The Tripura CPI(M) alleged that its senior leader and former Finance Minister Bhanu Lal Saha and scores of party workers were attacked during the by-elections to vacant seats in nine municipal bodies in the State on Thursday. The party withdrew its candidates competing in four wards of Agartala Municipal Corporation alleging threats and intimidation. Supporters of the CPI(M), led by senior leaders Pabtra Kar and Manik Dey, staged a protest outside the State Election Commission office here claiming failure of administration in conducting free and fair bypolls. Mr. Kar complained that the Election Commission remained unmoved despite several complaints filed by them. By-elections were held in 67 seats under different municipal bodies, including the AMC. A total of 174 candidates from different parties are contesting the bypolls. The counting of votes will take place on Friday. The BJP denied the allegations of attacks and threats on political rivals anywhere. “The CPI(M) has lost the support of people, so they are putting false blame on us to find a route to escape the polls,” BJP State vice-president Ashish Saha said.The CPI(M) claimed seven of its supporters were injured in an attack by BJP workers at Salema in Unakoti district on Wednesday evening. The attack reportedly occurred after the CPI(M) reopened its office in the area.It said party leaders and cadres again came under attacks during the municipal bypolls on Thursday. Mr. Kar said the attacks took place in Agartala, Bishalgarh, Belonia and Santirbazar.
The hearing on the Samjhauta Express blast case of 2007 in the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here was on Thursday has been postponed for March 18.Advocate Mukesh Garg, one of the counsel for the accused Swami Aseemanand, told reporters “Hearing was scheduled for today, however, the district bar association of Panchkula had suspended work on some local issue. In wake of this, the court adjourned the matter and the fixed the next date of hearing on March 18.”The trial in the case has concluded and the court was expected to deliver a verdict on March 11. However, Rahila Wakeel, a Pakistani national and daughter of one of the victims of the blast had on March 11, filed a petition through advocate Momin Malik, to get her statement recorded as witness in the 12-year-old case.Former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) member Aseemanand is the prime accused in the case. The blasts on the Samjhauta Express, near Panipat, on February 18, 2007, and the subsequent fire in the coaches killed 68 passengers and injured a dozen. Those killed included Indian civilians and government officials, and a large number of Pakistani nationals.The initial investigation was carried out by the Railway Police and the Haryana Police. Later, the Union Home Ministry handed over the probe to the NIA in July 2010.
Ray Parks of the Philippines soars for an easy layup during their match against Thailand in the men’s basketball competition of the 29th Southeast Games late Sunday at the MABA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur. The Filipinos won, 81-74. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOKUALA LUMPUR — It was a close call for Gilas Pilipinas as it barely escaped hard-fighting Thailand late Sunday night.Even the big Filipino crowd was shellshocked as the Thais made the Filipinos work doubly hard for the victory in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games basketball opener.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC The nailbiter, according to Gilas cadets coach Jong Uichico, “was a bad game for us.”The Philippines, still brimming with talent despite being a watered down version of the Fiba Asia Gilas squad simultaneously playing in Lebanon, made just 6-of-30 three-point shot attempts, and gave away 19 offensive rebounds which the Thais gamely took advantage.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutIn the most trying times — the final four minutes of the match that saw a capacity crowd at MABA Stadium — Uichico was telling his team “make some adjustments, try not to give second chance points and make the basket.”He cited first-game jitters for the weak stand against a team that the Philippines would normally bury in double-digit leads from the opening buzzer to the end. Filipino basketball officials said there is little chance Belo will be allowed to play at all, although he showed up in plain clothes and sat on the Philippine bench.RELATED VIDEORavena on scare vs Thais: ‘We didn’t expect we would play that bad’6.1K viewsSportsVentuno Web Player 4.51 SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding MOST READ LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Games No break for Huelgas, Mangrobang with their eyes set on Tokyo 2020 The absence of Mac Belo and that Christian Standhardinger, who just arrived from Beirut, Lebanon after playing in the Fiba Asia Cup, wasn’t able to practice with the team also didn’t help the Cadets.“And for one, Mac Belo wasn’t able to play,” added Uichico. “And here comes the guy (Standhardinger) who came from Lebanon, never practiced with the team.”He lauded the Fil-German naturalized player for scoring 15 points and providing a power in the paint.“But the guy came from Fiba Asia and he’s playing 20 minutes and we have Belo practicing with the team for last nine days and all of the sudden he can’t play,” said Uichico. “That just mixed up my rotation.”Belo wasn’t included in the initial lineup due to an injury, but when he was given the green light to play, SEAG organizers refused to allow him, demanding proof that he indeed got injured.ADVERTISEMENT Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension LATEST STORIES Read Next View comments
BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Hopes were high when Peng Shuai reached the 2014 US Open semi-finals, shortly after Li’s retirement, and Zhang Shuai won her second Guangzhou Open title this year.Wu Yibing also became China’s first boys Grand Slam singles champion at last month’s US Open. But nobody has consistently challenged at the highest levels.In Wuhan, five Chinese women were in the main draw but Wang Qiang was the only one to reach the third round — the best ever performance by a home player in the tournament.Peter McNamara, Wang’s Australian coach, said the high expectations created by Li’s career were a problem for Chinese players.“I think it’s very intimidating having such a great player and champion who did raise the bar to a level that’s pretty hard to get to,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES “I never bring it up, about trying to reach her heights.”Maverick or modest?Li was always a special case for Chinese tennis, as she took the maverick step of breaking away from state control to forge her career on her own terms.The 35-year-old said that modesty, a typical trait of Chinese culture, could be holding players back. Peng is currently the top ranked Chinese player at 24, with Zhang at 26.“They always say ‘Oh, I’m not so good’ but for the sport you have to show all of the world (you are good),” Li said.World number one Garbine Muguruza also said she found Chinese players “very respectful on the court… very quiet”, in contrast to Li, who she described as having great “intensity”.Fabrice Chouquet, Wuhan co-tournament director, told AFP that tennis in China was in the middle of a transition between two generations.“We have a solid number one and two here,” he said, referring to Peng and Zhang. “And behind them a younger generation of players that is really going to come up.”Wang Qiang is part of that new crop, says McNamara, and has yet to reach her full potential.“My girl is a baby. She’s 25 but she’s 20 as a tennis player,” he said. “This is the thing about Chinese players, they mature late.” Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Move over Neymar: how rugby players hope to change Brazil Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Li Na. AFP FILE PHOTOLi Na said she’s sorry Chinese tennis has not moved on more since her retirement, as the country’s fruitless search for a new champion continues.Li’s two Grand Slam titles set the bar extremely high for her fellow Chinese, who have laboured in vain to match her trail-blazing achievements.ADVERTISEMENT Chinese tennis success has mainly come from women, with Wu’s victory in New York an anomaly. While there are five Chinese women in the top 100 and 11 in the top 200, the top Chinese man is 220-ranked Wu Di.McNamara said the divide could also be explained by culture in the country of the one-child policy, where sons are highly prized.“Boys get it fairly easy. Girls don’t,” he said, adding: “They fight very hard, the girls.“You can see their mentality on the court. They will go to untold lengths to improve.” Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Read Next Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients MOST READ The contrast was laid bare at last week’s Wuhan Open, where Li received a rock-star welcome during a brief appearance, but none of the Chinese players went beyond the third round.Following her rapturous reception in Wuhan, her home city, Li said she was disappointed that China hadn’t found a new star to love since she stepped off tour in 2014.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Actually, I didn’t like (that) people always remember me,” said Li, who won the French Open in 2011 and the Australian Open in 2014. “That means Chinese tennis didn’t grow up.”“(When) I decided to retire, I was thinking next day (new Chinese winners) would come,” she added. View comments
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said that, for the first time, a Women’s Premiership will be held in 2018, featuring up to six teams aligned with NRL Clubs.Why is this a good thing for NRL Touch Football? It provides our female athletes with yet another pathway. Touch Football’s origins are in rugby league, and now, female Touch Footy players not only have the opportunity to play Touch Football at the top level – through the Elite 8, State of Origin, Trans Tasman, World Cup, etc – but also opportunities to play rugby league at the highest level if they wish.The NRL and Touch Football Australia formed a partnership back in 2013, and NRL Touch Football CEO Steve Mitchell is excited about the ever increasing opportunities for female Touch players with our partner sport.“We know that a lot of our Touchies have an interest in both our game and rugby league. Many of them follow both, some of them play both..We also know that some girls start out in Touch Football, eventually start playing rugby league, then return to Touch Football, since Touch is a lifetime sport that some play into their sixties and beyond.”There are so many former Touch Football players that play in the men’s NRL comp. And many World Cup-winning Jillaroos superstars – including Caitlin Moran, Maddie Studdon, Ali Brigginshaw, Nakia Davis-Welsh, Isabelle Kelly and Sam Bremner – either still participate in Touch Football or came through that pathway.Let’s hope we see plenty of Touch Footy athletes make it into the brand new NRL women’s program.In case you missed it, Mr Greenberg said the new NRL women’s program will feature:The Premiership, scheduled to be played as ‘double-headers’ in the lead up to and during NRL Finals matches;A stand-alone State of Origin match (formerly known as the Interstate Challenge) between New South Wales and Queensland, played during the NRL’s representative weekend in mid-June;State League competitions, with Grand Finals to be played as double-headers prior to Women In League Round matches;A National Championships Carnival and Talent Combine, congregating the best state talent on a national stage and providing a sequential pathway for female players to progress to the elite level;The Harvey Norman Jillaroos playing international matches in the Pacific and New Zealand;The Jillaroos competing in the Commonwealth Games Championship in Redcliffe, ahead of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games;In addition, Mr Greenberg said an initial 40 players would receive Jillaroos contracts, which would include payments for matches and participating in a series of high performance camps, as well as access to high performance staff and elite athlete training programs year-round. This month the NRL unveiled a new era in rugby league for women – a program of events covering everything from an NRL Women’s Premiership to a stand-alone State of Origin match and Jillaroos international matches.
