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first_imgEnlarge ImageIt’s unlikely that Aston Martin’s no-deal Brexit survival plan includes building further V8 Cygnets, unfortunately. Aston Martin While we’re up to our ears here in the US with partial government shutdowns and wall talk, the folks over in the UK are staring down the barrel of a possible no-deal Brexit, in which Britain leaves the EU without a trade deal. The prospect has companies such as Aston Martin taking emergency measures to stay afloat, Reuters reports.The UK is set to leave the EU on March 29. The country’s Prime Minister Theresa May has negotiated a trade deal with the EU but has yet to win support for it in Parliament. Her government on Tuesday suffered defeat over a related finance measure, The Guardian reports. Without a deal, shipments to and from Europe are likely to be severely delayed.The Aston Martin top brass decided at a board meeting in December to enact its no-deal Brexit contingency plan — one which we can only imagine is called something super cool like Condition Aubergine or the Condor Contingency. It will mean major changes to the way the company operates on a day-to-day basis, according to Reuters.Specifically, Aston Martin will use ports other than Dover in an effort to avoid customs delays, and it has authorized its procurement people to use air freight when shipping components from certain vendors.Aston Martin — like many automakers — runs on a just-in-time manufacturing system when it comes to getting the materials it needs to build its cars. Naturally, having the kinds of delays that are expected if a no-deal Brexit happens would pee in Aston Martin’s Wheaties, figuratively speaking. This would likely cause massive production upset, something which a relatively small independent company like Aston Martin can’t afford.The company is also holding on to an inventory of cars in Germany that it will likely augment in the coming weeks, in an effort to avoid post-Brexit costs and paperwork.Aston Martin didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 0 2019 Aston Martin Vantage: V8 power and elegant style More From Roadshow 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better 25 Photos Aston Martin Share your voicecenter_img Post a comment 2020 Kia Telluride review: Kia’s new SUV has big style and bigger value 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous Tags Car Industry Luxury cars Exotic Cars Performance Cars Aston Martinlast_img read more

first_imgReflecting signs of a possible turnaround, India’s most valuable realty estate developer DLF Ltd is reportedly planning to sell its stake in two residential projects and monetise its portfolio of rental assets in a bid to raise nearly Rs 10,000 crore.The company has been hit by a huge debt and slowing demand in the real estate sector for the past few years. DLF’s net debt stood at Rs 21,598 crore in the quarter ended 30 June.The company said on Wednesday that its subsidiary DLF Home Developers Ltd would raise Rs 1,990 crore from Government of Singapore Investment Corp Pte Ltd (GIC). The funds raised from the GIC will be utilised to cover operational costs and trim debt, the Livemint reported.”The GIC deal shows that we can also bring in investor partners for our rental portfolio in the future. If we dilute even 40-50% stake in our rental assets, it will help bring down the debt of our development portfolio by about 60-70%,” said Saurabh Chawla, senior executive director, finance, at DLF.Share prices of DLF rose over 13% in the past two trading sessions on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). On Thursday, stock price of DLF rose more than 10% to close at Rs 120.65.DLF also said that its shareholders had given nod for a proposal made by the company to pledge over 50% of its shares in three of its units “to raise as much as Rs 7,500 crore and create third-party rights”.DLF now aims to establish a private rent company with third party shareholders, which will allow its promoters to exit and bring in private equity (PE) investors. The company plans to raise “both debt and equity” against its profitable rental portfolio.Chawla said that DLF had already raised a significant part of Rs 3,000 crore it planned to raise from PE funds.Besides, DLF agreed to sell its non-core cinema exhibition subsidiary DT Cinema to multiplex chain PVR Ltd for Rs 500 crore to increase cash flows and lessen the debt burden.”Will these help in realizing the full potential of the company and help it grow? We are not so sure,” said a Mumbai-based brokerage firm, requesting anonymity.”DLF has been bogged down by negative cash flows for a long time now and close to Rs 700 crore of quarterly interest payments. If it manages to bring down debt and the cost of borrowings, it will allow the company to breathe, but in the long term, actual sales need to happen for it to generate positive cash flows,” said Sandipan Pal, analyst at brokerage Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd.last_img read more

first_imggettyimages [Representational Image]Polling in as many as 14 constituencies in Karnataka will take place on Thursday, April 18, as the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections 2019 gets underway. Other states where partial or full polling will take place tomorrow include Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Maharashtra, Assam and West Bengal. The 14 Lok Sabha constituencies in Karnataka that go to the polls include those in the Bengaluru capital region as well. In Karnataka the Congress-JKD (S) alliance is locked in an intense battle against the BJP. Bengaluru is also witnessing a pitched battle between the two sides.So, what should you know tomorrow as you head to the polling booths? Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan to exercise the democratic right:List of documents accepted as identity/address proof Voters ID Indian passportIndian driving licenseAadhar cardRation cardBank/Post office passbookIncome Tax assessment orderWater billPhone billElectricity billGas connection billRent agreement(The list goes on)No cell phones at the polling boothThe Election Commission (EC) has banned mobile phones within a 100-metre radius of the polling stations. Chief electoral officer (CEO) of Karnataka Sanjiv Kumar said that the voters will be asked to give their mobiles to the polling officials before entering the booth and after casting their vote, the phones will be given back.However, many of the EC officers and public are critical of this move as they think that this plan might backfire on them and would impact voter turnout. The public has slammed EC over this decision.Voter’s helpline 1950The Election Commission has set up a toll-free helpline number-1950 for the voters. The number provides necessary assistance to the voters (especially first-timers), regarding any information about the general elections. The enrolled electors can use this helpline to check details such as personal information and the assigned polling station. They can also find the contact details of booth level officers, electoral registration officers and district election officers. Close A voter can search for the polling booth online at electoralsearch.in or use the Voter Helpline App, developed by the EC, so that the voters can find their polling booth easily.Check your name in the Voters listTo check your name in Bengaluru’s voter’s list, go to- https://www.ceokarnataka.kar.nic.in/Availability of BMTCAlthough nearly half the KSRTC fleet have been pulled for election duties and several BMTC buses also made a part of the elections, people in the capital city have nothing much to worry. Since there are a lot of holidays this week, very few commuters are expected to travel on the BMTC buses.How internal migrants can vote Many Indian citizens find it hard to cast their vote in their home constituencies due to time and money constraints. However, any person who has shifted their residence or is residing at a specific location can enrol their name in the particular constituency (where you have relocated) after providing a formal request to the Electoral Registration Officer.Once your name is enrolled in the new voter’s list, remove your name from the previous list. But the drawback here is that you will not be able to cast your vote for the local elections from your previous constituency.No online votes for NRIs Several fake news articles spread through social media claiming that NRIs can exercise their votes online through e-voting for the Lok Sabha elections. As inviting as it may sound, India does not support online voting and the NRI voters can only cast their vote after registering themselves as an overseas voter, for which they have to fill the Form 6A that can be downloaded online. IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPauseMute0:05/0:47Loaded: 0%0:05Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE-0:42?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading … Phase 1: India Votes for the 17th General Elections to choose the next Prime Ministerlast_img read more

first_img*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat Sharfuddin Ahmed,Mostafizur RahmanThe income of Rangpur’s mayor Sarfuddin Ahmed has tripled over the last five years. He is contesting for the office of mayor yet again from Awami League in the upcoming Rangpur city corporation election scheduled for 21 December.Affidavits submitted by the mayoral candidates in 2012 and 2017 revealed their annual income and assets.According to the candidates’ wealth statements, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)’s candidate Kawsar Zaman’s income and bank loans have increased 12 times, while Jatiya Party-nominated Mostafizur Rahman’s earnings have dropped by one-third.The annual income, bank balance and cash of Awami League candidate Sarfuddin Ahmed was around Tk 4.5 million five years ago. After being elected as mayor, his income spiralled to around Tk 13 million. Sarfuddin’s wealth statement, showed his yearly income, tangible and intangible assets registered both in his name and in the names of his family members.When asked about the matter, Sarfuddin told Prothom Alo, “I have some small businesses that made good profit over the last five years. There is nothing wrong in that”.On the other hand, the wealth of the BNP-backed candidate Kawsar Zaman jumped from Tk 1.3 million to Tk 16 million in last five years. He had a bank loan of Tk 40 million five years back, which is now Tk 500 million. When asked about the loan, Kawsar Zaman told Prothom Alo, “I have bank loans but these are current loans. There are seven directors in our partnership business and that is why the bank loans are high.” He said his income had been boosted by profits from his jute mill and other business.Jatiya Party candidate Mostafizur Rahman is different. The wealth statement he submitted to the election commission revealed that he had Tk 4.3 million five years ago. But now his total income and bank deposits are worth around Tk 1.4 million that is one third of his earlier income.According to the rules, the election commission can take legal action against any candidate in case false information is provided. Even an elected candidate can be expelled for violating the rules if found guilty.Khandakar Fakhrul Anam, Rangpur city committee’s chairman of Shujan (Citizen’s for Good Governance) told Prothom Alo, the BNP-backed candidate’s income might vary as he was an industrialist. Even so, his annual income could be questioned. But Awami League’s Sarfuddin Ahmed’s income seemed disproportionately higher than his business.last_img read more

