whatsapp whatsapp Thursday 26 August 2010 7:54 pm Tags: NULL Show Comments ▼ KCS-content Scottish media group STV expects its advertising revenue to be up 10 per cent in the third quarter, below the overall TV market, due to weakness in its regional business.The group says it expects the overall TV market to be up 17 per cent in the third quarter but that it was hampered by its regional business which will be down.Turnover in the period was up 20 per cent year-on-year at £50m, while pre-tax profits rose to reach £6m.It is now branching into new markets, including a recent deal with YouTube that will see its content syndicated in exchange for a share of the ad revenue.It will also launch a network of hyper-local news websites in Scotland.Chief executive Rob Woodward told City A.M.: “We’ve been through a turnaround. We are a new company with a clear focus and a new sense of purpose. It has been a very positive beginning to the year. We have a very clear organic strategy mapped out.”ITV said earlier this month that first-half ad revenue was up 18 per cent due to a boost from the World Cup and it is expected to be up around 15 per cent in the third quarter before comparatives with 2009 toughen, making the firm more cautious for the future. STV sees its advertising revenue soar Share Read This Next’A Quiet Place Part II’ Sets Pandemic Record in Debut WeekendFamily ProofHiking Gadgets: Amazon Deals Perfect For Your Next AdventureFamily ProofIndian Spiced Vegetable Nuggets: Recipes Worth CookingFamily ProofAmazon roars for MGM’s lion, paying $8.45 billion for studio behind JamesFamily ProofYoga for Beginners: 3 Different Types of Yoga You Should TryFamily ProofBack on the Rails for Summer New York to New Orleans, Savannah and MiamiFamily ProofTortilla Mango Cups: Recipes Worth CookingFamily ProofWhat to Know About ‘Loki’ Ahead of Disney+ Premier on June 9Family ProofCheese Crostini: Delicious Recipes Worth CookingFamily Proof by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeBetterBe20 Stunning Female AthletesBetterBeTotal PastThe Ingenious Reason There Are No Mosquitoes At Disney WorldTotal PastTaonga: The Island FarmThe Most Relaxing Farm Game of 2021. No InstallTaonga: The Island FarmHero WarsBig Boss of internet games!Hero Warsmoneycougar.comThis Proves The Osmonds Weren’t So Innocentmoneycougar.cominvesting.comCanceled TV Shows Announced: Full Updated Listinvesting.comAll Things Auto | Search AdsNew Cadillac’s Finally On SaleAll Things Auto | Search AdsMisterStoryWoman Files For Divorce After Seeing This Photo – Can You See Why?MisterStorythedelite.comNetflix Cancellations And Renewals: The Full List For 2021thedelite.com
Show Comments ▼ ED Miliband yesterday hit out at plans to axe child benefit for higher rate taxpayers, in a round of Prime Minister’s Questions that saw the Labour leader emerge as a clear victor. Facing David Cameron at the dispatch box for the first time since becoming Labour leader, Miliband said hundreds of thousands of families with one stay at home parent would be unfairly affected by the plans. He said: “Hundreds of thousands of families… are asking this: why should a family on £45,000 where one person stays at home lose their child benefit… but a family on £80,000 where both partners in a couple are working should keep their child benefit?” Miliband, who had been expected to perform badly by some Tory strategists, said the changes would amount to a 6p rise in income tax for a family with three children on a post-tax income of £33,000, who would lose £2,500 under the plans. Cameron retorted that Miliband had “suddenly discovered” middle-income families, who he said were hammered by Gordon Brown, and claimed that “Red Ed” owed his job to the trade unions. However, the Prime Minister was visibly rattled by Miliband and put in a much less assured performance than normal. by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeMisterStoryWoman Files For Divorce After Seeing This Photo – Can You See Why?MisterStoryTotal PastThe Ingenious Reason There Are No Mosquitoes At Disney WorldTotal PastMoneyPailShe Was The Dream Girl In The 90s, This Is Her NowMoneyPailSerendipity TimesInside Coco Chanel’s Eerily Abandoned Mansion Frozen In TimeSerendipity TimesBrake For ItThe Most Worthless Cars Ever MadeBrake For ItBetterBe20 Stunning Female AthletesBetterBemoneycougar.comThis Proves The Osmonds Weren’t So Innocentmoneycougar.comMagellan TimesThis Is Why The Roy Rogers Museum Has Been Closed For GoodMagellan TimesTaonga: The Island FarmThe Most Relaxing Farm Game of 2021. No InstallTaonga: The Island Farm Tags: NULL Wednesday 13 October 2010 8:32 pm Share whatsapp whatsapp Labour slams benefit plans Read This NextRicky Schroder Calls Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl ‘Ignorant Punk’ forThe WrapCNN’s Brian Stelter Draws Criticism for Asking Jen Psaki: ‘What Does theThe WrapDid Donald Trump Wear His Pants Backwards? Kriss Kross Memes Have AlreadyThe WrapHarvey Weinstein to Be Extradited to California to Face Sexual AssaultThe Wrap’Sex and the City’ Sequel Series at HBO Max Adds 4 More ReturningThe WrapPink Floyd’s Roger Waters Denies Zuckerberg’s Request to Use Song in Ad:The Wrap’The View’: Meghan McCain Calls VP Kamala Harris a ‘Moron’ for BorderThe WrapNewsmax Rejected Matt Gaetz When Congressman ‘Reached Out’ for a JobThe Wrap2 HFPA Members Resign Citing a Culture of ‘Corruption and Verbal Abuse’The Wrap KCS-content
LONDON’S five-star hotel market is set to take off over the next six months and a septuagenarian Maltese businessman called Alfred Pisani will be at the heart of the glamorous action.His £300m luxury Corinthia Hotel London, on Whitehall Place, is being completed and will take its first paying guests in April 2011. It is all part of a major trend for London, with a raft of other top hotels either coming back into service after extensive refurbishment or opening their doors for the first time. They include last month’s reopening of the Savoy on the Strand after a £220m multi-year refurbishment, as well as the new Hotel Verta, which comes complete with its own heliport in Battersea, W London on Leicester Square, and the reopening of the Four Seasons on Park Lane after a £70m makeover. All are slated to take guests by the first half of next year. Although the London luxury hotel market is set to become more crowded over the coming months, Pisani, who is chairman of the International Hotel Investments (IHI), which owns eight hotels (including London) and manages another 13, which stretch from Tripoli to Prague, is in no doubt why he is in the capital.