LGBTI community calls for simpler procedures to change gender identity

first_imgSimpler procedures to change gender identity and legally allowing gay couples to adopt are the next challenges for the island’s LGBTI community, which has seen great strides in how it is treated over the last year.Tuesday was the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), which also marked the beginning of the third Pride Festival in Cyprus that will culminate in the Pride Parade in Nicosia on May 28.The international day aims to bring to the fore, the “stigma and prejudice” faced by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual and Intersex (LGBTI) community in Cyprus, ie “10 per cent of the population, some 85,000 Cypriots”, head of rights group ACCEPT Costas Gavrielides said on Tuesday.“The vision of ACCEPT is a society without discriminations and prejudices, based on respect for every citizen and the acceptance of his or her diversity especially when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity,” Gavrielides said.For the first time we can speak of achieving great goals, he added, as last year the law on cohabitation agreements was passed, as well as the criminalisation of public incitement to violence or hatred due to homophobia or transphobia. In addition to this, very successful pride festivals and parades were held in the last two years, he said.These acts have seen Cyprus climb the annual list prepared by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association (ILGA) that reflects the legal and human rights situation for LGBTI people in European countries.“For the first time our country does not rank last among EU countries. For the first time we have moved from 28th to the 19th place,” Gavrielides said.Our score rose from 18 per cent to 32 per cent, while among 49 countries worldwide, Cyprus has this year moved up from the 39th to the 26th place, Gavrielides said.“We are on a good track but a lot remains to be done as Cyprus is still below the EU average,” he said.To reach the EU average, “Cyprus still needs to take steps to safeguard equal treatment in providing services, education and health”, Gavrielides said, as well as “equality in family through the choice of civil marriage for homosexual couples, adoption, legal recognition of gender identity without humiliating medical procedures and proper implementation of decisions for LGBTI asylum seekers.“The prohibition of adoption by homosexual couples is unconstitutional and we call on the Supreme court to examine it,” he added.The group also said that “the prohibition of medically assisted reproduction for lesbians, and the choice of surrogacy for homosexual couples” was unconstitutional as it is discriminatory. “The state should not dictate to its people how to live their lives nor forbid them to have families”.It is time, Gavrielides said, for the discussion to begin on the legal change of gender identity for trans people. That is, “the legal procedure by which trans people may change their name and their gender, according to how they feel and not how the state categorises them”.The legal recognition of gender change is very important as it will make day to day issues much simpler for trans people like picking up parcels, opening a bank account, applying for utility services, or even using a personalised card for public road transportation.“All these could be a problem if a person’s gender identity is not the same as that indicated on their ID card, or other official documents,” he said. “They are treated as using fake documents and they are forced to reveal they are trans without them wanting to do so. This violates their right for privacy”.He added that many trans people are excluded from society and the job market.President Nicos Anastasiades sent out a message on the occasion of IDAHO; “We recognise and respect fundamental human rights. Avoiding discrimination (is) among our top values,” he tweeted on Tuesday.And on Tuesday the Aglandjia municipality became the first local government authority to hoist the rainbow flag, Gavrielides said, with the Turkish Cypriot Nicosia municipality hoisted the rainbow flag near the Ledra street crossing in the north.The Pride Festival, which takes place between May 17 and 28, includes film screenings, plays, a human library, a book presentation, a public discussion, a street play, and free AIDS HIV tests in Nicosia and Limassol.You May LikeInsured Nation – Auto Insurance QuotesNew Rule in Rowland Heights, California Leaves Drivers FumingInsured Nation – Auto Insurance QuotesUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Reilly on board with new state government transparency initiative

first_img Tags: FOIA Categories: Reilly News State Rep. John Reilly of Oakland Township says he supports bipartisan legislation introduced today to make state government more transparent.“This is another sign of the House’s commitment to be more accountable and accessible to the people of Michigan,” Reilly said.Reilly joined colleagues in the announcement of the bill package to make Michigan’s governor and lieutenant governor subject to the Freedom of Information Act. The proposal also calls for a similar disclosure requirement for state representatives and senators, called the Legislative Open Records Act.“I believe government should be held accountable to the people they serve,” he said.Michigan is one of just two states where public records disclosure does not apply to the governor’s office.The Legislative Open Records Act would exempt some records, including letters to and from people in the lawmaker’s district, human resources files and ongoing legislative investigations or lawsuits.Today’s bill package introduction comes in the wake of the House’s recent announcement that its website now includes the salary information of every representative and employee, another move toward increased transparency.###center_img 01Feb Reilly on board with new state government transparency initiativelast_img read more

