Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Thursday said days are not far off when it will be possible to unfurl the tricolour in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). “I have faith that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the way New India’s caravan is progressing ahead, that day is not far off when it will be possible to unfurl that tricolour or ‘Nishan’ for which Shyama Prasad Mukherj sacrificed his life in Pakistan occupied Kashmir,” Mr. Singh said at an event to rename Chenani-Nashri Tunnel in Jammu & Kashmir.Mr. Singh, credited Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari for accepting the proposal of renaming the tunnel after Shyama Prasad Mukherjee without wasting time. In 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had dedicated to the nation this 9 km-long tunnel that reduces the distance between Jammu and Srinagar by 31 km but due to “some compulsions” this could not be named after Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, he said. He further noted that 66 years ago on May 11, 1953, Mukherjee was arrested from Lakhanpur in an illegal manner without any FIR, chargesheet or warning and was taken to Srinagar through this Chenani-Nashri road. After Mukherjee’s death on June 23, 1953 his mother wrote to then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to hold an enquiry into his death. “For some reasons then Prime Minister Nehru did not pay heed to that letter, no enquiry was done. It is a new era now. It was Nehru government then, today it is Modi government… That probe or lapse can not be compensated but this tribute for coming generation will preserve his heritage and memory. “The lapse on part of Nehru government has been atoned by Modi government,” he said. The decision to rename the tunnel comes over two months after abrogation of the provisions of Article 370. The ‘Chenani-Nashri Tunnel’ was built at the cost of ₹2,600 crore. The tunnel, bypassing snow-bound upper reaches, reduces the journey time by two hours and provide a safe, all-weather route to commuters travelling from Jammu and Udhampur to Ramban, Banihal and Srinagar. The key features of the tunnel are — it is a single-tube bi-directional tunnel, with a 9.35-metre carriageway, and a vertical clearance of 5 metres. There is also a parallel escape tunnel, with ‘Cross Passages’ connecting to the main tunnel at intervals of 300 metres. It also has smart features such as an integrated traffic control system; surveillance, ventilation and broadcast systems; fire fighting system; and SOS call-boxes at every 150 metres.
2 dead in California school attack; gunman shoots self PLAY LIST 03:122 dead in California school attack; gunman shoots self02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. It’s also the story of Utah, which might get in the mix to host a Winter Olympics in 2026 or 2030.The chairman of the LA bid was in Park City on Tuesday for the U.S. Olympic Committee media summit to discuss Los Angeles’ recent victory; many of the questions he fielded, though, involved whether a U.S. bid for an upcoming Winter Games might make sense, too.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Twenty-six is complicated, obviously,” Casey Wasserman said. “Obviously, there are real challenges from a timing perspective, two years before us. But I think our approach has been, the Olympic Games, whether summer or winter, are good for American athletes. Our intent is to be a good partner to the USOC and American athletes.”The USOC board will meet next month to discuss the possibility. The same country hasn’t hosted back-to-back Olympics since before World War II, though when the International Olympic Committee scrapped its traditional rules and awarded 2024 (Paris) and 2028 (LA) at the same time, it indicated it was certainly open to new ideas. Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002, and what remains there and in Park City pretty much adheres to Agenda 2020, the blueprint that IOC President Thomas Bach set for future Olympics, which calls for less spending on new venues and infrastructure.Through a legacy foundation, the area has maintained an Olympic speedskating oval and a Nordic skiing course, each of which have drawn local athletes to their respective sports and could be used as part of an upcoming bid. The Utah Olympic Park remains an active training ground for action sports, for both U.S. athletes and those from other countries who are invited to work out there.Meanwhile, Utah likes the Olympics: NBC says Salt Lake City has ranked as either No. 1 or 2 among U.S. TV markets over the last three Winter Games.Leaders of the movement to bring the games back to Utah have largely stayed quiet, not wanting to take the limelight from Los Angeles, which helped the U.S. put a stop to a long string of embarrassing losses on the Olympic bid front. But a handful have told The Associated Press that there is enthusiasm for a potential bid if the USOC will sign on.