To offer greater accessibility and a seamless application process to UK residents and foreign nationals in the UK, VFS Global has launched four new application centres for the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus.For higher quality and a more personalised service, applicants can opt for the premium service at these centres that offer assistance by a dedicated staff member during the submission process – including assistance in filling in the visa application and verification of documents and free access to photocopy, photo booth, SMS and courier services.Although UK visitors do not need a visa if they are staying less than 90 days, the new service will be of use to those who stay longer, such as those with holiday homes, those who spend more time in Cyprus visiting relatives, or those on long-term business trips. Cyprus is a hugely popular destination for UK visitors, the latest statistics show tourist arrivals from the UK increased by 25% in March 2018 compared to March 2017. The United Kingdom constituted the main source of tourism for Cyprus, with 35.5% arrivals. The newly launched services were inaugurated by Euripides Evriviades, High Commissioner, Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in London. Commenting on the launch, Anirudh Pratap Singh, Chief Operating Officer, Europe, VFS Global, said, “Cyprus has always been a popular holiday destination for residents of the UK with nearly a million British nationals visiting this exotic location every year. We are confident that service solutions like the Premium Service at our centres will ensure a pleasant experience and efficiently cater to increasing demand.”VFS Global currently offers visa related assistance to the Cyprus mission in London with ongoing discussions to extend the scope of services to Consular and Passport services in the upcoming months.
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Norwegian cable operator Get has tested a EuroDOCSIS 3.0 cable gateway from Cisco that can deliver end-user broadband speeds of up to 1Gbps. “We are the first company in Europe to test EuroDOCSIS 3.0 modem with these speeds. The new super modem can provide broad band speeds up to 1Gbps,” said Gunnar Evensen, CEO of Get.
The dollar index opened at 80.04 in Tokyo on their Friday morning…and spent most of the day above the 80.00 mark, with the high tick of 80.25 coming about 11:40 a.m. BST in London. From there, the index rolled over a bit…and hit its nadir [79.94] about 10:15 a.m. in New York. It recovered back above the 80.00 mark during the East Coast lunch hour…and then slid slowly back below it to close at 79.997.The precious metals began to rally strongly shortly after the dollar index hit its high…but the rallies in all four were so powerful, that the “da boyz” had to step in long before the dollar index hit its low tick…but it’s worth noting that the high ticks for both gold and silver came at the dollar index nadir at 10:15 a.m. in New York.The gold stocks opened mixed…and only began to head south shortly after 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. The low for the stocks came just minutes before the 1:30 p.m. Comex close…and then they rallied a bit from there until the equity markets closed at 4:00 p.m. The HUI finished down 0.85%.The silver stocks finished mixed as well…and Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index closed down 0.62%.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 115 gold and 12 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories this coming Tuesday. The Issuers and Stoppers Report showed that it was ‘all the usual suspects’…and the link to that activity is here.That should pretty much do it for the October delivery month, although there may be a handful of contracts in each metal left to deliver before November first notice day on Wednesday.There was a small 19,385 troy ounces of gold withdrawn from GLD yesterday…and it looked like it could have been a fee payment of some kind. There were no reported changes in SLV.The U.S. Mint had no sales report.Over at the Comex-approved depositories, they reported receiving 253,457 troy ounces of silver on Thursday…and shipped 801,417 ounces of the stuff out the door. The link to that activity is here.Well, yesterday’s Commitment of Traders Report was another surprise. Yes, there was the expected improvement in the Commercial net short position in gold…but not as much as I was hoping. In silver, there was a tiny improvement…but that was all. Both Ted and I were amazed…and we were both scratching our heads.In silver, the Commercial net short position declined by only a tiny 1,595 contracts. The Commercial net short position is still a whopping 277.5 million ounces…and the ‘Big 4’ short holders are short 246.1 million ounces of that amount…and 44.5% of the entire Comex futures market in silver. The ‘5 through 8’ traders are short an additional 8.6 percentage points. So the ‘Big 8’ are short 53.1% of the entire futures market in silver on a net basis…and these percentages are minimum numbers.I would also guess that JPMorgan Chase, along with one non-U.S. bank…the Bank of Nova Scotia?