first_imgAfghan medical staff treat a wounded women, after a car bomb exploded near the old Interior Ministry building, at Jamhuriat Hospital in Kabul on 27 January, 2018. Photo: AFPAn explosives-packed ambulance blew up in a crowded area of Kabul on Saturday, killing at least 63 people and wounding 151 others, officials said, in one of the biggest blasts to rock the war-torn city in recent years.The Taliban-claimed assault — the second carried out by the militant group in the Afghan capital in a week — triggered chaotic scenes as terrified survivors fled the area scattered with body parts and blood, and hospitals were overwhelmed by the large number of wounded.It came as both the insurgents and the Islamic State group have escalated their attacks on Kabul, one of the deadliest places in Afghanistan for civilians.An AFP reporter saw “lots of dead and wounded” civilians in the Jamuriate hospital, which is metres away from the blast and where medical staff struggled to treat the bloodied men, women and children lying on the floor in corridors.”The latest toll has reached 63 dead and 151 wounded,” Baryalai Hilali, the director of the government media centre, told reporters.Hilali warned the death toll might rise as some of the wounded brought to hospitals were in a “critical condition”.The blast happened in an area where several high-profile organisations, including the European Union, have offices. Members of the EU delegation in Kabul were in their “safe room” and there were no casualties, an official told AFP.The force of the explosion shook windows of buildings at least two kilometres (more than a mile) away and caused some low-rise structures in the immediate vicinity to collapse.The suicide bomber passed through at least one checkpoint in the ambulance, saying he was taking a patient to Jamuriate hospital, an interior ministry spokesman told AFP.”At the second checkpoint he was recognised and blew his explosive-laden car,” Nasrat Rahimi said.Rahimi told a news conference that most of the victims were civilians. He said the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani Network was responsible and four suspects had been arrested.Twenty minutes before the blast an AFP reporter saw police checking ambulances several hundred metres from the scene of the explosion, as the drivers and patients stood on the street. Ambulances are rarely checked in the city.The Taliban used social media to claim responsibility for the attack, which comes exactly a week after its insurgents stormed Kabul’s landmark Intercontinental hotel, killing at least 25 people, the majority foreigners.- ‘Massacre’ -Photos shared on social media purportedly of the blast — the deadliest in Kabul since a truck bomb ripped through the city’s diplomatic quarter on May 31, killing 150 people and wounding hundreds — showed a huge plume of smoke rising into the sky.Near the blast site civilians walked through debris-covered streets carrying wounded on their backs as others loaded several bodies at a time into ambulances and private cars to take them to medical facilities around the city.The Italian NGO Emergency said 131 wounded had been taken to its hospital, with its coordinator Dejan Panic tweeting that it had been a “massacre”.A photo posted on Emergency’s Twitter account showed hospital staff treating injured people in an outdoor walkway next to a garden.A man told Ariana TV he had taken his wounded brother to Jamuriate and Emergency hospitals but had been turned away.”They are asking people with non-life threatening wounds to go to other hospitals,” he said.Aminullah, whose stationery shop is just metres from where the explosion happened, said the force of the explosion shook the foundations of his building.”The building shook. All our windows broke. The people are in shock in our market,” he told AFP.A man told Tolo News he was passing the area when the explosion happened.”I heard a big bang and I fainted,” he said, outside the Emergency hospital.”There were dozens of people who were killed and wounded. There were pools of blood.”The attack was condemned by the presidential palace as a “crime against humanity”. There was international outcry too, with NATO, the US embassy in Kabul and British foreign minister Boris Johnson among those expressing horror at the latest attack.The offices of the High Peace Council, charged with negotiating with the Taliban which has been waging a more than 16-year insurgency, are also near the blast site.”It targeted our checkpoint. It was really huge — all our windows are broken,” Hassina Safi, a member of High Peace Council, told AFP.”So far we don’t have any reports if any of our members are wounded or killed.”A security alert issued on Saturday morning had warned that the Islamic State group was planning “to conduct aggressive attacks” on supermarkets, shops and hotels frequented by foreigners.last_img read more

first_imgHandout picture released by the Archeological Zone of Caral on 16 August 2018 showing high relief decorations on a recently unearthed wall at the archaeological site of Vichama, on the Huaura Valley, on the coast of the Peru, 140 km north of Lima. Photo: AFPA set of Roman-era tombs dating back some 2,000 years have been discovered near the Palestinian city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank during road works, an official said Thursday.The cemetery dating to the first century AD, when the region was under Roman rule, was found in the village of Idna in the southern West Bank around two weeks ago.It was discovered during road work in mountainous terrain in the area, said Taleb Jubran, director of the department of tourism and antiquities in Hebron.Bones, pottery and some 32 tombs set into stone were found. It was clear to archaeologists that artifacts had been stolen from the site before it was officially discovered, said Jubran.”This discovery is very important for us to study it and to preserve it,” Jubran said.The tombs were set out over a space of some 50 metres.Officials also hoped to turn the site into a tourist attraction, while further study of it would continue to turn up details of what was found and its importance, he said.A large number of remains from the Roman era can be found and visited in Israel and the Palestinian territories as well as the region as a whole.last_img read more

first_imgEd Potillo is the chairman of the Ward 7 Democrats. (Courtesy Photo)Ed Potillo, vice chairman of the D.C. Democratic State Committee and the chairman of the Ward 7 Democrats, is seeking to unseat Ward 7 D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander in the June 14, 2016 primary. Alexander has held the position since 2007; however Potillo is confident he can pull off the upset.“We can do this,” Potillo said at his campaign kick-off on Oct. 17 in the Southeast quadrant of Ward 7. “We can absolutely do this. If you stay with me, I will be your council member and your first line of defense.Potillo formed an exploratory committee in April. In his speech to 30 supporters, he bemoaned the ward’s political state. “Mediocrity is the current state of the ward,” he said, promising to fight to improve Ward 7 schools, help seniors age in place, and pledging to work to make public transportation user-friendly.Potillo said school houses have fallen in disrepair and neglect” and pointed out that many school-aged children aren’t educated in the ward. “Forty-four percent of school-aged children in Ward 7 go to school outside of the ward,” he said. “The answer is not closing community schools.”Potillo said he will work for strong parental engagement in each of the ward’s schools and overall, champion the interests of all Ward 7 residents. “I will take that fighting spirit to the Wilson Building,” he said, speaking of the District’s city hall. “We’ve waited long enough. I’m here to collect.”Potillo, a native of D.C., graduated from St. John’s College High School in Northwest and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Scranton in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He is presently employed with the National Alliance of Black School Educators, as its conference and membership director. A longtime member of the Ward 7 Democrats, he was appointed in 2007 as the chairman of the Program Committee and as the organization’s chairman in 2011.Some activists in the ward question whether Potillo can continue in his role as chairman of the Ward 7 Democrats while running against Alexander, saying it is a conflict of interest to be a candidate and lead all of the ward’s Democrats.Potillo disputes that assertion. “It’s been done and it isn’t a conflict of interest,” he said. “I will stay in my position.”Ambrose Lane, the chairman of the Ward 7 Health Alliance Network and a Potillo supporter, agrees. “He doesn’t have to step down,” Lane said.  “Council member Brandon Todd was the president of the Ward 4 Democrats and he didn’t step down to run for the council seat and neither should Ed. It is not a prerequisite.“We have one of the highest disease rates in the city and she is the chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee but nothing has been done for Ward 7 residents,” he said. “How can you be the chairman of that committee and ignore the health needs of your ward?”Gloria Keaton has her concerns about Alexander, also. “I am a lifelong resident of Marshall Heights and my neighborhood is an afterthought,” Keaton said bluntly. “It seems that we are not as important as Hillcrest.”Milton Steele III, an active figure in the upscale Hillcrest neighborhood, attended Potillo’s kick-off and didn’t make a commitment to support the candidate. Nevertheless, Steele said that the ward needs a unifying political leader. “We need someone who will make Ward 7 one,” he said. “We need somebody that will bring everybody together, whether they live in Hillcrest, Penn Branch or Fairfax Village.”Alexander and J.R. Meyers, her former chief of staff believed to be part of the council member’s expected re-election effort, didn’t return the AFRO requests for comment before deadline.Former D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe said he is seriously considering running for the Ward 7 council seat and had no comment for the AFRO on Potillo’s campaign. The political talk in the ward has former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown and former D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray as possible challengers to Alexander, too.last_img read more

first_img ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 Popular on Variety Fandango is exclusively vending tickets to “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” early-access screenings taking place nearly three weeks before the DreamWorks Animation movie hits wide theatrical release.The “How to Train Your Dragon 3” pact is all in the family: NBCUniversal owns both Fandango and DWA (which is housed within Universal Pictures). Fandango is looking to sweeten the pot by offering an additional perk to members of its Fandango VIP rewards program: a free DreamWorks Animation movie through the FandangoNow streaming service.The Feb. 2 screenings, 20 days in advance of the Feb. 22 premiere date for the third and final installment in the “How to Train Your Dragon” movie franchise, is one of the earliest advance nationwide screening events for a major release.“This is a coming together of things we’ve seen that work,” said Paul Yanover, president of Fandango. “It’s providing something special to people who are big users of Fandango.”center_img What was the rationale for setting the “How to Train Your Dragon 3” one-time screenings 20 days ahead of wide release? Yanover admitted there’s no hard data per se behind it. “I don’t think we have science around it yet,” he said but added that family-oriented movies lend themselves to the strategy: “Family audiences are big-time planners,” as opposed to, for example, millennials.The “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” early screenings on Feb. 2 will run across 1,000 theaters in the U.S., including select AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas, Cinemark Theatres, Marcus Theaters, Harkins Theatres, Southern Theatres, National Amusements, and B&B Theatres. There will be just one showing per theater on that date.Tickets to the screening will carry regular pricing, with the free VOD streaming access to a DreamWorks Animation designed to lure in fans and build pre-release hype and awareness.“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is directed by Dean DeBlois, who has directed and co-written every film in the franchise. In the movie, Viking teen Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and Astrid (America Ferrera) — together with Toothless, the Night Fury dragon — discover a hidden world of dragons thought only to exist in myth. The movie is produced by Brad Lewis (“Ratatouille,” “ANTZ”) and Bonnie Arnold (“Toy Story,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” “How to Train Your Dragon 2”).As corporate siblings with Universal under the NBCU umbrella, Fandango is “naturally” frequently talking to Universal about such special partnerships, Yanover said, although he said the company regularly works with other studios in the same vein.Fandango’s VIP program gives users a $5 credit for every four movie tickets purchased. Those credits can be used for future movie-ticket purchases or for digital-movie purchases and rentals on FandangoNow.last_img read more

