first_imgSAN FRANCISCO — The term “rebuilding” seems to be verboten around the building now known as Oracle Park, but make no mistake, that’s what the San Francisco Giants, winners of three titles this decade, are doing after 187 losses in the last two years.That, of course, means that the 2019 version of the Giants, barring a minor miracle, is likely going to push the team’s three-year running loss total well above 270.Yes, this is likely to be another lost season, but unlike the last two campaigns, …last_img read more

first_img12 December 2013Women of all religious groups have been invited to reflect, pray and celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto outside Johannesburg on Thursday.Hosted by the Gauteng provincial government, the event aims to recognise “the ways in which Tata Madiba promoted women’s development and emancipation”, Collins Chabane, Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, said at a media briefing on Wednesday.The interfaith women’s day of prayer forms part of the 10-day national mourning period for the former president, who died last Thursday at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg.Mandela was passionate about women’s equality, Thebe Mohatle writes on the Gauteng Province’s website. “Cognisant that women bore the greatest brunt of the apartheid system, former president Nelson Mandela has throughout his life strived to promote women’s development and emancipation”.The programme includes representatives from different religious groups, including Christians, Muslims, Bahai, Jewish, Hindu and African Independent Churches, Chabane said.The government has invited South Africans to form a guard of honour along the memorial route between 1 Military Hospital and the Union Buildings, where Mandela will lie in state until Friday.Source: SAnews.govlast_img read more

first_imgChelsea captain Azpilicueta tells Pulisic to keep his head upby Paul Vegas22 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has told Christian Pulisic his chance will soon arrive.While the American has been less involved of late, Azpilicueta stressed he will have a crucial part to play in the coming months.He said, “As the manager said, we are a group, we are all important on this long path, we are only in October. Sometimes the manager has to make decisions, but I see him [Pulisic] working hard in training.”What I can say is to encourage him to keep working, because we know it is a new country, a new team, a bit of time of adaption is needed. I see him with the character working hard in training, and I’m sure he will be very important for us for the season.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

first_imgMichigan and Jumpman logo seen side by side.Jim Harbaugh is excited for Michigan to become a Nike school. Really excited, apparently.The Wolverines are holding a Nike kickoff event in Ann Arbor, Mich. tonight at The M Den, the school’s official merchandise dealer. Michigan’s $173 million contract with Nike starts at midnight and the store will begin to start selling Nike and Air Jordan gear at that time.Michigan has gone all-out for the start of the contract, holding a type of pep rally outside the store.Harbaugh has made an appearance and, in this video from ESPN’s Darren Rovell, you can watch him emphatically sing The Victors.Jim Harbaugh at @TheMDen an hour before store opens to sell 1st Michigan-Nike product pic.twitter.com/W1QrS75BzC— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 1, 2016Harbaugh is just the best.last_img read more

first_imgFILE – In this April 18, 2016 file photo, actor Mark Wahlberg, center left, dressed as a Boston Police officer, watches runners cross the finish line as he films a scene for the “Patriot’s Day” movie at the 120th Boston Marathon in Boston. The Massachusetts Senate proposed new limits in 2017 to the film tax credit that targets high salaries paid to famous actors. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File) A bill approved by the Louisiana House of Representatives this year, for example, offered greater incentives for production companies that chose to headquarter in the state and also called for the state to get a share of a film’s profits. Rodrigues calls for preventing film companies from claiming salaries worth $1 million or more as an eligible expense. (There currently isn’t a salary limit.) The proposal would also increase the minimum thresholds for spending or time spent filming in Massachusetts from 50 per cent to 75 per cent of the production. Alabama, Kentucky and North Carolina all have some form of $1 million cap, while Mississippi has a $5 million cap and New Mexico imposes a $20 million spending cap on all performers, he said. Twitter BOSTON — A new “Ghostbusters” movie was filmed in Boston two years ago with the hopes of rebooting a beloved franchise. Instead, the box office dud has unintentionally played a key role in giving new life to efforts to rid Massachusetts of its film industry subsidies. “There is no reason to believe that the tax credits the state reportedly gave to the producers of this film were the most effective way to promote jobs and economic development,” said Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center