Xavier Niel the French telecom entrepreneur and o

first_imgXavier Niel, the French telecom entrepreneur and owner of multi-play service provider Iliad Telecom/Free, is close to finalizing a deal to buy a majority stake in Irish telco Eir, according to press reports.According to The Times, a deal could be signed by the end of the year, expected to value the telco at around €1.5 billion excluding debt.Niel’s NJJ Capital will take a majority stake by acquiring shares held by investment outfits Anchorage Capital, Davidson Kempner and GIC, Eir’s three biggest shareholders, according to The Times. The three between them currently hold over 90% of the Irish telco’s shares.A deal would mark Eir’s sixth change of ownership since 1999.NJJ Capital already holds a majority stake in Monaco Telecom.Eir, which posted revenues of €1.32 billion and EBITDA of €520 million in the year to June, serves 551,000 broadband customers and owns EirSport, a sports TV channel.The operator is also involved in the tender for the Irish national broadband plan, which aims to connect over half a million additional homes to fibre broadband.last_img read more

Orange España has unveiled a series of improvement

first_imgOrange España has unveiled a series of improvements to its TV offering.The Spanish operator is launching a new cloud DVR service enabling subscribers to record up to 350 hours of content for a duration of up to six months. Orange has also launched an improved app for smart TVs that it says is more intuitive and user-friendly, and is launching two new premium thematic packages.The cloud DVR service was launched this week. Orange said the service would complement its existing seven-day catch-up and startover services. The new service includes features such as series-record.All recorded content is available in a section of the guide labeled My Recordings. The service is free for all Orange TV customers and will initially be available via the set-top box, with integration in the Orange TV para Smart TV app and mobile apps to follow.Orange’s new smart TV app includes a new horizontal menu that groups channels and à la carte content by genre, such as movies, sports, series, factual, music and kids.Movies, series and other content is grouped together in the search function, while two new features – Estoy viendo and Mi Orange TV – enable viewers to quickly access content they have started viewing and lists of favourite content and channels respectively.The new app will be available for Samsung, LG and Sony smart TVs and for Android TV devices.From July 23, Orange will provide two new packages covering sports and music. Deportes Extra will offer Motorsport.tv, Fight Sports, Extreme Sports and Outdoor Channel, while Música Premium will comprise Stingray iConcerts, Stingray Classica, Mezzo Live HD, Stingray dJazz and Teatro Real, covering genres including classic music, opera, dance, ballet and jazz. Both packages will be available for €5 each to subscribers of the existing Orange TV Cine y Series and Orange TV Fútbol services.All content will be available via set-top, smart TV, smartphone, tablet and PC as well as video-on-demand.The launch of the cloud DVR service, app and new packages follows the recent launch of Orange Series, its new 4K channel offering content in 4K UHD.last_img read more

French service provider Free has announced a serie

first_imgFrench service provider Free has announced a series of measures to improve its performance in the fixed market, including the launch of new set-top boxes, following a reversal of fortunes in the first half of the year.Free has adjusted its profit guidelines for the year after suffering a loss of mobile and fixed subscribers year-on-year in the first half and a slight reduction in profit and revenue.Free, which has played a major role as a disruptor in the French market, in particular in mobile, said it was taking a “new commercial approach” to recruiting fixed subscribers after a disappointing first half “in the context of a highly competitive market”.The operator said that mobile and fixed recruitment had recovered somewhat in July and August.Free also said it planned to launch a new range of boxes to fortify its fixed business, without giving further details. Free/Iliad Telecom co-founder Xavier Niel had already revealed in June that the Freebox V7 would be unveiled this month, and that it would be “very advanced and disruptive” with the potential to boost growth in the company’s fixed base. However, no details have been released about the underlying technology or functionality of the device.To make up lost ground in the fixed market, Free has also introduced new offers debuting in June, ranging from €9.99 to €19.99 for the first 12 months before reverting to the normal price range of between €24.99 and €44.99. The operator is also engaging in a new drive to increase customer loyalty and to accelerate migration to its fibre offering.In mobile, Free lost 70,000 subscribers, which it blamed on intense competition in the entry-level segment.Free had more success in signing up customers to its fibre offering, with 178,000 new subscribers taking its total to 1.7 million, and in Italy, where its recently launched mobile service had attracted 1.5 million customers by the beginning of August.Free posted a 0.2% decline in revenues from France for the first half, driven into negative territory by a 2.2% drop in fixed revenue. The company improved its overall profitability, with an EBITDA margin of 37.3% and EBITDA growth of €20 million to €894 million.last_img read more

Vietmans pay TV industry generated revenues of ab

first_imgVietman’s pay TV industry generated revenues of about VND8 trillion (€303 million) last year, up 2% on the figure for 2017, according to statistics released by the country’s central committee of propaganda and education, as reported by local press.According to the statistics, some 35 companies provided pay TV services in Vietnam. The number of pay TV subscribers numbered 14.5 million, up 5.8% year-on-year, meaning that a majority of Vietnamese families now have access to pay TV services.Radio and TV broadcasting together generated revenues of VND10.9 trillion, according to the committee. National and local radio and TV channels numbered 67, while the overall number of authorised TV channels numbered 278.last_img read more

Click to enlarge Pay TV revenues in Eastern Europe

first_imgClick to enlargePay TV revenues in Eastern Europe will peak at $6.95 billion in 2019 – before slipping gradually to $6.59 billion by 2024, according to new research from Digital TV Research (Eastern Europe Pay TV Forecasts, April 2019).During this time, analogue cable revenues will drop by $844 million to virtually nothing (just $33 million), while digital PayTV revenues will increase by $502 million to $6.56 billion.Assessing the data, Simon Murray, DTVR principal analyst said: “Tough times continue in Eastern Europe, with poor job prospects forcing many to seek work abroad. This migration married with low birth rates mean that the number of TV households will fall by 2.5 million in 18 countries between 2018 and 2024.”Russia will account for half of the region’s pay TV subscribers in 2024. However, Russia will lose 2.88 million pay TV subscribers between 2018 and 2024. Murray said: “The number of PayTV subscribers in Eastern Europe will decline from 82.33m at end-2018 to 78.64m in 2024. Not great news but better than the US situation.” One positive is that virtually all of this total (78 million) will be digital Pay TV subscribers.last_img read more

Virgin Media has trialled the use of wireless radi

first_imgVirgin Media has trialled the use of wireless radio signals to help connect homes in a Newbury village to Gigabit speeds and TV services over full fibre, something it describes as a first for the UK.The trial, led by Liberty Global and using Ericsson radio technology, has made use of high-capacity millimetre wave radio technology to connect two trunk points over three kilometres with a 10Gbps signal. The signal is then converted within a cabinet and services are delivered to premises over a full fibre connection.Virgin Media has started by initially connecting 12 homes in Greenham, located just on the edge of the town of Newbury. These homes are currently receiving reliable 1Gbps download and 150Mbps upload trial speeds alongside the full line-up of TV services from Virgin Media. Residents are connected directly with fibre and use Virgin Media’s Hub 3.0 router and V6 set-top box.By minimising disruption and avoiding the need for lengthy and expensive civil engineering work, this wireless backhaul could mean that trunk network build costs are reduced by up to 90%, according to Virgin Media, potentially making it viable to connect premises previously seen as too costly or logistically challenging such as rural areas and apartment blocks. The connectivity could also be used to help connect mobile providers and business customers.Virgin Media said that the 10Gbps radio link can sustainably support delivery of residential services to 500 homes when considering a 40% average annual growth in data consumption, potentially rising to 2,000 homes with some configuration changes.Virgin Media expects further trials of this technology to commence later this year.Jeanie York, chief technology and information officer, Virgin Media said: “As we invest to expand our ultrafast network we’re always looking at new, innovative ways to make build more efficient and connect premises that might currently be out of reach. While presently this is a trial, it’s clear that this technology could help to provide more people and businesses with the better broadband they deserve.”last_img read more

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first_imgShareTweet “I’m particularly impressed by the events planned for The Alley Theatre which is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year.“With shows, live music and entertainments, The Alley provides a great day out for families and ensures a great vantage point for viewing the parade.”PRO for the Strabane St Patrick’s Day Parade committee, Aaron Harkin added:“Planning for the parade is now at an advanced stage and we are looking forward to welcoming thousands of people to the streets of Strabane to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.“It is a great occasion for all the family and the crowds bring a welcome boost to our local economy.“We would still welcome any more groups who want to take part in the parade, as well as playing a part in your local community it’s a great way to promote your organisation to the public.”More information on Council’s St Patrick’s Day Spring Carnival programme is available at www.derrystrabane.com/springcarnival.STRABANE SET FOR FEAST OF GREEN EVENTS IN ST PATRICK’S DAY PROGRAMME was last modified: March 7th, 2017 by John2John2 Tags: DERRY City and Strabane District Council is inviting the Strabane public to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in style with a weekend of music, dance and folklore in its Spring Carnival from March 17th – 19th.The packed programme of events includes puppetry and storytelling at the Alley Theatre, a 5k Fun Run at the Melvin Complex, Irish Language events and live music and entertainment across a number of venues including the Alley Theatre and Market Street.There will also be a St Patrick’s Day Family Fun afternoon in Butcher Street Car Park from 12-5pm with a kid’s farm and funfair favourites.The highlight of the celebrations on Friday March 17th will be the Spring Carnival Parade in Strabane town centre which is being organised by the local St Patrick’s Day Committee and will see hundreds of performers from community based organisations taking part. The theme of this year’s festival is Forever Young – a celebration of youthfulness of mind and spirit, one that is particularly apt for Grand Marshal of the parade for the last 12 years Pat Gillespie who is this year celebrating his 100th birthday.Pat will be joined by MMA star James ‘The Strabanimal’ Gallagher who has been confirmed as a VIP guest.Before and after the parade there will be entertainment in the Alley Theatre and Butcher Street including live music and children’s arts, face painting and much more.Speaking at the Spring Carnival launch, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock, noted this year’s packed programme has something for all the family.“I’d like to congratulate all those who organise and take part in the carnival parade which is one of the biggest events in Strabane,” she said. ALLEY THEATREBUTCHER STREETJAMES ‘THE STRABANIMAL’ GALLAGHERMMA STARSTRABANE SET FOR FEAST OF GREEN EVENTS IN ST PATRICK’S DAY PROGRAMMEVIPlast_img read more