Rep Eisen votes to reform highest auto insurance premiums in the nation

first_img Categories: Eisen News House approves historic reforms to reduce car ratesThe Michigan House today approved a landmark plan to fix our state’s much-maligned car insurance system and reduce rates for all Michigan drivers, state Rep. Gary Eisen announced.Rep. Eisen voted in favor of the plan to offer drivers personal injury coverage options, rein in medical costs and fight fraud – features designed to end Michigan’s long-standing tenure as the state with the costliest car insurance rates in the nation.“It’s been a priority to give drivers relief and by working together we can reform the highest average auto insurance premiums in the nation,” Eisen, of St. Clair Township, said after the vote. “This plan better serves the interests of Michigan drivers.”Michigan’s costs are high largely because it’s the only state mandating unlimited lifetime health care coverage through car insurance. The plan allows those currently using the coverage to keep it, and those who want it in the future to continue buying it – while providing more affordable options.The plan:·       Guarantees lower rates for all Michigan drivers.·       Gives drivers a choice on car insurance policies.·       Stops price gouging on medical services for car accident victims.·       Combats fraudulent claims to help lower costs.The sweeping legislation now advances to the Senate for consideration.##### 09May Rep. Eisen votes to reform highest auto insurance premiums in the nationlast_img read more

Big Bank Settlement Hoaxes Paying Little Profiting Greatly

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares January 14, 2014; BloombergRemember all the multi-billion settlements with national banks concerning their deleterious mortgage practices? Nonprofits might be interested in what’s happening to these crucial dollars that were meant to help homeowners stave off foreclosures.The latest news is the announcement of a “deal” between New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman over the spending of New York State’s $613 million share of the JPMorgan Chase settlement. A deal? Apparently, Cuomo and Schneiderman have agreed to divide the first $163 million of the settlement—$81.5 million will be controlled by Cuomo for housing programs and an equal amount controlled by Schneiderman for anti-foreclosure initiatives.An earlier deal would have given Schneiderman 85 percent of the settlement funds to pursue principal reduction and refinance restructured mortgages, but Cuomo’s office viewed this as giving the AG too much financial control and too little accountability oversight. The debate, however, might have really been between the Governor and the AG over the Governor’s attraction to the possibility of budget-filling revenues.The $25 billion settlement reached with five national banks and the specific deal with JPMorgan Chase for a settlement of $13 billion look like eye-popping numbers, but Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) suggests that these deals are sort of bogus and that the settlements will cost the banks only a small percentage of the big topline numbers.Warren points out that the five-bank settlement includes giving the banks $17 billion in credits for merely adhering to mortgage disclosure rules and wiping out a separate $400 claim of the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency by promising to comply with the settlement terms. Even the $13 billion JPMorgan Chase settlement is less than it appears: Of the $13 billion, $7.5 billion is tax deductible for the bank, another $4 billion wiped out what the bank had previously agreed to pay in a settlement with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, $2 billion more goes toward principal reductions (essentially giving JPMorgan Chase credit for mortgage payments it was likely not to have been paid in any case), and $2 billion will be credits for increasing lending in lower-income neighborhoods.In many cases, some of these costs may be charges against the banks’ litigation reserves, already factored into the economics of their continued profitability. And the big banks are still highly profitable. Bank of America’s fourth quarter 2013 profits exceeded expectations on Wall Street, though that was accompanied by a significant reduction in its mortgage business and a big increase in its lucrative wealth management business. After three years of record profits, JPMorgan Chase’s profitability declined by seven percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, but that still amounted to $5.28 billion in net income and “minus one-time items” a profit of $1.40 a share. Profits for JPMorgan Chase’s mortgage originations, however, rose 34 percent despite all of its obligations for settlement payments. For the entire year, Wells Fargo, with $21.9 billion in profits, bested JPMorgan Chase at $17.9 billion as the nation’s most profitable bank, hardly an indication that the banks’ multiple settlements are causing them much bottom-line pain.The reality is that settlements look good on paper, but it is the performance on the ground that counts. That’s where the nonprofit sector’s advocacy is truly important, both ensuring that the settlements negotiated behind the scenes don’t turn into Potemkin Village punishments and that the actual disbursements do what they are supposed to do to ameliorate bank abuses.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