that’s long called for scrapping the program. His proposal is part of a Senate budget that will need to be reconciled with the House’s spending plan, which doesn’t include the provision. Login/Register With: Featuring Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, “Ghostbusters” was among 61 productions issued more than $61 million in credits last year. Others included “Central Intelligence” ($11.3 million), “The Finest Hours” ($14.4 million) and “Live By Night” ($1.1 million), preliminary state Department of Revenue data shows. Advertisement The proposed $1 million salary cap is roughly in line with what other states have imposed in recent years as they seek to rein in film credit programs, said John Bails, executive vice-president at Film Production Capital, a Shreveport, Louisiana-based film tax credit consulting firm. David Hartman, head of the Massachusetts Production Coalition (MPC) that advocates for the local film industry, countered that the economic impact of major movie productions like “Ghostbusters” are felt many times over, not just from the hundreds of temporary production jobs they create but the spending of that crew on local goods and services. Rodrigues counters that even with his proposed limits — projected to trim $14 million from the roughly $80 million a year the state budgets — Massachusetts still has one of the more generous film subsidies in the country. Hartman, of the Massachusetts Production Coalition, complains the proposal would “cripple” the local industry.center_img Prominent recent films like “American Hustle,” ”Black Mass,” ”Joy” and “Patriots Day” would likely have bypassed Massachusetts if not for the credit’s current structure, he contends. Advertisement Advertisement “It’s hard to look into the face of a single mother and tell them that we cannot afford to provide them with the childcare voucher but we can afford to pay 25 per cent of the salary of Tom Hanks or Will Ferrell,” Rodrigues said. Higher thresholds for spending and time spent filming in-state are also increasingly common, though a 75 per cent minimum would be an outlier, Bails added. And local policymakers are looking at other ways to revamp the programs. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Bails predicts the Louisiana bill, which ultimately didn’t clear the state Senate, is a harbinger of things to come: “States will eventually have to evolve in order to start getting a direct return on investment.”Courtesy of:  Philip Marcelo  – The Associated Press Sen. Michael Rodrigues, the Westport Democrat who proposed curtailing the credit, says his qualm isn’t with “Ghostbusters” specifically.Too much of the program’s benefit, he says, is flowing to out-of-state companies and being used to supplement the salaries of high-paid actors. The film tax credit is equal to 25 per cent of a production’s in-state payroll and production costs. And some critics of the program have pointed to recent big budget Hollywood films like “Ghostbusters” — which scored one of largest tax benefits in the program’s history at $26.7 million — as prime examples of why the benefit needs to go. He wasn’t able to readily quantify the economic impact of “Ghostbusters” and the film’s producers didn’t immediately comment. Facebook The state Senate has proposed a budget paring back what’s considered among the most generous of the 36 states currently offering tax incentives to film companies.last_img read more

first_imgRelated posts:Despite Zika virus, Garabito mayor says “no chance” World Surfing Games will be cancelled Caja to stop printing social security slips starting next year U.S. volunteer specialists perform spine surgeries on 11 Costa Rican children Costa Rica welcomes first IVF baby after 16-year ban At the 72nd Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO), Costa Rica launched a global plan to cut snakebite mortality in half by 2030.The roadmap will mobilize $80 million in funding to counteract the human consequences of venomous snakes, according to a press release from the Foreign Ministry.“It is a great joy to see that WHO is following step-by-step the proposal that was promoted by Costa Rica since 2016 and adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2018, so that there is an adequate response worldwide to this health problem,” said Elayne Whyte, Costa Rica’s Ambassador to the United Nations.“Costa Rica has had the support of many countries, experts and organizations on this road, and the Director General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, highlighted this strategy as one of the milestones of the WHO in 2019.“Costa Rica must feel proud of this great achievement at a global level, which reflects decades of scientific work in our country.”The plan is also headed by Nigeria, a country with a high frequency of snakebite mortality that has supported Costa Rica since it announced the initiative in 2016.Read: Top snakebite tips and prevention tricksObjectives will include making safe and effective treatments available worldwide, strengthening health systems, and improving community education.