STUDENT SPOTLIGHT Wilmingtons Ashley Mason Graduates From Becker College

first_imgWORCESTER, MA — Ashley Mason, of Wilmington, graduated with a AS in Veterinary Science, Veterinary Technology Concentration from Becker College. Mason was one of one hundred Becker students to graduate at the end of the fall semester.About Becker CollegeFounded in 1784, Becker College is an undergraduate and graduate, career-focused private college, providing a supportive and inclusive learning community that prepares graduates for their first to last careers. Nearly 1,800 students from the United States and around the world live and learn on the College’s Worcester and Leicester campuses. With nationally recognized programs in nursing, game design and animal studies, Becker has been consistently ranked as a “Best College” for undergraduate education by The Princeton Review.(NOTE: The above announcement is from Becker College via Merit.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedSTUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Wilmington’s Mason & Ravagni Graduate From Becker CollegeIn “Education”STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Wilmington’s Mason & Ravagni Named To Dean’s List At Becker CollegeIn “Education”STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Wilmington’s Cornish & Mason Named To Dean’s List At Becker CollegeIn “Education”last_img read more

Katrina Kaif is almost unrecognizable in this 14yearold viral photo

first_imgKatrina KaifInstagramKatrina Kaif has been through a lots of highs and lows both in her professional and personal life but the actress didn’t let the negativity overpower her determination. Perhaps, Katrina would’ve never ever dreamt of becoming one of the A-list actresses in Bollywood after her debut film Boom in 2003 had suffered a terrible fate at the box office. From working with the three Khans of Bollywood – Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan to getting several successful films to her name, Katrina has surely come a long way. So when we stumbled upon an old picture of Katrina on social media, it took a second for us to recognize the diva at first glance.In the picture, Katrina was seen posing in a pink coloured dress keeping her arms crossed showing off her left profile to the camera. The picture was taken from the sets of 2005 Telugu film Allari Pidigu which featured ‎Nandamuri Balakrishna‎ in lead role. It was shared by one of Katrina’s fan page on Twitter and now it is going viral on the internet.Soon Katrina Kaif fans went gaga over her throwback picture and it her very cute and adorable. And now the actress is counted as one of the sexiest women in India.#Throwback Katrina Kaif on the sets of Allari Pidigu in 2005— Katrina Kaif Online (@KatrinaKaifFB) August 8, 2019 On the work front, Katrina will be next seen Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi alongside Akshay Kumar.last_img read more

Garment worker raped on moving bus

first_imgProthom Alo ilustrationA garment factory worker has allegedly been raped on a moving bus in Dhamrai area of Dhaka.Police said the incident took place some time between 9:00pm and 11:00pm on Sunday night.According to police, five people have been detained in connection with the incident.The detained persons are driver of the bus Babu Mallik, 24, mechanic of the bus Abdul Aziz, 30, supervisor of the bus Bolram, 20, and their associates – Sohel, 22, Moqbul Hossain, 38.Police said the woman was returning home from work by a city bus, Jatrisheba, on Sunday night. When all passengers alighted from the vehicle at the bus stop, leaving her alone inside, the bus driver and mechanic raped her. The others helped them and Sohel was driving the bus.Hearing her screams, the highway police in the area asked the driver to stop the bus. The bus kept moving defying the police. The police chased the bus for 7 kilometres and finally detained the rapists.The police also rescued the woman from the bus.Officer-in-charge of Dhamrai police station Rizaul Haque said the victim has filed a case over the rape.The rapists were sent to jail after they confessed to the rape incident, the OC added.last_img read more

Student crushed under train in Chattogram

first_imgtrainA student of International Islamic University Chittagong (IIUC) was crushed under the wheels of a train at Kumira in Sitakunda upazila in Chattogram on Monday, reports UNB.The deceased is Kazi Sirat, a student of English department of the university.GRP police station officer-in-charge Shahidul Islam said a train hit Sirat around 9:00am, leaving him dead on the spot.On information, police recovered the body and sent it to a local hospital morgue.last_img

8 killed in Colombia coal mine blast

first_imgAn explosion at an illegal coal mine in central Colombia killed at least eight people, as rescuers scrambled to find five others still missing, authorities said Saturday, updating earlier figures.The blast Friday occurred at a coal mine in the town of Cucunuba in Cundinamarca state, some 90 kilometers (55 miles) north of Bogota, at about 2130 GMT.One person was injured in the explosion, authorities said.Earlier reports listed two dead and 11 miners missing in the disaster.A rescue crew of 35 miners and seven engineers has been working “around-the-clock” in a frantic search for the missing, the National Mining Agency (NMA) reported.”We are going to dig by hand throughout the night to try to rescue” the missing workers, Wilson Garcia, director of the emergency response unit in Cundinamarca, told AFP late Friday.President Juan Manuel Santos, who was wrapping up a visit to France, used Twitter to express his “solidarity with the victims.”Officials said they do not know what caused the explosion.The country has seen an increase in illegal mining in recent years.A total of 28 mining emergencies were reported in Colombia in the first five months of this year, leaving 23 dead and 33 injured, according to an NMA report. Sixty per cent of the accidents occurred in coal mines.There were 114 mining emergencies last year, causing 124 deaths, the report said.Colombian coal production hit a record 90 million tons last year, according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy.Colombia, a major world supplier, provided more than 70 per cent of US coal imports.last_img read more

Woman murdered in moving bus father pushed off in Savar

first_imgProthom Alo IllustrationA woman was allegedly killed inside a moving bus and her father was pushed off it by some bus employees including the driver, on Dhaka-Tangail highway at Moragang on Friday night, reports UNB.The deceased is Jarina Khatun, 45, daughter of Ali Akbar, 75, hailing from Khajkawali village in Chowhali of Sirajganj.Jarina along with his father came to visit her daughter Rozina’s house at Ashulia from Sirajganj, said Rizaul Haque Dipu, officer-in-charge of Ashulia police station.In the evening, they boarded a Tangail-bound bus from Unique area for returning home.At one stage, the bus driver, its helper and four other people attacked Jarina and her father.They beat them up and snatched their mobile phone sets and cash, the OC said quoting Jarina’s father Akbar.Later, they pushed Akbar off the running bus in Ashulia bridge area, leaving him injured.When Ali Akbar informed the matter to patrol police, they recovered Jarina’s body from Moragang area near the highway around 8:30pm.”The body bore injury marks on its neck,” said the OC adding that she might have been thrown off the bus after being strangulated to death.last_img read more

Commission Begins Discussing Texas School Finance Overhaul

first_img Share ILLUSTRATION BY TODD WISEMAN / TEXAS TRIBUNEA special commission has begun discussing how to remake Texas’ school finance system, 18-plus months after the state Supreme Court declared it deeply flawed but still barely constitutional.That ruling spared the Legislature from having to overhaul how Texas pays for educating around 5.3 million students. Instead, many top Republicans backed unsuccessful voucher plans offering public money to children attending private schools.Gov. Greg Abbott then convened a bipartisan group of lawmakers and education leaders which met Tuesday to weigh new ideas before the Legislature next convenes in 2019.Top conservatives chiefly want a system that will cut local property taxes, which have skyrocketed because they pay for the bulk of public school costs.Other members argue that property taxes won’t fall without Texas dramatically increasing state spending on classrooms.last_img read more

