BAHAMAS Digital system being explored for the courts

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, January 15, 2018 – Nassau –  A digital recording system is being investigated for use in the Courts.   In his address at the ceremonies to officially open the Legal Year, Thursday, January 11, 2018, Acting Chief Justice Stephen Isaacs said the new system would bring some “relief” to Magistrates.“This has a lot of potential especially when it is considered that Magistrate’s Courts, in particular, can only engage stenographers on request.  That means that the recording of the evidence, submissions, exchanges between bench and bar are recorded by hand,” said Acting Chief Justice Isaacs.He explained that the stenographers in the Magistrate’s Court were removed years ago on the expectation that voice recording systems would be purchased and installed.“When the stenographers were removed, the work of the Magistrates was adversely affected.  The hand-written record is far slower to produce than a stenographic record.   This not only adversely affected the Magistrates but it slowed down the pace of trials and appeals being disposed of.”Acting Chief Justice Isaacs remarked that the exploration which is being conducted with the assistance of the United States Embassy is “anxiously” awaited. Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppcenter_img Release: BISlast_img read more

Assange faces hearing in UK over US deportation request

first_imgWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gestures from the window of a prison van as he is driven out of Southwark Crown Court in London on 1 May 2019, after having been sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for breaching his bail conditions in 2012. Photo: AFPWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces an initial hearing in London on Thursday over an extradition request from the United States, a day after he was jailed for 50 weeks for jumping bail.The US wants to extradite the Australian whistleblower, who was arrested on 11 April after spending seven years in Ecuador’s London embassy, to face charges of “conspiracy” for working with former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.The US indictment, which was only revealed following his dramatic arrest for breaching bail, accuses him of helping crack a password stored on defence department of computers in March 2010.The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years.Manning passed hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, exposing US military wrong-doing in the Iraq war and diplomatic secrets about scores of countries.WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said on Wednesday that all efforts would now be focused on preventing Assange’s extradition to the US.”It will be a question of life and death,” he warned.Assange’s supporters believe that more serious charges could be filed if he is transferred to the US, and he fears the death penalty.Hrafnsson was speaking outside London’s Southwark Crown Court, where a British judge handed Assange a 50-week jail term for breaching a British court order when he sought refuge in the embassy in June 2012.’I apologise unreservedly’At the time, Swedish authorities wanted to extradite Assange over claims of sexual assault and rape, which he denied.He claimed the allegations were a pretext to transfer him to the United States.There is no longer an active investigation in Sweden and the extradition request has lapsed, but Assange was still accountable for breaching British law, leading to him being dragged shouting from the embassy by police when Ecuador gave him up last month. The 47-year-old, his shaggy beard neatly trimmed, raised his fist to supporters in the public gallery at Southwark Crown Court as he was taken down to the cells.In a letter read out on his behalf, Assange expressed regret, saying: “I did what I thought at the time was the best or perhaps the only thing that I could have done.””I apologise unreservedly,” he said.Assange’s team is fighting his extradition and the process could take years.WikiLeaks is also back in the news in the United States, over its alleged role in the leak of Hillary Clinton’s emails in 2016 US presidential election.The Swedish claims against Assange date back to 2010, when he was at the centre of a global storm over WikiLeaks’ exposures.The sexual assault claim expired in 2015, but while the rape claim was dropped in 2017, the alleged victim wants the case reopened.If Stockholm makes a formal extradition request, Britain must decide whether to consider it before or after that of the United States.last_img read more

Coal India videographs strikers reports normal operation

first_imgKolkata: Coal India Ltd (CIL) on Tuesday said operations were normal in all its subsidiaries as one of the central trade unions observed a protest demonstration on Monday against the Centre’s move to allow commercial mining. The four central trade unions — CITU, BMS, HMS and AITUC — had served a joint strike notice on March 14 but subsequently, they withdrew the strike which was scheduled for Monday. CITU was the lone union to head off and called for a protest day against the commercial mining. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flights”To ensure no loss to production and off-take Coal India management made elaborate arrangements and a multi-pronged plan was put into action at all mines of CIL,” the miner said in a statement.According to it, all the subsidiary companies of the miner geared up by setting up videography and photography arrangements at mine level to identify the persons taking part in the strike.”The arrangements were so elaborate that the operations in all the subsidiaries of CIL were normal on Monday except for few stray incidents where protesters tried to sit on dharna but it did not succeed and no adverse effect on production related activities was reported anywhere,” the coal behemoth said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedIn a bid to ward off the strike, Union Minister of Railways and Coal, Piyush Goyal had invited the four trade unions BMS, HMS, AITUC and CITU for a meeting in Mumbai where their apprehensions were sought to be “dispelled in a proper perspective”.Subsequently, the next round of meeting was held with Secretary (Coal) as a result of which the four trade unions agreed to call off the strike in principle, the miner said.In fact, BMS and HMS inked their pact to steer clear-off the strike. Though AITUC did not formalise their consent through signature, nevertheless they agreed to back off.last_img read more

