(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/.
Gordon Brown will pledge to “fight, fight and fight again” to keep the United Kingdom intact, warning today that the union is at serious risk due to Conservative Party attitudes and the rise of “narrow nationalism”.Speaking in Westminster Cathedral Hall this morning, the former Labour leader and Prime Minister will share his fears that the “unity and integrity” of the UK could be lost under the premiership of Boris Johnson.Brown is expected to point out that the Tories, at the urging of Nigel Farage, have falsely portrayed a no deal Brexit, an “act of economic self-harm”, as a “patriotic act”. He will outline his concern that the governing party will deploy an “English card” at the next election, which would contribute to the risk of the UK breaking up.The ex-PM will become the latest high-profile political figure to advocate the idea of citizens’ assemblies, suggesting that representative groups of citizens could be formed on a regional basis to tackle the problems raised by Brexit.Addressing the Fabian Society and Hope Not Hate, Brown will say: “Noticeable by its absence – even as we enter the third week of the contest as to who is to be our Prime Minister – is any serious debate on the existential question facing the United Kingdom: whether it can survive.“I believe the union is today more at risk than at any time in 300 years – and more in danger than when we had to fight for it in 2014 during a bitter Scottish referendum.“In jeopardy are both the unity and integrity of the United Kingdom and the shared values – tolerance, respect for diversity, being outward looking – that underpin what, for all its ups and downs, has been the most successful example of multinational co-operation anywhere in the world.”“In our long history, the overwhelming majority have prided ourselves in being patriots who love our country – not bitter nationalists who hate our neighbours, demonise foreigners, immigrants or other minorities and blame external forces for everything that goes wrong.“I fear for the unravelling of a community of mutual interests, common purpose and shared ideals. For the national debate is now more than about the kind of Brexit we want: it is about the kind of Britain we aspire to become.“A tolerant country must not now become an intolerant one. An outward-looking country must not now turn in on itself.“A fair-minded and inclusive people must not allow the vicious manufacture of division and the targeting of ‘enemies of the people’.“You can love your country without being made to feel you ever have to hate your neighbour. You can embrace a broad patriotism without subscribing to a narrow nationalism.“I want to argue specifically against the hijacking of patriotism by Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, a political deception that has tried to present an act of economic self-harm – a no deal Brexit on October 31st – as a patriotic act.“I want to argue we need an informed region-by-region debate outside the Westminster bubble through the setting up of citizens’ assemblies on the problems raised by Brexit including immigration and sovereignty but many of which – the state of our manufacturing, the condition of our towns, and rising poverty and inequality – cannot be solved by Brexit.“And I want to argue for a progressive defence of the union showing that we – all four nations – are best placed to succeed in a harshly competitive global economy when we find ways to cooperate within one set of islands rather than engage in economic wars.”Tags:Nigel Farage /Gordon Brown /Labour /United Kingdom /Brexit /no deal /
Tesla Tesla Model 3 Moves to 24/7 Production Yesterday, it was revealed that Tesla intended to stop Model 3 production for up to five days. The reason given was to improve automation. However, a letter sent by Elon Musk to employees reveals the real reason for the pause in production: Tesla is upgrading the plant for round the clock production from next week.As Electrek reports, in the letter Musk confirmed that Model 3 production had reached 2,000 per week, which is double that attained in January. The goal is to reach 5,000 per week no later than June 30, but in order to achieve that and allow for a margin of error, Musk is setting the new goal of 6,000 per week by that date.Going from 2,000 to 6,000 in just over two months would be very optimistic if not for the fact Tesla is also introducing another shift to the production line, meaning the Model 3 will be manufactured 24/7 in Fremont. Tesla’s general assembly, body and paint teams will all add a third shift and require more people. Tesla is expecting to employ an extra 400 people a week for several weeks across its entire operation to help support that.The letter goes on to talk about improving the build precision of the Model 3 to exceptional standards and how Tesla needs to become profitable. With that in mind, “we will be far more rigorous about expenditures” and all contracts with third-parties will be reviewed. Musk describes the contractor situation within Tesla as being like a “Russian nesting doll” and that some perform “worse than a drunken sloth.” So expect some big changes on that front soon.There’s a suggestion of one more pause in production during May for further upgrades, but beyond that Model 3 production just got serious. Six-thousand by the end of June does indeed look achievable if 24/7 production works without a hitch. That also means the dual motor version could still happen in July. Next Article Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Matthew Humphries Elon Musk is serious about reaching 6,000 cars per week by June. Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Image credit: via PC Mag Add to Queue This story originally appeared on PCMag –shares Senior Editor 2 min read April 18, 2018 Enroll Now for $5
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.