Samsungs GestureOperated TVs May Soon Switch On Your Living Room Lights

first_img The misplaced TV remote may need not ever be found.Samsung is honing motion sensor technology for a new crop of smart television sets that can reportedly operate with the mere flick of a finger.The gesture-operated devices, which could launch as soon as 2016, may also let users control other household appliances, too — such as switching on lights or turning on nearby stereo systems.The startup behind these developments, VTouch, is currently in talks with Samsung, its chief executive, Kim Seok-joon, confirmed to The Wall Street Journal.Related: This New Technology Will Let You Make Purchases Directly From Your TVThe technology works with finger movements that are interpreted through programmed cameras, which then send out signals to a network of connected devices, he said.“It will be a new interface that drops the usage of cursors, allowing the user to point to objects that exist beyond the TV screen.”VTouch software could represent a more groundbreaking innovation for Samsung’s television division than the vast, curved sets it unveiled at CES. TVs accounted for 17 percent of the company’s fourth-quarter revenues, The Journal reports.While Samsung’s current web-connected TVs feature hand-waving commands that can turn up the volume and search through menus, VTouch technology deepens accuracy by tracking both user hand and eye motions to filter false commands.Related: What You Can Learn From Michael Bay’s Embarrassing Presentation Mishap Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 2 min read Register Now »center_img Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. March 10, 2014last_img read more

Griffin joins House in approving county veteran services grants

first_img Lawmaker cosponsors bill providing counties with grant for veteran servicesState Rep. Beth Griffin of Mattawan today joined her colleagues in the House in passing legislation providing Michigan counties grants to establish and maintain veteran service offices.Under the legislation Griffin is co-sponsoring, each county with a veteran service office that satisfies pre-approved requirements will receive $25,000, plus an additional amount based on the number of veterans in the county. To continue receiving the grant, an established county veteran services department must meet benchmarks for staff performance and reporting while maintaining the previous year’s funding level.“The fight shouldn’t have to continue upon returning home for our brave men and women in uniform,” Griffin said. “This grant will provide the resources necessary for every county throughout the state to establish veteran services offices with an accredited agent present, improve pre-existing departments and increase awareness of the services available locally.”Lack of funding and sparse access to services has led to inadequate coverage for portions of the state. Depending on the county, a Veteran Service Officer may only be available for a few hours each month at a single location. Only 72 out of Michigan’s 83 counties currently have a county veteran services department.House Bill 5536 now advances to the Senate for further consideration.##### Categories: Griffin News 14Mar Griffin joins House in approving county veteran services grantslast_img read more

Amazon is reportedly going after video rights for

first_imgAmazon is reportedly going after video rights for professional sports, including tennis, rugby and golf.According to a Bloomberg report, which cites people with knowledge of the matter, Amazon has expressed interest in sport with a global appeal, which also includes soccer and auto racing.The online retail giant is also reportedly interested in US sports like baseball and basketball, even though the rights are not currently up for grabs.Bloomberg said that while the progress of Amazon’s sports rights talks are not clear, this year the company hired executives formerly from Sports Illustrated and YouTube to oversee a sports division, as well as sports partnerships and business development.Moving into sport would differentiate Amazon’s video offering from the likes of Netflix, with the latter’s CEO, Reed Hastings, recently commenting that Netflix is not interested in adding sport and news to the SVOD company’s content line-up.In December Amazon partnered with major TV networks and content makers like Showtime, Starz and AMC – in order to offer additional content subscriptions through Amazon Video.According to details revealed in a string of company job posts this summer, Amazon is now also planning to launch this streaming partners programme in Europe.last_img read more


first_img COUNCILLOR JOHN WILSONmagherafeltPROBE LAUNCHED AFTER CO DERRY GRITTER TRUCK IN BLACK ICE CRASHPSNITRANSPORT NIUUP And he said he has been trying to verify reports that the roads weren’t gritted because the gritting lorry itself was involved in an accident.He added, “The calls were nearly in the double figures.“There was clearly an issue on FridaY night.”A Transport NI spokesperson said: ”One gritter from Magherafelt depot was involved in an incident during salting action. “However, the remainder of the route was completed by two other gritters with minimal delay.“The affected gritter does not grit the Six Towns area which was completed as normal.”PROBE LAUNCHED AFTER CO DERRY GRITTER TRUCK IN BLACK ICE CRASH was last modified: January 16th, 2017 by John2John2 Tags: ShareTweet AN investigation is underway after a gritter lorry from Co Derry was involved in a black ice crash on the roads while out spreading salt.A councillor claims some roads around Cookstown and Stewartstown were not gritted on Friday night even though they are on the scheduled network, a councillor has claimed.UUP councillor Trevor Wilson of the UUP said he has taken numerous calls from concerned residents about black ice on roads.last_img read more