“There’s fantastic momentum to have the Games come back. I think we could do it for a very affordable price compared to the rest of the world,” said Ted Morris, the executive director of U.S. Speedskating, which is based in the Salt Lake City area. “In my opinion, looking at ’26 is probably not realistic, but ’30 seems like an opportunity.”ADVERTISEMENT Read Next LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients The most complicating factor for either year would be a reworking of an agreement between LA and the USOC that transfers the USOC’s marketing rights to the city’s organizing committee over an eight-year span. Adding another American Olympics to that mix would force some major renegotiations.There’s also the issue of the IOC bid process. Bach has redrawn the rules for 2026, creating friendlier deadlines for cities to commit to a bid. But he has not committed to a potential double award for 2026 and 2030, the way he did with 2024 and 2028.Also, the USOC will have to consider Denver and Reno, Nevada, which also have expressed interest in hosting a Winter Games but would be behind the curve compared with Salt Lake City.“Thomas Bach has publicly stated he’d like to see the Winter Games return to a more traditional location, and to me, that’s code for Europe or North America,” said USOC chairman Larry Probst, speaking to the fact that the hosts for 2014, 2018 and 2022 are Russia, South Korea and China. “We’ve got to look at that, then develop a strategy about whether we’re going to bid for the (2026) Winter Games or beyond that.” MOST READ FILE – In this Feb. 9, 2002, file photo, Georg Hackl, of Germany, speeds past an Olympic logo during a practice run for the men’s singles luge at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in Park City, Utah. The idea of the U.S. hosting a Winter Olympics is complicated. So says the leader of the team that brought the Summer Games to Los Angeles for 2028. LA 2028 chairman Casey Wasserman says his team would be supportive of a bid to bring the Winter Games to the United States. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)PARK CITY, Utah — The venues are there. The city loves the Olympics. The memories of the last games it hosted are still fairly fresh and mostly positive.This is the story of Los Angeles, which will host the Summer Games in 2028.ADVERTISEMENT Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Playoff-bound Cubs lose to Reds in finale BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH LATEST STORIES View comments
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson: Why Klopp so specialby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool goalkeeper Alisson admits he loves playing for manager Jurgen Klopp.The 26-year-old has been full of praise for his new boss Klopp, who he has labelled as one of the best in the world.“His passion for football, for winning, for doing the right thing,” he said.“He does the best for the club and the players. Not just the players but all the staff, everyone involved in the football club.“He has this passion that he transmits to us that we then take on the field.”I believe that is the most important [characteristic] — that and his intelligence.”
About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Tottenham star Alli avoids FA punishment for Arsenal gestureby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham star Dele Alli will not be punished for a sign he made to Arsenal supporters during his side’s Carabao Cup win last night.Alli netted the second goal of the game and made a gesture to remind the fans of the score.While his gesture could be seen as inflammatory, it was not abusive, which means he will be cut some slack.Sky Sports suggests that no further action will be taken.And the Gunners will not face any action after a supporter was caught on video throwing something at Alli. But that supporter does face criminal action and a stadium ban.
Details on the operation of Calgary’s new Central Library cafe are expected Tuesday morning.Other milestones for the East Village will also be included in the announcement. Councillor Druh Farrell will attend the event, along with members of the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation and the Calgary Public Library.The new library is expected to open later this year.Tuesday’s announcement takes place at the St. Louis Hotel at 11 a.m.
LONDON – Comcast and 21st Century Fox are contenders for the highest bid for European broadcaster Sky.The two companies are competing Saturday in a rare auction to determine which bid for Sky is the highest. The three-round auction began Friday after the London stock market closed.Britain’s regulator, the Takeover Panel, set up the auction to put an end to months of offers and counteroffers from the American media companies, who want to expand business in Europe.Sky is Europe’s largest pay-television operator, with 23 million customers in seven countries. It broadcasts popular programs including English Premier League soccer and “Game of Thrones.”Fox already owns 39 per cent of Sky, but has long sought to control the company.Sky shareholders will still have to approve the winner’s bid.
