Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Japan Airlines (JAL) has slammed bankruptcy rumors, which have been circulating the industry since last week. A JAL spokesperson told e-Travel Blackboard that a number of other media organizations have published erroneous reports that JAL is bankrupt. “The facts are that the revitalization plans for JAL are presently being formulated by the ETIC (Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corporation of Japan) in cooperation with JAL. “A decision will be made mid to late January regarding what form of assistance will be offered to JAL.”JAL has experienced financial difficulties for quite some time and currently owes more than $US5.8 billion ($6.5 billion).JAL shares plunged to a record low in Tokyo trading last week, however the airline is still positive that it will experience a turnaround with the support of the Japanese government. “There have been no changes whatsoever in the full backing of the Japanese government of JAL.”A JAL spokesperson also denied reports that JAL was planning to cut all of its international routes to cut costs, claiming that the story was 100% false. “JAL will not be changed to a domestic carrier… We can assure you that it is business as usual for JAL.” <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/234bb/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>
Travellers are likely to loosen the reins on their wallets on their holiday, according to a new study.Visa’s Global Travel Intentions Study 2013 revealed an average of five percent of holidaymakers are planning to spend more on their next vacation, with some even hoping to double what they spent on their previous trip.Among the top spenders this year include; Saudi Arabian travellers, forking out an average of US$6,666 per trip followed by Australians with US$4,118 and Chinese travellers at US$3,824 per vacation.Meanwhile, travel budgets are especially high amongst Asian markets, with travellers from Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand predicted to increase their budget by at least 46 percent increase compared to their last trip.The barometer indicated that in addition to spending more, budgets are no longer among the top three reasons behind why travellers choose their next destination, but rather attractions, scenery and rich culture have emerged as stronger reasons for travel.Visa Singapore and Brunei country manager Ooi Huey Tyng said understanding changes in budgets and the way people travel will help facilitate “collaboration, encouraging informed engagement, and promoting growth across the travel industry”.Meanwhile, the United States remained the top choice destination for attractions, scenery and culture with 17 percent of the votes, followed by the UK and France with 12 percent and China, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong with ten percent. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: NJ Budgets no longer a top reason behind choosing a destination.
November 26, 2014HAPPY THANKSGIVING to family and friends near and far.Much to be grateful for! Here are a few snapshots by photographer Ivan Pintar of the very early years at Arcosanti. Ivan was part of the Cosanti Foundation from the early 1960’s until his death at Cosanti in 1994. The Soleri Archives at Arcosanti houses his enormous slide collection.Here we see silt preparation of the panels for the South Vault.The side panels of the Vaults are in place, also the foundations of the Ceramics Apse.The South Vault.This photo is by Annette Del Zoppo.View from the top of the Vaults to the Ceramics Apse and Foundry.Silt work on the Foundry Apse.The Foundry Apse roof pour.Paolo Soleri on the silt for the Foundry apartment roof.
Over seven in 10 French internet users now use catch-up TV services – 72% in 2014 as against 69% in 2013 – consuming 311 million videos a month last year against 207 million in 2013, according to a study by media regulator the CSA.However, the current model of advertising support for catch-up may be unsustainable, with a pay TV option offering a possible way forward, according to the regulator.Over 15,300 hours of free-to-air content were available on French catch-up services at the end of last year, up 9% on 2013.About half the available catalogue content available – 47% – was drama, followed by documentaries – 27% – animation – 26% and movies – 1% – according to the CSA.Pay TV providers made content from about 70 channels available on catch-up, while Canal+ and OCS made movies and series available for up to one month after their initial airing.Catch-up TV drove online TV growth of 40% last year, with the proportion of linear TV online falling relative to the total. Catch-up now accounts for 86% of video consumption online.TV sets now account for 38% of catch-up viewing, with computers accounting for 40% and mobiles and tablets for 22%.The CSA noted that broadcasters face challenges in making money from catch-up services, with the bulk of revenues coming from advertising. However, problems including a lack of a unified measurement system, downward pressure on prices and a limited additional inventory. Internet service providers, meanwhile, are under pressure to recover some of the costs of distribution the CSA noted.The CSA said that the current economic model for services is probably unsustainable in the longer term, delivering lower growth than hoped for in the face of competition from YouTube and other services and demands from ISPs for a slice of the available advertising revenue. It also found that a model whereby broadcasters bypassed ISPs’ boxes and delivered a ‘pure OTT’ service would be destructive of value.The CSA suggested that a pay model, while difficult to execute and facing a number of commercial, technical and regulatory challenges, could have advantages for free-to-air commercial players. It suggested that a partnership with ISPs to deliver a segmented on-demand offering, including low-cost catch-up, could provide one way forward.
Polish telecom operator Netia’s TV base grew by 18% year-on-year to reach 152,000 by the end of June, meaning that 37% of the company’s broadband base use its TV service.Netia said that it had prioritized growth of the TV base through selling TV services to new customers this year, either via its up-to-date next-generation access network or via its acquired Aster HFC net.Netia had 771,000 broadband customers at the end of June, a decline of 7% year-on-year. The operator lost 9,100 broadband customers in the quarter to June. The company said it was focusing on services provided via its own network rather than those provided under regulated access on third-party networks.Netia posted revenues of PLN769.1 million for the first half of the year, down about 10%. Second quarter revenues amounted to PLN380.3 million, down 2%. The decline overall was mostly attributed to lower subscriber numbers.Adjusted EBITDA was PLN223.1 million for the first half, down 14%, while EBITDA for he quarter was PLN109.8 million, down 3%.Netia is currently in the process of integrating TK Telekom, the enterprise-focused operator whose acquisition was completed on July 21 for about PLN222 million.
