7 suicide bombers involved in Lanka blasts 24 arrested as toll rises

first_imgColombo: Seven suicide bombers were involved in a series of eight devastating blasts that tore through churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing 290 people and wounding 500 others in the worst terror attack in the country’s history, authorities said on Monday. The blasts targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo and Zeon Church in Batticaloa when the Easter Sunday mass were in progress. Three explosions were reported from the five-star hotels – the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury. No group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attacks, but police have so far arrested 24 people and declined to give further details. “The attacks which had taken place at the Shangri-La, Kingsbury, and Cinnamon Grand hotels and also at St Anthony’s Church in Kotahena, St. Sebastians Church in Katuwapitiya, and the Zeon Church in Batticaloa have been identified as suicide bombings,” the Government Analyst’s Department was quoted as saying by the Sunday Times. Hours after the six blasts, a seventh explosion rocked Colombo on Sunday. When a police team entered a house in the Colombo north suburb of Orugodawatta to conduct a search Sunday, a suicide bomber blew himself up causing a concrete floor of a two-storey building to crash on them, killing three policemen in the eighth blast. “A total of seven suicide bombers had carried out these explosions,” the department said. Over 290 people, including six Indians, were killed in the blasts that left more than 500 others injured, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said. Gunasekera said 24 suspects have been arrested so far and they have been transferred into the custody of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) for further investigations. The government has said it will not disclose the details of the suspects involved in the attacks to prevent them from getting publicity. “Don’t give extremists a voice. Don’t help to make them martyrs,” State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene told reporters when asked for details of those in custody. Media reports said that there was prior intelligence warning that the National Thowheeth Jama’ath – a radical Muslim group – was planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches in Colombo. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that an investigation must be launched as to why intelligence reports of the attack was not taken seriously. President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed a three-member committee to conduct investigations. Supreme court judge Vijith Malalgoda, former IGP N.K. Ilangakoon and Former Law & Order Ministry Secretary Padamasiri Jayamanne have been appointed as members of the committee. The committee has been instructed to submit a report on the Easter explosions within two weeks to the President. Meanwhile, police said the driver of the van which had carried explosives to carry out bomb attacks at the three hotels was arrested. A safe house where the bombers had lived for nearly three months leading to the attacks was found in the south of Colombo suburb of Panadura. Sri Lanka Air Force said it found an improvised explosives device along a road leading to the departure terminal at the Colombo international airport Sunday night. “It was a crude six-foot pipe bomb that was found by the roadside,” an air force spokesman said. “We have removed it and safely defused it at an air force location,” he added. On Sunday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj identified three Indians as Lakshmi, Narayan Chandrashekhar and Ramesh who died in the blasts. “Indian High Commission in Colombo has conveyed that National Hospital has informed them about the death of three Indian nationals,” she tweeted. “We sadly confirm the deaths of the following two individuals in the blasts yesterday, K G Hanumantharayappa and M Rangappa,” the Indian High Commission in Colombo tweeted. On Sunday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan identified a Keralite, P S Rasina (58), among those killed in the blasts. Four of them died in the Colombo National Hospital while the bodies of two Indians who succumbed to their injuries from the blast at the Shangri-La Hotel has been sent for autopsy, the National Hospital spokesperson said. Sri Lanka on Monday lifted the curfew which was indefinitely imposed with immediate effect after the eight blasts. The blasts – the deadliest attacks in the country’s history shattered a decade of peace in the island nation since the end of the brutal civil war with the LTTE. The civil war ended with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers, who had fought for 26 years for an independent homeland for the minority ethnic Tamils. The war is thought to have killed between 70,000 and 80,000 people. The nation has seen some sporadic violence since. In March 2018, a state of emergency was declared after members of the majority Buddhist Sinhala community attacked mosques and Muslim-owned properties.last_img read more

Former Tennessee WR DaRick Rogers To Transfer To Tennessee

It looks as if talented wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers will be playing football in the state of Tennessee this season after all.Just not for the University of Tennessee.Several local reports say that Rogers has transferred to Tennessee Tech, where he will be immediately eligible to play for the Golden Eagles. Rogers met with Tennessee Tech coaches on Sunday, just 48 hours after being suspended indefinitely by UT coach Derek Dooley for an undisclosed violation of team rules.Tennessee Tech is a Football Championship Subdivision school located about 100 miles west of Knoxville in Cookeville, Tenn. Rogers will have two years of eligibility remaining, but it remains to be seen whether he will already be in the starting lineup when the Golden Eagles open their season against Hampton on Thursday night.The move also reunites him with his old high school teammate, Tre Lamb, whose father was Rogers’ head coach at Calhoun (Ga.) High School. The younger Lamb is entering his third season as Tennessee Tech’s starting quarterback after leading the Eagles to the Ohio Valley Conference championship as a junior.News of Rogers’ suspension at Tennessee coincided with the release of a Vols’ depth chart that did not include him. After the announcement, Dooley told reporters that he didn’t foresee Rogers playing for his team at all this season.The 6-foot-3, 206-pound Rogers was a first-team All-SEC pick last year after ranking first in the conference with 67 catches and second in the league with his 1,040 receiving yards. He also caught nine touchdown passes.He totaled six games with at least 100 yards receiving, while 54 of his 67 (81 percent) catches during the season went for first downs or touchdowns.Rogers’ tenure in Knoxville had been stormy from the outset, starting with his decision spurn the nearby University of Georgia to attend UT. He had already been arrested for his role in a brawl involving multiple Tennessee players by the time he had stepped on the field for the first time as a freshman.Several other incidents soon followed. read more

Bale expected Denmark resolution

first_imgGareth Bale has revealed his lack of surprise towards the resolution achieved by the Danish Football Association and its players ahead of their UEFA Nations League clash on Sunday.A team consisting of only futsal and amateur players lost 3-0 in a friendly to Slovakia on Wednesday after the main team decided against playing due to an issue over image rights, but the Danish FA has now confirmed an agreement has been reached with the country’s main players.Wales will, therefore, take on Denmark’s strongest side in Sunday’s Nations League clash, Bale having scored for Ryan Giggs’ men in a 4-1 demolition of the Republic of Ireland in their opening game in the competition on Thursday.And the Real Madrid attacker, who has hit four goals in his last four games for club and country, is not surprised by the news the DBU has temporarily resolved the issue.“We never thought it would be any different,” Bale told Sky Sports, as quoted by SportsKeeda.Players who made it public that they weren’t happy in their club Jozef Fabian – September 12, 2019 Football is about so much more than what happens on the pitch.“The friendly is different but for the qualifier, we knew it’d be a strong team and we will be ready for the game on Sunday.”Giggs’ first competitive game in charge of Wales saw Tom Lawrence, Aaron Ramsey and Connor Roberts all on target as well as Bale.“We had to put a good performance in for the new manager, first home game of a new regime, show what we’re capable of and make a statement,” Bale said.“We’ve been working hard since the new manager came in, he wants to stamp his own style on us with attacking football and we want to express ourselves.“There was lots to improve but lots to enjoy and admire, we hope the fans enjoyed it.”last_img read more

28 members of migrant caravan being processed for asylum at USMexico border

first_img 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsTIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — U.S. border inspectors allowed some of the Central American asylum-seekers to enter the country for processing, ending a brief impasse over lack of space. But the migrants who crossed Mexico in a caravan may face a long legal path.Caravan organizers said eight members of the group criticized by President Donald Trump that traveled from southern Mexico to the border city of Tijuana were allowed in to be interviewed by asylum officers, but U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not provide a number.About 140 others were still waiting in Mexico to turn themselves in at San Diego’s San Ysidro border crossing, the nation’s busiest, said Alex Mensing, project organizer for Pueblo Sin Fronteras, which is leading the caravan.“The spirits are high, there was good news for everybody,” Mensing said on the Mexican side of the crossing, moments after learning that some were allowed in.U.S. attorneys who volunteered advice in Tijuana last week warned the Central Americans that parents may be separated from their children and be detained for many months while their asylum cases are pending.Asylum-seekers are typically held up to three days at the border and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. If they pass initial screenings by asylum officers, they may be detained or released with ankle monitors while their cases wind through immigration court, which can take years.Nearly 80 percent of asylum-seekers passed the initial screening from October through December, but few are likely to win asylum.The denial rate for El Salvadorans seeking asylum was 79 percent from 2012 to 2017, according to asylum outcome information from Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Action Clearinghouse. Hondurans were close behind with a 78 percent denial rate, followed Guatemalans at 75 percent.Trump administration officials have railed against what they call “legal loopholes” and “catch-and-release” policies that allow people seeking asylum to be freed while their cases are adjudicated. The president tweeted Monday that the caravan “shows how weak & ineffective U.S. immigration laws are.”Attorney General Jeff Sessions has pledged to send more immigration judges to the border if needed and threatened criminal prosecution. On Monday, the Justice Department said it filed illegal entry charges against 11 people identified as caravan members.U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it processed hundreds of asylum-seekers in the previous week, many of them Mexican, which contributed to a bottleneck that led inspectors to turn away caravan members since they arrived late Sunday afternoon.Asylum-seekers did not appear to be thrown off the by the delay.Elin Orrellana, a 23-year-old pregnant woman from El Salvador, said she is fleeing the violent MS-13 street gang, a favorite target of both Sessions and Trump because of their brutal killings in communities in the United States. She said her older sister had been killed by the gang in El Salvador, so she is attempting to join other family members in the Kansas City area.“Fighting on is worth it,” she said.Customs and Border Protection has room for about 300 people at the San Diego border crossing.“As in the past when we’ve had to limit the number of people we can bring in for processing at a given time, we expect that this will be a temporary situation,” the agency said.During a surge of Haitian arrivals at the San Diego crossing in 2016, Customs and Border Protection required people to wait more than five weeks in Mexico. Since then, smaller upticks of Mexican asylum-seekers have caused delays of several hours. Updated: 8:27 PM 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings May 2, 2018 Ed Lenderman, AP, Lauren Phinney Ed Lenderman, AP, Lauren Phinney, center_img 28 members of migrant caravan being processed for asylum at U.S.-Mexico border The migrant ‘caravan’ that is openly defying our border shows how weak & ineffective U.S. immigration laws are. Yet Democrats like Jon Tester continue to support the open borders agenda – Tester even voted to protect Sanctuary Cities. We need lawmakers who will put America First.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2018 Posted: May 2, 2018 Categories: Local San Diego News, National & International News FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

