Tuesday, January 10, 2017 Share Travelweek Group SANTA CLARITA — Princess Cruises has created a new department specially designed for group shore excursions that both travel agents and guests can access.The department centres around Princess Cruises’ ‘Local Connections’ program, tapping the knowledge of destination experts and locals for creative feedback and suggestions for shore excursions. Using ‘Local Connections’ the department can better cater to a group’s interest and personalize excursions for those passengers. Both the onboard team and the shore team will work together to ensure seamless organization and execution, says the cruise line.“Getting out to truly experience the magnificent destinations around the world as a group is one of the many ways Princess can introduce guests to the world’s most memorable destinations,” said Bruce Krumrine, Princess Cruises Vice President of Shore Excursions. “We offer competitive net pricing and a wide array of excursion options through the personal assistance of our destination experts. Through our Local Connections program, we continue to innovate our tour experiences ashore and our groups team will take full advantage of the suggestions and creativity of those partners that know the destination best.”More news: Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJThe department works with both small (six to 15 passengers) and large (16 passengers or more) groups including family reunions, sports, church, special interest groups and more. Private cars, vans, transfers and boats are available and the department can accommodate a variety of budgets. Customized tours arranged through travel agents are commissionable.Sample tours include:A Michelin Restaurant Experience: A Cooking Class at Kokkeriet – Located on a corner in Nyborder, Copenhagen, Kokkeriet is a gourmet restaurant that was awarded one Michelin star in 2006. A modern European cuisine, Kokkeriet uses fresh ingredients of the season with the menu changed monthly. With the chef, guests learn about the techniques used to create Michelin quality food; the raw materials used; their background and personal story; and enjoy the ‘home made’ meal with Michelin wines matching the menu.Phillip Island Penguin Tour by Helicopter – Touring in a ranger, guests explore Melbourne’s bayside coastline and the Mornington Peninsula en route to Phillip Island, with about 45 square miles to view the home of seals, koalas, mutton birds and the largest colony of little penguins in existence. Guests can see the packs, sometimes 300 strong ‘rafts’ of penguins, to protect them from predatory sharks and seals. After, passengers can enjoy a meal at a local restaurant with homegrown ingredients before returning to Melbourne and the ship on a private vehicle.More news: War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upFor more details e-mail GroupShoreExcursions@princesscruises.com. Posted by Tags: Princess Cruises, Wave Season << Previous PostNext Post >> Princess upgrades group shore excursions with ‘Local Connections’
No related posts. Costa Rica will grow 4 percent this year, a lower figure than the 4.6 achieved last year and the 4.8 expected for 2013 by the Central Bank.The World Bank released this week its annual report of Global Economic Prospects, which forecasts that the country will see the third-best economic performance in Central America, surpassed by Panama, whose economy is expected to grow 7.5 percent, and Nicaragua, expected to register 4.2 percent growth.The analysis notes that the “dependence of Costa Rica on the U.S. and Europe is a factor in the reduction of national growth,”and also that “the fall in the dollar exchange rate caused contraction of growth, especially in the export sector.”The bank forecasts that El Salvador’s economy will experience the least growth in the region, with 2.3 percent.Central America’s economic performance is expected to slow somewhat due to a relatively weak U.S. economy. A modest recovery in the U.S. housing sector will provide some support to remittances, although sluggish improvement in labor markets and lower net migration to the U.S. will keep remittance growth subdued, the report added. Facebook Comments
August 16, 2013This continues our report from 8/14/2013 about the creation of bronze bells.Before reassembling the flask, the artisans use a hollow metal tube to perforate the top of the negative bell impression and then, using a spoon, they carve a small concave circle around the top of the bell, as we see Rawaf doing in the picture to the left. This allows for a smoother pouring of the bronze into the mold.[photos and text by Soleri archive intern Julia Dorn-Giarmoleo]In the meantime, the furnace where the bronze is melted gets loaded up. Here is Andy putting unusable bells and other pieces of scrap bronze in the furnace to be melted down and re-used.The two sides of the flask are then reassembled, the wooden flask is taken off and the molds are lined up on the ground. A metal or plastic frame is then put around the sand mold, as Jonas is pictured doing in this photo. Ingots are then placed on the molds to prevent any possible movement.Two artisans, (pictured here are Andy and Jonas) don protective clothing, and lift the crucible containing the molten bronze out of the furnace.They carefully pour the bronze into each of the molds. The other artisans follow the pouring with shovels, so that should any bronze fall onto the cement or out of the mold, they can quickly throw sand on it to prevent any danger or injury.The molds are then left to cool for about an hour, or until the bronze is solidified. This report will continue on Monday.
