Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute ri

first_img Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ 0 Comments   Share   center_img The Arizona Cardinals’ front office, like many of those in the NFL, was humming over the weekend as they made cuts and looked to pick up available players.After getting down to their original 53-man roster, the Cardinals took advantage of both cuts and waivers to patch up a few holes caused by injury.Here is a breakdown of all of the Cardinals’ weekend roster moves.Players in:• RB Chester Taylor, released by the Chicago Bears. • CB Crezdon Butler, waiver claim from the Pittsburgh Steelers.• CB Korey Lindsay, waiver claim from the Cincinnati Bengals.Players out:• TE Stephen Spach• LB Quan Sturdivant• DE Ronald TalleyPractice squad additions:• CB Marshay Green, re-signed after roster cuts• DT Ricky Lumpkin, re-signed after roster cuts• WR Isaiah Wiliams, re-signed after roster cuts• T D.J. Young, re-signed after roster cuts• C Ryan Bartholomew, released by Baltimore Ravens• WR Brandyn Harvey, released by Atlanta Falcons Top Stories last_img read more

Good day And welcome to another week  We had som

first_imgGood day. And welcome to another week.  We had some great weekend weather which I took advantage of watching my son’s football game Saturday and daughter’s soccer and field hockey games yesterday.  None of the games resulted in wins, but I enjoyed myself in spite of the outcomes.  The labor data here in the US provided the equity markets with a pleasant outcome Friday as stocks ended the week on a positive note.  The dollar didn’t have such a good week, dropping just over one and one half percent vs. the major currencies.  This week will be dominated by the FOMC meeting here in the US and the German constitutional court ruling on the other side of the pond.But we will start with a recap of events on Friday.  The US labor department reported the biggest decline in factory jobs in two years, contributing to a disappointing increase in payrolls during August.  The US economy added just 96,000 jobs last month after a revised 141,000 increase in July.  The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a gain of 130,000 jobs.  Factory payrolls declined by 15,000 workers last month and was the major contributor to the drop in jobs.  Details of the report showed the workweek shrank, and the number of industries hiring new workers plunged to the lowest level in almost three years.  Definitely not a good sign for the prospects of the unemployed factory workers, and exactly what the current administration didn’t want to see.  A lot was made of the rebound in the auto industry, but the data showing manufacturing jobs have decreased throws cold water on that line of thought.But the President and his supporters can still point to the unemployment rate which dropped to 8.1%.  Yes, the number of people working dropped, at the same time the unemployment rate also dropped.  Much like last month, the unemployment rate and monthly jobs data seemed to be in conflict.  But unlike last month when the difference was blamed on inconsistencies in the generation of the reports, this month’s conflict could be more easily explained.  Americans are leaving the workforce at a faster pace than they are entering it.   368,000 Americans left the labor force last month, most of them giving up looking for new work.  The participation rate, which shows the share of working-age people in the labor force, fell to 63.5% from 63.7%.  There are currently fewer working-age people in the labor force than at any time since September 1981.  That one piece of data is a great indicator of just how bad things are here in the US.The labor data have increased the odds of action by Bernanke this week.  The Federal Open Markets Committee will be meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, and the Chairman is expected to announce another round of stimulus for the markets during his press conference Thursday morning.  During my presentations out in San Francisco, I shared my thoughts that there was just slightly higher than a 50% chance of another stimulus announcement this month.  I felt it was just too close to the Presidential election for the Fed to act; as they try to avoid the appearance of being too political.  But Chairman Bernanke has pointed toward the stagnant labor market as the key to further stimulus, and Friday’s report should provide him plenty of cover to avoid looking too political.  The markets are certainly expecting Bernanke to announce another round of stimulus; I saw a survey this morning which put the odds of another stimulus announcement this week at 99%!!The question now is exactly what will Bernanke announce.  Some now believe he will model his new program off of the ECB’s, announcing unlimited additional bond buying.  This would allow the Fed to continue purchasing bonds until they feel the economy shows more definite signs of recovery.  The advantage of this program, as shown by the reaction to the ECB’s announcement last week, is that the markets can’t question the ability of the central bank to take action.  But unlike the ECB program which is solely aimed at sovereign debt within 3 years, the Feds new program will likely be aimed at mortgage debt with longer maturities.  Another difference is that the ECB won’t buy bonds unless a country asks for a rescue, and then the bond purchases will come with austerity commitments by the country seeking help.  The Fed’s quantitative easing program won’t have any austerity measure tied to it, in fact it is more of an ‘anti austerity’ program adding to our deficits and debt in the interest of stimulating growth.Friday’s labor report and the resulting increase in expectations for another round of stimulus led to a rally in gold and treasuries and a continued fall in the value of the US$. Investors, worried about the inflationary impact of additional stimulus measures, took gold to the lofty levels it was trading at back in March.  While prices moved down a bit going into the weekend, gold is still firmly entrenched in an upward trend and certainly looks like it will challenge it’s former highs.The dollar lost ground vs. most of the major currencies on Friday, ending a week in which the dollar index fell over 1.5%.  I guess the ‘Chuck is off the desk rally’ held true again.  In years past, whenever Chuck is off the desk for an extended period, we always seem to have a currency rally, and last week’s dollar action was a confirmation of this pattern.  As I explained last week, the reason for the fall in the US$ is a fairly simple case of supply and demand.  The Fed will be creating a whole lot of dollars which it will be using for the bond purchases, and this increase in supply will eventually lead to inflation.  It may not be reflected immediately in the price of goods and services, as international investors still seem to have an appetite for the freshly minted currency.  But eventually the demand will slacken, and at that point we could see a spike in inflation.  Bernanke has told us he is aware of this risk, but he is convinced the Fed can pull the newly created dollars back out of the markets as fast as he is adding them.  