Week of May 6, 2019

first_imgU.S. employers added +263,000 jobs in April 2019, pushing the nation’s jobless rate to 3.6%, its lowest level since December 1969. In fact, the government has reported an unemployment rate lower than 3.6% only 17 times since January 1954 (65 years ago), equal to just 2% of the preceding 783 months (source: Department of Labor).The U.S. Federal Reserve has long maintained that +2% annual inflation is its target – somewhere between “too much inflation” (which can lead to an overheated economy that may suffer from runaway inflation) and “too little inflation” (which can lead to a sluggish economy that may stumble into a recession). The message from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell following last week’s meeting of the nation’s central bank: the Fed will do what it takes to get our “too little inflation” back on target, but for now, that commitment does not include an interest rate cut (source: Federal Reserve).Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate announced an “agreement in principle” with President Donald Trump last week on a $2 trillion infrastructure spending plan for the next decade. The broad outline, roughly equivalent to $4 billion of spending per week for the next 10 years, would repair or replace our nation’s aging system of roads, airports, and power plants while bringing high-speed internet access to all sections of the country (source: White House).Notable Numbers for the Week:JUST FOURTEEN DAYS – The best 14 trading days for the S&P 500 over the last 10 years (2009-2018) gained +86.2% (total return), more than the +84.2% gained by the other 2,502 trading days in the decade (source: BTN Research).ALL ARE TOO HIGH – On 12/17/18, 10 Wall Street strategists forecasted the yield of the 10-year Treasury note as of 12/31/19, i.e., a year into the future. The 10 predictions ranged from a low of 2.75% to a high of 3.60%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note closed at 2.50% as of Tuesday 4/30/19 (source: Barron’s).GOOD START – It was only the “advance” estimate on the growth of the U.S. economy during the 1st quarter 2019, but the +3.2% increase (i.e., quarter-over-quarter change expressed as an annualized result) reported on 4/26/19 represents a rate that has not been bested during any calendar year since 2005 (source: Department of Labor).DOLLARS IN, DOLLARS OUT – At the end of 2018, Medicare was covering 59.9 million Americans (18% of our population). The program was cash positive in 2018, taking in $756 billion of income (including $10 billion of interest income) while paying out $741 billion in benefits (source: Medicare).This material does not constitute a recommendation to engage in or refrain from a particular course of action. The information within has not been tailored for any individual. The opinions expressed herein are those of Michael A. Higley as of the date of writing and are subject to change. MML Investors Services, LLC (MMLIS) provides this article for informational purposes, and does © 2019 Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001. All rights reserved. www.massmutual.com.last_img

Patrol Boats Delivered to St. Vincent and the Grenadines

first_imgBy Dialogo August 31, 2012 The United States donated patrol boats and communications systems to St. Vincent and the Grenadines on August 20, as part of a maritime security assistance initiative that aims to deter threats associated with transnational organized crime. The initiative, called Secure Seas, provides nine Eastern Caribbean nations with interceptor boats and associated equipment, state-of-the-art command and control communications systems and training and technical support. It is part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), a regional security partnership initiative first announced by President Obama during the Fifth Summit of the Americas in 2009. The Secure Seas program is managed by U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), headquartered in Miami, Florida. The U.S. Coast Guard oversees the acquisition of the assets. The boats improve each nation’s ability to deter illicit trafficking in the maritime environments of the eastern Pacific and the Caribbean and enhance their capabilities to respond to other threats, maritime emergencies, and natural disasters. Dignitaries attending the donation ceremony in St. Vincent and the Grenadines included Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Larry L. Palmer. “The interceptor boats and the installed communications systems will provide Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with a distinct edge in detecting, tracking and pursuing suspects, and will facilitate operational efficiency between nations,” said Palmer. The two Defender-class interceptor vessels are multi-mission capable platforms that can exceed speeds of 40 knots. Nearly identical to the boats used by the U.S. Coast Guard, they are ideal for law enforcement and maritime security. They can also conduct search and rescue missions and are capable of towing small vessels in distress and responding to environmental or natural disasters. The approximate value of the package is US$2 million.last_img

