Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has reminded the Sarbananda Sonowal government of the commitment to clarify its stand on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, “now that the updated draft of the National Register of Citizens has been published”.Also Read Now clarify stand on Citizenship Bill: Tarun Gogoi
TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Real Madrid wing-back Hakimi: Best decision to join Borussia Dortmundby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid wing-back Achraf Hakimi says his move to Borussia Dortmund has been the best decision of his career.Hakimi is on-loan at BVB this season.He said, “I grew up in the youth clubs of Real Madrid, with whom I did the whole route up to the first team, but I needed to change, I need to grow as a player, gaining more space and achieving new goals as a starter.”In Dortmund everything is going well, I hope it goes on for a long time.”I am very happy to be here. It was not easy to adapt, but now I find myself at ease.”
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd draw up plans for four new signingsby Paul Vegas23 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United plan to make four new signings for the start of next season.The Manchester Evening News says United want to sign a full back, midfielder, a forward and a striker to add depth and quality to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad.United chiefs ‘held a recruitment meeting’ at the start of last month to begin drafting a shortlist of targets for the January transfer window and next summer.It is claimed that James Maddison, Jadon Sancho, Ben Chilwell and Declan Rice are principal targets as they look to continue their recent transfer strategy of purchasing young, British players.The club know that those deals would require significant negotiating and therefore the club is also drafting a longer list of targets.
TagsTransfersOpinionAbout the authorChris BeattieShare the loveHave your say Christian Pulisic flop? Why the US whiz on outer at Chelseaby Chris Beattie23 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveCOMMENT: He can’t say he was never told. Christian Pulisic and his far from hoped for start at Chelsea. The advice now being relayed through the press is spot on. Well, at least some of it is…First, let’s put the fantasists to one side. There’s no anti-American bias at Cobham. And there’s no belief amongst the coaching staff, including manager Frank Lampard, that Pulisic is the wrong fit for his system. Such claims, as we’ve seen in recent days, is simply the stuff of mischief-making.Indeed, the opposite is true. Lampard and his backroom team know they have a potential world-beater on their hands. They know the ability Pulisic possesses. But they need the American to come out of his shell more. To stretch himself amongst his teammates and on the training the pitch. “He needs to fight for it”, as one Cobham source told this column a week ago.As mentioned, no-one doubts Pulisic’s ability inside Chelsea. Like us on the outside, they’ve already seen it in glimpses in preseason and the limited action Lampard has handed him thus far. And we say handed, as for the moment the consensus amongst those pushing the witches hats around is that Pulisic isn’t doing enough in training to warrant selection. And it’s not so much what he does in drills and bounce games – “he keeps it all nice and tidy” – but in his overall drive to get himself ahead of teammates currently occupying what should be his place. As Jurgen Klinsmann, the former USA coach, put it this week, Pulisic needs to get “nasty”.If Pulisic doesn’t have Klinsmann’s number, then you hope his father, Mark, can reach out to the German great and have him call his son. Klinsmann’s interview this week discussing Pulisic’s problems nailed it. He hit many of the points our source made last week. Not just the need for the 21 year-old to show a willingness to compete for his place, but also how he is in unchartered water. As we were told, this is the first time in Pulisic’s career where set expectations are waiting to be met. The staff at Chelsea understand this. They’ve seen it before. But it’s up to the player to cut loose from what he’s known.As Klinsmann says, “He’s a very special player, he’s tremendously talented, but this is a big step, because Borussia Dortmund was also basically the club where he got formed into a professional player.”He came out of the youth system there, he moved himself up, he had all the support within the club and now going to London…”We’d also add Pulisic’s international career to Klinsmann’s assessment. The German capped Pulisic at 17, with no great expectation. At that stage in his career, everything he achieved at senior level was a bonus. It was all about learning his craft, gaining experience. He was given the time and space to adjust to international football. To meet it’s demands. Just as he was with Dortmund.But now he’s in a very different environment. A reputation needs to be built. New relationships established. And a realisation must dawn that he’s not entitled to anything. No-one is going to give him a free pass. Or better yet, a free place in the manager’s XI.Klinsmann again: “He will go through a phase now where more and more he needs to bring his elbows out to fight himself through the system, at Chelsea it goes from game to game, week to week. “You’re basically in training, and you have to tell the coach: ‘I’m in, I’m going to start this game, you have to become nasty to make yourself a starter.”From what we know, Klinsmann and Lampard aren’t close. But the German was definitely helping Chelsea’s manager this week. Klinsmann essentially parrotting what Lampard had stated after leaving Pulisic on the bench for the home defeat to Valencia.”He’s shown some really good moments,” reasoned Lampard, “but what he has to do, as all the players have to, not just the wingers, is reach levels in training daily that make you sit up and go ‘here’s my team selection and that’s actually affected it, I have seen good stuff’. That’s the same for every player in the squad.”Training ground form and application is what makes Lampard tick. It’s what transformed a chubby, but talented, midfielder at West Ham, into a modern day great at Chelsea. Going through the motions. Doing just enough to get by. It just won’t survive within a Lampard-managed squad.Pulisic has been given some great advice this week. And he can make it at Chelsea – so long as he acts upon what Klinsmann says.
zoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: PxHere under CC0 Creative Commons license Bermuda-based shipowner Ship Finance International Limited (SFL) invested USD 1.2 billion in new assets in 2018, continuing its fleet renewal efforts.As explained, these transactions added USD 1.3 billion in future contracted charter revenue.The company intends to seek further growth opportunities and maintains a strong liquidity position “in order to be able to act decisively.”“We believe the combination of a challenging banking market for many players and low asset prices will create significant opportunities for Ship Finance in finding investment opportunities with limited downside on asset values,” SFL said.SFL had a fleet of 86 vessels comprising tankers, bulkers, containerships and rigs at the end of 2018, with only one of the original tankers remaining.“We have continuously renewed and grown our portfolio and diversified our charter revenue backlog across multiple segments and counterparties. SFL has transformed from a pure vessel leasing company, serving one related party, to a multi-faceted organization with USD 3.8 billion in contracted future revenues,” Ole B. Hjertaker, CEO of Ship Finance Management AS, commented.SFL reported a net income of USD 3.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, down from the net income of USD 29.7 million seen a quarter earlier. The decrease was due to a USD 35.7 million non-cash impairment related to offshore supply vessels.On the other hand, total operating revenues were USD 118.6 million in Q4 2018, higher when compared to revenues of USD 111 million posted in Q3 2018.During the fourth quarter, the company delivered the third 10,600 TEU container vessel on long term charter to Maersk Line. SFL also acquired two 19,400 TEU container vessels on long term charters to MSC.The company concluded more than USD 840 million lease financings in Asia for eight container vessels in Q4 2018.At the end of the quarter, SFL had ten debt free vessels, with a combined charter free value of USD 200 million.