Time Out Chicago Punks Crains with Huge Trump Tale

first_imgTime Out Chicago issued this press release Tuesday:DONALD TRUMP TAKES OVER TIME OUT CHICAGOCHICAGO, March 25, 2008—Time Out Chicago announces that real-estate titan Donald J. Trump has purchased a controlling interest in the where-to-go, what-to-do weekly.Starting next week, readers of Time Out Chicago will notice several significant changes. Most prominently, the magazine’s logo will be modified—in Chicago only—to include the signature glitzy T that adorns Trump’s properties, including the new Trump International Hotel & Tower here.Time Out founder Tony Elliott, who long has resisted selling off the publishing empire he launched in London 40 years ago, says Trump’s premium bid will enable the company to more quickly expand into multiple new markets in North America and the U.K.In a meeting held with Time Out Chicago staff Tuesday outside his new downtown hotel, Trumped stated, “I am hugely excited about what is a truly huge opportunity for Trump Entertainment and an even huger opportunity for the people of Chicago.”Launched in 2005, Time Out Chicago is recognized as a leading source of information for arts, entertainment and culture. The signature of Time Out Chicago is its comprehensive listings sections and irreverent features, offering both insight and information on music, clubs, film, theater, dining, drinking, books, shopping and more – all written and edited by a passionate staff of locals who are experts in their respective fields.###Crain’s Chicago business took the bait.Time Out called Crain’s, then issued another press release admitting the hoax.Despite the ridiculous quote from Trump (three “huge”s?—c’mon, Crain’s!) don’t be too hard on ’em—this was, after all, released on March 25th!last_img read more

POLICE LOG for April 15 A Dunkins Stop Causes A Traffic Issue

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Here are highlights of the Wilmington Police Log for Monday, April 15, 2019:Police provided mutual aid via NEMLEC for Boston Marathon. (5:00am)A tractor trailer unit was blocking traffic on Lowell Street. Driver was inside Dunkin Donuts getting a coffee. He quickly moved his truck. (11:31am)Police put out a BOLO (Be On The Look Out Alert) for a missing man, who was found in Billerica. (11:46am)Police noted a train (#1641) was blocking Middlesex Avenue at North Wilmington station. (9:40pm)A Church Street neighbor reported a female entered a home and is looking around with a flashlight. There’s no vehicle in the parking lot. Police responded. The homeowner was moving back in and trying to turn the utilities back on. Checked OK. (10:27pm)(DISCLAIMER: This information is public information.  An arrest does not constitute a conviction.  Any arrested person is innocent until proven guilty.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedPOLICE LOG for September 5: Train Conductor Helps Locate Missing Puppy; Rented Trucks Not Returned To UHaulIn “Police Log”POLICE LOG for September 2: Beer Cans Found At Town Park; Spray Paint At Palmer Park; Sinkhole WorseningIn “Police Log”POLICE LOG for August 16: Man Pulled Over For Riding Lawn Mower Down Richmond St.; Grandchild Scam ReportedIn “Police Log”last_img read more

Sensex Nifty Fall on Profit Taking

first_imgTop gainers from NSE were Birla Power Solutions Ltd, LCC Infotech Ltd, Wockhardt Ltd, Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation and VKS Projects Limited, while top losers were Antarctica Ltd, FCS Software Solutions Ltd, Century Enka Ltd, Syncom Healthcare Ltd and AVT Natural Products Limited.Also, global investors sold 2.80 billion rupees of Indian index futures and options on Thursday. Experts predict that in the near term, the markets would be driven by the ongoing earning sessions, with Larsen & Turbo, ICICI Bank and Maruti Suzuki India, ahead of Central bank policy review on 5 August.”Risk reward has become slightly unfavourable. Correction is part of the course. But, it’s still a buy-on-dips market,” Reuters quoted Jagannadham Thunuguntla, chief strategist and head of research at brokerage SMC Global Securities. NameSymbolLast in RupeesChange in RupeesChange in % Wockhardt LtdWCKH750.25+92.40+14.05 Virat Industries LtdVIRI42.55-5.25-10.98 Mukesh Babu Financial Services ltdMUKB24.30-2.70-10 Samrat Pharmachem LtdSAMR28.20+2.55+9.94 ACI Infocom LtdACII4.87+0.44+9.93 Top losers from BSE:NameNameSymbolSymbolLast in RupeesLast in RupeesChange in RupeesChange in RupeesChange in %Change in %NameCentury Enka LtdSymbolCNTELast in Rupees173.95Change in Rupees-22.40Change in %-11.41NameShalibhadra Finance LtdSymbolSHALLast in Rupees28.10Change in Rupees-3.60Change in %-11.36NameVirat Industries LtdSymbolVIRILast in Rupees42.55Change in Rupees-5.25Change in %-10.98NameMukesh Babu Financial Services ltdSymbolMUKBLast in Rupees24.30Change in Rupees-2.70Change in %-10NameT & I Global limitedSymbolTIGLast in Rupees14.40Change in Rupees-1.60Change in %-10 NameSymbolLast in RupeesChange in RupeesChange in % Bombay Burmah Trading CorporationBBRM161.75+18.30+12.76 Century Enka LtdCNTE173.95-22.40-11.41 Shalibhadra Finance LtdSHAL28.10-3.60-11.36 Foundry Fuel products LtdFOFP8.36+0.76+10 T & I Global limitedTIG14.40-1.60-10 Among the 30 companies in Sensex, stock prices of only 10 companies surged on the day, while in Nifty, only 15 stocks ended higher.Meanwhile, among the 12 Indian stock indices, only FMCG and Healthcare stocks ended higher, by 0.73 percent and 1.89 percent.Nifty fell on Friday after hitting a record high for a third straight day as investors took profits in blue-chips, such as ICICI bank, whereas IT stocks declined after Wipro’s US Dollar revenue growth lagged rivals.ICICI Bank stock price fell 2.04 percent at Rs.1475.65, while stock price of Wipro Limited fell 4.47 at Rs.551.05.BSE Sensex closed 0.55 percent or 145.10 points lower at 26126.75 points, and NSE Nifty ended 0.51 percent or 40.15 points lower at 7790.45 points on Friday.Top gainers from BSE:NameNameSymbolSymbolLast in RupeesLast in RupeesChange in RupeesChange in RupeesChange in %Change in %NameWockhardt LtdSymbolWCKHLast in Rupees750.25Change in Rupees+92.40Change in %+14.05NameBombay Burmah Trading CorporationSymbolBBRMLast in Rupees161.75Change in Rupees+18.30Change in %+12.76NameFoundry Fuel products LtdSymbolFOFPLast in Rupees8.36Change in Rupees+0.76Change in %+10NameSamrat Pharmachem LtdSymbolSAMRLast in Rupees28.20Change in Rupees+2.55Change in %+9.94NameACI Infocom LtdSymbolACIILast in Rupees4.87Change in Rupees+0.44Change in %+9.93last_img read more

BNP leaders call for movement then watch Hindi TV serials

first_img.Road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader has said, “BNP leaders call for a movement, then go home and watch Hindi serials on TV.”He was speaking as chief guest at the conference of the Dhaka City Tanti (weavers) League (North-South) held today, Tuesday, at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh in the capital city.The minister, also general secretary of ruling Bangladesh Awami League, said, “BNP has a 596-member committee. They cannot take to the streets in a procession. If a party does not have that much courage, how will its activists take to the streets?”He said BNP’s movement will never succeed. If Awami League does not turn on itself, BNP will never be successful.Obaidul Quader went on to say, “After 2001, Awami League leaders and workers had to flee their homes. Their ponds, livestock and homes were looted. This will happen all over again if BNP comes to power.”He urged the leaders and workers to do away with their differences and work together in a unified manner in order to avoid a repeat of that situation.The Awami League general secretary expressed his deep sorrow over the landslides in Chittagong, Bandarban, and Rangamati which killed many persons including army personnel. He issued directives for the leaders and workers of the local Awami League and its front organisations to carry out rescue operations in the affected areas and stand by the injured.Also present at the conference were Tanti League president Mohammed Shawkat Hossain, general secretary Khagendra Chandra Debnath and others.last_img read more

