No sex for sale, Court rules

first_img10 October 2002The Constitutional Court has ruled that prostitution and running brothels are still illegal. The ruling, made on Wednesday, dashed the hopes of brothel owner Ellen Jordan, who spent millions of rands in her court bids to get the laws thrown out.When Jordan, one of her employees and a sex worker were arrested for contravening the Sexual Offences Act of 1957 in 1996, Jordan took the case to the High Court. The High Court found firstly that sections of the law that render sex for money a crime were unconstitutional, and secondly that the legislation outlawing the managing of brothels should be upheld.Jordan took the rulings to the Constitutional Court to have the first one confirmed and the second overturned.However, the Constitutional Court upheld both rulings, the first outlawing prostitution, the second outlawing and brothel-keeping. The Court found that outlawing prostitution did not infringe on the rights to human dignity and economic activity.Judges in the Court were however divided over whether the ban on prostitution amounts to gender discrimination or not.Sexual double standardsOne judge, Sandile Ngcobo, arguing the majority position, said that the ban did not discriminate against women in particular, since both male and female prostitution is illegal.However, judges Kate O’Regan and Albie Sachs argued that by making the prostitute the main offender and the client the accomplice, the law “reinforces sexual double standards and perpetuates gender stereotypes in a manner impermissible in a society committed to advancing gender equality’, according to a Constitutional Court summary of the judgement.There were mixed reactions to the judgement, with some arguing that the ruling would consolidate efforts to close down brothels, and others maintaining that the ruling would not curb prostitution but would simply send it further underground, rendering any attempts to regulate the industry and improve the health and safety of sex workers more difficult.According to the Star newspaper, National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka was pleased with the judgement and warned brothels to “Close down, or we will do it for you’.Spread of HIV/AidsDoctors for Life International, called by the state as a witness, argued that prostitution “encouraged international trafficking in women, led to child prostitution, intensified the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV/Aids, and was often accompanied by a high degree of drug abuse’, The Star reported.However, some have cautioned that the ruling will send the industry even further underground, without curbing it at all. The director of the Reproductive Health Research Unit, Helen Rees, said that the ruling would make it difficult to help protect sex workers against risks like HIV/Aids. “How to you access (sex workers) when you criminalise them?’ she asked.The Commission on Gender Equality also expressed disappointment over the judgement.SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

South Africa gives assistance to Malawi

first_img30 April 2012 South Africa has agreed to extend a loan of US$35-million to the government of Malawi to help with the availability of fuel in that country, following a meeting between President Jacob Zuma and new Malawian President Joyce Banda. The loan will be made in three installments, with the first, of $10-million, having been paid on 24 April. South African has also committed to giving Malawi logistical assistance when it hosts the next African Union summit in July. Banda met Zuma in Pretoria on Friday during her first official visit to South Africa following her inauguration earlier this month. Zuma commended Banda and the people of Malawi for the peaceful transfer of power following the passing of Banda’s predecessor, President Bingu wa Mutharika, on April 5 Banda used the opportunity to brief Zuma about the socio-economic challenges facing Malawi, especially in the form of fuel and forex reserve shortages. “Both Zuma and Banda reiterated their commitment to … enhancing cooperation between the business communities of the two countries, as well as increasing trade and investment,” the Department of International Relations and Co-operation said in a statement on the weekend. “In the same vein, both countries agreed to encourage people-to-people contacts through cultural, scientific and educational exchange programmes and tourism.” The two presidents expressed satisfaction with the current state of bilateral cooperation between the two countries, which is conducted within the framework of a joint permanent commission for cooperation. The next session of the commission will be held in South Africa in June, the department said. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

