Purity of Indian democracy too sacred EC monitoring use of social media

first_imgNew Delhi: IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Wednesday sounded a warning to social media companies not to allow their platforms to be abused to influence elections, and said the Election Commission is maintaining vigil on the issue. Stating that the purity of Indian democracy is “too sacred”, the minister said while the use of social media for campaigning was okay, platforms should ensure that the data is not abused under any cimcumstances. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ Asked if the IT ministry was monitoring the situation, he said the Election Commission (EC) is already monitoring it and also has the power to take action. Prasad said, “the Election Commission is already monitoring it (situation). Let them monitor it…They held a meeting…it is only appropriate and desirable that the EC must monitor, co-ordinate and lay the ground rule for working of social media during elections. “On my side, I can only make this observation that the purity of Indian democracy is too sacred, and social media please ensure that the data is not abused to influence election. If someone wants to use social media for campaigning I have no problem.” Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K The comments come a day after the social media intermediaries and the internet and mobile association Tuesday told the Election Commission that they would shortly come up with a draft ‘code of ethics’ for the industry as part of a mechanism to prevent abuse of social media platforms during the Lok Sabha elections beginning April 11. Representatives of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and TikTok had been called by the poll panel to discuss the issue of evolving mechanism to prevent abuse on social media platforms. The EC also wanted to ensure that elections are insulated from outside influence. A statement issued by the EC had said the meeting also discussed evolving a ‘notification’ mechanism by social media platforms for acting upon the violations of Section 126 of Representation of the People Act, 1951, and preventing misuse of these platforms. Section 126 of the Act prohibits advertising and campaigning on TV and other electronic media during the silent period, which is 48 hours before the end of polling. With ensuing general elections, the Indian government had warned social media platforms of strong action if any attempt was made to influence the country’s electoral process through undesirable means. Over the past few months, social media players and tech firms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google have promised to infuse more transparency into political advertisements on their platforms, and have since announced a slew of measures as part of election integrity efforts.last_img read more

Atishi lodges complaint with DCW Gambhir too files defamation case

first_imgNEW DELHI: AAP’s East Delhi candidate Atishi Marlena, on Friday, filed a complaint with Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) against the alleged derogatory pamphlets circulated in her constituency. “If BJP and Gautam Gambhir can do this with an empowered woman then how will he ensure security to rest of the women? We have filed a complaint with the Delhi Commission of Women,” Atishi said.Meanwhile, Gautam Gambhir also sent a defamation notice to the AAP trio demanding their apology. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehiclesDeputy CM Manish Sisodia said his party will send him a notice for defamation. “How is he filing a defamation case? We are the ones being defamed, we will file a defamation case against him. We will try to send a defamation notice to him today. His party has endorsed the pamphlets and he has not questioned that,” Sisodia said. On Thursday, Atishi broke down at a Press conference called by the AAP, where leaders displayed a pamphlet full of religious and sexist attacks on the candidate. “If Gambhir can stoop so low to defeat a strong woman like me, how can he ensure security for women as an MP?” asked the 37-year-old Oxford alumnus. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarStepping up his counter-offensive, BJP candidate Gautam Gambhir on Friday said he will ‘hang’ himself in public if the Aam Aadmi Party can prove that he has any link to the derogatory pamphlet allegedly circulated against his rival and AAP nominee from East Delhi Atishi Marlena. If the AAP fails to prove the allegations, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal should quit politics, the ex-cricketer demanded. “Challenger Number 3 to @ArvindKejriwal and @aap. If he can prove that I have anything to do with this pamphlet filth, then I will hang myself in public. Otherwise @ArvindKejriwal should quit politics. Accepted?” Gambhir tweeted. The BJP also approached East Delhi parliamentary seat returning officer K Mahesh seeking a police probe into the accusations against Gambhir in connection with the alleged circulation of obscene pamphlets targeting Atishi. The complaint was lodged by BJP’s Krishna Nagar councillor Sandeep Kapoor with the district magistrate and returning officer of East Delhi seeking a police probe in the matter, said Delhi BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana. The returning officer has already asked the police to register a complaint in this case. On Thursday night, Gambhir sent defamation notices to Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia and Atishi asking them to withdraw their charges against him and tender an unconditional apology or face legal action. Atishi accompanied by Sisodia in a Press conference on Thursday had alleged Gambhir’s role in the circulation of pamphlets carrying “obscene and derogatory” remarks against her.last_img read more

How Much Should We Fear Giancarlo Stanton In Pinstripes

After several weeks of involved trade discussions that would send prized Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton to either the San Francisco Giants or St. Louis Cardinals, the baseball world was thrown a curveball Friday when it was reported that Stanton rejected both deals — and that the New York Yankees had swooped into the bidding. According to multiple reports, and assuming Stanton approves the deal, the Yankees had done on Saturday what the Giants and Cards couldn’t: They reeled in the game’s top power hitter.There were only two hitters last season who hit more than 50 home runs in MLB. Now, the Yankees have both of them: Stanton and fellow right-handed behemoth Aaron Judge. There’s reason to think Stanton will like hitting in Yankee Stadium as much as his new teammate. According to The Baseball Gauge’s park adjustments, Marlins Park was the third-most-difficult home run-hitting park for right-handed batters last season, which had the effect of depressing righty homers by about 20 percent relative to an average MLB ballpark.1The full-season park factor listed by The Baseball Gauge is 0.90, implying a 10 percent drop, but that number also reflects that a team plays half its games on the road, in (presumably) neutral parks. So the effect in Marlins home games alone would be about 20 percent. You read that right: Stanton smashed an MLB-leading 59 bombs — the most in baseball since 2001 — and took a serious run at Roger Maris’s pre-steroids HR record despite playing in one of the game’s most difficult parks for right-handed power hitters. There’s a reason Stanton was named NL MVP even though his team finished 20 games out of first place — it was one of the great individual seasons of this millennium.If you use The Baseball Gauge’s adjustment and extrapolate Stanton’s 2017 homers to a typical park, he’d project to have hit about 66 homers — easily shattering Maris’s mark. What’s more, Yankee Stadium ranked as the third-most-favorable park in baseball for right-handed home run hitters last season. Continuing our exercise above to project Stanton’s season into Yankee Stadium, he would figure to have hit around 73 homers (!!!) if he’d played in the Bronx instead of Miami. Now, the obvious caveats apply: Park factors are imperfect measurements that don’t account for each park’s exact dimensions, instead inferring the effect in a somewhat noisy way by looking at the change in home runs between a team’s home and road games. But even so, Stanton is probably going to get some kind of assist in his power numbers simply by upgrading his park situation.The real question for the Yankees is whether that boost will be enough to offset the tug of regression to the mean. Stanton had the best season of his career in 2017, and not just in the HR column, where he set a new career high by 22 homers. He also reached new career marks in isolated power, strikeout rate, on-base plus slugging and wins above replacement,2Using an average of the WAR models found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. in addition to playing 150 games in a season for the first time since 2011. There’s a very good chance that last season was the best we’ll ever see out of Stanton, who still has at least 10 years and $295 million left on his gargantuan contract. It would be unfair to expect him to reproduce anything close to that level of performance, particularly given his history of injuries.According to WAR, Stanton was worth 7.2 wins at age 27 last season, the first time he ever broke the seven-win barrier in a single season. Since 1920, 66 hitters have cracked 7 WAR for the first time between the ages of 25 and 29 (provided they also put up at least 20 career WAR from their rookie season through their breakout season).3Stanton has 34.6 career WAR through 2017. Those players had that big year at an average age of 27.2 — roughly the same as Stanton last year — so they make for a good sample from which we can draw a comparison for Stanton’s next few seasons. Comparable players*276628.06.027.65.04.44.13.63.020.2 *Average for 66 comparable players.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs PLAYERAGEPAWARPREV. HIGHCAREER WARYR+1YR+2YR+3YR+4YR+5NEXT 5 YRS. What’s in store for Giancarlo Stanton’s Yankees career?For players whose first 7-WAR season came between ages 25-29, average statistics in that season and each of the next five seasons, 1920-2017 IN FIRST 7-WAR SEASONWAR IN… G. Stanton276927.26.434.6?????? For our historical group — which includes the likes of Frank Robinson, Manny Ramirez and Tony Gwynn — the drop was relatively steep from their career-best season. On average, they fell from 8.0 WAR that year to 5.0 the following season, with the total diminishing over each of the next five years in a predictable aging pattern. Only 10 of the 66 ever had another season as good as their breakout campaign. Granted, Stanton’s big year was slightly less out of place with the rest of his career, so he’ll probably feel the pull of regression a bit less than other players might. And a batter who produces between 3 and 5 WAR is no bum — quite to the contrary, 5 WAR is roughly the border where All-Star seasons start to take shape.Plus, the Yankees might not even need Stanton to reproduce his 2017 in order to have a great season next year: Their run differential suggests they were roughly as good as the 104-win L.A. Dodgers last year, despite winning “only” 91 games. New York would have been formidable without Stanton, and with him (plus Judge, Gary Sanchez and others), they’ll be a right-handed power-hitting squad the likes of which the game may never have seen before.But at the same time, Stanton will probably not reach the heights of his performance from 2017 ever again — meaning the Yankees are getting a very good player but probably not one with perennial MVP potential. After all, there’s a reason they call it a “career year”: You only get one of them per customer.Either way, after several relatively quiet offseasons, general manager Brian Cashman and the Yankees seem to be returning to their big-ticket superstar roots. Now we’ll see if they can also revive the tradition of winning World Series. read more

