Friday, February 9, 2018 Share [People] Two new marketing hires for the Anguilla Tourist Board ANGUILLA — The Anguilla Tourist Board (ATB) has announced two new appointments: Colwayne Pickering, its new Marketing Officer, and Jameel Rochester, who will serve the ATB as Assistant Manager, Destination Experience.In his new role, Pickering will assist in leading the development of an island-headquartered marketing department, which will include designing and executing new digitally-focused marketing strategies, supporting international efforts, and developing partnerships to increase tourism arrivals. He has also been tasked with overseeing the marketing efforts of the international representatives in North America, the U.K., Latin America, Germany and Italy.Prior to joining ATB, Pickering served as General Manager (Cable and Broadband) Operations of Wireless Ventures (Digicel) Anguilla Ltd., where he managed million-dollar budgets and targets, and supervised a team of over 50 staff members.“I have a strong background and experience in excess of 10 years directly relating to marketing and promotions, coupled with operational and people management. I am confident that I will be an excellent asset to the organization, with a full appreciation for time management and the ability to work autonomously and under pressure in achieving required objectives,” said Pickering.Rochester will be responsible for assisting in the development, promotion and management of the on-island experience, which includes engaging with stakeholders in relation to all elements of Anguilla’s Tourism Product. His key duties include assisting in managing Public and Private Sector Relations, organizing and promoting internal and external training in the elements of hospitality, and coordinating community outreach programs to highlight the role of communities in the visitor experience.Prior to joining ATB, Rochester was the Resort Assistant Manager at the Four Seasons Resort & Residences Anguilla, and also held the position of Executive Assistant at Zemi Beach House Hotel & Spa.“With my practical experience combined with my educational studies, I am confident that I can and will become an invaluable asset to the Anguilla Tourist Board,” said Rochester. “My long-term career goal is to continue to learn and develop my skills and abilities within the hospitality industry, whilst utilizing my experience, knowledge, and skills to the benefit of the organization.”Both Pickering and Rochester began their new roles on Feb. 1 and are based at ATB’s head office in Anguilla. Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Anguilla, People Travelweek Group
14Jan Rep. Berman fights for increased government transparency with first bill Categories: Berman News State Rep. Ryan Berman submits his government transparency plan to the House enrolling clerk.State Rep. Ryan Berman, along with a bipartisan group of his Michigan House colleagues, has introduced a comprehensive plan to increase the transparency of state government.Berman, of Commerce Township, said Michigan is one of a very few states that still exempts its governor, lieutenant governor and the Legislature from sunshine laws. The bipartisan solution would remove these exemptions and make the government more accountable to the people of Michigan.“Transparency isn’t a partisan issue,” Berman said. “Transparency is about being open and accountable to the people we’re here to serve.”The transparency plan will subject the Legislature to a new Legislative Open Records Act (LORA) and the governor and lieutenant governor to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).“State representatives, senators and the governor should be held to the same transparency laws as local governments and school boards. It makes no sense to exempt our elected state officials from these important standards,” Berman said. “It’s time to update the law and set an example of openness and honesty.”Just like some documents containing sensitive personal information are exempt from disclosure by local governments under the current FOIA law, the new LORA will exempt some records, including letters to and from people in the district, human resources files, and ongoing legislative investigations or lawsuits.The plan, laid out in House Bills 4007-16, has been referred to the House Government Operations Committee for consideration.###
THE Alley Theatre in Strabane is delighted to be hosting the 20th Anniversary of C.R.A.I.C. with the ‘Johnny Crampsie Song and Dance Music Festival’, with concerts and workshops taking place throughout this weekend.In 1995 under the name CRAIC (Cultural Revival Among Integrated Communities), a group of people got together with the aim of reviving the old cultural traditions.After holding successful trad music weekend in 1997, CRAIC set up an annual event dedicated to the respected local musician, Johnny Crampsie who was a versatile fiddle and saxophone musician that played trad and a wide range or other types of music.The opening concert of the festival will take place in the Alley Theatre on this Friday night with CRAIC in Concert with Special Guests Tom Byrne and Friends, with an evening of traditional Irish and Folk music, hosted by the well-established local group. 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF CRAIC AT JOHNNY CRAMPSEY SONG AND DANCE MUSIC FESTIVALstrabaneTHE ALLEY THEATRE ShareTweet Over the festival weekend, the ever popular trad CRAIC Late Night Sessions can be enjoyed by all in the Stables of Sion Mills, while finishing off with the Closing Session with CRAIC on the Sunday evening.Craic is also celebrating their 20 year anniversary with an exhibition in the gallery space in the Alley Theatre with audio, video, photographic and artefact displays from the many events through the years.This will be an opportunity for the hundreds of people who have taken part or just enjoyed their experiences with craic to relive those memories.This promises to be another exciting and memorable weekend for all those culture vultures out there so come along and enjoy.For more information on the festival visit – http://www.craiconline.netTickets for all events are now available at the box office and online. The full Autumn/Winter programme is now available for download at http://www.alley-theatre.com/brochure/ and further updates will be available viafb.com/thealleytheatre and @TheAlleyTheatre on Twitter.20TH ANNIVERSARY OF CRAIC AT JOHNNY CRAMPSEY SONG AND DANCE MUSIC FESTIVAL was last modified: October 8th, 2015 by John2John2 Tags: The Johnny Crampsie Music Workshops will take place on Saturday with tutors from the fabulous group Beoga, followed by an opportunity for participants to perform on stage as part of the Beoga Concert, taking place later that evening.Beoga (Gaelic for ‘lively’) have become one of the most exciting, popular and influential groups in modern traditional Irish music.Their unique sound features the twin dueling accordions of Damian McKee and multi-instrumentalist Seán Óg Graham, pianist Liam Bradley, four times All-Ireland bodhrán champion Eamon Murray and Niamh Dunne, on vocals and fiddle.Shortlisted for a Grammy nomination in 2010, Beoga are described by the Wall Street Journal as ‘the best traditional band to emerge from Ireland this century’.