No One Has A Clue How To Value A Mobile Business

first_imgMobile ad networks are losing market share to publishers [like Facebook and Pandora], and we expect them to lose even more going forward. Networks, especially independent ones, are entering a difficult phase, in which, with an ever smaller share of revenue, they’ll have to compete with publishers, which will only grow in strength.In other words, the market is big, but it’s slowing down in some areas, picking up in others, and no one really knows who is going to win.As such, paying $1 billion for Instagram in the hope that lots of pictures will turn into lots of revenue may actually be a sane strategy. At least, it may in the face of so much uncertainty about other areas of the mobile market, particularly shifting trends in mobile advertising. In sum, perhaps valuations on mobile businesses are so incongruous because there simply isn’t yet a good baseline to determine what success looks like in mobile.Image courtesy of Shutterstock. Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Related Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Tags:#Facebook#Google#mobile#mobile advertising Matt Asay Despite a pervasive belief that mobile is the Next Big Thing, investors continue to ding its most likely winners and celebrate its revenue losers. So while Instagram can command a $1 billion valuation on roughly $0.00 in mobile revenues, Facebook sees its stock continue to slump on more than $1.2 billion in annual mobile advertising revenue.What gives?On the one hand, some of this disparity just comes down to hope. It’s easy for investors to pummel Facebook and Google for not mixing a magical mobile advertising elixir, especially when such companies are struggling to increase mobile revenues without cutting too deeply into their desktop advertising revenues. Hence, as Benjamin Schachter, an analyst at Macquarie Securities, told Businessweek, “The battle for [Facebook] is: Mobile’s growing fast, desktop is slowing. Is mobile’s growth enough to make up for the declines in desktop? That’s clearly the key issue.” Sure. But why isn’t this an issue in the private markets?For public companies like Facebook and Google, analysts like Richard Greenfield of BTIG Research ask: “How many mobile ads can you put into the mobile News Feed before you start to irritate users?” They recognize mobile will be big, but getting to big revenues is a delicate balancing act.In the private markets, there doesn’t seem to be the same level of concern. AsI’ve written recently, the primary drive seems to be to generate lots of adoption, with little thought for revenue. Mobile is still Wild West enough that adoption is enough to generate outsized valuations. It’s easier to make a lot of money on a company sale than it is to make lots of money through product or services sales. And no, it’s not just because 98% of investors are dumb.Meanwhile, in the real world, companies like Google are starting to make real money in mobile. Despite concerns that Google was poorly monetizing mobile search and click-through rates were Lilliputian, last quarter Google’s mobile advertising business started to hum. This despite the fees it must pay Apple for search-related ads on iOS devices (as much as 25% of Google’s mobile advertising revenue), the lower click-through rates on mobile (roughly half those of desktop) and threats from app-based searches.But maybe this simply reflects a market in so much flux that no one really knows how to value it, or even who is winning. As analyst firm IDC notes:Marketers spent $2.8 billion in 2012 on mobile search ads, compared with $1.6 billion in 2011 and $0.7 billion in 2010. Growth rates have slowed significantly, down from 195% in 2010 to 127% in 2011 to 68% in 2012. Google still dominates the market with gross revenue of $2,166 million, and a gross market share of 79%… Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Offseason overhaul complete, new era begins for Celtics