…are short almost 40% of the entire Comex silver market [on a net basis] between the two of them.In gold, the Commercial net short position declined by a pretty decent 14,718 contracts, or 1.47 million ounces. This net short position is now down to 23.27 million ounces…still light years away from its low several months back…and the ‘Big 8’ are short 20.97 million ounces of that amount.The ‘Big 4’ traders, on a net basis, are short 35.4% of the entire Comex gold market…and the ‘5 through 8’ traders are short an additional 13.9 percentage points. The ‘Big 8’ in total are short 49.3% of the Comex futures market on a net basis…and these are minimum percentages.The ‘Big 8’ traders are short 20.97 million ounces of the 23.27 million ounce Commercial net short position…or 90.1%. In silver, the ‘Big 8’ traders are short 293.9 million ounces of the 277.5 million ounce Commercial net short…or 105.9%.Here are the links to the historical COT Report charts so you can get an idea of how things have changed over the weeks, months and years. Gold is here…and silver is here.Here’s the current “Days of World Production to Cover Short Positions” chart for all the physical commodities traded on the Comex. This is for the week that was…and nothing has changed, as the short positions held by the ‘4 or less’ traders are still egregious. It’s my guess that JPMorgan Chase, the Bank of Nova Scotia[?], HSBC USA and Citigroup make up the entire red bar on the silver chart. I’ll have more on the COT Report in ‘The Wrap’.(Click on image to enlarge)From the Too-Cute-For-Words file folder this week comes this photo of an ocelot kitten having a power nap. I thank my daughter Kathleen for sharing it with us.Since it’s Saturday, all the stories that I’ve been saving all week are posted below…and I hope you have the time to at least read the parts I’ve cut and paste from each one.If, as I contend, the prime driver of the silver (and gold) price on the rally was technical fund buying, it follows that an approximate same amount of technical fund selling would cause prices to decline in similar proportion. That’s where my “alarming and dangerous” market structure concerns come from. Compounding the matter is that the commercials have perfected their collusive trading techniques for more than 30 years in trading against the technical funds. All the commercials have learned to let the technical funds liquidating long positions to come to the commercials. The commercials, who will be happy to buy every contract offered for sale by the technical funds, will not reach up in price to buy those contracts, but will let the technical funds come to them. It really is a mafia-style operation; the commercials will rig prices through key technical points and only put in below market bids to the selling that the commercials instigated. – Silver analyst Ted Butler…24 October 2012Today’s ‘blast from the past’ features a world famous American music duo that hit their stride on the music scene in the early to mid 1960s…and this particular song linked here, has to be my favourites. It was a smash hit in 1966…the year I graduated from high school. While I’m at it, here’s another big hit of theirs.I’ve featured several child prodigies in this section…and here’s another. This 10-year old girl plays the drums like a seasoned pro. I was amazed…and I’m sure you’ll be impressed as well. I thank Roy Stephens for sliding this video clip into my in-box on Monday…and the link is here.As I mentioned in my comments at the top of this column, all four precious metals blasted off to the upside…but got hammered flat about half way through the 30-basis point decline in the dollar index. Nothing free market about that.The COT report both this week and last, were head scratchers…as it’s obvious that this liquidation cycle is quite a bit different than anything either Ted or I have seen before. Despite the price drops in both gold and silver…and the penetration of the 50-day moving averages to the downside on both metals…there has been little volume and no real serious technical fund liquidation to this point.I can only guess as to why that’s the case. The only thing I could come up with is that the long holders in the Non-Commercial category appear to be hanging tough…and meeting all margin calls…especially in silver, where there has only been the smallest of indications of tech fund long liquidation, despite the three dollar decline in the silver price. Is that liquidation coming later, or are these tech fund longs privy to information that we mere mortals don’t have? Beats me…but we’ll find out in the fullness of time.However, as I mentioned a couple of times already this week, the share prices…especially in silver…are bucking this sell-off in the metals…and that, along with the strange COT action, might be another sign that something is going on behind the scenes that we don’t know anything about.My quest to find out if the Bank of Nova Scotia/Scotia Mocatta are the new “non-U.S. bank” that has just showed up in October’s Bank Participation Report, ran into a ‘non-answer’ from someone at Scotiabank HQ in Toronto on Monday. Here’s my original e-mail to the CEO which I posted in my Tuesday column…22 October 2012 Scotiabank 44 King Street West Toronto, Ontario M5H 1H1Attention: Mr. Rick Waugh, CEODear Mr. Waugh,I’m