“London is a great city,” says a relaxed but watchful Pisani. “It is still the financial centre of the world. It has people from all over the globe living here. And its cultural attractions have a strong pull.” Pisani, who comes from a wealthy Maltese family, is sitting in a suite in the Royal Horseguards Hotel, off Whitehall, with his back to his own hotel, which is just across the road. I have just come back from a tour of the site, which is busy with 1,500 builders working around the clock to rebuild the large Victorian building that had been the Metropole Hotel from 1885 until it closed in 1936. It was then taken over as a Ministry of Defence (MoD) building until three years ago.But the MoD moved out and the Crown Estates put the building up for sale in November 2007. Thirty bidders were whittled down to just one. “Crown Estates liked our plans to restore the building, which they thought would help regenerate the area,” says Pisani. The IHI chairman, who had spent five years looking for a site for a London hotel, signed the freehold for the building in April 2008.On opening day the hotel will boast 294 rooms including 45 suites as well as 12 private apartments. Among the hotel’s features will be an Italian and a British restaurant, a grand ballroom and a four-floor spa. Rooms will start from £400 a night, while suites will range from £2,500 to £15,000 a night. But if those prices seem steep, Pisani believes he is offering value for money.He says: “Our standard rooms are 45 sq metres, the largest rooms in their class in London. When the Metropole opened in 1885 it had 500 rooms. Our hotel will have 294 rooms. So you can see we are offering our guests more space even though land costs much more.”IHI holds an equal share in the hotel as part of a consortium, which also includes Nakheel Hotels of Dubai and the state-backed Libyan Foreign Investment Company.Pisani also thinks the rebounding London hotel market can afford these prices. He says: “This year and in 2009 rates and occupancy levels have been quite staggering.” A Deloitte survey last month found that average room rates in the capital had increased by 15.6 per cent over the previous three months. Pisani says that although the industry was hit by the financial crisis and recession, it was mid market hotels that were squeezed hardest, with the top end holding up well and budget hotels benefitting from guests trading down.The IHI boss predicts by the end of next year rates for five-star hotels will have risen back above the pre-crisis peaks of 2007.However, Pisani is aware that over the last two years guests have turned up to even luxury hotels and were confident of getting a discount. But he thinks that discounting is beginning to return to more normal levels.He says: “Generally our policy is to try and hold rates. But it is something you are always weighing up – the balance between rates and occupancy. It is a fine consideration.”Pisani says he was confident that signing the deal to buy the site at the start of the financial crisis would not prove a mortal blow for the project. But there was a minor knock on effect for the financing of his hotel. A consortium of banks led by Barclays was due to finance the venture at a spilt of 40 per cent equity and 60 per cent loans. After the crash this was changed to a 50/50 spilt, which delayed the project “for a few months”. The IHI boss is convinced the firm’s management style and attention to detail will make his hotel stand out and allow it to shrug off the competition.He points out that the only two fully completed bedrooms in his new hotel have so far had 27 people stay in them overnight, and as a result the layout of the rooms have been changed seven times. Also the marble in the bathroom comes from Carrara in Tuscany, where Michelangelo also sourced his. The marble for each bathroom was boxed on site so when it was fitted in London the grain in each room will be consistent.As regards management style, Pisani says his hotels aim for something that is “intimate” but not intrusive.He explains: “We don’t want too many ‘good mornings’ and ‘how are you’s?’ It feels too artificial. That can be part of the difference between feeling cold or comfortable in a hotel. We want the customer to feel relaxed in our hotels. It’s an intangible but you can feel it. Just like when you open an oven you can’t see the heat but you can feel it.”IHI’s London development is more than just another hotel for the group, which derives its turnover via a roughly equal mixture of management fees from running the hotels of other owners and revenue from its own hotels.Pisani hopes the London hotel will act as “a shop window” and that other owners will see and like the way his company operates. The hope is that this will attract more management business. The hotelier says: “Building your own hotels takes a lot of capital investment. We want to offer the services of our management company to other hotel owners. Once we get this moving we can shift the pace of our growth.” Last year IHI, which employs 6,000 staff, swung to a pre-tax loss of €1.6m (£1.36m) from a profit of €22.3m the year before. Sales also slipped 19 per cent to €103m. The firm has a market value of around €426m on the Maltese stock exchange, although the group complains its property portfolio is worth €1bn and a more liquid index would reflect that. The firm blamed the falls on an 18.6 per cent drop in revenues per available room in Europe, which plunged to 35 per cent in central Europe, where it owns three properties. Pisani, the second of four brothers, has long been the driving force behind the family-led business. His father held stakes in a matchbox factory and a flourmill in Malta, as well as a third property. After his father died Pisani borrowed $20,000 and built a restaurant. “But I didn’t see myself doing that for the rest of my life,” he says. And in 1964, when the island won independence from the UK, he saw the potential for tourism, borrowed $2.5m and built a 156-room hotel alongside the restaurant.He says: “I promised the bank I would put all my hard work into it. If I failed I would lose everything.”Two years later – in 1968 – the hotel opened, the gamble paid off, and that was the start of the Pisani family’s hotel empire. And at 71, Alfred Pisani’s latest move shows that he can still keep his nerve in heavy weather. The battle for London’s top hotel customers is about to get much tougher.CV | ALFRED PISANIAge: 71Work: The four brothers, led by Alfred, sold the stakes their late father had in a flourmill and a match factory and invested them in a restaurant in Malta, which opened in 1962. They then invested in a 156-room hotel on the same site, which opened in 1968. International Hotel Investments was floated on the Maltese stock exchange in 2000. He is chairman and CEO of the group, which owns eight hotels and manages a further 13. Education: St Edward’s College: “It was a strict catholic boarding school. I went there from seven to 16. And then I went to work for the family business.” Lives: Malta Tags: NULL Share whatsapp The man who is set to bring more luxury to London’s five-star hotels Sunday 14 November 2010 10:06 pm More From Our Partners A ProPublica investigation has caused outrage in the U.S. this weekvaluewalk.comPolice Capture Elusive Tiger Poacher After 20 Years of Pursuing the Huntergoodnewsnetwork.orgFort Bragg soldier accused of killing another servicewoman over exthegrio.comBrave 7-Year-old Boy Swims an Hour to Rescue His Dad and Little Sistergoodnewsnetwork.orgKansas coach fired for using N-word toward Black playerthegrio.comAstounding Fossil Discovery in California After Man Looks Closelygoodnewsnetwork.orgFans call out hypocrisy as Tebow returns to NFL while Kaepernick is still outthegrio.comNative American Tribe Gets Back Sacred Island Taken 160 Years Agogoodnewsnetwork.orgRussell Wilson, AOC among many voicing support for Naomi Osakacbsnews.com Ad Unmute by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeTotal PastThe Ingenious Reason There Are No Mosquitoes At Disney WorldTotal PastUndoSerendipity TimesInside Coco Chanel’s Eerily Abandoned Mansion Frozen In TimeSerendipity TimesUndomoneycougar.comThis Proves The Osmonds Weren’t So Innocentmoneycougar.comUndoTaonga: The Island FarmThe Most Relaxing Farm Game of 2021. 