TORONTO — Transat has launched its latest contest with Travelweek, featuring a stay at the newly refurbished TRS Yucatan.The resort offers 454 rooms including Royal Junior Suites, five unique restaurants, new infinity and exclusive saltwater pools, 24-hour room service and access to all facilities at the neighbouring Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa, Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort & Spa and Grand Palladium White Sand Resort & Spa.TRS YucatanTRS YucatanJunior Suite’s Private PoolTransat offers 43 flights a week to Cancun from 17 gateways, making it easy for clients to get to the adults-only hotel.Click here to enter! Posted by Friday, February 2, 2018 Travelweek Group Tags: Contests, Transat << Previous PostNext Post >> Agents can win a stay at the newly refurbished TRS Yucatan
Qatar Airways is rolling out a bespoke service for its premium class passengers, giving them even more choice and freedom to create a personalised dining experience every time they travel on long-haul flights from Doha.The new Pre-Select Dining service is being introduced on selected flights to Europe, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand.Passengers travelling in First and Business Class will have the opportunity to pre-select one main course from the à la carte onboard menu, as far as 14 days in advance and up to 24 hours before take-off. This is in addition to the existing and exemplary Dining-on-Demand service already available for valued First and Business Class passengers.To pre-select a premium class meal, customers log into ‘My Trips’ on the Qatar Airways website and choose from the seasonal menu available on their flight. Meals can also be ordered through the Qatar Airways mobile app.Qatar Airways group chief executive, His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker said: “We are constantly looking for innovative ways to refine and enhance our products and services. Giving our premium passengers the opportunity to pre-select their meals before they fly is another example of our unrivalled onboard experience.“Our new Pre-Select Dining service follows the introduction of our groundbreaking Business Class seat, Qsuite, earlier this year, which reinforces why Qatar AIrways was recognised as the World’s Best Business Class at this year’s 2017 Skytrax awards. We were also delighted to be named Airline of the Year for the fourth time, encouraging us to continue innovating to offer our unparalleled five-star service.”The new Pre-Select Dining menu option will take Qatar Airways’ already renowned level of personalised service to new heights and complement the airline’s recently launched new Business Class experience. Premium passengers will now be able to board their flight in the comfort and knowledge that their pre-selected dish is reserved and waiting for them whenever they are ready to dine, giving them more time to relax and enjoy the airline’s superior onboard entertainment and amenities.Launching on flights departing from Doha, Qatar Airways plans to extend premium Pre-Select Dining to other regions later this year. As well as enjoying unrivalled five-star service, premium customers can also be pampered with amenities from world-class brands such as BRIC’S, Nappa Dori, Monte Vibiano and The White Company. Meanwhile all passengers have access to Oryx One, Qatar Airways’ award-winning inflight entertainment system which offers passengers up to 4000 entertainment options.Qatar Airways operates a modern fleet of 200 aircraft to a network of more than 150 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.The airline is launching 26 exciting new destinations around the world between now and the end of 2018, including Chiang Mai, Thailand; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; San Francisco, US; and Santiago, Chile, to name a few.Multi-award-winning Qatar Airways was this year awarded Airline of the Year by the prestigious 2017 Skytrax World Airline Awards, the fourth time it has won this global accolade. Qatar’s national carrier also clinched Best Airline in the Middle East, World’s Best Business Class and World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge.
Sven AaserTelenor Group has announced its intention to divest all its shares in Russian operator VimpelCom, where the company has an economic stake of 33%. Telenor Group will now fully focus on creating value in core operations.Telenor said that VimpelCom has gradually contributed less to the value of the group, and the value of Telenor’s core operations have increased rapidly. Today, the market value of the VimpelCom Ltd. shares represents approximately 8% of Telenor’s market capitalization.Telenor Group has invested NOK 15 billion (€1.6 billion) in VimpelCom. The company has received NOK 20 billion in dividends and the current market value of the ownership stake is approximately NOK 20 billion.Telenor said it will explore all options to divest its shares in VimpelCom and will seek to find the best solution for Telenor and its shareholders. A timeframe for the divestment has not been set, but is expected to take some time.The Vimpelcom stock declined in the third quarter and ended at US$4.11 per share versus a book value of US$5.64 per share, leading to Telenor making a non-cash impairment of approximately NOK7.5 billion in the third quarter.“The VimpelCom asset, where Telenor holds a minority position without the possibility to fully control the company, has been challenging. Based on a strategic review by the Board and the CEO, and after due considerations, Telenor Group has decided to divest its shares in VimpelCom Ltd. The disposal of our shares is in the best interest of our shareholders, and in accordance with Telenor Group’s long-term strategic focus,” said Svein Aaser, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Telenor Group.