EDMONTON, A.B. — The spring sitting of the Alberta legislature is set to begin, with the focus on pipelines and the economy.The session opens Thursday with a speech from the throne, and Government House Leader Brian Mason says the first order of business the following Monday is a debate on pipelines.Mason says all members of the legislature will be asked to vote on a government motion that makes it clear to the rest of Canada its support for Alberta’s efforts on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Alberta has been fighting with British Columbia over the pipeline, which has been approved by the federal government but has met resistance from the B.C. government.The opposition United Conservatives have already voiced support for getting Trans Mountain built, but have disagreed with how Premier Rachel Notley’s NDP is waging the fight.The centrepiece of the session comes March 22, when Finance Minister Joe Ceci delivers the fiscal 2018 budget.
New Delhi: The officer held responsible for the accidental shooting down of a military helicopter at the height of India-Pakistan tension in February will be charged by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for culpable homicide not amounting to murder along with three others, according to reports. The IAF is yet to officially acknowledge reasons for the Mi-17 helicopter’s crash on February 27, the day Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter jets attempted to cross the Line of Control (LoC). But reports suggest that it was shot down in a friendly fire by IAF’s own air defence missile. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework The Court of Inquiry into the incident killing all six onboard is yet to be completed. The IAF maintains that the investigation was still going on but multiple reports indicate that there was a lapse in following the Standard Operating Procedures. A report said that the officer commanding the Srinagar air base, where the crash took place, has been removed. The officer who was presiding over operations will face charges of culpable homicide, a criminal offence, according to another report. The incident had occurred in Jammu and Kashmir in the melee when IAF jets had engaged intruding PAF fighters over the LoC a day after air strike on terrorist camp in Pakistan’s Balakot.
The winners of these two matches will play each other on July 9 at 4 p.m. EDT. See our World Cup predictions for the latest probabilities.In DepthThe second- and third-lowest-scoring teams to make the quarterfinals of this World Cup square off against each other in Saturday’s early game (Belgium, with six goals, vs. Argentina, with seven), and then the lowest-scoring team (Costa Rica, with five goals) faces the highest-scoring side (the Netherlands, which has scored 12).Let’s look at Belgium vs. Argentina first.Since Argentina ignominiously exited the 2010 World Cup with a second consecutive quarterfinal loss to Germany, little Lionel Messi has been dominating the world of soccer like nothing we’ve seen in modern times.After scoring only one goal in both his previous World Cup tournaments combined, this year he’s taken the tournament by storm, scoring four goals (including a stoppage-time game-winner against Iran) in his first three matches, and recording the game-winning assist with just minutes remaining in the fourth.Stoking questions about whether it relies too much on Messi, however, the rest of his team has been awful on offense; Argentina’s other players have managed to put the same number of balls into their opponents’ nets (one) as those opponents have themselves (Bosnia’s own goal). Argentina’s shooting breaks down like so:Messi has scored on four of 16 shots (including converting three of 11 attempts from outside the penalty area).In the 18 shots set up by Messi (the highest number of chances created by any player going into the quarterfinals), Argentina has scored once (Angel di Maria’s game-winner against Switzerland).In the 46 shots Messi was not involved in, Argentina has scored only once, failing to score on all 42 attempts from outside the 6-yard box.Thus — despite having Messi, and despite Messi playing brilliantly — Argentina has only scored on 7.5 percent of its shot attempts, second-worst among quarterfinalists.Belgium, on the other hand, has seen six different players score. But that’s only six goals; even though Belgium has taken a tournament-leading 21 shots per game, the Red Devils have scored on only 7.2 percent of those shots, the worst of all quarterfinalists.Belgium has largely gotten by on excellent goalkeeping, with Thibaut Courtois allowing only two goals despite facing 13 shots on goal worth 4.84 expected goals (using ESPN/TruMedia’s Expected Goals model). His .22 “goals allowed below average” (GABA) per shot is the highest of remaining goalies (higher is better).Another team with good goalkeeping so far is Costa Rica, whose Keylor Navas has saved 14 of 16 shots on goal, with an average GABA of .21 per shot, good for second behind Courtois.Neither Costa Rica nor the Netherlands are what you’d call possession teams: Despite their impressive run, the Netherlands has held the ball just 44 percent of the time, and Costa Rica has held it 42 percent (the only other quarterfinalist with less than 50 percent possession was Colombia, with 46 percent). The flip side of playing this way is that these two teams also lead quarterfinalists in average pass distance (21.7 and 20.8 yards, respectively).But for the most part, Costa Rica seems badly overmatched. While they’ve shot a respectable 14.3 percent, that’s mostly because they’ve been unable to get shots at all — they’ve taken about nine shots per game, averaging only three on goal. Both those figures are by far the lowest of any remaining squad.The Netherlands, on the other hand, had one the most impressive runs into the quarterfinals. The Dutch faced the most difficult route (their opponents had an average Soccer Power Index rating of 80.0), but so far have the second-highest goal differential at +8.The Netherlands has been far superior on contested plays. When taking on defenders, the Flying Dutchmen have been successful a whopping 69 percent of the time. That compares to just 31 percent for Costa Rica. The Netherlands has won contested balls in the air at a 57 percent rate, compared to 36 percent for Costa Rica.In trying to find what, aside from good fortune and good goalkeeping, has driven Costa Rica’s gritty run (it’s scraped by against the second-hardest schedule), just about the only thing I could come up with was evidence of how well it’s run the offside trap. Costa Rica has drawn an enormous number of offsides calls: It’s pulled its opponents offsides 28 times (the next-most among quarterfinalists was 12, by Germany).Overall, our World Cup odds give Argentina a 14.9 percent chance of winning it all, the Netherlands an 11.8 percent chance, Belgium a 2.3 percent chance, and Costa Rica a 0.7 percent chance.YesterdayIn the first competitive match between France and Germany since the semifinals of the 1986 World Cup, Germany took the lead early with a headed goal by defender Mats Hummels. It was Hummels’s second goal of the World Cup, making him the first defender to score twice in this year’s tournament (he would get company later in the day). Both of Hummels’s goals have been headers, and both have been by assisted by Toni Kroos.For Germany, headers are nothing new: Over the past 50 years (as far back as ESPN Stats & Info’s data set goes), Germany has scored 37 headed goals in World Cup play, nearly twice as many as any other country (Italy has 19). Scoring first — by head or foot — has been Germany’s recipe for success in the World Cup, especially as of late. The Germans are 21-0-2 in their last 23 World Cup matches when scoring first, their last loss coming in the 1994 quarterfinals to Bulgaria.France, on the other hand, trailed for the first time at this year’s tournament, and still has never won in a World Cup match when trailing at halftime, losing