Nuno insists Wolves focused on Bragaby Freddie Taylora month agoSend to a friendShare the loveNuno Espirito Santo insists that everyone at the club is focused on their next game – a Europa League tie against Braga.Wolves are suffering a dip in form, after suffering two successive defeats against Everton and Chelsea.They are in the bottom three in the Premier League, which is an unusual position considering their form last season.But Nuno thinks they must take things one game at a time in order to find their groove.”It’s the third season for us. We started in the Championship, Thursday we play Europa League, we are the same,” said Nuno to reporters.”We have to work hard, but we don’t stay too much time in the past, we just look at Thursday.”This is my job. It’s not when we win everything is OK, when we lose everything is bad.”That’s why I say we have to realise what happened.” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say
Draymond Green Michigan StateFormer Michigan State forward Draymond Green was certainly a force during his college days, but the Spartans star wasn’t looked at as one of the best players in the 2012 NBA Draft – mostly because teams couldn’t figure out what his natural position on the floor would be. Turns out most of those teams are now regretting passing on him. The Warriors star, who was eventually selected with the No. 35 overall pick, won a title last night after putting up a triple-double in game six of the NBA Finals. He’s one of the most versatile players in the NBA, too.After the game, Green, in celebration, was seen screaming to his mother “they told me I can’t play in this league.” It was a great redemption moment.Green is set to make some serious money this offseason. Apparently, he can play in this league.
Advertisement While Canada is constantly bombarded with (or, perhaps more accurately, colonized by) U.S. screen entertainment and media, success stories moving in the opposite direction are only true in a limited number of cases.What can be a hit on this side of the border may go over the heads of our neighbours to the south. Particularly when it comes to humour.So it’s always great to hear when a Canadian TV show has cracked the highly competitive U.S. market. Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisement Which brings us to our case-in-point: did you know that CBC’s comedy series Schitt’s Creek was picked up by U.S. TV network Pop and has received favourable reviews by U.S. TV critics?Schitt’s CreekAnd accordingly, Dan Levy, who cocreated the show with his father Eugene Levy and plays the pansexual character David Rose, landed a guest spot on the New York City–based talk show The Wendy Williams Show. Facebook
Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners (EdRIP) has entered into exclusive negotiations about taking an equity stake in Thomson Video Networks.The private equity firm is in talks with Fonds de Consolidation & Développement des Entreprises (FCDE), a firm that specialises in growth capital investments and counts Thomson among its portfolio of companies.EdRIP is in talks about taking a stake in Thomson in partnership with the company’s management and said it is dedicated to minority investments in privately owned companies.“The proposed investment by EdRIP in partnership with the management team would mark a new milestone in our company’s history,” said Thomson Video Networks president, Christophe Delahousse, thanking FCDE for its “outstanding partnership.”“We would be delighted to work with this new partner to continue advancing state-of-the-art broadcast and multi-screen OTT services and driving the compression and video quality requirements of every device — today and tomorrow.”Thomson Video Networks offers video delivery solutions targeted at media companies, video service providers, and broadcasters.Sylvain Charignon, a partner at EdRIP, said: “Thomson Video Networks already occupies a solid position in the market, and we see strong potential for additional growth and opportunities in both current and new markets. The company would be an ideal addition to our portfolio as we continue to expand our strategy for sustained investment in global-growth enterprises.”FCDE partner, Amélie Brossier, added: “Thomson Video Networks is now poised to enter a new period of growth building on its innovative products, international reach and quality management.”
Dermot HoranRTÉ’s director of production and acquisitions, Dermot Horan, has become interim managing director of television at the Irish pubcaster after the exit of two senior executives.Former RTÉ Television MD Glen Killane recently moved to become MD of eir TV and eirSport, while RTE2 controller Bill Malone was yesterday named as the new director of programming at commercial broadcaster TV3.Adrian Lynch has been appointed to replace Malone interim channel controller of RTÉ2, in addition to his post as head of RTÉ One.Horan (pictured) is a well-known face on the international market, having helmed RTÉ’s global acquisitions for a concerted period of time. He had been director of production and acquisitions for both RTÉ One and RTÉ2 since 2014, but will now lead key international contract negotiations.The appointments take effect this morning after new RTÉ director general Dee Forbes made the announcements.Forbes joined the pubcaster from Discovery Networks Northern Europe, where she was president and MD. She replaced the outgoing Noel Curran, who exited after five years as DG in April.At TV3, Malone becomes the Virgin Media Ireland-owned broadcaster’s director of programming four months after it emerged director of content McQuaid was leaving less than a year after replacing the Fox UK-bound Jeff Ford.He has been RTÉ2 chief and a member of pubcaster RTÉ’s board for the past three years, during which time he is credited with bringing the successful First Dates format to Ireland and helming Conor McGregor documentary The Notorious, which sold internationally.By joining TV3, he brings to an end an 18-year career at RTÉ, where he was also commissioning editor, entertainment and has produced series such as Prime Time Investigates and The Late Late Show.At TV3, he will report to group managing director Pat Kiely, who said: “Bill has a wealth of experience across a range of programming disciplines. This appointment will ensure our programming strategy can continue to deliver great, high quality content especially as we enter a growth phase for the business.”His duties will include programme commissioning, acquisitions and scheduling.TV3 recently became part of the Virgin Media Ireland wing of international cable giant Liberty Global following an €80 million agreement 12 months ago.This month it emerged Virgin had also come to an agreement to acquire TV3 rival UTV Ireland for €10 million.TV3 operates two free-to-air channels – flagship network TV3 and the youth-oriented 3e – along with a time-shifted TV3+1 feed on the Virgin and Sky pay platforms. It also owns video-on-demand platform 3Player.
(Click on image to enlarge) There’s a simple reason why prices are plunging: supplies are sky high. News of a “monster” natural gas find in British Columbia has one again highlighted that North Americans need to make a choice. Do we want to keep the huge volumes of natural gas that have been discovered in recent years across the continent landlocked and transportable only by pipeline, or should we develop the infrastructure that will enable us to transport this fuel to the gas-hungry markets of Asia? Both options come with advantages and drawbacks, of course. Keeping the fuel landlocked will keep prices depressed, likely so much so that many producers will be unable to turn a profit and will shut up shop. Building the infrastructure to transport natural gas to faraway shores is expensive, but more importantly it would commit the continent to a future of fracking, liquefying, and exporting natural gas, a decision that carries heavy environmental repercussions. Here’s how it stacks up. North America has trillions of cubic feet of a fuel that the energy-hungry developing economies of the world want. Knowing that the easy oil and gas of the world are gone, those developing economies are desperate to lock down oil and gas supplies for the future. As their desire for our gas climbs, so will the price they are willing to pay. In short, it’s going to be hard to say no for long – the financial incentive will be too strong. That’s why we see North America becoming a significant exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG)… but not for years. It will take a long time for North America to develop substantial LNG infrastructure. In the meantime, who will benefit? Let’s investigate. Apache’s Monster Find Back in 2009, Houston-based Apache Corp. drilled a well in the Liard Basin of northern British Columbia. It was just a normal exploration well, like the thousands it had drilled before in its quest to find gas reservoirs. Then the drill hit gas. It hit so much gas that Apache didn’t release results from the well until last week, almost three years later, because the company wanted to snap up as much of the surrounding land as possible. You do that when a single well produces 21 million cubic feet per day in its first month. Making things even better, the well was only fracked six times – in many other shale reservoirs wells are fracked as many as 18 times to enable the gas to flow freely. Apache has now drilled three wells in the Liard, with a fourth under way, and has examined logs from 16 others drilled since the 1960s. With those results in hand the company believes the Liard could be “the best unconventional gas reservoir in North America.” Based on initial results, the company estimates that the Liard Basin holds 210 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, of which 48 tcf is recoverable. For comparison, total US recoverable gas reserves stand at 300 tcf. The wells drilled to date, which are spaced more than 25 km apart, are producing gas into an existing pipeline that runs south from the Northwest Territories. Apache says the fact that all the wells are performing very similarly indicates the reservoir is very robust. To give itself the best chance to tap into that robust reservoir, Apache has secured about 174,000 hectares of land in the Liard, an area that is 150 km northwest of the town of Fort Nelson and 100 km west of Horn River, another substantial BC shale gas play. The Downside Of Shale Gas Riches Even with only a few wells completed, there is little doubt about the importance of the Liard discovery. It is huge – so huge that Apache believes its Liard wells could be profitable at a gas price of just $2.57 per MMBtu, almost as low as current North American natural gas prices. Gas prices in North America have been pretty volatile over the last 15 years, spiking at least four times. Discounting those short-lived price spikes, the Henry Hub spot price has ranged from just under $2 to almost $8 per MMBtu – a wide range. We are presently near the bottom of that range. By Marin Katusa, Casey Research (Click on image to enlarge) This is the shale gas phenomenon. The ability to tap into natural gas trapped within tight rock formations known as shale basins has unlocked trillions of cubic feet of natural gas, pushing US gas reserves from 162 tcf in 1993 to 273 tcf in 2009. (Official US Energy Information Administration data for US gas reserves is currently only available until the end of 2009, though estimates from other reputable sources such as the US Geological Survey put today’s US gas reserves above 300 tcf.) It is simple supply and demand: Supplies have risen dramatically, and demand is struggling to catch up. That is, demand within North America is struggling to catch up. There is demand aplenty in other parts of the world; and in those places prices are much higher. In Northeast Asia, strong demand from Japan and South Korea is keeping LNG prices near US$17 per MMBtu. Yes, that is more than six times higher than the current Henry Hub spot price of US$2.70 per MMBtu. It is worth noting, too, that $2.70 per MMBtu is a relatively good price for Henry Hub, one propped up in the last few weeks by warm weather and hurricane threats. By contrast, in April the North American gas benchmark fell to just US$1.86 per MMBtu; prices have hovered near just $2 for several months. Weak gas prices like that have several effects. First, swaths of North American gas producers are cutting back on production. They do not see a need to supply more gas to an already oversupplied market and, more importantly, many actually lose money producing gas at these prices. Second, if prices remain this depressed for a sustained period, producers will start writing down their reserves counts. A “reserve” is a volume of fuel that is economic to produce using current technology. When prices are high, lots of gas reserves are economic – even very tight shale deposits requiring multiple fracs to get the gas flowing. When