San Francisco: San Francisco is on track to become the first US city to ban the use of facial recognition by police and other city agencies, reflecting a growing backlash against a technology that’s creeping into airports, motor vehicle departments, stores, stadiums and home security cameras. Government agencies around the U.S. have used the technology for more than a decade to scan databases for suspects and prevent identity fraud. But recent advances in artificial intelligence have created more sophisticated computer vision tools, making it easier for police to pinpoint a missing child or protester in a moving crowd or for retailers to analyze a shopper’s facial expressions as they peruse store shelves. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: ReportEfforts to restrict its use are getting pushback from law enforcement groups and the tech industry, though it’s far from a united front. Microsoft, while opposed to an outright ban, has urged lawmakers to set limits on the technology, warning that leaving it unchecked could enable an oppressive dystopia reminiscent of George Orwell’s novel “1984.” “Face recognition is one of those technologies that people get how creepy it is,” said Alvaro Bedoya, who directs Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy and Technology. “It’s not like cookies on a browser. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protestsThere’s something about this technology that really sets the hairs on the back of people’s heads up.” Without regulations barring law enforcement from accessing driver’s license databases, people who have never been arrested could be part of virtual police line-ups without their knowledge, skeptics of the technology say. They worry people will one day not be able to go to a park, store or school without being identified and tracked. Already, a handful of big box stores across the U.S. are trying out cameras with facial recognition that can guess their customers’ age, gender or mood as they walk by, with the goal of showing them targeted, real-time ads on in-store video screens. If San Francisco adopts a ban, other cities, states or even Congress could follow, with lawmakers from both parties looking to curtail government surveillance and others hoping to restrict how businesses analyze the faces, emotions and gaits of an unsuspecting public. The California Legislature is considering a proposal prohibiting the use of facial ID technology on body cameras. A bipartisan bill in the US Senate would exempt police applications but set limits on businesses analyzing people’s faces without their consent. Legislation similar to San Francisco’s is pending in Oakland, California, and on Thursday another proposed ban was introduced in Somerville, Massachusetts. Bedoya said a ban in San Francisco, the “most technologically advanced city in our country,” would send a warning to other police departments thinking of trying out the imperfect technology. But Daniel Castro, vice president of the industry-backed Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, said the ordinance is too extreme to serve as a model. “It might find success in San Francisco, but I will be surprised if it finds success in a lot of other cities,” he said. San Francisco is home to tech innovators such as Uber, Airbnb and Twitter, but the city’s relationship with the industry is testy. Some supervisors in City Hall are calling for a tax on stock-based compensation in response to a wave of San Francisco companies going public, including Lyft and Pinterest. At the same time, San Francisco is big on protecting immigrants, civil liberties and privacy. In November, nearly 60% of voters approved a proposition to strengthen data privacy guidelines.
Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce believes his team is suffering from lack of confidence after their stalemate against Bristol City on Friday.The Villans played out a 1–1 draw with Bristol and are currently winless in their last nine games. However, Bruce admitted that his side were not at their best and put the poor encounter down to a lack of confidence.But he felt Villa should have won the game. He blasted the decision to disallow Tammy Abraham’s first-half goal, as well as the decision not to award a penalty to his team after a Bristol player handled the ball in the box.“I thought we deserved to win,” he added, according to Birmingham Mail.“The referee has made an awful decision in the first half.”“We could have had a penalty in the second half. Away from home, you need those decisions.”Allardyce praises Newcastle’s Steve Bruce Manuel R. Medina – September 11, 2019 Sam Allardyce believes Steve Bruce is a better fit at English Premier League side Newcastle United than he would ever have been.“When you put all those factors together, I thought if any ]team was going to win it would be us.”“It was never going to be easy. But after an awful start, the resilience of the players and the determination. For me, we were the better team.”Meanwhile, Jamie McAllister has jumped to the defence of Steve Bruce after chant of him getting the sack were made by Villa supporters.McAllister, who is the assistant manager of Bristol City told reporters that:“I think it’s crazy. He’s a top manager and has got a top side.”
According to Paulo Bento, he fears the Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min might not be ready to play in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.Tottenham Hotspur superstar Son Heung-min has traveled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to play in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.And South Korea boss Paulo Bento fears he is overplayed.“Of course we know how many matches and minutes he has played over the past month,” Bento told The Malay Mail.Premier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“He’s probably never played as many games in a row as he has recently. It’s only his second day with us so we will need to check his condition tomorrow before we make any decision on him.”“He’s a very important part of the team obviously,” added Bento.“But we won’t take any risks and we also have other options.”
