Thomas BergströmThomas Bergström, the chief financial officer of Sweden-based broadcast transmission and OTT technology company is leaving the company at his own request.Bergström, who joined the company in 2009, will remain in his post until the first quarter of next year, Net Insight said. Under his watch, Net Insight’s sales grew from SEK233 million to SEK504 million.Net Insight said that the process of finding a replacement had been started.“Making the decision to leave Net Insight wasn’t easy. These last few years have been incredibly stimulating, and I’m proud of the team and the structure I’ve participated in building. The global media sector continues to face an exciting transformation process, with Net Insight well positioned ahead of the future,” said Bergström.“Thomas has been a driving force behind Net Insight’s progress in recent years, and his expertise has been fundamental to the company’s expansion on the global arena. At the same time, he’s also developed the Finance department and our internal structure, and we’re now stronger than ever. He also played an instrumental role in the acquisition of ScheduALL, another key to our success in recent years. I’ve really enjoyed working alongside Thomas, and wish him all the best in the future,” said Fredrik Tumegård, CEO of Net Insight.
Wealthy European consumers trust international TV news channels more than national services to provide impartial news, according to a survey carried out by IPSOS for the inTV channels group.Eighty-three percent of responders in a survey of 28,000 ‘affluent’ Europeans rated international TV channels as trustworthy, scoring them five or more on a scale of one to seven, and 78% considered them to be impartial or unbiased.When comparing brand sentiment, international TV channels scored at least 39% higher compared to national TV channels for all attributes on the survey, including whether they were high quality and informative.Individuals with a household income of over €250,000 rated international TV channels at least 10% more highly than the average for all attributes.Sonia Marguin, Head of Research at Euronews and chair of inTV said: “With so much instant information, clutter and fake news, time-squeezed affluent consumers are being more selective about which media brands they use. They really value the impartial content provided by international TV channels and so are more likely to engage with them than national TV brands. That’s why, when looking at the international TV channels within the inTV group, we reach 86% of C-Suite Europeans.”inTV promotes the benefits of international channels to the advertising industry. The group comprises BBC World News, France 24, ESPN Classic, Euronews, Eurosport, National Geographic, Sky News, CNBC and TV5 Monde.
VR City has teamed up with Sport Relief, a biennial fundraising campaign for UK charity Comic Relief organised in association with BBC Sport, to produce an immersive 360° film focusing on malaria treatment.The film will enable viewers to accompany the journey of a mosquito as it spreads malaria in Uganda.The malaria film, directed by VR City CCO Darren Emerson, includes sound of the buzz of mosquitos recorded on a binaural microphone to surround the viewer, with visuals generated through the use of a Kandao Obsidian 360 camera.Ashley Cowan, CEO and co-founder, VR City, said: “Comic Relief is part of the fabric of the nation –we’ve all grown up with it. So it’s an incredible honour and we are very proud to work with them to highlight what is such a significant issue. With this film we wanted to connect audiences with the threat people in Uganda are confronting every day. By using VR it is possible to feel as close to being there as possible without actually taking them there. We hope it inspires people to take action and donate to Sport Relief.”Bill Griffin, executive director of brand and creative at Comic Relief, said: “Malaria takes a life every two minutes in Africa. At Comic Relief, we are always looking for innovative ways to bring home this stark reality and deepen understanding of one of the world’s most deadly diseases. Collaborating with the brilliant VR City to make this immersive 360 film enables us to do exactly that, in a way which will take viewers incredibly close to the daily threat faced by so many people living across Africa”.
EbonyLife Ltd, owners of Africa’s Global Black TV Network and Sony Pictures Television (SPT), are co-developing three new scripted TV projects with SPT set to distribute internationally.The three-project deal, the first of its kind between SPT and a Nigerian production company, will include a TV series inspired by the Dahomey Warriors, an all-female army that fought on behalf of the West African Kingdom of Dahomey until the late 1800s. Development on the Dahomey Warriors project starts immediately, with details of the other two projects to follow.Mo Abudu, chief executive officer, EbonyLife Ltd said: “Since our launch in June 2013, our vision has been to change the narrative about Africa and tell our stories from our perspective. We have invested in the creation of quality programming and the development of our people and their ideas. It is this ethos that has given us the opportunity to partner with SPT.’’Wayne Garvie, president, international production, Sony Pictures Television added: “Mo Abudu is one of the most formidable and creative figures in Nigerian television, and with Ebony Life her and the team are creating something truly ground-breaking and extraordinary.“Our aim is to help Ebony Life create a portfolio of African content that will fulfil their aim of being one of Africa’s prime creator of premium content.”The news follows Ebony Life’s recently announced unscripted deal with SPT, under which they will be exclusively adapting the hit game show The Dating Game for Nigerian audiences.
The BBC needs to “change faster” in order to reach more young people and compete against powerful online video and audio providers like Netflix and Spotify, according to James Purnell.James PurnellSpeaking at the EBU’s ‘Truth and Power’ conference this week, the BBC’s director of radio and education said that the BBC’s goal is not to “manage decline,” outlining how the corporation can best adjust its online video and radio strategies.On the video front, Purnell said the BBC is working hard to “reverse” a regulatory decision in 2007 to block Kangaroo, a project that would have seen the UK public service broadcasters band together to launch a joint online video service.Pointing to BARB figures, he said that SVOD viewing was up by a third last year and is almost on a par with viewing time for BBC 1, adding: “We are well beyond the tipping point”.“We saw this future coming. In 2007, the public service broadcasters came up with a plan to combine our video-on-demand players,” said Purnell.“It was christened Kangaroo, presumably because it would leap into the future. But the Competition Commission turned the project down, and Netflix was able to aggregate content from all the British broadcasters. The rest is history.”“The BBC is working hard to reverse that position, modernising the iPlayer, personalising it, improving recommendations, introducing more box sets.”Alongside this, the BBC has started to implement a policy of partnering with other British institutions and opening up its technology for others to use.The iPlayer now hosts content from Welsh-language broadcaster S4C and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), and BBC Ideas is starting to show its first content from on outside source, the Open University.The BBC has also shared its live-streaming technology with the Manchester International Festival and sports bodies like British Swimming.“We are collaborating with other British companies to compete with the global platforms,” said Purnell. “We want to be part of a competitive ecology, with many British providers.“We help guarantee choice, making sure the British audio, news and video markets don’t become a ‘uninet’, dominated by a single provider.”On the radio front, Purnell said that the BBC’s regulatory obligations to meet quotas for hours of genres broadcast on its radio networks should be scrapped in favour of impact-based regulation. By simply focusing on which audiences it reaches, the BBC will have more room to experiment, he argued.“Although Spotify and Apple are growing, so is radio. That shouldn’t make us complacent. We know from our recent past that responses that seem radical at the time can fall a long way short of what is needed in the end.“This is an opportunity to do our job better, to fulfil our public purposes better, to serve audiences better and to find new creative opportunities.”
Stig Møller Christensen and Ulf LundDanish commercial broadcaster TV2 has entered into a strategic partnership with cable operator Stofa and its digital-terrestrial pay TV subsidiary Boxer to extend access to TV2 Play, the broadcaster’s on-demand service, to 150,000 homes. Over the next few months, some 150,000 Boxer and Stofa households, representing an audience of about 300,000 people, will be able to access TV2 Play as part of their TV package alongside regular TV channels.TV2 Play’s basic package, including advertisements, will be made available to Boxer customers with Max, Mix, TV2 or TV2 Plus packages from the beginning of next month, while subscribers to Stofa’s large package will gain access to the same service from the beginning of next year.Customers of the two operators will also be able to upgrade to the TV2 play basic package without advertising at a discounted price.TV2 sales director Stig Møller Christensen said that the partnership was “the first of its kind” with TV2 Play fully integrated into the TV package of a distributor, while commercial director Flemming Rasmussen said that the move would help TV2 in its strategy of building volume and strengthening its leadership in addressable advertising, where it offers targeted advertising via the TV2 Play service.Boxer CEO Ulf Lund said it was an “obvious and natural” move to include TV2 Play as streaming gained in popularity among the DTT operator’s user base, while Sune Nabe Frederiksen, CEO of Stofa, said that the agreement was an “important step” in the company’s drive to offer streaming products alongside linear TV.
