Go back to the enewsletterAPT has launched its complete 2019 Europe brochure, featuring five distinct travel styles spanning from Portugal to Russia.To help trade partners secure strong early sales for the 2019 season, APT has put together a collection of exclusive launch Superdeals. Book before 30 November 2018 to take advantage of incredible Superdeals including Fly Free or Fly Business Class for $3,995. This enticing deal is available on all cruises 14 nights or longer across all 2019 departures and cabin categories.Other Superdeals include Companion Fly Free, Air Credits and No Solo Supplements on select itineraries.The range of options for 2019 include:Magnificent Europe Luxury River CruiseAPT’s flagship 15-day Magnificent Europe river cruise between Amsterdam and Budapest, starting at $6,995 per person, twin share, is the perfect introduction to both mainland Europe and river cruising. Cruising on board one of APT’s own Concerto river ships, the only fleet in Europe to boast APT’s custom designed Twin Balcony suites, which allow guests to enjoy the passing views from both inside and out.This journey includes exclusive Royal Signature Experiences such as a visit to Namedy Castle, the home of Princess Heide von Hohenzollern; a cocktail reception and concert at Vienna’s City Palace; and new for 2019, the Grand Empress Steam Train. Book before 30 November 2018 to take advantage of Fly Free and Fly Business Class for $3,995 per person, details above.NEW: Grand Empress Steam TrainA new Royal Signature Experience awaits guests on all Magnificent Europe luxury river cruises departing April to September. Following in the footsteps of Elisabeth of Bavaria, affectionately known as Sisi, guests will embark on an imperial rail journey aboard the Grand Empress Steam Train. A welcome reception awaits travellers at Budapest Station’s Royal Waiting Room, then it’s time to board the elegant steam train, which features some original carriages from the early 1900s. A traditional game lunch worthy of royalty is served before disembarking for a private tour of the impressive Gödöllő Palace. A coronation gift for Franz Joseph I and Sisi when crowned King and Queen of Hungary, the palace was known to be a favourite residence of Sisi’s. Prices lead in at $7,295 per person, twin share.NEW: Festive CruisingAPT’s brand-new 15-day Imperial Europe river cruise celebrates the festive season in style between Amsterdam and Vienna, with enchanting visits to Europe’s spectacular Christmas markets, as well as a special private concert at Vienna’s regal City Palace, showcasing Christmas classics. Starts from $7,395 per person, twin share.NEW: Grand Bordeaux with Luke NguyenAPT is delighted to welcome acclaimed chef, author, television personality and APT ambassador, Luke Nguyen, to Europe in 2019. Luke will escort APT guests on a unique gastronomic holiday from Paris to Bordeaux, offering an authentic look at Paris and the Bordeaux region. During his time aboard the MS AmaDolce, Luke will host an insightful ‘Get to Know Luke Nguyen’ session, host a visit to a culinary school where he will guide guests through a fun and interactive cooking class. In Saint-Émilion, a dinner at La Terrasse Rouge awaits. Luke, in conjunction with the restaurant’s head chef, has devised a menu showcasing the freshest local ingredients of the region, and together, they will prepare a decadent meal in the open kitchen. Prices lead in at $8,995 per person twin share.NEW: Scotland Small Group DiscoveryTravelling with no more than 20 guests, this Small Group Discovery travels deep into the wild landscapes of Scotland, where the history is as spectacular as the countryside. Including visits to Cairngorms National Park, the Isle of Skye and beautiful glens where gardens and castles await. From $9,195 per person twin share.To learn more about APT’s 2019 Europe program or to request brochures please call 1300 196 420, visit www.aptouring.com.au/destinations/europe or contact your local APT Business Development Manager.Go back to the enewsletter
The European Broadcasting Union has voiced concerns Portugal’s public broadcaster remains “underfunded” despite a new deal protecting it from privatisation.RTP has secured a new contract that comes into force in January and will run until 2030, which will end a dispute over the future of broadcaster.In May last year, a government minister said RTP could be privatised. However, this lead to a period of dispute during which the minister, Miguel Relvas, and the RTP board resigned.The new contract, which goes through the Portuguese parliament next year, will see the RTP budget reduced by €30 million per year and puts a ceiling cap on advertising of six minutes per hour. Household licence fees will also increase from €2.25 per month to €2.65.While the EBU said the new contract was a source of celebration, it warned that “under the new terms, [RTP] will remain one of the most underfunded public broadcasters in Europe”.