all 11 times. Les Bleus made efforts to equalize, ending up with more shots (13) than Germany (8), and more chances created (10 to 7). But it was all for naught.In Friday’s second match, Brazil opened the scoring in the seventh minute, its fastest goal of the tournament. The goal came from a Neymar corner kick, his first assist of the tournament. It was Thiago Silva’s first career World Cup goal, and it was Brazil’s third goal from a corner, tied with France and Germany for the most in this World Cup.Brazil was in control for the remainder of the first half, completing seven of 15 passes into the attacking penalty area and creating seven total chances. Neymar created four chances, including the assist; Colombia, as a team, created two in the first half.Brazil extended its lead to 2-0 on defender David Luiz’s 34-yard free kick, the second-longest goal of the tournament. Luiz failed to score in his first 39 career international appearances, but he has found the back of the net in his last two. Brazil has now taken a two-goal lead in a World Cup match 49 times, and has won all 49.The breakout star in the tournament so far, Colombia’s James Rodriguez, converted a penalty to give his side hope; he scored in all five of his games in the tournament. It was his sixth goal, giving him a two-goal lead in the race for the Golden Boot. Colombia scored five goals combined in its last two World Cup appearances (1994 and 1998).Brazil and Germany’s semifinal meeting on Tuesday will, incredibly, mark only the second time these two countries have met at the World Cup. The other was the 2002 final, won by Brazil 2-0. — Jacob Nitzberg, senior statistics analyst, ESPNOff the PitchThe Netherlands and Costa Rica have been friends for a while. In fact, the Dutch were a big source of aid to the Costa Ricans until recently, when the latter ascended to middle-income status. The relationship has gradually shifted to focus more on trade and economic cooperation, but it’s still worth looking at the aid the Netherlands provided over the years.AidData reports that the Dutch sent about $362.5 million Costa Rica’s way between 1978 and 2010. The bulk allocation changed with time, and in the 1980s seemed to focus on industry growth, with $1 million going toward agriculture in 1981, $31 million toward imports to Costa Rica in 1984 and $7 million toward forestry in 1989. The ‘90s began a slow transition, with $17 million spent on multisector industry growth in 1994, $22 million on debt alleviation in 1996 and $21 million on general environmental protection in 1997. With this final pivot, it looks like Costa Rica found its stride — environmental protection continued to be the focus of Dutch aid through 2006, with a final peak of $17 million. Since then, Costa Rica’s tourism industry has boomed, and Dutch aid has all but completely ended.Further ReadingMohawks, Faux-hawks And Macklemores: The Top-Heavy Hairdos of the World CupThe World Cup USMNT Replacement Team Power RankingsStop Making Sense It’s Old Dutch Empire vs. Old Spanish Empire day, as Argentina (independent from Spain since 1816) takes on Belgium (independent from the Netherlands since 1830), and Costa Rica (independent from Spain since 1821) takes on the Netherlands itself.In BriefArgentina vs. Belgium: 12 p.m. EDTNetherlands vs. Costa Rica 4 p.m. EDT
Christian Bryant, safety C.J. Barnett, safety Kenny Guiton, quarterback Corey “Pitt” Brown, safety Bradley Roby, cornerback Jordan Hall, running back Andrew Norwell, offensive lineman Jack Mewhort, offensive lineman Corey “Philly” Brown, wide receiver Marcus Hall, offensive lineman Chris Fields, wide receiver Former quarterback Kenny Guiton (13) celebrates a touchdown with former wide receiver Chris Fields (80) and former center Corey Linsley (71) during a game against California Sept. 14, at California Memorial Stadium. OSU won, 52-34.Credit: Eric Seger / Sports editorOhio State is set to hold its Pro Day Friday, and a total of 17 former Buckeyes are on the docket to show their skills.Per an OSU press release, 69 NFL scouts and team personnel are scheduled to attend the Pro Day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center to get a look at the former Buckeyes — 16 of which were part of last season’s 12-2 squad.The one player who wasn’t on the team last year is Etienne Sabino, a linebacker who played for OSU from 2008-12. Sabino went undrafted in the 2013 NFL Draft, and last played professionally with the New York Giants where he signed April 27 as an unrestricted free agent.According to the release, the NFL allows players to participate in pro days a year after leaving the school.OSU’s Pro Day is likely the final chance former Buckeyes will get to make an impression on NFL teams before the 2014 NFL Draft begins May 8.Below is list of the players scheduled to compete at Pro Day, although the events each will be participating in is unknown: George Makradis, long snapper Etienne Sabino, linebackerRyan Shazier, linebacker Drew Basil, kicker Carlos Hyde, running back Corey Linsley, offensive lineman
Harry Kane has urged his England teammates to win the UEFA Nations League in the bid to end their trophy drought after reaching the semifinals next summer.The Three Lions came from behind to beat World Cup runners-up Croatia 2-1 at Wembley, a result that saw Gareth Southgate’s side progress to a four-team mini-tournament in Portugal and relegated their opponents.“It’s definitely an opportunity for us,” Kane told ESPN. “It’s another semifinal, two wins away from winning a trophy, so whoever we play will be a tough game when you look at the other groups.“We are going to have to beat another top nation, but we have shown we can do it.“It is a great feeling, I said the other day, nobody really knows how big this competition is going to become, you don’t really get many opportunities to win a tournament in an England shirt, so we have got to try and take full advantage of that. And it’s another semifinal for the fans to look forward to as well.Crouch: Liverpool could beat Man United to Jadon Sancho Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Peter Crouch wouldn’t be surprised to see Jadon Sancho end up at Liverpool one day instead of his long-term pursuers Manchester United.“We are professionals, we want to win everything we do, whether it is a new tournament or an old tournament we want to win. It’s a chance to win a trophy in an England shirt so we are going to try and do that.”Kane highlighted the Wembley crowd was a major factor in spurring them on to victory.“It’s incredible, I’ve never seen Wembley like this in an England shirt,” he said. “We want to make everyone proud. I know they’ll enjoy this one.“We felt the crowd. We felt their presence. That’s what we need everywhere we go. It felt good. The lads stuck at it, we showed our character, stayed calm and deserved to win.”
BNP chairperson and former prime minister Khaleda Zia sits with her party’s standing committee members at her Gulshan residence on Thursday night. Photo: BNPAhead of her UK tour, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda Zia sat with her party’s standing committee members, the highest policymaking body of it, Thursday night, reports UNB.The meeting began around 9:40pm at the BNP chief’s Gulshan residence with Khaleda in the chair.Party insiders said the BNP chief convened the meeting to discuss the country’s overall political situation and work out its next course of actions.At the meeting, she will provide necessary directives to the party policymakers and advise them on how to strengthen the party activities in her absence as she is going to the United Kingdom (UK) for a long time.A leader close to Khaleda said she is scheduled to leave Dhaka for London at 7 pm on Saturday by an Emirates Airlines flight.He also said the BNP chief will receive eye treatment and may return home after celebrating Eid-ul-Azha there with her family members, including her eldest son and party senior vice chairman Tarique Rahman, who has long been living there.