Steve Sharman, director, Hackthorn Innovation, looks at what media organisations need to do to protect themselves against cyber-security threats.Cyber-security is the hot topic on everyone’s minds right now – hardly surprising, given the recent high-profile hacks targeted against Sony Pictures and others – not to mention the persistent stories about government actors trying to adversely affect the outcomes of elections and referenda. In the wonderful broadcast industry of ours, we are naturally dealing with some highly sought after content on a daily basis and the risk factor suddenly gets much higher. So, what does it actually take to make sure you are secure? This was one of the topics at the recent Workflow Innovation Group (WIG) event in Cardiff and the discussions were pretty enlightening.Technology – It’s a Team EffortTechnology will always play a key part here and there are loads of solutions all claiming to make your content more secure than in the proverbial Fort Knox. However, one thing that seemed to resonate from the discussions was that no one solution fits the bill all by itself. Yes, getting a secure solution for encryption in place is extremely important and that will mean important protection for your archive. However, you still need to put the right technology in place for when that content is travelling to or from your storage, especially if that “to or from” is outside the organisation.Watermarking plays a big part here. If you are sending files to people outside of the organisation, watermarking on an individual basis means that at least if there is a leak, you know exactly where it came from.Within your facility, physically controlling the external IP addresses allowed to connect to the firewall is an obvious way to reduce potential attacks. Having a second firewall in place (ideally a different make and model!) also makes a lot of sense, further protecting the “front door” of the organisation, and obscuring the details of internal networks and software that could be useful to an attacker.Once behind the firewalls, a lot of the broadcasters present at the WIG event use closed (non-corporate connected) networks with workstations requiring individual user logins and using physically disabled USB ports. Considering what physical measures should be put into place to protect sensitive areas such as editing suites is of equal importance. Is there a window? If there is, can someone look in and see something not yet in the public domain? Does the door remain locked when staff are working within? The security consequences of it not being locked are of course pretty obvious, but especially in the current climate, there are health and safety and employee safeguarding issues that also need to be taken into account. As always, nothing is as simple as it seems!Another major technology that looks set to make workflows more secure is encryption at rest. Of course, keeping content encrypted at every stage whilst making it simple and efficient to access and review, is pretty challenging, especially when operating at scale. At the event, we discussed new technology that keeps that content encrypted whilst making it possible for current applications to access it in its encrypted state – that could be a game changer.However, whilst all of these technologies and tools are innovative and obviously make a big impact on keeping content secure, broadcasters need all of this, and more, to ensure the best security possible and minimise the risk of attack. As a media company you have to block every attack successfully – the cracker community only needs to be successful once.Ultimately, it’s about the PeopleWhilst that is all true, it is also true that you can have all the technology in the world, but if you don’t have appropriate organisation culture, with the right people with the correct training, all of that falls apart. Literally every discussion in the room came back to people and trust. Partly, that is about instilling the right company culture where people can, for example, recognise potential phishing emails and know to question and report, rather than clicking the link. It is also about ensuring the people know the consequences for the company and their own careers should they decide to take that un-released episode of Game of Thrones home and watch it a couple of days early with their mates. The broadcasters in the room were pretty unified in their view that common sense and loyalty were both important attributes of the people in their teams.At the same time of course, there should only be a limited number of people who have access to the really sensitive and high-profile content, in this case personal attitude, maturity of approach and company procedures all need to be appropriate for the situation.Are you feeling secure?The overriding themes that came out from the WIG event and discussions with broadcasters present were that being secure is not about just one thing. It is about technology, applied properly at every stage of workflows, and it is about people, and it is about having the right processes in place. Without all of those things being in place in a co-ordinated way, there will always be weak links open to exploitation. At the same time, even with all those in place, there is no room for complacency – you should continually be testing your business and looking for your own weaknesses.
All good things come to an end. And so it will be with Netflix’s growth spurt. At some point, the pioneering online video provider will run out of new customers willing and able to subscribe – provided it sticks to its current business model. But what if Netflix were to pursue more radical options?It’s first worth stressing that Netflix’s model – offering ad-free, subscription-based access at largely similar prices worldwide – has plenty of distance to run. Although the number of net new Netflix subscriptions peaked in 2017, Ovum forecasts that the company will still be adding over 13 million annually, even in five years’ time.By then, however, its annual growth rates in many of the world’s largest markets will have slowed from double-digit to single-digit percentages. In the US, Netflix’s subscriber base will grow by just 0.2% in 2023 (see Figure 1). And despite its global expansion, the US will still be a hugely important market for the company, accounting for about a third of subscriptions and revenues.So how else can