Swedish cable operator Com Hem has said that it wi

first_imgSwedish cable operator Com Hem has said that it will raise gross proceeds of up to SEK6.237 billion (€688 million) through its IPO, with the offering valuing the equity of the firm at SEK10.637 billion to SEK12.437 billion.In the prospectus for its stock market floatation, Com Hem said that it expects to set the price for the offering at between SEK44 and SEK62 per share and sell between 91.4 and 128.9 million newly issued shares.The application period for the offer to the Swedish public is expected to start on June 4, 2014 and close on June 13, 2014. Private placements to institutional investors, including a private placement in the US to qualified institutional buyers will start on June 4 and end June 16.Com Hem is expected to begin trading on the NASDAQ OMX Stockholm on June 17, 2014 under the trading ‘COMH’.“Significant investments have been made in order to strengthen our business and I am convinced we have a compelling value proposition to customers,” said Com Hem CEO, Anders Nilsson.“Together with the management team and all our employees we are ready to embark on this exciting journey. We have created a solid platform, now it’s about execution. We welcome new shareholders to take part in Com Hem’s future as a listed company.”Com Hem said that after years of private ownership the IPO will help support the firm’s “future growth and operational strategy” and provide financial flexibility and improved access to public capital markets.Com Hem is offering shares that will raise gross proceeds of SEK5.67 million. However, it has also granted its joint global coordinators an ‘over-allotment option’ to purchase an additional 10%-worth of new shares. Assuming that this option is exercised in full, the offering will amount to SEK6.237 billion.Com Hem first announced its intention to launch an IPO on May 23, 2014.last_img read more