first_imgTrending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:48NBA: Kawhi, George seek more for Clippers than beating Lakers01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Then Irving was in the spotlight again as the centerpiece of a league-shaking trade that sent him to the rival Boston Celtics in exchange for a package that included Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder.Now detached from the partnership he created with LeBron James, Irving enters the 2017-18 season as one jewel of the Celtics’ offseason overhaul, along with Gordon Hayward, who signed as a free agent.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutOnly four players remain from Boston’s roster from a year ago, when it outfought Cleveland for the East’s top seed, only to fall to the Cavs in five games in the Eastern Conference finals.Along with Al Horford, the Celtics have a brand new “Big Three” as they continue their pursuit of the Cavs. While Irving maintains his departure from Cleveland wasn’t about James, he now has exactly what he says he wanted: the leadership role in building a championship team. LATEST STORIES Still, he downplayed the idea that this season is more important than any other during his six-year career.“Every moment in my life is pretty important,” Irving said. “I wouldn’t say that it’s the most important. I would say it’s probably the most interesting.”Here are some things to watch for with the Celtics this season:EARLY REMATCHOne of the byproducts of the deal that brought in Irving was that president of basketball operations Danny Ainge had to part with Thomas, who had become not only a two-time All-Star, but the team’s emotional leader as well.A hip injury he suffered in the playoffs won’t allow Thomas to be on the floor when his new Cavaliers team hosts the Celtics in both team’s season opener on Oct. 17.But it will make for an interesting on-court reunion for Irving and James.REUNITEDADVERTISEMENT When Hayward entered free agency, Boston was thought to be high on the list to land him because of his previous association with coach Brad Stevens.Stevens was Hayward’s college coach at Butler, and the pair came within a missed last-second shot by Hayward of winning a national championship.While Hayward said the ultimate decision to leave Utah for Boston was basketball-driven, he said the connection he had with Stevens was a factor.“I always had a dream to play in the NBA, but he was the first person to tell me that I could get there some day,” Hayward said.After growing into a first-time All-Star with the Jazz, he now will have the chance to play a key role again in a “position-less” system that promises to utilize Hayward’s skills as a scorer and passer.TRIMMER SMARTGuard Marcus Smart will look a little different on the court this season after shedding 20 pounds in theoffseason.He said he struggled with back pain during the latter part of last season at 240 pounds and made it a priority to change his diet and slim down.One thing that won’t change, Smart said, is how he plays the game. His physique has changed, along with many of the players around him. But the goals are the same, even has he prepares to take on a new role as one the Celtics’ veterans. Smart, Horford, Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown are the only returning players from last year’s roster.“Marcus is a critical part of our team,” Stevens said. “I think ultimately we want our identity to be a team that gets better every day. And I think his mindset, his competitive spirit, his toughness, his will — all of those things make teams better.” Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving, left, and Gordon Hayward look on from the bench during the first quarter of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Boston, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)BOSTON — Kyrie Irving turned the NBA world upside down multiple times this summer.It happened the first time after news leaked out that he had asked the Cleveland Cavaliers front office to trade him from the team he helped lead to a championship in 2016.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ View comments UP ends slump, sends UST reeling to eighth straight loss Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Read Next Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients last_img read more

8 days agoBarca coach Valverde confirms Messi close to full fitness

first_imgAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Barca coach Valverde confirms Messi close to full fitnessby Carlos Volcano8 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveBarcelona travel to Eibar with Lionel Messi moving towards full fitness.Barca coach Ernesto Valverde confirmed Messi was close to a return to being 100 per cent after an injury-ravaged start to the campaign.He said, “He is in the process of being 100 percent fit.”The other day he played 90 minutes and scored, that always reassures the strikers,” he told the press.”He has to go slowly to find reach top form. He only has one full game under his belt.”We hope he can give us much more in the coming matches.” 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