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whatsapp Virgin Media added a solid number of new customers in the fourth quarter and extracted record customer spend, helping it to post its best ever full-year financial results.Virgin Media, which competes with BT and BSkyB to provide broadband, telephony and pay-TV, said it added 17,100 net new subscribers in the last three months of the year.Cable customer net additions for the full year were 76,600, up from 17,600 for 2009, due to good demand for broadband.It sold 44,100 new broadband products to customers and 12,100 new TV services, taking the average revenue per user up 4.9 per cent to a new record £47.51pThe strong operating performance helped Virgin Media to post quarterly revenues over 1 billion pounds for the first time.Fourth quarter revenue was up 6.6 per cent to £1bn, ahead of a company supplied poll forecasting £992m, operating cash flow was up 9.9 per cent to £404m, also ahead of forecasts.“A strong financial performance combined with the launch of a number of market leading product developments ensured 2010 was a year of great achievement for Virgin Media,” Chief Executive Neil Berkett said.“We have driven our consumer division to its highest ever rate of revenue growth, maintained robust cost control and delivered our best ever financial year.” John Dunne whatsapp Share Thursday 17 February 2011 2:51 am Show Comments ▼ Ad Unmute by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeMisterStoryWoman Files For Divorce After Seeing This Photo – Can You See Why?MisterStoryUndoMoneyPailShe Was A Star, Now She Works In ScottsdaleMoneyPailUndoPeople TodayNewborn’s Strange Behavior Troubles Mom, 40 Years Later She Finds The Reason Behind ItPeople TodayUndoTotal PastThe Ingenious Reason There Are No Mosquitoes At Disney WorldTotal PastUndoSerendipity TimesInside Coco Chanel’s Eerily Abandoned Mansion Frozen In TimeSerendipity TimesUndoBrake For ItThe Most Worthless Cars Ever MadeBrake For ItUndoBetterBe20 Stunning Female AthletesBetterBeUndoZen HeraldNASA’s Voyager 2 Has Entered Deep Space – And It Brought Scientists To Their KneesZen HeraldUndomoneycougar.comThis Proves The Osmonds Weren’t So Innocentmoneycougar.comUndo More From Our Partners Fans call out hypocrisy as Tebow returns to NFL while Kaepernick is still outthegrio.comNative American Tribe Gets Back Sacred Island Taken 160 Years Agogoodnewsnetwork.orgPorsha Williams engaged to ex-husband of ‘RHOA’ co-star Falynn Guobadiathegrio.comRussell Wilson, AOC among many voicing support for Naomi Osakacbsnews.comColin Kaepernick to publish book on abolishing the policethegrio.comPolice Capture Elusive Tiger Poacher After 20 Years of Pursuing the Huntergoodnewsnetwork.orgLA news reporter doesn’t seem to recognize actor Mark Currythegrio.comAstounding Fossil Discovery in California After Man Looks Closelygoodnewsnetwork.orgBrave 7-Year-old Boy Swims an Hour to Rescue His Dad and Little Sistergoodnewsnetwork.orgMan on bail for murder arrested after pet tiger escapes Houston homethegrio.comFlorida woman allegedly crashes children’s birthday party, rapes teennypost.comKansas coach fired for using N-word toward Black playerthegrio.comKiller drone ‘hunted down a human target’ without being told tonypost.comA ProPublica investigation has caused outrage in the U.S. this weekvaluewalk.comSupermodel Anne Vyalitsyna claims income drop, pushes for child supportnypost.comFort Bragg soldier accused of killing another servicewoman over exthegrio.comMark Eaton, former NBA All-Star, dead at 64nypost.comInside Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ not-so-average farmhouse estatenypost.com Virgin posts strongest full-year results Tags: NULL
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Regions: Europe Nordics Norway Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter GiG set to appeal ruling over TV presenter ‘agreement’ 14th December 2018 | By contenteditor Tags: Online Gambling Topics: Legal & compliance Email Address Legal & compliance Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) is set to appeal a Norwegian court ruling ordering it to hand over 3.4 million shares to a company owned by a television presenter.Hallvard Flatland, one of the most famous faces on Norwegian TV screens, claimed that he had been promised a stake in GiG in exchange for carrying out work on behalf of the operator. It was also alleged that Flatland had been promised a role on the board of directors.GiG board member Helge Nielsen responded to the ruling by telling the Dagens Næringsliv news service: “We are very surprised. I can only see that we are going to appeal this case.”Flatland alleged that an oral agreement was reached with a GiG board member at a meeting in April 2015.The only written evidence put forward to support Flatland’s claims was from the TV personality’s notebook from the meeting. The company’s lawyer, Rustan Knudsen, insisted there was a “lack of evidence” in the case.However, the Bergen District Court (pictured) ordered GiG to transfer the shares – worth around NOK8.5m (£790,000/€880,000/$990,000) in today’s value – to Flatland’s Euro TV company within two weeks. Reports from the court also said that GiG would have to pay costs of NOK500,000.GiG’s share price on the Oslo Stock Exchange fell by nearly 5% in the immediate aftermath of the announcement, but soon recovered. The company has always maintained that whilst talks with Flatland did take place, no agreement was reached.In its judgement, the court said that Flatland had “reasonable grounds” to believe the agreement had come into force on April 30, as “GIG’s actions and omissions had created a legitimate expectation of that from Flatland’s side”.The company said in a statement released to investors: “GiG disagrees with the court’s ruling and will now assess whether to appeal the judgement together with its legal advisers.”In its annual report for 2017, GiG revealed that it had “challenged whether Norwegian courts have jurisdiction to rule on this matter”. No allowance for a possible defeat in the case had been made by GiG in its accounts as of December 31 last year.Flatland told the court in October that he had expected to play a “John Carew” role at GiG, focusing on the company’s services in Norway. Carew is a retired Norwegian national team footballer.Following the judgement, he insisted that the case should never have reached court.“It was not the money that was the most important thing for me in this case,” he said. “The point is that I do not like it when people do not stand by agreements they have entered into.“They could have just phoned me so we could find a solution that satisfied us both. It’s just nonsense that it ended up in court.”Picture credit: Wolfmann Companies: GiG Norwegian court ruled operator had agreed to hand over stake in company to TV presenter
