State Reps. John Reilly and Jim Runestad of Oakland County today introduced legislation that would open Michigan Economic Growth Authority tax credits to more public scrutiny.Reilly’s bill would permit certain disclosures of MEGA tax credits through Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act. Runestad’s bill would require the governor’s annual budget message to the Legislature to disclose the number of claimants by size of final liability and the amount of tax money forgone for each MEGA tax credit. Both bills have several Republican and Democratic co-sponsors.The legislation comes after a recent state audit observed that clarification is needed related to the public transparency of the credits.“Taxpayers have a right to know more about the businesses receiving their money and how that money is being spent,” said Reilly, of Oakland. “We need more transparency so taxpayers can better judge how their money is used.”Runestad, of White Lake, agreed.“We agree with the auditor general observation that confidentiality provisions in various state laws restrict the reporting of essential tax credit information to Michigan citizens,” Runestad said. “We’re introducing legislation to remedy that situation.”The MEGA program provides tax credits to businesses for locating, retaining or expanding jobs in Michigan. New credits have not been issued for several years, but many previous deals are still on the books with continuing tax liabilities.###Rep. Runestad’s legislation: House Bill 5060.Rep. Reilly’s legislation: House Bill 5061. Categories: News,Reilly News,Runestad News 04Oct Reps. Reilly, Runestad: Public deserves more information about MEGA credits
Belgian cable operator Telenet saw its analogue TV base fall to 853,300 at the end of September, down 24% year-on-year, but digital TV customers grew 16% to 2.214 million. Residential broadband customers grew 7% to 1.282 million, and triple-play customers grew by 10% to 767,800.Telenet posted revenues of €1.015 billion for the nine months to September, up 5% year-on-year. Net profit fell 76% to €11.2 million, impacted by an impairment on DTT-related infrastructure and a loss on derivatives.Telenet had signed up 172,000 customers to its Sporting Telenet channel follow its win of part of the country’s Jupiler League football rights from rival Belgacom.
Polish telco Netia ended 2011 with 6,261 subscribers to its new hybrid IPTV/DTT platform, up from 1,929 the previous quarter.That figure included 1,092 subscribers to HBO Go, which Netia began offering last November.Netia subsidiary, Telefonia Dialog, ended the year with 43,379 IPTV subs, up from 42,952 the previous quarter.Netia said it planned to ramp up TV and triple-play sales in 2012.
Over a third of US households have at least one TV set connected to the internet, with games consoles accounting for the majority of connections.Leichtman Research Group found that 38% of homes in the US have a TV connected to the internet, up from 30% a year earlier, with 28% of homes owning a games console connected to the internet. Just four per cent of homes had connected a smart TV, while one per cent used an OTT device including Apple TV and Roku.Only 0.1% of the 1,251 people surveyed by Leichtman said they had cancelled their pay TV service in the last six months because of connected TV platforms.
Kudelski Group-owned digital TV solutions firm OpenTV has filed a lawsuit against Netflix in the District Court of the Hague, Netherlands, alleging patent infringement. In a statement, Kudelski Group said OpenTV urged Netflix against “further infringement” after rolling out in the Netherlands – its latest European launch market.“The Group has invested billions of dollars over the past several decades in innovation and R&D and has successfully brought its technologies to market through advanced solutions, technology transfer and IP licensing,” said Joe Chernesky, senior vice-president, intellectual property and innovation at Kudelski.“The Group remains committed to protecting its substantial and ongoing investment in innovation for the benefit of the digital video ecosystem.”The action is not the first time that Kudelski has sued Netflix. In December 2012, the firm filed an earlier patent infringement lawsuit against Netflix in the United States District Court in Delaware, claiming that “Netflix is willfully infringing seven US patents owned by OpenTV.”Kudelski offers security and software solutions to more than 100 Pay TV service providers worldwide and claims that its software in digital set top boxes has been deployed to “hundreds of millions of subscribers across the globe.”San Francisco-based OpenTV’s software provides advanced program guides, video-on-demand, personal video recording, interactive and addressable advertising and a variety of enhanced television applications.The Kudelski Group is listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange, is headquartered in Cheseaux-sur-Lausanne, Switzerland, and holds more than 4,200 issued and pending patents.
Deutsche Telekom is using Skyline’s DataMiner network management platform for the end-to-end management of its Entertain TV headends in Usingen and Ismaning.According to Skyline, DataMiner deployment fits Telekom’s strategy of moving away from its previous-generation legacy management platforms, towards an open-architecture, end-to-end multi-vendor network management platform.Moving Images Technologies at Products & Innovations is responsible for the DataMiner integration.The Entertain TV platform feeds services to over two million TV subscribers.“DataMiner enables operators such as Deutsche Telekom to quite fundamentally redefine how they manage their ecosystems, which are typically very heterogeneous, complex and always evolving. The consolidation of multiple legacy network management systems brings along considerable benefits such as a reduction of operational cost and – even more important these days – an increased overall quality of service,” said Glenn D’Haene, business development manager at Skyline Communications.“But DataMiner goes even way beyond that, and it offers our customers significantly more added value than any other solution because of its unique pronounced open architecture, which enables operators to instantly respond to evolving requirements and to create highly integrated solutions.”