In This Issue BLS reports 171000 new jobs Bi

first_imgIn This Issue.*BLS reports 171,000 new jobs. *Bias to buy dollars intensifies. *RBA to announce a rate cut this afternoon. *Euro falls though 200-Day moving avg.And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts!Who Is The BLS Attempting To Fool?Good day.  And a Marvelous Monday to you! The last day before the Big Election Day here in the U.S. I hope you all enjoyed the Big Boss, Frank Trotter’s, analysis of the election, in the Sunday Pfennig & Pfriends. On top of all the other things that Frank does better than most people, he also writes! He will be able to fall back on that when he retires one day. And he’ll be better than anyone else doing it at that time!Now, you may think I’m just trying to build up some brownie points with the Big Boss. But I’ve told him this to his face for years now, and have invited him to participate in the Pfennig, whenever he feels like it. Besides, at my age, I’ve learned that those brownie points don’t really matter when the rubber meets the road!OK. On Friday, I told you that the bias to buy dollars was strong, and that traders were pricing in a disappointing Jobs Jamboree. However, a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. Instead of a disappointing Jobs number for October, the number was questionable once again. Yes, I’ll just throw that out there, and get it on the discussion board, Front & Center this morning.  Oh! And traders changed horses in the middle of the stream, and decided that the number of jobs created was worth switching their reason to buy dollars.So. The Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS) said that the economy added 171,000 jobs in October.  Here’s what questionable. of the 171,000, 90,000 were added by the BLS for the birth/ death adjustment.  Now, why do I say that 90,000 jobs added out of thin air, is questionable?  Well, long time readers know that the Birth / Death Model, tries to account for new businesses that open up and aren’t online with reporting jobs yet. (they also are supposed to subtract for businesses that close). And just last week I reported to you that CEO’s had reported that they were laying off and firing large numbers of workers. So, if little old me came across that story, they had to have at least “heard about it” at the BLS, right?  So, then, why would they add 90,000 jobs knowing all too well that more jobs are being lost right now?So, here’s how my mind works.  171,000 minus 90,000 and you get 81,000, which is much closer to the 111,000 I called for on Friday, and. would be considered disappointing, right?  And then to just muddy up the picture even more. The BLS tells us 171,000 jobs were added but the Unemployment Rate increased to 7.9% from 7.8%…  (remember last month, the BLS said we added 114,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell from 8.1% to 7.8%?)  is your mind spinning around and performing carnival tricks in an attempt to make sense of this Unemployment Rate? Mine is. and that’s why I say the BLS just throws a dart at numbers on the wall to get the rate!OK. if only I could hold to my thought from a month ago that I was not going to let any economic data report that printed before the election carry any weight. Unfortunately, the markets were all over this BLS Jobs data like a cheap suit. So. since I write about the markets, I have to spend time on this. I don’t buy the number. You can’t make me! HA!So. like I said above, currency and metals traders decided to change horses in the middle of the stream, and switched back to the trading pattern that rewards the dollar for strong U.S. economic data.   I think that the overnight markets that were gone for the weekend when the Jobs number printed on Friday, saw this data last night when they returned to their desks, they laughed. The chuckled and probably fell out of their chairs. But, then, they pulled themselves back up, and decided to keep the bias to buy dollars in place.Then in the morning sessions of Europe, the traders there kept the bias to buy dollars in place. The euro has really taken it on the chin in the past week. And there really hasn’t been any news from the Eurozone to make the euro lose 2-cents in the past week. Greece’s Gov’t will present a new austerity package to the Greek Parliament today, with a vote announcement expected on Wednesday. I look for this new package to pass. Look, Greece really has no choice, except to drop out of the euro and default.  So, the Greeks might not like being told that these austerity measures are coming, but there’s not much they can do about, except burn down the library.Tonight, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will meet. and even though I’ve been telling you how the aggressive calls to cut rates in 2013, have been getting pared back, that doesn’t change what the markets had already priced in. and that is one final cut for 2012. And I believe we’ll see that tonight. The markets are probably thinking the rate cut will come in December, as they are marking up the Aussie dollar (A$) (one of the few currencies in the black this morning) this morning. But. I believe it will come this afternoon. so look for that. but remember, this cut is already priced in. so the actual pain to the A$ will be muted. at least that’s my opinion, and I could be wrong.Well. I really don’t believe that much that happens today and tomorrow, data wise, is going to garner much attention, as all eyes are on the U.S. election tomorrow. I was watching some football yesterday, and the announcers for the Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers game, said that since 1940, the outcome of the Redskins’ game prior to the election had been the indicator of who wins 17 of 18 times. So. if the Redskins won, the incumbent won, if the Redskins lost the challenger won. Well. if that means anything to you. the Redskins lost yesterday.Funny little indicators always intrigue me, I have no idea why. I guess it plays well with my loving a good conspiracy theory!  