13th May 2020 | By contenteditor Topics: Legal & compliance Dutch licensees will be required to start from scratch when they launch in the country’s regulated igaming market, with the use of customer data gathered from any activity in the unregulated market prohibited. Dekker: Dutch licensees must rebuild customer databases Regions: Europe Western Europe Netherlands Dutch licensees will be required to start from scratch when they launch in the country’s regulated igaming market, with the use of customer data gathered from any activity in the unregulated market prohibited.Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker confirmed this rule in the latest round of questions submitted by members of parliament regarding the Remote Gaming Act.This saw the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) raise concerns about how the legislation would successfully attract players to legal offerings, considering there was an estimated 1m already gambling via unlicensed sites.Dekker said that whether a company had previously offered its services illegally to Dutch consumers could result in licence applications being rejected, unless the operator in question had ceased doing so for at least two and a half years.Any customer data collected during previous operations must not be used once they secure a licence, the minister added. This, he said, was down to the fact that the Remote Gambling Act sets out strict operating conditions for the industry, and any data not collected under these conditions would be eligible to be used.However, Dekker admitted that with all operators effectively starting with no customers, this may have some impact on channelisation rates in the short-term.The Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), meanwhile, queried whether the continued presence of some providers that refused to comply with the current prohibition of igaming would undermine efforts to create a secure regulated market.Dekker, however, argued that the implementation of the Remote Gambling Act would make it easier to tackle these operators. The country’s gambling regulator, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), will gain additional powers once the act comes into force from January 2021.This will see it have the power to issue binding orders to suppliers such as payment service providers, advertising partners and media businesses to stop providing services to these illegal operators.The Minister also looked to assuage fears that a wider igaming offering would shift players from low-risk forms of gambling such as lotteries to products that are seen to create a greater risk of problem gambling. Dekker said there would be a clear separation between lotteries and other igaming products – which must be offered on separate sites – to mitigate this risk.He also admitted that the phrase “excessive participation in games of chance” – which has been used to understand risky gambling behaviour that can lead to gambling addiction – needs to be reviewed. While operators are required to set out their player protection strategies as part of their licence applications, Dekker said more clarity was needed to determine what this phrase actually means.The Remote Gaming Act is to come into force from January next year, with the market to open for business from 1 July. Legal & compliance Tags: Mobile Online Gambling AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitter Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter Email Address
Enter Your Email Address Alan Oscroft | Tuesday, 14th January, 2020 | More on: ELM MCB Image source: Getty Images Shares in McBride (LSE: MCB) slumped 18% Tuesday morning, after downgrading its full-year expectations based on first-half performance. The maker of cleaning and hygiene products now expects adjusted pre-tax profit to come in around 15% below the current market consensus.A slowdown in the final two months of the period have impacted revenues, and the firm also blamed the fall partly on its decision to exit UK aerosol manufacture in the fourth quarter of the previous year.5G is here – and shares of this ‘sleeping giant’ could be a great way for you to potentially profit!According to one leading industry firm, the 5G boom could create a global industry worth US$12.3 TRILLION out of thin air…And if you click here we’ll show you something that could be key to unlocking 5G’s full potential…Net debt at 31 December came in at £113.5m, down from £120m six months previously (excluding any IFRS 16 effect), and the firm says it is “comfortably within all of its banking covenants.” But those covenants don’t seem too strict, allowing net debt-to-EBITDA to reach as high as three times (according to McBride’s last full-year results statement), so I certainly would not dismiss that debt as a concern.InternationalOne thing I do like about McBride in these times of domestic economic troubles is its international diversification, with only 26% of its £673m revenue coming from the UK — though that UK revenue is 5.6% higher than the prior year.So what do I think about McBride as an investment? Well, a low P/E of nine, and well covered dividend yields of around 4.2% make it look attractive… until I remember debt. That £113.5m is equivalent to 93% of the firm’s market cap, which suggests that we’re looking at a debt-free equivalent P/E of around 17.In turbulent times, I do like global diversification, but I don’t like debt. And I also don’t like to see big dividends paid by indebted companies in low-margin businesses, so I’m out.ChemicalsShares in Elementis (LSE: ELM) also suffered an 18% fall when the market opened, pulling back to a 12% shortfall by mid-morning. That continues a sharp slump that started on 2 January, and Elementis shares are now down 23% over 12 months and 47% over two years.The reason this time is a new profit warning from the speciality chemicals firm, which now says it expects adjusted operating profit for 2019 of between $122m and $124m, well below 2018’s $133m.Chief executive Paul Waterman told us that 2019 performance was “negatively impacted by a challenging market backdrop as the more cyclically exposed parts of the portfolio like Chromium and Energy have deteriorated through H2.”That does show some of the risk with companies like this (and with commodities stocks in general), that they’re exposed to economic cycles and to world prices over which they have no control.TurnaroundEarnings at Elementis have been under pressure for a few years, and analysts had been expecting a 17% EPS drop for 2019. It’s likely to be a bit worse than that now, but a 9% uptick forecast for 2020 would give us a P/E for Elementis shares of around 12 (with a further earnings rise forecast for 2021 of 11% dropping it to 11).I’d find that attractive, except for one thing… that dreaded debt. At the halfway stage at 30 June, net debt stood at $509m. That represented a net debt-to-pro forma adjusted EBITDA of 2.8x, although the firm expected that to drop to 2.4x by year-end.I think Elementis could be a long-term buy, but I want to see more debt reduction first — get that ratio below 2x and I might be interested. See all posts by Alan Oscroft Click here to claim your copy now — and we’ll tell you the name of this Top US Share… free of charge! 