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Andy Samberg and friends mock Oakland A’s Bash Brothers McGwire, Canseco in Netflix special

first_imgLong before the Splash Brothers, there were the Bash Brothers — Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, two muscle-bound hulks who swatted massive home runs for the Oakland A’s and, um, reportedly did so with the aid of steroids.In honor of the 30th anniversary of the A’s 1989 championship season, The Lonely Island comedy/musical trio — Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer — have dropped on Netflix a 27-minute special called “The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience.” They describe it as a …last_img read more

Extinction Puzzle Explained as Selection Effect

first_imgIt’s not evolution, it’s statistics.  That’s the conclusion of Robert Scotland and Michael Sanderson in the Jan. 30 issue of Science.  What’s the puzzle?When biodiversity is examined in the context of species richness, a consistent feature emerges: Most taxonomic groups are species-poor, relatively few are species-rich, and the frequency distribution has the shape of a so-called “hollow curve”.The hollow curve is a graph that looks like a letter L with a curved instead of square corner.  Evolutionists have assumed that these graphs of biodiversity (numbers of species) vs. species richness (number of species per taxonomic group) tell us about evolution and extinction.  Nope, say the two scientists:We suggest that the explanation for the lack of fit between hollow curves from real data and the SBT model [their model of a “simultaneous broken tree” as opposed to the SBS, “simultaneous broken stick” model] is taxonomic, not evolutionary.  Although there are no objective criteria for recognizing higher taxa, taxonomists are averse to studying genera that are either too large or too small.  (Large genera are cumbersome and can be nonmonophyletic, whereas monotypic genera contain no information about relationships.)  Observed hollow curves reflect a shortening of the tails of the SBT distribution.  Our taxonomic explanation contrasts with evolutionary explanations, which depend on the premise that in real data sets there are too many monotypic taxa and species-rich groups that are too large.  Evidence does exist for differences in speciation and extinction rates but it does not come from hollow curves.Scotland and Sanderson, “The Significance of Few Versus Many in the Tree of Life,” Science 01/30/2004, 10.1126/science.1091483.This is like finding the oscillating signal in the radio receiver is not from ETI but from a communications satellite.  Presumably the claimed evidence for differences in speciation and extinction rates will be forthcoming in a futureware issue.(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

More South African expats plan to return home

first_imgSouth African expats at a Homecoming Revolution event in London. Homecoming Revolution is a non-profit organisation aimed at reversing the brain drain from South Africa.Wilma den HartighAn increasing number of South African expats intend to exchange life abroad for home comforts. Research conducted by Homecoming Revolution, a non-profit organisation aimed at reversing the brain drain from the country, shows that South Africans mostly return for emotional and lifestyle reasons.“We are seeing that people in their early 30s, who went overseas in their 20s, are coming back because they have realised that this is where they want to live,” said Martine Schaffer, managing director of Homecoming Revolution.She said changing perceptions of South Africa are encouraging expats to return, despite negative news about the country.“When they come back for a visit their experiences here leave them pleasantly surprised,” Schaffer said.The in-depth online survey conducted by e-View was carried out in the UK, US, Canada, Dubai and Australia. Of the respondents, 72% said that they were likely or highly likely to return to South Africa. Those most likely to return were from the UK, US and Canada.Significantly, negative reports about South Africa from friends and family did not match expats’ experiences, nor did they deter them in their decision to visit the country. The survey found that although 61% of the communication received about South Africa was negative, 58% of expats still visited the country in the last year. These were mainly from the UK and Dubai.South Africans living in Australia last visited at least three to four years ago, with 78% having had a good experience. A full 100% of responses from the US were positive.The depressed global economy is also a strong factor influencing people’s decision to return to home. Although South Africa’s economy is also taking strain, the survey found that 50% of people living abroad are likely to come back.“This is a great opportunity, as we are gaining from international experience both in skills and entrepreneurship. For many, there is a conscious decision to be home and make a difference,” Schaffer said in a statement.She pointed out that South Africa needs more entrepreneurs who are willing to start businesses and provide employment. “South Africa is the kind of place where one can take more risks and what is exciting is that people are coming back with out-of-the-box business ideas. We need this in South Africa.”Stephen Hurter, a South African living in the UK, has noticed a significant decline in job opportunities. He agreed that South Africa holds much more opportunity for self-employment.“Here it seems there is less small business opportunity,” he said. “But South Africa is definitely a place where you need to be able to make your own job. I don’t think jobs in South Africa are necessarily better, but the quality of life certainly is.”He hopes to return home later this year and says the South African lifestyle is a big drawcard. “People try and recreate that atmosphere here but it just isn’t the same.”A South African couple living in the UK believe they have many good reasons to return. “The greatest selling point is that South Africa will always be our home,” said Ange Hayler.The Haylers left South Africa to travel and gain work experience, but they have every intention of coming back. “I think there are enough awesome things about the country to warrant making it our home and it has a lot of potential as a growing global economy,” she said. Crime in South Africa is still one of their greatest concerns.The survey profiling of South Africans in the UK found that 85% are positive about South Africa. They enjoy living abroad for the new job and travel opportunities, but dislike the weather, lack of space and miss their families. They are also concerned about finding employment and no longer earning a strong currency.South Africans living in Dubai, the US and Canada said that they struggle with cultural differences and the indoor lifestyle. Survey respondents in Australia said they don’t feel accepted in that country and are having difficulty in finding work in their chosen profession.Schaffer said 41% are likely to return, but are still worried if this would be the right decision. Employment, a high crime rate and political uncertainty in South Africa were their main grievances.The recession has made many international destinations less attractive. However, young people who still want to travel and take a gap year may consider destinations in developing countries.“There will definitely be a shift in the choice of destination,” Schaffer said. South Africans may have a renewed interest in countries such as Japan and China to teach English. Foreigners looking to travel may consider coming to South Africa.Schaffer said that this could be beneficial for South Africa as initiatives in need of volunteers to build homes, schools or teachers in rural communities could benefit from foreign skills, even if for a short period of time.Related articlesSA expats vote abroad SA passport made more secure South African banker soars in Australia Mrs Ball’s chutney comes home Useful linksHomecoming Revolution The South Africanlast_img read more