I just know that I’ll be so happy to not see election ads on the TV going forward.So, I already told you about the RBA meeting tonight, but that’s not all for this week! We’ll also see the Central banks of the Eurozone (ECB) and the U.K. (BOE) meet this week. I really don’t believe the ECB will have any rabbits up their sleeve, but the BOE could very well, add to their current total of Quantitative Easing (QE).  The outcomes for the euro and the pound sterling won’t be driven by the Central Bank meetings this week though.  But there’s always that “chance”, eh?I’ve watched the price of Gold go from down $1 to up $2.75 this morning, not much movement, not like the further taking down of the shiny metal last week. Did you see the story that appeared late last week that Gold is in short supply in Nepal, and that bullion traders had stopped sales of Gold bars and coins due to a failure by the commercial banks to deliver supply.  Hmmm. and price of Gold fell?  Supply & demand.  What don’t the price manipulators understand?  This is a crying shame that this gets to continue on and on and on, like the Energizer Bunny.The price of Gold is still above the 200-day moving avg, so the shiny metal has that going for it! But, you have to wonder if the price manipulators (PM’s) have the goal of taking down the price of Gold below that 200-day moving avg?  Hey! If you’re not going to get your wrists slapped for doing the deed, then you just continue doing the deed, eh? You betcha!  And like I’ve said before the PM’s would get their due if we could muster up enough demand for physical Gold & Silver. It’s got to be physical, not ETF’s. Folks, those ETF’s are not Physical Gold. and you can’t get physical Gold out of them!The euro fell below its 200-day moving avg overnight (1.2830) to trade in the 1.27 handle.  It’s not been a good year for the euro, as it spent the first 8 months of the year below the moving avg, and then things looked brighter, and the last two months it traded above the moving avg.  This move lower could be the beginning of another period of euro weakness folks. I would watch carefully for that. for this is what normally happens when a currency recovers, and then can’t add to that recovery, it eventually goes for a ride on the slippery slope.Then There Was This. I have a good friend that goes back to my days at Mark Twain Bank. her name is Ellie, and she has an excellent mind for investments (and other things!) she has written a couple of books on investing through the years.. Well, when Ellie sees something that makes a lot of sense, she sends it to me.. As so it was on Saturday, when I received an email from Ellie.  It was my friend John Mauldin’s outside the box article. Here’s a snippet from investment analyst guru, Charles Gave. “So the solution to our current malaise is very simple: We have to stop now. Reduce government spending, stop manipulating money, let market pricing return – or the result will be a vicious cycle of low growth and rising debt, or certain depression.The choice is just as simple for investors: Stick with countries that have avoided the worst of the bad policies, like Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong or even Korea. All of these countries either kept fiscal balances and taxes low (or started reducing them), and/or regulated their financial systems to prevent casino madness.Consider certain countries that are improving on the margin. This includes the UK. It also includes China, which is opening its capital account and liberalizing its financial system. “Chuck again. Thanks to Ellie for sending this to me, and thanks to Charles Gave for his thoughts on what needs to happen here in the U.S. and then some choices as alternatives should the U.S. continue down this vicious cycle.To recap. The bias to dollars that existed Friday, was given a boost as the Jobs Jamboree as reported by the BLS showed a rise of 171,000 jobs in October. I say hogwash! But it is what it is.  The RBA meets tonight, and Chuck expects to see a rate cut tonight. The BOE and ECB also meet this week, with only more QE to be announced by the BOE. Greece presented a new austerity package to the Parliament for a vote Wednesday. And Gold gets taken down again.Currencies today 11/5/12. American Style: A$ $1.0360, kiwi .8240, C$ $1.0035, euro 1.2780, sterling 1.5980, Swiss $1.0590, . European Style: rand 8.7365, krone 5.7495, SEK 6.7060, forint 221.05, zloty 3.2265, koruna 19.7405, RUB 31.70, yen 80.25, sing 1.2255, HKD 7.75, INR 54.60, China 6.2447, pesos 13.06, BRL 2.0335, Dollar Index 80.83, Oil $84.87, 10-year 1.69%, Silver $31.07, and Gold. $1,682.40That’s it for today. Happy Birthday Rachel! Ugly steel gray days with raw temperatures, are back for us all to enjoy (NOT!) Typical November. My poor Missouri Tigers outplayed Florida throughout their game last Saturday, but managed to lose it anyway. UGH! Next up is Tennessee this week. Still no hockey. I got out my Blues baseball cap in hopes it will be good luck for a settlement!  Fat chance, eh?  Well. time to go. last day before the election. Like I said I’ll be glad to see it over with! Hopefully we won’t having any hanging chads or any other nonsense with voting fraud. I hope you have a Marvelous Monday!Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 www.everbank.comlast_img read more