Some Fouls Are So Bad Theyre Good

Last week, prompted by ESPN’s new “30 for 30” documentary on the “Bad Boys” Detroit Pistons, I examined the question of just how “bad” the Bad Boys really were. In that piece, I used relative technical foul rates as a proxy for “badness” to establish that the Bad Boys Pistons teams did, indeed, deserve that moniker. Their two championship squads were two of the “baddest” teams in the past few decades, earning more technical fouls relative to their peers than any other teams since 1982. But one question lingers: Were they so good because they were so bad, or in spite of it?To find out, I looked at 30 years’ worth of the league’s correlation between technical fouls and winning. Technicals are the NBA’s official in-game punishment for conduct that the league and officials deem “unsportsmanlike” (short of a flagrant foul), which is why we’re using it as our proxy for badness.1In the Bad Boys Era, what are now flagrant fouls were mostly just technical fouls, and didn’t carry the extra penalty they do today. They, of course, have the immediate and measurable result of giving the other team one free throw by the shooter of its choice — worth around .85 points on average.2There’s also a minor effect of sometimes adding time to the opponent’s shot clock.Despite that negative consequence, teams that get more technical fouls than average tend to be pretty good. What’s more, the more technicals they earn, the more likely they are to be even better.Here’s a plot of the number of technical fouls (badness) a team had relative to the league average that year against its win percentage (goodness). The data below is pulled from all team seasons since 1982-83,3Limited to teams for which we have at least 10,000 combined minutes worth of data. showing only those that were badder than average.Look at the red dots, which are rolling 25-team averages. As the teams get more techs — or get badder — their winning percentages increase. That’s intriguing, as is the fact that the top 26 baddest teams in the data set all had winning records. Overall, 63 percent of these bad teams were good enough to have a winning record, and the top 100 of them had an average winning percentage of 60.3 percent.4The correlation between technical rate and win percentage is .27, which is pretty high for any metric based on only one stat.But finding a relationship in one season isn’t enough. The real test is whether the metric predicts performance in other seasons.5This is called taking your test “out of sample,” which separates cause and effect. Note, though, that it doesn’t necessarily tell you which is which. Below you’ll find a graph showing how technical fouls predict team strength in neighboring seasons, and how they compare to a variety of other popular metrics. For strength, we’ll use SRS, or “Simple Rating System,” which is a team’s average margin of victory adjusted for strength of schedule6The technicals per game metric I used is calculated relative to each season, while the other metrics are not. This gives it a slight advantage.:Effective field goal percentage comes out on top of this group, but technical foul rate holds its own, coming out as a better predictor of past or future team strength than stats stalwarts like points per game or rebounding percentage.7Also, technicals are more positively predictive than turnovers are negatively predictive, which is fascinating but beyond the scope of this article.That’s a bit wacky — the technical foul, remember, can’t provide value directly, because it gives up .85 points (on average) to the opposition. From where I sit, then, there are two potential kinds of explanation: Explanations that embrace the nasty. These would argue that teams that get more technical fouls are better because the behavior that leads to the technicals (i.e., bad behavior) likely provides more benefit than the occasional .85 points that it costs.8OK, actually there’s a third line of thinking, which is that technical fouls don’t cost the .85 points that we think they do because, say, referees overcompensate for calling technicals by giving teams better calls later in the game. But for all intents and purposes, I’ll treat those as part of the second theory. In baseball, high/inside pitches used to brush batters off the plate usually result in balls or sometimes even hit batters, but are commonly believed to be worth it (whether they actually are or not, I don’t know). For what it’s worth, I checked a boatload of possible confounding variables and combinations thereof, such as home/away (53 percent of technicals go to the away team); ahead/behind (57 percent go to the trailing team); and playoffs/regular season (if it were strictly a matter of effort, we would expect a difference when all teams have equal incentives to play hard. No major differences found). Coaching technicals appear to be at least as predictive as player technicals. If there’s a correlation between aggressive play and winning and aggressive coaching and winning, Occam’s Razor suggests that you should favor a single theory that explains both phenomena, such as that an aggressive ethos (which applies equally to coaches and their players) causes winning. In football, I’ve found that rookie quarterbacks who throw more interceptions (all else being equal) often have more productive careers. In basketball, offensive rebounds have a potentially similar problem from the opposite direction: While apparently a good thing, in quantity they signal that a team doesn’t shoot very well. In poker, a too-high showdown win percentage likely indicates that a player doesn’t bluff enough and/or doesn’t make enough marginal calls. So far my research hasn’t turned up any smoking gun proving the case one way or the other, but on balance I’d say the results are more consistent with the second option: Technical fouls exist to deter certain types of unsportsmanlike behavior, but if those behaviors are broadly advantageous (by intimidating or hurting the opponent, for example), they could be “priced incorrectly” at only (roughly) -.85 points each.9Compare it to the deterrence problem: In order to coerce different behavior, things have to be punished at a rate much worse than their actual effect.That something ostensibly negative can ultimately be predictive of something positive (or vice versa) isn’t an unheard of dynamic in sports. For instance: Not all good teams get a lot of technical fouls (the San Antonio Spurs, for example, consistently rank near the bottom of the league), but the vast majority of teams that get a lot of technical fouls are good. Of the 27 teams with the best winning percentages since 1982, two-thirds (18) have had more technical fouls than the league average at the time. (Compare that to the top 26 technical-getting teams having winning records.) But it’s unusual in basketball for an event with a negative impact to have a positive correlation with team strength. Take a look at some other things that have a direct impact on the game that’s similar to that of technical fouls (slightly above or below -1 point each):If everything else were equal, we would probably expect technicals to be in the same range as turnovers or steals, so the total gap from where they ought to be based on in-game value and where they actually are, predictively, is massive.10Note the gap between opponent offensive and defensive rebounds is smaller, even though there’s a straightforward reason that offensive rebounds are a mixed blessing (because it means the team is missing more shots).But even if we’re satisfied that technicals can predict wins, there’s still something we haven’t considered yet: Wins may predict technicals.11It’s like the Euthyphro question, but for sports gods: Are technicals good because the sports gods love them, or do the sports gods love technicals because they’re good? This theory has a few possible scenarios associated with it, such as: Teams that are in contention are playing hard all the time — so hard that they occasionally earn a technical — while teams that are out of contention don’t really care enough to do “whatever it takes” to win.That kind of explanation is intuitively appealing, both because the scenario has a plausible ring to it and because it’s the sort of unsexy answer you often find when you try to explain a strange result.To test this theory, I looked at play-by-play data over the last four years, which breaks fouls — including technicals — down by type. That yielded 1,963 player techs, 422 coach techs, 278 flagrants (similar to the technical, but with a much harsher punishment), and 2,448 three-second violations.12For the data set I used below, I also applied a number of filters: I filtered out the fourth quarter because variance is too great and tactical considerations trump other things. I also dropped hanging, taunting, non-unsportsmanlike and team technical fouls because their numbers are too small to break out, and I’d like to keep the main-line group as homogenous as possible.I combined all that with in-game win percentage calculations provided by Dean Oliver of ESPN Stats & Info, estimating the foul-committing team’s chances of winning before and after the foul (including the resulting free-throw).13I also duplicated all of this research using margin of victory so as not to rely entirely on the predictive algorithm, and the results were virtually identical. We’re interested in the difference between what that foul did to a team’s projected results and its actual results.Averaging across all plays, we can represent the results of this comparison in a slope chart that shows how the team’s chances should have changed in that moment, and how often it actually ended up winning. Take note of those two (well, four) lines for player and coach techs. Both player and coach technicals ostensibly cost teams about a 1.8 percent chance of winning the game, which is what we would expect based on the surrendered free throw. But the actual win percentages of technical-foul-getting teams appear much higher than we would expect. Teams ended up winning 2.1 percent more often than expected after player techs, and 3.8 percent more often than expected after coach techs.14Flagrant fouls don’t do as well, though they include a harsher penalty, including the possibility of the player being ejected.While this result supports our finding that technical fouls predict winning over an even larger number of observations, it’s also consistent with either type of explanation for why this is so. If there were any bias in how technical fouls are distributed — as suggested by the “wins predict technicals” theory — unfortunately it would still bias these results.But there’s something we can do to avoid that. Instead of computing the averages in that chart across every single foul, we can compute them on a team-by-team basis first, and then average the result across all teams equally — treating each team’s results as one data point regardless of how many technical fouls it received. That helps us avoid potentially skewed data if different types of teams (like winning teams) are more likely to get technicals in the first place. When we do that, here’s what we get (the new chart is on the right, with the old one on the left for comparison’s sake):Lo and behold, they’re extremely similar! Teams tend to win 1.4 percent more often when their players get a tech, and a whopping 5.5 percent more often when their coaches do. That similarity broadly suggests that “bad” (technicals) begets “good” (winning), rather than the other way around.To illustrate: If one great team, let’s call it SuperBad, earned every technical foul every year, but by virtue of being a great team won 5 percent more often than its expected win percentage would suggest, that would show up as a 5 percent gain in the chart on the left. (That’s because each time a team got a technical it won 5 percent more often, even though it was the same team every time, and even if the winning was unrelated.) But when averaged across all 30 teams in the league, it would only show a 0.16 percent gain in the chart on the right (SuperBad team ran 5 percent above average when getting a technical, but the other 29 teams ran 0 percent better15OK, technically undefined in this example, so add epsilon if you must.). This would be a perfect “winning begets technicals” scenario.On the other hand, if every team got an equal share of the same number of technicals as our SuperBad team, and every time a team got a technical it won 5 percent more often than it would have otherwise, it would show up both as a 5 percent gain on the left and a 5 percent gain on the right. This would be a perfect “technicals beget winning” scenario.The charts above seem much much closer to this second “technicals beget winning” scenario, as there doesn’t appear to be much difference whether we aggregate by plays or by teams. Indeed, the main reason this isn’t a smoking gun is that the sample size for the right-hand chart is only 120 team seasons, which would normally be much too small to even attempt to draw conclusions about differences of only a couple of percentage points either way. But being so consistent with the much larger sample of the play-by-play chart is powerful corroboration.Here are a few other things that cut against the “winning predicts technicals” theory: Finally, let’s return to the question that kicked off the piece: Were the Bad Boys Pistons so good because they were so bad, or in spite of it?Based on what I’ve looked at so far, I’d say the former has the stronger case: While technical fouls can’t lead directly to winning, the types of behavior that lead to technical fouls just may. Explanations that avoid the nasty conclusion that unsportsmanlike play gives a team an advantage. For example, it could be that technical fouls are committed more often by teams that are already winning, or that winning teams and players just have a propensity to get more technical fouls, and are willing to absorb the cost. read more