Chapter 2: Humbling the Oligarchs For a national leader wishing to cement a hold on power—especially a would-be autocrat—nothing beats war. Turning the children of the common folk into soldiers and sending them to do battle with a feared or hated enemy tends to unite those folk in support of whoever is in charge, no matter what the actual reason for the fighting. It works in any country. So it was with Putin and Chechnya. Although the breakaway republic wasn’t exactly a foreign country, to most Russians it might as well have been. So they fell right in line behind their aggressive new president and his Chechnya campaign. Putin is always ready for the next move, the zag after the zig. He recognized that as quickly as war wins the population over to your side, the advantage can just as quickly be lost. The longer a war goes on, the more likely people are to turn against it. Lose a war, and everyone decides they were against it all along. So to gain from a bloody conflict, a leader needs a swift, decisive victory. The First Chechen War had left Russians with a sour taste in their mouths. It went on for two years and ended with their well-equipped, modern army failing against a posse of back-country guerrillas—a replay of Afghanistan in Russia’s own backyard. No one was in the mood for more of the same. The people rallied behind Putin because they detected his willingness to do whatever it took to get the job done. What else would you expect from an ex-KGB officer? Predictably, Putin went at the Chechens with maximum firepower and subdued them with minimum loss of Russian lives. After that, Russia’s lingering troubles with the republic hardly mattered. The war had ended quickly, and it had ended in victory, a demonstration of Putin’s strength for all to see. No more wishy-washy leaders in the Kremlin. A real man was back at the helm. The people cheered. Disposing of an outside threat was important as a first step toward Putin’s goal of reestablishing Russian might, with himself as the revered leader. It was the relatively simple part, however. Next, he had to deal with his political enemies. Some were easy to identify. The drifting policies of the Yeltsin years had fostered a small class of crafty and often violent billionaires, a wild bunch known as the oligarchs. In the words of a former deputy chairman of Russia’s central bank: “All Russian oligarchs are fiendishly ingenious, fiendishly strong, malicious, and greedy—tough customers to deal with.” Land of Opportunity During the 1990s, the country was struggling to adopt the ways of a free-market society. After 70 years of enforced collectivism, suffocation by central planning, and the quashing of individual initiative, Russia’s freedom makeover wasn’t going smoothly. The transition from centralized command and control to free markets was hindered by a massive flight of domestic capital, foreign investors deserting the country, a sharp rise in unemployment, widespread failure to meet payrolls for those who actually held jobs, and a precipitous drop in the foreign-exchange value of the ruble (which hit its all-time low in late 1993). Before the early 1990s, there wasn’t even a stock market. Three generations of Russians had toiled under the threat of communism’s gulags and been trained to look to Moscow for decisions in all matters. And that was after three and a half centuries of submission to czarist rule. Suddenly, people were thrown into a situation they weren’t prepared for and had no experience with. That they were overwhelmed by their first whiff of freedom was hardly a surprise. Most were utterly lost, but not all. As state control of enterprises withered, a few crafty individuals saw they could exploit what was happening. Some were already wealthy, whereas others simply seized the opportunity to start a fortune. What they all had in common was an aptitude for business that was in such short supply in Russia. The best that can be said of the oligarchs is that they were ready for economic freedom when almost no one else was. They certainly helped with the transition to a market economy. But in a society where cronyism, bribery, extortion, and murder for hire are normal, it would be a stretch to argue that these newly minted billionaires came by their fortunes in an honest way. They were utterly ruthless. But they would soon learn that someone else was even more so: Vladimir Putin. Nailing Khodorkovsky Putin realized early on that the key to Russia’s rebirth was its vast wealth of natural resources. Oil, gas, uranium—the country had them all in abundance. All figured into his master plan. And because of their importance, energy companies could not be allowed to fall under the control of foreign investors, no matter what. Even domestic private owners would have to answer to the state or, more to the point, to Putin. The oligarchs mattered to Putin not merely because of their wealth but because energy was precisely the industry in which they were most prominent. Mikhail Khodorkovsky was the richest and most powerful of them, with a fortune of $18 billion. In his struggle with the oligarchs, Putin’s contest with Khodorkovsky was the decisive battle. When it ended—with Khodorkovsky and others stripped of their wealth and imprisoned, exiled, or dead—there was no doubt that Putin would be the overlord of Russia’s energy sector. And he would be thanked for what he did. As with Chechnya, attacking the oligarchs was a hit with the public, who resented both their great wealth and how they had gotten it. Seeing them humbled amped up Putin’s popularity yet again. The Khodorkovsky match was not the only front in Putin’s war with the oligarchs. But it was the splashiest, and it best illustrates his methods. Like Putin, Khodorkovsky had spent his childhood in a shabby communal apartment and, also like Putin, he had ambition to spare. After working as a leader in Komsomol, a communist youth organization, he opened the Youth Center for Scientific and Technological Development. Later he founded an import/export firm. As he transitioned from communist to capitalist, Khodorkovsky came to believe that the new Russian economy should be centered on high-tech industries rather than on natural resources. That put him in conflict with Putin’s notion that resources are the natural engine for Russia’s economic progress. Khodorkovsky became a prominent advocate for a free market. In 1993, he published the Russian capitalist manifesto, The Man with the Ruble. In it he wrote: “It is time to stop living according to Lenin! Our guiding light is Profit, acquired in a strictly legal way. Our Lord is His Majesty, Money, for it is only He who can lead us to wealth as the norm in life.” Khodorkovsky’s compliance with the law was noticeably far from strict. But that was the norm at the time. Several of his early millionaire colleagues had gotten so closely involved with criminals that they eventually had to flee the country to save their lives and the lives of their families. Shootings in public view were common, as were kidnappings of women and children. It was all part of the cost of doing business. That Khodorkovsky’s import/export company was known to violate dozens of laws surprised no one, and by comparison with many others he was a goody-goody. It was entering the financial arena that put Khodorkovsky on track to join the billionaires’ club. And it was through Bank Menatep that he positioned himself to become the richest man in the new Russia. Vouchers Bank Menatep, which Khodorkovsky established in 1989, made significant profits, reportedly enhanced by diverted state funds. The bank also operated a lucrative market for trading state privatization vouchers, which turned out to be more than just another profit center. Though it seems crazy now, the voucher program must have made sense to Boris Yeltsin at