Florida’s newest attorneys take the oath of admission

first_img November 1, 2003 Daniel Staesser Assistant Editor Regular News Florida’s newest attorneys take the oath of admission Florida’s newest attorneys take the oath of admission Assistant EditorAddie P. Asay never thought she would stand in front of the Florida Supreme Court, much less be honored by the high court’s justices.Yet October 7 she took the podium on behalf of her colleagues, the newest inductees to The Florida Bar, and spoke to a receptive gathering at the venue.The hour-long Bar admission induction ceremony, which attracted the attendance of Tallahassee Mayor John Marks and former Chief Justice Joseph Boyd, brought laughter, tears, and an onslaught of flash photography.“We are truly blessed to be here,” said an enthusiastic Asay, who praised the accomplishments of her peers and challenged them to carry out with dignity the principles that earmark the profession.Florida Bar President Miles McGrane spoke of these principles and how they have stayed with the profession over the years. Talking of the recent death of actor Gregory Peck, who played lawyer Atticus Finch in the classic film To Kill a Mockingbird, McGrane invoked the legacy of the character, whom the week before Peck died, had been voted by the American Film Industry as the number one hero in the history of American films.“That’s right, the number one hero is a lawyer,” McGrane said. “A trial lawyer.”Though lawyers are often portrayed as scapegoats for all that is wrong with the country, McGrane said that the legal profession “guarantees liberty and equal justice for all.”Quoting Peck’s character from the 1962 film, McGrane gave his message of motivation: “There is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court.”Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead encouraged the young practitioners to “not only stay true to the tenants of the legal profession, but also stay true to yourselves.”Tallahassee Bar President Dean Leboeuf shared some of the same wisdom, cautioning the state’s newest lawyers that there would be times when their moral standards and professional ethics would be tested.“If you compromise values, I promise the victory won’t be as sweet,” said Leboeuf, who roused laughter when he continued on to say “make decisions that make your mama proud.”Chief Justice Anstead created a sense of pride in everyone in the standing-room-only crowd when he spoke of U.S. soldiers upholding the principles of American law on foreign soil, suggesting that “if they [the soldiers] can go to a foreign land and uphold the law, then we can uphold those principles here.”McGrane said those principles, once referred to as the “ethical duty and professional obligation” of lawyers, by the late great Chesterfield Smith, are perhaps best summed up by constitutional lawyer John W. Davis, who said of the profession:“We build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures. But, we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men’s burdens by our efforts; we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”last_img

Giants dismiss general manager Bobby Evans

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO–Giants CEO Larry Baer has promised a significant offseason shake up, but the franchise did not wait until the end of the 2018 season to begin making changes.General manager Bobby Evans has been dismissed from his job and a search will begin for a replacement, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.Evans has spent more than 20 seasons in the organization and was elevated to general manager after the Giants won the 2014 World Series. Evans had one season left on his contract, …last_img