In This Issue.* Bias to buy dollars emerges. * China prints strong manufacturing index. * Eurozone manufacturing improves. * Back to selling yen.And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts Newsletter!Bank of Canada Softens Tightening Bias. Good day. And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you! A very long day in the office for me yesterday, and then out to Alex’s wrestling meet, has left me draggin’ the line this morning, but. I don’t feel bad right now, so I’ve got that going for me! One of my fave economists, Nouriel Roubini, is talking on the Bloomberg TV channel from Davos this morning. From what I can make out of what he’s saying, I don’t think he’s a fan of kicking the can down the road. But, he points out. until the markets say no more, the can will continue to be kicked.And let’s see. The Gov’t bailed the markets out in 2008, so. they “owe” the Gov’t one, right? And that’s why I believe the markets, bond vigilantes and so on, are letting the Gov’t go Ollie, Ollie Oxen Free right now.. Hey! That’s just how I see it, doesn’t mean it’s the gospel!So. the currencies and metals once again traded in tight ranges, with slippage in the morning, and a recovery in the afternoon, which made two consecutive days of that pattern. But, we’ve seen a change in the pattern in the overnight markets, with the bias slipping back to buy dollars, and most of the currencies and especially the metals have backed off their levels of the past two days.I would like to think that this is just normal trading, for the euro hasn’t succumbed to the bias to buy dollars so far this morning. But, I’m afraid that we’ve slipped back into that darn Risk On / Risk Off load of bull-dookie that we stepped in over 4 years ago. The reason I say that about the slipping back to Risk On/ Risk Off is that the only thing I can find that points to the bias changing is the earnings report by Apple last night. Apparently Apple reported their weakest earnings growth since 2003, and their weakest sales increase in 14 quarters. Stocks all over the world are seeing problems, and so, in my opinion, we’ve slipped back into the Risk Off fun and games. I hope this is just a one-off relapse, and that this Risk Off trading is quickly exited, for we had seen all the signs that we were back to trading on fundamentals, and not willy nilly sentiment of traders to throw all asset classes into a barrel and trade them.The U.S. dollar SHOULD be getting taken to the woodshed, given the decision yesterday by our leaders in the House of Representatives to suspend enforcement of the U.S. debt limit until May 18. Have we now become Comfortably Numb on the debt limit too? Sure looks like it to me. and therefore the dollar should be getting taken to the woodshed, but it’s not. and that’s what’s going on today.I had to stop and smile when I saw this quote by Axel Weber former Bundesbank President, and now Chairman of UBS. “While European Gov’t’s approach fiscal curbs by looking to pullback, the U.S. runs into its limits by squabbling how to increase them.” Another thing that should be driving nails in the dollar’s coffin are the Fed’s meeting details that get released 5 years after the meeting took place. This is where Bill Fleckenstein got a lot of his information on what former Fed Chairman, Big Al Greenspan, was doing behind the scenes. I’ve mentioned Bill’s book quite a few times in the past, but if you still haven’t picked it up to read it, you should, just so you understand what the Fed is doing to us. You can find it on Amazon, it’s called: Greenspan’s Bubbles: The Age of Ignorance at the Fed by Bill Fleckenstein.You can see in the notes that 5 years ago, the Fed still didn’t see the smoke from the fires in the economy. So. if they didn’t see it then, what makes anyone believe they would see it this time? Any way. The Fed’s FOMC will meet next week, and I’m sure they will tell us that the economy is not out of the woods, and there is still a need for stimulus. Yesterday, Morgan Stanley’s chief, Gorman, basically said that the economy is still in need of stimulus.Of course, long time Pfennig readers know that I’ve said for some time now that the U.S. economy has gotten addicted to stimulus. to break the economy from this addiction is going to be very painful.One of my fave writers, Caroline Baum, wrote a piece titled: “How Fed Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Zero” – This is a great snippet: “Color me skeptical. When I read the 82-word sentence outlining conditions to be met before the Fed would start raising rates, all I could think of was Winton Churchill’s description of the Soviet Union: “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” I doubt the Fed will unwrap it when it meets next week.”Well the two-day respite that Japanese yen was getting ended overnight. I told you yesterday that I didn’t think those that were buying yen because the Bank of Japan (BOJ) was delaying their next round of stimulus were allowing the elevator to go to their top floor. I just put together some notes for one of my presentations next week at the Orlando Money Show, and in doing so, I noticed that Japanese yen has dropped 12% in the past 6-months. I don’t think the losses will stop there. but that’s just my opinion, and I’ve said the same thing about yen for the past year.Hey. HSBC Holdings Plc printed their version of Chinese manufacturing last night. (recall, I’ve explained that there are two manufacturing index prints in China, one by HSBC and the other by the Chinese Gov’t). Usually, the HSBC print is not as lofty, albeit by small numbers, as the Gov’t report. So. when the HSBC version printed and showed a gain in the index from 51.5 to 51.9 for this month, I got a little giddy. This data should have been manna from heaven for the Aussie dollar (A$), but. I think the Apple earnings news was just too much to get past for the risk assets, this morning. The A$ has slipped back below $1.05 this morning, but it’s not from the Chinese data. That’s why I’m thinking that this slippage below $1.05 this morning is an opportunity to buy at a cheaper level. Of course, that’s just my opinion, and I could be wrong.Speaking of manufacturing reports. The Eurozone, continues to show signs of recovery, as their Manufacturing Index for the 17-nation union climbed to 48.2 in January from 47.2 in December. Still below 50, the line in the sand between expansion and contraction, but an improvement nonetheless.The Canadian dollar / loonie slipped below parity after the Bank of Canada (BOC) hung the currency out on a line. The BOC left rates unchanged, as expected. but then surprised the markets by softening their tightening bias. The BOC said that “any change is likely to come further in the future than was previously thought.” Uh-oh! You think the markets were upset with the fact that the BOC never carried through with their bias to tighten? They are really upset by this softening, which they didn’t see coming. And the loonie gets taken to the woodshed. My initial thought was that this was a temporary move, but the more I look at this, a lot of capital was gained on the thought that the BOC was going to raise rates soon. The loonie could be in for an elongated trip to the woodshed. But. still remain relatively strong, folks. What am I talking about?Well. 10 years ago, the loonie was 65-cents. so. even if the loonie slips now to 95-cents, that still relatively strong VS 10 years ago, eh?Then There Was This. You all have heard me talk about China’s hoarding of Gold to use as a backing for their currency when they decide to float the renminbi/ yuan for a couple of years now, so I always enjoy seeing someone else jump on my bandwagon. This time it’s the long-time, well respected money manager – Stephen Leeb. Here are a couple of snippets of a recent interview with Stephen talking about China and their Gold.