Today we have the great pleasure to introduce you

first_imgToday we have the great pleasure to introduce you to James Turk, a well-known investment guru, international investor, and co-founder of the increasingly popular GoldMoney.com.In this interview, James will talk about:His past and the lessons of relevance to all those who want to live an international life.Current trends and what people can do to protect themselves during these volatile times.His GoldMoney service, one which we receive quite a few questions about here at International Man every month.So, without further ado, let’s begin…International Man: For those who aren’t familiar with you or your work, can you tell us a bit about yourself?James Turk: I have over 40 years of experience in international banking, finance and investments. I began my career with Chase Manhattan Bank, now JPMorgan Chase, which is one of the big New York banks. I then worked with one of the world’s top commodity traders, before moving to Abu Dhabi where I managed the commodity department for its sovereign wealth fund. It was one of the seven countries in which I have lived, but I now live in Europe.I have written extensively over the last 25 years about money and investments. Many of my articles are posted on the Internet, but I am particularly proud of a book I co-authored with my friend, John Rubino, The Collapse of the Dollar and How to Profit from It. It was first published in 2004 and correctly laid out the reason for owning gold and why banks and other financial companies like Fannie Mae were heading for trouble. We also explained why the bubble then prevailing in the housing market was ready to burst.In the late 1990s I formed GoldMoney with my oldest son, Geoffrey, who is now its CEO. Since its launch in 2001 GoldMoney has become a leading provider for buying gold, silver, platinum and palladium online to buyers worldwide. It is presently storing in vaults in London, Zurich and Hong Kong over US$2.2 billion of precious metals owned by customers located in more than 100 countries.Lastly, I am also a director of the GoldMoney Foundation, a not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to providing information on the role of gold and silver as money and currency and their importance to society. I am a firm believer that gold’s use as money is inextricably interlinked with human liberty. The Foundation promulgates this key point through published material, videos and conferences.IM: When did you personally start living and investing overseas?JT: I always wanted to live abroad and travel, which is one reason I joined Chase. They promised an overseas assignment when I completed my training program in New York City, and in 1971 I moved to Thailand. I spent most of that decade living and working in Asia. It was a great experience and provided a strong base on which to build my business career.It was the early 1970s when I first began international investing for my personal portfolio. I don’t remember the year, but I remember the event well. I tried to invest in a fund managed by Robeco, a big Dutch asset management company. They didn’t accept my application because I used my US address, and the fund was not registered with the SEC.That irritated me, being self-reliant and believing that I did not need any government agency watching over my shoulder when I made an investment. It also made clear to me the nanny-state environment in which we lived back then, which in my view has become even more onerous and oppressive today. But that event from 40 years ago had a useful outcome. It set me on a path to learn the ins-and-outs of international investing and the arcane rules governments imposed.IM: What motivated you to look outside your home country for fortune and opportunity in the first place?JT: Though I was born and raised in the States, I had an international perspective as long as I can remember, probably because my father was born in Europe. As Shakespeare so wisely advised, the “world is your oyster”. In this regard, I have always believed that you can do or achieve anything you want in life. It just takes planning and a lot of hard work.Everyone has the freedom to do so, but not everyone has the same motivations. Nor does everyone have the goal to view the whole world as an opportunity to improve their situation in life and to make sure their children have a better standard of living than they did as children. This objective was important to my parents. So maybe I learned it from them, but then again, maybe it is just human nature because I have seen that motivation time and again in many countries and many different cultures.IM: What steps have you taken personally to plant flags overseas?JT: There are many. I live in Europe and have travelled to over 50 countries. The company I founded is European-based, but has a global customer base. My wife and youngest son are British. I could go on, but those are the ones that immediately come to mind.IM: In a previous conversation, it was mentioned to me that Doug Casey’s book, The International Man, was an important influence on your way of thinking. Can you elaborate on that?JT: Yes, it was one of the sources of good information that I read back in the 1970s. There was not a lot of material back then on how to internationalize your life, which was my objective. So I bought a copy and learned a lot from it. There are two ways to gain useful experience – “reading” and “doing”. Both are invaluable.TrendsIM: In a recent article, you mention the “Last Plane Account“, which basically suggested setting up structures overseas so that if all domestic assets were seized, one would have a nest-egg available to still live a comfortable life. When did you first realize such a plan was needed for US citizens?JT: The name “last plane account” was an informal one that we used in Chase to refer to a marketing program that explained the necessity for southeast Asian businessmen to have bank deposits outside their home countries. The idea was that if turmoil wracked the country where you lived, you and your family could get on the “last plane” and live somewhere else in the same manner to which you were accustomed, even if you needed to leave behind many assets – like a house and your company’s factory.Remember, the domino theory still prevailed back in the 1970s, and everyone wondered and worried about what country in that part of the world would be the next to fall to communism. If it did, you clearly would want some of your wealth invested globally so that you and your family could live comfortably if forced to flee your home country, or just because you simply chose to do so. The idea was that you could then return to your home country once a sane political climate was restored with a rule of law that protected property rights.At first I didn’t realize that everyone needs a “last plane account” – even Americans. But my thinking began to change not long after moving to Thailand. I became friends with a wealthy Thai businessman whose family lost a fortune in real estate when the Chinese Red Army under Mao took control of that country. They left China only with their suitcases, which fortunately for them carried some gold and jade. After fleeing China, they settled in Thailand and through hard work re-built their fortune with the capital they were able to bring with them. It was actually a story that I eventually heard many times over the years I was in Asia.Then in late 1974, I agreed to move to Beirut, Lebanon, which back then was a plum assignment in the bank. However, the civil war there began before I could pack my bags, and because I had a family, the assignment was cancelled with mutual consent. It was a wake-up call for me. Like the experience related to me by my Chinese friend, it opened my eyes, and I began to really recognize that there are a lot of unsafe places in the world. More to the point, over the years I’ve seen dozens of countries change from good to bad, while some changed from bad to good.Sometimes the change occurs rapidly, as it did in Lebanon. Sometimes the change occurs slowly, which is what happens in most countries. The change can be so slow as to be imperceptible to most people living there, which is one of the reasons I recommend that people live for a time in different countries. It gives you a different perspective.When I look at the States, Thailand and the other countries where I have lived, from outside, I see things that I missed when I lived there. I think this perspective is important to understand that we live in a world that is constantly changing. So regardless of which country you were born, I recommend that everyone travel and live abroad, at least for a time, to gain some useful and unique experiences. When you do, I think you will better understand the reasons for a “last plane account” and appreciate the need to prepare for an uncertain future.IM: Can you tell us what such an account would consist of?JT: Clearly, I would not recommend today what we at Chase were offering back then, namely, bank deposits. These do not make sense in today’s topsy-turvy world.I would put into the account the same thing that you would put in any portfolio. There would be undervalued assets as well as safe assets in a mix that would enable you to sleep well at night knowing you were prepared to live comfortably somewhere in the world if you left your home country.The safe assets would of course be gold and a home for shelter. The undervalued assets would primarily be stocks, particularly a globally diversified portfolio and one that paid reasonable dividends to provide income. I don’t recommend commercial real estate, but other real estate – like an apartment building, farmland or timberland – could also be a safe asset in the right jurisdiction.Remember though, there is a fundamental difference between visible wealth and wealth that cannot easily be seen. Visible wealth is always a potential target for governments around the world looking for assets to tax or even confiscate, and one must factor in that risk. In fact, this risk is one of the reasons for diversifying globally. Diversification always mitigates risk.IM: With all this money printing in the world do you see hyperinflation in the US dollar and hence the world?JT: Sadly, yes, I do expect hyperinflation, and we are getting very close. Hyperinflation manifests itself in two ways, depending on the nature of the currency. In Weimar Germany in the 1920s and Zimbabwe more recently, very few people had bank accounts. Nearly all commerce was conducted with cash-currency. In contrast, in Argentina in 1991 nearly everyone had a bank account, with the result that nearly all commerce was conducted with deposit-currency. In other words, payment for goods and services was conducted through the banking system with checks, wire transfers, plastic cards and the like. All three countries experienced hyperinflation, which always has the same cause, regardless how it manifests itself. It boils down to a simple chain of events.A government spends too much, forcing it to borrow. Because governments have difficulties cutting back on spending when they have unlimited access to their central bank and no external discipline or constraints imposed on politicians’ aspirations to spend, eventually these borrowings become bigger than the market has the capacity or willingness to lend. The central bank then steps in to create the currency the government wants to spend, whether it is running a printing press in Zimbabwe or the computer in Argentina.Both examples are generally referred to as “printing money”, but now it is usually called “quantitative easing”. Maybe governments think that by giving it a name change, the process somehow becomes acceptable. Call it what you will, but it is the same thing and if not stopped, inevitably leads to hyperinflation. Given that the president and Congress don’t seem willing to change direction, and given their plans for more spending and more deficits, the US dollar is clearly on the path toward hyperinflation.IM: If so, what will the end of the US Dollar look like for the man on the street?JT: It will look like the Continental, America’s first currency, or the currencies of dozens of other countries that followed the same path. The dollar will be worth nothing. This outcome is particularly tragic because we failed to learn from the framers of the American Constitution. One of the reasons they aimed to create “a more perfect Union” was because of the economic hardships and dislocations caused by the collapse of the Continental. They purposefully created with the Constitution a common market and common currency. Their intent was made clear by one of the first acts of the new Congress, The Coinage Act, which George Washington signed into law in 1792. It was the law of the land until being ignored in the 20th century by politicians wanting to expand the scope of the federal government. To achieve that aim, they needed to spend money. But they could not do that with the dollar being tied to gold and silver.Precious metals cannot be created “out of thin air”, so they provide the necessary discipline on government spending. The US, and indeed, the entire world has abandoned that discipline and money is now created capriciously by central bankers.IM: For those who have followed the gold and silver commentaries for the last number of years, they will already know that you are exceptionally bullish on precious metals right now. However, in your mind, could something happen where the trend towards higher prices stalls for a while or potentially even reverses?JT: I assume you are asking about a major price reversal, and not just some temporary setback. In my view, only one thing would cause that. There would have to be a massive reduction in the quantity of dollars, and I don’t see any prospect for that. The Federal Reserve doesn’t seem intent on doing that given it has said it is committed to preventing deflation.Of course, at any moment in time the price of gold or silver can have a setback. That is the nature of bull markets. But don’t let these periodic corrections shake you out of the market. The key to successful investing is to accumulate assets when they are undervalued, and continue to hold them through periodic corrections. Only sell them when they become overvalued. It sounds easy, but can be hard to do in practice because people often get emotionally attached to assets, be it a house, a stock or gold.To eliminate the emotion, I always rely upon objective measures of value. Two that I use most frequently for gold and often write about are my Fear Index and my Gold Money Index. Both of these indicate that gold remains undervalued. But aside from these objective measures, I think there is also a good anecdotal one. I expect all fiat currencies to collapse. Consequently, you will not sell your gold when it becomes overvalued; you will spend it. In other words, gold will once again become currency, which is one of the goals we are working toward at GoldMoney. At that future time when gold becomes overvalued, you will take the gold you are now accumulating and spend it to invest in assets that are undervalued or spend it buying consumer goods. We are still far away from that moment.IM: What are your thoughts on possible confiscation from government or forced buy back of gold from its citizens, and is there some safety by owning precious metals with a service like GoldMoney?JT: The future of course cannot be predicted, but we nevertheless know that respect for private property is declining in many parts of the world. In the 20th century gold was confiscated by Lenin in Russia, Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy and Franklin Roosevelt in the US. So don’t assume that confiscations can’t happen in the 21st century. I always say to prepare for the worst, while hoping for the best. In this way you will still get by, even if by an unfortunate turn of events the worst possible outcome happens.Because the future is unknowable, it is impossible to determine the perfect strategy to take advantage of future events. The best we can do is to protect ourselves from wealth destroying future events, like confiscation. I believe the best way to do that is through diversification. In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, and GoldMoney can be helpful in diversifying your precious metals.When you buy physical gold and silver – and I only recommend