AgCredit announces profit sharing

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest AgCredit — one of northern Ohio’s largest lenders for farmers, rural homeowners and agribusiness — recently declared a patronage refund of 24.57 percent for 2016 that results in $18.4 million being refunded to its member borrowers.The patronage payment will provide a refund to the lending cooperative’s shareholders of 24 cents for every dollar they accrued in interest on their loans for the past year. The patronage refund is the equivalent of 1.21% net savings on interest.Over the past five years, AgCredit has averaged a 29.43% patronage refund rate and has paid patronage refunds for 30 consecutive years. During this time, it has distributed more than $246 million to its borrowers.Earnings for 2016 were $49.6 million.  AgCredit’s year-end numbers reflected a 4.66 percent growth rate and $80 million increase as loan volume increased from $1.716 billion to $1.796 billion.“Though our business continues to perform very well, due to the cyclical nature of agriculture, we are seeing an increasing number of farm operations being negatively impacted by lower net margins. Many operations will need time to adjust to the lower margins. Even with the challenges facing agriculture, our mission to serve agriculture and our rural communities has never been stronger,” said Brian Ricker, AgCredit CEO and president, who shared and reviewed information about the co-op’s financial status with approximately 500 members and guests who attended its annual meeting held April 12 at Meadowbrook Park in Bascom.Even with historically high asset quality levels the cooperative lending association continues to mitigate credit risk as a preferred lender working with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency’s guarantee program. Nearly 30% of AgCredit’s loan volume is secured through this program which allows it to capitalize growth by using it as an effective capital leveraging tool to enhance credit quality and credit risk.last_img read more

Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) to cost less

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Matthew Diersen, Risk and Business Management Specialist, Ness School of Management & Economics, South Dakota State UniversityFeeder cattle have been under seasonal price pressure, similar to last year. Thus, locking in cattle prices or spending money for insurance may not be a high priority at this time. However, it is never a bad time to plan nor to look for cost-effective ways to manage risk. Livestock Risk Protection (LRP), price coverage sold by insurance agents, is similar to the purchase of put options on cattle futures contracts. LRP is administered by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) with a federally-subsidized premium that is set to increase soon.Interest in and usage of LRP has fluctuated since first being offered in the early 2000s. Nationally, coverage with the feeder cattle endorsement peaked at over 300,000 head in crop year 2014. Such a total was still less than 1% of the U.S. calf crop. Coverage for the most recent crop year, which ends on June 30, is unlikely to exceed 90,000 head. Demand for the product has fallen with lower prices. Demand in South Dakota remains relatively high at over 27,000 head covered in crop year 2019, but the absolute level covered remains low. Locally, producers and insurance agents seem pleased with how LRP works. Some producers have expressed disappointment after finding out buying LRP is very similar to buying put options. Coverage with the fed cattle endorsement has been small regardless of location or crop year.In April, the RMA announced several changes to LRP, effective on July 1 with the 2020 crop year. The premium subsidy is the most relevant change. Until now, the subsidy has been small and LRP premiums have been very close to the cost of put option coverage with a brokerage fee. Thus, on a per cwt basis producers would have been indifferent between using LRP and put options. The subsidy is increasing to 20 to 35%, depending on the coverage level. An additional subsidy applies for beginning farmers and veteran farmers. The subsidy applies to the full cost of the coverage, but remains low compared to the subsidy on most crops. The highest subsidy rate applies to the lowest level of coverage, 70 to 79% of the base price. At this large deductible level the premium cost is already very low, so an increased subsidy is not likely to look more attractive. The 20% subsidy applies to the 95 to 100% coverage level. Based on recently available premiums, the higher subsidy will only reduce costs by 30 to 60 cents per cwt.The main advantage of LRP will likely continue to be the ability to buy coverage on a per head basis. When using a standard futures or options contract, the size is fixed at 50,000 pounds for feeder cattle. Thus, a producer would need groups of 100 calves weighing 500 pounds to effectively use such contracts. With LRP, the same per cwt option cost is the base, but then it is applied per head, effectively reducing the cost when less than 100 head increments are covered. Smaller producers, producers selling steers and heifers at different times, producers backgrounding a portion of their calves and those only owning a share of a calf crop may have relatively small groups of calves to sell and thus insure. A higher subsidy makes the cost advantage of LRP even better in such situations.last_img read more