(Click on image to enlarge) The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 88 gold and 27 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories. The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here. Both GLD and SLV had withdrawals by authorized participants yesterday. In GLD it was 145,034 troy ounces…and in SLV it was 1,544,992 troy ounces. The U.S. Mint reported selling 5,500 ounces of gold eagles yesterday…and that was it. It was a busy day in silver over at the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday. They reported receiving 1,274,887 troy ounces of the stuff…and shipped 513,511 troy ounces out the door. The link to that activity is here. On the same day in gold, the Comex-approved depositories reported receiving 75,751 troy ounces…and shipped 44,054 troy ounces of the stuff out the door. The link to that activity is here. Like yesterday, I have no other news, charts, or graphs to post…except for your “cute quota”… Here’s the New York Spot Silver [Bid] chart on its own, so you can see the Comex action in more detail. It was pretty much the same sort of price action in silver…and the silver chart looks a lot like the gold chart. The low tick…$22.41 spot…most likely came at the same moment as gold’s low, but even the New York Spot Silver [Bid] chart didn’t come close to catching it. Not surprisingly, silver got hit worse than gold, as that’s “da boyz” problem child…at least it is for JPMorgan Chase and Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia. Silver closed at $22.59 spot…down 82 cents from Tuesday’s close. Gross volume was a very chunky 65,000 contracts. The gold stocks gapped down a bit at the open…and then headed south with a vengeance when gold was hit at the London p.m. fix. The stocks finished barely off their lows of the day…as the HUI was crushed for another 4.72%. Sponsor Advertisement Silver came within a few pennies of its Far East April 16th low price tick at 10:00 a.m. BST in London, but gold is still fifty bucks away from its low of the same day. If I use Wednesday’s trading action as a template for what might happen in Comex trading in New York today, I’d guess we’ll see JPMorgan et al try to punch a new low price in silver. But as Ted Butler has carefully pointed out, there are few technical fund long holders left to sell…and even fewer of them are prepared to go short at these prices. “Da Boyz” may get the price lower, but it will probably won’t allow them to improve their short positions by much…or go long themselves. As you can imagine, I await the New York open with some apprehension. See you on Friday…or on Saturday west of the International Date Line. Uranium Energy Corp. (NYSE MKT: UEC) is pleased to announce that the final authorization has been granted for production at its Goliad ISR Project in South Texas. As announced in previous press releases, the Company received all of the required authorizations from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, including an Aquifer Exemption which has now been granted concurrence from EPA Region 6. Amir Adnani, President and CEO, stated, “We are very pleased to have received this final authorization for initiating production at Goliad. Our geological and engineering teams have worked diligently toward achieving this major milestone and are to be truly commended. We are grateful to the EPA for its thorough reviews and for issuing this final concurrence. The Company’s near-term plan is to complete construction at the first production area at Goliad and to greatly increase the throughput of uranium at our centralized Hobson processing plant.” Please contact Investor Relations with questions or to request additional information, email@example.com. All four metals closed down on the day. Gold was down 2.34%…silver was down 3.50%…platinum down 0.67%…and palladium 0.41%. The dollar index closed at 83.605 in New York late Tuesday afternoon…and traded just about ruler flat until shortly before 2:00 p.m. Hong Kong Time. The rally from there peaked out at precisely 8:00 a.m. in London. The high tick was 84.05. From there, the index sagged slightly for the rest of the Wednesday session, closing in New York at 83.785…up 18 basis points from Tuesday’s close. JPMorgan et al made no attempt to hide their actions behind the smoke screen of a currency move in New York yesterday, as it was all blatant in-your-face price management that started right at, or just after, the London p.m. gold fix. Platinum got sold off as well during the New York session, but recovered smartly once the selling pressure disappeared. There was no such sell-off in palladium, as