(Interviewed by Louis James, Editor, International Speculator)L: Doug, we’ve had a lot of questions from readers about the apparent push governments are making to go to paperless currency – all electronic, no cash. Do you think that’s likely, and what would be the implications?Doug: I think it’s probably inevitable. It’s not just cash, but the whole world is becoming increasingly digital. Credit cards already work very well all around the world, and everyone in the world, it seems, will soon have a smartphone – or at least everyone who might have any cash.But it’s not just a question of evolving technology. Governments hate cash for lots of reasons, starting with the fact it costs a couple of cents to print a piece of paper currency, and they have to be replaced quite often. As the US has destroyed the value of the dollar, they’ve had to take the copper out of pennies, and soon they’ll take the nickel out of nickels. Furthermore, with modern technology, counterfeiters – including unfriendly foreign governments – can turn out US currency that’s almost indistinguishable from the real thing. And the stuff takes up a lot of space if it’s enough to be of value. So sure, governments would like to get rid of tangible currency. They’d like to see all money kept in banks, which are today no more than arms of the state. But it’s not so simple: increasing numbers of people trust neither banks – most of which are insolvent – or currencies – most of which are on their way to their intrinsic values.L: Hm. On the technology front, when I was in central Africa a few weeks ago, plastic money was accepted happily everywhere I went – Rwanda, Burundi, the DRC, and Kenya – though not by street vendors yet. And I had access to the Internet everywhere I went, even in the middle of the jungle…Doug: Yes, the move towards digital currencies is already happening, and not just as a result of government efforts. Remember Bitcoin. And, as you know, I’m a big fan of Goldmoney.com, which is leading the way to a sound digital currency. Although Goldmoney.com has bowed to government pressure and has suspended its service allowing customers to transfer funds among one another, it’s another sign of the times…L: Yes, and Goldmoney.com is not the first attempt, nor will it be the last. We should mention to new readers that you are an investor in Goldmoney.com.Doug: The world’s going to digital currencies is in part a good thing, because it’s convenient. But it’s definitely a double-edged sword, because of government involvement in the field. If it were a strictly market phenomenon, I’d have no problem with it. It’d be just another choice. But if the state runs it, it would reduce people’s choices – and privacy. But that’s entirely apart from the fact that government – and I know this assertion will be shocking to most readers – has no business creating currency or minting money. Money, of all things, should be a purely market phenomenon. Government, as an institution, inevitably and necessarily corrupts everything it touches. Money is far too important to be left to the tender mercies of the state.L: Sure. A completely digital currency would be an unlimited license to print and spend. Need to give people more welfare? Just tap a few keys, and it appears in their bank accounts. Need to buy more missiles? Just a few more taps on the keyboard… But the privacy issue is even scarier: digital money would seem like Big Brother‘s dream come true. They wouldn’t even have to send their minions out to go through people’s trash. They could see everything anyone ever spent money on and where they were physically when they did it, search for activity nearby, and much more, just by having computers report the details of people’s accounts.Doug: Exactly. They would justify it with a host of phony excuses ranging from the so-called War on Terrorism to the so-called War on Drugs. Maybe they’ll tie it in to their disastrously failed War on Poverty. As the War on Islam heats up, one front will be an attack on the excellent Muslim hawala system, which allows cheap and reliable transfer of money between countries; that system, which is kind of a private SWIFT network, is excellent for evading FX controls. Ironically, Islamic countries are some of the very worst perpetrators of currency controls.L: Maybe that’s why the informal network exists in the first place? But yes, they gotta stop those evil money launderers from washing their money and hanging it out to dry…Doug: Don’t get me started on “money laundering.” It’s a completely artificial crime. It wasn’t even heard of 20 years ago, because the “crime” didn’t exist. Now, everyone speaks of it as though it were a real crime, like murder. It’s ridiculous, and further proof of the totally degraded state of the average person worldwide, absolutely including US citizens – what we used to call Americans. The government proclaims something as a law, and “sheeple” robotically assume it’s part of the cosmic firmament. If an official tells them to do or not to do something, they roll over on their backs like whipped dogs and wet themselves out of fear. The War on Drugs may be where “money laundering” originated as a crime, but today it has a lot more to do with something infinitely more important to the state: the War on Tax Evasion.Incidentally, not that a US citizen can open an account with a Swiss bank anyway any longer – except with at least seven figures and loads of paperwork – but now the policy in Switzerland is to insist that clients prove that their funds are all tax paid. The situation is out of control. And the world’s governments are increasingly working together to make sure no one slips through the net.L: Gotta keep the cattle in line.Doug: That’s right; the US has sent swarms of agents all around the world to bully and cajole bureaucrats in other countries into giving them access to bank account information and to impose income taxes in places that didn’t have them. In Uruguay, where I was last week, for example, there was no income tax two years ago. Now there is. And they’re trying to do the same thing in Paraguay. That’s about the last personal-income-tax holdout among the larger countries of the world.L: When I was in Paraguay last, they had passed an income-tax law, but it was being blocked from implementation by the legislature itself, on procedural grounds. I was told that since all of the legislators are deeply corrupted, none of them want to have to account for their income, and that’s why the measure will never be implemented. “Never” seems a bit optimistic, but it reminds me of your call to make corruption your friend. At any rate, why would the US government care if other countries have income taxes – so they can have tax treaties with them?Doug: I’m sure that’s part of it. A bigger part may be that countries with high tax burdens want so-called tax harmonization, so it’s less tempting to businesses and individuals to leave their borders and go where they can benefit from a lower tax burden – or pay no taxes at all. Governments all around the world, in spite of their differences, share a concern about their income streams – especially since most of them are absolutely bankrupt now – and their bureaucracies work together closely when it suits them. For example, the reason why you get asked if you are carrying more than $10,000 in cash on you when you board an international flight these days, even in a tiny African or South American country, is that it’s an OECD standard that’s been… enthusiastically encouraged. When it first started, it was only $3,000, but that generated too much work for them, so they raised it to $10,000. But all the bad ideas in the world now seem to be coming out of the US.You know, up until the Bank Secrecy Act of 1971, Americans didn’t have to report foreign bank accounts or brokerage accounts. Reporting income generated by such accounts was required, but the existence of the accounts themselves was not required. The rules and reporting requirements have now become so draconian that most foreign banks don’t even want to see a US taxpayer darken their door, let alone open an account for one. It’s a cancer, spreading out from the US.L: So, is this trend inevitable? At some point will Big Brother know everything about all transactions?Doug: Yes. And if they can’t get everything they want from you off your cell phone, which will probably also become your wallet with a digital credit-card app at some point in the near future, they will be able to monitor everything physically via the swarms of tiny spy drones they will flood the skies with. The technology will soon make this cheap as dirt, and computational power is increasing rapidly to the point where it will be possible to process all the images.L: Only if the people don’t divulge everything they are doing and whom they are doing it with on Facebook and Twitter.Doug: [Laughs] Ah, yes, Facebook, the CIA’s most successful covert op. I idiotically opened a Facebook account some years back because someone convinced me it would be a good way to keep in touch with old school friends I’d lost touch with. Now I get scores of people who want to friend me every month, and I know very, very few of them. It will be one-stop shopping for Homeland Security to round up the usual suspects when they feel the time is right. I hate Facebook and never use it for anything. I wonder how many of my Facebook friends are actually government stooges out looking for somebody to railroad…L: A sobering thought.Doug: I have to say that the prognosis for privacy is very grim. The only possible saving grace I can see is that the snoops may end up with information overload, most of it worthless or irrelevant. That’s what seriously impeded the East German and Romanian secret police. But with computer technology getting better and better, there’s not much reason to believe Homeland Security will be buried the way the Stasi was with its primitive technology.I really see no way to stop this trend, nor hide from it – at least in the US or Europe. There’s one thing, however, we can hope for: the coming collapse of the modern nation-state. This will happen, sooner or later, in Europe and North America, at least. This is a possible bright side of the building worldwide financial collapse; it might bring down Big Brother… although