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Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter You are a creative writer, always engaging us in your words. I am happy for you that your works are finally being published!God bless all your endeavors. charles towne charles towne Reply charles towne 30 COMMENTS You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address here Linda Scott Charles, Once again your story has brought to life the reality of what we must all face as we go through life. We often set out on scouting parties only to find ourselves face to face with what we think will be a “kill or be killed” situation, only to find that there is commonality in our “enemy” and given the opportunity, we might make a friend if we don’t get trigger happy. Also, the image of both camps being oblivious to the events unfolding says much about our family and friends… not intentionally, but just unaware as we are often out of sight at the greatest time of need. I am so thankful for our Heavenly Father and His Son that are always watchful over us, even when we don’t see or feel them. Peace be with you my Brother!! Mark Spurling Nicole, you are too generous in your approbation. “Hawk” just seems like a good name for a writer and the fact that you like it is proof positive that I chose well. May our Holy friend hold you and keep you close is my prayer. Your friend, Hawk Lassiter Dear Linda, all he is, just an old bird! I am pleased that you enjoyed the story. You take care and may Papa God bless you and yours, Chaz Don Young Reply October 16, 2018 at 10:46 am Reply October 14, 2018 at 1:21 pm Reply The Anatomy of Fear CSG Great story from the man with many names (Charles, Chuck, Chaz and now Hawk). I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and look forward to reading your book. Keep those creative juices lubricated with midnight oil flowing. Papa God has blessed you with a talent that you obviously do not intend to waste. charles towne Reply October 15, 2018 at 9:03 pm Reply Reply October 20, 2018 at 5:02 pm October 14, 2018 at 12:36 pm October 14, 2018 at 11:53 am October 15, 2018 at 4:29 pm Dear CSG, your words are high praise indeed. The thing is, I have a fatal disease. It is called, Hypergraphia, or, as the Roman poet Juvenal called it, “the midnight disease.” It reveals itself by an insatiable desire to write. In other words, I cannot NOT write, so if some of it comes across as legible, praise Papa God. May you have a blessed life with Jesus in it. Always your friend, Chaz Thanks Donnie, this short story is unrelated to my western that is at the publishers. That will be a trilogy of which my book, HORSES WITH NO NAMES will be the first. Going the traditional publishing route is definitely more difficult but will pay off with great dividends in the end. Blessings my friend, Chaz Wonderful! You are a great story teller. You write beautifully. I always either learn or reinforce something I already knew in you articles. Keep them coming. Reply Reply October 14, 2018 at 10:18 pm George Fun story. Too bad there were too few of those in the past and fewer now. Ernest Bursey Rick, I will be sure to mention your request to Hawk. What I can tell you is that I wish a pox on all editors that think they can walk on water! You take care pal, Chaz charles towne Reply Reply October 14, 2018 at 8:04 am Ernie, it is one of those “could be” stories, with just enough truth to make us reflect. Many time I have asked myself, “What if” or have said, “it could happen,” and at that point I have to ask, “if it did happen what would be the results?” Imagine that our young friend, Phineas, or Buck, kills the young Indian and runs back to the cavalry patrol and gives his report. They advance and wipe out the indian braves in pitched battle. One of the indians is a principle war chief whose presence is needed at The Little Bighorn and the battle never happens. What would have been the result? There are a lot of “what if” moments in life aren’t there? Sort of makes me think of the butterfly effect? Chaz Don Lindsey Yes NH, I am happy with it all except for the fact that the traditional publishing route is so slow. Just knowing that it has been accepted and is in the works is great. Keep writing, never give up. It aint over till its over! Blessings on you all. Chaz October 15, 2018 at 1:56 pm October 17, 2018 at 9:56 pm Wonderful story! I for one can’t wait until it’s past publishing and on the market! D.L October 15, 2018 at 3:17 am Judith, your observation is accurate. writing creatively allows one to occasionally slip in to another, an alternate dimension, or reality. We hear of actors living a part so thoroughly that they deceive themselves and become that character, usually to their long term detriment. I have known of those that tell a lie over and over again until, as the bible tells us, “and they believe a lie.” I find it enjoyable taking those brief sojourns into fantasy, but then I must remember to return into reality. Never forget, that the escape is temporary, but…with some can almost serve as their drug of choice. Ahh, and now you know my secret. As to, HORSES WITH NO NAMES, traditional publishishing is agonizingly slow, therefore I don’t expect to see anything in print for at least another year, and that is reality. Praise God that it is happening. Thanks for the observation. Blessings dear one, Chaz Such an enjoyable tale of good will when there is very little to go around.Also happy to hear your story is at the publishers..Congrats Charles! You are an inspiration to all of us. Charles, I love your pen name Hawk Lassiter. This story was a great example/sample of yet another type of writing you are gifted with. And true to your form, it has a love story imbedded within it! Not sure I spelled that correctly. Keep up the good work and creativity. October 19, 2018 at 2:40 pm October 15, 2018 at 7:54 am Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Reply charles towne I love your pen name, Hawk! Very fitting! A hawk sees things that not many others see or see but don’t comprehend any real significance in what they saw. I was right there with baited breath when the youngsters surprised each other! Even if it was not something that actually happened it easily could have. And teaches the adults in the room that war has to be taught. Children aren’t normally aggressive!Thanks, again for the lessons you teach through the gift Our Heavenly Father has given you!Scripture says to those who have been given much, much will be required, which seems like you have and continue to fulfill. But along with the admonition is the encouragement, the one that uses wisely what they are given will be given more! That’s from the parable of the talents. Your niece, Linda Herbert Weissman Reply Reply Hi Hawk, I really enjoyed this story. Felt like I was right there with Buck and the young Indian. An uplifting tale. I’m guessing there have been moment in human encounters like this, or at least I like to think so. As you probably do, too. Like your other readers, I am looking forward to the publishing of your book. George, I am glad