June 16

NCVO seminar on corporate and voluntary sector partnerships

first_imgNCVO seminar on corporate and voluntary sector partnerships * Campbell Robb, Director of Public Policy, NCVO * Tim Bishop, Partnerships Manager, Business in the Community * Martin Mosley, Consumer and Community Affairs Director, BarclaysWorkshops include:* Charity of the Year – pros and cons of having a Charity of the Year * Building understanding and shared goals – exploring the early stages of partnership working * Does size matter? – how businesses and voluntary organisations – small and large – can work together at all levels, particularly in making a real difference to their communities.The event will be held at NCVO’s offices in North London from 09:15 – 14:00.  18 total views,  2 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis Howard Lake | 6 January 2006 | News About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of GoodJobs.org.uk. Researching massive growth in giving. NCVO is holding a one-day seminar on corporate and voluntary sector partnerships in its Corporate Community Involvement Series on 15 February 2006 in London.NCVO’s Corporate Community Involvement Series is designed to provide businesses that engage with voluntary and community organisations with the latest insight, information, and news from the voluntary sector.Keynote speakers at this event include: Advertisementlast_img read more

December 18

100 years of aviation

first_imgTo mark 100 years of passenger air travel, The Guardian newspaper has produced a stunning interactive which uses live data to show every one of the thousands of commercial planes currently in the air, charts the history of aviation since 1914, and asks what comes next for the industry.The interactive is divided into four sections.The first is the live flight tracking and is fascinating look at all the flights in the air at any one time. The second is about the birth of the airline industry 100 years ago and the third charts the growth over the past century.Final section looks at growth going forward and while fascinating we don’t share The Guardian’s pessimistic outlook on the use of fuel and Co2 emissions.The facts don’t support its outlook. For instance over the past ten years, according to Airbus, while air traffic growth has grown 53 per cent aviation’s use of fuel has only increased by 3 per cent because of a host of improvements in aircraft, engines and other efficiencies.And the industry is well advanced in the use of bio fuels many of which are virtually carbon neutral.AirlineRating’s editors are about to release a new book Aviation and the Environment – The Plane Simple Truth, which highlights aviations incredible environmental record.It will be a free download.To see the Guardian interactive click here:http://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2014/aviation-100-yearslast_img read more

December 17

What are lenders looking for?

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest During my farm management school in December in Urbana, I invited a panel of ag lenders to answer questions about what they are looking for in a potential client and what can clients do to build stronger relationships with their lenders. The panelists were Greg Kinght with Civista Bank in Urbana, Paul Lensman with Agri Business Finance in St. Paris and Rudi Perry with Farm Credit Mid-America.Here are the questions asked and a summary of their responses.Q: What characteristics do you look for in a potential client?A: Character is a big part of the lending decision. Is the person honest? Trustworthy? Do they have the responsibility, knowledge and experience to be successful? Q: How does the current economic outlook for agriculture affect the lending decision?A: The big questions is: what is the producer doing to protect themselves? We don’t see crop prices increasing anytime soon. Having a contingency plan is a great way to show us that they are planning for future and not taking each day as it comes. Q: What about debt re-structuring? What does that look like and what are the options?A: It is very situational dependent. We are proponents of constructive credit but sometimes it does not make sense. Replenishing working capital through selling assets or spreading debt out over several years can also be an answer. FSA guarantee loans may be an option or restructuring loans on longer terms can work for some farm operations. Q: What land value, dollar per acre, are you willing to finance?A: We mostly prefer not to put a dollar figure on land value and look more at loan to value. That figure has been reduced somewhat from five years ago and the borrower will likely have to make a larger down payment or add more equity than in recent years. Overall land will be a good long-term investment. Q: What is your first impression of the new tax law and how it might impact agriculture?A: It likely will not have an effect on lending but there is a concern about the overall increase in the deficit. The legislature could look to make the deficit up in the farm bill by cutting farm programs. Q: Do you have programs for young and/or beginning farmers?A: Farm Credit has recently created a Young and Beginning Farmer program. Some benefits include up to 85% loan to value and not quite 50% equity for loans. It also has a two-day farm finance educational program. Lenders also work with FSA guarantees and are willing to work with new farmers. Q: What information do you need from niche or specialty crop producers?A: We want to make sure the producer has a very good understanding of producing and marketing that product. If the farmer knows what they are doing and can back it up with data, we will definitely consider it for a loan. The farmer just needs to be prepared to educate their lender. If the equipment being used as collateral is very specialized, it will likely have a lower loan to value ratio because it is a lot harder to move that equipment. Diversification can be a good thing! Q: How do you determine the operating line of credit for a farm?A: We want the customer to establish that number based on their farm and cash flow. Q: How do you determine the value of collateral?A: We use several different sources such as local sales, online equipment listings such as tractorhouse.com, Hot Line Farm Equipment Guide and even some outside appraisers. When using real estate as collateral, we always use an appraiser. Q: What about if I’m putting it on my balance sheet?A: Farmers can do it as cost less depreciation but most lenders prefer the market value using recent sales. We just ask that the farmer is consistent from year to year and if changes are made, be prepared to tell the lender why the value was increased or decreased. Q: Where do you see farmers making errors on their balance sheets?A: Missing pre-paid expenses on the assets side and missing accounts payable to go with them. Credit card debit is also often left off. Remember that long-term loans have a portion that is due each year and that portion of the loan needs to be moved up to current liabilities. Accrued interest is another that can be missed.Sole proprietorships have assets and liabilities for non-farm assets that need to be reported on the balance sheet or create a second balance sheet for the non-farm portion. We start looking into everything after meeting with the borrower. It is better for the borrower to bring up everything rather than us find it in our research afterwards.It is important to the lender to know what the ownership structure is: LLC, sole proprietorship, corporation, etc. If you are making some risk separation business decisions using these entities, it can help us make a lending decision in your favor. Q: How often would you like customers to communicate with you?A: It depends on the situation but definitely when major life events occur and it is always better to share something with your lender before we hear it from someone else. It is also nice to hear from the farmer when they are considering purchasing a new piece of equipment, making changes to planned crops, or what their marketing plan might be. Q: If a farmer participates in the FINPACK program, does that add value?A: We are impressed when someone uses the program. It shows that they have attention to detail and discipline in record keeping. The benchmarking piece also allows them to discuss with us areas where they excel and where they would like to make improvements. Q: What should a client bring to a meeting?A:• Entity paperwork such as articles of incorporation, bylaws, partnership operating agreement, LLC setup, etc.• Three years of tax returns, these are not always needed but if they are, we have them and don’t need to contact you to follow-up.• A current balance sheet is a must and multiple year-end balance sheets are even better.• We don’t always need to see your insurance information up front but we may need it so have it ready.• For new or expanding enterprises, we need to see a business plan.• Cost of production and cash flow or budgets.They summed up the panel by asking the audience what they can do for the farmers. Lenders want to make loans so how can they serve farmers better? There are very few problems you can’t work through with your lender if you have a good relationship.Greg Knight can be reached at 937-653-1165 or [email protected] Lensman can be reached at 937-663-0186 or [email protected] Perry is a regional vice president for Farm Credit and recommends contacting your local office to speak with a lender.last_img read more