BSkyB’s head of content, Sophie Turner Laing, is to step down from her role and leave the company later this year.Sky said it would undertake a recruitment process and announce a successor in due course.In addition to overseeing Sky’s entertainment, movie and news channels and relations with studios and other content providers, Turner Laing has also headed its joint-venture relationships and partner channels and the international distribution of channels and programmes.Turner Laing has been with Sky for the last 11 years, joining from the BBC where she served as acting director of television, in 2003, She has played a key role in developing the UK pay TV operator’s content business and was responsible for the expansion of its portfolio of channels, most notably with the launch of Sky Atlantic and the operator’s landmark deal with HBO.“I would like to thank Sophie for her outstanding leadership and for the tremendous job she’s done developing our content business. With the support of an excellent team, Sophie has helped us to make a step change in the scale and ambition of our entertainment offering,” said Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch.“Sophie will leave with all of our best wishes and I am pleased that she will continue to have a close relationship with Sky in the future. I’m confident that the strong foundations that Sophie has put in place, together with the strong team here at Sky, will enable us to take the business to even greater heights in the future.”Turner Laing said: “I have had the most fabulous career at Sky. As a passionate believer in creative change, it is now someone else’s turn to drive the next phase of growth in content at Sky. I have been hugely privileged and honoured to work with such brilliant colleagues across the company.”
Sky has announced a string of measures, designed to better represent black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) viewers across its entertainment channels. Sky said that all of its original programmes will have someone with a BAME background in “at least one senior production role” and that 20% of writers on all shows will be from BAME backgrounds in order to “promote a greater diversity of voices in Sky programmes and scripts.”New shows on Sky’s entertainment channels will also feature people from BAME backgrounds in “at least 20% of significant on-screen roles.”“Sky is dedicated to making programmes that feel representative of every one of the millions of viewers that watch our content every day, whatever their colour. So we have tackled the issue with the same sense of ambition that we show in all other areas of our business, setting ourselves a set of tangible goals that will hold us to account,” said Stuart Murphy, Sky’s director of entertainment.“Our aim is to kick start a sea change in the on screen representation of ethnic minorities on British television. It’s an incredibly exciting time, and I am very proud that Sky is going to be at the forefront.”Sky said the targets are designed to make sure that programmes on Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living and Sky Arts better reflect the diversity of Sky’s 10.7 million TV customers in Britain and Ireland.
Aksel van der WalTurner Broadcasting System has promoted chief financial officer (CFO) for Turner EMEA, Aksel van der Wal, to senior vice president and CFO, international. Effective July 1, van der Wal will be responsible for all financial operations across Turner’s international regions and will help shape the direction of the company’s international business and implement its strategy.He will report to executive vice president and chief financial officer of Turner Broadcasting, Pascal Desroches, and work closely with president of Turner Broadcasting System International, Gerhard Zeiler.Van der Wal joined Turner in 2014, prior to which he worked for three years as CEO of listings magazine Time Out.
US cable association the NCTA and leading operator Comcast have launched an all-out assault on regulator the FCC’s plans to force cable providers to open up their set-top boxes to competitors.The NCTA described the FCC’s set-top box mandate plans as “complicated and backwards-looking” at a thime when the TV world was moving away from a hardware-centric world to one that relied on apps and IP delivery.“The FCC’s set-top box mandate threatens to harm competition and innovation by strong-arming pay TV providers into giving away for free valuable programming to third parties, for them to rearrange, repurpose and monetize without responsibilities or obligations,” the organisation said in a blog posting.In its submission to the NCTA, the organisation said that the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which had attracted “far more opposition, from a much wider variety of parties, than it did support”, would, if adopted, “leave a long trail of unintended negative consequences in its wake”.“Those urging the Commission forward are relying on baseless talking points, fallacies, and demonstrably defective technology claims which, however often repeated, still provide no basis for adopting the proposed rules. Reliance on proponents’ unsupported assertions would be arbitrary and capricious,” said the NCTA.“There is still time for the Commission to hit the pause button and seek out better, and simpler, ways to assure that consumers have access to competitive retail devices to access the video services that they purchase from MVPDs, without stealing the value of content from its creators, jeopardizing the security of MVPD services and systems, crippling the ability of MPVDs to protect their customers’ privacy, skewing the market by effectively prohibiting MVPDs (but not OVDs) from meeting consumer demand for boxless app solutions, and violating the Communications Act, the Copyright Act and the Constitution.”Both the NCTA and Comcast said that the FCC’s proposals threaten to compromise consumers’ privacy rights and disregarded copyright protection for content providers.The NCTA said that the proposals would give internet companies such as Google free reign to mine private viewing data and develop intrusive advertising. It said that the plan would also allow third parties to access and deliver video content while disregarding the contractual agreements made by the owners of the content or its distribution, packaging, protection and funding.The group also said that opening up cable boxes would give free reign to providers that are under no obligation to secure the content they distribute properly.
ShareTweet CHANNEL 4Crystal MazeDERRY GIRLSEnglish fellaRichard AyoadeStall the ball! Derry girls cast to take party in Crystal Maze A Channel 4 spokesperson confirmed the crew would be “upping the 1990s nostalgia” by with their appearance in the classic game show.The Crystal Maze originally ran from 1990 to 1995, being revived in 2016 for a one-off charity special presented by Stephen Merchant, and brought back as a full series in 2017 with IT Crowd star Richard Ayoade taking the helm as Maze Master.In a similar style to the original programme, the contestants navigate their way through challenges in ‘Aztec’, ‘Medieval’, ‘Futuristic’, and ‘Industrial’ zones.Stall the ball! Derry girls cast to take party in Crystal Maze was last modified: July 5th, 2018 by John2John2 Tags: THE cast of Channel 4’s hit comedy Derry Girls are set to take on the Crystal Maze.The programme is currently in the middle of a run of celebrity specials.And this Friday will feature an appearance from Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Louisa Harland, Nicola Coughlan, Dylan Llewellyn, and their team captain Saoirse Monica Jackson.