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first_imgShareTweet BISHOP STREETbogsideBrandywellDerryGood turnout expected this evening for the annual Jog in the BogJog In The Bog First 400 places get a Jog In The Bog T-shirt and free refreshments afterwards.The route takes in the Bogside, Brandywell and Bishop Street areas. The event starts at 6.30 pm for children and 7 pm for adults.It is expected to finish around 10 pm. THE annual Jog in the Bog takes place tonight, Thursday, August 10.There is a kids’ Run, a 5k Walk and a 5k Run.There will be prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd Male and Female Finishers & Trophy for running club with most participants. Chipped timed run!! Good turnout expected this evening for the annual Jog in the Bog was last modified: August 8th, 2018 by John2John2 Tags:last_img read more

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first_imgShareTweet FIRE chiefs in Derry have sounded a stark warning over the dangers of hoax 999 calls after crews turned out to a bogus shout of a house fire last week.Their message to those who waste vital resources is: Hoax calls cost lives.The Fire and Rescue Service in the city have revealed that as crews raced to the hoax call to a house fire in the Waterside where people were reportedly trapped, another call came in about a person entering the cold waters of the River Foyle. crescent linkFire Service in Derry warn over hoax calls after crews race to bogus house blazefoyle search and rescuehoax callsNIFRSnorthlandriver foyle “You can’t imagine the reaction in those fire engines when you are less than a minute from your destination and you hear over the radio that someone has gone into the River Foyle.“Everyone waits with baited breath as our colleagues in the control room have to prioritise our teams and make seriously tough decisions over who should now go where.“Thankfully, our friends from Foyle Search and Rescue, were alerted and turned out to the female in the water along with the few remaining water rescue personnel at Crescent Link station. “This is a fraction of the response needed for such an incident.“One of Crescent Link’s pumping appliances was also redirected to the water rescue from the house fire.“When crews arrived at the address for the reported house fire, we discovered it was a hoax call, and were quickly redeployed to assist at the river.“Thankfully, due to the swift actions of our friends @foylesearchandrescue the lady was rescued from the water.“We are so thankful to have the volunteers of Foyle Search and Rescue co respond to the river with us.“This could have ended very differently and very tragically. “If the second call had have been a land based incident, such as a car crash or a genuine house fire it most certainly would have, as the first call (the hoax) pretty much drained all our resources.“Shout out to our fabulous control room staff, who are often overlooked in rescue scenarios and have to prioritise calls and make fast decisions in terms of response and resources; literally life or death decisions on a daily basis.“Moral of the story is HOAX CALLS COST LIVES!!”#nifrswest #controlroom #coresponders #teamwork #lifeordeath #hoaxcalls #hoaxcallscostlives #prioritise #foylesearchandrescue #notagame #riverfoyleFire Service in Derry warn over hoax calls after crews race to bogus house blaze was last modified: January 1st, 2019 by John2John2 Tags: It meant Fire and Rescue Service call handlers had a difficult task in trying to manage crews between the two incidents which involved life and death situations.NIFRS West posted on its Facebook page: “At approx 8 pm on Thursday 27th December, crews from Northland and Crescent Link stations were turned out to a house fire in the waterside where it was reported people were trapped.“Hearts race when we get these calls, adrenaline is pumping. “We know time is of the essence an we ready ourselves, our equipment and gather information en route.last_img read more

SPANISBURG WV WOAY – A large party with underag

first_img SPANISBURG, WV (WOAY) – A large party with underage drinking took place overnight in Mercer County, leaving one person with severe head trauma after being hit by vehicle.Chief Deputy, Joe Parks, tells WOAY that at around midnight last night, a call came in of a fight on Brook Branch Road. He said there was over a 100 people at the party when the fight broke out, most of the which were people drinking underage. A 20 year old boy was hit by a vehicle and flown to CAMC with severe head trauma.There is an investigation taking place and officials are interviewing witnesses.The Mercer County Sheriff’s Department, Princeton Police Department, and West Virginia State Police are investigating the incident.Stay with WOAY News for further updates on this developing story. Twitter Pinterest Mail FeaturedLocal NewsNewsWatch Underage Drinking Party leads To Fight And One Person In The Hospital By Tyler BarkerJul 09, 2018, 09:22 am 621 0 Google+ Linkedin Previous PostManchin Mobile Monday will be stopping in McDowell County Facebook Next PostMotor Vehicle Accident On Harper Rd. Leaves One Injured Tumblr Home NewsWatch Featured Underage Drinking Party leads To Fight And One Person In The Hospital Tyler Barker Tyler Barker is currently the Interim News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. I was promoted to this job in Mid-November. I still will fill in on weather from time to time. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email me at tbarker@woay.comlast_img read more

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first_img Pinterest Home NewsWatch FEMA penalizes West Virginia over grant requirements Linkedin CHARLESTON, WV (AP) — A report from the West Virginia legislative auditor’s office says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has penalized the state for not complying with grant requirements.News outlets cite the report as saying management deficiencies at the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management prompted FEMA to place West Virginia into a “manual reimbursement” policy. FEMA will now only reimburse the division when it justifies the request.The report was shared with the legislative Post Audits Subcommittee on Sunday. It says the division has been failing to adhere to grant agreements since 2009. A complete audit will come next month.West Virginia National Guard adjutant general Maj. Gen. James Hoyer and other officials told the committee new auditing and other functions have been put in place to ensure FEMA compliance. Google+ Facebook Twitter NewsWatchState NewsTop Stories FEMA penalizes West Virginia over grant requirements By Daniella HankeyNov 12, 2018, 10:42 am 511 0 Mail Tumblr Previous PostIHOP launches Grinch-themed holiday menu Next PostDates announced for Fayette County Christmas Parades Daniella Hankeylast_img read more

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first_img Mail Previous PostWVU Baseball Picked Sixth in Big 12 Preseason Poll Pinterest Twitter Local NewsNewsWatchTop Stories WATCH: Bluefield named third safest city in West Virginia By Tyler BarkerJan 31, 2019, 17:11 pm 480 1 Home NewsWatch Local News WATCH: Bluefield named third safest city in West Virginia Next PostBeckley Police Need Your Help Identifying A Man Tumblr BLUEFIELD, WV (WOAY)- The city of Bluefield is making a name for itself, named the third safest city in West Virginia and the safest city in the southern part of the state.That’s according to the National Council for Home Safety and Security.We sent Dylan Fearon out to find out if the statistic is surprising to Bluefield residents.Beckley also cracked the top 10, ranked the ninth safest city in West Virginia. Linkedin Google+ Facebook Tyler Barker Tyler Barker is currently the Interim News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. I was promoted to this job in Mid-November. I still will fill in on weather from time to time. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email me at tbarker@woay.comlast_img read more

Next PostHigh School Basketball Scoreboard Febru

first_img Next PostHigh School Basketball Scoreboard – February 13 Twitter Pinterest SportsSports News Jason Spears Named PikeView Football Head Coach By Matt DigbyFeb 14, 2019, 00:28 am 363 0 WOAY – Jason Spears was named on Wednesday as the new head coach of PikeView High School football. He succeeds Bobby Wyatt, who retired this year after seven years leading the Panthers.Spears, formerly an assistant under Wyatt, is originally from Wyoming County, and was part of the 1999 Wyoming East team that went 14-0 and won the Class AA state championship.PikeView won their final two games in 2018 to finish 5-5, after opening with three straight wins. The Panthers were led by senior running back Evan Rose, who was named offensive captain for the Class AA All-State Second Team. Home Sports News Sports Jason Spears Named PikeView Football Head Coach Tumblr Mail Linkedin Google+ Previous PostConcord Begins Road Trip Thursday Facebook Matt Digby Matt Digby is the Sports Director at WOAY-TV. He joined the station in January 2015 – right in the middle of Big Atlantic Classic Week. Read Morelast_img read more