first_imgCoal India Ltd (CIL) on Saturday reported a 5 per cent production increase to 102.42 million tonnes (mt) in the second quarter of the current financial year compared to 97.6 million tones in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. Offtake was 110.42 million tonnes compared with 109 million tonnes in the review period.There was a 28 per cent fall in CIL’s consolidated net profit to Rs 2,192 crore in the second quarter of this fiscal due to higher expenses. The world’s largest coal miner had clocked a profit of Rs 3,052 crore in the same quarter previous year.Its net profit took a beating as the company’s second quarter expenses rose by almost 8 per cent compared to the flat growth in sales in the review period. Total expenses increased to Rs 14,144 crore in the July-September quarter of this year from Rs 13,112 crore in the same period last year.The bulk of the expenses were on employee benefits, on which the company spent Rs 7,286 crore.last_img read more

first_imgPlaying the augmented reality game Pokemon Go with children may help parents spend more quality time with their family and live a healthier life, a new study has found. Researchers from the University of Washington surveyed and interviewed parents who play Pokemon Go with their families.Some parents said the interactive and mobile nature of the game made them feel better about engaging in that type of gameplay, as opposed to more sedentary forms of “screen time.” Also Read – Add new books to your shelfMany set limits to prevent kids from becoming so absorbed in the game that they ignored cars or other real-world hazards, as well as responsibilities.Those included setting time constraints, requiring kids to do chores or homework first, shutting down the mobile device if kids did not give it back when asked or parents staying in control of the smartphone while the family played.Yet many parents – particularly moms of boys, fathers of girls and parents of teenaged children – reported spending more quality time with their children as a result of playing Pokemon Go together and talking more than usual, both about the game itself and about other things in their lives. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveParents also appreciated how the game motivated both them and their children to go outside and exercise in ways that were convenient and fit into their lives, as their children displayed new found enthusiasm for walking rather than driving to dinner or playgrounds. For some participants, the game led to walking thousands more steps per day, and one father reported that his 11-year-old daughter had lost 12 pounds.”Location-based augmented reality games are pretty different than sitting in front of a TV or playing a typical video game, so we were interested in the way kids and their parents were sharing those experiences together,” said Kiley Sobel, a doctoral student at University of Washington. In the game, players use a mobile device’s GPS ability to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player.”People still don’t really know how to build tech that works well for families, so when this game came out of the blue and really caught on, we wanted to look at what its ingredients for success were,” Sobel said.In follow-up interviews with families who had begun playing Pokemon Go together, almost all parents had safety concerns about the game, from children not paying attention to where they were going to interacting with strangers.To mitigate those concerns, many parents imposed limits or rules on the gameplay, such as only allowing older children to travel a certain distance from the home and requiring younger children to only play on a parent’s device.However, many parents reported net benefits from the overall experience, including having a shared interest with their children, particularly at ages when communication can become tricky.Since the Pokemon franchise was first introduced in 1995, some parents had also grown up with the characters, which heightened their interest in playing the new game.The parents’ prior knowledge about and experience with Pokemon characters often led their kids to view them as valuable “experts” who could teach them.last_img read more

first_img Today in San Francisco, Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference was all about the company’s upcoming software: iOS 8 for mobile and OS X Yosemite for PCs.Both platforms have been improved to work more seamlessly, through the cloud, in order to make virtually all media available across all of a users’ devices. Here’s what you’ll want to know about each, plus some important details for iOS developers.OS X Yosemite: Apple has further tweaked the OS X motif to mirror the redesign introduced with iOS 7 with new, flatter icons and subtle color adjustments based on desktop image or windows behind it. Users accustomed to Mavericks or Mountain Lion should be comfortable with Yosemite which includes new features such as the ability to search across contacts, documents, the web and calendar events from Spotlight — which appears to also use geolocation to bring users relevant local information.Apple’s answer to Dropbox and Google Drive is iCloud Drive. It allows users to access all documents across devices from within the finder. With it comes MailDrop, a new feature that will allow users to send larger files that recipients might normally be able to handle by creating a secure link and storing it in the cloud, instead of bouncing the email back to the sender.Related: What’s That Song? Apple’s iOS 8 May Be Able to Tell You.On Yosemite, AirDrop will work between iOS and Mac with a new feature called Handoff. A new lock screen on the iPad lets users continue work they were doing on a PC on a mobile device simply by swiping. Users will also be able to setup hotspots on their phone from their computer.Syncing an iPhone to a Mac will also allow users to answer text messages and even phone calls from their computer, using their Mac as a speakerphone. The feature also lets users make calls from a computer, even if their iPhone is in another room.iOS 8: Apple’s new mobile operating system will build upon iOS 7 in terms of feel and functionality but with some new features. In iOS 8, users will be able to reply directly to a message or comment or Like something on Facebook straight from the notification center or the lock screen and doubletap the home button to see recent contacts in the task switcher. Other upgrades include a new tab view in Safari for iPad and new gestures for organization in the Mail app.Group messaging now allows users to name threads or remove people from the conversation. Messages will also include “Do not disturb” and “leave thread” features.Messages will also allow users to record audio or video by tapping on the text box. It also includes a Snapchat-like self-destruct feature.Spotlight for iOS, a tool that OS X has had for a while, lets users search for apps, points of interest, news, songs the web and iTunes. It’s like Siri but without a voice.Siri itself has been updated to make purchases from the App Store and recognize songs via Shazam.Apple also seems to be updating its predictive text feature with QuickType, which “supports predictive suggestions” by guessing the word a user is trying to type and learning from their typing habits.Related: Should You Buy an iPhone 5S Now or Wait For the iPhone 6?With iOS 8 is the introduction of Healthkit, a centralized place to see health info that will allow healthcare providers to send and receive data on patient devices.Also new is HomeKit for home automation. Apple is partnering with home appliance companies to integrate locks, lights, cameras, doors, thermostats, plugs and switches into the iOS environment. The new automated controls will feature secure pairing, control for individual devices, allow grouping of devices for families and include Siri integration.New family sharing features allows families to automatically share photos, calendars and reminders and their locations. Families can also share purchases; for instance if a child wants to purchase an app on his phone, he can send a request to buy the app through the App Store and permission can be approved from an adult’s device.iOS 8 will also support Extensibility, the ability for apps to offer services to other apps. For instance users could use their photo filters from VSCO inside of the native photos app. The new iOS will also support widgets for the notification center and inside of Safari, similar to extension in Chrome.Apple is also allowing users to import third-party keyboards and opening Touch ID to developers.Developers: Apple is introducing a new programming language called Swift that can co-exist with C and Objective-C but allows developers to build and run their code immediately.Game developers in particular will welcome the new Metal graphics booster and SpriteKit and SceneKit for developing casual games.iOS 8 and Yosemite are both available to developers today and will be released to the public for free this fall.Related: Here’s How to Quit the iPhone and Switch to an Android Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. June 2, 2014 Register Now » Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 5 min readlast_img read more

first_imgPolish cable operator INEA has added three HD channels from broadcaster TVN to its programming line-up.INEA has added movies and series channel TVN 7 HD, female-focused lifestyle channel TVN Style HD and male-focused TVN Turbo HD to its high-definition line-up. INEA has about 40,000 HD-equipped subscribers in total.last_img

first_imgThe BBC has overtaken CNN in ComScore’s digital rankings, reaching an audience of 75.6 million visitors a month compared with CNN’s 72.1 million, according to the UK broadcaster.BBC visitors spend over three minutes per visits and generating close to 1.8 billion page views.The BBC’s international TV offering, BBC World News now reaches 433 million homes worldwide, after securing additional distribution in territories including Russia, Africa, the Middle East and India, the BBC said.Jim Egan, CEO of BBC Global News Ltd, said, “In an increasingly noisy news landscape the BBC chooses to offer facts, context and completely impartial analysis people can trust.  This has always been our commitment and we are delighted that audiences around the world value what we do.”last_img read more

first_imgA Eurodata study of 15-34-year-olds from ten countries including the UK, US and Japan shows that scripted programming dominates consumption for the age group.Scripted programming on average captures 35% of TV consumption for millennials across Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK and US.For certain nations the figure can reach up to 45% such as in the US and 53% in Spain.The second favourite for the age group is factual programming, including magazine programmes, news and documentaries, which capture 33% of the audience share.Entertainment formats follow factual, with 32% of the age group tuning into shows such as Got Talent and The Voice.Eurodata’s report, which was administered between September 2016 and June 2017, also shows that the group of millenials, which the trends-focused company refers to as ‘young adults’, watch an average of two hours and 25 minutes of TV. This is lower than in 2015-2016.To gain the results, Eurodata collected data from official rating institutes across the ten countries for the age range. This amounts to data from 84 million viewers.last_img read more

