NEW DELHI: Three days after a Kenyan woman was murdered in Mehrauli, the Delhi Police have arrested a 24-year-old Tanzanian woman in connection with the murder. The motive was the refusal to lend a beer bottle to the accused by the victim. The accused identified as Jasmine Iscak attacked the victim with a knife on June 17 in Chatarpur in their rented accommodation.The deceased had a sharp stab wound on her left side of chest and blood was oozing out of it. A number of African nationals had gathered at the scene of the crime. On local enquiry, the identity of the deceased was revealed as Annie, a native of Kenya. Also Read – Kejriwal ‘denied political clearance’ to attend climate meet in DenmarkDuring the course of the investigation of the case, a number of people including citizens of Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria were examined and interrogated in detail. These people included the persons who had either contacted or visited the deceased to her house on the day of the commission of the crime. The Call Detail Records of more than 25 mobile phones were analyzed and scores of CCTVs in the vicinity were also analyzed. Further behavioural patterns of other residents of the building were also examined minutely. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsThe versions of all residents of the building pointed the needle of suspicion towards one Tanzanian lady Jasmine who lives in the flat opposite to the deceased’s flat on the same floor. Earlier for two days, she was in denial of having a fight or scuffle with the deceased but when confronted with versions of various witnesses and facts of the case, the suspect finally broke down and confessed to her crime. “She also led the police to the recovery of weapon of offence used by her i.e. a big kitchen knife which she had hidden in her house only. The accused revealed that she had an argument with the deceased over a bottle of beer and murdered her with a big kitchen knife,” said DCP South Vijay Kumar.
NEW YORK — Hulu’s live-TV streaming service will cost $5 more per month, while its traditional video-on-demand service will be $2 cheaper.Hulu with Live TV, a cable-like package with ESPN and a few dozen other channels, will cost $45 a month starting Feb. 26. The Hulu service includes its traditional video-on-demand service, which typically carries episodes of network TV shows the day after it airs.That video-on-demand service itself will now cost $6 a month, down from $8, when bought separately.The new prices take effect Feb. 26.Just a week ago, Netflix said it is raising the price of its most popular plan to $13 from $11. Streaming providers are testing how much consumers are willing to pay as more people seek online options and cut back on expensive cable packages.The Associated Press
19 August 2009A senior United Nations official today repeated the world body’s appeal to Israel to ease restrictions on the movement of Palestinians and of goods in the West Bank and Gaza, and urged the prompt resumption and conclusion of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. In recent months, Israel has improved access in some West Bank areas, helping with efforts to boost living conditions and spurring economic growth, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said in an open Security Council meeting. Nablus’ Chamber of Commerce, he said, has reported a “slow, albeit significant, revival of commercial activity since the beginning of the year.” Israel also announced that as of 5 August, it has expanded passenger crossing hours at Allenby Bridge, which the UN hopes will ease the flow of potentially hundreds of thousands of Palestinians visiting the West Bank. Welcoming the Israeli Government’s actions and statements that it intends to take further measures to alleviate movement and access problems, Mr. Fernandez-Taranco told the 15-member Council that “this is essential if change is to become truly transformative.” Nonetheless, “significant obstacles” persist in the West Bank, with the total number obstacles currently numbering 614, he added. Economic growth in the West Bank would be greatly aided, he said, by the removal of permit requirements for Palestinians to travel into the Jordan Valley, and improving access to East Jerusalem and boosting permits for Palestinian workers for Israel, among other actions. In Gaza, 87 trucks have been allowed in per day, compared to 78 in July, but prior to the imposition of the comprehensive closure regime, 475 trucks were entering Gaza daily as part of normal commerce and trade, the official pointed out. “Today, the overwhelming majority of imports are limited to food and sanitation items, with still little or no entry for all other goods, including items for recovery,” he said. However, there has been some progress, with Israel allowing the shipment of 100,000 litres of diesel and 40,000 litres of gasoline for private use into Gaza for the first time in 10 months. Cement and steel bars were also permitted to enter. “While welcome, these measures are not sufficient to meet the needs of Gaza’s civilian population,” Mr. Fernandez-Taranco emphasized. A report published earlier this week by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) underscored that the ongoing Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, now in its third year, has triggered a “protracted human dignity crisis” with negative humanitarian consequences. “At the heart of this crisis is the degradation in the living conditions of the population, caused by the erosion of livelihoods and the gradual decline in the state of infrastructure, and the quality of vital services in the areas of health, water and sanitation, and education,” adds the report. The blockade, imposed following the Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007, includes the closure of Karni, one of the largest and best equipped commercial crossings; sweeping restrictions on the import of industrial, agricultural and construction materials; the suspension of almost all exports; and a general ban on the movement of Palestinians through Erez, the only passenger crossing to the West Bank. “The denial of Palestinians’ right to leave Gaza, or to move freely to the West Bank, particularly when their lives, physical integrity, or basic freedoms are under threat, is another key component of the current human dignity crisis,” the report said. On the overall political situation, Mr. Fernandez-Taranco told the Council that several important developments have occurred on the ground, with international efforts to set the state for further talks under way. United States envoy George Mitchell wrapped up a regional visit late last month to seek commitments from the parties, while representatives of the diplomatic Quartet – comprising the UN, US, Russia and the European Union – met in Jerusalem. Next month, Quartet principals are expected to meet on the sidelines of the General Debate at UN Headquarters in New York and consult also with the League of Arab States. “The Secretary-General looks forward to these meetings as important benchmarks for progress in the renewed effort by the international community this year to achieve concrete movement forward on the political, security and economic tracks,” Mr. Fernandez-Taranco said. The Council also heard today that continued Israeli settler activity in East Jerusalem and the West Bank is still a matter of “grave concern,” with the UN appealing to the Israeli Government to abide by the Quartet’s call to freeze all settlement activity and remove outposts built after March 2001. The Assistant Secretary-General noted that 450 people risk being displaced from East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, the scene of forced evictions of dozens of Palestinian refugees earlier this month. “We reiterate our call on Israel… to cease and reverse provocative actions such as demolitions and evictions in East Jerusalem,” he said.