November 30

Syquia wins PH’s 23rd gold, rules equestrian show jump

first_imgTyphoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH LATEST STORIES Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding View comments Photo taken from the official Twitter account of the 2017 Southeast Asian Games @KL2017KUALA LUMPUR — A 46-year-old rider with “rockstar personality” thrilled the Southeast Asian Games equestrian show jump individual competition Monday after capturing the gold medal for Team Philippines in Rawang.John Colin Syquia, riding for the Philippines for the first time, won via jump-off and shocked the field when he upstaged his Malaysian foes, riding four seconds faster than the second placer to rule the competition.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Read Nextcenter_img Colonia fifth in weightlifting “He is a rock star here. We call him our secret weapon,” said team manager Daniella Virata.Virata said Syquia has been competing in the Florida circuit where he is based. He grew up in New York City and began riding in Claremonth Academy.“He is a cool guy. Good personality. He gave us six clear rounds, three in individual and three in team event,” said Virata.Syquia was part of the team that won silver last Saturday along with Chiara Sophia Amor, Joker Arroyo and Marie Antoinette Leviste.ADVERTISEMENT PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games PLAY LIST 03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics00:50Trending Articles01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games The horse dealer and professional equestrian rode with his mount Adventure L.He finished tied with five other riders after two rounds and then in the jump-off clocked 37.63 seconds besting local riders Sharimini Cristina Ratnasingham  (41.30) and Dato Seri Mahamad Fathil Qabil Ambak (41.66).FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutRatnasingham on board Arcado, and Ambak on 3Q Qaliya, wound up second and third, respectively.After two rounds, Syquia finished in a bunch of five riders who went to the jump-off along with the Malaysians, Brunei’s Mohd Nasir and Singapore’s Catherine Chew. LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension MOST READlast_img read more