The number of digital TV homes around the world wi

first_imgThe number of digital TV homes around the world will double between now and 2017, according to the latest report from Digital TV Research.The forecasts, which cover 80 territories, say that the 2017 total will rise to 1.3 billion and that, at that point, global digital penetration will have reached 86.7%.Of the 648 million digital TV homes to be added between 2011 and 2017, 259 million will come from digital cable. Homes taking DTT but not subscribing to cable, DTH or IPTV will bring in a further 174 million, with pay DTT adding five million, according to the report. Pay IPTV will increase by 114 million, with pay DTH up 66 million and free-to-air DTH 31 million.Pay TV penetration (analogue and digital combined) reached half of the world’s TV households by end-2010, and will rise to 63% by end-2017, according to the report. Pay TV penetration at end-2017 will range from 87% in North America to 22% in the Middle East and Africa. Pay TV penetration will remain highest in the Netherlands, at 99.5% by end-2017. However, China will have the most pay TV subs, at 315 million by end-2017, followed by India with 145 million, according to the report.Simon Murray, report author, said: “There were still 714 million analogue TV households by end-2011. However, this total will fall to 202 million by end-2017. Analogue penetration will drop from 51.4% at end-2011 to 13.3% by end-2017.”last_img read more

Viacom International Media Networks has promoted K

first_imgViacom International Media Networks has promoted Kerry Taylor to senior VP, Youth & Music. The role involves overseeing all branding activity and taking responsibility for all non-music-related content on the international MTV channels.Taylor will report to VIMN CEO Bob Bakish in the new role as well as continuing in her current position as senior VP and general manager of MTV for VIMN UK, reporting to David Lynn, executive VP of all VIMN operations in the UK, Australia, Russia, and Hungary.Taylor will take the lead in deciding how the MTV brand is positioned and presented as well as in developing original programmes and identifying acquisitions.Bakish said: “[Taylor] has led our MTV portfolio in the UK to so many noteworthy accomplishments and I’m confident that, under her leadership, we will continue the successful evolution of the MTV brand and to deliver entertaining and compelling content to MTV viewers around the world.”Taylor first joined VIMN as VP of marketing, creative & consumer press for MTV UK & Ireland in September 2007. Prior to that she was director, marketing & on-air for Living TV, Bravo, Challenge and Trouble at Virgin Media.last_img read more

The number of HD channels in Russia has multiplied

first_imgThe number of HD channels in Russia has multiplied by almost five times in the last year and a half, according to research group TelecomDaily.According to TelecomDaily, the number of HD channels available in the Russian market has grown from 10 to 45 over the last 18 months, with the expectation that this will increase to 50 by the end of the year.last_img

Glenn Hower Multichannel networks MCNs are key

first_imgGlenn HowerMultichannel networks (MCNs) are “key to reaching younger online video viewers” with millennials watching 5.5 hours of internet video per week on smartphones and six hours per week on tablets, according to Parks Associates.The US-based research firm claims that there will be more than 200 million online video viewers in North America by 2016 with 18 to 24 year-olds, or millennials, “often favouring short-form YouTube content like PewDiePie and Jenna Marbles.”“Millennials, who watch the most internet video content, have been a difficult demographic for content providers and distributors to reach. As audiences for internet video personalities grow, content companies have taken note of the potential to leverage these viewers and monetise internet video by aggregating creator channels into multichannel networks,” said Glenn Hower, research analyst, Parks Associates.“Internet video is in the midst of significant changes. Online content creators, once representing a collection of popular but disparate viral videos, have emerged to establish audiences that contribute recurring viewership, much like traditional television and video.”last_img read more

BT Sports Champions League presenter team BT adde

first_imgBT Sport’s Champions League presenter teamBT added 97,000 TV customers in its fiscal third quarter, taking its total to 1.4 million. The company said that viewership of its BT Sport offering had increased by 46% thanks in part to coverage of Champions League and Europa League football.BT said that 20 football matches recorded peak concurrent viewing above one million viewers between August and the end of the year, compared with only 12 for the previous season.  The majority of both consumer and commercial BT Sport customers take the full range of the company’s sports channels, according to BT.BT also saw a strong boost to its mobile numbers, with 300,000 new mobile customers added in the quarter. Overall, the telco added 6,000 customers, the first growth in its consumer base in over 10 years, compared with a decline of 60,000 for the same period last year.BT Consumer posted a revenue increase of 11% to £1.2 billion (€1.6 billion) for the quarter, including a 23% increase in broadband and TV revenue. Operating costs increased by 12% thanks to BT’s investment in rights for BT Sport Europe. However consumer division EBITDA grew by 8% to £250 million.“BT Consumer had a standout quarter, increasing its overall line base for the first time in well over a decade and capturing 71% of new broadband customers.  Good customer growth in broadband, TV and mobile helped to grow ARPU by 7%.  Customers like what we’re offering, whether that’s superfast broadband, Champions League football or mobile data bundles.  BT Global Services also did well with good revenue growth in continental Europe and Asia,” said CEO Gavin Patterson.BT took the opportunity to defend the record of Openreach, its infrastructure arm now subject to numerous calls from rivals to be subject to a forced sale. The telco said that the growth of broadband usage during the period of Openreach’s existence had been explosive, and that the group had now deployed fibre to over 24 million premises from a standing start in 2009, including 500,000 homes passed in the third quarter.BT itself added 250,000 fibre customers in the quarter, taking its retail base to 3.7 million, with 46% of the company’s broadband customers now on fibre.“Fibre is underpinning the growth at Openreach with almost half a million premises taking up the service this quarter via dozens of service providers.  The fibre market is highly competitive and growing all the time, which is great news for the UK economy.   Our superfast fibre broadband network is available to well over 24m homes and businesses.  We will help take fibre coverage to 95% of the country by the end of 2017, with plans to go even further.  Our G.fast trials are progressing well.  The UK is poised to take the important journey from superfast to ultrafast broadband and BT is well placed to lead the charge,” said Patterson.The results came as BT completed the acquisition of EE, bringing Deutsche Telekom on board as a shareholder, and announced a new operational structure with EE retaining its brand in a separate division under Marc Allera.last_img read more