16 February 2012The heads of several United Nations bodies with humanitarian, human rights and development mandates today called for a comprehensive arms trade treaty that will make people across the world safer by reducing the human cost of inadequate controls on weapons transfers. Speaking ahead of the final preparatory meeting of the UN Diplomatic Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, which will be held in July, the officials took note of efforts at national and regional levels to regulate the trade in conventional weapons, but pointed out that “the current patchwork of controls is simply not adequate.”“The human cost of such inadequate controls, and the corresponding widespread availability and misuse of weapons, is unacceptably high,” they said in a joint press statement.The envisaged Arms Trade Treaty should meet the following criteria, according to the group of senior UN officials: It must require States to assess the risk that serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law may be committed with the weapons being transferred. Secondly, it must include within its scope all conventional weapons, including small arms. The treaty must also include ammunition within its scope. It must ensure that there are no loopholes by covering all types of transfers, including activities such as transit, trans-shipment, as wells as loans and leases.They pointed out that at end of 2010, an estimated 27.5 million people were internally displaced as a result of conflict, while millions more have sought refuge abroad. In many cases the armed violence that drove them from their homes was fuelled by the widespread availability and misuse of weapons.Between 2000 and 2010, more than 780 humanitarian workers were killed in armed attacks and a further 689 were injured, they added.The value of the global authorized trade in small arms and light weapons and their ammunition is estimated at over $7 billion per year, according to the officials.The statement was issued on behalf of Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs; Helen Clark, the Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP); António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees; Anthony Lake, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF); and Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Rajapaksa said that as an Opposition they have pledged full support to the Government in matters of national security to normalize the current situation in the country. “We approached both the President and Prime Minister stating the same. We have also made several requests to the public, requesting them to remain calm and not resort to violence,” Rajapaksa said.Meanwhile, the UNICEF representative of Sri Lanka, Tim Sutton also met Rajapaksa yesterday. “We discussed the prevailing situation of the country. He expressed concern over incidents that have taken place last couple of weeks and stated that all stakeholders should work together to overcome the situation,” Rajapaksa said in a statement today. Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa assured Germany the main opposition will support moves to maintain the peace in Sri Lanka.The Ambassador of Germany in Colombo Joern Rohde met Rajapaksa and discussed the situation in the country. They discussed the current situation in Sri Lanka. The UNICEF representative requested that he encourage parents to send children to school in order to somewhat normalize the situation in the country.Rajapaksa said that he had responded by informing him that he has already done so but the public seem to have lost faith in the Government and its conduct and therefore parents are not yet comfortable to send their children off to school. (Colombo Gazette)
Bombardier Aerospace received a small consolation prize Thursday in its ongoing battle with European turboprop rival ATR, winning an order for a single aircraft from Luxair valued at US$32.2 million.The Montreal-based company said the national airline of Luxembourg has also taken an option on an additional aircraft, which would roughly double the value of the deal if it is exercised.The airline currently operates a fleet of six Q400 and Q400 NextGen aircraft. Its CEO said the extra planes will lead to increased flights within the region.Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) has struggled to attract new orders for the 70- to 80-seat aircraft while ATR, the sister company of Airbus, has received broad interest for its cheaper, smaller and slower aircraft, especially from emerging countries.Bombardier’s product is more expensive at US$34 million compared with US$19 million for ATR, but the Q400’s range is 900 kilometres longer at 2,500 kilometres.The Q400 also has eight to 10 more seats, up to 35 per cent more cargo volume and can fly up to 90 knots faster than ATR’s product. The Q400 also operates in harsher climates and can land on gravel surfaces.Still, the Q400 order backlog stood at 36 as of June, half of which are for WestJet’s Encore regional service. It has since announced a few orders, including the conversion of options for three aircraft by Horizon Air and a single order from RwandAir.David Tyerman of Canaccord Genuity said Bombardier has to win substantially more orders to maintain its current production rate for the Q400.“A single aircraft (order) is not going to change the equation at all so as they burn down the backlog…then they’re going to have to at some point cut the production rate,” he said in an interview.That makes a potential joint venture in Russia so important, the analyst noted. Bombardier said in March that was working with Rostekhnologii, a state corporation controlled by the Russian Federation, to assess the creation of a joint venture to manage the production of aircraft for Russian customers. A deal could lead to an order for up to 100 aircraft worth US$3.4 billion.