Add to Queue Reuters Image credit: Salesforce June 1, 2016 Register Now » This story originally appeared on Reuters Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Next Article Salesforce –shares Salesforce to Buy Demandware for About $2.8 Billion Cloud-based software maker Salesforce.com Inc. said it would buy Demandware Inc., whose software is used by businesses to run ecommerce websites, for about $2.8 billion.The deal will help Salesforce open a new front as it look to take away more market share from traditional software providers such as Oracle Corp. and SAP AG, both of which already offer cloud-based ecommerce services.The ecommerce market has been growing at a blistering pace as retailers expand their online presence, boosting demand for software that helps manage functions such as payment processing and inventory management.Salesforce’s cash offer of $75 per share represents a 56.3 percent premium to Demandware’s Tuesday closing.Demandware’s shares, which have fallen about 21 percent in the past year, were up 52.1 percent at $73 in premarket trading on Wednesday. Shares of Salesforce, considered a barometer for the cloud-computing industry, slipped 2 percent.Demandware, whose customers include Lands’ End Inc., L’Oreal SA and Marks and Spencer Group Plc., has reported sales growth of more than 30 percent for the last 10 quarters.Global spending on digital commerce platforms is expected to grow over 14 percent annually to about $8.5 billion by 2020, Salesforce said, citing research firm Gartner.The deal, slated to close in Salesforce’s second quarter ending July, is expected to increase the company’s 2017 revenue by about $100 million-$120 million.Salesforce had forecast fiscal 2017 revenue of $8.16 billion-$8.2 billion in May.BofA Merrill Lynch is Salesforce’s financial adviser for the deal, while Goldman Sachs is advising Demandware.(Reporting by Anya George Tharakan and Kshitiz Goliya in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty) 2 min read Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals
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
Cleo’s Latest Release Helps Organizations Optimize the Order-To-Cash Process to Drive Increased Value Across Their External and Internal Ecosystems for Unified Commerce and Trading Partner TransactionsCleo, the global category leader in ecosystem integration software, announced general availability of the latest Cleo Integration Cloud platform release, which strategically builds out e-commerce innovations to further optimize critical order-to-cash, procure-to-pay, and other supply chain processes driving the modern enterprise.@CleoNeverStops announces enhanced #ecommerce integration capabilities in Spring Release to deliver seamless #ecosystem experiences #ecosystemintegrationCleo’s latest release focuses on driving seamless experiences for internal user personas and external trading partners when delivering end-to-end transactions. To differentiate their brands and stay competitive, businesses must deliver reliable, accurate, and timely data for all process stakeholders – inside and outside the company – and the latest Cleo Integration Cloud enhancements support that journey. New capabilities bring additional visibility through real-time operational insights and “smart” integration functionality to help businesses accelerate creating their business-critical workflows to rapidly meet customer expectations.Marketing Technology News: Zeno Media and ADORA Cooperate on Strategic Marketing and Mobile App Content for Diaspora ListenersCleo Integration Cloud – Spring 2019 Release HighlightsCleo Integration Cloud is a single-platform ecosystem integration solution available as a service in public and private cloud deployments that enables companies to connect, transform, integrate, orchestrate, and analyze end-to-end business processes, such as order-to-cash and procure-to-pay, across internal and external ecosystems of applications, systems, marketplaces, and trading partners. Highlights of the latest release include:Smart Integrations™: Cleo’s latest release enhances an organization’s capability to optimize end-to-end business processes by using Cleo’s Smart Integrations – prebuilt or templatized workflows that enable organizations to rapidly onboard applications by automating multi-enterprise integration components of critical end-to-end business processes such as order-to-cash, procure-to-pay and many others.Persona-based insights: Real-time visibility of content and business context for a variety of internal and external user personas. Cleo Integration Cloud provides an easy way to consume integration workflow data without needing to create custom reports or manually collect data from multiple systems to get consolidated views – regardless of a user’s role.Executive teams get a global view of all revenue-generating transactions in a single, consolidated dashboard to optimize and uncover new growth opportunities.Line-of-business managers can onboard trading partners faster, assess the health of existing relationships quickly, and proactively act on errors through “one-click” transaction reprocessing.Integration specialists and technical teams can easily manage the key revenue driving integrations for the organization, with the ability to view, interact, and