the chart below so plainly shows. Of course the silver stocks got hammered as well…and Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down another 4.33%. I have a lot fewer stories today, which suits me just fine…and probably you as well. I believe that the big buyer of the 10 million oz of gold liquidated in the GLD was JPMorgan, either alone or with other collusive commercial banks. It dawned on me that the same methodology I’ve previously attributed to a potential Mr. Big in SLV (also probably JPMorgan) is at work in GLD. If one (or 2 or 3) big buyers in GLD had merely purchased the 100 million shares that were sold in GLD by liquidating shareholders, that would have quickly pushed the big buyer(s) over the 5% SEC reporting threshold, thereby revealing the identity of the buyers. Remember, we’re talking about 23% of shares outstanding and there is no way to buy that many shares and not quickly be into reporting status. But by having the gold redeemed out of the trust and the metal being purchased (instead of shares), stock reporting requirements are evaded. A single holder, perhaps working with a few collusive partners, came to own what is, effectively, almost a quarter of the world’s largest gold stockpile and no one is the wiser. – Silver analyst Ted Butler…15 May 2013 Another day…and another engineered price decline in silver and gold. One would have to fairly delusional to buy into the ‘stronger dollar’ story considering it’s rather anemic performance. The price action in both those precious metals had zero to do with currencies, as the dollar index was doing squat at the London p.m. gold fix where most of the price damage occurred. It’s amazing…and discouraging…to look at the precious metal share prices. They’re now back to where they were when silver was selling for under ten bucks an ounce…and gold around $500. You’d think that the mining companies would be up in arms, but there hasn’t been a peep out of any of them…or from the organizations that purport to represent them…the World Gold Council and The Silver Institute. Of course these organizations are strong with the dark side of The Force…and any mining executive that has ever worked in an executive position in either of them had already been totally compromised, or they would never have been offered those positions in the first place. It’s too bad that yesterday’s price action occurred on a Wednesday, as it was the day after the cut-off for tomorrow’s Commitment of Traders Report. And as I’ve pointed out countless times over the years, this is a little trick “da boyz” pull when they want to hide their tracks for as long as possible, as what happened yesterday won’t be public knowledge until the COT Report on May 27th. Not much happened, or was allowed to happen, in Far East trading on their Thursday…and as the London open approaches [in less than ten minutes] as I write this paragraph, all four precious metals are basically unchanged from Thursday’s close in New York. Volumes are already very high in both silver and gold but, as per usual, it’s virtually all high-frequency trading. The dollar index is up a handful of basis points. It’s been more than two hours since I wrote the above paragrah…and there have obviously been some ‘developments’. Around the time of the London open, the high-frequency traders showed up on the scene…and all four precious metals came under selling pressure once again. And as I hit the ‘send’ button at 5:15 a.m. EDT…gold is down seventeen bucks, silver is down 40 cents…and platinum and palladium are down over a percent each. Volumes skyrocketed…now over 65,000 contracts in gold and 14,000 contracts in silver…and the dollar index is up a magnificent 15 basis points. It’s amazing…and discouraging…to look at the precious metal share prices. The gold price didn’t much of anything in Far East trading for most of their Wednesday. However, about 2:30 p.m. Hong Kong time, which is thirty minutes before the 8:00 a.m. BST London open, gold got sold down about fifteen bucks by 9:00 a.m. BST…and that certainly could have been currency related. After that, the gold price didn’t do much of anything until at, or shortly after, the London p.m. gold fix. Then, in the space of less that ninety minutes, gold got sold down about twenty-five dollars, with the low tick [$1,387.00 spot] coming shortly before 11:30 a.m. EDT in New York. The subsequent rally, such as it was, didn’t amount to much…and after that, gold continued to sell off quietly into the close of electronic trading at 5:15 p.m. Gold closed at $1,392.50 spot…down $33.30 on the day. Net volume was very large…around 204,000 contracts.