physical metal, not any of the paper products purporting to offer physical metal – there are only two ways to do it. Buy it and store it yourself, or buy it and have someone store it for you, which is what GoldMoney offers.Each alternative has advantages and disadvantages. If you store gold yourself, you have it at hand, but run the risk of theft. Also, if you need to sell, it can be a bother to take your coins or bars to a dealer, who may then require them to be refined, which adds cost.With GoldMoney, you do not have your gold at hand, but it is stored for you in specialized vaults in London, Zurich and/or Hong Kong at your choice and is insured. You also have nearly instant liquidity. You can easily sell your metal back to GoldMoney. The proceeds are immediately wired to your bank account, which, depending on the time zone in which you live, may mean you receive the proceeds the same day. It is also convenient because all transactions are done online 24/7.GoldMoney BasicsInternational Man: You’ve referenced it a few times already, but, for those of our readers not yet familiar with GoldMoney.com, can you give us a really brief overview? James Turk: GoldMoney allows customers in 105 different countries to buy gold, silver, platinum and palladium online, and store these metals at secure vaults in London, Zurich and Hong Kong. Customers can conduct transactions in nine major currencies and also take physical delivery of their gold in the form of 100 gram and 1kg gold bars. Our governance procedures and regular audits provide assurances of integrity to our customers that their precious metals are being stored safely with us. IM: What prompted you to start GoldMoney in the first place? JT: The idea for GoldMoney came to me in 1979. I had been reading extensively, including many great works like Howard Buffett’s brilliant 1948 speech and dozens of books on money, particularly those of Ludwig von Mises and the Austrian school of economics. I re-read Atlas Shrugged and some of Ayn Rand’s other works. Another influential book from back then that comes to mind is The Market for Liberty. From these and other works I began to understand the importance of re-establishing gold’s role as currency. It was clear to me that human liberty and gold were inextricably interlinked because gold money controls government spending. When this spending has limits, so do government depredations. I wanted to live in a world where property rights were respected and the rule of law was followed, and naturally assumed other people shared that same aim, which meant that my idea for creating a technologically advanced gold money offered a profit opportunity. Of course the technology to make my vision possible was not available back then, nor did I think the technology would become available in my lifetime. Fortunately, the rapid advances in communications and computers over the next twenty years eventually made GoldMoney possible. My son and I formed GoldMoney in the late 1990s, which we launched in early 2001. I have not lost sight of my original vision and the important outcome that can be achieved by enabling gold to circulate once again as currency. IM: What makes GoldMoney different from some of the other options out there? JT: Buying allocated physical bullion, as facilitated by GoldMoney, guarantees you hold and own the metal in your name. Our stringent governance procedures and regular audits provide our customers with assurances that their metals are safe and that they are the undisputed owners. The freedom and ease of accessing the global precious metals markets online, 24 hours a day, and the variety of metals, storage facilities and accepted currencies offer a high level of comfort and diversification. This makes GoldMoney a uniquely secure and convenient precious metals provider. IM: Can you briefly take us through the process of signing up for an account? JT: People with residency in the US, Canada and 42 other countries are eligible for fast tracking – meaning they can sign up for what we call a Basic Holding quickly and easily online by clicking on the “Free Sign Up” button on our website GoldMoney.com. The entire process takes only a few minutes and customers can start funding their Holding in order to purchase metals immediately. Customers can upgrade to a Full Holding free of charge at any time. IM: In your mind, what is the single greatest reason someone signs up for a GoldMoney account – for speculating on the price of the metal, for savings, as a way to internationalize, something else? JT: People may of course have different reasons for opening a Holding. But I always say that precious metals should be thought of as your savings rather than as something that you “invest” in or speculate on. After all, an ounce of gold today is exactly the same as an ounce of gold 50 years ago. Like a quart, ton or meter, it is a consistent measuring stick. What changes is the value of currency in relation to that ounce of gold. Over time, the purchasing power of gold is preserved – in contrast to fiat currencies, where your purchasing power declines. More and more people are realizing this, and come to the conclusion that it makes sense to hold gold and other precious metals rather than national currencies, particularly now because one hardly earns any interest income with today’s artificially low interest rates. As precious metals regain mass acceptance as a medium of exchange and store of value, those who have been steadily accumulating them will recognise the benefits.Gold Money ChallengesIM: What are the challenges with running a company like GoldMoney? JT: There are of course many, just like there are in any company. But as we face and overcome these challenges, we always have one objective in mind, which is to serve our customers’ best interests. One of the many things I learned from Von Mises is that the “Customer is King”, which is a guiding principle always foremost in our minds and actions. In short, companies are built by serving their customers’ best interests efficiently and continuously. IM: Over the past year, I’ve heard some of the announcements that GoldMoney has had to suspend or even shut down operations in various jurisdictions such as the Netherlands. Is this something you feel can be rectified so that you can enter such markets again? If so, how? JT: This is unique to the Netherlands, owing to the unusual burdens placed on us by the Dutch regulators, the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM). The AFM has the view that precious metals are included within the concept of “investment objects” which are to be regulated by the AFM. We are of the opinion that Netherlands’ regulation is not applicable to GoldMoney because we operate in Jersey, British Channel Islands, rather than within the Netherlands – but we have been unsuccessful in changing the AFM’s view. As we do not want to subject ourselves, and by extension our customers, to unnecessary and unpredictable regulatory requirements, we reached the difficult conclusion that the only way to resolve this situation was to cease all business with individuals resident in the Netherlands. We do have every intention of accepting business from Dutch residents again in the future should the regulatory environment there change. IM: I have an associate who has a GoldMoney account and his wife has another. For a while, he would regularly transfer goldgrams to her without issue. As of the beginning of the year, that particular function has been suspended. Can you tell us why that happened and whether that particular benefit of your service will be implemented again? JT: Our decision to turn off the facility to transfer metals between GoldMoney customers in all countries except Jersey is based on lack of customer demand and increasing regulatory burdens. It is our intention to offer this service again in the future, which will depend on customer feedback and regulatory changes. IM: If a company like GoldMoney can’t use gold as money because of legislative and regulatory burdens, what does this say about any other competing currency? JT: Governments today seem to think that they should enjoy monopoly control of money and currency, even though both are products of the market just like any other good or service. Consequently, all free-market currencies will have a difficult time in gaining a foothold against national currencies. But because national currencies are losing purchasing power rapidly, it is inevitable that gold will once again return to its traditional and rightful role at the center of global commerce. After all, gold has been money for 5000 years, and it still preserves purchasing power better than any national currency, which for 40 years now have been backed by nothing. But the growing financial and monetary problems today make clear that this 40-year experiment with fiat currency is going badly. This result is inevitable, as proven by the dozens of other attempts throughout history to make fiat currency work through central planning and control. Eventually gold returns to center stage as the dominant money and currency in global commerce, and I suspect that this time will be no different given that the future of fiat currency is looking increasingly doubtful.Protecting GoldMoney ClientsIM: What safeguards has GoldMoney established to ensure that the person who buys physical metal is protected if the business happens to fail? Would they lose their assets? JT: Although this is an extreme unlikely scenario, customers will receive their physical metal in any of the gold, silver, platinum and palladium bars we offer, provided they have a balance greater than one bar. This includes the London Good Delivery Bars, as well as the 100 gram and 1 kilogram gold bars. Alternatively, customers can receive the equivalent value of their metals in one of the 9 national currencies we offer. A court appointed liquidator would complete this winding-up process. IM: How does GoldMoney ensure that the goldgram amount is actually in the client’s account? Couldn’t it all be just a game of numbers? JT: The quantity of metals allocated to customers’ Holdings that is recorded in GoldMoney’s database is equal to the amount of metal that is being stored in the vaults at all times. This one-to-one ratio is always maintained and forms a key part of our governance model. 100% customer ownership is assured by top-quality independent third-party reports and audits from the vault operators, Inspectorate – a commodity testing and inspection firm – and by regular audits by a big-4 accounting firm. GoldMoney is simply a guardian of its customers’ assets. IM: When someone buys metal from GoldMoney, are they officially an owner of their holdings or simply another creditor to the company itself? JT: Customers who own precious metals with GoldMoney own it in the form of allocated physical metal. This means that they are direct owners of their metals, and that GoldMoney does not have any claim on its customers’ assets. Customers’ metals do not appear on GoldMoney’s balance sheet, meaning that our customers do not have any counterparty risk.Common QuestionsInternational Man: What are some of the more common reasons people say they don’t want to use GoldMoney? James Turk: Some people prefer to have their gold and silver in their hands. They want to be able to touch and feel it. Given all that’s gone in the financial world over the last few years, and with the MF Global debacle still fresh in people’s minds, this is understandable. But there are real risks to storing large quantities of metal at home. It is therefore natural that people would look to store their metal in other ways and other countries, and this is where GoldMoney can help. GoldMoney’s governance and audit procedures are rigorous and stringent and the Certificates & Reports are available for review on our website. With regards to storing metals at home or some other private location, GoldMoney can help customers by supplying physical metal, as we deliver 100-gram and 1-kilo gold bars produced by Baird & Co. of London to our customers’ home address. The main risk of storing metals at home is burglary, and liquidity and geographical diversification are limited. IM: What would you say to someone who would be a bit nervous buying “paper” / “promise to pay” gold through GoldMoney? JT: GoldMoney does not sell any “paper gold“. It only sells physical metal, which is always what I recommend owning. “Paper gold” offers exposure to the gold price, but that is all. The buyer does not own gold, but rather a claim to gold. Futures, options, ETFs and gold certificates are examples of paper-gold products, and they all have counterparty risk. None of these items give you the guaranteed 100% ownership of allocated gold that you have when transacting with GoldMoney. Because all customers’ metals within GoldMoney are stored in vaults, and because we deal exclusively in the physical bullion markets with a variety of dealers, there will always be bidders for customers who wish to sell, and sellers for those customers eager to buy. Bringing supply and demand into equilibrium is what the price discovery process is all about. Therefore, GoldMoney will always be able to honor your sell or buy order in a prompt manner.Logistical QuestionsIM: What are the options available to customers for taking delivery of their gold? JT: Customers can take physical delivery of their gold at any time in the form of 100 gram and 1 kilogram bars. These bars, which have a purity of 99.99%, are refined by Baird & Co. Ltd. in London and shipped to our customers’ home address by insured mail. The customer places the delivery order online through their Holding, and we will automatically process it. We can also arrange the delivery of 400oz Good Delivery Bars. If you wish to diversify your metals and move your metal balance in your Holding partly or entirely for storage in a different country, you also have the option to do that when logged into your Holding. IM: Where are the holdings stored? JT: Customers can store their gold and silver at VIA MAT vaults in London, Zurich and Hong Kong. You can also store gold and silver at a G4S vault in Hong Kong. Platinum is stored by VIA MAT in Zurich and Hong Kong, and the same company also stores palladium in Hong Kong. IM: Which are the most popular of these companies to store holdings? JT: The largest holdings are at VIA MATs gold and silver vaults in London and Zurich.MiscellaneousIM: Do you have any merchants that currently allow you to purchase items with GoldMoney? JT: Currently there are no merchants that accept GoldMoney because we have turned-off the payment capability to customers in all countries except Jersey, where we are based. IM: What is currently the breakdown among your client base in terms of allocations between gold, silver, platinum and palladium? What metal the most popular? JT: With the launch of GoldMoney in 2001 we offered gold only and introduced silver in 2006. Platinum followed in 2009 and Palladium in January 2011. Given gold’s long established bona fides as money, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that most of our customers’ metals in terms of US dollars are held in gold. However, silver is a close second to gold in terms of total USD value. Platinum and palladium holdings with us are smaller, though the popularity of these metals is likely to grow. The amount of metals and currencies held on behalf of our customers are disclosed in the monthly report on our website. IM: What is the average size of account in GoldMoney? JT: It has been growing since inception, and is presently $103,000. However, the median account size is only about $10,000. There is no minimum or maximum amount you can purchase and hold, so we have a wide range of customers from small to large. IM: For those who want to find out more, what’s the best way? JT: Our website www.goldmoney.com offers detailed information about our services and governance procedures. We also have a Research section that provides background information on the precious metal markets. The Frequently Asked Questions section offers guidance for new and prospective customers and our customer support team is always happy to answer any questions – by phone, email or through our secure internal message system. IM: Sir, it was a pleasure. Thank you.JT: Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you as well.[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