manage end-to-end integrations that connect business partners, applications, and data to their internal enterprise ecosystems.Customers, partners, and suppliers can now be given access to transaction data directly in the Cleo Integration Cloud platform. The intuitive user experience enables proactive issue resolution and centralized exception management visibility – making Cleo Integration Cloud the industry’s first integration platform supporting ecosystem enablement and accelerating collaboration for external constituents. Application integration connectors: Cleo has added a host of new application connectors designed to accelerate time-to-value by automating key parts of the order-to-cash or procure-to-pay processes. WooCommerce, SAP S/4 Hana Cloud, and others are the latest additions to Cleo’s expansive connector library. Such connectors further improve a company’s ability to quickly integrate end-to-end business processes with off-the-shelf support for e-commerce, payments, finance and ERP applications that span multi-enterprise ecosystems.Marketing Technology News: Adaptive Ad Systems Completes Installation of New Ad-Insertion Equipment on National Cable TV Systems Adds 40,000 Additional SubscribersThe Ecosystem Integration ImperativeA modern approach to business, ecosystem integration prioritizes the designing, deploying, operating, and optimizing of end-to-end processes between internal and external systems, customers, and partners that drive core revenue generation. The latest updates to Cleo Integration Cloud further underscore the value of an “outside-in” approach to understanding how and where value can be created for businesses in any industry in which order-to-cash, procure-to-pay, and other end-to-end processes are critical for growth.What Cleo customers get from these enhanced capabilities, then, are more predictable business outcomes, better trading partner relationships, and the ability to provide better experiences for all stakeholders, inside and outside the company. Cleo customer Charlie’s Produce, the largest independent west-coast wholesale produce distributor, was looking to modernize its legacy solutions and better serve its customers and vendors.Charlie’s Produce EDI Analyst Louie Brothers said the company was looking for a better way to handle non-EDI transactions and speed up trading partner onboarding. That’s when it migrated its B2B integration to Cleo Integration Cloud. “By partnering with Cleo, we were able to migrate trading partners from our legacy system to the cloud and can onboard new partners more quickly,” he said. “We can now accept and transform almost any data format, and we have real time visibility into all data transactions. Cleo Integration Cloud provides the scalability, reliability, and 24x7x365 support to ensure we are accelerating end-to-end business processes and proactively meeting all new and existing customer requirements.”Jason Bloomberg, president of Intellyx, an industry analyst firm familiar with Cleo’s offerings, said, “Cleo offers pre-built core business processes like order-to-cash and others, thus giving its customers a straightforward approach to optimizing their core process while solving both B2B and internal integration problems.”Cleo CEO Mahesh Rajasekharan highlighted the need for businesses to deliver top quality unified commerce experiences, especially as manufacturers, retailers, and other organizations adopt new sales channels, expand their reach, and continue to compete with the “Amazon effect.”Marketing Technology News: Leading Associations Turn to ON24 for Member Engagement and Revenue Growth“All told, our latest release of Cleo Integration Cloud is packed with new capabilities and is without question our most innovative to date,” Rajasekharan said. “Our focus on user experience for internal and external personas enables Cleo customers to deliver unified commerce in ways that create value throughout their ecosystem. They’re effectively able to rise up and meet the challenges and opportunities that the Amazon effect has created for every industry, and they’re providing experiences that not only meet but exceed the expectations of all their key integration process stakeholders.” Cleo Integration Cloud Enhances E-Commerce Integration Capabilities to Deliver Seamless Ecosystem Experiences Business WireJune 24, 2019, 6:38 pmJune 24, 2019 CleoCleo Integration Cloude-commerce innovationsecosystem integration softwareMarketing TechnologyNews Previous ArticleCloudscene Launches Enterprise Tool to Find Cloud Connectivity Routes WorldwideNext ArticleWPP and iHeartMedia Launch ‘Project Listen’
