More than a fifth of Netflix subscribers consider the SVOD provider’s original content as “absolutely critical” to their decision to keep using the service, according to The Diffusion Group (TDG).Netflix original series, NarcosThe ‘Big-Three SVOD and the Original Content Arms Race’ report claims that 21.0% of polled Netflix subscribers said its originals were “absolutely critical” and another 40.7% said this content was “very important” for keeping the service.A further 24.4% said originals were “somewhat important” in keeping them locked into the service while just 14.0% said Netflix’s originals were “of no importance”.TDG said that much like HBO decades ago, the big three US subscription video-on-demand providers – Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video – now have a much better understanding of the limits of licensed content and the benefits of a slate of originals.“The big three SVOD players own 60% of TV streaming time,” said Brad Schlachter, TDG senior advisor and author of the new report.“They are looking to grow this share by creating compelling originals that serve both to attract new users and retain existing subscribers even as subscription rates increase.”“Of course, not all originals find an audience or generate a huge buzz. But when they do, it can change the fortunes of a company. Just look what The Handmaid’s Tale did for Hulu, or what House of Cards did for Netflix.”TDG predicts that ‘the big three’ SVOD players will triple the amount they invest in originals to US$10 billion annually by 2022.In its Q4 earnings announcement last week Netflix said that it plans to spend US$7.5-US$8.0 billion on content overall on a P&L basis in 2018.
Liberty Latin America, the cable and telecom operator that split off from Liberty Global and which provides services across Latin America and the Caribbean, has named Vivek Khemka as its new chief technology officer, starting in September.Vivek KhemkaKhemka, whose full title will be SVP and chief technology and product offer, was previously EVP and chief technology officer for US pay TV outfit DISH Network.Liberty Latin America said that Khemka would lead its technology and innovation team across the regions in which it operates. The new unit has been tasked with driving IT, product development and network platforms across the 40 countries in which the company provides services to about 2.7 million customers.At DISH, Khemka was responsible for the deployment of the company’s Hopper whole-home HD DVR service, among other things.“Vivek will play a key role in the continued development of Liberty Latin America’s future technology leadership, strategy, and vision. I am confident that Vivek will be successful in leading our technology function unlocking growth opportunities as we continue to invest in our customers through network expansion, new products, and enhanced experiences,” said Liberty Latin America CEO Balan Nair, who served as Liberty Global’s chief technology officer before taking over at the Latin American company after its split off.“This position is important to our business strategy with technology being one of the foundations to our success. He shares our ambitions for commitment in innovation and operational excellence, and we are thrilled to welcome him to our leadership team. Vivek will report to me and will work closely with our executive management team to drive innovation and explore new business and technologies.”Khemka said, “I am thrilled to be joining the team. Liberty Latin America presents one of the few growth opportunities in the industry and I am looking forward to working with an extremely passionate and talented team to build a best in class product portfolio and bring innovation and new products and services to our customers to grow the business.”
UK public broadcaster the BBC needs to go further in acting transparently, particularly in relation to the potential competitive impact of its activities, according to regulator Ofcom.According to Ofcom’s first annual report on the broadcaster since taking over as independent regulator, the BBC “does not routinely explain planned changes in its public service activities in sufficient detail to potentially affected parties”.Ofcom cited the example of the BBC’s recently announced plans to make changes to its iPlayer on-demand service, where it said the corporation “did not provide adequate information on what the changes were”.“This makes it harder for the BBC to understand its likely impact on competition, including on the activities and plans of other broadcasters,” said the regulator.“In addition, the BBC has not always provided Ofcom with sufficient detail about its longer-term plans, so that we can assess them in a timely way.”The regulator called on the BBC Board to make more effort to ensure that the pubcaster engages with other UK broadcasters.Ofcom also raised concerns about the governance of the BBC’s commercial activities, which it said needed to be more transparent.Ofcom also said that the BBC needed to maintain its commitment to original UK programmes, while it found that “overall…the BBC is distinctive”, it said that the broadcaster’s investment in first-run UK-originated programming has been declining, falling by almost a quarter overall in real terms since 2010.Ofcom said that first-run original comedy output from the BBC had declined by 38% in that period, while kids content was down 38% and entertainment down 11%.While the BBC has teamed up with the likes of Netflix to finance shows such as Collateral, Ofcom said that “this kind of funding is largely for programmes with global appeal, as distinct from content which specifically reflects the lives and issues of UK audiences”.It called on the corporation to “be more innovative and take more risks, including in relation to how it makes original UK content and with whom”.Other areas of concern for Ofcom include the ongoing decline in use of the BBC by young people. The regulator said that the pubcaster needs to “take significant steps” to engage with young people, without offering specific solutions. Referring to the BBC’s main vehicle for targeting younger viewers, the online-only BBC Three channel, it noted that “few young people watch BBC Three online”.Ofcom also said that the BBC needs to take further action to improve how it represents the whole of UK society, including better representation of people not from middle-class backgrounds, disabled people and people from the nations and regions.In a generally positive review, which found that the BBC is “generally delivering on its remit for audiences”, Ofcom estimated that audiences spend an average of around two hours 45 minutes a day viewing the corporation’s content, with 68% expressing satisfaction with BBC TV and three quarters expressing satisfaction with radio and online output.Some 56% of people rate the BBC highly for taking risks and being innovative, while 66% rate it highly for delivering high-quality content. Some 68% rate the BBC highly for providing informative content, and 63% rate it highly for distinctive content.
