Xbox, Not Windows, Is The Future Of Microsoft – Says Steve Ballmer

first_imgTags:#enterprise#Microsoft 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Related Posts markhachman IT + Project Management: A Love Affair The Xbox, the Zune, Windows Phone: in ten years, these products will be the model for Microsoft, as it evolves away from a software company into a hardware-and-services provider. At least, that’s the corporate vision outlined by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer this weekend.Ballmer formalized the shift in strategy in an interview published by the Seattle Times over the weekend. Among other topics, Ballmer talked about the blurring lines between tablets and PCs – and dropped hints about the price of the company’s upcoming Surface tablets.An Epic Year For Microsoft?Microsoft is updating all of its major product lines this year, with the new Windows 8, Office, Windows Server and Internet Explorer releases, plus ongoing updates to the software used by its Xbox gaming platform. But while Ballmer called the year “epic,” he appears ready to if not jettison those products, at least subsume them in a new wave of devices around which Microsoft can develop platforms.“I think when you look forward, our core capability will be software, [but] you’ll probably think of us more as a devices-and-services company,” Ballmer told the Times. “Which is a little different. Software powers devices and software powers these cloud services, but it’s a different form of delivery….“Doesn’t mean we have to make every device,” Ballmer added. “I don’t want you to leap to that conclusion. We’ll have partners who make devices with our software in it and our services built in… We’re going to be a leader at that.” Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Surface Pricing Secrets?The latest example of Microsoft’s newfound love of devices is the Surface tablet, which will be designed by Microsoft in both the Surface RT and Surface Pro configurations; the basic model will use the Windows RT operating system and an ARM chip, while the more powerful model will use a traditional x86 Intel chip and the new Windows 8 OS.One of the most important unanswered Surface questions has been what Microsoft plans to charge for the devices; analysts have said they believed that Microsoft would be justified in charging a premium, perhaps up to $1,000 for the higher-end surface configuration.But Ballmer’s interview might have given away a little more of his thinking on the subject. Ballmer was asked whether or not the Surface would compete with the Apple iPad on price or on features. Ballmer didn’t reply directly, but framed his answer by noting that cheaper devices are often expected to be less full-featured.“If you say to somebody, would you use one of the 7-inch tablets, would somebody ever use a Kindle (Kindle Fire, $199) to do their homework?” Ballmer answered. “The answer is no; you never would. It’s just not a good enough product. It doesn’t mean you might not read a book on it…“If you look at the bulk of the PC market, it would run between, say, probably $300 to about $700 or $800,” Ballmer said. “That’s the sweet spot.”So will a Surface RT be priced about $300, with the higher-end models running between $700 to $800? Sure sounds like it.Microsoft Moving “Away” From Software?It’s a real stretch to imagine Microsoft ditching its cash cows: Windows, Office and its enterprise products like Windows Server, SharePoint and related services. After all, those produts make up the bulk of the company’s revenues.But a transition to a cloud-based services model does make sense. Today, Microsoft delivers more than 200 online services to more than 1 billion customers and 20 million businesses in more than 76 markets worldwide, the company recently claimed.Of course, the majority of these are delivered by the original computing “device,” the PC. But as rivals like Google capitalize on their own services and advertising-driven models, Microsoft has to take additional steps in this direction. While the new Microsoft Office Web Apps make a conscious effort to avoid giving away Microsoft Office’s value-added features for free, they clearly pave the way toward a services-driven future.Xbox And Beyond In devices, Microsoft manufactures the Xbox, its own platform for online movies and music sales. And though it has done so quietly, Microsoft also sells its “own” PCs: the “Signature” line of notebooks that it buys from its OEM partners, optimizes by removing adware, and sells directly to consumers.Ballmer took pains to avoid stating that Microsoft would in fact, make every device that uses its software. But his statement offers ammunition to those who think that Microsoft may end up buying Nokia, its premier Windows Phone partner which just happens to have an ex-Microsoft exec, Stephen Elop, as CEO. Microsoft’s “Signature” strategy could eventually morph into a Google Nexus-like approach of building a “flagship” notebook that hardware partners could use as a reference model.Windows 8 Is All About MobileBallmer also offered one more telling tidbit: “[Windows 8] also brings us into this world of much more mobile computing and more mobile form factors,” Ballmer said. “I think it’s going to be hard to tell what’s a tablet and what is a PC. Microsoft’s decision to enter the tablet hardware market has already proved problematic for at least one notebook manufacturer, Acer, which has publicly complained about Microsoft’s decision to manufacture the Surface tablet. But Ballmer’s statement can also be read another way: that making traditional notebooks is a backward looking strategy, and those companies who cling stubbornly to their old business models may be passed by.Ballmer photo by Fredric Paul.Money and question mark images courtesy of Shutterstock. Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

