and yet achieve the same effect. There are plenty of historical examples of countries doing this very thing. Keep in mind: Who will you complain to? If the government takes a portion of your assets, legally, who will you sue? You will have no recourse. And don’t expect anyone below your tax bracket to feel sorry for you. No, once the door is closed, your wealth is trapped inside your country. It cannot move, escape, or flee. Capital controls allow politicians to do anything to your wealth they deem necessary. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a target. Our Going Global report provides all the vital information you need to build a personal financial base outside your home country. It covers gold ownership and storage options, foreign bank accounts, currency diversification, foreign annuities, reporting requirements, and much more. It’s a complete A to Z guide on how to diversify internationally. Discover what solutions are right for you—whether you’re a big investor or small, novice or veteran, many options are available. I encourage you to pursue what steps are most appropriate for you now, before the door is closed. Learn more here…
The deadline to register to vote in Alabama is Oct. 22. If you have not registered to vote yet, below there are several ways that you can register to vote.Visit your local post office, DMV, DHR offices and county public libraries to receive mail-in forms.You can also request a mail-in form online or print the PDF file.Go online for electronic registration on the Alabama secretary of state’s webiste.The general election will take place on Nov. 6. To find more information about voting, where you will need to go to vote, as well as how to submit an absentee vote, visit alabamavotes.gov. If you believe you may be registered to vote but are unsure, you can check here.
Two teens are facing robbery charges after police say both were involved in a carjacking.Jamorris Miarquel Hogan and Nakeem Dewayne Spencer were charged with first-degree robbery.Police said Hogan is also the teen who’s accused of bringing a loaded gun to Hale County High School Wednesday. Hogan will be charged as an adult in Tuscaloosa, but as a juvenile in Hale County.Greensboro Police took Hogan into custody today after his release from the Tuscaloosa County Jail and took him to a juvenile correctional facility in Dallas County.
NEW YORK — After a rough-for-her Grand Slam season, Serena Williams came into the U.S. Open with a new approach. So far, so good.Unable to make it past the fourth round at any of the first three major tournaments in 2014, Williams began her bid for a third consecutive U.S. Open title with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over American teen Taylor Townsend on Aug. 26.Afterward, Williams was asked whether she changed anything about her preparation for this tournament, which she has won five times overall.“I’ve decided I’m not going to overthink it. I think I’ve overthought every Grand Slam so far this year. It didn’t really work out great for me,” Williams said. “So worst-case scenario, I’m just going to stay positive and do the best I can. That’s all I can do.”The No. 1-ranked and No. 1-seeded Williams’ best was pretty good in the all-American matchup against Townsend, an 18-year-old who is ranked 103rd and was given a wild card into the draw.Williams made only eight unforced errors and needed only 55 minutes to wrap up the victory. She is trying to become the first woman to win the U.S. Open three years in a row since Chris Evert took four straight trophies from 1975-78.Not since 2006 has Williams failed to reach at least one final at a year’s four Grand Slam tournaments. But she lost in the fourth round at the Australian Open, the second round at the French Open, and the third round at Wimbledon.She’ll face another American, Vania King, in the second round at Flushing Meadows.Townsend acknowledged afterward she was a tad overwhelmed by the occasion. Not only was this her U.S. Open debut, but she was facing a 17-time major champion under the lights in Arthur Ashe Stadium, the largest arena in Grand Slam tennis.“It was just a lot of different emotions and feelings that were coming. It was hard to deal with,” said the gregarious Townsend, who beat a seeded player en route to reaching the third round at the French Open in her Grand Slam debut this year.“Being nervous,” Townsend said, “I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, she’s going to smack the ball at me in my face, so get ready.’”Townsend said that she and Williams developed a rapport during the U.S. Fed Cup team’s matches in Delray Beach, Florida, in April 2013.Townsend didn’t play, but was invited to be with the team, and she got a chance to chat with Williams and her older sister Venus during a rain delay. “We didn’t even talk about tennis,” Townsend recalled. “We started talking about hair and nails, of course.”After losing, Townsend referred to her 32-year-old opponent as one of her “tennis idols.”