00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – After being closed for months the Ocean Beach Pier finally has an expected date to be re-opened.KUSI’s Dan Plante visited the O.B Pier for an update on its progress. Dan Plante, Posted: May 17, 2019 Ocean Beach Pier scheduled to reopen Dan Plante May 17, 2019 Categories: Local San Diego News, Traffic & Accidents, Trending FacebookTwitter
Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Early Thursday morning Diane Macrae was among the first to arrive at a rally, off Kalifornsky Beach Road, in support of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), is considered a swing vote, and has said she has made “no decision” on Kavanaugh’s fate, as of Thursday morning. Alaskans urging a “no” vote are also making their case loudly with the support of the ACLU. The ACLU has been flying dozens of Alaskans to D.C. to deliver their message in person. Diane Macrae: “This was just neighbors talking to neighbors, and saying let’s do it, why be silent, if you support them you don’t have to be ashamed of supporting someone you think would be a good Supreme Court Justice.” Republican Senate leaders and White House officials said Thursday that an FBI background investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh revealed no evidence of wrongdoing. A final vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination could come as early as Saturday, following a procedural vote on Friday morning. Macrae is joined by others in the community hoping that their voices will be heard: “There’s a lot of pressure on Lisa Murkowski from outsiders. It seems like our voice on the nationwide and all over is not being heard. Her phones have been busy, and this was a way to reach out and let her know this is support for Brett.”
WILMINGTON, MA — Below are 5 things to do in Wilmington on Tuesday, February 5, 2019:#1) Afternoon Concert At Windsor PlaceWindsor Place (92 West Street) is opening its doors to the public for a a free concert with Dan Hart at 2:30pm in the Activity Room. Dan Hart is a singer and guitarist with a repertoire of hundreds of songs from the 1920s through the 1970s. He has performed professionally for more than 30 years from coast to coast and in Europe. Whether on stage or strolling with his guitar, his music and personality have won loyal audiences everywhere. His ever-growing repertoire is entirely memorized; you won’t see him with a music sheet!#2) Boutwell Early Childhood Registration Information MeetingWilmington Public Schools is hosting a meeting to discuss what is involved in the Preschool/Kindergarten registration process, program overview, screening process and programs/services provided by Special Education. The meeting for Boutwell families is at 6pm for preschools and 6:30pm for kindergarten at the school.#3) Wilmington Board of Health MeetingThe Wilmington Board of Health meets at 5:30pm in Town Hall’s Room 9. Read the agenda HERE.#4) Wilmington Finance Committee MeetingThe Wilmington Finance Committee meets at 7pm in Town Hall’s Room 9. An FY2020 budget review, revenue, and general government will be discussed. Read the agenda HERE.#5) Wilmington Planning Board MeetingThe Wilmington Planning Board meets at 7:30pm in the Town Hall’s Auditorium. Read the agenda HERE.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 email@example.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Related5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Tuesday, July 30, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Thursday, July 18, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Monday, August 26, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”
.Police detained a madrasa teacher from Gopalpur upazila headquarters in Tangail on Saturday morning for allegedly seeking salvation of departed souls of the killers of Banghabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, reports UNB.The arrested teacher is Faizul Amir Sarker, principal of Gopalpur Kamil Madrasa, hailing from Muradnagar upazila in Comilla district.Witnesses said Gopalpur upazila administration arranged a special prayer programme in upazila freedom fighters’ office around 8am for seeking salvation of the departed soul of freedom fighters who laid their lives for the country.Faizul conducted a munajat in the programme where he sought salvation of the departed souls who were hanged in connection with killing of Banghabandhu in the presence of upazila chairman Yunus Islam Talukder, Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Dilruba Sharmin and others, said Al Mamun, officer-in-charge of Gopalpur police station.Immediately after the incident, police detained Faizul and started filing a case against him, added the OC.
A man was killed after being electrocuted while plucking mangoes at Jamalpur village in Katiadi upazila on Friday afternoon.The deceased was identified as Falu Mia, 55, son of Sonam Uddin of Dashpakhi village in the upazila.Witnesses said Falu Mia electrocuted when he came in contact with a live electric wire while climbing on a tree to pluck mangoes, leaving him dead on the spot.However, police handed over the body to the family without any autopsy as they applied for it, said Faruk Ahmed, sub-inspector of Katiadi police station.
