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German attempts to break down barriers for deaf in N Korea

first_img Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility “From our point of view, every deaf child has access,” he said. “Since this country strongly advertises the right of children to be in nurseries and kindergartens, it is probably not so much a matter of choosing, but a matter of information and spreading the word so that the families get to know the new option and dare to bring their deaf child, overcoming the traditional hiding in the family.”___To be deaf in North Korea is to endure a level of isolation that is hard to imagine.For most of his childhood, Ri Jong Hyok was a shut in.While his father went out to do construction work, he stayed at home in Pyongyang helping his mother make tofu. He didn’t go to school. He had no friends and, with no one to teach him sign language, essentially no way to communicate with them even if he did.“I had never seen sign language before I came here,” Ri told the AP through a sign language interpreter during a visit to the country’s largest school for the deaf, in Songchon, outside of Pyongyang, last year.Ri is lucky to have found the school.He wants to be a barber, and the school has a classroom where the students practice cutting each other’s hair, with barber’s chairs and pictures of various hairstyles on the walls. With few other trades open to the deaf, the most common jobs are barber or tailor for men, and hairstylist or seamstress for women. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Top Stories “That has been my oldest dream, from the time I first came here,” he said.___On The Net: © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Though funding is always a struggle, he has received support from Catholic and Protestant groups and private donors, mainly in Germany. The biggest individual contribution came from Michael Spavor, of Paektu Cultural Exchange and the organizer of former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s visit last year, who donated $20,000 to the deaf kindergarten project.Grund’s mantra for empowering the deaf, “nothing about us without us,” often rankles with even the most sympathetic North Korean officials. In the country’s top-down system, hearing bureaucrats who often don’t understand the deaf experience are used to making decisions on their behalf.Grund says he will continue to cooperate with deaf North Koreans — he currently works closely with about 20, up from just two in 2013 — to help them join mainstream society.One priority is more schools for occupational training and educational opportunities for the deaf. Another is teaching more deaf children — and interpreters — how to sign. He also wants sign language interpretation made available at workplaces and meetings. But most of all, he wants to see signing on national television broadcasts, if just to raise awareness in the hearing community that the deaf exist and need not be hidden away. He appears to be making progress.Over the past few years, North Korean officials have grown more receptive to helping the disabled. Events have become more frequent and get a higher profile in the state-run media, while more cultural exchanges are being allowed abroad. Recent media stories played up a new all-deaf soccer team. The North last month held high-profile events to mark Disabled Persons Day.The kindergarten project is also coming together.Grund says officials have approved a location for the facility, several rooms in a now under-used nursery building, and appear keen on opening it in time for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the country’s ruling party on Oct. 10.The kindergarten itself will be wholly paid for and funded by TOGETHER-Hamhung, a German non-profit Disabled Persons Organization.“Nobody knows how many kids will come,” Grund said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “If necessary, we can assign more rooms for children.”The plan is to accept children from infancy on up until they are old enough to attend regular deaf schools. Grund hopes access will be based solely on need, but he is not sure whether the government will instead decide who gets to go. Officials involved in projects for the deaf acknowledge an outdated grasp of the size of the deaf community.A major problem continues to be getting access to and diagnosing pre-school children, many of whom are shut in at home with families who have little awareness of hearing disabilities or the resources that might be available to them.The government’s figures are also based on an old, somewhat ambiguous survey. Underreporting of disabilities is common, both because of a sense of shame and a fear among parents that, if reported, their children might be sent off to distant institutions, pigeonholed and channeled into an educational or career path with few opportunities. Nevertheless, a new survey is underway, which Ro believes will provide a more reliable picture.___Grund, possibly more than anyone else, has helped influence the change in attitudes toward the deaf here.As a teenager, he watched a TV report in his native Germany suggesting there were “practically no” deaf people in North Korea. A fourth-generation deaf child in his own family, an incredulous Grund decided to go see for himself. Grund, now 30, has since devoted himself to improving life for deaf North Koreans. He works with the bureaucracy and with the deaf to train them to plan and lead their own projects. Of the eight schools for older deaf children in North Korea, none are located in Pyongyang, though statistically the deaf population in a city the same size in a developing country would likely be in the tens of thousands.There are roughly 300,000 deaf people in all of North Korea, according to official estimates.But while about 10-20 percent of deaf children in developing countries are able to study in deaf schools, according to the World Federation of the Deaf, that rate is just 2 percent in North Korea, said an aid worker who spoke on condition of anonymity because of worries that ongoing projects might be hurt.North Korean officials dispute that estimate.Ro Kyong Su, director of the Korean Economic and Cultural Center for the Deaf and Blind, said mainstream public schools or other special-needs facilities currently accommodate most deaf or hearing-impaired students. By his calculations, there are about 6,000 school-age deaf children who need to be in schools that are specifically for the deaf. He said about half already are, and the number is rising.“The other half will soon be able to go to school. We aren’t looking at a five-year or 10-year plan. It will be much sooner than that,” he said. Mesa family survives lightning strike to home 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Sponsored Stories PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — In a country with zero kindergartens specifically for the deaf, Robert Grund wants to help establish the first — just a small suite of rooms for perhaps a couple dozen kids, in North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, a city of roughly 2.5 million.It’s a small step, but Grund, the Pyongyang representative of the World Federation of the Deaf and the city’s only full-time deaf foreign resident, sees it as part of a larger push to end isolation for the deaf here by helping them be heard, involved and empowered in projects about them. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 5 ways to recognize low testosteronelast_img read more

Rep Barrett bill removes obstacles for military voters

first_img Categories: Barrett News State Rep. Tom Barrett of Potterville today introduced legislation to make it easier for active-duty members of the military to vote while serving away from home.The federal Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment (MOVE) Act requires states to provide absentee ballots to active-duty military members in one electronic format – email, fax, or an online portal system – at least 45 days before an election. However, it does not require states to offer an opportunity for ballots to be returned electronically. Current state law requires the ballots to be returned via mail.“The traditional mail requirement serves as a hardship to some of our overseas troops serving in remote overseas locations who have legitimate concerns about whether their absentee ballots will make it back before the deadline,” said Barrett, a helicopter pilot in the Michigan Army National Guard and veteran of both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.House Bill 4984 would allow service members to return election ballots to their local clerk using email addresses issued by the United State military, which adds an important layer of security and helps verify the identity of the voter.“The men and women serving our country in the remote deserts of Afghanistan don’t expect to have access to the comforts of home, like Taco Bell and pumpkin spice lattes, but they still deserve the rights they have at home,” Barrett said. “It’s time to remove unnecessary obstacles and make it easier for our service members to exercise their right to vote.”H.B. 4984 will be referred to a committee on Tuesday.### 14Sep Rep. Barrett bill removes obstacles for military voterslast_img read more

Letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue

first_imgVanessa Guerra, District 95                                          Lynn Afendoulis, District 73 Additionally, Congress recently passed, and the President signed, a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill to help Americans across the country, including farmers hit by catastrophic storms. As the USDA carries out the relief authorized to address flooding in this act, we encourage you to avoid inequities for Americans that have suffered from extreme weather by ensuring that any definition of flooding covers all instances of excessive moisture. Whether the excessive moisture and prevented planting is directly caused by a river leaving its banks, more localized stream flooding, or ponding of rainfall and snowmelt, the challenges faced by the farmers are the same and each of them should be eligible for aid. Dear Secretary Perdue, Bronna Kahle, District 57                                               Joe Tate, District 2 Diana Farrington, District 30                                        Phil Green, District 84 As Michigan Legislators, we urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide flexibility and equitable treatment for Michigan farmers who have had to delay planting their crops. Consistent rain and wet weather this spring have created challenging and in some cases impossible planting conditions for farmers across Michigan.  We are the country’s second most diverse state growing over 300 commodities that creates an economic impact of $104.7 billion to our state’s economy.  We ask for speed and transparency in this process making sure this flexibility happens quickly enough to have the intended impact on our farm families. Sincerely, John Chirkun, District 22                                                Scott VanSingel, District 100 Jewell Jones, District 11                                                 Andrea Schroeder, District 43 Beau LaFave, District 108                                               Pauline Wendzel, District 79 Michele Hoitenga, District 102                                    John Reilly, District 46 We have seen the wettest 12-month period on record in the continental United States. Like other parts of the Midwest, large portions of Michigan have seen precipitation measurements at double the normal rates. According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Great Lakes Region, grain planting in Michigan has approached the slowest pace on record due to relentless rain. Even the crops that have been successfully planted may see stunted growth or may require replanting. To add to the confluence of unfortunate events, feed and forage are harder to come by. The Honorable Sonny PerdueSecretary of USDAU.S. Department of Agriculture1400 Independence Ave., S.W.Washington, DC 20250 Darrin Camilleri, District 23                                           Angela Witwer, District 71 June 20, 2019 Kevin Hertel, District 18                                                 Kevin Coleman, District 16 Mary Whiteford, District 80                                          Hank Vaupel, District 47 Julie Brixie, District 69                                                    Gary Howell, District 82 Jon Hoadley, District 60                                                 Rachel Hood, District 76 Sarah Lightner, District 65                                             Jason Sheppard, District 56 Bradley Slagh, District 90                                               Alex Garza, District 12 Donna Lasinski, District 52                                            Eric Leutheuser, District 58 As the chair of Michigan’s House Agriculture Committee and members of the Michigan 100th legislature, thank you for your prompt consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can provide additional information.center_img Ben Frederick, District 85                                              Daire Rendon, District 103 Rebekah Warren, District 55                                        Sarah Anthony, District 68 We encourage you to help ensure this planting season is not a total loss by providing increased flexibility under Federal Crop Insurance rules for utilizing forage and cover crops, including corn silage, on prevented plant acres. Our farmers are a pillar of our economy and state cultural heritage and this situation is exactly why these programs exist. We need your help to ensure they qualify. Time is of the essence in enacting these changes because we have reached the point in the season when seed dealers send their unused seed back to corporate storage. Waiting much longer will remove the option for farmers to plant at all because the seed will no longer be available. Aaron Miller, District 59                                                 Tommy Brann, District 77 Joseph Bellino, Jr., District 17                                      Mark Huizenga, District 74 Jeff Yaroch, District 33                                                    Kara Hope, District 67 Brian Elder, District 96                                                    Sheryl Kennedy, District 48Minority Vice-Chair, House Agriculture Cmt.                 Minority Vice-Chair, House Agriculture Appropriations Cmt. Annette Glenn, District 98                                             Jim Lilly, District 89 Pamela Hornberger, District 32                                   John Cherry, District 49 Terry Sabo, District 92 Categories: Leutheuser News,News Cc: The Honorable Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm Production and ConservationWilliam F. Crozer, Special Assistant to the President/Deputy Director 11Jul Letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue Julie Calley, District 87                                                    Graham Filler, District 93 Julie Alexander, District 64                                            Greg VanWoerkom, District 91Chair, House Agriculture Cmt.                                           Chair, House Agriculture Appropriations Cmt. Triston Cole, District 105                                                Christine Greig, District 37Majority Floor Leader                                                         House Minority Leader Douglas Wozniak, District 36                                        Gary Eisen, District 81 Lee Chatfield, District 107                                                 Jason Wentworth, District 97Speaker of the House                                                         Speaker Pro-Tempore Beth Griffin, District 66                                                   Shane Hernandez, District 83 Luke Meerman, District 88                                            Ann Bollin, District 42Vice-Chair, House Agriculture Cmt.                                  Vice-Chair, House Agriculture Appropriations Cmt. Roger Hauck, District 99                                                 Brad Paquette, District 78last_img read more

Rep Johnson announces August office hours

first_imgMonday, August 5th Allegan CountyColonial Kitchen1825 142nd Ave. in Dorr8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.Kent CountyKentwood Branch Library4950 Breton Rd. SE in Kentwood10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.“Open and honest communication with residents is instrumental in holding state government accountable,” said Johnson, R-Wayland. “I invite all residents to attend a local office hour gathering to share their concerns and ideas.” No appointment is necessary and there is no cost to attend. Those unable to attend are encouraged to call Rep. Johnson’s office at 517-373-0840, email or visit his website at Categories: News,Steven Johnson News ### 30Jul Rep. Johnson announces August office hours State Representative Steve Johnson invites residents of the 72nd House District to join him during local office hours:last_img read more