Covered California, the state’s health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, has devised what could be a powerful new way to hold hospitals accountable for the quality of their care.Starting in less than two years, if the hospitals haven’t met certain designated targets for safety and quality, they’ll risk being excluded from the “in-network” designation of health plans sold on the state’s insurance exchange.”We’re saying ‘time’s up,’ ” says Dr. Lance Lang, the chief medical officer for Covered California. “We’ve told health plans that by the end of 2019, we want networks to only include hospitals that have achieved that target.”Here’s how hospitals will be measured: They must perform fewer unnecessary cesarean sections, prescribe fewer opioids, and cut back on the use of imaging (X-rays, MRIs and CT scans) to diagnose and treat back pain.Research has shown these are problem areas in many hospitals — the procedures and pills have an important place, but have been overused to the point of causing patient harm, health care analysts say.C-sections, in particular, have come under scrutiny for years.Many women who don’t need a C-section often get one anyway, according to the data — and it varies from hospital to hospital. Even for low-risk cases, Lang says, several California hospitals are delivering 40 percent of babies by C-section. At one hospital, it’s 78 percent.”That means that when a woman goes to a hospital, it’s the culture of the hospital that really determines whether or not she gets a cesarean section, not so much her own health,” says Lang.Hospitals get paid more to perform a C-section than a vaginal delivery, and the operation usually takes less time, though it is major surgery. Performing it when it’s not needed exposes a woman to unnecessary risks: infection, hemorrhage, even death.Studies also have found that babies delivered by C-section are more likely to have complications and spend more time in the neonatal intensive care unit.That’s not quality health care, Lang says, and that’s why Covered California is telling hospitals they need to reduce their C-section rates to 23.9 percent or lower, for low-risk births.In this case,”low-risk” is defined as a healthy, first-time mom who has carried the single fetus with its head down, all the way to full term — now defined as 39 weeks gestation.Medi-Cal, the state health program for low-income residents, CalPERS, the retirement program for state employees, and the Pacific Business Group on Health, which represents self-insured employers, are also calling on hospitals to improve their quality measures.Together, these groups pay for the health care of 16 million Californians, or 40 percent of the state, which gives them substantial leverage with hospitals.But only Covered California is telling hospitals that if they don’t play by the rules, they’ll be benched.”It’s probably the boldest move we’ve seen in maternity care ever,” says Leah Binder, CEO of the Leapfrog Group, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that rates hospitals on quality.Expecting hospitals to meet external metrics for quality control is a recent phenomenon, and compliance is still largely voluntary, she says.”Back in the ’80s and ’90s, nobody ever thought that hospitals should have to report to anyone on how they were doing,” she says. “There’s never been a culture of accountability.”Covered California’s move is nationally significant, Binder says, given the consequences for hospitals, and the agency’s reach — 1.4 million people buy coverage through the marketplace — and they shop among plans offered by 11 state-approved insurance companies.Insurers and business groups across the country are already keeping an eye on California’s effort, she says, to see how they might band together to demand similar change from the hospitals in their regions.Overall, California’s hospitals are on board with the C-section goal. Of the 243 maternity hospitals in the state, 40 percent have already met the target, Lang says, and another 40 percent have taken advantage of coaching and consulting to help educate the doctors on how they can adjust their practice. They’re also finding they have to educate patients who request C-sections about the procedure’s risks.”While many may prefer that, when having the full information about the risk that they may be putting themselves and their babies in, they elect not to move in that direction,” says Julie Morath, CEO of the Hospital Quality Institute, a subsidiary of the California Hospital Association. Both groups support the C-section reduction goals as “the right thing to do,” she says.The strategy has raised some concerns among mothers who hear about the 23.9 percent target and worry about rationing.”We don’t just chase rates,” Morath says in response to that concern, “but rather look at what the clinical needs are and how to best respond to those. So if there is an indication for a cesarean section, the mother will receive a cesarean section.”Still, not all hospitals will find it easy to comply. State data show there are about 40 hospitals that are still far off the target in California, including a cluster of hospitals in East Los Angeles that treat low-income, often uninsured, patients.”If you have somebody who is on methamphetamines and is homeless and has not gotten any prenatal care, her chance of a C-section is way higher than someone who is not all those things,” says Dr. Malini Nijagal, an OB-GYN at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and the University of California, San Francisco. “And so the problem is, how do you adjust for the patient population of a hospital?”At Memorial Hospital of Gardena, the C-section rate is 45.2 percent. At East Los Angeles Doctors Hospital, the rate is 48.1 percent, according to publicly available state data listed on CalHospital Compare and Yelp. Both hospitals are working diligently to lower the rates, according to Amie Boersma, director for communications for Avanti Hospitals, which owns both facilities.She says the hospitals will meet the 23.9 percent benchmark and are committed to doing so for the sake of their patients. Being excluded from Covered California health plan networks, she adds, would make it even more difficult for those patients to get care. They would either have to pay out-of-network fees to be seen there, or they would have to travel farther to another facility that was still in the network.”We are in underserved, economically challenged urban neighborhoods and it is vitally important that we continue to provide appropriate, high-quality care for our communities,” Boersma says.Health plans can request an exemption from Covered California’s contract rules (in order to keep noncomplying hospitals in their networks) — as long as they document their reasoning.”That is flexibility that we asked for to ensure that we maintain adequate access to providers,” says Charles Bacchi, CEO of the California Association of Health Plans, a trade group for insurers. “Any major changes to health plan networks must be filed with regulators. And health plans have to ensure that patients continue to receive services in a timely manner.”So far, the prospect of exclusion, plus the coaching for hospitals on how to reduce the rates, have functioned as an effective motivator.By 2020, Covered California’s Lang believes all hospitals will either have met the target or be on their way.”It’s a quality improvement project,” Lang says, “but with a deadline.”This story is part of NPR’s reporting partnership with KQED and Kaiser Health News. Copyright 2018 KQED. To see more, visit KQED.