the time. He initiated it in 1992 on a day when, perhaps, he was heavily into the vodka. Yeltsin proposed that every man, woman, and child in Russia be issued a voucher that could be exchanged for shares in one of the state enterprises undergoing privatization. That way, Yeltsin was convinced, every citizen would gain a stake in the emerging capitalist economy. However, consistent with capitalist principles, everyone would be free to trade or sell his or her voucher if one chose to. The voucher idea had been imported to Russia by consulting economists from the United States. It made good sense in a textbook kind of way. But it made no sense at all if the vouchers were going to be issued to people who didn’t understand what the pieces of paper represented. Over 140 million Russians participated in the grand voucher program, the great majority of them cash poor and lacking even a rudimentary comprehension of capital markets. Most chose to capture a little cash immediately by selling their vouchers. That played right into the hands of anyone with a bit of investment sense—especially the oligarchs. They were ready and able to accommodate the millions of Russians who knew nothing about the vouchers except that they could be turned into instant cash. Buying on the very cheap, they gained control of formerly state-run companies, which concentrated an astronomical amount of wealth and power in the hands of a very few. Khodorkovsky topped the list of those who made the people’s ignorance his gain. Through Bank Menatep and a separate holding company, he took control of a string of companies for mere kopecks on the ruble. It wasn’t quite theft, but it was a process in which informed consent played no role whatsoever. In 1995, Group Menatep moved on Yukos, a major petroleum conglomerate. Yukos had been assembled by the Russian government in 1993 to roll up dozens of state-owned production, refining, and distribution assets, including one of the most productive oil fields in western Siberia. Like most other Russian companies struggling to adapt to a market economy, its performance had been dismal. Oil production rates were declining, employees were months behind in getting paid, and financial controls were haphazard. Khodorkovsky set out to grab Yukos and fix it. He captured Yukos in two bold moves and in so doing demonstrated that he was a wily businessman, someone to be reckoned with. Vladimir Putin—at the time still working for the mayor of St. Petersburg, but with his eye on higher office—took notice. Perhaps, given his dispassion in separating ends from means, he even admired how Khodorkovsky operated. It happened this way: First, knowing that the Yeltsin administration was strapped for cash, Bank Menatep participated in the ill-fated “Loans for Shares” program. Under the arrangement, Yeltsin’s government pledged shares in several of Russia’s most profitable companies as collateral for loans from oligarch-controlled banks. The value of the collateral was several times more than the value of the loans secured. If the state defaulted—and its debilitated condition made that likely—the lending bank was supposed to auction off the shares. But the auctions that actually took place were rigged. Everything was carefully planned to exclude anyone who might outbid the lending bank. In this instance, Bank Menatep lent the Kremlin $159 million under conditions that virtually ensured default. For collateral, the Kremlin pledged 45 percent of Yukos, which at that point was worth over $3 billion, or some 20 times the size of the loan. Then, when the government indeed defaulted, Khodorkovsky effectively swapped the IOU Bank Menatep was holding for nearly half of Yukos. Days later, to gain full control, Menatep purchased another 33 percent of Yukos from Yeltsin’s desperate government for just $150 million, or about 15 cents on the dollar. Over the next several years, Khodorkovsky brought the company back to health. In 2002 Yukos became the first Russian oil company to pay dividends to its shareholders, and by 2003 it was accounting for 20 percent of all Russian oil production and 2 percent of the world’s. It had become the country’s second-largest taxpayer, covering 4 percent of the Russian federal budget. This was quite a high standing for a company about to be smashed. Whether Putin could have succeeded in moving on Khodorkovsky in a different political and economic climate is difficult to judge. But he clearly made savvy use of the man’s past. You’ve just read an excerpt from Marin Katusa’s new book, The Colder War: How the Global Energy Trade Slipped from America’s Grasp. Click here to order your copy now.
The Easiest First Step It’s crucial to place some of your savings beyond the easy reach of your home government. It keeps that government from trapping your money if and when it implements capital controls or outright asset seizures. Any government can do either without warning. The ultimate way to diversify your savings is to transfer it out of the immediate reach of your home government and into something tangible. Something that cannot be easily confiscated, nationalized, frozen, or devalued at the drop of a hat or with a couple of taps on the keyboard—while retaining as much privacy as legally possible. Something whose value is recognized around the world and is not controlled by any government. Gold (and silver) fit the bill perfectly. There is nothing particularly American, Chinese, Russian, or European about gold. Different civilizations have used it as money for millennia. It’s always been an inherently international asset. Buying gold is perhaps the easiest step you can take towards diversifying your savings. When you buy gold, you trade in paper money—which the government can devalue and confiscate at will—for a hard asset that’s been a stable store of value for thousands of years. Gold is universally valued. Its worth doesn’t depend on any government. In other words, simply buying gold is the easiest way to lessen the political risk to your savings. Freedom Insurance Somehow, someway, your home government will keep squeezing your pocketbook harder. It will keep subjecting you to escalating, arbitrary, and burdensome regulations and restrictions. Expect more government and less freedom all around. With each passing week, the window to protect your personal and financial freedom closes a bit more. Fortunately, you don’t need to be hostage to a desperate and out-of-control government. International diversification is a time-tested route to freedom. Wealthy people around the world have used it for centuries to effectively protect their money and their families. Buying gold is an important first step. Regards, — Less than 10 people in the world know about this True breakthroughs rarely happen in the world of market trading… But this is one of them. Developed in secrecy over five years, it’s a never-before-seen indicator of short-term stock profit opportunities. Only a handful of people know about this data-proven 93.5%-accurate way of picking future market wins… But now we’re throwing back the veil on it — so that YOU can get rich. Discover it now by clicking here. Justin’s note: As longtime readers know, owning gold for the long term is one of our core recommendations here at Casey Research. And it’s now more important than ever. That’s because every day, the window to protect your personal and financial freedom closes a bit more. Today, we’re handing the reins to Crisis Investing editor Nick Giambruno to explain why… By Nick Giambruno, editor, Crisis Investing It’s predictable… A government in need of cash will turn to destructive “solutions.” Money printing, higher taxes, and more regulations often come first. Unfortunately, these are just the hors d’oeuvres before a 10-course meal. As they become increasingly desperate, governments