Alabama Football: Nick Saban’s Daughter Got Married At Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium Last Night and It Looked Awesome

first_imgNick Saban Wedding Bryant-Denny StadiumNick Saban Wedding Bryant-Denny StadiumNick Saban’s daughter, Kristen, got married last night. We’ll give you one guess at the venue. Yes, it was Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium. And it looked awesome.  Congrats to Mr and Mrs Setas #SabanToSetas #SetOnSetasA photo posted by Ann Marie Theis (@annmarietheis) on May 30, 2015 at 9:11pm PDT  The lovely bride! #setonsetas #sabantosetasA photo posted by Ann Marie Theis (@annmarietheis) on May 30, 2015 at 6:56pm PDT  #SabanToSetas #SetOnSetasA photo posted by Ann Marie Theis (@annmarietheis) on May 30, 2015 at 9:14pm PDT So Nick Saban’s daughter got married last night. Why am I not surprised at the venue!? 😉— Belle Es You (@SouthernbeLLSU) May 31, 2015 RT @MarisaLeeMartin: Only Kristen #Saban could pull this off at her wedding #SabanToSetas— Brent Dougherty (@brentdougherty) May 31, 2015 All weddings of people related to college football coaches should be held at college football stadiums.last_img read more

China eases Tibetan travel restrictions

first_imgThe Chinese Government has relaxed restrictions on travel to Tibet.There are no longer a minimum number of travellers required per nationality within a tour group.Permits will be granted for tour groups comprised of travellers from three nationalities or less, when entering Tibet from China.When entering Tibet from Nepal, there are no restrictions on the number of nationalities permitted per group.“Previous policies made it logistically difficult to confirm travellers on our Tibet tours,” G Adventures Australia and New Zealand managing director Peter Rawley said.Tours from China will not be able to enter Tibet with four or more nationalities per group. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T. Logistically easier for agents to confirm travellers.last_img

Ocwen to Sell 98 Billion MSR Portfolio to Nationstar

first_img February 23, 2015 714 Views Ocwen to Sell $9.8 Billion MSR Portfolio to Nationstar Freddie Mac Mortgage Servicing Rights MSR Nationstar Ocwen 2015-02-23 Seth Welborn Sharecenter_img Ocwen Loan Servicing, a subsidiary of Ocwen Financial Corporation, intends to sell the mortgage servicing rights (MSR) on a portfolio of performing residential loans owned by Freddie Mac with a total principal balance of about $9.8 billion to Nationstar Mortgage, a subsidiary of Nationstar Mortgage Holdings, according to an announcement from Ocwen Financial on Monday morning.There are approximately 81,000 loans in the portfolio involved in the transaction, according to Ocwen’s announcement. The transaction is subject to a definitive agreement as well as approval from Freddie Mac as well as Freddie Mac’s conservator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).”We are pleased to enter into an agreement to acquire this portfolio from Ocwen,” said Jay Bray, CEO of Dallas, Texas-based Nationstar. “We look forward to expeditiously closing this portfolio and welcome the new customers to Nationstar.”Ocwen’s regulatory troubles over the last year have been well-documented. The Atlanta-based non-bank mortgage servicer agreed to a $150 settlement with the New York Department of Financial Services in December. That settlement included the departure of chairman Bill Erbey, who founded the company more than 30 years ago.In early February, Ocwen CEO Ron Faris told his company’s stakeholders he expected the company’s Q4 earnings to take a hit based on mounting regulatory pressures, expenses, and ratings downgrades by Fitch Ratings and Morningstar Credit Ratings.Faris said the recently announced deal with Nationstar could be only the beginning of MSR transactions between the two companies.”This transaction represents the first step in the execution of our previously-announced strategy to transfer certain types of non-strategic servicing,” Faris said. “We look forward to exploring additional MSR transactions with Nationstar.” in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Secondary Marketlast_img read more

Every time I write an article that mentions god –

first_imgEvery time I write an article that mentions god – even if used as a descriptive reference to “the gods” – I get insulting and arrogant comments from atheists. And it’s not just me; you can see the same thing all over the Internet. To put it simply, these people are bullies, striking unbidden with fast, hard blows. It’s not about truth; it’s about dominance. Not all atheists do this, obviously. I have quite a few atheist friends who are decent, kind people. But an abusive strain of atheism has taken root in recent years, and I think it’s time to confront it. Here’s the key: The goal of these bullies is not to find truth or even to defend it; it’s to put down other people – to insult, humiliate and laugh at the fools who believe in any sort of god, even people who use references to god. These people slash and burn. They labor to destroy, not to build. I used to have a standing offer: that I would publish any atheist book that did not criticize, but instead told people how atheism would make their lives better. The result? No one ever submitted a manuscript. The Irony of It All Last week I wrote an article entitled Are you a Gorilla or a God? In it, I explained that the worst of human behavior is gorilla-like and the best god-like. I went on to explain the gorilla side this way: Dominant gorillas seek status and the power to control others. The submissive apes seek to pass along their pain to the apes below them. In response to the article (which mentioned gods!), I received the business end of that atheistic slash and burn. But these people never realized that they were placing themselves precisely into the position I had assigned to the gorillas: slapping and biting smaller animals to make themselves dominant. A Defense of Atheism I don’t have a problem with atheism per se. I was actually raised as an atheist, by a mother whose love I never for a moment doubted. And, as I say, I have friends who are atheists. The opinion, by itself, doesn’t bother me. I think atheism is a valid opinion. I happen to disagree with it, but I disagree with a lot of things – that doesn’t mean I go about to destroy them all. Our goal should be to improve people, not to chop them up. One essential flaw I find with strident atheism is that no one can know enough to make that pronouncement. Here’s what I mean: I think it is 100% fair to say, “I’ve never seen evidence of a God, so I don’t think there is one.” Some atheists will say that putting God outside of the universe was merely a trick to avoid evidence. But even if it did begin as a trick, the idea stands on its own, and saying, “I know that there is no god at all, anywhere,” is unsound. But, again, to say, “I see no evidence and don’t think there’s a God” is an entirely fair and rational opinion. The Unfair Atheist Argument You’ve all seen the technique: The aggressive atheist picks their spot and pounces with references to the very worst examples of theism, and implies that all believers are that way. But most believers have no desire at all to burn witches or stone homosexuals. To paint them as being that way is not only unfair; it is abusive. These atheists will, of course, pull together abstract arguments, saying, “Your book says that, and you say you believe the book, so you defend burning witches.” The truth, however, is that modern believers want nothing to do with burning witches, inquisitions, or any other horrors. (In fact, they would oppose them strongly.) The atheists know this, of course; they’re just trying to slash and burn. A kinder, better atheist would say, “You believers really should explain why you no longer accept some of the things written in your book.” That would be honest and helpful. Can We All Get Along? Yes, of course we can. Only one thing needs to be absent (on both sides): the desire to injure and dominate. Atheists and theists can be friends and co-travelers. I’ve spent pleasant hours with evangelists for atheism. We disagreed, we got over it, and we enjoyed each other’s company. It really comes back to the basic principles that we learned as children: You don’t try to bully them, and they shouldn’t try to bully you. Play nice. It isn’t that hard. Paul Rosenberg What I don’t think is fair, is to say, “I know there is no such thing as God.” This is especially true regarding the Judeo-Christian God, who is said to exist beyond our universe. Until they can look beyond the universe, no one can say for sure.last_img read more