October 17

New ferry will allow Canadians to drive to French territory off Newfoundland

first_imgFORTUNE, N.L. – If all goes well, Canadians will soon be able to drive to a little-known corner of France.The French islands of St-Pierre-Miquelon just off the south coast of Newfoundland — North America’s last vestige of colonial New France — have long attracted adventurous travellers seeking an unusual European experience.But the ferry that links Fortune, N.L., with the windswept archipelago 40 kilometres away only carries walk-on passengers in the spring and summer months.Later this year, however, the tiny French territory plans to start using two new ferries that can carry up to 15 cars, 200 passengers and three tractor-trailers year-round.“It’s like a piece of France right next door,” Fortune Mayor Charles Penwell said Tuesday.“The language is different from what we’re used to in Newfoundland, but it’s very similar … to the (language spoken in) the Basque region of France … It offers traditional French food, French atmosphere, and the music and song of France. It’s unique. This archipelago is indeed a part of Europe that’s right next to our border.”Penwell said St-Pierre-Miquelon — about the size of Honolulu and home to about 6,000 French nationals — doesn’t get the attention it deserves.“We get frustrated,” he said in an interview from Fortune, population 1,400. “I think there’s a fair number of people even in Newfoundland and Labrador who don’t realize it’s there.”The islands were returned to France in 1815 after several stints of British occupation.The French government now provides hefty subsidies to support its outpost, which is heavily dependent on government jobs, fishing and tourism.The smallest of the islands, St-Pierre, is also the most populated, with colourful clapboard homes on tidy, winding streets.Tourists can take advantage of fine French wines — at reasonable prices. In the town of St-Pierre, there’s a regular midday siesta and access to smaller boats that serve the larger, sparsely populated islands of Miquelon and Langlade.Restaurants and bakeries specializing in fresh seafood and French patisserie bustle with foreigners in summer.Though often draped in thick fog and scoured by powerful offshore winds, the largely barren islands offer precious isolation for campers and hikers.The new ferry service was supposed to start May 15, but the port authority in Fortune hasn’t been able to scrape together enough money to upgrade its wharf.“I think they’re still about a million dollars short,” Penwell said. “So they’re looking to the provincial government and the (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) to see if they can come up with a bit more money … So far there’s been no resolution.”Negotiations with federal and provincial officials are ongoing, but Penwell said a temporary solution is in the works, though he isn’t sure when the wharf will be ready.The head of the independent port authority in Fortune declined comment Tuesday.Newfoundland and Labrador’s tourism minister, Christopher Mitchelmore, issued a statement saying he’s working with the Fortune Port Corporation to find the money.“I met with officials from St-Pierre-Miquelon on Friday, and am hopeful they can reach an agreement with St-Pierre-Miquelon which will provide them with options to finance the expansion,” Mitchelmore said.— By Michael MacDonald in Halifax.last_img read more

October 12

Lightning knocks out power to over 125,000 customers in Northern B.C.

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – At the peak of Wednesday’s power outage over 125,000 customers were without power from 100 Mile House to Prince George and the B.C. Peace.B.C. Hydro believes the power outage was caused by a lightning strike that then caused a transmission circuit fault.  Hydro has not said where the lightning strike occurred.Large outages in northern BC tonight are caused by a suspected lightning strike. Crews are beginning restoration efforts across the region, working to restore all customers in the next few hours. Most of #cityofPG has been restored and we expect most customers back by 12:30am.— BC Hydro (@bchydro) September 12, 2019 The power went out at approximately 8:50 and was restored to all communities by 11:30 p.m.Reports of fires after the outage were shared all over social media, but those were all controlled flaring at facilities all over the B.C. Peace and in Prince George.We hope to learn more about the massive power outage on Thursday.last_img read more