TripAdvisor spokeswoman Hayley Coleman added: “Unlike other hospitality awards, these are based on feedback from actual guests over the past year, which is what makes them so prized within the industry.“With rooms at winning hotels notorious for selling out shortly after our annual announcement, travellers wishing to experience these world class hotels for themselves will need to book quickly if they want to find out why they earned such rave reviews throughout the year from fellow travellers.”IT’S OFFICIAL: DERRY’S BISHOPS GATE HOTEL VOTED SECOND BEST IN UK was last modified: January 24th, 2017 by John2John2 Tags: TAKE A BOW!Derry’s Bishops Gate Hotel has been named as the second best hotel to visit in the UK.The 2017 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for hotels, announced on Tuesday, revealed the top rated UK hotels based on guest reviews. IT’S OFFICIAL: DERRY’S BISHOPS GATE HOTEL VOTED SECOND BEST IN UKLONDON 41TRIPADVISOR TRAVELLORS CHOICE 2015 And in Bishops Gate Hotel in Derry came in just just behind London’s Hotel 41 which also made it on to the list of the world’s best places to lay your head for a night.“Fantastic overnight luxury stop,” said one guest of their time in the Derry hotel, “well worth a visit.”Opened in March 2016 by charity the Inner City Trust, the grade B1 listed Bishops Gate describes itself as ‘a Derry Landmark reborn’ with 30 bedrooms, The Wig & Gown Champagne Bar & Restaurant and the Northern Counties Ballroom.The former Northern Counties Building was previously a private members’ club and base for the city’s business and civic leaders, which once hosted the likes of Ulster Unionist leader Lord Carson as well as Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and Nobel-winning poet, WB Yeats. It has been supported by National Lottery funding and the Northern Ireland Executive and was recently the location chosen for Martin McGuinness to announce his retirement from front line politics. The Sinn Fein veteran also opened the hotel.Hotel operator Ciaran O’Neill said he was in a state of shock at the achievement and spent 30 minutes double checking it was right.“It is exceptional for Northern Ireland – I’m delighted,” he said.Ciaran said he visited four of those on the list to use as benchmarks for him prior to opening and he put the success of the hotel down to the dedication of its staff.“In the reviews people mention the experience and the work of the staff. My theory is always to deliver the service and product rather than pay too much attention to the reviews.“We are a small boutique hotel and I always find the smaller the operation the easier it can be to deliver the best for our guests.“TripAdvisor is a double-edged sword, it is what it is – but our reviews, I find are truthful and very genuine.”“This is marvellous – for us to be in this particularly on a UK basis and given the scale of the hotels we are among – I’m delighted.” ShareTweet
The programme will continue until the end of August with story-telling events taking place every Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday from 11.30am to 3.30pm – so there is still time to brush up on a bit of local history.Tourism Project Officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Linzi Simpson, said the sessions have really enhanced the visitor experience over the summer.“We have been delighted at the number of visitors and local people alike who have been enjoying the animation on the Walls,” she said. “The city’s ramparts are a unique asset which have seen much change over the centuries and they certainly have their own stories to tell. “The Walls have Ears programme is a fun way to bring those stories to life through some of the historic characters who would have witnessed the unfolding of the plots, dark deeds and sinister schemes that have changed the course of history.“The programme is in keeping with the goals of the new tourism strategy for the region in developing the Walls as a world-class visitor attraction. “We already welcome 400,000 visitors a year and we hope that by offering these experiences we can draw even more visitors from both home and abroad to enjoy this fantastic living monument.”The Walls were built over a four-year period from 1613-1618 by the Honourable, the Irish Society as robust defences for English and Scottish settlers and are regarded as some of the finest complete walled fortifications in Europe. They have witnessed rebellions, sieges, and of course the recent events of the Troubles, stories which have been brought to life through professional Living History performances throughout the summer months. The performances involve hands-on period activities, music, song, and story-telling and plenty of fun for families, continuing until the end of the school holidays.Among the colourful characters regaling the crowds are one of the accused conspirators of the 1615 Great Northern plot, Rory O’Cahan, and 17th Century Actor & Playwright George Farquhar. Witness the secret meeting between General Owen Roe O’Neill and General Sir Charles Coote as they try to end the forgotten siege of 1649, and enjoy an audience with King James II as he seeks the surrender of the town folk of the city during the Siege of Derry of 1689. Other famous faces include St Colmcille, Bishop of Derry Frederick Hervey and Cecil Frances Alexander.For further information on the ‘Walls Have Ears’ summer animation programme visit www.derrystrabane.com/tourismVisitors flock to relive the stories of the Derry Walls was last modified: August 15th, 2018 by John2John2 Tags: ShareTweet Derry and Strabane CouncilLinzi SimpsonTourism Projects OfficerVisitors flock to relive the stories of the Derry Walls THE colourful history of Derry’s famous Walls has been brought to life in recent weeks thanks to a special project celebrating four centuries of the historic ramparts.The Walls have Ears programme is a PEACE IV Tourism Project funded by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), and introduces some of the lively characters who have helped shaped the city’s history. The programme aims to chart the progress of peace over the centuries through animation and stories of ‘secret meetings of kings, plots, rebellion and sieges’.