first_imgThere should be significant declines in the Commercial net short positions in both gold and silver in today’s reportThe gold price chopped around a few dollars either side of the $1,645 spot mark through all of Far East and early London trading yesterday.  There was a bit of a sell-off at the Comex open, but that reversed itself in short order.But thirty minutes the afternoon London gold fix was in at 3:00 p.m. GMT…10:00 a.m. in New York…the bullion banks’ high-frequency traders went to work.  Gold’s low price tick [$1,632.10 spot] came fifteen minutes after the Comex close…and from there, gold more or less traded sideways into the electronic close.The spike high of the day…$1,650.80 spot…came about 9:05 a.m. Eastern time.Gold closed the Thursday trading session at $1,634.40 spot…down another $8.20.  With a new low price set for this move down, volume was very chunky at 189,000 contracts, give or take.The price action in silver was similar…but far more ‘volatile’…   After trading around the $30.80 spot mark for twelve hours and change, the silver price jumped up shortly after 11:00 a.m. in London…and then, like gold, hit its high tick of the day [$31.16 spot] at 9:05 a.m. in early Comex trading in New York.A slightly negative price bias developed from there until after the London p.m. gold fix was in…and then the usual engineered price decline began.  Silver’s low price tick [$30.14 spot] came a few minutes after 1:00 p.m. Eastern time…and the subsequent rally wasn’t allowed to get far.In case you missed it, silver had an intraday move of over a buck.  With their big short position covered in SLV…now JPMorgan Chase is now working on their short position on the Comex in earnest.Silver closed at $30.40 spot…down 38 cents on the day.  Net volume was very respectable…around 40,000 contracts.The dollar index opened on Thursday in the Far East at 80.07…and began to chop higher from there.  The zenith…80.58…came shortly after 10:00 a.m. in London…and then began a long, slow decline right into the close of electronic trading in New York.  The index finished the day at 80.39…up 32 basis points.It should be more than obvious to anyone, that the currency moves yesterday were no factor in the prices of the precious metals on world markets.Much to my amazement, the gold stocks gapped up at the open…and almost made it to the 400 mark on the HUI.  But once the engineered price decline began in the gold, the gold stocks sold off a bit.  However, the HUI still managed to finish in positive territory…up 0.69%.The silver stocks finished mixed despite the pounding that JPMorgan et al gave the metal itself…and Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down a tiny 0.19%.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 127 gold and 66 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Monday within the Comex-approved depositories.  In gold, the two largest short/issuers were JPMorgan and Canada’s own Bank of Nova Scotia with 97 and 21 contracts apiece.  The only two long/stoppers were Deutsche Bank and HSBC USA.  They stopped 82 and 45 contracts respectively.In silver, Jefferies was the sole short/issuer once again…and the Bank of Nova Scotia stopped 62 of them.  The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.The GLD ETF reported that an authorized participant withdrew 96,790 troy ounces of gold yesterday.  But the big surprise was SLV, as an authorized participant deposited 870,194 troy ounces.  Go figure!The U.S. Mint had no sales report yesterday.Wednesday was another busy day over at the Comex-approved depositories as 1,247,060 troy ounces of silver were deposited…and only 215,978 troy ounces were shipped out.  The link to that activity is here.Joshua Gibbons, the Silver Bar Guru of SLV, updated his website with the latest in/out activity in all of SLV’s bullion vaults for the week that was…and it’s always worth checking out.  The link is here.Yesterday I ran a story headlined “Houston city council passes ordinance to fingerprint, photograph precious metal sellers“.  The story is true, but only up to a point.  I got an e-mail from reader Joseph Kahn…”and the by-law only applies to jewellery, not bullion and coins, so no Social Security Number has to be provided when you’re selling that.  The law was passed to satisfy the city.”[As an aside, we have a similar law in the city of Edmonton…all precious metal sellers have to provide two pieces of I.D…one of which must be a government picture I.D…no photo or fingerprint…and any jewellery purchased has to be held for forty-five days in case the police wish to examine it.  A smart crime-prevention move which should be adopted everywhere.  So take the blue pill and call me in the morning. – Ed] I have a fairly large number of stories for you today, so I hope you can find the time to wade through the ones that interest you.My advice is to hold all gold positions and wait patiently for the correction to end.  Just before the huge 1979-80 surge, we saw a big ‘clean out’ correction in gold.  I believe history is about repeat. – Richard Russell on King World NewsOnce again it was another day of “da boyz” slicing the salami to the downside and, as usual, all the price/volume action that really mattered occurred during the Comex session in New York.  It was ever thus…as Allan Fotheringham used to say.Yesterday was another big volume day in gold…and for the first time in a while, silver volume was elevated, although not spectacular.  The large volume levels always occur on new low moves to the downside, as the high-frequency traders that work for JPMorgan et al, start the price ball rolling down hill…and the technical fund liquidation always follows as sell stops are hit.  Ted Butler has been pointing out this sequence of events for years now…and it was obvious for all to see in yesterday’s New York price action.Based on yesterday’s price activity in both gold and silver, I was more than surprised to see their associated equities do as well as they did.  However, I have mixed feelings when I see this sort of dichotomy.  Either some prescient buyer is scooping up shares on the cheap…or “da boyz” are buying them to unload them later to cap any run-away rally in the HUI.  And as I always say at this juncture…I may be looking for black bears in dark rooms that aren’t there…but I don’t think so…and John Embry, plus others, are of the same mind on this.Here are the 6-month charts for both gold and silver updated with yesterday’s price doji.(Click on image to enlarge)(Click on image to enlarge)You’ll note that even though we’re at new lows for this move down in both silver and gold, the Relative Strength Indicators [RSI] in both metals are still in neutral territory…but heading for oversold rather quickly.  It would be my guess that we should hit rock bottom during the next few trading days…but that all depends on the bullion banks…and Blythe Masters still isn’t returning my calls.Too bad that yesterday’s price and volume activity won’t be in today’s Commitment of Traders Report that comes out later this afternoon.  But just eye-balling the Tuesday-to-Tuesday reporting week, I’d guess there should be significant declines in the Commercial net short positions in both gold and silver in today’s report. But from very recent past experience, I’m not prepared to bet the ranch on it.And, without question, there’s been even more improvement in the Commercial net short positions in both silver and gold since the 1:30 p.m. Eastern time cut-off on Tuesday.I note that the ‘slicing of the salami’ has continued in early Far East trading on their Friday…and also shortly after London opened at 8:00 a.m. GMT…3:00 a.m. in New York…as several new lows price ticks have been engineered in both metals by the high-frequency traders.  And as I hit the ‘send’ button at 5:10 a.m. Eastern time, gold volume is already north of 35,000 contracts…and silver’s volume is around 5,500 contracts.  The dollar index is chopping sideways in a very tight range.JPMorgan et al may take the opportunity to smack the precious metal prices pretty hard when Comex trading begins at 8:20 a.m. in New York.  They passed on that opportunity the other day…and neither Ted Butler or myself could figure out why.  Let’s see what they have in store for us today…considering the fact that its Friday.And as I mentioned before, I think we’ll see a bottom put in during the next couple of trading days…and my thoughts on this were reaffirmed yesterday when Dennis Gartman said he was shorting gold.  When Dennis starts trashing the ancient metal of kings like that, the rest of us should be buying with both hands.Enjoy your weekend…or what’s left of it if you live west of the International Date Line…and I’ll see you here tomorrow. Sponsor Advertisementcenter_img On October 30, 2012, Mason Graphite Inc. began trading on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol “LLG”. Mason Graphite is focused on the exploration and development of its Lac Guéret graphite property located in northeastern Quebec. Based on the current National Instrument 43-101 compliant Measured & Indicated mineral resource of approximately 7.6 million tonnes grading 20.4% Cgr (carbon as graphite), the Lac Guéret property hosts one of the highest grade graphite deposits known in the world. Mason Graphite is led by Benoit Gascon, CA CMA, who has held 20 years of executive positions at Timcal, including over 6 years as CEO. Timcal, now owned by Imerys, is one of the largest graphite producers in the world. Mason Graphite has 56.9M shares outstanding and 74M shares on a fully diluted basis. For more information on the company, please visit www.masongraphite.com, email info@masongraphite.com or call +1 (416) 861-1685.last_img read more