IPL 2011: Teams and their strength analysis

first_imgWith 127 players bought by the 10 IPL franchisees, here is an analysis of the teams and their strategies.KINGS XI PUNJABCurrent squadVirender SehwagAdam Gilchrist (Rs 4.14cr), David Hussey (Rs 6.4cr), Dinesh Karthik (Rs 4.14cr), Stuart Broad (Rs 2.07cr), Abhishek Nayar (Rs 3.68cr), Piyush Chawla ( Rs 4.14cr), Praveen Kumar (Rs 3.68cr), Ryan Harris (Rs 1.49cr), Shaun Marsh (Rs 2.07cr); Dimitri Mascarenhas (Rs 46 lakh)Team analysisKings XI have a decent mix with Adam Gilchrist, in all probability, leading the side in the fourth edition. David Hussey is a specialist T20 player and will give them a solid middle order batsman. The pace bowlers picked are Praveen Kumar, Stuart Broad and Ryan Harris. One fails to understand why would any franchisee pick a pace bowler who has been ruled out of action after undergoing a knee surgery and who would be fighting against time to get fit for the IPL. Even Stuart Broad isn’t a specialist T20 bowler.DELHI DAREDEVILSCurrent squadGautam Gambhir.Irfan Pathan (Rs 8.74cr), David Warner (Rs 3.45cr), Naman Ojha (Rs 1.24cr), James Hopes (Rs 1.61cr), Morne Morkel (Rs 2.18cr), Aaron Finch (Rs 1.38cr), Virender Sehwag (retained), Umesh Yadav (Rs 3.45 cr), Venugopal Rao (Rs 3.22 cr), Ashok Dinda (Rs 1.72 cr)Team analysisThe Daredevils have stitched together a team that doesn’t look very solid on paper. Irfan Pathan was bought at a whopping Rs 8.74 cr even though he hasn’t played international cricket for nearly two years and has just returned from an injury lay-off. David Warner comes back as he forms a lethal opening combination with Virender Sehwag. Morne Morkel is the main strike bowler but apart from these players, the Delhi line-up isn’t awe inspiring.advertisementPUNE WARRIORSCurrent squadZaheer Khan.Yuvraj Singh (Rs 8.28cr), Graeme Smith (Rs 2.30cr), Robin Uthappa (Rs 9.66cr), Tim Paine (Rs 1.24cr), Angelo Mathews (Rs 4.37cr), Nathan McCullum (Rs 46lakh), Callum Ferguson (Rs 1.38cr), Ashish Nehra (Rs 3.91cr), Jerome Taylor (Rs 46 lakh), Wayne Parnell (Rs 89.6 lakh), Mitchell Marsh (Rs 1.29 cr), Murali Kartik (Rs1.84 cr)Team analysisThe franchise owned by the Sahara conglomerate has jumped into the IPL bandwagon and have made quite a big splash at the auction itself. They seem to have all bases covered. They have a plethora of foreign talent at their disposal but with the limit of playing just four of them in the eleven, they would need some good local talent to supplement the squad. They have just under $1 million left to spend on players.DECCAN CHARGERSCurrent squadAdam Gilchrist.Kevin Pietersen (Rs 2.99 cr), Cameron White (Rs 5.06 cr), Kumar Sangakkara (Rs 3.22 cr), JP Duminy (Rs 1.38 cr), Shikhar Dhawan (Rs 1.38 cr); Dale Steyn (Rs 5.52 cr); Amit Mishra (Rs 1.38 cr); Ishant Sharma (Rs 2.07 cr) Pragyan Ojha (Rs 2.3 cr) Dan Christian (Rs 4.14 cr), Manpreet Goni (Rs 1.33 cr)Team analysisDeccan Chargers bid aggressively for Dale Steyn, currently the best bowler in the world. He is going to be a great asset in T20, even though he has a propensity to leak runs in limited overs cricket. They stuck with left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, who has had a fair amount of success in IPL. Cameron White is an intelligent buy as he has the ability to win a match on his own. But having Ishant Sharma in their ranks might be a double-edged sword as his form has dipped alarmingly.CHENNAI SUPER KINGSCurrent squadIfran Pathan.Michael Hussey (Rs 1.95cr), Wriddhiman Saha (Rs 46lakh), Dwayne Bravo (Rs 92lakh), Doug Bollinger (Rs 3.22cr), R Ashwin (Rs 3.91cr), S Badrinath (Rs 3.68cr), MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay and Albie Morkel (all retained), Sudeep Tyagi (Rs 1.1 cr), Scott Styris (Rs 92 lakh), Faf du Plessis (Rs 52 lakh), Ben Hilfenhaus (Rs 46 lakh)Team analysisThe defending champions had a clear strategy: retain as many stars of the previous seasons as possible, simply because as they won the IPL and the Champions League last year. So there was no surprise as they got back players like R Ashwin, Doug Bollinger and Sudip Tyagi. They have a good balance of national and international players. Having genuine all-rounders like