How to Create an Animated Envelope in After Effects

first_imgLearn to create line art animation for your videos in this step-by-step After Effects tutorial.Line art refers to a style that uses generally one color and one stroke weight. In this tutorial, we will create a line art envelope icon that animates on and off for use in looping gifs. Here’s the finished product:You can watch the tutorial below.Download Free Animated Envelope TemplateWant to follow along with the tutorial? Simply download the free project file by hitting the button below.DOWNLOAD FREE ANIMATED ENVELOPE PROJECT FILE FOR AFTER EFFECTS Step 0Create a new composition. Since we’re working with a .gif output, we don’t need to adhere to any broadcast standards. For this piece, we’re working with a 640 by 640 pixel composition size, 5 seconds long, at 29.97 frames per second.Step 1Make a new white solid to serve as your background.Step 2The next step is to get the circle in place. Double click on the Ellipse Tool and change the fill to none and the stroke to 10px, then pick a dark color for the line. This will draw a circle the same size as your composition, which in this case is 640 by 640. Twirl into the shape layer to access the contents and change the size of the ellipse to 450 by 450. A circle is a nice, clean way to frame our icon, and it sets up an easy exit at the end of the animation when it swallows the icon.To animate on the circle, we use the trim paths. Add a trim path to the ellipse group and keyframe both the end and offset property. The end should start at 0% and animate on to 100% in 1 second. At the same time, the offset should animate from 30 degrees to 90 degrees.Finally you will want to use round caps and round joins on the stroke of your circle. Throughout this tutorial, all strokes should be 10 pixels thick with round caps and joins.Step 3Now we need an envelope. This begins with a rectangle. You can double click on the rectangle tool with nothing selected to produce a rectangle the same size as your composition and then edit the details by twirling down into the contents of the new layer. This rectangle should have a white fill, the same color as your background, and a black stroke, the same color as your circle. This project will use only these two colors. You should also match the stroke of the circle in thickness and roundness. Change the size of the envelope to 300 by 175 pixels.We animate this layer on by adding trim paths, and instead of animating the end of the path from 0 to 100, we animate both the start and end from 50 to 0 for the start and 100 for the end. This trims the path to write on from the middle outward. This should produce a line that writes on from corner to corner.You will want to easy ease the first keyframes, but leave the last one linear so the animation starts slowly and accelerates to a constant speed by the time the animation has completed.Step 4That leads us to the next section, where we animate on the flap of the envelope. We create the flap by duplicating the “envelope back” layer and converting the rectangle path to points. It is also best to parent the flap to the back and position the envelope lower so that when the flap opens, the image is balanced.This will allow us to remove one of the points and move another to form a triangle. I recommend using the grid to line up the middle point exactly in a predictable position. We can remove the keyframes for the start of the trim paths and only use the end property to animate on the flap from 0 to 100. This should begin one frame before the “envelope back” completes and end around 20 seconds in. You will want to change the first keyframe to linear and the last to eased. This will create a smooth transition and the illusion that the envelope and the flap share the same back line.Now you’ll likely notice the fill of the flap is making an ugly little overhang. You can keyframe the opacity of the file so that it is not visible before the animation completes. Once the trim paths is finished writing on the flap, you can set the opacity to 100. Set these keyframes to be hold keyframes if you like or just situate them right against each other.Finally, we need this flap to open. To do this, we will simple keyframe the path. Twirl into the contents of the shape and keyframe the path. The start state should be flap-down. The end state should be the open envelope. Just move the middle point up to the new position. You’ll want both of those keyframes eased, and you’ll want to pull the handles of the last keyframe to have 100% influence. This makes a nice acceleration curve for the movement.Step 5If we’re going to put a letter in the envelope, we need to form the front of the envelope. We will again duplicate the “envelope back” layer, convert