The CRomnibus Piñata Unwanted Gifts for the Nonprofit Sector in the Spending

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares December 11, 2014; The HillSaturday night, the Senate passed the CRomnibus, ending the latest chapter in Congress’s continuing nightmare of budgetary dysfunction. The CRomnibus—half “omnibus,” half “continuing resolution”—is a government spending bill for the entire federal government except for the Department of Homeland Security, which would be kept alive only until the end of February of 2015, at which time Congress will revisit DHS spending on the president’s executive orders on immigration. The Senate succeeded despite a last-minute effort by Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) to block the administration’s immigration plans right away instead of waiting until February, ticking off those of the Senate’s Republican leadership who simply wanted to have a Monday morning vote and then skedaddle out of town. With the Cruz-compelled Saturday session, Senator Harry Reid got to introduce a number of long-delayed presidential appointments that will potentially get up or down votes on Monday, votes that the Republicans under Mitch McConnell had hoped to avoid.Nonprofit leadership groups, focused on the extension of charitable giving incentives or on the possibility of making some incentives permanent, haven’t been very vocal about elements of the CRomnibus that directly and indirectly affect nonprofits. They should have been, because this spending bill is hardly just a continuation of past years’ spending practices. Rather, it is loaded with budgetary and programmatic changes that will alter the policy landscape for nonprofits, including these:IRS budget: The bill cuts $345.6 million from the already severely underfunded IRS, ostensibly as a backhanded way of undermining the Affordable Care Act by making the IRS’s role in health insurance reform more difficult to carry out. However, the aim of budget-cutting Republicans against the Service may have been broader than merely healthcare, cutting the budget of the IRS as punishment for its role in delaying the approvals of 501(c)(4) Tea Party-linked organizations. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) described the budget cut as reflecting the “need to push back on the regulatory overreach of this administration.” In fact, the language of the bill includes specific prohibitions against the IRS for “target[ing] citizens…for exercising any right guaranteed under the First Amendment” and “target[ing] groups for regulatory scrutiny based on their ideological beliefs.” Although the bill doesn’t directly try to terminate the ACA, it does not include additional money for the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, the primary unit of the Department of Health and Human Services charged with implementing the ACA, and actually cuts $10 million from the budget of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, made famous by Sarah Palin in her hyperbolic description of it as the “death panel.”D.C. marijuana: The District of Columbia legalized by a referendum vote last month the growing and use of small amounts of marijuana, but the legislation, reflecting the still-colonial treatment of the voters of the nation’s capital, bans the use of federal and local funds in the implementation of the marijuana policy. The District’s marijuana legalization may actually be self-implementing, making the Congressional action moot (at least, that is Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton’s view), but to us, it looks like it limits or eliminates the district’s ability to tax or regulate marijuana use. Whatever the actual impact, the idea that Congress would implement an effort to override the decision of D.C. voters is fundamentally anti-democratic. The bill also continues the policy of prohibiting D.C. from using federal and local funds to pay for abortions.Pell Grants: The relative silence about the cut of $300 million in Pell Grants in order to increase the amount of money available for paying companies to collect federal education loans on behalf of the Department of Education has been surprising. The Washington Post reported that the cut was crafted by Senate Democrats, perhaps emboldened to fund the student loan collectors because the Pell Grants program is currently running a surplus. However, cutting Pell Grants, designed for low-income students, in the wake of President Obama’s recent support for increasing them against Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal to cut the maximum grant size, may be a bad sign for higher education policy.Campaign finance: If the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (known commonly as McCain-Feingold) weren’t already dead and buried due to the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, the CRomnibus bill inserts another nail in the coffin by increasing the number of entities that could be created by the national political parties for receiving donations and increasing the maximum possible donation level. The result is an individual’s potential maximum annual donation to a national political party would increase from $97,200 to $777,000. This provision, tucked into the bill only a few pages from the end of the 1,603-page document, has no one in Congress claiming responsibility for its inclusion, but defenders suggest it will strengthen political party mechanisms against the power of independent third-party campaign entities such as PACs and 501(c)(4)s. Will it really reverse the flow of money out of third-party political entities back to the parties or simply unleash even more money from the wealthy to warp the contours of American democracy?Race to the Top: Although most federal K-12 education funding programs, including Head Start and Early Head Start, will receive a small increase in their funding levels going forward, one program in particular takes a big hit. The Race to the Top, the Obama/Duncan program with significant philanthropic support that emphasized teacher evaluations, the Common Core, and charter schools, was zeroed out for FY2015. While the “race” seems to have staggered over its finish line and collapsed without much support from either party, the CRomnibus does provide two important educational resources through the Department of Health and Human Services—$80 million for a program of health and educational services for young migrants and $14 million to help school districts that with new immigrant students.Environment: The number of provisions that weaken the nation’s environmental commitments is significant. The budget of the Environmental Protection Agency takes a $60 million cut in the bill, which amounts to a reduction in the EPA’s budget by roughly one-fifth since the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives as of Fiscal Year 2010. Additional environmental provisions in the bill prevent U.S. contributions to the Green Climate Fund, an international fund to help poor nations deal with the impacts of climate change, give the Ex-Im Bank and OPIC the go-ahead to finance coal-fired energy plants overseas (contradicting the Ex-Im Bank’s own financing standards), and prohibit federal funds from being used to regulate the use of lead in ammunition and fishing. Perhaps the good news on the environment is that the CRomnibus didn’t eliminate the EPA altogether.Food: Thanks to this budget deal, the nation even regresses on food policy. Americans already eat huge amounts of starchy food, which led the Department of Agriculture to exclude white potatoes from the foods that could be purchased in the supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Due to Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), representing states that generate large crops of potatoes, the Agriculture rule has been reversed. School lunch standards were also altered in the bill: The CRomnibus put a halt to the nation’s plans for lowering over time the limits on sodium. In addition, it allowed school districts to bypass the rule that was supposed to start this year that required that 100 percent of schools’ use of grains be whole grain, up from 50 percent the preceding year. The reason for the new allowance for some schools to stick to 50 percent whole grain is expense, not science or health.Humanitarian aid: Amidst the xenophobia of American politics in which advocates of humanitarian aid are often lonely voices, the spending bill offers a mixed bag of necessary funding and missing items. Although President Obama had requested $6.2 billion to fight Ebola, the bill provides only $5.4 billion (treated as exempt from the budget limits agreed to by Congress and the White House last December), of which $2.5 billion goes to HHS for helping U.S. hospitals gear up for Ebola patients and for monitoring flight passengers from the affected West African countries. As the Arab Spring becomes only a distant memory, the CRomnibus’s funding for the now military-led Egypt makes the point clear, providing Egypt with $1.3 billion in military aid and only $150 million in economic aid. In the wake of news that the United Nations has cut food assistance to Syrian refugees due to a UN budget crisis and Jordan has terminated providing free healthcare for Syrian refugees in Jordanian facilities, there is some money in the budget for Jordan for $1 billion in military and economic aid with additional funding for refugee assistance. For Palestinians who have seen much of Gaza turn to rubble in the recent war with Israel, the spending bill gives Israel $3.1 billion in overall aid plus $619 million in military aid. The latter includes $175 for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense program, for which Congress already allocated $225 million only a few months earlier. Palestinians don’t get much in this legislation other than a warning that a new Gaza war may be in the offing.Much of the public discussion of opposition to the CRomnibus has focused on Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) almost daily criticism of the legislation for its provision that changes an important element of the Dodd-Frank banking reform agenda. Essentially, the language rolls back a Dodd-Frank restriction that had removed banks’ very risky trades in derivatives from insurance coverage under the FDIC. It seems to have been common knowledge that this provision was actually written by lobbyists for Citibank, though inserted in the bill by Kansas Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder. In other words, the American taxpayer will be back on the hook to cover for the banks’ risky investments that not all that long ago brought the nation to the brink of economic collapse. This may have been the CRomnibus provision that got the most attention from the press, particularly when Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the ultimate Obama loyalist, split with the president and joined the Warren camp in opposition: “We say to Wall Street, ‘You can engage in risky activity with your derivatives, and the FDIC will insure your action.’ That’s just plain wrong. With this bill now we are saying the exposure, the recourse is with the U.S. taxpayer. Just plain wrong.”However, less reported elements of the CRomnibus, particularly the devastating cut to the IRS budget, hit the nonprofit sector smack in the face. With the vote on the bill, the nation has avoided a temporary shutdown, but to do so, Congress accepted a spending bill with a piñata full of unwanted holiday gifts that will last the whole year—until next year when Congress gets to do this all over again.—Rick Cohen ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