you enjoyed my tale. I hope that there will be many more of them, and there will be if Papa God is willing and the creek don’t rise. You take care pal, Chaz Richard charles towne October 14, 2018 at 3:03 am InspirationA tale of the old westBy Charles TowneWriting asHawk LassiterThe date was June 24th, 1876, a significant date in the history of the west when the Sioux nation was coming together at a place in Montana called, The Little Bighorn.Phineas Buckman or, “Buck” as he was known to his friends, was a 17-year-old private in the U.S. Army.He was part of a contingent of cavalry, two companies to be exact, sent west to help settle the Indian affair in as expeditious a manner as possible.At the moment he was riding front for the small, eleven-man cavalry patrol.The Major in charge, a stern man in his mid-forties had sent Buck to check the terrain ahead.The Major, Indicating a tall rocky hill some three miles to their front said, “Private Buckman, I want you to ride ahead and glass the area on the opposite side of that hill. Be careful not to skyline yourself and take care that you don’t raise any dust. We should reach you shortly and you can report when next we see you.”Following this brief exchange, the Major threw the young soldier a faint smile as he said in a low voice, “and private, be very careful. We know there are hostiles about and I can’t afford to lose a man, even if he is a green private!”Phineas Buckman, private, grinned as he snapped a parade perfect salute at his Major, and with a respectful “Yes sir!” he reined his horse around and began cantering toward the distant objective.Anyone not familiar with the situation or the relationship between the Major and the young private would have had to miss the similarity in the two men’s appearances not to understand the veiled meaning in the Major’s words and his smile. Both men were lithe, of medium height, with dark, almost black hair except for a hint of red. Each of them had piercing blue eyes that seemed to flash with a fire and life quite disconcerting to some.The Major’s name was Magellan Buckman and he was the young private’s father. Nobody called him Magellan or Buck, just “Major” with a “sir” attached.Understanding his son’s passion to follow his father’s lead in the military the Major had arranged for Buck to join him on the frontier.This would be a good experience for his son and it would not hurt his chances for advancement once he was enrolled in officer candidate school at the military academy at West Point.Now, knowing that the various tribes could erupt into open warfare at any time, he was having misgivings. He would never forgive himself, nor would the boy’s mother if anything were to happen to her darling.“Oh well, it’s too late now.” He thought, “We’ll just have to avoid trouble if at all possible.”He knew that if they were to have the misfortune to run into a large war party about the only thing they could do would be to either run for it or hunker down and holdthem off and hope that help would arrive, and as thin as their forces were that might take days.During his time on the frontier, he had learned a lot about the enemy and he had come to respect them, not just as a people, but and as damned good, if not exceptional, fighting men.The generals such as Custer were badly mistaken if they thought they could run roughshod over the Indians.As he sat there on his horse watching his son’s back as he rode away he thought of that damned fool Custer who at that very moment was moving toward the Little Bighorn with the idea that he could eradicate the Indian problem with a force of a couple hundred men. Yes, Custer was a fool with his golden hair and his hopes of glory. If he wasn’t careful that long hair of his could possibly decorate some warrior’s lodge.When the Major had been given his orders they were simple, “scout the area, avoid trouble and report back in one piece!”Well, they were scouting the area. The big question was whether they could get back in one piece to give that report.Just that day they had crossed the trails of several large bands of Indians, all traveling in the same general direction, North and North West, toward the Little Big Horn RiverYoung Phineas Buckman rode warily.He had learned enough about the country to know that though the ground might seem flat and level there were arroyos and swales, dry river courses and even canyons that were not evident until suddenly you were looking down into them, each of them large enough to conceal a sizable war party.Buck loved the country and he had, after listening to his father formed an opinion of the Indian based on great respect.He had left the patrol far behind. When he glanced back they appeared small in the distance.As much as possible he followed a straight line only deviating from his course when he dropped down into the occasional dry creek or arroyo.His destination, the “hill” that dominated the terrain was actually more a small mountain that what one would generally call a hill. Unlike the Rockies in the west, it was similar to those ancient mountains he had seen in Georgia and Tennessee.He moved forward and eventually reached the base of the “hill” and started to climb. It was easy going for his horse and the well-behaved animal moved forward onlyoccasionally deviating from his destination when a house size boulder obstructed his path.Nearing the top Buck dismounted and tied the reins to a low bush and drawing his Spencer carbine from its boot he checked its action and then began climbing toward the summit a short distance ahead.He was close. Once he stopped, his senses alert. He thought he had heard something, perhaps a rolling stone. Ever vigilant, he listened. He heard a dove in the distance, a very natural sound, then, silence again.He had heard that the Indians at times imitated bird and animal sounds as a means of communicating but hewas sure the dove was in simply that, a dove.Cautiously he approached a large boulder on his hands and knees, and then, silently, he lowered himself to the ground and belly crawled forward, the carbine across his arms.His intent was to look to the other side from the very base of the boulder.Buck knew enough from hunting mule deer to never simply rise up and look over a hill.That is what the captain meant when he had told him not to skyline himself. Any sort of movement on a ridge or a hill could be seen for a long distance.Buck was smiling, thinking about his father, the captain as he raised his head and got the surprise of his life.There, no more than an arm’s length ahead of him, staring into his eyes, as surprised as himself, was the painted face of an Indian warrior.The two men, each a soldier, enemies, stared at each other, unmoving.Buck could see that the Indian was roughly his own age and he also noticed in sharp detail that the war lance was poised, ready to plunge into Bucks’ chest.As Buck had moved forward to his vantage point at the base of the boulder he had brought the barrel of his Spencer forward until now, quite inadvertently, it was pointed into the Indian’s face.All it would take would be for one of them to move and there would be blood. They lay like that for what seemed like the longest time. At such times seconds can seem