A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… Campaigners are warning the Labour party to rethink its support for a radical new benefit system because of risks that its introduction would further isolate and impoverish disabled people.In a new report, UBI: Solution or Illusion? The Implications of Universal Basic Income for Disabled People in Britain, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) says support for universal basic income (UBI) has been growing steadily among those both on the left and the right of politics.Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell has expressed some support for UBI and has suggested that the party’s next general election manifesto is likely to include a commitment to a UBI pilot.The Scottish government is also providing funding for possible pilot schemes to be run by four local authorities.UBI is a regular cash payment made to every citizen regardless of their income, paid without any requirement to be in a paid job or looking for work.Many see it as a solution to the UK’s flawed and much-criticised social security safety net, which has seen years of cuts to support and an increasingly-harsh sanctions and conditionality regime.DPAC says this interest in UBI has intensified with the introduction of universal credit.Supporters of UBI also see it as the answer to the “stigmatisation of social security, the scapegoating of benefit claimants and associated hostility towards disabled people”, says DPAC in its report.But the DPAC report warns that too little attention has been paid to the implications of UBI for disabled people.The report warns that it is likely that housing benefit and disability benefits would remain outside a UBI system.This would mean the need for continuing disability assessments, and the risk that the high cost of running a UBI system would mean further cuts to benefits and services relied on by disabled people, such as social care support.DPAC’s Ellen Clifford, author of the new report, said: “While we would be in favour of tax rises to fund welfare provision – particularly corporation tax and a progressive rise in the higher rate of income tax – the use of this for a UBI rather than more traditional forms of disability and unemployment support would mean much of the benefit flowing back to employers rather than those in most need.”Two other grassroots organisations of disabled people, Black Triangle and WinVisible, have this week added their voices to the concerns raised by DPAC about UBI.Clifford’s report concludes that implementing UBI “risks detracting attention and resources from the urgent task required to overhaul the disability benefits system and make it fit for purpose”.It adds: “Given the history of disabled people’s exclusion and the marginalisation of our issues it is reasonable for disabled people to fear that attention and resources dedicated to the task of implementing a UBI will be at the expense of affecting the level of change needed to ensure disabled people receive adequate support.”There are also concerns, says the report, that a more flexible employment market ushered in by UBI, with greater job insecurity and the likelihood of poorer working conditions and lower wages for lower-paid workers, would further disadvantage disabled workers.They also say that right-wing versions of UBI are seen as a way of saving money by avoiding spending on a decent living wage and social protection.And the report says that pushing for UBI risks deferring demands for full reasonable adjustments at work for disabled workers, and “full and unconditional support” for those unable to work, while “ending up with a system that is more of a helping hand for employers than for disabled people”.The report says DPAC’s concerns are born out by the results of pilot UBI schemes that have been run across the world, including one in Finland that has just ended, but has not yet been assessed officially, which critics say has forced unemployed workers into bad jobs while undermining unions, wage equality, and the welfare state.And it says concerns have been raised about the proposed pilot schemes in Scotland, including the cost and potential negative impacts on disabled people, including likely cuts to other social protection schemes.But the report does say that a pilot scheme in India proved successful, with disabled people benefiting more than others, but mainly because “many of those benefiting had received no previous support at all”, which was “very different to what would happen with the introduction of a UBI in Britain to replace existing social security payments”.Clifford said it was worrying how marginalised disabled people had been in the debate around the introduction of UBI.She said DPAC’s message to Labour was to include disabled people in the debate and to consider how they would be affected by the introduction of UBI.Clifford said it was important to have the debate about UBI as there was growing support for the idea that universal credit would have to be scrapped, and that UBI could be the system to replace it.She said: “We have seen with universal credit and personalisation how what can sound like progressive ideas can end up badly for disabled people in practice.“We remember how the personalisation pilots actually went very well.“It isn’t always possible for pilots to capture the full implications of policy roll outs so we are concerned that Labour’s proposed pilots will not on their own be enough to avoid a future situation where UBI is fully rolled out and ends up widening rather than reducing inequality.”The report could surprise some of DPAC’s critics, who often assume that the grassroots group will support the left-wing policies of the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn and McDonnell.But DPAC has repeatedly made it clear that it is not aligned to any political party and that its loyalties lie instead with those fighting for disabled people’s “full human rights and equality”, and against government austerity measures “which target the poor while leaving the wealthy unscathed”.John McArdle, co-founder of Black Triangle, said existing experiments with UBI appeared to “have been driven by a right wing agenda that undermines workers’ rights”.He said: “On the face of it, UBI seems to be progressive but the devil is in the detail.”He said Black Triangle echoed DPAC’s call for the immediate focus to be on “removing conditionality and sanctions and the hostile environment for disabled people”, replacing the UK government’s disability assessment regime, and co-producing with disabled people a social security system that “will again be fit for purpose”.Claire Glasman, from WinVisible, which supports and campaigns for disabled women, said the problem with UBI was that it was not based on need and – like universal credit – did not recognise the importance of unwaged caring work.She said: “We are very worried that it is going to be a way of cutting benefits based on need: the needs of disabled people, the needs of mothers and children, the needs of bereaved people, which specific benefits exist to cover.”