Pay TV revenues have declined in the Middle East and North Africa over the past two years thanks in to piracy, competition from OTT providers, falling revenue per user, and the Saudi-led ban on BeIN Media.This according to Digital TV Research’s latest ‘Middle East and North Africa Pay TV Forecasts’ report, which said that pay TV revenues for 20 MENA countries declined 11% to just under US$3 billion (€2.6 billion) between 2016 and 2018.Pay TV revenues across the region are expected to be lower in 2024 at US$3.28 billion than they were in 2016, when they stood at US$3.36 billion.In 2024, Turkey and Israel are expected to supply nearly half of the region’s pay TV revenues. However, Israel is expected to lose a tenth of its pay TV subscribers between 2014 to 2024 and a third of its pay TV revenues between 2015 and 2024.Turkish pay TV revenues are also expected to be in lower 2024 than in 2016, despite the number of pay TV subscribers growing from 7.15 million in 2018 to 9.01 million in 2024.In the region’s 13 Arab-speaking countries, pay TV revenues fell 16% from US$1.25 billion in 2016 to US$1.06 billion in 2018, but are expected to recover to reach US$1.43 billion by 2024.Pay TV subscriptions fell by 9.5% between 2016 and 2018 to 3.40 million, but are expected to reach 5.23 million by 2024. BeIN alone lost an estimated 47% of its subscriber base in the two years to the end of 2018 to take its total down to 525,000.“Pay TV in the MENA region has been hit by a Saudi-led ban on the sale of Qatar-backed BeIN decoders and subscriptions since mid-2017,” said Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research.“The ban has been compounded by BeoutQ, an illegal platform that retransmits some of BeIN’s content especially its exclusive sports rights. The region is no stranger to piracy, but the sophistication of the BeoutQ operation is beyond anything seen before.“BeIN is fiercely protesting BeoutQ, with the support of major content owners, especially sports federations. We believe that the situation will be resolved in 2019; given the international pressure to drop the ban and to close BeoutQ.”In November, the BBC and Sky called on the European Commission to take formal action against Saudi Arabia over pirate broadcaster BeoutQ providing illegal access to content including the English Premier League.Both companies sent letters to Anna Malmström, the EC’s commissioner for trade, adding their voices to calls for a formal EU protest to the Saudi government. It has been alleged that the Saudis are supporting BeoutQ as part of its campaign against neighbouring Qatar.Last month, the World Trade Organisation agreed to set up a panel to investigate Saudi Arabia’s alleged failure to protect Qatar-based BeIN Media’s intellectual property rights, amid disagreement over whether the WTO could launch a probe in a case that the Saudi government claims to be a matter of national security.Meanwhile, in past week, BeIN Media set up a ‘reveal all’ website to expose what it described as “the industrial scale theft” of sports and entertainment content. BeIN claims that BeoutQ was launched in Saudi Arabia in August 2017 to illegally broadcast premium sports and entertainment rights.
FEATURES: The Miss Donegal 2016 finalists have been announced, and four Derry participants will be hoping they can land the coveted crown. The glitzy event is being held in the Radisson Hotel, Letterkenny this Friday 13th May! The final has 30 girls competing for the prestigious title, which shall be judged by a panel of six Judges.The lucky girl who is chosen to represent Donegal shall go on to the Miss Ireland final being held in Dublin in late August.Miss Donegal will have a host of prizes including: Aoibheann Walsh owner of the award winning salon G&G located on the Church Lane, Letterkenny, has kindly offered Miss Donegal 2016 unlimited Hair and Makeup for all Promotional events associated with Miss Donegal and Miss Ireland 2016.Plus Unlimited membership to Fit Hub Ireland Ltd, Letterkenny and one to one nutrition with Neil Barrett MSc. The Sequin Cinderella Boutique, Buncrana shall also sponsor dresses for the Miss Ireland event.The Tipsy Nail Bar, Letterkenny has sponsored the girl with deluxe gel nail extensions, plus a deluxe pedicure.Starlashes & Brows Ramelton, have sponsored a set of mink eyelash extensions.The Miss Donegal event should be a fun night as live entertainment is being provided by Jacqui Sharkey, whose genre consists of Acoustic/Americana/New Country/Celtic music.Also Nerissa Moore, of ‘The Voice’ fame, and Maria McCormick whose genre is Country music.There is also a raffle on the night with a prize of an autumn break for 2 Adults for 2 nights to Prague, kindly sponsored by Liberty Travel, Riverside Retail Park, Letterkenny.There are also an array of other prizes available on the night.A prize for most ‘Glamourous attendee’, and ‘Most promising teen’ selected from those attending the event.Judges on the night are: Jay Doherty, award winning photographer.Local Politician Tim Jackson.Nicola McLaughlin ‘The Sequin Cinderella’.Emma Murray ‘The Fashion Chair’.Donegal Daily’s resident blogger Mairead Gallagher.Blogger and xpose regular Zara McDaid.Tickets are priced at €25 and are available at The Radisson Hotel, Letterkenny.Doors open at 7:00 pm.DERRY GIRLS HOPING TO WIN MISS DONEGAL 2016 was last modified: May 11th, 2016 by stephenstephen Tags: ShareTweet DerryFeaturesfinaljudgesMiss Donegal 2016News
ALTCAR PARKDC MILLERFIREARMMASKED AND ‘ARMED’ MEN BREAK IN AND TRASH DERRY HOMEPSNI Damage was caused to the inside of the house.The occupier was home at the time but was uninjured in the incident. Detective Constable Miller said: “I would ask that anyone with information contact 101 quoting reference 1364 07/11/17.“Or if they wish to remain anonymous Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”MASKED AND ‘ARMED’ MEN BREAK IN AND TRASH DERRY HOME was last modified: November 8th, 2017 by John2John2 Tags: POLICE in Derry are appealing for information after a disturbance at a property in the Altcar Park area last night.At around 10pm police received a report of a number of people wearing balaclavas forcing entry to a property in the area.One of the group was reportedly carrying a firearm. ShareTweet
ShareTweet And it was a resounding success in Waterside for the former president of Derry Chamber of Trade when Mrs McLaughlin polled 1,483 first preference votes – comfortably suprassing the 1,245 quota.Also elected is the formr DUP Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Alderman Hilary McClintock.She polled 1,250 first preference votes – passing the quota by five votes.Topping the poll in Waterside is Darren Ross Guy for the Ulster Unionist Party who received 1,589 first preference votes. Joy for Sinead McLaughlin as she is elected in Waterside on the first countTHE SDLP’s strong running continues today with another candidate getting elected on the first count.After Mary Durkan topped the poll on Friday in the Foyleside DEA in her first foray into politics, Sinead McLaughlin was also going before the electorate for the first time. There are now four seats up for grabs in Waterside with the SDLP’s Martin Reilly currently in fourth place with 939 first preference votes.Also polling strongly are the DUP’s David Ramsey (839 votes) and Sinn Fein’s Christopher Jackson (825 votes).But it will all be down to the transfers during next stages of the count process to see who can get to the quota first.Ulster Unionist candidate David Ross Guy tops the poll in WatersideGuy tops the poll in Waterside as McLaughlin and McLaughlin also elected was last modified: May 4th, 2019 by John2John2 Tags: Derry and Strabane Councilformer DUP MayorGuy tops the poll in Waterside as McLaughlin and McLaughlin also electedHILARY MCCLINTOCKSINEAD MCLAUGHLIN
“Waiting lists are particularly problematic in the Western trust area.“The current waiting time for appointments here is 30 weeks, yet the target waiting time for appointments with the Paediatric Clinical Psychology Service is 13 weeks. “Getting the bespoke treatment that children need is proving extremely difficult, if not near impossible. This isn’t just an issue for the Western Trust but it is reflected right across the North.“Medical professionals have advised that antidepressants should only be prescribed to children under close supervision. FOYLE MLAHEALTH SPOKESPERSONMark H DurkanRise in antidepressant prescription for children linked to waiting lists – DurkanWESTERN TRUST A RECENT report has shown the number of antidepressants prescribed to children in Northern Ireland has risen by 6% since April 2015. SDLP Health spokesperson, Mark H Durkan has deemed the latest figures very concerning and undoubtedly linked to the rise in waiting lists.The Foyle MLA said: “In April, I raised concerns that our children were being failed due to underinvestment in mental health and unfortunately this issue has been aggravated by increased waiting lists. ShareTweet “It is very concerning that the figures obtained under this FOI request have shown the steepest increase among children under the age of 12.”The Foylw MLA added that more investment was needed by the health service in the early years of a child’s life.“Mental health issues during our formative years can have long-lasting effects; it is imperative that the issue of waiting times is addressed, to consider other mental health services and strategies before resorting to giving our children antidepressants.“Unfortunately, we have not seen resources being put in this area; this failure is glaring and has been for some time. “Investment in early years is not just important for the health and well-being of the child, but prudent investment for the future.”Rise in antidepressant prescription for children linked to waiting lists – Durkan was last modified: July 24th, 2018 by John2John2 Tags:
By Marin KatusaRelations amongst the countries of the Middle East revolve around religion and historic allegiances. The region’s Muslim countries are divided into Sunni and Shiite camps while Jews and Christians are in a constant battle for representation. The historic Camp David peace accord between Egypt and Israel has provided a cornerstone for regional relations for years (though it is showing signs of strain in the post-Mubarak era), and the United States has long supported these two nations alongside Saudi Arabia and its allies while Russia shored up Iran, Syria, and those in the opposing group. Grievances often go back decades, if not longer, and there are so many interested parties that it is nigh impossible to move without stepping on someone’s toes.But there is one force that is more powerful in the pulsing Middle East than even religion: energy.Oil and gas mean money and power, two great enablers that make anything possible. Why else would one of the world’s most conservative Muslim countries – Saudi Arabia – align itself so closely with the United States, a showcase of liberal thought and personal freedom?As the birthplace of three major religions, the Middle East was destined for conflict, but the presence of vast energy wealth has amplified and complicated those tensions a hundredfold. It’s a global truth that those with energy resources hold the cards and those without domestic energy supplies have to do whatever is necessary to ensure they are dealt a hand. The Middle East is home to a disproportionate number of countries in the former category – countries bloated with the power that comes with oil wealth.Not every country in the region fits that bill, however. For years Israel’s Achilles heel has been energy – or a lack thereof. Netanyahu’s old joke is that Moses led his people through the desert for 40 years to the only place in the Middle East without any oil. Decades of drilling and digging yielded no significant hydrocarbons, leaving Israel with no choice but to spend 5% of its GDP buying fuel from neighboring suppliers… with whom its interests conflicted and its relations were uneasy at best.Now that is all changing. In recent years, trillions of cubic feet of natural gas have been discovered in Israeli waters while 250 billion barrels of shale oil have been outlined in the country’s rocks. Whether Israel will become a significant oil producer is still very uncertain, as the economics of its shale deposits are far from proven, but the nation is already preparing for a future funded by natural gas exports.This shift will generate welcome cash flow for Israel, but even more significant than the country’s newfound wealth will be its newfound political might. Israel is already receiving visits from new friends and potential business partners, some of them countries that have avoided or even opposed Israel until now. Russia is leading that pack, having pointedly placed itself at the front of the line of nations wanting to secure a piece of Israel’s gas pie – and this is the same Russia that usually supports two of Israel’s greatest enemies, Iran and Syria.In the boiling, roiling Middle East, new allegiances are never simple. Befriending one nation almost always requires you to turn your back on another, and changing camps is not easily forgotten. Those wanting access to Israel’s natural gas will also have to navigate a treacherous international obstacle course, as contested maritime borders mean that Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, and even Gaza all lay some claim to Israel’s vast offshore gas fields.But remember: the wealth and power that come with energy are a great enabler. Israel will develop its gas riches. To do so, the country will need partners and buyers, and those who line up to participate will be doing so in the full knowledge that an Israel with energy wealth represents a completely new player in the Middle Eastern game (a development that could well ignite a “Cold War” over energy).Israel’s Natural Gas RevolutionThe story of Israel’s romance with natural gas starts in 2000, when a consortium led by Noble Energy drilled into an offshore target called Mari-B. A few holes later, the group had defined 1 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of recoverable natural gas, and by 2004 the Mari-B field was in full production. Israelis embraced a domestic energy resource: natural gas consumption rose as quickly as the country could build infrastructure to produce and transport it.(Click on image to enlarge)One good discovery often prompts another, and such was the case with Israeli gas and Noble Energy. In 2006, the American firm snapped up the chance to earn into the nearby Tamar block, which had not yet been drilled because the previous operator had shied away from the area’s exceptionally high underground pressures. Noble’s geologists ran every test they could and decided Tamar’s potential was worth the risk. They were right: with two wells, Noble defined 9 TCF of gross natural gas resources at Tamar, of which 6.3 TCF are considered recoverable. It was the largest deepwater natural gas discovery in the world in 2009, and it came just in time.As the graph above shows, Israel’s natural gas revolution quickly pushed demand from almost zero to beyond Mari-B’s ability to supply it. Fortunately, there was a country close by with lots of natural gas for sale: Egypt. In 2005, the East Mediterranean Gas Company pipeline opened, connecting the Egyptian city of El Arish to the Israeli port of Ashkelon. By 2008, Israel had 170 MCF of gas pouring in from Egypt every day. Mari-B supplied the rest, and Israel became dependent on natural gas to produce 20% of its electricity. However, all good things must come to an end.Today, Mari-B is running dry, and relations with Egypt are on rough ground. The peace accord between Egypt and Israel only thinly concealed the never-extinguished Egyptian enmity towards Israel, and the Egyptian opposition – everyone from Islamists to Arab nationalists and leftists – has long regarded the Camp David accord with disgust. The gas deal that built and filled the pipeline was a tangible product of that hated peace accord, and the opposition has declaimed it since the day it was signed, certain that Israel and Mubarak had conspired to cheat Egypt out of its gas revenues.Those opposition parties are now filling the seats of Egypt’s parliament. The parliament itself is frozen, caught in a complex legal limbo, but no matter – a series of bombings disabled the gas pipeline to Israel last year, and it has not been operational since. The days of Israel relying on Egypt for gas – and of Egypt pocketing a nice stream of revenue from Israel – are over.Thankfully for Israel, timing is everything. Development work at Tamar is running on schedule, and the first wells are expected to come online before the end of the year. A smaller field called Noa was sped into production to bridge the gap until Tamar can start supplying Israel’s needs.It won’t be long, however, until Israel is pumping far more gas than it needs.Beyond TamarMari-B was a big discovery and Tamar was even bigger, but they both pale in comparison to the reservoir that Noble drilled into next. Shortly after delineating 9 TCF at Tamar, Noble spudded a drill into a nearby field call Leviathan and hit a home run. The Leviathan field is absolutely enormous, home to 17 TCF of gross natural gas resource.Adding in a 7-TCF discovery in offshore Cyprus and several other, smaller discoveries near Leviathan, Noble has now discovered no less than 35 TCF of gross natural gas resource in the region. It is far more gas than Israel could ever use.(Click on image to enlarge)Export plans are already afoot. Noble and partners aim to build a liquefaction plant so that Tamar’s gas wealth can be exported globally in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG). They actually hope to build a floating facility, in large part because land is so precious in Israel, and to that end they are watching Royal Dutch Shell’s progress as it builds and commissions the world’s first floating LNG plant for use in a field off Australia.Even though it will be years before any LNG is produced in Israel, Russia is so keen to get its hands on Israeli LNG that state energy giant Gazprom has already signed a letter of intent with the Noble group to discuss a deal to buy 2 to 3 million tonnes of LNG annually, starting in 2016. A few months later, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Israel, and among the announcements associated with that historic trip came news that Gazprom is setting up an Israeli subsidiary to help develop Leviathan.Once the massive Leviathan field also gets into production, Israel will need every natural gas export avenue it can find. To that end, the country has been carefully cultivating its relationships with Cyprus and Greece, through which pipelines to Europe would pass (Turkey will not allow Israeli gas to cross its lands). It seems Israel’s gas wealth is already generating new international allegiances: Israel, Russia, Cyprus, and Greece seem to be gravitating towards each other to form a new team in the Middle Eastern game.New Camps in the Old Battleground That things are changing so quickly is no surprise. The countries along both coasts of the Persian Gulf erupted into global prominence in the 1970s when world energy shortages catapulted them into previously unimagined wealth and political influence. If Israel emerges as a new power, those Arab countries will remain rich, especially because their energy is cheaper to produce than the more unconventional sources being outlined elsewhere in the world, including in Israel.But what they keep in money, they may lose in clout. With other oil and gas streams coming on line, such as Canadian oil-sands crude and Arctic oil, we may be heading into a time when the world doesn’t care all that much about what happens in the Persian Gulf (as long as nobody gets frisky with nukes).OPEC nations will not be the only ones to cede ground to an energy-rich Israel – Turkey could be another big loser. For years Turkey was governed by a secular party, which actively sought out closer relations with Israel. Now the Islamist AK party is in charge, and relations with Israel are on the outs. If Israel does emerge as a new energy powerhouse and establishes a cozy circle with Russia, Greece, and Cyprus, Turkey will feel like someone who ditched a long-time friend right before she won the lottery. More generally, Turkey’s ambitions to play a larger role in the politics of the eastern Med will have suffered a significant setback.Egypt will also struggle with Israel’s rise. As much as many Egyptians decried the deal to sell their gas to Israel, the fact is the deal generated considerable incomes for state coffers. That income has now evaporated, just as the country convulses through the aftermath of a revolution. Moreover, Egypt’s role as a regional powerhouse stemmed almost exclusively from its secular governance and its peace with Israel – these factors were so important in the old Middle East that the US government supported Egypt to the tune of $3 billion annually. Now Islamists are in power, and the path forward in Egypt’s relationship with Israel is very uncertain. We see the country’s power waning in the coming years as it finds footing in the new Middle East.Then there’s the United States, which will find its importance to Israel fade if the Jewish state becomes an energy giant with a dance card full of suitors. In the long run, the US could be hurt most of all if its best Middle Eastern friend, Israel, turns away from its embrace and towards the strong, strategic arms of Vladimir Putin.It’s a real possibility – Russia has already wooed Israel into several waltzes. In fact, the two nations have been growing closer