By Doug Casey Casey Research An International Man

first_imgBy Doug Casey, Casey ResearchAn International Man lives and does business wherever he finds conditions most advantageous, regardless of arbitrary borders. He’s diversified globally, with passports from multiple countries, assets in several jurisdictions and his residence in yet another. He doesn’t depend absolutely on any country and regards all of them as competitors for his capital and expertise.Living as an international man used to be just an interesting possibility. But few Americans opted for it, since the US used to reward those who settled in and put down roots. In fact, it rewarded them better than any other country in the world, so there was nothing pressing about becoming an international man.Things change, however, and being rooted like a plant, at least if you have a choice, is a suboptimal strategy for surviving and prospering. Throughout history, almost every place has at some point become dangerous for those who were stuck there. It may be America’s turn.For those who can take up the life of an international man, it’s no longer just an interesting lifestyle decision. It has become, at a minimum, an asset saver, and it could be a life saver. That said, I understand the hesitation you may feel about taking action; pulling up one’s roots (or at least grafting some of them to a new location) can be almost as traumatic to a man as to a vegetable.As any intelligent observer surveys the world’s economic and political landscape, he has to be disturbed – even dismayed and a bit frightened – by the gravity and number of problems that mark the horizon. We’re confronted by economic depression, looming financial chaos, serious currency inflation, onerous taxation, crippling regulation, developing police states and, worst of all, the prospect of a major war. It seems almost unbelievable that we are talking of the US – which historically has been the land of the free.How did we get here? An argument can be made that miscalculation, accident, inattention and the like are why things go bad. Those elements do have a role, but it is minor. Potential catastrophe across the board can’t be the result of happenstance. When things go wrong on a grand scale, it’s not just bad luck or inadvertence. It’s because of serious character flaws in one or many – or even all – of the players.So is there a root cause of all the problems I’ve cited? If we can find it, it may tell us how we personally can best respond to the problems.In this article, I’m going to argue that the US government, in particular, is being overrun by the wrong kind of person. It’s a trend that’s been in motion for many years but has now reached a point of no return. In other words, a type of moral rot has become so prevalent that it’s institutional in nature. There is not going to be, therefore, any serious change in the direction in which the US is headed until a genuine crisis topples the existing order. Until then, the trend will accelerate.The reason is that a certain class of people – sociopaths – are now fully in control of major American institutions. Their beliefs and attitudes are insinuated throughout the economic, political, intellectual and psychological/spiritual fabric of the US.What does this mean to the individual? It depends on your character. Are you the kind of person who supports “my country right or wrong,” as did most Germans in the 1930s and 1940s, or the kind who dodges the duty to be a helpmate to murderers? The type of passenger who goes down with the ship or the type who puts on his vest and looks for a life boat? The type of individual who supports the merchants who offer the fairest deal or the type who is gulled by splashy TV commercials?What the ascendancy of sociopaths means isn’t an academic question. Throughout history, the question has been a matter of life and death. That’s one reason America grew; every American (or any ex-colonial) has forebears who confronted the issue and decided to uproot themselves to go somewhere with better prospects. The losers were those who delayed thinking about the question until the last minute.I have often described myself, and those I prefer to associate with, as gamma rats. You may recall the ethologist’s characterization of the social interaction of rats as being between a few alpha rats and many beta rats, the alpha rats being dominant and the beta rats submissive. In addition, a small percentage are gamma rats that stake out prime territory and mates, like the alphas, but are not interested in dominating the betas. The people most inclined to leave for the wide world outside and seek fortune elsewhere are typically gamma personalities.You may be thinking that what happened in places like Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia and scores of other countries in recent history could not, for some reason, happen in the US. Actually, there’s no reason it won’t at this point. All the institutions that made America exceptional – including a belief in capitalism, individualism, self-reliance and the restraints of the Constitution – are now only historical artifacts.On the other hand, the distribution of sociopaths is completely uniform across both space and time. Per capita, there were no more evil people in Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany, Mao’s China, Amin’s Uganda, Ceausescu’s Romania or Pol Pot’s Cambodia than there are today in the US. All you need is favorable conditions for them to bloom, much as mushrooms do after a rainstorm.Conditions for them in the US are becoming quite favorable. Have you ever wondered where the 50,000 people employed by the TSA to inspect and degrade you came from? Most of them are middle-aged. Did they have jobs before they started doing something that any normal person would consider demeaning? Most did, but they were attracted to – not repelled by – a job where they wear a costume and abuse their fellow citizens all day.Few of them can imagine that they’re shepherding in a police state as they play their roles in security theater. (A reinforced door on the pilots’ cabin is probably all that’s actually needed, although the most effective solution would be to hold each airline responsible for its own security and for the harm done if it fails to protect passengers and third parties.) But the 50,000 newly employed are exactly the same type of people who joined the Gestapo – eager to help in the project of controlling everyone. Nobody was drafted into the Gestapo.What’s going on here is an instance of Pareto’s Law. That’s the 80-20 rule that tells us, for example, that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your salesmen or that 20% of the population are responsible for 80% of the crime.As I see it, 80% of people are basically decent; their basic instincts are to live by the Boy Scout virtues. 20% of people, however, are what you might call potential trouble sources, inclined toward doing the wrong thing when the opportunity presents itself. They might now be shoe clerks, mailmen or waitresses – they seem perfectly benign in normal times. They play baseball on weekends and pet the family dog. However, given the chance, they will sign up for the Gestapo, the Stasi, the KGB, the TSA, Homeland Security or whatever. Many are well intentioned but likely to favor force as the solution to any problem.But it doesn’t end there, because 20% of that 20% are really bad actors. They are drawn to government and other positions where they can work their will on other people and, because they’re enthusiastic about government, they rise to leadership positions. They remake the culture of the organizations they run in their own image. Gradually, non-sociopaths can no longer stand being there. They leave. Soon the whole barrel is full of bad apples. That’s what’s happening today in the US.It’s a pity that Bush, when he was in office, made such a big deal of evil. He discredited the concept. He made Boobus americanus think it only existed in a distant axis, in places like North Korea, Iraq and Iran – which were and still are irrelevant backwaters and arbitrarily chosen enemies. Bush trivialized the concept of evil and made it seem banal because he was such a fool. All the while real evil, very immediate and powerful, was growing right around him, and he lacked the awareness to see he was fertilizing it by turning the US into a national security state after 9/11.Now, I believe, it’s out of control. The US is already in a truly major depression and on the edge of financial chaos and a currency meltdown. The sociopaths in government will react by redoubling the pace toward a police state domestically and starting a major war abroad. To me, this is completely predictable. It’s what sociopaths do.There are seven characteristics I can think of that define a sociopath, although I’m sure the list could be extended.Sociopaths completely lack a conscience or any capacity for real regret about hurting people. Although they pretend the opposite.Sociopaths put their own desires and wants on a totally different level from those of other people. Their wants are incommensurate. They truly believe their ends justify their means. Although they pretend the opposite.Sociopaths consider themselves superior to everyone else, because they aren’t burdened by the emotions and ethics others have – they’re above all that. They’re arrogant. Although they pretend the opposite.Sociopaths never accept the slightest responsibility for anything that goes wrong, even though they’re responsible for almost everything that goes wrong. You’ll never hear a sincere apology from them.Sociopaths have a lopsided notion of property rights. What’s theirs is theirs, and what’s yours is theirs too. They therefore defend currency inflation and taxation as good things.Sociopaths usually pick the wrong target to attack. If they lose their wallet, they kick the dog. If 16 Saudis fly planes into buildings, they attack Afghanistan.Sociopaths traffic in disturbing news, they love to pass on destructive rumors and they’ll falsify information to damage others.The fact that they’re chronic, extremely convincing and even enthusiastic liars, who often believe their own lies, means they aren’t easy to spot, because normal people naturally assume another person is telling the truth. They rarely have handlebar mustaches or chortle like Snidely Whiplash. Instead, they cultivate a social veneer or a mask of sanity that diverts suspicion. You can rely on them to be “politically correct” in public. How could a congressman or senator who avidly supports charities possibly be a bad guy? They’re expert at using facades to disguise reality, and they feel no guilt about it.Political elites are primarily, and sometimes exclusively, composed of sociopaths. It’s not just that they aren’t normal human beings. They’re barely even human, a separate subspecies, differentiated by their psychological qualities. A normal human can mate with them spiritually and psychologically about as fruitfully as a modern human could mate physically with a Neanderthal; it can be done, but the results won’t be good.It’s a serious problem when a society becomes highly politicized, as is now the case in the US and Europe. In normal times, a sociopath stays under the radar. Perhaps he’ll commit a common crime when he thinks he can get away with it, but social mores keep him reined in. However, once the government changes its emphasis from protecting citizens from force to initiating force with laws and taxes, those social mores break down. Peer pressure, social approbation and moral opprobrium, the forces that keep a healthy society orderly, are replaced by regulations enforced by cops and funded by taxes. Sociopaths sense this, start coming out of the woodwork and are drawn to the State and its bureaucracies and regulatory agencies, where they can get licensed and paid to do what they’ve always wanted to do.It’s very simple, really. There are two ways people can relate to each other: voluntarily or coercively. The government is pure coercion, and sociopaths are drawn to its power and force.The majority of Americans will accept the situation for two reasons: One, they have no philosophical anchor to keep them from being washed up onto the rocks. They no longer have any real core beliefs, and most of their opinions – e.g., “We need national health care,” “Our brave troops should fight evil over there so we don’t have to fight it over here,” “The rich should pay their fair share” – are reactive and comforting. The whole point of spin doctors is to produce comforting sound bites that elude testing against reality. And, two, they’ve become too pampered and comfortable, a nation of overfed losers, mooches and coasters who like the status quo without wondering how long it can possibly last.It’s nonsensical to blather about the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave when reality TV and Walmart riots are much closer to the truth. The majority of Americans are, of course, where the rot originates – the presidential candidates are spending millions taking their pulse in surveys and polls and then regurgitating to them what they seem to want to hear. Once a country buys into the idea that an above-average, privileged lifestyle is everyone’s minimum due, when the fortunate few can lobby for special deals to rake something off the table as they squeeze wealth out of others by force, that country is on the decline. Lobbying and taxation rather than production and innovation have never been able to sustain prosperity. The wealth being squeezed took centuries to produce, but it is not inexhaustible.In that light, it was interesting to hear Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, speak about the lower, middle and upper classes recently. Romney is an empty suit, only marginally better than the last Republican nominee, the hostile and mildly demented John McCain. In any event, Romney is right about the poor, in a way – there is a “safety net,” now holding 50 million people on Medicaid and 46 million on food stamps, among many other supposed benefits. And he’s right about the rich; there’s no need to worry about them at the moment – at least until the revolution starts. He claims to worry about the middle class, not that his worries will do anything to help them. But he’s right that the middle class is where the problem lies. It’s just a different kind of problem than he thinks.People generally fall into an economic class because of their psychology and their values. Each of the three classes has a characteristic psychological profile. For the lower class, it’s apathy. They have nothing, they’re ground down and they don’t really care. They’re not in the game, and they aren’t going to do anything; they’re resigned to their fate. For the upper class, it’s greed and arrogance. They have everything, and they think they deserve it – whether they do or not. The middle class – at least in today’s world – is run by fear. Fear that they’re only a paycheck away from falling into the lower class. Fear that they can’t pay their debts or borrow more. Fear that they don’t have a realistic prospect of improving themselves.The problem is that fear is a negative, dangerous and potentially explosive emotion. It can easily morph into anger and violence. Exactly where it will lead is unpredictable, but it’s not a good place. One thing that exacerbates the situation is that all three classes now rely on the government, albeit in different ways. Bankruptcy of the government will affect them all drastically.With sociopaths in charge, we could very well see the Milgram experiment reenacted on a national scale. In the experiment, you may recall, researchers asked members of the public to torture subjects (who, unbeknownst to the people being recruited, were paid actors) with electric shocks, all the way up to what they believed were lethal doses. Most of them did as asked, after being assured that it was “alright” and “necessary” by men in authority. The men in authority today are mostly sociopaths.WHAT TO DOOne practical issue worth thinking about is how you, as someone with libertarian values, will manage in a future increasingly controlled by sociopaths. My guess is poorly, unless you take action to insulate yourself. That’s because of the way almost all creatures are programmed by nature. There’s one imperative common to all of them: Survive! People obviously want to do that as individuals. And as families. In fact, they want all the groups that they’re members of to survive, simply because (everything else being equal) it should help them to survive as individuals. So individual Marines want the Marine Corps to survive. Individual Rotarians want the Rotary Club to prosper. Individual Catholics leap to the defense of the Church of Rome.That’s why individual Germans during World War II were, as has been asserted, “willing executioners” – they were supporting the Reich for the same reasons the Marines, the Rotarians and the Catholics support their groups. Except more so, because the Reich was under attack from all sides. So of course they followed orders and turned in their neighbors who seemed less than enthusiastic. Failing to support the Reich – even if they knew it had some rather unsavory aspects – seemed an invitation to invading armies to come and rape their daughters, steal their property and probably kill them. So of course the Germans closed ranks around their leaders, even though everyone at the top was a sociopath. You can expect Americans to do the same.Americans have done so before, when the country was far less degraded. During the War Between the States, even saying something against the war was a criminal offense. The same was true during World War I. In World War II, the Japanese were all put in concentration camps on groundless, racially based suspicions of disloyalty. During the early years of the Cold War, McCarthyism was rampant. The examples are legion among humans, and the US was never an exception. It’s even true among chickens. If a bird has a feather out of place, the others will peck at it, eventually killing it. That out-of-place feather is deemed a badge of otherness announcing that its owner isn’t part of the group. Chicken Autre must die.Libertarians, who tend to be more intelligent, better informed and very definitely more independent than average, are going to be in a touchy situation as the crisis deepens. Most aren’t going to buy into the groupthink that inevitably accompanies war and other major crises. As such, they’ll be seen as unreliable, even traitors. As Bush said, “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.” And, he might have added, “the Constitution be damned.” But of course that document is no longer even given lip service; it’s now a completely dead letter.It’s very hard for an individualist to keep his mouth shut when he sees these things going on. But he’d better keep quiet, as even HL Mencken wisely did during both world wars. In today’s world, just keeping quiet won’t be enough; the national security state has an extensive, and growing, file on everybody. They believe they know exactly what your beliefs, desires, fears and associations are, or may be. What we’re now facing is likely to be more dangerous than past crises. If you’re wise, you’ll relocate someplace where you’re something of an outsider and, by virtue of that fact, are allowed a measure of eccentric opinion. That’s why I spend an increasing amount of time in Latin America. In truth, however, security is going to be hard to find anywhere in the years to come. The most you can hope for is to tilt the odds in your favor.The best way to do that is by diversifying your assets internationally. Allocating your wealth into real assets. Linking up with sound, like-minded people who share your values. And staying alert for the high-potential speculations that inevitably arise during chaotic times.[Another puzzle piece that sadly fits in place for the fall of the US is its astounding debt crisis. Those with the foresight to take advantage of the shifting trends it triggers can not just survive, but thrive during the challenging times ahead.]last_img read more