Think China is the No 1 Country for Hacking Think Again

first_img Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals October 16, 2013 2 min read Register Now »center_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. China has earned a reputation as the hacker capital of the world, but a new report shows the bulk of global cyber-attack activity has recently come from its smaller neighbor Indonesia.Thirty-eight percent of cyber attacks originated in Indonesia during the second quarter of 2013, up from 21 percent in the first quarter, according to a report by security cloud platform Akamai. This spike helped push China off the hacking pedestal, with the world’s most populous country accounting for 33 percent of attacks, down from 34 percent in the previous quarter. The U.S. rounded out the top three, generating 6.9 percent of cyber-attack traffic, a decrease from 8.3 percent.Indonesia and China alone accounted for more than half of all cyber-attack activity during the quarter.Related: Don’t Get Hacked — Tools to Fight Cyber AttacksWhile it may seem like Indonesia came out of nowhere to take the lead (last year the country accounted for on average less than one percent of cyber crimes), hackers may be taking advantage of its increase in connection and weakening IT structure. The country’s average internet connection speed increased 125 percent in the second quarter from the same time last year. That, coupled with the fact the country isn’t spending a whole lot of cash on its infrastructure,  may make the country a haven for cybercriminals.Related: Cyber Security a Growing Issue for Small Business In January, hacker group Anonymous Indonesia claimed responsibility for defacing 12 government websites with the tagline “No Army Can Stop an Idea” shown on the sites. In April, the country’s defense minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro announced they were building a Cyber Defense Center to take on hackers. Microsoft also felt the supposed wrath of Indonesia criminals (among others) when it put the kibosh on a cybercrime operation in June. Akamai’s findings are based on agents reporting log connection attempts, which the company defines as attack traffic. The company then can determine the top countries the hack attacks occur. One caveat to keep in mind: the IP address assigned to a particular country may not be the nation the attacker resides. So someone from China with an IP address associated with them, may be committing cyber attacks in France.To check out more of Akamai’s findings, check out the below highlights:Click to Enlarge+last_img read more

Busy road closed due to accident

first_imgThe affected stretch of road (Image: Inrix) Inrix reports traffic is heavier than usual in the area as a result of the accident. Staffordshire Police are also understood to be at the scene. We will bring you more information on this story when it becomes available. Read MoreTwo arrests following stop-and-search in the Staffordshire Moorlands Get the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailUPDATED: THIS ACCIDENT HAS CLEARED AND THE ROAD HAS REOPENED A road is closed following an accident between two Staffordshire Moorlands villages this afternoon. The B5051 Clay Lake, between Endon and Brown Edge, is shut following the accident, according to traffic data company Inrix. The road is reported to be closed between Edge Lane and the A53 Leek Road. West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed they were at the scene after being called at 3.32pm. A spokesman said: “We were called to a two vehicle RTC on Clay Lake. “We have an ambulance and a paramedic officer in attendance and a second ambulance is on its way.” It is understood that injuries are believed to be minor at this stage. Want to keep up to date with the latest traffic and travel news?Each day Stoke-on-Trent Live journalists bring you the latest news on the roads and railways across Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire, South Cheshire and further afield to help keep you on the move. For the very latest updates on roads including the M6, A500, A50 and more, visit our dedicated traffic and travel news channel here. We also run a live news feed each weekday, which you can access on our website’s homepage from 7am to 9pm from Monday to Friday. And for more as-we-get-it updates on the roads across the region and beyond, join The Sentinel’s traffic and travel Facebook group here.last_img read more

Finnish service provider DNA has named Janne Aalto

first_imgFinnish service provider DNA has named Janne Aalto as its new chief information officer, replacing Taneli Ropponen, who will continue in the role of chief operating officer.Aalto, who will take up his post on June 2, is a digital media expert and was previously responsible for advertising and publishing business at online video specialist Kiosked.As part of the change, DNA is transferring its IT activities to a new technology unit directly under president and CEO Jukka Leinonen, to whom Aalto will report.last_img read more