By Marin Katusa Casey Research

first_imgBy Marin Katusa, Casey Research There is little that would rock the oil world more than a revolution in Saudi Arabia. But with a coming leadership crisis, it is becoming all too likely. Saudi is facing major economic challenges as dramatic increases in social spending and domestic fuel consumption eat through the kingdom’s all-important oil revenues. Saudi Arabia is smack in the middle of the Middle East, an ever-tumultuous region currently rocking and rolling more than usual as the Arab Spring challenges longstanding autocratic assumptions, while war-torn Syria and defiant Iran tip the delicate Sunni-Shia religious balance in the world’s most important oil region. While the House of Saud might present itself as a stable, strong, and cohesive royal family, in truth the king and his successors are growing old and incapacitated in a throne room full of competing contenders. Meanwhile, the only other organized social group in the country – the Islamists – are waiting just outside the door. Want to see oil at $300 a barrel? To see $300/bbl oil, or to watch the news as Saudi troops attack Tehran, or to see a stranglehold on US oil imports, watch what a failed succession battle in the House of Saud that ends up destroying the whole family and ushering in an Islamist age in Saudi Arabia would do to the price of oil. It could happen sooner than you think. A Shaky House of Saud The king of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Aziz bin Saud, is almost 90 years old. In Saudi Arabia’s royal system, the throne passes not from father to son but from brother to brother. The problem with the system is that none of King Abdullah’s brothers are exactly young and full of vigor. Crown Prince Salman, next in line to the throne, is already 76. He got the Crown Prince nod after two of his elder brothers died. The remaining brothers now average 80 years of age. A king who ascends the throne in his seventh or eighth decade is unlikely to have the energy or even the time to enact significant reforms. And reforms are needed. I’m not pushing democracy – Saudis don’t generally want democracy. What I’m talking about are the endemic problems that are battering the world’s biggest oil producer: high unemployment, a corrupt bureaucracy, a crippled economy, a weak education system, and a society full of frustrated youth. While the country crumbles, the three pillars that have long supported the royal family are also weakening. Massive oil revenues, which have long been used to buy public support, are being squeezed by sharply increased domestic demand. The Wahhabi Islamic establishment that supported the House of Saud is increasingly fractious and is losing credibility. And the royal family itself is struggling to maintain its rock-solid façade after losing two crown princes to old age in just a few years. The country’s foreign relations are little better. The Middle East is in turmoil, and Saudi Arabia’s longstanding alliance with the United States is in distress. Alongside these tangible problems is a multitude of intangible challenges that are revolutionizing the country. The regime used to control the population by controlling access to information, but of course that age is now almost over. The Internet has connected young Saudis with the rest of the world, and that worldview is prompting them to question some of the rules of their society. Even the religious establishment in Saudi Arabia is seeing its power eroded. Young Saudis are increasingly independent, using the Koran to guide their decisions without following specific decrees from a particular religious leader. The fact is, Saudi society today bears little resemblance to the passive masses of just a decade ago, and a decade from now the difference will be even bigger. Trying to lead his country through these modern challenges is a 90-year-old king, backed by a 76-year-old crown prince and their octogenarian brothers. Not surprisingly, it’s not working very well. New Battles, Old Tactics When the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt sparked protests in Saudi Arabia, the protesters were not demanding democracy or trying to oust the royal family. No, the young Saudis who filled those streets had more basic demands. At the top of the list is jobs – 60% of Saudi’s citizens are under the age of 20, and the unemployment rate for young adults is nearly 40%. These young people want to be given the opportunity to better themselves and their country, but instead they cannot find work and live on government handouts. Adding fuel to the fire, those handouts have been shrinking. Saudi Arabia’s population has skyrocketed in the last half century. In 1972 the country had 6 million inhabitants; by 1992 that number had climbed to 17 million; and today there are 28 million Saudi Arabians. Oil incomes have climbed too, but not nearly apace. As such the government has been struggling to keep the population appeased with fewer dollars per head every year. The population keeps growing, and each person in the kingdom keeps using more oil. The result: shrinking oil revenues have to go further. It’s not a recipe for success, but when you’re 89 years old, you go with what has worked in the past. And that is precisely what happened in the wake of the Arab Spring: King Abdullah drowned the protestors in money – a $130-billion social-spending package that built new housing, increased payrolls, and boosted unemployment payouts. Saudi Arabia’s entire annual budget is just $180 billion, so the king almost doubled spending to appease the protestors. This tactic cannot work forever. Even in Saudi Arabia there is only so much oil money. The Saudi royals already need an oil price of at least $80 a barrel to support all their social programs, and with domestic oil consumption rocketing upward, that baseline price will keep climbing. But the unrest continues. The Summer of Saudi Discontent After King Abdullah offered billions of dollars in social spending, many protestors went home… except in the country’s oil-rich eastern provinces, where the protests never stopped. For the last 18 months Saudis in the eastern Qatif region have been demonstrating regularly, demanding the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression, and an end to ethnic and religious discrimination. When Saudi security forces turned on the demonstrators last November, killing five, the protests took on a distinctly anti-Saud tone. In June, King Abdullah ordered the country’s security forces to go on a state of high alert due to what he called a “turbulent situation” in the eastern region. The unspoken side to the situation is that the turbulence is distinctly religious. Most Saudis are Sunni Muslims, and Sunni Islam is the only allowed religion in the country. However, 15% of the country’s inhabitants are Shia, and they have faced direct and indirect persecution for decades. Guess where the Shia live? In those turbulent, oil-rich eastern provinces. That is one aspect of Saudi discontent. But there are more. For example, last week Saudi security forces raided al Qaida cells in Jeddah and Riyadh. Evidence recovered during the raids supports the suspicion that a new branch in the Arabian Peninsula is gathering momentum for a wave of attacks. The royal family is at the top of their list of targets. Toppling the House of Saud would be a major victory for al Qaida, simply because of the instability that would ensue. All told, between external threats, internal divisions, and domestic struggles, the Saudi royal family looks very unstable indeed. So what would happen if the House of Saud crumbled? Remember, religion is the only social structure in Saudi Arabia. There are no political parties, unions, or social organizations, aside from a few charities run by members of the royal family. Were the House of Saud to fail, the only candidates ready to step up would be the Islamists. The shift to Islamist rule in Egypt has made the world pretty nervous. Longstanding allegiances are in limbo, and long-term relationships are changing. Imagine if it happened in Saudi Arabia. Islamist leadership in Saudi would not be the moderate, democratic version we’re seeing in Egypt. The Islamists in Saudi Arabia are Wahhabi Muslims, who practice the strictest and most conservative version of the religion. I can see these imams making several moves. First, a Saudi Arabia led by Wahhabi Islamists would not stay at peace with the Shia Islamic Republic of Iran. Both branches of Islam believe the other has strayed so far from the path that its followers are infidels. Odds of open war between Saudi Arabia and Iran would shoot sky-high the moment Islamists took power in Saudi Arabia. Even worse, a Wahhabi Islamist Saudi Arabia might well turn its strongest weapon against the infidels of the West – by turning off the oil taps. It would be the 1973 oil crisis all over again, but in an even more oil-dependent world. The price of oil shot up 300% in six months during the oil crisis. Today, that would mean an oil price of $300 per barrel. It would also mean the end of the era of friendly US-Saudi relations… and the demise of the petrodollar. That is a story in itself – one of great significance to anyone who owns US dollars. I have discussed previously how a US-Saudi deal to only use dollars to trade oil created a deep pool of support for the US’s currency – and what will happen if the petrodollar dies. The short version is that as the global oil trade moves away from US dollars into yuan, yen, rubles, and pesos, the world would have yet another reason to devalue the dollar. Expensive oil, open Sunni-Shia war in the Middle East, the loss of one of the world’s biggest oil producers as a stalwart ally, and an inevitable increase in religious politics across the Arabian Peninsula – such are the likely outcomes if the House of Saud comes tumbling down. It is not inevitable. There are 7,000 princes in the Saud royal family, the result of multiple wives and lots of progeny. In that mix there is undoubtedly a prince with the right mix of progressive thought and religious reverence to lead Saudi Arabia through its succession and into the future. But whenever a throne room is that crowded, it is very easy for a brawl to break out, depriving that perfect prince of his chance and giving the Islamists their opening. Either way, oil investors with the right picks in their portfolio will prosper, and the Casey Research energy team will be available to guide you along the way.last_img read more