In This Issue   Only 3 currencies are up today

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Only 3 currencies are up today. *  Gold loses ground again! *  Aussie jobs report sends A$ down! *  A treat from the Ludwig von Mises Institute. And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! The Dollar Swings Its Mighty Hammer. Good Day!  And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you! It’s snowing again outside, but so far it’s just a dusting, no biggie. What a roller coaster ride this week’s weather has been! Much like the week for the currencies and metals. Our St. Louis U Billikens squeaked out a win last night, and I finished all my writing assignments ahead of time! Do I get a Gold Star? Well. The dollar is swinging its mighty hammer again this morning The euro, Swiss franc and Danish kroner are the only currencies with any gains VS the dollar this morning, while the Aussie dollar (A$) is bringing up the rear. The A$ loss overnight has been HUGE! And one has to wonder if it’s a little overdone, with the chance of a bounce-back at this point. I’m going to be talking about why now it’s more important than ever to be diversified in currencies and metals at one of my presentations in Orlando in two weeks. And one of the things I’m going to be talking about in that presentation is the fact that everyone, except me and a few others, is on the dollar’s side these days. Doesn’t that worry you? It does me. As I’ve seen this before folks. 2005, 2008, 2011 immediately pop into my mind as years that everyone jumped on the dollar’s bandwagon, but the euphoria didn’t have multi-year staying power, and eventually the dollar went right back to its underlying weak trend.  Long time readers know how I don’t like the phrase: This time it’s different. So, I don’t see how this time it will be different for the dollar, do you? Here’s why I think this dollar strength will all unwind eventually. In 2008, the Fed Heads and Treasury implanted extraordinary financial intervention to save the banking system from collapse. But to me, all they did was push the problems down the road a couple of years. And now that the Fed has decided to begin to unwind those programs, I believe all hell is going to break loose, and it could set the dollar up for its ultimate decline.   Now, it all might turn out to be seashells and balloons for the economy, and we’ll never look back on why we worried so much about the extraordinary financial programs, and I would be wrong.  But all that remains to be seen, eh? And if I am wrong, then I’ll go back and sue my economics professors! HA! But here’s something to think about regarding the economy’s strength. From MarketWatch yesterday. “The country’s top three mortgage lenders confirmed this week that new home loans dropped last year as mortgage rates rose, with earnings results Wednesday morning from Bank of America showing a 46% year-over-year drop in the fourth quarter.” And if the economy is so strong, then why did Macy’s and JC Penney announce store closings and jobs losses? At JC Penney, they’re going to close 33 stores and lay off 2,000 workers. Going on to other things. The December Labor Report for Australia printed as we suspected. weak!  Headline employment fell 23,000 in December.  November’s gain of 15,400 was in effect, wiped out. I don’t think the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is going to panic at the disco here, and rush to cut rates. But it won’t take but one or two more of these weak labor reports before they do cut rates.  The data sent the Aussie dollar (A$) reeling and I mean reeling badly! As I said above, I don’t get why the A$ was punished this harshly, on a jobs report was not good, but also not horrible. So, to me the selling was overdone. We’ll have to see, eh? In the Eurozone this morning. Germany, which is the largest economy in the Eurozone, printed their CPI numbers, and they printed bang on with the forecasts of a .4% gain in December, and an annualized increase of 1.2%… This was a good print for Germany and the Eurozone as a whole, for the recent trend in consumer inflation for the region was on a downward path, so the euro was rewarded for this data. The return of the Carry Trade! I had just hit the “send” button yesterday when a story shot across the screens pronouncing the return of the Carry Trade. OK. long time readers know all about the Carry Trade of the past. Sell yen, and buy a high yielding currency like Aussie or kiwi..  Well, here we go again. The funding currency now can be one of many given the zero interest rate policies of Japan, U.S., Swiss, Eurozone,  and the currency to buy has changed to the Brazilian real.  This won’t make the leaders in Brazil too happy.  For they still want a real that’s not too weak to invite inflation, and not to strong, to hurt exports, but one that’s just right. Yeah, like the Goldilocks and the 3 Bears story. The problem is that Central Banks very rarely get a Goldilocks currency level. So, if the story is correct, and this is the new Carry Trade, the Brazilian Central Bank and Gov’t are going to have to get used to some currency strength. If they don’t think that will happen to the real when it’s used as the buying currency in the Carry Trade, they should call up the Central Bankers in Australia and New Zealand, for they know the truth! The Chinese renminbi / yuan was pushed down again the Peoples Bank of China (PBOC) last night. The roller coaster ride in renminbi / yuan just keeps going, but I don’t worry about these downward moves in the currency. They are just speed bumps.  I do wonder about the news I saw on the Bloomberg this morning though, that China’s holdings of U.S. Treasuries increased $12.2 Billion in November.  I thought the Chinese said they saw no reason to continue to add Treasuries? Well, I had better go back and check when they said that. I’ll be right back! OK, I’m back, did you miss me? HA! Well, from my archives, I see it was around the end of November that the Chinese said that. So, just like a star that burns its brightest right before it goes dark. Maybe the Chinese made this one last truck load buy of Treasuries and then did a Roberto Duran, and said, “no mas”.   For it’s not like the Chinese to say one thing and do another. Recall the other day when I wrote a quickie about Bitcoin? Well, in that quickie, I talked about a “lot of stuff” that gives me the willies about Bitcoin, and yesterday, my colleague and friend, Jack Stapleton, sent me an article by Louis Basenese on a very scary technical flaw he found with Bitcoin. I’m sure it will take a day or two before he allows his article to be posted on the internet, so look for it. I know Louis, and he’s very good at researching things, so take his words with many grains of salt. Yesterday, the U.S. Data Cupboard printed a couple of items for us to look at. First, there was the December PPI (wholesale inflation), which came in as expected at +.4%, and +1.2% year on year.  But that should remove some of the sweat from the Fed Heads’ foreheads, as they fear deflation Big Time.  We also saw the TIC Flows. Remember when the markets would get all lathered up on this data, which shows the net foreign purchases of Treasuries? For if the foreigners didn’t buy enough Treasuries the deficit would not be financed correctly. But then the Fed began buying Treasuries by the boat load, and this data became non-interesting. But with the unwinding of the Fed buying of Treasuries going on, will this data become important once again? Probably not. For in reality, I don’t see the Fed buying to ever stop. But for those of you keeping score at home, the Net TIC Flows were a negative $16.6 Billion! That means that we didn’t see many foreign buyers.  This Monetizing of the debt (bond buying by the Fed) is really going to end up being a problem for the U.S. economy folks. My spider sense is tingling on this. I’ve talked so much about this monetizing of the debt that a long time reader, Bob, sent me something that made me laugh, and so I thought to share it with you!  You know those Direct TV adds, where they say, so you get frustrated with cable, and when you get frustrated you. and so on?  Well, Bob did one on Monetizing Debt. When you print money you monetize your debt. When you monetize your debt you think you owe less money. When you think you owe less money you go and spend more money you don’t have. When you spend money you don’t have you go bankrupt. When you go bankrupt your creditors seize your house. When you have no house you are homeless, put your belongings in a shopping cart and sleep in a underpass under newspapers. While sleeping in an underpass someone steals your shopping cart. Don’t let anyone steel your shopping cart, stop printing money. Thanks Bob! Before I head to the Big Finish we have some filing to do. And Under the Question of Did you know? Lies the information that’s going around right now, that 70% of the time, the first 10 days of the year were indicative of how stocks would do the rest of the year. The statistics date back to 1940. So, a good number of years, eh?  I guess given the softness of the stock market the first 10 days, one would be leery of what will happen by year’s end.  For What it’s Worth. I have a rather long one for you today from the Mises Institute. I did only print a snippet of the article that talks about how hyperinflation ruins a currency. Then goes on to talk about how the U.S. wants inflation to rise.  Let’s listen in. “Our monetary leaders do not understand the true nature of money and banking; thus, they advocate monetary expansion as the cure for every economic ill. The multiple quantitative easing programs perfectly illustrate this mindset. Furthermore, our monetary leaders actually advocate a steady increase in the price level, what is popularly known as inflation. Like previous hyperinflations throughout time, the actions that produce an American hyperinflation will be seen as necessary, proper, patriotic, and ethical; just as they were seen by the monetary authorities in Weimar Germany and modern Zimbabwe. Neither the German nor the Zimbabwean monetary authorities were willing to admit that there was any alternative to their inflationist policies. The same will happen in America. The most likely trigger to hyperinflation is an increase in prices following a loss of confidence in the dollar overseas and its repatriation to our shores. Committed to a low interest rate policy, our monetary authorities will dismiss the only legitimate option to printing more money – allowing interest rates to rise. Only the noninflationary investment by the public in government bonds would prevent a rise in the price level, but such an action would trigger a recession. This necessary and inevitable event will be vehemently opposed by our government, just as it has been for several years to this date. Instead, the government will demand and the Fed will acquiesce in even further expansions to the money supply via direct purchases of these government bonds, formerly held by our overseas trading partners. This will produce even higher levels of inflation, of course. Then, in order to prevent the loss of purchasing power by politically connected groups, the government will print even more money to fund special payouts to these groups.” Chuck again. I love reading stuff form the Ludwig von Mises Institute.  The whole article posted on their site is full of information on how the U.S. is moving toward a hyperinflationary economy, and in the end what that will do to the dollar.   So, if you like Austrian economics theory, like I do, then you might want to visit this site now and then. To recap.  The dollar is swinging its mighty hammer again this morning, with only 3 currencies, euro, Swiss francs, and Danish kroner, showing some gains VS the dollar.  Gold is down again this morning, as everyone, but Chuck and few others, are jumping on the strong U.S. economy and dollar bandwagon. We saw this in 2005, 2008, and 2011 folks, will we see it all end badly for the dollar again? Aussie jobs report was weak (-23K) and the A$ got whacked! Looks a bit overdone to Chuck. Currencies today 1/16/14. American Style: A$ .8785, kiwi .8305, C$ .9150, euro 1.3615, sterling 1.6340, Swiss $1.1015, . European Style: rand 10.9125, krone 6.1625, SEK 6.4755, forint 221.00, zloty 3.0635, forint 20.2050, RUB 33.39, yen 104.60, sing 1.2730, HKD 7.7550, INR 61.53, China 6.1065, pesos 13.29, BRL 2.3740, Dollar Index 81, Oil $94.63, 10-year 2.89%, Silver $20.03, Platinum $1,423.56, Palladium $740.79, and Gold. $1,238.92 That’s it for today. I just saw a guy on TV promoting his book that talks about how difficult it is to be a “man” these days. Really? You know, a term that I no longer hear, is that, “he’s man’s man”  Oh well. Nice win by the Billikens last night. Tonight our Blues play again, they have to jam in as many games as they can, as the NHL will take a two week break for the Olympics in Feb. Little Braden Charles and Everett Patrick were at the house yesterday, I caught them both jumping on the bed. they were having a blast, laughing, and having fun, but mean old me, made them stop. They were too cute!  They will be a handful as they get older.  Well, two more days and then I’ll be gone for awhile. I’m so looking forward to next week.  and with that, I’ll get out of your hair for today. I hope you have a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837last_img read more