a keen observer of the financial scene, both here in Canada and abroad…but my main area of expertise is in the precious metal markets. I write a daily blog on this subject for Casey Research out of Stowe, Vermont…and here is the link to my webpage.Part of my reading material includes two reports that are issued by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission…the CFTC. The most notable of those are the weekly Commitment of Traders Report and the monthly Bank Participation Report.If you click on the Bank Participation Report link, you’ll note that the CFTC has included a comment about its October figures that took quite a few people who follow this report, completely by surprise…including me.The comment states… “The October 2012 Bank Participation Report includes COMEX gold and COMEX silver futures and options positions for a newly classified non-U.S. bank, based upon the entity’s self-description on its latest CFTC Form 40. Given the methodology of the Bank Participation Report, the entity’s most recent Form 40 submission results in all of its futures and options positions now being included within the report. For more information on the methodology used for the Bank Participation Report, see Explanatory Notes” [Emphasis is mine. – Ed]Looking through the list of market-making members of the LBMA…my first thought was that the bank most likely to fit that description would be The Bank of Nova Scotia – Scotia Mocatta. So I called Andy Montano at your head office about a week ago. We had a pleasant chat…and he said that he knew nothing about it. I asked him who might know…and he had no suggestion.So I thought I would write directly to you, sir.All I need to know is if the “non-U.S. bank” that the CFTC is referring to in its comments above…and on its Bank Participation Report home page…is The Bank of Nova Scotia – Scotia Mocatta.A simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer will suffice.Thank you for your attention in this matter…and I remain,Yours truly,Edward Steer, EditorEd Steer’s Gold & Silver DailyOn Tuesday I received this reply…and as you can tell right away, the ‘non-answer’ avoided my question entirely…Dear Mr. Steer, Thank you for your email of October 22nd addressed to Rick Waugh, President & CEO of Scotiabank. I have been asked to review your inquiry and provide a response to you on behalf of the Scotiabank Group. We have determined from our review, the Scotiabank Group is not involved in the research or publication of the Commitment of Traders Report and as a result we are unable to comment on the data provided in the report. We respectfully recommend you consider making direct contact with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission CFTC) as we understand they are the source of the report and would be better positioned to respond to you with answers to any inquiries you may have about the report. Once again, thank you for writing, giving us an opportunity to review and respond to your inquiry. Sincerely, Dave Shearim Senior Manager – Office of the President Scotiabank – Executive Offices e-mail: email@example.com Telephone: (416) 933-1700 or (877) 700-0043 Fax: (416) 933-1777 or (877) 700-0045Of course I had to reply…and here it is…Hello Dave,This reply I received from you is a ‘non answer’…and avoids the question entirely.Nowhere in my original e-mail did I remotely suggest that Scotiabank Group was involved in the production of any data from the CFTC reports mentioned.The Form 40 referred to by the CFTC, would have to have been filled out by a very senior member of the Scotiabank Group…either within the bank itself, or within the Scotia Mocatta division.Here are the pertinent contents of my previous e-mail to Mr. Waugh once again…“Part of my reading material includes two reports that are issued by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission…the CFTC. The most notable of those are the weekly Commitment of Traders Report and the monthly Bank Participation Report.“If you click on the Bank Participation Report link, you’ll note that the CFTC has included a comment about its October figures that took quite a few people who follow this report, completely by surprise…including me.“The comment states… “The October 2012 Bank Participation Report includes COMEX gold and COMEX silver futures and options positions for a newly classified non-U.S. bank, based upon the entity’s self-description on its latest CFTC Form 40. Given the methodology of the Bank Participation Report, the entity’s most recent Form 40 submission results in all of its futures and options positions now being included within the report. For more information on the methodology used for the Bank Participation Report, see Explanatory Notes” [Emphasis is mine. – Ed]“Looking through the list of market-making members of the LBMA…my first thought was that the bank most likely to fit that description would be The Bank of Nova Scotia – Scotia Mocatta. So I called Andy Montano at your head office about a week ago. We had a pleasant chat…and he said that he knew nothing about it. I asked him who might know…and he had no suggestion.“So I thought I would write directly to you, sir.