ShareTweet SINN Féin Councillor for Culmore Sandra Duffy has welcomed the news that Culmore is to get its first ever full weekend Festival, offering a programme of events for all the family.The festival is being organised by Culmore Community Partnership and will take place from Thursday 13th September- until Sunday 16th September.Councillor Duffy said: “This is great news for the greater Culmore area with this being the first ever festival on this scale being planned for September over four days. “Events will include a 5k and childrens 1k race, Free Cinema Screenings,Family Fun Day on the Saturday and a Karaoke Night.“Culmore is an area where residents often feel cut off from or missing out on events held in other parts of this city. “I commend the Culmore Community Partnership for putting all this together and is clearly something that can be built on in years to come.”Duffy hails first ever Culmore four day festival was last modified: August 25th, 2018 by John2John2 Tags: COUNCILLOR SANDRA DUFFYCULMORE COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPDuffy hails First ever Culmore four day FestivalSinn Fein
Linkedin Pinterest Twitter Google+ Next PostTerell Bailey SOPHIA, WV (WOAY) – One man is in jail after he broke into a home and stabbed another man.According to court documents, Jerry Massey, 41, of Bolt, broke into a home in Sophia on June 17th and cut another man in the head with a knife. Massey also punched a hole in the door.The officer found blood on the bathroom floor, bed sheets, and the wall. The victim was transported to Raleigh General Hospital and the nurse confirmed that the cut was approximately four inches in length and that is was down to the bone.Massey is in the Southern Regional Jail under a 50,000 dollar bond and facing malicious wounding and daytime burglary charges. Facebook Previous PostRaleigh County Man Arrested For Severely Injuring A Woman By Stomping On Her Tumblr Home NewsWatch CrimeWatch News Raleigh County Man Arrested For Breaking Into A Home And Stabbing A Victim In The Head Tyler Barker Tyler Barker is currently the Interim News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. I was promoted to this job in Mid-November. I still will fill in on weather from time to time. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email me at email@example.com Mail CrimeWatch NewsFeaturedLocal NewsNewsWatch Raleigh County Man Arrested For Breaking Into A Home And Stabbing A Victim In The Head By Tyler BarkerJun 26, 2018, 10:01 am 1072 0
Pinterest Facebook HealthNewsWatchState NewsTop Stories HIV Cases Rise to 53 in West Virginia County By Kassie SimmonsJun 22, 2019, 20:26 pm 374 0 Next PostOak Hill Microchipping Event Sees Large Turnout Twitter Linkedin Tumblr Home NewsWatch Health HIV Cases Rise to 53 in West Virginia County Google+ Mail Previous PostMSHA Reports Reveal Details Behind Miner’s Death CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WOAY) – West Virginia health officials say the number of HIV cases in Cabell County has risen to 53.The total increased by four cases in the past four weeks and nine cases in the past nine weeks.The cluster has spread primarily among intravenous drug users. Experts describe the Cabell County situation as a cluster because the disease has not left a certain population.Cabell County’s is currently the only active HIV cluster in West Virginia. Kassie Simmons Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism.During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing.Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about.Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SportsSports News High School Sports Update – August 31 By Matt DigbySep 01, 2017, 00:00 am 1222 0 Mail Next PostMEC Football: WV Wesleyan @ Concord Tumblr Twitter Previous PostWeek 2 Game of the Week Preview – Shady Spring Home Sports News Sports High School Sports Update – August 31 Google+ Pinterest Facebook WOAY – Oak Hill girls soccer won Thursday 6-0 against Shady Spring, as the Lady Red Devils scored several goals in the first half to maintain momentum throughout the match.Both Woodrow Wilson soccer teams were winners as well; the Lady Flying Eagles responding to an early deficit to win 8-1 against St. Albans. Beckley boys were 9-1 winners against the Red Dragons, in a game where all 27 players saw playing time.Kaulin Parris led Bluefield boys with two goals and two assists in a 6-2 win at Midland Trail.In high school volleyball, Greater Beckley went 2-1 at Liberty, winning against the Lady Raiders and Summers County but losing to Princeton. The Lady Raiders were coming off a tri-match win Wednesday against Meadow Bridge & Fayetteville. Matt Digby Matt Digby is the Sports Director at WOAY-TV. He joined the station in January 2015 – right in the middle of Big Atlantic Classic Week. Read More Linkedin
Pinterest Previous Post2019 Softball/Baseball All-State Teams – Class AAA Next Post2019 North-South Football Classic Highlights Linkedin HealthLocal NewsNewsNewsWatchTop Stories Minden Continues Its 30-Year Fight for Environmental Justice By Anna SaundersJun 09, 2019, 09:30 am 552 0 Google+ Facebook Tumblr Twitter Home NewsWatch Health Minden Continues Its 30-Year Fight for Environmental Justice MINDEN, W.Va (WOAY) – In 1989, Lucian Randall led a march through Minden to protest the PCB contamination caused by Shaffer Equipment. 30 years later, his friends, family, and community took up that same mantle pushing a barrel like he did in his honor.“We just have to keep fighting,” Lucian Randall’s friend and Minden resident, Percy Fruit said. “Keep ourselves in the eyes of the people that are responsible to help us.”Like hundreds in Minden, Randall became ill from the contaminants in the water and died before his fight for environmental justice was over. However, the community of Minden continues that same fight to this day.“It’s frustrating. And heartbreaking. Because you watch families and friends die of cancer after cancer and there’s nothing you can do about it. And it’s like no one really wants to listen,” one member of the Byrd family said.The marchers followed the same route as the people who marched in the late ’80s, through the town of Minden and into downtown Oak Hill. While the site of Shaffer Equipment has been added to the EPA’s top priority list, according to the residents and marchers, justice is relocating those who want to leave.“They did come in here and clean up but I know they cleaned up the site I can’t remember how much soil they took up but it’s it’s in the dirt it’s still around,” Oak Hill resident Mark McClung said. “I think it’s kind of obvious with the cancer rates being twice the national average I think down here.”As Minden continues to feel the loss and because of that, continues their fight, what has kept them going all these years is the love for the people and the place they call home.“I love Minden. Always have. I’ve been to a lot of places in my life and always came back to Minden. This town. This my home,” Fruit said. Mail Anna Saunders Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.