In This Issue   Euro leads currencies to gains

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Euro leads currencies to gains today. *  Japan opens Pandora’s Box of bad things. *  Gold is best performing currency overnight. *  U.S. data disappoints once again! And Now. Today’s A Pfennig For Your Thoughts. German ZEW Prints Positive First Time In 11 Months! Good Day!…  And a Tom Terrific Tuesday to you! The Cold continues and if you’re in a part of the country that isn’t experiencing this arctic blast so early in the season, then consider yourself lucky, for this is just downright nasty. Thank you to all you dear Pfennig Readers that sent along nice notes regarding me finding out that my cancer is “stable”. They are truly appreciated, and I hope you know that!  I wish I had better news, but I’m damn happy I don’t have bad news! And so, life goes on at the Butler house, and here at EverBank World Markets. Well, the euro is feeling pretty perky this morning. imagine that! It appears that given last week’s 3rd QTR GDP showing (+.1%), that German Investor Confidence, as measured by the think tank ZEW, said their Index that tracks German Investor Confidence has risen for the first time in 11 months, printing at 11.5 in November, VS the .5% forecast, and the negative -3.6% in Rocktober. And the euro took this news to the bank! The single unit is up more than ¾’s of a cent this morning, moving back above the 1.25 level. When the euro is feeling so perky, you know what happens to the rest of the currencies, right? Yes, they get to rally too. And so it is this morning, as most currencies are stronger VS the dollar on the day, except for a couple like: Aussie dollars (A$), Chinese renminbi / yuan, and Indian rupees. The Chinese are up to their 2014 tricks with the renminbi, and the rupee has seemed to be tied to what the renminbi does these days. The best performing currency overnight though is Gold. The shiny metal is up $15 this morning, pushing past $1,200 in the overnight trading. Of course we all know that once the NY boys and girls come in, that these gains could be wiped out from the get-go. So, let’s just enjoy the $15 gain this morning and hope it can maintain its legs throughout the NY trading session. I’ve got more on Gold later, but wanted to talk about the nice overnight move. The Japanese yen is one of those currencies that are down VS the dollar this morning. So, many months ago, I told you that Japan was a basket case.  And I wondered out loud why yen wasn’t getting taken to the woodshed on a daily basis. Forget that “safe haven status” stuff, the Bank of Japan (BOJ), the Finance of Ministry (FM), and the Gov’t led by PM Abe, all want, and need for yen to get much weaker, and I mean much weaker, even though yen has already lost over 30% to each of its trading partners.  Remember when the BOJ’s Kuroda first announced their latest round of QE and I kind of wrote it off as the BOJ’s attempt to pick up the liquidity ball from the Fed.  But as time goes on, I realize it’s more than that. When you compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges, and basically say, well, given Japan’s size, if we looked at this comparatively in the U.S. what would the size be, and then find out that it makes what the Fed did in QE look like Chump Change, then you begin to get the message.  It’s really an attempt by the Japanese leaders to weaken the yen by so much that they win the war of exports.  (They need to offset the losses in the currency with gains in 1. Stocks, 2. Bonds, and export companies profits) But here’s the problem with that for the Asian countries that compete with Japan for exports.  From the Big Boy like China, to the little boys like S. Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, etc.  What will these countries do? Devalue their currencies to keep up with the Joneses (Japan) or lower their export price on their goods, thus returning less money for them, but that would be better than being shut out of the export business altogether? Well, that’s the $64 question, and one that we won’t know the answer to, until Somebody blinks.  I would expect that all the Asian countries are looking toward China to respond.  This will be the key folks. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to any kind of devaluation.  But in a time when the Asian countries are getting fed up with China flexing their muscles in the region, they now hope China’s muscles can save their export businesses. Japan has basically laid down the gauntlet, and now it’s China and the rest of Asia that has to deal with what Japan, Kuroda and Abe have up their respective sleeves. I think they’ll find that they are like Bullwinkle and find that they have “nothing up my sleeve”, but they will still attempt to pull a rabbit out of their hats! But Basically, Japan has opened Pandora’s Box of really bad things, and I hope they shut it quickly! Al Wilson was just singing to me this morning. He had a great hit song called: Show And Tell. Don’t know that one? Ahhh, Johnny Mathis actually wrote and recorded it first, but Al Wilson made it popular in the early 70’s, about the same time, Al Green song I told you about yesterday was popular. I know, I know, I just finished a really important segment on Japan and what they cause the other Asian countries to have to do, and then slip in some nonsense about Al Wilson’s song. But, that’s me! You know, that you can’t live on rants and explanations of things alone! You have to have some change of pace, and that’s exactly what I just did. Well, getting back to the basket case, otherwise known as Japan. PM Abe made two announcements overnight. He called for snap elections, because he wants to gain a mandate to delay the next round of tax increases for Japan. So, this call for a dissolving of his Parliament is really just window dressing for he’s popular right now, and he knows it. The Japanese stock markets is soaring again, due to his latest round of QE announcement, and this is getting really ugly in the back room folks. But you know what, this is so similar to the U.S. I get confused talking about this stuff sometimes and have to check whether I was talking about Japan or the U.S. at the beginning! So, yen 120 is the next stop for the currency (currently at 116.65), and from 120 who knows how much further it will go, for there is a ton of resistance at 120, and after it gets broken through, a long steep ride on the slippery slope could be in store, which would make Kuroda and Abe very happy. The Japanese consumers won’t know what hit them, for their stocks will be up, but their purchasing power gone to hell in a hand basket. And just to prove how difficult it’s getting for the Asian countries to compete with Japan and their plunging currency. Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (NODX) contracted -1.5% in Rocktober. -1.5% was less than expected (-1.7%) but still not the kind of data that Singapore is used to printing, and probably just the beginning of all the what could end up as a HUGE currency/ trade war in Asia.  Thanks to Japan’s debt. Geez Louise, I didn’t really set out to make this a discussion on just Japan today. So, let’s get this back on the right path. In the U.K. this morning, U.K. inflation in Rocktober rose from 1.2% to 1.3%, which was an upside surprise for the markets that forecast a 1.2% print. Unfortunately, the Bank of England (BOE), just last week printed their Inflation Report, and they forecast a rise to 1.4%, so the markets got an upside surprise, and the BOE got a downside surprise. It’s more important that the BOE got a downside surprise, in that it will be the BOE that decides when rates need to rise, and not the markets. The markets however, can adjust their outlook for the currency, and this morning, the markets thought this upside surprise was worth ¼-cent upward move. This is just another case of the BOE and its Gov. Mark Carney, being overly optimistic, which is par for the course. Hey! Carney has taken so many shots at rate hikes, he should call Arnold Palmer and find out what par for this course is! HA I told you above that the A$ was one of the few currencies looking at losses this morning. But after sitting here, reading, researching and then writing this much, the A$ has rallied back and is now in positive territory for the day.  Before I got here though, I was prepared to talk about the New Zealand dollar/ kiwi instead of the A$ today. So, let’s do that! The Labor Party has a new leader, in Andrew Little, and will lead the party back into power in the next elections. To me, an outsider,  the Labor Party in New Zealand thinks of itself as the party that has been in the forefront of major change and major change is what’s needed in N.Z. right now. I think the currency traders are with me on this, and that’s why kiwi is up over ½-cent this morning. And back to the best performing currency overnight. Gold. This is an interesting scenario, in that Gold has risen $15 this morning on rumors. Rumors that the ECB might be shifting gears and buying Gold. These rumors all came about yesterday when ECB President, Draghi, said that, “the ECB may purchase a variety of assets to stimulate the economy.”  And the markets took that to say “The ECB will buy physical Gold”. Now, if that’s true, that would be HUGE news for Gold, given the physical demand that’s already putting pressure on suppliers from China, Russia and India. And then Gold traders have the Swiss Gold Referendum hanging over them like the Sword of Damocles. So. Gold is the cat’s meow this morning. But, talk about something hanging over it like the Sword of Damocles, that’s what Gold has to deal with every day. Always looking over its shoulder waiting for the price manipulators to show up with their paper short trades, that will bring Gold to its knees once again. I put the finishing touches on our Sunday before Thanksgiving Pfennig last week, and in it we all give thanks for what we are thankful for. Of course some of tried to be a little facetious and say we were thankful for the price manipulators that allowed us to buy Gold & Silver at cheaper prices, but that was cut because, well, it didn’t fit with the other stuff we were seriously thankful for. So, I put it here, because that’s what I do! Oh, and my fave Gold researcher, Koos Jansen, submitted a short piece on Google+ last night from his website, and in it he talks about who’s feeding China’s hunger for physical Gold. Well, according to Koos, China’s Gold comes from the LBMA (London Bullion Market Assoc.) which then goes to Switzerland and Hong Kong for final shipment to China. If you’re like me, I always wondered who was selling all this Gold to China. And now we know! The U.S. Data Cupboard wasn’t so good yesterday, printing some weak Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization reports. I told you they would probably be disappointing, just like the Factory Orders, Durable Goods Orders, Retail Sales, and so on. The lack of liquidity is beginning to show up folks, mark my words on this. we will be experiencing a major lack of liquidity going forward, which is going to bring the Fed back to the QE table. Today’s Data Cupboard has the semi-stupid PPI (wholesale inflation) reports, along with the Net long-term TIC Flows. (net foreign security purchases) . Nobody pays attention to this data any longer, which used to be a real key print, so we’ll just print it and move along for these are not the droids we’re looking for. For What It’s Worth. OK, this was on and is an economist named Dean Baker, who had the intestinal fortitude to talk about this. let’s listen to what he has to say. Many Americans are nearing retirement with only Social Security to support them and a mortgage that is far from paid off – and the situation might be getting worse. According to Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the nest egg that many could once rely on when they sold their homes and downsized has now vanished in a lot of cases. In a column for Fortune, Baker noted that because home prices are still considerably below their 2007 peaks, the U.S. middle class has had no comparable gains in their household wealth during the current recovery. “This is a bad picture for the country as a whole, but it is especially bad news for those at the edge of retirement,” he wrote. “These families do not have time for an economic turnaround to improve their situation. They must rely on the wealth they have accumulated to date to support them in retirement, and that is it. This is not a pretty picture.” Federal Reserve data show that if a typical U.S. family in the 55 to 64 age group took all their savings and used it to pay off their mortgage, they would still owe more than $50,000 on the median house.” Chuck again. Yes, and when you look at the middle quintile of Americans in that age group they have only 54.6% of their homes paid off on average. In 1989, this group on average had equity equal to 81% of their house price.  And for those of you, like I was, that need help figuring out what a quintile means, it’s A statistical value of a data set that represents 20% of a given population. And if you want to read the whole article click here: To recap. The currencies, led by the Big Dog euro are looking perky this morning, as German Investor Confidence as measured by the thank tank ZEW booked its first gain in 11 months in November, giving the euro that Perky look this morning. Gold is the best performing currency overnight as ECB president, Draghi, mentioned buying a variety of assets, which led traders to believe he meant that the ECB was going to buy Gold. And why not? China, India,& Russia think it’s a good idea. N.Z. labor party has a new leader, and one the markets think could win the next election for the labor party, and this has kiwi trading higher this morning. And U.S. data was very disappointing yesterday, but add it to the previous prints that have also been disappointing. Currencies today 11/18/14. American Style: A$ .8715, kiwi .7960, C$ .8860, euro 1.2515, sterling 1.5660, Swiss $1.0420, European Style: rand 11.0480, krone 6.7345, SEK 7.3820, forint 244.20, zloty 3.3715, koruna 22.1135, RUB 46.80, yen 116.70, sing 1.2975, HKD 7.7545, INR 61.74, China 6.1430, pesos 13.55, BRL 2.5930, Dollar Index 87.62, Oil $ 76.20, 10-year 2.33%, Silver $16.29, Platinum $1,210.60, Palladium $772.06, and Gold. $1,201.15 That’s it for today. Well. keeping warm is the main event today. Big news in baseball yesterday as the Hot Stove League heated up, with the Cardinals trading one of their young pitching phenoms, Shelby Miller to the Braves, for an outfielder. I was always taught that you don’t trade an everyday player for a play that only plays every 5th day, so that was questionable by the Braves, but I know one thing, they got a good young pitcher!  The Missouri Gov. called out the National Guard for the St. Louis area, as the verdict in the Grand Jury case regarding the police office that shot a young man in August, should be released soon. The city is bracing for what could be ugly scenes that will be played out and given the media’s slant on TV’s around the world. I hope calm heads prevail through all this. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. Did you see the new HD billboard in NYC that 8 stories tall? WOW!  And did you see the size of the contract that Marlins player Giancarlo Stanton (who used to be Mike Stanton) signed? The largest ever! $325 Million for 13 years! ZOWIE!  You know, what, would they pay Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Willie Mays these days?  That’s fun to think about, eh?   OK. enough. I hope you have a Tom Terrific Tuesday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Marketslast_img read more