Amazon auto show The Grand Tour Amazon plans to u

first_imgAmazon auto show, The Grand TourAmazon plans to up its investment in video content in the current quarter, despite reporting a year-on-decline in net income during Q2 on the back of higher spend.Speaking on the company’s second quarter earnings call, chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said that Amazon would continue to build on its momentum in the video space, after it took a “significant step up” in content spend between the second half of 2016 and the second half of 2015.“We’ll be increasing video spend on a sequential and year-over-year basis in Q3, and that’s included in this guidance,” said Olsavsky.During Q2 Amazon said that its spend on technology and content grew 51% year-on-year to US$633 million (€541 million) while marketing spend climbed 66% to US$133 million.Overall the company’s net sales grew 25% year-on-year in the quarter to a huge US$38.0 billion, however net income dropped 77% to US$197 million.Asked about the company’s Q2 spend, Olsavsky said the year-on-year difference was primarily driven by investments in fulfilment capacity and logistics services, digital video, its Echo devices and Alexa voice platform, growth in India, and the build up of its Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure.Olsavsky said the company had also increased its headcount by 42%, driven by operations hires, and said there was an accelerated growth rate in software engineers and sales teams hires primarily to support AWS and advertising.“As far as Q2 is concerned, we were very encouraged by the revenue and unit growth acceleration, particularly in North America. We see that tied to the Prime growth and the adoption of Prime and success of that program,” said Olsavsky.For Q3 Amazon said it expects sales to reach US$39.25 billion and US$41.75 billion, which would mark a year-on-year increase in the range of 20% – 28%.It said operating income could come in anywhere between a loss of US$400 million and gain of US$300 million, compared with US$575 million a year earlier.“Our teams remain heads-down and focused on customers,” said Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos.Listing the company’s achievements in the last few months, he said Amazon had: launched Echo Show, its newest Echo device; introduced calling and messaging via Alexa on all Echo devices; and debuted Inside Edge on Prime Video – the first of 18 Indian Original Series.In Q2, Amazon also: introduced Amazon Channels in both the UK and Germany; launched four new Fire tablets; expanded Amazon Fresh to Germany; launched Prime Now in Singapore; hired more than 30,000 new employees; opened three new Amazon Books stores; launched more than 400 “significant AWS features and services”; migrated more than 7,000 databases using AWS Database Migration Service; and held its third annual Prime Day — signing up more Prime members than ever before.“It’s energising to invent on behalf of customers, and we continue to see many high-quality opportunities to invest,” said Bezos.last_img read more

Digital media management and licensing company Bit

first_imgDigital media management and licensing company Bitmax has signed a deal to provide content management and services to High Octane Pictures (HOP), a film distribution and sales agency that works with distributors, financiers, talent agencies and various strategic entertainment partnerships to sell and distribute movies.As part of the deal, Bitmax will seek to help HOP maximise the revenue potential of its titles across the international VOD market, helping gain carriage on international platforms while advising on monetizing HOP’s slate of content across distribution channels and partners.HOP has brokered deals in over 80 countries across the world, focusing on sales, acquisition and distribution of content specifically made for kids, family and young adults as well as supporting and giving exposure to completed films with a focus on documentaries, LGBTQ content, art house films and dramas.“Bitmax is a demonstrated leader in content orchestration and distribution, and we look forward to working with them across all business models from TVOD to AVOD,” said High Octane Pictures’ president and founder, Galen Christy.“Bitmax is the perfect partner for High Octane Pictures, as they have great content and we have the technology and expertise to monetize it across VOD platforms.” said Jim Riley, Bitmax CRO. “We love their ethos of putting the film maker first and promoting and distributing compelling independent films.”last_img read more