“Our universal health system with trained personnel allows us to deal with each case of snake bite in a timely fashion, preventing and reducing mortality,” said Daniel Salas, the Minister of Health. “At the global level, we can be a model in the approach to snakebites, which allows us to assume a leading role in confronting the problem at national, regional and global levels.”WHO estimates 5.4 million snakebites occur each year, resulting in at least 1.8 million cases of envenoming (poisoning from snakebites) and 81,400 deaths.Of the 140 species of snakes in Costa Rica, 23 are venomous, according to the Clodomiro Picado Institute. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgA perfect excuse to reunite with friends and family, travelers taking a vacation to Los Cabos in May or June receive a free additional suite and upgrade to private beach-front casitas with the Hotel with a Heart Package at the Marquis Los Cabos resort. Creating the ambience of a private beach house, accommodations in the resort’s spacious casitas are just steps from the beach with a living room, bedroom, wet bar, Bulgari amenities, imported Frette linens, and private plunge pool with views of the ocean. The Hotel with a Heart Package also includes daily breakfast delivered discreetly each morning via a private alcove.“At this stressful time, we thought people would welcome the idea to get away with family and friends together,” says General Manager Ella Messerli.Just featured in National Geographic Traveler’s “Hotels with a Heart,” the Marquis Los Cabos donates five percent of the hotel’s annual revenue for the staff’s education and healthcare in its Marquis University. Since 2003, the resort has helped on average 20 employees a year obtain primary schooling and bachelor degrees.www.marquisloscabos.comlast_img read more

first_img State Rep. Jim Lower of Cedar Lake today announced his September in-district office hours schedule. Rep. Lower will be available on Monday, Sept. 18 at the following times and locations:9 to 10 a.m. at the Crystal Lake Café, 216 W. Lake St. in Crystal; and11:45 to 12:45 p.m. at Dogtown Restaurant, 206 S. Main St., in Sheridan.“In addition to traveling across the district every week, I am committed to holding regular office hours in order to stay accessible to anyone who has a concern, question or problem regarding state government,” Rep. Lower said.No appointments are necessary. Those unable to meet during the scheduled times may contact Rep. Lower’s office at (517) 373-0834 or via email at JamesLower@house.mi.gov. 11Sep Rep. Lower to host September office hours Categories: Lower Newslast_img read more

first_img We have been accused at times – rightfully so – of being largely focused on the trials and tribulations of the newfound political economy. Given its place as one of the biggest contributing factors to the performance of the investment markets these days, it makes sense. However, there is one area of the economy that continues to grow, largely unabated by the foolish risk-taking of investment banks and the constant flow of bailouts and “easing” – it’s the technology sector. This week, I had a chance to sit down with Doug Casey to get his thoughts on a subject that has long been near and dear to him as an investor and as a person, starting with the most talked about tech story of the past month, Facebook. Louis James: Doug, with a market capitalization surging to almost $100 billion on the IPO of a website company, subsequent 50% haircut wiping out billions of retail investors’ dollars, and now a rugby-style pile-on of lawsuits, I’m sure you have some thoughts on the Facebook fiasco. Care to share? Doug: Sure. Problems were rather predictable, from a number of points of view. First was the market valuation approaching $100 billion; that was a completely arbitrary number, based a ridiculously high P/E ratio, close to 100:1. It’s true that a billion dollars isn’t what it used to be, but it’s still a lot of money. It tells me that there’s still way too much optimism in the stock market in general. It’s a new world since 2008; and it’s absolutely nothing like the late ’90s, when the Internet/telecom/tech bubble was inflated. People are, ironically, living in the past while they think they’re investing in a technology of the future. Apparently the majority of those who piled in at up to $45 per share were retail investors. I’m not opposed to buying IPOs; sometimes they’re deliberately underpriced – in good part so the underwriter can be a hero to its clients and build a good reputation for successful offerings. But a gigantic offering, at a rich price, when the ducks are quacking? Include me out. I like deals that relatively few people are interested in or have even heard about. Of course that approach kept me out of Google, as well. But you have to play the odds. In fact, there are very few stocks I want to own today. The financial sector is entirely too big as a proportion of the economy, and people are still way too interested in “the market” – especially as the world sinks deeper into the Greater Depression. The name of the game today shouldn’t be trying to scalp a few dollars by selling some tech stock to a greater fool. It’s about preserving capital. L: No evidence of “market capitulation” on that IPO – the volume was