Dwayne Bravo and Albie Morkel, who can hit some lusty blows, gives Chennai a settled look.KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERSCurrent squadRobin Uthappa.Gautam Gambhir (Rs 11.04 cr), Yusuf Pathan (Rs 9.66 cr), Jacques Kallis (Rs 5.06cr), Brad Haddin (Rs 1.49), Shakeeb Al Hasan (Rs 1.95cr); Brett Lee (Rs 1.84cr), Eoin Morgan (Rs 1.61 cr); Manoj Tiwary (Rs 2.18cr), Jaidev Unadkat (Rs 1.15 cr), Lakshmipathy Balaji (Rs 2.3 cr)Team analysisAfter being in the wrong half for the first three seasons, Shah Rukh Khan and his co-owners have decided to change strategy. They have spent most of their money on a selected few impact players. They have also cared nothing for sentiment and allowed Sourav Ganguly to leave. They have a well-balanced side as of now, but need some good local talent and uncapped players to fill the gaps in the squad. They don’t have a lot of money left in the bank though.advertisementTEAM KOCHICurrent squadDale Steyn.M Jayawardene (Rs 6.9cr), VVS Laxman (Rs 1.84cr), Brendon McCullum (Rs 2.18cr), Sreesanth (Rs 4.14cr), RP Singh (Rs 2.30cr), Parthiv Patel (Rs 1.33cr), Ravindra Jadeja (Rs 4.37cr), Steven Smith (Rs 92lakh), M Muralitharan (Rs 5.06cr), Brad Hodge (rs 1.95cr), Ramesh Powar (Rs 82.8 lakh), R Vinaykumar (Rs 2.18 cr), Steven O’Keefe (RS 9.2 lakh)Team analysisThe newest member of the IPL club seem to have played their cards well. Snapping up the experienced Mahela Jayawardene and Muttiah Muralitharan is a good move. Sreesanth was always going to go to Kochi, as he is the state cricket’s poster boy. The explosive Brendon McCullum gives Kochi the x-factor while Parthiv Patel, Brad Hodge and VVS Laxman give them solidity in the middle order. RP Singh had a successful IPL-2 and provides the team a well-rounded look.MUMBAI INDIANSCurrent squadM S Dhoni.Rohit Sharma (Rs 9.2 cr), Andrew Symonds (Rs 3.91 cr), Davy Jacobs (Rs 87 lakh), James Franklin (Rs 46 lakh); Sachin Tendulkar (retained); Harbhajan Singh (retained); Kieron Pollard (retained); Lasith Malinga (retained), Munaf Patel (Rs 3.22 cr), Clint McKay (Rs 50.6 lakh)Team analysisThey were the most balanced side last season and if anything, they seem stronger this year. The core of their team is intact. The seam bowling department has also been strengthened with some sound buys. Mumbai has always produced good players so the local talent they sign should be of high quality as well. Playing under Tendulkar will be a major attraction for youngsters they wish to acquire. And interestingly, Harbhajan and Andrew Symonds will share the dressing room.ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORECurrent squadGautam Gambhir.Tillakaratne Dilshan (Rs 2.99 cr), Zaheer Khan (Rs 4.14 cr), AB de Villiers (Rs 5.06 cr), Daniel Vettori (Rs 2.53 cr), Saurabh Tiwary (Rs 7.36 cr); Dirk Nannes (Rs 2.99 cr); Cheteshwar Pujara (Rs 3.22 cr); Virat Kohli (retained), Mohammad Kaif (Rs 57.8 lakh), Charl Langeveldt (Rs 64.4 lakh), Abhimanyu Mithun (Rs 1.19 cr)Team analysisWith Anil Kumble by his side, Vijay Mallya could not have got it wrong. Most departments seem to be taken care of but the captaincy issue has to be decided. Kumble has quit playing and Rahul Dravid has moved to Rajasthan Royals. However, apart from Mithun, there seems to be a lack of local flavor in the squad and the franchise will have to look into the issue when it recruits its remaining players in the coming days. Dirk Nannes is an excellent buy as he is a proven performer in Indian conditions.RAJASTHAN ROYALSCurrent squadS Sreesanth.Ross Taylor (Rs 2.6 cr), Rahul Dravid (Rs 2.3 cr), Johan Botha (Rs 4.37 cr), Paul Collingwood (Rs1.15 cr), Shane Warne (retained), Shane Watson (retained), Shaun Tait (Rs 1.38 cr), Pankaj Singh (Rs 42.3 lakh)Team analysisThe winners in Season One have made some good buys but whether they will be good enough to upset the applecart of more fancied teams remains to be seen.advertisementUnder the astute captaincy of Shane Warne, the Royals have been punching above their weight. The champion leg-spinner spinner will have to work his magic once more to get the best out of his squad. Aussie all-rounder Shane Watson will hold the key for them once again.last_img read more