Image credit: manolofranco |Pixabay Staples to Turn Parts of Some Stores Into Office Space Next Article April 4, 2016 Staples has announced a new way to make better use of its cavernous stores at a time of shrinking shopper traffic: turning some of that square-footage into office space.The office supplies giant said on Monday it was collaborating with office-sharing startup Workbar to open communal workspace at three of its stores in metro Boston in a pilot. Workbar runs a network of locations with desks and conference rooms that subscribers can use for a monthly fee. Each of the 2,500 to 3,500 square-foot Workbar facilities will have workspaces, conference rooms, private phone rooms and Wi-Fi access. The average U.S. Staples location is 20,000 square feet in size.The move is just the latest by big box retailers looking to find new uses for all their store space at a time more shopping is moving online. For instance, Macy’s has shops run by sports apparel retailer Finish Line and is testing out a similar idea with electronics retailer Best Buy . Sears has rented out parts of stores to everyone from Whole Foods Market to Dick’s Sporting Goods.Staples is struggling with a declining retail business. It said last month it would close 50 of its 1,607 North American stores this year, after shutting 242 others in the two previous years. Staples is also trying to convince the government to let it buy Office Depot to fend off growing competition in the office supplies area from Amazon.com.It recently re-named its business services division Staples Business Advantage from Staples Advantage to prop up that part of its business, which in contrast to the retail division, is growing. Business services now generate 40 percent of company sales, compared to 35 percent in 2013. What’s more, Staples’ North American B2B unit is far more profitable and looks set to surpass the retail division in the next year or two.Many of Staples’ stores have much more space than they need, now that people are buying more and more office items online. Add to Queue Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Phil Wahba Staples This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine –shares 2 min read Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Register Now »
Add to Queue Reuters Flush with the stunning popularity of the Pokémon Go mobile game, Nintendo aims to make more from marketing popular characters such as Super Mario, taking a leaf from the Walt Disney playbook where Mickey Mouse and friends bring in billions of merchandising dollars each year.But, where Disney’s animated characters often earn more than the films they star in, Super Mario, Pokémon and other Nintendo franchises have languished amid the Japanese firm’s reluctance to push them beyond its struggling game console platform.The success of Pokémon Go — created by Nintendo, Pokémon Company and Niantic, a Google spinoff — may signal that Nintendo’s move to let its characters roam beyond that console universe could help revitalize a company that had grown from a card game maker in 19th century Kyoto to the world’s top computer game and console maker.”We are now expanding how we leverage Nintendo IP in various ways beyond our traditional use of them predominantly within the dedicated video game platform business,” Tatsumi Kimishima, the company’s president, wrote in a message to investors.It could be sitting on a goldmine.”We believe the value of Nintendo intellectual property is enormous and will eventually be unlocked over a three to five year period,” Jefferies analyst Atul Goyal wrote in a Monday research note.A spokesman for Japanese toymaker Takara Tomy said: “We are seeing a resurgence of interest in Pokémon toys after the launch of Pokémon Go.”Nintendo, which on Wednesday partly blamed a strengthening yen for its April-June operating loss, is said to be doing more to expand the reach of its popular franchises, which also include The Legend of Zelda.”Nintendo used to have only few people in its licensing business and deal only with a limited number of merchandising companies,” said a toy company official, who asked not to be named as he is not authorized to talk to the media. “That’s gradually changing as the company has made it clear it will boost its IP business.”Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the puppet-inspired Super Mario, has indicated Nintendo has more appetite now to allow its franchise characters to spread beyond console gaming, and into revenue generating licensing agreements.”These projects will take time to bear fruit, but they are something to look forward to,” Miyamoto told Nintendo’s shareholder meeting late last month, adding Nintendo had started licensing characters for attractions at Universal Studios theme parks and was working to expand Nintendo products.Faded WiiSince its Wii game console boom faded four years ago and its successor, the Wii U, flopped, Nintendo has been buffeted by losses that have more than halved its cash pile to around $5 billion.Nintendo sold almost 100 million of its Wii consoles between its late-2006 launch and end-2011, the year before the Wii U