prices dive, it becomes more costly than it is worth to produce gas from these challenging and expensive tight gas deposits, which means they lose their reserve status. In short, North America’s gas companies flooded their own market, drowning out any chance that good prices will return anytime soon. Problem, Solution The problem for North America’s gas producers is that their gas is landlocked. Natural gas has to travel by pipeline – in its gas form it takes up a lot of volume per unit of energy produced, which means it is never worth the cost of transportation to ship it. So North America’s gas producers are generating a product that has to find buyers in North America. Or they could condense their product down into a liquid, rendering it transportable. That’s the beauty of LNG – it is natural gas in a reduced-volume format, which means it can be loaded onto tankers and shipped across oceans. If North Americans want to take advantage of their newfound natural gas wealth, LNG is the way forward. We can use some of the fuel at home, of course, and will use more and more if ideas like converting the continent’s transport trucks to natural gas take hold. But the trillions of cubic feet of gas contained in shale basins from the Liard Basin in British Columbia to the Fort Worth Basin in Texas are more than we can use – so much more, in fact, that prices will remain too low for producers to bother producing it, and these gas reserves will revert to being geologic curiosities rather than economic resources. That is one choice: keeping our natural gas landlocked and committing producers to years – perhaps decades – of rock-bottom pricing. The other choice is to build gas liquefaction facilities on our coasts and send our gas wealth across the oceans to markets in need. The economics of this choice are pretty clear. Even though LNG plants cost billions to build, the size of the resource here and the expectation of continued strong gas demand in the developing world put the calculations back in the black pretty quickly. So economics are not the question. The question, instead, is environmental. Does North America want to become an LNG exporter? The economic upsides include jobs and money, but the environmental concerns include new pipelines, tankers transiting coastal waters, more drilling and fracking of natural gas wells, and the knowledge that we are enabling a continued global addiction to fossil fuels. It’s a choice that will play out in the news media over the next few years, as interested parties start vying for permission to start these multiyear construction projects. Construction is just about to begin on North America’s first gas liquefaction plant, being built by Cheniere Energy at Sabine Pass, on the Gulf of Mexico near the Louisiana-Texas border. The project is expected to cost $10 billion and will not be complete until late 2015, but Cheniere has already signed offtake deals with BG Group of the UK, Gas Natural Fenosa of Spain, Gail of India, and Kogas of South Korea that account for almost 90% of the plant’s expected output. The demand is there. The opposition is there, too – Cheniere spent years trying to get regulatory approval for Sabine Pass, against the protestations of groups such as the Sierra Club. The bottom line is that even though environmental concerns continue to hang over its natural gas industry, they are unlikely to prevent North America from eventually exporting LNG in earnest. There are simply too many jobs and too much money at stake. Energy is always a high-stakes game… but winning it has become even more crucial to developed and developing nations alike. Some have started calling the jostling a “new Cold War” – but no matter where the trends go, one thing is certain: outsized profit potential awaits the investor who intelligently taps in to those shifting trends today.
In May 22 testimony to the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke issued another of many similar positive interpretations of central bank policy. Yet again, he continued to argue that quantitative easing has decreased long-term interest rates and produced other benefits. He called economic growth “moderate,” a term that he has often used without acknowledging that the Fed’s forecasts have repeatedly been far above the mark. Within less than two months—or by the time of the July FOMC meeting—the Fed had downgraded the economic growth to “modest,” tacitly acknowledging that program of open-ended $85 billion purchases of government and federal agency security purchases had failed to boost economic activity. The Fed’s polices have not produced the much-promised re-acceleration in economic growth. In the first half of 2013 as well as the latest four quarters, the real GDP growth rate was a paltry 1.4%, even less than the 1.9% growth in the 13.5 years of this century, and less than two-fifths of the 3.8% GDP growth rate since 1790. Only growth in the 1930s was less than in the 2000s, a time when Dr. Bernanke played a major, if not dominant, role in monetary policy decisions. Questions abound: how serious have their forecast errors been? Are they related to the Fed’s failed policies? Has the Fed facilitated errant fiscal policies that are as much a problem as central bank policy? What may explain the Fed’s excessive optimism? Are they so committed to what they are doing that they continue to make unsupported assessments, or is the Fed relying on an outdated understanding of how the macro-economy works—one that does not square with an impressive body of new scholarly research? In its final forecast for 2011, made in late 2010, the Fed forecast that real GDP would rise 4% in 2011, and just prior to that projection they expected even stronger growth. For 2012, the Fed projected 3.3% growth, with previous assessments even higher. In both years, their forecasts were more than double the actual result. In the June FOMC, the central tendency forecast was for real GDP growth this year of 2.3% to 2.8%, an outcome that is unlikely to be reached since much of the poor first-half growth was due to inventory building in the face of a final sales (GDP less inventory investment) growth rate that was a mere 0.7%. Augmenting horrendous forecasts, the Fed made overly optimistic economic assessments in the official minutes of the Fed Open Market Committee, as well as the Beige Book, that are very hard to reconcile with the poor economic outcome. Four major defects in the Fed’s approach are all too evident. First, they continue to fail to take into account that economic growth slows considerably once gross government debt reaches 90-100% of GDP, and that this relationship may turn nonlinear above that threshold—i.e., that growth deteriorates more than proportionately as debt levels escalate. Second, high levels of private debt to GDP have a similarly debilitating effect. Third, the Fed has relied on a wealth effect that is either nonexistent or extremely weak. Fourth, all three quantitative easing (QE) operations have raised, not lowered, long-term Treasury bond yields, thus serving to keep the interest rate higher than it otherwise would be. The short-run impact of these policies also transitorily raised inflation. Since wages remained soft, real income of the vast majority of American households fell. If the Fed had not taken such extraordinary steps, interest rates and inflation would be lower currently than they are, and we could have avoided the unknowable risks embodied in the Fed’s swelling balance sheet. In essence, the Fed has impeded the healing process, delayed a return to normal economic growth, and worsened the income/wealth divide while creating a new problem—how to “exit” its failed policies. Bad Things Happen When Government Debt Exceeds 100% of GDP Four different scholarly studies, all published in just the past three years, document this conclusion. These studies are highly relevant. Since Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) figures indicate that gross government debt exceeds 100% in the US, Japan, and the OECD countries of Europe. At the end of the second quarter, the US figure was slightly excess of 100% and will climb to 103% by the end of 2013. Three of these studies have been published outside the United States and were primarily conducted by foreign scholars, and thus avoid domestic political biases. Here are the studies, starting with the one with the broadest implications: “Government Size and Growth: A Survey and Interpretation of the Evidence,” from Journal of Economic Surveys. Published in April 2011, Swedish economists Andreas Bergh and Magnus Henrekson (both of the Research Institute of Industrial Economics at Lund University) found a “significant negative correlation” between size of government and economic growth. Specifically, “an increase in government size by 10 percentage points is associated with a 0.5% to 1% lower annual growth rate.” “The Impact of High and Growing Government Debt on Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation for the Euro Area,” in European Central Bank working paper, Number 1237, August 2010. Cristina Checherita and Philipp Rother found that a government-debt-to-GDP ratio above the threshold of 90-100% has a “deleterious” impact on long-term growth. Additionally, the impact of debt on growth is nonlinear – as the government debt rises to higher and higher levels, the adverse growth consequences accelerate. The Real Effects of Debt, published by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland in August 2011. Stephen G. Cecchetti, M. S.Mohanty, and Fabrizio Zampolli determined that “beyond a certain level, debt is bad for growth. For government debt, the number is about 85% of GDP.” “Public Debt Overhangs: Advanced-Economy Episodes Since 1800,”by Carmen M. Reinhart, Vincent R. Reinhart, Kenneth S. Rogoff, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Volume 26, Number 3, Summer 2012, pages 69-86. The authors identified 26 cases of “debt overhangs,” which they define as public-debt-to-GDP levels exceeding 90% for at least five years. In spite of the many idiosyncratic differences in these situations, economic growth fell in all but three of the 26 cases. All of the instances, which lasted an average of 23 years, are included in the paper. They found that average annual growth is 1.2% lower for countries with a debt overhang than for countries without. The long duration of such episodes means that cumulative shortfall from the debt excess—i.e., several years in a row of subpar economic growth—is potentially massive. Bad Things Happen When Private Debt Rises Above 160-175% of GDP This argument is also operative since private debt to GDP in the US was 273.3% of GDP in the four quarters ending in the first quarter of 2013. This is a serious matter, since it strikes at one of the primary purposes of central banking—to promote private credit. But when private debt levels are excessive, efforts to promote more private debt are counterproductive. Thus, the Fed is destabilizing rather than facilitating economic growth. The two major studies on private debt, both completed in the past two years and published outside the US, bear directly on this issue. In Too Much Finance, published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in March 2011, Jean Louis Arcand, Enrico Berkes, and Ugo Panizza found a negative effect on output growth when credit to the private sector reaches 104-110% of GDP. The strongest adverse effects are for credit over 160% of GDP. The second is the 2011 BIS study authored by Cecchetti, Mohanty, and Zampolli. They found that private debt levels become “cancerous” (in BIS economic advisor Cecchetti’s own words) at 175% (90% for corporations and 85% for households)—just slightly more than the UNCTAD study. The Nonexistent or Minimal Wealth Effect The issue here is not whether the Fed’s policies cause aggregate wealth to rise or fall. The question is whether changes in wealth alter consumer spending to any significant degree. The best evidence says that wealth fluctuations have little or no effect on consumer spending. Thus, when the stock market rises in response to massive Fed liquidity, the broader economy is unaffected. According to Dr. David Backus, economics professor at New York University, the stock market boom in the late 1990s helped increase the wealth of Americans, but that did not produce a significant change in consumption. As the stock market rose, Backus did not observe a big increase in consumption. And when it subsequently fell, neither was there a big decrease (Flavelle, Christopher, Slate, March 6, 2010, “Debunking the Wealth Effect”). More Americans own houses than own stocks. This suggests that a change in home equity should have a bigger impact on spending than a comparable change in the stock market. However, Backus did not observe much of a wealth effect on consumer spending as housing prices rose, implying that the reverse effect was also minimal on the way down. Backus’ analysis confirms research