Koinonia Baptist Church Celebrates 25th Church Anniversary

first_imgKoinonia Baptist Church will celebrate its 25th church anniversary with community leader and B.U.I.L.D organizer, Bishop Douglas I. Miles whose celebrating his 50th year in ministry, Bishop Miles and Koinonia Baptist Church will celebrate their anniversaries with a Silver and Gold banquet at Martin’s Valley Mansion on October 19. Call Tiara Jenifer at 443-627-0802 or send an email to tiara.jen@gmail.com, for more details.last_img

No 6 Cardinals Power Past Alabama AM 153

first_imgThe lead would be short-lived though, as Oriente banged a double off the left-centerfield wall in the bottom half of the third to push the Cardinals back in front for good. ACC Network Extra Video: Dan McDonnell Postgame Lavey’s solo home run came as part of a two-run fourth for UofL and the Cardinals put the game well out of reach with nine more runs in the seventh inning. Next Game: Alabama A&M 4/28/2019 | 1:00 PM Louisville and Alabama A&M will wrap up the series on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1:00 p.m., ET at Jim Patterson Stadium. Print Friendly Version Story Links PDF Box Score Justin Lavey finished 2-for-3 with his second home run of the season and the trio of Lucas Dunn, Zach Britton and Zeke Pinkham all finished with two hits apiece as well. LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The sixth-ranked Louisville baseball team pounded out 18 more hits in a 15-3 victory over Alabama A&M Saturday at Jim Patterson Stadium. Danny Oriente added his fourth and fifth doubles of the weekend and matched his career high with four RBIs. Jake Snider had a pair of hits, including a two-run triple, while Tyler Fitzgerald reached base four times, driving in two and scoring twice.center_img Preview Following Bennett’s outing, the Louisville bullpen retired the final 12 batters of the game in order to slam the door shut. Bryan Hoeing worked the sixth and seventh, with Jared Poland and Michael McAvene taking the final two innings. Video Highlights Nick Bennett (6-2) allowed three runs across five innings on the mound for the Cardinals. The victory was the 19th of the junior’s career, moving him into a tie with Derek Self (2009-12) for ninth-place on Louisville’s all-time list. Eight Cardinals finished with at least two hits, led for the second straight day by Alex Binelas. The freshman followed up his cycle on Friday night with a 3-for-4 day Saturday, tallying a pair of doubles and a triple with two RBIs and two runs scored. Listen Live Watch Live Full Schedule Roster The Cardinals jumped on the board with two runs in the bottom of the first inning, however Alabama A&M (13-32) put three runs up in the top of the third to take their first lead of the weekend. Louisville (34-9) has now scored at least 10 runs in eight of its 11 games and has double digit hits in 10 of the last 12 contests. Live Statslast_img read more

Honduran lawyer killed 77th since 2010

first_imgTEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Assailants on motorbikes shot and killed a lawyer in Honduras, authorities said Wednesday, bringing to 77 the number of legal professionals killed in the crime-ridden country since 2010.Dilmer Eleuterio Reyes and his brother Elvis were gunned down in his car Tuesday after being chased through the streets of San Pedro Sula, some 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of the capital Tegucigalpa, police said. Both men were killed.The motive remains unclear.Honduras has the world’s highest murder rate — 79 per 100,000 in 2013, according to monitors at its National University.Reyes’ slaying brings to 77 the number of lawyers killed in the Central American country since record keeping began in 2010, according to the Human Rights Commission.The Honduran Congress has a bill on its agenda aimed at protecting journalists and police, as well as lawyers, judges and prosecutors, but no date for consideration has been set.“The police and others in the justice system must realize that lawyers are being threatened by common and organized crime that has no respect for anyone’s life,” Moises Morales, a representative of the Honduran Bar Association, told reporters.Recommended: PHOTOS: In Honduras, a perilous campaign Facebook Comments Related posts:Miss Honduras María José Alvarado and sister found dead; police arrest sister’s boyfriend Honduras buries slain Miss World contestant, sister Honduran lawmaker arrested in road rage shooting death Honduras brings homicide rate down Investigan dos hipótesis sobre asesinato de abogado sampedrano: http://t.co/uKxtgHKv3Q pic.twitter.com/5l5pyQzRO0— Diario La Prensa (@DiarioLaPrensa) September 17, 2014last_img read more

Melbourne agents discover Japan over lunch with JNTO

first_imgWith over 600 ski resorts to choose from and a snow season lasting up to seven months, it comes as no surprise that the number of Australians travelling to Japan is steadily growing.And with so many powder-perfect resorts to choose from, there is indeed a lot to learn for travel agents selling holidays to Japan.To help facilitate this learning, Japan National Tourism Organization hosted the Japan Snow and Adventure Travel Mart in Melbourne on Monday.Local travel agents gathered at Novotel Melbourne on Collins to meet international suppliers over a delicious lunch and appointment and networking sessions.JNTO executive director Mariko Tatsumi was extremely pleased with the success of the Melbourne event.“Today is a great opportunity for travel agents to meet with Japanese local suppliers and for newcomers it is quite important to explain to them directly about the properties and products,” Ms Tatsumi said.“The winter sport lovers are repeaters – they visit Japan almost every year and are staying longer.“Most of them are visiting two or more snow resorts at once, so that means they stay longer and enjoy Japanese winter sports as well as the Japanese culture.”It was clear from the array of suppliers that Japan is keen to welcome Australian travellers to some of its lesser-known ski destinations.While many Australian travellers head to Hokkaido for snow holidays, Japan Snow Access operations manager Amy Shimizu explains why centrally-located resorts like Myoko should be on the top of their lists.“People want to experience more traditional things [in Japan],” Ms Shimizu said.“The other ski resorts located in the centre part of Japan have more traditional heritage and atmosphere.“Also, it’s easy access from Tokyo. You can be on the slope on the day you arrive, you don’t have to get another flight.“And we now have the new Shinkansen, extended to Kanazawa – it’s so much easier for travellers to go to Osaka or Kyoto on their way back from their ski trip.”Ms Tatsumi agrees that travellers can enjoy the snow season all over Japan.“Especially in the Tohoku area, between Niseko and Hakuba, there is also a big area to enjoy the snow,” she said.“The powder there is very wonderful, so we like to promote that area too as a new destination.”While the travel mart was particularly focussed on Japan’s position as a snow destination, the suppliers emphasised the importance of promoting the country’s off-season periods.Tokyu Hotels director of international sales Tetsuya Furukawa says the company has noticed an increase in Australian travellers staying at its hotels and not just during winter.“We expect to continue this trend and not only with ski market,” Mr Furukawa said.“The ski market of course is increasing, but there is also growth in the non-ski season, to see cherry blossoms and autumn leaves. So this market is also important to us.”Ms Tatsumi also explained the importance of promoting Japan as more than a ski destination.“People who come to Japan for skiing discover the uniqueness of Japan’s culture and the quality of the local cuisine,” she said.“And with the power of word-of-mouth, more and more people have an interest in Japan.”If you weren’t able to attend the Melbourne event, the Japan Snow and Adventure Travel Mart is heading to Sydney next week and there are still seats available.Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to meet with Japanese suppliers and learn more about what Japan has to offer your clients.Register your attendance at jntoinfo@jnto.org.au.Japan Snow and Adventure Travel MartVenue: InterContinental Hotel SydneyTime: 1pmCost: FREE*Travel agents only*Make sure you bring your business card to go in the draw to win fabulous prizes More event details here Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinsonlast_img read more

The UK is outperforming the major European economi

first_imgThe UK is outperforming the major European economies when it comes to superfast broadband and will be among the best performing countries worldwide by 2018, according to new research by Analysys Mason.The research firm’s ‘international benchmark of superfast broadband’ report found the UK to “ahead of its European peers” when considering factors including coverage, take-up, average speeds and prices.More than 70% of UK premises could access superfast broadband at the end of 2012 – compared to 66% in Germany, the next best-performing country – and is tipped to rise to 95% by 2018, said Analysys Mason.Adoption was also higher in the UK at the end of 2012 than the other major European countries, at 18% of premises.By 2018, the report predicts this will rise to 51% in the UK, compared to a Western European average of 42%.Overall, the study said that the UK is the “most-competitive broadband market out of all countries featured in the report”–which also looked at France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden in Europe.“This report shows that the UK does very well on most superfast broadband benchmarks today and that by 2018 it will continue to outpace its major European competitors and even outperform Japan and the USA on some measures,” said Analysys Mason Partner Matt Yardley.By 2018, the UK’s 95% superfast broadband coverage is expected to exceed the US at 85% and Japan at 94%, and fall just short of South Korea at 98%, said Analysys Mason.last_img read more