Since Zika emerged as a threat to babies it has b

first_imgSince Zika emerged as a threat to babies, it has been a mystery exactly how much of a danger the mosquito-borne virus poses to children.But now, the largest study to follow kids who were exposed to the virus in the womb is providing more answers.The study involved 1,450 babies who had been exposed to the virus, and who were 1-year-old by February 2018. Six percent were born with birth defects, and 14 percent developed problems that could be blamed on the virus by the time they turned 1, the study found.”We’re beginning to see the full spectrum of the impact of Zika,” says Margaret Honein, director of the Division of Congenital and Developmental Disorders at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC released the study Tuesday.”This is really our first look at how these children are doing as they grow and develop, and really emphasizes that the Zika story is not over, particularly for these children,” Honein says.Zika triggered an international public health emergency in 2016 when a large outbreak in Brazil revealed that the virus could cause babies to be born with very small heads and severely damaged brains when pregnant women get infected. The condition is called microcephaly.It slowly has become more apparent that Zika-exposed babies could develop a range of other problems as well, including seizures, damaged vision and developmental disorders.The CDC reported last year that about 5 percent of babies exposed in the womb are born with microcephaly and other birth defects. But the extent of the risk as children get older is just now starting to become clear.The new analysis included babies born in U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico and in U.S. freely associated states, such as the Marshall Islands. It found that the risk for birth defects including microcephaly and vision damage is slightly higher — about 6 percent. And 1 in 7 — 14 percent — developed some kind of problem that could have been caused by the virus by their first birthday.For example, 20 babies in the new analysis whose heads were normal at birth had microcephaly by the time they turned 1.”That happened because their brain was not growing and developing properly,” Honein says.Babies also developed complications including cognitive problems, difficulties walking, moving and swallowing, and seizures.”It’s really important that parents and doctors work together to make sure children get all the evaluations they need, even if they look healthy when they are born,” Honein says.For example, only about one-third of the Zika-exposed babies in the study had an eye exam by an eye specialist.It’s also important to continue to follow these children, she says.”We are still in the early stages of learning about Zika. So we don’t yet know what sort of problems might emerge when the children are 2 years old or 3 years old or when they reach school age,” Honein says.There are no major Zika outbreaks occurring right now. But Honein stresses Zika is still being transmitted in many countries and outbreaks still could occur.So pregnant women and couples trying to conceive should continue to protect themselves while living or visiting places where Zika is being transmitted. The virus is primarily spread by mosquitoes, but can also be spread sexually.The CDC on Tuesday also issued new interim guidance for men who were exposed to the virus. The agency is now recommending these men wait three months after exposure before trying to conceive. The CDC had previously recommended waiting six months. But the latest science suggests the virus doesn’t remain infectious in semen as long as previously thought. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit read more