Kolkata: Stating that Bengal’s economy is a “driver economy” for many other states in the eastern part of the country, N K Singh, Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission, praised the development projects taken up by the state government.The 15th Finance Commission headed by Singh and other members including Saktikanta Das, Dr Anoop Singh, Dr Ashok Lahiri and Arvind Mehta, Secretary, held a meeting with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Finance Minister Amit Mitra and senior officials of the state government on Tuesday. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAfter the detailed discussions with the state government, Singh said: “Some of the development initiatives that have been taken up are commendable in multiple ways in terms of job creation, harnessing the comparative advantage that Bengal has in terms of its intellectual capital.”The Chairman also stated that the Finance Commission has recognised that in the past few years the economy of Bengal has made enormous progress in terms of key macro-economic parameters on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), on improved debt management and on enhancing its own tax revenue. “The state has also made several strides on human development particularly in education and health sector,” he added. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe Commission’s Chairman said: “Some initiatives in which job and employment hubs of a labour intensive nature have been undertaken, particularly the issues of Information and Technology sector and leather industry are the two illustrative cases which were brought to the Commission’s notice.”He maintained: “There are many virtuous features in what Bengal has done in terms of the tier three governance structure and delegation of substantial powers to the Panchayats and in terms of harnessing the comparative factors’ advantages of Bengal. These are the examples of key initiatives that would not only add to Bengal’s development but would be a pointer of how to harness comparative advantages of other states too.” Singh further added: “We agree based on today’s meaningful discussions to continue interaction and dialogue with the state government on what needs to be done in both short and medium term for Bengal to become an important multiplier state in terms of the overall growth picture of the country.”In the same breath, he said that it is a fact that the state’s economy is very strategically placed with three countries bordering it. It is a driver economy for many other states in the east that shares the border with Bengal.
Yesterday, the Linux Foundation announced that Mapzen, an open-source mapping platform is now a part of the Linux Foundation project. Mapzen focuses on the core components of map display such as search and navigation. It provides developers with an open software and data sets that are easy to access. It was launched in 2013 by mapping industry veterans in combination with urban planners, architects, movie makers, and video game developers. Randy Meech, former CEO of Mapzen and current CEO of StreetCred Labs, said, “Mapzen is excited to join the Linux Foundation and continue our open, collaborative approach to mapping software and data. Shared technology can be amazingly powerful, but also complex and challenging. The Linux Foundation knows how to enable collaboration across organizations and has a great reputation for hosting active, thriving software and data projects.” Mapzen’s open resources and projects are used to create applications or integrate them into other products and platforms. As Mapzen’s resources are all open source, developers can easily build platforms without the restrictions of data sets by other commercial providers. Mapzen is used by organizations such as Snapchat, Foursquare, Mapbox, Eventbrite, The World Bank, HERE Technologies, and Mapillary. With Mapzen, it is possible to take open data and build maps with search and routing services, upgrade their own libraries and process data in real-time. This is not possible with conventional mapping or geotracking services. Simon Willison, Engineering Director at Eventbrite said, “We’ve been using Who’s On First to help power Eventbrite’s new event discovery features since 2017. The gazetteer offers a unique geographical approach which allows us to innovate extensively with how our platform thinks about events and their locations. Mapzen is an amazing project and we’re delighted to see it joining The Linux Foundation.” Mapzen is operated in the cloud and on-premise by a wide range of organizations, including, Tangram, Valhalla and Pelias. Earlier this month, Hyundai joined Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) and the Linux Foundation for innovation through open source. It was a cross-industry effort for bringing automakers, suppliers and technology companies together to accelerate the development and adoption of an open software stack. Last year, Uber announced that it is joining the Linux Foundation as a Gold Member with an aim to support the open source community. Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation said, “Mapzen’s open approach to software and data has allowed developers and businesses to create innovative location-based applications that have changed our lives. We look forward to extending Mapzen’s impact even further around the globe in areas like transportation and traffic management, entertainment, photography and more to create new value for companies and consumers.” According to the official press release, the Linux Foundation will align resources to advance Mapzen’s mission and it will further grow its ecosystem of users and developers. Read Next Newer Apple maps is greener and has more details Launching soon: My Business App on Google Maps that will let you chat with businesses, on the go Atlassian overhauls its Jira software with customizable workflows, new tech stack, and roadmaps tool