done in 1999 at the New York Fed by Sydney Ludvigson and Charles Steindel. In the Economic Policy Review, they found a positive connection between aggregate wealth changes and aggregate spending. But they wrote: “Spending growth in recent years has surely been augmented by market gains, but the effect is found to be rather unstable and hard to pin down. The contemporaneous response of consumption growth to an unexpected change in wealth is uncertain and the response appears very short-lived.” In “Financial Wealth Effect: Evidence from Threshold Estimation” (Applied Economic Letters, 2011), Sherif Khalifa, Ousmane Seck, and Elwin Tobing found “a threshold income level of almost $130,000, below which the financial wealth effect is insignificant, and above which the effect is 0.004.” Thus, a $1 rise in wealth would in time boost consumption by less than one-half of a penny, and only for those in the upper-middle class and above. Quantitative Easing Effects on Treasury Bond Yields and Inflation It might surprise you to learn that the 30-year Treasury bond yield increased during QE1 and QE2, as measured by the average rate from when the policy was announced until it ended versus the monthly average after each program ended. Since QE3 is ongoing, we measured the change from year-end 2012 to July 2013. Rates rose during that period, too. The 30-year yield rose in all cases, by 109, 33, and 72 basis points respectively. When the Fed says it wants higher inflation and radically expands its balance sheet to achieve that objective, the short-term effect is to raise inflation, inflationary psychology, and Treasury bond yields, which are the anchor for all interest rates. The higher transitory inflation caused by the quantitative easing cuts into real weekly earnings. The rise in interest rates has seriously slowed the recovery in housing, which is the sector that is supposed to be leading the recovery. In June, housing starts were unchanged from the end of 2012, illustrating that QE causes winners and losers without producing a generalized benefit to all in the US economy. The Fed Made Things Worse In response to the Fed’s QE programs, stock prices rose, but no convincing evidence indicates that this has boosted consumer spending in any meaningful way. Treasury yields rose during those operations, in part because the rise in stock prices has been interpreted as a possible sign of better economic conditions, rather than merely of the excess liquidity created by the Fed’s balance sheet expansion. Although inflation has receded to less than a 1% annual rate, it did spike during the earlier phases of QE operations, thus eroding real income for those dependent on wages as their main source of income. The standard of living—defined as median household income—has fallen back to the level of 1995. Full-time employment as a percentage of the population was a discouraging 47.2% in July 2013, down 0.5% from when the recession ended in 2009 and off 0.3% from the recovery high reached in March 2012, and not far above the worst level of the past three decades. Historically, 50.2% of the population has been able to find part-time work. The continuing sharp deviation from that norm indicates that the “American Dream” in the US is increasingly being made less available. Other signs of reduced economic opportunities from these failed monetary and fiscal policies include: a record 1 out of 6.5 Americans is on food stamps; and a record 1 out of 13 Americans is on Social Security Disability; and a birth rate that has dropped to the lowest level since 1920. According to the Pew Research Center, 36% of the nation’s young adults ages 18-31 were living in their parents’ home in 2012—the highest share in at least four decades. It represents a slow but steady increase over the 32% of the same-aged counterparts who were living at home prior to the Great Recession in 2007 and the 34% doing so when it officially ended in 2009. Thus, for most households, economic conditions would have been better if the Fed had simply done nothing. Moreover, the problem of what to do with the Fed’s engorged balance sheet would not exist—a subject that has diverted valuable time from the more important discussion: how to right the mighty ship that once was, but no longer is, the US economy. The best approach would be for the Fed to recognize the failure of QE and end the program immediately, thereby allowing price distortions in the markets to correct themselves. By ending the illusion that the Fed can take constructive actions, this might even serve to force federal government leaders to deal with the growing fiscal policy imbalances. Otherwise, debt levels will continue to build and serve to further limit the potential for economic growth. Dr. Hunt is an internationally known economist who has worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and has been published in Barron’s, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. While his ideas on money printing and inflation as expressed above may challenge your beliefs about the Fed’s activities and abilities, it is precisely this kind of shaking up that is necessary to adjust our thinking and enable us to make better investment decisions. This kind of challenge to one’s beliefs may be the reason why Lacy Hunt is such a popular speaker at Casey Research Summits. He has confirmed his participation in the upcoming Summit—the only conference Casey Research will hold this year—scheduled for October 4-6 in Tucson, Arizona. Other confirmed speakers including Dr. Ron Paul, Donald Coxe, Chris Martenson, Van Simmons, and Doug Casey; and most of the expert panel have agreed to stay throughout the Summit and participate as audience members, giving attendees unparalleled access to their thoughts. With stock markets and precious metals remaining volatile… with political uncertainties escalating around the world… and with the US economy, already tottering under its financial burdens, about to discover the full impact of Obamacare, investors need independent analysis and ideas more than ever. Three Days with Casey may be your best opportunity to get them, as well as actionable advice, from some of the world’s top geopolitical and finance experts. Learn more and reserve your seat today—not many remain.
Source: 2014 New York City Taxicab Fact Book Does that mean we’ve all been doing everything wrong with stocks and bonds? Is the taxi medallion really the perfect investment? In the back of a cab on the way to JFK airport Monday night after a busy day hustling around the city meeting with start-ups and industry partners, I got to chatting about taxi medallions—a subject about which I knew far less than I realized until my wife started asking lots of questions. That quickly evolved into a discussion about the characteristics of a great investment. Why invest in biotech start-ups? Why risk money on 100-gigabit fiber-optic equipment providers? Why buy venture debt when I could just buy a taxi medallion or two instead? Her ability to get right to the center of things is one of the reasons I love her… but it drives me up a wall too. So, I got to explaining… making such decisions involves understanding that any investment is only as good or bad as your alternatives. So how does the medallion do, comparatively? Let’s check a few of the criteria we look for in any investment and see how it stacks up against another of my favorite investments in the current climate of weakening stock returns (the average S&P 500 company was down 9.3% this year as of last week, even though the Index has been buoyed by three or four mega-caps) and less-certain interest rates: venture debt. The growth capital market, as it’s also called, is just a twist on the classic game of mezzanine financing, where you lend money to businesses stuck between the worlds of smallish bank loans and having enough of a presence to make the public bond or stock markets work. These mid-tier companies are often most in need of working capital and yet have the hardest time getting it, which opens up an opportunity for mezzanine lenders to provide money on very lender-friendly terms (usually on a variable rate basis with equity kickers or convertibility). The problem is, these particular mezzanine lenders focus very specifically on the technology markets, where their detailed understanding of the industry and close connection to venture capital firms provide them with an advantage in finding good quality borrowers. Both of our prospective investments obviously have a compelling economic value. The medallion is an option on running a constrained business with high built-in demand. Venture debt is a promissory note against the revenues of a fast-growing company, with its equity as collateral. But just how easy would it be for us investors to get involved with either game? Scarcity: One of the reasons that taxi medallions have proven so valuable is that right at a time when demand escalated as New York’s business economy and tourism draw were both increasing, the supply of taxi medallions has been relatively static. There are only 13,473 medallions authorized in the city, a number that has barely changed since inception eight decades ago, and is actually down from the original 16,900 issued. (Interestingly, the population of NYC itself has edged up only 1.2 million since 1930.) However, a taxi medallion isn’t like a bar of palladium. Its scarcity isn’t determined by a random collision of celestial bodies a few billion years ago, but is largely controlled by artificial constraints, namely government regulation. The New York state government, which issues the licenses to the city, has had to resist the urge to increase the volume of taxis as a way of raising revenues—remember that it gets a percentage of all taxi fares in the form of taxes—for over 80 years now. Very easily during that time, regulations could have changed to make the medallions far less valuable. But it hasn’t happened… yet. So far, the supply of taxi medallions has badly trailed demand, and thus prices and yields have remained strong. In contrast, venture debt is more driven by market forces than the medallion industry. For many years now, deterred by their own cascading series of bubble blunders, banks have been getting progressively less aggressive in their loan portfolios. That means many companies in many industries have had a harder and harder time borrowing money to grow their businesses. As that has happened, the demand for mezzanine lending has steadily grown. A cottage industry that once only served really obscure and risky markets has morphed into dozens of sector-specific companies with a deep understanding of their customer bases. But when you closely examine any one sector, as we’ve done with technology, you find what is still a very small market, with only half a dozen companies serving only a few hundred customers every year. And the demand always far outstrips the supply, just like with medallions. So, the lenders have the ability to be very choosy about the terms they offer and whom they offer them to. This has allowed the industry to command high interest rates—well above 10% on average—even in today’s low-rate climate. Not only that, in most portfolios the notes are 95% or more in senior secured positions and often have convertibility to equity at preferred prices if the stock of the borrower takes off. Those kinds of terms are available because what’s on offer is scarce in a high-demand environment. So we have to call this first category a draw, methinks: Taxi Medallion +1 Venture Debt +1 Scale and Diversification: When I was about 13, I wanted to get a new video game, so I sold one of my baseball cards—a Jose Canseco rookie card—for about 100x the dollar I paid for it just a short time earlier. Unfortunately, the rest of my cards were worth exactly zip. Apparently no one was interested in a Jim Palmer rookie card at the time; if only I’d waited until he ran out of money and starting flogging loans on TV, so someone would have known who he was… So there I was, flush with $100 in cash and no other options to raise the balance. Dreams dashed. That’s because there was a limited market for my inventory. Taxi medallions are similar. Yes, the prices are high, but there are only so many investable areas, and only so much quantity. Cities like San Francisco charge a fixed price for their medallions, and haven’t changed it in years. If you had significant money to invest, it would take a lot of time to gain any level of diversification. Venture debt, on the other hand, is pretty global. Most companies in the business have hundreds or thousands of different loans in their portfolios, and are always out looking for more. There are choices for multiple managers to invest in, and within their portfolios, there’s a good deal of diversification. Plus, the industry has the ability to absorb tens of millions in fresh money at a time, which it frequently does with new capital raises. Altogether, the opportunity for