The Spot in MLB Lineups Where Managers Are Still Ignoring Sabermetrics

In the eternally running discussion thread “Hey Bill” at billjamesonline.com, the website of sabermetric legend Bill James, the question came up of measuring the growth of sabermetric knowledge. James’s idea? Measure the extent to which teams are taking park factors into account when judging their rosters. But Tom Tango, author of “The Book,” offered another gauge: look at which teams are using good hitters in the No. 2 lineup slot.Traditionally, the two-hole was the domain of contact hitters with good bat control, with premiums placed on the ability to hit behind the runner, to sacrifice bunt, and to generally move the leadoff man over (even if it meant making an out). You can see this statistically: During Major League Baseball’s expansion era (1961-present), the No. 2 slot has the highest aggregate contact rate of any batting order position.But research by Tango and his compatriots suggests teams have been doing it wrong. After examining how important each batting event (single, double, walk, etc.) is to each lineup slot — based on factors such as how many runners are likely to be on base and how many outs they’re likely to hit with — the data says a team ought to bat its three best hitters in the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 slots, with the most balanced hitter occupying the two-hole. That’s a far cry from the conventional wisdom of slotting the best hitter either third or fourth, and putting a weak contact specialist at No. 2.So, if there are more good hitters in the second position, it’s a possible sign sabermetrics has penetrated the managerial mindset. But if there’s a pattern toward a more enlightened lineup card, it’s not detectable by looking at the average quality of No. 2 hitters (according to weighted runs created, known as wRC+) since the introduction of the designated hitter in 1973:If we take a five-year moving average to smooth out year-to-year variance above, it’s even clearer that we’re not in the golden age of great hitters batting second:Historically, the quality levels of MLB leadoff and No. 2 hitters tend to track with each other — and contra the performances of third and fourth hitters. (Meanwhile, Nos. 5 and 6 have stayed fairly stable over the years, with the five slot outproducing six by a decent amount.) The good news is that it appears the two-hole has emerged from the dark ages of the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, when slot Nos. 3 and 4 vastly outpaced Nos. 1 and 2.It may not be coincidental that the bleakest of times for the No. 2 spot came during MLB’s so-called steroid era. The stat we’re using, wRC+, compares a player’s per-plate appearance productivity against the average of all hitters, and the power hitters who frequently bat third and fourth may have received the benefits of performance-enhancing drugs at a greater rate than the overall population of MLB batters. (This would cause No. 2 hitters to move backward relative to the overall average, even if they themselves saw no change in talent.) With the specter of performance-enhancing drugs reduced in today’s game, the gap between hitter No. 2 and Nos. 3 and 4 has returned to its long-term norm.Still, today’s two-hole batters lag behind those of the halcyon late 1980s and early 1990s, when players such as Ryne Sandberg, Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, Roberto Alomar, Julio Franco and Lou Whitaker were doing a large share of their damage from the second spot in the lineup. It’s plausible that the conditions of the game back then simply favored the traditional archetype of the No. 2 hitter more (batting averages were higher, as was the ratio of on-base percentage to slugging), but today’s managers also don’t appear to be moving toward the sabermetric ideal of penciling the team’s best hitter into the No. 2 spot.Sabermetrics has come a long way since the first analysts began tinkering with mathematical models, and there are certainly places where statistical thinking has made its way onto the field (for example, the explosion of defensive shifts in today’s game is rooted in probability theory regarding where a batter is most likely to hit the ball). But when it comes to the two-hole, baseball’s decision-makers still have a bit of a climb ahead of them. read more

Why This NBA Rookie Class May Be The Best Of The Century

As we approach the end of the NBA’s regular season, awards conversations are all the rage. As usual, the two most talked-about races are for Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year. Whether it’s “Get Up” or The Jump, Sports Illustrated or CBS or NBA TV, or even NBA players themselves, everyone’s got an opinion on who should take home the hardware at the end of the season.The Rookie of the Year debate, at this point, pretty much boils down to the Mavericks’ Luka Doncic, who stormed out of the gate and grabbed onto front-runner status fairly quickly, and the Hawks’ Trae Young, who started off terribly but has been shining during the season’s second half.But lost among this debate is this: The entire 2018 NBA rookie class — or at least the top five picks — deserves an award. Collectively, they are having the best debut season of any group of top five picks in more than 25 years.Doncic (pick No. 3) is carrying averages of 21.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game while acting as the primary facilitator and scoring option in Dallas. He is only the second rookie in NBA history to average at least 20, 7, and 5 in those categories, and the other is Oscar Robertson, who did so during the 1960-61 season.The man whom Doncic was traded for on draft night,1The Hawks drafted Doncic and traded him to the Mavericks in exchange for Young and Dallas’s top-five protected 2019 first-round pick. Young, has been nearly as productive, albeit less consistent, in his debut season for Atlanta. Young’s season-long numbers of 19.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game are strong.2He’s one of only three rookies to have gone for 19, 3 and 8 per game. Those numbers, though, are dragged down by his poor start to the year. Since the All-Star break, he’s averaging 25.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 9.2 assists a night, with shooting numbers that are far better than those he was posting earlier in the season as he struggled to adjust to the NBA game.Two of the first five picks in a given draft looking this good, this early, would be impressive on its own; but Doncic and Young are not alone in their shining debuts. The other three players selected in the top five — the Suns’ DeAndre Ayton (No. 1), the Kings’ Marvin Bagley III (No. 2) and the Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr. (No. 4) — have each been pretty damned good this year too.Ayton has been a monster offensive force for Phoenix from Day 1, and he is already one of the league’s best post scorers and offensive rebounders. Among rotation players averaging at least 2 post-ups per game, per NBA.com, Ayton’s 1.03 points per play on post-ups ranks third, behind only Joel Embiid and LaMarcus Aldridge. Ayton’s offensive rebound rate, meanwhile, ranks 22nd among the 263 players who have qualified for the minutes per game leaderboard. And he’s been improving on defense throughout the season.Bagley is averaging 14.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game off the bench for the surprisingly frisky Kings. And he’s been even better since returning from a five-game, injury-related absence in early March, posting 18.5 points and 8.2 rebounds a night with an improved shooting line. He has a diverse, varied face-up game and is working to stretch his jumper, and given his athleticism and quick feet, his defense could eventually come around as well.Memphis shut down Jackson in late-February due to a quad injury, but before his season ended he averaged 13.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 combined steals and blocks in just 26 minutes a night. He did all that despite being, at 19 years old, the second-youngest player in the league.3The Lakers’ Isaac Bonga is about a month younger than Jackson, and Bonga has played less than 100 minutes this season. Jackson also knocked down 35.9 percent of his threes and carried an above-average usage rate and true shooting percentage, which is wildly impressive for a player whose primary contributions were expected to come on the defensive end of the floor.So how does this season’s top five stack up against past classes? The chart below plots the collective win shares and win shares per 48 minutes for the top five picks in each draft class from 1979 through 2018 (otherwise known as the three-point era) during their respective debut seasons. Note that only players who played during the season immediately following that year’s draft are counted in this analysis; because we’re looking at the top five picks as a class, if a player did not debut with the rest of his class, it doesn’t make much sense to count him along with the others. For example, Ben Simmons was the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, but he did not play during the 2016-17 season, so he counts for 0 minutes and 0 win shares toward the total of that draft class. Simmons was excellent as a rookie once he did step on the floor, but it also would not make sense to group him with the 2017 draft class, because he was not drafted in 2017. Likewise, the same logic applies to Simmons’s Sixers teammate Joel Embiid, who was drafted in 2014 but did not debut until two years later.4It also applies to Jonas Valanciunas (stayed in Europe for a year before coming over and joining the Raptors); Blake Griffin (injured); Ricky Rubio (Europe); Greg Oden (injured); Danny Ferry (went to Italy for a year because he refused to play for the Clippers); David Robinson (naval service); and tragically, Len Bias (an overdose-caused death). 1982WorthyCummingsWilkinsGarnettThompson0.129 The top-five picks in the 2018 draft are in HOF companyThe five NBA draft classes with the highest win shares per 48 minutes Year1st2nd3rd4th5thWS per 48 min 1979JohnsonGreenwoodCartwrightKelserMoncrief0.137 1992O’NealMourningLaettnerJacksonEllis0.118 Hall of Fame inductees in boldSource: Basketball-Reference.com Draft pick 2018AytonBagley IIIDoncicJackson Jr.Young0.102 1984OlajuwonBowieJordanPerkinsBarkley0.174 As you can see, the 2018 class fares extremely well in both win shares — which represent Basketball-Reference.com’s attempt to divvy up credit for team wins to the individual players on the team — and win shares per 48 minutes. The 21.1 win shares collectively accumulated by Ayton, Bagley, Doncic, Jackson and Young ranks eighth among the last 40 draft classes during their respective debut seasons, while their win shares per 48 average of 0.102 makes this class one of just six to exceed 0.100 win shares per 48.One of those six classes (2009) saw only three players actually take the floor during their debut season, thanks to an injury that knocked Blake Griffin out for the year and Ricky Rubio’s contract with Barcelona that kept him in Spain for two years before he arrived stateside. Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden and Tyreke Evans saw varying degrees of success during their respective rookie years and ended up posting a collective average of 0.108 win shares per 48 minutes, but they also combined for only 11.9 total win shares, far fewer than the other five classes that stand out in this analysis, each of which exceeded 20 total win shares.It’s worth noting, then, who was actually taken in the top five in those five NBA drafts (1984, 1979, 1982 and 1992). It’s also worth noting that just a single class between 1992 and 2018 saw its top five post a win shares per 48 average better than 0.100, meaning it’s been nearly a generation since we saw an actual top five class debut with a performance as good as the one we’re seeing from the most recent draft class. Among the 20 players selected in the top five of those four drafts, eight are currently in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Another four — Bill Cartwright, Sidney Moncrief, Terry Cummings and Christian Laettner — made at least one All-Star team during their career. And six more became long-term rotation players. Only Greg Kelser and Bill Garnett failed to pan out at all, as they wound up out of the league entirely within a few seasons.That’s an incredible hit rate of solid NBA players, and bodes well for what we should expect from Ayton, Bagley, Doncic, Jackson and Young in the future. It’s obviously far too early to predict that any of these players will be enshrined in Springfield one day, but the future certainly appears bright, and it seems likely that the 2018 draft class will be remembered as one of the best in quite some time.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