Chances are that you have heard something about th

first_imgChances are that you have heard something about the stunning new laws in Puerto Rico that give unbelievable tax benefits for mainland Americans who move to the island. Benefits that are so incredible that many at first thought they were simply too good to be true… but they most certainly are not. With strategies that purport to legally allow US citizens to avoid having to pay taxes, the first thing that usually comes to mind is some sort of cockamamie scheme. This is because the US government is no slouch when it comes to shaking down its citizens. It’s mind-boggling expenditures necessitate this. It would be dangerously foolish in the extreme to think you could slip one past them. However, the tax benefits of becoming a resident of Puerto Rico are not an illusion, nor some type of scam. They are very real, 100% legal, and could change your life. That is not hyperbole. They have already changed the lives of many. These benefits are why scores of mainland Americans have already made the move—including two members of Casey Research. Many more have seriously considered it. To spur job growth and economic activity in general, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico introduced extraordinary tax incentives for incoming residents and service businesses. Specifically, for Puerto Rican residents and businesses that qualify—mostly expatriates from the US mainland or their enterprises—the recently enacted Act 22 and Act 20 provide for a zero tax rate on capital gains and certain interest and dividends earned by individuals, and for low single-digit tax rates on qualifying service income earned by corporations operating in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is no novice at sculpting tax rules to attract foreign investors and expatriates. For decades the country has offered tax incentives to many types of businesses, especially manufacturers, which is why today you’ll find plants belonging to Praxair, Merck, Pfizer, and other big names dotting the island’s lush interior. Due to the ever-increasing extra-territorial regulations they are forced to comply with, many countries and foreign financial institutions are showing American citizens the “unwelcome mat.” Puerto Rico, on the other hand, is a newly tax-friendly jurisdiction that is—and will continue to be—open to Americans. One accountant who specializes in offshore structures remarked, “This is the biggest opportunity I’ve seen in 25 years.” He’s right: this is truly an astounding and unique opportunity for individual Americans; there is no other way to legally escape the suffocating grip of these taxes besides death or renunciation of US citizenship. This is because the US is the only country in the world that taxes its nonresident citizens on all of their income regardless of where they live and earn their money. For this reason, an American who moves to a zero-tax jurisdiction like Dubai, for example, still pays a full US tax bill. A Canadian expat working in Dubai would have no income tax bill at all. (Note: The US does exclude up to $99,200 of foreign earned income (salary, wages, etc.) from taxation if certain conditions are met, but there is no break for an overseas American’s investment income.) American are in the uniquely unfavorable position of having arguably the worst tax policies and a government that can effectively enforce them. For many, it is a tight and suffocating tax leash. It is no wonder, then, why record numbers of Americans are giving up their citizenship to escape these onerous requirements. Even if you do decide to take the plunge and renounce your US citizenship, there’s a good chance you’ll get stung with the costly exit tax and also may have trouble reentering the US. There is, however, another way, thanks to the new options in Puerto Rico. American citizens can effectively gain many of the tax benefits of renunciation without actually having to do so. Due to Puerto Rico’s situation as a commonwealth of the US, its residents are not subject to US federal income taxes from income generated in Puerto Rico. Previously this did not make any practical difference, because although Puerto Rican residents are not subject to US federal taxes, they are subject to Puerto Rican taxes, which are often at similar levels to those on the US mainland. However the situation has changed immensely, with the two powerful, new laws that exempt new Puerto Rican residents from certain key taxes from the Puerto Rican government. Anyone who relocates to Puerto Rico can apply for these tax incentives—including mainland US citizens, who can find similar benefits nowhere else in the world, thanks to the island’s unique legal situation. Casey Research has done a thorough boots-on-the-ground investigation and found that the tax advantages are real and that for many Americans, including individuals operating on a modest scale, they are a huge opportunity that could truly be life-changing. The findings were recently published in a comprehensive A-Z guide on the Puerto Rico option. Click here to learn more.last_img read more