First of all it is an accusation and an insult i

first_imgFirst of all, it is an accusation and an insult, implying that you are engaging in evil. We’ve all heard the insulting, tyrannical cliché about privacy: If you have nothing to hide, why do you care? The comeback, if not that it would fall on deaf ears, should be this: Because I value myself. The real value of privacy is not because it allows us to hide things, it’s that privacy allows us to develop independently – according to our own natures. In other words, privacy is an essential tool for personal development. Privacy is a positive good, not merely a tool for hiding things. Deconstructing the Cliché Before we get to the core of this issue, we really should deconstruct this dirty slogan we opened with. Consider the implications of the words if you have nothing to hide: Secondly, it is a threat to turn you in to the authorities. Thirdly, it implies that the entity you are hiding from is supremely righteous and morally superior. Fundamentally, this slogan is a weapon. It is used to intimidate and confuse you; to force you to bow down to authority; to be as cowardly and compliant as the person using it. The users of such slogans are angry that you are showing them up in courage. They want you to be in the center of the enforcer’s gun-sites, just like they are. Now, as to the party that these people think we shouldn’t be hiding from… do they mean governments? If so, they are slandering themselves, since they almost certainly complain about governments endlessly. The idea that a government is somehow morally superior to us is ridiculous. By any objective standard they are far worse than an average working guy. Pretending that our overlords are righteous is a superstition of the basest kind. Privacy and Self-Development Let me start with a quote from a French author whose name escapes me at the moment: Everything from without informs man that he is nothing. All within tells him that he is everything. It so happens that one of the better psychologists of our time is a friend of mine. He says that up to half of what we are, we owe to the previous choices we’ve made. (The other factors being heredity and environment.) But, whatever the numbers, choice is the only factor we can do anything about The truth is that our choices form us. They make us what we are. What we are next year will be a reflection of the choices we make today. But, choices that are imposed on us from outside – edicts, intimidations, fears, manipulations – work against our healthy development. People wouldn’t go through the work of imposing choices if those people would make the same choices naturally. Only if you want people to choose against nature do you try to push them in a particular direction. So, the pre-packaged choices that are thrust upon us daily are not working in our interests, they are working in someone else’s interests. Are we really to think that such choices are best for us? To develop ourselves healthfully, we must develop ourselves by ourselves, without outside pressures. The less we are able to choose freely, the less we are really ourselves, and the more we become what other people want us to be. The positive value of privacy is that it stands between us and manipulative outside forces. Privacy allows us to grow according to our own natures, not according to the demands of a collective. Privacy is a tool for becoming what we authentically are. The Hedge of Anonymity Anonymity allows us to develop our interactions with the outside world in healthy ways, rather than in manipulated ways. We have all been intimidated by fear of what others might say. This has stopped us from doing and saying many things, and that wasn’t good for us. Intimidation is clearly an enemy. Anonymity protects us from this enemy by removing any way for consequences to come back to us. Anonymity allows people to put their ideas into a public square while insulated from shame. So what if some of those thoughts are not good? Once spoken in the public square, they can be tried, analyzed and improved. It is profitable for us that this should occur more, rather than less. Forget the stories of anonymous people being nasty – those comprise a tiny fraction of the whole and are used for the sake of fear and manipulation. (Humans massively over-respond to fear.) If You Have Nothing To Hide… I hide things because I wish to develop in my own way, not in the ways that manipulators wish me to develop. Anyone who says that this is wrong is also telling me that I was born to be a slave. Only those things that are reliably private are protected from the modern world’s ambient environment of intimidation. It is in those environments that we can develop in our own ways, without obstruction and opposition. Conditions of privacy or anonymity are almost the only conditions that allow for healthy development. I think we can all agree that prayer has long been used in personal development. So perhaps Jesus had some of this in mind when he said: When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. But if the sloganeers are right, Jesus was a bad man, hiding his evil deeds from morally superior overlords. They would have slapped him with their nasty little slogan, just like they do us: So, Jesus, why do you need to pray in secret, if you have nothing to hide? Paul Rosenberg FreemansPerspective.com Credit: This article was inspired by a paper circulating in the darknet called The Treasure of Privacy. [“Personal and Online Privacy: If you have nothing to hide, why do you care?” was originally published on LewRockwell.com]last_img read more