August 4

Interviewed by Louis James Editor International

first_img(Interviewed by Louis James, Editor, International Speculator)L: Doug, we’ve had a lot of people write in with questions about Argentina since the government moved to nationalize YPF. First, I have to tell readers that we saw la presidenta going off the deep end some time ago and sold all the Argentina plays in our portfolio. But you live there, have invested there, and are a famous contrarian – so what do you think? Is the market’s understandable reaction to the expropriation overdone, making it time to buy, or would you still stay out of Argentina plays?Doug: I’d first like to distinguish between living in a country and investing in a country, which are two totally different things. As a general rule, I’d say that right now I have very little interest in investing in companies doing business in Argentina – though I’ve got to say that the Argentine stock market is yielding about six percent in dividends and selling at about eight times earnings. That makes it one of the cheapest markets in the world. It’s been heavily discounted due to corruption, government stupidity, and a generally poor business environment.L: So is that discount appropriate or overdone? I suspect that Argentine companies are in no danger of being nationalized, so they might be excessively discounted. On the other hand, the folks behind the curtain, pulling the levers on the machinery of the state in Argentina are clearly fools or knaves – I’m not sure any business is safe in Argentina.Doug: Unfortunately, that’s true. Argentina’s politicians have been just terminally stupid ever since Juan Perón. Even though he was a criminal personality, an overt admirer of Mussolini, and openly sympathetic to Hitler, Perón has become such a cultural icon that you can’t do anything in Argentina today without at least calling yourself a Perónist. It’s rather like in the US, where, if you don’t think that FDR was a hero for getting the US out of the Great Depression, you’re persona non grata. Perón is Argentina’s Roosevelt.More recently, former president Nestor Kirchner – late husband of Cristina, the current president – was a total disaster. All of his policies were completely wrong-headed and destructive, but he had the good luck to get elected just as the commodities boom got under way, and demand for Argentine agricultural and mineral products soared. That paid for a lot of social spending and made him look like a hero, even though everything he did was the exact opposite of what needed doing.This is true of Cristina too, but she’s actually outdone her husband in implementing economically suicidal policies. Every single week, her government does something that’s bizarre, counterproductive, or absurd. The most recent and serious blunder, of course, was the nationalization of YPF – but just a few weeks ago, her government tried to ban the importation of books. It wasn’t because they cared what was in the books, it was part of the effort to limit imports in general.L: I read about that – the excuse was that foreign printers might use ink that could be dangerous. I remember thinking that was crazy, and she does seem to check into hospitals a lot…Doug: They had to back down on the books. That would have been just too much, to deprive a very literate country of about 85% of books in Spanish and almost 100% of those in other languages. Although it would have been a boon for Kindle – something they probably didn’t even think about. But importing anything to Argentina is a huge hassle these days.Nationalizing YPF actually make no sense on any basis. She says she did it because the company didn’t invest enough in Argentina – but there’s a reason for that: the current regime has made it very dangerous to conduct any sort of productive business in Argentina. As a result of its policies, Argentina has gone from being self-sufficient in oil and gas – and an exporter – to being an importer. She’s telling everyone that nationalizing YPF will result in more investment in Argentina and hence more production, but that’s a fantasy. Like any national oil company, YPF under its new management is going to be horribly inefficient and riddled with graft and corruption. If they do somehow generate any earnings, they’ll just be wasted by the government on social programs that buy votes but don’t make any lasting improvement in the country.Of course, YPF started out as a parastatal in the ’20s, so the company has always been a political football. Under Perón it accumulated scores of thousands of unneeded employees. In Argentina they’re called “gnocchis,” after the heavy, doughy, inexpensive pasta that kind of just lies on your plate and does nothing. In fact, Argentines traditionally eat gnocchi on the last day of each month, partly because it’s cheap and money is short at month’s end and partly because it’s a joke about useless government employees. The average guy in Argentina is well aware of how corrupt the system is. It’s why Argentines are always making jokes about themselves – lots of black humor.On the other hand, there’s an explanation for these actions other than insanity. Rumor in Argentina has it that when Nestor was first elected, the Kirchners had a net worth on the order of ten million dollars. That’s not a lot for a governor…L: [Chuckles] Yes, what a couple of slowcoaches; any self-respecting Latin-American politician ought to have been able to abscond with at least a hundred million.Doug: [Laughs] Yes, at least a hundred million. Over his entire term, Carlos Menem is said to have walked away with as much as $15 billion. Why should anyone settle for less?L: So you’re suggesting that maybe she’s not crazy, but rather a successful political entrepreneur who may yet set a new record at enriching herself at the expense of the people she claims she’s trying to help?Doug: Far be it from me to accuse any serving political figure of possible impropriety. Just because her policies are stupid from the point of view of the people of Argentina, that doesn’t mean they are not very intelligent from her point of view at the apex of the political food chain. But it’s not just Argentina; it happens all around the world, though perhaps most visibly in Latin America and Africa. People starve while politicians make themselves fabulously wealthy – and enjoy the power trip too.Here in the US, politicians tend to be more cautious and often wait till they’re out of office to collect their payoffs. Take Clinton. There was the time when Hillary made something like $99,457 in “profits” trading cattle; it was one of the most transparent payoffs I’ve ever seen. My only question was how the other $543 found its way to her purse. And it was quite funny when Bill was soliciting donations to cover his legal fees over the Monica scandal. He knew he’d be getting tens of millions in speaking fees, directors’ fees, book contracts, and sweetheart investments, among other things. I’d guess those two are worth 100 extra-large now. In the Third World, there’s not enough trust nor capacity for delayed gratification to wait until one is out of office. Anyway, a hundred million is really just pocket change for those who get to run a country these days. Hardly worth the aggravation of getting elected.L: Peanuts. But by “intelligent” you mean that for a parasite that achieves such success qua parasite – not that such destructive parasitism is actually an intelligent choice for a human being… If a parasite grows without moderation, it eventually kills its host and hence itself. That aside, such behavior is unethical, meaning that it coerces and damages others, which creates enemies and opposition. That can get the parasite-in-chief tied to a stake in front of a firing squad well before the host succumbs to the parasite’s destructive policies.Doug: Well, Argentina has quite a history of coups… as does every other country in Latin America. And, for that matter, most every country