Silver followed the same path as gold did yesterday, except for the fact that there was a smallish rally in the early going in London. From there it traded sideways before meeting the same fate as gold at the 8:20 a.m. Comex open in New York. The low price tick [$28.35 spot] came fifteen minutes after the 1:30 p.m. Eastern time Comex close. From there it rallied a bit into the close of trading. Silver finished the Monday session at $28.54 spot…down 4 cents. Volume was around 31,000 contracts. John Embry said over a decade ago…the miners are either “ignorant, naïve…or complicit.” Gold rallied in early Far East trading on their Monday, but that didn’t last long before it got sold back to unchanged from Friday’s close. Selling pressure showed up at the Comex open once again…and the low price tick of the day [$1,568.70 spot] came at 2:45 p.m. in New York. From there it rallied a few dollars into the 5:15 p.m. Eastern time electronic close. Gold ended the trading day at $1,574.60 spot…down $2.20. Net volume was pretty light…around 105,000 contracts or so. Sponsor Advertisement The gold stocks got sold off the moment that trading began at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time on Monday…and then continued lower for the rest of the day…closing just off their lows. The HUI closed down another 2.80%. The silver stocks got slammed again…and Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 5.18%. (Click on image to enlarge) I have no idea whether we’ll go lower from here or not. But as I’ve been saying for years, the miners will never address the real issue…and that’s the price management scheme in all four precious metals by JPMorgan et al. And as I said last week, they’d rather let their companies crash and burn than live up to their fiduciary responsibilities to their shareholders…and if you doubt me, just pick up the phone and talk to any precious metal mining company about this. Normally I’d tell you what the answer will be, but you should find out on your own. But I can tell you that they don’t give a damn about you…and that’s one of the things you’ll find out pretty quick. And don’t expect anything from either the World Gold Council or The Silver Institute. The reason they are there is to make sure that this issue never sees the light of day within the gold and silver mining industry. As Sprott Asset Management’s John Embry said over a decade ago…the miners are either “ignorant, naïve…or complicit.” Two of those three cop-outs existed ten years ago, when it was just us “conspiracy theorists” pounding at the gates. Well, conspiracy theory has now become conspiracy fact…and “ignorant and naïve” no longer apply…as everyone one of them knows what’s going on, even if they won’t publicly admit it. And the fact that they aren’t doing anything means that they are all complicit now…silent co-conspirators along side JPMorgan et al. You couldn’t make this stuff up. In overnight trading, the gold price rallied until about 3:00 p.m. in Hong Kong…and has since rolled over, but is heading a bit higher in London as I hit the ‘send’ button. Silver rallied even more strongly, but got hammered as it tried to break above the $29 spot price mark going into the London open. Gold volume, as of 5:15 a.m. Eastern time, is slightly higher than ‘normal’ for this time of day…and silver’s volume is substantially higher, as I suspect that JPMorgan had to throw a lot of short contracts at that rally to prevent it from blowing sky high, which it would have done had they not shown up to put out the fire. The dollar index has been heading lower all night…and as of this writing is down about 23 basis points. As I hit the ‘send’ button at 3:20 a.m. Eastern time, gold is up about seven bucks…and silver is up 30 cents. Today, at the close of Comex trading, is the cut-off for this Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report. Last Tuesday we had a big rally in both metals, which really distorted the COT numbers in last Friday’s report. But since then, JPMorgan et al have got prices back down again, so if things don’t blow up again today, we might actually get a more realistic look at the short positions in both gold and silver on Friday. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens in New York, as that’s where all the trading activity that really matters, takes place. See you tomorrow. (Click on image to enlarge) As many pundits have stated, the XAU/GOLD Index is at an all-time record low…and here’s the 3-year chart for that. (Click on image to enlarge) Try as I might, I could not get the stories down to a manageable number, so the final edit is up to you. Over the last three reporting weeks, the total commercial net short position in COMEX silver has declined by 21,000 contracts, or the equivalent of 105 million oz. Let’s put that into perspective. During that time, the world mined less than 45 million oz, recycled an additional 15 million oz and consumed that 60 million oz of total silver production. Investors also added 15 million oz to holdings (SLV and COMEX alone) over that same time period…and the price dropped by $4…or 12%. How in the world could the commercials on the COMEX buy 105 million paper oz on a 12% decline in price with the background I just described in a market that wasn’t manipulated? I’m not kidding – if anyone has a legitimate explanation, please drop me a line. – Silver analyst Ted Butler…02 March 2013 With gold down a couple of bucks…and silver down a few pennies on Monday, it was a shock to everyone to see their associated equities get slammed once again. I would suggest that this sell-off had more to do with forced liquidation than panic liquidation. I’m sure that virtually every precious metal mutual fund that contains their equities are getting massive redemptions…and the funds are forced to sell whether they wish to or not. It can end up being a vicious circle at times…and this is certainly one of those. Here’s the 3-year HUI chart as ‘for instance’. Freegold Ventures Limited is a North American gold exploration company with three gold projects in Alaska. Current projects include Golden Summit, Vinasale and Rob. Both Vinasale and Golden Summit host NI 43-101 Compliant Resource Calculations. An updated NI 43-101 resource was calculated on Golden Summit in October 2012 and using 0.3 g/t cutoff the current resource is 73,580,000 tonnes grading 0.67 g/t Au for total of 1,576,000 contained ounces in the indicated category, and 223,300,000 tonnes grading 0.62 g/t Au for a total of 4,437,000 contained ounces in the inferred category. In addition to the Golden Summit Project the Vinasale also hosts a NI 43-101 resource calculation (March 2012) of 49,320,000 mt @1.09 g/t for a total of 1,735,000 contained gold ounces in the inferred category using a 0.5 g/t cutoff. Please visit our website for more information. The dollar index opened at the 82.27 mark on Sunday night in New York…and spiked up to its high of the day [82.47] around 9:30 a.m. in London. From there it declined slowly for the rest of Monday…finishing the day at 82.15…down 12 basis points from its close on Friday. (Click on image to enlarge) The CME’s Daily Delivery Report for ‘Day 3’ of the March delivery month showed that 39 gold and 21 silver contracts were posted for delivery tomorrow within the Comex-approved depositories. The link to that activity is here. There was a small withdrawal from GLD again yesterday. This time it was only 19,354 troy ounces. An authorized participant also made a withdrawal from SLV yesterday to the tune of 140,983 troy ounces. The U.S. Mint had a sales report yesterday. They sold 5,500 ounces of gold eagles…and a chunky 763,000 silver eagles. Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Friday, they had a rare day where no silver was either shipped in or shipped out. Nick Laird sent me a couple of charts over the weekend. They are the Intraday Average Gold/Silver Price Movement for the month of February. Starting around 2:20 p.m. Hong Kong time, the sell-off during February was relentless…with only slight differences in timing as to when the selling stopped. For both gold and silver, those time occurred during the electronic market in the New York afternoon, long after the Comex had closed for the day. (Click on image to enlarge)
It’s not exactly news that gold mining stocks have been in a slump for more than two years. Many investors who owned them have thrown in the towel by now, or are holding simply because a paper loss isn’t a realized loss until you sell. For contrarian speculators like Doug Casey and Rick Rule, though, it’s the best of all scenarios. “Buy when blood is in the streets,” investor Nathan Rothschild allegedly said. And buy they do, with both hands—because, they assert, there are definitive signs that things may be turning around. So what’s the deal with junior mining stocks, and who should invest in them? I’ll give you several good reasons not to touch them with a 10-foot pole… and one why you maybe should. First, you need to understand that junior gold miners are not buy-and-forget stocks. They are the most volatile securities in the world—”burning matches,” as Doug calls them. To speculate in those stocks requires nerves of steel. Let’s take a look at the performance of the juniors since 2011. The ETF that tracks a basket of such stocks—Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners (GDXJ)—took a savage beating. In early April of 2011, a share would have cost you $170. Today, you can pick one up for about $36… that’s a decline of nearly 80%. There are something like 3,000 small mining companies in the world today, and the vast majority of them are worthless, sitting on a few hundred acres of moose pasture and a pipe dream. It’s a very tough business. Small-cap exploration companies (the “juniors”) are working year round looking for viable deposits. The question is not just if the gold is there, but if it can be extracted economically—and the probability is low. Even the ones that manage to find the goods and build a mine aren’t in the clear yet: before they can pour the first bar, there are regulatory hurdles, rising costs of labor and machinery, and often vehement opposition from natives to deal with. As the performance of junior mining stocks is closely correlated to that of gold, when the physical metal goes into a tailspin, gold mining shares follow suit. Only they tend to drop off faster and more deeply than physical gold. Then why invest in them at all? Because, as Casey Chief Metals & Mining Strategist Louis James likes to say, the downside is limited—all you can lose is 100% of your investment. The upside, on the other hand, is infinite. In the rebound periods after downturns such as the one we’re in, literal fortunes can be made; gains of 400-1,000% (and sometimes more) are not a rarity. It’s a speculator’s dream. When speculating in junior miners, timing is crucial. Bear runs in the gold sector can last a long time—some of them will go on until the last faint-hearted investor has been flushed away and there’s no one left to sell. At that point they come roaring back. It happened in the late ’70s, it happened several times in the ’80s when gold itself pretty much went to sleep, and again in 2002 after a four-year retreat. The most recent rally of 2009-’10 was breathtaking: Louis’ International Speculator stocks, which had gotten hammered with the rest of the market, handed subscribers average gains of 401.8%—a level of return Joe the Investor never gets to see in his lifetime. So where are we now in the cycle? The present downturn, as noted, kicked off in the spring of 2011, and despite several mini-rallies, the overall trend has been down. Recently, though, the natural resource experts here at Casey Research and elsewhere have seen clear signs of an imminent turnaround. For one thing, the price of gold itself has stabilized. After hitting its peak of $1,921.50 in September of 2011, it fell back below $1,190 twice last December. Since then, it hasn’t tested those lows again and is trading about 6.5% higher today. The demand for physical gold, especially from China, has been insatiable. The Austrian mint had to hire more employees and add a third eight-hour shift to the day in an attempt to keep up in its production of Philharmonic coins. “The market is very busy,” a mint spokesperson said. “We can’t meet the demand, even if we work overtime.” Sales jumped 36% in 2013, compared to the year before. Finally, the junior mining stocks have perked up again. In fact, for the first month of 2014, they turned in the best performance of any asset, as you can see here: (Source: Zero Hedge) The writing’s on the wall, say the pros, that the downturn won’t last much longer—and when the junior miners start taking off again, there’s no telling how high they could go. To present the evidence and to discuss how to play the turning tides in the precious metals market, Casey Research is hosting a timely online video event titled Upturn Millionaires next Wednesday, February 5, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. You’ll hear from resource legends and investment gurus such as Frank Giustra (watch this short and, I think, highly entertaining video for a taste of what you’re in for), Doug Casey, John Mauldin, Porter Stansberry, Ross Beaty, Rick Rule, and our own Louis James and Marin Katusa. Don’t miss this event—register here for free.