Ministers on the Isle of Man are to scrap their ve

first_imgMinisters on the Isle of Man are to scrap their version of the UK government’s much-criticised “fitness for work” test, prompting calls by disabled activists for the UK government to follow their lead.The decision, announced to members of Tynwald, the Isle of Man* parliament (pictured), follows years of criticism of the assessment on the island, mirroring concerns raised repeatedly and publicly in the UK.The statement by Treasury minister Alfred Cannan followed a report by Tynwald members into what is known on the island as the personal capability assessment (PCA), which is based on the UK’s work capability assessment (WCA).In the UK, there has been nearly a decade of evidence that the WCA is unsafe, inaccurate, unfair, and lacking in empathy, while it has been repeatedly linked with the deaths of claimants.In November 2015, public health experts from the Universities of Liverpool and Oxford showed in a study that, across England, the process of reassessing incapacity benefit claimants through the WCA between 2010 to 2013 was “associated with” an extra 590 suicides, 279,000 additional cases of self-reported mental health problems, and the prescribing of a further 725,000 anti-depressants.Concerns arose on the Isle of Man after a new scheme was introduced to reassess most of the island’s 2,000 long-term claimants of incapacity benefits through a face-to-face PCA, firstly through a pilot programme in 2012-13 carried out by Atos, the outsourcing giant which was itself being heavily criticised at the time for its role in the assessment process across the UK.The Isle of Man reassessment scheme was then taken on by another company, Dependability Ltd, which eventually had its contract terminated after it emerged that some of the assessments were not being carried out by registered healthcare professionals.Just as in the UK, there were criticisms of the “tick box” nature of the assessment process, the failure to deal fairly with claimants with fluctuating conditions such as ME and multiple sclerosis, and the use of unqualified and unsympathetic assessors.An independent review of the PCA, published in December 2016, reported “widespread” criticism, with concerns about the qualifications of assessors, and an “oversimplified” assessment which was unsuitable for those with more complex impairments.The review added: “Many people believed that they had been treated with a lack of respect and that the system lacked compassion.”It recommended the replacement of the PCA by a new “holistic multidisciplinary assessment” that would be “supportive” of the claimant and “based on trust and compassion underpinned by clear, open and honest communication”, with claimants “fully involved in developing a realistic return to work plan”.A report by a committee of members of Tynwald that supported the recommendations of the independent review was approved by the parliament last November.Cannan has now told the parliament that ministers are “minded to implement” the “complete removal of the existing personal capability assessment process” and replace it with a new “holistic approach”.Any decision to change the relevant regulations will need to be approved by members of Tynwald later this year.A spokesman for the Scottish-based, user-led grassroots network Black Triangle praised the Isle of Man government for taking the decision to scrap the PCA.He said: “We warmly congratulate them. They have done what any humane government would have done and it is now absolutely essential that the UK government follows suit.”A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman declined to comment on the Isle of Man government’s decision.But she said in a statement: “We are committed to ensuring that people with health conditions get the right support that they need, and work capability assessments ensure that everyone gets the benefits they are entitled to.“If a claimant’s condition changes then we will consider any new evidence presented by the claimant’s GP or medical professional.“Anyone who disagrees with the outcome of their assessment can appeal the decision.”*The Isle of Man is not part of the UK or European Union, but is a crown dependency with its own parliament and government, although under the supervision of the UK governmentlast_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