in the world throughout history. Lots of firing squads.L: Do you think that Cristina is actually the defining force of her government? She sort of inherited a mantle – and a political machine – from her husband, taking over when he died. Do you think these crazy-looking ideas and policies are actually hers, or is she just a mouthpiece for that machine?Doug: Well-connected people I know in Argentina say that she’s quite a powerhouse herself. She may or may not have much raw IQ, but she’s very politically intelligent – a great manipulator of other people. That’s the essence of being successful in politics in any country.L: So you think she actually believes something along the lines of what she says? It’s her thinking that calls the shots in her government?Doug: Well, I wouldn’t call it “thinking” as such; it’s more of a reflexive, gut reaction to events. She says she has an economic model, but it’s ludicrous to posit a model in which it makes sense to ban books, nationalize industries you’ve made less profitable, threaten the British with war, debase the currency at a prodigious rate, and so forth. It’s really just ad hoc populism with a strong dose of fascism thrown in. She’s modeling herself after Evita.But what’s really scary are the people around her. This is typical of almost any government, however. Look at the people who were around Clinton. Look at the people who were around Bush, from Cheney on down. Look at the people around Obama. The people just under the maximum leader are usually much more dangerous than the actual numero uno. I’m not an expert in Argentine history, but this may be the worst crew Argentina has ever had – or at least as far back as Perón.L: That’s a pretty high bar.Doug: Yes. [Laughs] It really is. You know, it’s dangerous enough saying negative things about politicians in the US, the way things are evolving. It’s really a bad idea in a Latin-American country. I’m not sure it’s actually in my interests for us to be having this conversation…But there’s all kinds of evidence for what I’m saying. Take Aerolíneas, the national airline, which was nationalized in 2008. It’s used as a piggy bank and loses something like $700 million a year.The bright side is that these people are in office mainly to enrich themselves. So far, they have not shown much of the harsher authoritarian tendencies associated with nationalist-socialist governments, nor the growing obsession with controlling people we see in the US. Fortunately, on that front, they are also much less competent at such things.L: I knew a man who used to say, “Thank God we don’t get all the government we pay for.” Unfortunately, we seem to be getting a lot more of it in the US lately.Doug: Indeed. Government incompetence is one of Argentina’s many charms. It’s really a pity those in charge are hell-bent on milking the place to death economically, because it’s by far one of the nicest places to live in the world – by many measures. But economic foolishness has been a hallmark of Latin-American governments from day one; nothing new on that count.L: Can you expand on that? Aside from the investment question, that’s the other thing people ask about: Are you crazy to live in a place run by maniacs?Doug: Well, as I just said, the quality of life is tough to beat. It’s important to remember that through all the economic chaos, bank crises, hyperinflation, and so on, the government has never seized private land. That’s never been a problem in Argentina. And it’s unlikely to ever happen, because it’s a huge country – the eighth-largest in the world – but has a fairly small population, only 40 million. In fact, land redistribution all over the world is passé, simply because the world is moving into cities. Nobody except farmers and lifestyle-conscious rich folks really want to be out in the countryside anymore.Almost all the troublesome news comes from Buenos Aires, a relatively small province, although it contains about 40% of the country’s population. Once you get out into the other provinces, it’s a different world – like going back in time, to a quieter, more peaceful age. But even in Buenos Aires, none of this stuff affects you directly; it’s just background noise. BA is sophisticated, cosmopolitan, has a relatively low crime rate for a big city, and the government leaves you pretty much alone.L: I dunno, Doug, if the new government rules prevent you from taking out more than 1,000 pesos a day from an ATM, that could get pretty inconvenient.Doug: Not for me – I don’t have an ATM card.L: No cell phone, no ATM card – you’re quite the caveman for a technophile.Doug: True. True. But you don’t want to have a bank account in Argentina anyway – that would be asking the fox to guard your chickens. This is why lots of European banks have lots of informal representatives in Argentina; they facilitate financial transactions for foreigners and rich Argentines. This is something else Cristina has come down on, and the many Swiss and other bankers in town have had to close down their offices and either move across the river to Uruguay or disguise themselves as brokerages. It’s an inconvenience. But on the other hand, credit cards work fine, and large transactions are still typically conducted in cash – which is to say briefcases full of the stuff. There are, unfortunately, not too many countries where that’s still true.L: Okay, so, for good living, you’ve got great wines, pretty countryside, secure land title, etc. If your income is derived abroad – not in Argentine pesos – could this political and economic chaos make living in Argentina cheaper?Doug: Yes. Financial chaos is the friend of someone who has assets outside the country. Life is not currently as cheap in Argentina as it was a few years ago – at the height of the last economic crisis, it was probably the cheapest country in the world. It was so cheap, it was embarrassing. One thing that’s absolutely in the cards is that Cristina and crew are going to destroy the currency… nothing new here – they’ve done it almost as many times as Brazil since WW II. Argentina will collapse economically again – that’s baked in the cake at this point. The government now controls the exchange rate, with the peso officially at 4.30 to the US dollar, but domestic inflation is running at about 25 percent per year. Prices in pesos have been rising much faster than the peso has fallen in forex, so at some point, something has to give. Argentina is not expensive, but it’s not currently a major bargain. That will change when the “something” does give, and Argentina will become a bargain again.Sadly, few foreigners will take advantage of it then, just as they didn’t during the last crisis, which was the best time to buy in recent years. People from abroad saw Argentines banging pots in the streets on TV and decided to stay away in droves. It was very convenient for those of us who did visit. There were no cars on the road. There were no lines nor reservations needed at restaurants. Everything was cheap as dirt.In the long run, of course, these crises are very bad things. They destroy livelihoods – and lives. Each event is a scythe mowing down another swath of the middle class.That just shows what a fantastic and wealthy place Argentina was a hundred years ago, as things have gone downhill since then – especially over the last sixty years – and it’s still a great place to hang out. It’s my favorite place in the Western world to spend time.L: Short version: you wouldn’t want to invest in most businesses operating in Argentina, but you still love it as a place to hang your hat?Doug: Yes. People sit at home and watch blatherings of talking heads on CNN about some far-off place like Argentina, and they imagine they know what’s going on. They don’t. They should get on a plane and go see for themselves – few places are as great as the travel shows make them out to be and few are as bad as the peddlers of bad tidings on the news shows make them out to