Digne undergoing Everton medical

first_imgLucas Digne is undergoing a medical at Everton’s training base ahead of his transfer move from FC Barcelona.The French left-back is closing on a £20million move to the Toffees after both clubs agreed on a transfer fee on Sunday night. Digne arrived on Merseyside on Monday as he seeks to get his career back on track at Everton after spending the last few years as second fiddle to Jordi Alba in Barcelona.The former Paris Saint-Germain defender was previously on tour with the Spanish champions in the United States and was an unused substitute during their penalty shoot-out win over Tottenham Hotspur.The Catalan club confirmed Digne’s departure on social media, according to Sky Sports:“Digne has traveled back to Barcelona with the club’s permission to finalise his departure from the club.”The former Lille man paid tribute to the Catalan club on Instagram, saying:David Villa, FC BarcelonaTop 10 players who played for both Barcelona and Valencia Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Time to talk about the best players who represented both Barcelona and Valencia, prior to their La Liga encounter at Camp Nou this evening.“I want to say thank you very much to the club and everyone associated with the club.”“Thanks to the players, the staff, the physios and everyone that makes the club a family,”Digne made 46 appearances for Barcelona since joining from PSG two years ago and was also a part of France’s 23 man squad to the UEFA European Championships in France.The left-back missed out on the chance to play in the World Cup after he was dropped from the team due to lack of appearances at club level for Barcelona.Digne becomes new manager Marco Silva’s second summer signing after Brazilian winger Richarlison signed for the club last week from Watford.last_img read more

Emery Ramsey remains an important member at Arsenal

first_imgArsenal boss Unai Emery insists that Aaron Ramsey remains important to him, although he will not get involved with his contract talksThe 27-year-old midfielder’s current deal will expire at the end of the season with latest reports suggesting that a new offer by Arsenal has been withdrawn.The Gunners have also allegedly decided to part with Ramsey in the winter transfer window should no further progress be made at that point.Speaking ahead to Arsenal’s home game against Watford on Saturday, Emery gave his take on Ramsey’s situation at North London.Roberto Firmino, LiverpoolVirgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.“There are three elements, three aspects. One is the player and also the player with their family and representatives. The other is the club and the other is the squad. My focus is always on the team,” said Emery on the club website.“My focus is preparing with the players and only thinking about the match tomorrow.”Asked whether he considers Ramsey to be important, Emery replied: “For me, every player is very important with their relation with the team. I consider each player an important space in the squad.”last_img read more

Achraf reveals his lack of relationship with Julen Lopetegui

first_imgBorussia Dortmund’s left-back spoke to El Larguero about the lack of relationship he had with Julen Lopetegui, Real Madrid’s former manager.Now that Julen Lopetegui is out and Santiago Solari is in at Real Madrid, Moroccan left-back Achraf Hakimi has a bigger chance to play for Los Blancos due to his good relationship with the new boss.This Monday evening, the Dortmund player offered an interview to El Larguero ahead of his squad’s Champions League match against Atletico Madrid at the Metropolitano Stadium.The Colchoneros lost their first match against the vibrant German squad that is filled with young players such as Achraf, but this will be a very special match for him because of his past as a Madridista and he will certainly try to enjoy it.The last time these two squads faced a few weeks ago, Atletico painfully lost 4-0 at Signal Iduna Park with a staggering three assists from the young Real Madrid product.This impact he is making in German football is a perfect way to convince Los Blancos that he needs to return to the club as soon as possible, everybody thought that he was already in talks with the club due to the fantastic season he is having with Borussia Dortmund.But to everybody’s surprise, Achraf is actually not even planning on a return yet because he only had contact with Lopetegui once.📻 @AchrafHakimi en @ellarguero, sobre su salida del Madrid: “Lopetegui tampoco sabía mucho lo que iba a pasar, a quien iban a traer y demás. Le dije que prefería tener minutos y él no sabía si iban a traer algún fichaje y demás. No, no fue decisión suya” https://t.co/JD2CAggxTj pic.twitter.com/DSYry7pK9l— El Larguero (@ellarguero) November 5, 2018This revelation is nothing but another main reason why Julen Lopetegui was clearly not the ideal man to coach Real Madrid, his lack of understanding of the environment was too great to ignore and his inability to recognize that the young players are the club’s best bet for the future is what doomed him in the end.Achraf is already getting all the recognition he deserves in Germany, and he is also getting all the attention he needs from the club because Santiago Solari is currently in charge.The Argentine manager coached Achraf during his time at Castilla and all he needs now is for Santi to stay as the boss, the player is aware that the opportunity is there and this Tuesday will be key for him to finally convince Florentino that he needs to return and become the next great left-back who can help Marcelo retire with grace and without worrying about leaving his position unprotected.Because of Borussia Dortmund’s visit to Madrid where they will play against Atletico this Tuesday, Achraf agreed to do an interview with El Larguero and spoke about the possibility of going back to Real Madrid and his lack of relationship with Lopetegui.Jadon SanchoMerson believes Arsenal should sign Sancho Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho might be the perfect player to play for the Gunners, according to former England international Paul Merson.#UCL mood ⚽ pic.twitter.com/MXxVRUNQVV— Achraf Hakimi (@AchrafHakimi) November 5, 2018“I didn’t really have a lot of contact with Lopetegui. I only had one phone call with him before the season started to see what my situation was and that’s it,” said Achraf to Cadena Ser’s El Larguero.“He didn’t really know what was going to happen because he was going through his first days at Real Madrid and he had no idea who the club was going to bring. And well, I also told him that I preferred having more minutes and he didn’t know if the club was going to sign a player in my position or not.”“Things are very difficult at Real Madrid right now, but I think the club will come out on top in the end. I’m happy for Solari because he has the chance to coach the first squad and he will prove his worth little by little.”“I love the intensity he transmits in every practice, in every match, you can see how it shows on the pitch.”“I’ve been a Madridista since I was a little kid and I would love to succeed in the club of my life.”“But I’m only thinking about the present for now, which is to succeed in Dortmund and make things go well for me. Then we will see what happens later,” he concluded.Achraf: “No hablé mucho con Lopetegui, él tampoco sabía muy bien lo que iba a pasar” https://t.co/BDeFYze18k pic.twitter.com/IkjGixacBv— El Larguero (@ellarguero) November 5, 2018When do you think is the best time for Achraf to return to Real Madrid? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.last_img read more

Tata Sons plans to become private limited Mistrys look to scuttle move

first_imgA man walks past a Tata sign outside their offices in London, Britain March 30, 2016.Reuters fileTata Sons sought shareholders’ approval to amend its memorandum of association and articles of association to convert itself from a public limited company to private limited.It has also sought to change the name of the company from Tata Sons Limited to Tata Sons Private Limited, Business Standard (BS) reported on Friday.Cyrus Investments — one of Shapoorji Pallonji family’s holding companies — has already objected to Tata Sons’ attempt to convert to a private limited company, saying it amounts to oppression of minority shareholders, BS reported.”The proposal to convert Tata Sons from a public company to a private company constitutes yet another act of oppression of the minority shareholders of Tata Sons at the hands of the majority shareholders,” said Cyrus Investments in its letter to Tata Sons’ board of directors.Two investment firms of the Shapoorji Pallonji family own 18.4 percent equity stake in the company. On the other side, 66 percent stake is owned by the Tata Trust, while the rest of the shares are mostly held by the Tata family and group companies.The Board of Tata Sons had earlier in August, under the chairmanship of N Chandrasekaran, ordered its group to snap all ties with Cyrus and Shapoor Mistry’s SP Group.”As the promoter and principal shareholder of your company and as the custodian of the ‘Tata’ brand, Tata Sons does not support any businesses dealing in any form, whether directly or indirectly, through contracts or subcontracting arrangements,” Tata Sons had said in a directive signed by FN Subedar, chief operating officer. In picture: Cyrus MistryReutersTata sons requires 75 percent votes in favour of the resolution to change its corporate structure. The holding company’s annual general meeting (AGM) is scheduled for September 21.Other than shareholders approvals, the company also needs clearance from National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to change its corporate structure.When asked why Tata Sons was being converted into a private limited company, a spokesperson told BS: “The reinstatement of Tata Sons as a private company was considered by the board to be in its best interest.”Corporate law experts have mixed opinions on this, with many of them believing that converting to a private limited concern would entail lesser compliance requirements for Tata Sons.There is no mandatory requirement of independent directors when a company goes private. “This could be construed as detrimental to the status of minority shareholder,” BS quoted a corporate law expert as saying.last_img read more