Baidu Showcases Major Advances in AI Assistant Ecosystem with DuerOS 5.0 and New Product Innovation Globe NewswireJuly 3, 2019, 12:27 pmJuly 3, 2019 Baidu, Inc. unveiled DuerOS 5.0, the latest iteration of its conversational AI system, at Baidu Create 2019 in Beijing. The upgrade advances the development of its AI assistant technology that powers a rapidly-expanding ecosystem of smart hardware products. Baidu also showcased three new DuerOS-powered smart speaker additions to its product lineup, further strengthening its innovative consumer offerings.Baidu’s upgraded conversational AI assistant, DuerOS 5.0, pushes the burgeoning AI technology forward with two major new features. Integrating AI into real-world applications, a new ‘full-duplex’ feature allows Xiaodu to respond without the need for a wake word, creating a continuous conversation experience for users. Further underscoring Baidu’s pioneering vision for exceptional user experiences, DuerOS 5.0 also introduces a key feature that enables Xiaodu to recognize in sync when to reply and execute tasks and when to just listen and not to respond or react. The overall experience brings a seamless integration of AI to life, generating a more natural human-machine interaction.Robin Li, Baidu’s co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, took to the Baidu Create stage and amazed attendees with a demo of Xiaodu’s new “continuous conversation” ability and its “super-high IQ”. Li said that, with the two new features, Baidu has taken a huge step forward in voice interaction experience to realize smooth human-machine communication without the hassles of constantly having to wake up devices or getting interference from conversation.Marketing Technology News: Constant Contact Unveils New WooCommerce and Shopify Offerings at 2019 Internet Retailer ConferenceKun Jing, Vice President of Baidu and General Manager of Baidu Smart Living Group (SLG), officially kicked off the launch of DuerOS 5.0 and the three new Xiaodu series smart speakers at the conference. In his keynote, he said that, as of June 2019, the DuerOS voice assistant install base has surpassed 400 million and monthly voice queries on DuerOS exceeded 3.6 billion (not including those from Baidu’s apps).As an entrance and hub for a connected world, smart speakers hold an increasingly integral position in Baidu’s smart living revolution. The launch of three new Xiaodu smart speakers further accentuates Baidu’s efforts to drive transformation in this fast-growing segment. The new devices include Xiaodu smart speakers “King Kong” , “Play” and the “Xiaodu at Home 1C 4G” battery version. All three devices are priced competitively at RMB199, demonstrating Baidu’s commitment to enabling more families to enjoy smart living affordably.Xiaodu smart speaker “King Kong”, rolled out in early June, brings a premium and sophisticated design, complete with infrared control and DLNA projection screen technology that can instantly turn the device into a TV. Xiaodu smart speakers have also joined forces with iQiyi, whose AI projection technology powers a voice-controlled video experience. Responding to user demand for a more expansive smart speaker experience, Baidu developed its first mobile smart speaker, “Xiaodu at Home 1C 4G” battery version. The portable device runs without needing to connect to a power source, supports Nano SIM cards and can even serve as a mobile hotspot, allowing users to take Xiaodu’s AI with them anytime, anywhere. Xiaodu smart speaker “Play” was specially designed with innovative features that cater to younger generations.Baidu’s technological strength in AI software-hardware integration has quickly translated into commercial success. According to data from three independent market research firms including Canalys, shipments of Xiaodu smart speakers ranked third globally and first in China for Q1 2019.Marketing Technology News: CoSchedule Launches Marketing Suite to Transform the Way Marketers WorkUnderpinning the company’s commitment to openness, Baidu’s Xiaodu Skills Open Platform has also seen explosive growth, with the number of skills growing by 300%, the skill PV by 1,926,523%, the skill types by 126% and the next-day skill retention rate by 200% between May 2018 and May 2019. Currently, the Xiaodu Skills Open Platform counts more than 32,000 developers and over 2,000 wide-ranging skills.Further showcasing Baidu’s ecosystem of offerings, Kun Jing announced the official launch of Xiaodu VIP, which offers two joint membership models – ‘Xiaodu x iQiyi’ and ‘Xiaodu x brand’. The new VIP membership is part of Baidu’s business transformation that harnesses the power of user experience through AI by allowing users and brands to interact effortlessly.Baidu Create 2019 provided an end-to-end demonstration of how Xiaodu’s implementation of AI technology is having a profound impact on Baidu’s leading position in the intelligent transformation of industry. Xiaodu will serve as a pioneer in shaping the future of the smart living as Baidu continues to deliver smart interactive technology and product innovation to respond to the needs of its users.Marketing Technology News: Connected TV is Transforming the Digital Advertising Ecosystem: ExtremLatest Video Benchmarks Report Shows 49% of Video Ad Impressions Going to CTV AIBaiduDuerOS 5.0Marketing TechnologyNewsRobin LiXiaodu x iQiyi Previous ArticleYouTube Gaining Popularity With Generation Z as Demand for Video Content Rises, Facebook’s Popularity DecliningNext ArticleHitachi High-Tech Group to Lead Japanese Distribution of SparkCognition’s Automated Machine Learning Modeling Product, Darwin