for several years despite Russia’s support for Iran, Syria, and even Hamas. Bilateral trade is approaching $3 billion annually; Russian immigrants make up 20% of Israel’s population; Israel sold military drones and other high-tech weapons to Russia after Russia’s poor military performance in Georgia in 2008; and following the Arab Spring, Israel and Russia share an interest in preventing the spread of radical Islam in the Middle East. If Israel can help stem the rising tide of radical Islam and provide Russia with another steady supply of natural gas, Putin must be thinking that perhaps this new friendship is worth the turmoil it will cause.And cause turmoil it will, because even though alliances in the Middle East are forged over decades, they can also change overnight, especially when the new global currency of energy is at work. Russia is walking a tightrope in its efforts to woo Israel while still supporting Iran and Syria, and Putin may soon have to make a choice between old friends and new. If Russia abandons Iran and Syria, the Sunni-Shiite balance in the region will destabilize just as Islamists are taking power in several countries for the first time.The old camps of the Middle East are changing. Transitions are rarely smooth, and these transitions in who holds power in the volatile Middle East will almost certainly provide some very rough patches.Israel clearly sees the potential for trouble as it develops its newfound energy riches. The Israeli Defense Forces recently approved a navy request for four new warships, at a cost of about $750 million. The navy is concerned that the gas rigs being built in Israeli waters will be an attractive target for terrorist attacks, especially if Israel were to find itself in another war.Israel knows Hezbollah has the capability to fire missiles from land to the gas fields. And Hezbollah may not be the only terrorist group with such lethal capacity – in February, the Israeli navy found an Iranian ship carrying six Nasr-1 radar-guided anti-ship missiles to Gaza; the navy believes the weapons were destined for al-Jihad. In addition, Syria also has its hands on an anti-ship missile that could reach the gas fields. Just imagine what a missile attack by an Islamist foe on an Israeli gas rig would mean for global politics (not to mention the environmental health of the Mediterranean Sea).Of course, Israel’s new warships will only add to a region that is packed with military capacity. Continued tensions over Iran’s nuclear program have recently prompted the Islamic Republic and the United States to beef up their already impressive presence in the region. Just yesterday, those tensions led a gunnery team aboard a refueling tanker in the Persian Gulf to fire 0.50-cal rounds at a small, fast-moving boat, killing one person. It now seems the boat was a fishing vessel whose crew did not understand warnings to change course, but the navy personnel who decided to shoot were concerned it could have been an explosives-laden suicide skiff heading for an American warship.While that altercation was seemingly unrelated to Israeli natural gas, in reality everything that happens in the Middle East is about energy. After all, the United States is drawn to the Middle East to protect its oil interests, and the reason it can act there with such force is because it buys billions of barrels of oil from Saudi Arabia and others in the region.In a region that revolves around energy resources, Israel has long been at a major disadvantage, scrambling to secure supplies of the oil and gas it needed. Today, all that is changing, and Israel’s newfound natural gas wealth will generate a sea change not only for the Jewish state but for the entire region and everyone involved in it. Israel is gaining clout, Russia might be changing sides, Iran is feeling vulnerable, Egypt is losing a major customer, regional and global allegiances are shifting, and we are being reminded that energy resources hold the real power in the world’s most volatile region. Additional Links and ReadsOil Near Seven-Week High on Iran Tensions, Stimulus Speculation (Financial Post)Oil is trading near its highest level in seven weeks because of estimates that US supplies declined last week, concern that tensions with Iran will worsen, and signs that the Federal Reserve may boost stimulus measures. US crude stockpiles fell for the fourth straight week, helping to slowly erode the biggest glut since 1990. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said from Jerusalem that the US will use “all elements” of American power to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. But in his semi-annual report to Congress, Ben Bernanke stopped short of providing stimulus, instead telling lawmakers the central bank was considering a range of tools to help the economy, but for now would continue to wait and assess. Nevertheless, the spot price of WTI crude for August delivery rose to US$88.92 a barrel.Rich Nations Losing Control of Oil Markets (Winnipeg Free Press)Next year, for the first time on record, the wealthy nations of Europe, North America, and Japan will account for less than half of the world’s oil usage, according to the latest projection from the International Energy Agency. The shift reflects both growing efficiency in wealthy nations and growing prosperity in poor countries, but a world in which the majority of oil consumption is happening in China, India, and Latin America is a world in which America’s energy fate is driven by forces beyond its control.LNG: US Weighs the Cost of Gas Exports to Economy (Financial Times)With the price of gas in the US now a third of that in Western Europe and a fifth of that in Asia, interest in developing liquefied natural gas (LNG) export capacity is growing rapidly. Proponents argue that exports will help drain a glutted market; detractors argue that competition from exporters will drive domestic prices up. And since a chunk of those exports would go to countries with which the US does not have free-trade agreements, the government can only approve LNG projects if they do not harm the public interest, which increased fuel costs would. The Department of Energy is now studying whether the harms of exports outweigh the benefits, and no new liquefaction projects will be approved until they come to a conclusion.Thermal Coal Weakens Further (Calgary Herald)After falling significantly in recent weeks, thermal coal prices are now down 30% year-over-year, weighed down by slowing Chinese growth, a shift to cheap natural gas, and tough environmental regulations. The US thermal coal market has now moved into surplus, and miners that do not respond by cutting production and delaying spending plans could well meet the same fate as Patriot Coal, which filed for bankruptcy last week.
The gold stocks gapped down 2% at the open—and then didn’t do much until shortly after 12 o’clock noon in New York. From there they made it back to unchanged shortly before 1 p.m. EDT, which just happened to be the high price ticks for both gold and silver—and once gold got sold down after that, the stocks followed in sympathy. The HUI closed down 1.37%. The dollar index closed in New York late on Monday afternoon at 79.40. After a tiny dip down to 79.34, it rallied to its high 79.54 high of the day shortly before 11 a.m. in New York. It was all down hill from there—and the index closed at 79.38—basically unchanged. The scale of the chart makes the action appear more impressive than it actually was. As for silver, because of the fact that JPMorgan has kept a lid on silver prices vs. the gold price for such a long time, there has never been a danger of a “golden cross” in that precious metal. As a matter of fact, silver is now back below its 200-day moving average—and came close to touching the 50-day moving average at its low yesterday. The platinum price pattern was similar to both gold and silver—and palladium’s spike low came at 8 a.m. New York time. Both metals recovered off their respective lows, but both finished down on the day. And as I said in this space yesterday, it’s hard to believe by looking at the price action, that there has been a two month strike going on in one of the largest platinum and palladium producing areas of the world. Here are the charts. Just eye-balling the above charts, if “da boyz” wanted to, they could peal another $100 off the gold price—along with a dollar or so in silver—any time they choose, as the technical funds are massively long. That means that JPMorgan and the raptors can ring the cash register at their leisure. The only question that remains is—will it be now, or later. Of course there’s always the chance that they could get over run, or let the prices go if they’re positioned correctly in other markets. But just watching the price action lately, they don’t seem to have lost their iron grip, nor are they about to relinquish it. But, having said all of the above, the dichotomy between the performance of the gold equities versus the silver equities yesterday is something I’ve never seen before—and it’s worth keeping an eye on. Here’s a chart that Nick Laird sent around to all and sundry last night—and I thought I’d stick in today’s column at this point. It’s shows the price of gold in U.S. dollars from 1970 to date—along with its 300-day moving average. Here’s what Nick had to say in his covering e-mail: “With this indicator we are about to cross back into positive territory—and we all know what happened after this happened way back in the late 1970’s….“ Sponsor Advertisement Just to play the devil’s advocate here, I pointed out to Nick that the chart pattern is also reminiscent of what happened starting in mid-1982. Here’s his succinct and learned response: “Yes, if the fiat markets had corrected—and all problems were solved. But, alas, as you know, that is not so…..You cynic – you heathen you…(:-))))” Tee hee! As I write this paragraph, it’s less than 10 minutes to the London open. Gold and silver didn’t do much in Far East trading, but came under a tiny bit of selling pressure starting during the Hong Kong lunch hour. Gold and silver are both down a bit—and platinum and palladium are flat. Net volume in gold is pretty light—and silver’s volume is about average for this time of day. The dollar index, which hasn’t done much all week, is still chopping sideways in a very tight range. Today is the final day of the latest FOMC meeting. There hasn’t been much news about it that I’ve seen—and as I said on Saturday, what they say or do—for the most part—is pretty irrelevant. But we’ll find out at 2 p.m. EDT what they have to say for themselves—and it’s a safe bet that gold and silver will get pounded on the news—unless they announce a new round of QE, of course. So we wait. And as I fire this off to Stowe, Vermont at 5:25 a.m. EDT I note that all four precious metals rallied a bit going into the London open, but it didn’t take long for the not-for-profit sellers to show up. Both gold and silver are down a bit more—and platinum and palladium are back to unchanged. Not surprisingly, volumes in both gold and silver are up substantially—and the dollar index is now up 10 basis points. So far, the Wednesday trading session in not starting out that well, but that should not be a surprise—and I must admit that I probably won’t like what I see on my computer screen when I get out of bed later this morning. That’s more than enough for today—and I’ll see you here tomorrow. I was all prepared for similar price action in the silver equities, but I was in for a shock when I went to Nick Laird’s website. Yes, there was a spike down at the open, but the shares were back in the green within 20 minutes—and never looked back. The high of the day was at 1 p.m. EDT, which was silver’s high tick—and from there they faded very little as the price got sold down. Then about 15 minutes before the equity market’s closed, the shares had a vertical spike of 1 full percent in seconds. From there it traded sideways into the close. Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index closed up 2.51%. It was more or less the same price pattern in silver, except the sell offs were more extreme on a percentage basis. The only real difference was that the low tick in silver came at precisely 9 a.m. EST in New York. Other than that, the chart patterns were almost identical. The high and low ticks were recorded as $21.25 and $20.625 in the May contract, another intraday move of 3%. Silver finished the Tuesday session at $20.815 spot, down 37.5 cents from Monday’s close. Volume, net of March and April, was pretty heavy at 50,000 contracts. Here’s the New York Spot Silver [Bid] chart on its own so you can see the precision of the low tick at 9 a.m. EDT. Timing like this doesn’t happen by accident—and as you know, dear reader, we see it all too often. Silver is now back below its 200-day moving average The gold price didn’t do much at the open on Tuesday morning in Tokyo, but at 9 a.m. Hong Kong time, the price got taken down by around ten bucks. From there it traded almost ruler flat until about 11:30 a.m. GMT in London—and that point it got sold down a bit more to its low of the day, which came around 8:45 a.m. in New York. The subsequent rally took ten bucks off its losses for the day, but shortly before 1 p.m. EDT, the rally topped out—and from there it got sold down until 3:30 p.m. before trading flat into the 5:15 p.m. EDT close. The high and low price ticks were recorded by the CME Group at $1,367.90 and $1,351.10 in the April contract. Gold closed in New York at $1,355.50 spot, down an even 12 bucks. Net volume was around 141,000 contracts, the same as Monday’s volume. It beats me as to why silver shares did as well as they did—and that 3:45 p.m. spike got my full and undivided attention. You have to ask yourself who was buying silver stocks with both hands yesterday—especially considering how poorly the gold equities performed. What do they know that we don’t? There were no reported changes in GLD—and as of 9:48 p.m. EDT, there were no reported changes in SLV, either. The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that only 6 gold and 2 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday. JPMorgan Chase stopped “all of the above” contracts in its in-house [proprietary] trading account. The U.S. Mint had another sales report. They sold 1,000 troy ounces of gold eagles—500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes—and 222,000 silver eagles. For the second day in a row there was no reported in/out movement in gold at the Comex-approved depositories. That certainly wasn’t the case in silver on Monday. They reported receiving 1,009,802 troy ounces. All of it went into Brink’s, Inc or CNT. I’ve wondered on many occasions who owns all the silver being stored at Brink’s—and especially at the CNT Depository, as it’s the new kid on the block. The link to that ‘action’ is here. Once again I have lots of stories—and I’ll happily lave the final edit up to you. The low prices of the past few years have succeeded in postponing enough investment buying from developing into the next physical silver shortage. But, while widespread investment buying has been postponed, it has not and cannot be eliminated forever. In fact, while widespread investment buying has been postponed, the backdrop has actually improved. That’s because the amount of silver available for purchase is much less today than it was in the mid 1960’s, or when the Hunts or Buffett bought. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 15 March 2014 All four precious metals got sold down a bit more during the Tuesday trading session—and it remains to be seen whether this is the beginning of an engineered price decline or not. We’ll just have to wait it out. Yesterday, at the close of Comex trading, was the cut-off for this Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report—and as I mentioned in Saturday’s missive, I’m more than apprehensive about what it will show. Here are the 6-month gold and silver charts. As you can tell from the gold chart, the chances of a “golden cross” are starting to dim a little—and it would come as no surprise to me [nor should it to you] that JPMorgan et al will not let it happen, at least not without a fight. You can see that the first two trading days of this week have already had an effect on the 50-day moving average—and a couple of big down days in a row would turn that moving average into a horizontal line, or worse, real quick. Freegold Ventures Limited is a North American gold exploration company with three gold projects in Alaska. Current projects include Golden Summit, Vinasale and Rob. Both Vinasale and Golden Summit host NI 43-101 Compliant Resource Calculations. An updated NI 43-101 resource was calculated on Golden Summit in October 2012 and using 0.3 g/t cutoff the current resource is 73,580,000 tonnes grading 0.67 g/t Au for total of 1,576,000 contained ounces in the indicated category, and 223,300,000 tonnes grading 0.62 g/t Au for a total of 4,437,000 contained ounces in the inferred category. In addition to the Golden Summit Project the Vinasale also hosts a NI 43-101 resource calculation which was updated in March 2013. Indicated resources are 3.41 million tonnes averaging 1.48 g/t Au for 162,000 ounces, and Inferred resources are 53.25 million tonnes averaging 1.05 g/t Au for 1,799,000 ounces of gold utilizing a cutoff value of 0.5 grams/tonne (g/t) as a possible open pit cutoff. Please send us an email for more information, firstname.lastname@example.org
• America’s most iconic companies are battling over this industry… Just last week, chipmaker Intel (INTC) shelled out billions to buy Mobileye (MBLY). Mobileye is an Israeli technology company. It develops “vision-based advanced driver assistance systems.” In other words, it makes the software that communicates with the “eyes” of self-driving cars (i.e. cameras and sensors) and warns drivers of possible hazards. The company also has key relationships with General Motors, Volkswagen, and Honda. Intel paid $15.3 billion for Mobileye. That’s 34% more than Mobileye was worth at the time the acquisition was announced. It’s the second biggest acquisition in Intel’s storied history. • This tells us that Intel is serious about self-driving cars… But it’s certainly not the only major U.S. company vying for a slice of this emerging industry. Chris Wood, editor of Extraordinary Technology, explains: We’ve seen a number of deals like this. Last March, General Motors bought the self-driving car startup Cruise Automation for $581 million. In August, Uber acquired self-driving truck startup Otto for $680 million. Then in October, Qualcomm shelled out $39 billion to buy NXP Semiconductors. This was the second biggest technology acquisition in history. In short, Intel needed to make this acquisition to stay competitive. But here’s something interesting… Intel is now battling companies that it never used to compete with. According to Chris, it won’t be long before it’s hard to tell the difference between a carmaker and a technology company: The lines between these two industries gets blurrier every day. But this actually makes perfect sense. Self-driving cars use all sorts of cameras and sensors, sophisticated software, and GPS. To build one, a company has to have a mastery of so many different technologies. Because of this, mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships are the only way for companies like Intel to quickly move forward in this space. • By now, you can see what a huge opportunity this is… The million-dollar question is…how do you make money off self-driving cars? Unfortunately, it’s not easy. Now that Intel owns Mobileye, there aren’t any “pure plays” left in the space. But there is one small-cap company you should know about. Chris explains: Covisint (COVS) helps cars access the internet. It connects them with devices that help with navigation, roadside assistance, speeding and road condition alerts, equipment diagnosis, and service scheduling. This is critical. After all, self-driving cars need to talk to each other and surrounding infrastructure like traffic lights to reduce the number of accidents. In short, Covisint could play a key role in self-driving-car revolution. But that doesn’t mean you should buy it now. According to Chris, it’s still a gamble: Covisint is a big growth opportunity. But the company hasn’t been able to hit its revenue targets recently. I want to see the company hit its own projections before buying in. Until that happens, keep Covisint on your radar. It could be a great play down the line. I also encourage you to test drive Extraordinary Technology, Chris’ research advisory dedicated to technology stocks with massive upside. Every month, Chris dives into a new technology megatrend. In the last year alone, he’s told his readers how to profit from solar energy, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence. You can learn about his newest money-making opportunity by watching this brand-new presentation. Doug Casey on “Taxing Robots” Justin’s note: Yesterday, you heard Doug Casey’s candid thoughts on the political correctness movement. Today, we have another short interview with Doug to share with you. In the excerpt below, Doug tells us what he thinks about Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ idea to “tax the robots.” As usual, Doug doesn’t hold back. We hope you enjoy. Justin: Doug, I recently read that Bill Gates thinks the government should tax robots the same way that humans are taxed. Gates spelled out his “logic” in a recent interview: Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, social security tax, all those