courtDerryMAN CHARGED OVER KNIFE-WIELDING ROBBERY INCIDENT IN DERRYOMAGH MAGISTRATESshipquay street Man to face Omagh Magistrates Court this morning charge over a robbery incident in Derry last monthA 22 year old man has been charged over a robbery incident in which a shop worker in Derry sustained a knife injury to her hand.The PSNI the suspect has been charged with possessing offensive weapon in a public place. He is expected to appear before Omagh Magistrates Court this morning, Saturday, December 9. ShareTweet Police are expected to object to bail due to the seriousness of the offences and have him remanded into custody.As is normal procedure all charges will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service.The charges are in connection with an armed robbery of commercial premises on Shipquay Street in Derry on Wednesday, November 29.MAN CHARGED OVER KNIFE-WIELDING ROBBERY INCIDENT IN DERRY was last modified: December 9th, 2017 by John2John2 Tags:
ShareTweet Councillor John Boyle, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, said there was great support in the city for Derry Girls and that fans were looking forward to their return.“There is great anticipation here for the next instalment of the Derry Girls series and this artwork is a real tribute to the cast which will no doubt be really well received by fans,” he said.“I am delighted to see the ongoing success of the show, which has shone a spotlight on the city, our culture and our humour.”The first series aired in January 2018 and received an overwhelming positive reaction from viewers from around the UK and particularly from the local community in Derry. Such was its success that it made it Channel 4’s biggest comedy launch series in 14 years.“The opportunity to immortalise these iconic figures through an amazing new mural can give the city a little hope for the future and spread a little laughter along the way,” said Karl Porter at UV Arts.Writer and Derry native Lisa McGee previously teased that the new series will see the girls and the wee English fella “up to more mischief and causing more chaos.”The cast of Derry Girls back in the city last November to start filming for series twoThe second season of Derry Girls is expected to go out on Channel 4 this March.Last November the cast and crew were in Derry city to film scenes for the forthcoming series.Return of Derry Girls series to be celebrated with mural in Derry city was last modified: January 25th, 2019 by John2John2 Tags: THE cast of Derry Girls will soon be looking down from a mural in Derry city centre to celebrate the return of the hit comedy series.The main Derry Girls characters – Erin, Orla, Clare, Michelle and James – will be painted onto a side of the Badgers Bar.Non-profit social enterprise group from the city, UV Arts, is teaming up with Channel 4’s in-house creative agency to produce the mural, which is part of a wider marketing campaign. CHANNEL 4DERRY AND STRABANE DISTRICT COUNCILLISA MCGEEMayor John BoyleReturn of Derry Girls series to be celebrated with mural in Derry cityUV Artswee English fellawriter
ShareTweet POLICE in Magherafelt arrested a man driving a car with no tyres after a tip-off from a member of the public on Saturday night.The man was seen driving the car between Portglenone and Bellaghy on its rims with visible damage.Police responded to the incident after a member of the public contacted them with a description of the driver, the location and the registration of the car. bellaghyMan driving car with no tyres arrested in Co Derry after tip offPoliceportglenonePSNI MAGHERAFELT A PSNI spokesperson wrote on the ‘PSNI Magherafelt’ Facebook page that police responded immediately.The car was discovered by police after a crash and the driver was arrested for driving whilst unfit through drink and/or drugs.“Another potential killer off the roads,” the spokesperson road.Man driving car with no tyres arrested in Co Derry after tip off was last modified: July 8th, 2019 by John2John2 Tags:
THE Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Michaela Boyle, today met with political leaders and key stakeholders to urgently discuss progress in the campaign for a medical school for Magee campus.The meeting was called over fears the medical school could be switched from the Magee Campus in Derry to Belfast by the Department of Health.At the meeting serious concern was expressed at the lack of response from the Department for Health regarding the business case for the graduate entry level school. “As well as going some way towards meeting the significant need for student places, the Medical School will also help address the deficit in GPs in the Western area and facilitate the accelerated development of the health related projects THRIVE, CIDRA and CARL.“As today’s meeting reiterated – we are united and determined in our efforts to address the legacy of underinvestment in education and to secure this vital resource for the North West. “We are disappointed in the government’s apparent disregard for this crucial need and we simply demand better.”Among those attending today’s meeting at the Guildhall were Foyle MP Elisha McCallion, Gary Middleton MLA, Councillor Eamonn McCann, Roy Beggs MLA, cross-party representatives, and senior representatives from Ulster University and Derry City and Strabane District Council.Contact will now be made with David Sterling’s office seeking a meeting with Richard Pengelly, the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Health and Noel Lavery, Permanent Secretary at the Department for the Economy.Pressure mounting in campaign for North West Medical School was last modified: June 13th, 2019 by John2John2 Tags: City DealDEPARTMENT OF HEALTHDerry and Strabane CouncilELISHA MCCALLIONFoyle MPMayor Michaela BoylePERMANENT SECRETARYPressure mounting in campaign for North West Medical SchoolRICHARD PENGELLY ShareTweet Afterwards Mayor Boyle confirmed that she will now seek an urgent meeting with party leaders and Head of the NI Civil Service David Sterling, and an immediate update on the project which is regarded as an essential element of Derry and Strabane’s City Deal proposal and a key investment priority set out within the Strategic Growth Plan for the City and District.“The resounding message at today’s meeting was extremely clear in terms of the feelings of frustration and concern that we are still awaiting approval of funding for this vitally important project at this stage,” she declared.“The urgency of the situation is increasing as we fast approach the final deadline for student intake ahead of the planned autumn 2020 start. “The expansion of the university is absolutely vital for the economic development of the North West.