be. Remember that journalists have a pecuniary interest in sensationalizing everything. Sure, Cristina’s government is probably one of the dumbest in the world today, but you can still enjoy the best steaks – accompanied by some of the finest wines in the world – in peace and comfort, in a beautiful setting, for relatively little. It’s a nice place.L: Do you think Argentina is stuck with Kirchnerism until it crashes, or is there any chance of Cristina and her cronies getting voted out?Doug: The way things are going, the crash could well come before the next election. If that happens, I would expect Cristina’s gang to be voted out – but that doesn’t mean that whoever replaces them would be any better. Just as I keep saying about the US: After Caligula, we’ll get a Claudius, and people will think it can’t get any worse, but then we’ll get a Nero. I expect the same thing in Argentina.But it’s possible that things could get so bad that someone rises to power who actually makes things radically better. It happened in New Zealand. In the mid-1980s, nobody would have guessed that New Zealand, which was becoming the shallow end of the gene pool, would see a socialist by the name of Roger Douglas rise to power and act with a lot of common sense. He fired two-thirds of government employees, got rid of import duties, and cut the income tax by 50 percent. New Zealand went from being a tired backwater to quite an acceptable place in a very short time. If it could happen in New Zealand, it can certainly happen in Argentina as well.L: I met Maurice McTigue, who was a minister in that government. He told me how that socialist government did something no liberal government could have done: they cut subsidies to farmers. Not for ideological reasons, but simply because they had no money. These were massive subsidies, and the farmers cried foul and proclaimed their doom, but once forced to find new markets for their products, they actually did – and found better ones and made more money. Maurice told me that he’d come to the conclusion that subsidies make farmers poor.Doug: Right; they had no choice. I’d like to think the same thing is possible in Argentina. There actually is a substantial classical liberal presence in the country, people who understand basic economic realities and who could step in with the right ideas, especially if commodities turn cyclically downwards, leaving the country with absolutely no choice but to change.L: You’re not just showing a bias because you love the place, are you, Doug?Doug: I might be, but the fact is that governments all around the world are headed in the wrong direction. Since World War II, people all around the world, even in “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” have come to see the state as both father and mother, protector and caregiver. At the cultural level, it’s become universal now, especially throughout Europe and North America.I’m afraid we’ve lost the intellectual battle. Socialism and fascism have won, and the average person has been totally corrupted in his values. We can see that in people’s cries as we get deeper into the Greater Depression; they want nothing more than for the state to kiss everything and make it better.L: It’s rather ironic. If the battle for the hearts and minds of the people has been lost, it also seems true that the battle in the field of economics has been won. Keynesianism has been disgraced. Even socialists and central planners seem to understand that markets are necessary – if you destroy the price system, you fly the economy blind, and massive decreases in prosperity follow. Even the Chinese say they have “market communism” now.Doug: That’s true, but hardly the only contradictory thing in our topsy-turvy world. We won’t know how it’s all going to work out for this period of history until the global economy really collapses. I think that will push a massive reset button, accompanied by the full regalia of chaos: riots, wars, the works. Life will look quite different on the other side.L: Is there a point at which Argentina can get oversold?Doug: Yes, sure. I’ll buy absolutely anything in any place, if the price is low enough.L: What would “low enough” look like?Doug: It’d look like when I was recommending New Zealand in the ’90s – that’s when it was about the cheapest nice place in the world, as Argentina soon will be again. But for equities, it’s too early to buy Argentina – I don’t think it’s bottomed yet, nor will it until the next elections. After the current insane policies cause the Argentine economy to hit a brick wall, and the current crew have been tossed out, that would be the time to look for investments. The sensational headlines at the time will keep the masses out, so it should be a real buyer’s market.Our readers know I have a lot of money in Argentina right now, so I should add that it’s all in real property out in the prettiest parts of the provinces away from the capital. I have no fear of expropriation. Overall, I’m actually not worried about Argentina. What’s happening now is par for the South-American course – things like this have been going on for a hundred years, and people know how to get back on their feet, pick up the pieces, and get going again.L: So, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel?Doug: Argentina should, or at least could, turn a corner and improve radically in a few years. But I’m less hopeful for the US. Both Obama and Romney are bad news. But conditions are going to be way beyond anyone’s control. And I’ll bet the US elections of 2016 will bring an authoritarian ex-military type, some charismatic general. So the worst is yet to come in the US.L: Mr. Cheerful again – and we didn’t even get ’round to talking about WW III.Doug: It’s the way it is. Those who want to look down on Argentina for its madness would do well to remember that Cristina has not cornered the market on sociopathic behavior. No place is exempt. You can run, but you can’t hide.But if you want to end on a happy note, I’ll say that of all the places in the world I’ve been, and can think of to be now, I’d still rather be in Argentina than just about anywhere else.L: And for investing?Doug: Colombia is probably the most interesting place to invest in Latin America today. The people in charge understand markets and the place is on a sharp learning and growth curve.L: The Colombian president told the press the other day that business was welcome in Colombia, saying, “We don’t expropriate here!”Doug: Exactly. Though, as a contrarian, I have to say that Venezuela is looking more and more interesting. Its stock market is even cheaper than Argentina’s, yielding about eight percent, and selling around six times earnings, last time I looked.L: And there’s a definite catalyst for change looming in the future?Doug: That’s right: Chávez has terminal cancer. But these are dangerous waters – it may be hard to imagine, but whoever replaces him could be worse than Chávez. And even if it goes well, it could take years for Venezuela to improve. It’s an interesting spec, but only for the most patient speculators, and those with money they can laugh off losing.L: Sounds a bit ghoulish to speculate on a man’s death.Doug: None of us get out of here alive, and his number is visibly coming up. More, he’s an unethical maniac whose policies have wrought more damage than can ever be accurately accounted for. That would include loss of lives. I won’t shed a tear when he graces our world with his departure. It makes more sense to care about the people of Venezuela and not care about the psychopath who’s ruining it. The place will need foreign injections of capital and ideas. I’d invest for profit – but it would also be the best thing a foreigner could do to actually help the people.L: Very well then, there’s looking on the bright side. Thanks for your time and insights.Doug: You’re very welcome. And I’m anxious to get back to Argentina. I really enjoy the place.last_img read more