Netflix grow, beyond simply raising its prices? Ovum has identified three options.1. Make mobile video even more affordableOvum forecasts that over 500 million people in India will have smartphones and data connections powerful enough to watch online video in 2022, yet Netflix will have fewer than 5 million subscriptions by then. Why? It’s about affordability.Netflix has taken several steps to make its service more accessible and affordable in emerging markets, such as streaming technologies that consume minimal amounts of data and enabling people without credit cards or bank accounts to charge their subscriptions via their mobile phone bills.But the main sticking point is Netflix’s US$7.99 entry-level price point – great value for consumers in developed markets but too expensive for many in emerging markets, where disposable income levels are often several times lower. Last month, the company was revealed to have acknowledged this issue by trialing a $4 per month “mobile-only” plan in Malaysia for access on one phone or tablet at standard definition quality.For hundreds of millions of consumers in emerging markets, roughly halving prices won’t be enough. Put simply, subscription services aren’t the no-brainer they are in developed countries. In Malaysia, 75% of mobile connections are pay-as-you-go. In India, 95% are. If Netflix really wants to move the needle in these massive markets, it will need to explore more radical pricing and bundles through closer partnerships with local mobile operators.2. Bring a truly fresh take on TV advertisingTo be 100% clear, adopting a Hulu-like model where viewing is interrupted by ads before or during TV shows and movies would be a bad move for Netflix. Using ads to offer a “free” version would risk cannibalising its paid subscriber base, while showing ads to paying customers would ruin the viewing experience.Instead, Netflix could invest in evolving product placement, the practice of including brands within the content and storylines of TV shows and movies. Around three in four Netflix shows already feature at least one example of this covert form of advertising, according to specialist agency Branded Entertainment Network. Augmented reality-like technology could take the concept to the next level, digitally inserting different products into videos for different viewers, so say, one sees a Coke and another a Pepsi.There’s already a precedent in another globalised form of media, sport, with broadcasters overlaying “virtual advertising” over banners at matches. Vendors such as Accenture and Ryff are working on bringing more advanced technology to movies and TV shows. To put this opportunity in perspective, various estimates suggest advertisers will spend over US$20 billion on product placement this year; subscription online video services will generate US$32 billion, according to Ovum’s forecasts.3. Reinvient itself as a TV ‘re-intermediary’Netflix once looked set to become a kind of “Spotify for TV” – before content providers realised that selling their most valuable content to a single, increasingly powerful intermediary was not such a good idea. Netflix has since invested heavily in exclusive and original content to become more like HBO’s TV brand, while HBO, Disney, and others have sought to become more like Netflix.But few established media companies will come anywhere near their inspiration’s level of success. In 2023, Netflix will account for around one in three online video subscriptions worldwide (excluding China, one of the few places where the service is not available). In many countries, its market share will be well over 50%, leaving most rival apps fighting over relatively small numbers of subscribers.Netflix could use its scale to help these providers to survive, by reinventing itself as an Amazon Channels-like aggregator handling marketing, technology, and customer support in exchange for a cut of fees from subscriptions it brokers or manages.The question is whether another company will get there first – not least Amazon. The battle to become the platform that profits most from helping consumers navigate today’s fragmented TV landscape will be fought by the biggest names in media and tech, including AT&T Time Warner, Apple, Comcast Sky, Google, and Liberty Global. Netflix will be increasingly dependent on such “re-intermediaries” for attracting subscribers, billing, and driving viewing – unless it becomes one itself.Playing safe versus changing the gameNever underestimate the power of one big idea – and one company’s ability to deliver on its promise. But no single idea has infinite potential. Sooner or later, Netflix will need to look beyond the limits of its current business model – just like when it made the truly game-changing move from DVD rentals to online streaming.Straight Talk is a weekly briefing from the desk of the Ovum’s Chief Research Officer. To receive this newsletter by email, please contact us.
Keen eye for good stories and big ideas Recommended Link Kansas farm boy generates millions from his California “bunker” He’s just an ordinary guy born on a farm in Kansas. He didn’t graduate from a fancy college. He doesn’t have an MBA. Yet he stumbled upon a “secret key” technique that allowed him to retire at 42… and still make more money in 8 hours… than most people make in a month. But Monday through Friday you’ll find him up by 4 am, in front of his computer… using his “secret key” to generate thousands of dollars per week… without touching stocks or bonds. He calls it his retirement hobby. Click here to see it in action. The Job We Need DoneWe’re looking for someone who loves investment analysis. Someone who wants to make a living reading, thinking, traveling, and writing. Someone who can help us share big ideas with the world.If this sounds attractive—and you meet the criteria above—we’d love to hear from you.The compensation will depend on your level of experience. Know this: Dozens of analysts at Agora (our parent company) who write newsletters have become millionaires.What to Do Now Send us a basic resume. We’d like to see where you’ve worked.Write a letter telling us about yourself. We don’t care much about what school you went to. We do care about what you’ve learned doing whatever it is you’ve been doing. We appreciate odd jobs, but we’re also willing to consider Wall Street refugees.Send us an email with the following information… Independent thinker who is passionate, motivated, and eager to overachieve Trustless SystemThe decentralized revolution is about getting rid of “trusted” third parties. Ultimately, coins like Tether will fail if they can’t find a way to become “trustless.”