NewsWatch Bumble Bee Foods CEO Indicted For Price Fixing By Daniella HankeyMay 17, 2018, 04:53 am 403 0 Facebook Google+ Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Twitter Daniella Hankey Linkedin Next PostFDA Approves First Nonopioid Drug To Ease Withdrawal Symptoms Pinterest WASHINGTON, D.C. (ABC NEWS)- Christopher Lischewski, chief executive officer of Bumble Bee Foods, has been indicted on one count of price fixing as part of an ongoing investigation that includes at least three other current or former executives at packaged-seafood producers.A San Francisco grand jury has charged that Lischewski conspired with others in his industry from November 2010 to December 2013 to eliminate competition and set prices for canned tuna, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement Wednesday.The government began investigating Bumble Bee Foods, Starkist and Chicken of the Sea more than two years ago, according to the Associated Press. Stephen Hodge, a former executive at StarKist, pleaded guilty to price fixing last year. Two other Bumble Bee executives also have pleaded guilty.“The Antitrust Division is committed to prosecuting senior executives who unjustly profit at the expense of their customers,” Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division said in the statement. “American consumers deserve free enterprise, not fixed prices, so the Department will not tolerate crimes like the one charged in today’s indictment.”John Keker, Lischewski’s attorney, told the AP his client is innocent and that he will be vindicated.Bumble Bee, according to the DOJ, already has pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a fine of $25 million. Tumblr Mail Home NewsWatch Bumble Bee Foods CEO Indicted For Price Fixing Previous PostWoman Warns Parents After Daughter Burned Doing ‘Deodorant Challenge’
By Marin Katusa, Chief Energy Investment StrategistThe Senkaku Islands, also called the Diaoyu (Fishing) Islands in Chinese, are five unremarkable and uninhabited landmasses in the East China Sea to the northeast of Taiwan. The islands cover total area of only about 7 square kilometers, less than a tenth of the size of Manhattan.Japan, China, and Taiwan all lay claim to the islands. Though heated words were often exchanged and warnings frequently issued by all sides, everyone assumed that the status quo would continue, and calmer heads would prevail…Until now.On September 11, 2012, Japan formally nationalized three of the five islands, setting off events that could lead all the nations in the region down a warpath.Chinese citizens, clearly angered by Japan’s provocation, began a series of anti-Japanese protests that spread across almost 200 cities. Japanese products were boycotted, cars were smashed, and stores were looted. A week after the Japanese announcement, a flotilla of a thousand Chinese ships entered Japanese waters. A week after that, China sent its strongest signal yet: the country commissioned its first-ever aircraft carrier into service.The Taiwanese navy, not to be outdone, sent ten coast guard ships along with 75 fishing boats to the islands. When they were met by the Japanese coast guard, both sides began firing water cannons at each other.The Stare DownThe Americans added fuel to the fire by stating that, as the islands are under effective Japanese control, the USA would be obliged to come to Japan’s aid under a 1960 security treaty if the islands were attacked. This would put the United States – the largest economy in the world – against China, which is the second-largest economy in the world.So there you have it: the greatest threat to world security is not Iran, but possibly a collection of small islands in the Pacific.But why are these countries willing to go to such lengths to claim these islands?The answer is simple: OIL!!!!!In the 1970s, evidence was found that points to significant amounts of oil and gas in the waters around these islands:The EIA estimates that there could be roughly 100 million barrels of oil and 2 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas in the East China Sea, though Chinese sources show resource estimates of 160 billion barrels and 250 TCF of natural gas. If the Chinese sources were correct, this area would have more oil than the entirety of Iran.Obviously, the resource estimates are probably much higher than what could be extracted out of the ground, but it demonstrates the massive potential in the region.China and Japan both rely on imports from foreign countries to supply most of their oil and gas needs, as domestic production does not come close to satisfying rising demand from their populations. Every barrel they can produce within their own borders is a barrel they do not have to purchase from an unstable Middle East or a saber-rattling Iran.As cheap and accessible oil runs out all over the world, countries will become increasingly desperate to secure whatever oil and gas fields they can in order to fuel their economies in the future. This constant striving for energy security means that these countries will fight tooth and nail for any large oil and gas fields, especially ones with as much potential as the Senkaku Islands.Even if this means war.For those investors who wish to grow their energy portfolio, they must be mindful what energy security means to their investments. Whether their money is in a large, multinational oil company or a small junior looking for its first successful well, investors must first consider whether or not the company fits into the bigger picture:Energy, not the US dollar, is going to be the currency that world leaders trade in.Are you going to be left behind?Or are you going to join us as we find the best energy companies in an energy-hungry world? Additional Links and ReadsDespite Setbacks in 2012, Shell Confident in Its Arctic Offshore Petroleum Program (Calgary Herald)The stars almost lined up for Shell to finally drill exploratory wells in the waters off Alaska’s north coast this year. After decades of preparation, Shell got a federal green light and sent a flotilla of ships to its Arctic prospects. But even a decade of preparations couldn’t ensure that everything went according to plan – damage to an undersea containment unit was the final straw that forced Shell to limit its efforts to top-hole work, or well preparation. As ships wind down operations for this season, the company is positive about what was accomplished this year and excited for next season.Natural Gas Boom in the US – Is Russia the Big Loser? (Christian Science Monitor)The shale gas boom in North America is leading to a scenario thought impossible just a few years ago: that the United States won’t need to import natural gas. Moreover, the US could become a significant exporter of LNG – and if those exports started heading to Europe, Russia would be the big loser. President Putin loves to use Russia’s resource wealth to gain global power, and with Europe beholden to Russia for gas, his plan is working. Another, friendlier source of gas would change all that.Short-Term Dip in Uranium Prices Now a Long-Term Slump (Financial Post)When the Fukushima disaster unfolded in March last year, even the most optimistic investors knew the uranium market was in for a rough ride – they just didn’t think it would last so long. Eighteen months later, uranium prices continue to hit new lows and, with no near-term catalysts pending, it shall likely continue to slump for another year. In the long-term, uranium bulls remain confident that demand will outpace supply and send prices back up.