things. If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level. Gates made billions of dollars leveraging the power of technology. Shouldn’t he, of all people, know that “taxing the robots” will only slow technological progress? What’s your take on this? Doug: It’s wrong on so many levels. It’s wrong on every single possible level. In the first place, talking about Bill Gates, he’s obviously a business genius and he knows a lot about computer technology. Okay, that’s great. But he’s also what I’d call an “idiot savant.” In other words, he’s very good at one or two things, a lot like Dustin Hoffman’s character in the movie Rain Man. He’s an idiot at almost everything else—from his charitable endeavors to his political and economic opinions. I presume that he’s the personality type that, during the industrial revolution, would’ve tried to tax every new innovation that came up. The King needs revenue! We can’t create unemployment among farmers and weavers with these new-fangled labor-saving machines! In fact, innovations and new technologies are exactly what increases the standard of living of the average person, and advances civilization itself. But if you make them uneconomic or less economic by taxing them or regulating them, then many or most of these things won’t happen, or won’t happen to a great degree. It’s economic idiocy. And destructive of the standard of living of the average man. It’s a crime against humanity. And there’s an additional reason. Taxing directs more revenue and income towards the State. Any sensible person, any person that wants to help his fellow man, wants to deny revenue to the State, not tax something to give more revenue to the State. They’ll misallocate and do destructive things with it. It’s certainly one of the most stupid things that I’ve heard said in recent years. Regards, You could have made even more money anticipating the rise of online shopping. Let’s say you bought Amazon in 2001 when it was trading for under $6. A small investment of $10,000 would now be worth more than $1.4 million. This will make Trump the #1 POTUS of all time It won’t be the economy, The Wall, or the Obamacare repeal that cements Trump’s legacy… And it won’t be diplomatic or military victories against China, Russia, or Iran, either… If we’re right, what’ll make Trump the greatest president in U.S. history is the red liquid you see here. Nobody’s talking about this incredible substance… Yet it could soon change the world — and prove to be the most important achievement of the Trump years. Click here for this developing story. Recommended Links “The #1 Investment I recommend you make right now” This is an urgent situation, you may only have a 24- to 72-hour window to take advantage, and Chris is sharing it for the first time on this call. This is a big secret behind some of the world’s greatest stock pickers’ fortunes – but not many people know about it, or how to take advantage. But Chris has invested in this type of investment since 2005, and never personally lost money. And in this event, he’ll share his “success formula” with you. Click here for the details and to join this FREE Skype event before it expires. By Justin Spittler There are countless ways to get rich investing. You can buy and hold stocks. You can trade options. You can speculate on small gold miners. You can also bet on “megatrends.” These are the trends that reshape the world. They often play out over years, sometimes decades. If you can get in front of one of these trends, you can make a fortune… Just imagine if you had bought Apple right after Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone. This was big news back in 2007. But not many people honestly thought we’d all be walking around with supercomputers in our pockets a decade later. If you could have seen this coming, you would have bought Apple’s stock in a heartbeat. You could have turned $10,000 into $107,363 in just over a decade. • These are staggering returns… If you bought either of those stocks back then, your life would probably be a lot different. Maybe you’d already be retired. Maybe you’d own that beach house you always wanted. Maybe you’d have enough money in the bank to put your grandchildren through college. Unfortunately, most investors never pocket these kinds of gains. They wait until a company like Amazon is a household name before they buy. By then, the stock’s already up 1,000%. The opportunity of a lifetime has passed. But there’s good news. New megatrends are being born all the time. Today, I’m going to tell you about one megatrend that Casey Research has been stalking for years. This emerging industry will soon change your life in ways you never imagined. • I’m talking about driverless cars… A driverless car is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a car that drives itself. Just like a “normal” car, a self-driving car can accelerate, turn, and brake. It can even adjust to icy road conditions and avoid obstacles like a cat running across the street. Now, I know this sounds like science fiction. But consider this… In 2014, a BMW 5 Series drove itself down the Autobahn in Germany at over 100 miles per hour. The next year, an Audi A7 drove itself from San Francisco to Las Vegas and back. It’s now only a matter of time before you see driverless cars on your morning commute. Heck, you might even take one to work. Justin Spittler Delray Beach, Florida March 21, 2017 We want to hear from you. If you have a question or comment, please send it to email@example.com. We read every email that comes in, and we’ll publish comments, questions, and answers that we think other readers will find useful. – —
Over two dozen rising high school juniors and seniors from around the country are at the University of Alabama this week to attend the Student Introduction to Engineering Camp.Known as “SITE,” the camp allows students to live on campus for a week, take classes and get hands-on experience with engineering. This year, campers are building t-shirt launchers out of PVC pipes.“They are taking the same three academic courses, they do engineering and design projects as I mentioned,” said Gregory Singleton, Director of Engineering Student Services. “[They take] seminars in all the fields of engineering. They learn about the University of Alabama. It is just a full week of learning about college life and what it takes to become an engineer.”The program is in its 28th year. This week’s session is the first of three this month.
As New Jersey awaits to host what should be a cold weather Super Bowl 48 amid a lot of speculation about the weather, fans are talking too about the matchups of the toughest defense in the game, the Seattle Seahawk’s NFC champions, trying to stop the gun of the Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning’s record-breaking season of 55 TD passes.The National Herald’s Executive Editor Constantinos Scaros and Online Editor Andy Dabilis took a look at how the teams sized up and both picked the Broncos to come out on top.SCAROS:Super Bowl 48, between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, basically can go four different ways: Denver winning big, Denver winning close, Seattle winning close, or Seattle winning big.First, what I’d like to see happen: I want the Broncos to win because I want Peyton Manning’s comeback to be complete. Besides, it always irritated me that his brother, Eli – who although is probably more clutch than his big brother, doesn’t even come close to possessing Peyton’s gifts as a field general – has won two Super Bowls to Peyton’s one.Then again, Eli had an absolutely dismal year while Peyton broke the all-time single season touchdown passing record, throwing an unbelievable 55 touchdowns, so I think the “who’s the better Manning” debate has been settled once and for all.Druthers aside, what does my head tell me? Denver has the league’s top offense and Seattle the top defense, which makes this a battle for the ages indeed. But a closer look reveals that Denver’s forte, its passing offense, might be overinflated because the Broncos have played against only a couple of the top-rated defensive teams all year.Similarly, Seattle held teams to an average of 14 points per game but did not exactly play the NFL’s most explosive offenses. Essentially, then, both teams’ identical and superb 13-3 regular season records were boosted by rather easy schedules.That said, Seattle had impressive scoring bursts even against some good defenses, whereas Denver, which scored an average of 37.9 points per game in the regular season, had games of only 29 and 12 against some of the better defenses.Seattle scored about 26 points per game, Denver allowed about 24, and so if Seattle musters 25 for the Super Bowl, that is to be expected. The real disparity is with how many points Denver is accustomed to scoring per game (nearly 38) and how many Seattle gives up (just 14).The scenario seems tailor-made for Manning – known to blow big games – to fall apart, as Seattle laughs all the way to the Lombardi Trophy. A 37-19 final score, with the Seahawks on top, seems very likely. But I’m sayin’ otherwise: Broncos 28-21.Theirs is not your run-of-the-mill high-octane offense. This is Peyton Manning’s career year – 55 touchdowns – and he just seems to be getting better and better. He has taken adlib play-calling to new levels of greatness, and even the Seahawks’ ferocious defense won’t be able to stop him. Manning has had an outstanding season, and has shown real mettle in the playoffs this year, spreading the ball to numerous targets. This is no Manning to Marvin Harrison or to Reggie Wayne-type offense like in Indianapolis.Given all those factors, not to mention experience (by contrast, Seahawks’ QB Russell Wilson, a fine player in his own right, is in the Super Bowl for the very first time), I pick the Broncos. Of course, given my opening remarks, it could just be wishful thinking.A very good friend of mine, who played high school football and is a lifelong student of the game, likes to say: “Offense sells tickets, defense wins championships.” This year’s Broncos are going to do both.ANDY D:Being old enough to remember the FIRST Super Bowl, when it seemed the Kansas City Chiefs might actually hang tough against the indomitable Green Bay Packers before Bart Starr found Max McGee, and old enough to remember when the New Jersey Giants were the New York Giants and the New England Patriots were the Boston Patriots (and still should be) I can add some perspective to this one 47 years later.First, the Seahawks braggadocio defense back Richard Sherman may be a Stanford grad but he apparently didn’t study football history or he would know what happened when Chiefs DB Fred “The Hammer” Williamson promised to knock cold Green Bay receivers: it was Williamson who found himself prone on the field with his lights out and while no one wishes injury on anyone, we could settle