TAG Heuer Launches Celebrity Fundraising Challenge Benefiting Cycle For Survival

first_imgTAG Heuer, the avant-garde of Swiss watchmaking, and Cycle for Survival, the movement to beat rare cancers, have announced The TAG Heuer Cycle for Survival Fundraising Challenge.The unprecedented digital competition includes notable athletes, actors and artists dedicated to fighting back against rare cancer by funding cutting-edge research.With the help of its ambassadors, TAG Heuer is raising money for Cycle for Survival’s 2018 campaign with a social media kick-off. 100 percent of every dollar raised goes to groundbreaking rare cancer research and clinical trials led by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which owns and operates Cycle for Survival. TAG Heuer is the official Timepiece and Timekeeper of Cycle for Survival.The following TAG Heuer ambassadors are participating in the fundraising challenge:• Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England Patriots • Patrick Dempsey, American Actor • Tim Howard, Goalkeeper, U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team • Alexander Rossi, Professional Racing Driver and 2016 Indianapolis 500 Champion • Alec Monopoly, American Graffiti ArtistTim Howard shared, “As a TAG ambassador, I am honored to partner up with Cycle for Survival. Its direct impact to raise funding for the research of rare cancers is critical. We have to continue to fight this battle together, and I hope to make a difference in any way I can. Join the movement and get your sweat on while helping others who really need it.”Alexander Rossi added, “Cancer has touched us all. It’s hard to know what to say or do anymore – whether it’s offering prayers, giving hugs or donating to charities. But let’s keep doing ALL those things. Cycle for Survival is a wonderful way to raise awareness for rare cancer research, and I’m proud to be an ambassador and a fundraiser.”Each TAG Heuer ambassador has a personalized fundraising webpage where supporters can make tax-deductible donations to Cycle for Survival. TAG Heuer will match each donation that is made to the ambassador’s pages. Everyone who donates to any ambassador’s page will be eligible to win a TAG Heuer Cycle for Survival Connected Modular 45 watch, generously provided by TAG Heuer. The first Swiss Made luxury smartwatch powered by Intel and Androidwear 2.0 includes technical features such as built-in GPS, interactive apps and is water resistant up to 50 meters.The ambassador who raises the most money by March 31, 2018, will be declared the winner of the TAG Heuer Cycle for Survival Fundraising Challenge. For links to the ambassadors’ fundraising pages and updates on the challenge, click here.Cycle for Survival’s signature indoor cycling events will take place in 16 cities across the country in January, February and March. Registration for the 2018 events is open at www.cycleforsurvival.org. More than 34,000 participants and 230,000 donors are expected to support the movement this year.Cycle for Survival has been named the fastest-growing athletic fundraiser in the United States for the past four consecutive years.The movement has raised more than $145 million since it was founded in 2007, with $115 million raised in the past four years.TAG Heuer has a long history of supporting cycling, dating back to 1946 when the brochure of Swiss watchmaker HEUER mentioned utilizing pocket chronometers to time races and trials. Most recently, the brand has partnered with the BMC Racing Team, 10 major races in the UCI international calendar and is also the Official Timekeeper of Giro d’Italia.last_img read more

Russian TV network registers as foreign agent in US

first_imgWASHINGTON – Russian state-funded TV channel RT has registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent after pressure from the U.S. government, documents released Monday show.The Justice Department announced the registration just hours after RT’s chief editor said the company had complied with the U.S. demand that it register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The move doesn’t restrict the channel’s content, but the network is required to publicly disclose details about its funding and operations as well as mark certain content distributed in the U.S. with labels.Many news outlets with ties to foreign governments are required to similarly register, but the pressure on RT has angered Russian officials who have said they will retaliate with unspecified restrictions on U.S. news outlets.On Monday, RT editor, Margarita Simonyan, said on the channel’s Russian-language website that “between a criminal case and the registration, we have chosen the latter,” adding on a sarcastic note that “we congratulate the American freedom of speech and those who still believe in it on that.”Simonyan said that failure to fulfil the U.S. Department of Justice’s request to register by Monday could have led to the arrest of RT’s American director and the freezing of its accounts.In a statement, Acting Assistant Attorney General Dana Boente said that the Justice Department enforces the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, “regardless of nationality.”“Americans have a right to know who is acting in the United States to influence the U.S. government or public on behalf of foreign principals,” he said in the statement.Passed in 1938, the law applies to people or companies disseminating information in the U.S. on behalf of foreign governments, political parties and other “foreign principals.” The law is most commonly applied to foreign lobbying efforts, but the Justice Department has also required registration by media outlets funded by foreign governments. For example, the English-language newspaper, China Daily, is registered due to its affiliation with the Chinese government.The filing for RT came through its U.S.-based production company, T & R Productions LLC. According to the filing, the Washington-based production company registered as a foreign agent of ANO TV-Novosti, the Russian government entity that handles the broadcast of RT worldwide.In the filing, the production company disclosed that it was paid $350,000 within the past 60 days by ANO TV-Novosti, which it notes is funded by the Russian government “to substantial extent.” It also disclosed several licensing agreements with the Russian entity for shows such as “News with Ed Schultz,” ”Redacted Tonight” and “Larry King Now.”T & R Productions owner, Mikhail V. Solodovnikov, also registered personally as a foreign agent, but he said he “respectfully disagrees that FARA should apply.”Solodovnikov, who reported a $670,000 annual salary, said the channel’s purpose is to produce “news, talk shows and entertainment programs that are designed merely to inform, not influence.” The programs are “not aimed to primarily benefit any foreign government or political party,” he added.The U.S. intelligence agencies have alleged RT served as a propaganda outlet for the Kremlin as part of its multi-pronged effort to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Russia denies interfering.In response to the Justice Department’s pressure on RT, Russian lawmakers are drafting retaliatory measures. The Justice Department said Monday it is reviewing the filing for “sufficiency.”___Isachenkov reported from Moscow.last_img read more