Fox says Disney may buy Sky News in fresh takeover twist 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. 21st Century Fox is seeking to buy the 61 percent of Sky that it does not own for £11.4 billion but the long-running saga has been plagued by fears over media plurality and broadcasting standards Britain gave the edge Tuesday to US cable giant Comcast in a multi-billion-pound takeover battle with Rupert Murdoch’s entertainment titan 21st Century Fox for pan-European TV group Sky. Explore further Citation: UK hands Comcast advantage in Sky takeover tussle with Fox (2018, June 5) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-uk-comcast-advantage-sky-takeover.html © 2018 AFP Culture Secretary Matt Hancock announced that he has cleared Comcast’s £22-billion ($29.4-billion, 25.1-billion-euro) bid for all of Sky, setting the stage for a potential bidding war.Sky, which is best known for its live coverage of English Premier League football, has long been a jewel in the crown of media magnate Murdoch.”I have concluded that the proposed merger does not raise public interest concerns and so I can confirm today that I will not be issuing an intervention notice,” Conservative Party minister Hancock told parliament.However, turning to Fox’s lower offer per share for the 61 percent of Sky it does not already own, Hancock added he favoured “divesting Sky News” to a suitable third party to address public interest concerns identified by regulators, before giving it the nod.Fox is seeking to buy the 61 percent of Sky that it does not own for £11.4 billion but the long-running saga has been plagued by fears over media plurality and broadcasting standards—and the increasing influence of Australian-born US citizen Murdoch.’Bidding war on horizon’Deputy leader of the main opposition Labour party, Tom Watson, who is a vocal critic of Murdoch, urged Hancock to “protect the interests of the public”.He said: “With Comcast now in the ring, the future for Sky is uncertain. A bidding war is on the horizon.”New York-listed Fox had already proposed in April to sell rolling TV news channel Sky News to Disney to finally clinch its takeover of Sky. Comcast, which itself had lost out to Disney last year in an effort to buy 21st Century Fox, had last month formalised its Sky cash bid.Hancock made his announcement in light of a final report from Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The regulator again raised the possibility of “increased influence of the Murdoch Family Trust over public opinion and the UK’s political agenda”, should Fox win control of Sky News.”The CMA concluded in line with its interim findings that the merger may not be expected to operate against the public interest on the grounds of a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards,” Hancock said.He added: “I agree with the CMA that divesting Sky News to Disney, as proposed by Fox, or to an alternative suitable buyer, with an agreement to ensure it is funded for at least ten years, is likely to be the most proportionate and effective remedy for the public interest concerns that have been identified.”Consultation periodThere will now be a 15-day consultation period to finalise details of the Sky News divestment before Hancock reaches his final decision on the Fox deal.However, he also warned that—should a Sky News sale not be attainable—then his “only effective remedy would be to block the merger altogether”.Earlier this year, the CMA had provisionally ruled that Murdoch’s planned takeover was not in the public interest on media plurality concerns.Murdoch owns also major British newspaper titles The Times and The Sun.Comcast’s superior cash offer values each Sky share at £12.50, which is significantly higher to Fox’s offer price of £10.75.Back in 2011, Murdoch failed to buy the British pay-TV group, then known as BSkyB, owing to a phone-hacking scandal at his now-defunct News of the World tabloid newspaper.
GE shares at 9-year low amid latest power woes The company postponed the release by a week “to allow GE Chairman and CEO Larry Culp to complete initial business reviews and site visits following his appointment on October 1,” it said in a statement The company postponed the release by a week “to allow GE Chairman and CEO Larry Culp to complete initial business reviews and site visits following his appointment on October 1,” it said in a statement.”The company will discuss the results for the third quarter ending September 30, 2018. Culp will share his initial observations, with more detail expected in early 2019.”H. Lawrence “Larry” Culp, 55, is GE’s third CEO in 14 months following the ouster of John Flannery.In announcing Culp’s rise, the company, which was bumped from the prestigious Dow Jones Industrial Average in June, cited his history as chief executive of the industrial and healthcare conglomerate Danaher, where GE said he presided over a quintupling of market capitalization. Culp was named to the GE board earlier this year.GE’s other bombshell was that it planned to write down effectively up to $23 billion in value from its troubled power business, the prime catalyst of its nosedive in stock market valuation. Citation: GE pushes back Q3 earnings release to October 30 (2018, October 13) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-10-ge-q3-october.html General Electric, the once-mighty conglomerate which weeks ago announced a new chief executive in a move meant to stem a two-year decline, has said it will move the date of its third-quarter earnings release to October 30. © 2018 AFP Explore further 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.