for Sherman being so embarrassed by Peyton Manning that he hangs his head in the shame he deserves for being a big-mouthed bad winner in the game against the San Francisco 49’ers.Sherman may have tipped the end zone pass but he didn’t intercept it and a word of praise for his teammate who did, Malcolm Smith, and the rest of the Seattle players – plus just a touch of humility and recognition that but for a tipped pass his team would have lost – would have made him American’s football darling instead of its loathed loudmouth.This game will disprove the much-loved football axiom that a good defense beats a good offense because there’s a more apt boxing term: a good big man will beat a good little man every time, and Manning is the big man in this one, even if he’s not the best QB in Denver history: John Elway is.When the Super Bowl annals are written, no one will remember who Russell Wilson was because he’s just a poseur compared to Manning, even though this game shapes up to be one that is not a big draw compared to many of the others in its history.And while everyone’s talking about Seattle’s Big D you have to remember that if Denver took care of Tom Brady that it can handle a guy named Wilson, who’s not even in the same league. This game will be won on the arm – of Manning – not on the legs of Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch or Wilson’s passing. Lynch is a strong, tough runner but he’s not Jim Brown, still the greatest football player ever.Manning had a Joe Namath kind of year, except that he had four more games to do set the record of 55 TD’s passing, and what’s even more important is that he didn’t throw an interception against the Patriots.The two strengths – Seattle’s defense and Denver’s offense – are even. But Denver’s defense is better than Seattle’s offense, an overlooked factor in all the building hype, and it will come down to who’s cooler under pressure, Manning or Wilson, and Manning has just too much experience to be rattled in such a big game. Plus, as he said: “I’m an AFC guy.”Me too, so this one’s for the Boston Patriots and the AFL and if there’s any justice it will end with Manning throwing a fadeaway winner over Sherman and then having enough class – like Jim Brown – not to boast but to walk away a winner and like someone, who, as Brown said, acts like he’s been there before because he has. Denver 24-21.TweetPinShare0 Shares
SAO PAULO — Neymar showed why he is carrying Brazil’s hopes at the World Cup, scoring twice on June 12 to help the underwhelming hosts escape a disappointing start to the tournament.With Brazil struggling and down a goal against a spirited Croatian team, Neymar came through to lead his team to a 3-1 win in the opening match, scoring once in each half. The killer goal to make the score 2-1 was a hotly contested penalty awarded by Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura.“Things weren’t going well,” he said. “The first match is always difficult, we were anxious, we were nervous. I’m glad I was able to get the goals we needed at the time we needed them.”“He is a special player and we know that,” Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. “And he needs to know that we know that.”Brazil got off to a slow start in its home tournament. Defender Marcelo found his own net while trying to clear a low cross by Ivica Olic in the 11th minute, stunning the crowd of more than 62,100 packing the Itaquerao Stadium.But Neymar equalized in the 29th, firing a perfectly placed low shot that went in off the post. He said he didn’t hit the ball perfectly, “but it went in, it’s all that matters.”“It’s important to start these tournaments on the right foot, with a victory,” said Neymar. “I’m happy that I got to score, but the entire team deserves credit. We maintained our calm and showed we could battle back.”The game turned on a controversial penalty awarded by Nishimura in the second half after striker Fred went down inside the area under minimal contact from defender Dejan Lovren.Neymar scored from the spot in the 71st minute, getting his 33rd goal with Brazil. Croatia goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa nearly saved Neymar’s shot, but it was struck hard enough to deflect into the net.The Croatians were furious. “If that was a penalty, we should be playing basketball. Those kinds of fouls are penalized there,” Croatia coach Niko Kovac said.“That is shameful, this is not a World Cup referee. He had one kind of criteria for them and another for us. The rules were not the same,” Kovac said.As Croatia searched desperately for an equalizer, Oscar added to the lead in the first minute of injury time with a toe poke from just outside the penalty area.A draw would have been a huge disappointment for Brazil, which had won its opening match the last eight times and is overwhelming favorite to win the competition.“The team didn’t give up,” Brazil defender David Luiz said “We knew it would be hard but we played well and got that first goal and then the victory.”The tournament finally got underway as planned after months of talk about the preparation problems that plagued Brazil since it was picked as host seven years ago.The troubled Itaquerao, which wasn’t fully finished for the opener, held up without major setbacks to fans or the match itself, although part of the lights atop the pitch went out a few times for brief periods in the first half.(TALES AZZONI, AP Sports Writer)___TweetPinShare0 Shares
The Greek SuperLeague season is officially over with the conclusion of the playoffs and AGONAsport.com breaks down everything you need to know about Greece’s representatives for next year’s UEFA Champions League & Europa League Competitions. All dates for the draws and qualifying games are listed below.At the end of the 2014-2015 UEFA season, Greece finished in 13th place in UEFA’s Associations’ Club Coefficient Ranking. With this placement, this year’s Greek SuperLeague and Greek Soccer Cup (2015-2016 season) received a total of 5 representatives for next year’s 2016-2017 UEFA Competitions (Champions League & Europa League). The top two teams from the SuperLeague will enter the Champions League while the Cup winner, 3rd placed team of the SuperLeague, and 4th placed team of the SuperLeague will enter the Europa League. Since the Cup Champion, AEK, secured a spot in next year’s UEFA Competitions via the SuperLeague (finished in 4th), the SuperLeague 5th placed team, Panionios, was granted a place in the Europa League. Greece’s 5 representatives for next year’s UEFA Competitions are Olympiacos, PAOK, Panathinaikos, AEK, and Panionios.***A reminder that all qualifying rounds consist of a two-legged playoff and the team with the most goals over two legs will progress to the next round. In the case of a tie after two legs, the team with the most away goals will advance. For more clarification, follow the links to the full Champions League Format and Europa League Format.** OLYMPIACOS CFP (SUPERLEAGUE CHAMPION)As the 2016 Greek SuperLeague Champion, Olympiacos will enter next year’s UEFA Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round (Champions Route). Olympiacos will need to progress through two qualifying rounds (3rd Qualifying Round & Playoff Qualifying Round) to advance to the Champions League Group Stages. As a domestic league champion, the Erythrolefki will enter the Champions Qualifying Route, meaning they will only play against other domestic league champions. Since the domestic league champions of associations ranked 1st-12th will automatically qualify for the group stages, Olympiacos can only be drawn, in qualifying, with champions from associations ranked 14th-54th. Due to Olympiacos’ high placement in UEFA’s Club Coefficient Ranking, the Erythrolefki will be “seeded” for the draws in both qualifying rounds, leading to theoretically easier opponents. Some notable opponents that could stand in the way of Olympiacos and the group stages include:3rd Qualifying Round: Rosenborg (NOR), Red Star Belgrade (SRB), Astana (KAZ), Qarabaq (AZB)Playoff Qualifying Round: FC Copenhagen (DEN), Dinamo Zagreb (CRO), BATE Borisov (BLR), Legia Warsaw (POL)*If Olympiacos gets knocked out in the Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round they will continue to the Europa League Playoff Qualifying Round. If they are eliminated in the Champions League Playoff Qualifying Round they will continue to the Europa League Group Stage.* AEK ATHENS (CUP CHAMPION)As the 2016 Greek Soccer Cup Champion, AEK will enter next year’s UEFA Europa League 3rd Qualifying Round. AEK will need to progress through two rounds of qualifying (3rd Qualifying Round & Playoff Qualifying Round) to advance to the Europa League Group Stages. Due to AEK’s low placement in UEFA’s Club Coefficient Ranking, the Kitrinomavri will most likely be “unseeded” for the draws in both qualifying rounds, leading to theoretically more difficult opponents. Some notable opponents that could stand in the way of AEK and the group stages include:3rd Qualifying Round: AZ Alkmaar (NED), Lille (FRA), Saint Etienne (FRA), Gent (BEL), Krasnador (RUS), West Ham (ENG), Hertha Berlin (GER), Sassuolo (ITA), Genk (BEL)Playoff Qualifying Round: The same as above and others TBD*If AEK gets knocked out in Europa League Qualifying their “European” season will come to a close. important qualifying datesJune 20: Europa League 2nd Qualifying Round DrawJuly 14: Europa League 2nd Qualifying Round Leg 1July 21: Europa League 2nd Qualifying Round Leg 2July 15: Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round Draw, Europa League 3rd Qualifying Round DrawJuly 26, 27: Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round Leg 1July 28: Europa League 3rd Qualifying Round Leg 1August 2, 3: Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round Leg 2August 4: Europa League 3rd Qualifying Round Leg 2August 5: Champions League Playoff Qualifying Round Draw, Europa League Playoff Qualifying DrawAugust 16, 17: Champions League Playoff Qualifying Round Leg 1August 18: Europa League Playoff Qualifying Round Leg 1August 23, 24: Champions League Playoff Qualifying Round Leg 2August 25: Europa League Playoff Qualifying Round Leg 2Source: www.agonasport.comTweetPinShare0 Shares PANIONIOS GSS (SUPERLEAGUE 5TH PLACE)As the 2016 Greek SuperLeague 5th placed team, Panionios will enter next year’s UEFA Europa League 2nd Qualifying Round. Panionios will need to progress through three rounds of qualifying (2nd Qualifying Round, 3rd Qualifying Round & Playoff Qualifying Round) to advance to the Europa League Group Stages. Due to Panionios’ low placement in UEFA’s Club Coefficient Ranking (compared to the other teams in qualifying), the Kyanerythri will be “seeded” for the 2nd Qualifying draw, but “unseeded” for the draws in the 3rd & Playoff qualifying rounds. Panionios will have a theoretically easier opponent in the 2nd Qualifying Round and more difficult opponents in the 3rd & Playoff Qualifying Rounds. Some notable opponents that could stand in the way of Panionios and the group stages include:2nd Qualifying Round: Levski Sofia (BUL), Aberdeen (SCO), Qabala (AZB), Hibernian (SCO),3rd Qualifying Round: AZ Alkmaar (NED), Lille (FRA), Saint Etienne (FRA), Gent (BEL), Krasnador (RUS), West Ham (ENG), Hertha Berlin (GER), Sassuolo (ITA), Genk (BEL)Playoff Qualifying Round: The same as above and others TBD.