The family of Terrence Sterling, the man who was shot and killed by a Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officer after leaving a bachelor party earlier this month, recently held a press conference about the incident and their steps moving forward.Sterling’s family and their legal representation appeared before media members on Sept. 29 at the Thurgood Marshall Center in Northwest D.C., which is about a 10-minute drive from the area where Sterling, 31, was shot and killed by police on Sept. 11. An investigation is currently underway by the U.S. Department of Justice.The Terrence Sterling family and legal team held a press conference at the D.C. Thurgood Marshall Center Sept. 29 to describe their concerns surrounding the fatal shooting.“The family thanks the mayor for beginning the investigation,” said Jason Downs, one of the attorneys representing Sterling’s family. “The family is aware that the released portions of the body camera footage and the unreleased portions of the footage leave many questions unanswered.”The footage only catches the period after Sterling was shot; Officer Brian Trainer said he forgot to turn on his body camera during the incident. Another officer, who was driving the police cruiser occupied by Trainer, 27, had their camera turned off as well. Both officers were placed on administrative leave.Investigators are still working through evidence. Downs, a trial lawyer with Murphy, Falcon & Murphy of Baltimore, said he is hopeful that justice officials will conduct a “complete, thorough and transparent investigation.”According to police reports, Sterling was seen driving his motorcycle “recklessly” on Sept. 11 near the 1700 block of U Street in Northwest D.C. A few minutes later, another officer saw a motorcycle matching the same description near 3rd Street and M Street Northwest. When the officer exited the passenger side of the police cruiser to stop the driver, Sterling “intentionally” drove into the passenger door and the officer fired his weapon.According to Downs, Sterling had gunshot wounds in his back and neck. However, Downs said he did not know the number of times Sterling was shot.“There is a question as to whether this was a vehicle pursuit and if so, why were they pursuing Mr. Sterling? There’s no evidence that he was a felon and you need to know that you cannot pursue anyone in the District of Columbia for a simple traffic violation,” Downs told reporters.According to a 2003 General Order on the MPD website, an officer can only use deadly force in a vehicle pursuit if all other methods of arresting the “fleeing felon” have been used unsuccessfully, the suspect poses a threat of death to themselves or others, the suspected crime could or has resulted in deadly harm, the person who is fleeing has committed or attempted to commit a crime and lives of others will not be endangered if the felon is pursued.Downs said Sterling didn’t appear to be armed.“It appears that he was killed unlawfully, unjustly and there is a legitimate question as to where that Officer was seen and where he was when he fired the fatal shot that killed Mr. Sterling,” he said.Downs said that the family questions whether a police union representative, who was seen on the unreleased portion of the footage, was called first or if an ambulance was called first. The family has not requested an independent autopsy.“The family of Terrence Sterling deserve better, this community deserves justice. Terrence Sterling deserves justice and the family is hopeful that our governmental officials continue conducting a transparent, timely and thorough investigation in pursuing justice for Terrence Sterling,” Downs said.Investigators are attempting to determine whether or not the police officers had the right to pursue Sterling or whether there is any additional surveillance footage, according to Nicole Chapple, public information officer with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice.As that investigation continues, Sterling’s death has provoked changes in procedures for Metropolitan Police Department officers and personnel. Since the incident, Chapple said 911 dispatchers are now reminding officers to turn on cameras; when responding to calls, officers who wear body cameras must acknowledge that they have activated the camera. In addition to the reminders and confirmations, training procedures are being modified at MPD Tactical Village, the department’s training facility, and are expected to be initiated within 30 days.
Kolkata: After Mishti Hub, Muslin Hub and similar other clusters, the state government is likely to lay the foundation stone for the construction of the long-proposed ‘lighting hub’ in Chandannagar on February 22.Speaking to the Press on the sidelines of a seminar organised by the Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday, the minister of Technical Education, Training and Skill Development Purnendu Basu said: “Chandannagar is famous for its lighting displays worldwide. But the workers who are involved in this segment have training of the traditional kind and they learn the craft by observing others. Unfortunately, the number of these workers is plummeting.” Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata Bose”The foundation stone of the lighting hub is most likely to be laid on February 22, when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will visit the Hooghly district. The government has sanctioned Rs 12 crore for the project and the site of the project has also been decided,” he added. Last year, the Bengal government had announced funding for the proposed lighting hub, to give a structured boost to the industry by creating a special zone. Basu further said: “Apart from the lighting hub, the state government has also decided to open an institute in the area. This will be an industrial training institute (ITI) which will train people in electrical work, wiring and use of digital medium, helping the workers learn the craft better. Teachers who want to provide training in this institute are welcome to come and teach these workers.” Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataSpeaking at a seminar on ‘Way forward to skill Bengal: Reforms, Challenges and Imperatives’, Basu also said that India faces a serious shortage of skilled workers and only about 2 percent of workers have received skill training. A large section of the workforce lack skills and are hence unemployable. There is a need to identify the skill gap and bridge the gap with help from experts. Apart from the West Bengal Skill Development Mission, the Bengal government had also launched the flagship scheme of ‘Utkarsh Bangla’ in 2016, to deliver skill development training and to create an industry-ready workforce. Capacity building is taking place through the programme, which aims to train at least 6 lakh youths annually. The portal has been a success and it has allowed convergence of different stakeholders. The government is providing training at ITIs, as well as other institutions including private-public partnerships, he maintained.
Eutelsat’s order backlog has increased almost 10% to a record €5.3 billion, the satellite operator said on announcing its first half 2011-2012 results. This follows the launch of two new satellites to expand its presence in the Middle East, Africa, central Europe and the Indian Ocean islands.Video applications remain Eutelsat’s key business, generating first half revenues of €403.3, 67% of total revenues and a 2.9% year-on-year increase. By the end of 2011, Eutelsat’s fleet was delivering 4,173 channels, 391 more than a year earlier. The number of HD channels transmitted by the fleet increased 45.1% to 283.Total revenues amounted to €602.4 million, up 4.6%. A refinancing deal finalised in December meant net income was down 10.1% to €157 million.“With new in-orbit resources recently entered into service, the Group remains on track to achieve annual revenues of over €1,235 million for the current fiscal year. This objective is however more challenging in view of the current competitive environment in some regions and a partial delay in the roll-out of Ka-Sat services. The EBITDA target of over €955 million for the current year is confirmed,” said Eutelsat CEO Michel de Rosen.
Russian service provider MTS lost 12% of its pay TV subscribers last year, potentially knocking it out of the list of the top three fixed line pay TV operators in the country, according to the latest figures from iKS Consulting.MTS had 2.58 million TV customers at the end of 2013, down from 2.94 million in 2012, according to iKS, as reported by Vedemosti.MTS said that the fall was largely attributable to a dropping off in the number of people taking its social TV packages via collective antenna systems as the operator migrated services from analogue to digital.According to iKS, MTS now has over 600,000 digital subscribers, triple the amount at the end of 2012, meaning that the proportion of digital subscribers in MTS’s base is higher than that of other fixed line providers.The operator said that its TV ARPU grew over the same period.According to iKS Consulting, the pay TV market in Russia grew by 16% last year, with total sales of RUB54 billion (€1 billion). The research group predicts that grow will slow to 11% this year as the market reaches maturity.According to the group, satellite TV operator Tricolor TV remains the market leader with 10.1 million subscribers, growing 14% last year, followed by Rostelecom, which also grew by 14% to reach 7.51 million. ER-Telecom is now snapping at MTS’s heels with 2.57 million subscribers, up 9%, followed by satellite TV player Orion Telecom, which saw 89% growth in its base last year to reach 1.98 million. Akado and VimpelCom make up the top seven, with 1.13 million and 1.04 million TV customers respectively.