Back in the 1960s a Harvard graduate student made

first_imgBack in the 1960s, a Harvard graduate student made a landmark discovery about anger.At age 34, Jean Briggs traveled above the Arctic Circle and lived out on the tundra for 17 months. There were no roads, no heating systems, no grocery stores. Winter temperatures could easily dip below minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.Briggs persuaded an Inuit family to “adopt” her and “try to keep her alive,” as the anthropologist wrote in 1970.At the time, many Inuit families lived similar to the way their ancestors had for thousands of years. They built igloos in the winter and tents in the summer. “And we ate only what the animals provided, such as fish, seal and caribou,” says Myna Ishulutak, a film producer and language teacher who lived a similar lifestyle as a young girl.Briggs quickly realized something remarkable was going on in these families: The adults had an extraordinary ability to control their anger.”They never acted in anger toward me, although they were angry with me an awful lot,” Briggs told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. in an interview.Even just showing a smidgen of frustration or irritation was considered weak and childlike, Briggs observed.For instance, one time someone knocked a boiling pot of tea across the igloo, damaging the ice floor. No one changed their expression. “Too bad,” the offender said calmly and went to refill the teapot.In another instance, a fishing line — which had taken days to braid — immediately broke on the first use. No one flinched in anger. “Sew it together,” someone said quietly.By contrast, Briggs seemed like a wild child, even though she was trying very hard to control her anger. “My ways were so much cruder, less considerate and more impulsive,” she told the CBC. “[I was] often impulsive in an antisocial sort of way. I would sulk or I would snap or I would do something that they never did.”Briggs, who died in 2016, wrote up her observations in her first book, Never in Anger. But she was left with a lingering question: How do Inuit parents instill this ability in their children? How do Inuit take tantrum-prone toddlers and turn them into cool-headed adults?Then in 1971, Briggs found a clue.She was walking on a stony beach in the Arctic when she saw a young mother playing with her toddler — a little boy about 2 years old. The mom picked up a pebble and said, “‘Hit me! Go on. Hit me harder,'” Briggs remembered.The boy threw the rock at his mother, and she exclaimed, “Ooooww. That hurts!”Briggs was completely befuddled. The mom seemed to be teaching the child the opposite of what parents want. And her actions seemed to contradict everything Briggs knew about Inuit culture.”I thought, ‘What is going on here?’ ” Briggs said in the radio interview.Turns out, the mom was executing a powerful parenting tool to teach her child how to control his anger — and one of the most intriguing parenting strategies I’ve come across.No scolding, no timeoutsIt’s early December in the Arctic town of Iqaluit, Canada. And at 2 p.m., the sun is already calling it a day. Outside, the temperature is a balmy minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit. A light snow is swirling.I’ve come to this seaside town, after reading Briggs’ book, in search of parenting wisdom, especially when it comes to teaching children to control their emotions. Right off the plane, I start collecting data.I sit with elders in their 80s and 90s while they lunch on “country food” —stewed seal, frozen beluga whale and raw caribou. I talk with moms selling hand-sewn sealskin jackets at a high school craft fair. And I attend a parenting class, where day care instructors learn how their ancestors raised small children hundreds — perhaps even thousands — of years ago.Across the board, all the moms mention one golden rule: Don’t shout or yell at small children.Traditional Inuit parenting is incredibly nurturing and tender. If you took all the parenting styles around the world and ranked them by their gentleness, the Inuit approach would likely rank near the top. (They even have a special kiss for babies, where you put your nose against the cheek and sniff the skin.)The culture views scolding — or even speaking to children in an angry voice — as inappropriate, says Lisa Ipeelie, a radio producer and mom who grew up with 12 siblings. “When they’re little, it doesn’t help to raise your voice,” she says. “It will just make your own heart rate go up.”Even if the child hits you or bites you, there’s no raising your voice?”No,” Ipeelie says with a giggle that seems to emphasize how silly my question is. “With little kids, you often think they’re pushing your buttons, but that’s not what’s going on. They’re upset about something, and you have to figure out what it is.”Traditionally, the Inuit saw yelling at a small child as demeaning. It’s as if the adult is having a tantrum; it’s basically stooping to the level of the child, Briggs documented.Elders I spoke with say intense colonization over the past century is damaging these traditions. And, so, the community is working hard to keep the parenting approach intact.Goota Jaw is at the front line of this effort. She teaches the parenting class at the Arctic College. Her own parenting style is so gentle that she doesn’t even believe in giving a child a timeout for misbehaving.”Shouting, ‘Think about what you just did. Go to your room!’ ” Jaw says. “I disagree with that. That’s not how we teach our children. Instead you are just teaching children to run away.”And you are teaching them to be angry, says clinical psychologist and author Laura Markham. “When we yell at a child — or even threaten with something like ‘I’m starting to get angry,’ we’re training the child to yell,” says Markham. “We’re training them to yell when they get upset and that yelling solves problems.”In contrast, parents who control their own anger are helping their children learn to do the same, Markham says. “Kids learn emotional regulation from us.”I asked Markham if the Inuit’s no-yelling policy might be their first secret of raising cool-headed kids. “Absolutely,” she says.Playing soccer with your headNow at some level, all moms and dads know they shouldn’t yell at kids. But if you don’t scold or talk in an angry tone, how do you discipline? How do you keep your 3-year-old from running into the road? Or punching her big brother?For thousands of years, the Inuit have relied on an ancient tool with an ingenious twist: “We use storytelling to discipline,” Jaw says.Jaw isn’t talking about fairy tales, where a child needs to decipher the moral. These are oral stories passed down from one generation of Inuit to the next, designed to sculpt kids’ behaviors in the moment. Sometimes even save their lives.For example, how do you teach kids to stay away from the ocean, where they could easily drown? Instead of yelling, “Don’t go near the water!” Jaw says Inuit parents take a pre-emptive approach and tell kids a special story about what’s inside the water. “It’s the sea monster,” Jaw says, with a giant pouch on its back just for little kids.”If a child walks too close to the water, the monster will put you in his pouch, drag you down to the ocean and adopt you out to another family,” Jaw says.”Then we don’t need to yell at a child,” Jaw says, “because she is already getting the message.”Inuit parents have an array of stories to help children learn respectful behavior, too. For example, to get kids to listen to their parents, there is a story about ear wax, says film producer Myna Ishulutak.”My parents would check inside our ears, and if there was too much wax in there, it meant we were not listening,” she says.And parents tell their kids: If you don’t ask before taking food, long fingers could reach out and grab you, Ishulutak says.Then there’s the story of northern lights, which helps kids learn to keep their hats on in the winter.”Our parents told us that if we went out without a hat, the northern lights are going to take your head off and use it as a soccer ball,” Ishulutak says. “We used to be so scared!” she exclaims and then erupts in laughter.At first, these stories seemed to me a bit too scary for little children. And my knee-jerk reaction was to dismiss them. But my opinion flipped 180 degrees after I watched my own daughter’s response to similar tales — and after I learned more about humanity’s intricate relationship with storytelling.Oral storytelling is what’s known as a human universal. For tens of thousands of years, it has been a key way that parents teach children about values and how to behave.Modern hunter-gatherer groups use stories to teach sharing, respect for both genders and conflict avoidance, a recent study reported, after analyzing 89 different tribes. With the Agta, a hunter-gatherer population of the Philippines, good storytelling skills are prized more than hunting skills or medicinal knowledge, the study found.Today many American parents outsource their oral storytelling to screens. And in doing so, I wonder if we’re missing out on an easy — and effective — way of disciplining and changing behavior. Could small children be somehow “wired” to learn through stories?”Well, I’d say kids learn well through narrative and explanations,” says psychologist Deena Weisberg at Villanova University, who studies how small children interpret fiction. “We learn best through things that are interesting to us. And stories, by their nature, can have lots of things in them that are much more interesting in a way that bare statements don’t.”Stories with a dash of danger pull in kids like magnets, Weisberg says. And they turn a tension-ridden activity like disciplining into a playful interaction that’s — dare, I say it — fun.”Don’t discount the playfulness of storytelling,” Weisberg says. “With stories, kids get to see stuff happen that doesn’t really happen in real life. Kids think that’s fun. Adults think it’s fun, too.”Why don’t you hit me?Back up in Iqaluit, Myna Ishulutak is reminiscing about her childhood out on the land. She and her family lived in a hunting camp with about 60 other people. When she was a teenager, her family settled in a town.”I miss living on the land so much,” she says as we eat a dinner of baked Arctic char. “We lived in a sod house. And when we woke up in the morning, everything would be frozen until we lit the oil lamp.”I ask her if she’s familiar with the work of Jean Briggs. Her answer leaves me speechless.Ishulutak reaches into her purse and brings out Briggs’ second book, Inuit Morality Play, which details the life of a 3-year-old girl dubbed Chubby Maata.”This book is about me and my family,” Ishulutak says. “I am Chubby Maata.”In the early 1970s, when Ishulutak was about 3 years old, her family welcomed Briggs into their home for six months and allowed her to study the intimate details of their child’s day-to-day life.What Briggs documented is a central component to raising cool-headed kids.When a child in the camp acted in anger — hit someone or had a tantrum — there was no punishment. Instead, the parents waited for the child to calm down and then, in a peaceful moment, did something that Shakespeare would understand all too well: They put on a drama. (As the Bard once wrote, “the play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.”)”The idea is to give the child experiences that will lead the child to develop rational thinking,” Briggs told the CBC in 2011.In a nutshell, the parent would act out what happened when the child misbehaved, including the real-life consequences of that behavior.The parent always had a playful, fun tone. And typically the performance starts with a question, tempting the child to misbehave.For example, if the child is hitting others, the mom may start a drama by asking: “Why don’t you hit me?”Then the child has to think: “What should I do?” If the child takes the bait and hits the mom, she doesn’t scold or yell but instead acts out the consequences. “Ow, that hurts!” she might exclaim.The mom continues to emphasize the consequences by asking a follow-up question. For example: “Don’t you like me?” or “Are you a baby?” She is getting across the idea that hitting hurts people’s feelings, and “big girls” wouldn’t hit. But, again, all questions are asked with a hint of playfulness.The parent repeats the drama from time to time until the child stops hitting the mom during the dramas and the misbehavior ends.Ishulutak says these dramas teach children not to be provoked easily. “They teach you to be strong emotionally,” she says, “to not take everything so seriously or to be scared of teasing.”Psychologist Peggy Miller, at the University of Illinois, agrees: “When you’re little, you learn that people will provoke you, and these dramas teach you to think and maintain some equilibrium.”In other words, the dramas offer kids a chance to practice controlling their anger, Miller says, during times when they’re not actually angry.This practice is likely critical for children learning to control their anger. Because here’s the thing about anger: Once someone is already angry, it is not easy for that person to squelch it — even for adults.”When you try to control or change your emotions in the moment, that’s a really hard thing to do,” says Lisa Feldman Barrett, a psychologist at Northeastern University who studies how emotions work.But if you practice having a different response or a different emotion at times when you’re not angry, you’ll have a better chance of managing your anger in those hot-button moments, Feldman Barrett says.”That practice is essentially helping to rewire your brain to be able to make a different emotion [besides anger] much more easily,” she says.This emotional practice may be even more important for children, says psychologist Markham, because kids’ brains are still developing the circuitry needed for self-control.”Children have all kinds of big emotions,” she says. “They don’t have much prefrontal cortex yet. So what we do in responding to our child’s emotions shapes their brain.”Markham recommends an approach close to that used by Inuit parents. When the kid misbehaves, she suggests, wait until everyone is calm. Then in a peaceful moment, go over what happened with the child. You can simply tell them the story about what occurred or use two stuffed animals to act it out.”Those approaches develop self-control,” Markham says.Just be sure you do two things when you replay the misbehavior, she says. First, keep the child involved by asking many questions. For example, if the child has a hitting problem, you might stop midway through the puppet show and ask,”Bobby, wants to hit right now. Should he?”Second, be sure to keep it fun. Many parents overlook play as a tool for discipline, Markham says. But fantasy play offers oodles of opportunities to teach children proper behavior.”Play is their work,” Markham says. “That’s how they learn about the world and about their experiences.”Which seems to be something the Inuit have known for hundreds, perhaps even, thousands of years.Share Your TipsHow do you get your kids to do things without yelling or shouting? Or, how did your parents get you to do things without yelling or scolding? Share your advice, tips and stories, and we may include them in a story for NPR.Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit read more