it’s more likely, I’m afraid, that he’ll redouble his efforts to control everything. Unfortunately, the immediate aftermath of that collapse is likely to be very unpleasant, especially for those in the most developed and powerful countries.The best way to insulate yourself from this, therefore, is to live in a country whose government doesn’t have the power, financial resources, or technical ability to do these things. As per our last conversation, Africa might be a good place to get out of harm’s way, but it’s a bit too far off the beaten path for my taste and has way too many problems. That’s why I like Latin America.L: What about the hope that if people get pushed too far, they may rebel? Everyone has things they don’t want made public, even those with absolutely nothing nefarious about them. A total lack of privacy would seem intolerable, after some – probably short – period of time. As Princess Leia told Governor Tarkin in the original Star Wars movie: the tighter they squeeze their fist, the more people will slip through their fingers. Or maybe not. It is, frankly, very dismaying to me that the Big Brother concept has been turned into a “reality” TV show.Doug: People may think it’s funny now, or even an egalitarian ideal to live in a society in which no one has any secrets, but that won’t last. If only in relation to currency controls – what we started out talking about – I think there’s something to your Star Wars quote. The more total the monitoring and control the state achieves over the legal economy, the more it will push people into the black market. We saw that in Soviet times. Stringent and very intrusive state monitoring, compulsion, and punishment only made the informal market flourish all the more. I’m sure this will happen. Even North Korea has an active black market. But I don’t like that term. What’s called “the black market” is really the free market; it’s heroic. The legal market – with all its taxes and regulations – is actually the one in need of either radical reform or abolition.L: But the monitoring beyond finance – your drone swarms – might make noncompliance too risky for most people to try.Doug: True. And maybe the US will get not just 10% of the population hooked on stuff like Prozac, but 20% or 50%. As Aldous Huxley pointed out in Brave New World, it’s much easier to control zombies. That’s another reason why I think that hope for the future rests in what are today derided as corrupt Third-World countries. If you’re going to have a ridiculous number of impossible laws, corruption is a good thing. Increasingly, what matters is not the number or even nature of laws on the books in the place you live, but the amount of actual control the state has over private individuals. Corruption subverts idiotic laws; it’s the next best thing to abolishing them.L: I’ve often said that on paper, the US is freer than Mexico, but in fact, Mexico has become much freer than the US, in spite of its legally powerful socialist government. The average Mexican considers tax evasion to be a universal given, but US taxpayers fear their government – a letter from the IRS can cause instant weight loss.Doug: It’s certainly true that in Argentina, where I’m building a new home, people don’t fear their government. Well, not in the police-state sense, anyway; they see it as more of a nuisance. It’s probably more accurate to say they are resigned to their government destroying the economy periodically than to say they actively fear it. If I get pulled over for speeding in Argentina – which itself would be highly unusual – I feel that I have nothing to fear at all, whereas back in the US, I could end up getting tased, have my car taken, and do jail time for saying or doing the wrong thing, even without harming anyone. Any contact with the police in the US brings an increasing risk of a lethal outcome these days. I understand that there are about 40,000 SWAT raids on real and imagined targets every year, and the number is growing fast.Another contrast: in Argentina, most people despise the police and military, whereas in the US, they are apotheosized. This tells you a lot about the psychological states of these populations – it’s a very bad trend in the US.L: On the subject of Argentina, perhaps we should mention that readers who’d like to meet you could head down there for the upcoming harvest celebration.Doug: Well, I’m in the middle of one right now, but another is coming up next week, and there’s still time to sign up for that one. Sure – we have a lot of readers, and I’ve enjoyed meeting many, but it would be nice to get to know more of them. And it’s a nice time to get away from the dying days of winter in the northern hemisphere and come to a place where the weather is pleasant and the wines are fantastic. And I’m really tickled with our world-class gym, spa, and all the rest of it.L: Very well. Investment implications?Doug: Well, this highlights the importance of owning gold, but not for investment purposes or even for the financial prudence we’ve spoken of before, but for a different kind of prudence: privacy – and even freedom.One thing that has changed since we started having these conversations – back when gold was trading at about $600 per ounce – is that having approached $2,000 per ounce, and being likely to surpass that level soon, governments are going to start clamping down on gold more and more. Back when gold was under $300 an ounce, it wasn’t convenient to carry large nominal sums in gold – it was too bulky, too heavy. A roll of hundred-dollar bills was less trouble. But now you can hide $20,000 in one hand using gold. This has not gone unnoticed by the bad guys, and customs and immigrations forms of several countries have started asking not only if you are carrying more than $10,000 in cash, but specifically gold. Incidentally, to keep up with this type of thing, I urge readers to sign up at International Man, which has a great, free daily letter.L: I agree; it’s an excellent publication. That’s an interesting admission for Big Brother to make, asking people to declare cash and gold; in effect, it admits gold’s value as money… But okay, if the state achieves total monitoring and control of the legal economy, and the informal economy becomes much larger, would that not greatly increase the demand for gold? The black market is, as you say, a free – if somewhat chaotic – market, so, according to you and Aristotle, would not gold emerge as the money of choice in that market? And would that not add to the speculative reason for owning gold in addition to the reasons of prudence?Doug: Yes, and yes. Other sub-trends speculators might look for, within the overall trend of digitalization of our world, would lie in various new technologies this will make possible. Many of them would be very positive and profitable for those who deploy them commercially first. This is the sort of thing Alex Daly keeps tabs on in our Casey Extraordinary Technology letter.L: That reminds me of what you said about our phones becoming our wallets. You already don’t really need a physical card to make most revolving credit purchases, just the information on the account. Not only do we buy all sort of thing online these days with this information, but there are chips that transmit gas-card info to gas pumps so we don’t even need to get our wallets out to fill up our tanks. Who knows where that will end up, but I can imagine that as phones and computers (and what used to be TVs) all merge into one technology – which already includes payment systems – money will get folded into this technology as well.Doug: I fully expect that, even though I still don’t own a cell phone and really loathe the things. As an individual human being, I’m going to keep on paying for things in cash for as long as I can – and to me, gold is the real cash of the world. But as a speculator, I think there’s a lot of money to be made investing in the developers of these technological innovations.L: Good luck with that fight. As Locutus of Borg said, “Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.” There are computer chips in clothing, in cars – heck, it won’t be long before they’re in our food and in the drinking water… Only to help doctors monitor our health, of course.Doug: I know, I know. The prison planet we live on could get pretty ugly before it frees up again. I fear that before things get better, they will have to get much worse, and our world will soon come to resemble a cross between Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984 – or maybe Soylent Green if it gets really bad.L: Another cheerful thought, Doug.Doug: You know I call ’em like I see ’em. I hope many of our current readers will look into The Casey Report as well, if only because this month has part two of a long article that I’m rather fond of, titled Evil, Stupidity, and the Decline of America, which examines the root causes of the pickle the West is now in.But the greater the invasion of privacy, the greater the need for privacy there will be – and the market will respond. I doubt you’ll need stolen eyeballs for retina scans, as in the movie Minority Report, but technologies that identify you to the monitors as a Boy Scout from Iowa (with a perfect grade-point average, totally clean driving record, and no arrests or interrogations) will certainly become available. Clean digital identities should become highly lucrative commodities, all the more so for being illegal. But, with any luck, when the revolution comes – and it will, even though it will be most unpleasant, inconvenient, and dangerous – I hope it turns out more like the revolutions in V for Vendetta or the American Revolution than the one in France under Robespierre. In any event, there’s no doubt in my mind that things will get much worse before the world reboots and gets better again.L: Well, that’s marginally better. As has been observed before, as in the times of chattel slavery, for example, when laws become unjust, just people must become outlaws.Doug: Just so. Maybe we’ll all have our chance to play Robin Hood against an evil king.L: Right then. Thanks for your thoughts… I’ll have to take a closer look at our technology picks for my own investment portfolio.Doug: You should. And you’re welcome. Talk to you soon. In the meantime, live, and be wellL: Until next time.