The American Trucking Association calculates that each one-cent drop in the price of diesel results in fuel savings of $350 million. Roughly a year ago, the price of diesel was $4.00 per gallon; diesel for sale on March 2, 2015 fetched only $2.94 per gallon. This $1.06 difference translates to $37.1 billion in savings for the industry. Entry-level rig-hand employment, along with truck driving, has a tendency to fall into the unskilled labor category; and labor rotates freely between whichever industry demands it. Rig hands who were once working in the oil fields are signing up left and right for truck-driving school. When American Trucking Association Chief Economist Bob Costello talks, I listen; and when he tells me fleets are raising pay and offering serious benefits packages in order to attract and retain truckers, this shows the industry is turning a big corner. Likewise, Bob expects the momentum that built up in 2014 to continue and accelerate throughout 2015. The American Trucking Association Tonnage Index, which measures the gross tonnage of freight carried by motor carriers, further indicates a strong trend moving forward. Job cuts mean profits are at risk, and as an investor, that means “stay away.” However, turning your eyes to the bottom section of the chart, things look a lot better. Minimal job cuts means growth potential, and that’s what we at Casey energy look for. The transportation sector may not sound like it has much to do with the energy market, but in fact it’s quite the opposite. Aside from causing the majority of motorists to curse as they drive behind them slowly uphill, what does every 18-wheeler have in common? Each tractor trailer consumes hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel every day. And what is diesel fuel derived from? You guessed it: oil. The trucking industry becomes more competitive against rail for moving freight with every day that the price of oil remains low. The chart below shows that the cost per mile of trucking versus rail continues to narrow the cheaper the price of oil becomes. Even though the above data still demonstrate that rail is a better long-haul option, there’s still significant rotation away from rail into trucking. For the first time in five years, multiple US shipping companies during the third quarter of 2014 decided to shift freight from intermodal trains to trucks to capitalize on this short-term windfall. Some of the shift was due to rail congestion caused by surging traffic in 2014, but lower diesel prices accelerated the shift, especially among the more frustrated shippers. Further shifts toward trucks occurred in Q4 of 2014 and Q1 of 2015, and they’re highly likely to continue as diesel prices continue to plummet. What do Warren Buffett, Johnny Cash, and truck drivers all across America have in common? You’ll be surprised by this week’s connecting the dots. I’ve played the guitar for years and really got into the blues during my early years of university. In fact, I cut a deal with one bar to play for beer. I figured with that the amount I’d be paid to play vs. the amount my buddies and I would drink, we’d be better off and have more fun if I bartered my services for booze—and we did. It was a great time; my buddies and I would drink all night, I’d hop on stage and play some blues and rock ’n’ roll… the girls seemed to like it, and the owners of the bar loved it because we’d pack the room on a Wednesday night. Probably because of the way I looked at the time, the number-one question I would get from the girls in the crowd was: “Elvis or the Beatles?” My response was always, “Johnny Cash.” Don’t get me wrong—I love Elvis and really like the Beatles, but Johnny Cash defined cool to me during my formative years. My favorite Johnny Cash song? Folsom Prison Blues. I hear the train a comin’ It’s rolling round the bend And I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when, I’m stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin’ on But that train keeps a rollin’ on down to San Antone…. It’s a great song. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention songs such as One Piece at a Time, Walk the Line, Ring of Fire, and his version of Hurt, which are all great songs in my opinion. Not to mention—and let’s be honest—growing up on the blue-collar side of east Vancouver with a name like Marin, Cash’s song A Boy Named Sue always had a special place in my heart, as it would with any immigrant’s child who bears a name foreign to the new world. But Folsom Prison Blues is my favorite. Every time I hear Folsom Prison Blues, I get the bold image of a long, big, hustling train pulling miles of coal and oil railcars. This will be my last Tuesday Energy Dispatch. We’ll take a break next week while we switch the system over, and we hope you’ll like what you see when we come back online. Warren Buffett, Rail, and Oil Reading Warren Buffett’s annual shareholder letter this past weekend (probably the most-read annual shareholder letter in the world) which marked his 50th anniversary running Berkshire, many items stood out, but one I want to focus on in today’s missive is his comments on his railway, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF). So when I refer to BNSF, you can think Buffett. On page four of the annual letter, Buffett wrote: BNSF is, by far, Berkshire’s most important non-insurance subsidiary and, to improve its performance, we will spend $6 billion on plant and equipment in 2015. That sum is nearly 50% more than any other railroad has spent in a single year and is a truly extraordinary amount, whether compared to revenues, earnings or depreciation charges. I’ll admit it: when I read his statement, in my mind I heard Johnny’s deep voice singing the words: I hear the train a comin’ It’s rolling round the bend That’s a lot of money Buffett is putting up to upgrade BNSF. Guess whom Warren Buffett is referring to when he stated “nearly 50% more than any other railroad has spent in a single year” in the above quote? If you said, “Himself,” you got it. BNSF spent $4 billion last year. So by next year, he would have invested over $10 billion into upgrading his rail lines. I’m sure some of that will be going toward preventing any further derailments, such as the one on May 5, 2015, when a long line of 103 oil rail cars (oil rail cars carry about 680-720 barrels of oil) derailed on Buffett’s rail. Over 70,000 barrels of oil were involved, and a fire resulted. And yet again, Cash’s lyrics ring true to Buffett today: I bet there’s rich folks eatin’ In a fancy dining car They’re probably drinkin’ coffee And smokin’ big cigars …. If that railroad train was mine I bet I’d move it on a little Farther down the line Buffett is a brilliant investor, so naturally we want to understand why he’s investing, as Cash put it, “farther down the line.” Connecting the Dots… Or Rails in This Case Recent news headlines quoted Buffett as saying the Keystone pipeline delay is akin to the US government thumbing its nose at Canada. Buffett usually avoids making negative political calls, unless, of course, something affects his investments. Let’s see why the brilliant Buffett decided to pipe up and make that comment about the US “thumbing its nose” at Canada. Did you know that over 25% of the oil produced in the Bakken is moved on BNSF rail? I’m also willing to bet that you didn’t know that BNSF has captured over 50% of all the recent growth in shipping oil by rail in the US. Interestingly enough, Buffett really promotes the potential for American companies and American growth in his letter, but his investments in the oil patch contradict his public statements. Damn, the truth hurts: I’ll share what I think is a significant but completely overlooked move