was released. Subsequent sales of the Wii U have added only 13 million units. As casual gaming has shifted from the living room to the smartphone, sales of its handheld 3DS video game system are just a third of the older DS model.Wary of losing focus on its ailing console business, Nintendo has largely steered clear from producing games for other platforms or agreeing lucrative licensing agreements.In the year to end-March, the company’s licensing revenue was just 5.7 billion yen ($54.2 million) — around 1 percent of overall sales, and a tiny fraction of what Disney earns from the likes of Mickey Mouse, Toy Story, Winnie the Pooh and, more recently, Star Wars.Disney’s revenue from consumer products — from Mickey Mouse tea pots and tie clips to books, magazines and even English language schools in China — totaled $4.5 billion in its last full business year — around 9 percent of its total sales.It was Disney’s fastest growing business segment in the year to Oct. 3, 2015, with operating profit up 29 percent from a year earlier. While the Toy Story 3 movie, released in 2010, earned Disney $1.7 billion at cinemas and from TV broadcasts, the franchise’s licensed toys, books and a smartphone app have brought in $7.3 billion.That’s a merchandising masterclass that some investors reckon Nintendo will struggle to match.”Monetizing IP is a whole different thing from selling games,” said a fund manager at a Japanese asset management firm which owns Nintendo shares.”They say they’re going to sell a wrist watch, but it’s adults who are playing Pokémon Go… And are they going to wear a Pokémon Go Plus watch?”($1 = 105.1900 yen)(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Tim Kelly; Editing by Ian Geoghegan) Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand What Nintendo Hopes to Learn From Disney to Turn its Business Around –shares Next Article Enroll Now for $5 July 28, 2016 4 min read Nintendo 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. This story originally appeared on Reuters
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 16 2018Over the past decade, hip-hop music has become a world-wide phenomenon and, in 2017, surpassed rock as the biggest music genre in the United States. Up until now little has been known about how often, or in what context, tobacco and marijuana products and imagery appear in hip-hop music culture. In order to get a better understanding of the presence of these products–and the potential public health threat they pose–a team of researchers from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health analyzed leading hip-hop music videos over the five years from 2013-2017. They found that that a substantial (40%-50%) proportion of the leading hip-hop videos during this time contained use of combustible or electronic tobacco and marijuana products (or smoke or vapor), corresponding to over 39 billion views to date. They also found that the use of these products in videos was often by main and featured artists, and that the prevalence of combustible or electronic use of tobacco and marijuana rose with songs’ popularity. In addition, brand placement was becoming more common in online hip-hop music content.” While there is no doubt that hip-hop artists have made many positive contributions to social change–speaking out on issues like police violence against minorities–there’s also a history of showing regulated substances in hip-hop and other popular music. These depictions may affect fans’ attitudes toward smoking and increase the likelihood of smoking –particularly among young people,” says Kristin Knutzen, MPH, lead author and Dartmouth Institute research scientist.In their analysis, the researchers included all hip-hop songs listed on Billboard magazine’s weekly Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs list (a list of the top 50 songs) between 2013-2017. During this period, 1,250 songs appeared on the Billboard Top 50 list; 769 of them had accompanying music videos. The researchers also searched YouTube, Tidal, iTunes, Vimeo, and artists’ websites for corresponding music videos of all top 50 songs.Among their findings recently reported in JAMA Internal Medicine: Related StoriesStudy: Tobacco and alcohol usage are common in British reality television showsStudies show no evidence of fall in cigarette consumption due to WHO’s FCTCRisk of children taking up smoking has reduced following tobacco display ban”When young people, especially adolescents, see their favorite artists using tobacco products in music videos, they can begin to view them as normal in hip-hop culture, and they can begin to see themselves using them. They also could view them as less harmful then they are. That’s a very real public health threat,” says study co-author and Dartmouth Institute Associate Professor Samir Soneji, PhD.The researchers note that while these music videos provide “largely unregulated opportunities” for the advertising of tobacco and marijuana products, future regulation that directly addresses the often co-occurring depiction and marketing of tobacco, marijuana, and electronic products in music videos could reduce the