Today were happy to bring you the following conv

first_imgToday, we’re happy to bring you the following conversation with Ryan Losi, a Virginia-based tax accountant who specializes in helping American expats manage their financial and reporting requirements back home. He also works the other way too – helping “inpats” entering into the US structure themselves and navigate the bureaucracy and regulations of the US market. International Man: Tell us a bit about yourself. Ryan Losi: Sure. My name is Ryan Losi and I’m currently a CPA licensed in the states of Virginia and New York. I started my career during the 90’s at KPMG. It was a time when globalization was happening at a faster pace. In my opinion, globalization started in the 50’s and 60’s with international trade, but it really was limited to your very, very large companies. Air travel wasn’t as fast. We didn’t have the means to communicate in such a quick, real-time fashion. In the mid 90’s when the internet was being made available to everyday folks – and therefore trickling down to small and mid-sized businesses – all the sudden globalization didn’t seem like just something the Fortune 500 did. I saw that the world was becoming more connected, and that meant in every aspect, including taxation. As an accountant (and in particular working specifically in tax law), I thought, “Gosh, if this is the way of the future, if the US is going to be interconnected with all these other countries and we have these additional tax laws and we have all these treaties and all these complexities, there’s probably going to be a need for that in the future. Why not go with that route versus doing something that the majority of tax professionals in the US do, which is practice domestic tax law?” So I jumped over to an international team just a couple years out of being in practice with KPMG. I did that for a number of years, and then I had the opportunity to do the same thing but on a larger scale with PwCon a national team out of New York. I ended up doing the same kind of international work, but serving the top 50 companies in the US. But while I thought much of that firm, my heart was in Virginia where I had gained my undergraduate degree. So, after some time, I ended up moving back here and joining a former colleague of mine. He was my first manager at KPMG – a domestic tax guy who had left the firm to start his own practice three or four years prior. He had a boutique practice with a fledgling group of international clients – a side of the business he wanted to grow. My role was to come in and be the partner in charge for the international practice. I’ve been here ever since. IM: Can you share a little bit about your company and what they do? RL: Sure. We’ve been around for just over 10 years and have 16 professionals on hand in total. We started from zero and now enjoy serving some 700 clients in 22+ countries, which we consider a very good growth pattern. Basically, there are two philosophies we believe that have helped us to grow to where we are today. The first is flat fees. For maybe 95% of our engagements we commit to a flat fee or at least a “not-to-exceed fee” on the engagement. Clients like that. They really like being able to budget what their accounting fee or tax fee is going to be for a specific project, or even on an annual basis. It removes the uncertainty. It also removes the risk that if the professional is not efficient, the client doesn’t have to bear that additional cost. It’s a very client-friendly approach. At the same time, it also encourages us to make sure we have efficiencies in our process, while still serving the clients well – from the largest system to the smallest routine. For example, we will track the efficiency of how we get an email from a client, how we get back with our advice, and how do we do that in a timely basis and measure that up to the metrics with all other professional accounting firms. Also included in that flat fee is what we term as “Routine Tax Consulting” (RTC). Basically, this means that any time spent on routine tax consulting during the first hour of every day is not billed to a client. It’s not something that accrues, that’s one hour every day for 365 days a year, but it’s more like spending 15 minutes here or an hour here, or “I need you to come to this meeting,” or “I need you to review this contract for any kind of tax provisions”. Any of those things that you could think about that a business owner or a high net worth individual could have and would want to have an advisor or another business owner look at, that first hour of every day we do not bill our clients. Those two things – having a fixed fee and then having an advocate that’s not going to nickel and dime -has really allowed us to gain a lot of favorability in the marketplace. Another point of differentiation is our focus. We picked four areas to be market leaders in and be known for nationally, or at least regionally. The first area is international tax. The second one is professional athlete tax practice. The third one is real estate taxation, and the fourth one is medical practice physician taxation. We don’t try to be everything to everybody, and we think that a well-defined deep knowledge of serving those clients bodes better for us from a strategic and economic standpoint than it does if we try to service everyone. IM: Now before we get into the details of tax discussion for internationalized Americans, I find it interesting that you also help people from overseas invest in the US itself. Can you tell us a little about your work in that sector? RL: Many people don’t know that the US is actually the largest tax haven of any country in the world. While there are a couple of programs, the grandest of them all allows foreign nationals – that is, non-resident aliens – who have US bank deposits, to earn interest which is tax-exempt in the US and is not reported back to anyone. Granted, that interest is not very much now, but historically, it’s been in the 3-6% range. You have a lot of people in the world who still see the US dollar as a strong currency. And then the fact that it’s not reportable to any authority, it’s not reportable to their home country, there’s no obligation for the financial institution to report that, and then it’s exempt from US taxation… it causes a lot of capital to flow to the US. Also, “portfolio interest” such as income from bonds again is tax-exempt for these same investors and follow the same rules as bank deposits. Just those two programs there have attracted a tremendous amount, over decades and decades, of capital flow to the US. It still continues to. What I don’t know is how much longer that’s going to be the case. If you follow international tax law you recognize that the US is forcing a lot of other jurisdictions – in particular tax-favorable or tax haven countries – to disclose the accounts of US deposit holders having deposits over there. When those countries will request the same of their nationals having deposits in US bank accounts is the question. That bridge has yet to be crossed, but if it comes, it may have a very negative impact on the capital flow in the US. There are other incentives. We have tax treaties with many nations. These allow foreign nationals or investors or foreign corporations to come into the US, set up a business or investment, and have the earnings from that business or investment repatriated back in a very tax-friendly or tax-favorable rate, with reduction in local withholding tax laws based on the treaties that are negotiated. For instance, take the UK-US income tax treaty. In this case, dividends between the two countries of companies paid out from each one has a 0% withholding tax. The US has a statutory 30% withholding tax unless a treaty reduces it, so one of the most favorable ways to attract investment is to have our UK brethren invest in the US, which allows for a 0% tax rate on any dividend income repatriated to the UK. Obviously, that can increase the overall return for those investors. With its trading partners, the US has negotiated various treaties, and in particular the income tax treaties, as yet another way to accelerate and attract inbound investment or foreign investment into the US. IM: Because the US is one of the few countries in the world that taxes its citizens on worldwide income based on citizenship rather than residency, tax deferral is a pretty common theme. Especially for those who live completely outside the system but are still expected to pay into it. Beyond some of the common structures like the IRA and life insurance annuities, are there really any legal strategies for deferring income abroad? RL: Without trying to get too complicated, we need to look at some of the fundamentals first. There are basically two types of tax systems, territorial and credit. In a territorial system, the government looks at the sources of the income as well as the residency of the person that generated it to determine applicable taxes, if any. Any income sourced outside that territory is generally not subject to taxation. The United States, on the other hand, operates under a credit system where worldwide income is taxed regardless of source but credits may be allowed to mitigate any instances of double taxation. But, this only makes the situation much more complex. It’s not only expats who complain about this – green card holders who go abroad also have this continuing burden of complexities even though they receive no benefits from the home country. With that said, are there ways to defer or reduce your tax rate when you’re going abroad or when you have activities abroad? For an individual I would say absolutely. One of the most popular programs is the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. Every year, the government allows a certain amount of compensation or “independent contractor income” earned overseas (the equivalent of a 1099 or W2) to be exempt from income tax. That amount gets indexed every year, but right now, I believe it’s around USD $91,500 (or the equivalent of this local currency). So long as you can pass certain tests confirming your physical presence outside the US, or maintaining a bona fide residence outside the US while having these earnings, you can exclude those overseas earnings from US taxation. There’s the potential to have a little bit more in the form of some housing allowances, which varies by the city that you’re in. Also, if you’re an individual and you have business ventures outside the US (or if you’re a large corporate organization and you’re looking at staying competitive) there is a part of the tax code that’s referenced by many tax practitioners like myself as the CFC regime – the Controlled Foreign Corporation regime. This regime is also called the deferral regime and is one that allows foreign corporations owned by US individuals, US corporations or anyone that meets the definition as a “US person” under US tax law to defer their foreign business earnings from current US taxation, provided that certain rules are met. In the simplest form of the CFC regime, let’s say you wanted to do business in the UK, Germany or France and wanted to form a foreign corporation in each jurisdiction to house the business activity in that country. To the extent that you have that entity operating sufficiently on its own and with foreign earnings in that specific jurisdiction, you can leave those earnings abroad and they currently wouldn’t be subject to US taxation. To the extent that you bring those earnings back, either in the form of a dividend, loaning it back to someone or entity in the US, or having that entity serve as a guarantor for any kind of US debt – at that point in time the deferral ceases to exist. It’s treated as if there was a dividend or a deemed dividend to its US shareholders. IM: So obviously this law really seems designed for corporations operating overseas without any direct connection to the US day to day. It is a structure that an individual can use as well? RL: Unfortunately, not really unless the individual moves to the country and forms a CFC and contracts through the CFC, which then it can work. The CFC regime is really based on economic substance. You can’t just form a foreign corporation and have foreign customers settle your invoices outside. You really actually have to have economic substance in these foreign subsidiaries. First, you need to have foreign business assets in the CFC that are actually used to carry on business. Second, you need to have functions performed in that jurisdiction. For example, sales and marketing, R&D, distribution and logistics, treasury related functions etc. Third, you need to show risk. Is it just a paper company or is it a real business that has taken on the regular risks of business? For a large multinational it’s easy. They ship executives over there, have offices, contract and handle the customers out of that jurisdiction. Instead of having all that done out of the US and having that revenue hitting the US tax return and subject to current taxation, it’s done through a subsidiary in that specific country. Now scale that down for the independent entrepreneur. It’s really prohibitive, the cost as well as the complexities, and what would be saved in taxes isn’t generally worth it. Some folks try to game the system by setting up foreign corporations to run everything through, but if ever audited I will tell you for certain that they will collapse – everything will be subject to US taxation as well as substantial penalties. IM: That’s actually very interesting, because there’s talk all the time within the internationalization community about just setting up an overseas corporation as a way to defer tax. Registration takes a couple days and then you have an offshore company through which income and expenses are run. So, you’re saying that is a bad idea? RL: That can be true in other countries but not in the US. Here, they will tax you where you are and are actually doing business. It’s a substance-over-form doctrine. IM: What are some big mistakes that American expats make from a tax or asset reporting perspective when heading overseas? RL: One of the biggest mistakes I get all the time is an expat making the assumption that their tax situation is not going to get extremely complex by heading overseas. Going from just being in one state in the US to living, working and potentially having assets in multiple currencies and in multiple jurisdictions that might tax those assets and the income derived from those assets differently – yes, it gets pretty complex. Not only that, but regulations and the enforcement of those regulations are getting increasingly more aggressive. For example, FBAR filings have been around for a long time, but enforcement was heightened in 2002 (when the IRS was given the authority to actually enforce compliance). One of the things that the current administration, as well as the Treasury and IRS have wanted to do (the FBAR forms were a nature of Treasury – not the IRS) is tie in the reporting of foreign assets into the 1040 or the individual tax return. They finally succeeded in March 2011 with the passing of FACTA, the Foreign Account Compliance Tax Act. Now individual taxpayers not only have to report foreign financial assets to Treasury on the FBAR forms, but since last year there’s also a form that gets filed with the 1040 to report certain foreign financial assets. Whereas the FBAR covered certain foreign financial accounts – for the most part it covered cash, cash equivalents, liquid accounts, brokerage accounts, and things of that nature – the FACTA filing is more expansive. It’s going to include liquid and certain illiquid assets. The thresholds are different than the FBAR however – $50,000 for single and $100,000 for married filing joint. If your foreign financial assets exceed those thresholds, that will trigger the reporting requirement. The US assets do not need to be reported because those are obviously held in the US – the IRS could actually determine what those are, but now you have to report these foreign assets. This adds a level of complexity to the situation. For some assets, a fair market value may not be readily ascertainable, especially if it’s an illiquid asset such as a note or a minority interest in a closely held foreign business. There is still a lot of ambiguity to be hammered out, but the message being sent by both Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (as well as our lawmakers in Congress) is that they want to know not only where the income is coming from on these foreign assets, but also now where those actual assets are located. I’m not sure where this is all headed, but they definitely want to have a better grasp on the movement of money, movement of assets, and the income that’s generated off those assets and who has ownership over them. IM: Last question. In the past few years, the IRS and Treasury have taken it upon themselves to now try and force other financial institutions to give them the details of American account holders, even when the transfer of information would violate local privacy laws. As a result, quite a few financial institutions are just dropping their American clients, making it difficult for Americans to head overseas in the first place. Is this a trend that’s likely to continue? RL: Well, it’s only been less than a decade that the enforcement of foreign asset and income has really even been a focal point for the revenue service, so I think there’s more to come of this. One can look at the third OVDI (Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative) announced January 9. Currently, IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman believes, as do a lot of people in Congress, that one of the ways to help take care of our budgetary issues is to go after the taxpayers who have unreported foreign assets generating various types of income – whether it’s dividend, interest, royalties, capital gains, rental income, etc. The facts actually kind of support that, too, because the last two OVDI programs (one was in 2009 and the last one was in 2011 and ended in October of last year) generated a lot of revenues for them. The 2009 version generated $4.4 billion thus far and 2011 is still underway. 33,000 people came through this, but there are even more that did “quiet filings” – they didn’t go through the programs but just submitted their tax returns for a decade and paid the tax and penalties with it without necessarily raising their hands. The administration and the enforcement agency really believe there are a lot of eligible assets abroad, and they’re going to continue to aggressively pursue them and dedicate resources to bring them into the US tax system. That’s why I think there’s more to come. Just for example, Switzerland recently had to disclose to the US a list of bank employees who served American clients suspected of dodging taxes. The thing is, they disclosed all this electronic data, but it’s encrypted. They did not give the US the means to unencrypt the data. Right now they’re in the midst of trying to negotiate how they’re going to settle this. Upon settlement of what the disclosure is going to be and how we’re going to address this, then they will provide the encryption keys. You’re going to continue to see more of that. I think the US will go after other countries, and it’s going to be something where they see a pretty good return on their investment, at least in the short term. IM: Well, on that somber note, this concludes our interview. Ryan, thank you for spending some time with us. RL: My pleasure. [To interact with other international men and women all around the world, consider joining the International Man Network. It’s completely free to join, plus you’ll have access to a private forum of thousands of like-minded individuals who are sharing their “boots on the ground” tactics and experience on how to internationalize one’s life and wealth. Sign up here.] About the Author: Inspired by the work of best-selling author and renowned speculator Doug Casey, International Man is a global network of freedom-seekers, investors, adventurers, speculators and expatriates looking to live an international lifestyle – be it asset, income, personal diversification or any combination of the three. Learn more at www.internationalman.com.last_img read more