“If they win this Russian thing, and they do some more stuff along that line, then that obviously would be a big shot in the arm for the program,” Tyerman added.Bombardier has also suggested that it may produce a cheaper turboprop to better compete with ATR, especially with countries outside its main customer base in North America and Europe that want less expensive planes.While the Q400 struggles to find customers, EADS-owned ATR continues to announce multiple orders, including 83 firm orders and 90 options valued at up to US$4.1 billion at last summer’s Paris Airshow.Meanwhile, Danish leasing firm Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) announced Thursday that it will add up to 40 ATR planes to an earlier order placed with ATR at the show, worth another US$1 billion if the 25 options are exercised.And earlier this week Garuda Indonesia and NAC announced the purchase of up to 35 ATR 72-600s instead of the Q400, although both have been Bombardier customers in the past. The aircraft being purchased by NAC in the deal will be leased to Garuda.Garuda and NAC have received 11 of 18 Bombardier CRJ1000 jet aircraft placed on firm order for use by Indonesia’s national carrier. Garuda also has options to purchase 18 more of the regional jets.Bombardier spokeswoman Marianella de la Barrera said failing to win the Indonesian turboprop order wasn’t the “preferred outcome” but transactions have to make economic sense.“We still think that it’s the value proposition that others are signing onto,” she said of the Q400. “It’s unfortunate that they didn’t see it the same way but we are encouraged by the high level of interest we’re seeing in other growth markets (such as) Africa and Russia.” Bombardier wins small consolation with single Q400 order from Luxair by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Posted Oct 3, 2013 1:32 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
Cincinnati Reds Chicago Cubsneil (Neil Paine, senior sportswriter): Last year’s NL Central was one of the strongest divisions in memory, particularly between the Cardinals, Cubs and Pirates at the top. But Chicago had an unbelievable offseason, and most sources consider them the best team in baseball going into 2016. So, to get us started, what do we think about this stacked roster the Cubs have assembled? Do we buy the hype about this team’s potential to end the franchise’s 108-year championship drought?craigjedwards: I absolutely buy the hype. A lot of things had to go right last season for the Cubs to make their big leap earlier than expected: Kris Bryant instantly playing to his talent level, most of the team staying healthy (particularly in the rotation), Jake Arrieta’s incredible breakout year, etc. This season, the Cubs don’t need as much good fortune. By signing John Lackey, Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward, and bringing back Dexter Fowler, they’ve built a bit of a buffer in case of bad luck.rob: I agree — the Cubs start the year with an excellent roster, loaded with depth. There’s a reason they’re favored so highly by PECOTA, Steamer and just about every other projection system. On top of its excellent starters, Chicago has prospects and the budget to add contracts mid-year, so if a major player suffers an injury or performance decline, they should be able to handle it.craigjedwards: But whether they can end the drought is a difficult question to answer. For most teams, just getting to the playoffs means the season was successful. But if the drought means a World Series title or bust, the team is setting itself up for disappointment. It’s really difficult to win three straight postseason series against other good teams.rob: Right. As much as I buy that this is a stacked roster, I have some bad news for Cubs fans: A good roster at the beginning of the year guarantees nothing. Between injuries, cluster luck and various other kinds of bad breaks, many a preseason powerhouse has exited the playoffs early — or worse yet, failed to reach the postseason at all. (As a Cubs fan, I have been trained to expect the worst.)neil: Baseball is quite different from, say, the NBA, where the Golden State Warriors’ stacked roster means they’re a coin-flip to win the NBA title. Being the best MLB team means you have, what, a 15 to 20 percent chance (at best) of winning?rob: Yes, the difference between MLB teams is much smaller. We’ve never seen (and will never see) a baseball team like the 2016 Warriors or 1996 Bulls. Win projections in the high 90s are about as good as it gets, and that’s where the Cubs are right now.craigjedwards: The best players in the NBA handle the ball constantly, whereas a hitter comes to the plate four or five times per game, and an ace might only pitch twice in a playoff series. Plus, only eight teams make the divisional series, so even the worst playoff team is not going to be far from the best in terms of talent. The Cubs went 3-5 in the playoffs last year, and they were a success story.rob: If only Arrieta could pitch every game.neil: Another (possibly underrated) thing working against the Cubs’ chances is how top-heavy the NL is. According to FanGraphs, Chicago ranks first in projected team wins above replacement, but Nos. 2 through 5 — and seven of the top 10 teams — are in the NL.rob: That’s true — this year’s decrease in parity has been driven mostly by NL teams, particularly the Dodgers, Cubs and Mets. That will make the NL playoffs more of a crapshoot than usual. Even within the Central, the Cubs will have to contend with two difficult challengers in the Pirates and Cardinals.neil: They’d have an easier path to the World Series in the AL, I’d think.rob: Also, they’d get to play Kyle Schwarber at DH, where he probably belongs.craigjedwards: If the Pirates or Cardinals win 93 games, and the Cubs win 92 — which, again, would be a very successful season — all of a sudden Chicago is in the Wild Card game, hoping for a coin flip just to get to the Division Series. And some very good NL teams, at least on paper right now, will not even get to the playoffs.The difference might not be how a team does against other contenders, but rather how badly they can beat up the NL’s worst teams, some of which are very poor.rob: We saw that in the NL East preview, with two teams racing to the bottom and two strong outfits up top; there’s a similar pattern going on in the Central. Across the league, teams seem to be committing more to a particular trajectory in the competitive cycle, either rebuilding or making a championship run.neil: If the Cubs do have 95- to 100-win talent, the upper bound on that is one of the best teams ever. (Which could very well happen.) But I have a feeling the bottom bound is also lower than we think. What could send this seemingly stacked Cubs team there? Just the obvious scenario, a rash of key injuries?rob: A good, approximate rule of thumb is that team-level projections are 90 percent certain to be within +/-10 wins. So the bottom bound is something like 80 to 85 