In This Issue September taper worries markets

first_imgIn This Issue. * September taper worries markets… * Germany and France lead Europe out of recession… * Pound sterling rises on signs of labor recovery… * Mixed data from down under… And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Markets worry about a September taper… Good day. It was actually a bit chilly walking across the bridge from our parking garage this morning.  I hear we are in for what I consider a perfect day here in St. Louis with temperatures in the mid 70’s and nothing but bright sunshine.  Hopefully that will mean my plane to San Francisco won’t be delayed this evening, but I guess a lot of that will depend on the weather in SF so I will have to wait and see. The markets were waiting with baited breath for the release of the retail sales figures yesterday, and the overall data came in a bit better than projections.  Retail sales increased .2% in July, slightly less than expected, and a drop from an adjusted .6% increase the month prior.  But the ‘core’ number (ex autos, gas, and building materials) posted its largest gain in seven months, rising .5%.  Other data released yesterday showed that small businesses were more optimistic in July and inventories were flat. The retail sales data confirmed the US economy is still on a recovery path, and the ex-autos number indicates US sales are gaining momentum.  This data supports the calls for a September taper, and therefore both the equity and treasury markets sold off following this morning’s data.  The dollar gained as investors moved back into the greenback following the positive economic news.  Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart spoke a few hours after the release of the retail sales numbers, and basically stuck to the tone he took last week in confirming that the taper could begin as early as September if the data continues to improve.  “A decision to proceed – whether it is in September, October, or December – ought to be thought of as a cautious first step” in tapering, Lockhart said yesterday in Atlanta. In remarks last week, Lockhart stated “If we see the growth pick up in the second half and if we see a continuation of the job gains that we – not (the) 162,000 number that we saw last month but at a higher range, say 180-200,000 – I think with other fundamentals improving we probably are in a position to remove … the extraordinary policy program over the medium term – that being the asset purchase program.”  The important detail in yesterday’s Retail Sales figure was the .5% gain ex-autos.  This is the figure which is used to calculate the GDP, so the .5% jump certainly indicates the first part of Lockhart’s statement will hold true.  Now we will have to see if the jobs numbers can increase to the 200k levels by the September FOMC meeting. Economists have pulled their wagers back to September according to a survey by Bloomberg which showed 65% now think Bernanke & Company will start the taper in September.  These same economists think the first move by the FOMC will be small, with a median estimate of the reduction in bond buying at $10 billion, bringing the overall monthly purchases to $75 billion.  This same survey showed the economists believe the central bank will end the bond buying program by the middle of 2014.  The big news in the currency markets this morning is the emergence of the euro-area out of their latest recession.  The GDP figures for the 17-nation euro area expanded .3% in the 2nd quarter, slightly higher than economists’ expectations.  Both of the German and French GDP numbers also beat analysts’ estimates, with the German economy increasing at a .7% rate and France increasing .5%.  But as I wrote yesterday, the European debt crisis still remains fresh in the euro leader’s minds.  “This slightly more positive data is welcome, but there is no room for any complacency whatsoever,” EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said in a blog post.  “A sustained recovery is now within reach, but only if we persevere on all fronts on our crisis response.”  While these GDP figures were slightly more positive than expected, the emergence of the Euro area back into positive growth was widely expected and already priced into the euro which held around $1.3250, the level it dropped to after the US retail sales numbers were released yesterday.  The pound sterling also rose overnight after a report showed Britain’s unemployment rate held steady at 7.8% during the second quarter.  Other data showed jobless claims declined 29,200 during the quarter almost doubling economists’ expectations of an expected 15k decline.  Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has made the unemployment rate the main focus of monetary policy after pledging that rates will remain low until the jobless rate falls to 7%.  But Carney was not able to get the members of the BOE to reach a consensus on forward guidance, as Martin Weale held out for a tougher stance on inflation; according to the minutes of their August 1 meeting.  