Recommended Links

first_img Recommended Links – — FREE TRAINING EVENT: How to Survive the Coming Blue-Chip Bloodbath One expert claims today’s biggest, safest blue-chip stocks could suffer huge losses if they don’t prepare for a coming market upheaval… Paradoxically, he says this carnage could also create massive wealth for savvy investors who position themselves to profit right now. So, what exactly is going on and how should you prepare? Click here now to learn more… ATTENTION SUBSCRIBERS: The “Gold Window” Is Open – It happened once from 1976 to 1980… – Then again, from 1993 to 1996… – And more recently from 2000 to 2007… Said another way, once about every 10 years, you have the rare chance to make a fortune simply by tweaking the way you buy gold. Click here for the full details. The “Gold Window” is open.center_img Bill Editor’s note: The ultimate cost of all that Deep State money is yet to be tallied. But when the bill comes due, it’ll be more than the U.S. can pay…and the result will be an epic collapse of the entire financial system. Banks…stock markets…even your local stores will be caught in the whirlwind. And if you aren’t prepared, you could be ruined. That’s why Bill is warning everyone about what they need to do to protect themselves—and possibly even profit—from the worst of what’s coming. Watch Bill break it all down in his recent warning, right here. Editor’s note: “Our” money system is not really “ours”… Everything is controlled by the powerful, hidden force known as the “Deep State.” Today, we’re sharing a recent essay on the subject from Agora founder Bill Bonner. Below, Bill takes a close look at what’s really going on in our debt-ridden world. As you’ll see, it’s a serious issue that’s only getting worse… By Bill Bonner, editor, The Bill Bonner Letter Donald Trump had already gone broke – twice – by the time Bill Clinton took office. But then, the combination of lower interest rates and rising asset prices saved him. And extraordinary abundance and prosperity of the Clinton years owes little to Mr. and Mrs. Clinton and much to the fact that Alan Greenspan had inaugurated his famous “Greenspan Put” in 1987. Greenspan reassured investors that he had their backs with a rate cut whenever the stock market took a turn for the worse. This led to an “illusion of prosperity,” as stock prices rose, helping Bill get reelected… and gaining national prominence for Hillary as the aggrieved wife in the Monica Lewinsky affair. Stock prices filled with hot air… until the bubble in the Nasdaq blew up in Clinton’s last year in office. Both of this year’s presumptive candidates are “low interest rate” people, all right. Their adult lives were marked by the credit cycle and their careers shaped by ballooning debt. And now, almost the entire world economy depends on low rates. We live on Planet Debt. Subzero Yields The amount of government debt trading below zero yield rose to $11 trillion last week. In Japan, negative yields run out the yield curve until 2051. Overall, interest rates are said to be lower than they’ve been in 5,000 years. (This is a fanciful but entertaining factoid; you can’t compare the apples of Sargon the Great to those of Donald the Tremendous.) “How cometh it to be that interest rates ride so low… while the hack and the hustler ride so high?” you might wonder. We are glad you asked… We have been connecting dots. These are dots that others do not want to connect. Because they connect to too many reputations, too many fortunes, and too many opinions. We are talking about the line that runs from the post-1971 money system to the Deep State, passing through the spectacular rise of China… the spectacular fall of the U.S. (where the average man has made no financial progress in the last 40 years)… to the remarkable luck of the 1% (who got richer and richer, as most people around them lost ground). Yes, the line ties together the great kvetches of our time: inequality… stagnation… alienation… globalization… debt… the failure of the economy… the failure of democracy… and the failure of our own culture. According to political scientist Charles Murray, white middle- and lower-middle-class Americans now suffer from the ills that were once confined to ghettos – broken homes, drug addiction, unemployment, and violence. Surely, we’re not going to try to pin that on the Deep State, too? Yes… we are. Deep State Money “Our” money system is not “ours.” It is the money system created by, for, and of the financial insiders. It is the Deep State’s money system! But wait… we sense an objection: “Isn’t it the money system set up by our elected representatives… and supposed to serve us all?” Oh, dear reader, sometimes you make us laugh. Really, where have you been? America’s money system is largely under the control of one organization – the Fed. And the Fed was set up at a secret meeting of plutocrats and bankers. (No kidding they rode down to Georgia in a private train, using phony names so they wouldn’t be identified.) It is not owed by the people… nor by their government. It is owned by private banks. And it is controlled by a small group of unelected insiders – mostly bankers and their economists. It has never been audited. And no member of Congress really knows what it is up to. Miracle-Gro On August 15, 1971, President Nixon made the fateful announcement that the world’s reserve currency, the U.S. dollar, would no longer be directly convertible to gold. But do you think Mr. Nixon came up with that on his own? Do you think he was advised by our elected representatives? No chance. Instead, the insiders, the bankers, and the deepest of the Deep State elite had his ear. The president – and probably almost everyone else – had no real idea of what was going on… or why. But that was 45 years ago. A lot has happened since. The new money was a Sahara for the common American; his income growth dried up… his wealth ceased growing. But it was Miracle-Gro for the Deep State. The insiders sank their roots deeper and deeper into the U.S. economy, sucking out more and more wealth and power. Whether the insiders fully realized what they were doing in August 1971, we don’t know. But as the system developed, they liked it. More than that, they became dependent on it. And now, almost the entire world – its stocks, bonds, real estate, and collectibles… along with its businesses, retailers, factories, investors, bonused-up executives, papered-up speculators, Ph.D. economists, and politicians – almost everybody with wealth or power depends on the insiders’ cheap money. “Government can have no more than two legitimate purposes,” wrote the 18th-century English political philosopher William Godwin, “the suppression of injustice against individuals within the community and the common defense against external invasion.” But now it has another purpose… a goal it is desperate to achieve – keeping the low-interest rate planet spinning. Regards,last_img read more