Democrats capture US House majority

first_imgAlissa Mauk and her son, Lyric, 8, look on at Democratic US Senator Heidi Heitkamp`s midterm election night party in West Fargo, North Dakota, US on 6 November. Photo: ReutersDemocrats rode a wave of dissatisfaction with president Donald Trump to win control of the US House of Representatives on Tuesday where they will seek to keep his agenda in check and open his administration to intense scrutiny.In midterm elections two years after he won the White House, Trump and his fellow Republicans were set to maintain their majority in the US Senate following a divisive campaign marked by fierce clashes over race, immigration and other cultural issues.With a House majority, Democrats will have the power to investigate Trump’s tax returns and possible conflicts of interest, and challenge his overtures to Saudi Arabia, Russia and North Korea.They also could force Trump to scale back his legislative ambitions, possibly dooming his promises to fund a border wall with Mexico, pass a second major tax-cut package or carry out his hardline policies on trade.S&P equity index futures erased most of their gains on expectations Democrats would seize the House.A simple House majority would be enough to impeach Trump if evidence surfaces that he obstructed justice or that his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia. But Congress could not remove him from office without a conviction by a two-thirds majority in the Republican-controlled Senate.Democrats in the House could be banking on launching an investigation using the results of US special counsel Robert Mueller’s already 18-month-old probe of allegations of Russian interference on Trump’s behalf in the 2016 presidential election. Moscow denies meddling and Trump denies any collusion.Tuesday’s result was a bitter outcome for Trump, a 72-year-old former reality TV star and businessman-turned-politician, after a campaign that became a referendum on his leadership.Down the stretch, Trump hardened his rhetoric on issues that appealed to his conservative core supporters, issuing warnings about a caravan of Latin American migrants headed to the border with Mexico and condemnations of liberal American “mobs.”Democrats turned out in droves to register disapproval of his divisive rhetoric and policies on such issues as immigration and his travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries.A record number of women ran for office this election, many of them Democrats turned off by Trump’s policy agenda.The election results mean Democrats will resume House control in January for the first time since the 2010 election, beginning a split-power arrangement with the Republican-led Senate that may force Trump to scale back his legislative ambitions and focus on issues with bipartisan support, such as an infrastructure improvement package or protections against prescription drug price increases.It also will test Trump’s ability to compromise, something he has shown little interest in over the last two years with Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress.The loss of power will test Trump’s political hold on House Republicans, most of whom had pledged their support for him lest they face the wrath of the party’s core supporters, who remain in his corner.Democrats celebrate after gubernatorial candidate Laura Kelly wins against Kris Kobach at her election night party in Topeka, Kansas, US on 6 November. Photo: Reuters Tag: USA, Democrats, Donald Trump, Barac ObamaMost Democratic candidates in tight races stayed away from harsh criticism of Trump during the campaign’s final stretch, focusing instead on bread-and-butter issues like keeping down healthcare costs, maintaining insurance protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions and safeguarding the Social Security retirement and Medicare healthcare programs for senior citizens.The final weeks before the election were marked by the mailing of pipe bombs to his top political rivals, with a political fan of Trump arrested and charged, and the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in which 11 people died, sparking a debate about Trump’s biting rhetoric and whether it encouraged extremists.In the House, Democrats picked up seats across the map, ousting incumbent Republican Barbara Comstock in suburban Virginia and sending Donna Shalala, a former Cabinet secretary under president Bill Clinton, to the House in south Florida.In the Senate, where Republicans were heavily favored to keep control heading into Tuesday’s voting, Republican Mike Braun captured incumbent Joe Donnelly’s seat in Indiana and Republican Kevin Cramer beat incumbent Democratic senator Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota.Some of the biggest Democratic stars of the campaign season were struggling. Liberal House member Beto O’Rourke became a national sensation with his underdog US Senate campaign but fell short in conservative Texas, and Andrew Gillum was trailing Republican Ron DeSantis in his quest to become the first African-American governor of the key swing state of Florida.Incumbent Democratic senator Joe Manchin won a hotly contested race in conservative West Virginia, and conservative Marsha Blackburn held a Senate seat for Republicans.Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a 2016 Democratic presidential contender, and Tim Kaine of Virginia, Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential nominee in 2016, easily won re-election, news networks projected. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown was projected to hold his seat in Ohio.All 435 seats in the House, 35 seats in the 100-member Senate and 36 of the 50 state governorships were up for grabs.last_img

WBJ Honors Minority Business Leaders at the MGM

first_imgBy Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, mgreen@afro.comAs part of their annual celebration to recognize businessmen of color, on March 28 the Washington Business Journal gathered distinguished guests at the MGM National Harbor for an evening of merriment celebrating the 12th Annual Minority Business Leader Awards.The evening began with a networking reception, leading to an MGM ballroom for dinner and the reason why the hundreds of guests came out, to honor business leaders of colors.  While most people in the room were heavy hitters in business, banking and more, notable guests included Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and District of Columbia Council member Brandon Todd (D- Ward 4).Angel Rich, founder and CEO of The Wealth Factory accepts her Rising Star Award at the 12th Annual Washington Business Leader Awards held at the MGM National Harbor. (Photo by Micha Green)“Tonight we’re here to acknowledge the accomplishments of a dynamic group of our business leaders, who have blazed the trail in business and left an indelible mark on the community.  Our region is better as a result of the 25 possessing that formidable combination,” Thomas Penny II, president of Donahoe Hospitality Services and 2010 Minority Business Leader awardee told the crowd.As Women’s History Month wound down, Penny also noted the many women who were being honored. “When I shared the list of honorees with my wife and my 23-year-old daughter, they were especially pleased to see so many women represented in tonight’s class of honorees.”Some of the standup women included Tashni-Ann Dubroy form Howard University, Leslie Hale from RLJ Lodging Trust, Viola Llewellyn of Oyamaba Solutions and Letiti Procter from Donohoe Hospitality Services.In addition to the 25 honorees, three rising starts were also highlighted, including, Clear Cloud’s Dr. Charles Thomas Jr., Brllnt’s Julie Weber and Angel Rich, founder and CEO of The Wealth Factory.“All the men in my family served in the military and for the most part a lot of the women in my family have been entrepreneurs. Specifically, my mother was an entrepreneur and it provided a lot of influence for me- traveling around the country with her as an entrepreneur.   So it was always expected of me to become an entrepreneur,” Rich said in a video, which played as she accepted her award.“One of the greatest days in my family is when I actually quit my job.  My mother was actually more proud of me when I quit my job, than when I got my job.  So entrepreneurship is definitely in my blood,” Rich added.The title sponsor of the Minority Business Leader Awards was Holland & Knight, with gold sponsors including, Bank of America, Pepco and Howard University and gold non-profit sponsors Goodwill of Greater Washington, all of whom had representatives from organizations speak on behalf of the business and give awards to the special honorees. Further, each sponsor emphasized the importance of continuing uplifting diversity in business.last_img read more

Forests in literary imagination

first_imgFrom Snow White to Tarzan, Robin Hood to Alice, Lord Rama to the Pandavas, Ali Baba to Winnie the Pooh, Dorothy (of Oz) to Harry Potter, from works of Shakespeare to Henry David Thoreau, Rudyard Kipling to Bill Bryson and Enid Blyton to Cheryl Strayed, there is one common thread, wholly or partly, to some of our most remembered and favourite literature – forests as a setting for key action.Earth’s dominant terrestrial ecosystem, forests are commonly taken to mean a large area with trees or other woody vegetation though there isn’t any common global definition – 800 definitions are available around the world! What is however more acceptable and indisputable is their role in human imagination and culture, be it folklore, fantastic or legendary, and modern literature, whether children or adult. They can represent a place of refuge or menace, of succour or challenge, of restful contemplation or exciting adventure, a metaphor for nature at its most basic and untrammeled by human civilising, and a source of sustenance – or danger. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’But best-served are those who take some benefit from their sojourn in the woods. As a Shakespearean character ruminates: “And this our life, exempt from public haunt,/Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,/Sermons in stones, and good in everything.”This was the Senior Duke, perfectly content in his exile in the Forest or Arden in “As You Like It” (Act II, Scene 1) but forests are not always that welcoming and instructive for the Bard’s other creations. In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, some unwelcome changes afflict various characters, especially poor Nick Bottom in the forest (though everything gets amicably and amenably solved in the end), while in another, the appearance of the Dunsinane forest (or a branch of it, excuse the  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflixpun) before Macbeth’s castle spells his doom!In ancient Hindu epics, Lord Rama and his brother Lakshman first exhibit their mettle by ridding some forests of demons before their eventful exile to the forest, as do the Pandavas who raise their capital after clearing a notorious forest and then spend part of their own exile in forests.But some of the most memorable and universally-known stories set in the woods – Snow White, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood, Briar Rose, Hansel and Gretel and many more of brave young princes and fair maidens.last_img read more