wins, which is probably not making the playoffs in this division. That’s the reason I’m cautious about the Cubs.craigjedwards: I think the bottom likely comes if the pitching falls apart. The projections aren’t exactly conservative on Arrieta and Jon Lester. Losing one of them would be a major blow, and there are some concerns about Arrieta’s crazy workload last season. Plus, Lester is one year older and has apparently been pitching at the risk of injury for some time now.rob: I think there’s still some reason to suspect Arrieta could turn back into a pumpkin. Lester’s inability to throw to first has been well-documented, yet strangely not taken advantage of as much as it could be. He’s also a pitcher older than 30, and those can fall apart at any time (remember Cliff Lee?). If you combine the risk of a rotation and bullpen collapse, that’s the most likely way I see the Cubs’ season falling apart.craigjedwards: But as far as their lineup goes, they are pretty well-insulated.rob: Yep, they have too many good, young position players to have a bad offense. Embed Code neil: If the Cubs do falter from their lofty projections, there are plenty of teams in this division waiting to pounce. Let’s start with the Cardinals, who won 100 games last year and looked unstoppable at times. Yet, they also suffered some offseason losses and outplayed their BaseRuns by more than any other team. Are the Cardinals still on the same level, or might they be due for a decline?rob: I think they are due for some decline. Even if they returned the exact same team as last year, the odds were against them outperforming their underlying stats to such an extraordinary degree again. So they probably won’t be quite as good, though they’d be falling from such lofty heights that it would still make for a decent team. FanGraphs has them at 85 wins, with PECOTA projecting 82.craigjedwards: Although a repeat of last season’s win total is unrealistic, the Cardinals also have a pretty high floor. They cannot repeat their success with runners on base this season, but the rotation is arguably more talented than it was a year ago. Nobody on the team is projected to have a great season, but that also means nobody is irreplaceable, and they have quite a few players with ceilings well above their projections.neil: That rotation could be impressive, with five starters carrying a FanGraphs projection of at least 2 WAR.craigjedwards: The rotation has its questions, though, most being injury-related. With health, they might approach their run prevention from last season, but no pitching staff stays healthy all year. For instance, I wonder about Michael Wacha as we head into the season — he tired at the end of last year, after being shut down in 2014 with a shoulder issue. Wacha has pitched at an ace-level for stretches, but if he can’t command his fastball he’s closer to an average pitcher.rob: I think a huge unknown on the team, and a big determinant of its fate, is Yadier Molina. He was injured last year and turned in an uncharacteristically mediocre pitch-framing performance behind the plate. Framing makes such a big difference because its effect, while small for any given pitch, are spread out across every pitch a staff throws. If Yadi returns to his normal level — which seems possible if his decline came from injury, and not aging — the staff will get a big boost. If not, those 2-WAR projections may be overly optimistic.craigjedwards: Right. Molina’s bat has also gotten significantly weaker over the past two seasons, and two offseason thumb surgeries make you wonder about his hitting ability. The projections might be overrating that, expecting a bounce-back that might not be possible. His leadership and game preparation are unquestioned, but Molina’s body is compromised at this stage of his career.neil: For all of those concerns, though, these are still the Cardinals. Have they earned the benefit of the doubt given the way the franchise has re-tooled on the fly in the past? Or is that more of a narrative that gets applied to them post-hoc because they’ve been so successful?rob: I don’t like to give any team the benefit of the doubt. Some teams do figure out major advantages before others, but we can usually follow along and figure out what those advantages are (or were). The Cardinals might have some kind of player-development talent that other teams are lacking, or they might just be exceptionally well-run and good at acquiring skilled players. But I’m not inclined to give them a “Magic Beans” bonus.On the other hand: They have produced historic RISP performances — both in terms of pitching and hitting — over the last five years. I don’t know what to make of that. Maybe they do have a secret we don’t know about.craigjedwards: I think the benefit of the doubt is almost a required narrative that has turned into a joke. The David Freese–Allen Craig–Matt Carpenter–Matt Adams pipeline of “unknown players rising to prominence” seems like it has run dry. But what the Cardinals have been good at over the past few years — in contrast with the Cubs, who have developed position players — is developing pitching. They’ve targeted athletes and guys who can throw the change-up, and those pitchers seem to have worked out. Milwaukee Brewers A FiveThirtyEight Chat The 2016 Major League Baseball season opened on Sunday, and FiveThirtyEight is assembling some of our favorite baseball writers to chat about the year to come. In today’s edition, we focus on the National League Central with Craig Edwards, managing editor of the Cardinals blog Viva El Birdos, and FiveThirtyEight’s own baseball columnist, Rob Arthur. The transcript below has been edited.Chicago CubsSt. Louis CardinalsPittsburgh PiratesMilwaukee BrewersCincinnati Reds rob: In any event, I suspect that, like last year, this division will be one of the most exciting in baseball. Even if the Cubs wrap it up early (and they probably won’t), the Cards and Pirates will go down to the wire competing for WC spots. It should be fun to watch.craigjedwards: The division is Chicago’s to lose, but both the Pirates and the Cardinals are contenders who could win under the right circumstances.neil: And at least we won’t have to hear those incessant “Back To The Future” references around the Cubs this season.craigjedwards: Don’t worry, the Cubs will come up with something at least as annoying this season. Between them and the Cardinals, the NL Central has morphed into