by Buffett. Buffett has recently sold all his ExxonMobil shares and interestingly enough, increased his position in a Canadian oil sands producer, Suncor. The last part is what the mainstream media in the US have ignored. Why sell his shares in America’s largest oil company, you may ask. Well, in his deep-toned voice, Johnny Cash has an answer for you… I hear the train a comin’ It’s rolling round the bend That’s right: it’s all about BNSF, Buffett’s rail company. Rockefeller would be impressed with what Buffett has pulled off with BNSF. And I salute Buffett, an investing legend, for his brilliance regarding the company. What’s the next big growth industry for rail in the US? Buffett’s on that trend way ahead of anyone else—and without a peep from any environmentalists or protestors—yet his option is so much riskier for the environment and citizens of America. The biggest growth over the next decade for moving oil in the US will be transporting heavy oil produced in Canada, and Buffett is more than happy to deliver that “dirty oil,” as President Obama labels it, to the Gulf Coast refineries on his BNSF rail line. Don’t forget that the Canadian oil sands have hundreds of billions of barrels in reserves, and America couldn’t get a safer, more politically stable supply of friendly crude to feed its refineries for the next 50 years. Buffett is making these strategic investments now during this period of low oil prices, without any complaints, while Keystone XL is on Obama’s most-wanted list. But there’s something that Buffett doesn’t want the investment world talking about regarding the risks in rail. It’s not the horrible track record of oil derailments, such as the rail car derailment which caught fire in Quebec, Canada in 2013, and 47 people died in the town of Lac-Mégantic. It’s something nobody is talking about… an underdog in the oil logistics world. The New Transport Underdog In today’s interconnected world, it’s amazing how the heroic crashes and bankruptcies in one industry lead to glorious bull markets and higher profits in another sector… known as sector rotation. Recently a Casey Research subscriber sent the Casey energy team some pictures from Texas of how bad it is—and boy, is it bad. Rumor has it that rigs that are normally laid down in pieces during down time now have to be kept vertical because they can’t fit all the rigs in the stockyard. What happens when rigs are stacked in the yard? It means wells aren’t being drilled and people aren’t working. No one likes to pay a rig hand to sit around all day, and as such, job cuts have been massive in the energy sector. An added bonus is the concept of fuel surcharges. Like the airline industry, which charges you that sneaky fee just before you pay for your ticket, the trucking industry also has a similar levy. These programs typically involve a specified computation based on the change in the national, regional, and/or local fuel price. The bonus for the trucking industry is the time lag between when fuel costs change and when the next fuel surcharge is set. An excerpt from one of the major trucking company’s annual financials reads, “Due to these programs, this lag negatively impacts operating income in times of rapidly increasing fuel costs and positively impacts operating income when fuel costs decrease rapidly.” The trucking industry is a margin game, and the margins between the players vary considerably. This means that whoever will be most the efficient will attract the most demand for its services, which means higher revenues for the company and higher returns for shareholders. Trucking companies will seek to further exploit this trend of low gasoline and diesel prices in 2015 by highlighting the stronger speed to cost trade-off available to customers today. This is especially true on the East Coast, as distances are shorter and track delays have been occurring on a daily basis, causing havoc to East Coast manufacturers trying to receive product. Warning to Railroad Investors Warren Buffett is well aware of the competition to rail on the East Coast of the US—that’s why he’s investing $6 billion into BNSF this year: to capture the flood of Canadian oil that needs to be transported to the Gulf refineries. If the rail company you’re invested is on the East Coast and has seen big increases in short-distance crude transport, you may want to double-check your rail routes. The gap continues to narrow between the rail and truck cost differential due to higher mileage per gallon of diesel coupled with the drop in price of fuel. An additional perk to the lower fuel cost is that it will allow trucking companies to keep older, less fuel-efficient vehicles on the road. More trucks on the road once again means more profits for companies, which means more dividends and higher returns for shareholders. Rich Like Buffett? The current energy markets are volatile, but a speculator must use volatility to his own advantage to build positions in companies that have suffered as a result of the current market correction. Investing isn’t easy, so you want to follow someone who isn’t playing poker with toothpicks or frankly, a talking head with no skin in the game. Those flakes annoy me and are an embarrassment to our industry. I make big bets, and they won’t always be right, but I walk the talk (or as Johnny Cash would say, “I walk the line”) with my own checkbook, and nobody in the industry can deny that. I also have a huge network of industry professionals and have backroom access. Want to know the truth about investing? Industry insiders do have an edge, as whom you know matters in this business. Access to new deal flow, changing market trends, new corporate mandates—these shifts can happen so fast that by the time the news hits the front page, the profits on the trade are made. Do you really think Goldman Sachs doesn’t leverage every relationship it has to make money? Of course it does. So why shouldn’t you? Don’t you want access to the inner circle? Come see what I’m doing with my own money. You’ll get access to every Casey Energy Confidential alert I’ve written, as well as all of my Casey Energy Reports over the last decade. My last two alerts returned gains of +80% and +20%. The monthly Casey Energy Report is a must read for all speculating in the resource sector. The next issue covers the potential of re-fracking; I’ll reveal which company is the best oil and gas producer in the United States today at current oil prices. Being profitable at $50 oil is no small feat, but one company has the absolute best cutting-edge enhanced oil recovery and re-fracking techniques. Not to mention that the management team has been right on every macroeconomic call they’ve made in the last 20 years. Do you know what warrants are? My alert service is the only one in the world that has a track record going back to 2007 on delivering the best private placement alerts, which include warrants. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to try out my service. You can do so at no risk to you. If you don’t like it, no worries: there’s a 100% money back guarantee. I write the newsletter for one reason: deal flow and my industry network. I have the best resource deal flow in the world. I also run one of the largest funds in the junior resource sector. If you want access to what the insiders in the business are doing with their personal money, you need to sign up to my alert service. I can’t make the trade for you, but I can help you help yourself. I’m making big bets—are you ready to step up and join me? P.S. Regarding to the question at the beginning of this missive: What do Warren Buffett, Johnny Cash, and truck drivers all across America have in common? Answer: They all heard the train a comin’.