Previous PostOne Raleigh County School To Hold Act

first_img Previous PostOne Raleigh County School To Hold Active Shooter Drill Today Home NewsWatch Kroger Hiring 420 Employees in Region That Includes West Virginia Tyler Barker Tyler Barker is currently the Interim News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. I was promoted to this job in Mid-November. I still will fill in on weather from time to time. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email me at tbarker@woay.com Twitter CHARLESTON (WCHS, JEFF MORRIS)– Anyone shopping for a job in the region will have some opportunities at Kroger.The grocery store chain announced in a news release that it is hiring to fill about 420 jobs in its stores in the Mid-Atlantic Division, which includes West Virginia, Ashland, Ky., Marietta, Belpre and Proctorville, Ohio.Kroger said the region has 122 stores and also includes North Carolina and Kingsport and Johnson City, Tenn.Interested applicants may apply at jobs.kroger.com.Kroger said it has added 100,000 new jobs in communities across the country and is committed to having an environment where people can come for a job and stay for a career. Mail Linkedin NewsWatchState NewsTop Stories Kroger Hiring 420 Employees in Region That Includes West Virginia By Tyler BarkerApr 12, 2018, 07:46 am 529 0 center_img Pinterest Next PostAmtrak working to continue New River Train in West Virginia Facebook Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Tumblr Google+last_img read more

Next PostBeckley Natives Create New Board Game

first_img Next PostBeckley Natives Create New Board Game Mail 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 Previous PostWV Miners’ Struggles Continue Against Chillicothe Home Sports News Sports Bluefield Blue Jays Drop Season Opener Google+ Tumblr WOAY – The Appalachian League began its 2019 season Tuesday, with the Bluefield Blue Jays opening the year at defending league champion Elizabethton.The Blue Jays were held without a hit through the first seven innings, but rallied in the eighth to take a 2-1 lead into the final inning. However, the Twins responded by winning in walk-off fashion 3-2.Eric Rivera batted 1-3 with a run batted in for Bluefield, while Miguel Hiraldo and PK Morris also recorded hits. Bluefield plays its first six games on the road, with the home opener coming June 25 against Danville.The Princeton Rays were scheduled to open the season Tuesday at Danville, before that game was postponed due to rain; it will be played Wednesday. The Rays’ home opener comes Friday against Burlington. Pinterest Linkedin SportsSports News Bluefield Blue Jays Drop Season Opener By Matt DigbyJun 18, 2019, 23:02 pm 247 0 Twitter Facebooklast_img read more