first_img I received an e-mail from reader Johan Kuster yesterday—and he pointed out the following: “When I look at the chart of GDXJ for the last 5 days, I noticed that there is high volume trading at the end of the day and EXACTLY at 3:59 the volume rises to the extreme. Today GDXJ was pushed down close to 3% in 1 minute thanks to somebody selling the stock. This looks like a criminal activity to me. What idiot would sell that amount of shares in 1 minute?“ It could be ‘da boyz’ or day traders.  But whoever they were, they weren’t selling for maximum profits.  Nothing would surprise me, dear reader—and by now this sort of activity shouldn’t surprise anyone.  It looked like the HUI and Silver 7 index suffered from a similar disease yesterday—and it seems to be cropping up more and more.  Here’s the GDXJ chart from yesterday so you can see what he’s referring to. Freegold Ventures Limited is a North American gold exploration company with three gold projects in Alaska. Current projects include Golden Summit, Vinasale and Rob. Both Vinasale and Golden Summit host NI 43-101 Compliant Resource Calculations. 0.3 g/t cutoff  the current resource is 73,580,000 tonnes grading 0.67 g/t Au for total of 1,576,000 contained ounces in the indicated category, and 223,300,000 tonnes grading 0.62 g/t Au for a total of 4,437,000 contained ounces in the inferred category. In addition to the Golden Summit Project the Vinasale also hosts a NI 43-101 resource calculation which was updated in March 2013. Indicated resources are 3.41 million tonnes averaging 1.48 g/t Au for 162,000 ounces, and Inferred resources are 53.25 million tonnes averaging 1.05 g/t Au for 1,799,000 ounces of gold utilizing a cutoff value of 0.5 grams/tonne (g/t) as a possible open pit cutoff. Please send us an email for more information, ir@freegoldventures.com The first photo is of a “Christmas Beetle” that Nick Laird sent my way last night—and this particular variety goes by the Latin name Anoplognathus smaragdinus.  It’s a member of the scarab family—and if you wish to order a mounted specimen, you can do so here. What’s amazing in all of this is that we haven’t heard anything except stony silence from either the World Gold Council or The Silver Institute.  Of course they and their members are all bought and paid for, so hearing nothing should not come as a total surprise.   They’d rather go bankrupt, or lose millions, than admit to the price management scheme, let alone do anything about it. The only miner with gonads big enough to even broach the subject was Keith Neumeyer over at First Majestic Silver.  They’re having their 3rd quarter conference call next Wednesday–and he might have more to say about it at that time. And as I type this paragraph, the London open is about 15 minutes away.  Silver and gold, which the HFT boyz and their algorithms sold down to new lows around 2:30 p.m. Hong Kong time, have now recovered most of those losses, but are still down a bit from Thursday’s close in New York.  Net gold volume is already north of 50,000 contracts—and silver’s net volume is just over 12,000 contracts. Platinum received the same treatment as gold and silver—and came within an eyelash of hitting a new low tick for this move down.  Palladium also got hit, but it still has about $20 to go before it sees a new low. The dollar index peaked out around 88.17 just before 1 p.m. Hong Kong time, is now down 6 basis points as of this writing. Today at 3:30 p.m. EST we get the latest Commitment of Traders Report for positions held at the close of Comex trading on Tuesday—along with the companion Bank Participation Report.  I’m just hoping that all the price/volume data from the Tuesday trading session will have been reported in a timely manner.  Too bad that none of the data from Wednesday will be in either report, as that was a monster capitulation day to the downside in all four precious metals. I’ll have all the data for you in tomorrow’s column. And as I hit the send button on today’s column at 5:10 a.m. EST, I see that the rallies off the early afternoon lows in Far East trading weren’t allowed to get far, as they all got capped at 9 a.m. GMT in London and, with the exception of silver, all are up a bit from yesterday’s close in New York. Net gold volume is now around 65,000 contracts—and silver’s net volume is about 16,000 contracts.  It’s obvious that most of today’s volume so far was associated with the new low prices set in these two metals, as there hasn’t been a lot of volume since I reported on them just before the London open. The dollar index is back to unchanged. Since today is Friday—and we’ve already set new lows in gold and silver in the thinly-traded Far East market earlier today, I’m not even going to hazard a guess as to what might happen in New York, as prices are now completely in the hands of JPMorgan et al—and their HFT buddies. That’s all I have for today—and I’ll see you here tomorrow. The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that only 1 lonely gold contract was posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Monday. The CME Preliminary Report for the Thursday trading session showed that November open interest in gold increased by 5 contracts to 61 contracts—and November o.i. in silver is now at 102 contracts, down 33 contracts from yesterday because of delivery that was posted yesterday. Not surprisingly, there was another withdrawal from GLD.  This time it was 96,113 troy ounces.  And as of 9:52 p.m. EST yesterday evening, there were no reported withdrawals from SLV. Since yesterday was Thursday, Joshua Gibbons, the “Guru of the SLV Bar List,” updated his website with the in/out movements over at iShares.com for the week ending at the close of business on Wednesday—and here is what he had to report. “Analysis of the 05 November 2014 bar list—and comparison to the previous week’s list:  1,952,482.9 troy ounces were added. No bars were removed or had a serial number change.” “The bars added were from Kazakhmys (0.5M oz), Shui Kou Shan (0.4M oz), Yunnan Copper (0.2M oz), and 8 others.” “The overallocated cannot be calculated, as the monthly withdrawal is factored in the bar list, but was not factored in to the daily iShares reports.  Missing from the bar list is the 2,073,283.6 withdrawal from Tuesday (which includes the approximately 150,000 troy ounce monthly expense withdrawal).“ The link to Joshua’s website is here. There was another sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday.  They sold 6,500 troy ounces of gold eagles—and 1,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes.  They didn’t report selling any silver eagles, of course—and it remains to be seen if they produce any more this year, as the time to retool for the 2015 silver eagles is coming up hard. Just as an aside here, I’ve heard reports from readers that the premiums on silver eagles have already gone up at their local bullion stores in the U.S.—and our supplier confirmed that, as of yesterday, one U.S. bullion producer has already raised prices across the board for their entire product line. It was another busy day for in/out activity at the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday.  In gold, 47,104 troy ounces were reported received—and 50,244 troy ounces were shipped out.  The ‘in’ activity was at Canada’s Scotiabank—and the ‘out’ activity was at HSBC USA.  The link to the action is here. In silver, nothing was reported received, but a very decent 937,957 troy ounces were shipped off to parts unknown—and the link to that activity is here. China officially released their September gold import data via Hong Kong through regular channels on their Friday morning—and that enabled Nick Laird to update his charts.  I, along with other commentators, had given up using Hong Kong imports as a proxy for China’s gold consumption.  That still may be the case, but here’s the chart anyway. All was quiet yesterday There was no price activity worthy of the name in Far East trading on their Thursday—and not much in Comex trading either.  But, having said that, the three tiny rallies that did occur—starting with the one at the Comex open—all got sold down before they could get anywhere. The high and low ticks aren’t worth looking up. Gold closed on Thursday in New York at $1,14.30 spot, up $1.30 from Wednesday close.  Net volume was pretty decent at 144,000 contracts. Here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index chart so you can get the longer-term view.  I don’t know if you’ll agree or not, but it’s my opinion that this rally is getting a little long in the tooth. It will be interesting to see how much gold they import through Hong Kong in October. I have a lot of stories today, and a very decent number of them fall into the must read category—and I hope you have the time for them.  Of course—and as is always the case—the final edit is yours. There has been little to no net selling of real silver from any known source—and all the data indicate net buying or holding (Silver Eagles and ETF flows). The only selling of silver that can be confirmed is the selling and short selling by technical funds on the COMEX over the past few months. At a minimum of 50,000 contracts (250 million oz), the selling by no more than 40 speculative traders in the managed money category equals the entire world production of the primary silver miners. It is not necessary to imagine unknown sources of silver selling when the US Government has openly certified that no more than 40 speculative traders have sold in a few months more than what the world’s primary silver miners produce in a year. Quite frankly, were it not for this certification, I couldn’t begin to explain this sell-off in silver or in any of the other CME metals. I’m not talking about predictions and speculation; I’m talking about the only explanation possible. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 05 November 2014 All was quiet yesterday, except for the gentle price capping in gold during the New York session and, for a change, there were no new low price ticks set in any of the precious metals. Here are the 6-month price charts for all four precious metals once again. Silver spent the entire Far East and early London trading session shedding 10 cents from its price.  The rally that began at the 8:20 a.m. EST Comex open yesterday, got capped about 10:20 a.m.—and after that, the price traded sideways for the remainder of the day. The price traded within a 25 cent range yesterday and, like gold, the high and low aren’t worth my effort to look up. Silver finished the Thursday trading session at $15.425 spot, up 11 cents on the day.  Net volume was pretty chunky as well, at 40,000 contracts. Platinum and palladium both traded a few dollars higher until the Comex open—and then sold down quietly after that into the 5:15 p.m. EST close of electronic trading  Platinum was closed down another 12 dollars—and palladium finished lower by 8 dollars.  Here are the charts. The dollar index closed late on Wednesday afternoon in New York at 87.47.  From there it traded flat until about 11 a.m. Hong Kong time on their Thursday morning—and then it fell down to 87.19 within an hour or so.  It didn’t do much until the 8:20 a.m. EST Comex open—and then it blasted up to around 87.90 within minutes.  It rallied a bit more after than—and closed the Thursday session at 88.07—up another 60 basis points, at another new record high for this move. It was exactly the same chart pattern in the silver equities.  At their highs, they were up more than 7 percent until a thoughtful soul sold them down in the last forty-five minutes of trading, just like the gold stocks.  Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed up 4.82%. Here’s the New York Spot Gold [Bid] chart on its own, so you can see the very subtle price capping that occurred during the New York trading session yesterday.  It wasn’t much, but it was there. Sponsor Advertisement The gold stocks gapped up about 2 percent at the open in New York yesterday—and hit their highs [up 6 percent at 3:30 p.m.—and in the following forty-minutes the stocks gave up a third of their gains as the HUI finished up only 3.90%.last_img read more