A Smarter Calendar How Tempo Can Help You Rule Your Next Meeting

first_img Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 3 min read December 10, 2013 If you’re someone who spends your day in meetings, then keeping up with them all can be a daunting task. One app, Tempo, is trying to make the experience a bit easier, taking a big data approach to your schedule and turning your calendar into a personal assistant.The free calendar app was created while founder Raj Singh was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Menlo Park, Calif.-based research institute SRI International, the birthplace of Apple’s personal assistant Siri. Tempo uses some of the same technology found in Siri. But where Siri requires you to ask a question and then get an answer, Tempo instead tries to anticipate what information you need, and provide it, before you even know you need it.“We like to say that it looks like a calendar, but it feels like an assistant,” Singh says.Tempo works alongside your existing calendar, adding rich information to each entry to make you more informed and better prepared for each meeting. Paired with your email and LinkedIn account, the app can bring in relevant information about each person you’re meeting with, the business they work for and any email or documents you might have relating to the meeting.Related: 3 Web-Based Tools You Probably Haven’t Heard of But Definitely Should Be UsingWhen you start communicating with someone over email, Tempo can automatically create an address book entry for that person. The app can also identify phone numbers in the signature line of emails, incorporating them automatically into your address book as well.And get this: Come meeting time, Tempo provides driving directions to your off-site meeting, or will dial you in — including access codes — to a conference call. If you’re running late, the app can text or email everyone in the meeting to let them know with a single tap.All that additional data is one of the things Singh feels sets Tempo apart from its competition.“I think the key difference is how we attack it [the calendar] as a sort of big data problem,” he says.Related: 5 Gadgets to Make Your Home a ‘Smarter’ PlaceSince its launch in February the app has been used to find and organize more than 15 million contacts for users, and has processed over 1 billion emails and documents.Singh says he sees a future where Tempo’s data could be used to determine things like how many sales calls it really takes to make a deal or what Manhattan Starbucks is most popular for meetings on a Tuesday.He also sees that data being exceptionally useful when layered on top of a tool like LinkedIn. Rather than just being able to see that two people are connected on the service, Tempo could show you how strong the connection is based on the number of meetings and emails between the two.Singh says the more Tempo learns, the more assistant-like it will become.Tempo is available now for iOS devices from the App Store, with support for other platforms expected in the future.Related: 5 Habits of Productivity App Super Users Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Register Now »last_img read more

Introducing Alpha Support for Volume Snapshotting in Kubernetes 112

first_imgKubernetes v1.12 now offers alpha support for volume snapshotting. This will allow users to create or delete volume snapshots, and natively create new volumes from a snapshot using the Kubernetes API. A snapshot represents a copy of a volume at that particular instant of time. This snapshot can be used to provision a new volume that can be pre-populated with the snapshot data or to restore the existing volume to a previous state. Importance of adding Snapshots to Kubernetes The main goal of the Kubernetes team is to create an abstraction layer between distributed systems applications and underlying clusters. The layer will ensure that application deployment requires no “cluster specific” knowledge. Snapshot operations are a critical functionality for many stateful workloads. For instance, a database administrator may want to snapshot a database volume before starting a database operation. By providing a standard way to trigger snapshot operations in the Kubernetes API, users don’t have to manually execute storage system specific operations around the Kubernetes API. They can instead incorporate snapshot operations in a cluster agnostic way into their tooling and policy assured that it will work against arbitrary Kubernetes clusters regardless of the underlying storage. These snapshot primitives help to develop advanced, enterprise-grade, storage administration features for Kubernetes which includes data protection, data replication, and data migration. 3 new API objects introduced by Kubernetes Volume Snapshots: #1 VolumeSnapshot The creation and deletion of this object depicts if a user wants to create or delete a cluster resource (a snapshot). It is used to request the creation of a snapshot for a specified volume. It gives the user information about snapshot operations like the timestamp at which the snapshot was taken and whether the snapshot is ready to use. #2 VolumeSnapshotContent This object is created by the CSI volume driver once a snapshot has been successfully created. It contains information about the snapshot including its ID. This object represents a provisioned resource on the cluster (a snapshot). Once a snapshot is created, the VolumeSnapshotContent object binds to the VolumeSnapshot– with a one to one mapping- for which it was created. #3 VolumeSnapshotClass This object created by cluster administrators describes how snapshots should be created. It includes the driver information, how to access the snapshot, etc. These Snapshot objects are defined as CustomResourceDefinitions (CRDs).  End users need to verify if a CSI driver that supports snapshots is deployed on their Kubernetes cluster. CSI Drivers that support snapshots will automatically install the required CRDs. Limitations of the alpha implementation of snapshots The alpha implementation does not support reverting an existing volume to an earlier state represented by a snapshot It does not support “in-place restore” of an existing PersistentVolumeClaim from a snapshot. Users can provision a new volume from a snapshot. However, updating an existing PVC to a new volume and reverting it back to an earlier state is not allowed. No snapshot consistency guarantees given beyond any of those provided by storage system An example of creating new snapshots and importing existing snapshots is explained well on the Kubernetes Blog. Head over to  the team’s Concepts page or Github to find more official documentation of the snapshot feature. Read Next ‘AWS Service Operator’ for Kubernetes now available allowing the creation of AWS resources using kubectl Limited Availability of DigitalOcean Kubernetes announced! Google Cloud hands over Kubernetes project operations to CNCF, grants $9M in GCP creditslast_img read more

Ericsson has struck partnerships with three global

first_imgEricsson has struck partnerships with three global CDN provider to integrate their offerings with the Ericsson Media Delivery Network.The three – Limelight Networks, CDNetworks and ChinaCache – are the first to sign up to Ericsson’s new CDN partnership programme. The three will integrate their systems with the Ericsson content delivery solution.Limelight Networks is a global CDN provider with over 9Tbps of egress serving over 3 billion objects an hour.CDNnetworks accelerates more than 40,000 websites and cloud services with 140 nodes around the world while ChinaCache is the leading CDN provider in China, with more than 17,000 servers in more than 120 cities.Today’s CDNs must be able to deliver all types of content in an ultra-efficient way in order to cope with the pressures of the TV Anywhere era,” said Ove Anebygd, vice-president and head of solution area media, Ericsson.“The convergence of global CDNs with operator networks propels content delivery forward to a new level of effectiveness, and enables the media industry to optimize broadcast potential with the continued explosion of available video content. We have created these partnerships to help operators and content providers to forge even stronger links so that they can continue to deliver the right services to the right audiences at the right time.”last_img read more

Could JPMorgan et al engineer a price decline at t

first_imgCould JPMorgan et al engineer a price decline at this juncture. Sure. They can do it anytime they want.Gold didn’t do much during the Far East trading session on Tuesday, but a smallish rally began shortly after 3:00 p.m. Hong Kong time around the $1,609 spot price mark.  The high of the day [$1,619.50 spot] came minutes before 9:00 a.m. in New York…and from there it got sold off to its low of the day [$1,607.70 spot] at 10:00 a.m. Eastern…the time of the London afternoon gold ‘fix’.  From that time onwards, it didn’t do much.Once again, net volume was pretty light…around 93,000 contracts…and gold closed at $1,612.30 spot…up the magnificent sum of 70 cents.Silver began to rally at the same moment as gold…and really took off to the upside about 1:00 p.m. in London…about twenty minutes before the Comex open.  Silver’s high point of the day, like gold, came about 8:50 a.m…and that price was $28.34 spot  Silver got sold off about two bits going into the 5:15 p.m close of electronic trading.Silver finished the Tuesday session at $28.10 spot…up 22 cents on the day.  Gross volume was pretty chunky, but once the roll-overs out of the September contract were removed, the net volume was very light…around 19,000 contracts.The dollar index didn’t do much at the Far East open…but rallied a bit going into the Hong Kong afternoon.  The high tick [82.38] came shortly after 3:00 p.m. Hong Kong time…and the low tick [82.07] came about 8:30 a.m. in New York.  From that low, the index rallied back and closed at 82.35…virtually unchanged from Monday.The rallies in both gold and silver coincided perfectly with the moves in the dollar index yesterday.The gold stocks opened up…and stayed up…and this time there was no last half-hour sell-off going into the close.  The HUI finished up 1.38% on the day.After Monday’s big price-run up, the silver shares had another decent day yesterday…and Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index closed up another 1.56%.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 76 gold and 4 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Thursday within the Comex-approved depositories.There were no reported changes in either GLD or SLV…and no sales report from the U.S. Mint, either.There was a huge amount of activity in silver for the second day in a row over at the Comex-approved depositories.  On Monday they reported receiving 225,034 troy ounces of silver…and they shipped  2,523,686 troy ounces out the door.On Friday and Monday combined, these five depositories received 3.31 million ounces of silver…and shipped 4.30 million ounces out the door.  This is almost two days of world silver production coming in the door…and more than two days of world silver production going out the door.  One has to wonder the reason behind this frantic in-out activity that’s occurring on a weekly basis.  Ted Butler says that in a ‘normal’ week, it’s only about 2 million ounces in and out.  So with the week still very young, it will be interesting to see if this level activity continues.The link to Monday’s activity is here…and it’s worth a quick look.It’s been a busy week for stories…and today’s column is no exception.  I hope you have time to skim them all.There are no markets anymore…only interventions. – Chris Powell, GATALike Monday, I wouldn’t read a whole heck of a lot into Tuesday’s price action, either.  Prices basically followed the dollar index…and it was just “another day off the calendar” as Ted Butler is wont to say.Yesterday, at the close of Comex trading, was the cut-off for August’s Bank Participation Report…and the new Commitment of Traders Report.  Just eye-balling the price patterns over the reporting week, I’d say that we’ll see an improvement in the Commercial net short position in both gold and silver…but I wouldn’t bet a huge amount of money on that.Could JPMorgan et al engineer a price decline at this juncture. Sure. They can do it anytime they want.  They could hit gold for around sixty bucks or so…and silver for a dollar or more.  But will they?  Don’t know.  September is a big delivery month for silver…and the roll-overs out of the September contract have just started…and there’s no reason to think that they couldn’t fix the markets so that all these options/futures contracts close out-of-the-money on or before expiry day.When they smashed the precious metals last week, they started on Wednesday morning in London…and had the deed done by the time the job numbers came out on Friday morning in New York.  There’s no reason why they couldn’t do it again if that’s their plan.  We’ll just have to wait it out.Nothing worth mentioning happened in the Far East on their Wednesday…and nothing much is happened in London during the first two hours of their trading day.  Volumes continue to be vapours…and the dollar index isn’t doing a thing, either.  Will the rest of the Wednesday session be just “another day off the calendar”…or something more exciting?  We’ll find out soon enough.Enjoy what’s left of your day…and I’ll see you here tomorrow. Sponsor Advertisement Avrupa Minerals Ltd. is a growth-oriented prospect generator focused on aggressive exploration for valuable mineral deposits in politically stable and prospective regions of Europe with a growing pipeline of prospects in Portugal, Kosovo and Germany.Company highlights:Alvalade Project JV with Antofagasta Minerals SA – Copper and Zinc on 1000 km2 project area in the Portuguese Pyrite Belt – 2012 exploration budget of US$ 2.5 million, all provided by Antofagasta, including 6000 meters of core drillingGold exploration in the Erzgebirge Mining District, Germany – 307 km2 exploration license in 1000+ year producing region of tin, tungsten, silver, base metals, and uranium – Increasingly favorable permitting and mining regulations, long mining culture, widespread known gold panning locationsCovas Tungsten JV with Blackheath Resources Inc. – 922,900 mt @ 0.78% WO3 (non NI 43-101 compliant) historic resource – Potential to increase the tungsten resource – New gold target on the projectStrong management including Paul Kuhn, CEO, previously involved with several discoveries around the world, and Mark T. Brown, Director, founder of Rare Element Resources Ltd.Low risk exploration strategyShare structure and cash on hand (12/31/2011):16.1 million shares outstanding; 23.7 million shares outstanding, fully diluted40% of shares held by insiders, family, friends, and long-term investorsApprox. C$ 500,000 cash on hand (consolidated Canada and Europe)Antofagasta has provided US$ 350,000 for all anticipated Alvalade JV expenses for Q1 2012.Please visit our website for more information.last_img read more