the new AL East in terms of insufferableness. St. Louis Cardinals neil: So Milwaukee sounds like they’re in a better place than Cincinnati.craigjedwards: The Brewers saw the opportunity to start rebuilding, and they took it. The Reds, on the other hand, had the opportunity to start a major rebuild, but their heart wasn’t really in it.rob: Yes, they haven’t gone as far or received as much of a return. They’re holding onto Joey Votto now (which is understandable), but they also kept Aroldis Chapman too long. And they haven’t been as experimental as the Brewers, taking fliers on high-variance players. That will hurt them down the road when some of the Brewers’ risks pan out.craigjedwards: If they’d dealt Chapman and Jay Bruce for a few extra prospects at last year’s trade deadline, we might look at the Reds differently. Instead they hung onto Bruce, who collapsed at the end of the season; then Chapman’s offseason domestic violence investigation hurt his trade value. And now it’s difficult to see Votto drawing a package good enough to justify trading a franchise player.(They also still owe Homer Bailey more than $80 million through 2019, and couldn’t figure out a way around Brandon Phillips‘ no-trade clause, so he’s owed another $27 million over the next two years.)rob: Having said all that, the nice thing about this iteration of the Reds is that, even though they won’t be too competitive in the Central, they have some fun players to watch. Votto is always great, and Billy Hamilton remains entertaining (even if he’s not living up to his promise).craigjedwards: They also have a number of interesting young pitchers, such as Raisel Iglesias (a big signing out of Cuba) and Robert Stephenson. If a few of those guys pan out, Cincinnati could rebuild quickly. But unfortunately for the Reds, the probability of success for that strategy is not incredibly high.The bottom line: Neither the Reds nor Brewers is likely to do well in the next two, maybe three seasons. And it doesn’t look like the Cubs, Pirates or Cardinals are going to go anywhere, either.rob: So, in a way, it makes sense to go for a longer-term rebuild. When the top of the division is strong and will be for a while, maybe it’s reasonable to wait until you can field a genuinely good team.craigjedwards: But then what do you with Votto? It seems like such a waste to have him on terrible teams.rob: I agree. (#freejoeyvotto!) Then again, he gives Reds fans a reason to watch, when they’re not complaining about his otherworldly OBP.craigjedwards: That’s what makes him hard to trade. He’s a truly great player, but his enormous contract depresses his long-term value and limits Cincinnati’s trading partners. We just saw the Rockies go through this with Troy Tulowitzki. They waited too long to trade their franchise player, and ended up with a return that wasn’t as good as it would have been a year earlier.It almost seems as though having a player like Joey Votto provided the illusion of a bright long-term future. The same thing might be happening with the Angels and Mike Trout, but in Los Angeles they have more opportunities to spend their way out of it than in a market like Cincinnati.rob: The margin for a mid-market or small-market team is so thin. The couple of months’ difference between trading a player at the peak of his value and just off of it can multiply into a year’s difference in the competitive window. neil: The Pirates round out what was this division’s Big Three last year. But the statistical projections seem a little down on them — 83 wins at FanGraphs, 82 at Baseball Prospectus. Are you guys sensing a drop-off in Pittsburgh? Or do they extend a run that’s seen them average 93 wins the past three seasons?rob: I believe either the Pirates or Cardinals will get to 90 wins and probably snag a Wild Card spot. The Pirates are about as likely as the Cards, with a similar “benefit of the doubt” narrative surrounding them. As one of the most visibly sabermetric teams in the game (between ground balls, shifting, their health monitoring, etc.) it’s plausible to me that they’ll defy the projections slightly. If they do have a secret, I think it relates to their health, which has been notably better than other teams the last few years.craigjedwards: On the position-player side, they have a lot of talent, particularly in the outfield. Pitching-wise, Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano make for a very good one-two punch, though the rest of the rotation is not great. But if there’s a new magic-beans narrative going around, it’s in Pittsburgh, with Ray Searage getting unforeseen performances out of his pitchers. Juan Nicasio might be the beneficiary of that this season.rob: And they may not even need those kinds of secret advantages. This is a solid roster featuring one of the best players in the game — Andrew McCutchen — and a true ace in Cole. It’s also remarkably even across the board: Not a single lineup spot is projected to be below replacement-level, according to Baseball Prospectus.craigjedwards: But like you said, Rob, health is the key. The Pirates face the same problem as many teams in a similar financial situation: a lack of depth. If injuries force them to rely on reinforcements, it’s difficult to see them repeating the success of the past few seasons.rob: I agree, they are hurting for depth. You could easily see this team collapsing with only a few DL trips.neil: And even if they turn out OK in that department and make the playoffs, I’m not sure that fanbase can take another defeat in the Wild Card game.rob: Unfortunately, there’s a decent chance that’s exactly what will happen.neil: Again?rob: The wild card is a cruel mistress.craigjedwards: Pittsburgh got a bit unlucky being forced to go against Jake Arrieta last season, but Cole is also a good guy to have for a one-game playoff. The NL Wild Card could see another great pitching duel when you look at the aces who could be featured: Cole, Arrieta, Matt Harvey, Max Scherzer, Madison Bumgarner, Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright.rob: With the Cubs and Cardinals as competition, it’s hard to see the Pirates capturing the division (although it’s possible). It’s easier to see them putting up another solid 92-win season, landing the Wild Card, and facing one of those pitchers in a do-or-die game. At that point, it’s basically a coin flip, one the Pirates have lost a couple of times running now.craigjedwards: So