UK public broadcaster the BBC has lost the TV righ

first_imgUK public broadcaster the BBC has lost the TV rights to several high-profile horse-racing events after being outbid by Channel 4. The commercial broadcaster has won TV rights to several premium UK horse racing events including the Grand National, the Derby and Royal Ascot. It has secured the rights in a four-year deal, starting in 2013.The BBC’s budget for sports rights has been cut as part of a wider cost-cutting exercise. The crucial Premier League soccer rights highlights package held by the BBC expires next year.“The BBC are proud of their long heritage of broadcasting horse racing and did put in as competitive a bid as possible in the current climate. We are of course disappointed that we have lost the rights, but we are pleased that all the races in the contract remain free to air,” the BBC said in a statement.last_img read more

British cable operator Virgin Media has struck a d

first_imgBritish cable operator Virgin Media has struck a deal with the BBC and Eurosport that will give subscribers full coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games.Virgin customers will be able to watch live coverage via 24 standard and high definition channels as well as BBC 3D and Eurosport’s 3D channel. They will also have access to catch-up content across a number of platforms including the British public broadcaster’s red button services and Eurosport’s On Demand service.Aleks Habdank, director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media said: “With a full range of live channels in HD and the first Olympics in 3D, Virgin Media TV customers are going to be spoilt with an unbeatable experience for watching the 2012 London Olympics.”BSkyB has already agreed a deal with the BBC and Eurosport to broadcast HD and 3D coverage of the Games.last_img read more

Tele Columbus CEO and chairman Ronny Verhelst Ge

first_imgTele Columbus CEO and chairman, Ronny Verhelst.German cable operator Tele Columbus has set the offer price for shares sold through its IPO at €10 per share, at the mid-point of the previously announced price range of €8.00 to €12.00 per share. The move means that Tele Columbus expects to raise between €333 million and €367 million from the sale of the new shares, depending on the exercise of a provision that allows underwriters to sell investors more shares than originally planned. The IPO will mean that over 50% of the company will be free-floatedAccording to the company, the offering was well oversubscribed at the offer price.A total of 51,022,500 shares will be placed, comprising 33.3 million new shares resulting from a capital increase, 14.4 million existing shares being sold by Tele Columbus Management holding company, and an additional 3.3 million existing shares borrowed by the Underwriters from Tele Columbus Management to cover the over-allotment.Some 26 million shares will be allocated to pre-IPO shareholders who have placed orders for preferential allocation.“We are delighted with the strong demand for the Tele Columbus shares and are looking forward to the first trading day”, says Ronny Verhelst, CEO of Tele Columbus. “The response from investors has been very positive and confirms the attractiveness of our business model. The access to the capital market going forward increases the Company’s financial flexibility to significantly strengthen our market position.”last_img read more

German cable operator Tele Columbus has confirmed

first_imgGerman cable operator Tele Columbus has confirmed it will launch a 400Mbps internet service in Potsdam in April, extending it to the rest of its customer base therafter.Tele Columbus grew its broadband telephony customer bases by 16% each last year, taking the broadband base to 202,000 and the phone base to 170,000.The company gained 52,000 phone and internet revenue-generating units in the course of the year, boosting its RGU total, which reached 1.84 million by year-end. The company’s customer base remained stable at 1.3 million.ARPU grew from €13.20 to €13.90 in the course of the year.Tele Columbus said 55% of its homes were two-way capable and connected to its own Level 3 network by the end of the year. Approximately 96% of the operator’s network was upgraded to DOCSIS 3.0.Tele Columbus grew its revenues by 3.3% last year to €213 million, while EBITDA increased by 12.3% to €98.9 million.last_img read more

Satellite operator Eutelsat has secured early refi

first_imgSatellite operator Eutelsat has secured early refinancing of an €800 million loan due in December 2016 from a pool of nine banks. Eutelsat  has arranged a new term loan of €600 million, expiring in March 2020, with two possible extension facilities of one year each subject to lender agreement, and has made a €200 million early reimbursement using its cash reserves.Separately, Eutelsat has renegotiated a revolving credit facility of 200 million euros for a duration of five years with two possible extension facilities of one year each subject to lender agreement, replacing the previous facility of the same amount, expiring in December 2016.last_img read more

Rennesbased research and technology institute B

first_imgRennes-based research and technology institute B<>com and Thomson Video Networks will highlight their ongoing collaboration with the announcement of b<>com’s Ultra Player, a solution for playing the latest generation of uncompressed audio/video content. The b<>com 4K Ultra Player is being sold by Thomson Video Networks as a complement to its ViBE 4K HEVC encoder. Ultra Player is a solution that combines ultra high definition (UHD) images with spatial audio that makes it possible to play immersive content and all videos with very high resolution. Initially developed for b<>com researchers, the tool also completely meets the needs of professionals who want to edit audio/video content prior to compression. Ultra Player’s Web user interface incorporates any workflow, and it works in applications including broadcasting systems, testing laboratories, exhibits, museums and theme parks, universities, and surgical operating theatres, according to the pair.Thomson Video Networks will offer Ultra Player as a bundled solution with the company’s ViBE 4K HEVC encoder for UHD broadcasting.“We work each day to develop innovative solutions that accelerate time to market for content providers looking to offer a higher-quality experience to the end user. The business partnership with Thomson Video Networks is a win-win situation and a perfect example of our willingness to transfer technology to our partners. This new deal will allow both partners to address one of the key issues in the market for new media formats — improving the sensation of being immersed in content,” said Bertrand Guilbaud, CEO of b<>com.“We are already working on upgrades to our Ultra Player; for instance, it will soon be able to play new formats such as UHD HDR at 120 frames per second along with 64 audio tracks. This will make it an essential tool for experimenting with UHD Phase 2, combining immersive video and spatialized audio. Our agreement with Thomson Video Networks is the concrete result of a partnership between the Institute of Research and Technology and an internationally recognised broadcast technology provider, paving the way for b<>com to develop future collaborations with other partners.”Eric Gallier, vice president of marketing at Thomson Video Networks, said, “The experts at b<>com conceive and design technologies that allow content to be published, stored, and shared widely in a constantly changing market. Several of our engineers were involved in the original design of *Ultra Player* within b<>com, so it was only natural that we partner with them for its distribution. This agreement confirms our position at the cutting edge of technologies that are driving the broadcast industry forward, including 4K Phase 2.”Thomson Video Networks will exhibit at IBC on stand 14.A10last_img read more

Ukrainian cable operator Volia has added locallyp

first_imgUkrainian cable operator Volia has added locally-produced women’s interest channel Milady Television to its programming line-up.The channel, which airs programming covering fashion, beauty, celebrity news and advice and is, according to its founders, based on the example of international channels such as Cosmopolitan TV, Lifetime and Diva Universal.Content on the channel include lifestyle shows Zhyttya prekrasne, and Feyeriya mandriv, fitness show Ozdorovcha himnastyka, fashion show Fashion-khvylynka, health show Fakty pro zdorov’ya and cooking show Svitova kukhnya.last_img read more