I guess we will just have to wait and see if he is correct, but the markets are starting to hedge their bets.The ECB action last week helped the euro push above the $1.28 handle, but it gave it back and is hovering just below it this morning.  Concerns over the German Constitutional ruling due out this week, combined with renewed concerns in Greece put a lid on the appreciation of the single currency.   The German court is expected to give its ruling on Germany’s participation in the European Stability Mechanism on Wednesday.  The court is expected to allow for Germany’s participation, but currency traders are worried they may put stipulations on any future participation of Germany in European bailouts.  Both German Chancellor Angel Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble are confident the German court will allow the establishment of the ESM, allowing the bailouts to continue.Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is due to meet officials from the ECB, IMF, and EU today.  Samaras failed to secure an agreement to the 11.5 billion spending cuts required for the release of the next round of rescue funding.  After this year’s two elections, Samaras is operating with a minority government and must get his two coalition partners to agree to the austerity measures.  At least one of the two is demanding the cuts be combined with growth measures. “The recession is deep and if these measures aren’t accompanied by growth measures, they will be ineffective,” according to Greece’s Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis.  “Our European partners need to know that Greeks can’t take anymore.  Nothing can be taken for granted.”  Sounds like we could be in for some more volatility in Greece.  We warned you that the rollercoaster ride of the euro isn’t over yet, so just make sure you are strapped in!The Canadian dollar rallied to a yearly high this morning after a report showed employment in our northern neighbor rose faster than forecast.  Canadian employment rose by 34,300 jobs in August, offsetting a decrease of 30,400 the month before.  The unemployment rate remained at 7.3%, right on target with median forecasts.  While the number was definitely a positive sign, the Canadian economy is expected to remain in a slow growth mode.  Last week the Bank of Canada left the key interest rate unchanged at 1% in an effort to encourage investment and consumption to drive growth.Carney has reflected a hawkish tone, as increases in the prices of commodities which make up the majority of Canada’s exports threaten to push up Canadian inflation rates.  The increase in commodity prices caused the BOC to reiterate that interest rates may have to be raised in order to prevent inflation from accelerating.  Following last week’s BOC meeting, Carney said “some modest withdrawal of the present considerable monetary policy stimulus may become appropriate.”  Higher interest rates would give even more support to the Canadian dollar, sending it to new yearly highs.The Australian dollar moved lower in early European trading after a report showed China’s imports slowed.  Both Canada and Australia have commodity driven economies, and the commodity markets are dependent on strong demand  from China.  A report released earlier today showed China’s imports slid 2.6% in August from a year earlier, the first decline since January.  The same report showed Chinese exports rose 2.7% and a different report showed production increased 8.9%.  The Chinese President sounded a warning, saying China’s economic expansion faces ‘notable downward pressure’.The pace of the global economic recovery is going to be dependent on Asia, as both the US and Europe’s economies continue to struggle.  So the news that Chinese imports slowed are worrying.  China has been slowly changing from an export driven economy into one driven more by internal consumption, so the slowdown in imports is concerning.  And concerns regarding the Asian growth prospects were heightened further with the release of Japanese GDP measures which showed the economy grew at just .7% during the 2nd quarter, less than the preliminary reports which predicted a 1.4% increase.  The median forecast of economists was right in the middle of the two figures at 1%.  The spending which was necessitated by last year’s earthquake and tsunami helped push GDP up slightly, but that spending is now over and gridlock in the Japanese parliament is preventing any additional stimulus.  There is a good chance the Japanese economy could slip back into contraction in the 3rd quarter.  I continue to warn against investments in the Japanese yen, and actually look at it as one of the currencies which could fall the most as investors start to move back into higher yielding currencies.To recap. Friday’s monthly jobs reports showed a US economy which is still struggling to recover, and put the possibility of a stimulus announcement by the Fed at almost 100%.  The future of the ESM (and therefore the euro) rests in the hands of a German Constitutional court which is expected to rule later this week.  But the court is widely expected to rule in the euro’s favor, and the single currency continued to rally.  The possibility of another round of stimulus had gold rallying along with the commodity currencies.  The loonie hit a yearly high but the Australian dollar moved lower after a Chinese report showed imports decreasing.  Japan’s GDP came in at ½ of what was originally predicted, and further stimulus isn’t in the cards for the Japanese yen.Currencies today 9/10/12. American Style: A$ $1.0353, kiwi .8106, C$ $1.0239, euro 1.2781, sterling 1.6009, Swiss $1.0562. European Style: rand 8.1789, krone 5.7822, SEK 6.6390, forint 223.04, zloty 3.2178, koruna 19.177, RUB 31.7243, yen 78.28, sing 1.2365, HKD 7.7559, INR 55.3875, China 6.3377, pesos 12.9622, BRL 2.029, Dollar Index 80.336, Oil $96.46, 10-year 1.67%, Silver $33.6925, Gold $1,734.57, and Platinum $1,596.75That’s it for today.  Tough loss for both our football teams this weekend.  Mizzou looked good for the first three quarters in their opening SEC game vs. Georgia, but just couldn’t hang with the dawgs at the end of the game.  And the St. Louis Rams dropped their season opener during the final 10 seconds of the game played up in Detroit.  My son’s high school team got routed on Saturday morning after their game Friday night was delayed because of a storm which rolled through during the first half.  Not a good football weekend, but I enjoyed it still as the weather was absolutely fantastic Saturday and Sunday.  The trading floor has a new look this morning as workers installed several new desks over the weekend to keep up with our growth.  Things are a bit cozier now and I’m sure the noise volume will increase as we put butts in all the new seats; but that is what I like about being out on the floor, all the noise and activity are what makes it a trading floor.  Gone on a bit long this morning, so I will just thank all of you readers for sharing your morning with me.  Hopefully this will be a Marvelous Monday and a great start to your week!Chris Gaffney, CFA SVP & Director of Sales T. 314-951-1619 EverBank World Markets 8300 Eager Road, Ste. 700, St. Louis, MO. 63144 EverBank.comlast_img read more