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first_imgRead more here Amazon’s on the verge of issuing its crypto coin to the world…Cryptocurrencies have fallen… but the moment the biggest e-commerce company makes this shocking announcement, it will send shockwaves through the market. This could be your last chance to bank massive profits in the blockchain market without buying a single cryptocurrency… before prices run up like we expect. You’ll want to be on this profit train when Amazon makes the big announcement. Recommended Link E.B. Tucker Editor, Strategic InvestorP.S. The legal sports betting industry is just one of the biggest money-making opportunities in 2019. In fact, there’s another opportunity so big, we’re dedicating an entire night to sharing all the details.Next Wednesday, February 27 at 8 p.m. ET, I’m teaming up with Doug Casey to put on The Stock Market Escape Summit.As you’ll see, there’s a way you can position yourself to make huge gains in 2019 – no matter what’s happening in the stock market.And for the first time, we’re sharing all the details in a special event. I hope you can join us. Go here to reserve your spot for free today. Reader MailbagReaders always have a lot to say regarding our weekly slot featuring Doug Casey. A few subscribers share their thoughts on Doug’s recent interview on toxic masculinity…A few evenings ago, I watched the program Life, Liberty & Levin.The very last sentence he said to his guest was, “You and I will never ever again see the world we had.”– John — Not offended, but I love the men in my life. I’m not responsible for this war on men, but sure would love to be responsible for ending it!– Marcia • But let’s first take a closer look at the corporate debt market… Starting with the basics, corporate bonds are debt issued by companies to raise money.Practically every major company borrows this way. But corporate borrowing has skyrocketed over the last decade.This is, of course, thanks to the Federal Reserve’s easy money policies. Remember, the Fed dropped its key interest rate to effectively zero in December 2008, and held it near record lows for almost seven years.This made it incredibly cheap for corporations to borrow money. You can imagine how corporate America responded…Just look at the chart below. You can see that there’s been an explosion in corporate debt since 2008.The amount of outstanding corporate debt is up 86% since 2008. For comparison, the U.S. economy grew just 18% over the same period.• To understand why that’s a problem, take a look at this next chart… It shows corporate debt as a percentage of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), the most popular measure of economic growth.You can see that corporate debt as a percentage of GDP is now higher than it’s ever been… higher than it was during the recession of the early ’90s… and at the peak of the dot-com bubble in the early 2000s… and the 2008-2009 financial crisis.That alone is a major red flag. But it gets worse… I am in Canada. Who in Canada would ban the interview? I would like to write them and object to such a ban.– John As always, if you have any suggestions, questions, or comments for the Dispatch, send them to us at feedback@caseyresearch.com.center_img By Justin Spittler, editor, Casey Daily Dispatch“Debt doesn’t matter.”I know… It sounds ridiculous.After all, we all know people who racked up too much credit card debt… or someone who took out a bigger mortgage than they could afford… or someone who borrowed too much money to go to college and ended up regretting it dearly.But many so-called experts are peddling this idea that the national debt doesn’t matter.That’s right. Many people honestly don’t think it’s a problem that the U.S. is now $22 trillion in debt. That’s $67,018 for every U.S. citizen… and $179,907 for every U.S. taxpayer.• Just look at this headline that CNN published last month…You can read the entire article here if you want. But I’ll save you the agony.In short, the author argues that the national debt doesn’t matter because the U.S. government can just print more money.Of course, longtime readers know that this is a recipe for disaster. Money printing destroys the value of a currency. Plain and simple. If left unchecked, it can render the currency completely worthless.It’s ridiculous to think that the national debt doesn’t matter.The same can be said about corporate debt, which – as you’re about to see – has exploded in recent years. And yet, many investors aren’t fazed.Those people are putting themselves in serious danger. I’ll explain why in a second. I’ll also show you what you can do to protect yourself today from the consequences of this. • We’ve seen an explosion in BBB-rated corporate debt since 2007… Let me show you what I mean by that…When a company issues debt, a ratings agency such as Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, or Fitch will assign the debt a credit rating. This rating tells investors the risk level of a bond.The table below breaks down the different credit ratings. The red line separates “investment grade” bonds (which are considered the safest) from “junk” bonds (the riskiest).You can see that BBB-rated bonds are the riskiest within the investment-grade community.Now, look at the chart below. It shows how much the BBB-rated corporate debt market has grown over the last two decades.BBB-rated corporate debt is up more than 400% in just the last 12 years.It’s now a nearly $3 trillion market. That makes it twice as big as the subprime mortgage market at the height of the last housing boom.And we all know how that ended…The collapse of the subprime mortgage market triggered a major stock market crash. And it tipped the U.S. economy into its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.• I’m not the only Casey analyst deeply worried by this, either… Nick Giambruno had this to say in last month’s issue of The Casey Report:Today, BBB makes up about 50% of the overall so-called “investment grade” market, an all-time historical high. It’s also now larger than the entire corporate bond market was in 2008.Further, over half of BBB-rated companies have a higher net debt-to-EBITDA ratio than the average for the BB segment. (Net debt-to-EBITDA ratio is a key metric for determining a company’s debt burden. The higher the ratio, the more debt per dollar earnings a company makes.)This means over half of so-called “investment grade” BBB companies are more leveraged than their junk counterparts.In short: there’s a lot more corporate debt than there was a decade ago. The quality of corporate debt is also significantly worse, on average. Not only that… many of the so-called “safe” bonds are actually much riskier than people realize.This is bad news for investors with heavy exposure to BBB-rated bonds.Think about it. When the U.S. economy falls into recession (which it is long overdue for), many companies will struggle to pay off their debts. And that will lead to huge losses for investors who own risky corporate bonds.Fortunately, there’s a way to protect yourself.• I suggest you look “under the hood” of any corporate bond fund you own… You can do this easily (and for free) on Morningstar. Just click the “portfolio” tab once you’ve found the fund you own. There you can see a breakdown of what kind of bonds the fund owns.Here’s an example. This is the credit quality breakdown of the iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (LQD).You can see that almost half of the fund’s bonds are “BBB” rated.This is not the kind of fund you want to own today. If you own funds with heavy exposure to BBB bonds, consider shifting money to funds with heavier allocations to safer “AAA/AA/A”-rated bonds.Investors who take this step will put themselves in a much safer position should the corporate debt bubble pop.Regards,Justin Spittler Rio de Janeiro, Brazil February 19, 2019P.S. Remember, next Wednesday, February 27 at 8 p.m. ET, former money manager E.B. Tucker is teaming up with Doug Casey to put on our biggest event of the year.It’s called The Stock Market Escape Summit, and you’re invited to attend for FREE.All month, we’ve been sharing E.B.’s top insights to help you prepare for the big night. Below, we turn to E.B. again for an inside look at one of today’s biggest money-making opportunities: the legal sports betting market. As you’ll see, late last year, E.B. was able to see firsthand just how big this trend really is. Here’s the recap from his trip…Boots-on-the-Ground Insight: What the Early Days of Sports Betting Look LikeBy E.B. Tucker, editor, Strategic InvestorIt’s not too late to get into one of today’s biggest money-making opportunities…I’m talking about the legal sports betting industry.In May 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states have the right to license legal sports betting within their borders.We decided to visit the state that challenged that old federal law and see what the early days of legal sports betting look like.We flew to New York to watch the Miami Dolphins take on the New York Jets. The Jets play at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey… where sports betting is now legal.We arrived at the game two hours early to make sure we had time to place our bets. The horse track next to MetLife Stadium has a betting window. It leased half of it out to the sports betting company FanDuel.FanDuel had luxury buses shuttling sports bettors from the stadium to the horse track. It wanted to make it as easy as possible for people attending the game to place legal bets. E.B. getting ready to board one of FanDuel’s luxury busesHowever, several people we talked to had no idea legal betting was available on site. The ones who did couldn’t believe how easy it was.I sat next to a heavyset laborer on the bus. He had a stack of betting receipts. He enthusiastically told me, “Man, no bookie ever gave me a bus ride before!”Five minutes later, the bus dropped us off at the sportsbook. The betting area had dozens of TVs playing pre-game shows. FanDuel even has its own commentators talking up that day’s games. FanDuel rushed to complete this sportsbook next to MetLife StadiumKnowing nothing beyond the name of any NFL team, I walked up to the betting window and placed five bets for $100 each. I took the moneyline bet on the five biggest underdogs. (The moneyline is a win/lose bet on the game’s outcome. The payout is larger for heavy underdogs.)Even the clerk who took my money looked surprised at my unpopular bets. What makes sports betting so lucrative is people’s tendency to bet on the favored teams.The other bettors on the bus back to the game proudly rattled off their bets on the most popular teams. I do the exact opposite. Placing five equal bets spreads my risk. I put $500 on the games and got $535 back. In fairness, had the heavy underdog Cleveland Browns held on in the final minutes of their game, I would have had another $635 coming my way.Placing bets at the new FanDuel sportsbook was easy. It took minutes. There are no bookies to deal with and no headaches. Withdrawing money is just as easy.As more and more states legalize sports betting, we see a massive opportunity.This is exactly the type of sea change we look for at Strategic Investor. The government deciding it will lay down arms and allow licensed, legal operating of anything means a chance to profit.Right now, I’m looking at casinos in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Rhode Island. These are states that already have sports betting legislation on the books. Local casinos there will profit the most from legal sports betting.I also recommend you check out this map to see which states already have legal sports betting (in green) – and those that soon will.Regards, Is Trump’s New Executive Order Warning Us to Prepare for Historic Event?Donald Trump recently signed an executive order adding this white metal to the official “U.S. Critical Minerals Directory.” This labels the metal as “critical for national economy and security.” Why did Trump make this move now? According to the man who predicted Trump’s election and one of his first executive orders… It’s to prepare for a historic event that could spike the price of this white metal 10x as its global supply is pushed to critical lows. Get all the details by clicking here Yes, us males have been under attack by women libbers for four decades… That’s why many men have lost their “balls.” I was the head of the household… But today, most of the heads of the households are women… They want control, control, control. Look at our government and the great job they are doing.– Anonymous Recommended Link —last_img read more