5 Companies Innovating the Service Industry

first_img Image credit: Anton_Ivanov | Shutterstock Founder and director of growth at Digitalux 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List 5 Companies Innovating the Service Industry Learn why and how these businesses are innovating the service industry. 163shares Service Innovation Dan Scalco Next Article Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 5 min read Guest Writer The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. The service economy in the United States has taken off like a rocket. These days many of the transactions taking place between companies and consumers revolve around the exchange of services rather than products.“The service industry” sounds like a fixed, monolithic entity. In reality, the diversification underneath this umbrella is astounding. And companies throughout the industry are constantly innovating within their respective markets.Case in point: The five companies on this list are all part of the service industry. But they operate in different markets and impact consumers in different ways. The only thing they share in common? They’re acting in innovative ways and disrupting their respective markets.Not only are these companies part of the service industry — they’re also shaping its future. By extension, these and other companies like them are changing the way Americans live their lives.Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, et al.Yes, I realize this isn’t one single company. But social media sites should be recognized for their role in changing the service industry.For starters, social media has facilitated the sale of a huge variety of services online. It’s also allowed companies to provide customer service in a new way.Customers are increasingly turning to online outlets to share reviews, ask questions, and solicit feedback from brands that play a role in their lives. These interactions provide companies with an opportunity to learn more about their customers so they can better tailor their services to consumers’ needs. Furthermore, companies that respond to these queries in a prompt and helpful way can cultivate brand-loyal customers for life.Motif InvestingThe personal finance industry doesn’t exactly have a reputation for innovation. Motif Investing is the exception that proves the rule. The company is making investments accessible to a broad segment of the population by creating an investment structure that is affordable and easy to understand.Would-be investors can select any of the company’s 150 professionally built portfolios or customize their own. Users can also search by themes (aka “motifs”), trading strategies, or investment styles depending on their interests, risk profiles, timelines, and financial goals. It’s a fresh take on investing that’s opening up new possibilities for the way the personal finance industry operates.nomaIf you’re a foodie (or a lover of food-related television), then you’re probably already familiar with noma. The restaurant has both driven innovations in the food industry and capitalized on them. Led by world-renowned chef René Redzepi, noma embodies the farm-to-table movement by utilizing local and wildly sourced ingredients, avoiding GMOs, and emphasizing quality at all costs. In the process, it’s put Nordic cuisine on the international map.What makes noma really stand out is that its reputation for innovation has never wavered. The restaurant has always let its ingredients and dishes speak for themselves. That’s allowed it to avoid the “farm-to-table” marketing fatigue that has plagued other restaurants. It’s not that consumers don’t want this kind of fare—as demonstrated by noma’s ongoing success. It’s just that they’re sick of the label. But noma has never been about labels. It’s about high-quality food meticulously prepared.City CoPilotThis New-York-City-based concierge startup is a driving force behind an emerging trend. More and more individuals and companies are enlisting personalized service from concierge companies—and not just when they’re staying in a hotel. City CoPilot and other innovative concierge companies have moved these services beyond the hotel lobby.Whether clients need assistance with luggage storage and delivery, package acceptance, airport transportation, finding discounted tickets to tours and attractions, or something else entirely, this new brand of concierge is here to make people’s lives easier at all times.UberEATSUber has already transformed the service industry with its innovative approach to transportation. But the company isn’t stopping there. It’s now attempting to disrupt the food delivery market with UberEATS. It’s diving in even as investors’ interest in this market has shriveled up (thanks largely to saturation).But Uber has a leg up on the competition. With more than 14,000 drivers in New York City alone, the company has more opportunities for distribution than any other business in the market. And thanks to their pre-existing name recognition, they’ve had an easy time identifying partners in the restaurant industry. It’s a winning combination that’s threatening even the companies that have long sat at the top of the food delivery chain.The service industry entails a vast variety of services ranging from food delivery to digital investing tools. Still, these companies all share something in common. They’re innovating existing services and transforming the country’s economy in the process. Add to Queue February 19, 2017 Apply Now »last_img read more

Verizon a Favorite in Upcoming Yahoo Bid

first_img Add to Queue Verizon a Favorite in Upcoming Yahoo Bid Apply Now » Verizon Communications Inc. is the clear favorite in the upcoming bidding for Yahoo Inc’s core Internet business, according to Wall Street analysts, in large part because the telecommunications company’s efforts to become a force in Internet content have gone relatively well under the leadership of AOL Inc Chief Executive Tim Armstrong.Verizon acquired AOL last June for $4.4 billion — its first big foray into the advertising-supported Internet business — and it is not yet clear how well the unit is performing financially. Subsequent moves, including the takeover of much of Microsoft Corp’s advertising technology business, a deal to buy Millennial Media for about $250 million and the recent launch of the mobile video service go90, are also too recent to assess.Yet analysts have given the big phone company high marks for allowing AOL to operate independently and folding in other recent acquisitions without much drama. And they said Armstrong seems to be driving Verizon’s recent moves in go90 and recent acquisitions.”The management puts a lot of faith in Armstrong,” BTIG analyst Walt Piecyk said.That faith derives in part from the belief that Armstrong did a good job at left-for-dead AOL, especially in assembling a strong set of products to deliver targeted digital ads to customers.Combining AOL and Yahoo, an idea that has come up many times over the years, could instantly make Yahoo a major player in Internet advertising, with Armstrong – one of the world’s top ad executives – at the helm, analysts said.Armstrong “has good M&A experience, and a pretty solid ad tech stack,” B. Riley & Co analyst Sameet Sinha said.Verizon’s hands-off approach that has worked with AOL, though, might not be suitable if the far-bigger Yahoo were taken over. With Yahoo’s struggling business, “the luxury of autonomy is simply not there,” Recon Analytics analyst Roger Entner said.  Verizon, AOL and Yahoo declined to comment.Start the biddingVerizon showed interest in Yahoo’s core business as early as December, when Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said the company would “see if there is a strategic fit” for Yahoo’s holdings, which include mail, news, sports and advertising technology.Yahoo, under pressure from activist investors, launched an auction of its core business in February after it shelved plans to spin off its stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.The first round of bidding is slated for next week, and Verizon plans to make a bid, sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters.Verizon is already working on increasing revenue through its ad-supported mobile video service go90, targeted at millennials and built on video streaming technology acquired from Intel Corp. in 2014.The app, which launched in October, offers videos from Comedy Central and Vice, among others, as well as basketball and football games.However, analysts cautioned that even a combined Yahoo-AOL would lack the unique data, such as user interests and tastes, that powers its rivals in online ads, chiefly Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc.Armstrong, who made his name leading sales at Google, is highly regarded in the advertising community – in contrast to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, another former Google high-flyer, who has been struggling to revive Yahoo. Mayer would likely leave after a Verizon-Yahoo deal, analysts said.Verizon is not especially interested in Yahoo’s massive stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan Corp, which are worth far more than its core internet business, the sources said.That could leave an opening for a bidder such as Softbank Group, Yahoo’s partner in Yahoo Japan, which might be able to devise a way to minimize the tax bill that would come with any sale of the Asia investments.”(Yahoo) is ultimately Verizon’s to lose,” said Robert Peck, Internet analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. “They’re the leading candidate in this effort and can afford to pay the most because of cost synergies and scale.”Other players weighing joint or solo bids are media company Time Inc. and several private equity firms including Blackstone Group LP  and KKR & Co. LP, according to sources. The owner of Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper also said this week it is in talks with potential partners to mount a joint bid.(Reporting by Malathi Nayak; Additional reporting by Jessica Toonkel in New York and Deborah M. Todd in San Francisco; Editing by Jonathan Weber, Eric Effron and Bill Rigby) April 14, 2016 –shares Next Article The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue.center_img 4 min read This story originally appeared on Reuters Reuters 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Image credit: Reuters | Shannon Stapleton Verizonlast_img read more

Apple Is Paying Out Amazon Credit for an Ebook Antitrust Settlement Start

first_img Looking for the latest headlines in small business, innovation and tech? Our Start Up Your Day recaps are posted every morning to keep you current.Check your spam folder. Apple is giving credit to people who bought ebooks between April 2010 and May 2012 as part of a $400 million antitrust settlement.On the go. Microsoft has launched an iOS app version of its SharePoint intranet portal.Dog days of summer. Apple will teach kids about coding, robotics, movie-making and storytelling as part of its Apple Camp in its retail stores this summer. Buying in. Facebook is paying prominent figures millions to use its Facebook Live application.Safe places. Twitter has launched a platform called Engage, providing a more manageable interface for celebs who interact with fans via tweet.New user. Michelle Obama officially joined Snapchat.Sing along. CBS, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola partnered up to create the first Carpool Karaoke integration featuring products and a summer sweepstakes.Outside the box. Little Caesars will decorate the façade of its new headquarters in Detroit with glass sections shaped like pizza slices. Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Next Article Apple Is Paying Out Amazon Credit for an Ebook Antitrust Settlement — Start Up Your Day Roundup 1 min read –shares Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. June 22, 2016 Add to Queue Lindsay Friedman Image credit: Future Publishing / Contributor | Getty Images Register Now » Staff writer. Frequently covers franchise news and food trends. Start Up Your Daylast_img read more