Updated 6 pm ETWilliamson WVa sits right acr

first_imgUpdated 6 p.m. ETWilliamson, W.Va., sits right across the Tug Fork river from Kentucky. The town has sites dedicated to its coal mining heritage and the Hatfield and McCoy feud and counts just about 3,000 residents. But despite its small size, drug wholesalers sent more than 20.8 million prescription painkillers to the town from 2008 and 2015, according to an investigation by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The opioids — hydrocodone and oxycodone pills — were provided to two pharmacies just four blocks apart.Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., and ranking member Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., issued a joint statement on its findings.”The committee’s bipartisan investigation continues to identify systemic issues with the inordinate number of opioids distributed to small town pharmacies,” they said in the statement. “The volume appears to be far in excess of the number of opioids that a pharmacy in that local area would be expected to receive.”The committee sent letters to two drug distributors asking why they sent so many pills and whether the spiking orders for the drugs raised any red flags at the companies.The letter to Springfield, Ill.-based H.D. Smith says West Virginia court documents suggest that the company sent the two pharmacies a whopping 39,000 hydrocodone pills in a two-day period in 2007.A pharmacy in the nearby town of Kermit was similarly inundated by pills from Miami-Luken, based in Springboro, Ohio.In 2008, “Miami-Luken alone provided 5,624 pills for every man, woman, and child in Kermit,” according to the committee’s letter. The committee notes that a doctor in another state, with offices two hours away, was responsible for prescribing 39 percent of all oxycodone pills at a pharmacy in tiny Oceana, W.Va. That pharmacy was provided 4.3 million of the painkillers by Miami-Luken from 2008 to 2015.Richard Blake, outside counsel for Miami-Luken, said that because of ongoing litigation between the company and the Drug Enforcement Agency, it would not be appropriate to go into great detail on the matter.”The info the committee has, they got from us, and we’re fully cooperating with them,” Blake told NPR. “The information goes back to 2008, 2009, 2010 — we’re not hiding anything. They’re high numbers, but it’s much more complex. The company’s got good management now. The committee’s been good; they’re just trying to get to the bottom of this.”In a statement to NPR, H.D. Smith said it “operates with stringent protection of our nation’s healthcare supply chain. The company works with its upstream manufacturing and downstream pharmacy partners to guard the integrity of the supply chain, and to improve patient outcomes. The team at H.D. Smith will review the letter and will respond as necessary.”The CDC says that 884 people died of drug overdoses in West Virginia in 2016, the highest rate in the country. The center identifies opioids — both prescription and illicit — as the main driver of drug-overdose deaths.The House committee’s findings were first reported by Eric Eyre at Gazette-Mail, who won a Pulitzer Prize in April for his investigative reporting on how rural “pill mills” had fueled the West Virginia’s opioid crisis. (The Gazette-Mail reported Monday that its owners were filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.) Eyre reports that West Virginia has already settled lawsuits with the two companies:”In February 2016, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey ended a state lawsuit against Miami-Luken after the company agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle allegations that it flooded the state with painkillers. Morrisey, a former lobbyist for a trade group that represents Miami-Luken and other drug distributors, inherited the lawsuit in 2013 after ousting longtime Attorney General Darrell McGraw.”H.D. Smith paid the state $3.5 million to settle the same pill-dumping allegations in January 2017.”The House committee gave the companies until Feb. 9 to fulfill its request for information and give a briefing.”We will continue to investigate these distributors’ shipments of large quantities of powerful opioids across West Virginia, including what seems to be a shocking lack of oversight over their distribution practices,” Walden and Pallone said in their statement. “These numbers are outrageous, and we will get to the bottom of how this destruction was able to be unleashed across West Virginia.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit read more

This article was produced in partnership with MLK5

first_imgThis article was produced in partnership with MLK50, which is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network. Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, the largest hospital system in Memphis, Tenn., said it has suspended “court collection activities” over unpaid medical bills — just days after an investigation by MLK50 and ProPublica (which also appeared on NPR) detailed its relentless pursuit of debts held by poor people and even its own employees.”We recognize that we serve a diverse community and we are always thinking about how we can do more and serve our community better,” Methodist said in a written statement. “Over the next 30 days we will be reviewing our policies and procedures to ensure we are doing everything possible to provide the communities we serve with the care and assistance they need. Also, we will immediately suspend any further court collection activities during this period.”As a learning organization that is committed to continuous quality improvement, we want to be absolutely sure that our practices continue to support our mission and vision of improving every life we touch regardless of ability to pay.”Methodist dropped more than two dozen cases that were set for initial hearings on Wednesday’s morning docket at Shelby County General Sessions Court.”Currently, Methodist is in the process of reviewing its collection processes,” R. Alan Pritchard, one of Methodist’s attorneys, told General Sessions Court Judge Deborah M. Henderson.”You are free to leave,” Henderson told one defendant, who looked puzzled, a purse on her shoulder and a folder full of papers in her hand.Henderson called the names of other defendants whose cases were on the docket.Again and again, Pritchard said: “Dropped, please, your honor.”One of the defendants whose case was dropped is Adrien Johnson, who works for the city of Memphis. Methodist sued him this year for an unpaid hospital bill of more than $900.Reached by phone, Johnson said he believes the hospital bill was for X-rays he had taken while he was covered by his wife’s insurance. Wednesday was his first court date, and after the hearing, he said he wasn’t clear what the status of his debt was.”I don’t know what they’re doing,” he said. “I need to find out what’s going on.”From 2014 through 2018, the hospital system affiliated with the United Methodist Church filed more than 8,300 lawsuits, according to an MLK50-ProPublica analysis of Shelby County General Sessions Court records. That’s more than all but one creditor during that five-year period.One story by the news organizations chronicled the struggle of Carrie Barrett, who makes $9.05 an hour at Kroger, to pay her 2007 hospital bill for $12,019. The bill has ballooned to more than $33,000 due to interest and attorney’s fees.Another story detailed how Methodist sues its own employees, some of whom make less than $13 an hour, for unpaid bills related to care delivered at its hospitals. Its health plan doesn’t allow workers to seek care at hospitals with more generous financial assistance policies.Defendants talked about how the lawsuits upended their lives and left them in a position where they would never be able to pay off their debts, which grew from year to year as interest mounted.With $2.1 billion in revenue and a health system that includes six hospitals, Methodist leads the market: In 2017, it had the most discharges per year and profits per patient, according to publicly available data analyzed by Definitive Healthcare, an analytics company.Methodist says it has “a hospital in all four quadrants of the greater Memphis area, unparalleled by any other healthcare provider in our region,” plus more than 150 outpatient centers, clinics and physician practices. The system also said it provides community benefits of more than $226 million annually.The number of lawsuits Methodist files isn’t out of proportion to its size, at least compared to competitor Baptist Memorial Health Care and Regional One Health, the county’s public hospital. But Methodist stands out in other respects.Its financial assistance policy, unlike those of many of its peers around the country, all but ignores patients with any form of health insurance, no matter their out-of-pocket costs. If they are unable to afford their bills, patients then face what experts say is rare: A licensed collection agency owned by the hospital.Also, after the hospital sues and wins a judgment, it repeatedly tries to garnish patients’ wages, which it does in a far higher share of cases than other nonprofit hospitals in Memphis. A court-ordered garnishment requires that the debtor’s employer send to the court 25% of a worker’s after-tax income, minus basic living expenses and a tiny deduction for children under age 15.Methodist secured garnishment orders in 46% of cases filed from 2014 through 2018, compared with 36% at Regional One and 20% at Baptist, according to an analysis of court records by MLK50.Methodist’s announcement was welcomed by some local lawmakers.”Methodist has been such a great community partner throughout Shelby County that I’m glad to hear they’re reviewing their process over the next 30 days,” said Shelby County Commissioner Mickell Lowery, whose district includes Methodist University Hospital.U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., said: “I was surprised to read about Methodist Le Bonheur’s billing practices, and I’m glad that the company is re-examining them. … I will continue to monitor this situation and look forward to the company’s assessment.”But the Rev. Anthony Anderson, a United Methodist elder at Faith United Methodist in Memphis, was more reserved.”I am still heartbroken, and I say that spiritually,” Anderson said. “It breaks my heart to know that a Methodist-related entity, a hospital, would have these types of practices.”He welcomed the policy review, but only if it leads to the complete erasure of all outstanding patient debt.”This debt needs to be wiped away,” Anderson said. “That will be the direction I will be pushing towards as a Methodist — that we don’t burden families with these type of financial penalties.”New data obtained from Shelby County General Sessions Court shows that Methodist has filed more than 600 new lawsuits this year. Its most recent suits were filed on June 21, days before the MLK50-ProPublica stories were published. Its most recent garnishment order was filed on Tuesday.Wendi C. Thomas is the editor of MLK50: Justice Through Journalism. Email her at and follow her on Twitter at @wendicthomas.ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up for ProPublica’s Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox as soon as they are published. Copyright 2019 ProPublica. To see more, visit ProPublica.last_img read more