scale is much larger in venture debt: Taxi Medallion 0 = 1 Venture Debt +1 = 2 Cost of Access/Barrier to Entry: Buying taxi medallions is a pretty simple process, at least in New York, since they all must be sold through the central intermediary of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. When there’s enough inventory, it schedules an auction and posts the details online. Interested parties submit bids in advance and await the auction result. (In order for a bid to be valid, it has to include financing or asset verification for at least 80% of the purchase price from a NY licensed bank or credit union.) In the last auction of mini-fleet medallions (which are sold only in pairs), the lowest winning bid was over $2.2 million. (The individual medallions go for less, as most have a restriction that the owner must be the operator, which makes them worthless for an investor.) So, unless you have access to a multimillion-dollar credit facility, it can be tough to get into this market. But there’s at least one way for the average investor to get to it: Medallion Financial (TAXI), a publicly traded company whose primary business is lending money for the purchase of taxi medallions. However, the company has been diversifying of late and only 56% of its managed loan portfolio is in medallions these days, down from 63% at the end of the previous year. Medallion Financial is organized as a business development company (BDC), which is a corporate-tax-exempt, publicly traded stock. Because it pays greater than 90% of its income as dividends, those dividends are not double taxed. BDCs are usually financial companies, often in the business of loaning money for various purposes. They raise capital from public market investors via sales of stock and deploy that capital into funding loans—often in niche industries that are unserved or underserved by more traditional banks. That’s why the BDC is a perfect format for something like Medallion Finance: it allows investors to access this high-barrier market much more easily. This is the path we take into the venture debt markets, which have been vastly underserved. When companies are pre-IPO and need capital to buy servers and expand operations but don’t want to further dilute shareholders, they turn to the venture debt markets. Specifically, they look to a handful of specialized lenders, companies like Hercules Technology Growth Capital (HTGC), which provide funding to companies that are otherwise ignored by the banks. All such publicly traded companies are BDCs too, managing their loan portfolios and distributing the earnings right back to shareholders without any corporate tax. Share prices are low and dividend yields quite high, as this largely undiscovered sector has chugged along nicely since inception a few years ago. But unlike the medallion market, there are a number of choices in the technology growth capital markets for average investors, and even more for the accredited crowd. That’s because the loan portfolios of just the public BDCs total more than 10x that of Medallion. That market is still very small in the grand scheme of things, but it’s big enough to provide a lot of different opportunities for investors to choose from—not just one company. So I have to give this category to our venture debt investments too, based on the sheer amount of choice available in easily traded BDC stocks. Taxi Medallion 0 = 1 Venture Debt +1 = 3 Liquidity: As many a former Antiques Roadshow guest can probably attest, an investment whose value cannot be realized is not worth anything. No matter how much the market or some expert says your asset is worth, it doesn’t matter if you can’t actually sell it. Taxi medallions, for a million-dollar-plus market, are actually surprisingly liquid. Looking at the NYC market again, approximately 300 medallions, or 2% of the float, are sold each year. And as the auction participation and high watermarks for price have shown, it’s not for lack of bidders that the number is low. It’s that most owners see the value and are holding, driving prices higher and higher. As for TAXI’s stock in the BDC, it’s a relatively thinly traded equity for being a $13 stock. Only about 190,000 shares trade on average every day, which means there’s about $2.5 million in daily liquidity. If you’re looking at a relatively small investment, that’s sufficient to make it easy to buy and sell near the market. Even if you were planning to put a few million dollars into the category, over a few weeks you could easily do so without affecting the market price—something that cannot be said for the medallions themselves. The public venture debt investments, however, are far more liquid, with Hercules alone trading 4x more shares and value per day than Medallion on average. Add in the volume of other players and you’ll find about 10x the market for venture debt as you will for TAXI. So that’s one more for venture debt: Taxi Medallion 0 = 1 Venture Debt +1 = 4 Stability, and Political and Economic Risk: Sure, that governmental effect on the price is one of the key factors of concern for the medallion investor. But there’s also a macroeconomic headwind to consider, created in part by politics: the NYC economy lives and dies by finance. Without all the investment banks, the city quickly deteriorates, as we saw in 2000 and in 2008. In spite of those temporary blips, the price of the taxi medallion has held up well because of the limited supply. In fact, the average price never really softened—liquidity just slowed for a bit. A more protracted downturn would, of course, be a very different story. Any long-term decline in NY residents, tourists, per capita income, or similar measure would quickly decrease usage of one of the city’s more expensive transportation options. But the average annual political and economic change is unlikely to dent this stalwart industry. The TAXI BDC does diversify your risk across multiple cities… but only a little. Its portfolio includes Chicago, Newark, Boston/Cambridge, and only a handful of tokens elsewhere, so don’t think you’re exactly getting a slice of the global cabbie pie. If it would expand to include London, Paris, Taipei, and Hong Kong, then maybe it would help. Right now, though, if the big banks suffer, so will this business—albeit with some lag. Still, I’d take that risk over a lot of other income portfolios I see nowadays, laced as they are with scary fixed-interest-rate bonds and little in the way of upside potential. I think there’s a good chance the NY taxi medallion will fail to perform as well over the next few years as it has over the last decade, but based on its historical stability, I have to give it credit. The medallion has held its value steady through every major recession this country has seen since it was introduced (thanks in part to that low liquidity reducing the volatility). How does venture debt stack up on this one? To grasp that, you have to realize that it is to some degree a market created out of crisis. The reluctance of banks to get in the game is a side effect of both their own low appetite for risk and the regulations that seek to further curb their behavior. Banks have no interest these days in investing in anything difficult to understand. If it breaks the usual mold, forget it. And so, when it comes to specialized industries like social networking—which is just one small example of what you’ll find in these portfolios—the dedicated practitioner not only has a decided advantage in due diligence, he also has very little competition. That’s great on the upside, as you can demand much more of your customers. But we’re talking stability… and here we’re dealing with plenty of risk, of course. These businesses could go under. On the other hand, we’re not talking about early-stage start-ups here. A company rarely qualifies for venture debt unless it’s already profitable or very close. Nor are we talking about some kind of “peanut butter” bond portfolio with an equal spread of everything out there, assembled by algorithm instead of a trained practitioner. No, in the venture debt world, managers get to be choosy and can select the best loans possible. That’s why the default rates for these BDCs tend to be very low for debt that would otherwise be rated “junk” on the bond market—about 200-250 basis points lower in our experience, when looking at the best players out there. During a severe economic recession, there will of course be struggles for the category, just as there will for the taxis. But altogether, the risk profiles of both are much lower than they might appear at first glance. So I have to call this one a tie, and give them each a point. Neither is particularly vulnerable, except in a protracted downturn. Taxi Medallion +1 = 2 Venture Debt +1 = 5 Portfolio Quality and Upside: Of course, the rate of return is what ultimately matters for an investment. No matter how stable, liquid, or accessible a market is, if you cannot turn a profit, it’s meaningless. The NYC taxi-medallion market directly returned a very impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.5% over the past decade, plus a 3-4% income stream on top. However, after a hockey-stick-shaped bull run like that, I have to wonder if it can continue to post those kinds of numbers. Personally, I doubt it. And it’s all but off limits to the likes of you and me directly, so we have to use vehicles like Medallion Finance to access to the market instead. TAXI stock has returned impressively as well in the last few years, with a current yield of about 6.9%. That’s down a bit from the average for the last few years, part of a steady decline since inception. So the payout isn’t spectacular on its own, but it comes alongside a 5.5% CAGR on the stock price over the last decade. Reinvested along the way, that’s led to a ballpark 22% CAGR over the last decade. So we can chalk this one up as a hit too, even though it’s deteriorating a bit right now with the expansion of the company beyond medallion financing. So how do the growth capital companies stack up? Pretty darn good. Let’s look specifically at Hercules. Now, I can’t go back a decade, as these companies are pretty new to the world. But we do have a few years of history to go on. And by that measure, we’ve done quite well. We originally recommended HTGC in the August 2011 edition of Casey Extraordinary Technology. At that time it was trading for $9.35 a share. Since then we’ve gotten $2.68 in dividends (the current yield is about 8.9%), and shares have climbed to $14.20 in recent trading, as the profits of the fund have steadily increased. That’s a 79% return in 3.5 years, or more than 25% CAGR. Not bad if I do say so myself. Those are all hugely impressive growth rates. All three investments have far outpaced the decade average return for the DJIA or S&P 500. So once again, we’re looking at tie… for a grand total score on our simple comparison of: Taxi Medallion +1 = 3 Venture Debt +1 = 6 Riding a Shooting Star Sure, buying and holding a taxi medallion in NY would have been a darn good investment, had your grandfather had the foresight to grab one. Owning one was like hitching your wagon to the back of a shooting star, making a little cash while you let one of the most vibrant city economies in the world do the hard work. But today, if you want to get in that game, you need some serious capital to devote to a single asset class. You have to compete for a limited asset against dozens of other bidders at a time. And even then the long-term return is uncertain after such a historic run-up. If, instead, you want to bet on the next set of rising stars, consider looking at venture debt. It offers the predictability of the bond market—where price discovery is better and values more stable than in any other market in the world—coupled with the upside potential of the high-tech start-up world, thanks to the senior secured status of the loan. It’s more liquid, more diversified, and offers strong market-beating returns just the same. To me, while the taxi-medallion investment is much better than I think most would have considered, venture debt is still the clear winner. So, which mezzanine lender is the right one to buy today? Grab a copy of our exclusive venture debt getting-started guide, Earn 10% Yield with Growth Capital, for a list of our top investment choices and why. The price of a New York City (NYC) taxi medallion, or a “tin”’ as the industry has taken to calling them, has risen from $10 when originally issued in the 1930s to well over $1 million today. That’s about a 15.5% annualized return over the last 80 years, a solid five points better than the S&P 500’s total return (including dividends) over the same period. And that’s just on face value. Rented to a driver, the return is even higher. According to NYC’s Taxi and Limousine commissioner in a recent Bloomberg interview, the rental rates are around 3 or 4% of face value these days. Those combined returns are enough to make even Warren Buffett blush.