German cable operator Tele Columbus has tapped M

first_imgGerman cable operator, Tele Columbus, has tapped Metrological to provide an OTT app experience as part of its recently launched advanceTV offering.Metrological is powering the advanceTV smart app portal, which will deliver applications and internet content as part of Tele Columbus’ overall next-generation multi-screen video experience.“Tele Columbus advanceTV opens up a new dimension of television enabling consumers to enjoy their content on the main TV screen or second screens in a single viewer experience,” said Stefan Beberweil, chief marketing officer at Tele Columbus.“Metrological’s cloud-based TV application solution allows us to offer relevant apps and internet content as an added value to our customers.”Metrological’s Application Platform integrates TV and internet experiences and gives operators access to the Metrological App Library, which contains over 300 apps.last_img read more

Jessica Neal Netflix has promoted Jessica Neal to

first_imgJessica NealNetflix has promoted Jessica Neal to chief talent officer, leading the group responsible for culture, human resources, and recruiting and training.Neal first joined Netflix in 2006 but left in 2013 to become head of human resources at online education company, Coursera, and later chief people officer at mobile games firm Scopely.She returned to Netflix earlier this year, overseeing HR for Netflix’s 2,000-person product engineering team.last_img

Deutsche Telekom invests more than all of its com

first_imgDeutsche Telekom invests “more than all of its competitors put together” in broadband in Germany, according to CEO Timotheus Höttges.Timotheus HöttgesSpeaking at Telekom’s shareholders’ meeting, Höttges also called for an end to regulation of “new fibre-optic lines” to achieve the goal of nationwide access to gigabit speed broadband, but continued to voice his opposition to Liberty Global’s sale of its German cable unit to larger player Vodafone.The Telekom CEO called for other companies to invest in new networks, instead of criticising the telco or “staying cozy in regulated markets”.However, Höttges, asked about Vodafone’s acquisition of Liberty Global-owned Unitymedia, referred to the danger of “re-monopolisation” and said that the combined cable outfit would connect 70% of TV customers, raising antitrust issues.“We are pleased to have competition, at any rate, because if it is fair, then it is good for the customer,” he said.The majority of German households receive TV signals via satellite, a fact that Höttges failed to mention in referring to the 70% figure. According to Ovum’s most recent analsys of the multichannel market, Vodafone had a17.5% market share, compared with 14.5% for Unitymedia and 6.9% for Deutsche Telekom.Höttges said that the company had spent €5.4 billion on networks and infrastructure over the last year.He said that, with a market share of 40% in broadband, Telekom would provide 80% of households and companies with high-speed internet by the end of this year, whether direct or indirectly.The targets for the next stage of Deutsche Telekom’s broadband strategy are to provide 26 million households with up to 100 Mbit per second, and 15 million households with as much as 250 Mbit per second, by the end of the year.Höttges also highlighted Telekom’s focus on upstream speeds, which he said were increasing in importance.last_img read more


first_imgShareTweet Mayor Hilary McClintock and the winner of the women’s race Catherine WhoriskeyTHE Waterside Half Marathon cemented its reputation as the biggest and best Half Marathon on the local athletics calendar when over 2,000 runners completed the race in front of throngs of spectators yesterday.An investigation has been launched after issues with traffic management resulted in an hour delay to the race start but this was resolved following consultation with the key agencies.Apologising for any inconvenience caused, the festival and events manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council Jacqueline Whoriskey said the safety of participants was paramount and that despite the delay the race was a great success.There was huge excitement at the finish line as Freddie Sittuk from Ranheny Shamrock AC battled to claim first place on the Men’s Race just ahead of Scott Rankin while local runner Catherine Whoriskey, from Derry Spartans AC, was the first female home, but there were winners throughout the record field as runners reached, and even surpassed, their individual goals. Hundreds of supporters lined the scenic race route that hugged the River Foyle, among them Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hillary McClintock, who was on hand to present the winners with their medals at the race finish in St Columb’s Park.“I’d like to congratulate everyone who was involved in making the Waterside Half Marathon another day to remember for the city and district, and to the hundreds of people who came out to show their support to those taking part,” said the Mayor.“It was a magnificent sight to see the huge field of runners make their way around the course, cheered on by the spectators who surpassed themselves with their vocal support and encouragement.Runners in Sunday’s Waterside Half Marathon. Pix by NorthWest Newspix“While the various winners will grab the headlines, anyone who puts in the hours of sacrifice necessary to complete the race deserves tremendous praise and I’d particularly like to congratulate those who raised money and awareness for their chosen charities. CATHERINE WHORISKEYFREDDIE SITTUKMAYOR HILARY MCCLINTOCKWATERSIDE HALF MARATHON HAILED A SUCCESS DESPITE HOUR DELAY TO RACE START “I was pleased to see so many young runners taking part in the 2k Fun Run as well and the future of athletics in the North West certainly looks bright.”Gerry Lynch, from Spartans who worked with the Council to co-ordinate the Race was pleased with the feedback he received from runners after the race, among whom were a record female entry of over 700.“This was the biggest field we have ever hosted but runners enjoyed the course which was retained after last year’s change,” he said.“We piloted a pacer system this year which we have previously used in the Walled City Marathon and our pacers got their timings spot on and were a big asset in helping runners reaching their personal goals.“We had our biggest number of runners taking the relay option this year too so extending our capacity for next year’s race is certainly something we will sit down and look at.”To view the full race results and times click on the following link for results HALF MARATHON HAILED A SUCCESS DESPITE HOUR DELAY TO RACE START was last modified: September 5th, 2016 by John2John2 Tags:last_img read more


first_imgShareTweet “However, they did not care for them enough to be responsible owners. “Therefore they will be dealt with in due course. ”TWO MORE DANGEROUS SCRAMBLERS SEIZED BY POLICE IN DERRY was last modified: January 5th, 2018 by John2John2 Tags: The dangerous scrambler bikes seized by police in DerryPOLICE in Derry have taken more dangerous scrambler bikes off the city’s streets.Officers say neighbourhood cops seized the unlicensed bikes after they were causing a nuisance in the Northern Estates on Wednesday night.And the owners of the bikes, who made off without their “pride and joy” machines, now face a visit from police and a day in court. BALLYARNETT NPTDerryNORTHERN ESTATESPSNITWO MORE DANGEROUS SCRAMBLERS SEIZED BY POLICE IN DERRY PSNI Foyle say on its Facebook page:”New Year  but we have still the same old problem.“Last night Ballyarnett Npt received multiple reports of motorbikes  being used in an anti social manner throughout the Northern Estates.“Again, we have responded to these reports and in addition to the killer Queen seized last night, we took another two potentially dangerous motorbikes off our roads.“The FMX and Demon X bikes were the riders pride and joy.last_img read more