In This Issue… * A closer look wipes out euphoria… * Gillard defeats challenger… * The Eye of the Storm… * Swiss / euro cross watch time… And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Mom, They’re Doing It Again! Good day… And a Marvelous Monday to you! My “unsupervised” weekend went well, except for the ending of the Missouri / Kansas basketball game! Caught up with one of my oldest friends on earth, (Mike) and we tried to quickly forget the ending of the game… UGH! But, it was just a game, right? Not like the game that the Fed keeps playing with Treasuries… and I’ll talk about that in a bit, but first we have to get caught up on the goings on from Friday, and in the overnight markets. Well… Friday’s price action was interesting in that, the euro held onto the 1.34 handle, but Gold was down $7… Hmmm… One anti-dollar doing well, while the other one weakens… The other anti-dollar, so proclaimed by me last week, Oil, saw continued interest in pushing the price higher… And with that higher price in Oil, the emerging countries, and the Asian countries with their nascent recoveries, are all feeling squeamish, about their growth prospect, given that elevated price in Oil… But you can’t blame it all on the price of Oil… Ever since the deal to give Greece the next bailout fund payment last week, the markets have been trying to look under the hood at the deal… And if Greece meets all the requirements in the deal, well… it will work… If they don’t, if they slip up just once, this whole thing comes crashing down like a house of cards… And yes, from what I read, the Greek Gov’t has allowed their Gold Holdings to be confiscated should they slip up… There are a ton of “other things” but at the end of the day, this worry about the “other things” has the currencies weaker today… That’s right, even the euro, which is hanging on to 1.34 is weaker by ½-cent today… So, all the euphoria in the risk markets that came about with the Greek deal approval last week, has turned out to be a case of buy the rumor, sell the fact… One thing that should help the euro as we go along here is the fact that the review of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) LTRO (long term refinancing Operations) is working, right now, precisely as the ECB would have hoped for… You may recall me telling you back in December, that the LTRO introduction included 3-year loans to Eurozone banks. The ECB was hoping to see an increase of credit / loan and credit growth has increased from 3.5% annualized to 4.8% annualized… There are other things the ECB is hoping for here, but this could get really long in explanation… So, I’ll just say that while the ECB is getting the response it wants, we’re only 3 months into this… This is not time to relax… Well… I read on Bloomberg this morning that the number of contracts betting on commodity prices will rise this year, have reached 1 million in total! WOW! So, it sure looks to me that the investors, hedge funds, traders, etc. are catching up to what you dear Pfennig Readers have been hearing about for some time now! And that, with all the Quantitative Easing, easy money, zero interest rates, and everything else, that inflation for the U.S. was on the other side of all that, and all we needed was for banks to begin to withdraw the cash they have been getting paid interest on at the Fed Reserve, and put it into the economy… Well… here’ s how I see this folks… As I’ve told you, I believe that we are in the “eye of the storm” where everyone breathes a sigh of relief, and things begin to look better… The Washington Post printed a story that said “economists predict business spending, employment, and house construction will pick up this year, pushing GDP to 2.4%.” Those that don’t believe in the “eye of the storm” and that’s most, will begin to go back to the bad habits they developed before the financial meltdown, and that will mean putting that money into the economy among other things… Do you know about the “velocity of money”? Well, that’s what will kick in and inflation will begin to soar, and just about the time the Fed sees this happening and they react with rate hikes, the economy will enter the other side of the storm… Now… I could be wrong about this, I would love to be wrong about this! But, long time readers know that I don’t sugar coat this stuff, and I have been pretty bang on with just about everything else that I’ve talked about over the years… But, past performance is not an indicator of future performance! If you agree with what I’ve said, then you’ll want to be sure you protect your wealth from inflation… Of course you know how to do that! All these years of writing, I might have mentioned the ways to protect your wealth and purchasing power, a time or two! OK… back to currencies… The Aussie dollar (A$) got the wind knocked out of it again this weekend, when a vote for leadership was called… PM Gillard fended off a challenge from former PM Rudd… And as long time readers you know that any time a currency has to deal with elections, uncertainty, and election outcomes, that it loses steam… And that’s what happened to the A$ last night… It may take a couple of days for it to get legs again… A quick trip across the Tasman to Australia’s kissin’ cousin, New Zealand, leads us to a report that did not help the New Zealand dollar / kiwi, one iota… New Zealand, which had been on a real good roll with regards to narrowing their Trade Deficit, saw it slip back and post an unexpected deficit for January of NZ$ 199 million (or in U.S. dollars $167 million)… And immediately the stronger kiwi was blamed! It was immediately pointed out that kiwi had gained 11.4% in the past year, one of the best performers in the past 12 months… But before the Chicken Littles begin to run around screaming that the sky is falling in New Zealand, let me point out that aircraft purchases pretty much skewered this report to a deficit, because exports of milk powder, butter & cheese, which make up a third of all exports, increased 25% in January, VS last year! This could end up being a one & done for the Trade Deficit… So hopefully calmer heads will prevail here… The Swiss franc is stronger trading in the $1.11 handle this morning… The cross to the euro is 1.2050, which is getting too close for comfort for the Swiss National Bank (SNB), who placed a ceiling on the 1.20 on this cross back in September, and has said emphatically that they will defend the level… Well, they had better be ready at a moment’s notice… Because the only thing keeping this cross above 1.20 right now is that the euro has rallied… And we all know just how tenuous that is, right now… Mom… they’re doing it again! Thanks to the dear reader that sent me this story… from Reuters… “The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the United Arab Emirates’ financial hub, expects to permit transactions in Chinese yuan from this year, industry sources told Reuters on Thursday. The change would represent an important step in China’s drive to encourage international use of its currency, since the UAE is one of the world’s top five oil exporters and the second largest Arab economy in the Gulf.” Chuck again… yes… As I’ve told you for more than a year now, China is taking the baby steps to remove the dollar as the reserve currency of the world, and gaining a wider distribution for its currency is one of those steps… Come on folks… can you blame the Chinese? We as a country have destroyed out currency’s value with debts and deficits, Corporate Scandals, and, the bubble economy… Speaking of Corporate scandals… Not to be outdone by the Japanese (I told you that story on Friday), I found this in the Wall Street Journal on Friday… “federal regulators and the Massachusetts attorney general are investigating whether a fund that was part of Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. overstated the value of one of its holdings. The potential exaggeration in the fund grew to more than $4 million, according to documents shared with Oppenheimer investors. The bulk of this markup came as the fund was reaching out to potential investors in the fall of 2009, and helped push the fund’s reported internal rate of return to 38%, after fees, from a loss of 6.3%.” And Treasuries… UGH! The 10-year yield fell to 1.95% late last week… Riddle me this Batman, the need for a safe haven was reduced by the Greek deal, but Treasuries rally any way? How or why would that be? I bet some enterprising journalist with some time could get a good look at the Fed’s balance sheet last week, and probably tie the alleged