*If Panionios gets knocked out in Europa League Qualifying their “European” season will come to a close. PAOK THESSALONIKI (SUPERLEAGUE RUNNER-UP)As the 2016 Greek SuperLeague Runner-up, PAOK will enter next year’s UEFA Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round (League Route). PAOK will need to progress through two qualifying rounds (3rd Qualifying Round & Playoff Qualifying Round) to advance to the Champions League Group Stages. As a domestic league non-champion, the Dikefalos Tou Vora will enter the League Qualifying Route, meaning they will only play against other domestic league non-champions. Since the associations ranked 1st-15th in UEFA’s Associations’ Club Coefficient Ranking receive non-champion representatives in the Champions League, PAOK can only be drawn, in qualifying, with non-champions from those associations. Due to PAOK’s low placement in UEFA’s Club Coefficient Ranking (compared to the other teams in qualifying), the Dikefalos Tou Vora will be “unseeded” for the draws in both qualifying rounds, leading to theoretically more difficult opponents. Some notable opponents that could stand in the way of PAOK and the group stages include:3rd Qualifying Round: Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR), Ajax (NED), Anderlecht (BEL), Fenerbahce (TUR), Sparta Praha (CZE)Playoff Qualifying Round: Manchester City (ENG), Villarreal (ESP), FC Porto (POR)*If PAOK gets knocked out in the Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round they will continue to the Europa League Playoff Qualifying Round. If they are eliminated in the Champions League Playoff Qualifying Round they will continue to the Europa League Group Stage.* PANATHINAIKOS AO (SUPERLEAGUE 3RD PLACE)As the 2016 Greek SuperLeague 3rd placed team, Panathinaikos will enter next year’s UEFA Europa League 3rd Qualifying Round. Panathinaikos will need to progress through two rounds of qualifying (3rd Qualifying Round & Playoff Qualifying Round) to advance to the Europa League Group Stages. Due to Panathinaikos’ average placement in UEFA’s Club Coefficient Ranking (compared to the other teams in qualifying), the Prasini will most likely be “seeded” for the draws in both qualifying rounds, leading to theoretically easier opponents. Some notable opponents that could stand in the way of Panathinaikos and the group stages include:3rd Qualifying Round: Luzern (SUI), Başakşehir (TUR), Heracles (NED), Grasshopers (SUI), Brondby (DEN), Hearts (SCO)Playoff Qualifying Round: To be decided…*If Panathinaikos gets knocked out in Europa League Qualifying their “European” season will come to a close.
Please sign up here to subscribe to WBUR’s CommonHealth newsletter highlighting important stories about health and medicine. It all began with a single X-ray.It was 1974, and surgeons had been doing total hip replacements for a dozen years.”Total hip replacement is an absolutely magnificent operation,” says Dr. William H. Harris, “and we were able to do remarkable things to restore mobility and relief of pain and the joy of life to countless individuals.”As chief of Massachusetts General Hospital’s joint replacement surgery service, Harris was sent a mystifying patient, a prominent lawyer from San Francisco whose hip replacement had gone badly awry.”I had never seen anything like this before,” he recalls. “The bone around his prosthesis, around his total hip, had been completely destroyed. It was just astonishing. And I thought it had to be cancer.”But under the microscope there was no cancer, no recognizable disease of any kind. It was something much stranger.So begins the twist-filled backstory of disaster averted that Harris tells in his new book, Vanishing Bone: Conquering a Stealth Disease Caused by Total Hip Replacements.Now 90, Harris holds an endowed professorship of orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School. He was chief of joint replacement surgery at MGH for 30 years. And he’s one of the doctors and researchers that grateful recipients of artificial hips may want to thank.Those patients are legion: At least 3 million Americans have artificial hips, and millions more around the world.Back to his tale: No visible cancer. The only type of cells to be seen on the ruins of the bone were a sort of cleanup cells, called macrophages. And they were stimulating another kind of cell, called an osteoclast, which means “bone-eater.””This was the only cell in the body that could eat bone and it was actively and aggressively eating the bone,” Harris explains. “It became a medical detective mystery: What in the world is this disease and how does it come about? Why is it there?”The question quickly became even more urgent, because soon it wasn’t just one patient or two whose replacement hips were being attacked by this bone-eating disease. It was thousands — then hundreds of thousands. The longer people had their replacement hips, the higher the risk. In some, their bones became so weak, just walking could make them snap.”Over time, it began to involve so many people that around the world there were a million people with this condition,” Harris says. “By 1990 it was clear that it was the No. 1 problem in total hip replacement surgery and the No. 1 cause of failure.”One of the first possible culprits to come under suspicion was the “bone cement” — the glue used to affix the artificial joint to the patient’s skeleton. Tiny bits of the cement seemed to be triggering the odd response by the cleanup cells and the osteoclasts.So Harris and others devised techniques to replace hips without using cement. And they heaved a sigh of relief, he says, thinking they’d solved the problem. Only to find, when he reviewed his first hundred cases of a cementless hip replacement — “Bingo, the very same disease.”But they were on its trail. The problem wasn’t just the bone cement, they realized, it was that tiny bits of plastic could eventually trigger the osteoclasts to eat bone. And those bits of plastic were coming from the inevitable wear on the plastic at the replacement joint as the patient logged millions of steps.”This caused a big shift in our thinking, and the problem shifted from being a problem of medical detective work to find out what in the world is going on, to innovation — material science,” Harris says.Harris and other researchers needed to figure out how to make an artificial hip joint that could take a load of hundreds of pounds, for millions of steps, without wearing down enough to release the particles of polyethylene plastic. And to do that, he decided, he needed a machine that could simulate what happens to hips in the body.It took three years and plenty of frustration to build an accurate hip simulator. Meanwhile, his team gained a pivotal insight from using a powerful scanning electron microscope to look at the replacement hips of patients who donated them back to his lab after death: It was the process of walking that modified the polyethylene.The polyethylene plastic on the hip implants was an extraordinarily long molecule. Harris compares it to a very, very long, very, very thin string of spaghetti. And normally, the plastic is like a bowl of spaghetti that is unorganized, with the strands going in all different directions. But not in the hips from the deceased patients.”We found that all of the strands of the polyethylene were lined up in a row,” he says. “The polyethylene molecules had been changed in their position. They’d been modified by the fact that gait simply goes back and forth, and forth and back. And that lines them up.”Harris turned to his friend Ed Merrill, a professor emeritus of polymer chemistry at MIT, and asked if he could stop this reorientation from happening.”He said, ‘Sure,’ and I said, ‘I love it, that’s wonderful, tell me about it. How are you going to do it?’ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘we do that for a lot of molecules. We get them to be fixed in their position by putting in energy, and that energy then links one of the molecules to the next one.’ “It’s a process called cross-linking, used on many materials. Merrill suggested using an electron beam to cross-link the polyethylene in artificial hips. When Harris and his team tried it, they ran into a few problems at first, the most striking of which was that the plastic exploded.”Sometimes it didn’t explode, sometimes it just caught fire,” Harris says. “And at other times it simply melted. But clearly we were in a difficult spot. It took a lot of work to figure out what that problem was.”The problem turned out to be a matter of too much energy. They needed to slow the electron beam down so it wouldn’t “overcook” the plastic. Once they figured that out, they could test it. The results: “We could detect no wear at all. Zero wear. We thought it might reduce wear, it might make it better. It made it almost perfect.”There’s a lot more to the story in Vanishing Bone. It wasn’t enough to invent the new plastic; it had to be patented and licensed, approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and manufactured — all of those steps involved additional challenges. But in late 1998, the first patient got a hip made with the new plastic.Fast forward nearly 20 years, “and there are probably now 7 million people around the world walking on this material in total hips and in total knees,” Harris says. “The disease is virtually gone.”So that’s certainly a happy ending, but what’s the moral of the story? For Harris, it serves as an example of contemporary medical science — “how it works, warts and all, the complexity, the need for persistence.”And, he says, it highlights the special joy of being a doctor and a scientist: “I loved taking care of patients and I loved going to the operating room, but I also hate failure. And my own failures in the operating room would lead me to say, ‘Let’s take this failure up to the laboratory and see if we can’t unscramble it, unlock it, and find a way to do it better.’ “So, at age 90, has he replaced a hip?No, he says, but if he needed to, he’d feel quite relaxed about it. Because he’d know that his new hip could be made of cross-linked polyethylene.The first version of this story appeared on WBUR’s CommonHealth. Carey Goldberg, who covers health and science, is the host of CommonHealth. Copyright 2018 WBUR. To see more, visit WBUR.
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