so fast and furious it crashed the Nasdaq trading system, and lots of people never got their orders filled. Doug: Lucky for them. The shares have gone from that $45 high to a low – so far – of $25.52. That’s a 43% haircut in just a few days. L: Sounds like a junior mining stock. Doug: [Laughs] It does. But at least a mining company can offer a lottery ticket for life-changing gains. When you buy into something with a $100 billion market cap, you’re most likely just providing liquidity for early investors who’ve already made 100:1, or even 1,000:1, on their money. I’m sorry to see people lose money in the market. Theoretically, investors are providing capital for new businesses and technologies. They’re doing that instead of consuming wealth and frittering away capital on high living. I’d like to see them richly rewarded, which would encourage more people to do the same thing. But people who blindly gamble on a trade they don’t understand deserve their losses. Of course, since we’re talking billions of dollars, the “fairness police” are sure to put this thing under a microscope. And naturally, hordes of ambulance-chasers are coming out of the woodwork to collect their fees helping people waste time and money suing each other. The result will be more people who are permanently turned off of investing. And likely lots of new rules and regulations. We’re in a major bear market. The bad news is that lots of nasty things will happen to take the market lower, toward an ultimate bottom. The good news is that eventually a real bottom will be reached, and it will be possible to buy great companies unbelievably cheaply. However, there’s more bad news, namely that the bottom is likely quite a while down the road… In the meantime, the busybodies, losers, and goons who populate the “Swindlers Encouragement Commission” will have a field day. Their counterproductive rules serve only to enrich lawyers and create a false sense of security for naïve investors – as we discussed at some length in our conversation on insider trading. It’s all part and parcel of an investment climate – and more importantly a moral climate – in which the public thinks someone should pay them if they gamble and lose. It’s more writing on the wall: the America that once was has been replaced by the “United State,” inhabited by herds of obedient, reality-TV-educated inmates who take no responsibility for their own actions. Things are going to get worse before they get better. L: Will it get better, Doug? You keep saying it’s going to be worse than even you think it is – and I know you have a pretty fertile imagination. You say you’re glad you have quiet, out-of-the way places to go to when the stock market really crashes, inflation sets in with a vengeance, and the middle class gets thoroughly wiped out. When the riots start, you want to be watching on your widescreen TV, not through your front window. That’s scary enough, but if it’s going to be even worse than you think it will be, what makes you think things will get better – at least in a timeframe of any use to us? How do you know things won’t go “Mad Max” on us, leading to a new dark age? Doug: Well, if the climate-change hysterics get their way, we could see a new Dark Age – or a Dark & Cold Age, since candles put carbon into the atmosphere. Starting a fire could become a capital crime. L: That’s not encouraging. I thought you were an optimist? Doug: I am. I don’t expect a new Dark Age, but neither did the Romans in the early 5th century. Everything and anything is possible, both on the upside and the downside – you don’t live long and prosper by ignoring unsavory possibilities. We’ve become accustomed, as a civilization, to rapid improvements in science, technology, and our general standard of living for roughly the last 200 years, since the start of the Industrial Revolution. It seems like a long time from one perspective. But it’s only about eight generations, or the overlapping lives of two really old people. If you take a longer view, since biologically modern humans evolved perhaps 200,000 years ago, you see that progress was very slow. Maybe 100,000 years went by between the ability to make fire and the invention of the bow. Then maybe another 80,000 to the invention of pottery. Maybe advances in technology are subject to periods of punctuated equilibrium, as are the evolution of species. Maybe the last 200 years of rapid progress are slowing down. It seems to me there were rapid advances in every area for that time – electricity, aircraft, telephony, atomic energy, and literally a thousand other things resulting from the systemization of science. Other than in computers, though, things seem to have slowed down over the last 50 years. I wonder if we’re not just advancing past breakthroughs more than making new ones. Living off of past inertia… I really don’t know if that’s an accurate view; I’m just considering possibilities. L: So why are you an optimist, then? Doug: Well, for one thing, as we discussed in our previous conversation on technology, I think it’s a very important fact that there are more scientists and engineers alive now than there have been in all of history combined. That’s an extraordinarily positive