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first_imgA note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… An autistic MP who has only been able to make two speeches in the main Commons chamber since being elected is calling for a change in equality laws to force the authorities to make parliament a more accessible place to work.Jared O’Mara has had a series of requests rejected by the authorities that he believes would have made his working life easier, as an autistic MP who also has a physical impairment and a mental health condition.Among those requests was a plea for the introduction of new ground rules to stop shouting and heckling while MPs are delivering their speeches in the Commons chamber, which he finds particularly difficult as an autistic person with anxiety.O’Mara (pictured, making his maiden speech in July), who currently sits as an independent MP, told Disability News Service (DNS): “As an autistic person with anxiety that has caused me some problems, it puts off concentration and exacerbates my anxiety and makes it a really horrible, scary atmosphere.”There have been occasions when he has had to leave the Commons chamber because of the atmosphere, and he has only been able to attend one prime minister’s questions since being elected more than a year ago.He is due to make only his second speech in the main Commons chamber today – on a Thursday, one of the quietest times of the parliamentary week – during a debate on whether to introduce proxy voting, in which he is set to back calls for a change in the law.He believes the only way to ensure a more supportive and accessible working environment for the disabled MPs of the future is to push for a change in the law so that the Equality Act’s public sector equality duty (PSED) applies to the authorities that run parliament, and the MPs and peers who work there.Although parts of the Equality Act 2010 – one of the last pieces of legislation brought in under the last Labour government – apply to parliament, the PSED does not.The PSED imposes a duty on public bodies – although not parliament – to have “due regard” to various equality considerations when carrying out their work, including having due regard to the need to eliminate conduct such as discrimination, harassment and victimisation.O’Mara told DNS that he had been left “shocked and distressed” by the discriminatory treatment he has received since becoming on MP, which had been “a huge culture shock”.He said: “All this has had a huge impact on my health.”He believes that compulsory equality training could help address the way MPs talk about each other in the media, the way some MPs allegedly treat their staff, and ensure they are more respectful of the people who work on the parliamentary estate.O’Mara was told in July that he would be re-admitted into the Labour party, given a formal warning and told to attend equality training, following an internal inquiry into comments he had made on internet chat forums when he was younger and comments he denied making to a woman in a nightclub.But although he quit the party soon afterwards, he has still arranged bespoke equality and diversity training for himself and his staff.O’Mara told DNS that the public criticism he faced following the investigation had had a significant impact on his health, including his mental health.This meant, for example, that he was unable to take part in key votes on Brexit, after being signed off sick from work by his GP for two months last November and December, and for a further two weeks after the Labour party announced the results of its inquiry.Despite requests to the Speaker’s Office and the Commons procedure committee of MPs, he was denied the right to vote remotely from his constituency or to ask a “proxy” to vote on his behalf.He said: “It also resulted in attacks on me from certain sections of the media for my voting record and complaints from constituents, which only served to make my health suffer even more and slowed down my recovery.”O’Mara also believes the Labour party should have warned him – before they accepted him as a parliamentary candidate – that if he won the seat he might not be able to secure the workplace reasonable adjustments he was used to, and legally entitled to, in his previous job.He has now received confirmation, in a written answer from Victoria Atkins, the minister for women, that the “functions of Parliament are currently exempt” from the PSED, as laid out in schedule 18 of the Equality Act, although ministers and government departments are subject to the duty.She said in her answer that making the functions of parliament and individual members subject to the PSED would make them subject to “compliance requirements” by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the control of the courts, which she said would raise “constitutional questions”.Atkins said: “The government has no plans to change this position.”But O’Mara is determined to push for a change in the law as he believes that would force parliament and MPs to create a more positive environment for disabled people and other groups protected by the Equality Act.He believes there are many small adjustments that could be made to the way parliament is run that would make it more accessible, including the provision of accessible information and the use of signage.O’Mara also wants to see the parliamentary authorities given a legal duty of care for the welfare of MPs, so, for example, they would have to act if MPs were being subjected to bullying.A spokeswoman for the Speaker’s Office said: “It is not the role of the Speaker to make proposals for legislative change, or to express a view on their desirability or otherwise, as that would compromise his impartiality.”But she added: “In the chamber the Speaker keeps order and calls MPs to speak during Commons debates.“The Speaker has full authority to make sure MPs follow the rules of the House during debates.“This can include: directing an MP to withdraw remarks if, for example, they use abusive language; suspending the sitting of the House due to serious disorder; suspending MPs who are deliberately disobedient – known as naming; asking MPs to be quiet so members can be heard.  “But as all MPs know, Mr Speaker’s door is open to any members with concerns.”A Commons spokesman said: “The Equality Act 2010 has no application to members of parliament in the course of parliamentary proceedings, and it would be for government or MPs to bring forward any proposals to change this.”He added: “It is vital that all democratically elected MPs are able to carry out their duties in and around parliament.“We understand that certain areas within the parliamentary estate, including the Palace of Westminster, are still extremely challenging for people with disabilities to access and there is more to be done to ensure that people with disabilities do not face unnecessary difficulties when working in or visiting parliament.“We are committed to making further essential adjustments to working practices and the physical building as quickly as possible.“Members with disabilities are provided with holistic support to ensure their particular needs are met, including ensuring they have an office in an appropriate location, and for new members of parliament access to a designated ‘buddy’ who in most cases is a house official, technological support, and support through the diversity and inclusion team.“The House of Commons and Parliamentary Digital Service have signed up and are committed to becoming more disability confident as part of the Disability Confident scheme.“The House of Commons also works with the Business Disability Forum and has appointed a workplace adjustment advisor to be a designated point of contact for members and their staff throughout their time in parliament.”The House of Commons also said that disability equality training was available to all staff, and that all Commons and Parliamentary Digital Service staff had received equality and diversity training, while parliament received an Autism Friendly award in July 2017 and the Commons was reaccredited by the charity Action on Hearing Loss this year.O’Mara revealed earlier this summer how being diagnosed as autistic in January had helped him to understand his behaviour as a younger man that led to his suspension from the Labour party.He now sits as an independent and has accepted that he will only be a one-term MP.But he is determined to push for changes in the way parliament operates to ensure it is a friendlier, safer and more comfortable place for future MPs to work.He said: “I am not planning on being an MP after this term ends. I don’t want to be the last MP with autism and I am certainly not the first MP and I will not be the last to have mental health problems.“Two MPs have insinuated that I am incompetent and lazy. These are common ableist tropes.“I really want it to be a safe space for disabled people in the future, and the relevant acts and laws not applying has huge implications for other marginalised groups as well.“If I can be the vanguard and so get the ball rolling so future MPs have got their rights and freedoms protected and future disabled MPs get adjustments, and it becomes a less hostile, less scary, less nasty, less bully-ridden environment in the future we are going to get so much talent from other marginalised groups.“It’s like getting blood out of a stone at times, but it is not going to stop me from trying.”last_img read more