like hours and minutes become days.Unmoving, they watched each other.Strangely, Buck had never felt so alive than as at that moment, and yet he felt the proximity of death almost as a living breathing entity.He could kill or be killed and in the great scheme of life what would it matter?He could look over to the other side of the hill and there, down below, was a war party of perhaps a dozen warriors.While Buck was looking at the war party down below the brave could look in the distance and see the approaching cavalrymen.They looked back at each other and then Buck did something totally uncalled for, even a bit strange under the circumstances, he smiled.For a moment the brave’s eyes grew large in surprise, and then he grinned.The young Indian slowly took his right hand from his spear shaft and pushed it toward Buck, palm forward.Buck recognized the gesture.Without a spoken word, the Indian was declaring peace.Buck continued to smile as he raised his right hand, palm, outward toward the other man in that sign so familiar to him.The brave, moving slowly, reached to his waist and pulled forth a sheathed knife, the sheath beautifully decorated with porcupine quills. While he was doing this he never took his eyes from Buck’s face, never stopped smiling.He pushed the sheathed knife toward Buck handle first, and then with his other hand, he pointed at the knife and then at Buck. A gift!Buck hesitated only for a moment and then he reached to his own waist and removed the hunting knife that his father had given him for his birthday.Taking his knife by it’s sheathe he offered it to the Indian.The young man’s face lit up with pleasure at the gift.Buck glanced back toward the patrol and then at the Indian and then with a last smile he began to slide back down the hill the way he had come.“Well private, do you have anything to report?” His father, the Major, asked when he rejoined the patrol.“Yes sir, a band of Indians, perhaps fifty of them sir, two, maybe three miles distant. They are traveling North West sir, toward the Little Big Horn”“Hmm, that many?” Mused the captain. “Well, we better not lock horns with a group that large. I believe that we have found out what we need to know. Good work private.” And then as an aside to his son, he said, “unless I miss my guess, General George Armstrong Custer is about to have that moment of glory he’s been searching for.”As the patrol turned and headed back to the fort Buck glanced back one last time, back at the top of the hill, wondering if he had done the right thing, but in his heart, he knew he had. Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life. Reply Mama Mia October 20, 2018 at 10:40 am Reply October 14, 2018 at 8:47 am A great story, Hawk Lassiter! Who doesn’t love the wild wild west? I’m up late tonight, catching up on some things, and I’m the first to comment on your writings this Sunday, lol. Take care Hawk! Reply Please enter your comment! Don ol’ pal ol’ buddy ol’ chum, It is so nice seeing your comment! Are you staying warm out there in Kansas? Blessings on you and yours, Chaz Nicole Please enter your name here Mark my friend, most of us don’t see because we are not looking. We blunder through life as blind men, not blind in the sense of not seeing with our eyes, but a blindness bought on by indifference. God bless you and yours pal, Chaz NH October 15, 2018 at 8:18 am October 15, 2018 at 6:05 pm charles towne Reply Mike McFadden Reply Reply October 14, 2018 at 4:37 pm Reply October 14, 2018 at 3:46 pm charles towne charles towne Support conservation and fish with NEW Florida specialty license plate Reply October 16, 2018 at 1:42 am Reply Reply October 17, 2018 at 4:17 pm charles towne Reply charles towne kristin A heart warming story my friend! A shining example of when humanity trumps animosity, it reminds me of “the christmas miracle” of WW I, more proof that the Holy Spirit can change hearts in an instant! Also, speaking of Little Big Horn, I just read an article about Annie Oakley which said that Sitting Bull saw her shoot and was so impressed by her skill, he adopted her and gave her the Sioux name “Watanya Cecilia” which means, “little sure shot!”. Anyway, thanks for the story, keep them coming, and tell Hawk to let us know when the book comes out! My friend Herb, thanks so very much for the kind words. I have to give credit where credit is due, “All good things come from God so if my gift is in any way good it must come from Him. Life is so very good! Blessings on you and yours pal, Chaz October 14, 2018 at 1:46 pm Free webinar for job seekers on best interview answers, hosted by Goodwill June 11 Chuck, you are quite the writer! I really look forward to reading some of your published books! October 15, 2018 at 3:12 pm Reply charles towne Well Mama Mia, I am some glad that you enjoyed the story. If you like this one you will really appreciate my rollicking western, HORSES WITH NO NAMES! It is is at the publisher right now. I have written that under my pseudonym Hawk Lassiter also. Blessings on you dear lady, Chaz Reply Reply Reply Reply Mike, another couple of names you forgot is “Hey you!” and when my mama was carrying me she prayed for a little boy just like Mark Twain’s notorious character, Huckleberry Finn, therefore and ever-more I was called “Huck,” also, “Hucky.” And remember, another derivative of Charles is “Charlie.” thanks for the encouragement, your pal, Old whats his face. P.S. What’s my name? Is this story true or true to should-be-human life? Either way, it’s a story of human discovery. Somehow when we face our enemy up close we often see a mirror of our own self. Sometime its another 19 year old anxious o show he’s worthy and caught in a game run by old men called war. One of the most compelling reflections on war by a warrior is McNamara in The Fog of War.Cheering you on, Ernie October 14, 2018 at 8:22 am Judith Hankes October 17, 2018 at 7:24 pm TAGSCharles TowneInspiration Previous articleThe mental health impact of disasters like Michael, Irma or MariaNext articleApopka firefighters still assisting in Hurricane Michael aftermath Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR charles towne October 17, 2018 at 12:32 pm Ahh, Kristin my dear, nobody is looking forward to seeing my work in published form more than yours truly. I believe there have been many similar moments, more than we can imagine. Papa God has His people that are faithful to His calling. Blessings my friend, “Hawk” Chaz LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply charles towne It’s apparent that you enjoy slipping into the scenes and characters you describe and tales you tell, vicariously living multiple lives – an ability that ear-marks a good writer. When do you think Horses with No Names will ready for marketing? October 16, 2018 at 9:33 am October 19, 2018 at 4:11 pm
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis Howard Lake | 20 January 2008 | News Codes of Fundraising Practice: For All Voluntary and Community Organisations 2004 78 total views, 2 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis 77 total views, 1 views today About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of GoodJobs.org.uk. Researching massive growth in giving.