“I see the Chinese plan in terms of what they want to do, I see their economy turning around, and most important their push into gold.I know KWN published a piece last night which said the World Gold Council is saying that China does plan to back up their yuan with gold. Of course that’s what they are going to do. They clearly want the world’s reserve currency. They yuan is constantly increasing in use in Asian (business) dealings. There is no doubt that’s going to continue to grow. China could (already) have the second largest gold reserves in the world, even ahead of Germany. What is confirmed by everything you can see is they are importing as much (gold) as they can without trying to disturb the price of gold. You won’t believe what’s going to happen (with the price of gold). I’m telling you in 3 years people will not believe the price of gold.” – Stephen LeebChuck again. great stuff. more and more, people are jumping on my China and the gold backing to their currency bandwagon. Come on. there’s more room!To recap. The two-day trading pattern of tight trading ranges for the currencies and metals gave way to a bias to buy dollars overnight. Apple had some weak earnings news, that catapulted the risk assets back into the Risk On/ Risk Off trading arena. China saw a strong manufacturing print, and the Eurozone saw an improving manufacturing index. The Bank of Canada hung the loonie out on a line by softening their tightening bias, and the Japanese yen gets back to losing ground.Currencies today 1/24/13. American Style: A$ $1.0490, kiwi .8410, C$ .9990, euro 1.3335, sterling 1.5825, Swiss $1.0760, . European Style: rand 9.0420, krone 5.5635, SEK 6.5180, forint 221.25, zloty 3.1425, koruna 19.1830, RUB 30.12, yen 89.60, sing 1.2280, HKD 7.7530, INR 53.68, China 6.2197, pesos 12.69, BRL 2.0355, Dollar Index 80.03, Oil $95.51, 10-year 1.81%, Silver $31.85, and Gold. $1,677.50That’s it for today. I was gone last week, when my younger brother, Mike, celebrated a birthday, so Happy belated birthday! Mike was born when I was in High School, so. that means he’s getting old! I received a call from an old high school classmate last night, she informed me that a group of classmates are putting together a 40-year high school reunion. YIKES! Not the dreaded 40-year HSR! It will be this year. UGH! I bet no one will recognize me! I don’t keep in touch with many people from my high school years, and the last reunion we had was 15-years ago. oh well. I hope you have a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday!Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837
Shah Gilani’s Monstrous 95% WIN RATE Continues We’ve never seen anything like it… since April 21, Shah Gilani has helped Money Morning readers make more money than maybe anyone in history. His last trade recommendation closed out for a 995% win. And he’s got seven more trades lined up right now. To date, his win rate is 95%. And they expect him to continue this incredible achievement for at least the next 18 months. You have to see this… Recommended Link Justin’s note: If you or a loved one has a pension, please read today’s guest essay very closely. It comes from our colleague Teeka Tiwari, editor of The Palm Beach Letter. As you’ll see, the pension crisis is quickly unfolding… and there are certain steps you should be taking today to prepare… By Teeka Tiwari, editor, The Palm Beach Letter It was the letter Jerry Deaton had been fearing. Deaton, a 69-year-old retired truck driver, was waiting for his pension check from Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund. It has 400,000 participants in 37 states. The news was devastating. Deaton stared at the letter stating his pension would be cut in half. Said Deaton, “It doesn’t leave you with much options. I’ll be 70 in December. Who’s going to hire a 70-year-old truck driver?” Keep a close eye on news about your pension plan. By following the news, you’ll be able to find out if your pension is in trouble. If Impeachment Succeeds Things Will Get Ugly As a wave of violence sweeps America, a reclusive millionaire reveals who’s behind it… and how to protect yourself. Recommended Link It works something like this… Let’s say you started a retirement account and wanted to accrue $100,000 in 30 years… and your expected rate of return was 7.5%. In this case, you’d need to put away $11,400 today to get $100,000 in 30 years. But let’s say your expected rate of return drops to 4.5%. You would need to invest $26,700 today to get the same $100,000 at the end of 30 years. That’s a 134% payment increase. And that’s the crisis that pension participants are facing today. The Central States Pension Fund, like most pensions, uses an optimistic expected return of 7.5%. Thirty years ago, a 7.5% return would be a realistic assumption… but that’s not the case today with interest rates at historic lows. Another problem pension plans face is an aging population. In 1980, the Central States Pension Fund had one retiree for every four active fund members. By 2014, the ratio was reversed… with four retirees for every active member. Today, for every $1 the fund brings in… $3.46 goes out. At its current rate, experts estimate the fund will be bankrupt within 10 years. Pension funds in America are severely underfunded. And it’s only going to get worse as interest rates stay persistently low and the population ages. Time Is Running Out Unlike the past, you might not be able to count on your pension to secure your golden years. But there are a few steps you can take today to begin protecting yourself: Look for ways to generate income outside of traditional retirement assets. — Deaton’s story is a microcosm of America’s impending pension crisis. While the mainstream media focuses on the looming insolvency of Social Security and Medicare, the pension system is quietly on the verge of collapse. According to Moody’s, federal, state, and local employee pension plans have a combined $7 trillion in unfunded liabilities. That’s 40% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). In a moment, I’ll share three steps you should take to check the status of your pension plan. But first, I want to tell you what’s causing this crisis… Pension Plans’ Dirty Little Secret The failure of plans like the Central States Pension Fund is exposing a dirty little secret about the industry. Let me explain… Pension plans use something called a “discount rate” to determine their present value. In other words, they discount their liabilities by the expected return on their assets. So the higher the plan’s expected return, the lower its liabilities… and the less participants have to pay into the plan now. But if the plan’s expected return is lower, then participants will have to pay more into the plan to get the same return. Editor’s note: Due to a system upgrade, our offices will be closed until Monday, July 10th. All offers and promotions will be honored upon our return. — Let the Game Come to You! Teeka “Big T” Tiwari Editor, The Palm Beach Letter P.S. My colleague, Tom Dyson, has just written a new book that your banker is praying you’ll never read… It’s called The 702(j) Retirement Plan: How to Fund Your Own Worry-Free, 100% Tax-Free Retirement. And it details the findings from a 12-month investigation into former President Ronald Reagan’s secret alternative “retirement income plan”—a strategy that’s unconnected to the government, yet may pay you almost two times more than Social Security. But unlike Social Security, it will never run out of money… This book is not available on Amazon. You can’t buy it on eBay. And you’ll never see it in bookstores. However, Tom has agreed to send a free preview copy to anyone with a U.S. mailing address who would like to read it. You can learn how to get your copy right here. Start a supplemental savings plan. If you have the means, start saving outside of your pension.