the rectangle to points, and instead of deleting points, add one in the middle of the top line. Bring that point to match the location of the tip of the flap. This layer will remain mostly unchanged. You should also parent it to the envelope back. This layer doesn’t need to animate on, and you should trim it in time to exist only after the trim paths have resolved for the layers that make up the envelope. You can just delete the trim paths from this layer entirely. This layer should also live above the envelope back but below the flap.Step 6So we have an envelope that animates on and then opens up. Now we need a letter to come out of the envelope. We can again duplicate the envelope back so we don’t have to tweak any fills or strokes. And we may want to solo this layer as we’re working on it and rename it “letter” or something useful.This layer is going to be the page that exits the envelope and flops over. However, this will only be one half of the flop. The bend that happens in the paper is made of two layers, and together they form the illusion that one piece of paper is flopping out of an envelope.To make the first part of the flow we will first enlarge the rectangle path in the letter layer. Then we will add another rectangle path and convert that to a bezier path. We then make it taller and add points to the top to make the curve.Then we will add a merge paths to these and set the merge method to “intersect,” so we will only see where the two paths overlap each other. After that, we can move the rectangle path up and down to reveal more or less of the curved path. We then set keyframes to make the rectangle change position and move all the way up the layer until only one line is visible at the top of the shape.This layer should be between the envelope’s back and front. However, it also needs to be above the flap after the flap opens up. So you should split the flap layer (command+shift+d) and position the second flap behind the letter. You will need to time the letter’s emergence and animation to not intersect strangely with the flap.Step 7You can create the second half of the flopping letter by duplicating and flipping the first letter and then time reversing its keyframes so the rectangle moves from revealing only a line at the top of the “paper” to the straight rectangle section. I recommend parenting the second paper to the first so when you keyframe the paper’s position, the two move together. Then, it’s a matter of lining up the timing so that as the paper appears to come out and flop over, it continues that motion in the second layer. You will need to alter the graph editor by easing their keyframes to give it a pleasing motion. But, once they’re lined up right, the trick is complete!You will want the paper to change position to rise up a little as it flops. You can set keyframes for the position to make that happen. Just remember to ease your keyframes so it doesn’t look jerky.Step 8The last thing to do is add some embellishments. Now that the whole piece is moving around and animating on as you would expect, I recommend putting a burst of some kind at the start when the write on of the circle and envelope end. You can make a burst using shape layers by animating a rectangle from size and position 0,0 out to size 0,55 and position 0,-375 over about 10 frames and ease the keyframes. In the middle of those keyframes, however, you’ll want the size to be 0,155 and position to be 0,170 — and set the middle keyframes to “auto bezier,” which you can do by holding alt and clicking the keyframe until it becomes a circle. Then go into the graph editor and change the influence handles of the first keyframes to 0%. This causes a nice burst on.Then you just need to use the repeater to make an array of 6 of these changing their rotation to 60 degrees. I then duplicate a group containing all those rotating at 30 degrees and scaling it up. But then you have two different strokes from the scale. So you should remove the stroke from one of the groups and drag the other stroke below the two groups. This applies the stroke to the contents of the groups after transformation so it won’t deform the stroke at all. Next, you can set it to round, 10 pixels thick, and give it a dash of 20, a gap of 30, and a dash of 60 to complete the look. Line up this layer with the envelope’s completion, and it really calls attention to the frame. You may want to trim the layer down so you don’t need to see the first few frames and only get the exciting bits of the animation.I highly recommend watching the video tutorial to get all the step-by-step nuances. And if you had trouble with the tutorial, download the project file and really dive in.Do you have tips about line art animation? Share in the comments.last_img read more