Previous PostRaleigh County Man Arrested For Alleg

first_img Previous PostRaleigh County Man Arrested For Allegedly Sexually Abusing Child For Four Years EducationFeaturedNewsWatch All West Virginia County Schools Will Be Closed Wednesday Due To Day Of Mourning By Tyler BarkerDec 04, 2018, 16:15 pm 1352 0 Google+ Mail Pinterest WEST VIRGINIA – Due to Presidential Proclamation issued from President Trump and the Executive Order issued from Governor Justice, all county school systems will be closed tomorrow (December 5) in observance of the day of mourning in honor of President George H.W. Bush.Gov. Jim Justice announced today that Wednesday, December 5, 2018, will be a state holiday in observance of tomorrow’s National Day of Mourning for President George H.W. Bush.Bush, 94, died last Friday and President Donald J. Trump designated Dec. 5 as a federal holiday to honor and commemorate the life of the 41st President of the United States.“President George H.W. Bush was truly a great American military hero,” Gov. Justice said. “I concur with President Trump and his decision to declare December 5th as a National Day of Mourning and I am issuing an executive order to close all state agencies tomorrow in observance of his declaration.”The Governor’s press conference scheduled for Wednesday, December 5, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. in Bridgeport, WV has been canceled and will be rescheduled. Tumblr Facebook Twitter Linkedin Next PostMarshall Included in Conference USA Football Honors Home NewsWatch Education All West Virginia County Schools Will Be Closed Wednesday Due To Day Of Mourning Tyler Barker Tyler Barker is currently the Interim News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. I was promoted to this job in Mid-November. I still will fill in on weather from time to time. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email me at tbarker@woay.comlast_img read more

In This Issue… Greek polls point to stabilizat

first_imgIn This Issue… * Greek polls, point to stabilization… * Italy & Germany have solid bond auctions… * Merkel introduces her 6 point plan! * A$ snaps back, along with real… And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Unemployment Woes… Good day… And a Tom Terrific Tuesday to you! What a HOTSIE TOTSIE weekend we had here in the Midwest… Lots of blazing sun sent outside partiers searching for shade and a breeze! But I like it that way! We cut down some very large trees that were almost dead last year, and most of our shade for the backyard was gone… But that didn’t stop everyone from having a good time at Braden Charles Butler’s birthday party! The currencies have been in search of some shade and a breeze too… But we did have a bit of healing on Thursday and Friday and in yesterday’s thinned out trading. Yesterday, the Big news was that recent polls revealed that the conservatives are holding on in Greece, which would allow some stabilization. In other news, Spain announced that they were going to recapitalize their troubled banks, and Italy held a solid bond auction. But that was yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away… no wait! That was yesterday, and today, all that good stuff for the risk assets is being wrapped up with yesterday’s fish… In other words… all those things aren’t helping today… Today, I’m seeing some slippage from the price levels of yesterday. Not only in the currencies but Gold & Silver as well. Right now, it’s just some small slippage, when the NY Traders return to their desks after a weekend at the Hamptons, they’ll decide which direction we’ll head to today… Will it be Risk On? Or Risk Off? In Germany this morning, another solid bond auction left German 10-year Bunds at record low yield of 1.347%… Stranger than fiction, people are lining up to buy these bonds at those levels… makes no sense to me… but, if you had to buy Eurozone, I certainly would load up with German bunds over the rest of the lot! So… if this auction carries any weight with the NY Traders, we could very well see a Risk On day… Right now, though, it’s a muddle through day… The debate about whether Germany would accept a Eurozone bond is still be bandied about… But, like I said on Friday, I like the concept of a bond fund to pay maturities from so that there would be no questions about the ability to pay back debt… Let’s hope for each country’s sovereignty sake that they choose wisely… You know… The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is a savvy politician… and not only has she backed the maturity fund idea, but has said to France’s new President, Hollande, Do you really want growth? I don’t think you can handle growth! (HA!) No, what she has actually done is propose a 6-point growth plan for the Eurozone, that uses a lot of the ideas that Germany has in place that has kept that economy going during these rough times for everyone else in the Eurozone. Like a Europe-wide program to promote start-ups and small and mid-sized business, that mirrors the program that has been so successful that is offered by the Kfw development bank in Germany… Merkel also want the rest of Europe to adopt the German model for dealing with unemployment, which involves reforming the labor markets of each country. Hey! At least she’s trying something! And if it has worked in Germany, why can’t it work elsewhere? That’s something I would like to see happen here in the U.S. that is a reform of the labor markets… If you want to get small businesses to ramp up their hiring, tell them that the protections against wrongful dismissal were being relaxed, and see what happens… But I better stop there, before I really get a lot of people mad at me for some of the other ideas to ramp up jobs… You can’t please all the people all the time, my dad used to tell me… and then something I learned a long time ago when I began performing in front of crowds with my guitar, “leave them wanting”… So… It looks like German inflation is falling… Amazing, but true, but I think it has to do with the slower activity in Germany (we’ve seen industrial production weaken, remember?). Most of the German states have reported falling inflation, and if that happens, I would have to think that the European Central Bank (ECB) would look to cut rates further… (so maybe buying those German bunds is so crazy!) The three-day advance by the Aussie dollar (A$) was stopped this morning, but the day is still new, and the A$ is only down by a very small amount right now… So, it’s nice to see it snap back! Not that I’m a cheerleader for the A$, it’s just when I see that something is oversold, it’s nice to see it snap back. And fundamentally, the A$ is still better than most currencies… Another currency that really snapped back last week was the Brazilian real… a 5.8% move in the currency just since 5/23, when it hit 2.1065… I doubt the Brazilian Gov’t likes seeing this strong move, and I wouldn’t be surprised to read or hear tomorrow that the Gov’t was in the market selling real to weaken it… In Norway, unemployment fell to a three year low with the most recent report… The tight labor market is going to make it very difficult for the Norges Bank (Norway’s Central Bank) to cut rates, as they’ve been discussing… Personally, I would like to see the Norges Bank take a step back from the rate cut table for the time being… The only reason the Norges Bank feel that rates need to go lower, is that they want the krone to get weaker VS the euro, and a debasement of the currency (rate cut) should do the trick… But Norges should think about how rate cuts, have been 50-50 on whether they help or hurt a currency, recently… China did not print their PMI (manufacturing index) this past weekend, as is their normal course of business, but instead is scheduled to print in two days, on the 31st… Remember what I told you last week about the Gov’t’s PMI and the private sector’s PMI issued by HSBC… This week’s report will be the Gov’t’s. color for manufacturing in May, and will go a long way toward restoring confidence in the global growth idea… Well… the British pound sterling, hasn’t seen that Olympics host country bounce yet… and maybe it won’t… But I would think that the closer to the opening of the Olympics we get, the better chance the currency has to see that host country bounce… We’ve talked about some snapping back currencies this morning… But one that is so low that to snap back right now would take something of the unordinary… The Indian rupee, can’t seem to catch a bid right now, and the Gov’t has been sitting on their hands watching this unfold. You may remember me telling you a couple of months ago, how the Indian Gov’t made an announcement that they would be protecting the rupee? And I chastised them 1. For getting involved, and 2. If they were going to get involved why had they waited so long? Well, that “protection” didn’t come, it was all talk and no walk… and as my dad used to tell me… money talks and bull….. walks… I used to think that India with its strong economic growth could overcome the problems that rising inflation brought them… But I was wrong… see what happens when you put faith in a Central Bank? The S&P/ CaseShiller Home Price Index for March will print today here in the U.S. From what I’ve seen lately, prices on homes are seeing some healing, and this report should confirm that… But, like I said before… the unemployment problem and the foreclosures that are coming down the pipeline will be enough to keep home prices in the dumps… Speaking of unemployment, I’ve got a story on that in the TTWS section of the Pfennig this morning… Maybe you’ll see what I’m talking about after reading that section this morning! Then There Was This… from the NY Times, talking about Unemployment Benefits… “In February, when the program was set to expire, Congress renewed it, but also phased in a reduction of the number of weeks of extended aid and effectively made it more difficult for states to qualify for the maximum aid. Since then, the jobless in 23 states have lost up to five months’ worth of benefits. Next month, an additional 70,000 people will lose benefits earlier than they presumed, bringing the number of people cut off prematurely this year to close to half a million, according to the National Employment Law Project. That estimate does not include people who simply exhausted the weeks of benefits they were entitled.” Chuck again… see what I mean now? Unemployment will continue to weigh heavily on any recovery in the home prices… That doesn’t mean that home prices can’t gain, it just means that the gains will be measured in small amounts due to the drag of the unemployed… To recap… In yesterday’s thinned out trading overseas, the currencies posted their 3rd consecutive day of healing. But that appears to have ended this morning. Chuck spends a lot of time talking about Germany this morning, but since they are the largest economy of the Eurozone, it makes sense… Currencies today 5/29/12… American Style: A$ .9845, kiwi .7605, C$ .9775, euro 1.2535, sterling 1.5690, Swiss $1.0435, … European Style: rand 8.3365, krone 6.0, SEK 7.1610, forint 238.15, zloty 3.4790, koruna 20.34, RUB 32.19, yen 79.50, sing 1.2775, HKD 7.7636, INR 55.79, China 6.3480, pesos 13.93, BRL 1.9825, Dollar Index 82.23, Oil $ 91.28, 10-year 1.72%, Silver $28.28, and Gold… $1,574.20 That’s it for today… well… I’m Home Alone… not that it changed anything this morning, as I get up and leave before anyone else is up… The kids were at the house yesterday, with the grandkids… Everett the EverBaby (he’s not a baby anymore) loves watermelon! So, he has something in common with me! The Cardinals turned things around the past two days, hopefully they can keep this going now… Friday was crazy here at work… a very long day for yours truly… I guess it’s good for me every now and then, eh? Keeps me out of the bars! HA! And then finally, the little girl that grew up next door to us, turned in her personal best Triple Jump at the Missouri Track Finals on Friday… so congrats to Jordan Yanker… When Jordan and Alex were little kids they played together all the time… Now they are in high school together, and probably don’t even exchange “hellos”… Oh well… time goes by… and so did today’s Pfennig! I hope you have a Tom Terrific Tuesday with the Mighty Manfred Wonder Dog! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837 read more