implement increasingly destructive policies. This might include capital controls, price controls, people controls, official currency devaluations, wealth confiscations, retirement account nationalizations, and more. — Nick Giambruno Editor, Crisis Investing P.S. Buying gold is where to start. But there’s much more to do… The US government gets bigger, more invasive, and more aggressive by the day. But you can take concrete steps to protect yourself from this hostile giant. That’s why New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and I just released an urgent video that explains more about the crisis that’s about to hit America…and why it’s so important that you take action today. You can learn more right here. [EXPIRES MIDNIGHT] Today is your last chance to get the top pick of one of the most successful analysts in Bill Bonner’s network… and lock in a free year of one of his most popular research services. Click here for all the details. Recommended Link The same pattern has played out again and again around the world and throughout history. The worse a government’s fiscal health gets, the more destructive its policies become. This is the root of political risk. It’s no secret that political risk is snowballing in many parts of the world. This is especially true in the US and Europe, where welfare and warfare spending continues unabated. It doesn’t matter which party is in power. But no matter where you live, international diversification can greatly reduce the threat your home government poses to your personal and financial well-being. You know the benefits of diversifying your investment portfolio. If you put all of your asset eggs in one basket, you could lose your entire portfolio if that basket breaks. The same idea applies to political risk. If your home country “breaks”—and turns to the destructive policies I just mentioned—you could lose everything. Most people have medical, life, fire, and car insurance. You hope you never have to use these policies, but you have them anyway. They give you peace of mind and protect you if and when the worst does happen. International diversification is the ultimate insurance policy against an out-of-control government. Think of it as “freedom insurance.” It frees you from absolute dependence on any one country. Achieve that freedom, and it becomes very difficult for any group of bureaucrats to control you. The results can be life-changing. Recommended Link
A Missouri judge has blocked the state’s attempt to close down Missouri’s last abortion provider.Missouri Circuit Court Judge Michael Stelzer granted a request to temporarily prevent state officials from revoking the license of a clinic operated by a St. Louis Planned Parenthood chapter, as the state’s health department had sought to do.If the license is not renewed, Missouri will become the first state without a clinic providing abortions since the procedure became legal 46 years ago.Planned Parenthood, Stelzer wrote in his order, “demonstrated that immediate and irreparable injury will result” if Missouri refuses to renew the clinic’s license. He added that the temporary restraining order “is necessary to preserve the status quo and prevent irreparable injury.”Stelzer issued his ruling Friday, hours before a midnight deadline. The judge set a hearing on the matter for Tuesday.”This is a victory for women across Missouri, but this fight is far from over. We have seen just how vulnerable access to abortion care is in Missouri — and in the rest of the country,” said Leana Wen, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood.Anti-abortion-rights groups were dismayed by the decision, echoing the governor’s position that there are health and safety concerns at the clinic that need to be investigated.”Planned Parenthood caused this artificial crisis when they ignored the law and refused to comply with the state of Missouri’s very reasonable requests,” said Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins, who called Stelzer’s ruling an example of “judicial activism in favor of abortion.”In a lawsuit seeking to keep the clinic open, Planned Parenthood had warned that closing the facility could force some women to “turn to medically unsupervised and in some cases unsafe methods to terminate unwanted pregnancies.”Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, who recently signed one of the country’s most restrictive abortion laws, has maintained that state officials need to complete an investigation into a patient complaint before the clinic’s license is renewed. Missouri officials have not revealed details about that complaint.During a press conference earlier this week, Parson argued that the attempt to not renew the clinic’s license is not political.”This is not an issue about the pro-life issue at all. This is about a standard of care for women in the state of Missouri,” Parson said. “Whether it’s this clinic or any other clinic or any other hospital, they should have to meet the same standards.”In March, state officials cited a number of deficiencies in their inspections of the clinic as part of the annual license renewal process. One problem they noted was that not all of the staff had participated in a fire drill. Then in April, Missouri officials announced an investigation of an unspecified complaint from a patient.State officials asked to interview seven physicians associated with the clinic, some of whom were employed by Washington University Medical School and were not part of the clinic’s full-time staff. Because of that relationship, the clinic argues it cannot force the doctors to be interviewed. It also says the state has not revealed the scope of the questioning, which the clinic’s legal team says could include criminal referrals.Legal wrangling ensued over the interviews, with the clinic saying it did everything in its power to make the sessions happen and state officials countering that the clinic was getting in the way of the interviews.Jamie Boyer, the attorney for Planned Parenthood, said in the suit that Missouri “is simply wrong in insisting it is entitled to refuse to act on Planned Parenthood’s application for license renewal.”But Parson says that because of the audit and investigators’ inability to complete the investigation into the patient complaint, the clinic’s license cannot be renewed.Ahead of the ruling, clinics in states surrounding Missouri, meanwhile, told NPR that there were real worries about a wave of patients traveling across state lines from Missouri. It would be a natural response, they said, to the looming prospect of abortions being inaccessible to patients statewide.”Missouri is already in what’s considered an abortion desert where the majority of Missourians live over 100 miles from a clinic,” Michele Landeau, board president of the Gateway Women’s Access Fund, told NPR member station St. Louis Public Radio. The fund helps women pay for abortions.”Closing clinics is just going to make that distance even worse,” she said.Supporters of the St. Louis clinic praised the judge’s ruling but said the struggle for access to abortions in Missouri continues.”While temporary, we celebrate today, and tomorrow, we go back to work to ensure access to abortion does not go dark at the last health center that provides abortion in Missouri,” said Dr. Colleen McNicholas, an abortion provider at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region. “While Gov. Parson abandoned our patients, we will not.”NPR’s Sarah McCammon contributed to this report. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