In This Issue ECB and Fed to show their hands

first_imgIn This Issue. * ECB and Fed to show their hands * Global data shows a wider slowdown * UK data continue to disappoint * Aussie dollar touches 4 month high And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Waiting on the Fed. Good day, and welcome to August. As Mike mentioned, July will go down as the hottest month ever here in St. Louis and we aren’t alone in our battle against the heat as the entire country will probably set a record for the average temperature in July. At least our power hasn’t shut off and we can enjoy some AC, unlike the folks in India where there was a massive power outage over the past few days. The dollar rally seemed to lose power yesterday as currency investors were afraid to take positions ahead of the ECB and Fed announcements. The world’s two top central banks continue their meetings today and the markets will look to the post meeting announcements for some direction. The Fed head, Ben Bernanke, will be the first up to the podium this afternoon and then he will be followed by the ECB President Mario Draghi who will hold his press conference tomorrow. I don’t think we will see any dramatic action taken by our Fed this meeting, as they chose instead to ‘kick the can’ for another month. But things are different for the ECB who will be forced to come up with something. The global economy continues to slow, which has put increased pressure on both central banks to come up with some sort of stimulus. Data released yesterday here in the US showed consumer spending stagnated in June after dropping a revised .1% the month before. Personal income was up slightly both months, which indicates US consumers continue to tighten their belts. This data, along with the stagnant employment picture here in the US shows the problem Bernanke and the rest of the FOMC members face. They need to try and stimulate the US economy, but their only tools are their ability to control interest rates. Typically the Fed only has a direct impact on the short end of the curve, and the only way for them to control longer rates was by ‘jawboning’ them up or down by adjusting the markets inflation expectations. But during the credit crisis, the Fed felt rates were still too high on the long end so they took a lead from the UK and Japan and instituted a couple of ‘quantitative easing’ plans to try and drive them down. The Fed became big buyers of longer dated bonds which helped drive the 10 year yields to record low levels (I question just how much of this drop in rates was due to the Fed as the Euro crisis has probably done more to reduce rates here in the US than ‘operation twist’!). But have these lower rates had any kind of stimulative impact on the US economy? Yes, every time the Fed announces another easing program the stock market has rallied a bit, but the last time I checked the Fed’s dual mandate did not include keeping equity markets in the black. The purpose of lower rates are to try and get consumers and businesses to make the decision to borrow and spend, stimulating the economy. But as I just mentioned, US consumer spending has stagnated, and companies don’t seem to be confident enough to begin hiring workers. Lower mortgage rates are great for those of us who are working, but I have to believe most homeowners who have the ability to re-finance have already done so. So just how much stimulus will lower rates bring? Not much if you ask me. Both consumers and businesses will continue to be worried about the outcome of the elections, and what that will mean for tax policy here in the US. There is also that nagging ‘fiscal cliff’ which is lurking out there at the end of 2012. I certainly don’t envy the position our boys and girls over at the Fed have put themselves into, and I think they will take the ‘safer’ option today and simply tell the markets they will continue to monitor the situation and stand ready to ‘take action’ if needed (what exactly that action is will remain a mystery). As Mike wrote yesterday, the ECB President has painted himself into an even more difficult position with his assurance that the ECB will do ‘whatever is necessary’ to support the euro. The currency markets have certainly priced in some action by the ECB. Nobody expects either central bank to take action on rates, as they are just about as low as they can go. Instead, the markets have been pricing in some other type of stimulus program, either an extension of their current quantitative easing programs or new ones designed to pump more liquidity into the markets. I think currency traders will probably give Bernanke some room, but now is the time for Mr. Draghi to put up or shut up. But the problems in Europe won’t be solved with one dramatic announcement. Draghi can only hope to convince the markets that the ECB has a long term plan to deal with the crisis, but I think the risk is that the markets won’t be convinced by his words and the euro will give back all of the appreciation we have seen over the past week. There is no ‘silver bullet’ which will kill the debt crisis in Europe. The collapse of the Greek economy is well underway, and the ECB can only hope a similar situation does not occur in Spain or Italy. The labor markets are bad here in the US, but are even worse in Europe with the jobless rate reaching a record level. According to a report released today, unemployment in the eurozone reached a revised 11.2% in May and held at that record level in June. And the ECB won’t be able to depend on a global economic rally as data indicates the globe will continue to be stuck in a ‘slow growth’ mode for the next few years. Euro-are manufacturing contracted for a 12th month in July according to a report released today; falling to a 37 month low of 44 from 45.1 in June. A report released in Canada this morning showed GDP in our neighbor to the north rose just .1% in May, less than economists forecast. Another report showed China manufacturing, which most believe will be the force driving the global economic recovery, stalled out in July and is teetering on the edge of contraction. The Purchasing Managers’ index in China unexpectedly fell to 50.1 in July, the weakest in eight months from 50.2 in June. Another piece of data due out today is predicted to show manufacturing in the US also stagnated in July. The ISM factory index is due out this morning, and is expected to show a slight increase from last month’s reading of 49.7, but the index isn’t expected to rise much above 50 which is the dividing line between contraction and expansion. Regional reports in the US released yesterday confirmed that manufacturing is sputtering with manufacturing gauges in Wisconsin and Ohio declining. The pound sterling dropped a bit overnight after a report showed UK manufacturing shrank the most in more than three years in July. The gauge fell to 45.4 from a revised 48.4 in June, weaker than any of the 30 forecasts on Bloomberg. The Bank of England is meeting today and tomorrow, and is expected to announce no change in their policies. The BOE was the first to institute a bond buying program designed to stimulate their economy, a model followed by the US and Europe. Unfortunately, the results of this QE program have not lasted. This is worrisome for the US and the ECB, as our stimulus programs were instituted after those of the BOE. While the economies are definitely different, it is not good to see a QE program which has been in place longer than our own seemingly having little lasting impact on the UK economy. The pound barely even got a lift from hosting the Olympics. There was one bright spot in all of the manufacturing data released yesterday. Sweden’s manufacturing unexpectedly expanded in July, with a purchasing managers’ index rising to 50.6 in July from 48.4 the previous month. The Swedish economy expanded 1.4% in the second quarter as consumer spending rose and an increase in exports of services offset a decline in exports of goods. The news sent the Swedish krona higher as currency traders lowered bets that the Riksbsank would lower rates in September. The Swedish krona was the second best performing currency during the month of July, rising 2.45% vs. the US$. The top performer during last month? It was the Australian dollar which rose 2.77% vs. the US$. The aussie dollar touched the highest level in more than four months moving solidly through $1.05. The currency was helped by a report which showed house prices unexpectedly rose in the three months through June as lower rates helped stimulate the housing market. Another report showed building approvals decreased by less than economists had expected, which was another good piece of news for the important housing sector in Australia. There was a pickup in the number of first time homebuyers, increasing the amount of liquidity in the housing market. Then there was this. As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, people in India faced a massive power outage over the past few days. I was actually made aware of the outage well before anything was reported about it here in the states, as I continue to work with programmers based out of India. I was scheduled to be on a call with a programmer early yesterday morning, and was a bit upset when he never called in as we were waiting on some code improvements which we wanted to get in place prior to the month end. We were finally able to reach an associate of his in London who told us about the power outage. India has gone through some tremendous growth, but their infrastructure hasn’t been able to keep up with the changes in the population. Throw in a drought and high temps similar to what we have been experiencing here in the Midwest, and you end up with a power system which just couldn’t handle the demand. Apparently over 620 million were without power across India, that equates to almost two times the entire population of the US. While the power is expected to come back on sometime today, the drought is continuing and Goldman Sachs announced yesterday that they were lowering their GDP growth forecasts for India because of the lack of rain. Goldman reduced India’s FY2013 GDP forecast to 5.7% from 6.6% due to the weak monsoon season. They also reduced their rate cut forecast to 25 bps in 2012 which will probably occur in the 4th quarter. Goldman maintained their view that the RBI will cut an additional 50 bps in 2013. None of this is good news for the Indian rupee. To recap. The ECB and FED begin their meetings today, and Bernanke should make an announcement this afternoon. I don’t expect our Fed to take any new action, but the markets are expecting something big from the ECB. The currencies remained in a tight range waiting for any news. Manufacturing data released across the globe verified a global slowdown is underway. UK manufacturing data weighed on the pound and Sweden was the sole bright spot, posting a positive manufacturing number. The Australian dollar was the top performer in July, and added to its gains moving up above $1.0530. And finally, there was a massive power outage in India, with over twice the population of the US losing power. Currencies today 8/1/12. American Style: A$ $1.0531, kiwi .8129, C$ .9989, euro 1.2310, sterling 1.5630, Swiss $1.0248. European Style: rand 8.2568, krone 6.0121, SEK 6.7564, forint 227.72, zloty 3.3377, koruna 20.5835, RUB 32.3128, yen 78.15, sing 1.2446, HKD 7.7539, INR 55.5175, China 6.3687, pesos 13.2847, BRL 2.0569, Dollar Index 82.582, Oil $88.27, 10-year 1.48%, Silver $27.93, Gold $1,614.90, and Platinum $1,410.25 That’s it for today. Thanks to all the readers who sent me notes regarding Lucy. I am happy to report that she pulled through last Friday’s operation with no complications and is almost back to her sweet self. I enjoyed watching the US girls grab the gold in gymnastics last night, and enjoyed watching Phelps set the record as the most decorated Olympian ever. The crew is coming in and the phones are about to turn on, so I better end this and get it out the door. Hope everyone has a Wonderful Wednesday, 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 railroad crossing in Coker is the spot of much c