Despite the fact that the silver price spent all o

first_img Despite the fact that the silver price spent all of the New York trading session in the plus column, that state of affairs didn’t extent into the silver equities, as they followed a path almost identical to their golden brethren—and Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 0.28%. And as I write this paragraph, the London open is about ten minutes away.  Gold and silver are down a bit—six bucks in gold and a dime in silver—and both platinum and palladium are up a dollar or so.  Net gold volume is around 18,000 contracts—and silver’s net volume is around 4,600 contracts.  Both these volume figures are considerably lighter than they were this time yesterday.  The dollar index is rallying at the moment—and is currently up 23 basis points as of this writing—and just under the 93.00 mark once again. Of course the big news in the precious metal market yesterday was the third counterintuitive withdrawal from the SLV ETF within the last week.  As I mentioned at the top of this column—6.75 million ounces were withdrawn yesterday—and that’s on top of the 4.55 million ounces that were taken out on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. And as I also mentioned, just under 32 million troy ounces has been withdrawn from SLV since December 1, 2014—and not a peep out of anyone except Ted Butler about this.  Why this story isn’t big news on every precious metal website on Planet Earth is beyond my comprehension, as the gold pundits bisect and dissect every squiggle in GLD, the gold ETF—but pass on SLV.  What is it with these people??? Here’s Nick’s 1-year chart of the SLV ETF showing the counterintuitive withdrawals beginning on December 1, 2014. The third counterintuitive withdrawal from the SLV ETF within the last week The gold price rallied in early Far East trading on their Wednesday morning before getting capped in heavy volume around 2:30 p.m. Hong Kong time.  It got sold down about six bucks from there, but once the noon London silver fix was in, the price rallied anew as the dollar index began to roll over in earnest.  Then someone hit the “sell precious metals/buy the U.S. dollar” button at the 9:30 a.m. EST open of the equity markets in New York—and shortly before 10:30 a.m. the gold price was at its low tick of the day—and back below the $1,300 spot level, which had it had breached to the upside in afternoon trading in the Far East earlier on their Wednesday.  It recovered about ten bucks of that sell-off by 2:30 p.m.—and quietly sold down a bit during the remainder of the electronic trading session. The high and low tick were reported by the CME Group as $1,307.00 and $1,284.60 in the February contract. Gold closed yesterday in New York at $1,292.90 spot, down $1.30 from Tuesday’s close.  Net volume was way up there once again at around 177,000 contracts. Then the other question that begs an answer is why all the counterintuitive deposits in SLV between mid-July and the end of September last year as the price of silver fell steadily?  Questions that are searching for answers that the main stream precious metal “analysts” won’t touch.  Why? And as I send this off to Stowe, Vermont at 4:55 a.m. EST, I see that gold is still down about the same as it was just before the London open, silver is only down a nickel, platinum is up 4 bucks—and palladium has been sold down below yesterday’s closing price in New York.  Gold’s net volume is around 25,000 contracts—and silver’s net volume is around 6,500 contracts, so not much has happened in the last couple of hours of London trading.  But the dollar index has rolled over—and is now down 3 basis points.  It was up 23 basis points two hours ago. That’s all I have for today—and I’ll see you here tomorrow. Here’s the 10-minute gold chart from Brad Robertson.  Note the usual high volume in New York during early trading on the COMEX.  The chart ends around 11 a.m. EST.  But not to be overlooked is the volume in Far East trading on their Wednesday.  This is what stopped the gold rally dead in its tracks before the London open.  Silver’s rally was stopped in a similar fashion.  Midnight [12 p.m. MDT on this chart] represents 3 p.m. Hong Kong time—and an hour before the London open.  Almost all the Far East volume was done by then. The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that 54 gold and 34 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Friday.  In gold, the only short/issuer was JPMorgan out of its client account—and Canada’s Scotiabank and Credit Suisse stopped 41 and 12 contracts respectively.  In silver, Jefferies was the short/issuer on 28 contracts—and Scotiabank stopped 32 contracts.  The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here. The CME Preliminary Report for the Wednesday trading session showed that gold open interest in January increased by 25 contracts—and now stands at 115 contracts—minus the 54 contracts mentioned above.  Silver’s January o.i. is now down to 37 contracts—and 34 of those were posted for delivery on Friday as per the previous paragraph. Surprisingly enough, there was a withdrawal from GLD yesterday, as an authorized participant took out 57,622 troy ounces.  But when it comes to the SLV action, words fail me.  I must admit that when I checked the website early yesterday evening, I wasn’t sure what to expect, although unchanged or a small deposit wouldn’t have surprised me.  But what I found was one of the biggest one-day withdrawals in my memory, as an authorized participant took out a stunning 6,749,403 troy ounces.  What the #$%& is going on??? Since January 1, 2015—11.3 million ounces of silver have been withdrawn from SLV—and from the beginning of December, just under 32 million troy ounces of silver have been taken out—about 1,000 tonnes of the stuff. Let me quote, in part, what I had to say about this state of affairs in yesterday’s column— Ignoring the price shenanigans in silver from November 28 to the end of December 2014—silver has rallied over $2.50 from the beginning of the 2015 calendar year—and not one ounce has been deposited.  Only withdrawals.  So it’s obvious that authorized participants, particularly JPMorgan, have been shorting the shares of SLV in lieu of depositing real metal, as the metal to deposit obviously doesn’t exist. The confounding thing about all this, is that only Ted Butler is talking about it.  The other so-called silver analysts out there—and they’re all “so-called”—treat this issue like they would the Ebola virus.  They won’t come near it.  As I said last week, dear reader, you have to ask yourself why this is the case? This, and the manic in/out movements in COMEX warehouse silver stocks—and the record high silver eagles and silver maple leaf sales in the face of punk retail sales—are the silver stories of the decade, if not this very young 21st century.  