A decade ago, the U.S. government claimed that ditching paper medical charts for electronic records would make health care better, safer and cheaper. Ten years and $36 billion later, the digital revolution has gone awry, an investigation by Kaiser Health News and Fortune magazine has found. Veteran reporters Fred Schulte of KHN and Erika Fry of Fortune spent months digging into what has happened as a result. (You can read the cover story here.) Here are five takeaways from the investigation. Patient harm: Electronic health records have created a host of risks to patient safety. Alarming reports of deaths, serious injuries and near misses — thousands of them — tied to software glitches, user errors or other system flaws have piled up for years in government and private repositories. Yet no central database exists to compile and study these incidents to improve safety.Signs of fraud: Federal officials say the software can be misused to overcharge, a practice known as “upcoding.” And some doctors and health systems are alleged to have overstated their use of the new technology, a potentially enormous fraud against Medicare and Medicaid likely to take years to unravel. Two software-makers have paid a total of more than $200 million to settle fraud allegations.Gaps in interoperability: Proponents of electronic health records expected a seamless system so patients could share computerized medical histories in a flash with doctors and hospitals anywhere in the United States. That has yet to materialize, largely because officials allowed hundreds of competing firms to sell medical-records software unable to exchange information among one another. Doctor burnout: Many doctors say they spend half their day or more clicking pull-down menus and typing rather than interacting with patients. An emergency room doctor can be saddled with making up to 4,000 mouse clicks per shift. This has fueled concerns about doctor burnout, which a January report by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Massachusetts Medical Society and two other organizations called a “public health crisis.”Web of secrets: Entrenched policies continue to keep software failures out of public view. Vendors of electronic health records have imposed contractual “gag clauses” that discourage buyers from speaking out about safety issues and disastrous software installations — and some hospitals fight to withhold records from injured patients or their families. Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent news service supported by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. KHN is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Copyright 2019 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit Kaiser Health News.
The care regulator is facing fresh questions over its inspection failings after it emerged that it delivered glowing reports on standards at a dozen care homes, less than two years before abusive regimes were exposed at all 12 institutions.The Devon care home at the centre of the scandal, Veilstone, had not been visited by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for three-and-a-half years by the time the abuse was finally exposed six years ago.CQC had even failed to order an inspection of Veilstone after receiving allegations of abuse from a resident in August 2010, even though it was by then three years since its previous inspection.Instead, it passed the allegations to Devon County Council to investigate, while also notifying the home and the police, but did not inspect the home until April 2011 – more than three-and-half years after Veilstone’s previous inspection by CQC’s predecessor, the Commission for Social Care Inspection.Even then it failed to uncover the abusive regime.It was not until a second whistleblower came forward in July 2011 and made similar allegations to the police, and CQC ordered another inspection of Veilstone as well as examinations of the other 14 Atlas homes, that the regime was finally exposed.Last week, reporting restrictions on the case were finally lifted following a lengthy series of criminal trials and hearings that led to the conviction of 13 company directors and employees of Atlas Project Team, which provided residential care for people with learning difficulties and challenging behaviour.Bristol Crown Court had heard how managers and staff at two of the homes locked residents in bare, freezing seclusion rooms with no heating or toilet facilities as a punishment.Devon and Cornwall police worked with prosecutors to establish a pattern which showed how staff used “excessive and inappropriate seclusion” as a result of training provided by senior Atlas figures.The Crown Prosecution Service said this had led to a “culture of abuse – unlawfully detaining residents in very poor conditions for long periods of time”.But Judge William Hart jailed only one of the 13 people convicted, Atlas director Jolyon Marshall, with others receiving suspended prison sentences, conditional discharges, or in the case of Atlas founder and director Paul Hewitt, a £12,500 fine and prosecution costs of £105,000.One of the Atlas residents had also been abused at the notorious Winterbourne View private hospital, a regime which was exposed by the BBC’s Panorama in 2011 – at about the same time that the regulator was being warned about the Atlas homes – and also led to criticism of CQC.In the Winterbourne View case, CQC admitted mistakes after failing to follow up a whistleblower’s allegations (it failed three times to respond to his evidence, according to a serious case review) because it believed the local council was doing so.The Atlas trials and hearings focused mainly on charges of false imprisonment and conspiracy to falsely imprison residents at two of the company’s homes in Devon, but CQC documents show the abusive regime extended far beyond false imprisonment and spread across many of its 15 properties.Analysis by Disability News Service (DNS) of inspection reports published by CQC show that less than two years before the abusive regimes were finally exposed, the watchdog had branded 12 of the Atlas homes “good” or “excellent”.Inspection reports from 2009 and 2010 showed CQC repeatedly congratulating Atlas for the quality of the service it provided at 12 care homes across Devon, Hampshire and Berkshire.The following year, in 2011, when CQC finally launched urgent inspections of all of Atlas’s homes, it found breaches of care standards in every one of the 12, as well as three others that had opened since 2010.The CQC reports also show that the regulator failed to carry out a full inspection in 2010 of Veilstone, in Bideford, as it had promised it would the previous year.The