increase to the Treasury auction… But that would not be new news to me… but at least would explain the riddle… Then there was this… Well folks just like a rented baseball player, I’ve moved on from the Currency Capitalist… And now I’m proud to be a part of a brand new monthly letter that will be published by good folks at Casey Research… The World Money Analyst, is the name of the new letter, which will be a collection of well respected analysts in several different investment choices. So, I’m excited to be a part of such a great group of writers/ analysts/ traders. I’ll provide a link to sign up for the letter, when it becomes available… Pfennig Readers, will not gain any additional knowledge from my part of the letter, but they will from the other writers’ sections… I can’t begin to tell you just how great I think this letter is and will be… So… as soon as I have that link, I’ll get it to you! To recap… The currencies, which rallied on Friday, are seeing that rally wiped out in the overnight and morning sessions, as the euphoria from the Greek deal, is fading, as the devil in the details is being exposed. Gold was down on Friday and again this morning. But the price of Oil continues to look strong and like it wants to go higher. The higher Oil price is dampening the outlook for global growth, and… Chuck talks about being in the eye of the storm… Currencies today 2/27/12… American Style: A$ $1.0675, kiwi .8340, C$ .9965, euro 1.3405, sterling 1.5860, Swiss $1.1120, … European Style: rand 7.6325, krone 5.5950, SEK 6.5885, forint 217.95, zloty 3.1195, koruna 18.6955, RUB 28.98, yen 80.60, sing 1.2605, HKD 7.7555, INR 49.23, China 6.3015, pesos 12.94, BRL 1.7119, Dollar Index 78.57, Oil $108.48, 10-year 1.95%, Silver $35.17, and Gold… $1,767.00 That’s it for today… Well… the end of February is almost here… And one of my fave months, March will begin! Spring Training, spring begins, we begin to get some warmer days, and I get to spend a couple of weeks in South Florida! Actually I’m heading that way on Wednesday this week, but will be back next Monday. Chris will have the conn on the Pfennig while I’m gone this week… I’m not going to complain about the “homer officiating” during the Missouri / Kansas game on Saturday… But anyone watching it knows what I’m talking about… My beautiful bride returned home sometime last night. At one point before I headed off to bed, I saw that her flight was delayed… So welcome home! And with that… I’ll get this out the door… I hope you have a Marvelous Monday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837 www.everbank.com
In This Issue… * China’s weaker GDP hurts risk assets… * A$ to be underpinned… * Japan to get serious with deflation? * Retail Sales today… And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! China Widens Trading Band… Good day… And a Marvelous Monday to you! A very rainy weekend here, but at least we didn’t experience any tornadoes like they did in other parts of the country… I hope all are safe… Friday’s Home Opener was cold and rainy… Thanks to my friend Sandra, for getting me in a room so that at least it was dry… More on that later… Well… Friday, quickly turned around regarding the currencies and metals rally, and sent them to the woodshed… Stocks also retreated, thus making it a triumvirate of risk assets getting sold… That makes it a Risk Off day… Apparently, the slower than expected (but still 8.1%) GDP in China really scared the bejeebers out of the stock jockeys, and once the selling began there it carried over to the currencies and metals. Personally… I think that we’ll find that the first quarter GDP for China will represent a low-water mark for Chinese economic growth… But that’s just me… I could be wrong… But, thinking what I’m thinking about China’s GDP going forward, makes me think that the Aussie dollar (A$) will be well underpinned by China… You know… all the talk last week was about the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to cut rates at their next meeting in May… But did you hear that ANZ Bank actually hiked their mortgage rates last week? Hmmm… Maybe the RBA will cut rates next month, and maybe they won’t! If they do, I believe the rate cut will have been priced in the A$… and if they don’t, then watch out, the A$ will be running loose! I say that because, as I’ve explained in the past… when a rate cut is priced in, that means there have been lots of shorts in the currency that have been entered, as investors look for weakness with a rate cut… But if the rate cut doesn’t materialize, then all those shorts get covered, which means the A$ gets bought… I would have to think though that with all the talk the RBA has given toward the future of rates, that they will do the dirty deed… Dirty Deeds done dirt cheap… Did you see what the Japanese had to say after their cabinet meeting late last week? Get this… the Japanese Gov’t. issued a statement outlining their intention to beat deflation. Hmmm. Now? The Japanese are going to go after deflation now? What’s it been… 20 years that deflation has cast is net over the Japanese economy, and the Gov’t is going to go after deflation now? Personally… I see this as just window dressing… curb appeal… They are just trying to let the markets know that they are going to attempt to inject inflation in the economy, so that maybe, just maybe, the markets will sell yen… You see… in my opinion, there’s no way the Japanese can inject inflation as long as the yen is so strong… I’ve told you for years now, that a strong currency goes a long way in fighting inflation… And unless the Japanese can figure a way to weaken their currency to say 125… They are up the creek without a paddle… There was some BIG NEWS from China this past weekend… The People’s Bank of China announced this past weekend that it will enlarge the USD/CNY trading band to +/- 1%, from +/- .5% previously in place. This means the daily moves in renminbi can be wider… It’s just another step folks, to gaining wider distribution of their currency, for the Chinese know all too well that by allowing greater moves, it will gain more buyers and sellers… I was surprised when I saw the news story, because I had the understanding that when the peg to the dollar was dropped in July of 2005, that the daily band was +/- .3%… I read where the increase to +/- .5% came in May 2007… Ok… that explains why I didn’t have that in my brain… I had other things on my mind in May of 2007… So… I think this news from China plays well with my earlier thought that the 1st QTR GDP was the low water mark for the economy this year… The Chinese obviously believe the economy will expand at a faster clip going forward, and they want their currency stronger to combat the accompanying inflation… The euro briefly dipped below 1.30 overnight for the first time in two months… But immediately rebounded and has remained above 1.30 the remainder of the overnight markets and through ½ of the European market. … I believe that the initial downturn in the single unit was caused by a story in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that had a headline that said, “Downgrades Loom for European Banks”… So… here’s what happened… the story seemed to have information that no one else did, but when read, it was simply the author’s opinion, and offered no facts… So, the euro got sold, but once somebody took the time to read the story, the rebound was in… I guess more important to the markets is the fate of Spain, and further of Italy… Solvency concerns are like the Sword of Damocles hanging over the euro these days… And we’re only talking about the “Club Med” peripheral countries, and the Eurozone leaders need to address this up front and center, before the negativity begins to become the norm. Remember the LTRO’s? Long Term Recovery Operations… the LTRO’s were loans that the European Central Bank (ECB) made to inject liquidity… Well, the ECB is going to have to go back to the well here folks, and prove to the markets that liquidity is in place… The ECB also needs to provide further easing, and all this would go a long way in showing the markets that Spain is solvent… Of course rate cuts will hurt the euro’s value… but that should only be temporary, until the markets feel better about Spain, and Italy… There is 300 Billion euro that’s yet to be used by the ECB, folks… I would think that to be enough liquidity for both Spain and Italy… I don’t like any of this… but, it is what it is, and we have to deal with ways to keep countries from defaulting… because one default will beget another and so on… Ok… onto