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 new research project at Rochester Institute of Technology will help ensure the endangered language of the Seneca Indian Nation will be preserved. Using deep learning, a form of artificial intelligence, RIT researchers are building an automatic speech recognition application to document and transcribe the traditional language of the Seneca people. The work is also intended to be a technological resource to preserve other rare or vanishing languages. “The motivation for this is personal. The first step in the preservation and revitalization of our language is documentation of it,” said Robert Jimerson (Seneca), a computing and information sciences doctoral student at RIT and member of the research team. He brought together tribal elders and close friends, all speakers of Seneca, to help produce audio and textual documentation of this Native American language spoken fluently by fewer than 50 individuals.Like all languages, Seneca has different dialects. It also presents unique challenges because of its complex system for building new words, in which a whole sentence can be expressed in a single word.Jimerson is able to bridge both the technology and the language.”Under the hood, it is data. With many Native languages, you don’t have that volume of data,” he said, explaining that some languages, while spoken, may not have as many formal linguistical tools—dictionaries, grammatical materials or extensive classes for non-native speakers, similar to those for Spanish or Chinese. “One of the most expensive and time-consuming processes of documenting language is collecting and transcribing it. We are looking at taking deep networks and maybe changing the architecture, making some synthetic data to create more data, but how do you make this work in deep learning? How do you augment data you already have?”That process of attaining data is being coordinated by a wide-ranging team that includes Jimerson; the project principal investigator Emily Prud’hommeaux, assistant professor of computer science at Boston College and research faculty in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts; Ray Ptucha, assistant professor of computer engineering in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering and an expert in deep learning systems and technologies; and Karen Michaelson, professor of linguistics, the State University of New York at Buffalo. The research team was awarded $181, 682 in funding over four years from the National Science Foundation for “Collaborative Research: Deep learning speech recognition for document Seneca and other acutely under-resourced languages.” “This is an exciting project because it brings together people from so many disciplines and backgrounds, from engineering and computer science to linguistics and language pedagogy,” said Prud’hommeaux. “In addition to enabling us to develop cutting edge technology, this project supports undergraduate and graduate students and engages members of an indigenous community that few people know is right here in western New York.”The researchers started the project in late June, bringing together the community members and linguists for data collection—acquiring and translating current and new, original recordings of Seneca conversations then converting data into textual output using deep learning models.”What you are really trying to do is find that line between the new data you can get and the changing of the architecture of a network,” Jimerson explained.Since the summer, the team has just over 50 hours of recorded material with people working full time on the translations that include breaking down the language into individual phonetic symbols and using this information to begin training the models.”We use a process called transfer learning which starts with a model trained with readily available English speech to get the basic, initial training for the system, then we’ll re-train the neural networks and fine tune it toward the Seneca language. We’re getting very good results,” said Ptucha, who is an expert in deep learning systems and technologies. Deep learning technology consists of multiple layers of artificial neurons, organized in an increasingly abstract hierarchy. These architectures have produced state-of-the-art results on all types of pattern recognition problems including image and speech recognition applications.”No one has really tried this before, training an automated speech recognition model on something as resource-constrained as Seneca. Robbie is the expert in transcribing Seneca and training the others on how to do this. He’s a pretty rare guy, ” said Ptucha,This current project is a continuation of Jimerson’s work to expand the language resources available to his community. In 2013, while he was a graduate student in RIT’s Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, he developed an online Seneca language translation dictionary for the Seneca Language Revitalization Program. The project was funded by the Seneca Nation and awarded to RIT’s Future Steward’s Program. Left to right, Ray Ptucha, computer engineering assistant professor, Robbie Jimerson, computer science doctoral student, both from RIT, and Emily Prud’hommeaux, assistant professor of computer science, are leading the NSF project to use artificial intelligence technology to preserve the Seneca language. Credit: A. Sue Weisler/RIT Using multi-task learning for low-latency speech translation Explore further Citation: Researchers use deep learning to build automatic speech recognition system to help preserve the Seneca language (2018, October 15) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-10-deep-automatic-speech-recognition-seneca.html Provided by Rochester Institute of Technology