James Bentley and Jack Welsby are both called up t

first_imgJames Bentley and Jack Welsby are both called up to the side with James Roby and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook missing through injury.Justin Holbrook will select his 17 from:1. Jonny Lomax, 2. Tommy Makinson, 4. Mark Percival, 6. Theo Fages, 10. Kyle Amor, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Jon Wilkin, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Morgan Knowles, 16. Luke Thompson, 18. Danny Richardson, 19. Regan Grace, 20. Matty Lees, 21. Jack Ashworth, 23. Ben Barba, 24. James Bentley, 25. Aaron Smith, 30. Matty Costello, 31. Jack Welsby.Lee Radford will choose his Hull FC side from:1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 11. Dean Hadley, 14. Jake Connor, 16. Jordan Abdul, 17. Danny Washbrook, 20. Brad Fash, 21. Sika Manu, 22. Jez Litten, 26. Jordan Lane, 28. Hakim Miloudi, 29. Masimbaashe Matongo, 30. Cameron Scott, 35. Liam Harris, 36. Lewis Bienek.The referee is for the clash is Chris Kendall.Tickets are on sale from the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.last_img read more

Tesla Offers 28 Billion for SolarCity in No Brainer Deal for Musk

first_img Elon Musk, chairman of SolarCity and CEO of Tesla Motors, speaks at SolarCity’s Inside Energy Summit. Tesla Offers $2.8 Billion for SolarCity in ‘No Brainer’ Deal for Musk Image credit: Reuters | Rashid Umar Abbas 4 min read June 22, 2016 Next Article –shares Register Now » This story originally appeared on Reuters Tesla Reuters Elon Musk on Tuesday sought to build a clean energy powerhouse as his electric car maker, Tesla Motors Inc., made an offer to buy his solar installation firm SolarCity Corp. in a stock deal worth as much as $2.8 billion.Tesla shares plunged more than 13 percent to $189.99 in extended trading — amounting to a loss in value of about $4.3 billion, or more than the value of the offer for the other company. Shares of SolarCity rose about 18 percent to $25.02.Musk, who is the chairman of SolarCity, CEO of Tesla and the largest shareholder of both companies, described the deal as a “no brainer” in a call with reporters. The company could sell customers an electric car, a home battery and a solar system all at once, he said.”Instead of making three trips to a house to put in a car charger and solar panels and battery pack, you can integrate that into a single visit,” Musk told reporters. “It’s an obvious thing to do.”Tesla investors punished the company’s shares, however.”Ideally you want to see Tesla focus on Tesla — building Teslas and expanding the cars,” said Ivan Feinseth, an analyst at Tigress Financial Partners. “Maybe the feeling is that this takes away focus, and it could financially strain Tesla, which is going to continually need a lot of cash.”SolarCity has about $6.24 billion in liabilities, including debt.Tesla executives said its predictable cash flow in the form of payments for its solar systems pays for the debt.Although it is the U.S. market leader in residential rooftop solar systems, it regularly posts quarterly losses and the stock has fallen nearly 60 percent so far this year, pummeled by investors who see its business model as too complex in a market that has become increasingly competitive.Musk said Tesla did not know how many of its customers have solar panels, but guessed that most of them were likely interested in solar. In a blog, Tesla described the deal as a way to expand both companies’ markets.The solar systems will be sold under the premium Tesla brand, which is seeking to expand its target market with a $35,000 electric vehicle called the Model 3 that it will begin delivering late next year.Musk, who owns 19 percent of Tesla and 22 percent of SolarCity, said he would recuse himself from voting on the deal. He could not say how soon shareholders could vote on the deal, as due diligence needs to take place first.SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive, Musk’s first cousin, said he supported the deal but would also recuse himself from voting. Rive’s brother, Peter, is also a founder of the company and its chief technology officer.Musk and Lyndon Rive hatched the idea for SolarCity during a trip to the Burning Man desert festival in 2004. Over a decade later, SolarCity has become the top U.S. residential solar installer thanks to a no-money-down financing scheme that allows homeowners to pay for their solar panels through a monthly fee that is less than what they would pay their local utility.Tesla said it offered $26.50 to $28.50 per share for SolarCity, which represents a premium of about 25 percent to 35 percent to the company’s Tuesday close of $21.19. That values the deal at about $2.6 billion to $2.8 billion overall.In a statement issued late Tuesday, Tesla said its management will host a conference call to discuss the ‘rationale’ surrounding the offer to buy SolarCity. The conference call is scheduled to take place Wednesday morning before U.S. markets open.(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik and Aurindom Mukherjee in Bengaluru, Paul Lienert in Detroit and Nichola Groom in Los Angeles; Editing by Bill Rigby, Peter Henderson and Sunil Nair) Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Add to Queuelast_img read more