In the January BIG GOLD I interviewed a plethora

first_imgIn the January BIG GOLD, I interviewed a plethora of experts on their views about gold for this year. The issue was so popular that we decided to republish a portion of the edition here. Given their level of success, these fund managers are worth listening to: James Rickards, Chris Martenson, Steve Henningsen, Grant Williams, and Brent Johnson. Some questions are the same, while others were tailored to their particular expertise. I hope you find their comments as insightful and useful as I did… James Rickards is chief global strategist at the West Shore Funds, editor of Strategic Intelligence, a monthly newsletter, and director of the James Rickards Project, an inquiry into the complex dynamics of geopolitics and global capital. He is the author of the New York Times best-seller The Death of Money and the national best-seller Currency Wars. He’s a portfolio manager, lawyer, and economist, and has held senior positions at Citibank, Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM), and Caxton Associates. In 1998, he was the principal negotiator of the rescue of LTCM sponsored by the Federal Reserve. He’s an op-ed contributor to the Financial Times, Evening Standard, New York Times, and Washington Post, and has been interviewed by the BBC, CNN, NPR, C-SPAN, CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox, and the Wall Street Journal. Jeff: Your book The Death of Money does not paint an optimistic economic picture. What will the average citizen experience if events play out as you expect? James: The end result of current developments in the international monetary system will almost certainly be high inflation or borderline hyperinflation in US dollars, but this process will take a few years to play out, and we may experience mild deflation first. Right now, global markets want to deflate, yet central banks must achieve inflation in order to make sovereign debt loads sustainable. The result is an unstable balance between natural deflation and policy inflation. The more deflation persists in the form of lower prices for oil and other commodities, the more central banks must persist in monetary easing. Eventually inflation will prevail, but it will be through a volatile and unstable process. Jeff: The gold price has been in a downtrend for three years. Is the case for gold over? If not, what do you think kick-starts a new bull market? James: The case for gold is not over—in fact, things are just getting interesting. I seldom think about the “price” of gold. I think of gold as money and everything else as a price measured in gold units. When the dollar price of gold is said to be “down,” I think of gold as a constant store of value and that the dollar is simply “up” in the sense that it takes more units of gold to buy one dollar. This perspective is helpful, because gold can be “down” in dollars but “up” in yen at the same time, and often is when the yen is collapsing against the dollar. The reason gold is thought to be “down” is because the dollar is strong. However, a strong dollar is deflationary at a time when the Fed’s declared policy is to get inflation. Therefore, I expect the Fed will not raise interest rates in 2015 due to US economic weakness and because they do not want a stronger dollar. When that realization sinks in, the dollar should move lower and gold higher when measured in dollar terms. The looming global shortage of physical gold relative to demand also presages a short squeeze on the paper gold edifice of futures, options, unallocated forward sales, and ETFs. The new bull market will be kick-started when markets realize the Fed cannot raise rates in 2015 and when the Fed finds it necessary to do more quantitative easing, probably in early 2016. Jeff: Given what you see coming, how should the average retail investor position his or her portfolio? James: Since risks are balanced between deflation and inflation in the short run, a sound portfolio should be prepared for both. Investors should have gold, silver, land, fine art, and other hard assets as an inflation hedge. They should have cash and US Treasury 10-year notes as a deflation hedge. They should also include some carefully selected alternatives, including global macro hedge funds and venture capital investments for alpha. Investors should avoid emerging markets, junk bonds, and tech stocks. Steve Henningsen is chief investment strategist and partner at The Wealth Conservancy in Boulder, CO, a firm that specializes in wealth coaching, planning, and investment management for inheritors focused on preservation of capital. He is a lifetime student, traveler, fiduciary, and skeptic. Jeff: The Fed and other central banks have kept the economy and markets propped up longer than some thought they could. How much longer do you envision them being able to do so? Or has the Fed really staved off crisis? Steve: I do not believe we are under a new economic paradigm whereupon a nation can resolve its solvency problem via increasing debt. As to how long the central banks’ plate spinning can defer the consequences of the past 30-plus years of excess credit growth, I hesitate to answer, as I never thought they would get this far without breaking a plate. However incorrect my timing has been over the past two years, though, I am beginning to doubt that they can last another 12 months. Twice in the last few months the stock market plates began to wobble, only to have Fed performers step in to steady the display. With the end of QE, a slowing global economy, a strengthening dollar, and the recent sharp drop in oil prices, deflationary winds are picking up going into 2015, making their balancing act yet more difficult. (Not to mention increasing tension from poking a stick at the Russian bear.) Jeff: Gold has been in decline for over three years now. What changes that? Should we expect gold to remain weak for several more years? Steve: I cannot remember an asset more maligned than gold is currently, as to even admit one owns it receives a reflexive look of pity. While most have left our shiny friend bloodied, lying in the ditch by the side of the road, there are signs of resurrection. While I’m doubtful gold will do much in the first half of 2015 due to deflationary winds and could even get dragged down with stocks should global liquidity once again dissipate, I am confident that our central banks would again step in (QE4?) and gold should regain its luster as investors finally realize the Fed is out of bullets. The wildcard I’m watching is the massive accumulation of gold (and silver) bullion by Russia, China, and India, and the speculation behind it. Should gold be announced as part of a new monetary system via global currency or gold-backed sovereign bond issuance, then gold’s renaissance begins. Jeff: Given what you see coming, how should the average investor position her or his portfolio? Steve: Obviously I am holding on to our gold bullion positions, as painful as this has been. I would also maintain equity exposure via investment managers with the flexibility to go long and short. I believe this strategy will finally show its merits vs. long-only passive investments in the years ahead. I believe that for the next 6-12 months, long-term Treasuries will help balance out deflationary risks, but they are definitely not a long-term hold. Maintaining an above average level of cash will allow investors to take advantage of any equity downturns, and I would stay away from industrial commodities until the deflationary winds subside. Precious metals equities could not be hated more and therefore represent the best value if an investor can stomach their volatility. Grant Williams is the author of the financial newsletter Things That Make You Go Hmmm and cofounder of Real Vision Television. He has spent the last 30 years in financial markets in London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York, Sydney, and Singapore, and is the portfolio and strategy advisor to Vulpes Investment Management in Singapore. Jeff: The Fed and other central banks have kept the economy and markets propped up longer than some thought possible. How much longer do you envision them being able to do so? Or has the Fed really staved off crisis? Grant: I have repeatedly referred to a singular phenomenon over the past several years and it bears repeating as we head into 2015: for a long time, things can seem to matter to nobody until the one day when they suddenly matter to everybody. It feels as though we have never been closer to a series of such moments, any one of which has the potential to derail the narrative that central bankers and politicians have been working so hard to drive. Whether it be Russia, Greece, the plummeting crude oil price, or a loss of control in Japan, there are a seemingly never-ending series of situations, any one (or more) of which could suddenly erupt and matter to a lot of people at the same time. Throw in the possibility that a Black Swan comes out of nowhere that nobody has thought about (even something as seemingly trivial as the recent hack of Sony Pictures by the North Koreans could set in motion events which can cascade very quickly in a geopolitical world which has so many fissures running through it), and you have the possibility that fear will replace greed overnight in the market’s collective psyche. When that happens, people will want gold. The issue then becomes where they are going to get it from. Physical gold has been moving steadily from West to East despite the weak paper prices we have seen for the last couple of years, and this can continue until there is a sudden wider need for gold as insurance or as a currency. When that day comes, the price will move sharply from being set in the paper market—where there is essentially infinite supply—to being set in the physical markets where there is very inelastic supply and the existing stock has been moving into strong hands for several years. Materially higher prices will be the only way to resolve the imbalance. Jeff: You’ve written a lot about the gold market over the past few years. In your view, what are the most important factors gold investors should keep in mind right now? Grant: I think the key focus should be on two things: first, the difference between paper and physical gold; and second, on the continuing drive by national banks to repatriate gold supplies. The former is something many people who are keen followers of the gold markets understand, but it is the latter which could potentially spark what would, in effect, be a run on the gold “bank.” Because of the mass leasing and rehypothecation programs by central banks, there are multiple claims on thousands of bars of gold. The movement to repatriate gold supplies runs the risk of causing a panic by central banks. We have already seen the beginnings of monetary policy divergence as each central bank begins to realize it is every man for himself, but if that sentiment spreads further into the gold markets, it could cause mayhem. Keep a close eye on stories of further central bank repatriation—there is a tipping point somewhere that, once reached, will light a fire under the physical gold market the likes of which we haven’t seen before, and that tipping point could well come in 2015. Jeff: Given what you see coming, how should the average investor position his or her portfolio? Grant: Right now I think there are two essentials in any portfolio: cash and gold. The risk/reward skew of being in equity markets in most places around the world is just not attractive at these levels. With such anemic growth everywhere we turn, and while it looks for all the world that bond yields are set to continue falling, I think the chances of equities continuing their stellar run are remote enough to make me want out of equity markets altogether. There are pockets of value, but they are in countries where the average investor is either disadvantaged due to a lack of local knowledge and a lack of liquidity, or there is a requirement for deep due diligence of the kind not always available to the average investor. The other problem is the ETF phenomenon. The thirst for ETFs in order to simplify complex investing decisions, as well as to throw a blanket over an idea in order