burden of tobacco and marijuana use. They also say that beyond federal and state regulation, the music industry and social networking sites could, themselves, reduce combustible and electronic use in hip-hop music videos. For example, advertisements of tobacco products are expressly prohibited by Google, the parent company of YouTube. Thus, YouTube could prohibit postings of music videos with product placement in accordance with Google’s advertising policies. The proportion of songs with accompanying music videos that contained combustible use, electronic use, or smoke or vapor equaled 44% in 2014, 40% in 2015, 50% in 2016, and 47% in 2017. (For a total of 39.5 billion views) Compared with hand-rolled products, manufactured cigarette use was less common in videos. In 2017, only 8% of songs with accompanying music videos contained manufactured cigarettes. Among songs with accompanying music videos containing combustible use, brand placement increased from 0% in 2013 to 10% in 2017. For those containing electronic use, brand placement increased from 25% in 2013 to 88% in 2017. Main or featured artists exclusively used combustible or electronic products in a third of music videos that contained the use of these products. The proportion of songs with accompanying music videos containing the use of these products increased with the popularity of these songs. The proportion equaled 42% among songs in the first quartile of viewership (8,700 to 19 million views) and increased to 50% among songs in the fourth quartile of viewership (112 million to 4 billion views). The researchers note that the music video for the popular song, “I’m The One” by DJ Khaled– featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance The Rapper, and Lil Wayne — contained both combustible and electronic use, as well as electronic brand placement (KandyPen)– and had been viewed over 1 billion times on YouTube as of June 2018. Source:https://tdi.dartmouth.edu/news-events/new-research-use-tobacco-and-marijuana-products-regularly-featured-hip-hop-music-videos
PATNA: The Bihar Police Special Branch, the intelligence wing of the state police which briefs chief minister Nitish Kumar (who is also home minister) on sensitive issues, was directed to gather “detailed information” on the state functionaries of the RSS and its 17 subsidiary outfits in a letter issued by the SP (Special Branch) on May 28, two days before the swearing-in of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre. The letter – a copy of which is with TOI – had been addressed to all deputy SPs of Special Branch and asked them to furnish information such as names, addresses, posts and occupations of RSS office-bearers. JD(U) national secretary-general K C Tyagi called it a routine issue. “This is a routine matter, which the police or the intelligence wing of every state or the central government does from time to time. It should not be construed as an attempt either to target or malign the image of any organisation.” A senior BJP leader, on the other hand, remarked, “There is more a lot to it than meets the eye. After all, RSS is a nationalist organisation.” The senior officers assigned to field duty had been asked to treat the letter, copies of which were also forwarded to the ADG, IG and DIG of Special Branch, as urgent and provide the relevant information within a week. The current SP (G), Special Branch, Kartikey Sharma, whose office had issued the letter, said, “I have no idea about any such letter. I assumed charge as SP (G) recently. I was not in the post when the letter, as you have mentioned, was issued.” He did not confirm if his office had received the relevant data from the officers concerned. However, another officer, who did not want to be named, said, “Do you think any officer will delay in submitting the report? It was clearly mentioned in the letter to accord top priority to it.” Additional chief secretary (home) Amir Subhani could not be reached for comment. ADG (Special Branch) J S Gangwar was also not available for comment. A senior home department official, however, said nobody would comment on this “sensitive issue”. Apart from RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Jagran Samiti, Hindu Rashtra Sena, Dharma Jagran Samiti, Rashtriya Sevika Samiti, Durga Vahini, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Sikha Bharti, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, Hindu Mahasabha, Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh, Hindu Yuva Vahini, Hindu Putra Sangathan, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, Bhartiya Railway Sangh, and Muslim Rashtriya Sangh are also mentioned in the memo. Another senior RSS leader clarified that the names of many organisations have been wrongly mentioned in the letter. The list contained even a few non-existent ones. “This indicates how the intelligence wing of the state police functions in the state,” he said, adding that altogether 37 subsidiary organisations of the RSS were active across the country. Download The Times of India News App for Latest India News.XStart your day smart with stories curated specially for you