01Mar Glenn ‘smart meter’ bill is top 10 priority for AARP Tags: Smart Meters Categories: Glenn News,News National organization says analog option should remainAARP Michigan has adopted among its top 10 legislative priorities for 2018 a bill introduced by state Rep. Gary Glenn allowing customers of Consumers Energy and DTE the freedom to opt out of having a “smart” meter installed on their homes without being forced to pay an up front and monthly fees, as is now the case.The Michigan chapter of AARP, a national organization of more than 38 million members, said House Bill 4220 would allow customers to keep their old analog meter and replace already-installed smart-meter technology with an analog meter. Some customers consider smart meters, which provide utilities with real-time metering, are a violation of private property rights and could compromise data privacy and cyber security.Glenn (R-Williams Township), who is author of the bill and chair of the House Energy Policy Committee, said opposition to smart meters is growing.“I have conducted public hearings on this issue and there is a keen interest in affordable ways to opt out of smart meters,” Glenn said. “It is very apparent that utility customers across the state have valid concerns about their health and privacy.“Multiple overflow public hearings on this issue reveal a keen interest in affordable ways to opt out of smart meters, especially for senior citizens on severely limited budgets,” Glenn said. “It is very apparent that utility customers across the state, many of them retirees, have strongly-held concerns about the effect of smart meter technology.“AARP’s making this legislation one of their top priorities indicates that the Legislature is not the only place senior citizens are registering their concerns,” Glenn said. “I’m pleased to have AARP’s support for my efforts to give people a choice on how their electricity usage is recorded.”Consumers Energy and DTE Energy now charge residents nearly $70 upfront and nearly $10 a month afterwards to opt out of programs involving advanced electricity meters installed outside residential customers’ homes.Attorney General Bill Schuette took utilities to court to try to protect customers from being forced to accept installment of smart meters without penalty, but the state Court of Appeals ruled that unless state law is changed, homeowners can legally be charged for refusing to accept the technology.Glenn’s bill is under consideration in the House Energy Policy Committee.#####
Hurricanes are scary, but they’re also infrequent; a lot of the risks that come with them are just not that big a deal if you use a little common sense. We used to live on the beach in Pensacola, Florida. When a hurricane came into the Gulf of Mexico, we’d check the government’s National Hurricane Center website and look at computer models projecting the probability – with some real accuracy – that our home would be a target. On two occasions we piled the pets and a few valuables into the van and headed to Atlanta for 4-5 days, until the threat was over. The last time, we had to park 50 yards from our home when we returned, and wade back to our house. Luckily we built it high enough to keep the rising tide from flooding the first floor. Unfortunately our rural mailbox was full of water and soggy mail. Not too long after that, we decided our “dream home” wasn’t quite what we’d thought it would be, and we moved on.There’s More to the Picture than Actuarial Risk “Risk” isn’t such a simple term to define, and the probability figures some actuary puts in a chart are not the whole picture. Assessing risk is very personal – there’s more to it than the probability of some bad event occurring. You should also consider: how much advance warning you have to prepare; what’s the potential catastrophe; how would the worst-case scenario affect you and your family; and – perhaps more importantly – what would it take to recover physically, financially, and emotionally? As you move along the path of life, the issue of recovery becomes quite different. Being totally wiped out and penniless at age 25 is much different than being in the same situation at age 45, or even age 75. When you move into retirement mode, weather-related risks seem manageable. You actually listen to the tornado warnings, hurricane warnings, and maybe even the less-accurate announcements about seismic activity, and take reasonable precautions to protect yourself. Our government spends your tax dollars playing a modern-day Paul Revere, always shouting about some catastrophe on the horizon.The National Weather Service Doesn’t Track Inflation But what happens when there is no warning? I imagine many folks who lost everything in the 1929 stock-market crash would have described it just like that. What if the catastrophe is of the sort that occurs so rarely that no one can clearly remember the last time it happened or how folks dealt with it? Let me give you an example. A couple of years ago, if you’d asked me to define the word “hyperinflation,” I would likely have said it was really bad inflation – probably more than 10% – and it affects your buying power. I can recall my grandparents discussing the Great Depression, including how my stepfather couldn’t find a job and made his money playing softball until he joined the Army. I don’t