Disabled people who died in the Grenfell Tower tra

first_imgDisabled people who died in the Grenfell Tower tragedy had their human rights breached by public bodies that failed to plan how they would evacuate their homes in the event of a fire, a report by the equality and human rights watchdog has concluded.The Equality and Human RightsCommission (EHRC) report says the safety of wheelchair-users and other disabled and older people wasoverlooked when they were housed on the top floors of the high-rise building.It says thatdisabled people and other residents of Grenfell Tower and other nearby housingexperienced a series of breaches of their human rights before the fire,including through the failure to ban the combustible cladding that was wrappedaround the building, or at least strengthen rules for its use.But it alsosays that disabled people’s rights were repeatedly breached in the days andmonths after the fire.Disabledpeople, children, migrants and older people were among the 72 people who diedin the Grenfell Tower fire that began in the early hours of 14 June 2017, inhomes managed by the state in west London. The EHRCresearch, carried out with the social policy think-tank Raceon the Agenda,suggests that the right to life of disabled people, older people and familieswith children was not properly considered in fire safety arrangements, with“particular concerns” about the lack of appropriate planning for evacuatingdisabled people and other residents.There isalso evidence that the safety notice given to Grenfell residents was onlyavailable in English, a language not spoken by many of them.The report alsohighlights a continued lack of support after the fire, amounting to inhuman anddegrading treatment, particularly in “the inconsistent, and sometimes absent,immediate and long-term support such as medical treatment, counselling, mentalhealth care and adequate housing”.The reportsuggests there were breaches of the right to life; the right to safe, adequatehousing; and the right to freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment;while disabled people and other groups also faced discrimination in how theywere treated after the tragedy.The reportsays: “The fact that people with limited mobility were living high up inGrenfell Tower, and faced greater difficulties escaping the fire, raisesimportant questions about discrimination against certain groups, accessibilitystandards, and whether authorities assessed the impact on disabled people ofallocating housing in Grenfell Tower.”The reportincludes a series of examples of how disabled people had their rights breachedin the days, weeks and months after the fire.One disabledwoman, who had been left traumatised by losing five members of her family inthe fire, had her out-of-work disability benefits cut after being assessed by agovernment contractor just five days later. The woman,who lost her brother, his wife, and their three children in the fire, had beenassessed for her fitness for work on 19 June 2017, five days after the fire.Her husband,her full-time carer, told researchers that when they told the healthcareprofessional carrying out the work capability assessment that she had lost herfive relatives in the fire, “she didn’t care” and “didn’t consider thesuffering” that his wife had been through.His wife hadpreviously been in the support group for employment and support allowance, forthose not expected to carry out any work-related activity, but after theassessment she was placed by the Department for Work and Pensions in thework-related activity group.The report’sresearchers were told that she had since been told to attend a work trainingscheme, even though her health had worsened since the fire.One disabledolder person, who lives on the 14th floor of a block of flats nearGrenfell Tower, told the researchers that he told his children “every day” thatif there was a similar fire to the one that devastated Grenfell, they shouldleave him to struggle down the stairs on his own.He said:“There are five floors above me… So, if I go down and I stop in the middle, thepeople behind me will not be able to pass. So, we discussed all these issues.”The reportfound that none of the local residents they had spoken to who had been forcedto leave their homes after the fire had accepted permanent accommodation, butsome said they had felt pressured to return home or take unsuitable offers.One wheelchair-userwas pressured to accept the offer of a permanent flat, even though it was notwheelchair-accessible and she could not access some of the rooms.She wastold: “Oh don’t worry, we’ll get a carer in to look after you, help you outwith the kids.”She was thentold that if she did not agree to move into the flat, she would be viewed asmaking herself intentionally homeless.The reportalso describes a wheelchair-user with young children – believed to be the samewoman – who was left in emergency housing with just one room and no cookingfacilities and had to visit the local swimming pool if she wanted a shower.The report, GrenfellResidents’ Access to Public Services and Support – part of the commission’sFollowing Grenfell project – describes the lived experience of people who hadbeen “displaced, traumatised and distressed” by the fire.It shows the“ongoing difficulties and uncertainty they have faced in accessing a range ofadvice and support services such as housing, immigration, welfare support andhealthcare”.Among itsconclusions, the report says: “There was poor recognition of additional needsand reasonable adjustments when making housing decisions, particularly fordisabled people, older people, women and Muslim families. “Residentsdescribed the dire state of both emergency and temporary accommodation whenbeing rehoused, posing a threat to their physical and mental health.”EHRC’sFollowing Grenfell project aims to influence the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, otherpublic bodies and the public about the equality and human rights issues raisedby the fire and its aftermath.David Isaac,EHRC’s chair, said: “Everyone has the right to life and the right to safe,adequate housing, but the residents of Grenfell Tower were tragically let downby public bodies that had a duty to protect them.“It is our hope that the Grenfell Inquiry finds this information relevant and useful as they continue with their work, but we also need to see action taken by public bodies so we never see a repeat of this tragedy.”Picture: Close-up of Grenfell Tower with banners in June 2018 (c) by Carcharoth is licensed under Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 4.0 International A 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…last_img read more