50 million could watch Mayweather-McGregor in the US alone

first_imgEach pay-per-view sale means more money in the wallets of both fighters. Though estimates vary widely, Mayweather is expected to make some $200 million, while McGregor will likely pocket at least $100 million.Though ticket sales have been slow in Las Vegas — largely because of astronomical prices — the fight is shaping up as must-see TV at a price of $99.95. People are expected to buy the fight in record numbers, with many sharing the cost of the telecast with friends and family they invite over.Taffet said people will treat it much like a Super Bowl by getting together in larger numbers than usual.“I think this is first and foremost a television event,” said Taffet, who oversaw 190 pay-per-views in his career at HBO. “The success of this fight in the financial record books of history will be made on pay-per-view. And I believe it’s going to deliver.”Industry observers say it’s hard to judge how many homes will buy a pay-per-view until the day of the fight many times, as people often buy late. But the anecdotal evidence — primarily the chatter on social media — indicates a good likelihood of it smashing the 4.6 million record of pay-per-view sales set by the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.ADVERTISEMENT That’s largely because the matchup will likely cross over from being just a sporting event to a party night.“We have definitely seen massive general market interest in addition to the sports fan,” said Stephen Espinoza, who heads sports for Showtime, which will televise the fight. “These general market viewers are often not part of the audience for even the biggest combat sports event. So the ceiling is pretty high.”Espinoza said the very nature of the fight — a matchup between a UFC star who has never boxed as a pro against one of the greatest fighters of his time — will drive the pay-per-view sales.“We believe this is an unprecedented event, quite frankly no one knows what to expect,” he said. “The element of these two outspoken personalities in one unprecedented event is compelling.”An early indication of interest in the fight is the massive betting both in Nevada and in other places where it is legal. Bookmakers say it will be the biggest bet fight ever, with an overwhelming number of the early tickets on McGregor to pull an upset.Still, there are plenty of tickets left in the arena itself, where prices originally ranged from $2,500 in the upper sections to $10,000 at ringside. Ticket prices have been dropping in the resale market — with some available for less than $1,300 on Tuesday — and are expected to decline more in the days before the fight.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul UFC champ Jon Jones flagged for another failed doping test Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Gamescenter_img Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR “It’s a cultural event that crosses all demographics and all social and economic factors,” said Mark Taffet, who formerly ran pay-per-view for HBO. “People are getting together to have a great time and we surely need an excuse to have a great time.”Taffet said that while an average of 5-6 people normally watches a pay-per-view, he wouldn’t be surprised if the fight averages 10 people a household. If it sells 5 million pay-per-views as widely anticipated, the fight could be watched by nearly one in six Americans.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingThe fight will also be seen by millions more worldwide, with promoters claiming it will be available either online or on a TV screen to more than 1 billion homes in 200 different countries.“If you are in Manhattan or you are on a desert island somewhere, if you have Wi-Fi, you can buy this fight,” promoter Dana White said. LATEST STORIES MOST READ This July 13, 2017 photo shows Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Conor McGregor, of Ireland, facing each other for photos during a news conference at Barclays Center in New York. So far fans aren’t exactly storming the box office to buy tickets for Mayweather Jr.’s fight next month with McGregor. A check online Saturday, July 29, 2017 revealed hundreds _ even thousands _ of seats still available from Ticketmaster at the T-Mobile arena for the Aug. 26 fight. There are so many open seats that fans with enough room left on their credit cards can buy six tickets together in 162 different spots throughout the arena. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)LAS VEGAS — Conor McGregor’s improbable challenge of Floyd Mayweather Jr. could be seen by a staggering 50 million people in the United States as fans and the curious gather in small and large parties.The fight Saturday night threatens the pay-per-view revenue record set by Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao two years ago and could dwarf it in viewership as people use the event as a reason to have friends and family over for a little escapism and controlled violence.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ View commentslast_img read more

Hong Kong Open: Srikanth Receives Walkover with Momota Withdrawal, Ashwini-Satwik Advance to Round 2