The Shiller PE SP 500 divided by the 10year av

first_imgThe Shiller P/E (S&P 500 divided by the 10-year average of inflation-adjusted earnings) is now 27, versus a long-term historical norm of 15 prior to the late 1990s bubble. Importantly, the profit margin embedded into the Shiller P/E is currently 6.7% versus a historical norm of just 5.4%. The implied margin is simply the denominator of the Shiller P/E divided by current S&P 500 revenues (the ratio of trailing 12-month earnings to revenues is even higher at 8.9%). As I showed in “Margins, Multiples and the Iron Law of Valuation,” taking this embedded margin into account significantly improves the usefulness and correlation of the Shiller P/E in explaining actual subsequent market returns. With this adjustment, the margin-adjusted Shiller P/E is now nearly 34, easily more than double its historical norm. This fact is important, because the Shiller P/E averaged 40 during the first nine months of 2000 as the tech bubble was peaking. But that Shiller P/E was associated with an embedded profit margin of only 5.0%. Adjusting for that embedded margin brings the margin-adjusted Shiller P/E at the 2000 peak to 37. Quite simply, stocks are a claim not on one or two years of earnings, but on a very long-term stream of cash flows that will actually be delivered into the hands of investors over time. For the S&P 500, that stream has an effective duration of about 50 years. At normal valuations, stocks have a duration of about half that because a larger proportion of the cash flows is delivered up front. The point is that our concerns about valuation aren’t based on what profit margins might do over the next several years. To take earnings-based valuation measures at face value here is essentially a statement that current record-high profit margins, despite being highly cyclical across history, will remain at a permanently high plateau for the next five decades. That’s the only way that one can use current earnings as representative of the long-term stream of cash flows that stocks will deliver over time. In order to use a simple P/E multiple to value stocks, this representativeness assumption is an absolute requirement. On other measures that have an even stronger historical correlation with actual subsequent market returns than either the Shiller P/E or the S&P 500 price/operating earnings ratio, the ratio of stock market capitalization to GDP is now about 1.33, compared to a pre-bubble norm of 0.55. The S&P 500 price/revenue multiple is now about 1.80, versus a historical norm of 0.80. On the measures we find most reliably associated with actual subsequent 10-year market returns (with a correlation of about 90%), the S&P 500 is not just double, but about 120-140% above historical norms. On a broader set of reliable but more varied measures, the elevation averages about 116%. Current equity valuations provide no margin of safety for long-term investors. One might as well be investing on a dare. It may seem preposterous to suggest that equities are literally more than double the level that would provide a historically adequate long-term return, but the same was true in 2000, which is why the S&P 500 experienced negative total returns over the following decade, even by 2010 after it had rebounded nearly 80% from the 2009 lows. Compared with 2000 when we estimated negative 10-year total returns for the S&P 500 even on the most optimistic assumptions, we presently estimate S&P 500 10-year nominal total returns averaging about 1.3% annually over the coming decade. Low interest rates don’t change this expectation—they just make the outlook for a standard investment mix even more dismal and the case for alternative investments stronger than at any point since 2000. I’ll repeat that if one associates historically “normal” equity returns with Treasury bill yields of about 4%, the promise to hold short-term interest rates at zero for 3-4 years only “justifies” equity valuations 12-16% above historical norms. Again, at more than double those historical norms, current equity valuations provide no margin of safety for long-term investors. To put some full-cycle perspective around present valuations, understand that 1929 and 2000 are the only historical references to similar extremes. Moreover, aside from the 2000-2002 bear market (which ended at fairly elevated valuations but still allowed us to shift to a constructive outlook in early 2003), no bear market in history—including 2009—ended with prospective 10-year returns less than 8% (See “Ockham’s Razor and the Market Cycle” to review the arithmetic of these estimates). This was true even in historical periods when short- and long-term interest rates were similar to current levels. Currently, such an improvement in prospective equity returns would require a move to about 1,200 on the S&P 500, which we would view as a fairly pedestrian completion of the current market cycle—certainly not an outlier from the standpoint of historical experience. Major secular valuation lows like 1949, 1974, and 1982 pushed stocks to valuations consistent with prospective 10-year returns over 18% annually, and dragged the S&P 500 price/revenue ratio to about 0.40, and the ratio of market capitalization/GDP to about 0.33. At present, a secular valuation low would require “S&P 500” to be not only an index but a price target—though one that would also make a rather satisfying megaphone pattern out of the past 15 years of market action. Such an outcome only seems preposterous if one ignores the cyclicality of profit margins and assumes they have established a permanently high plateau. In any event, with the current price/revenue ratio at 1.80 and market cap/GDP at 1.33, the notion that stocks are in the early phase of a secular bull market (as some Wall Street analysts have suggested) can only reflect a complete ignorance of the historical record. The Line Between Rational Speculation and Market Collapse However—and this is really where the experience of the past few years and our research-based adaptations come into play—there are some conditions that historically appear capable of supporting what might be called “rational speculation” even in a severely overvalued market. Depending on the level of overvaluation, a safety net might be required in any event, and that would certainly be the case if those conditions were to re-emerge here. But following my 2009 insistence on stress-testing our methods against Depression-era data, and the terribly awkward transition that we experienced until we nailed down these distinctions in our present methods, the central lesson is worth repeating: Neither our stress-testing against Depression-era data, nor the adaptations we’ve made in response extreme yield-seeking speculation, do anything to diminish our conviction that historically reliable valuation measures are of immense importance to investors. Rather, the lessons to be drawn have to do with the criteria that distinguish periods where valuations have little near-term impact from periods where they suddenly matter with a vengeance. I detailed these lessons in my June 16, 2014 comment—“Formula for Market Extremes” (see the section titled Lessons from the Recent Half Cycle). That’s really the point at which we were finally able to put a box around this awkward transition and view it as fully addressed. See also “Air Pockets, Free Falls, and Crashes,” “A Most Important Distinction,” and “Hard-Won Lessons and the Bird in the Hand.” Historically, the emergence of extremely overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions has typically been followed by an “unpleasant skew”—a succession of small but persistent marginal new highs, followed by a vertical collapse in which weeks or months of gains are wiped out in a handful of sessions. In prior market cycles, more often than not, periods of extremely overextended conditions were also already accompanied by a subtle deterioration in market internals or widening credit spreads. In recent years, the persistent yield-seeking speculation encouraged by quantitative easing has weakened the overlap between these two conditions. That is, we’ve had repeated periods of severely overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions, but they often have not been accompanied by internal deterioration or widening credit spreads. In those periods, stocks were generally resilient to significant losses. In contrast—even since 2009—periods that have joined 1) overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions with 2) deteriorating internals or widening credit spreads have been responsible for nearly stairstep market losses. During the tech bubble, we introduced considerations related to market internals (what I often called “trend uniformity”) as an overlay to our value-driven models. So our pre-2009 method of classifying market return/risk profiles had this distinction hard-wired into it. The ensemble methods that came out of our 2009-2010 stress-testing efforts were more effective in market cycles across history—including Depression-era data—but while they included trend-sensitive measures, they didn’t impose them as an overlay. The basic narrative of the transition from those pre-2009 methods to our present ones boils down to 1) our self-inflicted stress testing miss, and 2) the need to re-introduce those overlays (albeit in a somewhat different form) to make our methods more tolerant of speculative bubbles. We certainly learned all of this the hard way, and my hope is that others will draw some benefit from that experience. Unfortunately, my sense is that many have learned entirely the wrong lesson, and are just as vulnerable to the next crash as they were to the other two collapses in recent memory. You can see the effect of imposing those overlays in the narrowing of conditions under which we view a hard-negative outlook as appropriate. See last week’s comment, “Iceberg at the Starboard Bow,” for a chart of the cumulative performance of the S&P 500 across history in periods restricted to the conditions we presently observe. Now, if we do observe an improvement in market internals and credit spreads, it would not make valuations any less obscene, but it would significantly ease our immediate concerns about market losses. A safety net would be required in any event, but there is a range of possible outlooks between hard-negative and constructive with a safety net. I suspect that the range of variation in our investment outlook is likely to be very confusing in the coming years to those who have swallowed the hook that I’m a permabear, because our present methods would have encouraged an unhedged, leveraged investment stance through about 62% of history (including over 20% of recent cycle—though at no time in the past three years). That’s exactly what I encouraged for years following the 1990 bear market—a leveraged stance. Those who’ve followed my work over the long term should recognize that the framework I’ve presented helps to understand both my major successes and my periodic failures—exasperating during bubbles, but ultimately vindicated—through decades in the financial markets. This isn’t an accident, because it also helps to understand the bubbles and crashes of the equity market itself in market cycles across a century of history. What this framework requires, primarily, is the ability to withstand the cognitive dissonance of markets that are outrageously overvalued or undervalued, but persist until subtle deterioration or improvement in observable market internals and credit spreads indicates a shift in investor risk preferences. Again, we completed the transition from our pre-2009 method to our present method of classifying market return/risk profiles in June. The resulting adaptations are robust to market cycles across history, including the Depression, including recent bubbles and crashes, and including the current cycle. With these adaptations in place, nothing in recent years leaves us concerned that we would be unable to navigate a long continuation of the recent bull market (unlikely as we might view that outcome). We don’t need to hope for a market collapse, nor dread the possibility of a further advance. Our primary goal is simply to maintain a historically informed discipline and align our outlook consistently as market conditions change. At present, the fact that we are highly concerned about market risk is a reflection of a market environment that joins extremely overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions with still-troubling dispersion in market internals and a widening of credit spreads. That will change. In short, our concerns about market risk remain extreme at present, and will shift considerably as the evidence changes.last_img read more