Bright Pattern Contact Center Now Available on Microsoft AppSource

first_imgBright Pattern Contact Center Now Available on Microsoft AppSource PRNewswireMay 27, 2019, 6:29 pmMay 27, 2019 Bright Patternline-of-business solutionsMarketing TechnologyMicrosoft AppSourceMicrosoft Dynamics 365News Previous ArticleBraze Hires Former Bazaarvoice Executive as CMO, Former Marketo Chairman and CEO to Join Board of DirectorsNext ArticleKey Social Media Monetization Tactics for Mobile-First Gaming Brands Bright Pattern, a leading provider of omnichannel cloud contact center software for innovative companies, announced the availability of Bright Pattern Contact Center on Microsoft AppSource, an online cloud marketplace providing tailored line-of-business solutions.Bright Pattern provides simple and powerful contact center software for innovative midsize and enterprise companies. Offering a true omnichannel cloud platform, Bright Pattern allows companies to offer an effortless, personal, and seamless customer experience across channels, including voice, text, chat, email, video, messengers, and bots. Bright Pattern integrates with Microsoft Dynamics 365 to help Microsoft customers manage increasing contact volume, provide better service to your customers, and increase agent productivity and performance.Bright Pattern Contact Center integration for Dynamics 365 features includes:Blended voice and chat — Agents can handle customer inquiries over the phone, chat, and SMS/text simultaneously from within Dynamics 365.Click-to-call — Agents have easy-to-use click-to-call icons within Dynamics 365, helping brands drive tickets to resolution faster.Microsoft data access — Bright Pattern Contact Center taps into the Microsoft database to identify customers, update records, and automatically log real-time interaction with customer tickets.Put tickets in context — Agents can view notes and context from all previous customers interactions regardless of the channel, improving agent productivity and boosting customer satisfaction.Screen pop — Agents can instantly identify customers with screen pops from Dynamics 365, including useful information such as contact details forms, recent activities, webpages, and previous tickets.Single sign-on with Microsoft Azure — Utilizing Azure, agents are able to log in faster with single sign-on.Marketing Technology News: Seven Tech Data Executives Named 2019 CRN “Women of the Channel”“Bright Pattern shares Microsoft’s strategic vision for a mobile world of customer engagement with the strongest mobile capabilities, including in-app messaging, SMS/text messaging, and social messenger channel support,” said Michael McCloskey, CEO of Bright Pattern. “Our availability in Microsoft AppSource brings together the rich data from Microsoft Dynamics 365 with the power of the Bright Pattern omnichannel call center solution to provide a context-rich and personal experience.”Marketing Technology News: Teleperformance Groups ‘Praxidia Knowledge Services’ partners with CallMiner to launch TP Interact – a Comprehensive Interaction Analytics SolutionKirsten Edmondson Wolfe, Senior Director, AppSource Product Marketing, Microsoft Corp., said, “We’re excited to welcome Bright Pattern to Microsoft AppSource, which gives our customers access to the best solutions available from our extensive partner ecosystem. Microsoft AppSource offers partner solutions such as Bright Pattern Contact Center to help customers enhance the efficiencies of their contact centers and improve customer satisfaction.”Marketing Technology News: Cint Appoints SVP of Asia Nicholas Antram to Continue Strategic Expansion Across the Regionlast_img read more

Antivaxxer Italian leader down with chickenpox

first_imgBy Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDMar 21 2019In a twist of fate, an Italian politician who was lobbying against mandatory vaccination laws, has come down with chickenpox and is now hospitalized.There has been several outbreaks of vaccine-preventable measles because of inadequate vaccine coverage of the population. Prime reason behind this is the anti-vaccination groups that propagate vaccination conspiracy theories.The Lorenzin decree was recently introduced in the country requireming ewborn babies born between 2001 to 2017 to be vaccinated for entry into school. Parents, under this law are warned that their unvaccinated children would be barred from attending nursery or preschool. Older children’s parents would have to cough up fines ranging from 100 euros ($A160) and 500 euros ($A800) if they fail to vavvinate their children.Related StoriesNovel vaccine against bee sting allergy successfully testedComputer-generated flu vaccine enters clinical trials in the USNew shingles vaccine reduces outbreaks of painful rash among stem cell transplant patientsMassimiliano Fedriga, a member of Italy’s far-right League party had opposed this decree and now for the last four days he has been hospitalized with a vaccine preventable viral illness – chickenpox. He had recently opposed compulsory vaccinations against 12 diseases including the one he contracted.Mr Fedriga is the president of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region and has said in a statement that his children are vaccinated. He said he was opposed to the idea of vaccination being made mandatory. “I’m fine, I’m at home in convalescence, and I thank everyone,” he said. After the social media noise on his being an anti-vaxxer and now ill with the very same disease, he has said, “I have always said that I am in favour of vaccines and to achieve the result is necessary to form an alliance with families, not impose (it on them). (The critics) even said I would get chickenpox from my children, not realising that my children are vaccinated (as I have stated in many interviews).”Experts have opined that it was good thing that the leader’s children were vaccinated. They have said that these viral illnesses can become severe and even fatal when it affects adults. Pregnant women who get chicken pox for example may face a miscarriage or severe harm to their unborn baby. Similarly a person with a compromised immunity may also face severe consequences of these vaccine-preventable viral infections. It is important that large part of the population gets vaccinated, say experts.The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that 95 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated against these infections to protect them from outbreaks. Italy has not met its 95 per cent recommended vaccination rate. As a result there have been 165 cases of measles this January.last_img read more