CQC reports which followed the 2011 inspections, and were published in early 2012, show disturbing levels of abuse across the institutions.In one Devon home, Gatooma – the other home where allegations were dealt with in court – residents’ telephone calls to their relatives were listened to and recorded by staff.In another home, Santa Maria, in Wokingham, Berkshire, records showed that one resident had been “sent to their room” 58 times in December 2010; in July 2011, the same resident was sent to his room 208 times, and by October 2011 he was being sent to his room 438 times.In Santosa, a care home in Holsworthy, Devon, the inspectors found the behaviour of two residents was “being managed through the giving or removal of food”, while residents were paid a tiny amount of money to carry out a series of daily tasks.The previous year, CQC had described Santosa as an “excellent” service.In another Devon home, Teignmead, written information showed staff were attempting to manage one resident’s behaviour by the use of what they called a “time out protocol”, while there were reports of residents being physically restrained.The records showed how one resident (X) “was observed through the crack in the door (lounge) to of been crying for 1 minute – [X] was directed to his room as per his time out policy”.Another Teignmead incident report stated: “Due to [X] not listening to staff, [X] was directed to his room as per time out policy.”That report also stated that, because X had not complied with the time out policy, he had been physically restrained twice for a total of eight minutes.Two years before, CQC had described Teignmead as a “two star good service”.All 15 homes had their registrations cancelled by CQC in August 2012.CQC said this week that its “inspection methodology” in 2010 was that “unless information of concern raised with us indicated that we needed to make an additional visit, we would inspect two-star services every two years”.But CQC had been warned repeatedly that its approach to inspection – which focused on homes submitting written self-assessments – could lead to some institutions avoiding inspections for up to five years.In his book on another major abuse scandal* involving adults with learning difficulties, at the Longcare homes in Buckinghamshire, experts interviewed by DNS editor John Pring warned in 2011 about the “diluted” protection offered by CQC’s new inspection system.One told Pring: “They say they have a focus on poor performing homes, but my view is that this realignment has just been done to save money.“There are just not the inspectors walking through the door like there used to be on a regular basis. It’s a paper assessment and I do not think that is wholly effective.”Another warned that CQC resources were “thin and getting thinner” and that abusive regimes were slipping through the CQC net.Dr Noelle Blackman, chief executive of the charity Respond, which has provided years of advocacy, emotional support and psychotherapy and counselling to victims of the abuse, and their families – and which also supported some of the survivors of the Longcare abuse – said this week that the Atlas regime had spread throughout its homes.She said: “They all lived in fear as they witnessed their fellow residents going through the abuse, even if they didn’t witness it themselves.”She said the abuse went far wider than was exposed by the trial, which focused on the use of solitary confinement punishment rooms.Many residents were forced to carry out work, such as scrubbing the floors.She said: “It was a huge part of the culture that the residents had to do a lot of the manual tasks and it was seen as a way of civilising these people who were seen by the managers and staff as being not quite human.”If they refused to carry out the work, they were punished, by being deprived of food or being locked in a punishment room.She added: “Part of the regime of coming out of isolation was that they had to carry out tasks to prove they deserved their freedom again.”Five years after the abuse was finally halted, she believes CQC still has lessons to learn.She believes the regulator needs to be far more “curious” about the services it inspects and not allow itself to be “fobbed off” by the “glossiness” presented by some of the care businesses it inspects.One improvement in recent years has been the use of Experts by Experience, often disabled people themselves, who have experience of using services and accompany CQC inspectors on their inspections.Blackman said: “They are curious, they ask the key questions, they instinctively know what is right.”But all too often, she said, that information is not captured by CQC’s reports because the criteria they use are too narrow.Asked about its failings, CQC insisted that its procedures had changed in the years since the abuse was exposed.A CQC spokesman said the events took place “six or seven years ago when CQC was a different organisation, using previous methodology. “When these abusive practices were discovered, CQC took action although we acknowledge that we should have responded more quickly to the concerns raised. “Much has changed since 2011. Since then we have overhauled our regulatory approach; improved the monitoring of services and the way we respond to safeguarding concerns; introduced a new and more thorough inspection process; increased the numbers of people with learning disabilities involved in our inspections; and strengthened our enforcement processes.“We have also worked with The Challenging Behaviour Foundation on the issue of restraint and we now subject services where staff frequently resort to restrictive interventions to much tougher scrutiny than we did five years ago.”Asked if CQC believed there should be an independent investigation into its failings, he said: “CQC did carry out its own review at the time and we would of course contribute to any serious case review, along with all the agencies who were involved at the time.”But he said the responsibility for preventing abuse “rests with the providers who must be held accountable for delivering on that quality”. He said: “We will take action if we find that a provider is failing – first to protect people in their care, and also to hold them to account through using our enforcement powers.”He said CQC now had “a new, more thorough inspection process”, introduced three years ago, and “will never rely solely on the assertions of a provider about the quality of their care without crossing the threshold to check”.And he said there were now systems in place “to ensure that safeguarding processes are not closed without the outcome of the investigations being recorded”.*Longcare Survivors: The Biography Of A Care Scandal is available through the DNS website