The Monetary Policy Committee therefore voted 8-1 to link the outlook for its benchmark interest rate to unemployment. We got some mixed data from the land down under overnight, with a report showing slow wage growth in Australia offset by higher consumer confidence, and another report which showed a jump in core retail sales in New Zealand.  Wages in Australia gained .7% in the 2nd quarter, matching the pace of increase in the first quarter which is the lowest since December of 2009. But this lackluster wage report was offset a bit by another report released today which showed Australian consumer confidence rose 3.5 percent in August to the highest level since March.  A report out of New Zealand boosted interest in the currencies of both Australia and New Zealand after it showed core retail sales increased 2.3% in the 2nd quarter.  This is the largest quarterly increase since 2006 and when combined with recent inflation numbers this data seems to confirm the thought that the RBNZ will raise the key borrowing costs at their next meeting. Then there was this. I get a lot of emails from our friends over at the Sovereign Society, so many in fact that I have to admit I sometimes don’t get a chance to read all of them.  But one I got from The Sovereign Investor yesterday afternoon caught my attention.  In it, Evaldo Albuquerque discusses the emergence of a new ‘global middle class’ which is a theme I have been watching for some time. I will share a portion of what Evaldo wrote yesterday: “It was a booming middle class that made America the world’s most dynamic economy. But now the middle class is in decline. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle-class share of the overall income pie has never been so low. In 1970, the middle class accounted for 62% of U.S. income. Now it accounts for only 45%. You can’t have a robust economy when a growing number of Americans are falling from the middle class and into poverty. While America’s middle class is disappearing, there’s a whole new middle class rising around the globe. Over the past two decades, urbanization and market-oriented economic policies have powered the growth of this new consumer class. This new middle class is demanding access to clean water, clothing, TVs, health care, housing, food … you name it. This exploding middle class outside America wants a lot of stuff . and they increasingly have the money to buy it. McKinsey Global Institute calls the rise of this new middle class “the biggest growth opportunity in the history of capitalism … an economic force that’s over 1,000 times as big as the Industrial Revolution.” So despite the American decline, there are opportunities of historic proportions taking place across the globe. Savvy investors should be paying close attention to places where the middle class is booming, in countries such as India, Mexico, Turkey, Colombia, Thailand, Ghana and Nigeria. That’s where you will find the greatest growth opportunities in generations.” Chris again.  While the emerging markets have been getting a bit beat up lately, I agree with Evaldo that these markets hold some of the most promise.  And we happen to be announcing a new MarketSafe® CD tomorrow which will be linked to 4 emerging market currencies!  Mike will share all of the details with everyone tomorrow. Thanks to Evaldo for letting me share his thoughts will all of you this morning, you can read the entire email by clicking here. To recap. Retail sales numbers released yesterday suggest the taper could come as early as September, and the dollar reacted to the data by moving higher.  But the dollar rally was cut short in early morning trading after GDP numbers out of Europe surprised on the upside.  The unemployment rate in the UK was flat, but the pound sterling rallied as other data showed the labor market is improving.  And we got mixed data out of Australia and New Zealand but both currencies moved higher vs. the US$.  Finally, Evaldo Albuquerque shares his thoughts on the an growing ‘global’ middle class and what that may mean for the emerging markets. Currencies today 8/14/13. American Style: A$ .9125, kiwi .8029, C$ .9670, euro 1.3248, sterling 1.5487, Swiss $1.0677. European Style: rand 9.9742, krone 5.8983, SEK 6.52, forint 225.41, zloty 3.1707, koruna 19.4955, RUB 33.1516, yen 98.15, sing 1.2707, HKD 7.7555, INR 61.3737, China 6.1720, pesos 12.7112, BRL 2.3144, Dollar Index 81.798, Oil $106.14, 10-year 2.71%, Silver $21.5765, Platinum $1,488.30, Palladium $735.80, and Gold. $1,325.40. That’s it for today. Mike will close the week out taking over as your Pfennig writer tomorrow and Friday.  I just saw where there is already a 1 hour flight delay going into the San Francisco Airport, hopefully they will have all of those delays caught back up by the time I leave tonight.  The Cardinals won a tough one last night after 14 innings of play.  Our new associate general counsel, Barry,  was in town for a visit and headed down to watch the Cardinals last night. I sure hope he stayed around for the exciting finish, it was certainly a beautiful night for a ballgame.  Everyone is filtering into the desk so I guess it is time to hit the send button.  Hope you all have a great Thursday, and thanks for reading the Pfennig. Chris Gaffney, CFA Vice President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837last_img read more