first_imgHong Kong: Kidambi Srikanth received a walkover and advanced to the second round of Hong Kong Open on Tuesday after world No.1 Kento Momota of Japan withdrew from the tournament.Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponappa came from behind to beat Thai pair of Nipitphon Phuangphuapet and Savitree Amitrapai to advance to the second round in mixed doubles. However, India’s other mixed doubles pair Pranaav Jerry Chopra-N Sikki Reddy crashed out with a straight-games loss to third seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai of Thailand.Earlier in the day, Sourabh Verma qualified for the main draw after winning his two qualifying games against Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk and Lucas Claerbout of France.Srikanth’s match was slated for Wednesday but he will now directly take the court on Thursday to face the winner of the men’s singles game between his compatriot Sourabh Verma and France’s Brice Leverdez.Srikanth has been struggling for form recently and has lost his last nine matches against Momota. Momota’s withdrawal came just 24 hours after he beat Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan in three gruelling games to defend his Fuzhou China Open title.Satwik carried his impressive men’s doubles form to mixed doubles as he and Ashwini took out Phuangphuapet-Amitrapai 16-21, 21-19, 21-17 in 55 minutes to advance to the second round.The Indian pair’s next challenge would be the winner of the match between fourth seeds Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino of Japan and local qualifiers Yueng Ming Nok-NG Tsz Yau.Pranaav and Sikki were once again shown the door early as as they went down 10-21, 18-21 to the seeded Thai pair Puavaranukroh-Taerattanachai.Here are the first-round matches the Indian players will play on Wednesday:Women’s Singles – Saina Nehwal vs Cai Yan Yan (China)Men’s Singles – Sameer Verma vs Wang Tzu Wei (Taiwan)Women’s Singles – PV Sindhu vs Kim Ga Eun (South Korea)Men’s Singles – HS Prannoy vs Huang Yu Xiang (China)Women’s Doubles – Ashwini Ponappa-N Sikki Reddy vs Maiken Fruergaard-Sara Thygesen (Denmark)Men’s Singles – Parupalli Kashyap vs Kenta Nishimoto (Japan)Men’s Singles – Sai Praneeth vs Shu Yu Qi (China)Men’s Singles – Sourabh Verma vs Brice Leverdez (France)Men’s Doubles – Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty vs Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi (Japan) Ashwini Ponnappabadmintonhong kong openkento momota First Published: November 12, 2019, 7:07 PM IST Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time.last_img read more

GEHLOT 2 LAST

first_imgHe praised BJP-ruled states for being forthcoming inHe praised BJP-ruled states for being forthcoming in implementing Centres programmes for the differently-abled.”BJP-ruled states have implemented our programmes primarily. We have also decided to set up national sports centre at five places across the country. We will also provide financial aid and loans for sports centres at district level with the help of state governments,” he said.Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, on the occasion, announced that differently-abled persons in the state will no longer be required to renew their certificates as they will now remain valid for life time.Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar said the Central government will issue a universal ID card for them which will be valid across the country.”They (physically challenged people) face difficulties in getting the certificates. Also, the ID card is not valid from one state to another. So, our government has decided that we will make a universal ID card for divyangs. They are being rolled out in 11 states including Gujarat,” he said. PTI KA PD ARS BSAlast_img read more

Apprenticeship Hours Earned in Other Provinces will Continue to Count

first_imgThe province is reassuring apprentices working in other provinces that their hours will count toward certification in Nova Scotia. “There has been some recent confusion and concern from Nova Scotians who are interested in pursuing a skilled trade through the apprenticeship system, especially those working outside our province,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Frank Corbett. “I want to let apprentices know that their hours earned in another province will be counted toward their certification once they come home. This has always been the case, and will continue to be.” People working to become a certified journeyperson receive creditfor hours in other provinces, provided verification is given by their employer. The policy is in the general regulations of theApprenticeship and Trades Qualification Act, and has been the practice for years. “In all my years with the IBEW, I am not aware of any cases where one of our apprentices working in another province did not get their hours recognized when they returned home to Nova Scotia,” said Tim Swinamer, business manager with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 625. “As a party to a joint apprenticeship agreement, it is our experience that those hours have always been recognized, and therefore counted toward their apprenticeship.” Apprentices can contact the Department of Labour and Advanced Education at 902-424-5651 or toll-free 1-800-494-5651, or visit www.nsapprenticeship.ca, if they have questions or concerns about certification.last_img read more

NL government promises steps to control debt in election year throne speech

first_imgThe Canadian Press ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — With an election expected by the end of June, Newfoundland and Labrador’s government is promising a slow but steady balancing act to get the province’s finances back on track.The throne speech presented by Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote on Thursday touted the Liberal government’s reductions in debt since being elected in 2015.It also highlighted the province’s strong working relationship with the federal Liberals.Foote pointed to the recently reviewed Atlantic Accord, saying the $2.5 billion in federal money over 38 years will be spent wisely to reduce net debt and bring stability to the province.Her remarks also repeated plans for new medical facilities, including an acute regional care centre on the province’s west coast and two care homes in central Newfoundland.She suggested the projects will be financed through public-private partnerships.The speech touted the government’s long-term plans to expand the province’s mining and offshore resource industries and hinted at new legislation to protect domestic violence victims.last_img read more