Cannabis Industry Likely to Employ More Than 400000 By 2021 Study Projects

first_img Easy Search. Quality Finds. Your partner and digital portal for the cannabis community. Cannabis Industry Likely to Employ More Than 400,000 By 2021, Study Projects Next Article Guest Writer Cannabis The federal government shows few signs it will legalize one of the biggest job producers in the country. dispensaries.com Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Listen Now Image credit: Heath Korvola | Getty Images Green Entrepreneur Podcast –shares When it comes to projections, no sector of the economy currently has a rosier outlook than the marijuana industry.The latest report from ArcView Market Research demonstrates how big the numbers are getting. The name of the report neatly sums up the optimism of its findings: “U.S. Legal Cannabis: Driving $40 Billion Economic Output.”No one is questioning the potential for growth in the industry. Entrepreneurs have flocked to cannabis because of that potential. But there are headwinds, mostly involving an anti-marijuana U.S. attorney general, a White House administration that has largely stayed quiet on the issue and difficulties getting marijuana markets set up in some places even where voters have approved it.Still, in a release on the new report, ArcView CEO Troy Drayton said the economic potential of legal cannabis “is no longer just theory. Due to the giant impact adult-use legalization is already having in the United States, it’s vital for key stakeholders to understand the full impact of legalization, beyond just retail sales numbers.”So, what did the report find that impact would be?Related: Despite Being Illegal Under Federal Law, Cannabis Has Grown Into a $9 Billion Industry In States Where It Is Legal.California ImpactThe report was done against this backdrop: More than half of all U.S. states have approved a legal medical marijuana market, with adult-use marijuana sales are in place in Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.California also started adult-use sales in January. Massachusetts is expected to start later this year. Lawmakers in Maine are still trying to work out a deal to get their adult-use market up and running, while New Jersey’s new Democrat governor has pledged to legalize marijuana in the Garden State.But California is the driver behind many positive projections. The biggest state in the union, California is expected to add billions to the marijuana market in the U.S.ArcView, which did the study with cannabis business intelligence company BDS Analytics, projects the marijuana industry in the U.S. will account for $39.6 billion in economic output by 2021. About 60 percent of that will come from just six states: California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.The Golden State also is projected as a huge factor in another area: cannabis jobs.Related: Study Suggests Legal Pot Would Make Border Safer Than a Massive WallCannabis WorkersThe report projects that the California cannabis industry will add 99,000 jobs by 2021, about a third of all the cannabis-related jobs in the U.S.  Indirect jobs related to the cannabis industry will total about 146,000 in the state.Other projections and findings from the report:The cannabis industry will create 414,000 jobs across the country by 2021, either directly in the cannabis industry or in a related job.State and local governments are projected to reap $4 billion in total tax receipts from the marijuana industry by 2021.The report argues that the legal recreational marijuana industry in Colorado may have led to the state having one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.The total amount of taxes taken in by states where cannabis is legal reached $1 billion in 2016, including wholesale, excise and cannabis-specific sales taxes.Clearly, those numbers are a business person’s dream (government officials, too). The growing economic power of the legal marijuana industry might be the one thing that keeps it from coming under attack by the current administration in Washington.To stay up to date on the latest marijuana related news make sure to like dispensaries.com on Facebook February 15, 2018 3 min read Each week hear inspiring stories of business owners who have taken the cannabis challenge and are now navigating the exciting but unpredictable Green Rush. Add to Queuelast_img read more