From #DeleteUber to a sexual harassment lawsuit, Uber is in hot water and the nightmare is not over yet.Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has again found himself at the heart of another scandal — although this time there’s video. A recording released by Bloomberg on Tuesday shows Kalanick in the back of an Uber car, aggressively arguing with his driver, showing a lack of empathy for employees.Related: Before You Delete Your Account, Uber Wants You to Know It’s ‘Deeply Hurting’The six-minute clip starts with Kalanick and two anonymous women talking, laughing and listening to music in the back of the car. When they reach their destination, Kalanick and the driver, whose name is Fawzi Kamal, get into a heated discussion about Uber’s price cuts. Kamal claims he lost $97,000 because of Uber, and the CEO responds rashly: “Some people don’t take responsibility for their own shit. … They blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck!”During the altercation, what Kalanick probably didn’t know was that the driver had a dashcam in his car and the entire exchange was fully documented.Related: Next Time You Apologize, Say More Than ‘I’m Sorry.’Shortly after the video became public, Kalanick sent out an email to employees, which was then published as a blog post, “A profound apology.” In it, the CEO says that “ashamed is an extreme understatement” for the way he behaved. He said he realizes he needs to “change as a leader and grow up,” and intends to get help.Here’s the email Kalanick sent to the company:By now I’m sure you’ve seen the video where I treated an Uber driver disrespectfully. To say that I am ashamed is an extreme understatement. My job as your leader is to lead … and that starts with behaving in a way that makes us all proud. That is not what I did, and it cannot be explained away.It’s clear this video is a reflection of me — and the criticism we’ve received is a stark reminder that I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up. This is the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it.I want to profoundly apologize to Fawzi, as well as the driver and rider community, and to the Uber team.– Travis Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Says He Needs to ‘Grow Up’ After Video of Argument With a Driver Released Add to Queue March 1, 2017 Image credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images Well … it’s about time. Uber Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Rose Leadem 84shares Register Now » 3 min read Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Next Article
April 10, 2017 Twitter Shareholders Will Vote on Turning the Company Into a Cooperative Owned by its Users Twitter On May 22, Twitter shareholders will vote on whether to investigate a radical proposal: Turning the social network into a cooperative owned by its users. There’s a campaign to turn Twitter into a user-owned co-operative, and shareholders will vote on it next month.If the vote passes the company will have to prepare a report on the feasibility of the radical restructuring.It’s symptomatic of dissatisfaction among some shareholders as Twitter struggles to grow or turn a profit.On May 22, Twitter shareholders will vote on whether to investigate a radical proposal: Turning the social network into a cooperative owned by its users.Next month is the company’s annual meeting, and one of the items on the agenda calls for it to look into becoming a cooperative.The proposal — to be voted on by shareholders — asks the company to “prepare a report on the nature and feasibility of selling the platform to its users via a cooperative or similar structure with broad-based ownership and accountability mechanisms.”Twitter is opposed to the plan, and it seems unlikely to win the vote. But it’s an interesting proposal — and underlines the discontent some shareholders feel with the ailing social network, which is struggling to grow or turn a profit.The idea draws on a petition calling for a co-op structure that has been signed by nearly 3,500 people. The petition contrasts the social network’s global reach and influence with the gloomy forecasts about its financial performance, arguing that its conventional structure means its social value isn’t being properly appreciated.”For a lot of us Twitter is the fastest, easiest way to know and share what’s going on around us — it sparks conversations, spreads information and energizes movements,” the petition reads.”But Wall Street thinks the company is a failure because it’s not raking in enough profit for shareholders. That means that Twitter is up for sale, and there is a real risk that the new owner may ruin our beloved platform with a narrow pursuit of profit or political gains.”A co-operative structure could, the proposal on the annual meeting’s agenda says, “result in new and reliable revenue streams, since we, as users, could buy in as co-owners, with a stake in the platform’s success. Without the short-term pressure of the stock markets, we can realize Twitter’s potential value, which the current business model has struggled to do for many years. We could set more transparent accountable rules for handling abuse. We could re-open the platform’s data to spur innovation.”It adds: “Overall, we’d all be invested in Twitter’s success and sustainability. Such a conversion could also ensure a fairer return for the company’s existing investors than other options.”The Twitter proposal cites a number of examples of cooperatives as evidence it could work: “For successful enterprises like the Green Bay Packers, REI and the Associated Press, their popularity, resilience and profitability is a result of their ownership structure. Examples of online companies include successful startups like Managed by Q, which allocates equity to office cleaners, and Stocksys United, a stock-photo platform owned by its photographers.”Twitter’s stock has been on a downwards trajectory for years.Image credit: Markets InsiderTwitter’s governance, unsurprisingly, isn’t a fan of the suggestion. In a statement, it argues “the proposal is not in the best interests of Twitter and our stockholders.” It goes on (emphasis ours):”We believe that preparing a report on the nature and feasibility of selling the ‘platform,’ and doing so only to ‘its users,’ would be a misallocation of resources and a distraction to our board of directors and management — resources and management time that could otherwise be used to build the long-term value of Twitter. The proposal would have Twitter explore the sale of the ‘platform’ to one specific group of people, ‘its users,’ ‘via a cooperative or similar structure.’ The proposal has pinpointed a very specific type of transaction and ownership structure and the board of directors does not believe that the course of action suggested in the proposal would enhance the value of the ‘platform’ or Twitter. Further, limiting exploration of strategic transactions that may enhance stockholder value to one narrow option would not be in accordance with the board of directors’ responsibilities to take actions that are in the best interests of Twitter and its stockholders. We believe Twitter is on track to continue building on the long-term value of Twitter for all of our stockholders as a publicly held corporation and not as a ‘cooperative or similar structure’ owned solely by ‘its users.’ As a publicly traded company, our users are also free to become stockholders of Twitter without any need to change the structure of the company.”That last point is an important one — users can already take ownership in Twitter, if they’re prepared to go to the effort of buying stock.This unanimous opposition from the board means the vote is unlikely to pass. And even then, there’d be no guarantee on what the report into the possibility of becoming a co-op would say, or whether the company would follow through with it.But nonetheless, it’s a fascinating look at an alternative structure for a major tech company. These days there’s a trend towards consolidation of power and voting rights in founders. Thanks to a radical proposal, Mark Zuckerberg is selling much of his stock in Facebook (to fund his philanthropy) while retaining his voting rights. And when Snapchat parent company Snap went public earlier in 2016, it deprived would-be investors of voting power.One relatively rare exception is crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, which is a “public benefit corporation” — a status that requires it to “consider the impact of their decisions on society, not only shareholders.” Enroll Now for $5 Add to Queue Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Image credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images 5 min read This story originally appeared on Business Insider –shares Rob Price Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Next Article
Image credit: Troll Cakes Register Now » Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Forget glitterbombing. Now, you can send your online nemesis a delicious cake with their nasty words written on it.A company called Troll Cakes, whose tag line is “See something? Cake something,” is on a mission: to teach internet trolls an anonymous and delicious lesson. Just send the company a nasty comment you spotted online with the address of the person who said it. For $35, Troll Cakes will turn those comments into a custom cake and mail it to the offender’s home or work. For $60, they’ll even track the person down for you. Troll Cakes is the brainchild of New York City baker Kat Thek, according to a report from NPR.”When you open it up, [the box] looks like 100 percent good news,” Thek told the news outlet. “And then you see a screen grab of your comment, and it says, ‘Congratulations! Your Internet comment has been made into a Troll Cake.'”They’ve made delightfully colorful cakes decorated with all kinds of not-so-nice messages: everything from “you donkey witch” to “crash on a plane,” “sloppy butt,” “wouldn’t smash” and “ur mom is obese.”The company even has a “bigly satisfying” option that lets you “send a Troll Cake of your preferred Trump tweet to the White House.” The “Tiny Hands Special” will set you back $30. Or, for $35, you can pick any Troll Cake from the company’s website or Instagram, and they’ll recreate it and mail it wherever you like.Made of a “chocolate chip brownie with whipped frosting and assorted colorful sprinkles and icing,” Troll Cakes are perfectly suitable to eat, but not recommended for people with severe food allergies of any kind. They can be shipped anywhere in the U.S.; if your troll is in NYC you can get next-day, in-person delivery. 2 min read June 14, 2017 Internet Angela Moscaritolo –shares Reporter For $35, Troll Cakes will turn your enemy’s nasty internet comment into a custom cake and mail it to their home or work. This story originally appeared on PCMag ‘Troll Cake’ Makes Your Internet Nemesis Eat Their Words Next Article Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Add to Queue
–shares Baby Boomers Support Medical Marijuana but Skeptically Image credit: CasarsaGuru | Getty Images dispensaries.com Older Americans overwhelmingly support the use of medical marijuana, but also feel the federal government needs to conduct more research on the potential of cannabis, a new study has found.Four out of five Americans between the ages of 50 and 80 support the legalization and use of medical marijuana, according to the annual National Poll on Healthy Aging conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy.Perhaps surprisingly, given that baby boomers sparked the counterculture revolution, respondents supported medical marijuana with a degree of wariness, the director of the survey said. They don’t use it a lot, either. Only 6 percent said they use medical marijuana, according to survey director Preeti Malani, a doctor at the university’s medical center, Michigan Medicine.Another 18 percent, however, said they know someone who does.Related: Study Warns Sky-High Marijuana Taxes Drive Consumers Back to the Black MarketPain ReliefThe survey questioned 2,007 Americans between the ages of 50 and 80. The goal was to gauge their acceptance and use of medical marijuana. Many voiced disbelief that cannabis is effective for pain relief, one of the chief reasons that many have advocated for medical marijuana.About one-third of respondents “definitely” believe marijuana provides pain relief, while an additional 38 percent said it “probably” does. However, just 14 percent believe cannabis is more effective than opioids in treating pain. Another 48 percent said they believe opioids are better at pain relief, while 38 percent said they are about equal.If that all sounds a bit more Mrs. Robinson than Benjamin Braddock for a group of baby boomers, keep in mind that 70 percent are willing to ask their doctor about using medical marijuana should the need for it arise.Related: Investing In Marijuana Businesses: Are Hedge Funds Coming To The Cannabis Industry?More Federal ResearchThe older Americans also asked for more research by the federal government into the potential for medical marijuana. That’s an issue, though, because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.The only place where marijuana is grown for research purposes in the United States is the University