In 1946, an American singer, Merle Travis, recorded a song called “Sixteen Tons.” The song told the story of a poor coal miner in Kentucky, who lived in a small coal mining town. The town’s economy revolved entirely around the mine.c The mining company owned a “company store,” which had a monopoly on the sale of provisions. It charged rates that were designed to use up the weekly paycheque of the miner, so that the miner, in effect, was a slave to the mining company. As the song states, You load sixteen tons, what do you get Another day older and deeper in debt Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go I owe my soul to the company store Negative Interest Rates Let’s put the song aside for the moment and have a look at a concept that has been bandied about by the European Central Bank (ECB) for a while now. Since the collapse of the central banks would doom the world (their claim, not mine), it is essential that the banks be saved no matter what else must be sacrificed. Efforts to “save” the situation have been implemented through quantitative easing (QE) and the setting and continuation of low interest rates. Unfortunately, in spite of record profits by banks and staggering bonuses handed out to senior bank executives, somehow the QE and low interest rates have not created the prosperity desired. The economy is still in the tank. What to do? A solution being considered is to create “negative interest rates.” Sounds logical, doesn’t it? If low interest rates have kept the economy from crashing but haven’t fixed it, surely, negative interest rates can only be more positive. And what are negative interest rates? Well, it simply means that, if you keep your money in a bank, instead of the bank paying you interest, you pay the bank to hold your money. No central bank has ever done such a thing, so, not surprisingly, it sounds like a bitter pill to swallow. However, the ECB will present it as an “unfortunate necessity.” Electronic Currency Let’s once again change subjects for the moment. If the fiat currencies, such as the euro and the dollar, collapse (as I believe is all but inevitable), the EU and US are likely to immediately come up with an alternate currency (or currencies), since if an alternative is not made readily available, people will turn to whatever currency is handy in order to be able to continue to purchase goods and to trade. We are in the electronic age. We are also seeing the EU and US heading in a direction that is marked with increasing controls on the capital held by their citizens. Therefore, the ideal currency would be an electronic one. No more paper notes in the wallet, no more coins in the pocket; just a plastic debit card to take care of all purchases. All purchases. Whether the purchaser buys something as major as a car or as insignificant as a Cadbury bar, the card would be used for every monetary transaction. This, of course, is a handy solution to the fuss of dealing with what was formerly regarded as money. But there is an extra advantage—quite a major one, in fact—to the government. It now has a record of every single transaction that you make. There could be no “under the table” transactions, as only the debit card would represent currency. Of course, a bank would be needed to handle the transactions. The bank would receive your electronic paycheck directly from your employer, and you would spend what you had in your account. The bank would be the central clearing house though which all your financial transactions took place. An extra advantage to the government would be that they would no longer need to chase their citizens for taxation. Since they had a full record of every penny you earned and spent, they could advise you of the amount of your tax obligation and simply deduct it periodically. If you presently pay tax annually, the deductions could be broken up—say, monthly, or even weekly. And the tax need not be under one heading. Just as your bank now lists a host of confusing charges on your credit card, so the government may have a wide variety of confusing and even redundant taxes that it deducts on a regular basis. Just as with the bank, the rates for each tax might go up or down (but mostly up) without explanation. (The more numerous the tax categories and the greater the frequency of deductions, the more confusion and, therefore, the fewer the complaints.) How Does All This Fit Together? Let’s go back to the ECB. If a negative interest rate exists, the bank no longer pays you interest to encourage you to keep your money with them. They now control all your monetary transactions, and you cannot function without them. The servant has become the master. Therefore, it would not be possible to cease to use the bank for your transactions, should their “negative interest rates” start to climb. At this point, the government and the bank would, between them, control your money totally. You would find yourself, in effect, “owned by the company store.” It’s even possible that bank fees and tax rates could be increased as your income increased, so that you might never be able to truly save money, invest, or indeed, act independently of your “owners.” The flow of your money would have become centralised, and you could not function without them. Of course, this is all theory. Surely, this could not come to pass, because people inherently do not wish to be enslaved. And yet it happened on a wholesale basis in Kentucky and other mining areas in the US. So the question really is, “How did it become possible that people in mining towns volunteered for their own slavery?” First there was a depression. Many people lost their jobs and their incomes and were prepared to do anything in order to feed their families. So they signed up for the only game in town: the mines. It was dangerous work, there were no benefits, and the coal dust would kill a miner after a time. But as long as he lived, his family had enough to eat. He accepted the deal, because (again) it was the only game in town. So, back to the present day, where the Greater Depression will soon be on us in full force. A large percentage of jobs will be destroyed, but in addition, this time around, the currency will also be destroyed. In order to pay for goods, particularly food, people will do whatever they have to, to obtain currency. Desperate times, indeed. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel! The government has chosen to eliminate bank notes and coins, as they ultimately proved to be so destructive. Never again will this be allowed to happen. The new Electronic Currency System will ensure that all money is centrally managed. The press will declare the new system brilliant, and the harder an individual has been hit by the Greater Depression, the more quickly he will jump on board. The greedy rich have all but destroyed his life, and his government, like a knight in shining armour, has come to save him. Like the miner, he will not be musing on how this will all play out over the decades; he will opt for the promise of relief for his family now. If this all plays out as described above, it will not be just Kentucky, but entire nations. Editor’s note: The day after this article was written, the ECB announced the introduction of a negative interest rate: 0.1% on deposits. As predicted, the media have already begun to the praise the measure. To see what the consequences of economic mismanagement can be, and how stealthily disaster can creep up on you, watch the 30-minute documentary, Meltdown America. Witness the harrowing tales of three ordinary people who lived through a crisis, and how their experiences warn of the turmoil that could soon reach the US. Click here to watch it now.