We Didnt Put a Woman in the White House But What About

first_img Add to Queue For her new book, ‘Earning It,’ a WSJ journalist talked to 50-plus female corporate trailblazers about the experiences they had on their way up. Next Article We Didn’t Put a Woman in the White House. But What About Women in the Workplace? Image credit: Harper Collins Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. –shares Women Leaders Joann S. Lublincenter_img November 9, 2016 9 min read Editor’s Note: On this day following the presidential election of 2016, many Americans are just starting to parse the pro and con messages about women that emerged from the two campaigns: One, the glass ceiling didn’t get broken, after all. And, two, how are women (and their men supporters) to think about the misogynistic talk that occurred in this election?Related: Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In 2.0 and Corporate Gender BiasGiven that reality, it’s perhaps especially appropriate today to feature an excerpt from the new book Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World, by Joann S. Lublin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and management news editor for The Wall Street Journal. Among the first female reporters at The Journal, Lublin faced uphill battles in her career, to become deputy bureau chief of the newspaper’s important London bureau, the first time it had been run by a woman. For her book, Lublin interviewed more than 50 women who had reached the highest rungs of the corporate ladder — across a diversity of industries, including retail, manufacturing, finance, high technology, publishing, advertising, automotive and pharmaceutical.Here is an excerpt from the chapter “Male Mentors Mean Business,” applicable to women in all workplaces, large or small . . .Countless women have seen their careers soar, thanks to help from a powerful senior executive. But some women paid a price for their close relationship with a male mentor. One such woman was Melissa Dyrdahl, the [former] chief executive of Ella Health, a health care start-up for women. She saw her career take off after Bruce R. Chizen, a former boss, hired her in 1994 to join Adobe Systems, the software maker, as a senior marketing manager. The two had developed a strong rapport at Claris, their former employer, and Dyrdahl assisted him in running a small new division of Adobe.“He knew exactly what he was getting from an employee standpoint,” Dyrdahl remembered. Chizen became her unofficial career coach at Adobe, offering insights about ways to excel in the male-dominated technology industry. Having a boss as a mentor helped Dyrdahl to get the respect she felt that she deserved, she said when we spoke. She saw that when professional challenges arose, Chizen and other senior Adobe men “always came in with an answer.”Because the two knew each other so well, “I’m brutally honest with her,” Chizen said in a Wall Street Journal article that I wrote about executive mentors. He also acted as Dyrdahl’s sponsor, an influential individual who opens the door of a promotion elevator and pushes a protégé through. During his climb to top management at Adobe, he brought along Dyrdahl and other valued mem-bers of his team. “I had someone who was highly respected, a more senior leader, making sure my name got put on the table,” Dyrdahl told me. With Chizen’s support, Adobe appointed her global vice president of marketing in 1998 and then advanced her to a senior vice presidency before elevating Chizen from president to CEO in late 2000. Once they both had reached the executive suite, Chizen and Dyrdahl occasionally drove to and from Adobe headquarters in San Jose together because they and their spouses lived near each other in suburban Los Altos. “We socialized together,” Dyrdahl recalled. “I know his kids. My husband has remodeled their house.” But as a result of these ties, the two high-profile executives encountered unexpected repercussions. One day, a human resources staffer at Adobe who was friends with Chizen and Dyrdahl strode into her office. “I just need to tell you, because nobody is going to tell you,” she said. “There’s people who think there’s something going on with you and Bruce.”The office gossip shocked Dyrdahl. Her jaw dropped, and “I was reeling,” she recollected. It suddenly dawned on her that she and Chizen now occupied a much more visible stage at the office. She quickly assured the human resources staffer that their relation-ship was purely professional. “I don’t want people to think I slept my way to the top,” Dyrdahl told her HR colleague.Driving home with Chizen soon after, Dyrdahl told him that coworkers wrongly perceived him as being something more than her supervisor and mentor. “They are only going to think badly of me,” she said. “Lots of things that we take for granted and we don’t think twice about, I can’t do anymore.”Chizen understood and accepted dramatic adjustments. They stopped driving together or going out for drinks unless a third person was present. “[I] never sat next to him in a meeting again,” Dyrdahl said. “I told him, ‘Unless there is no other chair, do not sit next to me.’”Even today, suspicions about an illicit affair sometimes arise when a male executive mentors or sponsors a female subordi-nate. For this reason, most senior-level men hesitate “to have one-on-one contact with a potential protégé who happened to be a younger woman,” said Sylvia Ann Hewlett in her 2013 book, (Forget a Mentor) Find a Sponsor: The New Way to Fast-Track Your Career. Her observations reflected research by the Center for Talent Innovation, a New York think tank that she heads and that studies issues in the workplace.This reluctance, Hewlett wrote, explains “why men are so much more likely to sponsor other men, inadvertently perpetuating the old boys’ club.” A 2010 study by her think tank found that men are 46 percent more likely to have sponsors than women. “Up-and-coming females tend to conclude that sponsorship, sexually fraught as it might be, is something they don’t actually need,” she said in her book.Hewlett considers that a dangerous assumption. Mentors build a woman’s self-esteem and serve as an empathetic sounding board, but sponsors expend valuable chips on a woman’s behalf and provide air cover so she can take risks. “Sponsors, not mentors, put you on the path to power and influence by affecting three things: pay raises, high-profile assignments, and promotions,” she wrote.Other researchers support Hewlett’s argument. More than half of senior executive women said having a higher-level sponsor is extremely important, yet women have less access to senior male staffers who could assist with their careers, concluded a 2015 study by LeanIn.Org, founded by Sheryl Sandberg, and McKinsey. The research tracked women’s progress at 118 North American companies. A handful of corporate programs designate workplace advocates for managerial women. At least nine big businesses have set up sponsorship initiatives that match promising female leaders with sponsors or teach such women how to attract a sponsor, I wrote in an advice column on careers published on WSJ.com in 2011. American Express Co., for example, launched its “Pathways to Sponsorship” program that year for twenty-one female senior vice presidents at the major financial services company. By the end of 2014, 25 percent of those initial participants had been promoted and 45 percent had made strategic lateral moves, an American Express spokeswoman told me. The company has also expanded its sponsorship effort to cover a wider range of managerial levels.Yet formal mentoring and sponsorship programs remain far out of reach for most professional women. Only 30 percent of all American professionals have access to such programs, and there is a smaller proportion of women than men within that group, according to a 2014 survey of 1,005 adults by Edward Jones, a financial services firm. Just 18 percent of the women allowed to participate in these programs actually do, the poll showed, compared with 21 percent of the men.Men on Women’s SideMale mentors and sponsors played crucial parts in the careers of numerous corporate executives I interviewed. “At the end of the day, men still hold most of the power,” suggested Sandra “Sandi” Peterson, the group worldwide chairman of Johnson & Johnson. “So you better have male mentors.”But as is evident from Dyrdahl’s experience, women must make sure that their relationships with higher-level men don’t raise eyebrows among coworkers. To further refute false rumors about any romantic entanglement with Chizen, she stopped her habit of flying alone with him on commercial flights for business travel.In Dyrdahl’s view, things haven’t improved for women since she left Adobe in late 2006. These days, she encourages women to take steps that clarify their ties with a male mentor so the relationship cannot be misconstrued by colleagues. “You give up your power when you wittingly or unwittingly put yourself in situations where people perceive you as having an affair and getting something because of your sex,” she pointed out. “I felt I had to work twice as hard because I was blond and attractive.”Related: For Women in Tech, Bias Runs Deeper Than Most Think Management News Editor, The Wall Street Journal Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now »last_img read more

Determining how hearts develop to better understand congenital heart defects

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 14 2018To understand cardiovascular failures, the leading cause of birth defect-related deaths in infants, UH professor of biomedical engineering Kirill Larin is teaming up with Baylor College of Medicine professor of cellular and molecular physiology Irina Larina on a chicken and egg hunt.”When the heart develops, it becomes stiffer as required for ability to contract and pump blood,” said Larin. “So the question is – does it become stiff because it’s contracting, or is it stiff to begin with because it is genetically predefined?”Surprisingly, very little is known about an embryo’s developing heart.”Defining how these mechanical factors integrate with genetic pathways and heart function is critically important for understanding congenital heart defects and heart failure,” said Larin. Such information is required to develop new strategies for therapeutic interventions of heart defects.Related StoriesCancer incidence among children and young adults with congenital heart diseaseRNA-binding protein SRSF3 appears to be key factor for proper heart contraction, survivalSmoking triples the risk of death from cardiovascular diseaseWhile multiple studies suggest that cardiac contraction, blood flow and stiffness each influence cardiovascular development of the heart, their individual roles remain unknown. The team’s project, defining the roles of cardiac contraction and flow-induced shear stress in regulating mechanical stiffness, is part of a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.It is well established that biomechanical stimuli are important regulators of proper cardiovascular development. The research team will get a bird’s eye view, watching the heart develop in utero using optical coherence tomography (OCT), a noninvasive high-resolution retina imaging technology that uses light waves to take cross-section pictures. Larin is a pioneer of using OCT to image portions of the body without touching or making a cut. He describes the method as “frontier technology,” and is using it in his other work to assess if heart medicine is working and scar tissue is healing immediately following a heart attack.Larin is developing the data processing methods and the imaging tools which will deliver 3D images and will be “super-fast to catch the cardiac cycle and all the activity as the heart forms,” he said.”One out of every 100 babies in the United States has a congenital heart defect leading to death,” said Larina. “Understanding biomechanical regulation of heart development is highly important for better management of congenital heart defects.”The project fills a significant gap in the field of early mammalian cardiac development and defines the role of cardiac forces in maintaining mechanical stiffness and cell differentiation.Source: http://www.uh.edu/news-events/stories/2018/november-2018/111318-heart-defects-oct-larin.phplast_img read more