The world’s biggest economy is unraveling. Regular readers know we’re talking about the European Union (EU). The EU is an economic union made up of 28 countries. It was put together after World War II to keep European countries from going to war with one another. Over time, it turned into the world’s biggest economic experiment. And, right now, that experiment is going awry. As you probably heard, the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU a month ago. The “Brexit,” as folks are calling it, shook financial markets from London to New York City. It knocked more than $3 trillion from the global stock market in two days. Then, things calmed down. Over the past three weeks, global stocks have regained more than $4.5 trillion. The S&P 500 and Dow just hit new all-time highs. Many folks now think things are OK in Europe. As you’re about to see, things aren’t fine. That’s because Europe now has a much bigger problem than the Brexit. Italy, Europe’s fourth biggest economy, is racing toward a full-blown banking crisis. Today, we’ll show you why this isn’t just a problem for Italy. It’s a serious threat to all of Europe. One of our analysts even says Italy’s banking crisis could trigger the end of Europe as we know it. • Italy’s banking system is a disaster… Financial Times reported last week: The amount of gross non-performing loans held by the [Italian] banks increased 85 per cent to €360bn in the five years to 2015… The total stock of bad debts — the most distressed part of the pile — more than doubled over the same period. Non-performing loans, or “bad” loans, are loans that trade for less than book value. According to Financial Times, non-performing loans currently make up 18% of all of Italy’s loans. To put that in perspective, U.S. banks had a non-performing loan (NPL) ratio of 5% at the height of the 2008–2009 financial crisis. In short, Italy’s banking system is sitting on a keg of dynamite. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal explained how Italian banks got themselves into this mess: Bad loans have grown at the astounding pace of €50 billion ($55.05 billion) a year since the 2008-09 financial crisis as banks resisted writing down bad assets. Banks and policy makers awaited a strong economic recovery that would allow debtors to repay more of their loans while providing banks greater profits to cushion write-downs. The recovery didn’t materialize, and the money injected into banks, up to €80 billion, via periodic market recapitalizations quickly dissipated as bank profitability stagnated due to an inefficient, fragmented financial system and near-zero or negative interest rates. • In other words, Italy’s banking system has three big problems… 1) The banks never recovered from the financial crisis. 2) Italy’s economy isn’t growing. And 3) negative interest rates are killing Italian banks. Dispatch readers know negative rates are a new radical government policy. They basically turn your bank account upside down. Instead of earning interest on your money at the bank, you pay the bank to watch your money. The European Central Bank (ECB) introduced negative rates two years ago, hoping this would “stimulate” Europe’s economy. Today, the ECB’s key rate is at -0.4%. That means European banks must pay €4 for every €1,000 they keep with the ECB. That might not sound like much. But it’s a huge problem for European banks that oversee trillions of euros. According to Bank of America (BAC), European banks could lose as much as €20 billion per year by 2018 if the ECB keeps rates where they are. • Italian bank stocks have nosedived… UniCredit SpA (USG.MI), Italy’s largest bank, has plunged 63% over the past year. Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI), Italy’s second biggest, is down 45%. Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI), Italy’s third biggest, is down 83%. And Banco Popolare (BP.MI), Italy’s fourth biggest, is down 79%. These are giant declines. Remember, we’re talking about the cornerstones of Italy’s financial system. Right now, these stocks aren’t telling us everything is OK. They’re saying Italy’s banking system could be insolvent. • The ECB might bail out Italian banks… Yesterday, Mario Draghi, who heads the ECB, said he would support a public bailout of Italy’s banks “in exceptional circumstances.” If this happens, the government will give money to Italy’s troubled banks and make taxpayers pay for it. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the U.S. government did the same thing during the 2008–2009 crisis. It gave hundreds of billions of dollars to the largest U.S. banks because they were “too big to fail.” The average American ended up footing the bill. The Oil Jihad just handed you the BIGGEST energy play of the decade Now you’ll have the chance to turn your next two paychecks into $109,845 or more with my analysis. And you’ll be able to do it over and over and over again for the next 12 months as the Saudis push this jihad to the limits. All it takes is one simple move! Recommended Links — – Rickards: “Don’t Buy A Single Ounce Of Gold…” **This is an URGENT warning from Jim Rickards.** If you’ve seen the writing on the wall, like me, you know that gold could soon hit $10,000 per ounce. However, today I’m urging you NOT to buy a single ounce of gold till you read what I have to say. Click here for access to my urgent gold announcement. • Italian bank stocks jumped on Draghi’s comments… Banco Popolare rose 4.0% yesterday. UniCredit rose 2.1%. And Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena closed the day up 1.8%. In other words, investors are betting on a bailout. Nick Giambruno, editor of Crisis Investing, also thinks this will happen. He says Europe doesn’t have much choice: Italian banks will be bailed out, somehow, someway. Italy’s systemic weight is too big. A collapse of the Italian banking system is an existential threat to the euro, and probably the whole EU project. Nick, who’s in Italy right now, doesn’t think a bailout will fix Italy’s problems. At best, it will buy Europe time. Nick explains: A bailout won’t fix Italy’s main problem. The country hasn’t had any meaningful economic growth since it joined the euro in 1999. Even if a bailout can postpone a collapse of Italy’s banking system, it wouldn’t prevent a bubbling political crisis. You see, right now, a populist party is gaining control in Italy. According to the polls, it’s the most popular party in the country right now. And it’s gaining followers by the day. Nick says this is something investors can’t afford to ignore: The populist party blames Italy’s economic problems on the euro. It wants Italy to go back to the lira, its old currency. • Nick thinks the populist party could rise to power as soon as October… If this happens, Italy will likely hold a referendum like the UK did. But, this time, Italy will decide if it wants to stay with the euro or go back to the lira. If Italy votes to leave the euro, the fallout could be far worse than what we saw with the Brexit. Italy leaving the euro would destroy confidence in the currency. Longtime readers know this could be devastating. Like all paper currencies, “confidence” is all that backs the euro. If people lose faith in the euro, it will literally become worthless. Nick says this could happen sooner than most folks think: Italy is the third largest country in the eurozone. If it leaves the euro, I