Canadian dairy farmers group pans new trade pact with US Mexico

first_imgWASHINGTON – Canadian dairy farmers have panned the renegotiated trade pact between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, saying the new deal will undercut the industry by limiting exports and opening up the market to more American products.Dairy Farmers of Canada issued a terse statement almost immediately after the 11th-hour agreement was announced late Sunday, following 14 months of difficult negotiations between the parties.The organization said the newly minted U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, or USMCA, will grant an expanded 3.6 per cent market access to the domestic dairy market and eliminate competitive dairy classes, which the group says will shrink the Canadian industry.It said the measures will have “a dramatic impact not only for dairy farmers but for the whole sector.”“This has happened, despite assurances that our government would not sign a bad deal for Canadians,” Pierre Lampron, president of Dairy Farmers Canada, said in the statement. “We fail to see how this deal can be good for the 220,000 Canadian families that depend on dairy for their livelihood.”U.S. administration officials said the deal provides increased access to Canada’s dairy market for U.S. producers and limits the American impact of Canada’s controversial supply management system for dairy and poultry products.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would only say it was a “good day for Canada” as he left a late-night cabinet meeting in Ottawa that capped several days of frenetic long-distance talks that included Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. Ambassador David MacNaughton.U.S President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Monday to praise what he called an “historic” deal that came just before U.S. and Mexican trade authorities were set to publish their own trade agreement without Canada as a signatory.“It is a great deal for all three countries, solves the many deficiencies and mistakes in NAFTA, greatly opens markets to our farmers and manufacturers, reduces trade barriers to the U.S. and will bring all three great nations closer together in competition with the rest of the world,” he tweeted. “The USMCA is a historic transaction!”The deal appears to preserve the key dispute-resolution provisions — Chapter 19 — which allow for independent panels to resolve disputes involving companies and governments, as well as Chapter 20, the government-to-government dispute settlement mechanism.A side letter published along with the main text of the agreement exempts a percentage of eligible auto exports from the tariffs. A similar agreement between Mexico and the U.S. preserves duty-free access to the U.S. market for vehicles that comply with the agreement’s rules of origin.Canada fought hard to retain Chapter 19, a holdover from NAFTA that U.S. trade ambassador Robert Lighthizer worked tooth and nail to eliminate.“USMCA will give our workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses a high-standard trade agreement that will result in freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in our region,” Freeland and Lighthizer said in a joint statement.On the matter of Section 232 tariffs, Trump’s trade weapon of choice, U.S. officials told a late-night conference call with reporters that the two sides had “reached an accommodation” on the issue.Federal cabinet ministers were summoned to a late Sunday meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office near Parliament Hill, while the White House convened its own late-night trade briefing conference call just an hour before the midnight deadline.In Ottawa, PMO officials said there would be another cabinet meeting Monday and a news conference likely as well.The Canadian Chamber of Commerce said it was relieved that an agreement in principle had been reached. But chamber president Perrin Beatty said the details of the text needed a closer look before a final verdict could be rendered.last_img read more

Grains mostly higher Livestock mixed

first_imgCHICAGO — Grain futures were mostly higher Wednesday in early trading on the Chicago Board of Trade.Wheat for Mar. delivery was off 1 cent at $5.0460 a bushel; Mar. corn rose 1.60 cents at $3.7520 a bushel; Dec. oats was up 1.20 cents at $2.7620 a bushel; while Jan. soybeans gained 6 cents at 8.88 a bushel.Beef was lower and pork was higher on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.Dec.live cattle fell 1.20 cents at $1.2380 a pound; Jan. feeder cattle was off .90 cent at $1.4810 a pound; Dec. lean hogs was up 1.63 cents at .6278 a pound.The Associated Presslast_img read more