“All I need to know is if the “non-U.S. bank” that the CFTC is referring to in its comments above…and on its Bank Participation Report home page…is The Bank of Nova Scotia – Scotia Mocatta.“A simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer will suffice.So, Dave, I’ll ask the question one more time, which is it…yes, or no?Sincerely,EdI haven’t heard a thing since…and will be sending another e-mail on Tuesday if I hear nothing from Mr. Shearim on Monday. But I already have the feeling that I hit the jackpot on the first try…as if they weren’t ‘the one’ they would have denied it immediately…and this b.s. non-answer I got pretty much confirms that they are. I’ll keep you posted.The rest of 2013 could be very interesting in the precious metals. With the October delivery month going off the board early next week, we’re left with November, which is not a big delivery month in either silver or gold. But December is. It’s the biggest delivery month of the year in both metals…and open interest is massive.It remains to be seen whether prices go down from here…or up. As I’ve said on many occasions, I can make a strong case for either scenario…although I’d definitely prefer ‘up’…as I know you would as well. But the best any of us can do is blow the froth off a cold one…and hope that we’ve done everything we can to prepare for whatever scenario turns up. However, nothing has changed with me, as I’m still “all in”.Enjoy what’s left of your weekend…and I’ll see you on Tuesday. Sponsor Advertisement The long holders in the Non-Commercial category appear to be hanging tough…and meeting all margin calls.The gold price traded a few dollars higher up until 10:00 a.m. Hong Kong time…and then got sold down for the next four hours. From there it traded more or less sideways through the London open.Then around 1:00 p.m. BST…about twenty minutes before the Comex open…a rally of some substance developed. That got hammered flat an hour later…about 9:01 a.m. in New York…and from that point, the gold price slowly declined right into the 1:30 p.m. Eastern Comex close, before trading quietly into the 5:15 p.m. electronic close. The New York high tick…$1,720.40 spot…came at 10:15 a.m.Gold finished the trading day in New York at $1,711.10 spot…up 80 cents from Thursday. Volume wasn’t overly heavy at 139,000 contracts.Silver’s price path was virtually identical to gold’s. The only notable difference was that JPMorgan Chase et al showed up at 9:30 a.m. in New York…whereas gold got hit a half hour sooner. Silver’s high tick was also at 10:15 a.m. Eastern…and after that the silver price pattern followed gold’s price path pattern, right to the tick.Silver closed at $32.02 spot…up 2 whole cents. Volume was only 36,500 contracts.It should be obvious to anyone with more than a room temperature I.Q. in degrees Fahrenheit that both metals would have finished the Friday trading session materially higher if a willing not-for-profit seller hadn’t shown up. And it wasn’t just gold and silver the got hammered flat, the charts for platinum and palladium show that these two white metals got hit even harder…especially platinum. Bayfield Ventures Corp. (TSX.V: BYV) is exploring for gold and silver in the Rainy River District of NW Ontario. The Company’s 100% owned “Burns” Block property adjoins the immediate east of Rainy River Resources’ (TSX.V: RR) world-class gold deposit which includes an indicated resource of 5.72 million ounces of gold, averaging 1.18 g/t, in addition to an inferred resource of 2.25 million ounces of gold, averaging 0.79 g/t. Drilling to date on Bayfield’s Burns Block demonstrates that the ODM17gold zone extends from Rainy River Resources’ ground onto the Burns Block. Bayfield is currently carrying out 100,000 metres of diamond drilling on its Rainy River properties. Drill results thus far have been very encouraging. Notable drill results include 60.05 grams per tonne gold and 362.96 grams per tonne silver over 11.2 metres within 26.70 grams per tonne gold and 170.69 grams per tonne silver over 25.5 metres, as well as 35.93 grams per tonne gold and 359.65 grams per tonne silver over 10.0 metres. Bayfield also holds a 100% interest in two other properties in the Rainy River District. Claim blocks “B” and “C” are well located to the immediate east and west (respectively) of Rainy River Resources’ #433 and ODM17 gold zones. Please visit our website to learn more about the company and request information.
Sponsor Advertisement The sellers of last resort were always at the ready Gold rallied a bit a few hours before the London open, but that wasn’t allowed to last—and the gold price got sold down right in the the 8:20 a.m. Comex open. The subsequent rally attempt cut cut off at the knees minutes after the equity markets opened in New York. By 10:30 a.m. EST, gold was at, or close, to its low of the day—and from there it chopped sideways into the 5:15 p.m. electronic close. The CME reported the high and low ticks as $1,247.60 and $1,226.50 in the February contract. Gold closed in New York at $1,231.10 spot, down $9.60 on the day. Net volume was pretty decent at 142,000 contracts. The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 67 gold and 8 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday. In gold, the short/issuers didn’t matter, but the biggest long/stopper was, once again, JPMorgan Chase in its in-house [proprietary] trading account with 65 of those 67 contracts. In silver, JPM stopped five contracts in it’s proprietary trading account as well—picking up nickles in front of a steam roller, one would think. The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here. Another day, another withdrawal from GLD. This time it was 67,033 troy ounces. And as of 10:20 p.m. EST yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV. And, for the second day in a row this week, there was no sales report from the U.S. Mint, which I find most strange. Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Monday, it was the fifth day in a row that JPMorgan Chase reported receiving precisely two tonnes of gold kilobars into the Eligible category in their warehouse. I’d love to know who the refiner is, and who owns them. The link to all of yesterday’s activity in gold is here. It was a monster day for silver in these same Comex-approved depositories on Monday. They reported receiving 1,133,903 troy ounces, and shipped out 786,243 troy ounces. The link to that action is here. I have a lot of stories for you today, even more than I had in my Tuesday column, so I hope you can find the time to wade through the ones that interest you. The delivery situation in the December Comex gold and silver contract month continued to feature JPMorgan as almost the exclusive taker (stopper) of gold deliveries and the leading stopper of silver deliveries. So far this month, JPMorgan has taken 4,426 of the 4,614 gold contracts offered for delivery in the bank’s proprietary (house) trading account, or almost 96% of the total gold contracts issued. This would appear to be fitting for a bank I allege to hold a market corner in Comex gold. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 14 December 2013 It was another day where all four precious metals wanted to rally, but the sellers of last resort were always at the ready. And, like Monday, there was a decent amount of volume associated with yesterday’s price action, so it’s a good bet that the technical fund short covering rallies were met by JPMorgan et al selling their long positions, or going short themselves. There are a negligible number of producers or consumers in the Comex futures market in precious metals. Virtually all of the big players are hedged in the OTC market—and that certainly includes all the miners that have sold metal forward. Yesterday was the cut-off for the reporting week for Friday’s COT Report. It’s a good bet that there will be an improvement in the Commercial net short positions in all four precious metals, but there have been capped rallies for the last three business days since last Thursday’s big engineered price decline, so the report won’t be quite a positive as it might have been. Here are the 30-day charts for both silver and gold. The last five candles on each chart is the data that will be in Friday’s COT report. The big engineered price decline in both metals last Thursday is obvious—as are the other JPMorgan et al-instigated price declines shown on these charts. Even though silver did better on a price basis yesterday, the shares were softer—and Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index only bears a passing resemblance to the HUI chart, as it closed down 0.55%. The gold stocks gapped down about a percent at the open, but then rallied back to unchanged on the back of the 9:30 a.m. EST price spike yesterday. Once the price got squashed, the shares followed, hitting their low of the day at 10:30 a.m. EST—coinciding precisely with the low tick of the day in gold. The shares rallied back a bit from there, but then chopped sideways into the close. The HUI finished down 0.47%. The price action in silver was almost the same as gold’s. The brief price spike above $20 spot early in Hong Kong trading got met by the usual seller[s] of last resort. The absolute low price of the day occurred a few minutes before the Comex open—and the 9:30 a.m. EST rally in silver also met the same fate as gold at that particular juncture. Within minutes, the silver price was back below the $20 spot mark. From it’s post-rally low, the silver price never got a sniff of the $20 price mark again. The high and low prices for silver were reported as $20.23 and $19.675 in the March contract. Silver closed at $19.95 spot, down 1.5 cents from Monday’s close. One can only fantasize about what the silver price might have closed at if left to the free markets yesterday. Net volume was pretty heavy at 46,000 contracts, so JPMorgan et al had to throw a lot of paper silver at the price to keep it from doing what it really wanted to do. Gold and silver prices were as quiet as the proverbial church mice in Far East trading on their Wednesday—and volume was extremely light, with virtually all of it of the HFT variety. London has been open about 20 minutes as I write this paragraph—and not much is happening there, either. The dollar index has been as flat a pancake since it opened in New York at 6 p.m. EST last night. I would guess that the financial world is waiting for what Bernanke & Co. have to say for themselves later this afternoon when