think it would destroy the currency. Without the euro, the economic linkages between EU countries would weaken. This could be a fatal blow to the EU itself. Bottom line, the euro and the whole EU project could very well die in Italy over the next six months. • Nick says a collapse of the EU could be “the biggest geopolitical event since World War II”… It could trigger a global stock market crash. It could drag the world into a deep depression. It could spark a global currency crisis. There’s really no way to know what would happen. Like we said earlier, the EU is one of the biggest economic experiments in history. If you’re worried about the state of the EU, you need to protect yourself. Your first step should be to own gold. As we often say, gold is real money. It’s protected wealth for centuries because it’s durable, easy to transport, and easily divisible. Its value also doesn’t depend on any central bank or government. If the euro runs into problems like Nick expects, gold’s value could shoot to the moon. • Nick will talk more about the impending explosion in Europe, and how it could trigger a global economic meltdown in October, in the next issue of Crisis Investing… You can learn how to receive Crisis Investing for 20% off the regular price by watching this video. You’ll also learn about another big crisis on Nick’s radar. As you’ll see, this crisis is already well underway. And it’s happening right here in America. The good news is that you can still protect yourself. We’ll even show you how to turn this coming crisis into a chance to make big gains. Watch this free video to learn how. Tech Recommendation of the Day: Buy or Sell IBM? For today’s and next week’s editions of the Dispatch, we’re sharing a special new feature with you. In place of our usual “Chart of the Day,” you’ll find valuable insight on technology stocks from tech expert Jeff Brown. If you don’t know Jeff, he’s a true tech insider and angel investor. Jeff is a 25-year veteran who’s built early-stage startups and ran organizations generating hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenues. Yesterday, Jeff explained why tech giant Apple (AAPL) is “absolutely a sell.” Today, he tells us what he thinks about tech blue chip IBM. Keep in mind, the following is from a recent interview between Jeff and Amber Lee Mason, head of our affiliate Bonner & Partners: Amber Lee Mason: What about IBM? Jeff Brown: I am very unimpressed. This is a definite sell, and I think for a lot of people, a bit of a dangerous stock in the sense that people that have invested in IBM for years and years and years just want to hold onto this and expect that it’ll come around. But this is a dangerous stock to be holding, from my perspective. This used to be a $100-plus billion company a few years ago. This year, in 2016, it’s forecasted to be less than $80 billion, so down 20-plus percent in just a few years. They’ve had five years of declines in revenue. Their large legacy business continues to hold the company back. Another example: It’s been way too slow to adjust to crowd-based business models, and a lot of its other businesses, traditional businesses, are lower margin… and it’s just not that competitive. I do like what IBM does from a research perspective, but they really struggle to monetize their research. So a great example would be Watson. You know, they spent billions investing in IBM Watson, which is their artificial intelligence computing platform. And it has been estimated that, in 2015, it only generated about $200 million in revenue. The CEO was quoted as saying recently that, by 2018, she hopes Watson will generate about $1 billion. So to put this in perspective, it won’t even be until 2018 when it might generate $1 billion in revenue. And that’s against a company that’s doing $79 billion to $80 billion in annual revenue. So my point is, Watson won’t have that significant of an influence at all, even three years down the road, on the company’s overall performance. So there’s just so many better technology companies to own than IBM right now. Jeff may be bearish on IBM. But he sees HUGE opportunities in other tech stocks. In his newsletter, Exponential Tech Investor, Jeff explains how to invest in some of the most exciting technology companies on the planet. Most investors don’t even know these companies exist. Right now, you can lock in a subscription to Exponential Tech Investor for $500 off the regular price. We’ll even give you chance to “test drive” the service — and access all of Jeff’s research—for a full 30 days. This offer won’t last long, so make sure to act soon. Click here to learn more.
Alabama will fill quite a few vacancies tonight as voting results continue to pour in. Here are the results for some of the state’s top seats:Lieutenant GovernorWill Ainsworth (R), state representative. of District 27 of the Alabama House of Representatives, will beat Will Boyd (D), a minister from Florence with an unofficial 61 percent of the vote.Attorney GeneralSteve Marshall (R), a Guntersville lawyer and incumbent candidate, will beat Joseph Siegelman (D), a Birmingham lawyer with an unofficial 58 percent of the vote.Chief Justice of the Supreme CourtTom Parker (R), a Supreme Court Judge from Montgomery, will beat Bob Vance Jr. (D), a circuit court judge from Birmingham with an unofficial 57 percent of the vote.Supreme Court Place 4Jay Mitchell (R), an attorney from Homewood, will beat Donna Smalley (D), an attorney from Jasper with an unofficial 60 percent of the vote.Secretary of StateIncumbent Candidate John Merrill (R) of Heflin will beat Heather Milam (D), a college instructor and entrepreneurial training facilitator from Childersburg with an unofficial 61 percent of the vote.State AuditorJim Zeigler (R), an elder-care planner and incumbent candidate, will beat Miranda Joseph (D), an accountant from Enterprise with an unofficial 60 percent of the vote.
The Rotary Club of Tuscaloosa handed out a few special donations to different organizations around the Druid City on Thursday morning. Tuscaloosa County’s Parks and Recreation Authority received a check from the club to help it complete the first phase goal of its highly anticipated all accessible new park.“We plan to build an all-inclusive playground at Sokol Park,” PARA’s Director of Development Caroline Lasseter said. “This playground will be for all children alike. We will have wheelchair ramps, things for kids with autism, musical instruments. Even parents, grandparents, maybe veterans that have a disability can all go out with their children and play.”Due to the donation from the Rotary Club, Lasseter believes that the playground park could be the largest in the state once it’s complete. One of the park’s pavilions will bear the Rotary Club’s name.
It was a doggy day benefiting the Hand in Paw organization at the Black Warrior Brewing Company on July 20.Hand in Paw is a Birmingham-based organization to provide animal-assisted therapy to hospitals, schools and other like facilities. Research shows being around animals can improve peoples’ moods.“What one word brings to mind to describe what animal-assisted therapy does, so many of them said ‘happy,’ one person said ‘comfort,’ one person said ‘love,’” Carol Develice, the Tuscaloosa coordinator for Hand in Paw, said.The Hand in Paw organization hopes that events like this will promote more teams to be made in the Tuscaloosa area.