Fantastic essay! – Linda Recommended Link For the first time ever: a guided tour of Doug’s Ranch in UruguayDoug Casey was kind enough to take our cameras on a guided tour of beautiful Uruguayan Estancia. We even captured Doug showing off a few special pieces in his art collection. Click here for a rare look inside the private life of one of the world’s most reclusive millionaires. Recommended Link By Justin Spittler, editor, Casey Daily DispatchCalifornia just made history.Last week, state regulators announced a new mandate that will require all new homes to have solar panels. The law applies to single-family homes and low-rise apartment buildings. It will go into effect in 2020. As a result, California became the first state to introduce such a mandate.And as I’ll show you in today’s Dispatch, this isn’t just big news for the people of California.It’s big news for all Americans… and it’s a massive investing opportunity.I’ll tell you why in a second. But let’s first take a closer look at the mandate… and how it will impact people living in California. — Hi guys, Tell John Hunt his article was absolutely spot-on, just brilliant.– Anthony — • The mandate is expected to add $9,500 in costs for each new home built…Now, some folks worry that this will make it even less affordable to buy homes in California. That’s the bad news.The good news is that the average Californian is expected to see $19,000 in energy savings over the next 30 years.This mandate will have serious ripple effects. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Florida, Nevada, or even Texas eventually introduced similar legislation.If that happens, more and more Americans will need to buy solar panels. And that will obviously be good news for the solar panel companies. But here’s the thing…• The solar energy industry will flourish even if other states don’t follow California’s lead… There’s a simple reason for this.Solar energy has become very cheap. According to a recent report from asset management firm Lazard, the cost of solar power has declined 86% since 2009. That’s the biggest drop of any major energy source.As a result, one megawatt hour of solar power now costs just $50. That’s less than half of what it costs to produce one megawatt-hour of coal power ($102). And get this… solar energy currently accounts for just 2% of U.S. electricity needs. So, solar energy will become even cheaper as the industry achieves economies of scale.This will encourage even more people to adopt solar energy for their energy needs.You can see where I’m going with this. But look, I’m not the only investor bullish on solar stocks. Just look at this chart of the Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN), which invests in a basket of solar stocks.You can see that TAN surged 9% following California’s big announcement. It’s now up 46% over the last year. That’s a big move. But solar stocks should climb much higher in the coming months.Check out this chart to see why. It compares the performance of TAN to the S&P 500.When this line is rising, it means that solar stocks are doing better than the S&P 500. When it’s falling, it means they’re doing worse.You can see that solar stocks have been underperforming the market for the past 10 years. This means they have a lot of catching up to do. But the trend has changed direction over the past few months… and solar stocks will continue to move higher, thanks to California’s mandate and the industry’s rapidly improving economics.So, consider investing in solar stocks if you haven’t already. You can easily do so with TAN.As I mentioned earlier, this ETF invests in a basket of solar stocks and allows you to bet on this big trend without taking on any company-specific risks.Regards, Justin Spittler Buenos Aires, Argentina May 18, 2018Reader MailbagToday, lots of great feedback on Wednesday’s Dispatch featuring an important update on Argentina and a new essay from John Hunt…Nice essay, Justin. – Peter New tool could disrupt the entire $8 trillion food industry Scientists recently discovered a new tool hidden in billion-year-old bacteria that could disrupt the entire $8 trillion global food industry… This could mean 35X growth for the industry at the center of this new technology. Click here to learn more. Beautiful. Perfect. Now I see why John Hunt and Doug Casey are writing novels together. Always nice to be reminded that I’m not completely alone in my view of government people. Thanks! – Gordon As always, if you have any questions or suggestions for the Dispatch, send them to us right here.In Case You Missed It…Doug Casey just found a crypto guru worthy of Casey Research subscribers…This bright young German has been involved with digital currencies since he invested in e-gold in the late ’90s—long before the current blockchain breakthrough.And like Doug, he’s a truly an “international man.” He made so much money from cryptos; he dropped everything and traveled the world for five years. And now, he has an important message…
The World Health Organization said Friday that security concerns in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu region were preventing aid workers from reaching certain areas — and leaving open the possibility of the Ebola virus spreading.At least 1,500 people could be exposed to the virus, WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva, according to Reuters.Congo’s health ministry declared an outbreak of Ebola on Aug. 1 in the North Kivu region. As of Wednesday, the WHO reports 51 confirmed cases and 27 probable cases of Ebola in the region, with 44 people (17 confirmed, 27 probable) having died of the disease.”We don’t know if we are having all transmission chains identified. We expect to see more cases as a result of earlier infections and infection developing into illness,” Jasarevic reportedly said. “We still don’t have a full epidemiological picture. … The worst-case scenario is that we have these security blind spots where the epidemic could take hold that we don’t know about,” the wire service quoted him as saying.North Kivu — “a lawless, mineral-rich area in the northeast of the country,” as NPR’s Jason Beaubien describes it — is home to 8 million people. “Over the last decade armed groups in North Kivu have massacred civilians and each other while vying for control of the province’s deposits of gold, diamond and coltan, an ore used in cellphones and other electronics,” Beaubien reports.The WHO says the area “has been experiencing intense insecurity and worsening humanitarian crisis, with over one million internally displaced people and a continuous efflux of refugees to the neighbouring countries, including Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania.” About 1,500 miles away in the DRC’s northwest Équateur province, the WHO had just declared a previous Ebola outbreak over on July 24. It said the next day that 33 people had died in that outbreak that had been declared in early May — a relative success compared with the devastating outbreak in 2014 through 2016 in West Africa that left more than 11,300 people dead.The WHO’s response in May involved the first widespread use of the experimental Ebola vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV since testing started in 2015.On Friday, the WHO said more than 500 people, including health workers, had been vaccinated against the disease in the North Kivu outbreak. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. August 25, 2017 Add to Queue Email Nina Zipkin Image credit: Shutterstock –shares 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Would You Be Thankful or Horrified If the Emails You Got While on Vacation Disappeared? Arianna Huffington really wants to make sure her employees unplug. 2 min read Next Article Americans are known for being truly terrible at taking time off. A study from careers site Glassdoor found that the average employee reported only taking 54 percent of the vacation days they had available to them. More telling is that 66 percent of those polled said that they worked while they were away.There are tons of tools out there to make your inbox a little less daunting, but if you’re always checking email, even if you’re supposed to be relaxing, that stress will still follow you to whatever beach you’ve parked yourself on.Arianna Huffington, the founder and CEO of wellness brand Thrive Global, has long been a proponent of unplugging to the point of creating on-the-nose merch — such as a $50 charging bed for your phone. Now, she’s introduced an email office tool called Thrive Away that she described in a post for Harvard Business Review.Related: The Impact Of Chronic Work Stress On Your Employees“While you’re on vacation, people who email you get a message, letting them know when you’ll be back. And then — the most important part — the tool deletes the email,” she wrote.” If the email is important, the sender can always send it again. If it’s not, then it’s not waiting for you when you get back, or even worse, tempting you to read it while you’re away.”While most companies likely won’t implement an office-wide system like Huffington’s, it’s a helpful reminder that if you don’t respond to that email right away, the world won’t come to an end. And as a business owner, if you want your employees to stay healthy and productive, it’s on you to encourage them to actually take that time away for themselves — and leave their inboxes behind. Entrepreneur Staff Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture. Apply Now »