recall inflation, much less hyperinflation, ever being part of the conversation. In the fall of 2011, I went to a Casey Research conference in Phoenix. There were three gentlemen – one from Austria, one from Argentina, and another from Zimbabwe – there to speak about hyperinflation. Each had lived through it in his country, and they spoke about inflation rates quantified in the thousands of percent. In all three cases inflation seemed to be going along at a reasonable level, and then it shot straight up in the air. Inflation rates zoomed from 5-10% to 2,000% or more, almost without warning. All three indicated that seniors and savers were virtually wiped out. Their life savings, denominated in the currency of their respective countries, became worthless overnight. Many became penniless, homeless, and hungry… certainly not a pretty picture. The gentleman from Austria put up a chart that read: “On average prices doubled every 1.4 days.” At the time, a friend of mine had a $100,000 CD that had matured, and she was considering renewing it for another five years at a very low interest rate. She and I calculated that if her $100,000 CD was hit with that type of hyperinflation, it would take less than 29 days for its buying power to drop below $1.00. The thought of losing your life savings when you’re retired, or even just close to retirement age, is frightening. I decided to apply my personal checklist for assessing risk to hyperinflation. First, what’s the probability hyperinflation will hit us at home? If you read a few newsletters, you probably already know that our government is printing trillions of dollars at an unprecedented rate. I recently read in the Wall Street Journal that 61% of our Treasury bonds auctioned off were bought by the Federal Reserve in 2011. Our government is spending lots of money it doesn’t have. Recklessly printing money on a printing press is supposed to cause both inflation and hyperinflation, isn’t it? But can anyone assess the true probability of hyperinflation? As an investor who subscribes to many newsletters, I’ve read of experts who insist there’s a 100% probability – not a matter of “if,” just a matter of “when” – and others who think we’ll weather the storm with little damage. Okay, will you receive enough warning about hyperinflation to leave you time to prepare? In Argentina, the government publishes “official” inflation figures. I understand it recently passed a law to penalize anyone who publishes statistical data in conflict with the “official” numbers. Here in the US, our “official” numbers are published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and then repeated by almost every news outlet in America and many beyond. John Williams, who runs the website Shadow Government Statistics, sees things differently. He points out the fact that the government has changed its method of calculation many times over the years, so the official inflation rate is likely less factual than you’ve been told to think. Every reader should form his own conclusions, but I urge you to look over his website. The government has a huge financial incentive to underreport inflation. The figures it publishes affects interest rates on many government securities and the amount it pays to government retirees. Plus, a higher inflation rate increases what’s paid to Social Security recipients. The National Weather Service may give as much advance warning as possible about potential weather disasters, but the BLS isn’t so diligent – nor accurate – when it comes to catastrophic economic disasters.Playing Semi-Pro Ball Is No Longer an Option My final questions on my risk checklist all tie together. What’s the worst-case scenario for hyperinflation, and how would it affect you and your family? What would it take to recover physically, financially, and emotionally? If an economic catastrophe had hit when I was in my 20s, much like my stepfather, I probably would have played semi-pro softball and found some other way to earn some money. He survived, and I would have too. On the other hand, as a senior citizen, hyperinflation would paint a much more challenging picture. I don’t want to lose everything and have to start over. I started over financially in my late 40s, and it was tough enough then, even though I had marketable skills and was in my peak earning years. From a risk-analysis standpoint, the real key for retirees and those closing in on retirement is to be as prepared as possible in case hyperinflation becomes a reality here at home. While the probability of hyperinflation may be up for debate, the adverse consequences for baby boomers and retirees if it hits are terrifying. Like many in Argentina, Austria, and Zimbabwe, being totally wiped out is a real possibility. With every investment I make these days, I factor in the potential for hyperinflation. While no one can accurately predict the probability or timing of hyperinflation, the terrible consequences it will have on many seniors and savers are certain.On the Lighter Side A young man sent me a note a few years ago to thank me for a discussion we’d had. He wrote: The difference between school and life: In school you are taught a lesson and then given a test. In life you are given a test that teaches you a lesson. —- Hurricane Isaac thumped the Florida Keys pretty hard. That’s one of our favorite places – our SSR group hosts its November rally there. Hopefully business will be back to normal by then. —- And finally, apparently my remarks about the perks of reaching 70 hit home for a few readers. A friend suggested another: “You no longer look at speed limits as a challenge.” Until next week…