(With trustless technology, you don’t have to know or trust the person you’re doing business with. The blockchain records and verifies every transaction transparently. So the system builds trust by default.)Back to the University of Texas report… It suggests that more Tethers were issued than had backing by actual dollars. The report makes the case that Tethers were used to prop up—and ultimately manipulate—the price of bitcoin.Kessler’s article attempts to use the study to bolster his argument that bitcoin is just another balance sheet-driven bubble, just like every bubble since the South Sea Bubble of 1720.He argues that temporarily shifting assets from one balance sheet to another inflates a bubble. When the money runs out, the bubble pops.It’s the type of argument that initially reads well… But it doesn’t really hold up under scrutiny.For instance, Kessler tries to pin the dot-com crash on America Online’s dot-com-era ad policies. I read his explanation three times, and I still don’t understand how AOL’s ad policies could have caused the dot-com crash.The dot-com boom was a $5 trillion bubble. It seems a bit of a stretch to pin $5 trillion worth of value destruction on one company’s ad policies.Kessler also blames the infamous Dutch Tulip Mania of 1636–1637 on balance-sheet manipulation. But that doesn’t work, either. If he had really done his research, he would have found out that the Tulip Mania was an overblown myth. It had nothing to do with balance-sheet manipulation.(The Smithsonian journal did a great write-up on the Great Tulip Mania and called it more of a fanciful fiction than a serious financial crisis. You can read the essay here.) Teeka Tiwari Editor, Palm Beach ConfidentialP.S. For the first time ever, I have an investment announcement so BIG that I’ve teamed up with media personality Glenn Beck to create a one-off, special event. We’re calling it The Great Cryptocurrency Conspiracy of 2018. It will broadcast online on July 19, live from Glenn’s Dallas studios.When you register for the July 19 event, you’ll get a free copy of my new report, The Crypto Manifesto: Why Cryptocurrencies Are the Smartest Speculation You Can Make Today.Plus, you’ll have the chance to claim your portion of free bitcoin during the first $2 Million Bitcoin Giveaway.You can reserve your seat for this free event, plus get a free copy of my report, by registering right here…Reader MailbagToday, a reader responds to Thursday’s Dispatch—“How to Profit From the Biggest Oil Shock Ever”—where we interviewed Crisis Investing editor Nick Giambruno on why a potential conflict in the Middle East could trigger the next huge oil shock…The oil prices went up because Richard Nixon was colluding with the Saudis to figure out a way for the Saudis to afford US warplanes because Vietnam was winding down and the American war-mongering billionaires needed to make more billions off the backs of US citizens! —RichardAnd another reader shares his thoughts on our recent interview with Doug Casey on California breaking apart…Well, politics is violence, so this separation of “Corruptifornia” into three states is bit like treating the symptom and not the “disease.” Living in the Fresno area, aside from demographics that are dominantly Hispanic, I don’t see much in common with San Diego, Riverside, and the rest of those included in one of those proposed “states.” I don’t believe “statism” is moral. I believe it is just constitutionalism, and both are wickedness.—JackAs always, if you have any questions or suggestions for the Dispatch, send them to us right here. Volatile AssetIf Kessler is going to attack the 2017 action as being manipulated, why not attack the 2011, 2013, and 2014 “bubbles”?Were all of those moves manipulated, too?If they were, then those are the most unique bubble manipulations I’ve ever seen.Here’s what I mean…If you bought at the peak of each move, your average “old” peak to “new” peak gain would be 9.8 times your money.How many bubbles do you know of that could make you money if you bought at the peak of every move?I don’t know of any others.I fear Kessler has confused market volatility with market bubbles. Just because something is volatile doesn’t automatically make it a bubble (or mean that it’s been manipulated). Bitcoin is volatile… but it’s also very valuable.Fraudulent assets go to zero. True bubbles don’t continue to make higher highs and higher lows the way bitcoin has done.Bitcoin is a highly volatile asset—not a fraudulent asset.And that’s why I have always recommended that my readers keep their position sizes small.(In Palm Beach Confidential, we recommend that investors with smaller accounts place no more than $200–$400 per trade… and that investors with larger accounts place no more than $500–$1,000 per trade.Cryptocurrencies are volatile. So small position sizes will allow you to keep a cool head during extreme periods of volatility, like we’re seeing in the current crypto market.)It’s the only prudent way to invest in assets like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.But let’s get back to Kessler’s central theme on manipulation…Has the issuance of unbacked Tethers manipulated the market higher? It’s possible. I don’t know if we’ll ever really know for sure.But in the long run, does it really matter? I don’t think it does.The truth is that sometimes, bad people co-opt great companies and great technology.Speculators used to manipulate early railway stocks all the time. In the early days of General Motors, founder Billy Durant routinely manipulated company stock.These short-term blemishes did nothing to diminish the long-term value the rail and automotive industries were ultimately creating.Meanwhile, amid all the manipulation hubbub, we continue to see signs of the mainstream adoption of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. If we poke a little more, we can find more holes in Kessler’s bubble theory.If Kessler is right about last year’s crypto market action, how does he explain the so-called bitcoin bubbles of 2011, 2013, and 2014?That’s right, this is the fourth time bitcoin’s “bubble” has popped… — The net gain on 10 shares of McDonald’s stock