August 3

The trauma of sexual assault or harassment is not

first_imgThe trauma of sexual assault or harassment is not only hard to forget; it may also leave lasting effects on a woman’s health. This finding of a study published Wednesday adds support to a growing body of evidence suggesting the link. In the study of roughly 300 middle-aged women, an experience of sexual assault was associated with anxiety, depression and poor sleep. A history of workplace sexual harassment was also associated with poor sleep and with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure. “These are experiences that [a woman] could have had long ago … and it can have this long arm of influence throughout a woman’s life,” says Rebecca Thurston, lead author of the study, and a research psychologist and director of the Women’s Behavioral Health Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh. The study data come from a survey of healthy women between ages 40 and 60 who had been recruited for a study on menopause and cardiovascular disease — not sexual harassment or assault. They all had their blood pressure checked at study visits, as well as height and weight. Among other questions, the survey asked the women if they had ever experienced sexual harassment at work. Participants were also asked if they had ever “been made or pressured into having some type of unwanted sexual contact.” The women were not asked when those events occurred. Twenty-two percent reported a history of sexual assault, and 19 percent said they’d experienced workplace sexual harassment.Though the sample size was small, the results are statistically significant. Women who had experienced sexual assault had on average an almost threefold increased risk of developing depressive symptoms, compared to women who hadn’t. They also had a greater incidence of clinically significant anxiety. About 1 in 4 women who had been sexually assaulted met criteria for depression, while approximately 1 in 10 who had not were depressed. Those who experienced sexual harassment at work had a twofold increased risk compared to women who hadn’t of developing high blood pressure. Poor sleep was more common, too. “These [traumatic experiences] are clearly critical things that happen to people early on, that have these really long-lasting effects,” says Susan Mason, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota who studies the effects of trauma. “These really shape people’s life trajectories.”Mason was not involved in this study, but says the findings dovetail with other research on the relationship between trauma and physical or mental health later in life. Intimate partner violence, for example, has been associated with the development of diabetes and high blood pressure. Wednesday’s study is particularly noteworthy, Mason says, because it includes clinical data — in-office blood pressure checks, for example, and validated diagnostic tools for depression and anxiety — rather than depending exclusively on self-reported diagnoses. Clinicians don’t have the ability to corroborate women’s memories of sexual assault or harassment, however. Thurston points to literature on the way traumatic memories are processed that demonstrates that discrete events like a sexual assault often remain vivid in a way other memories don’t. This is why, she says, she trusts the study participants who say they’ve been through these experiences. “If the patient thinks it’s important, it’s important,” says Dr. Valerie Gilchrist, chair of the department of family medicine at the University of Wisconsin who has written about screening for sexual violence in primary care. She recommends that clinicians ask patients if they’ve experienced sexual assault, particularly patients who are experiencing significant stress or have difficulty with pelvic exams. Authors note that sexual assault and harassment seemed to be less common in this group of women than in national estimates. The prevalence in their cohort was significantly lower than a 2014 estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found that 19 percent of American women had been raped, and almost 44 percent had experienced another form of sexual violence. Thurston thinks this is because the study excluded a fair number of women for reasons related to its original intent of researching menopause and cardiovascular disease. Women taking medications for depression were not included, for example, as well as those with serious medical problems. “Sexual assault and sexual abuse are much more common than people think,” Thurston says. These are “key toxic stressors for women.” While researchers weren’t surprised that sexual assault and harassment seemed to be related to the development of mood disorders and poor sleep, they were impressed by the strength of the association. “These should be urgent public health priorities,” Mason says. “How do we address the fundamental ways that our social structure affects health?” Mara Gordon is a family physician in Washington, D.C., and a health and media fellow at NPR and Georgetown University School of Medicine. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