first_imgHe says he knows what it’s like to live the life of an outcast.Siddharth Dube came of age as a gay man in India in the 1990s — a time when a law dating back to 1864, Section 377, criminalized homosexuality, calling it an “unnatural offense.” (The law was struck down by India’s Supreme Court in September 2018.)Now a specialist in poverty and public health policy, Dube has written a memoir, An Indefinite Sentence: A Personal History of Outlawed Love and Sex.The book is not just about his own quest to find love and societal acceptance. It’s also an account of the activism of India’s marginalized sex workers and LGBT community as they battled violations of their human rights in the earliest days of the AIDS epidemic — having blood drawn without consent, for example.A graduate of Tufts University, the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and the Harvard School of Public Health, Dube has worked and consulted for the World Bank, UNICEF and the World Health Organization and was senior adviser in 2005-2006 to the executive director of UNAIDS, a special United Nations effort to tackle AIDS.You write about how you were constantly taunted during your school years for acting like a “sissy boy.” How did you cope during this difficult time? I coped by trying to my utmost to behave just like other boys, including my brothers, to exactly copy their mannerisms and their interests. I also desperately excised any aspects of my mannerisms that I thought were feminine and hence forbidden to males, including gentleness. Unfortunately, my efforts didn’t succeed. All through my school years, and then into my undergraduate college years in Delhi, I was mocked and ostracized for being “sissy” and “girly.”How did your family treat you?I was enormously lucky as my parents were not only fiercely protective of us children but they also had a remarkably independent-thinking streak. So I didn’t face any censure from them about my femininity — not once! In contrast, I did begin to feel a sense of distance and inferiority to my brothers as a result of being teased by them about my feminine looks and mannerisms.Do you think it’s any different for boys growing up today in India – or around the world? Do we still hold the same rigid and potentially damaging views about gender? Boys and men in many parts of India are raised to be far more gentle and “feminine” — and comfortable with physical and emotional intimacy — than is the norm for Western/American males. This was true then [in the ’70s], and remains true until today.Yet despite those attitudes, you lived as a gay man in India in the 1980s and ’90s at a time when homosexuality was outlawed by Section 377. What was that like? Arguably, the worst impact was the deadening sense of fear we all lived in. I remember the utter terror I felt when I was arrested with my long-term partner in Delhi one night in 1988, merely because we lived openly together. The only reason we weren’t persecuted further was because of my family’s privileged position. Few other Indians had that kind of protection, and so the wiser course in those dangerous times for most gay Indian men and women was to be invisible, to deny themselves normal, fulfilled lives.How damaging was this silence for the LGBT community? The silence had to do with a very real fear of persecution, exposure and shame. The consequences were tragic. For instance, there is no doubt that countless gay men and trans individuals in India contracted HIV as a result of the fears engendered by Section 377. By now, because of the AIDS pandemic, it is well understood how criminalization and marginalization multiply the risks of disease, for instance by keeping people from openly learning about safe-sex methods or by forestalling healthy romantic relationships.And now that the law is gone …?There is an enormous sense of relief, the feeling that we can hope to lead full lives with the expectation of happiness and fulfillment just like everyone else.Another huge impact is in restoring a sense of self-respect and dignity. And we are now filled with hope and determination that these changes will be speedily reflected in vital legal and policy changes in India — such as in terms of equalizing marriage, inheritance and adoption rights irrespective of sexual or gender orientation.In your book, you tell us how the AIDS pandemic affected the lives of women sex workers in India. The first few cases of HIV in India were identified in women sex workers in 1986. Consequently, [these women sex workers] came to be associated with AIDS, just as the United States epidemic came to be associated with gay men.And just as in the U.S. with gay men, women sex workers in India were the victims of persecution and abuse by the government as well as from other quarters. They were arrested in mass drives, their blood was drawn without consent and they were cruelly incarcerated for months and even years, separated from their children and families without being told why. It is because of those experiences that countless sex workers in India have long demanded decriminalization of their work.And you support that position?Decriminalizing sex work frees the many women, trans individuals and men who sell sex from the fear of prosecution by the police and other arms of the state. It is the necessary starting point for enabling them to tackle the other hardships they face, ranging from societal stigma and imbued notions of shame to feelings of powerlessness.How did sex workers and people from the LGBT community push back against the societal stigma of AIDS? Tell us about the pioneers of the movement who helped bring about societal acceptance. Change came through the efforts of pioneering individuals and grassroots groups. For instance, in my book I document the life of Selvi, one of the very first sex workers to be identified with HIV, back in 1986. She suffered [an] abusive marriage, years of selling sex to support herself and her young son, her HIV diagnosis and then long years of imprisonment because she was an HIV-infected sex worker.Right until her death in 1998, Selvi was a tireless crusader, not only to keep other sex workers from contracting HIV but importantly also for far-reaching legal reform, beginning with decriminalization, in other words with getting the exploitative police out of their lives.In 1993, you joined the health policy division of the World Bank as a policy analyst. You are very critical of the experience in your book. Actually, I’m critical of much of what is called international development. Its failures are chronic and multitudinous. The blame for these failures spans all the way from both donor- and developing-country governments to Westerners who continue to think of poorer countries in damagingly sensationalistic terms, for instance as hotbeds of “modern-day” slavery.But regarding the Bank, yes, I felt that in small ways and big, the institution’s entitlements and power crippled its ability to promote well-being in the countries it worked in. It became clear to me on a firsthand basis from the public health projects that I worked on. Our reports were written from the best hotels.Despite several visits to such countries as Kenya and Uganda, I knew next to nothing about them, feeling much like a rich first-world tourist gazing uncomprehendingly at “third world” sights from a cocoon of luxury.What are the lessons that the global development community should never forget in the past four decades of battling HIV/AIDS? One critical lesson is to pay heed to data and other forms of empirical knowledge.In the case of India’s sex workers, for instance, a wealth of data shows that today only 1 in 10 ever work in a brothel. Instead, the overwhelming majority operates from their homes or small lodges, often using mobile phones. Yet, in the popular Western imagination, all of India’s sex workers work in the heinous conditions of Mumbai’s brothels of the 1980s.And there is a pointed lesson about humility. The West simply does not hold all the answers and have all the knowledge. It speaks volumes that U.S. government policies on AIDS, sexual rights and reproductive rights have more often than not put destructive moralizing before humanitarian and social justice imperatives [for example, groups worldwide receiving U.S. funding were barred from discussing condom use with young people and many adults, with the exception of “those who practice high-risk behaviors].The title of your book refers to an “indefinite sentence.” But now that Section 377 has been abolished, what does the title mean to you?The indefinite sentence is indeed lifting now for gay and trans individuals in India. But it continues for sex workers — and my motivation in writing this book was to draw attention to the terrible injustice done to them.How did writing this book change you?It changed me in more ways than I can count. There’s a special kind of liberation that has come from being able to make clear sense of my life, to make sense of the needless harm that was done to me. I needed to be in my 50s to be able to see my life in this larger perspective.Of course, only a portion of this book is about me — more than half is about the scores of women sex workers, gay men and trans women whom I’ve met over the decades. And getting to write a history of their remarkable lives and efforts, which have led to all kinds of progress in India, was equally transformative for me.Kamala Thiagarajan is a freelance journalist based in Madurai, India, who has written for The International New York Times, BBC Travel and Forbes India. You can follow her @kamal_t. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