A 38yearold man from Texas is dead after a singl

first_imgA 38-year-old man from Texas is dead after a single-vehicle crash Friday afternoon.Sergio Herrera died at the scene when the vehicle he was driving left the road and struck several trees.Alabama State Troopers said it happened at 4:50 p.m. on Interstate 59, near the 54 mile-marker about 14 miles north of Eutaw.The crash is still under investigation.last_img

The presence of Juul ecigarettes in high schools

first_imgThe presence of Juul e-cigarettes in high schools across the country is increasing — and so is Juul Labs’ lobbying presence in the nation’s capital.The company, which bills its product as “a satisfying alternative to cigarettes,” spent $750,000 on lobbying during the last three months of 2018, according to lobbying disclosure forms filed with Congress on Tuesday. According to the filing, Juul advocated on the issue “regulation of e-cigarettes and vaping products designed to improve the lives of adult smokers.” This most recent filing was also the first quarter when Juul indicated it lobbied to support legislation that would stop businesses from selling tobacco products to people younger than 21.The company started its D.C. lobbying operations during the second quarter of 2018, though it only spent $210,000 then. It has increased its spending in the two quarters since.”We have grown our D.C. team to engage with lawmakers, regulators, public health officials and advocates to drive awareness of our mission to improve the lives of the world’s one billion smokers and to combat underage use so we keep JUUL out of the hands of young people,” Juul spokeswoman Victoria Davis said in an email to NPR. “As we said, the numbers tell us underage use of e-cigarette products is a problem that requires immediate action.”The Food and Drug Administration cracked down on stores selling e-cigarettes to minors in September of last year, declaring use of the products had reached “epidemic” levels among America’s youth. The Center for Disease Control says 1 in 5 high school students used e-cigarettes in 2018.In addition to regulatory issues, Juul also indicated it lobbied on tariffs of products manufactured in China. Because of filing procedures, it is unclear how much of its lobbying spending went toward this issue versus e-cigarette policy.The company’s lobbying roster includes Jim Esquea, who was assistant secretary for legislation in the Department of Health and Human Services during the Obama administration. (The FDA is part of HHS.)Juul also used outside firms to influence legislation, as companies commonly do. These included S-3, Empire Consulting and Sims Strategies.After Juul’s lobbying boost in the most recent quarter, Juul came in as the fourth-highest spending cigarette manufacturer. Other top companies included Altria Group ($3.2 million spent on lobbying), Philip Morris International ($1.2 million) and Reynolds America ($790,000). Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