There’s no other way to put it: Maria de los Angeles Tun Burgos is a supermom.She’s raising five children, does housework and chores — we’re talking about fresh tortillas every day made from stone-ground corn — and she helps with the family’s business in their small village about 2 1/2 hours west of Cancun on the Yucatan.Sitting on a rainbow-colored hammock inside her home, Burgos, 41, is cool as a cucumber. It’s morning, after breakfast. Her youngest daughter, 4-year-old Alexa, sits on her knee, clearly trying to get her attention by hitting a teddy bear on her mom’s leg. The middle daughter, 9-year-old Gelmy, is running around with neighborhood kids — climbing trees, chasing chickens — and her oldest daughter, 12-year-old Angela, has just woken up and started doing the dishes, without being asked. The older kids aren’t in school because it’s spring break.Burgos is constantly on parental duty. She often tosses off little warnings about safety: “Watch out for the fire” or “Don’t play around the construction area.” But her tone is calm. Her body is relaxed. There’s no sense of urgency or anxiety.In return, the children offer minimal resistance to their mother’s advice. There’s little whining, little crying and basically no yelling or bickering.In general, Burgos makes the whole parenting thing look — dare, I say it — easy. So I ask her: “Do you think that being a mom is stressful?”Burgos looks at me as if I’m from Mars. “Stressful? What do you mean by stressful?” she responds through a Mayan translator.A five-minute conversation ensues between Burgos and the translator, trying to convey the idea of “stressful.” There doesn’t seem to be a straight-up Mayan term, at least not pertaining to motherhood.But finally, after much debate, the translator seems to have found a way to explain what I mean, and Burgos answers.”There are times that I worry about my children, like when my son was 12 and only wanted to be with his friends and not study,” Burgos says. “I was worried about his future.” But once she guided him back on track, the worry went away.In general, she shows no sense of chronic worry or stress.”I know that raising kids is slow,” she says. “Little by little they will learn.”Breast, formula or goat?Burgos learned how to be a mom by watching — and helping — her own mom, her aunts and her neighbors raise many children. Throughout her childhood, she was training to be a mom.Here in the U.S., many parents don’t have this firsthand experience before having children themselves. Instead, we often learn about burping, potty training and tantrum control through parenting books, Google searches and YouTube videos. But this information comes with two big caveats, which aren’t always divulged.For starters, parenting advice can give the impression that the recommendations are based on science. But a deep look at some studies reveals that the science is more like smoke and mirrors. Sometimes the studies don’t even test what the parenting expert is purporting they do.Take for instance a study often cited as evidence that the “cry-it-out” method of sleep training is effective. The method claims that if babies are left to cry themselves to sleep, eventually they will learn to fall asleep on their own without crying, and sleep through the night.But what the study actually tests is a gentler regime, in which babies were left to cry for only a short amount of time before being comforted. And the parents were supported by a hefty amount of personalized counseling on their babies’ sleep and eating habits. The babies who made progress also did not retain the ability to put themselves to sleep and stay asleep over the long term.As psychologist Ben Bradley argues in his book Vision of Infancy, a Critical Introduction to Psychology: “Scientific observations about babies are more like mirrors which reflect back the preoccupations and visions of those who study them than like windows opening directly on the foundations of the mind.”And sometimes the data supporting the recommendation are so flimsy that another study in a few years will come along and not only overturn the first study but completely flip the advice 180 degrees.This is exactly what happened last year with peanuts. Back in 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised parents not to give babies peanut butter because one study suggested early exposure would increase the risk of developing an allergy. But last year, the medical community made a complete about-face on the advice and now says “Let them eat peanuts!” Early peanut exposure actually prevents allergies, follow up studies have found.So if science isn’t the secret sauce to parenting books, what is? To answer that, we have to go back in time.In the early 1980s, the British writer Christina Hardyment began reviewing more than 650 parenting books and manuals, dating all the way back to the mid-1700s when advice publications started appearing in hospitals. The result is an illuminating book, called Dream Babies, which traces the history of parenting advice from 17th-century English physician and philosopher John Locke to the modern-day medical couple Bill and Martha Sears.The conclusions from the book are as clear as your baby’s tears: Advice in parenting books is typically based not on rigorous scientific studies as is at times claimed but on the opinions and experiences of the authors and on theories from past parenting manuals — sometimes as long as the 18th century.Then there’s the matter of consistency — or lack thereof. Since the late 1700s, “experts” have flip-flopped recommendations over and over, from advising strict routines and discipline to a more permissive, laissez-faire approach and back again.”While babies and parents remain constants, advice on the former to the latter veers with the winds of social, philosophical and psychological change,” Hardyment writes. “There is no such thing as a generally applicable blueprint for perfect parenting.”Take, for instance, the idea that babies need to feed on a particular schedule. According to Hardyment’s research, that advice first appears in a London hospital pamphlet in 1748. Sleep schedules for babies start coming into fashion in the early 1900s. And sleep training? That idea was proposed by a British surgeon-turned-sports writer in 1873. If babies “are left to go to sleep in their cots, and allowed to find out that they do not get their way by crying, they at once become reconciled, and after a short time will go to bed even more readily in the cot than on the lap,” John Henry Walsh wrote in his Manual of Domestic Economy.Even the heated debate about breastfeeding has been simmering, and flaring up, for at least 250 years, Hardyment shows. In the 18th century, mothers didn’t have high-tech formula but had many recommendations about what was best for the baby and the family. Should a mother send the baby off to a wet nurse’s home, so her husband won’t be offended by the sight of a baby suckling? And if the family couldn’t afford a wet nurse, there was specially treated cow’s milk available or even better, the baby could be nursed by a goat, 18th-century parenting books advised. (If you’re wondering how moms accomplished such a feat, Hardyment includes an 18th-century drawing of a young mom pushing a swaddled newborn underneath a goat’s udder.)Goat udders aside, perhaps the bigger issue with parenting books and advice on the Web is what they aren’t telling you. And boy, is there a large hole.These sources ignore most of the world and come almost entirely from the experience of Western culture. But when it comes to understanding what a baby needs, how kids work and what to do when your toddler is lying on the sidewalk (just asking for a friend), Western society might not be the best place to focus.”WEIRD,” stressed-out parents equal anxious kids?In 2010, three scientists at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, rocked the psychology world.They published a 23-page paper titled “The weirdest people in the world?” And in it, uncovered a major limitation with many psychological studies, especially those claiming to address questions of “human nature.”First, the team noted that the vast majority of studies in psychology, cognitive science and economics — about 96 percent — have been performed on people with European backgrounds. And yet, when scientists perform some of these experiments in other cultures the results often don’t match up. Westerners stick out as outliers on the spectrum of behavior, while people from indigenous cultures tend to clump together, more in the middle.Even in experiments that appear to test basic brain function, like visual perception, Westerners can act strangely. Take one of the most famous optical illusions — the Muller-Lyer illusion, from 1889.Americans often believe the second line is about 20 percent longer than the first, even though the two lines are exactly the same length. But when scientists gave the test to 14 indigenous cultures, none of them were tricked to the same degree as Westerners. Some cultures, such as the San foragers in southern Africa’s Kalahari desert, knew the two lines were equal length.The conclusion from these analyses was startling: People from Western society, “including young children, are among the least representative populations one could find for generalizing about humans,” Joseph Heinrich and his colleagues wrote. The researchers even came up with a catchy acronym to describe the phenomenon. They called our culture WEIRD, for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic societies.With that paper, the ethnocentric view of psychology cracked. It wasn’t so much that the emperor of psychology had no clothes. It was more that he was dancing around in Western garb pretending to represent all humanity.A few years later, an anthropologist from Utah State University, David Lancy, performed a similar analysis on parenting. The conclusion was just as clear-cut: When you look around the world and throughout human history, the Western style of parenting is WEIRD. We are outliers.In many instances, what we think is “necessary” or “critical” for childhood is actually not present in any other cultures around the world or throughout time.”The list of differences is really, really long,” says David Lancy, who summarizes them in the second edition of his landmark book The Anthropology of Childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings. “There may be 40 to 50 things that we do that you don’t see in indigenous cultures.”Perhaps most striking is how Western society segregates children from adults. We have created two worlds: the kid world and the adult world. And we go through great pains to keep them apart. Kids have their own special foods, their own times to go to sleep, their own activities on the weekends. Kids go to school. Parents go to work. “Much of the adult culture … is restricted [for kids],” Lancy writes. “Children are perceived as too young, uneducated, or burdensome to be readily admitted to the adult sphere.”But in many indigenous cultures, children are immersed in the adult world early on, and they acquire great skills from the experience. They learn to socialize, to do household chores, cook food and master a family’s business, Lancy writes.Western culture