they are probably due? That’s how coin flips work, right?rob: For the collective sanity of Pittsburgh’s residents, I hope so. neil: And now comes the time when we have to talk about the dregs of this division. Who should we discuss first, Brewers or Reds? Both were awful last season, though PECOTA actually sees Milwaukee vaguely edging in the direction of .500 this year.rob: The Brewers are kind of fun because they are obviously experimenting, and they’ve made some great moves this offseason in that direction.craigjedwards: They also aren’t tied down with as many long-term contracts as Cincinnati. It’s part of why Milwaukee seems to have the slightly brighter long-term future, if that counts for anything.neil: The Brewers even have the ninth-best farm system in MLB, per Baseball America.craigjedwards: The big question for them will be, “When will they trade Jonathan Lucroy, and how much will they get for him?”neil: And, “how much has Lucroy’s framing value gone down these past few years?”rob: A huge question with Lucroy is whether his framing went down or if everyone else’s went up. (This applies to Molina as well.) If the league as a whole improved at pitch framing, then guys like those two — who used to be leaps and bounds better than everyone else — will look like they’re declining. It even matters for Lucroy’s trade prospects, because if it’s a matter of him declining, then he could go back up. But if the league’s catchers all rose to his level, there’s not much prospect for improvement.craigjedwards: How much of an effect injuries might have had is another question that I don’t believe we can answer at this point. But even without the framing, he hits well for a catcher and is in a team-friendly contract over the next two seasons, so he should still be a good asset for the Brewers to flip and improve their farm system even more.rob: However, outside of Lucroy (and maybe Ryan Braun), the Brewers have a ho-hum, strikeout-prone lineup and an unimpressive rotation. They aren’t going to be very good this year.craigjedwards: Milwaukee looked like it was on the Oakland A’s track of trying to never rebuild, but after the team squandered a division lead in 2014, the bottom fell out last season and it was time for a major rebuild.neil: Rebuilding usually means promising youngsters. Anybody to keep an eye on this year?craigjedwards: Orlando Arcia. He’s their shortstop of the future with Segura gone.And to Rob’s earlier point about experimenting with players, Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana are the type of guys you try out when you know you have no hope of contending. They could easily disappoint, but there are no bad long-term ramifications if they can’t hack it in the majors.rob: “Hack” being the operative word; Santana had a contact rate of 67 percent last year. But yeah, there’s nothing to lose on high-variability players — Rymer Liriano also comes to mind — and a lot to gain, so they’re correct to invest in them.craigjedwards: If they hit on a couple of these guys, it could really help the team’s long-term outlook.rob: Right, this is a year where they feel out some of those young guys and see who can contribute to the next competitive Brewers team. Ben Lindbergh joins the Hot Takedown podcast to preview the 2016 MLB season. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Pittsburgh Pirates
Canonical has been teasing and showing off their attempt at a mobile operating system for a couple of months now. As they shift into the developer phase of the cycle, installable previews of the operating system have been made available.If you’re familiar with installing a custom ROM on an Android phone or tablet, you’ll find Ubuntu’s instructions on how to get their latest OS on your device easy to follow. You’ll need Linux on your computer in order to complete the installation, but you can perform the installation comfortably within a virtual machine. If you’ve got a custom recovery, you can install the Ubuntu zip quickly.Canonical pointed out that much of the necessary Android layer responsible for this work is a result of using code from the CyanogenMod project, so the installation should be familiar with CM fans.Despite all of Canonical’s talk regarding how Ubuntu would scale for tablets, what’s on the Nexus 7 is pretty obviously the phone UI that we have seen for weeks. There’s no real difference in how anything is laid out. It’s possible that you can change this at some point in the future, given what Canonical has said about the way they plan to make the UI scale for the environment you are in. For the purposes of the preview, however, it’s clear that the UI will behave like the phone and not like the tablet. For the time being, this is what developers will target their apps for and what most 7-inch tablets will look like.Ubuntu is currently very, very beta. The ROM is filled with random bits of information that makes it easy to see where content would go without having to fill it with your own stuff. You’ll see things telling you how many tweets you have, even if you don’t have an account attached. Most of this can be dismissed, but in some cases this isn’t possible. There are placeholders to rent or buy movies that aren’t available yet, for example. It gets the job done, as long as the job is making sure developers see how Canonical is doing things and feels the experience is good enough to make an app for.The animations and notifications, the ability to swipe in from all sides, and the layout is completely functional. Many of the non Ubuntu apps aren’t functional, including the games that are included to run natively. The web apps are all just links to the browser, not really formatted to work in a mobile environment. The OS only rotates in very specific situation, leaving most of the experience in portrait. The keyboard for the operating system is nearly all white, save for the black letters on the keys. The keyboard doesn’t stretch the full width of the screen, making it difficult to type. Fortunately, the keys in on both the keyboard and the dialer are fairly responsive.Canonical pledged previously to release daily updates to Ubuntu as development continued. What now feels more like a slideshow of potential features may soon grow into an actual, usable OS. Now that developers are using the platform and developing their own apps to suit the interface, it is likely that they will offer feedback necessary to make this OS usable.