Notable improvement in brain cancer survival among younger patients but not much

first_img Source: Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 16 2018A new study from Helsinki University Hospital, University of Helsinki and the Finnish Cancer Registry shows that survival after glioblastoma has improved since the millennium. The improvement in survival was, however, modest in elderly patients, raising concerns whether current treatment strategies are optimal for this patient group.Glioblastoma is the most common brain cancer, and one of the deadliest cancers known. Unfortunately, there is no cure for these rapidly progressing tumors.A randomized controlled trial in 2005 showed that a new chemotherapy (temozolomide) given at the same time with radiation therapy increased survival from 12.1 to 14.6 months in 18 to 70-year-old glioblastoma patients. Therefore, today’s glioblastoma treatment consists of surgical removal of the tumor followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy, so-called chemoradiation. In many treatment centers, chemoradiation is given also to elderly (>70 years) glioblastoma patients, even though this elderly patient group was not included in the randomized controlled trial.Randomized controlled trials are often referred as “gold standard” studies for assessing treatment outcomes. However, these studies have highly selected patient population that rarely represents the “real-life” populations. For that reason, real-life studies are needed to estimate the true benefit of a new treatment in everyday practice. In a recently published nationwide Finnish study, researched explored if glioblastoma survival has truly improved after the implementation of chemoradiation treatment.”Finland has a tax-funded and government-subsidized social welfare and health care system, where socioeconomic factors and health inequalities affect much less cancer treatments and treatment outcomes than for example in U.S. Moreover, Finnish cancer treatment outcomes are shown to be among the best in the world. For these reasons, Finland is an optimal country to conduct so-called real-life cancer studies”, explains Dr. Rahul Raj, Associate Professor of Experimental Neurosurgery, Helsinki University Hospital, and one of the lead authors of the study.”We used data from the Finnish Cancer Registry, which enables evaluation of all cancer patients’ survival with high quality”, says Janne Pitkäniemi, director of statistics at the Finnish Cancer Registry.Related StoriesHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaStudy offers clues about how to prevent brain inflammation in Alzheimer’sThe study encompassed over 2,000 patients that had been diagnosed with glioblastoma in Finland between 2000 and 2013. The study was divided into two periods: 2000-2006 (prior to standardized chemoradiation treatment) and 2007-2013 (today’s chemoradiation treatment widely established).According to results, patients treated during the latter period had a 24% lower excess risk of mortality compared to those treated during the earlier period. Time-wise, the median survival time increased by 2.4 months in patients younger than 70 years (from 9.3 months to 11.7 months). Contrary to the randomized controlled trial in 2005, the Finnish study included also elderly (>70 years) glioblastoma patients. The median survival time increased only by 0.9 months in the elderly patient group (from 3.6 months to 4.5 months).”It is important to notice that the improvement in survival was notable in the younger patient group but only dismal in elderly patients. As the median age of glioblastoma patients is increasing at the same time than the incidence of glioblastoma is increasing, the number of elderly glioblastoma patients grows fast in the future. Today we do not have effective treatment strategies for this patient group, and it is questionable whether current heavy treatments and numerous hospital visits are always justified from patients’ perspective”, says Dr. Miikka Korja, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, Helsinki University Hospital, and one of the lead authors.Although the prognosis for elderly glioblastoma patients has remained poor, the researchers stress the fact that there has been continuous improvement in treatments.”We think our results highlight the fact that the future glioblastoma research should more and more focus on elderly, that will soon constitute over half of all newly diagnosed glioblastomas”, Dr. Korja says. “We are very hopeful that survival rates will improve in the future.”last_img read more

Parents mental health problems associated with reactive attachment disorder in children

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 22 2019Children’s risk of being diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder (RAD) increases if parents are diagnosed with any type of mental health disorder, discovered researchers from the Research Centre for Child Psychiatry of the University of Turku, Finland. Particularly parents’ alcohol and drug addiction and mother’s depression were associated with reactive attachment disorder in children. The nationwide population-based study is the most extensive study on the risk factors of RAD. Reactive attachment disorder is a disorder of social functioning where the child’s ability to form normal attachment relationships is disrupted. RAD is characterised by ambivalence about seeking comfort from a caregiver, emotional withdrawal, lack of social approach, reduced positive affect, and unexplained fear or irritability. If left untreated, the disorder will affect the course of the child’s entire life, ability to function, and later relationships.The study showed that, if both parents had a psychiatric diagnosis, the child’s risk of RAD diagnosis was 51 times higher than that of children whose parents were not diagnosed with a disorder. Mother’s mental health diagnosis increased the child’s risk of RAD by nine-fold and father’s diagnosis by six-fold.- The most common combination of psychiatric diagnoses in parents whose children were diagnosed with RAD was both parents diagnosed with alcohol and drug addiction or abuse, which was among 20 percent of RAD cases. The second common combination was mothers’ diagnosed with depression and fathers’ diagnosed with alcohol and drug addiction or abuse, met in approximately 17 percent of RAD cases, says lead author, researcher Subina Upadhyaya from the Research Centre for Child Psychiatry.All the 614 children diagnosed with RAD in Finland between 1991-2012 participated in the study. In earlier studies, the association of reactive attachment disorder with risk factors has generally been studied in unusual circumstances, such as children in institutional or foster care or in maltreated children.Related StoriesNew therapeutic food boosts key growth-promoting gut microbes in malnourished childrenWhy Mattresses Could be a Health Threat to Sleeping ChildrenGuidelines to help children develop healthy habits early in life- Our results are in line with the previous studies with a more limited data. Furthermore, we discovered in our population-based study that RAD is connected with maternal smoking during pregnancy, single motherhood, and advanced paternal age, says Upadhyaya.Screening and Low-threshold Care Needed for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Problems during Pregnancy Even though the disorder affects under a percent of the entire population, it is a significant and expensive problem according to Professor in Child Psychiatry Andre Sourander.- The disorder is connected with later child protection issues, other psychiatric disorders, and social exclusion. The treatments are exacting and expensive and the evidence of their effectiveness is very limited, stresses Professor Sourander from the Research Centre for Child Psychiatry of the University of Turku.He leads a research group focusing on risk factors during pregnancy which are associated with mental disorders.- When compared with our earlier results in several other psychiatric disorders associated with parents’ psychiatric diagnoses or substance abuse, the connection is unusually strong in reactive attachment disorder. This means that RAD is strongly associated with prenatal brain development and being subjected to intoxicants, Sourander explains.According to him, the results should be taken into consideration when planning mental health care services. Parents’ substance abuse and mental health disorders should be actively screened during pregnancy and low-threshold services based on research results should be developed for treating these disorders.Source: read more

UCL scientists discover key brain region for navigating familiar places

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 1 2019UCL scientists have discovered the key brain region for navigating well-known places, helping explain why brain damage seen in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease can cause such severe disorientation.The study, published today in Cerebral Cortex, is the first to identify the specific brain regions used in guiding navigation of familiar places.Researchers observed that a brain region long-known to be involved in new learning – the hippocampus – was involved in tracking distance to a destination in a ‘newly learned’ environment.However, when navigating a familiar place, another brain region – the retrosplenial cortex – was found to “take over” tracking the distance to the destination.Related StoriesMercy Medical Center adds O-arm imaging system to improve spinal surgery resultsAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia risk”Our findings are significant because they reveal that there are in fact two different parts of the brain that guide navigation,” says Professor Hugo Spiers (UCL Experimental Psychology), senior author on the study.”Which part gets used depends on whether you are in a place you know well or a place you only visited recently. The results help to explain why damage to the retrosplenial cortex in Alzheimer’s disease is so debilitating, and why these patients get lost even in very familiar environments.”The research team worked with students from UCL and Imperial College London. The students’ brain activity was monitored as they navigated a simulation of their own familiar campus and the other university’s campus, which was ‘newly learned’ days before.The researchers also explored the impact of Sat-Navs by having students navigate the campuses with directions overlaid on the route in front of them. Strikingly, neither the hippocampus nor retrosplenial cortex continued to track distance to the destination when using this Sat-Nav-like device.”We wondered whether navigating a very familiar place would be similar to using a Sat-Nav, seeing as you don’t need to think as much about where you’re going in a familiar place,” says Professor Spiers. “However, the results show this isn’t the case; the brain is more engaged in processing the space when you are using your memory.””This has significant implications for ongoing research into Alzheimer’s disease,” says Dr Zita Patai (UCL Experimental Psychology), first author on the study. “Specifically, how the deterioration of different brain regions contributes to fundamental behaviors such as memory and navigation, and how this changes over time.” Source: read more

Waymo Uber end trade secrets theft trial with settlement Update

© 2018 AFP Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was among the wtinesses testifying in the trade secrets trial before Friday’s settlement Levandowski, who was on the list as a possible witness, left Google for his own startup called Otto, which was later acquired by Uber. Kalanick denies plot to steal secrets in tense courtroom exchange Waymo and Uber announced an agreement Friday in the blockbuster federal lawsuit over allegedly stolen trade secrets from the former Google self-driving car project. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Waymo CEO John Krafcik arrives at the start of a trial pitting the former Google car unit against Uber over allegedly stolen trade secrets, a case settled by the two companies on Friday Citation: Waymo, Uber end trade secrets theft trial with settlement (Update) (2018, February 9) retrieved 18 July 2019 from The case hinged on Waymo’s ability to show not only that Levandowski had taken Google’s private source code, but that Uber had used it improperly to catch up with rivals.The jury saw evidence which was embarrassing for Uber, however, including notes from Kalanick about “cheat codes” and a text message in which he told Levandowski to “burn the village.” Kalanick said, “I don’t know, I don’t remember.”The jury was also shown a clip—sent from Levandowski to Kalanick— from the 1987 film “Wall Street” in which the Michael Douglas lead character proclaims “greed is good.”‘Growing responsibly’Khosrowshahi said in his statement he regretted the handling of the Levandowski matter, which occurred before he took over as CEO last year.”My job as Uber’s CEO is to set the course for the future of the company: innovating and growing responsibly, as well as acknowledging and correcting mistakes of the past,” he said.”In doing so, I want to express regret for the actions that have caused me to write this letter.”He added, “To our friends at Alphabet: we are partners, you are an important investor in Uber, and we share a deep belief in the power of technology to change people’s lives for the better. Of course, we are also competitors.”The settlement comes with Uber seeking to turn the page following a series of scandals over alleged misconduct and a cut-throat workplace culture, as new chief executive Khosrowshahi strives to prepare for a stock market debut in 2019.”While I cannot erase the past, I can commit, on behalf of every Uber employee, that we will learn from it, and it will inform our actions going forward,” Khosrowshahi said.”I’ve told Alphabet that the incredible people at Uber ATG are focused on ensuring that our development represents the very best of Uber’s innovation and experience in self-driving technology.”Uber, which is the world’s biggest ride-hailing service, is seeking to be a major player in autonomous cars and has ordered an estimated 24,000 cars from Volvo for its project set to launch in the coming years.Waymo is deploying its own self-driving rideshare program at the same time and has ordered “thousands” of vehicles from Fiat Chrysler for its service.The sector also includes most major automakers, technology platforms and ride services such as Lyft. The surprise agreement ends a trial between the two Silicon Valley rivals competing in a race to develop autonomous cars, after four days of testimony before a federal judge in San Francisco.A source familiar with the confidential deal said Uber agreed to a financial settlement giving the Alphabet unit 0.34 percent of Uber shares—which would be some $244 million based on Uber’s valuation of $72 billion.Uber also agreed not to use any of Waymo’s technology for autonomous driving as part of the settlement, which was approved by Judge William Alsup as he dismissed the case.Waymo said in a statement: “We have reached an agreement with Uber that we believe will protect Waymo’s intellectual property now and into the future. We are committed to working with Uber to make sure that each company develops its own technology.”Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said in a separate statement that “while we do not believe that any trade secrets made their way from Waymo to Uber … we are taking steps with Waymo to ensure our Lidar and software represents just our good work.”While the technical details of Waymo’s case were not revealed, it was widely believed to focus on Lidar, a laser-based system which is critical to enabling autonomous cars to get a three-dimensional picture of its surroundings.The trial so far included testimony from former Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick, who denied a conspiracy to steal trade secrets in a tense two-day court appearance.High-stakes trialAlphabet’s Waymo division was seeking at least $1 billion over the theft of secrets from its self-driving car program in the trial before federal judge William Alsup.If the case had gone to the jury and Waymo had prevailed, it would have dealt a severe blow to Uber’s efforts to widely deploy self-driving vehicles as part of its ridesharing operations—a field that also includes Waymo and other rivals.Waymo had alleged Uber conspired with former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski, who had been accused of downloading thousands of proprietary documents before leaving the company and ending up at Uber. read more