Todays topic is a specialized but important one

first_imgToday’s topic is a specialized but important one: investing in private placements. Private placements offer accredited investors the opportunity to circumvent the stock exchange and buy shares directly from the issuing company. Their most attractive feature is that oftentimes, you can buy shares in a private placement for 5-25% less than the quoted market price. For those unfamiliar with private placements, that might sound impossible. Why are such opportunities available in our ostensibly efficient market? That’s what today’s guest author, Michael Kosowan, senior investment advisor at Sprott Private Wealth, is here to explain. Below, he shares a nice primer for investing in private placements. If you’re a high-net-worth investor and interested in early-stage opportunities, right now we’re offering a great package deal: for a very limited time, you can get both of our premium alert services—Louis James’ Casey Investment Alert and Marin Katusa’s Casey Energy Confidential—for the price of one. The thinly traded, fast-moving stocks that we are following in the alert services carry a high risk, but they can also generate returns like no others. So far this year, the alerts are already beating the S&P 500 by 8:1. Recent returns include 121% in 3 months on a manufacturer of pipeline parts; 149% in 11 months on a copper and gold miner; and 283% in just 6 months on a Canadian oil and gas producer. This is the first time we’ve decided to offer this particular 2-for-1 deal—it won’t last long, and since we have to limit membership in the alerts to a few hundred people, it may not come back anytime soon. Click here to find out more. And now on to Michael Kosowan’s very interesting article. Dan Steinhart Managing Editor of The Casey Report Private Placements: Blood Transfusions for Zombies By Michael Kosowan, Investment Advisor, Sprott Private Wealth Watching the junior mining sector over the past three years feels much like witnessing the slow and protracted death of a good friend. Many industry professionals are reiterating that they have never seen conditions as dire and drawn out as those just witnessed. One could even be led to believe that the sector is bereft of life, the domain of zombies. Yet despite the doom and gloom, the junior resource sector remains one of the better options for investors looking to speculate for potential 5- and 10-fold returns even as it moves through this recent ghoulish phase. Let me be very clear, speculating in junior resource equities is not for the fainthearted. Doug Casey is often quoted as describing stocks within this sector as “the most volatile stocks on the planet.” They have also been described as very risky, like matches, able to burn in an instant. How else could one expect to garner these types of multiples and legendary returns without a bit of risk? Remember, potential reward is commensurate with risk. The current backdrop of fear and loathing for this sector lays the very foundation for the reasons one would consider not only investing in this sector, but more to the point, investing into it via private-placement offerings. Private placements in junior resource companies provide life-giving blood transfusions to companies that have, for all intents and purposes, been wasting away in a zombie state under current market conditions. An injection of capital not only infuses some much-needed optimism into the sector, but also spurs further developments such as exploration and consolidations. Restricted Investments in a Dead Sector—Really? The junior resource sector is no stranger to creating great wealth for speculators. The advent of a new mineral discovery and technical de-risking of mineral assets provides a ready vehicle for amassing wealth for investors who successfully identify the winners.  A certain small junior with operations in Serbia was trading at 60 cents in June of 2012. The company, along with its joint venture partner made a major discovery; the stock currently trades around the $6.30 range. Its investors reaped an over-10-fold return. Another “rags to riches” story involved an oil exploration company, which was down to $1.25 in September of 2011. Major oil discoveries in the East African Rift basin pushed the share price to its current level of roughly $8 per share, returning over 600% to investors. Of course, past performance is not always indicative of future gains, but the outsized returns and high potential of the sector have long been recognized by participants within the space; but I am not merely reporting on these tales of triumph, I have personally placed clients in both of these success stories. Essentially, the reason speculators purchase private placements in the natural-resource space is to expose their portfolios to these types of exponential returns. In private-placement vernacular, investors purchase “units,” which consist of a share and a warrant packaged together. When you consider that the private-placement speculator is provided the opportunity to double down on their potential upside, you may be wondering why this type of investment isn’t the only kind sought after in this space. There are reasons for that, which I will get to later. In the United States, direct equity investments into public companies are commonly identified by the acronym “PIPE,” which stands for “private investments in public equities.” In Canada, they are referred to as simply PPs or private placements. These financings are typically shares offered directly from a company’s treasury. In a PIPE transaction, the shares are not offered pursuant to a publicly registered prospectus and as such are not subject to the related rigorous regulatory and administrative burdens. As a result, the company is able to raise capital more efficiently. The issuer often passes along these cost savings to investors in the form of a discounted share price, a warrant, or sometimes both. Buying stock at a discount always derives a high sense of satisfaction for our clients, but the bigger prize