purchased January 3, 2007 and sold January 3, 2017, assuming all dividends were reinvested. Recommended Link Wanted: Expert Investment AnalystHey, we’re looking to hire an analyst for the Casey Research team. Our team is growing and a new spot has opened up for an ambitious person to research and write about commodities, stocks, crypto assets, and world markets.For this position, you’ll work directly with Nick Giambruno, Chief Analyst for and editor of The Casey Report and Crisis Investing. Nick is Doug Casey’s globetrotting protégé. He writes about geopolitics, value investing in crisis markets, the cannabis market, global banking, and survival techniques for financial crises.If this sounds stimulating, keep reading for more details and how to apply.Who We AreWe’re a fast-growing company with all the opportunities of a small start-up and the stability of a deep-pocketed firm with a 30-year track record.We publish half a dozen advisories covering finance and economics. We have hundreds of thousands of readers around the world. Our business is in providing profitable ideas, explaining how the markets really work, and telling great stories.We’re completely independent and unbiased. We don’t take money from Wall Street or the government. Our revenue comes from selling subscriptions. We make money only if our readers are happy.Who You AreYou’re able to analyze assets from macro, technical, fundamental, and sentiment perspectives. You’re overflowing with investment and trading ideas. And you’re a voracious consumer of information.You have a genuine passion for finance and the investment industry. You’re intensely curious, and live and breathe the world’s markets. And you’re willing to travel anywhere and everywhere. You’re ready to improvise, adapt, and overcome.You’re a good thinker, storyteller, and writer. You’re also good company, and you’re the one your friends say is the smartest person in the room.“Must-haves”: The St. Louis Fed recently announced it has created an index to track the top four cryptocurrencies. 2018 bubble “pops”: $20,000 to $6,500—down 66% so far… Goldman Sachs announced plans to start a bitcoin trading desk. 2011 bubble “pops”: $32 to $2—down 94% Your full name. And there’s more…By 2002, the dot-com crash caused the Nasdaq to drop 80%. In 2002, venture capital (VC) investment dropped by 90%.Contrast that with cryptos.Right now, the crypto market is down around 67% from its high. It seems logical that funding for new VC deals would dry up. But it hasn’t.VC investment has already doubled from last year, and it’s expected to quadruple by year end.The key takeaway is that even with the news of manipulations, government meddling, and massive volatility… institutional money is still flowing into this asset in droves.And what an institution chooses to do with its money will always carry more weight with me than a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece.Let the Game Come to You! Personal philosophy of voluntarism, anarcho-capitalism, or something similar Current Casey Research subscriber (paid memberships to Crisis Investing or The Casey Report win extra points) Weird new “antennas” popping up all over America NASDAQ calls it: “The biggest investment opportunity in years.” These antennas have nothing to do with your cell phone, hiding inside is the biggest hi-tech secret of the decade. Click here to learn more. — 2013 bubble “pops”: $230 to $70—down 70% Exceptional writing ability or a willingness to learn how to write Justin’s note: Today, I’m handing the reins to world-renowned cryptocurrency expert Teeka Tiwari, who has an important update on the crypto space.Below, Teeka responds to a recent piece in The Wall Street Journal that claims bitcoin’s spectacular price run in 2017 was partly due to market manipulation. But Teeka says the author’s missing a major detail… By Teeka Tiwari, editor, Palm Beach ConfidentialAt first blush, Wall Street Journal technology writer Andy Kessler makes a compelling case for why bitcoin’s 2017 meteoric 1,368% rise was not “real.”In an article published on Sunday, July 1, Kessler cites a University of Texas study that argues manipulation was behind half of bitcoin’s 2017 move upwards. The study pins the blame on a crypto coin called Tether (USDT).Tether is a fixed-value, or “stable” coin. It supposedly backs each coin with one U.S. dollar. To be clear, I have never been a fan of Tether because it requires you to trust that there is $1 backing each coin.In the January 2018 issue of my Palm Beach Confidential newsletter, I wrote:[Tether] claims that for every Tether in the market, it has an actual dollar bill in a vault somewhere.Let me be clear: I HAVE NEVER BELIEVED THAT CLAIM. That’s why I never recommended the token.To date, I still haven’t seen proof of Tether’s reserves.Many people share my misgivings about Tether… But that hasn’t stopped it from issuing more than $2.5 billion worth of coins. Does Tether have $2.5 billion in cash reserves to back that up? Or is it just printing its own money at will?Nobody knows. Can governments shut down bitcoin? Explain why or why not. The cause of the Great Depression in the U.S. and why. Japan’s Nomura Holdings (a $100 billion-plus financial firm) just announced it’s creating a crypto custody consortium (an institution that holds securities or assets for safekeeping) called Komainu. The top three biggest risks to the global economy and why. 2014 bubble “pops”: $1,200 to $173—down 85% Why has the average person’s standard of living declined since the early 1970s? Affinity for Austrian economics, monetary history, financial markets, and general history Prepare for conversation and travel. If you have what we’re looking for, you’ll start out with a one-on-one conversation with Nick. If that goes well, we’ll fly you to Delray Beach for a full day of interviews. And if we still like each other after that, we’ll discuss the next steps.Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Investment Analyst” in the subject line. That’s your first test. In Case You Missed It…The economy is growing, and stocks remain near all-time highs. But behind the scenes, something strange is happening…The US government and global financial elites are considering implementing a radical new change to America’s money. If passed, the money in your bank account would fall firmly under government control.They call it “The Chicago Plan.”