A note from the editor Please consider making a v

first_imgA note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… Leading disabled actors and directors and key figures in the disability movement are featured in a new collection of free online content that shows how disabled people have been represented on film in Britain over the last century.The British Film Institute has released more than 170 documentaries, short films, charity appeals, home movies and news reports dating from 1911 to 2017.The Disabled Britain on Film collection includes work featuring film-makers and actors such as Liz Crow, Mat Fraser, Jamie Beddard, William Mager and Charlie Swinbourne.Among the films is Crow’s Resistance, a short drama from 2008, featuring Fraser and Beddard (pictured), about the Nazi’s Aktion T4 euthanasia programme.The collection also features Heredity in Man, a chilling 1937 film which features Julian Huxley, brother of Brave New World author Aldous Huxley, extolling the principles of eugenics, and arguing that people with learning difficulties – or “defectives” as they were then often termed – were happier living in huge institutions.He concludes that “it would have been better by far for them and the rest of the community if they had never been born”.The Huxley film was produced as Hitler was using the same ideas to unleash Aktion T4, which would lead to the murder of hundreds of thousands of disabled people at the hands of Nazi doctors.Also included in BFI’s free online collection is a 1983 documentary on Ian Dury, in which he talks about how becoming disabled affected his life and music and explains the thinking behind his disability rights punk anthem Spasticus Autisticus.The collection also features a number of films released by disability charities in an attempt to raise funds from the public, featuring actors such as Sean Connery and Charles Laughton, but also documentaries which feature the voices of disabled people speaking for themselves.These include Y Gwr O Gwr Aran (1978), a Welsh language portrait of a disabled husband, father and teacher; A Day in the Life of Kevin Donnellon (1972), which documents the life of an 11-year-old thalidomide survivor; and The Smallest Woman in the World (1972), a news report on Joyce Carpenter, from Bromsgrove, who at the time was thought to be the world’s shortest woman.There is also a smaller collection of films to rent, including the 14-minute Disabled, made in 1967, which features a three-minute interview with a young Paul Hunt, outlining his vision for a society where disabled people have independence, choice and control.The interview was carried out five years before Hunt – who would play a key role in the campaign against institutional discrimination – was to co-found the ground-breaking Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation (UPIAS).At the time, Hunt was living in the Leonard Cheshire home Le Court, where he and other residents rebelled against the restrictive regime.He speaks in the film of how he was only living in an institution because he had “no effective choice”, and compared the situation in the UK with that in Denmark, where a development of flats in Copenhagen allowed disabled people to live independently.He says in the film: “Some sort of realistic financial help is a priority, and also the provision of more nursing help to people in their own homes.”He adds: “In general, the attitude of the general public could do with a little changing.“One does meet a lot of misunderstanding, and prejudice, really, from people.”last_img read more

Men Telecommute More than Women Survey Shows

first_img Image credit: Shutterstock Office Tech Let’s be honest — commuting isn’t at the top of most people’s list of favorite things. And this winter’s rash of stormy weather and treacherous roads made the idea of the home office not only appealing, but in some instances necessary for safety’s sake. Studies have shown that options for flexible work not only make companies more attractive to prospective job candidates, but can contribute to a more productive workplace.Related: How to Protect Corporate Culture in a Telecommuting World So who exactly is doing the most telecommuting? A recent survey from Flex+Strategy Group polled 556 full-time employees and found that 31 percent work remotely. The research held that gender and age stereotypes of employees who work remotely actually don’t carry much weight. Some takeaways: Register Now » Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Add to Queue Nina Zipkin February 27, 2014 Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Generation Y (18-29) makes up 35 percent of telecommuters, 30 percent are Generation X (30-49) and 30 percent are Baby Boomers, a group that the survey characterizes as 50 plus. Thirty-five percent are parents and 29 percent don’t have children. Three out of 4 flex workers are men, and women are more likely than their male colleagues to work in open office spaces and cubicles. Thirty-six percent of men say they get most of their work done remotely, compared with 23 percent of women. But 43 percent women completed most of their work in their cubes or open office compared to 27 percent of men. 42 percent of cubicle workers agreed with the statement “I have less work life flexibility now than at this time last year,” while 31 percent of telecommuters and 22 percent of employees with private offices said the same.  Next Article Related: How to Get The Most Out of Employees Who Work From HomeA Harris Interactive poll of 2,219 employees that was taken around this time last year (following the headlines made about Marissa Mayer’s decision to do away with flex work options at Yahoo) found similar results.  A third of full-time employees said they worked from home, and 37 percent men said they worked remotely compared to 31 percent of women.The question remains, do companies have a responsibility to provide options for flexible work?  Of course every industry is different — some may see it as a necessity, while other types of management could view it as a hindrance. While companies like Yahoo took a fairly hard stance, Xerox, Dell and Aetna are among 100 companies that FlexJobs identified as having the most opportunities for remote work. Related: Tools to Keep Remote Employees Motivated and ProductiveWe want to hear from you. Do you telecommute or have remote work options for your employees? Why or why not?   Entrepreneur Staff Men Telecommute More than Women, Survey Shows –shares 3 min readlast_img read more