Labours shadow work and pensions secretary has pl

first_imgLabour’s shadow work and pensions secretary has pledged to transform the social security system from one that “demonises” benefit claimants to one that is “supportive and enabling”.Debbie Abrahams told Labour’s annual conference in Brighton that the social security system was failing sick and disabled people, and she reminded her party that the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities had concluded last month that the government had caused a “human catastrophe” by cutting disabled people’s support.Abrahams repeated the party’s pledge, included in this year’s general election manifesto, that a Labour government would legislate to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into UK law.She later said that the party was also in the process of setting up a new social security commission, whose conclusions on how to reform the benefits system would feed into the party’s policy-making process.Abrahams (pictured, right) told a fringe meeting hosted by the PCS union that Labour wanted to “transform social security” and “make it something people can value”.She said Labour’s vision was “to make sure the social security system is there for every one of us”.She said Labour wanted to replace the work capability assessment and the personal independence payment (PIP) assessment with a more “personalised, holistic support programme”.And she said that the government’s new Work and Health Programme was “just a way of making even more regressive cuts”.Abrahams said the party had started some of the “groundwork” for setting up the new social security commission, and that “central” to it would be “ongoing dialogue” with disabled people’s grassroots groups such as Disabled People Against Cuts and Black Triangle.She told another fringe event at the conference, organised by the Fabian Society and the disability charity Scope: “How will we achieve our target of halving the disability employment gap? It certainly isn’t going to happen through the Work and Health Programme, is it.”She said Labour would be publishing its ideas before the autumn budget, and that the party needed to ensure that disabled people supported its proposals.Abrahams said: “Again we will be coming back to you, saying is this going to work, what do you think of this, this has worked in Sweden, will it work in the UK, it’s worked in Australia, but again, will it work in the UK?”And she suggested that some policies could be piloted in Greater Manchester or London, where there were greater devolved powers for local government.Abrahams also said that the party was carrying out a review of the Access to Work scheme, which was “absolutely inadequate at the moment”, and she added: “We are reviewing it with the intention of being able to expand it.”After hearing how one disabled man at the fringe event had faced discrimination in the workplace, she said: “We need to get to the core of why we have such difficulties with employers. It is about cultural changes.“We do need to ensure that we are shifting attitudes with employers.”The event also heard from disabled presenter and producer, and YouTube star, Jessica Kellgren-Fozard, who said that “every single disabled person” she knew had had problems with the PIP assessment process, and all had found it “degrading”.She said: “We need to be focusing on giving disabled people independence in more than just name, and that includes financial independence.”Kellgren-Fozard also said that disabled women were twice as likely as non-disabled women to face domestic abuse, usually at the hands of their carers, but they were “tied” to them through the benefits system.She said: “They can’t get away. You can’t get a second job and store some money up. You don’t have your own money anymore.”She added: “Money is a massive part of independence. I am an adult and I want to be treated like that, I don’t want to be thought of as a child, a dependent, a problem, or a burden, ever.“I think that is what we really need to be working for here, to give people independence in more than just name.”Ellen Clifford, a member of the national steering group of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), told the PCS fringe event that welfare reform had been introduced by New Labour under Tony Blair and the process had been “accelerated by the Tories”, and was designed “to reduce spending and cut the welfare bill”.She said DPAC would like to see a system that was designed “to meet the needs of those who are unable to earn a living through waged labour”, with “an acceptance that there will always be some people who are unable to engage in the labour market and earn a living of their own, not due to their own fault… but because of very real concrete barriers that they face”.And she said: “We need to end the influence of private insurance companies who are there for their own profit-making reasons, and stop ploughing millions of pounds into helping them find ways to trick disabled people out of benefit entitlements.”Clifford said that cuts to disabled people’s support – such as social care and Access to Work – were pushing disabled people out of employment.Catherine Hale, lead researcher on the Chronic Illness Inclusion Project, told the same fringe meeting that the government’s continuing benefits freeze was “one of the key drivers of increasing levels of poverty in the UK”.She said that public support for the campaign to lift the pay cap on public sector workers meant it would be the ideal time to push for an end to the benefits freeze.She said: “If we are really going to resist the Tory attempts to divide the workers from everybody else, would it not also be the right time to fight for an end to the benefits freeze, so we are showing equal value to workers as to people on benefits?”And she urged politicians to consult with disabled people on reforming benefits assessments, rather than “doctors and so-called experts” who “really have no idea about the lived experience of disability and what are the real barriers to work that people with certain types of impairments face”.She added: “You really need to draw on disabled people’s expertise on capability for work.”last_img read more

The First Emerging Tech Connector In Vietnam – YellowBlocks – Announces 100

first_img ARBigDatablockchaincloudElite1010NewsVRYellowBlocks Previous ArticleAd Fraud Hits Digital Agencies and the Courts: Major Brands Pull Nine-Figure Ad Spend While Litigation, Refunds and Chargebacks Give Ad Market a Black EyeNext ArticleNimble Now Selling Its Simple CRM for Office 365 Globally Through Microsoft’s New Commercial Marketplace The First Emerging Tech Connector In Vietnam – YellowBlocks – Announces 100 Global Partners In The Unprecedented Tech Cruise PRNewswire6 days agoJuly 17, 2019 YellowBlocks was founded in 2018 as the first emerging tech ecosystem connector for Vietnam. As the platform for collaboration for AI/ML, Blockchain, Cloud, BigData, IoT, AR/VR.., YellowBlocks is hosting an unprecedented event in Vietnam, The #Elite1010 Emerging Tech Cruise, with key stakeholders in the ecosystem. The event is taking place on July 19th, 2019 on the luxurious Saigon Sensation Cruise at the heart of Saigon.Marketing Technology News: VaaS and USB are Helping to Drive Growth in the Video Conferencing & Collaboration MarketFor the last five years, Techboom has put Vietnam on the watch list of global firms. The tech ecosystem is breathing change and innovation, a new chapter for Vietnam begins. In addition to being a tech-outsourcing destination, Vietnam is hungry and ready for R&D, technology innovation, and advanced product development.During the exclusive networking night, YellowBlocks will announce the list of 100 global partners featuring public sector, private sector, academic groups and tech startup community including global and local top names such as European Blockchain Hub, Startup Vietnam Foundation, SGInnovate, Viettel, Microsoft, Advantage Austria, Nhipcaudautu (The Business Review), Forbes, VnExpress, Topica, RMIT University, CIO Academy Asia, Saigon Innovation Hub, Schoolab.Marketing Technology News: DTiQ Launches Enhanced Video Analytics CapabilitiesDavid Lang – Key Advisor for YellowBlocks – shared, “After 40 years in the US and the last 12+ years of advising Fortune 100 companies on digital transformation, I come back to Vietnam at this golden time with a deep passion to elevate Vietnam to the world stage. If we can create a trusted-platform to connect all the players in the emerging technologies ecosystem, we can unleash the power of Vietnam. As the pioneer connector in Vietnam, YellowBlocks surely has caught my attention because of their global vision and local insights from Day 1.”Doan Kieu My (Kimiko), Founder of YellowBlocks, shared, “Our mission is to Connect the Connectors. Our vision is to become the gateway to Vietnam and the world for emerging tech ecosystem. This flagship event marks our commitment to bring our partners and advisors closer in the unprecedented format.”Marketing Technology News: Speedcast and In Aria! Networks Join Forces with Telespazio on Large-Scale, High-Capacity Video Serviceslast_img read more

Study reveals link between childhood abuse and higher arthritis risk in adulthood

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 17 2018In a survey-based study of 21,889 adults in Canada, severe and/or frequent physical abuse during childhood and frequent childhood exposure to intimate partner violence were linked with higher risk of arthritis during adulthood, even after controlling for a range of factors. The findings are published in Arthritis Care & Research.The link may be due to potentially enduring immune and metabolic abnormalities caused by severe childhood abuse that might play a role in the pathogenesis of arthritis.“The link may be due to potentially enduring immune and metabolic abnormalities caused by severe childhood abuse that are similar to those that have been suggested might play a role in the pathogenesis of arthritis,” said lead author Dr. Elizabeth Badley of the Krembil Research Institute, University Health Network, Toronto. “The link may also be an indicator of the role joint injury has in causing osteoarthritis, by far the most frequent type of arthritis.” Source:https://newsroom.wiley.com/press-release/arthritis-care-research/childhood-abuse-linked-increased-arthritis-risk-adulthoodlast_img read more