“She’s an African-American woman from Compton, California, who has won 17 or 16 Grand Slam titles. Like, who would have thought? Anything is possible. She’s paved the way for me and not only African-American girls but girls in general, people in general,” Townsend said. “Just has changed the game of tennis. I think I’ve just learned, like, from her story that anything is possible.”(HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Tennis Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
ATHENS – The two traditional powers in Greek basketball, Olympiakos’ Reds and Panathinaikos’ Greens, won tough games but are still behind upstart PAOK of Thessaloniki.Olympiakos overcame Apollon, 67-56 in Patra while Panathinaikos defeated host Nea Kifissia, 72-66 while PAOK was beating AGO Rethymnou, 79-71.Usually, the Greek league is superflous as virtually no other teams have a chance to catch the big-money spenders at Olympiakos and Panathinaikos so this season has seen a surprise with PAOK.In other games, Aris defeated Panelefsiniakos, 79-61 and AEK ripped Korivos Amaliadas 76-67. Last place Panionios fired coach Vangelis Alexandris, replacing him with former player and assistant coach Chris Hougaz.The only league game to take place next weekend will be the Thessaloniki derby between Aris and PAOK that had been abandoned in October for crowd trouble, but the sports judge ruled it must be replayed.TweetPinShare0 Shares
BERLIN (AP) — Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Maximilian Philipp and the video referee all struck twice as Borussia Dortmund routed Cologne in the Bundesliga on Sunday.Nothing went right for the visitors in the 5-0 defeat, with Cologne now conceding 12 league goals in four defeats. Dortmund remains the only team yet to concede.Philipp got the home side off to a dream start with a glancing header to Andrey Yarmolenko’s fine cross.It was Philipp’s first goal for Dortmund since his summer transfer from Freiburg. Both he and Ukrainian forward Yarmolenko, another new arrival, were Dortmund’s best players in the first half.But the home side had to wait until first-half injury time for the next goal, controversially scored by Sokratis Papastathopoulos.Referee Patrick Ittrich at first ruled the goal out for a Sokratis shove when the defender and goalkeeper collided and the ball fell kindly for the Greek defender to poke over the line, but the goal was given after consultation with his video assistant.Cologne’s anger was exacerbated as Ittrich’s whistle for the alleged foul came before the ball crossed the line.“We want to protest. It was an irregular goal in contravention of the rules,” Cologne general manager Joerg Schmadtke said.Schmadtke’s counterpart Hans-Joachim Watzke accused the visitors of being “bad losers.”Video assistance intervened for a second time when Lukas Kluenter blocked Philipp’s header with his arm. Play continued but Ittrich called it back and booked the Cologne defender after receiving instructions on his earpiece. Aubameyang duly converted the penalty, the only encouragement he needed for his second goal a minute later.With the injured Marco Reus watching from the stands, his replacement Philipp claimed his second in the 69th with a brilliant chip over the goalkeeper after Mahmoud Dahoud sent him through.The 17-year-old Alexander Isak, who came on late for Dortmund, was agonizingly close to scoring on his league debut.___LEVERKUSEN’S RELEASEBayer Leverkusen took out its early season frustration on Freiburg, dealing the visitors a 4-0 defeat.Leverkusen, which started the league with two losses and a draw, raced into a 3-0 lead in the first half as the side eased the pressure on new coach Heiko Herrlich, who played as a youth for Freiburg.Kevin Volland opened the scoring after 20 minutes with a brilliant strike inside the left post from just under 20 meters (yards), before Charles Aranguiz – who had set him up – powered in a half-cleared corner to make it 2-0.Lars Bender crossed for Volland to slide in and claim his second goal 10 minutes before the interval.The Leverkusen forward thought he’d reached his hat trick with 20 minutes remaining – after another fine strike – but the goal was ruled out after video consultation for a foul in the build-up.Julian Brandt wrapped up the scoring with four minutes remaining when Aranguiz took a quick free kick.In Sunday’s early game, Alexander Esswein earned Hertha Berlin a 1-1 draw at Hoffenheim in a duel between Europa League contenders.CIARAN FAHEY, Associated PressTweetPinShare0 Shares