Imagine finding, at one table, the worst killer crooks you ever heard of: Jack the Ripper, Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde, the Serial Killer, maybe the pirate Blackbeard, surely a cold-blooded terrorist or two. The very worst! No matter what bootleg Scotch, yo-ho-ho rum or speakeasy gin they’d offer, the Normal Citizen would want to get out — fast!Lower the curtain, change the scene. The atmosphere in the government building in Berlin on Aug. 2 is fully different, not a bit of similarity. Those present, most in tailored apparel, sit in soft leather chairs and sip aromatic drinks from fine glassware. Who are they? Germany’s power people!Their subject matter, not nearly so pleasant as the furnishings, was set in motion by Volkswagen, or rather the innards of its diesel-driven vehicles. It was vital enough; not only is VW the world’s biggest auto producer, this industry is most powerful in a country whose economic success depends on its reputation: strong, efficient German products, always safe and respectable! Like the furnishings and those meeting in this safe and respectable meeting room.What had occurred? As the Financial Times of London reported: “Up to 11 million vehicles worldwide were fitted with the ‘defeat devices’ to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions — only when they were tested.” (Jan. 11) It has since turned out that VW was not alone in this planful cheating. So were its rivals, Daimler-Benz, which produces Mercedes, and BMW as well as some suppliers.But who can distrust such illustrious names? How many dreams they recall, fulfilled or unfulfilled! Happily mated since 1926, Daimler and Benz have always appealed to aristocratic tastes with their beautiful Mercedes. Other wealthy customers preferred distinctive BMW cars. In terms of quantity, Volkswagen autos sold best but, depending on the size of wallets or portfolios, many turned to other brands in the Volkswagen stable — the elegant Porsche, long connected by marriage and money, or to Audi, SEAT, Škoda, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini or Ducati, all acquired branches of the VW empire.Only a few like me, blessed with long lives but burdened with long memories, have few gleaming dreams but rather bitter recollections on hearing those names. I know, for example, about the major owners of BMW, the Quandt family. Like daughter Susanne Klatten with a fortune of $22.5 billion — the richest person in Germany and probably, after Angela Merkel, the most influential. Her younger brother Stephan Quandt has only about $20 billion. Father Quandt, a major sponsor of the Nazi movement, provided the Wehrmacht with a substantial share of its weapons, making his fortune with thousands of concentration camp slaves, many so starved they ate material used to fill the batteries for military vehicles.Klatten herself is guilty of no such crimes, and can probably drive a car and a very good bargain but not a lathe or machine drill. But her pressure against cuts in air poisoning has been considerable, and so have been her company’s contributions to political parties deciding on such issues.Daimler-Benz owner backed Hitler, used slave laborNor can I forget that during the Nazi era Daimler-Benz was owned by Friedrich Flick, a major financial backer of Hitler and a major profiteer of his war, when 40,000 to 60,000 hungry slave laborers contributed to his immense wealth, over 10,000 with their lives. Mildly sentenced after 1945 but pardoned in 1950, he became the richest, most powerful industrialist of them all.His son and heir was not known for any better morals; in the giant “Flick Affair” in 1983 it was found that the family had cheated the nation of almost a billion in taxes and bribed every key minister or politician to cover it up. Daimler-Benz, always close to the top, indicated its moral improvement by defying the United Nations boycott and selling military vehicles to the apartheid government in South Africa.Volkswagen was born with a scandal. Founded by Hitler to provide German workers with a car — the “beetle” — it collected their money every month in advance but then switched to weapons-making before it had delivered one of them. Only after 16 years of post-war litigation did the cheated — and surviving — workers get a small rebate for the lost money. VW also made a giant fortune by using 40,000 war prisoners, kidnapped workers from conquered areas and concentration camp prisoners.But those crimes all belong to the past; their perpetrators are long gone, replaced by new men.‘New’ owners poison the airAnd their morals? Month for month more facts came out: VW was forced to retreat step for step, already agreeing to pay huge damages in the USA for its trick use of equipment which showed the permissible and advertised level of emissions during inspection, but switched to high-gear air poisoning as soon as it rolled away. Then it was discovered that this was the practice in nearly all diesel-fueled vehicles in Europe, not only VW and Porsche but their competitors, Daimler-Benz and BMW, in the same way. And then it was found that they were all in it together, not only with nitrogen oxides but in general planning and pricing, agreed upon in strictly forbidden cartel meetings and agreements — known familiarly as cahoots!Things still moved slowly. Then a lower court judge in Stuttgart ruled that Diesel vehicles which did not conform with legal emission limits could be barred from inner cities; health came first. This was earnest; if Stuttgart could do it, might not Munich, Hamburg or Berlin? Who would then buy banned vehicles?Something had to be done, so the “Diesel Forum” was called, with the transportation minister, the environment minister, the big corporation companies involved, the heads of some German states, a few organizational representatives — but none of those hit by asthma, cancer or other victims.But this was at best a sticky field. How tough could they get? The minister president of Bavaria, a major player in the Christian party union with Angela Merkel, is hardly unaware of the huge BMW corporation in his state. The head of Baden-Wurttemberg is a Green — the only Green Party member in such a job — and his party should be especially alarmed about emissions. But his presidential palace is within yodeling distance of the main factories of both Daimler-Benz (with Mercedes) and Porsche, the main props of his economy — and he conspicuously uses a state-owned Mercedes!As for VW itself, 20 percent of it is owned by the state of Lower Saxony, whose government has thus far been in the hands of the Social Democrats — with a few Greens. How stern can they all get? Elections, due in eight weeks, are always expensive!Protest at ‘Fort NOx’For the corporations, the environment minister can be a bit difficult, but not the more important transportation minister, Alexander Dobrindt. A far-right politician from Bavaria, Dobrindt has made a name for himself in three matters; his sharp opposition to same-sex marriage, even sharper opposition to the LINKE (Left) Party, which he thinks must be carefully watched, or better yet, forbidden, and his listing by Greenpeace as one of 33 auto industry lobbyists. A few years ago he held his protective hand over corporations that produce illegal carbon dioxide emissions; now it’s nitrogen oxide from diesels.At issue at the forum was how best to lower the poisonous emissions. Making necessary changes to about 5 million vehicles’ hardware would be extremely expensive, up to 1,500 euro ($1,766) apiece, a heavy charge. Changing only the software at 100 euros ($118) per vehicle would be far, far preferable! It would not nearly bring poison levels down to safe levels, but would cut less of the 10 million euro and more annual incomes of the carmakers — a small price for years of purposely, secretly deceiving testers, purchasers, laws, society and above all human beings, especially children, who as a result die earlier, not by walking the plank or falling in a hail of bullets, but in debilitating illness and earlier death.Some people protested, lowering a big banner from the roof of the Transportation Ministry, with a pun on the nitrogen oxide formula (NO), calling it “Fort NOx.” The unamused response was to move the forum to the less accessible Interior Ministry. Need one inquire which decision was reached? After all, money doesn’t grow on trees — nor much else either if such people continue to have their way. The obvious escape was labeled “a compromise”!Was my opening comparison with notorious bad-man killers too harsh? Perhaps. After all, as Shakespeare’s Mark Antony once said about the killers of Julius Caesar: “So are they all, all honorable men!”The author, who left the U.S. Armed Forces during the war in Korea and fled to the German Democratic Republic, still lives in Berlin where he publishes the Berlin Bulletin. This is Berlin Bulletin No. 131, Aug. 4. Workers World publishes it with his permission.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this