Huaweis AIpowered smartphone drives a Porsche

The Porshe avoided several obstacles, including a dog and a bike, as it drove in a straight line China’s Huawei used the artificial intelligence capabilities of its flagship Mate 10 Pro phone to drive a sports car as the Mobile World Congress got under way in Barcelona Monday, in what it said was a world first. The Porshe avoided several obstacles, including a dog and a bike, as it drove in a straight line to demonstrate the AI-powered object recognition technology in the phone’s camera.The tech giant said it was “the first mobile device manufacturer in the world to use an AI-powered smartphone to drive a car,” saying the technology was able to distinguish between thousands of different objects and thereby able to avoid any collision.Huawei said the test was only designed to demonstrate its phone’s AI capabilities and did not plan to develop a new driverless car. “The smartphone totally controls the vehicle, we did not do anything except for steering elements,” said Arne Herkelmann, who heads Huawei’s handset portfolio in Europe.”The camera sees that there is something on the road, recognises what it is and acts to avoid it, we trained our AI to be able to recognise a road and its possible obstacles.”In 2017, Huawei was the world’s third biggest seller of smartphones after Samsung and Apple, holding a 10.4 percent market share, up from 9.5 percent a year earlier, according to figures from research firm IDC. Citation: Huawei’s AI-powered smartphone drives a Porsche (2018, February 26) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-huawei-ai-powered-smartphone-porsche.html Huawei launches new tablet in flagship phone hiatus © 2018 AFP Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

Facebook flags users who try to game factchecking effort

first_img Facebook nixes Brazil pages, profiles that spread fake news Facebook acknowledged Tuesday it has developed tools to identify users “indiscriminately” flagging fake news as it refines its effort to combat misinformation. Citation: Facebook flags users who try to ‘game’ fact-checking effort (2018, August 21) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-facebook-flags-users-game-fact-checking.html © 2018 AFP Facebook says it has a ranking system that identifies users who “indiscriminately” flag fake newscenter_img Explore further But the leading social network disputed as “just plain wrong” a Washington Post report that it has developed an overall “reputation score” for its users as part of the initiative.Facebook said it has developed “a process to protect against people indiscriminately flagging news as fake and attempting to game the system” which relies in part on how often a user reports something as fake despite verification by fact-checkers.”The reason we do this is to make sure that our fight against misinformation is as effective as possible,” Facebook said in a statement.Users who report what appears to be bogus news are given a standard probability score of from zero to one depending on how reliable they are when it comes to reporting posts that are untrue, according to the social network.The rating is one of many “signals” used to prioritize flagged posts sent to be reviewed by fact-checking teams.But Facebook said the Post report was misleading because it did not create a “unified score” to rank the overall trustworthiness of its users.Over the past 18 months, Facebook and other online platforms have stepped up efforts to combat the spread of false news with the intent to manipulate the platforms.Part of the challenge battling bogus content is that some people report posts as false simply because they disagree with stories, or in efforts to wrongly discredit them, according to the social network.Repeatedly reporting accurate information to be false at Facebook would skew a users reliability rating toward zero in the ranking system.Facebook last month shut down 32 fake pages and accounts involved in an apparent “coordinated” effort to stoke hot-button issues ahead of November midterm US elections.The US intelligence community has concluded that Russia sought to sway the vote in Donald Trump’s favor, and Facebook was a primary tool in that effort, using targeted ads to escalate political tensions and push divisive online content.Facebook has since made a priority of preventing the social network to be used to spread misleading or outright deceitful messages aimed at influencing politics. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

When red tape turned a noose around little lives

first_imgThis photograph from August 2017 shows a monkey sharing corridor space with relatives of patients at the Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College Hospital, where several children died that month, purportedly after oxygen ran out   –  VV Krishnan SHARE SHARE EMAIL On July 30 last year, in a tiny private hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Pharenda town, a son was born to Rambha and Sonu Yadav. The couple were ecstatic. But their joy was short-lived. The baby developed breathing difficulties and was referred to the government-run Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College in nearby Gorakhpur.“The doctors told me that my baby would just not cry,” Yadav says, recalling how he took the new-born on his motorbike to the hospital 44 km away. On August 10, 2017, the medical college ran out of central oxygen supply. Yadav’s baby died, along with 22 others.It has been a year since the deaths made national headlines. The Yogi Adityanath government drew much flak, there was outrage all around, and widespread call for an overhaul of the medical facility.The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had asked States and Union Territories to improve the quality of postnatal care. They were also asked to suggest a need-based proposal for augmenting infrastructure, capacity-building, equipment maintenance, and for ensuring uninterrupted supply of essential medicines.A year on, little has changed. No one from the government approached Yadav’s family to probe the case; nor has there been a ‘death audit’: an international best practice in such cases to reach the roots of the matter.Twenty-three children died on August 10, 2017, of which 14 were neonates. Three days earlier, on August 7, 2017, four neonates had died; the casualty for August 8 was seven; and six on August 9. The figures were obtained from a letter sent to then Union Health Secretary CK Mishra, by the Uttar Pradesh Additional Secretary Anita Bhatnagar Jain, and accessed through an RTI query. “My baby was doing okay till August 10 (2017). He was admitted to the neo-natal unit. A hustle broke out that day, as nurses took to ambu-bags to resuscitate babies. Parents were not allowed inside. After a few hours, my name was called out on the mike. My baby was handed over to me, wrapped in a cloth,” Yadav said.Even as the State government admits that oxygen ran out on August 10, 2017, it never conducted a death audit and maintains that the deaths did not occur due to oxygen failure. Was it a managerial mishap, or was it a larger issue, of crumbling government infrastructure in medical facilities?While bureaucratic squabbles ensued, the oxygen supplier and four doctors have been released from the Gorakhpur district jail, three clerks and a pharmacist continue to be lodged in the prison.A drive around Gorakhpur town’s upmarket areas reveals that every other bungalow houses a private medical practice; most of these doctors are either on government rolls or previously employed with the State. Around the BRD Medical College, contrastingly, there is a strong stench of urine and little children openly defecating within the premises. Across the road from the hospital, chemist shops feature banners indicating that they function as agents for government doctors who run their private practice.The nearest sub-centre from Yadav’s home in Pharenda is in Machligaon which only opens once a month when a nurse visits for vaccine rounds.A new primary health centre, built at an expense of ₹1.5 crore, is the proverbial white elephant. Of its 17 rooms, only one is open. Only two of seven sanctioned posts have been filled — those of a pharmacist and a ward boy. While the pharmacist, though unqualified, examines patients, the ward boy doles out antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin for minor ailments. Facilities such as an oxygen machine for resuscitating weak babies at birth are still missing.And 10 km away, at Kampiar Ganj, a mother-and-child hospital (MCH) is non-functional. National Health Mission documents show that in 78 sub-districts, 30-bedded MCH wings had been proposed at an expense of ₹3 crore each. The first instalment of ₹1.5 crore for each centre was released by the Centre in 2012-13, and the second and third instalments of ₹75 lakh each were released in 2013-14 and 2015-16, respectively. While the construction is complete in 69 of the 78 wings, none is currently functional.“Between 2013 and 2015, the UP government built three times the required [number of] health centres with 90 per cent human resource shortage. It was a massive real estate project. How can you run centres without adequate human resources?” asks Shamika Ravi, Member, Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council.Along with paltry human resources, unspent balances of health funds are a major concern in UP. Details accessed by BusinessLine through RTI reveal that between March 2005 and March 2018, the State has had an unspent balance of ₹3,255.24 crore, while an additional ₹3,457 crore was released to the State by Centre in 2017-18.“It is the State’s duty to ensure that payments are made on time after multiple reminders were sent from medical college for release of funds. More so, what is a few lakh rupees (towards non-payment of oxygen dues) when a massive amount of ₹3,255.24 crore is lying unspent from the NHM budget,” commented a senior official in the Union Health Ministry.In fact, the 950-bedded hospital attached to the medical college in Gorakhpur that serves 12 districts, does not have a cardiac medicine department or one for cardio-surgery. In case of a heart-attack, the patient is left to the mercy of private nursing homes or transported to Lucknow — 750 km away and a 12-hour journey by road.Meanwhile, a ‘super-speciality’ wing is under construction, adjacent to the existing medical college. On the other end of the town, about 10 km away, a 750-bedded All-India Institute of Medical Sciences is on the cards, but construction has is yet to begin. The Cabinet had approved a budget of ₹1,011 crore for the AIIMS wing in 2016.“The construction has not begun yet, as we are still in the process of clearing rubble of the demolished Cane Research Institute. In all likelihood, we will miss the deadlines as we are running late on all counts,” said a site employee from HSCC (I) Ltd, which is the executing agency.Nearby, an 8-storey, 100-bedded district-run MCH lies vacant. Funds worth ₹20 crore were disbursed by the Centre in three instalments — ₹10 crore (2012-13), ₹5 crore (2013-14), ₹5 crore (2015-16) — under the National Health Mission. The MCH was to be operational by March 2017, public records accessed by Businessline show.“We should be able to inaugurate it in 2018,” says an official. Construction work was initiated for 53 such hospitals across UP, of which 24 are incomplete. None of them is functional. Now, it has been proposed that they be run in public-private partnership.While the public health apparatus continues to be wrapped in red tape, conditions remain abysmal on ground. The truth about the baby deaths will likely never emerge. UP is flush with funds, but much like the deaths in Gorakhpur last year, the abysmal health of its medical facilities, too, remains a mystery August 09, 2018 COMMENT Published on 0 COMMENTS health SHARElast_img read more