other things this morning… The New Zealand dollar / kiwi really took it on the chin last Friday… going into the day kiwi had reached 83-cents! But, once the China GDP number printed, A$’s weren’t the only currency to weaken… And since kiwi had really outperformed its kissin cousin across the Tasman (A$’s) it got sold at a quicker pace than the A$… A reader from New Zealand sent me a note last week, and said that it looked like the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) was ready to remove the emergency rate cuts made last year after two devastating earthquakes hit the two island nation… If that thought was bought by the markets then that explains kiwi at 83-cents… The problem with the thought is that the rest of the world is cutting rates again… So, unless you want all the attention and a currency that gets driven higher in value, you had better put those rate hikes in your back pocket for now… For we all know that RBNZ Gov. Bollard is no fan of a strong kiwi! In Sweden this morning… the Gov’t lowered their forecasts for economic growth… That’s not a good thing, but at least they recognize it and don’t try to paint pretty pictures with the data like our Fed Heads do… Speaking of Fed Heads… St. Louis Fed Head, James Bullard, he of at least a couple of sound bites, will be speaking today. He’ll be speaking on Monetary Policy and the Economy right here in St. Louis… And the Fed’s balance sheet must be ballooning again… The 10-year Treasury’s yield is back below 2%… Just a month ago it was soaring higher to 2.38%… I would bet a dollar to a Krispy Kreme, that the Fed came in then, and hasn’t stopped buying since! Here in the U.S. we will see the color of March Retail Sales data this morning… The BHI (Butler Household Index) tells me that Retail Sales while positive will be much weaker than February’s +1.1%… I did my best to spur March Retail Sales while in Florida… But, I truly believe that the high gas prices are beginning to pinch U.S. consumers… So, while March’s Retail Sales will be positive, they will not be what makes an economy like the U.S. move forward… I read a story this weekend about unemployment here in the U.S. and yes, we continue to see individuals leaving the work force, thus allowing the unemployment rate to fall, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)… But this researcher found that looking at the Employment to population ratio and the Unemployment rate we find somehow last year these two de-coupled… Hmmm… The Employment to population ratio rate remains at 10.5%, while according to the BLS the Unemployment rate has fallen to 8.2%… This can’t be folks… it’s that simple… So… this is data that proves the BLS is simply doing their best to make things look good… Long time readers know of my lack of affection for the BLS, so this revelation in the data doesn’t surprise me one iota… not one iota folks… I’ve told you for years now that the BLS uses smoke and mirrors… Then There Was This… for all those that don’t believe that Gold & Silver keep up with inflation… a reader sent me a picture from a gas station in Montana… The gas station had a sign that said, “Gasoline 20-cents A Gallon… If paid with pre 1964 dimes, quarters, halfs or dollar coins” That about says it all there, eh? I always go back to friend, Bill Bonner’s qualification of Gold… Saying that 100 years ago, a man could buy a good suit of clothes with a 1 oz. Gold Coin… The same can be said today… To recap… The Chinese slower growth really deep sized the risk assets on Friday and in the Asian markets last night. The euro briefly dipped below 1.30 on a story headline in the WSJ that was found to not have facts but instead opinion… China announced a wider trading band for the renminbi, and Japan is NOW going to get tough with deflation… And Retail Sales print today. Currencies today 4/16/12… American Style: A$ $1.0355, kiwi .8185, C$ $1.0010, euro 1.3025, sterling 1.5840, Swiss $1.0830, .. European Style: rand 7.9750, krone 5.8050, SEK 6.8230, forint 229.15, zloty 3.2160, koruna 19.0445, RUB 29.67, yen 80.75, sing 1.2510, HKD 7.76, INR 51.67, China 6.3150, pesos 13.23, BRL 1.8375, Dollar Index 80.08, Oil $102.55, 10-year 1.98%, Silver $31.41, and Gold… $1,648.28 That’s it for today… Well… Friday the 13th wasn’t kind to the Cardinals on Opening Day, but they rallied back to win 2 of 3 from the Cubs… The Blues rallied to win Saturday night… I was watching the game at home, and there right before my eyes was Chris Gaffney! Chris was “on the glass” at the game, and fight took place right in front of him… Well… after all the baseball games I’ve attended in my life… I finally went home with a baseball that was hit into the stands… This one off of a foul by David Freese… I once knocked down a wicked line drive in Wrigley stadium but before I could bend over to grab it, someone else grabbed it… So I had the stinging hand, and he had the ball… UGH! But not this time! We had D & E (Delaney & Everett) Saturday evening and early night… that was fun… I think! And with that, I’ll get out of your hair for today, and thank you for reading the Pfennig… Now go out and have a Marvelous Monday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837 www.everbank.com
It’s my opinion that the rallies in all four precious metals were met by short selling by JPMorgan et al.Not surprisingly, there was little price activity in gold on Thursday during the Far East trading day, or in the London market that followed.This sideways price action continued well into the New York session, but once the London p.m. gold fix was in at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time, the gold price tacked on a bit more than ten bucks right up until London closed for the day, which was 4:00 p.m. local time in London…11:00 a.m. in New York. Then it got sold off a hair before trading sideways for the rest of the day.Gold’s high tick of the day was $1,666.40 spot…and it’s low tick was somewhere around the $1,653 price mark.Gold closed the Thursday session at $1,662.90 spot…up $3.50 from Wednesday. Volume was light…around 111,000 contracts…with the lion’s share of that occurring during the Comex trading session around the big price jump. It would be my bet that the “usual suspects” were going short on that rally, as it didn’t look like a short covering rally to me.Here’s the New York Spot Gold [Bid] chart on its own, so you can see the Comex trading action in more detail.The silver price chopped sideways within a dime of the $30.00 price level before developing a negative bias going into the noon London silver fix…7:00 a.m. in New York…where there was a sharp spike down to its low of the day. From there it rallied higher before taking off [along with gold] at around 10:25 a.m.This rally also ended in flames at the London close…11:00 a.m. in New York…before getting sold off further going into the 1:30 p.m. Comex close. From there it traded more or less sideways during the electronic market.Silver’s high tick of the day was recorded by Kitco as $30.59 spot.Silver closed at $30.14 spot…up a dime on the day…but like just about every other day this week, would have closed a lot higher if it hadn’t run into not-for-profit sellers once again. Volume was decent at 37,000 contracts, as the big rally that began at the London silver fix did not go unopposed. I’m sure that JPMorgan et al were buying the short side of that rally right up until the London close.The New York Spot Silver [Bid] chart is shown below.Platinum and palladium had even more interesting price paths yesterday. Not only completely different than gold or silver, but completely different from each other…and here are the 3-day Kitco charts for each. Sponsor Advertisement The dollar index opened around the 79.60 mark…and then spiked up a hair at 1:00 p.m. Hong Kong time…and then slid about 30 basis points down to 79.40 a few minutes after the 8:00 a.m. GMT London open. It then traded more or less sideways until precisely 10:00 a.m. in New York…the London p.m. gold fix…and from there it took off to the upside…topping out around 79.78 at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time. Then it slid a little into the close…finishing the Thursday session around 79.66…up a whole 6 basis points.The rally in gold and silver in New York yesterday mostly coincided with the rally in the dollar index as well…and I’ll let you read into that whatever you wish.The gold stocks started in the red at the 9:30 a.m. Eastern time open, but followed the gold price higher. The stocks peaked out at precisely 11:00 a.m…and then sold off a bit going into the New York lunch hour. But from there they worked their way slowly higher once again…and hit a new high for the day around 3:30 p.m. But then a thoughtful seller appeared and sold the stocks down over a percent in less than fifteen minutes. As a result, the HUI only finished up 0.58%.Pardon me for thinking so, but it sure looked like someone was painting the tape going into the close. But maybe it’s just me looking for black bears in dark rooms that aren’t there.The silver stocks finished mixed on the day as well, but most of the seven stocks that make up Nick Laird’s intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed in the green…finishing up 0.40% on the day. Note the sell-off in the silver stocks as well. Maybe there is a black bear, and I just haven’t found it yet.