Study of infrequent cannabis users compares adverse effects of vaping and smoking

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 4 2018In a small study of infrequent cannabis users, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers have shown that, compared with smoking cannabis, vaping it increased the rate of short-term anxiety, paranoia, memory loss and distraction when doses were the same.The findings of the new study, described in the Nov. 30 edition of JAMA Network Open, highlight the importance of dose considerations with the perception that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking cannabis, the researchers say. And they ask regulators of medical and recreational cannabis dispensaries to take note.Vaping devices heat cannabis to a temperature in which the mind-altering compounds in the plant are released as a vapor that is inhaled. Vaping is thought to be safer for cannabis and tobacco use because it doesn’t produce many of the harmful components of burning material such as tar and other cancer-causing agents.But, the researchers say, their study suggests that at least for first-timers or others who don’t use cannabis regularly, vaping delivers greater amounts of THC, the primary intoxicant in cannabis, which increases the likelihood of adverse reactions.”In light of increased legalization of cannabis, we designed our study to be more representative of the general population’s exposure to cannabis, namely someone who has never smoked it and wants to try it for medical or recreational purposes, or someone who does not use it regularly enough to understand or predict its effects,” says Ryan Vandrey, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “What our study suggests is that some people who use cannabis infrequently need to be careful about how much cannabis they use with a vaporizer, and they should not drive, even within several hours after use. It could be dangerous for themselves and others, and on top of that, they may experience negative effects such as anxiety, nausea, vomiting and even hallucinations,” he adds.For their study, the researchers chose 17 volunteer participants (nine men and eight women, average age 27 years), who hadn’t used cannabis in the past 30 days, which was verified by a drug screen, and together on average hadn’t used in over a year.In a controlled setting at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center’s behavioral pharmacology research unit, each participant either smoked or vaped cannabis containing 0, 10 or 25 milligrams of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active component in cannabis that gives people the high, in single visits once a week over six weeks. The researchers say that 25 milligrams of THC is a relatively low dose, and much less than is typically found in pre-rolled cannabis “joints” sold in dispensaries where cannabis is legal. The participants either smoked preloaded pipes or inhaled vapor from a vaporizer. Neither the participants nor the researchers knew the doses of THC that were delivered in a given experimental test session.During each of the six sessions, the research team observed and assessed drug effects in the test subjects, including for adverse reactions. They also measured vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure and collected blood samples just after smoking, every 30 minutes for two hours and then every hour for eight hours.Each participant also completed the Drug Effect Questionnaire–rating self-reported drug effects out of a score of 100–shortly after smoking and each hour for up to eight hours later. The survey assessed overall drug effect; feeling sick, anxious, hungry, sleepy and restless; and experiencing heart racing, dry mouth, dry eyes, memory impairment and coughing.Results showed that a few minutes after smoking, those who vaped the 25-milligram THC dosage reported an average of 77.5 on the overall strength of the drug’s effect, meaning how high they felt compared with the average score of 66.4 reported by those who smoked the same dose. Participants who vaped 25 milligrams of THC reported about a 7 percent higher score on average for anxiety and paranoia, compared with people who smoked the same amount of the compound. Those who vaped any dose of THC also reported higher levels of dry mouth and dry eyes than those who smoked it. For example, when vaping 25 milligrams of THC, the participants rated dry mouth at 67.1 on average compared with 42.6 for those smoking it.Related StoriesNew study shows clear link between cannabis use and brain alterationsStudy: Less than 50% of U.S. adults exposed to court-ordered anti-smoking advertisementsCannabis use during pregnancy may cause premature birthResearchers say the participants also completed three computerized tasks designed to measure attention span, memory, physical reaction time and motor movement. One task required the participant to replicate the shape of patterns, another required them to add up strings of single-digit numbers and the third required them to follow a dot across the screen with the cursor while also tracking a dot that pops up in the periphery.The tests are meant to represent skills needed for proper workplace performance, operating a car or other daily activities. Reaction times on average were slower by more than 120 milliseconds with both active test doses of THC, using either smoking or vaping, when compared with reaction time after smoking or vaping cannabis without any THC.Next, the researchers compared the effects of vaping compared with smoking on participants taking the computerized Divided Attention Task, which required participants to track a square on the computer screen while also monitoring numbers in each corner of the screen. The amount of time participants accurately tracked the square on the computer in the Divided Attention Task dropped by an average of 170 percent after smoking 25 milligrams of THC compared with the cannabis without THC.The amount of time they accurately tracked fell an average of 350 percent when vaping 10 milligrams of THC and fell 500 percent when vaping 25 milligrams of THC, compared with those smoking either dose.”Our participants had substantially higher impairment on the tasks when vaping versus smoking the same dose, which in the real world translates to more functional impairment when driving or performing everyday tasks,” says postdoctoral fellow Tory Spindle, Ph.D., a researcher in the behavioral pharmacology research unit at Johns Hopkins Bayview.Other results showed that blood levels of THC were at their highest immediately after smoking or vaping cannabis. At 10 milligrams of THC, blood levels of THC reached an average of 7.5 nanograms per milliliter in vapers, compared with 3.8 nanograms per milliliter in smokers 10 minutes after they inhaled the drug. At 25 milligrams of THC, blood levels reached an average of 14.4 nanograms per milliliter when vaped compared with 10.2 nanograms per milliliter when smoked.”There’s a definite differences in the amount of drug making it into the blood when using a vaporizer versus smoking the drug, so considerations need to be made when dosing to ensure people are using cannabis safely,” says Spindle.The researchers note that they could only detect THC in the blood samples up to four hours after using, even though the participants reported the drug’s effects lasted five or six hours. The researchers say this suggests that blood testing isn’t an accurate way to tell if someone is high or perhaps driving under the influence.Two participants vomited after vaping 25 milligrams of THC, and another experienced hallucinations. One person vomited after smoking 25 milligrams of THC.Vandrey cautions that the study involved only a small number of younger adults and lasted only six weeks. “We still don’t have a full look at the long-term effects of vaping, such as whether there is a risk for chronic bronchitis, and more work needs to be done on that front,” he says. It is important to note that these effects were observed in individuals who don’t use cannabis very often, and may not extend to people who use cannabis routinely; they may have developed tolerance to these effects and also may be better able to regulate their dose.In recent years, Canada and several U.S. states including Washington, California, Colorado and Massachusetts have legalized cannabis for recreational use. Thirty-two states have made cannabis available with a doctor’s prescription, including Maryland, where the research was performed.Source: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/newsroom/news-releases/vaping-cannabis-produces-stronger-effects-than-smoking-cannabis-for-infrequent-userslast_img read more