may in fact be the warrant. A warrant provides the investor the right, but not the obligation, to purchase additional shares at a predetermined price for a set period of time. Typically, warrant terms are set at strike prices 35 to 50% above the offering of the unit for periods of time ranging from one to five years into the future. The issuers’ apparent “generosity” with such favorable terms is usually a very clear indicator of the scarcity of capital and their level of need. The warrant entitles the owner to double their position (assuming a “full warrant” is included in the placement) at a marginally higher cost to the original price. This added call option on the position enables the investor to assess the share price performance and technical developments surrounding the company over an elapsed period of time. Nowhere on Earth is there a better example of “having your cake and getting to eat it too”! This is a rare privilege indeed, especially when we reflect back to the high returns some investors have experienced in this sector. The Hidden Benefits of Warrants and the Reptilian Brain Selling presents a challenge for investors, especially when capital is flowing and stock prices are rising. It is a disciplined investor who can rationally participate in an investment that is galloping forward. An often overlooked benefit of the warrant is the fact that it enables rationality in an otherwise volatile space, which could mean the difference between winning and losing. The warrant position enables you to dial down your reptilian brain and control your fear and greed response when market conditions are chaotic and objectivity is in short supply. Note that these warrants run the risk of expiring worthless if the share price does not breach the exercise price. Psychologically, the warrant position buys you the space and time for a calculated thought process. If the numbers make sense, an investor can take a gain early by selling shares while knowing they can buy back their position at a fixed price, if they desire, by exercising the warrants. Another hidden benefit of the private placement offering is the financiers’ access to the company’s management team. Financiers at Sprott who engage in private placements regularly monitor and evaluate those companies on behalf of their clients. It is our role to keep close tabs on the company and evaluate whether they continue to be good stewards of the capital entrusted to them. It is generally in the best interest of the company to be honest and forthcoming with regards to their progress and developments in discussions with investors. This is because the most readily supplied source of capital for future financings is usually current shareholders. Tiptoeing Through the Graveyard Private placement investing is not without its risks and encumbrances. The most obvious risk involves selecting the wrong company. It is prudent to think of private placements as yet another form of investment, alongside purchasing shares in the open market. Speculators should always be aware of the inherent risks in exploration. So investors in private placements should plan to build a portfolio of different private placements for diversification, which spreads the exposure around several companies. Owning several quality companies with long-dated warrants will offer some degree of protection from the volatility of individual stocks in this space. Other considerations for private placements are that they are typically set to a minimum of US$10,000 per position and limited to accredited investors. Additionally, your stock position from most private placements is restricted from trading after the close of the financing for four months in Canada, and six to twelve months in the US. Due to the poor performance of natural-resource investments in the last three years, the perception of risk is running at all-time highs. This fear has lowered valuations on mineral exploration companies to record lows. Value investing will always require a macabre sense of tiptoeing through the graveyard of casualties, picking out the bodies that appear to have life left in them and leaving the corpses behind. The Key to Private Placements, a Skilled Grim Reaper As we mentioned earlier, you should not invest solely in private placements, despite their tantalizing return on investment. The availability of finding a suitable private placement is most often tied directly to current market conditions. Additionally, an investor would be well advised to seek the advice of a financial advisor who is highly attuned to this sector, someone with their finger on the pulse of this industry. It is not enough to simply make connections in the industry to the companies that require financing, but to discern those prospects that are most likely to succeed. Look for an advisor who is experienced in financing requirements and is constantly scanning the pickings, waiting and watching, able to recognize an opportunity when one presents itself, and then seize it. Selectivity is key; in both your financial advisor and in the placement itself. With this in mind, it is crucial that you have a thorough understanding of the company you own. Investors must keep a close eye on the fundamental milestones needed to achieve outsized returns and adjust their expectations to performance accordingly. Come Armed with Courage… At times such as these, when capital is scarce, competition low and aversion to risk is high, financiers are able to elicit the most favorable terms for investors. Current market uncertainty and trepidation—together with distrust of the junior resource sector—have come together to produce a grim but exceptional set of circumstances for capital investment. Now is not the time to be squeamish. Michael Kosowan is a specialist in the junior resource market and a senior investment advisor with Sprott Private Wealth. If you have questions related to private placements, PIPEs, or other investments, feel free to contact him at MKosowan@sprottwealth.com, or call 1-855-943-4383.last_img read more