to be sure to get the “winner” within a specific theme or sector, is not a problem in a rising market (though it does tend to cause severe value dislocations amongst stocks that are included in ETFs versus those that are not). In a falling market, however, when liquidity is paramount, any sudden upsurge of selling in the ETF space will require the underlying equities be sold into what may very well be a very thin market. In a rising market, there is always an offer. In a falling market, bids can be hard to come by and in many cases, nonexistent, so anybody expecting to divest themselves of ETF positions in a 2008-like market could well find themselves with their own personal Flash Crash on their hands. Unlevered physical gold has no counterparty risk and has sustained a bid for 6,000 straight years (and counting). Though sometimes, in the wee small hours, those bids can be both a little sparse and yet strangely attractive to certain sellers of size. Meanwhile, a healthy allocation to cash offers a supply of dry powder that can be used to gain entry points which will hugely amplify both the chances of outperformance and the level of that performance in the coming years. Remember, you make your money when you buy an asset, not when you sell it. Caveat emptor. Chris Martenson, PhD (Duke), MBA (Cornell), is an economic researcher and futurist who specializes in energy and resource depletion, and is cofounder of Peak Prosperity. As one of the early econobloggers who forecasted the housing market collapse and stock market correction years in advance, Chris rose to prominence with the launch of his seminal video seminar, The Crash Course, which has also been published in book form. Jeff: The Fed and other central banks have kept the economy and markets propped up longer than some thought possible. How much longer do you envision them being able to do so? Or has the Fed really staved off crisis? Chris: Well, if people were being rational, all of this would have stopped a very long time ago. There’s no possibility of paying off current debts, let alone liabilities, and yet “investors” are snapping up Italian 10-year debt at 2.0%! Or Japanese government bonds at nearly 0% when the total debt load in Japan is already around $1 million per rapidly aging person and growing. I cannot say how much longer so-called investors are willing to remain irrational, but if pressed I would be very surprised if we make it past 2016 without a major financial crisis happening. Of course, this bubble is really a bubble of faith, and its main derivative is faith-based currency. And it’s global. Bubbles take time to burst roughly proportional to their size, and these nested bubbles the Fed and other central banks have engineered are by far the largest ever in human history. As always, bubbles are always in search of a pin, and we cannot know exactly when that will be or what will finally be blamed. All we can do is be prepared. Jeff: If deflationary forces pick up, how do you expect gold to perform? Chris: Badly at first, and then spectacularly well. It’s like why the dollar is rising right now. Not because it’s a vastly superior currency, but because it’s the mathematical outcome of trillions of dollars’ worth of US dollar carry trades being unwound. So the first act in a global deflation is for the dollar to rise. Similarly, the first act is for gold to get sold by all of the speculators that are long and need to raise cash to unwind other parts of their trade books. But the second act is for people to realize that the institutions and even whole nation-states involved in the deflationary mess are not to be trusted. With opaque accounting and massive derivative positions, nobody will really know who is solvent and who isn’t. This is when gold gets “rediscovered” by everyone as the monetary asset that is free of counterparty risk—assuming you own and possess physical bullion, of course, not paper claims that purport to be the same thing but are not. Jeff: Given what you see coming, how should the average investor position her or his portfolio? Chris: Away from paper and toward real things. If the outstanding claims are too large, or too pricey, or both, then history is clear; the perceived value of those paper claims will fall. My preferences are for land, precious metals, select real estate, and solid enterprises that produce real things. Our view at Peak Prosperity is that deflation is now winning the game, despite everything the central banks have attempted, and that the very last place you want to be is simply long a bunch of paper claims. However, before the destruction of the currency systems involved, there will be a final act of desperation by the central banks that will involve printing money that goes directly to consumers. Perhaps it will be tax breaks or even rebates for prior years, or even the direct deposit of money into bank accounts. When this last act of desperation arrives, you’ll want to be out of anything that looks or smells like currency and into anything you can get your hot little hands on. This may include equities and other forms of paper wealth—just not the currency itself. You’ll want to run, not walk, with a well-curated list of things to buy and spend all your currency on before the next guy does. We’re not there yet, but we’re on our way. Expect the big deflation to happen first and then be alert for the inevitable central bank print-a-thon response. Because of this view, we believe that having a very well-balanced portfolio is key, with the idea that now is the time to either begin navigating toward real things, or to at least have that plan in place so that after the deflationary impulse works its destructive magic, you are ready to pounce. Brent Johnson is CEO of Santiago Capital, a gold fund for accredited investors to gain exposure to gold and silver bullion stored outside the United States and outside of the banking system, in addition to precious metals mining equities. Brent is also a managing director at Baker Avenue Asset Management, where he specializes in creating comprehensive wealth management strategies for the individual portfolios of high-net-worth clients. He’s also worked at Credit Suisse as vice president in its private client group, and at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ) in New York City. Jeff: The Fed and other central banks have kept the economy and markets propped up longer than some thought possible. How much longer do you envision them being able to do so? Or has the Fed really staved off crisis? Brent: As much as I dislike the central planners, from a Machiavellian perspective you really have to give them credit for extending their influence for as long as they have. I wasn’t surprised they could engineer a short-term recovery, and that’s why, even though I manage a precious metals fund, I don’t recommend clients put all their money in gold. But I must admit that I have been surprised by the duration of the bull market in equities and the bear market in gold. And while I probably shouldn’t be, I’m continually surprised by the willingness of the investing public to just accept as fact everything the central planners tell them. The recovery is by no means permanent and is ultimately going to end very, very badly. But I don’t have a crystal ball that tells me how much longer this movie will last. My guess is that we are much closer to the end than the beginning. So while they could potentially draw this out another year, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see it all blow up tomorrow, because this is all very much contrived. That’s why I continue to hold gold. It is the ultimate form of payment and cannot be destroyed by either inflation, deflation, central bank arrogance, or whatever other shock exerts itself into the markets. Jeff: As a gold fund manager, you’ve watched gold decline for over three years now. What changes that? And when? Should we expect gold to remain weak for several more years? Gold has been in one of its longest bear markets in history. Many of us in the gold world must face up to this. We have been wrong on the direction of gold for three years now. Is this due to bullion banks trying to maximize their quarterly bonuses by fleecing the retail investor? Is it due to coordination at the central bank level to prolong the life of fiat currency? Is it due to the Western world not truly understanding the power of gold and surrendering our bullion to the East? I don’t know… maybe it’s a combination of all three. Or maybe it’s something else altogether. What I do know is that gold is still down. Now the good news is… that’s okay. It’s okay because it isn’t going to stay down. The whole point of investing is to arbitrage the difference between price and value. And right now there remains a huge arbitrage to exploit. As Jim Grant said, “Investing is about having people agree with you… later.” Now all that said, I realize it hasn’t been a fun three years. This isn’t a game for little boys, and I’ve felt as much pain as anyone. I think the trend is likely to change when the public’s belief in the central banks starts coming into question. We are starting to see the cracks in their omnipotence. For the most part, however, investors still believe that not only will the central banks try to bail out the markets if it comes to that, but they also still believe the central banks will be successful when they try. In my opinion, they are wrong. And there are several catalysts that could spark this change—oil, Russia, other emerging markets, or the ECB and Japan monetizing the debt. This “recovery” has gone on for a long time. But from a mathematical perspective, it simply can’t go on forever. So as I’ve said before, if you believe in math, buy gold. Jeff: Given what you see coming, how should the average investor position her or his portfolio? Brent: The answer to this depends on several factors. It depends on the investor’s age, asset level, income level, goals, tolerance for volatility, etc. But in general, I’m a big believer in the idea of the “permanent portfolio.” If you held equal parts fixed income, equities, real estate, and gold over the last 40 years, your return is equal to that of the S&P 500 with substantially less volatility. And this portfolio will perform through inflation, deflation, hyperinflation, collapse, etc. So if you are someone who is looking to protect your wealth without a lot of volatility, this is a very strong solution. If you are younger, are trying to create wealth, and have some years to ride out potential volatility, I would skew this more toward a higher allocation to gold and gold shares and less on fixed income, for example. Because while I generally view gold as insurance, this space also has the ability to generate phenomenal returns and not just protect wealth, but create it. But whatever the case, regardless of your age, level of wealth, or world view, the correct allocation to gold in your portfolio is absolutely not zero. Gold will do phenomenally well in the years ahead, and those investors who are willing to take a contrarian stance stand to benefit not only from gold’s safety, but also its ability to generate wealth. One other thing to remember about gold is that while it may be volatile, it’s not risky. Volatility is the fluctuation in an asset’s daily/weekly price. Risk is the likelihood of a permanent loss of capital. And with gold (in bullion form), there is essentially no chance of a permanent loss of capital. It is the one asset that has held its value not just over the years, but over the centuries. I for one do not hold myself out as being smarter than thousands of years of collective global wisdom. If you do, I wish you the best of luck! If you see the same risks these fund managers do, make sure your gold portfolio is prepared for both crisis and profit. In tomorrow’s BIG GOLD, I will tell you exactly how to position your entire gold portfolio for the coming bull market, including specific stocks. It’s one of the most important issues you’ll read, because we have research that will tell you why another bull market in gold is virtually guaranteed—and it has nothing to do with supply, inflation, or debt. You’ll want to get positioned now, so don’t miss this edition!last_img read more