is also a relative newcomer to parenting. Hunter-gatherers and other indigenous cultures have had tens of thousands of years to hone their strategies, not to mention that the parent-child relationship actually evolved in these contexts.Of course, just because a practice is ancient, “natural” or universal doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better, especially given that Western kids eventually have to live — and hopefully succeed — in a WEIRD society. But widening the parenting lens, even just a smidgen, has a practical purpose: It gives parents options.”When you look at the whole world and see the diversity out there, parents can start to imagine other ways of doing things,” says Suzanne Gaskins, a developmental psychologist at Northeastern Illinois University, who for 40 years has been studying how Mayan moms in the Yucatan raise helpful kids.”Some of the approaches families use in other cultures might fit an American child’s needs better than the advice they are given in books or from the pediatricians,” she adds.Who’s in charge?So what kind of different philosophies are out there?When I spent time with Mayan families that Gaskins has studied, I saw a very different approach to control.In Western culture, parenting is often about control.”We think of obedience from a control angle. Somebody is in charge and the other one is doing what they are told because they have to,” says Barbara Rogoff, a psychologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who has studied the Mayan culture for 30 years.And if you pay attention to the way parents interact with children in our society, the idea is blazingly obvious. We tend to boss them around. “Put your shoes on!” or “Eat your sandwich!””People think either the adult is in control or the child is in control,” Rogoff says.But what if there is another way to interact with kids that removes control from the equation, almost altogether?That’s exactly what the Mayans — and several other indigenous cultures — do. Instead of trying to control children, Rogoff says, parents aim to collaborate with them.”It’s kids and adults together accomplishing a common goal,” Rogoff says. “It’s not letting the kids do whatever they want. It’s a matter of children — and parents — being willing to be guided.”In the Mayan culture, even the littlest of children are treated with this respect. “It’s collaborative from the get-go.”The idea is so strong that some Mayan languages don’t even have a word for “control” when talking about children, Rogoff says.After visiting the Mayan village this spring, I’ve been trying this approach with my 2 1/2-year-old daughter. For instance, I often struggle to get Rosemary to put her clothes on the morning. In the past, I would nag and yell: “Put your shoes on! Get your jacket!”But now I try a more collaborative approach. “Rosemary, mom, dad and Mango [our dog] are all going to the beach,” I explain. “If you want to go to the beach, you have to put your shoes on. Do you want to go to the beach?” So far it’s working.And if Rosemary says she doesn’t want to go to the beach? What would a Mayan mom do? She would drop her off at an aunt’s or neighbor’s house and spend an afternoon without her. Because Mayan families also have a different idea about who is supposed to care for the kids. One way to think of it: They don’t keep mom in a box.Get mom out of the boxIn our culture there’s a lingering belief that the ideal family structure for kids is a stay-at-home mom who devotes her full attention to the kids. That may sound like a relic from the past. But even just 10 years ago, 41 percent of people thought moms working outside was harmful to society, PEW research found. The result is a mom stuck in an apartment or a single-family home — which are both essentially boxes — raising children, alone.But if you look around the world and throughout human history, this parenting approach is arguably one of the most nontraditional out there. The notion that the mom is responsible for raising the children, alone, is unique to Western culture. (This family structure is even strange within Western culture. Up until about 150 years ago, households were much larger and included extended family members and sometimes paid help, historian Stephanie Coontz documents in The Way We Never Were. And woman were expected to earn some income for the family. “Women not only brought home half the bacon, they often raised and butchered the pig,” Coontz says) Anthropologist David Lancy compares the “mom in the box” approach to parenting to what happens with an Inuit family in the Arctic, when inclement weather isolates a mom and her child in an igloo and forces the mom to be the only playmate for the children. Most of the burden of parenting is placed on the mom. “There is every reason to believe that modern living conditions in which infants and toddlers are isolated from peers in single-parent or nuclear households produce a parallel effect,” Lancy writes: a mom left to a perform a role typically performed by children — that is, siblings, cousins, neighborhood kids and whoever else is hanging around a home.Human children didn’t evolve in a nuclear family. Instead, for hundreds of thousands of years, kids have been brought up with a slew of people — grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, the neighbors, Lancy writes. It’s not that you need a whole village, as the saying goes, but rather an extended family — which could include biological relatives but also neighbors, close friends or paid help.Throughout human history, motherhood has been seen as a set of tasks that can be accomplished by many types of people, like relatives and neighbors, the historian John R. Gillis writes in The World Of Their Own Making. Anthropologists call them “alloparents” — “allo” simply means “other.”Across the globe, cultures consider alloparents key to raising children, Lancy writes.The Mayan moms value and embrace alloparents. Their homes are porous structures and all sorts of “allomoms” flow in and out. When a woman has a baby, other moms work together to make sure she can take a break each day to take a shower and eat meals, without having to hold the baby. (How civilized is that!)In one household with four kids that I visited, the aunt dropped off food, the grandma stopped by to help with a neighbor’s baby and, all the while, the oldest daughter looked after the toddler — while the mom fed the livestock and started to make lunch. But in Western culture, over the past few centuries, we have pushed alloparents to the periphery of the parenting landscape, Gillis writes. They aren’t as valued and sometimes even denigrated as a means for working moms to outsource parenting duties.In the past few generations, fathers have stepped up and started helping with a big chunk of parenting duties. Since 1965, American dads have more than doubled the number of hours they spend each week on child care, PEW research found. But moms still carry most of the load. They spend, on average, 14 hours each week on child care while fathers spend about 7.The result is something unique in human history: A mom stuck in a box, often alone, doing the job typically performed by a handful of people. As Gillis writes, “Never have mothers been so burdened by motherhood.”Your Turn: Share Your Parenting StoryParents make mistakes. It comes with the job. What do you wish you had known about raising kids before becoming a parent? Read this post for inspiration, then share your story on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #HowToRaiseAHuman. We are collecting stories until June 30. We may feature your post on NPR.NPR Researcher Katie Daugert contributed to this report. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Add to Queue October 18, 2017 You Don’t Have to Be All That Corporate to Make an Impact With Corporate Social Responsibility Next Article Small businesses are making a big splash with their mission-driven awareness in social responsibility. Guest Writer Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Carolyn Rodz –shares The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. 5 min read Founder, Alice Small Business Heroes Corporate social responsibility is often talked about only in the context of large enterprises. However, weaving social consciousness into your company’s fabric is possible — and even advantageous — at the small business level, as well.We are seeing a definite uptick in the number of business owners who are integrating the Triple “P” Model (People, Planet and Profit) into their companies. The earliest days of the models’ planning proves it is especially working for women, as well. A Dell-sponsored survey at Circular Summit, an annual event for women entrepreneurs, showed that the majority of women business owners say that they want to make a positive impact on the world, while turning a profit.Altruism advances many purpose-driven companies, but there are also clear business advantages that make the “Triple P” model not only viable, but also smart. With the end user in mind, we know that millennials now have more buying power than any other generation. 87 percent of those consumers prefer to buy products from companies that have an environmental or social benefit.Small businesses that aren’t looking to meet this consumer demand are missing an enormous opportunity that will only continue to grow. Mission-driven companies also report 30 percent higher levels of innovation and 40 percent higher levels of employee retention.Related: Five Ways Entrepreneurs Can Combine Profit and PurposeThese factors are used in establishing and holding on to market leadership and minimizing unnecessary costs. We are in an era where the power of technology allows small business owners to expand their impact reach to even the most remote corners of the world.We saw the “Triple P”s in action at the second annual Circular Summit Pitch with Purpose competition. Pitch with Purpose is a global pitch competition for women-led businesses that support the resolution of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.Here’s how the three finalists have combined people, planet and profit.Saathi pads.This company was started by a team, that includes three women MIT graduates. Saathi designed the world’s first 100 percent biodegradable and compostable sanitary pads made from waste banana tree fiber. Saathi’s pads are currently available in rural areas of India. The company has plans to rapidly grow to a production of one million pads within the next three years.According to Saathi co-founder Amrita Saigal, “Lack of access to sanitary pads is a critical women’s rights issue and a leading reason for higher school dropout rates for girls and in lost income from days off work, and is one the main causes of UTIs and other infections.”Saathi’s pads ensure that women have access to affordable sanitary products that allow them to continue their daily lives uninterrupted, while also keeping waste out of garbage bins. The process is also supporting a supply chain that benefits Indian farmers by using traditionally unused byproducts of banana farming. Saathi has also made a further commitment to sell or recycle all of their manufacturing waste.Related: Four Ways a Clear Purpose Benefits Your