Q&A with South Africans working at Doctors Without Borders

first_imgSpanning the globe, the international organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) – Doctors Without Borders in English – helps those affected by natural disasters or caught in conflict zones. We profile South Africans working in this organisation, elevating the country’s reputation through the work they do.Claire Waterhouse has been an MSF fieldworker since 2012. She works during the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa in 2015. (Image: Supplied)Compiled by Priya PitamberIn 1971, 13 doctors and journalists in France joined forces to form Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), known in English as Doctors Without Borders.Its aim, reads the MSF website, was to “establish an independent organisation that focuses on delivering emergency medical aid quickly, effectively and impartially while also speaking out about what they witnessed”.On its founding, it comprised 300 volunteers ranging from nurses to doctors and other staff to help people in distress, both natural and man-made and those caught in the middle of armed conflict.Watch:“MSF remains fiercely independent of both governments and institutions,” reads the website. “MSF also reserves the right to speak out to bring attention to neglected crises, challenge inadequacies or abuse of the aid system, and to advocate for improved medical treatments and protocols.”Today, the MSF has offices in 28 countries, including South Africa. And South Africans in the organisation help raise the country’s profile through the work they do. We talk to four such MSF staff.Claire Waterhouse joined the MSF as a field worker in 2012.Stefan Kruger, a doctor with the MSF, is proud to contribute as a South African to the international community during times of need. (Image: Supplied)Stefan Kruger, 33, is a Cape Town doctor. He has sporadically worked for the MSF since 2012.Anna Cilliers is a professional nurse with the MSF. She travels to South Sudan in June 2013 for a vaccination campaign to reduce the spread of seasonal meningitis. (Image: Supplied)Anna Cilliers, 47, is a nurse and has been with the MSF since 2012. She is responsible for co-ordinating medical activities at project/field level.Midwife Jeanne Rene (Zani) Prinsloo has been with Doctors Without Borders since 2012. She’s travelled to Pakistan, the Philippines, Afghanistan, South Sudan and other countries putting her skills use. (Image: Supplied)Jeanne Rene (Zani) Prinsloo, originally from the Eastern Cape but now living in Johannesburg, is a social worker and a midwife. She has been with the MSF since 2012.Brand South Africa: How did you get into this role?Claire Waterhouse: I had moved back to South Africa from Hong Kong and was looking for a job. MSF caught my eye and luckily, I caught theirs too. They offered me a mission in the Central African Republic for six months and the rest is history.Stefan Kruger: I always had the idea of spending at least a part of my career doing humanitarian work. When the timing was right I followed the normal recruitment process of MSF South Africa.Anna Cilliers: As a young and inexperienced nurse, I was introduced to the work of MSF during the 1980s when I read The Dressing Station by Jonathan Kaplan, where he also writes about his work experiences with MSF in conflict zones. I knew then that I would like to join MSF in the future.I qualified and worked as an intensive care nurse and in 2003 joined international medical humanitarian organisations to work in Iraq and Liberia.In 2007, I returned to South Africa and worked for a few years in Johannesburg with community-based organisations. In 2012, I applied at MSF. My work and life experiences prior to that definitely prepared me for my work with MSF. My first project in June 2013 was as a nurse in South Sudan where we did a vaccination campaign to reduce the spread of seasonal meningitis.Jeanne Rene (Zani) Prinsloo: Two quotes inspired me a great deal:“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhiand“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” – Muhammed AliMy skills, strong sense of humanity and willingness to positively contribute to improving other people’s lives were the motivating factors for me to join MSF.Here I am four years later, still at MSF and I am happy to have made this decision. I also love travelling, so by joining MSF, I am also [able] do that.BSA: How does your work help elevate South Africa’s national profile?CW: There are not that many South Africans in the field, so I hope that when we are seen in the field, it helps to elevate the country’s profile by showing that there are South Africans out there working hard all over the world to make a difference and provide emergency medical care to those who need it most.SK: MSF is a truly multinational organisation and it is part of an international community that cares about some of the greatest tragedies of our time. I love the fact that I get to be a part of it, read more

Renault Duster 4×4 to be launched in September 2014

first_imgThe rotary dial for drive mode selection in the new Duster 4WD. Photo: Twitter/@bulletcompanyRenault India is all set to spice up the Duster by offering it in a 4×4 avatar. The compact Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), which was first launched in July 2012, will finally be able to handle rough terrain equally well, with 4×4 capability. With this feature, the new Duster will officially be christened as Duster ‘4WD’. The much awaited Duster 4WD will be launched in September,  prior to Diwali. It will get the same K9K motor, except that instead of two engine variants, the car will now be available with just one. This will be the powerful 109 bhp diesel engine, producing 248 Nm of peak torque. Such torque would make the vehicle highly suitable for off-road excursions and cross country travel. The new variant will make the Duster highly suitable for off-road excursions and cross-country travel. Photo: Twitter/@bulletcompanySpy images show a rotary dial for drive mode selection, similar to that on the erstwhile Nissan X-Trail. The driver of this vehicle can conveniently select from three drive modes 2WD, Auto and Lock. 2WD powers only the front wheels, giving the vehicle high road grip. Similarly, Auto mode supplies the necessary torque to the wheels for additional road grip. Lock is most suitable for slushy or rocky terrain, as it supplies equal torque to all four wheels.The safety features in the Duster 4WD include Antilock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and dual airbags. Expect it to be priced between Rs 12.9- 15 lakh. advertisementlast_img