first_imgA railroad crossing in Coker is the spot of much contention after a train hit a car at the crossing Thursday.Residents say that crossing at the intersection of Romulus Road and Presley Drive is dangerous and want it made safer for drivers.There is no crossing arm and no lights warning of oncoming trains.“Was she trying to beat the train or did she not see the train?” said Coker resident Cynthia Wright. “But she was trying to cross the tracks and the train hit her.”Wright said the train usually only goes 10 miles an hour near the crossing, and that probably had a lot to do with the driver walking away from the crash unharmed.How the wreck happened is still unknown, but Coker residents say they want more precautions at the busy intersection.“I think there needs to be more done,” Wright said. “I think there should be crossing guards there, because obviously some people are going to try and beat the train. If you’re in a car, you’re always going to lose.”Aside from potential safety additions, some residents said visibility is a problem, too. While train operators blow their horn before crossing the intersection, some residents say they rarely do it early enough for drivers to take note.last_img read more

When it comes to music should the Druid City be c

first_imgWhen it comes to music, should the Druid City be color conscious or color blind?That’s a question being debated by the Tuscaloosa City Council as they prepare a new contract for running the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater with Red Mountain Entertainment.The contract passed the council’s Public Projects Committee after some debate, but the $218,000 contract passed Tuesday’s council meeting unanimously.During the committee meeting, District 2’s Sonya McKinstry and District 7’s Raevan Howard has questions about the lack of black artists being brought to the amphitheater.“There have been a lot concerns, a lot of conversations about the lack of diversity of the acts that we have there,” McKinstry said. “I have been working very closely with Red Mountain, but I think it was a healthy conversation to have.”Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said a third of last year’s acts were black artists, and Red Mountain understands Tuscaloosa’s needs. The amphitheater’s bestsellers are country artists, Maddox said, and those usually sell out compared with other performers.But McKinstry said that shouldn’t stop the agency from looking at other acts.“The mayor and the council have given Red Mountain the consent to go after these acts and not be deterred by how much they cost,” Howard said. “We need to make sure we have acts that will satisfy everyone in the city.”That’s why Howard said she’s asked the company to provide information on which artists they can book that might be a match for Tuscaloosa.Red Mountain said they have 13 acts confirmed for the 2018 concert series in Tuscaloosa. Of those, five are black artists.Want to check out the lineup? Visit tuscaloosamphitheater.com.last_img read more