Mutual funds must now provide key information on fees performance before investors

TORONTO — A new safeguard is now in place to help protect mutual fund investors.Effective Monday, mutual fund companies are required to provide investors key information on things like a fund’s performance and fees before they buy.The so-called “fund facts” document mandated by securities regulators is the final step in improvements to mutual fund disclosure rules that began more than five years ago that are aimed at ensuring investors receive the information they need.Four ways to assess whether an investment adviser is right for youDavid O’Leary: Why mutual funds that charge performance fees are a scamA fund facts statement is a brief document written in plain language with basic details about a fund, including an explanation of expenses and fees and investor rights and is issued in addition to a fund’s prospectus.Mutual fund companies have been required to post a fund facts document on their website since 2011, and changes in 2014 required fund companies to deliver the document within two days of an investor buying a mutual fund. Now they get must get it before making the purchase.The change in mutual fund disclosure rules isn’t the only one investors will see this year.New rules are coming July 15 for the relationship between financial advisers and their clients. They will introduce new reporting requirements for investment advisers when it comes to the disclosure of fees and the performance of their investments. read more

WatchSixteen pages of NAFTA demands signal tough negotiations ahead

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has released its broad goals for a new North American Free Trade Agreement in mostly vague language that offers just enough specific clues to point to potentially tough negotiations ahead.The U.S. says it wants more exports of its dairy products, wine and grains; freer trade in telecommunications and online purchases; new rules on currency manipulation; an overhaul of the dispute-settlement system; and more access for U.S. banks abroad.A Washington-based trade expert who advises the Canadian government didn’t flinch when asked what this means for NAFTA talks, which are scheduled to start next month: “Longer, rather than shorter,” said Eric Miller, a consultant at Rideau Potomac who advises Industry Canada.“It will be pretty intense and hard-fought. … Don’t expect it to be finished in less than eight months,” Miller said. “And expect Canada to have to fight hard for issues it cares about.”Some of the issues might be hotly debated, even between Canadians themselves.For example, the demand on online purchases could pit bargain-hunting Canadian consumers against bricks-and-mortar shops. The U.S. wants to increase the amount Canadians can buy online without paying an import tax, by 4,000 per cent.Canada has one of the world’s most punitive duty systems for online shoppers. It will be urged to increase its duty-free limit to $800 from its current $20, according to the document released Monday by U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer.The 16-page list contains some elements that might appear contradictory or confusing.Trump wants new NAFTA deal to cut trade deficit with MexicoTrump’s VP reassures Trudeau: New NAFTA will be ‘win-win-win for all’NAFTA lawsuits target Canada the most, United States hasn’t lost yetIt says the U.S. will demand more opportunities for American suppliers for government procurement abroad, such as construction projects. But in the next breath, it insists on preserving Buy American rules that limit such rights for foreigners.Of that contradiction, Miller joked: “It’s called the mercantilist dream — we want you to open to us, but we don’t want to open up to you.” He said it was more likely a signal that the U.S. wants Canada to stop demanding greater access to contracts at the state and local level.There is a vaguely worded section on banking. It calls for more opportunities for U.S. financial-service providers, which Miller said could be interpreted as a call for Canada to accept U.S. deposit-taking banks.It also demands the elimination of the dispute-settlement system that has ruled in favour of Canada on softwood lumber. But it’s unclear how the U.S. would replace Chapter 19 — which, to Canada, was a make-or-break issue in the original 1980s trade talks.Canadian negotiators suspended talks over that dispute-settlement issue. Later, on the final evening of negotiations, with a midnight deadline, then-prime minister Brian Mulroney informed the U.S. there would be no deal — without an international arbitration system.Canadian trade expert Peter Clark concurred: “This will not be a short negotiation.”But he cautioned against drawing too many conclusions from this initial list.“These asks are normal for the start of a negotiation. Goals are always ambitious — these are very ambitious,” he said. “The end result will inevitably fall short. But that is the way it is done.”Monday’s release came as no surprise to the Canadian government.The Prime Minister’s Office was in touch with the White House and sources say it was given a heads-up in advance of the release. Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said she was prepared to start negotiating.“We welcome the opportunity to modernize NAFTA to reflect new realities — and to integrate progressive, free, and fair approaches to trade and investment,” she said in a statement.“When negotiations begin, we will be ready to work with our partners to modernize NAFTA, while defending Canada’s national interest and standing up for our values.”NAFTA talks are expected to begin on or around Aug. 16.The Canadian government will not produce a similar public list. It’s not a requirement under Canadian law, as it is in the U.S. U.S. lawmakers will also have a say. They must be consulted throughout the negotiating process, and will ultimately have to vote on any deal.Tuesday could provide an early test of the mood on Capitol Hill, when the House of Representatives holds a hearing on NAFTA.The U.S. says its overarching goal is to pare down the U.S. trade deficit.“President Trump continues to fulfil his promise to renegotiate NAFTA to get a much better deal for all Americans,” Lighthizer said in a statement. “Too many Americans have been hurt by closed factories, exported jobs, and broken political promises. Under President Trump’s leadership, (our office) will negotiate a fair deal.”With regard to manufacturing, a big U.S. objective involves car parts. The Trump administration wants to change the rules of origin, to reduce imports from Asia and ramp up parts production at home.But the devil here is all in the details of these rules: Will they be so strict that manufacturers simply offshore and pay the duty? Will they be designed to benefit all of North America, or just the U.S.? And, finally, how much will the compliance costs increase for domestic manufacturers — Monday’s notice emphasizes the need for more transparency in car parts.Miller says all these details will make a huge difference. read more