Want to know what the teenagers in your life really think about sex and drugs?Are you sure?Well, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a pretty good idea, thanks to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Every other year, thousands of teens in public and private high schools across the country take this nationally representative survey. The CDC just released results for 2017, and here are a few of the highlights:SexTeens’ experiences with sex are changing, and the news is almost all good, says Kathleen Ethier, director of CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health.”Fewer are initiating sex,” Ethier says, “fewer are currently sexually active, they’re having fewer partners, and they’re using more effective hormonal birth control methods.”In 2007, nearly 48 percent of teens said they’d had sex at least once. A decade later, it’s 39.5 percent. One change in the data that Ethier’s not happy about is a recent decline in condom use.In 2007, 61.5 percent of teens said they’d used a condom during their last sexual encounter. By last year, that rate had dropped to 53.8 percent. Ethier says this is due, at least in part, to “a decrease over time in requirements that school cover HIV and [sexually transmitted diseases] in health education programs.”According to the report, young people aged 15-24 account for half of the roughly 20 million new STDs reported each year.One more red flag, Ethier says: More than one in 10 young women (11.3 percent) reported being forced to have sex.DrugsWhen it comes to illicit drugs — like cocaine and heroin — teen use is way down, from 22.6 percent in 2007 to 14 percent in 2017.For the first time, though, the survey also asked teens if they have ever misused prescription opioids. Fourteen percent said they had.”We don’t know what this 14 percent number means, but we were quite surprised by it,” Ethier says, adding that CDC has more work to do to understand what these new data say about the opioid crisis and teens’ role in it.ViolenceThe survey also asked high-schoolers about bullying and violence at school. One in 5 said they’d been bullied at school. Fifteen percent said they’d been bullied electronically.The rate of students who said they’d been threatened or injured with a weapon at school has dropped significantly in the past decade. But students of color are still far more likely than white students to say they missed school because of safety concerns at school or in their communities.Mental HealthPerhaps the biggest red flags were in the section devoted to mental health.Roughly a third of teens surveyed said they’d experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness.”I think that’s really significant,” says CDC’s Ethier, “and certainly not what we want to see if we’re trying to send our kids into adulthood in the most healthy way.”The news is even worse for students who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual.Nearly two-thirds reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness.In fact, in every category, LGB teens were at higher risk than their heterosexual classmates. They were twice as likely to report being bullied in school or electronically, three times as likely to seriously consider suicide and four times as likely to attempt suicide.”It’s shocking and alarming and tells us that things are terribly wrong,” says Ellen Kahn, director of the Children, Youth & Families program at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. “We seriously need to address this.”Kahn says these data are a stark reminder of the lack of protections at the federal, state, district and school level for LGB teens and of why, she says, these protections are so sorely needed. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
When Blessing Okoedion was 26, she headed to Spain for a job she had been offered at a computer store. In her home country of Nigeria, she had earned a degree in computer science and started her own business repairing computers.But the job offer was a ruse. Her work visa had been faked by human traffickers. There was no computer store job.After a brief stop in Spain, her captors sent her to Naples, Italy. They told her that she owed them 65,000 euros — more than $70,000 in today’s dollars. And they forced her into sex work on the streets of an Italian town.That was five years ago. Today, Okoedion is an activist working to combat human trafficking in Italy and Nigeria. She was one of 10 people honored for these efforts in June by the U.S. State Department at the 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report launch ceremony in Washington, D.C. The report is an annual assessment of foreign governments’ anti-trafficking efforts.She received the State Department award “in recognition of her extraordinary courage in using her lived experiences to … prevent human trafficking [and] her selfless efforts to assist survivors and lend a helping hand to those still subjected to the crime,” said Kari Johnstone, acting director of the State Department’s Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons, at the event.A few days after she had been forced to start working on the streets, Okoedion snuck away to a police station to report what had happened to her. The police brought her to Casa Ruth, a shelter in Caserta run by nuns who help trafficking victims, she says.Sister Rita Giaretta founded the shelter, called Casa Rut in Italian, and has been fighting against human trafficking for more than 20 years.”She’s actually the force behind me,” says Okoedion.Since 2014, Okoedion has been working with Casa Ruth. She goes on rescue missions to get trafficked girls and women from Nigeria and other countries off the streets. She helps connect women who are still on the streets with medical care. And she works to ensure trafficking victims who have escaped have the support they need, she says.Sex trafficking victims can be afraid to get medical care because they’re undocumented, she explains, so that’s often a starting point of the rescue missions.”From there, we start building confidence, then many of them start to open up, tell us everything, their fears, everything. Then we start counseling,” she says. “There are some who, when we approach them, immediately tell us, ‘I want to quit this job. I was not told about this, I just need somebody to help me.’ Then we rescue them immediately.”Once they’re free from their traffickers, a new set of challenges begins. High unemployment rates in Italy can make it tough for them to find jobs there, she says. She also accompanies trafficking victims who want to return to Nigeria through the Italy-based organization Slaves No More. The group focuses on helping Nigerian trafficking victims reintegrate into society.Okoedion travels to rural areas in Edo State, where she grew up, to tell women and girls about the tactics traffickers may use in attempts to lure them to faraway jobs that don’t exist. Benin City, its capital, is a human-trafficking hub, she says.Many women and girls who become victims of trafficking are from poor, rural areas and might not have had much education, she says. Traffickers can seem like a sort of savior.The Nigerian government is taking some steps to address trafficking. But “widespread and pervasive” corruption throughout the government and security forces makes it tough, according to the State Department’s new report.The report references international NGO and media reports of trafficking crimes by government officials, service providers and security forces at more than a dozen internally displaced persons camps. Reported crimes included forced sex in return for food.And authorities found trafficking victims from Nigeria in at least 40 countries, including Italy, during the past year. They had often been trafficked by Nigerians, the report says.Points of optimism in Nigeria: The governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, declared trafficking one of his top priorities, the report says. He created a task force to fight it, which has arrested at least 10 potential traffickers so far. And the government is spending more money to fight trafficking.Even at her lowest point, Okoedion says she didn’t see her first name — Blessing — as some kind of curse.”I never attached what happened to me to my name,” she says.Courtney Columbus is a multimedia journalist based in the Washington, D.C. area. She covers science, global health and consumer health. Her past work has appeared in the Arizona Republic and on Arizona PBS. Contact her @cmcolumbus11. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Government plans for a huge expansion of personal health budgets could help to deliver independent living for disabled people, according to a leading disabled peer.Baroness [Jane] Campbell (pictured), who has been receiving a personal health budget herself for more than a year, said the plans also had “huge potential” for “getting to grips” with the integration of health and social care support.But the government’s plans faced determined opposition from other disabled campaigners this week, with many concerned that they could be part of a planned creeping privatisation of the NHS.They were speaking after the government launched a consultation on the plans to expand the legal right for people to have choice and control over their healthcare through personal health budgets (PHBs).One mental health activist said the plans were about “offloading us to the private sector”, and said she feared that funds would only be made available “as a temporary sweetener” until privatisation of the NHS was complete, when they would be withdrawn.PHBs give individuals a pot of money to spend on their health and wellbeing needs, in agreement with a healthcare professional.Some areas of NHS care will not be covered by a PHB, including GP services, unplanned hospital admissions, drugs and operations. Currently, only about 23,000 people receive a PHB, but reports suggest that ministers want to increase this to about 350,000.The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) says the plans would allow individuals “to control and tailor their own health and care, based on their own individual needs, in a manner that abides by the constitutional values of healthcare being free at the point of delivery, based on clinical need, not on ability to pay”.The consultation stresses that PHBs would remain optional.The government is suggesting expansion could focus on five groups who have an ongoing need for NHS services: those with continuing social care needs; those with ongoing mental health needs; people leaving the armed services; people who are autistic or have learning difficulties; and people who access NHS wheelchair services.At present, only those in receipt of NHS continuing healthcare – and children and young people receiving continuing care – have a legal right to a PHB.But the government also wants to give more people the right to combine their PHBs and social care personal budgets into a single integrated budget – so they will only need a single assessment of all their needs – and potentially add other funding streams, such as disabled facilities grants.It also proposes giving some service-users the right to receive their PHB through direct payments, which would enable them to take a cash payment to manage and pay for their own support.But many disabled activists fear the plans are only the next step in a move towards privatising the NHS.Professor Peter Beresford, co-chair of Shaping Our Lives, said: “Everyone who loves the NHS should fear the government’s determination to extend personal health budgets massively.”He said PHBs were “the antithesis of the NHS founding principles of universality and needs-led provision”, particularly as the government had based PHBs on the same “failing” model used with social care personal budgets.Under personal budgets, service-users are given an upfront allocation of funding, but that often bears no correlation to what is actually available for the service-user to spend on their support.Beresford believes the same will happen with PHBs.And he warned that “further encroachment of the NHS into social care is no way to bring about integration of health and social care.“The great bulk of spending through PHBs is on social care – PAs, home care, respite, leisure and social needs – with a smattering of spending on fringe or complementary health services that the mainstream NHS will not commission.“In effect, as a strategy to bring about integration, it will fail as it doesn’t grapple with the real problems of integrating clinical health and social care.”He said PHBs were also “morally highly questionable” because they will extend the “anomaly” with NHS Continuing Healthcare, where “some will get free social care via PHBs and the rest will have to pay for exactly the same service”.He said: “PHBs aren’t a gift horse; they are a Trojan horse for privatisation and the commodification of health.”Denise McKenna, co-founder of the Mental Health Resistance Network, said she also feared the plans were part of a long-term government strategy to privatise the NHS and move to an insurance-based system similar to the one that operates in the US.PHBs, she said, would allow the government to separate those service-users who would be “uninsurable” and unprofitable under an insurance-based system, including those with severe and enduring mental health conditions.She said: “I understand people with physical disabilities find PHBs excellent and it is really important to independent living that people are in control of their own lives.“My fear is not in the here and now. It is what is going to happen in the future, what their motives are and what it will lead to.“My fear is that it is a major step towards privatisation.”McKenna said her own experience was that it was “practically impossible” for people with mental health conditions to secure a social care personal budget.For those who were able to, she said, they were unable to benefit from the funding because the scheme was so badly run.Clenton Farquharson, chair of Think Local Act Personal – a national partnership committed to health and care personalisation and community-based support – and a consultant on equality and inclusion, welcomed the government’s plans.He said: “We know from our experience of personal budgets that when implemented well they enable choice, control and improve wellbeing.”He said he was not concerned by claims that the government’s plans were part of creeping privatisation of the NHS.He said: “Personal health budgets are motivated by an underlying principle to humanise a bureaucratic approach to supporting people with long term health and social care support.“They are also driven by a need to effectively integrate health and social care that will help minimise costly, confusing and unsustainable processes that, in my experience, has had a negative impact on my life. “I am not aware of any evidence that suggests the further expansion of PHBs is changing existing practice whereby clinical commissioning groups commission a range of services from both the NHS, community sector and private providers. “If done correctly, PHBs can benefit people by offering a choice of affordable, quality, person-centred care that can significantly improve citizens’ health and wellbeing.”Baroness Campbell, who has been working closely on the issue with James Sanderson, director of personalised care for NHS England, also dismissed concerns that expanding PHBs was “privatisation by the back door”.She said that expanding PHBs could “help deliver independent living more effectively, by extending disabled people’s choice and control over the support they require to stay well and less reliant on hospital care and other health interventions.“This is inevitably a more cost-effective approach to supporting well-being – a major principal of the Care Act.”The government plans to outline its next steps in this summer’s adult social care green paper.The PHB consultation closes on 8 June.