The government has announced a fresh review into prolonged seclusion and long-term segregation of people with learning difficulties and autistic people in hospitals, more than 70 years after concerns were first raised by civil rights campaigners.Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock announced this week that he had asked the care regulator to launch an immediate review into “the inappropriate use of prolonged seclusion and segregation” and said that some disabled people had been “treated like criminals”.His call came following a series of media investigations into conditions in privately-run assessment and treatment units (ATU), facilities that are supposed to be used for short-term care if someone with autism or learning difficulties is in crisis and community-based services cannot cope.The media reports have included allegations of widespread abuse, cruelty, physical restraint, poorly-trained staff and wrongful use of medication, as well as the frequent use of lengthy periods of solitary confinement.In a letter to the chief executive of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Ian Trenholm, Hancock pointed to one teenager, Beth – whose case was exposed by BBC Radio Four’s File on Four – who has been kept in solitary confinement and fed through a hatch in the door in a privately-run ATU for nearly two years.Hancock said he had asked NHS England to carry out a serious incident review into Beth’s care.But he said he also wanted CQC to carry out a review into “prolonged seclusion and long-term segregation for children and adults with a mental illness, learning disability or autism in secondary care and social care settings”.The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is also set to act. It is considering which of its enforcement powers – such as launching an investigation or an inquiry – it can use “to fix the current system”.David Isaac, EHRC’s chair, said the current inpatient care system for people with learning difficulties had led to “some horrific situations at a number of assessment and treatment units where people’s fundamental human rights are being disregarded”.The children’s commissioner for England has also written to NHS England to raise concerns about Beth’s treatment, and to raise a series of questions about how many ATUs are used by NHS England, how many children they have as inpatients and their use of restraint and segregation.Anne Longfield, the commissioner, has asked for an update on the government’s Transforming Care programme, which was launched in the wake of the 2011 Winterbourne View scandal.She said: “The NHS must work with councils to be more transparent about what is going on in these units and be proactive about making sure every child receives the support and treatment they deserve.”Transforming Care aimed to “transform services so that people no longer live inappropriately in hospitals but are cared for in line with best practice, based on their individual needs, and that their wishes and those of their families are listened to and are at the heart of planning and delivering their care”.But successive governments appear to have achieved little to fulfil those aims.In 2012, a year after Winterbourne View, there were an estimated 3,400 people in NHS-funded learning disability inpatient beds.The latest figures, published last month, show 2,315 people with learning difficulties and/or autism in England are still being detained in mental health hospitals.Calls to address the scandal of people with learning difficulties living “inappropriately” in long-stay institutions date back at least as far as the 1940s – more than 70 years – to when the National Council for Civil Liberties launched a campaign against eugenicist laws that led at their peak to the institutionalisation of more than 50,000 people in long-stay hospitals.A series of scandals through the late 1960s and 1970s highlighted concerns similar to those raised by File on Four, with inquiries reporting cruel ill-treatment, inhumane and threatening behaviour towards patients (at Ely Hospital), the “harmful over-use of drugs” (Farleigh Hospital) and the use of tranquilisers and “side-rooms” – or solitary confinement facilities – at South Ockendon Hospital.Disabled activist Simone Aspis (pictured), director of the consultancy Changing Perspectives, who campaigns to free disabled people from ATUs and other institutions, welcomed the CQC review but said there needed to be a “proper root and branch review of legislation”, and that it needed to lead to “action”.She said: “It is the legislation that allows ATUs to exist and oppress and treat disabled people as inhuman and treat them like animals.“Feeding people through a hatch. What is that if not treating someone like an animal?“It is the existence of ATUs, the power entrusted within them by the state.”She said that whether the review had an impact would depend on “how much are they really going to listen to the voices of people with autism”.She pointed out that poor practice and the institutionalisation of disabled people had persisted, seven years after Winterbourne View, allowing “easy detainment of people with learning difficulties and autism”.Aspis, who is a member of EHRC’s disability advisory committee, but was speaking in a personal capacity, said she hoped EHRC would do something at a “much more fundamental level, with much more robustness” than she believed CQC would be able to.She pointed to EHRC’s draft strategic plan for 2019-22, which has as one of its “priority aims” improving the rules on “entry into detention and conditions in institutions”.Aspis said: “You can welcome [the CQC review] but is it going to say anything more than we know already?“What we need is some serious action around closing these places down.“As long as there are alternatives there, there is always an alternative to providing homes for people in the community.“So the government has to say that these places need to be shut down and that the intensive care and support needs to be provided in people’s homes.”She added: “Often people with learning difficulties end up being institutionalised because of the inadequacy of the support provided for people with learning difficulties and autism within the community.”Aspis is currently working with two disabled people who are trying to secure their release from ATUs.She said: “A lot of patients feel scared of speaking out and seeking support because they are concerned about the implications. There are a lot of disempowered people.”Dr Paul Lelliott, CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals and its lead for mental health, said: “There is understandable public concern about the use of prolonged seclusion and long-term segregation on people with mental health problems, learning disabilities or autism. “It is vital that services minimise the use of all forms of restrictive practice and that providers and commissioners work together to find alternative, and less restrictive, care arrangements for people who are subject to seclusion or segregation. “Failure to do this has the potential to amount to inhuman and degrading treatment of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.“The secretary of state for health and social care has requested that the Care Quality Commission undertake a thematic review of this issue and we are now considering how we will take forward this important work.” 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…