Journalist Benjamin Kabin Technology July 17, 2013 Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Add to Queue Register Now » Discount-of-the-day site LivingSocial is closing its Fifth Avenue office in New York City and eliminating its local events division, leaving 30 full-time staffers without jobs.Remaining New York staffers in its sales and advertising department have been asked to work from home. Once all local events in New York are completed by Oct. 1, the company plans to lay off dozens of part-time employees.The news, confirmed by TheNextWeb, comes less than a month after the company shuttered its Seattle office, where it also asked displaced employees to work remotely.The deals site stressed that these changes are not part of a cost-cutting effort but “a decision geared towards achieving profitability.” LivingSocial said that larger events have been more lucrative than the niche ones offered by the local-events division. Meanwhile, the company said it plans to create 50 new jobs for its call center in Tucson, Ariz.Last November, LivingSocial laid off 400 employees, mostly in the U.S., in an effort to “streamline” its sales and editorial departments. Groupon, another big daily discount site, saw massive layoffs in 2012 as well, cutting 648 jobs over a six-month period.Related: What Happens When Startups Grow Too Fast –shares Struggling Deals Site LivingSocial Kills Events Group, Closes New York Office Image credit: blog.buyometric.co.uk Next Article 1 min read Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel.
Xpressdocs Acquires Amazing Mail, Expands Direct Mail API Capabilities PRNewswireJune 12, 2019, 6:42 pmJune 12, 2019 Xpressdocs Partners, Ltd, a Texas based provider of tech-enabled direct marketing and brand management solutions announced the acquisition of Amazingmail, an Arizona based provider of direct mail solutions.This acquisition, under which Amazingmail will operate as a 100% owned subsidiary of Xpressdocs, brings together two industry leaders specializing in high quality product offerings and cutting-edge marketing solutions. The complementary nature of the companies’ service offerings creates numerous opportunities for mutual business growth and an expansion of direct mail API capabilities for Xpressdocs.Marketing Technology News: Crimson Agility Receives Two Nominations from Magento“We are very excited to be joining forces with Amazingmail. When you look at their portfolio of great products and how their focus on innovative technology and marketing automation has led to them creating a world class experience for their customers, it just made them an ideal fit for Xpressdocs,” said Jim Wright, Chief Executive Officer of Xpressdocs.Danielle Stiehl, President and Chief Executive Officer of Amazingmail, also commented, “This acquisition provides Amazingmail with the opportunity to offer an expanded set of products, services, and support to our customers by leveraging Xpressdocs’ expertise in enterprise marketing solutions. We look forward to the future and what we can produce as members of the Xpressdocs’ family.”Marketing Technology News: DAA Announces Enforcement Deadline for ‘Political Ad’ Guidelines and Transparency IconAmazingmail will continue to operate in Phoenix, AZ under the Amazingmail brand with the current management team remaining in place and continuing to run daily operations.Xpressdocs is a Falcata Capital portfolio company. Woodbridge International served as exclusive financial advisor to Amazingmail.Marketing Technology News: SentinelOne Announces $120 Million Series D Amazing MailDirect Mail APIdirect marketingNewsXpressdocs Previous ArticleAppSheet Expands Management Team, Adds Veteran Tableau ExecsNext ArticleCopper Partners with DocuSign to Enable Small Businesses to Accelerate Business Decisions
GetResponse Expands Turnkey Marketing Platform with Powerful Webinar, eCommerce, Online Payments, and Social Ad Integration Capabilities Business WireJuly 2, 2019, 2:09 pmJuly 2, 2019 ecommerceemail marketingGetResponseNewsSocial Ad IntegrationTurnkey Marketing Platform Previous ArticleConversocial Promotes Ido Bornstein-HaCohen to Chief Executive OfficerNext ArticleVonage and Freshworks Enhance Customer Experience Via Multichannel Communications Integrates with Facebook, PrestaShop, Square, and WooCommerce to Strengthen Inbound/Outbound Marketing PlatformGetResponse, the global innovator in digital and email marketing, announced that its all-in-one marketing platform now features enhanced webinar and e-commerce capabilities, a new online payments gateway, and direct integration with social ads.Since GetResponse is a complete inbound and outbound marketing platform, customers can centralize, manage and analyze integrated campaigns using advertising, email, landing pages, social media, webinars, and e-commerce. This results in stronger campaign performance while saving customers time and the cost of having to purchase separate marketing solutions.The new webinar capabilities are the result of extensive development efforts to further enhance the platform. The fully responsive webinar layout features a fresh modern design that delivers supreme audio and video with support for HD streaming, advanced chat and Q&A management, recorder templates, livestreaming on Facebook and YouTube, and customizable calls to action.Marketing Technology News: Digital Communication Tools Leave Many Workers Feeling Squeezed out by Tech-Savvy ColleaguesAdditionally, GetResponse has strengthened its integration with industry leaders including PrestaShop and WooCommerce for e-Commerce, Square for secure online payments, and Facebook for ad integration. These features are directly in GetResponse, enabling customers to easily identify their target audience and create and execute marketing campaigns from a centralized marketing platform.“GetResponse continues to stay one step ahead of the needs of its customers and today’s news of its increasingly more powerful marketing platform further demonstrates their commitment to making it easy to attract, engage and convert customers,” said Ian Cleary, CEO, Razor Social.Marketing Technology News: Selligent Marketing Cloud Study Reveal Digital Marketers Struggle to Deliver Consistent Omnichannel ExperiencesGetResponse customers that want to take advantage of the platform’s new capabilities can log on to their account and select the tools they need. For Facebook ads, users simply upload their ad, select their audience and budget and GetResponse does the rest. The advanced analytics capabilities make it easy to monitor progress and results. Additionally, GetResponse offers new customers a free 30-day trial.“Building on the success of our new Autofunnel offering, we’re delighted to continue to expand our platform’s features,” said Daniel Brzezinski, COO, GetResponse. “These new features provide marketers with an even more powerful turnkey solution for attracting, engaging and converting customers.Marketing Technology News: Aprimo Recognized as Winner for 2019 Microsoft Media & Communications Partner of the Year