Researchers find more effective way to treat drugresistant cancers

first_imgMuch of the research led by CD4 director Pia Vogel and Wise is centered on a class of proteins called ABC transporters, a key factor in why many cancers resist chemotherapy.”These transporters are defensive proteins and are normally very, very good for us. They protect us from toxic chemicals by literally pumping them out of the cell, almost like a sump pump removes water from one’s cellar,” Vogel said.But when someone has cancer, these proteins do more harm than good.”One protein, P-glycoprotein, can pump nearly all chemotherapeutics out of the cancer cell, thereby making the cancer resistant to many drugs and untreatable,” Wise noted.For this reason, SMU researchers tested the combination of using an inhibitor that temporarily shuts down P-glycoprotein’s ability to remove drugs from the cancer cells along with chemotherapeutics on prostate cancer cells grown in the lab, which have been shown to be resistant to multiple chemotherapeutic drugs.Related StoriesLiving with advanced breast cancerVirus killing protein could be the real antiviral hero finds studyNew study to ease plight of patients with advanced cancerThe SMU team was able to show that if inhibitors of P-glycoprotein are used during and after the multidrug resistant cancer cells have been exposed to the chemotherapy drugs, then the cancer cells become much more sensitive to the chemotherapeutics.The recipe for success was giving cancer cells a dose of both chemotherapy drugs and the P-gp inhibitor for just two hours. Researchers then washed the prostate cancer cells to get rid of any residual chemotherapy drugs before giving the cells another dose of just P-gp inhibitor for 22 hours, lead author and SMU Ph.D. doctoral candidate Amila K. Nanayakkara explained.Prostate cancer cells that were given this treatment were shown to retain chemotherapy drugs at a much higher level compared to cancer cells not treated with the P-glycoprotein inhibitor. After about 24 hours, much fewer of these cancer cells survived in this treatment compared to the cells which had not seen the inhibitor.When the same tests were performed on normal noncancerous cells, “there was no sign of extra toxicity to the healthy cells using this method,” Wise added.One issue, though, is how to duplicate this method in a patient’s body. “Once you’ve taken a chemotherapy drug, it’s not easy to remove it after just two hours,” said co-author Vogel, a professor in the SMU Department of Biological Sciences.Still, the researchers argued that it is worth further research, because there are currently few options for cancer patients once their disease becomes resistant to multiple chemotherapies.”Our paper shows these remarkable effects when the inhibitor is present during, and importantly, after exposure to chemotherapeutic,” Wise said. “And while ‘washing’ is not feasible in humans, the kidneys and other organs are in a sense doing the washing step for a patient. These organs are washing the chemotherapy from the bloodstream and therefore, out of cancer cells. So in that way, we think our preliminary cell culture studies may be translatable at least in principle to animals and people.” Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 10 2019Researchers at SMU’s Center for Drug Discovery, Design and Delivery (CD4) have succeeded in lab testing the use of chemotherapy with a specific protein inhibitor so that the chemotherapeutic is better absorbed by drug-resistant cancer cells without harming healthy cells. The approach could pave the way for a more effective way to treat cancers that are resistant to treatment.A mix of drugs is frequently used to shrink cancer tumors or keep tumor cells from spreading to other parts of the body. But chemotherapy is so toxic that the mix often kills healthy cells, too, causing dreadful side effects for cancer patients. And eventually, many cancers learn how to resist chemotherapy, making it less effective over time. When multidrug resistance evolves, this leaves the patient with a very poor prognosis for survival and the oncologist with few, if any, effective tools, such as chemotherapy medicines, to treat what is very likely an aggressive and/or metastatic cancer at this point.”John Wise, associate professor in the SMU Department of Biological Sciences and co-author of a study on the findings published in PLOS ONEcenter_img Source:Southern Methodist Universitylast_img read more

Kerala government raises cap on direct purchases from startups to ₹20 lakh

first_imgCOMMENTS Kerala September 19, 2018 COMMENT Saji Gopinath, CEO, Kerala Start-up Mission   –  The Hindu SHARE SHARE EMAILcenter_img entrepreneurship The Kerala government has raised, from ₹5 lakh to ₹20 lakh, the cap on direct purchase of software products, services and mobile apps from ventures cleared by the Kerala Startup Mission. Only preconditions for eligibility are that the start-up needs to be registered with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Government of India, and registered in Kerala. With this, various departments can purchase from start-ups products worth ₹20 lakh every year, excluding GST, an official said here. The decision is in response to a proposal submitted by the Mission to project the government as an early marketplace. This, according to the official, is expected to boost the start-up ecosystem in the State in a big way. Saji Gopinath, CEO of the Mission, said the ₹5-lakh ceiling presented a challenge in enhancing the scope of innovative products in various departments. According to him, the recent floods had proven the start-ups’ potential role in disaster management. As per the relevant Government Order, one purchasing officer, however, cannot purchase more than two applications in one year from one start-up. Published on SHARElast_img read more

Amit Shah files nomination for Gandhinagar LS seat

first_imgnational elections SHARE SHARE EMAIL RELATED Gandhinagar March 30, 2019 BJP President Shri Amit Shah waves to people during a Road Show in Ahmedabad on Saturday, March 30, 2019   –  The Hindu Gujarat Published on COMMENT SHARE There were issues between Sena and BJP, but resolved now: Uddhav Thackeray BJP veteran and former deputy Prime Minister L K Advani had won for five consecutive terms from this constituency (1998 to 2014). The 91-year old leader, however, has not been given a ticket this time. After a mega show-of strength on Saturday in Ahmedabad, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah filed his nomination papers for the Gandhinagar Parliamentary constituency eyeing a debut to the Lok Sabha from the saffron bastion.Shah handed over his nomination papers to the Gandhinagar district collector in presence of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minsiter Arun Jaitley and Thackrey.The seat is currently represented by BJP veteran and former deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani, who had won for five consecutive terms from 1998 to 2014. The 91-year old leader, however, has not been given a ticket this time. The opposition party, Congress has yet not declared its candidate for Gandhinagar constituency. Top brass of the Central BJP leadership and the key National Democratic Alliance (NDA) allies such as Uddhav Thackrey from Shiv Sena, Ram Vilas Paswan from Lok Janshakti Party and Prakash Singh Badal from Shiromani Akali Dal remained present at the rally.TributesBefore heading to Gandhinagar later in the day, Shah paid tributes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s statue in Ahmedabad and addressed a large gathering of BJP supporters on Saturday morning. “The party has nominated me from Gandhinagar constituency, which has been represented by Advaniji for long. He worked hard to make this constituency among the most developed ones. I will try to continue his legacy forward,” said Shah, who is currently a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat. Notably, before being nominated for Rajya Sabha, Shah had represented a large portion of the Gandhinagar LS constituency in the State Assembly as an MLA from earlier Sarkhej and then Naranpura Assembly constituencies.Eyeing a debut to the Lower House of the Parliament, Shah recalled his journey within the party, “There will be nothing left for me, if BJP is taken away from my life. Whatever I have learnt and catered to the nation, it all belongs to the BJP.”SupportEarlier, Ram Vilas Paswan and Uddhav Thackrey made public address raising questions on the united opposition front under Mahagathbandhan and the Congress. “They have in-fighting about their leader. How can they give a stable government to the country? We will not be among those who back-stab (the BJP). On the principles laid down by My father, our party will support Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the next term,” said Thackrey amid clamour in support of “Modi Again”.Other senior BJP leaders present at the rally were Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal besides the Chief Minister of Gujarat Vijay Rupani and deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel along with State party chief Jitu Vaghani. The Gandhinagar constituency, having an electorate of about 19.20 lakh voters, will go to polls in the third phase on April 13. BJP COMMENTSlast_img read more