July 31

Disabled people in England and Wales are now almos

first_imgDisabled people in England and Wales are now almost three-and-half times more likely than non-disabled people to be a victim of serious violent crime, according to new research that has been described as “a wake-up call to politicians”.The new analysis of official crime figures by the charity Victim Support also shows people with a “limiting” illness or impairment are twice as likely to be victims of violent crime without injury, and 1.6 times more likely be a victim of personal theft.While violent crime has fallen by almost half for non-disabled people over the 10 years to 2015-16, over the same period the proportion of disabled people with limiting impairments who were victims of violence increased by 3.7 per cent.In 2005-06, non-disabled people were at greater risk of falling victim to violent crime than disabled people, but since 2011-12, the proportion of people with a limiting disability or illness who suffered violence has overtaken the proportion of non-disabled people.One leading disabled activist, and a coordinator of the Disability Hate Crime Network, Anne Novis (pictured), said she believed the rise in violence against disabled people was closely connected to the demonization and blaming of disabled people for the economic crisis.She said: “When a certain section of society is demonised as being the sole cause for the economic woes of a country, just like we are seeing with immigrants, then it’s like painting a bulls-eye upon us. We become the targets for all sorts of abuse, harassment and violence.“Having to never go out alone, minimise my presence so I do not attract notice, avoid public transport, always carry a panic alarm, train my PAs on how to protect me and address hostile situations, setting up a self-defence pilot… all come about due to mine and others’ perception and expectation of hostility and possible violence.”She added: “It’s not always about us being deemed an easier target, or being vulnerable, it’s the perception that as such we ‘cost’ more, get more benefits, help, special cars, etc.“And as such we ‘cost’ too much, are a ‘burden’ and ‘unsustainable to support’; these are the words of government ministers, used to justify the cruellest of cuts targeting those least able to fight them.”Novis said the time when violence against disabled people was rising over the last six years – 2010-12 and from 2014 onwards – appeared to coincide with the periods when ministers were making most use of so-called “benefit scrounger rhetoric” to try to blame disabled benefit claimants for the government’s deficit.She said: “The language of hate and blame towards us from those who should be the ones who protect, continues to encourage derogatory abuse and criminal acts against disabled people.”She said the research highlighted yet again the need for “perpetrator analysis” to show “what prompts and ‘gives permission’ for such acts”.Stephen Brookes, another coordinator of the network, said that ministers – including the chancellor, George Osborne – MPs and right-wing media were all responsible for such rhetoric.He said the report showed “what sadly we have known for years and many (including a lot of police forces) have tried to ignore, that disabled people are an easier target in every way”.He added: “Of course, the portrayal of disabled people either and only as scroungers, or alternatively as poorly defenceless and incapable of self-protection, adds to the mix.”The report, An Easy Target?, warns that the figures are likely to under-estimate the extent of violence and theft experienced by disabled people, as they were drawn from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, which does not cover institutions or group homes.It also says that the proportion of such crime that falls into the category of hate crime “is difficult to establish, largely due to low reporting rates and a lack of awareness amongst police, criminal justice professionals and even disabled people themselves as to what constitutes a hate crime”.It warns that “neither health, social care or criminal justice professionals have the expertise and solutions necessary to start addressing the risk and tackling the causes of offending against disabled people”, so more research is needed “both into the causes of the increased victimisation of disabled people and how disabled people can be better protected”.The campaigning journalist and author Katharine Quarmby, author of the ground-breaking book Scapegoat: Why We Are Failing Disabled People, which investigates disability hate crime, carried out a small survey of 100 victims of disability hate crime last year on behalf of the hate crime network.When asked why they had been targeted, many mentioned changes to disability benefits.She wrote in Scapegoat that in times of economic hardship, people look for someone to blame.Quarmby, another DHCN coordinator, said: “Sadly, at the moment in the UK, one target group is disabled people (other target groups include refugees and economic migrants).“We should learn from the lessons of history, otherwise we repeat them. Political leaders, in particular, should be very careful not to blame particular groups for economic hardship, nor penalise them at times of trouble as it allows some in society free rein to turn against them.“Sadly, the Victim Support report seems to suggest that this may be happening, right now, in the UK.“The time-frame of the significant rise in the reported violent crime against disabled people corresponds directly to a time when disability benefit cuts were being accompanied by hostile rhetoric against disabled people who were being described as ‘scroungers’ and ‘fakers’.“I welcome the report as a wake-up call to all of us – and to politicians in particular.”Novis, who is also the independent chair of the Metropolitan police’s disability hate crime working group, said: “Until we have equality of access to hate crime law, funding to disabled people’s organisations to support victims and raise awareness, a consistent ‘zero tolerance’ message from those who represent us in government, we will continue to be the ones who others target because they get away it.”A Home Office spokesman said: “Any violent crime is cause for concern and can have a devastating impact on the victim.“That is why our modern crime prevention strategy includes action to tackle a range of crimes – including violent crime.“We also know disability hate crime is a serious issue which affects a considerable number of disabled people and their families each year.“The UK has one of the strongest legislative frameworks in the world to protect people from hostility, violence and bigotry.“Later this year we are publishing a hate crime action plan to drive forward action against all forms of hate crime.”last_img read more