email marketingEmail Testing SoftwareLitmusMarketing Technology NewsNewsPersonally Identifiable Information Previous ArticleQuadrant Audiences Launches Offering Highly-Targeted Audience Insights in Asia PacificNext ArticleTBWA\Media Arts Lab Appoints Ricardo Adolfo as Executive Creative Director for Japan and Korea Litmus Adds Cloud Storage Integration with Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive PRNewswire9 hours agoJuly 23, 2019 Award-Winning Email Platform Now Imports HTML Email Design Files from Leading Cloud-Storage Solutions, Saving Time and Eliminating Errors for Email MarketersLitmus, a leader in email marketing and analytics, announced several new updates to its email platform, including the ability to import email design files from leading cloud storage solutions, expanded privacy protections, and enhancements to custom email tracking. The company also announced that its platform was recently named Spring Leader 2019 by G2 Crowd in the category of Email Testing Software, receiving positive user feedback and above-average scores for both ease of setup and ease of use.“We continue to expand the capabilities of the Litmus platform to deliver an integrated and best-in-class email marketing solution for our customers,” said Richard Yu, senior vice president of product, Litmus. “These new collaboration features and enhancements make it even easier for our customers to efficiently design and test their email campaigns, and to gather critical insights from post-send analytics.”“At Dropbox, it’s our priority to bring content, tools, and teams together, by organizing your content, bringing context to your work, and giving everyone a place to get work done,” said Abhishek Lahoti, business development executive at Dropbox. “Email is a core communication tool for most marketing organizations, so we’re pleased to partner with Litmus to enable marketers to collaborate more efficiently and execute effective campaigns faster.”Marketing Technology News: James Liu Appointed to Board of Directors of Opera LimitedThe Litmus platform and the new features span the full email marketing cycle—from pre-send design to testing and post-send analytics. The new features, as well as recently announced accessibility functionality, make marketing campaigns more inclusive and extend the value of the Litmus platform while maintaining its hallmark ease of use.Cloud Storage IntegrationLitmus users can now import their hypertext markup language (HTML) email files from popular cloud file storage solutions such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive. By importing these directly into Litmus, users save time and avoid copy-and-paste errors. The import feature streamlines workflow at several steps along the way, including Builder, Proof, and Checklist — and ensures users are always working with the latest files. Review and approval cycles are simplified, and testing checklists are quickly created without the need to switch between platforms.Privacy Protections and Custom TrackingMarketers can now protect subscribers’ personally identifiable information (PII) while still gathering actionable insights via meaningful tags and parameters. The new functionality enables users to disable email fields that collect PII and replace those with unique tracking codes for every email, along with defined campaign timeframes and expiration dates. This enables Litmus users to track email metrics at the subscriber level and better identify which emails are making the biggest impact.Marketing Technology News: Adobe Survey Says That Voice and Screen Combined Are the FutureG2 Spring Leader AccoladeThe G2 Leader badge is based on independent tech reviewers who have identified Litmus as a leading email marketing and testing solution. Litmus achieved the highest satisfaction scores in its product category, with above-average scores for both ease of setup and ease of use. The satisfaction rating is derived from independent and authentic user reviews, factoring in multiple rankings across product features, administrative services, and Net Promoter Score (NPS). G2 applies a unique algorithm to each review, analyzing and weighting reviews in terms of popularity, thoroughness, and age. Products in the leader quadrant are rated highly by G2 Crowd users and have substantial market presence scoresMarketing Technology News: OpenText Automates Invoicing for Rosneft Deutschland
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 6 2018Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) celebrates a pivotal moment in medicine: approval by the European Commission (EC) of LUXTURNA® (voretigene neparvovec), the first and only gene therapy for patients with an inherited retinal disease, last month. This also makes LUXTURNA the first gene therapy for a genetic disease that has received regulatory approval in both the U.S. and European Union (EU).The EC approved LUXTURNA, a one-time gene therapy for the treatment of vision loss due to inherited retinal dystrophy caused by confirmed biallelic RPE65 mutations, in pediatric and adult patients who have sufficient viable retinal cells. RPE65 -mediated inherited retinal disease is a progressive condition that leads to total blindness in most patients.The authorization is valid in all 28 member states of the EU, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. In December 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved LUXTURNA for use in patients in the U.S.”The European Commission’s approval of LUXTURNA highlights the vital role of pediatric research in developing breakthrough cures,” said Bryan Wolf, MD, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer and Chair of the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “The research conducted as a collaborative effort between CHOP’s Raymond G. Perelman Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics (CCMT) and investigators at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania laid the groundwork for this revolutionary gene therapy, which was developed and is now manufactured by Spark Therapeutics. Today, we are thrilled to see LUXTURNA approved as a therapy for children and adults outside the U.S.”Related StoriesGuidelines to help children develop healthy habits early in lifeResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationCHOP founded Spark Therapeutics in 2013 in an effort to accelerate the timeline for bringing new gene therapies to market. Spark’s mission, to create a world where no life is limited by genetic disease, was to build on the foundational research conducted over a multi-year period by the CHOP and Penn Medicine teams.Beginning in 2000, the initial research for LUXTURNA was conducted by Jean Bennett, MD, PhD, F.M. Kirby professor of Ophthalmology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Scheie Eye Institute, and Albert M. Maguire, MD, a professor of Ophthalmology at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and an attending physician at CHOP. Bennett and Maguire joined forces with then-CHOP researcher Katherine A. High, MD, a gene therapy pioneer who directed the CCMT and who is now Spark’s President and head of research and development. Dr. Maguire served as a Principal Investigator of the therapy’s clinical trials.In the U.S., the gene therapy is currently administered at 10 treatment centers by leading retinal surgeons who receive training provided by Spark Therapeutics on the administration procedure.In January 2018, Spark Therapeutics entered into a licensing and supply agreement with Novartis covering development, registration and commercialization rights to LUXTURNA in markets outside the U.S. Upon the transfer of the marketing authorization from Spark Therapeutics to Novartis. Novartis can commercialize LUXTURNA in the EU/EEA. Novartis already has exclusive rights to pursue development, registration and commercialization in all other countries outside the U.S., and Spark Therapeutics will supply the gene therapy to Novartis.Source: https://www.chop.edu/news/children-s-hospital-celebrates-european-commission-approval-first-its-kind-gene-therapy
Related StoriesSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchTargeted treatment offers symptom relief for patients with psychosisStudy: Treatment of psychosis can be targeted to specific genetic mutationBecause the gift is endowed, the perpetual funding will secure the future of behavioral health research at Vanderbilt.”We are already providing clinical care to many patients during their first episode of psychosis. This transformational gift now allows us to map the trajectory of psychosis,” said Stephan Heckers, MD, MSc, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. “The outstanding translational research environment at Vanderbilt University Medical Center is the ideal place to realize the vision of our donor.”The gift will allow researchers to engage and track patients for longer periods of time, enabling longitudinal research studies that could otherwise not be accomplished. Through enhanced assessments, increased medication monitoring and earlier interventions, the team at Vanderbilt hopes to gain insight into what determines positive and negative treatment outcomes and to extend the lives of people with psychotic disorders, which are associated with a shortened life expectancy.”We are extremely grateful to the donor for making this translational research possible. The donor’s vision will impact many patients at Vanderbilt and will greatly advance our research agenda,” said Heckers. Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 13 2019Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences has received a $10 million endowed gift to fund translational research, support clinical programs and create an endowed chair within the department.As a family member of a loved one with schizophrenia, the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous so the focus remains on the patients and new treatments, is energized by the potential of developing early treatments to slow or prevent psychosis from reaching more critical stages.”Seeing firsthand the devastation of the effects that these diseases have on not just the individual, but the whole family, I believe we need to try anything possible to help alleviate the pain of these experiences,” said the donor. “We keep hoping that something will come along that helps slow the progression of psychotic disorders. If we can work with patients through their first episodes so we can hopefully prevent future ones, that will be the key to improving lives.”The donor made the gift to help other families find answers as they struggle through the challenges of learning a loved one has a psychotic disorder and finding viable treatment options. The early days can be difficult. The burden of psychosis ripples through families as uncertainty and difficulty alter the fabric of life. We are grateful for the pivotal generosity that will ensure other people, and their families, are supported and better understood as they tackle treatment. This gift will reverberate for decades to come.”Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Source:Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Film industry eyes Internet future at Venice fest If you like independent, art-house films or other specialised movies, you may have heard of the Romanian comedy-drama Sieranevada, which was released in 2016. The film was formally premiered as part of the main competition programme of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival and was subsequently shown at other international film festivals, including Toronto, New York and London. Due to its success on the festival circuit, Sieranevada was reviewed by 48 international film critics, and received a positive rating from 92% of them. Among these were UK-based trade journals, such as Sight and Sound and Screen International as well as mainstream newspapers The Guardian and The Telegraph. But while this publicity generated audience interest in the film, it has yet to secure distribution that would allow UK audiences to actually watch the film – it’s not in cinemas, on DVD/Blu-ray, nor on online video-on-demand platforms (VOD).The development of VOD has provided new opportunities for films to reach audiences. In particular, specialised films with traditionally limited distribution opportunities have taken advantage of this development. But are online audiences presented with an endless choice? Not really. So why is this?The digital film revolutionIn the mid-2000s, digital utopians such as Chris Anderson were already arguing that an endless choice of specialised and niche content would become available to online audiences. And more than a decade later, it’s true that distribution opportunities have increased for such content in the online market. Film audiences are able to browse through catalogues on transactional VOD platforms such as Amazon Video, Microsoft and iTunes where they can find tens of thousands of films. Provided by The Conversation Why can’t we get everything?In the film business, sales companies have an important role to play in the process of enabling access for films because they negotiate distribution deals with a range of distributors in international markets. But if sales companies are unable to sell distribution rights, they retain control over the distribution and release of those films.The development of the online market, in this respect, has opened up opportunities for them to work directly with VOD platforms or with content aggregators, who work as intermediaries between rights holders and VOD platforms. Examples of such content aggregators include The Movie Partnership, Juice Worldwide and Gunpowder & Sky.For instance, the comedy-drama Dreamland (2016), directed by Robert Schwartzman, premiered in the US Narrative Competition of the Tribeca Film Festival. The US sales company FilmBuff (now named Gunpowder & Sky) acquired worldwide distribution rights. In the UK market, the film was not released in cinemas or on DVD or Blu-ray, but FilmBuff made it available in the online market through direct connections with Microsoft and iTunes rather than via a UK distributor.Despite such opportunities, sales companies do not always work with content aggregators or directly with VOD platforms to make specialised films available if they are not picked up by distributors. Making films available online requires organisational effort and a low-cost investment in digital formatting, but returns on investment can be very modest. That explains why some films remain inaccessible to audiences – as demonstrated for the UK market in the table below. 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 selection of films released by distributors in the UK market. BFI weekend box office figures, IMDb, Amazon, Microsoft, iTunes, Author provided Endless choiceThe politics behind the process of providing access to specialised films ultimately affects producers and audiences. In the new digital economy of attention, producers demand wider distribution for their films, while audiences demand endless choice.This issue needs to be resolved. First, it needs to be addressed in film industry discussions between film producers and sales companies. In particular, sales companies should make a stronger commitment to making films available on transactional VOD platforms.Second, policymakers can intervene in the process of making specialised films available online. Public funding agencies, such as the British Film Institute (BFI) in the UK, provide substantial financial support for the production of specialised films. They can provide more distribution incentives to support cultural diversity in the online market for films in the UK. This would help to support greater cultural diversity, democratisation of access to films and enhancement of consumer choice. While cinema goers have always had limited options when it comes to the number of screens they can see their favourite art house movie on, the internet era was supposed to bring with it an endless choice. But what is becoming clear is that this utopian dream is still far from being realised. But there is still a significant proportion of films that remain inaccessible for audiences, even if – like Sieranevada – they have been selected for prestigious international film festivals. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Explore further Number of specialised films released in the UK market. BFI weekend box office figures, Amazon, Microsoft, iTunes, Author provided What is available?In an effort to identify the proportion of well-regarded specialised films that reach audiences in the UK market, I analysed a sample of 119 such films shown at prestigious European and US film festivals in 2016. My analysis in the graphic below confirms that the online market creates distribution opportunities for a greater number of films than the theatrical cinema and DVD/Blu-ray markets:88 specialised films (74%) were given an online release on Amazon, Microsoft or iTunes71 specialised films (60%) were given a DVD/Blu-ray release61 specialised films (51%) were given a theatrical cinema releaseBut while access to specialised films has increased, 26% of specialised films remain inaccessible for audiences on any format. That is a remarkably high percentage – given that it is relatively easy to secure online access for films. My analysis includes a sample of specialised films selected for some of the most prestigious festival programmes, but it is likely that online availability is more limited among specialised films selected for less prestigious competitions. So why can’t online audiences see any film they want? It’s to do with the way the industry works. Credit: Shutterstock Citation: Video-on-demand and the myth of ‘endless choice’ (2018, August 16) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-video-on-demand-myth-endless-choice.html Example of Amazon’s transactional VOD platform as of July 6, 2018 (Amazon’s catalogue includes 50,000 films). Credit: Amazon.co.uk, Author provided