Strengthening muscles may be better way to protect from health hazards rather

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 9 2019Focusing on strengthening our muscles rather than losing fat may be a better way to protect ourselves from weight-related hazards like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, investigators say.They hypothesize and have early evidence that poor skeletal muscle health is a primary way factors like an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and stress reduce our sensitivity to insulin, putting us as risk for diabetes, and increase early markers of cardiovascular disease like stiffening arteries.While the Medical College of Georgia investigators think this is bad for all of us, it may also help explain even higher rates — and more severe cases — of these common maladies in blacks.If they are right, it could make measuring muscle health rather than fat a more accurate indicator of how we are faring from the genetics we are born with and the lifestyles we are choosing.It may also make resistance training, which contracts our muscles, a new focus in the fight to stay healthy, says Dr. Ryan A. Harris, clinical exercise and vascular physiologist at the MCG Georgia Prevention Institute and Department of Medicine.Harris and MCG genetic epidemiologist Dr. Xiaoling Wang are co-principal investigators on a $3.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health that is perusing 400 pairs of twins ages 22 to 45 to find answers.The identical and fraternal twins will help investigators control for genetics, which along with environmental factors like diet and activity levels, contribute to obesity, which affects about 40 percent of adults in the U.S., with Hispanics and blacks experiencing rates closer to 50 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Like their faces, the genetics of identical twins is identical, while fraternal twins — as with many siblings — share 50 percent of their DNA, says Wang. Like the more general population, about 50 percent of the twins are now overweight and 30 percent are obese, the investigators says of the twins who have been followed for 15 years at MCG’s Georgia Prevention Institute. Particularly with the identical twins, their girth tends to be similar, they note, even though they may now be living in very different environments. Their similarities and differences makes it easier for the investigators to parse how much environmental factors, rather than genetics, contribute to fatness and muscle strength.Controlling for genetics in the quest to find better treatment targets also is important because it is true that two people may both eat badly, but only one pays the price of weight gain and related health problems, Wang says. It also may help explain why some cannot get their weight under control and why others are “fit and fat.”Regardless, obesity is widely considered a “health failure,” Wang notes.”Obesity has been studied for so many years and losing weight has been so difficult, we would like to find a mechanism we can target to help people avoid obesity-related disease,” she says.The difficulty with losing weight — and keeping it off — can discourage even a diligent individual, one of the myriad of reasons the investigators want to learn more about the muscle’s role and whether the fitness of our muscle might be a better gauge of our health than a number of a scale. While muscle has not been a real target organ for intervention for these individuals, says Harris, in reality it’s a logical focal point. “We think that It’s an organ that we can really target to improve metabolic and cardiovascular health.”Dr. Ryan A. Harris, MCG Georgia Prevention Institute and Department of Medicine Related StoriesResearchers identify new sarcoma familial risk genePuzzling paralysis affecting healthy children warns CDCCommon cold virus strain could be a breakthrough in bladder cancer treatmentEven in those who rarely exercise, skeletal muscle is one of our largest organs, literally helping support the skeleton that keeps us upright, one of its most important functions, Harris says. Muscle also helps determine our metabolic homeostasis — basically how efficiently our body is functioning — and sensitivity to insulin. In fact, higher muscle mass is associated with increased insulin sensitivity while insulin insensitivity can result in diabetes.Muscle uses a lot of oxygen and is a big energy user overall, notes Harris. One of its many health benefits is in pulling glucose out of our blood so muscle cell powerhouses, called mitochondria, can use it to help make ATP, the fuel for cells. Benefits of high glucose use include reducing type 2 diabetes risk, a common consequence of obesity, and a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.But for many of us there is a fundamental problem with our muscle: “Just because you have muscle mass, it doesn’t mean it’s functioning well,” says Harris.With obesity, for example, you may have a lot of muscle, which is needed to help manage the extra weight, but it may not be efficient muscle, Harris says of what is called the obesity paradox of bone health. Because while it was once thought that weight-bearing activity automatically translated to stronger bones, now there is evidence that individuals with obesity actually have higher fracture rates.Another key way healthy muscle is good for you is through production of small proteins called myokines that can help do good things like maintain metabolic homeostasis and improve internal communication in organs like muscle to help keep them running well. Myokines, released when muscles contract, can also help dampen destructive inflammation that occurs in diseases like obesity, diabetes and hypertension. But there also are destructive myokines, like the inflammation promoting IL-6, which is a strongly associated with cardiovascular disease.So the investigators are using whole body vibration, where standing on a vibrating platform prompts muscles to contract, to assess the myokine mix each study participant is producing to provide a snapshot of their muscle health without an actual muscle biopsy. One of the known effects of poor environmental factors is diminished function of the important muscle cell powerhouses so the investigators are using near infrared spectroscopy to also take a noninvasive look at their oxygen use and function.The twins also are having their independent movement tracked for seven days and are keeping a diet diary for three days. Blood pressure and grip strength are being measured along with fasting lipid, cholesterol and insulin levels, and participants will be asked about drug and alcohol use, including smoking.Blood flow through the brachial artery, the biggest blood vessel in the upper arm, also is being measured as another indicator of blood pressure.The twins are again having their psychosocial stress, from factors like discrimination and family dysfunction, assessed and this time, because of the current age of the twin cohort, the investigators have added questions about neighborhood dangerousness and violence against family and friends, with the idea of determining the impact of previous and current stressors.There have been few studies looking at myokines in humans. But it is known that myokines have a short half-life which is why regular efforts that increase muscle contraction could be helpful. In fact, the MCG investigators have evidence that a single session of whole body vibration actually starts to improve the mix, so they are looking at the direct response of myokines to whole-body vibration. Source:Medical College of Georgia at Augusta Universitylast_img read more