In celebration of Diwali, one family plans to bring Indian culture, food and entertainment to Tuscaloosa’s Bama Theatre.Bollywood Groove is a local dance studio owned by Huntsville native Dibya Singh. She was inspired to turn an unused office space into a Bollywood dance school, and the family has put on a Diwali show every year since then.“All the students get together and perform for the Diwali, which is the festival of lights,” Dibya Singh said. “We’ve been doing it at the Bama for several years now. We invite the community to come join us, we have food catered in from Sitar and we usually charge a very nominal ticket price at the gate. It’s just to enjoy our heritage.”Dibya Singh’s children, Nisha and Nikhil, attend and teach at the school and will be featured in the show. Nikhil Singh said that while Diwali is traditionally a Hindu festival, attendees can expect a variety of dances by performers of many faiths.“We have people from all kinds of different backgrounds, maybe a couple of people that are actually Hindu,” Nikhil Singh said. “We’re going to have a big opener with all the people. That one is the most fun; there’s a lot going on, it’s like five minutes. Then there will be an all-girl dance, there will be one with four people in it, two duets together. There will be a lot of me flipping, too.”Bollywood dance pairs traditional Indian music and choreography with hip-hop. It features lots of stunts and tricks, and the costumes are full of sparkle and bling. Nikhil Singh said he dances “just for fun,” but to his sister Nisha, the show is a testament to the studio’s independence and success.“The show is really cool because before we would just go to other people’s shows and perform, like in the local Indian community and UA,” Nisha Singh said. “But, 10 years ago we started doing our own show, and it was cool to get to display all of our own dances and put it on from our own studio and really establish ourselves as our own separate entity from other organizations.”The show will consist of several dances and songs from community members and students at Bollywood Groove. Guests from around Alabama and Mississippi will also perform. Dibya Singh said there may be a couple of western dances, but “it is Bollywood all the way through, from beginning to end.”UA religious studies professor Steven Ramey specializes in Asian religions and was in India for a Diwali festival during one of his trips abroad. He said that, while the festivities could be a bit much for his then-toddler son, he and his wife were met with plenty of hospitality and warmth.“When we were in India during Diwali, our neighbors invited us for a meal, to observe their ritual, which their college-aged daughter led for the first time, and then to watch the fireworks across the neighborhood from their roof patio, including the fireworks our neighbors lit themselves,” Ramey said.The five-day festival cannot be complete without lights, and Ramey said India was full of them. People decorated their homes with clay lamps called Diyas, but others took a more modern approach and used Christmas lights. A typical day of Diwali is full of feasts, rituals and entertainment, he said.“On the central day, many will eat a special meal in the evening, conduct a ritual at the home shrine that includes installing new images for the new year, specifically small clay images of Lakshmi and Ganesh (a popular deity across India who is the remover of obstacles and most recognized for having an elephant head), and set off fireworks outside,” Ramey said.Diwali is celebrated more dramatically in northern regions of India, but interfaith observance is not uncommon, as Ramey remembered one person in India told him “it does not feel like Diwali if her Muslim friends do not drop by her house to celebrate with her.” Specific traditions and practices depend on where a family is from and which deities they worship.“Two of the most common deities are Rama and Lakshmi,” Ramey said. “In the epic poem ‘The Ramayana,’ Rama is the crown prince who is also understood (later) to be an avatar (appearance) of the god Vishnu in human form.”The poem describes Rama’s stepmother banishing him for 14 years so her own son could become king instead. Sita, Rama’s wife, and his brother Lakshman followed him in his exile, but Sita is eventually kidnapped by a demon king named Ravana. While the story seems dark at first, it does lead to more of a wholesome ending.“After Rama defeats Ravana and saves Sita, they return to the kingdom and Rama is greeted by his half-brother, who never accepted the kingship his mother tried to secure for him,” Ramey said. “The celebration of Rama’s triumphant return, with lights decorating the capital, is one basis for the festival of lights, Diwali, when people decorate their houses with lights.”Ramey also mentioned one goddess, Lakshmi, who visits brightly-lit homes and brings good fortune to the families that live there. People often light every corner of their homes with Diyas so Lakshmi can find and bless as much of their lives as she can.“Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, and another set of stories focuses on her in relation to Diwali,” Ramey said. “As the New Year (begins), business people in some areas start their new account books for the year on Diwali.”While attendees enjoy the show, they can also feast on traditional Indian dishes provided by Sitar, a local Indian restaurant and Tuscaloosa staple. General manager Mandy Pruthi said their partnership with Bollywood Groove’s event also benefits a cause dear to her heart.“We do this program under Drishti, the nonprofit organization I am the chairman for,” Pruthi said. “We have been doing this for 10 years now; it is like our Christmas.”The organization leaders pick a charity each year to support, then plan events throughout the year that directly benefit the selected charity. Drishti has been able to provide funding for Arts n’ Autism, the Oakdale Elementary School library and Project Blessings in the past, but they have yet to choose what to benefit for the 2019 season.Pruthi practices the Sikh faith, which she said is a newer religion that derives from Hinduism and Islam. She said she is excited to promote the beauty of her heritage and her business with the Tuscaloosa community.“People will learn about our culture, about Indian food catered by us,” Pruthi said. “Colorful costumes, they get to see nice dances also.”While Dibya Singh is excited to have a night of fun with her community, she is always paying attention to her future goals, as well.“I would like everybody here in Tuscaloosa to know that we do a Diwali show every November and look for it,” Dibya Singh said. “We do have people that come back year after year, which is very nice, but I would like it to be like a regular event of Tuscaloosa. That would make us very happy.”
ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer WriterLONDON (AP) — UEFA is putting itself in a quandary by combing through Paris Saint-Germain’s finances, investigating whether the French capital club has flouted spending rules to sign Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.On one hand UEFA doesn’t want out-of-control spending by the clubs. On the other it wants more clubs to be competitive.No team is better placed than PSG to give the Champions League something missing for 13 years: A team in the final from outside England, Germany, Italy and Spain.And yet the overzealous spending that could allow PSG to break up that Champions League monopoly, by winning its first title, could also see the club blocked from entry next year by the organizers of European soccer’s flagship club competition.It’s where the need for fiscal diligence collides with mission statements by UEFA leaders desiring more open, exciting competitions.Enhancing the competitive balance within the Champions League is the thorny issue UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin is trying to resolve while grappling with the spending rules inherited from disgraced predecessor Michel Platini amid constant threats of a breakaway by the gilded elite.Although UEFA is trying to drum up excitement around the start of the Champions League proper this week, rarely does the group stage deliver a shock once the standings are complete in December. Leading teams are unlikely to be squeezed out of the top two places in each group to progress to the knockout phase.And from next season the competition will prove even tougher if you aren’t from one of Europe’s top four football nations. England, Germany, Italy and Spain are to enjoy the luxury of four automatic spots in the group stage, removing the need for any teams to negotiate the August playoffs, and entrenching the status of the privileged.Less well-off clubs, though, have gained an unlikely champion in Javier Tebas, the president of the Spanish league which has been represented in the past four Champions League finals. Tebas, irritated that Neymar left Barcelona for PSG, has led calls for the Qatari-owned club to be punished by UEFA for paying for his world-record transfer. Tebas also wants to dilute the concentration of wealth in the game.“As more and more money is given to these clubs it’ll be taken away from the smaller leagues and smaller clubs,” Tebas told The Associated Press. “Football will lose its structure and clubs will either be much richer or much poorer and it’ll affect the competitions.”But there are dangers, too, for domestic competitions if UEFA simply doles out the Champions League revenue more equitably; fattening the prize money for entrants from smaller countries is worsening the imbalance.Competition in smaller leagues has already been distorted — wiped out in several cases — due to the economic advantage that strengthens each year for teams sealing return tickets to the Champions League.In UEFA’s Swiss homeland, Basel has won eight league titles in a row. Around 35 million euros ($42 million) has been banked by Basel from the Champions League and Europa League in the last three seasons — the same amount clubs in Switzerland’s top two divisions are expected to share this season from television and marketing revenue.It’s a similar story in Greece where Olympiakos has won seven titles in a row. Celtic has cruised to the last six titles in Scotland, as has Juventus in Italy. Bayern Munich (Germany) and APOEL (Cyprus) are both five-time defending champions. And in Portugal, Benfica and Porto have shared the top domestic trophy for the last 15 years.Copenhagen, winner of the last two Danish titles, will not feature in the Champions League group stage this year after being beaten in the playoff round by Azerbaijani newcomer Qarabag. Dropping into the Europa League, though, will be healthier for Danish football.“Somebody at Copenhagen might kill me for saying this,” Danish league chief executive Claus Thomsen told the AP. “But it’s a bigger problem for the Danish competitive balance if we have one team participating in the Champions League each year and no participants in the Europa League, than if we had two teams in the Europa league every year.“There’s already a distortion where if one club for a number of years qualifies for the Champions League it will eventually distort the competitive balance.”Rarely are the cream of European clubs so blunt to air the view publicly, but they really do not want to be playing smaller teams like Copenhagen anyway.Head-to-heads like Barcelona-Juventus in the group stage on Tuesday are the fixtures desired by the elite more often; they are more attractive to broadcasters in an era of declining television ratings.Just the type of matches you would get in a Super League.The four guaranteed group-stage slots for the English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, and Serie A from 2018-19 were handed down only to placate clubs threatening once again to launch a breakaway competition.So while UEFA looks to punish teams like PSG for spending too heavily, and talks about spreading the wealth, those objectives run head first into conflict with the desires of the clubs with the financial might and the stars of the game.FIFA is preparing the ground for a larger slice of the club game. The global body is exploring expanding its little-regarded annual Club World Cup into a 24-team extravaganza every four years, with the bulk of slots for the European teams featuring the stars of the game.“We are in the middle of a transformation where we will shift to new competition models,” Dutch league chief executive Jacco Swart said. “What is very important I think is we have to stand open for new models because it’s not always that the current competition models are the best.”Swart, a member of the board of the European Professional Leagues organization, raises the prospect of an international club competition. The International Champions Trophy, an American-backed privately operated, invite-only preseason competition, is gaining traction and could be laying the foundations for an eventual Super League one day.“Not only do the governing bodies have the monopoly anymore of organizing competitions,” Swart said.UEFA has been put on notice as the Champions League groups get underway.___AP Global Soccer Writer Rob Harris is at www.twitter.com/RobHarris and www.facebook.com/RobHarrisReportsTweetPinShare0 Shares