first_imgDr. Julie Rickard thought her visit to Wisconsin over the Christmas holiday would bring a break from her day job working in suicide prevention in Wenatchee, Wash.The visit didn’t go as planned. After a tense fight broke out between her mother and another family member, everyone dispersed. Rickard readied herself for the trip back to the Pacific Northwest.At the airport, she received a call from her mother, Sheri Adler. This was not out of the ordinary — Adler, like many adoring mothers, always calls her daughter after parting ways.On the phone, Adler wanted to tell her daughter how much she loved and appreciated her.”Normally I would think, ‘Oh that’s a sign of suicide,’ but it was during my layover,” Rickard says. “I had just left her, and my whole life she had always cried when I left and would always say I love you.” This time was different. “This time,” Rickard says, “it was goodbye.” When the plane landed, Rickard received another call. Her mother, at age 72, had tried to take her own life.”I went home, and I guess I just didn’t know how to handle it,” Adler says about the suicide attempt. “It was just more than I could put together … I just made a stupid mistake. I guess I just wanted to give up, because I felt like I wasn’t a good mom. And that’s all I ever wanted to be.”Since the attempt in January, Rickard has helped her mother find care. Adler now takes medication and meets with a therapist for depression and help coping with family issues. They both say she’s doing better. Still, the episode reflects the vulnerability of a group that researchers call a “forgotten” population, particularly when it comes to the issue of mental health: senior citizens.The Risk Among Seniors Across the country, suicide rates have been on the rise, and that rise has struck the nation’s seniors particularly hard. Of the more than 47,000 suicides that took place in 2017, those 65 and up accounted for more than 8,500 of them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Men who are 65 and older face the highest risk of suicide, while adults 85 and older, regardless of gender, are the second most likely age group to die from suicide.According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 47.8 million people over the age of 65 in the U.S. as of 2015. By 2060, that number is projected to reach 98.2 million.Don’t see the graphic above? Click here.That concerns mental health experts like Dr. Jerry Reed, who manages suicide, violence and injury prevention at the nonprofit Education Development Center.”It’s likely that if we have a problem now, we may very well have a problem in the future if we don’t pay attention,” says Reed.What’s particularly worrying, say experts like Reed, is that when seniors attempt suicide, they are far more likely to die than those who are younger.Research has found that one out of four senior citizens that attempt suicide dies, compared to one out of 200 attempts for young adults. While the precise reasons for these figures remain unclear, experts suggest seniors are frailer and thus more vulnerable to self-inflicted injury. They can also be more isolated, which makes rescues more difficult, and perhaps even plan their attempts more carefully. Why Seniors Are At RiskThere are myriad reasons that elderly adults are more susceptible to the nation’s 10th leading cause of death.One of the most prevalent is loneliness. Older adults often live in isolation and may be struggling with the death of a lifelong husband or wife, or with the grief of losing other close family or friends. Research has shown that bereavement is “disproportionately experienced by older adults” and can often trigger physical or mental health illnesses like “major depression and complicated grief.” With children often far from home, parents and grandparents can be left miles away, craving the love and human connection family visitation brings.Aging can also present transitions that are difficult to cope with. Approximately 80% of older adults live with a chronic disease – such as arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure — and 77% have at least two, according to The National Council on Aging.As senior citizens lose the ability to complete once routine daily tasks, depression can set in. Physical ailments might end a senior’s ability to drive, read, engage in conversation or other activities that allow a person to stay independent or find meaning.”Transitions are a very difficult period for someone in life, and if you’re not prepared for that transition, you tend to notice every single behavior that marginalizes or sets you aside from other people,” Reed says.For Adler, it was a combination of factors that led her to want to end her life. She lives more than 1,500 miles from her daughter, whom she describes as her best friend, and that distance, she says, and the isolation that came with it, proved difficult. “It helps to be around other people … when [my daughter is] so far away, it just seems hopeless,” Adler says. “And I did something stupid … I just couldn’t take it anymore.”Rickard, a psychologist, feels that when her mother lost the ability to read books in the aftermath of a stroke, her mental health was negatively affected and she lost a part of her identity.Adler also says that as an older person, she sometimes feels stigmatized — she says people avoid talking to her and don’t want to engage. Growing older in America can be “very hard,” she says. “People don’t talk to you.” Knowing What To Watch For Research on suicide among the elderly is scant, which means loved ones and caretakers are often unaware of the warning signs. But experts say there are certain behaviors that should be considered red flags. These include stockpiling medication, rushing to revise a will, using alcohol or drugs increasingly, altering sleep habits, sharing statements of hopelessness and withdrawing socially.The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention also warns of seniors saying goodbye or expressing the feeling of being a burden.Following a rash of suicides in nearby senior citizens communities, Rickard in 2012 founded the Suicide Prevention Coalition of North Central Washington State. The coalition’s work has helped drive down the number of suicides in the area. Now, Rickard works as the program director at American Behavioral Health Systems, a provider of substance abuse treatment services. She is also spearheading one of the nation’s only pilot projects to coach physicians and residents in long-term care on the warning signs of suicide. Rickard believes that through human contact, medical and psychiatric help, exercise, physical well-being, regular visits to primary care providers and hydration, seniors can improve their mental health.”Oftentimes there’s a belief that it’s a normal part of aging for people to feel bad, or to go through loss, or to have lots of death and grief, and to just not recover from their depression, when in truth it’s very recoverable and it’s something we should be targeting,” Rickard says.Unfortunately, Rickard says, seniors are often left behind in America.”If we treated them they wouldn’t feel like they were swimming in the middle of the ocean with no life preserver,” Rickard says.As for her own mother, she says she hopes she now realizes there is nothing she could ever do to be a “burden” to her. “It’s a gift to me when she asks for help or I get to be there for or just spending time with her,” Rickard says. “And what I hope millions of people hear in this message is that they’re not a burden either.”If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

first_img Latest From Our Partners Urijah Faber and interim featherweight champion Conor McGregor can’t keep their hands off each other.The pair had their notorious backstage tickle fight prior to the weigh-ins at UFC 189 on July 10 and wouldn’t you know they’ve been at it again as coaches on the set of The Ultimate Fighter.”That [first incident] was completely off the cuff,” Faber told The Underground. “I don’t even know what it was. I talked to Conor about it, too. I was like, ‘What was that?’ and he just said, ‘Eh, I don’t know.’ It started out kind of playing and turned out what it was.”That happened again. It happened again a couple of days ago. They didn’t have any cameras on us, we’re giving each other crap and the next thing you know we’re testing each other a little bit. Then we’re like manhandling each other. It always ends with him getting pissed off.”We don’t have video of the second altercation but Faber makes it sound a bit more serious than the first.”He likes them until the end when he’s getting manhandled,” said Faber. “Then he doesn’t like it. The last one was kind of funny. His guy Tom [Egan] had to come in and be like, ‘Alight guys let’s break it up.’ I feel like it was all in good fun for the most part. We both like to fight. That’s what we do.”McGregor TKO’d Faber’s Team Alpha Male teammate Chad Mendes at UFC 189 in Las Vegas, setting the table for a showdown with featherweight champion Jose Aldo later this year.”He felt OK when we’ve had interactions,” said Faber. “I think he’s definitely best at a distance with his structure. We saw that with Chad. He’s a tough guy.”Faber obviously isn’t slated to face McGregor at the show’s conclusion, but thinks the fight will come together eventually.”I think it’ll probably happen at some point,” said Faber. “Honestly, it’s pretty hard to get under my skin and he seems to be OK himself so we’ll see how it goes [during filming]. We’ve already started the banter back and forth. I think people will want to see that fight.” Accessories ‘It all depends on the deal he’s offered.’ Ex-manager says he’d like to see Fedor Emelianenko fight the best in the world in the UFC.To the slammer. Nick Diaz reaches plea deal for reduced jail time on DUI cases.Monday Morning Analyst. Luke Thomas breaks down the techniques from UFC Fight Night: Mir vs. Duffee, UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Leites and more.’If he wants another kick, punch, I’m in.’ Vitor Belfort says he’s interested in fighting Michael Bisping again.Get paid. Frank Mir scores a $200,000 payday for his KO win over Todd Duffee.Watch The MMA Hour with Vadim Finkelchtein, Demetrious Johnson, Johny Hendricks, Holly Holm, Stevie Ray, Robert Whiteford, Ricky Lundell and Tony McGregor. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting Latest From MMA Warehouse Morning Report: Brown hoping for Condit next Sponsored Content Today’s Fanpost of the Day comes via theTruthProphetChris Weidman Slips Up, Shows Hand, Tips Odds In Favor Of Luke RockholdPlease, allow me to begin by an anecdotal story in order to set the stage. Nick Diaz, a 170 pound B-level fighter (if I may borrow a term from “the Notorious”) moves up in weight class to challenge “The Greatest MMA Fighter of All Time” in Anderson Silva, who routinely dominated fighters in light heavyweight division, and early on in his career fought as a heavyweight. Nick Diaz not only manages to make a mockery of the man and toy with him, but in the eyes of many defeat him. Now let’s think about what happened in that bout for a moment. I’m sure we all at least agree it was a close decision….Check out the rest of the post here. Dana White addresses contender status of Colby Covington, Leon Edwards, Corey Anderson Nightmare Matchup for UFC’s Biggest Stars ABC passes rule alteration to definition of grounded fighter Robin Black breaks down Dillashaw vs. Barao 2. More From Beef.@Cowboycerrone Anthony and Diaz beat your ass did you see what I did to them i’ll make sure to give you the worst beating @lorenzofertitta— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) July 21, 2015 @SpiderAnderson vs Fedor would be a dream match I’d pay to see it— Diego Sanchez UFC (@DiegoSanchezUFC) July 21, 2015 ProMax 440 BJJ GI TWEETS @RdosAnjosMMA @ProfitsForLife RDA, don’t argue with a goofy white dude throwing up the west side sign and he’s from fucking Toronto!! LMFAO— Dana White (@danawhite) July 21, 2015 @danawhite @ProfitsForLife he just got blocked— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) July 21, 2015 Your last name can tell you if you descended from royalty. Ancestry Standard Ranked Rashguard Top Contenders for Fight of the Year Gordon Ryan Competition Kit I knew it.@dc_mma @ChrisWeidmanUFC lol DC u write wrestling promos, I tell it like it is and predict the future.— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) July 20, 2015 Get well soon.Today marks 2 weeks on crutches & the day the doc said I can start swimming & riding a stationary bike #rehab pic.twitter.com/pjwh3KgHzT— ‘Rowdy’ Bec Rawlings (@RowdyBec) July 21, 2015 Long watches.Knuckle Up #356: Sucker Aftermath, Mir, Bisping, Fedor, Couture + hate guides galore!…Submission Radio #58 Tito Ortiz, Vadim Finkelchtein, Michelle Waterson + UFC Glasgow… Matchmaking.@JohnyHendricks vs me 4 Next & @IamTheImmortal vs @CarlosCondit for the shot after. Makes since right? @ufc @danawhite @arielhelwani #UFC— Tyron T-Wood Woodley (@TWooodley) July 20, 2015 Good guy Dana.@ProfitsForLife @NateDiaz209 @danawhite @lorenzofertitta I get paid very well— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) July 21, 2015 Inside look at Nieky Holzken’s training ahead of GLORY 23. King Ryan Longsleeve Shirt Nice.They need to make room for one more. @paulfeig @dan_aykroyd and @melissamccarthy ᕙ(=AᄌA=)ᕗ #AlphaCat #Ghostbusters pic.twitter.com/uHmXgddftq— Alpha Cat Zingano (@CatZingano) July 21, 2015 [Gallery] This Wedding Dress Made Guests Truly Uncomfortable Herald Weekly FANPOST OF THE DAY @IamTheImmortal is down& @CarlosCondit is always game! Just waiting on u @JohnyHendricks we have a while so why wait? http://t.co/xvwMW1hJzR— Tyron T-Wood Woodley (@TWooodley) July 20, 2015 [Photos] These Outfits Can Only Be Worn In Wrestling Gameday News 10 Credit Cards That Can’t Be Beat In 2019 NerdWallet Morning Report: Faber talks TUF scuffle with Conor Recommended bycenter_img Morning Report: Jorge Masvidal praises Conor McGregor: ‘The dude is a f*cking G, bro’ McGregor does a Cribs-style tour of the MacMansion.(via r/MMA) @danawhite cowboy started this but I promise you i’m going to give him worst beating then The beating I give him already— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) July 21, 2015 Greatest Highlights of Anderson Silva’s Career View all 1880 stories Found something you’d like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we’ll include it in tomorrow’s column. @RdosAnjosMMA @ProfitsForLife beware of goofy white people who throw the WESTSIDE!! They are Way to dorky to argue with. #goofywhitepeople— Dana White (@danawhite) July 21, 2015 In this Storystream Gloves Brock Lesnar’s WWE Future After UFC Retirement Don Alejandro joins the Mexican manhunt. 5 MUST-READ STORIES Dang.@fabriciowerdum em off? Nosso campeão se descuida da dieta e da uma engordadinha, sera muito… https://t.co/GcmSCS8SDH— Wanderlei Silva (@wandfc) July 20, 2015 Good Night Tee MEDIA STEW Standard BJJ Gi More: Timeline of Israel Adesanya’s Rapid Rise to UFC Contender T.J. Dillashaw talks his rematch with Renan Barao and Conor McGregor’s antics. [Photos] Mom Left Him Alone with Dog for Seconds, Then This Miracle… The Primary Market Sale @wandfc para werdum: adoro quando vc faz a #happyface !! Hahahaha @wandfc para werdum: TE QUIERO… https://t.co/7CBIDTuFfW— Fabricio Werdum (@FabricioWerdum) July 20, 2015 FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTSAnnounced yesterday (July 20 2015)Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Chris Wade at UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Oliveira Morning Report: Jorge Masvidal praises Conor McGregor: ‘The dude is a f*cking G, bro’ Which is More Dangerous – MMA or Football? Morning Report: UFC and MMA News, Multimedia and Hot Clicks @Cowboycerrone you’re probably drunk also that I’m a make you eat your words inside the cage @ufc— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) July 21, 2015 Apparel MMA Fighting Lockdown duffle bag [Pics] Major Changes To The US Military Past Factory Ronda Rousey explains her slam of Floyd Mayweather at the ESPY’s. Colby Covington rips ‘diva’ Robbie Lawler for leaving American Top Team over a photo Pretty wild.Very proud to be bringing this event home to San Jose. Bellator MMA #Dynamite2015, @SAPCenter on September 19th! pic.twitter.com/Zp0yF8SDyh— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) July 20, 2015 Video: Aalon Cruz scores ridiculous jumping knee KO on Contender Series MRI— Scott jorgensen (@Scottjorgensen) July 20, 2015 Should Frankie Edgar finally fight at bantamweight? Coach Ricardo Almeida weighs inlast_img read more