thing. But looking at the trivia many of them are working on, I don’t get the impression there are that many Edisons, Teslas, and Einsteins out there. Let me put that in context… there are probably more, simply because it’s a standard distribution, and there are more people. But maybe conditions aren’t as conducive to their blossoming as was the case 100 years ago, and making the most of their abilities is harder in some ways – although it’s easier in others, like the things made possible with the Internet. In other words, it seems to me most geniuses in the past were entrepreneurs, working in their basements and garages. Today it seems most go to work for big corporations, or especially the government; those aren’t environments conducive to game-changing breakthroughs. A lot of the science today seems to require multibillion-dollar investments; it seems to consume capital, as opposed to creating capital. For instance, NASA resembles the post office more and more every day. On the other hand you’ve got Burt Rutan’s and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. But capital has to be available to fund things like that. And the losses people have incurred in Facebook and a protracted bear market may be a disincentive to put that capital together. Plus, the actions of governments – which are largely approved of by their subjects – all over the world are very destructive of capital, even if we don’t get World War III. L: Where do you expect these trends to take us? Doug: The two areas where it seems the most progress is being made are biotech – including medicine – and computers, in which I include robotics. In medicine, rapid progress is being made on previously incurable diseases like cancer. I’ve heard credible arguments that completely effective cures – not just treatments, but cures – for various cancers may be as little as 10 years away. And it’s not just curing diseases, but understanding and prolonging life expectancy. As things stand, if we can prevent or cure all diseases, disorders, infections, and so forth, various factors point to a “natural” human life expectancy of about 120 years. But researchers already have lab rats growing new legs, vat-grown organs, and maybe the keys to slowing or stopping various aging processes altogether. L: Wait – what happens if the Baby Boomers all get another 100 years of relatively good health? Doug: Good question. The average age of death keeps rising – it’s something like 78 now – although the ultimate age remains about 120. The key is to extend the ultimate age while reversing the aging process. There’s no point in being one of Jonathan Swift’s Struldbrugs. This is why “estate planning” for smart 50- to 60-somethings should not be focused on dispersing accumulated capital to younger generations, but keeping capital productive and growing for many decades to come. Anyone not already suffering from a specific, terminal condition that gives them a life expectancy of fewer than 10 years should have more than a 10- or 20-year financial plan. You want a plan that will allow you to buy the technology to live to 200, with a better body than you now have. But that possibility will be available only to those who can afford it, at least to begin with. No one knows what life will be like on this world in 100 years, and by then we should have colonized other worlds where things could be even more different, so such plans can’t be too detailed. But you only have a chance of finding out if you have the capital to buy the technology to make it possible. L: Sounds like a lot of money. Doug: I’m not a planner by nature. My approach to life has always been that when I come to a fork in the road, I take it. But the accumulation of personal capital is important because it offers vastly more possibilities than does being poor. Money is not hard to come by; you only need find goods and services to provide other people. Vision is hard to come by. It’s because most people’s vision is limited by the culture they grew up in and their own negative attitudes that money is hard for them to accumulate. You know very well that most investors, for example, don’t have what it takes to be successful speculators – that’s why there will always be fantastic profits for those with the independence of mind to be true contrarians and hence successful speculators. L: Okay, well, that sounds more optimistic. But what about the dark side of advanced medical and biological technologies – bioweapons, for example? Doug: Utopia is not an option, at least on this planet. Sure, The Andromeda Strain could wipe us all out tomorrow. Barring that, however, the trend in medicine and biotech is definitely skewed towards longer, healthier lives for most people. L: And the other trend, in computers and robotics – are you as optimistic there? Doug: To be honest, it’s harder to be purely optimistic about this one. Powerful new technologies that lend themselves to abuse are already being deployed, and I don’t just mean weapons, as in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove – which is one of the best movies ever made. And I don’t mean things as obvious as video cameras on every street corner, as in V for Vendetta – another