they’re finished their deliberations on the hopelessness of it all. I would certainly expect there to be a “reaction” in the precious metals—and probably a few microseconds before the announcements are made. Such is the way of the “free markets” nowadays. And as I send off today’s efforts to Stowe, Vermont at 5:15 a.m. EST—I note that all four precious metals had tiny rallies shortly after London opened for business, and with the exception of palladium, these rallies were hit hard almost immediately. Silver made it up to $20 spot, but that was as far as it was allowed to get, at least for the moment. Volumes, which had been fumes and vapours at the London open, have blown out by more than 50% in both gold and silver during the last couple of hours, so it’s obvious that these rallies are running into the usual resistance from what I would think would be “all the usual suspects”. The dollar index still isn’t doing a thing. I’m not sure what to expect when the smoke goes up the chimney over at the Fed tomorrow afternoon, but whatever happens, I expect a lot of movement in the precious metals—and the U.S. dollar index. I’ll see you here tomorrow—and I’ll certainly be talking about the aftereffects then. But it was platinum and palladium [in particular] that got hit the hardest on Tuesday. Like gold and silver, their highs of the day came at 2 p.m. Hong Kong time. From there they drifted lower, but really got sold down starting late in the London lunch hour, with the lows coming at, or just after, the 1:30 p.m. EST Comex close. Here are the charts. The dollar index closed in New York on Monday afternoon at 80.11. From there it drifted lower, hitting its Tuesday low of 80.00 at precisely 8 a.m. GMT, which was the London open—a data point i reported on in The Wrap in yesterday’s column. From there it rallied to its high of 80.25 at 10:30 a.m. EST in New York, which just happened to be the post-rally low ticks in both gold and silver in New York yesterday. By the Comex close, the index was back to 80.01—and from there rallied a few basis points into the close. The index finished the day at 80.04, which was down seven points from Monday. Uranium Energy Corp. (NYSE MKT: UEC) is pleased to announce that the final authorization has been granted for production at its Goliad ISR Project in South Texas. As announced in previous press releases, the Company received all of the required authorizations from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, including an Aquifer Exemption which has now been granted concurrence from EPA Region 6. Amir Adnani, President and CEO, stated, “We are very pleased to have received this final authorization for initiating production at Goliad. Our geological and engineering teams have worked diligently toward achieving this major milestone and are to be truly commended. We are grateful to the EPA for its thorough reviews and for issuing this final concurrence. The Company’s near-term plan is to complete construction at the first production area at Goliad and to greatly increase the throughput of uranium at our centralized Hobson processing plant.” Please contact Investor Relations with questions or to request additional information, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… A chain of cake shops has thanked a disabled campaigner for drawing its attention to access failures that prevented wheelchair-users entering three of its stores.Konditor said it was “ashamed” of its previous access failings and has apologised to “anyone who has visited [our] shops in the past and been unable to gain access”.It has now pledged to make a financial donation to a London disabled people’s organisation (DPO) after admitting it was previously unaware of its duties under the Equality Act.The access failings were spotted by Esther Leighton, co-founder of the disabled-led campaigning organisation Reasonable Access, after she was unable to enter three of its six London stores.After she raised her concerns, with support from Reasonable Access members, Konditor agreed to improve access at the three stores, providing each of them with low-cost portable ramps that allow wheelchair-users to cope with single steps at their entrances.Now Konditor is backing Inclusion London’s Disability Justice Project, which supports London DPOs to use the law to make disabled people’s rights to independent living and access to goods and services a reality.Konditor will donate 20p to the project every time it sells one of its most popular cakes over the next six months.Leighton said she had asked Konditor repeatedly to buy ramps for its inaccessible stores.In similar situations, she has taken the service-provider to court, but once the problem reached the company’s head office, she said, “Konditor turned the situation around”.She said: “They fixed the problem, made amends including by selling cakes for the Disability Justice Project, which is a cause close to my heart, and so I look forward to being a loyal customer for many years to come.”Leighton said: “I have an ongoing frustration with high street shops without step-free access, particularly when this can often be fixed with a simple ramp available online for as little as £50.