Justins note Today were featuring a new essay o

first_imgJustin’s note: Today we’re featuring a new essay on bitcoin from our good friend Greg Wilson, analyst for The Palm Beach Letter. Greg is an expert in the cryptocurrency space. Below, he explains why bitcoin still has room to run higher—and why you should consider buying some today. By Greg Wilson, analyst, The Palm Beach Letter All it takes for a good rally to end is two people talking about it on the train. That’s according to Randall Forsyth, editor of the oldfangled Wall Street weekly Barron’s. I’m surprised Barron’s even wrote about bitcoin. But Forsyth’s conclusion is predictable. He thinks the bitcoin rally is a 21st-century version of the Dutch “Tulipmania.” Here’s what he wrote in the May 27 edition of Barron’s: Bitcoin’s fans claim it is a technology and not something that can be valued like a stock, which probably echoes conversations in Amsterdam coffee houses in the 1600s to rationalize paying any price for tulip bulbs. He’s referring, of course, to the 1636–37 tulip bulb craze in Holland. At its peak, one tulip could buy you an entire estate. At the bottom, one tulip could buy you an onion. The #1 Threat To Seniors’ Health Americans over the age of 55 are terrified of a rapidly spreading disease. It kills one person every 24 seconds. And it’s growing faster than cancer, heart disease, and diabetes – combined. Brian Kelly, the founder and managing member of Brian Kelly Capital Management (BKCM), shared a similar sentiment at the conference: Six months ago, we started getting interest from family offices. Now we’re getting interest from venture capitalists and smaller institutions. And I think in three to five years, we’ll be getting interest from pension funds. We are still in the first innings. I would use any price pullback to buy; there is a wall of money coming. Just 1% of institutional money and we would see an explosion of prices. This supports what I explained in the March 27 Palm Beach Daily. There’s $3 trillion in assets under management in the hedge fund industry alone. If a small percentage of those funds goes toward bitcoin, it could boost prices to over $4,000. But institutional money isn’t the only tailwind behind bitcoin. Changing regulations are making the currency a legal method of payment in many parts of the world. Japan Leads the Way Japan is a good example of what’s to come. On April 1, the country recognized bitcoin as a legal method of payment. (We wrote about this back in April.) Now we’re starting to see the news bear fruit. Major companies are entering the cryptocurrency exchange market in Japan. These are not tiny startup companies. We’re talking about companies with $1 billion-plus market caps. One example is SBI Holdings. The $3 billion financial conglomerate is setting up SBI Virtual Currencies. It’s an exchange between the Japanese yen and cryptocurrencies. SBI manages $1.7 billion in assets. Other examples include brokerage account provider kabu.com Securities and foreign exchange margin-trading business Money Partners Group. Kabu.com Securities earned nearly $24 billion in revenue last year. And Money Partners Group has over 270,000 client accounts. Here’s why this is important… These are the companies setting up the infrastructure to handle the wall of money flowing toward bitcoin. And the money is coming. Consider one more comment I heard from Brian Kelly: Japan’s regulation is big news. Japan does $10 trillion in foreign exchange trading quarterly. That liquidity is coming to cryptocurrencies. What we see in Japan will spread across the world. Are you ready? What You Need to Ask Yourself If you’re still not convinced, just ask yourself this one question. If you answer no, then you should go out and buy some bitcoin. Okay, here’s the question: Is it too late to start using the internet? I don’t think many people will answer yes. After all, the internet is a useful technology. Overall, life is easier with it. Former skeptics are now converts. And what the internet did for information is what bitcoin will do for money. Money is just the first application. There are many more. If you have a few bucks in your savings account, put some toward bitcoin. Take the first step into the future. Regards, Greg Wilson Analyst, The Palm Beach Letter P.S. Even if you can’t tell a bitcoin from a gigabyte, you can still profit from the cryptocurrency bull market. Our readers have made 22.9%, 195.7%, and 230.8% profits in 90 days. And over the next 60 days, we think your profits could be even bigger. You can learn more right here. Recommended Link — — Billionaires pulling cash from US stocks & banks? They’re moving billions to one surprising safe haven few U.S. investors are taking full advantage of. SEE WHY › Recommended Link Forsyth recounted a recent story of two people talking feverishly about bitcoin on the commuter train. And he harkened back to a similar situation about tech stocks in the late ’90s. The crypto-currency (bitcoin) has taken flight and taken hold of the public’s imagination like the dot-com bottle rockets before the turn of century. I can’t help but wonder if Forsyth is still using a typewriter and flip phone. Not to be outdone, Bloomberg followed up with a May 29 article listing five reasons why people are skeptical about bitcoin. That article also cited the tulip craze. The timing of the articles (May 27 and 29) shouldn’t go unnoticed. Bitcoin’s price peaked on May 25 at $2,764. Roughly 48 hours later, it plunged to $1,856—a 33% drop. (It’s already rebounded to around $2,300.) Soon thereafter, the negative articles started coming out. Despite bitcoin’s resiliency, people keep asking “Is it different this time?” Today, I’ll show you two reasons why the bitcoin rally is far from over. But more importantly, if you’re a bitcoin skeptic, I’ll reveal the one question you need to ask yourself to get over the hump… and profit from the bull market in cryptocurrencies. Ignore the Skeptics and Listen to These Guys Instead No one in the business covers cryptocurrencies like we do at the Palm Beach Research Group. And we’ve been light years ahead of the mainstream media—which still has its head stuck in the sand when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Just last week, my colleague Teeka Tiwari warned that bitcoin doubters would be out in force. As he showed us, bitcoin has been declared dead at least 129 times already. (And that’s not counting the latest premature obituaries from Barron’s and Bloomberg.) We’re seeing it again now. But it’s not adding up to what I’m hearing from cryptocurrency experts. These are the people who really know what’s going on… and the ones I listen to. Last month, I attended the Consensus 2017 blockchain conference in New York. This conference gave me access to some of the greatest leaders in the cryptocurrency space. And none of them referred to bitcoin as “Tulipmania.” In fact, it was quite the opposite. One illuminating comment came from Michael Moro, the CEO of Genesis Global Trading. Genesis is an institutional trading firm. And it’s traded over 1.5 million bitcoins. (That’s over $3 billion in today’s dollars.) Here’s his take: In the last six weeks, I’ve gone from having millionaire conversations to billionaire conversations. There’s plenty of money still left to be deployed. He meant that quite literally. In 2016 and early 2017, institutional clients interested in bitcoin were millionaires. Today, billionaires are asking Michael about buying bitcoin.last_img read more

TALLAHASSEE Fla — Florida State quarterback Jame

first_imgTALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has decided to enter the NFL draft.He announced his decision on the same day the woman who accused him of sexual assault filed a lawsuit against the school’s board of trustees.The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner said he had decided to forgo his final two years of eligibility “after careful consideration and long thought.” Winston’s statement was released to ESPN by The Legacy Agency.Winston was the most successful quarterback in college football during the last two seasons, but also faced lengthy sexual assault investigations. He was not charged by police and was cleared by the university.In a lawsuit filed against the school’s board of trustees, the woman who accused him of sexual assault claimed the board had an unreasonable response to her accusations and created a hostile educational environment for her.The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, including reimbursement for tuition, damages for emotional pain and suffering and loss of past and present earning and earning capacity.Representatives for the woman declined comment.Florida State president John Thrasher released a statement saying he is disappointed in the lawsuit, but the university looks forward to “addressing these meritless allegations in court.”The university has contended it took all the proper steps in fulfilling its Title IX obligations, and “FSU did everything the plaintiff asked for and that the assertions FSU shirked its Title IX obligations are false.”“In all, the University asked the plaintiff or her attorneys at least nine times over nearly 20 months to give a statement that would enable a Title IX investigation. FSU did not ignore the complainant or its obligations under Title IX,” Thrasher said in the statement.“The University’s victim advocates were at the plaintiff’s side within hours of the encounter and continued meeting with or contacting her or her representatives at least 30 times over the ensuing year.Besides offering emotional support and arranging numerous academic accommodations on her behalf, they informed the plaintiff and her attorney five times about the right to pursue a student disciplinary action. The first was in December 2012 – before the Athletics Department ever became aware of the allegation–and the last was in December 2013.“Florida State University does not tolerate sexual violence in any form, regardless of who the alleged perpetrator might be.”A key portion of the lawsuit is expected to center on when the university’s Title IX coordinator was alerted. Florida State previously said the only authorities aware of the incident before January 2013 were Tallahassee police, campus police and the Victims Advocate Program.The university said its Title IX officials didn’t become aware of the incident until November 2013, when contacted by the Tallahassee Police Department and that the woman was not made available for an interview with the school until Aug. 6, 2014.The woman’s lawyers have maintained that she was willing to talk throughout the process. In his two seasons, the Seminoles went 26-1 with Winston starting and won the 2014 national championship.“I reached this very difficult decision after careful consideration and long thought, realizing how difficult it would be to say goodbye to my family at Florida State,” Winston said.“I will always take pride in leading our team back to national prominence and am confident that my returning teammates will continue the success for many years to come.”Winston set the national freshman record with 40 touchdown passes while throwing for 4,057 yards and 10 interceptions en route to winning the title.His numbers dropped this season after losing his top two running backs, two starting receivers and his starting center. Winston threw for 3,907 yards with 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in 2014.Winston is expected to be one of the first quarterbacks selected in the NFL draft, but faces questions about the off-field incidents.NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt said NFL teams will find out everything they need to know about Winston’s background from league security. Brandt helped build the Super Bowl-winning Dallas Cowboys as Vice President of player personnel from 1960-89.“Initially, he’s going to get a grade and it’s going to be very good because he is a good player,” Brandt said.“They’ll look at the Notre Dame game and see all the unusual blitzes that they brought against him and what he did. They’ll look at the Louisville game where he threw three interceptions and knocks the ball loose from the interceptor and throws a touchdown pass the next play.”A state attorney declined to press sexual assault charges against Winston in December 2013, and the university cleared him in December 2014.“The way he’s played this year is unbelievable with all of the problems that he’s faced and all the adjustments he’s had to make to practice times and to do all the things that he has to do to defend himself, give depositions, appear in court before the student body, all of those things,” Brandt said.Winston was suspended for three baseball games for the theft of crab legs from a grocery store in Tallahassee, Florida, during the spring of 2014.He also was suspended from the Clemson football game in September after the quarterback made “offensive and vulgar” comments about female anatomy on campus.Coach Jimbo Fisher supported Winston throughout.“It was a blessing to be able to coach him,” Fisher said in a statement. “He’s one of the unique players that I’ve ever had the privilege to coach. He embodies what you as a coach want as a person, a student and a player.”(KAREEM COPELAND) TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