Feb 21st 2017, 10:32 PM By AFP 25,115 Views Image: Mary Schwalm AP/Press Association Images A JAPANESE ZOO has culled 57 native snow monkeys by lethal injection after finding that they carried genes of an “invasive alien species”, officials said today.The Takagoyama Nature Zoo in the city of Futtsu in Chiba prefecture east of Tokyo, housed 164 simians which it believed were all pure Japanese macaques.But the operator and local officials discovered about one-third were crossbred with the rhesus macaque, which in Japan is designated an “invasive alien species”.A city official told AFP that Japanese law bans the possession and transport of invasive species, including the crossbreeds, and that culling of them is allowed under the law.He said the monkeys were put to death by lethal injection over about one month ending early February.The zoo operator held a memorial service for the monkeys at a nearby Buddhist temple to appease their souls, he added.Snow monkey-rhesus macaque crossbreeds were designated for culling when Japan’s environment law was revised in 2013.“They have to be killed to protect the indigenous environment,” an official with the Chiba prefectural government said.But Japan’s Environment Ministry said exceptions can be made, such as cases in which zoos apply for permission to keep them.“There are many zoos in the country, which rear animals that became classified as invasive species after the law was created,” a ministry official said.Though the killing of the monkeys may appear cruel, environmentalists said it is crucial not to allow any contacts between foreign and native species lest the natural balance be upset.Junkichi Mima, spokesman for conservation group WWF Japan, said invasive species cause problems “because they get mixed in with indigenous animals and threaten the natural environment and ecosystem”.The snow monkey, known in Japan as Nihonzaru (Japanese macaque), is brown in colour with a red face, and the mountainous area near the zoo is designated as a wild habitat for them.The zoo started feeding wild snow monkeys in 1957 and held dozens in a rough fence, the city official said.But in the 1990s, the rhesus macaque, which originates in China and Southeast Asia, started to increase in the area. Chiba prefecture said that since 2005 it has culled wild ones in a bid to stamp them out.The Takagoyama zoo conducted DNA testing on its snow monkeys and discovered the mixture.“Preventing exposures to foreign animals is very important,” said Tomoko Shimura of the Nature Conservation Society of Japan.© – AFP 2017Read: 390,000 ducks and hens in northern Europe culled over bird flu fearsRead: ‘Don’t sacrifice the goats’: Protesters’ anger defers planned cull of 80 wild animals Tuesday 21 Feb 2017, 10:32 PM Short URL File photo: Snow monkeys Image: Mary Schwalm AP/Press Association Images Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article File photo: Snow monkeys 28 Comments Japanese zoo culls 57 snow monkeys for being crossbred with an “invasive alien species” The zoo operator held a memorial service for the monkeys at a nearby Buddhist temple to appease their souls. http://jrnl.ie/3251866 Share82 Tweet Email
Helen Kontouris was awarded with Indesign Luminary an honour bestowed on Australian designers for their talent, achievements and contribution to design by Indesign Magazine.The award night was a chance to celebrate Kountouris’s contribution and achievements in the design community for the past 15 years. She also launched her new Panier stool what the be representing in Space Furniture’s December collection. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
EXETER, NH — Dorothy Sylvia Lowry, age 84, of Exeter, NH passed away on June 10th surrounded by her loving family.Dottie grew up in East Cambridge, MA and graduated from Cambridge Latin High School where she graduated first in her class. After graduation she married her high school sweetheart Thaddeus “Ted” Lowry. Dottie and Ted moved to Wilmington MA where they lived for many years and raised their family. Later in life she moved to Plum Island in Newbury, MA and spent her winters in Bonita Springs, FL.She was born in Cambridge MA. The daughter of Antoine Silveira Gil and Dorothy (Peters) Gil. She was predeceased by her husband of 42 years Thaddeus J. Lowry. She is survived by her children: Susan Brostowin of Boxford, MA, Daniel Lowry of Kensington, NH and St Petersburg, FL, Kathy Lowry of Naples FL, Nancy McConnell of Braintree, MA, Julie Fernandes of Hampton, NH and Stephen Lowry of Newbury MA. She was the sister of the late Robert Gil and the late Claire DiGiambattista and is survived by her sister Elaine Parent of Hudson, NH and brother Francis Gil of Dracut, MA, as well as many grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.Dottie was a loving mother, a devoted wife, and a wonderful homemaker. She enjoyed cooking, sewing, decorating her homes and gardening. She loved nothing more than spending a day at the beach with her grandchildren. Dottie loved to dance. She once remarked that she hoped there was dancing in heaven. Dottie is dancing as you read this.In Lieu of flowers please make donations to: Smile Train, 633 Third Avenue, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10017. http://www.smiletrain.org. Friends called Friday June 14th from 4PM to 7PM at the Conte Funeral Home, 17 3rd Street, North Andover, MA 01845. Funeral Mass was held Saturday June 15th at 10AM at St. Michael’s Church, 196 Main St, North Andover, MA 01845.Dorothy Sylvia Lowry(NOTE: The above obituary is from Conte Funeral Home.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedOBITUARY: Verda J. Murray, 90In “Obituaries”OBITUARY: Elizabeth D. (Boyle) Lothian, 82In “Obituaries”OBITUARY: Elizabeth J. “Betty” (Kilpatrick) Valente, 75In “Obituaries”
Abdur Rahim, a seller at the Karwan Bazar kitchen market, busy selling spices. File Photo: Nusrat NowrinThe demand for spices, mainly used in meat dishes, usually soars during religious festivals like Eid-ul-Azha when Muslims across the country sacrifice millions of animals. And there is no exception this time.The prices are high even though officials at the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) say the supply is adequate. Traders blame wholesalers for the price hike but consumers say lack of monitoring by the agencies concerned is the root of the problem. Various spices, including cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaf rose by 5 to 35 per cent compared to the previous month, according to Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) data.Cinnamon, for example, cost about Tk 160 more on Friday compared to last month’s. Cardamom was more expensive and saw a price hike of about Tk 1,100 at some markets in Dhaka.Chandi Das Kundu, director of Horticulture Wing of DAE, said some spices produced in Bangladesh are insufficient to meet the demand and the country has to import most of the spices that are not grown locally.DAE officials said 44,68,140 metric tonnes of spices were produced in the 2018-19 fiscal year while 13,12,144 mts were imported.Md Azhar Ali, director of DAE, insisted that there was no dearth in supply. “There’s adequate supply of spices as we’ve imported a huge quantity to meet this year’s demand,” he told UNB.President of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Ghulam Rahman said the trend of price hike during Eid is a trick used by businesspeople to line their pockets. But some traders disagreed.“The retailers sold the spices at high rates. So, we’ve to increase the prices,” said Abdul Halim, a trader at Karwanbazar market. He said the prices of all spices were hiked during Eid-ul-Fitr and did not go down since.Spices were sold at high prices at various markets in Bangshal, Nayabazar, Gulistan and Shantinagar.Halima Khatun, a resident of Bangshal, said the increase in spice prices was nothing new before Eid but this time the situation was a little extreme. “I bought cardamom at Tk 3,500 per kg!” she said.“Traders increase the prices ahead of Eid in the absence of proper monitoring. What can we do as consumers? We’ve no choice but to buy them at high prices,” she said.