“I am unable to get up even small steps, so this is a barrier which unnecessarily limits me.“Despite the Equality Act 2010 duty being very clear that shops should have ramps, many do not do so.”She added: “I find being denied access to businesses, particularly luxury ones like this, utterly demoralising; it makes me feel like a second-class citizen and it makes me frustrated that 24 years after the law said that ‘reasonable adjustments’ (like a ramp) should be made, that they are not.“I find trying to enforce my rights very difficult, too.“Sometimes I need to go all the way to court (as it’s usually impossible to get lawyers for such cases) and this is costly in time and money, as well as upsetting.“However, it’s often the only way to get this change made, so there isn’t an alternative to ensure I and other disabled people are treated better.“In Konditor’s case, I am really delighted that they made the situation right and this wasn’t necessary.“They’re also keen to share with other businesses the many positives of making changes that ensure a welcome for all people, which makes me happy as it’s improving the world for everyone.” She encouraged other disabled people who are angry at not being able to access a service, even after asking for improvements, to use the law to help bring about change.She said: “You don’t need to be a lawyer to do this, though you do need to have time and be able to deal with sometimes complex paperwork.”Leighton encouraged disabled people to contact Reasonable Access – which supports disabled people who are using the law, particularly the Equality Act 2010, to advance disability rights – if they want to speak to others who are taking such action, and also to contact their local MP.But she said they should also campaign for a more effective enforcement mechanism, and she added: “Changes this basic could be enforced by the local council, for instance, rather than requiring individuals to do it.“That would be better for businesses and disabled people.”Svetlana Kotova, Inclusion London’s Disability Justice Project co-ordinator, said: “Konditor admitted their mistake and took this opportunity to make their shops more accessible. “If other providers of goods and services had similar attitude, everyday experience of many disabled people would be very different.“However, it is important to remember that Konditor took those steps because Esther Leighton explained to them what is required by the duty to make reasonable adjustments.“This shows how much work still needs to be done to ensure providers of goods and services, including small businesses, understand their duties under the Equality Act and comply with it. “We know access is good for everyone and we hope this example will encourage many more businesses to adopt a similar approach.”Paul Cons, Konditor’s chief executive, said: “Until Esther bought this issue to our attention, I’m ashamed to say we had simply not fully considered the needs of our disabled customers or realised what was required of us by law.“This has been a welcome wake-up call for us and we’re glad to have addressed this issue in the business. “Thanks to a passionate campaigner like Esther, we’ve made the changes, but feel she shouldn’t have had to bring it to our attention in the first place.”Picture: One of the three stores Esther Leighton was unable to enter
Apple is in a curious position when it comes to patents. It owns piles of them, and its lawyers regularly deploy them to beat the stuffing out of rival Samsung.But Apple has also filed way more challenges than anyone else at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, a controversial body where companies can try to knock out patents they view as invalid.According to a new report by legal analytics company Lex Machina, Apple filed 252 so-called PTAB challenges since September of 2012, which is nearly 100 more than the second top filer, Samsung. The next most active challengers were Google, then LG, then Microsoft.Why does all this matter? It matters because in recent years the PTAB has become a hotbed of activity thanks to a law that makes it easier for companies to challenge patents. Critics have likened the PTAB to a death squad for patents, and a means for big tech companies to steamroll small inventors.But many others argue that the judges of the PTAB are just applying common sense in kiboshing patents that should never have been granted in the first place. The forum has also been hailed as a useful weapon against a plague of “patent trolls,” which are shell firms that acquire old patents in order to badger companies with nuisance lawsuits.The high profile of Apple at PTAB may provide more grist for this debate since the company is not shy about asserting its own intellectual property, including in a closely watched case with Samsung up for review by the Supreme Court. Apple has also been less vocal than other Silicon Valley companies in calling for patent reform.Apple did not immediately reply to a request for comment.According to Brian Howard, Lex Machina’s chief legal scientist, the report also serves to rebut “alarmist conclusions” about the PTAB’s activities. He pointed to the chart below to show that the board is far from a death squad, and that challengers win only 23 percent of the time:[insert graphic here]Howard says misperceptions about how often the PTAB invalidates patents arise because critics don’t acknowledge that many of the challenges fail at the “institution stage” — meaning the board just throws out the challenges without a formal hearing. He explained that Lex Machina published the report to show off its analytic tools.These tools include data about judges’ experience, the different types of patent challenges and the types of patents being challenged — those related to communications and semiconductor turn up at PTAB most often, while those in the mechanical engineering and biochemistry categories are more rare.