BusinessSaathi was awarded the top Pitch with Purpose prize, taking home $15,000 cash, thanks to Johnson & Johnson and Guggenheim Partners, a Dell technology suite and mentorship from Circular Board.Narra.Still in its pilot stages, Narra is showing incredible promise with an innovative model that will bring money lending to the world’s two billion unbanked adults, half of whom live in the world’s poorest households.Through Narra, any woman can use a mobile device to create a digital ID stored on a blockchain public ledge and request and receive in a loan in five minutes. “Having access to loans enables financial inclusion. Microcredit has proven to be an effective method for poverty alleviation,” said Evelin Weber, Narra founder.Related: Microloan Startup Brings Banking to the “Unbanked”“However, women in rural areas tend to lack collateral, steady employment and the credit history necessary for fair loans.” Initially, Narra is operating in the Philippines with plans to expand operations to India, Vietnam and Cambodia.Trumbull Unmanned.Trumbull Unmanned is pioneering UAS/drone use for environmental data collection in the energy sector to help better manage natural resources, compliance and environmental impact. This effort is led by U.S. Air Force veterans Dyan Gibbens and JR Gibbens.Trumbull operations have included flying in the Arctic to monitor ice pack movements, observing gray whale migrations and researching oil spill response efforts. In addition to their commercial efforts, Trumbull also created a free Drone Camp with Microsoft, Rice University and BP for middle school youth to encourage STEM learning.Of the Trumbull mission to combine environmental responsibility with emerging technologies, Dyan Gibbens says, “For me, I aim to be a servant leader and collaborative leader in the UAS industry, the energy industry and STEM empowerment.”Related: The Drone Industry: Thoughts From an OutsiderThe combination of purpose and profit will continue to be a strong driver for new small businesses, as well as of enterprise-level corporations eager to meet consumer demand and retain employees.Whether it’s through responsible supply chain sourcing, “buy one give one” models, philanthropic initiatives, product innovations or partnerships, this is a trend that we shouldn’t expect (nor want, of course) to go away anytime soon. 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Image credit: Cecilie_Arcurs | Getty Images Apply Now »
Gartner Peer Insights CustomersMarketing TechnologyNewsOutreachsales engagement platformSales Force Automation Previous ArticleCoreMedia Partners with Zilker Technology to Provide Roadmap to Help IBM Customers Optimize eCommerce InvestmentsNext Article3CLogic Announces Microsoft AppSource Certification for Microsoft Dynamics CRM The Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice Distinction Is Based on Feedback and Ratings From End-User Professionals Who Have Experience Purchasing, Implementing and/or Using the Product or ServiceOutreach, a leading sales engagement platform, is excited to share that they were named an April 2019 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Sales Force Automation. “Gartner defines sales force automation (SFA) as systems that support the automation of sales activities, processes and administrative responsibilities for organizations’ sales professionals.” For more information, check out this blog post.“We believe that being named an April 2019 Customers’ Choice for Sales Force Automation represents the commitment we have to our customers to provide world class product with an outstanding customer experience to support it,” said Manny Medina, Outreach co-founder and CEO. “We continue to innovate while we execute on our product roadmap to meet the needs of our customers, and are grateful for the feedback they share with us on Gartner Peer Insights.”Marketing Technology News: BlueConic Launches AI Workbench to Eliminate Operational Inefficiencies for Data Science & Marketing TeamsPeer Insights is an online platform of ratings and reviews of IT software and services that are written and read by IT professionals and technology decision-makers. The goal is to help IT leaders make more insightful purchase decisions and help technology providers improve their products by receiving objective, unbiased feedback from their customers. Gartner Peer Insights includes more than 215,000 verified reviews in more than 340 markets.Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice constitute the subjective opinions of individual end-user reviews, ratings, and data applied against a documented methodology; they neither represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by, Gartner or its affiliates.Marketing Technology News: Bazaarvoice Report: Shoppers Crave Connection and Conversation with Brands and RetailersOutreach is the leading enterprise-ready Sales Engagement platform allowing sales and success to more effectively communicate with potential buyers and customers, leading to more pipeline and more revenue. Chosen by revenue leaders at rapidly growing companies like Zoom, Okta, MindBody, Cloudera, and many more, Outreach gives sellers superhuman powers by leveraging science and data to better engage with prospects and customers, and close more deals, faster.Marketing Technology News: Vimeo To Acquire Magisto To Power Video Creation For Any Business Outreach Recognized as an April 2019 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Sales Force Automation PRNewswireApril 19, 2019, 4:57 pmApril 19, 2019
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 6 2019In a study published in Food Science & Nutrition, drinking unsalted tomato juice lowered blood pressure and LDL cholesterol in Japanese adults at risk of cardiovascular disease.In the study, 184 male and 297 female participants were provided with as much unsalted tomato juice as they wanted throughout one year. At the end of the study, blood pressure in 94 participants with untreated prehypertension or hypertension dropped significantly: systolic blood pressure lowered from an average of 141.2 to 137.0 mmHg, and diastolic blood pressure lowered from an average of 83.3 to 80.9 mmHg. LDL cholesterol levels in 125 participants with high cholesterol decreased from an average of 155.0 to 149.9 mg/dL. These beneficial effects were similar among men and women and among different age groups.Related StoriesDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustDiet and nutrition influence microbiome in colonic mucosaJAMA commentary: Nutrition knowledge essential for today’s physicians”To the best of our knowledge, the current study is the first to investigate the effects of tomato or tomato product intake on cardiovascular disease risk markers over the course of a year and over a wide age range,” the authors wrote.Source:WileyJournal reference:Odai, T. et al. (2019) Unsalted tomato juice intake improves blood pressure and serum low‐density lipoprotein cholesterol level in local Japanese residents at risk of cardiovascular disease. Food Science & Nutrition. doi.org/10.1002/fsn3.1066.
Stories of homeless people being denied access to mainstream GP services were so far anecdotal which our study sadly validates as the truth.Perceived stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings seems to be even more persistent and shows how much work needs to be done to make primary care more inclusive for homeless people.Our study participants found access to mental health and substance misuse services often challenging as many have dual diagnoses.While specialist healthcare services that are established across the country offer these patients some comfort, exclusion from healthcare pushed some of our study participants into repeat cycles of homelessness.Improving access and inclusivity and prevention work particularly during an earlier stage in the homelessness cycle is the only way forward to alleviate the health impact of homelessness, its repeat cycle, and thereby to minimize homeless people’s use of emergency department admissions and prevent unnecessary deaths.” Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 16 2019A study led by the University of Birmingham has painted a shaming picture of neglect and discrimination shown towards the homeless when accessing UK health services.Researchers interviewed 22 homeless people aged over 18 at three Midland homeless shelters in order to gauge their experience of accessing NHS services following anecdotal reports that the homeless were being denied access and faced negative experiences.While some of the study participants described facing no barriers, others shared accounts of casual neglect, discrimination, and inadequate resources across general practice, accident and emergency departments, and mental health services.Some reported being denied registration at a GP, while others said they were discharged from hospital onto the streets with no access or referral to primary care providers, and others said they could not access services providing support to those with substance misuse issues and mental health problems.One participant described resorting to committing crimes so that they would be sent to prison where they could then access healthcare.Those that took part in the study expressed high satisfaction about their experiences at specialist primary healthcare centers for people who are homeless, however these are underfunded.The study – published in in the British Journal of General Practice – comes as, according to Shelter (i), there are over 320,000 homeless people in the UK and the number of rough sleepers in some urban areas has doubled in the last six years (ii).Senior Lecturer Dr Vibhu Paudyal, of the University of Birmingham’s School of Pharmacy, said: Related StoriesTrump administration cracks down on fetal tissue researchAXT enhances cellular research product portfolio with solutions from StemBioSysResearch on cannabis use in women limited, finds new studyThe authors, among a number of recommendations, emphasized the importance of spreading good practice, and educating and informing healthcare workers about the rights and needs of our homeless population.It follows research (iii) by Dr Paudyal and collaborators published earlier this month, also in British Journal of General Practice, also revealed the extent of the mental and physical health problems the homeless face.They analyzed routinely collected datasets from almost 1,000 patients registered to Birmingham Homeless Healthcare Centre in Birmingham city center. The study found that nearly one in eight had been offered support for substance dependence and one in five had been offered support for alcohol misuse. A high prevalence of infectious hepatitis C was also identified.The study showed nearly one in three of the homeless population attended an Accident and Emergency Department in the preceding 12 months. This equates to nearly 60 times the rate of A&E attendance observed in the general population. Source:University of BirminghamJournal reference:Gunner, E. et al. (2019) Provision and accessibility of primary healthcare services for people who are homeless: a qualitative study of patient perspectives in the UK. British Journal of General Practice. doi.org/10.3399/bjgp19X704633.