first_img Is your PC healthy? Don’t be too sure. Think back to when you heard a kerklunk sound coming from the hard drive. Or maybe you remember the last time your Internet connection was down (and I don’t mean just a little depressed).The best way to find out what’s wrong is to take a proactive approach: Check under your PC’s hood with the following mostly free diagnostic tools, and see if anything is amiss–before disaster strikes.Hard Drive HealthHard drives are about as stable as the stock market. The more you know about your drive–the brand-specific idiosyncrasies and the diagnostic sounds that drives produce–the better prepared you are for the inevitable crash. Here are a couple of helpful services and programs.Hard Drive Inspector: This utility is always on guard, monitoring all your drives for spin rate, seek time, and almost 20 other potential problem spots. Hard Drive Inspector gives you technical data, including the drive model, firmware version, and serial number, all things you’ll need to know when calling for warranty support.It displays the hard drive’s temperature in the system tray. If the drive gets too toasty (I have mine set for 120 degrees Fahrenheit), the program can send you an e-mail alert–or, better, automatically put the computer in Standby mode.You can view a summary health report, which typically has enough information for most users; the S.M.A.R.T. report has the details. The program costs $30, but you can download a 15-day trial version of Hard Drive Inspector to get a feel for the tool.DataCent’s Hard Drive Sounds: You shouldn’t hear more than a low hum from your hard drive. But drives don’t know the rules, and they often make weird sounds, emitting thuds, screeches, knocks, or whining. Determining whether one of the sounds means trouble can be, well, troublesome.The data-recovery company DataCent has an extraordinarily helpful site that plays the actual sounds of bad or unstable drive heads, stuck spindles, wobbly bearings, and media with bad spots, to name a few. You can hear your specific drive brand.The company also offers another valuable tool that lists typical hard-drive failures by manufacturer.Broadband Speed TestsDoes your broadband Internet connection feel more like a sluggish dial-up link? Put it to the test by recording your connection speed every 30 minutes or so for a couple of days. Keep a log, and if the speed is nowhere near advertised rates, send the results to your ISP–and raise a ruckus. If you complain vigorously yet politely, chances are good that the provider will have you back at full speed ahead in short order. With all of the following tests, resist the temptation to check e-mail or browse the Web while testing, so as not to alter the results.Quick tip: If any of these online tests don’t work, give me a call for help. Just kidding–instead, make sure you have the current version of the Flash Player; if not, download and install it.DSLReports: The granddaddy of online testing, DSLReports gives you a stack of tests to try. The Speed Test has a cool car-dashboard-like interface that watches your upload and download speeds.You can test your speed by using any of six servers in different locations. You’ll obtain a good average by testing with two; try one close to home and another across the country.If you’re worried about your connection while gaming, use the site’s Line Quality test to look for packet loss and excessive latency. Make sure to register and log in when testing–that way you can compare results months apart.Speedtest.net: You’ll see pretty much the same results from broadband speed testing at Speedtest.net. But this site is quicker to get to than DSLReports, and it has an oh-so-nifty interface, the kind you want to show off when friends are in your office.Internet Connection QualityIn addition to running overall speed tests, you can use other tools and tricks to improve your online experience.VoIP Speed Test: If you’re making phone calls over the Internet, make sure you have the bandwidth–as well as the quality of service–to get decent VoIP sound, using the VoIP Speed Test.The bandwidth analysis tells you the percentage of VoIP service quality to expect from your connection, as well as the number of concurrent VoIP lines your connection can support.Down for Everyone or Just Me: You head for a Web site, but you get an error. I know you’ve said it:”Is the site down, or is it my problem?”Now there’s a way to find out. Type a Web site’s URL into Down for Everyone or Just Me? (a smartly named site, no?), and it will give you the scoop. Very handy–using it keeps you from bothering coworkers or members of your buddy list.Fixes for Wi-Fi woes: If you use Wi-Fi, turning your router’s Quality of Service (QoS) settings on will definitely help with some applications. For more, see our story “Optimize Wi-Fi for VoIP,Video, and Gaming,” which has tips for tweaking the data transmission speeds of your wireless network.More Internet advice: To give your Internet connection a goose, see “Internet Boosters.” And to prepare for the times when your connection gives up the ghost, check out “Five Quick Fixes forInternet Connection Hang-Ups.”Inside Your PC Not everyone can recite the MAC address of their PC’s network card or the driver version for their graphics board (not even me). If your computer is hiccuping, knowing exactly what hardware and system software you have inside your PC is invaluable.For troubleshooting, being armed with such details is ideal: You can pass them along to tech support, to your computer guru (no, definitely not me), or to an online help forum.PC Pitstop: If you want to visit just one site to test your PC, I’d recommend PC Pitstop’s Full Test. This comprehensive tool not only gives you an unbeatable hardware report but also alerts you to various potential problems that could be harming performance.After I used it recently on my machine, PC Pitstop recommended 11 fixes, gave me a 35-count list of system specs, provided an even longer list of installed hardware, told me what drivers I needed to upgrade, tallied almost 40 performance results, and–get this–compared my PC’s ratings with those of all the other computers that PC Pitstop has tested.If you create a free account, you can save the reports and refer back to them. One warning: If you have a pop-up or ad blocker, disable it before starting the tests.Belarc Advisor: You can put your PC on the couch and run the free Belarc Advisor to obtain an inventory of your system’s hardware. But that alone is no big deal. Where Belarc shines is in its comprehensive analysis of the software installed on your PC, including the version numbers.Equally useful is the report of Microsoft security hotfixes that are missing from your system, as well as the list of software licenses. After you run the scan, save the HTML page in a safe spot so that you can refer to it if the worst happens.SIW–System Information for Windows: You can ask the SIW tool anything about your PC–it’ll give you a list of regional settings or scheduled tasks, or which DLLs are loaded and which are shared.How about which video and audio codecs you have installed, or details about your network or open ports? SIW has everything, offering lists that you can easily access from toolbar shortcuts or from a panel with a hierarchy list.By the way, because SIW is a stand-alone utility that you don’t need to install, it’ll run directly from a USB flash drive, a floppy (if you still have one), a burned rescue CD, or a network drive.Be careful: Unless you uncheck the Add Crawler Toolbar to IE and Firefox box during the installation, SIW will automatically install that toolbar and make it your default search provider.Not a cool thing for such a useful tool to do.Steve Bass is a former PC World contributing editor who now publishes a weekly newsletter at TechBite.com . Reach him at stevebass@techbite.com . Brought to you by PCWorld The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. December 3, 2008 Growth Strategies Test Your PC With 10 (Mostly) Free Sites and Tools Steve Bass Is your PC healthy? Don’t be too sure. Think back to when you heard a kerklunk sound coming from the hard drive. Or maybe you remember the last time your Internet connection was down (and I don’t mean just a little depressed).center_img 8 min read Next Article –shares Add to Queue 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Apply Now »last_img read more