“Lex Machina felt there wasn’t a lot of clarity as to what was going on in PTAB,” Howard says. “This reports fits into the long-term desire to show people what you can do with this data, and to inform the controversy as to what role PTAB is playing in the patent word.”The PTAB is about to get more scrutiny still in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to hear a case about how an appeals court should review its decisions. –shares Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Next Article This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine Apple Tries to Kill More Patents Than Any Other Company Add to Queue Jeff John Roberts 3 min read January 22, 2016 Patents Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Register Now »
Image credit: Pavlok Sleep Next Article Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Reporter This Wearable Promises to Get You Out of Bed With Electric Shocks Angela Moscaritolo Heads up, sleepyheads: The team behind the Pavlok wearable wristband, which shocks your bad habits away, is releasing a new device aimed at breaking your love/hate relationship with the snooze button: the Shock Clock.The new band is soliciting funds on Indiegogo, where it has already far surpassed its modest $1,000 goal, raking in more than $18,500 from 177 backers with 21 days left to go in its crowdfunding campaign.”You know the feeling — you set an alarm the night before, sure you’re going to wake up. But when you hear the alarm … and well — you just can’t help hitting the snooze button,” Pavlok wrote on the campaign description. “What if you could get up, effortlessly and naturally, at the time you desired?”With the help of the Shock Clock, you may just become the morning person you’ve always wanted to be. Instead of buzzing an annoying alarm next to your ear right away, the Shock Clock starts with a “silent and gentle” vibration. If that doesn’t work, it will blast a “loud and irritating” beeping sound. And if you ignore the alarm, the Shock Clock will resort to its worst-case scenario: a mild electric shock.”Within a few weeks, you’ll naturally fall asleep earlier and wake up earlier — even if you forget to strap the device on,” the company promises. “Your conversion from night owl to morning person is complete.”Pavlok aims to start shipping the $99 Shock Clock this September, and promised not to turn into vaporware like so many other crowdfunded projects.”Unlike other projects we have a proven product and we have a proven team,” the company wrote. “We have built devices before, and we have already engineered this tech. With IndieGogo’s support, we’ll build the SOFTWARE to make this device the best alarm clock ever.” April 20, 2016 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag –shares Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Add to Queue Register Now »
Add to Queue Reporter July 8, 2016 Angela Moscaritolo –shares Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Image credit: Lyft Premier Lyft Next Article 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Register Now » Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Lyft Launches Premier, Its Version of Uber Select Need to arrive in style? Lyft has you covered.The app-based car service on Thursday launched Lyft Premier, its version of Uber Black, aimed at those with expensive taste. Select Lyft Premier and you’ll be picked up by a high-end sedan or SUV like a BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, Lexus ES, or Cadillac Escalade. Lyft promised to deliver a “high-end experience, every time you ride,” complete with leather seats and a more comfortable interior. Just don’t expect this type of luxury to come cheap. According to CNBC, Premier will cost twice as much as a regular Lyft. Premier drivers will, of course, also make more for every ride.Lyft said it’s launching this new service because “many” customers have requested a more stylish vehicle for business trips and special nights out.At this point, Lyft Premier is only available in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and New York City. Lyft said it plans to launch the service in more cities “soon,” however.If you live in one of the aforementioned areas and want to try it out, Lyft is offering new users a 20 percent discount on their first 10 Premier rides with the code LYFTPREMIER20.Meanwhile, Lyft recently introduced another feature called Scheduled Rides, which lets you reserve a ride up to 24 hours in advance. To try it out, look for the clock icon when you go to reserve a ride, and select a time.