Another day when the highfrequency traders were a

first_imgAnother day when the high-frequency traders were active almost the entire time. The gold price traded sideways until 10:00 a.m. Hong Kong time on their Tuesday morning and, with the exception of a couple of tiny rallies at the London and N.Y. Comex opens…both of which got hammered flat immediately…it was pretty much all down hill into an early London p.m. gold fix at around 9:50 a.m. EDT in New York. Once ‘the fix was in’…the high-frequency traders went to work…and spun the price down to its Tuesday low, which came just minutes after 11:00 a.m. EDT…and minutes after London closed for the day. The subsequent [but smallish] rally lasted until the 1:30 p.m. EDT Comex close…and from there it traded sideways until the end of trading at 5:15 p.m. in New York. The high tick came in early Far East trading…and was a bit over $1,385 spot…and the low tick in New York was $1,360.10 spot. Gold closed at $1,368.30 spot…down $16.10 on the day.  Gross volume wasn’t overly heavy at around 132,000 contracts. The red trace is Tuesday’s price action. The dollar index closed on Monday afternoon in New York at 80.63…and then spent until 9:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday morning struggling up to its high of the day, which was 80.97.  But it was all down hill from there, as the rally fell out of bed…and the index hit its nadir of 80.56 about 12:40 p.m. in New York.  The dollar index closed at 80.69…basically unchanged from either Monday’s or Friday’s close. Here’s the chart from the Sunday night open in New York.  Every rally attempt above the 81.00 mark has failed…and the dollar index has closed within 10 basis points for three days in a row.  It’s worth mentioning that the precious metals price activity has had no correlation whatsoever to the currency moves on Tuesday…not that it ever has. Without JPMorgan Chase et al riding shotgun over them 24/7…the platinum and palladium charts looked quite different.  However, don’t ever lose sight of the fact that JPMorgan is the biggest Comex short holder in both platinum and palladium as well. The gold stocks opened down…and headed lower after the London p.m. gold fix.  The bottom was basically in at gold’s low, which came a few minutes after 11:00 a.m. in New York…and the equities traded sideways into the close.  The HUI finished down 2.84%. (Click on image to enlarge) Both these charts are courtesy of JPMorgan et al…as there is nothing free market about either of them.  The MACD and RSI traces are at lows probably never seen before…and both metals are well below their respective 200-day moving averages…and are probably the most oversold in the history of either metal, certainly going back over a decade.  If anyone has weekly charts for both metals going back that far, or further, I’d love to see them…and would be happy to post them in this space. I still firmly of the belief that when the bottom does finally arrive…and the market turns up…it will do so violently, as JPMorgan et al won’t be there to go short…as they are already mega-long gold in all markets…and attempting to cut their silver loses to a bare minimum in the process.  I also believe that it will happen in such a way that no trader will be able to react to it…and you’ll either be all the way in, or all the way out. That’s certainly the way I’m playing this.  But there’s been a terrible price [both financially and emotionally] to pay for being “all in” for the last ten years.  I, and others, are still paying that price…but I’ve bet the ranch on this particular outcome. Of course, it may not turn out exactly like that, but it will be pretty close…and I’m just hoping that I’ve prepared for any eventuality. In Far East trading on their Wednesday, there was no price action worthy of the name…and the same can be said of the first couple of hours of the London trading day as well.  Volumes are very light in both gold and silver…and the dollar index continues to chop sideways just under the 81.00 mark. Since I mentioned the dollar index, I remember that Ted pointed out last week that the four largest traders still hold a bit over 80 percent of the entire short position in the U.S. dollar index…traded on the I.C.E.  Ted figures that its “da boyz”.  So whatever happens in gold and silver on their next rally, it’s obvious that the dollar is going to get hit hard at the same time…and JPMorgan et al are all set up to profit on that as well when the brown stuff hits the fan.  And as I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions, it’s only the timing of these events that remains unknown…at least to the general public, as nothing happens by accident anymore. As I hit the ‘send’ button on today’s column at 5:10 a.m. EDT…gold is unchanged from Tuesday’s close…silver is down about a dime…volumes are still very light…and the dollar index isn’t doing much. It could prove to be an interesting day for all four precious metals during the New York session…and we should be emotionally ready for anything as the trading day unfolds. See you on Thursday. It was pretty much the same chart pattern in silver, expect the low tick [$21.45 spot] came at 10:30 a.m. EDT in New York…but after that it followed the same price pattern as gold…rallying into the Comex close, before trading more or less sideways for the remainder of the day. Kitco recorded the high tick as $22.01 spot, but if the price got that high, it only lasted for a second or two before falling back, as there’s no trace of it on the New York Spot Silver [Bid] chart. Gold closed at $21.68 spot…down 16 cents from Monday.  Volume, net of the roll-overs out of the July delivery month, were rather anemic at 23,500 contracts. The red trace is Tuesday’s price action. (Click on image to enlarge) Sponsor Advertisement The silver stocks had another bad day as well, even though the silver price was down only 16 cents.  Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down another 2.81%. (Click on image to enlarge) The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that only 26 gold contracts were posted for delivery on Thursday within the Comex-approved depositories. Even though it was only a tiny amount, “all the usual suspects” were involved…and the link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here. There was a withdrawal from GLD yesterday.  This time it was 48,326 troy ounces.  And as of 10:34 p.m. EDT last night, there were no reported changes in SLV. There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint. Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Monday, they reported receiving 651,006 troy ounces of silver…and shipped 234,059 troy ounces of the stuff out the door.  The link to that activity is here.  There was no reported warehouse activity in gold. I have the usual number of stories for a week day…and I hope you can find the time for the ones that are of interest to you. It’s only because JPMorgan is so smart, powerful…and adept at manipulating markets…that they have been able to amass such a large gold long and small short silver position. The truth is maybe they can add more to the gold long and reduce the silver short position with still lower manipulated prices, but we have to be in the terminal phase of this operation in terms of gauging how many more sellers can be lured in at this point. There is a limit to such engineered speculative selling. Therefore, since JPM is running out of road as to how much more gold and silver they can buy before we reach the resolution, it is no exaggeration to say that we are running out of time in which to buy cheap silver…and gold. – Silver analyst Ted Butler…15 June 2013  It was another day of low volume, but another day when the high-frequency traders were active almost the entire time…as there was no precious metal-specific news to account for the big sell-offs in both gold and silver during the Comex trading session in New York.  Ted Butler’s quote from his Saturday commentary posted above, explains it better than I can. And as I mentioned further up…and in yesterday’s column…I expect to see some price ‘action’ when the word comes down from the FOMC meeting at 2:00 p.m. EDT this afternoon…and I fully expect that it will allow “da boyz” to hit the precious metals hard once again.  I’d love to be proven wrong. One interesting thing I did see in that piece by Dr. Alex Cowie posted in the ‘Critical Reads’ section, was the weekly silver chart.  I always post the daily charts…and it’s rare event when I remember to post anything else. Not only are we at the bottom of the barrel in price terms…and in the Comex futures market as well…but it is more than obvious when one looks at the 3-year weekly charts for both metals.  As Ted said on the phone yesterday…a major low is being set. Avrupa Minerals Ltd. is a growth-oriented prospect generator focused on aggressive exploration for valuable mineral deposits in politically stable and prospective regions of Europe with a growing pipeline of prospects in Portugal, Kosovo and Germany. Company highlights: Alvalade Project JV with Antofagasta Minerals SA – Copper and Zinc on 1000 km2 project area in the Portuguese Pyrite Belt – 2012 exploration budget of US$ 2.5 million, all provided by Antofagasta, including 6000 meters of core drilling Gold exploration in the Erzgebirge Mining District, Germany – 307 km2 exploration license in 1000+ year producing region of tin, tungsten, silver, base metals, and uranium – Increasingly favorable permitting and mining regulations, long mining culture, widespread known gold panning locations Covas Tungsten JV with Blackheath Resources Inc. – 922,900 mt @ 0.78% WO3 (non NI 43-101 compliant) historic resource – Potential to increase the tungsten resource – New gold target on the project Strong management including Paul Kuhn, CEO, previously involved with several discoveries around the world, and Mark T. Brown, Director, founder of Rare Element Resources Ltd. Low risk exploration strategy Share structure and cash on hand (12/31/2011): 16.1 million shares outstanding; 23.7 million shares outstanding, fully diluted 40% of shares held by insiders, family, friends, and long-term investors Approx. C$ 500,000 cash on hand (consolidated Canada and Europe) Antofagasta has provided US$ 350,000 for all anticipated Alvalade JV expenses for Q1 2012. Please visit our website for more information.last_img read more