Why, why, why is nobody else talking about this!!! This whole thing screams of what some might call a fraud or a scam—and on a biblical scale! The good folks over at Switzerland’s Zürcher Kantonalbank updated their website with the changes in their gold and silver ETFs for the period ending Friday, January 16—and this is what they had to report.  For the first time in at least two years, both their gold and silver ETFs showed increases from the prior week.  Their gold ETF added 7,961 troy ounces—and their silver ETF added a chunky 378,623 troy ounces. There was only a tiny sales report from the U.S. Mint, as they only reported selling 2,500 troy ounces of gold eagles. There were no in/out movements in gold worthy of the name at the COMEX-approved depositories on Monday.  Once again it was a big day in silver, as 717,077 troy ounces were received—and 148,096 troy ounces were shipped out the door for parts unknown.  The link to the silver activity is here. Another day—and once again there was no December update to the website of The Central Bank of the Russia Federation.  I’ll report on this situation every day going forward until it occurs. I have a very decent number of stories for you today—and once again I’ll let you perform the final edit. There appear to be two distinct forces to the budding gold and silver price rally this year – futures positioning on the COMEX and Western physical metal buying, principally in the ETFs (exchange traded funds). Futures buying by speculators on the COMEX actually began before year end, at the price lows of early November and in some ways is now quite advanced. Most likely in the COT report to be released on Friday, speculators will have bought more than 100,000 net COMEX gold contracts (10 million oz) and 40,000 COMEX silver contracts (200 million oz) through the close yesterday since November. Of course, traders identified as commercials (but who are really also speculators) sold an equivalent number of the paper contracts since early November, since there must be a seller for every buyer—and vice versa. Based upon the raw quantities of the equivalent metal involved, it is fairly straightforward to conclude that COMEX futures positioning was the prime factor behind the price rally to date. The flip side to speculative buying/commercial selling on the COMEX is that when the speculators are done buying, the commercials then look to induce those speculators to sell—and the risk of a sell-off grows high. I call this manipulation because COMEX futures positioning causes prices to first rise and then fall with little regard to what’s occurring in the actual world of gold and silver;  but some are content to call it just the way markets work (or ignore it completely). Regardless of what you call it, the risk of a sell-off grows as speculators continue to buy COMEX futures and commercials sell. In fact, the only reason for why a sell-off might occur is if the commercials are successful in rigging a sell-off to induce speculative selling. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 21 January 2015 I’m not sure how you wish to interpret the precious metal and dollar index antics that occurred around the open of the U.S. equity markets yesterday, but it didn’t look like anything that resembled free-market forces to me—but that’s just my opinion. Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals as of the close of trading yesterday—and it’s too soon to tell whether we’ve seen the tops of the current rallies or not.  As I’ve said on several occasions in the last week or so, that decision is entirely up to JPMorgan et al.  But, having said that, it would be my guess that they won’t have an easy time of it in the face of what else is going on in the world these days. Platinum got sold down the moment that trading began in New York on Tuesday evening—and then chopped higher, hitting its high tick shortly before 10 a.m. in Zurich.  The price held in there until 9:30 a.m. EST as well—and after the sell-off, the price traded sideways into the close of electronic trading.  Platinum finished the day at $1,269 spot, down 9 bucks from Tuesday’s close.center_img The silver chart for the Wednesday trading session was a virtual carbon copy of the gold chart—and it was obvious that the silver price was headed for the moon and the stars before that not-for-profit seller put in an appearance at 9:30 a.m. in New York.  The high tick in silver came at the same time as gold’s, but silver’s low tick occurred shortly before 9 a.m. Hong Kong time. The low and high were reported by the CME Group as $17.915 and $18.505 in the March contract. Silver finished the Wednesday session in New York at $18.11 spot, up 13.5 cents from Tuesday’s close.  Net volume was very chunky at 54,000 contracts. The dollar index closed around 93.04 late on Tuesday afternoon in New York—and began to head south the moment that trading began in the Far East on their Wednesday morning, with the 92.25 low tick coming at 9:45 a.m. EST in New York.  Ten minutes prior to that, a buyer of last resort had shown up to catch the falling dollar knife—and also kill the rally in the precious metals.  The dollar index topped out at 93.05 just minutes after 12 o’clock noon EST—and started drifting lower once the COMEX trading session ended, finishing the day at 92.71—down 33 basis points. I certainly would like to know what happened inside the U.S. dollar index between 9:20 and 9:45 a.m. EST—as the volatility was off the charts for a bit. The gold stocks started in the plus column, but couldn’t hold on because of the seller of last resort in the metal itself.  The shares hit their low at gold’s low—and then rallied quietly, but unsteadily for the remainder of the Wednesday session, as the HUI closed down 0.92%. Palladium rallied five dollars or so in morning trading in the Far East—and then hung in there until Zurich opened at 4 p.m. Hong Kong time, which as 10 a.m. Europe time.  It was all down hill from there, until 2 p.m. EST—and then it traded more or less flat into the 5:15 p.m. close of electronic trading.  Palladium was closed at $765 spot, down 9 bucks on the day. The agreement with Sumitomo on the Fourth of July project is a great compliment to our recent agreement with Newmont Mining on the Wood Hills South project. We also have the Arabia, Golden Shears and some generative efforts being funded through our joint venture business model. We have enough capital in the bank to last two more years and no debt. The share structure remains at 33.5 million fully diluted. We are very well positioned to have a major win with an incredible share structure. Renaissance Gold has proven through the joint venture business model what exploration success with a tight share structure can do. Renaissance is the spinout of AuEx Ventures that sold in 2010 and made just shy of 100x their first private placement. It takes technical strength and fiscal conservatism to generate meaningful share holder returns in the high risk exploration business. Please visit our website for more information.last_img read more