BIRMINGHAM Ala AP – Officials say an Alabama c

first_imgBIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – Officials say an Alabama city school system has received full accreditation.News outlets report that Birmingham City Schools gained the approval from AdvancED. Superintendent Lisa Herring said during a news conference Tuesday this is the first time that Birmingham City Schools has been accredited as a system.AdvancED Regional Director Andre Harrison tells AL.com the process is different than accrediting each school because there’s a focus on leadership and student performance of the entire district. The accrediting agency had put the system on probation in 2013 citing micromanagement and dysfunction among the school board.Harrison says the school system was required to comply with specified actions including building its cash reserves, increasing student achievement and ensuring the board’s governance structure is effective. He says the accreditation will last five years.(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

LOS ANGELES — Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner

first_imgLOS ANGELES — Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has pulled his support from a deal to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and will pursue his $1 billion federal lawsuit against the NBA, his attorney said.The $2 billion sale was negotiated by his estranged wife Shelly Sterling after Donald Sterling’s racist remarks to a girlfriend were publicized and the National Basketball Association moved to oust him as owner.The lawsuit alleges the league violated his constitutional rights by relying on information from an “illegal” recording that publicized racist remarks he made to a girlfriend. It also said the league committed a breach of contract by fining Sterling $2.5 million and that it violated antitrust laws by trying to force a sale.“We have been instructed to prosecute the lawsuit,” said attorney Maxwell Blecher. He also said Donald Sterling would not be signing off on the deal to sell.Sterling agreed to ink the deal and drop the suit last week assuming “all their differences had been resolved,” his attorneys said. But he decided to not sign the papers after learning the NBA won’t revoke its lifetime ban and fine.Shelly Sterling utilized her authority as sole trustee of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers, to take bids for the team and ultimately negotiate a deal with Ballmer. The deal would have record-breaking if approved by the NBA’s owners.An individual familiar with the negotiations who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly said that there were two options for Donald Sterling — to either sign or go to court.But even if he wins in court, he’s ultimately going to be paying himself the damages the individual said because his wife Shelly Sterling has agreed to indemnify the NBA against all lawsuits, including by her husband.Donald Sterling’s comments to V. Stiviano included telling her to not bring black people to Clippers games, specifically mentioning Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. They resulted in a storm of outrage from the public and players and even prompted President Barack Obama to comment on what he called Sterling’s “incredibly offensive racist statements.”NBA Commissioner Adam Silver ultimately decided to ban Donald Sterling for life, fine him millions, and began efforts to force Sterling to sell the team. Those efforts ended with Shelly Sterling’s deal with Ballmer.If this deal ultimately goes through, its terms allow Shelly Sterling to remain close to the organization by allowing for up to 10 percent of the team — or $200 million — to be spun off into a charitable foundation that she would essentially run.Shelly Sterling and Ballmer would be co-chairs of the foundation, which would target underprivileged families, battered women, minorities and inner city youths.Under the deal Shelly Sterling would also get the title of “owner emeritus” and be entitled to continuing perks such as floor seats, additional seats at games and parking.One of the individuals said the deal also includes conditions that allow Ballmer to buy back the 10 percent portion of the team for a pre-designated price upon Shelly Sterling’s death.(TAMI ABDOLLAH)___TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

ATHENS — Panathinaikos beat host Ergotelis 20 thr

first_imgATHENS — Panathinaikos beat host Ergotelis 2-0 through first-half goals by Marcus Berg and Abdul Jeleel Ajagun in the Greek league on March 14.The win allowed Panathinaikos to go level with archrival Olympiakos, which hosts Xanthi on March 15. Olympiacos also has an extra game to play, against Panthrakikos, after last weekend’s fixture was abandoned after heavy rains. Panathinaikos has been docked three points for crowd violence in its home game against Olympiacos.The league played for a second weekend in a row in empty stadiums, as authorities mull measures to stem crowd violence.Also, Atromitos beat Panthrakikos 2-0 and third-place PAOK drew 0-0 with fourth-place Asteras.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img