Trumps Labour Secretary Acosta resigns amid Epstein case

first_img Related News “Alex called me this morning and wanted to see me,” Trump told reporters. “I just want to let you know this is him, not me.”Acosta’s resignation is effective in seven days. Trump named Deputy Labour Secretary Patrick Pizzella as the acting secretary of Labour.Acosta has served in Trump’s cabinet since April 2017 and from 2005 through 2009 was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. It was there that he handled Epstein’s first case involving sex with girls, which resulted in a punishment that critics say was far too lenient.”Mr. Acosta now joins the sprawling parade of President Trump’s chosen advisors who have left the administration under clouds of scandal and corruption, leaving rudderless and discouraged agencies in their wake. Taxpayers deserve better,” Democratic U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said in a statement.Epstein, a billionaire hedge fund manager, pleaded not guilty to new federal charges in New York this week. Epstein had a social circle that over the years has included Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew.Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had called on Tuesday for Acosta to resign.DEFENDING HIS CASEAcosta responded to the criticism on Tuesday with tweets saying Epstein’s crimes were “horrific” and that he was glad prosecutors were moving forward based on new evidence and testimony that could “more fully bring him to justice.”On Wednesday Acosta held a news conference to defend his handling of the deal, which allowed Epstein to plead guilty to a state charge and not face federal prosecution. Acosta said Epstein would have had an even lighter sentence if not for the deal.Acosta would not say if he would make the same decision regarding Epstein now, considering the power of the #MeToo movement that led to the downfall of several powerful men publicly accused of sex crimes by women. U.S. prosecutors in New York on Monday accused Epstein, 66, of sex trafficking, luring dozens of girls, some as young as 14, to his luxury homes and coercing them into sex acts.Democratic U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee who has called on Acosta to testify on the Epstein matter, said in a statement: “Secretary Acosta’s role in approving the extremely favourable deal for Jeffrey Epstein raises significant concerns about his failure to respect the rights of the victims, many of whom were children when they were assaulted.”The federal prosecutors in New York said they were not bound by the deal arranged by Acosta, which allowed Epstein to plead to a lesser offence and serve 13 months in jail with leave during the day while registering as a sex offender. In February, a federal judge in West Palm Beach, Florida, ruled that the 2007 agreement violated the victims’ rights. Epstein’s case and Acosta’s role in the plea deal had come under scrutiny earlier this year after an investigation by the Miami Herald.The Epstein case came up during Acosta’s Senate confirmation hearing but the Republican-majority Senate approved him in a 60-38 vote. He is the latest top Trump administration official to depart under a cloud. The heads of the Interior, Justice, State and Health departments have also either been fired or resigned, among other top staff during Trump tenure so far.Acosta, the son of Cuban refugees and the first Hispanic member of Trump’s Cabinet, previously served on the National Labour Relations Board and in the U.S. Department of Justice under Republican President George W. Bush. (Reporting by Nandiat Bose; additional reporting by Susan Heavey; Writing by David Alexander and Jeff Mason; Editing by Bill Trott) World 09 Jul 2019 Trump defends cabinet member Acosta embroiled in Epstein sex-abuse case Related News World 10 Jul 2019 Trump backs U.S. Labor chief Acosta, says will look into matter amid Epstein casecenter_img WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta resigned on Friday amid fresh scrutiny of his handling of the sex abuse case against financier Jeffrey Epstein, becoming President Donald Trump’s latest adviser to leave the administration in controversy.Acosta, joining Trump at the White House before the president left for a trip to Wisconsin, said he did not want to be a distraction to the administration’s work because of his leadership of the Epstein case more than a decade ago.”As I look forward, I do not think it is right and fair for this administration’s Labour Department to have Epstein as a focus rather than the incredible economy we have today,” Acosta said.Trump, who has fired numerous cabinet and other administration officials during his 2 1/2 years in the White House, said it was Acosta’s idea to step down. World 10 Jul 2019 U.S. Labor Secretary Acosta says Epstein crimes ‘horrific’ {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more