On a Sunday in early December about two dozen wom

first_imgOn a Sunday in early December, about two dozen women and girls weaved their bikes down the streets and alleys of the gritty Lyari neighborhood in the Pakistani city of Karachi.They nudged their bikes between rickshaws, motorbikes and crowds of men — men everywhere. Some turned their faces away to avoid the sight of women rattling past on bikes. Others gaped.A nearby samosa seller, Saqlain Usman, 18, shook his head. His three sisters wouldn’t dream of undertaking such an offensive act. They stayed home, he said, where they belonged.”They fear their daughters will copy the riders,” said Zulekha Dawood, 26, the woman’s biking group organizer, who works to organize activities for Lyari’s Girls Cafe, a community center. “Their fears are real. When we began, we had very few girls — maybe seven or eight. Now we have an entire group — 30 girls.”Dawood started this weekly ride in February 2018. She had previously run a girls boxing club and saw some boys on bikes nearby. “If they can ride,” Dawood thought, “why shouldn’t we?”It is a rare endeavor in conservative Pakistan, where few women dare to cycle. It is seen as a vulgar and sexlike act because a woman must straddle a seat.The initiative echoes other pop-up efforts across South Asia and the Middle East. Some are inspired by a book by Indian feminists called Why Loiter? Women and Risk on Mumbai Streets. It discusses how in these parts of the world, a woman in a public space without a purpose — like going to the market or to school — is viewed as a threat to public morality, said Nida Kirmani, an associate professor at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, who has written about Lyari’s Girls Cafe.”They certainly can’t be hanging out just for fun,” Kirmani said. Unlike men, women aren’t welcome to sit at tea stalls, hang out with their girlfriends at a park or ride a bike for fun. The book Why Loiter? “advocates for women being in public spaces with no purpose,” she said, “as a kind of feminist-political act.” From the start, the Pakistani bicyclists have faced pushback. On their first ride, Dawood says, the girls were accosted by male madrassa students.”They were kicking the girls,” she recalled, and she heard them shout, “Why don’t your brothers stop you? Cover yourself and go pray! Go home!”One cleric, who runs a large Islamic seminary that was not involved in the violence, said that women riding bikes is a provocative act. “Is it necessary that they exhibit themselves among the men?” asked Mullah Muhammad Naeem. He said that such public riding leads “to moral corruption” and suggested that women ride behind high walls, unseen by men.In fact, Dawood created a route away from the madrassa, fearing for the safety of the girls riding with her.Her group of bikers is more remarkable because it is run by working-class women from Lyari. Similar efforts across Pakistan have been dominated by wealthier women in leafy, more liberal suburbs. They face tighter constraints than wealthier women.”When we first started cycling, people said, ‘This is Lyari, not Defence,’ ” Dawood says, referring to an upscale Karachi neighborhood. Regardless of where a woman lives, she has a right to move freely, Dawood says. “This is empowerment. We feel good. We feel free. We can go anywhere.” During that Sunday ride in December, Dawood guided some two dozen women and girls, most of them wearing headscarves, on red bikes out of the cafe’s storeroom. They rode single file past boys playing in a narrow alley. Families sleeping on the pavement waved at the group, whose members rode lightly to avoid splashing through a pool of sewage. They reached a pedestrian area where other women were waiting for a riding lesson.Ayesha Abbas, 14, wobbled through a line of orange cones that Dawood set up for practice riding. “I’m afraid I’ll fall,” Ayesha said. Her helmet was unsteadily perched; like other riders, she had removed her face veil to see clearly. She had already made progress, she boasted — “I can keep my feet on the pedals!”Her friend, Hasiba Abdul Sattar, 14, kept her steady. “I’m teaching her,” she said. Hasiba learned to ride only the previous Sunday. “I’m not perfect,” she admitted. Her instructions were sometimes perplexing: “Put your feet on the pedals — then try walk.”Naila Naz, 19, a college student, surrendered her bike to another woman who wanted to practice. Riding was part of her battle for women’s equality, Naz said, which included “the right to go anywhere.” And it suited a working-class woman. “We are common persons — we don’t own the car — so we are starting from the cycle.”Like many of the female riders, Naz credited her father for inspiring her independence. “Don’t ask permission,” she recalled him saying. “You have every right to be what you want.”He was a rickshaw driver who died at 45 after a sudden illness — the family couldn’t afford treatment. Now Naz lives with her relatives in Karachi. They probably wouldn’t approve of her bike-riding. “I don’t care,” Naz shrugs. “I am my own person.”Others were less defiant. Urooj Bisma, 12, all elbows and knees, often led the group. But she said most riders would probably feel pressure to quit as they reached marriageable age; otherwise their parents would struggle to find them a match. Already, she said, “the social pressure — when I think of what people will say — that also haunts me.”She hopes to resist pressure as long as possible — she loves riding and setting an example: “When girls see us and are inspired, it really gives me immense pleasure. I want other girls to shed their fears and ride a bike.” Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

The first thing you notice approaching the Ghazip

first_imgThe first thing you notice, approaching the Ghazipur landfill, is a pack of emaciated feral dogs. Some of them are coughing. That, and the stench — a putrid mix of rot, burning plastic and a dead animal somewhere close. From afar, it looks like an arid plateau on the outskirts of India’s capital. But this mountain isn’t made of earth. It’s made of trash. It bakes in 100-degree summertime heat, emitting fumes and oozing toxins into the groundwater. At 20 stories high, and growing, it’ll soon be taller than the Taj Mahal. (The Ghazipur mound is 213 feet; the Taj is 240 feet high.) Two years ago, a landslide of soggy garbage killed two local residents. This is one big, smelly, dangerous example of how India is growing, getting richer — and generating more waste than it’s able to handle. There are three other major landfills that ring the Indian capital, and hundreds more across the country.A slum of trash pickers has cropped up alongside the Ghazipur landfill, gleaning a living from it — or just barely. They scavenge plastic to sell to recycling plants. “This work is easier in winter,” says Sheikh Rahim, 36, a wiry, compact man with one gold hoop earring. “But I like it all right. I’m used it, and anyway, I don’t have a choice.”Rahim never went to school. He moved here 19 years ago from the city that was then called Calcutta. He married a local woman, and they have four children. The family lives in a slum sandwiched between the landfill and a modern new metro station. Every day at noon, Rahim climbs the trash mountain — in sandals. He prefers to go at the hottest time of day, when there’s less competition. Sometimes his 8-year-old daughter Chandini comes with him.There’s a switchback road, as wide as a highway, which dump trucks have bulldozed, zigzagging back and forth up the mountain. But Rahim can’t use that. Foot traffic is forbidden. He has to go the back way. First he shimmies under coils of barbed wire, which police put up around the perimeter of the mountain two years ago, after the landslide deaths, to keep people like Rahim out. Then he fords a fetid creek that circles around part of the trash heap like a moat. Previously, he’d dropped cement slabs into the water as stepping stones. He gingerly checks to see if they’ll still hold his weight. He doesn’t want to fall into this inky water, he says. Rahim says his hands get cut, and his back gets scraped by the barbed wire. He gets shots regularly, to ward off infection. Atop the mountain, Rahim uses a rod to rifle through the mound. The garbage is mostly gray and decaying, bleached by the sun. Vultures circle above him and dive, plucking bits of plastic in their beaks. Before dusk, Rahim descends with a sack full of recyclables. In an open lot between his slum and the mountain, he and his neighbors sort opaque plastic from clear plastic, and aluminum foil from paper. They pack the segregated trash into giant yellow bags discarded from a cement factory. Most of India’s recycling happens like this. Even if you sort your trash at home, municipal garbage collectors — if they even service your neighborhood — often toss it into the truck all together. It gets sorted again at a landfill — not by the municipality but by the poorest of the poor.Rahim picks through rotten trash for about five hours a day, then sorts and sells a day’s haul for 150 rupees, about $2 dollars — to middlemen like Mohammed Asif. Asif, 22, is one step up in the garbage chain. He doesn’t collect trash himself. He’s got an army of local boys picking up recyclables for him. They deliver it to Asif’s workshop, which directly faces the trash mountain, separated from it by yet another creek of raw sewage, buzzing with mosquitoes. Asif weighs bags bursting with empty bottles, and sells them to truckers bound for recycling plants. He licks his fingers and peels bills off a fat wad of currency, then tucks it back into his pocket. “I’m a businessman. I do this for money,” Asif says with a swagger. But then he turns somber. “If I don’t, our streets will fill with trash. We won’t be able to handle it. It already stinks. Our eyes burn. In summer, this trash mountain spontaneously catches fire.”The fires are likely sparked by the release of methane and other gases as trash and organic materials break down. A local doctor, Kumud Gupta, told a local newspaper she sees about 70 people a day, including babies, who are suffering from respiratory and stomach ailments linked to pollution from the landfill.Across India, there are many thousands of people like Rahim and Asif, toiling in extreme conditions like this, on garbage heaps that are only growing taller. NPR producer Furkan Latif Khan contributed to this report. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more