A magnetic method for polishing metals enables mold templates with microscale features

More information: Jiang Guo et al. Magnetic field-assisted finishing of a mold insert with curved microstructures for injection molding of microfluidic chips, Tribology International (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.triboint.2017.04.019 Explore further A fluid behaves very differently when it is confined to micrometer-scale channels. This phenomenon already has several applications such as enabling the analysis of small samples of blood.These microfluidic systems are small and portable, easy to use without expert knowledge, and disposable because they are cheap to produce. But this disposability means that microfluidic chips need to be quickly mass produced.Now, Jiang Guo and his colleagues from the A*STAR Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology have developed a method for fabricating molds that can quickly create microfluidic channels in polymer substrates. “The technology addresses a critical problem in mold insert fabrication for microfluidic chip production, and will enhance local industry,” says Guo.Injection molding involves shaping a material while in a molten state using a metal template. It is cheap, fast, and useful for creating microfluidic chips. However, engineering a mold with precise micrometer-scale features and smooth surfaces is challenging as burrs and tool marks create defects. A post-polishing process can fix some of these imperfections, but it is difficult for polishing tools to access the recessed corners of microstructured surfaces and remove unwanted material uniformly.Guo and his colleagues started by milling their template for a microfluidic channel 100 micrometers in depth and 100 micrometers in width on a special aluminum alloy. The channel was 100 millimeters in length and included two fluid inlets, one fluid outlet and a serpentine channel as reaction chamber. They then polished this template using a method known as magnetic field-assisted finishing. Two magnetic rollers rotating in opposite directions on either side of the mold create a magnetic field. This field controlled a magnetic abrasive made of carbonyl iron powder and alumina particles bound together by oil, which removed any unwanted material and smoothed the surface.The researchers compared their template before and after this magnetic polish. They observed that the process preserved the height of the microstructure, although the edges were more rounded after polishing. The polish reduced the roughness of the surface by a factor of four, leaving a mirror-like finish. “The next step will be to use the polished mold template for actual injection molding,” says Guo. Engineers make microfluidics modular using the popular interlocking blocks Provided by Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore Citation: A magnetic method for polishing metals enables mold templates with microscale features (2018, February 15) retrieved 18 July 2019 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. A microfluidic chip injection mold. Credit: A*STAR Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology Injection molding enables large-scale production of polymer and plastic materials with micrometer-sized features. Now, A*STAR scientists have developed a method for creating mold templates with high precision and few defects. read more

S Korea police raid BMW office over car fires

first_img An official at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s white collar crime unit said officers were investigating whether the company covered up vehicle defects and had confiscated documents and other materials.He declined to give further details but Yonhap news agency said a team of 30 investigators were involved. There was no immediate comment from BMW Korea. “We will conduct a thorough investigation to reveal the truth,” Yonhap quoted a police official as saying.The move came after reports more than 40 BMW vehicles have burst into flames so far this year, with some parking lots refusing to accept the cars because of fears they could catch fire.South Korea this month temporarily banned from the streets BMW cars that had not yet passed safety checks and dozens of BMW owners filed complaints seeking a criminal investigation into the firm, its local unit and their nine top officials.BMW Korea last month started recalling 106,000 vehicles with an exhaust gas recirculation module, which it says caused the recent fires. The recall applies to 42 models, all with diesel engines.The company is facing a series of legal actions over the issue in the country, and has said the problem was “not Korea specific”.In South Korea, six out of 10 imported cars are from Germany, with BMW selling nearly 39,000 in the first six months of this year, according to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association. Citation: S. Korea police raid BMW office over car fires (2018, August 30) retrieved 18 July 2019 from Explore further South Korea this month temporarily banned from the streets BMW cars that had not yet passed safety checks South Korean police raided German carmaker BMW’s Seoul headquarters Thursday in connection with dozens of engine fires.center_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2018 AFP Criminal case filed against BMW over S. Korea car fireslast_img read more

Podcasters find niche in the Arab world

first_imgRana Nawas left the corporate world nearly two years ago to produce and host a podcast—one that is now considered the most popular in the Arab world. Podcasts take growing role in shifting media landscape Rana Nawas hosts the English-language podcast ‘When Women Win’, seeking to tell the stories of successful women from around the world The English-language series, “When Women Win”, tells the stories of successful women from all over the world and, according to Apple, has become the most listened to podcast in the Middle East.It first gained traction in 2017 in Dubai, where it is produced, before it started to spread across the region.Nawas said she created the series “to give women all over the world access to role models” by highlighting the “extraordinary things” ordinary women are doing.”I’ve been surprised at how the region has embraced ‘When Women Win’,” the 40-year-old told AFP, adding aviation giant Emirates Airline would start airing her show this month.”There’s clearly a thirst for this content, there’s clearly a thirst for female role models,” said the Briton of Lebanese and Palestinian origins.”When Women Win”, which is available to download in 144 countries, is the most popular podcast even in the ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia, according to Nawas.”I’ve been… surprised that actually my biggest market is Saudi Arabia,” said the former sales executive at an aviation company.”Everybody tells you (Saudis) only consume Arabic video content, so I was really delighted… to know that they also consume English-language audio content.”Nawas, whose show is entirely self-funded, said she hopes to be able to draw financing from other sources.”It’s not sustainable,” she told AFP.”I am hoping in a couple of years, once I have the impact that I want… to start bringing investors on or bringing advertisers or sponsors on board.”Nawas gets messages about the podcast from around the world via social media, including Instagram and LinkedIn, and believes the podcast will gain even more popularity.”I think the global future of podcasts is very positive, and the reason is people are not going to get less busy. We are only getting busier,” she said.”We need ways to consume content where it is a secondary activity.”She said most people listen to podcasts on mobile devices during their commute, or while cleaning or cooking. Explore further © 2019 AFP ‘Third-culture kids’Like Nawas, Sudanese-born Omar Tom and friends created a podcast in 2016 that touches on topics they feel are neglected in traditional media.One such issue his English-language podcast—the Dukkan Show—focuses on is life in the Gulf for members of its huge expatriate population.In the show, the hosts chat to guests as if sitting in a dukkan—or “corner store”—where it is common culture in the Arab world to socialise with friends and neighbours.”I wanted to fight a couple of stereotypes,” said Tom, 30, who is sporting a Made in Sudan T-shirt.”One was the Sudanese stereotype when I first started, which is the lack of representation in media, and if there is a representation it doesn’t always speak for the diaspora or for the third-culture kids.”As Arabs we don’t look so good in international and western media. So how do we tackle that? The only way to do that is to speak in a language that everybody would understand, which at the moment just happens to be English.”‘Here to stay’Many young Arab people now prefer podcasts over traditional radio programmes.For Rami Baassiri, 26, podcasts allow him to be more productive and do two things at once.”There’s a lot of downtime in my day, whether I’m commuting to work, driving, in the gym, in queues in the mall, at the airport, so I like to make use of that time,” he told AFP.”I think of podcasts as radio on demand.”Radio … is very random. Podcasts allow me to control the radio by choosing whoever I want to listen to, whatever I want to listen to.”Reem Hameed, a Canadian who takes part in the Dukkan Show, said podcasts are “here to stay and in the Arab world”.”We have, in the Arab world, an amazing tradition of radio. If you think about how deep radio and its history falls into the Arab world, podcasting is a natural, digital extension of that,” said Hameed, 36, who is of Iraqi and Filipino origins.Podcasts have been spreading across the Arab region, including Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Jordan and Lebanon.In Jordan, the platform Sowt—or “voice”—has aired an array of podcasts that touch on subjects ranging from politics to music since its launch in 2017.Hebah Fisher, chief executive and co-founder of Dubai-based network Kerning Cultures, the first venture-funded podcast company in the Middle East, said podcasts are the future.”Our seed round is a strong signal for the podcast industry in the Middle East: the medium is taken seriously, and its value for listeners and users is clear,” she told AFP in an emailed statement.”Podcasting is the future of media.” Citation: Podcasters find niche in the Arab world (2019, May 12) retrieved 17 July 2019 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more