of my all-time favorites. I’m thinking about the swarms of drones that are already taking to the air above our heads – not to mention all the stuff that surely exists but is not public knowledge yet. On the other hand, the fact that single individuals can take on whole governments – as participants in the Anonymous group have done – shows that it’s far from a foregone conclusion that we’re headed for the world of 1984, where Big Brother is watching all of us all the time. The technology that could enable that is certainly on the way, but the hacks and technologies to foil universal surveillance is also certainly on the way. More than any specific nightmare technology or scenario, like “Skynet” taking over, what concerns me is that during the Great Enlightenment and ensuing Industrial Age, scientists and inventors were almost entirely private individuals, working for profit or at least their personal interest. Now, Big Government has led to an age of Government Science, which is a very dangerous thing. And the worst part is that a lot of the best and brightest are going to work for the government or for government-funded projects, which is practically the same thing. This is giving the state access to brainpower and creativity. And, as I pointed out in my articles on why sociopaths are always and inevitably drawn to government. Combine these things and you get a really nasty combination. That is frightening. L: Not sounding optimistic again… Doug: I said that sub-trends like this make it harder – not impossible – to be optimistic. Overall the longest trend of them all is The Ascent of Man – and that’s extremely bullish for us all. L: Hm. Well, back to Facebook. I have to say, we did warn people to stay away from that IPO in our technology letter. Doug: Yes, we did. I was tempted to short it myself, actually. But there’s something more interesting than just the IPO disaster to think about regarding Facebook. I saw Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg interviewed on the Charlie Rose show, and several things stood out for me. Now, I actually have a Facebook account, though I don’t use it for anything. I got it some years ago, when someone suggested it would be a good way to find old friends, but mostly it’s complete strangers who “friend” me… although, on the bright side, about 90% seem to be other anarchocapitalist libertarians. On the dark side, it will be one-stop shopping for the bad guys when they use Facebook to round up the usual suspects. The problem is that I don’t know my Facebook friends well enough to want to get to know them, given that there are only 24 hours in a day. And I wouldn’t dream of posting anything other than utter trivia about my personal life there. But I understand that others do use Facebook extensively, even to the degree of it being their primary way of communicating with their friends and family. It seems entirely too impersonal to appeal to me anyway. L: I have a Facebook account as well, which I use largely for one-way communication, sharing a bit of my adventures with my readers – stuff they find interesting, but for which there’s no room in the newsletter. Doug: That sounds like a fairly rational use. This technology does, however, seem to be changing the way people communicate and interact. One thing Zuckerberg said in the interview was that if Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world – and gaining. Now, Facebook could be out of business in a year, for all I know and care, superseded by the next online phenomenon – hopefully one that’s not a direct pipeline into the NSA and every other dangerous government agency out there. But whatever comes next, the Internet is still connecting people along lines of their choosing, rather than by accident of birth, and without regard to national boundaries – or even language barriers, for that matter. Things like Facebook are basically giant engines for creating phyles, and that, as we’ve discussed, is what I think the social organization is evolving toward. We can see it happening. Virtual communities are forming, solidifying, and becoming more important to many of their members than nationality, race, or even religion. The future is taking shape right on our screens. The question is where this will ultimately lead… Once talking about technology, it is easy to continue on the subject for a long time… understandable, given the sheer number of breakthrough developments of the past few years. After all, it was only five years ago that the first iPhone was released… two years ago for the iPad. All of this development also presents a remarkable set of opportunities for investors. It’s the reason that Doug has long championed having a technology-investing division. For the past three years, that division has been headed by Alex Daley. He and his team have posted an incredible track record in that brief period – including a very accurate call on the direction of the Facebook IPO. Part of their success lies in understanding that behind every amazing advance are great minds – minds that are so valuable to tech companies that they are willing to fight to get the best and brightest on their team. By Doug Casey, Casey Researchlast_img read more