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 43 gold and 57 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Monday…the last day of 2012. The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.With only one more delivery day left in the December contract, there are still a fair number of gold and silver contracts still left open. Silver’s December open interest dropped a huge 412 contracts yesterday…and another 100 contracts the day before…leaving the above mentioned 57 contracts left…and I sure would like to know why someone backed out of deliveries these sizes at such a late date.Then checking the CME’s preliminary volume and open interest report from yesterday’s trading day in the wee hours of this morning, I note that another 175 gold, along with 49 silver contracts were added at the very last moment to the December delivery month, so someone has to come up with those amounts by the end of trading on Monday. It will be interesting to see who the short/issuers are on those contracts…and I’ll have that info for you tomorrow.The CME should post the First Day Notice numbers for delivery into the January contract for both gold and silver on their Internet site late this evening. They shouldn’t be overly large, as January is not a regular delivery month for either metal. But whatever the numbers are, they’ll be in my Saturday column as well.There were no reported changes in either GLD or SLV…and the U.S. Mint had no sales report yesterday, either.The shortsqueeze.com Internet site updated the mid-month short positions for both GLD and SLV on Wednesday evening…and there weren’t any big changes. The really big changes in both ETFs occurred after the cut-off for this latest report from the shortsqueeze.com…and that data won’t be available until around mid-January. This is already “yesterday’s news” as Ted Butler would say.What the new report showed was that the short position in SLV only declined by 5.46%…or about 1,047,000 shares/ounces. The total short position in SLV now sits at 18,118,000 shares/ounces…or just a bit over 563 metric tonnes…about 9 days of world silver production.The short position in GLD shares fell by 4.11%…about 977,000 shares, or approximately 98,000 ounces of gold. The short position in GLD now sits at 22.82 million shares, or 2.28 million ounces.With the big 3-day engineered price sell-off in gold and silver that took place between December 18-20 not in this data…along with the millions of ounces of silver deposited in SLV over that same time period…it’s obvious that the shortsqueeze.com data would look a lot of different if they could take a snapshot right now. As it stands at the moment, we’ll have to wait until mid January.The other amazing thing that hasn’t happened, is that there have been no major redemptions in either GLD or SLV since the current sell-off really got started on December 12th. And now that I’m looking at the hard numbers, GLD has only shed about 19,000 ounces of gold …and SLV has actually added 7.0 million ounces of silver during that same time period. I’m only speculating at this point, but it looks like some entity is covering a monster short position that they may have in SLV…and GLD…and they were buying all the shares that others were selling into the engineered price decline that JPMorgan et al created in the first place. But I’m sure that was all part of the plan. Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday, they reported receiving 623,726 troy ounces of silver…and shipped a smallish 2,949 ounces of the stuff out the door. The link to yesterday’s activity is here.It was a slow news day yesterday, which is no surprise considering the time of year, so I hope you have the time to run through most of the stories posted below.Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him, better take a closer look at the American Indian. – Henry FordWell, even though volume was ‘light’ yesterday…it was far more substantial than the volume on Wednesday…and as I said further up, it’s my opinion that the rallies in all four precious metals were met by short selling by JPMorgan et al…or it could have been their high-frequency traders just ‘spoofing’ these markets lower. Of course nothing will be known for sure until the COT Report on January 4th, but that’s the way I see it at the moment.Today’s COT Report will be posted on the CFTC’s website at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time sharp…and I’ll be more than interested in what the numbers have to say. I’ll also glean whatever I can from Ted…and I’ll have that data for you in tomorrow’s column as well.Take your pick of either “watching paint dry…or grass grow” as that pretty much sums up the trading activity during the Far East session on their Friday. Of course with the weekend here…and the year winding down…I’m not expecting much for the remainder of today in London or New York…as I’m sure what few traders there are left, will be out the door early…and won’t show up at their desks again until next Wednesday…the first trading day of the New Year in Europe and here in North America.As I hit the ‘send’ button at 4:35 a.m. Eastern time, the prices of both silver and gold aren’t doing much of anything…volumes are light, especially in silver…and the dollar index barely has a pulse. Of course it was more or less like this yesterday at this time…and look what happened the moment that the London silver fix was in at noon GMT. So, despite what I said in the previous paragraph, I’ll reserve judgment for the moment.Enjoy your weekend…or what’s left of it if you live west of the International Date Line…and I’ll see you here tomorrow. Bayfield Ventures Corp. (TSX.V: BYV) is exploring for gold and silver in the Rainy River District of NW Ontario. The Company’s 100% owned “Burns” Block property adjoins the immediate east of Rainy River Resources’ (TSX.V: RR) world-class gold deposit which includes an indicated resource of 5.72 million ounces of gold, averaging 1.18 g/t, in addition to an inferred resource of 2.25 million ounces of gold, averaging 0.79 g/t. Drilling to date on Bayfield’s Burns Block demonstrates that the ODM17gold zone extends from Rainy River Resources’ ground onto the Burns Block. Bayfield is currently carrying out 100,000 metres of diamond drilling on its Rainy River properties. Drill results thus far have been very encouraging. Notable drill results include 60.05 grams per tonne gold and 362.96 grams per tonne silver over 11.2 metres within 26.70 grams per tonne gold and 170.69 grams per tonne silver over 25.5 metres, as well as 35.93 grams per tonne gold and 359.65 grams per tonne silver over 10.0 metres. Bayfield also holds a 100% interest in two other properties in the Rainy River District. Claim blocks “B” and “C” are well located to the immediate east and west (respectively) of Rainy River Resources’ #433 and ODM17 gold zones. Please visit our website to learn more about the company and request information.
The staff at Keller Williams in Tuscaloosa usually sell houses, but this week they put down the contracts and grabbed some hammers for Habitat for Humanity.Thursday was Red Day, meaning Keller Williams employees across the country gave back to the community by volunteering. In Tuscaloosa, Keller Williams workers teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to do some painting and putting up siding for a home being built on Juanita Drive.“Funding and volunteer labor really helps us do what we do, and the more people who help us the more families we can serve,” said Brandon Kasteler with Habitat. “The more people who help us the more families we can serve so it’s really a win-win.”Tuscaloosa’s Habitat for Humanity has built more than 70 houses and repaired more than 130 since the April 27, 2011, tornado.