VW faces first big German court date over dieselgate

first_img Graphic on the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal. Backed by government tax incentives, German and other European carmakers bet big on diesel in the 1990s and 2000s as a lower-carbon alternative to petrol engines.But the “dieselgate” scandal has revealed the flipside of the technology, nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions that can be harmful to health.Investigations into Volkswagen and other manufacturers are dragging on.Another investor probe starting Wednesday, against Porsche SE, the holding company with a controlling stake in VW, could be stalled or superseded by the Brunswick case.Rupert Stadler, CEO of VW subsidiary Audi, is in custody on suspicion of fraud and issuing false certificates, and VW-owned Porsche, Mercedes-Benz manufacturer Daimler and components supplier Bosch are in prosecutors’ sights.Driving bansMeanwhile, the fallout for German society has been far wider-ranging.The EU has toughened emissions testing with a new procedure known as WLTP, which comes into force this month.Car companies are hoping a flood of new battery-powered vehicles will help meet tighter fleet-wide CO2 targets that bite from 2021, rather than ever-more efficient diesels.And courts are increasingly pressuring German cities to clean up their air, with a diesel ban on two major roads in Hamburg and city-wide exclusion zones for older vehicles coming in Stuttgart and Frankfurt.Consumers have reacted to the prospect of more bans by shunning diesel, sending its share of the new car market plunging from 46.5 percent in August 2015 to 32.6 percent last month.Potentially even more terrifying for carmakers is a law allowing collective class action-style lawsuits that Berlin aims to pass before the statue of limitations runs out for VW.”Some two million owners could benefit,” Justice Minister Katarina Barley said in May.VW ‘dieselgate’ fraud: Timeline of a scandal As Volkswagen faces the wrath of investors in the first mass “dieselgate” lawsuit on its home turf, here’s a look at how the emissions cheating was uncovered and the fallout for the auto giant:2014US researchers at the University of West Virginia discover that certain VW diesel cars emit up to 40 times the permissible levels of harmful nitrogen oxide when tested on the road.2015September 18: The US Environmental Protection Agency accuses VW of duping diesel emissions tests using so-called “defeat devices”.September 22: Volkswagen admits installing software designed to reduce emissions during lab tests in 11 million diesel engines worldwide. VW shares plunge by 40 percent in two days.September 23: Chief executive Martin Winterkorn steps down but insists he knew nothing of the scam. 2016April 22: VW announces a net loss for 2015, its first in 20 years, after setting aside billions to cover the anticipated costs of the scandal.June 28: VW agrees to pay $14.7 billion in buybacks, compensation and penalties in a mammoth settlement with US authorities. The deal, which covers 2.0 litre diesel engines only, includes cash payouts for nearly 500,000 US drivers.September 21: The first VW investors file lawsuits in a German court seeking billions in damages. They accuse the automaker of failing to communicate about the crisis in a timely way.December 8: The European Commission launches legal action against seven EU nations including Germany for failing to crack down on emissions cheating.2017January 11: VW pleads guilty to three US charges including fraud and agrees to pay $4.3 billion in civil and criminal fines.As part of the plea deal, VW signs up to a “statement of facts” in which it admits that the cheating dates back to 2006, but it remains unclear how much the top brass knew about the scam.January 27: German prosecutors say they are investigating Winterkorn on suspicion of fraud, accusing him of knowing about the defeat devices earlier than admitted. He is already under investigation for suspected market manipulation over the scandal.February 1: Car parts maker Bosch, which supplied elements of the software, agrees to pay nearly $330 million to US car owners and dealers but admits no wrongdoing.VW says it will pay at least $1.2 billion to compensate some 80,000 US buyers of 3.0 litre engines as well as buying back or refitting their vehicles.August 25: A Michigan court sentences VW engineer James Liang to 40 months in prison and a $200,000 fine, after he pleads guilty to conspiracy to defraud the US and to violating the US Clean Air Act. He had asked for a more lenient sentence after cooperating with investigators.December 6: VW executive Oliver Schmidt, who was arrested while on holiday in Florida, is sentenced to seven years in jail after pleading guilty to fraud and violating the US Clean Air Act.2018February 23: VW roars back to profit after record sales in 2017.February 27: A German court paves the way for cities to ban the oldest diesels from their roads to combat air pollution.April 12: VW brand chief Herbert Diess hastily replaces CEO Matthias Mueller after he too lands in prosecutors’ sights.April 20: A top manager at Porsche, a VW subsidiary, is arrested in Germany as part of “dieselgate” inquiries.May 3: Winterkorn is indicted in the US, accused of trying to cover up the cheating.June 13: VW agrees to pay a one-billion-euro fine in Germany, admitting its responsibility for the diesel crisis. The scandal has now cost the group over 27 billion euros.June 18: Rupert Stadler, CEO of VW’s Audi subsidiary, is arrested in Germany, accused of fraud and trying to suppress evidence.Six things to know about Volkswagen’s latest court caseThe first major court case against Volkswagen over its cheating of emissions tests on 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide begins Monday. Here are six things to know about the trial.What is the case about ?The case in Brunswick, near VW’s Wolfsburg headquarters in northern Germany, focuses on the plunge in the mammoth group’s share price in September 2015.After American authorities revealed its mass diesel cheating, the stock shed some 40 percent in two days. Now investors are demanding compensation for their losses, saying Volkswagen should have warned them sooner about the risks. Why should we care?This is the first major trial related to “dieselgate” in Germany, where previously only a few individual customers have brought the carmaker to court and the results have not been made public. In the US, VW settled claims with customers for some $14.7 billion, and two former managers were jailed.While Monday’s case deals with the technical aspects of how and when the group communicated with financial markets, the court will have to lay out a timeline of the scandal and determine when executives knew about the cheating.Such details are vital to ongoing criminal investigations in Germany.What must the court decide?Brunswick judges will rule on more than 200 questions submitted by the two sides in the case.Among the most vital are whether VW should have let investors know about its cheating software, whether it deliberately covered up the information, and which board members knew what—and when.The answers will then be carried over to more than 3,000 pending court cases from investors against VW and Porsche SE, the holding company that owns a controlling stake, to determine whether compensation should be paid out.What are the risks for VW ?In total, the shareholders represented in those over 3,000 cases are demanding 9 billion euros ($10.5 billion) in compensation.But if judges rule against VW, it will be up to the courts to decide in each case how much is owed.So far, the group has paid out more than 27 billion euros in fines, legal costs and buy-backs over dieselgate in Europe and the US.What do the investors say?Lawyers for investment fund Deka, whose case is a “model” for the others with similar characteristics, argue VW should have informed investors at several points between 2008—the time of the cheat software’s first deployment—and September 22 2015, when it first admitted to the fraud.They argue that managers knew about the so-called “defeat device” and that that information would likely have an impact on the group’s share price.What’s Volkswagen’s defence?The world’s biggest carmaker says that information available at the time did not make communicating with shareholders legally necessary.They argue that the cheating was a scheme by a small group of engineers acting without their superiors’ knowledge or authorisation.Once alerted by the US authorities, executives did not realise how serious the scandal would become, they add, believing it could be resolved amicably. Explore further The movements of Volkswagen’s share price since it was accused of cheating on car pollution tests Citation: VW faces first big German court date over ‘dieselgate’ (2018, September 10) retrieved 17 July 2019 from A German court will examine whether Volkswagen should have informed investors sooner about so-called “defeat devices” it built into 11 million cars worldwide to fool regulatory emissions tests Volkswagen faces German court showdown over ‘dieselgate’ VW said in 2016 that Winterkorn—who stepped down after the scandal became public—was sent a “memo” highlighting emissions irregularities in the manipulated EA189 engine, without confirming whether he ever read it. From 10 am (0800 GMT) the regional court in Brunswick will examine whether the auto giant should have informed investors sooner about so-called “defeat devices” it built into 11 million cars worldwide to fool regulatory emissions tests.On the first day, “we are hoping for first indications from the judges about their view of the facts and the legal position,” said Andreas Tilp, a lawyer representing investment fund Deka.The shareholder’s “model case” against VW is supposed to clear up more than 200 questions common to some 3,650 claims totalling around 9.0 billion euros ($10.5 billion), with judges expected Monday to highlight timelines and priority issues in the massive case.At issue is a 40-percent plunge in Volkswagen stock over two days in September 2015, which wiped billions off its market value.After markets closed on Friday, September 18 that year, US authorities accused the group of using the defeat devices—engine software designed to cut harmful emissions during regulatory tests, only to allow them to rise again during on-road driving.Investors say they could have avoided painful losses had executives—who are legally obliged to share promptly any information that could affect the share price—informed them sooner of the cheating.Ahead of Monday’s hearing, Volkswagen lawyer Markus Pfueller said the group was “confident” that it had “complied with its disclosure obligations toward shareholders and the capital markets”.So far, dieselgate has cost VW more than 27 billion euros in fines, vehicle buybacks and recalls and legal costs, mostly in the US.’Every nut and bolt’Judges are expected to take at least until next year to rule.Deka lawyers argue that board members knew about the fraud and should have revealed it between the offending software’s first deployment in 2008 and September 2015.For its part, VW blames a handful of engineers acting without authorisation for the scheme, and says the information it had before the American authorities intervened was not significant enough to warrant warning capital markets.At the centre of attention in the court case will be Martin Winterkorn, the trained engineer who claimed to know “every nut and bolt” of Volkswagen’s entire range of models and ran the company as chief executive from 2007 to 2015. © 2018 AFP The first major German court case against Volkswagen over the “dieselgate” scandal that has shaken up the car industry gets under way Monday, as investors pursue the world’s largest automaker for billions in compensation. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more