In This Issue Dollar stuck in a tight range…

first_imgIn This Issue. * Dollar stuck in a tight range… * German confidence highest in 6 years… * Kiwi falls after NZ’s trade deficit widens… * Precious metals are largely unchanged… And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Budget negotiations leave the dollar stuck in a rut… Good day, and what day is it???  HUMP DAAAAAY!!  I just love that commercial.  Yes we made it to the halfway point of the week, it is all a downhill run from here.  Chuck will be back writing the Pfennig tomorrow, so this is the last day of writing for me.  I can get back to my early morning workouts tomorrow and take advantage of these beautiful mornings we have been having.  The weather has cooled off just enough to make my morning runs nice and crisp. The markets have cooled off a bit also, staying in a fairly tight range after a pretty volatile last week thanks to the FOMC.  The dollar edged lower vs. most of the major currencies, but still didn’t break out of the tight range it has settled in following the big drop last Wednesday.  The uncertainties surrounding the US budget negotiations have most investors staying on the sidelines.  I still believe a budget deal will be reached, I just hope it gets done soon. The US data released yesterday was mixed, and did little to convince investors the US economy is gaining strength.  The S&P/Case Shiller home price index ticked up slightly, but was just below estimates.  The data showed US home prices have slowed their rate of gains, rising just .62% in July after a .88% increase during the prior month.  A separate report released by the US Federal Housing Finance Agency showed a slightly better increase in home prices with a 1% increase in July.  But both of these reports are for July, and don’t fully reflect the higher interest rates which took hold over the summer.  The other big piece of data released yesterday was US consumer confidence which slipped a bit in September.  The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence index came in at 79.7 this month following a revised reading of 81.8 in August.  This was largely in line with economists’ expectations and reflect consumers’ worries that the US economic recovery could continue to be in jeopardy.  The uneven recovery of the labor market, and uncertainties about the Federal budget and new healthcare requirements continue to weigh on consumer confidence.  This recent drop in confidence is even more worrying for the markets as we are entering the incredibly important Christmas shopping season.  Today we will see some additional information on the health of the housing market with the release of the New Homes Sales figures.  We will also get a relatively new piece of data which shows the Household Change in New Worth (largely driven by home prices).  And before we see the latest readings on home sales we will get the Durable Goods Orders that are expected to have decreased by .2%.  This is actually an improvement over last month’s reading when durable goods orders fell a surprising 7.4%.  The budget battle has led to a bit of risk aversion, providing some support for the US$ and Japanese yen while some of the ‘riskier’ assets have been sold.  As I mentioned earlier, the currencies are all trading in a fairly tight range; the largest mover of the major currencies vs. the US$ today is the NOK which is down .8%.  This move is in concert with a similar slide in the value of the Swedish krona which got sold after data showed Swedish consumer and manufacturing confidence slumped in September.  The Nordic country’s consumer confidence gauge fell to 98.0 from a revised reading of 98.8 in August.  An increase in confidence was expected, so the more pessimistic view came as a surprise to the markets.  This Swedish pessimism stands in stark contrast to German consumers whose confidence in their economy rose to 6 year highs.  GfK market research group released its forward looking consumer sentiment indicator yesterday, and the survey showed German consumers are as confident in their economy as they have been since before the 2008 financial crisis rocked the markets.  The same firm predicts private consumption in Germany will increase about 1 percent in real terms during 2013 a sign that the German economy will grow moderately this year as the euro-area emerges from the ‘second dip’ of a double dip recession.  Another report confirmed the GfK numbers as the Ifo Institute’s business confidence indicator improved slightly. Merkel’s victory in last week’s German elections was a big deal for the euro as it provides businesses and consumers some confidence that the euro is here to stay.  All of the uncertainty about the euro’s future hung over the European continent like the sword of Damocles; smothering any real economic progress in the euro-region.  While the euro-crisis will undoubtedly show up on our radars again, the question of the euro’s survival is less of an issue.  The ECB and European Union can hopefully continue to move toward creating a banking and financial system which will continue to support the weaker members while keeping the overall economy on a positive growth track.  Things are certainly starting to look up for the euro area.  The New Zealand dollar fell in overnight trading after official data showed the nation’s trade deficit widened to 1.2 billion NZD last month.  This was the largest deficit in five years, and exactly what has been worrying us about the kiwi.  Chuck and I were just discussing the New Zealand dollar a couple of weeks ago, and he brought up the tiny island’s trade deficit as a factor which could weigh on the currency.  Trade deficits are typically a drag on a country’s currency, as the currency is sold in exchange for goods / materials being imported into the country.  In contrast, countries who run a trade surplus are actually creating demand for their currencies which of course supports their price.  Adding to the kiwi’s woes was a earnings warning by the NZ dairy giant Fonterra.  Dairy exports are very important to New Zealand’s economy, accounting for about 7 percent of annual GDP and one quarter of annual exports.  The kiwi is off .58% vs. the US$ today, but is still one of the best performing currencies during the month of September.  The best performing currency during the month of September?  The Brazilian real which is up over 8% vs. the US$.  Brazil’s central bank chief Alexandre Tombini said their FX market intervention had accomplished their intentions, reducing volatility for the Brazilian currency.  Tombini told Brazilian lawmakers that the central bank would continue to ‘stand at the ready’ with its $60 billion intervention program.  I am not a fan of currency intervention, as it rarely works over the long term, but it can have an impact in daily trading levels.  One piece of positive news which Tombini relayed in his speech was that he expects Brazil’s current account deficit to fall to 3% of GDP from the current level of 3.4%.   Also supporting the real is the expectation that interest rates will increase 75 basis points before the end of the year.  Inflation expectations have been increasing, with current forecasts of 5.96% inflation next year; well above the central bank’s target rate of 4.5%.  The commodities inched higher as China demand drove prices of raw materials higher.  Precious metals reversed a 3 day drop in overnight Asian trading, but couldn’t hold on to the gains in early European trading and are mostly unchanged. Then there was this. The folks on the desk know I sometimes struggle for material when I’m writing the Pfennig, so they help me out by sending me a steady stream of what I call ‘Pfennig Pfodder’.  Tim Smith did just that yesterday, sending along a couple of very good quotes which he had come across on the internet; and one in particular stuck out.  It is from Peter Coy, in a posting on the Bloomberg-Businessweek website on September 17th: ”The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday projected a much gloomier long-term outlook for federal budget deficits than its year-ago forecast.  The CBO now predicts that federal debt held by the public will rise to 100 percent of gross domestic product by 2038 under its ‘extended baseline scenario.’  (It’s around 73 percent now.)  Last year it predicted the ratio would fall to 52 percent over the quarter-century in the baseline scenario. This is, as the CBO notes, a ‘very large’ forecast revision.” ”Reasonable people can disagree as to whether the federal government needs to tighten its belt right now, with the economy weak and unemployment high, but it’s pretty obvious that in coming decades, something has to give. Here’s how the CBO put it: ‘How long the nation could sustain such growth in federal debt is impossible to predict with any confidence.  At some point, investors would begin to doubt the government’s willingness or ability to pay U.S. debt obligations, making it more difficult or more expensive for the government to borrow money.  Moreover, even before that point was reached, the high and rising amount of debt that CBO projects under the extended baseline would have significant negative consequences for both the economy and the federal budget.’ ” Chris again.We have been writing about the growing debt and deficits for years now, but the story just doesn’t get old as the IOUs just continue to pile up.  As the CBO suggests, we will eventually hit that ‘tipping point’ but even before that we will definitely see dramatic reductions in the amount of funds available for ‘discretionary spending’ as rising interest rates continues to push the cost of servicing all of this debt higher.  It isn’t a pretty picture, but unfortunately it is one which is certain. To recap. The US dollar is stuck in a range as the congressional budget battle has investors wondering where to turn.  European data showed German confidence is at a 6 year high, while Swedish confidence levels dropped.  The New Zealand dollar was the largest loser vs. the US$ after a report showed the trade deficit widened and the globes largest dairy company issued an earnings warning.  The Brazilian real moved higher and the precious metals are largely unchanged. Currencies today 9/25/13. American Style: A$ .9359, kiwi .8218, C$ .9696, euro 1.3504, sterling 1.6033, Swiss $1.0979. European Style: rand 9.8683, krone 6.0194, SEK 6.4259, forint 221.96, zloty 3.1198, koruna 19.153, RUB 31.99, yen 98.44, sing 1.2541, HKD 7.7533, INR 62.42, China 6.1497, pesos 12.9780, BRL 2.1971, Dollar Index 80.424, Oil $103.80, 10-year 2.64%, Silver $21.63, Platinum $1,426.24, Palladium $718.97, and Gold. $1,321.06. That’s it for today. Another absolutely gorgeous evening here in St. Louis and another win for my daughter’s JV field hockey team.  I ran home from her game to watch the Cardinals inch a little closer to wrapping up the division.  Rookie pitcher Michael Wacha (who we got with the compensational pick after losing Pujols) got within one out of throwing a no hitter last night.  What a game!  If any of you were watching it on TV last night you saw both Jack Stapleton and Frank Trotter sitting in the first row behind home plate.  I just love the post season, and if our ‘young arms’ can hold up we could see our Redbirds go deep into the fall again this year.  Chuck will be back in the saddle tomorrow, so this is it for me.  Thanks to everyone for putting up with me the past three days, and I hope you all have a Wonderful Wednesday!! Chris Gaffney, CFA Vice President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837last_img read more