of Mississippi. The Drug Enforcement Agency announced a policy change last year that could lead to more facilities growing cannabis for research, but it remains unknown how many that will include. Meanwhile, other countries — especially Israel — have taken the lead on marijuana research.More research might lead to more use. In the survey, just one in five respondents said their doctor had even asked if they used marijuana. Even less said they think their doctor is knowledgeable about marijuana use.Follow dispensaries.com on Instagram to stay up to date on the latest cannabis news. Easy Search. Quality Finds. Your partner and digital portal for the cannabis community. Guest Writer Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Next Article Add to Queue Cannabis Eight out of 10 boomers favor legalizing medical pot, but few use it. Most think opioids would be more effective for chronic pain. April 10, 2018 Download Our iOS App 3 min read Keep up with the latest trends and news in the cannabis industry with our free articles and videos, plus subscribe to the digital edition of Green Entrepreneur magazine. Free Green Entrepreneur App
2 min read Add to Queue Microsoft Apologizes for Scantily-Clad Dancers at GDC Party March 21, 2016 Image credit: Microsoft | Facebook This story originally appeared on Reuters –shares Microsoft Reuters Next Article Microsoft Corp. apologized for hiring dancers dressed as skimpily-clad schoolgirls for its Game Developer Conference (GDC) afterparty in San Francisco on Thursday night, responding to media reports citing attendees’ pictures on Twitter and Instagram.”It has come to my attention that at Xbox-hosted events at GDC this past week, we represented Xbox and Microsoft in a way that was absolutely not consistent or aligned to our values,” Microsoft’s head of Xbox Phil Spencer said in a statement. “That was unequivocally wrong and will not be tolerated,” Spencer said.Photos purportedly from the party surfaced on Twitter and Instagram, with many users expressing their anger at Microsoft’s actions.”I like dancing, I like talking to devs. But not at this #GDC16 party. Thanks for pushing me out of this party, Microsoft,” Tin Man Games editor Kamina Vincent tweeted.Microsoft had hosted a “Women in Gaming” luncheon at the GDC earlier that day. Spencer added that the matter would be dealt with internally.Technology companies been facing intense scrutiny over diversity and compensation equity issues.Many big firms say there is a dearth of qualified women to hire, but many critics say the firms are not doing enough to attract and retain women.(Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta) Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Register Now »
–shares Voting Is A Right, Exercise It Wisely Phil La Duke Iconoclast Next Article Add to Queue Presidential Elections August 12, 2016 If you are active on a social media site, watch television, listen to the radio or … well, if you’ve been conscious for the last two months, you have been bombarded by information about the presidential election. In fact, you’ve likely received so much information that you may be burnt out and ready to check out.As we enter this election year, let’s not lose sight of the fact that the president while powerful is only one piece, and a relatively small piece, of our government. The people we send to congress wield far more power to influence our day-to-day lives than the president does.We face an historic election, and unfortunately for the entire world, far too many of us are forming our political views and support of candidates by what we’ve read on Facebook, or heard from a friend. First, let’s talk about what the president can do.Related: 4 Ways Technology Has Impacted Presidential ElectionsThe executive branch.The president can: Appoint supreme court justices and federal judges. Presidential appointments are important because many of them are appointed for life and the decisions they make, especially in the case of the U.S. Supreme Court, have implications for decades.Appoint the cabinet. From the attorney general to the secretary of state, the president has the power to appoint these very important and influential people.Veto or sign bills. Congress writes the bills and when enough of them vote in favor of a bill, it is eventually sent to the president for either his signature (which then enacts the bill into law) or his veto, in which case it goes back to congress, where a two-thirds majority is needed to override the veto and enact the bill into law without him.The point being much of the president’s power is indirect, and without a cooperative congress there isn’t much a president can do that will change much for you and me.The legislative branch.Congress on the other hand has great power to change our lives, and far too little attention is focused on congressional elections, both at the federal and state levels.Related: Millionaires Are Now the Majority Party in CongressSo whether you are a liberal or a conservative this election season, participate in the voting process.A right, a privilege and a duty, all in one.Consider that African Americans and women were not allowed to vote when the United States became a country. People fought and died for the right for African Americans and women to vote, and if you are a member of either of these groups, it is an insult and affront to those who fought, suffered and died to gain this right, if you decide not to exercise it.Do your homework. Don’t vote for someone about whom you know nothing. Research the candidates and ballot initiatives before you make up your mind.Remember, your vote matters. Many believe that their votes don’t matter; they’re wrong. Recent elections have been very close; every vote counts. Even if your candidate loses, your vote still matters: a candidate who wins by a landslide feels emboldened to do whatever he or she pleases, while one who squeaks by with a narrow margin is less likely to be as confident of the public’s support.Don’t be a single issue voter. Lobbyists spend millions trying to convince you that a single issue is a good reason to vote for a particular candidate, while the truth is that your elected official is likely to decide hundreds, perhaps thousands, of things that will affect your life. So it is wise and prudent to avoid electing an official based on a single issue, no matter how important that issue is to you.Related: How Much Money Does It Take to Win an Election? (Infographic) Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 4 min read Image credit: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock Contributor 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Apply Now »