Michael Phelps’ comeback took a major hit on Oct. 6th, with USA Swimming suspending the 18-time Olympic champion for six months and forcing him to withdraw from next year’s world championships.Phelps also lost six months of funding from the sport’s national governing body as a result of his second DUI arrest. The 29-year-old swimmer is banned from participating in USA Swimming-sanctioned meets through April 6, 2015.Phelps can still train with his North Baltimore club, but he had already qualified for the world championships in Russia next August, which is the biggest international meet leading up to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.Phelps came out of retirement earlier this year with his sights set on competing at a fifth Olympics in Rio. Being barred from the world meet could put a serious dent in those ambitions.His latest arrest came about a month after Phelps won three golds and two silvers at the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia. He had retired after the 2012 London Olympics, having won a record 18 gold medals and 22 medals in four games.Phelps’ monthly funding stipend of $1,750 will be halted for six months, costing him a total of $10,500. That is small change compared to the millions he earns through several major endorsements, including Aqua Sphere, Subway, Under Armour, Omega and Master Spas.“Michael accepts USA Swimming’s sanctions,” according to a statement from his representatives at Octagon. “He has apologized for his actions and, as he shared yesterday, is taking steps to address them.”Over the weekend, Phelps announced he was entering a six-week, in-patient program, a week after he was arrested and charged with drunken driving in his hometown of Baltimore.“Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual, and do the necessary work to learn from this experience and make better decisions in the future,” he said in a series of posts on his Twitter account.U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said, “We think the sanctions are appropriate and we are glad that Michael is seeking help. We are grateful that nobody was hurt and appreciate the speed at which USA Swimming and Michael took action.”USA Swimming said Phelps violated its Code of Conduct, and cited a section of its 2014 Rule Book in punishing Phelps. Its executive committee approved the sanctions, which take effect immediately.“Michael’s conduct was serious and required significant consequences,” said Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming executive director. “We endorse and are here to fully support his personal development actions.”While Phelps was still working out his schedule for the upcoming year, he will miss the first three U.S. Grand Prix meets in Minneapolis in November, Austin, Texas, in January and Orlando, Florida, in February.The earliest he could return to Grand Prix competition would be at a meet in Mesa, Arizona, that begins April 15.USA Swimming’s punishment was its harshest ever imposed on its superstar. The governing body suspended Phelps for three months in 2009 after a photo emerged of him using a marijuana pipe, even though he was not charged.USA Swimming took no action after Phelps’ 2004 drunken driving arrest when he was 19.Phelps was charged on Sept. 30 with driving under the influence, excessive speed and crossing double lane lines on Interstate 95. He registered .14 percent on a blood-alcohol test after he was stopped on a speeding violation; the legal limit is .08 percent in Maryland.His trial is scheduled for Nov. 19.If convicted, Phelps faces up to one year in jail, a $1,000 fine and the loss of his driver’s license for six months.In 2004, Phelps was arrested and charged with drunken driving on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, fresh from the Athens Olympics, where he won six gold medals.Phelps pleaded guilty to the charges, but as a young first-time offender he avoided conviction. A judge imposed 18 months’ probation and a fine but waived the conviction, which means Phelps now faces the same penalties a first-time offender would.(BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
WATFORD, England (AP) — Liverpool improved its bid to secure a Champions League spot by beating Watford 1-0 in a largely forgettable English Premier League match on Monday.Only Emre Can made this one memorable, by meeting a Lucas Leiva cross with a bicycle-kick score in first-half stoppage time.“I have never scored a goal like that, maybe when I was younger. That is the best goal I’ve ever scored,” Can said.“I saw the space and I ran behind and my first thought was that I wanted to head it, then I didn’t think too much.”Click image to see Can’s goal and highlights of the game. Photo: LiverpoolFC Twitter accountLeague rivals Manchester City, Manchester United, and Arsenal dropped points in the race for a top four position, so a win was vital for Liverpool, which has struggled against teams in the bottom half.The Reds moved four points clear of fifth-placed United, though they have played an extra game.“Everything is in our hands,” Can said. “If we win the three (remaining) games we are in the Champions League. We are confident.”The victory came at a cost, as forward Philippe Coutinho lasted less than 10 minutes.TweetPinShare0 Shares
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PyraMax Bank president and CEO Richard Hurd announces the initiative as Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett looks on.Greenfield-based PyraMax Bank FSB has sold its branch at 1605 W. Mitchell St. in Milwaukee to Hartland-based Town Bank.PyraMax Bank president and CEO Richard Hurd speaks at a 2017 press conference.Town Bank will take on $5 million of deposits, as well as the branch and property, and the five employees who work there. The branch is approximately 4,000 square feet and has both drive-thru and walk-up ATMs. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.“If you look at our footprint, it complements our existing footprint,” said Jay Mack, president and chief executive officer of Town Bank. “In the City of Milwaukee, we only have one location south of (I-94). The team of bankers there has been there, they’re experienced, they know the market, so we didn’t have to hire people from scratch that we weren’t sure would have knowledge of the market and knowledge of the customer base.”Town Bank, a subsidiary of Rosemont, Illinois-based Wintrust Financial Corp., has been buying up bank branches in southeastern Wisconsin over the past several years. In 2016, it acquired Generations Bancorp Inc., the parent company of Pewaukee-based Foundations Bank, for about $25.1 million. And in 2014, it acquired Talmer Bancorp.’s 11 Wisconsin Talmer Bank and Trust branches for about $13.5 million; and the Pewaukee branch of THE National Bank. Jay MackTown Bank has also been expanding its presence in the City of Milwaukee over the past 18 months, with branches recently added at 4720 W. Lisbon Ave., 1102 W. Wells St., in Marquette’s Alumni Memorial Union and at 401 E. Kilbourn Ave. Last year, Town Bank moved its commercial banking from Hartland to downtown Milwaukee, at 731 N. Jackson St.Established in 1892 as South Milwaukee Savings Bank, PyraMax now has eight branches in southeastern Wisconsin, at 318 N. Water St. in Milwaukee and in Franklin, Grafton, Greenfield, Mukwonago, South Milwaukee, Waukesha and West Allis. As of Sept. 30, PyraMax had $470.4 million in total assets, $403.2 million in total deposits and $37.7 million in bank equity capital. It reported a net loss of $77,000 year-to-date as of Sept. 30, according to its FDIC filing.In September, PyraMax filed with regulators to convert from a mutual savings bank to a mutual holding company and raise up to $32.7 million in a stock offering.“This transaction will allow us to focus our efforts on our primary markets,” said Richard Hurd, president and CEO of PyraMax Bank. “We feel that Wintrust is a good buyer for the Mitchell Street office and will work hard to ensure a smooth transition for our customers and colleagues who will be joining Wintrust.” Get our email updatesBizTimes DailyManufacturing WeeklyNonprofit WeeklyReal Estate WeeklySaturday Top 10Wisconsin Morning Headlines Subscribe