Airlines Add to Queue Business Travel Awards 2016: Best Overall Airline 1 min read Image credit: Andrew Hetherington –shares Register Now » New Zealand’s national carrier Air New Zealand knows flying can be stressful, especially when you’re heading for the farthest reaches of the Earth — like New Zealand. So it smooths your journey with more than just the country’s superb wines. Its quirky take on in-flight hospitality begins with cheeky safety-instruction videos that have featured hobbits, Bear Grylls, Betty White and, most recently, the national rugby team doing a Men in Black–inspired rap. Economy fliers can buy a Skycouch — essentially, three coach seats that convert, futon-like, into the closest thing you’ll get to a lie-flat bed in cattle class on any airline. It recently introduced facial-recognition software that uses your passport photo to ease the process of luggage drop-off. A mobile app now automatically asks passengers for their coffee orders as soon as they enter the airline’s lounge. It’s experimenting with new technology to track bags. And all signs point to a continued commitment to the cutting edge: The company recently poached an Amazon executive to lead its innovation team.Check Out the 2016 Business Travel Award Winners Jeff Chu, Margaret Rhodes, Kate Rockwood, Stephanie Schomer Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Magazine Contributor This story appears in the May 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » April 22, 2016 Next Article
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 5 2019People who stop breathing during sleep may have higher accumulations of the toxic protein tau, a biological hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, in part of the brain that manages memory, navigation and perception of time. A preliminary Mayo Clinic study released Sunday, March 3, will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 71st Annual Meeting in Philadelphia May 4-10.Recent evidence has supported an association between an increased risk for dementia and sleep disruption. That’s particularly true for obstructive sleep apnea, which is a potentially serious disorder where breathing repeatedly stops during sleep. However, it remains unclear what could be driving this association.Using the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, researchers identified 288 people 65 and older who did not have dementia. Their bed partners were asked whether they noticed if their partners stopped breathing during sleep. Positron emission tomography brain scans of study participants looked for buildup of the toxic protein tau in the entorhinal cortex, which is the part of the brain that is deep behind the nose and susceptible to accumulating tau. The entorhinal cortex stores and retrieves information related to visual perception and when experiences happen. The dysfunctional tau protein forms tangles in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, contributing to cognitive decline.Related StoriesRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaSleep quality and fatigue among women with premature ovarian insufficiencyI’m a CPAP dropout: Why many lose sleep over apnea treatmentFifteen percent of the study group, or 43 participants, had bed partners who witnessed sleep apnea. Participants with witnessed apneas had about 4.5 percent higher levels of tau in the entorhinal cortex than those who have not been observed to have apneas during sleep. To reduce the effect of confounding variables, researchers controlled for several other factors that affect tau levels in the brain, such as age, sex, education, cardiovascular risk factors and other sleep complaints.”Our research results raise the possibility that sleep apnea affects tau accumulation,” says Diego Z. Carvalho, M.D., first author and neurology fellow at Mayo Clinic.”But it’s a chicken and egg problem,” he notes, pointing to questions of which comes first as an underlying cause. Does sleep apnea cause an accumulation of tau, a toxic protein that forms into tangles in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease? Or does the accumulation of tau in certain areas cause sleep apnea? “Longer studies are now needed to solve this problem.”Study limitations included a lack of sleep studies to confirm sleep apnea and its severity, and a lack of information about participants’ sleep apnea treatment. Source: https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-study-shows-sleep-apnea-may-be-tied-to-increased-alzheimers-biomarker-in-brain/
Mark Zuckerberg has testified to the U.S. Congress. Could a visit before U.K. and Canadian lawmakers be next? UK MPs pressure Zuckerberg to testify on Facebook data breach That’s what parliamentary committees in Britain and Canada want, and they are urging Zuckerberg to show up and testify before a joint hearing of international lawmakers that are investigating fake news and how it is spread on the internet.In a letter sent to Zuckerberg Wednesday, Damian Collins, chairman of the United Kingdom’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, and Bob Zimmer, chairman of the Canadian Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, said they plan a joint parliamentary hearing Nov. 7 to form an “‘international grand committee’ on disinformation and fake news.”Collins said the nature of the hearing is such that other nations’ parliaments will also be represented at the meeting.Last week, the U.K’s national privacy regulator fined Facebook $645,000 for what it called “serious” violations of data protection rules that helped lead to the Cambridge Analytica scandal at Facebook. Citation: UK, Canada seek to question Facebook’s Zuckerberg on fake news (2018, October 31) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-10-uk-canada-facebook-zuckerberg-fake.html Explore further ©2018 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. 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.