Facebook ads funded by dark money are the rights weapon for 2020

first_imgFacebook Facebook ads funded by ‘dark money’ are the right’s weapon for 2020 Social networking Topics Facebook Advertising US politics Tom Perkins You can still have a huge impact by spending very little.Anna Massoglia, a researcher with the Center For Responsive Politics The right and conservative media are using the untraceable ads to push a rightwing agenda and get Donald Trump re-elected The most common dark money ads can be placed into two categories. One includes more traditional political ads from household names of dark money nonprofits like Judicial Watch, America First Policies or even Planned Parenthood on the left. Those are typically linked to the political establishment, and though the nonprofit names are attached to the ads, the groups don’t reveal their donors.But those like the “Wacky Wexton” ads can be launched by anyone, domestic or foreign, group or person. Facebook rules require those who run political pages to provide government identification so they can be “verified”, but there’s nothing to stop foreign interests from hiring an ad buyer with a US ID, or using an affiliate company in the US. Facebook then protects its ad buyers by not divulging any personal information.“Even though you are required to put something in the disclaimers, it’s not meaningful. You don’t get the name of who’s writing the text,” Massoglia said.The right and left also use dark money ads to push their agendas and content. Most such pages on the right are small operations that run multiple Facebook pages pushing a conservative agenda, praising Trump and attacking liberal politicians.The anonymous individual or groups behind the pages also sometimes misrepresent their purpose. They are what Laura Edelson, a New York University researcher with the Online Political Ads Transparency Project, calls “inauthentic communities”.Such pages are usually centered around an identity. “On the right, the identity is ‘conservative’,” Edelson said, and “what they’re really trying to do is get your email address – they’re building lists.”Among those is I Love My Freedom, which sends out ads attacking Democratic politicians like Nancy Pelosi and ultimately attempts to solicit users’ names and email addresses. Its pages – with names like “President Trump’s Patriot Army” and “President Donald Trump Fan Club” – also hawk “limited edition” Trump coins and other gear, which sources say is a common practice in the right’s dark money advertising.Another group of Facebook pages that are less clearly linked include Patriot News Alerts, Breaking Patriot News, The Daily Conservative and The Conservative Institute.Anatomy of a dark money Facebook ad networkOn 4 April, the Patriot News Alert Facebook page sent out fewer than 100 ads that largely targeted women over 55, many of whom were in Florida, Texas and California. The ads showed a picture of congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with text that called her Green New Deal plan not just “crazy”, but “scary”. The text continues with false claims that the Green New Deal would “ban air travel, get rid of gasoline cars, eliminate meat, remodel all existing homes, and guarantee income to all Americans too lazy to work”.Around the same time, Breaking Patriot News and The Daily Conservative sent out about 85 nearly identical ads largely micro-targeting carefully selected demographics of Facebook users throughout the country.The pages spent between about $1,660 and $15,000 to buy the ads, reaping between 112,000 and 418,000 impressions.The three pages didn’t reveal their relation to those that they targeted, and there’s nothing in the ads that provides an idea of who paid for them. In her research, Edelson found that the three pages used the same ad, and Facebook’s archive shows that they share other ads that attack Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Support The Guardian Shares1,3551355 This small incident highlights a bigger problem as the 2020 election looms. How so-called untraceable “dark money” Facebook ads persist via easily exploitable loopholes in the ad archive, a database created in response to foreign interference and disinformation campaigns during the 2016 election. Now heading into the 2020 election, dark money ads remain a potent political weapon that the Republican party and conservative media in particular are using to push a rightwing agenda and get Donald Trump re-elected.“You can still have a huge impact by spending very little,” said Anna Massoglia, a researcher with the Center For Responsive Politics (CPR) who tracks dark money spending on Facebook ads. Over $600m has been spent on political Facebook ads since the platform made data public in May 2018. It’s unclear how much was spent on dark money ads, though CPR and other groups are in the process of tallying it up. Facebook Twitter Once you have a political tactic like this, everyone will use it, especially when it’s this easy.Laura Edelson, NYU researcher Facebook rules require those who run political pages to provide government identification so they can be ‘verified’, but there’s nothing to stop foreign interests from hiring an ad buyer with a US ID. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Share on Facebook Share on Facebook In the weeks leading up to a tightly contested 2018 midterm election in Virginia, a Facebook page called “Wacky Wexton Not” ran an ad that pictured Democratic congressional candidate Jennifer Wexton next to Nazi troops. Another labeled her an “evil socialist”. Yet another referenced Nazi uniforms, stating, “Wexton and her modern day brown shirts. They Are Evil. They Hate America. They Hate You.”Who spent $211 launching 24 anti-Wexton ads? It’s unclear. The ads state they were “Paid for by a freedom loving American Citizen exercising my natural law right, protected by the 1st Amendment and protected by the 2nd Amendment.” But there’s nothing in them – or in Facebook’s new ad library that’s designed to shine light on who’s funding political adss – that provides personal information about the person or group behind the attack on Wexton (who won her race). Clicking on an ad reveals some clues about the network of pages’ goals, which is to funnel Facebook users to rightwing blogs running largely pro-Trump stories and pushing conservative ideas.The ad that women over 55 in Florida may have clicked on takes one to PatriotNewsAlerts.com where the reader is encouraged to sign a petition “To say ‘No’ to the Green New Deal,” but the “signature” it requires is a name and email address.A Guardian reporter who submitted a name and email address later received an email from Patriot News Alerts with a link to a story on the Patriot News Alert blog. There’s no information about who runs the blog, but the Guardian searched the name and found it appears to be linked to conservative blogger Shaun Connell.Connell signs several blogposts as the pages’ founder, and Patriot News Alerts shares the same Connecticut address as several other blogs. Connell is also behind Breaking Patriot News and The Daily Conservative, and the blogs are presented in a similar layout to and include some of the same writers as other right wing blogs that can be linked to Connell, like Daily Christian News.While one end goal seems to be to push Connell’s rightwing viewpoint, another seems to be to drive traffic to his pages. It’s unclear if Connell funds the Facebook ads himself, if there are other funders involved, or whether there’s a more commercial purpose at play – some pages sell the Facebook data they collect.Connell didn’t return an email from the Guardian seeking comment.The four Connell-linked Facebook pages have spent about $300,000 since being created between July 2017 and September 2018.Edlelson said she tracks dozens of similar pages on the left and right, and there are probably many more.“The tactic started and was perfected on the right, but once you have a political tactic like this, everyone will use it, especially when it’s this easy,” Edelson said. … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Since you’re here… Over $600m has been spent on political Facebook ads since the platform made data public in May 2018.Photograph: Justin Sullivan/AFP/Getty Images Share via Email Share on Messenger US elections 2020 Share on LinkedIn Pinterest Share on WhatsApp Fri 5 Jul 2019 02.01 EDT Share on Twitter Last modified on Wed 10 Jul 2019 09.59 EDT Share via Email news Share on Twitter Reuse this content Share on Pinterestlast_img read more

Promising new approaches in the fight against brain metastasis

first_imgSome cancers have a higher risk of spreading to the brain in the form of metastases. Lung cancer, malignant melanoma (skin cancer) and breast cancer, in particular, spread to the brain. So far there have been no really effective treatments for those affected. An important starting point is therefore to inhibit such brain metastases or to prevent them occurring in the first place. Jun 28 2019Research is currently pursuing several highly promising approaches in the fight against cancers that give rise to metastases in the brain. A high-level international symposium is currently taking place at MedUni Vienna to discuss new approaches to prevention and treatment. “Our aim must be to prevent brain metastasis from occurring in the first place,” says oncologist Matthias Preusser from MedUni Vienna. However, new forms of treatment are now also available for patients who already have secondary tumors in the brain. Another approach is to consider individual risk factors for developing brain metastases. “If we have sufficient understanding of the molecular mechanisms that contribute to brain metastasis, then, in future, we would be able to suppress various activated signaling pathways, to protect the brain against attack by cancer cells,” says Preusser, describing this method. Examples are ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinases) or VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) inhibitors that are already used to treat cancer patients. Inhibition of the CDK (cyclin-dependent kinases) signaling pathway might also help to inhibit the formation of brain metastases. Says Preusser: “In a paper in which we participated and which was recently published in Nature Genetics, it was also demonstrated that some cancer cells can settle in the brain early on in the disease so that early targeted treatment could be expedient to prevent seeding of brain metastases.”Related StoriesStudy offers clues about how to prevent brain inflammation in Alzheimer’sRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustSome chemotherapy drugs are also suitable for preventing or delaying metastasis. For example, it was found in animal models that temozolomide, a chemotherapy drug commonly used against glioblastomas (brain tumors) prevents metastasis, if taken in low doses on a long-term basis.Recent successes in treatment”We have high hopes of the advances made in immunotherapy,” explains Preusser. Immunotherapy involves activating the patient’s own immune system to fight the cancer cells by blockading various signaling pathways on the surface of the cancer cell. The immune system can then recognize them as foreign bodies. Another approach involves targeted therapies that inhibit the specific signaling pathways that are important for the growth and survival of cancer cells. The human brain has its own immune system and is well protected against external influences by the blood-brain barrier. However, it would appear that current cancer drugs nonetheless find their way into the brain, where they are effective against brain metastases in many patients.Even in radiotherapy it is often more successful not to irradiate the brain as a whole but instead to target the seat of the tumor. This protects the unaffected, healthy areas of the brain.Research at MedUni Vienna among the global front-runnersWith the Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna jointly established with Vienna General Hospital, MedUni Vienna is among the global front-runners in the field of cancer research. This ensures rapid translation of the latest research findings into clinical practice. “Particularly in the area of brain metastasis, our aim is to prevent it occurring in the first place,” explains Preusser, “we want to be able to identify risk groups and provide them with preventive protection against metastasis. As time goes on, we will become increasingly successful at doing this.”Service: Brain Metastasis research symposiumCurrently (28/29 June) a high-level specialist symposium is taking place at MedUni Vienna on the subject of research into brain metastasis. The event has been organized by MedUni Vienna’s Division of Oncology and the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. Source:Medical University of ViennaJournal reference:Hu, Z. et al. (2019) Quantitative evidence for early metastatic seeding in colorectal cancer. Nature Genetics. doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0423-x.center_img Research is currently pursuing several approaches to prevention. Amongst other things, the international research community has discovered that brain metastases need blood vessels in order to grow. There are already clinical studies showing that suppressing angiogenesis (blood vessel formation) successfully inhibits the growth of metastatic tumors.”Matthias Preusser, Head of MedUni Vienna’s Division of Oncology and member of the joint Comprehensive Cancer Center of MedUni Vienna and AKH Viennalast_img read more