Jai Shri Ram A slogan that changed political contours of India

first_imgJai Shri Ram: A slogan that changed political contours of IndiaWhile the entire BJP and its ally Shiv Sena uses Jai Shri Ram slogan as a battle cry, their opponents, particularly West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has launched a massive campaign against it.advertisement Prabhash K Dutta New DelhiJuly 13, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 10:43 IST It is not yet clear when Jai Shri Ram entered the political space but it came to be identified with the BJP around the 1990-92 Ram temple movement, which was launched by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP. (Photo: Reuters)HIGHLIGHTSJai Shri Ram was a frequently used slogan in BJP’s rallies during 2014 Lok Sabha electionsJai Shri Ram has become the cry for BJP party cadres against TMC in West BengalIt started being identified with BJP around 1990-92 Ram temple movement launched by VHPJai Shri Ram literally means victory to Lord Ram, the prince of Ayodhya mentioned in various versions of Ramayana. This slogan is in the news for long. Jai Shri Ram slogan trends every other day on social media in India. In recent times, this religious slogan has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons. Raising this slogan is no longer considered religious, it is a political slogan to further the agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).While the entire BJP and its ally Shiv Sena uses Jai Shri Ram slogan as a battle cry, their opponents, particularly West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has launched a massive campaign against it.During Lok Sabha election, Mamata Banerjee was seen stopping her car to slam those shouting Jai Shri Ram. Her irritation with the slogan has taken an unusual turn where her opponents have started teasing her by shouting Jai Shri Ram if they see her at an event.In May, days after Lok Sabha election results were announced, seven people were arrested in Bengal for shouting Jai Shri Ram as Mamata Banerjee’s cavalcade passed through their area.To counter the BJP’s charge of Muslim appeasement, Mamata Banerjee flagged off Jagannath Puri rath yatra last week. She was greeted with chants of Jai Shri Ram from the crowd and a section of BJP supporters.Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, too, has joined Mamata Banerjee in raising his voice against Jai Shri Ram slogan saying it is not part of Bengali culture.All this has happened in the backdrop of cases of mob lynching in which victims belonging to Muslim community were forced to chant Jai Shri Ram by the perpetrators. Tabrez Ansari, 24, was allegedly lynched in Jharkhand last month. He was accused of stealing a motorcycle in Seraikela Kharsawan district of the state.Ansari was allegedly tied to a pole and beaten up with sticks by a mob that forced him to shout Jai Shri Ram after ascertaining that he was a Muslim. This incident took place on June 17. Ansari died of his injuries on June 22.In a similar incident, a 16-year-old boy in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur was beaten up after his assaulters found him wearing a skull cap and asked him to chant Jai Shri Ram which he refused to do at first.Where it all beganIt is not yet clear when Jai Shri Ram entered the political space but it came to be identified with the BJP around the 1990-92 Ram temple movement, which was launched by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) – an extended arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) family. An active participant in the temple movement was BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani and his protege Narendra Modi.But before the BJP made Jai Shri Ram slogan as its own, it was already in popular use in late 1980s courtesy the TV serial Ramayan produced by filmmaker Ramanand Sagar. The slogan, Jai Shri Ram was used in the TV serial as a battle cry by Hanuman and others in Lord Ram’s expedition against Ravan, the king of Lanka who had abducted Sita, the wife of Ram.The earlier popular slogan or chant was Sita-Ram and Siya-Ram, which were frequently used as words for greeting one another. The popularity to Sita-Ram is credited to a freedom fighter and peasant activist Baba Ramchandra, who had impressed Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru with his organisational skills.In his autobiography, Nehru credits Baba Ramchandra for making an old cry of Sita-Ram “an almost warlike significance” and “a signal for emergencies as well as a bond between different villages”.After Ram Janmabhoomi movement of the VHP and parallel political campaign of the BJP, Sita-Ram gave way to Jai Shri Ram and became an essentially political slogan raised more during the time of elections.Now in Parliament, streetsRiding on the slogan of Jai Shri Ram, the BJP improved its tally in the Lok Sabha from two seats in 1984 to 85 in 1989, to 120 in 1991 and to single-largest party with 161 MPs in 1996.With Atal Bihari Vajpayee practically in charge of the BJP between 1999 and 2004 with the responsibility to run a ruling coalition, the slogan of Jai Shri Ram retreated to form background score. The defeat of the BJP in 2004 and in 2009 forced the BJP to rethink its strategy.The slogan returned with greater vigour in 2014 even though the party – with Narendra Modi calling the shots – did not give much space to construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya. Jai Shri Ram was a frequently used slogan in BJP’s rallies.As prime ministerial candidate, Modi addressed an election rally in Faizabad, the district that holds Ayodhya, which many believe to be the birthplace of Lord Ram. Though, Modi, in 2014 election rally, did not talk about Ram temple, he did refer to Lord Ram a number of times in his speech with the crowd chanting Jai Shri Ram.Modi did not go to Ayodhya until May 2019, when he addressed an election rally. Speaking at the outskirts of Ayodhya, Modi talked about defeating terrorism and New India but Jai Shri Ram was the dominant cry in the rally.The slogan has made to the Lok Sabha now. BJP members heckled Trinmool Congress (TMC) MPs in the Lok Sabha shouting Jai Shri Ram when they came for taking oath as newly elected members of the house in June. This came as a reaction to Mamata Banerjee’s opposition to the slogan, which she said was a threat to Bangla culture.The BJP has made substantial gains in West Bengal where Jai Shri Ram has become the cry for galvanising party cadres against the ruling TMC. The BJP has alleged that one of its workers was lynched by TMC members for chanting Jai Shri Ram.READ | 3 Muslim youths forced to chant Jai Shri Ram in AssamALSO READ | Jai Shri Ram is not associated with Bengali culture: Nobel laureate Amartya SenALSO WATCH | Jai Shri Ram war: Is Parliament a place to raise religious slogans?For the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byKritika Bansal Tags :Follow Jai Shri Ram Nextlast_img read more