Image credit: Roadsidepictures via Flickr Along with Best Buy, this electronics retailer was where you went to pick up the latest and greatest gadget through much of the 1990s. As online shopping took off, though, things began to falter. And bad retail locations and questionable business moves (like abandoning its lucrative appliance-sales business and partnering exclusively with Verizon for mobile phone sales) led to bankruptcy.Officials tried to secure a buyer but were unable to do so, forcing the company to lay off 30,000 employees and liquidate its stores in 2009.Related: Martha Stewart: It’s all about branding Once America’s second-largest shipbuilder and steel producer, Bethlehem Steel was beginning its decline in the late ’80s, as the U.S. transitioned away from industrial manufacturing (amid lower labor costs in other countries).But the thought of the company that built the Golden Gate Bridge going away entirely was still something few considered. It gave up shibuilding in 1997, and in 2001 the company was forced to file for bankruptcy, weighed down in part by spiraling pension and health-care costs as workers were laid off. Two years later International Steel Group bought what was left.Related: Business titans disclose their biggest mistakes –shares 4 min read CNBC In the early days of the personal computer, Compaq was a premier name, and by the mid-’90s it was the country’s largest supplier of PC systems. By the end of that decade, though, it was suffering from product-quality issues and wasn’t able to keep up with the rapidly changing industry.Lower-cost competitors, like Dell, began capturing the attention of consumers—and the collapse of the dot-com bubble didn’t help matters, as demand for the company’s high-end systems evaporated. In 2002 the company agreed to merge with Hewlett-Packard, and the Compaq name slowly evaporated.Related: Secrets of success from business titans Compaq This story originally appeared on CNBC Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Image credit: Gwydion M. Williams via Flickr Amoco The business landscape has changed significantly in the past 25 years—not only in how we work but also with whom we work. It’s sometimes easy to forget that king of the hill isn’t a permanent position, and companies that seem invincible might not be around forever in their current form—or, in some cases, any form. Icons fall, and here are some of the names we took for granted in 1989 that have since faded away. Bethlehem Steel Fallen Giants: Iconic Companies That Disappeared Lehman Brothers May 2, 2014 Circuit City The oil company that started in 1910 was a giant in 1989. It was a leader in the lead-free gas movement and became the largest natural-gas producer in North America in the late ’90s. Amoco never saw significant financial troubles: In 1997 the company earned $2.7 billion on revenue of $36.3 billion. But in 1998 it merged with British Petroleum in a $61 billion deal. Existing service stations were rebranded under the BP name, and the Amoco brand slowly dissolved. Image credit: Christopher S. Penn via Flickr Add to Queue Image credit: Minale Tattersfield Roadside Retail via Flickr Brands Image credit: yum9me via Flickr Next Article Once the fourth-largest investment bank in the country, Lehman’s 2008 bankruptcy filing was the largest in U.S. history, with the firm holding more than $600 billion in assets. It was something that seemed unthinkable just a few years prior, but weighed down by toxic housing assets and unable to find a buyer, the company ended up playing a significant role in the global financial crisis.After the bankruptcy filing, Barclays bought the company’s North American division for just $1.75 billion, with Nomura Holdings taking over the Asia-Pacific, European and Middle Eastern operations.To see the rest of this article, go to CNBC. Image credit: Alexander Rabb via Flickr Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Register Now »
Add to Queue Reuters This story originally appeared on Reuters Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Microsoft Register Now » Next Article –shares 3 min read Microsoft Corp. announced more big cuts to its smartphone business on Wednesday, just two years after it bought handset maker Nokia in an ill-fated attempt to take on market leaders Apple and Samsung.The U.S. company said it would shed up to 1,850 jobs, most of them in Finland, and write down $950 million from the business. It did not say how many employees currently work on smartphones in the group as a whole.A Finnish union representative told Reuters the cuts would essentially put an end to Microsoft’s development of new phones.”My understanding is that Windows 10 will go on as an operating system, but there will be no more phones made by Microsoft,” said Kalle Kiili, a shop steward.Microsoft said in a statement it would continue to develop the Windows 10 platform and support its Lumia smartphones, but gave no comment on whether it would develop new Windows phones. Microsoft bought Nokia’s once-dominant handset business for about $7.2 billion in 2014, but failed to turn the business around and last year announced $7.5 billion of writedowns and 7,800 job cuts.Global market share of Windows smartphones fell below 1 percent in the first quarter of 2016, according to research firm Gartner. Earlier this month, Microsoft sold its entry-level feature phones business for $350 million.The company said on Wednesday it expected to cut all 1,350 jobs at its Finnish mobile phone unit and close down a research and development site in the country. A further 500 jobs will go in other countries, it said, without giving details.”We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation,” said chief executive Satya Nadella in a statement.”We will continue to innovate across devices and on our cloud services across all mobile platforms.”Nokia dominated around 40 percent of the world’s mobile phone industry in 2008 before it was eclipsed by the rise of touch-screen smartphones.As a result, Nokia and Microsoft have slashed thousands of Finnish jobs over the past decade, and the lack of substitute jobs is the main reason for the country’s current economic stagnation.”We have a very difficult situation at hand… We must quickly secure that new jobs can be found and created,” Economy Minister Olli Rehn told a news conference.Nokia, now focused on telecom network equipment, just last week said it was cutting around 1,000 jobs in Finland following its acquisition of Franco-American rival Alcatel-Lucent.(By Jussi Rosendahl and Tuomas Forsell; Editing by Mark Potter and Adrian Croft) Microsoft Retreats in Smartphone Battle, Laying Off More Than a Thousand May 25, 2016 Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Image credit: Reuters | Pichi Chuang
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 31 2018Nearly 9,000 children and adolescents died from opioid poisonings with prescription and illicit drugs between 1999 and 2016 based on an analysis of national data.The death rate almost tripled over that time to nearly 1 per 100,000 based on the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Prescription opioids were implicated in 73 percent of the deaths (6,561) and most of the deaths were unintentional (nearly 81 percent). The majority of deaths were among non-Hispanic white males but over time non-Hispanic black children accounted for a larger proportion of the deaths. The highest annual death rates during the 18 years examined in the study were among teens 15 to 19, with heroin implicated in nearly 1,900 deaths. The study relied on data from death certificates so the potential for misclassification of cause and manner of death exists. Researchers urge lawmakers, public health officials, clinicians and parents to implement protective measures to address the growing public health problem. Source:https://media.jamanetwork.com/news-item/study-details-opioid-poisoning-deaths-among-children-teens-over-two-decades/
Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Feb 5 2019New research in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience supports adding yoga as an adjunctive therapy to treat this chronic inflammatory diseaseAccording a study published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, eight weeks of intensive yoga practice significantly decreases the severity of physical and psychological symptoms in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a debilitating chronic auto-immune inflammatory disease. Marked improvements were seen in the levels of certain inflammatory biomarkers and assessments of functional status and disease activity in patients studied, demonstrating yoga’s promotive, preventive, curative, and rehabilitative potential for achieving optimal health.”Our findings show measurable improvements for the patients in the test group, suggesting an immune-regulatory role of yoga practice in the treatment of RA. An intensive yoga regimen concurrent with routine drug therapy induced molecular remission and re-established immunological tolerance. In addition, it reduced the severity of depression by promoting neuroplasticity,” explained lead investigator, Rima Dada, MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Anatomy, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India. She noted that high disease activity and underlying depression are associated with increased disability, reduced quality of life, and minimized rates of clinical remission and treatment response.The study was a mind-body intervention (MBI) randomized trial (with parallel active and control groups) to analyze the effects of practicing 120 minutes of yoga, five days a week for eight weeks on 72 RA patients. Both the test and control groups were simultaneously undergoing routine drug therapies (DMARDs). The findings show significant improvement in systemic biomarkers of neuroplasticity, inflammation, immune-modulation, cellular health integrity, and aging in association with the positive clinical outcome of reduction in depression severity, disease activity, and disability quotient in RA patients following the intensive yoga based MBI.Existing research has evaluated the role of yoga as an effective intervention to assist the management of RA with respect to clinical symptoms, quality of life, psychosocial outcomes, and functional ability. This study is one of the first to look at how yoga practice affects the systemic biomarkers of inflammation, cellular aging, and oxidative stress, especially in RA. “Our results provide evidence that yoga positively modifies the pathobiology of autoimmunity at cellular and molecular levels by targeting mind-body communications. Further research is needed for the exploration of possible mechanisms underlying the cumulative effect of yoga on multiple pathways at a cellular level,” added Dr. Dada. “Yoga facilitates the mind’s capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms mediated though a variety of downstream pathways and bring about natural immunological tolerance.”Related StoriesResearchers identify new molecular mechanism causing rheumatoid arthritisPromising methods for early detection and treatment of rheumatoid arthritisRegular physical activity can be effective in reducing pain from arthritisRA is a heterogeneous autoimmune disease that results from the interplay of genetic and environmental factors and causes extensive systemic inflammation, cartilage damage, and synovial hyperplasia that cause physical disability and psychiatric comorbidity. The co-existence of depression and RA in individuals poses a significant healthcare burden on the patients, their caregivers, healthcare systems, and society as a whole. Existing medical therapies have a limited scope and fail to cure the psychological component of the disease and have numerous side effects. Depression seems to decrease patients’ compliance and adherence to medical treatment and results in worse health outcomes and increases disease severity. Improvement in psychological health and reductions in severity made the yoga group more compliant and able to perform more daily chores without much difficulty.Dr. Dada concluded, “This study offers a new option. Pharmacological treatments can be supplemented with alternative and complementary interventions like yoga to alleviate the symptoms at both physical and psychosomatic levels.” With yoga based MBI providing a holistic treatment dimension, reaching a state of remission is becoming a more achievable treatment goal. As a majority of diseases have a psychosomatic component, this approach may be widely applicable.Source: https://www.iospress.nl/ios_news/new-research-in-rnn-supports-adding-yoga-as-an-adjunctive-therapy-to-treat-this-chronic-inflammatory-disease/
Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Mar 18 2019Currently, a practical, precise, minimally invasive way to measure cardiac output or heart function in children undergoing surgery does not exist. New research published in the Online First edition of Anesthesiology, the peer-reviewed medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), illustrates how a novel minimally invasive method using catheter-based ultrasound to measure heart function performed with similar precision to a traditional highly invasive device.Cardiac output, the volume of blood pumped by the heart per minute, is a crucial component of vital signs monitored in surgical patients. Evaluation by physical examination of critically ill children is often imprecise. Most devices used to monitor cardiac output are adapted from adult patients with limited use in children, due to differences in size, technical limitations, and risk of complications. Physicians have almost no available alternatives to manage and measure how a pediatric patient’s heart is responding to different therapies, since there are no practical and precise minimally invasive ways to measure cardiac output in infants and young children.”This new technology is less invasive than earlier technologies and can be used while patients are awake, which makes it more clinically practical for young children,” said Theodor S. Sigurdsson, M.D., pediatric anesthesiologist, at Children’s Hospital, University Hospital of Lund in Sweden. “Our results demonstrate that this technology was not only easily adaptable in young children but also very accurate and precise. It could aid further validation of the next generation of non-invasive hemodynamic monitors in the intensive care setting.”In the study, researchers used ultrasound sensors to produce precise measurements that were comparable to those obtained using a more traditional method of placing a probe around the patient’s aorta to measure heart function. Forty-three children between the ages of one and 44 months scheduled for corrective cardiac surgery were studied. Researchers measured heart function using both the invasive perivascular flow probe and the new minimally invasive ultrasound technology. After administering a saline injection, researchers were able to detect blood dilution levels using ultrasound sensors attached to an arteriovenous loop connected to catheters in the patient’s internal jugular vein and radial artery. The process is minimally invasive because it uses existing catheters and does not require additional invasive procedures.Related StoriesCutting around 300 calories a day protects the heart even in svelte adultsStudy explores role of iron in over 900 diseasesImplanted device uses microcurrent to exercise heart muscle in cardiomyopathy patientsAfter surgery, five consecutive repeated cardiac measurements were performed using both methods simultaneously, for a total of 215 cardiac output measurements. The ultrasound sensors showed a statistically similar precision for measuring cardiac output when compared to the results obtained using the periaortic flow probe.In an accompanying editorial, Christine T. Trieu, M.D., physician anesthesiologist, at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, noted there are very few commercially available, precise cardiac output monitoring devices for infants and young children.”Despite the encouraging results from this study, there are still many challenges in developing the ideal cardiac output monitor for pediatric patients,” said Dr. Trieu. “This is the reason why we welcome and applaud the study by Dr. Sigurdsson et al; it offers the possibility of a simple and reliable method that uses arterial line and central line to measure cardiac output in children of all sizes.”Source: https://www.asahq.org/about-asa/newsroom/news-releases/2019/03/ultrasound-to-measure-heart-function-in-children