Senate Passes Pot Bill Without Concentrate Ban

first_imgWhen Alaskans voted to regulate marijuana, a discrepancy was created where possession of small amounts of the drug was legal and where possession of larger amounts meant higher level felonies. The Alaska Senate has passed a bill to bridge the gap. And in the process, they rejected a controversial effort to preemptively ban marijuana concentrates. APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez reports.Sen. Pete Kelly, a Fairbanks Republican, presented his amendment using images of marijuana candies and buildings consumed in fiery infernos.“What drug is smoked in a glass apparatus using a propane torch to heat metal elements so the drug can be instantly vaporized allowing large quantities to be inhaled in a single hit? What drug is highly manufactured using volatile flammables and occasionally explodes in neighborhood labs?” asked Kelly, rhetorically.Kelly likened the making of marijuana concentrates like butane hash oil to the manufacture of meth, and said that children would die if his amendment did not pass. While Kelly would have liked to have banned concentrates immediately, his measure was written to go into effect in two years — which is the soonest that legislators can fundamentally alter a ballot initiative, according to the state Constitution.He argued that people were voting for legalization of the “leafy stuff,” not the sale of pot brownies, candies, and other forms of concentrates.“If people knew what concentrates are, they would never ever vote for that,” said Kelly. “I’m convinced of that.”Many members of the Senate disagreed. Sen. Lesil McGuire, an Anchorage Republican, pointed out that with 53 percent of the vote, the marijuana initiative was more successful than any single candidate for statewide office. She argued that the debate over whether concentrates should be allowed was a key issue of the campaign.“What I believe is that the people, in the plain language that was presented to them, saw a definition that included the word ‘concentrate,’ saw a definition that included the word ‘compound,’” said McGuire. “There were 40 hearings across the state. There were eight of them held by the lieutenant governor alone just on this particular subject. And in almost every one of those hearings, it devolved into a debate over concentrates.”Kelly’s amendment ultimately failed 14 to 6. The vote was an unusual one, with many Republicans voting against their colleague’s proposal.An amendment that would have de-listed marijuana as a controlled substance also received considerable debate before ultimately failing. Supporters of the measure argued that because alcohol is not a controlled substance under Alaska law, marijuana should not be treated as one either, according to the initiative.The marijuana crime bill, when considered in full, passed 17 to 3, with a bloc of Anchorage Democrats opposing it over the controlled substance language. It will now be considered by the House.last_img read more