Higher costs for oil, industrial metals and other materials have emerged as a headwind during US earnings season, amplifying inflation worries at the same time the labor market is tightening. “Ultimately, these companies that are calling out rising input costs have a choice: They can either eat those costs at the expense of their profit margins or they can choose to pass those costs onto their customers,” O’Hare said.”If they pass them along, then their customers choose to pass them along to their customers and so on, and so you get more generalized price inflation.”Raw material price increases are trending well above expectations at the industrial conglomerate 3M, especially for oil-linked materials and transportation and logistics. But the company expects those trends to be more than offset by strong demand across its markets, including in consumer goods and home care, allowing it to raise prices.”For the year, we’re still expecting our stronger price growth to more than offset the raw materials,” said chief financial officer Nicholas Gangestad.More inflation ahead?But companies are also monitoring commodity prices to see if prices continue to rise. A report last month from the World Bank concluded that commodity prices were set to grow “more than expected” in 2018, pointing to increases across oil, metals and grains.In a May 1 investor note, Goldman Sachs also highlighted commodities as being in a “bull tilt” in part because of low inventories after a long period of under-investment. But the report also noted that many investors were “skeptical” of the outlook, in part out of fear of buying at the top of the commodity cycle.Parker of American Airlines said the company’s response would partly depend on what happened in the oil market, saying the carrier would lift ticket prices if it concludes high fuel prices are here to stay.”As the cost of production goes up, the cost of the product generally follows,” Parker said. If fuel prices stay high, “I would expect you would see higher fares to consumers over time.”Ford has estimated that materials costs will be $1.5 billion over last year’s, which had already seen a jump.”It will be two years of pretty sharp increases,” said Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks, adding that the estimate did not include tariffs on metals announced by the Trump administration in March.Ford believes the risk of tariffs “has essentially already been priced in by the market,” Shanks said. Companies from across the US economy cited the drag from supply costs in conference calls, in some cases reporting lower first-quarter profits or cutting their outlook.Arconic, a spin-off from Alcoa that focuses on aviation and auto clients, slashed its outlook due to a “steep increase” in aluminum prices, said chief financial officer Ken Giacobbe.Prices of the metal have risen further after US announcements of tariffs on imported aluminum and sanctions on Russian aluminum company Rusal.American Airlines Chief Executive Doug Parker rued that oil prices had risen “very quickly” and the company cut its forecast range for full-year profits. Executives at Kraft Heinz also reported cost pressures for freight, packaging and oil, although the elevated prices have not affected forecasts, while Mondelez International, another food giant, also confirmed its profit outlook despite higher cocoa costs.’Risk is building’Worries about inflation have been a preoccupation of policymakers and money managers all year because of the fear a sudden jump in prices would prompt the Federal Reserve to accelerate interest rate increases, potentially shocking the global economy.The Federal Reserve this week acknowledged that inflation had moved closer to its target of two percent. The statement, while not expressing alarm at pricing trends, kept the central bank on track to keep lifting interest rates this year.Jim Corridore, an analyst at CFRA Research who covers industrial companies, said inflation was “not something we’re overly concerned about.” Companies managed to turn in solid profits due to higher overall sales and the lift from US tax cuts.”At this point it’s not any more concerning than we expected it to be but it’s certainly something you have to keep an eye on,” Corridore added.Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare said “the risk of a pickup in inflation pressures is building,” in part because of rising labor costs.On Friday, the US Labor Department reported that wages increased only modestly in April even as unemployment hit a 17-year low of 3.9 percent. Still economists believe wage inflation could soon pick up, perhaps by a lot. American Airlines 1Q profits hit by higher fuel costs Citation: US companies weigh price hikes as material costs rise (2018, May 6) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-companies-price-hikes-material.html Explore further © 2018 AFP Prices of aluminum have risen further after US announcements of tariffs on imported aluminum 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.
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COMMENTS SHARE SHARE EMAIL politics SHARE Published on agriculture February 19, 2019 COMMENT Formal discussions among Opposition leaders on drafting a common minimum programme for the elections are yet to start, but informal parleys based on a document — the People’s Progressive Agenda for India — are on, sources say. The document, prepared by Samruddha Bharat Foundation, has the blessings of almost all Opposition leaders and some of them reportedly participated in its drafting.Opposition’s campaign A document on the key themes of the Opposition’s campaign — distress of farmers and unemployment — a copy of which is with BusinessLine, suggests setting up of a farmers’ commission to roll out special packages supporting labour-incentive industries. Sources in the Opposition parties told BusinessLine that several of the suggestions may find a place in the common minimum programme that is likely to be released soon. The document said the proposed farmers’ commission should strive to ensure that farmers’ incomes are first protected and then augmented. It should also function as a debt-relief commission to arbitrate between banks, insurance companies and farmers. The Commission will also ensure enhanced public investment on agriculture research, rural infrastructure and irrigation.Pointing out that food processing, leather and footwear, furniture, textiles, apparel and garment industries account 62 per cent of total manufacturing employment, the document recommended special packages for them to meet the growing domestic and export demands. The document also called for synergy between industrial and trade policy as China is vacating many labour-intensive sectors in export-oriented manufacturing. It recommended the Centre to increase financial allocation to cluster development programmes through a new central scheme.It has also called for framing the National Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme, on the lines of MGNREGA, to address underemployment and low wages in the informal urban sector. The document recommended a national commission on education to allocate resources and monitor programmes. This will help reverse the trend of communalisation of education, it added.Banking sectorRecommending urgent policy reforms in the banking sector, the document said the country will have to seriously consider the feasibility of a “bad-bank,” which can “quickly clean up the banking system to resume lending.”