00:00 /01:08 Listen Dave FehlingDrilling rig at site near Denton, Texas Oil prices hit a two-year high the Friday after Thanksgiving, but that’s not necessarily a sign of things to come.A new agreement aimed at boosting global oil prices is expected this week, but drilling in Texas could work against the deal and keep prices low.At a meeting on Thursday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is expected to extend a deal to cut oil production, an agreement meant to ease the world’s oil supply glut and help raise prices.That may be the result in the short-term, but the story could be different over the long-term, according to oil analyst Jacques Rousseau with ClearView Energy Partners.“We don’t think that’s necessarily what’s going to happen because of the fact that U.S. producers are adding a lot of oil,” Rousseau said.New technology is helping Texas drillers lead the way to an expected record-high production level next year, something Devon Energy CEO Dave Hager recently talked about on Bloomberg TV.“If you go back to 2012 and compare it to current, we are getting 450% of the amount of production out of the same type wells as we did in 2012,” Hager said.According to Rousseau, the U.S. will soon be a bigger factor in the global oil equation.“Things are going to get a lot more difficult in 2018 for OPEC to maintain this balanced oil market,” he said.That means a more mild effect from the OPEC cuts than perhaps some are hoping for. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share X
BALTIMORE (AP) — A Baltimore gang member has admitted to killing a witness to prevent him from testifying against a fellow member of the Black Guerilla Family gang, which deals in heroin in the area.Wesley Jamal BrownA U.S. attorney’s office statement says 25-year-old Wesley Jamal Brown pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise.As part of the agreement, prosecutors say Brown admitted to fatally shooting 22-year-old Moses Malone in Baltimore in 2013. Malone was due to testify against Norman Handy, who Malone said had robbed and shot him. Handy later pleaded guilty to robbery.Prosecutors say they expect Brown to receive 30 to 35 years in federal prison when he is sentenced in February.Brown is the half-brother of former University of Maryland running back Wes Brown.
Do you want to better remember new names and faces? Go, hit the sack. According to researchers, people are better at remembering faces and names if they get eight-hour sound sleep after seeing those faces and names for the first time. Many different kinds of memories are improved with sleep.While a couple of studies have looked at how naps might affect our ability to learn new faces and names, no previous studies have looked at the impact of a full night of sleep in between learning and being tested. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’“We found that when participants were given the opportunity to have a full night’s sleep, their ability to correctly identify the name associated with a face – and their confidence in their answers – significantly improved,” explained Jeanne F Duffy, associate neuroscientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).Participants in the study underwent testing in a controlled environment while staying at BWH’s centre for clinical investigation.They were shown 20 photos of faces with corresponding names from a database of over 600 colour photos of adult faces and asked to memorise them. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAfter a 12-hour period, they were then shown the photos again with either a correct or incorrect name.In addition to answering whether or not the correct name was shown, participants were asked to rate their confidence on a scale of one to nine.When given an opportunity to sleep for up to eight hours, participants correctly matched 12 percent more of the faces and names.The findings suggest that sleep after new learning activities may help improve memory. While the current study was conducted on healthy subjects in their 20s, the research team would like to explore the implications for people of all ages, including older adults.“Sleep is important for learning new information. As people get older, they are more likely to develop sleep disruptions and sleep disorders, which may, in turn, cause memory issues,” Duffy noted.By addressing issues with sleep, we may be able to affect people’s ability to learn things at all different ages, the authors concluded in a paper appeared in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.
No NFL coach or GM would ever choose to be on HBO’s NFL training camp documentary series Hard Knocks, but every year one team gets forced into it. This year it’s the Browns and rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield’s turn in front of the cameras as they attempt to recover from an 0-16 2017, and 20 years of dysfunction since returning to Cleveland in 1999.Colin thinks Mayfield’s outspoken personality and brash bravado, combined with the Browns dumpster fire reputation make them exactly what a reality show like Hard Knocks is looking for. He believes that if the Browns would have picked the more boring and reserved Sam Darnold they would have been passed up because it just wouldn’t make good TV.“Reality shows seek dysfunction and time bombs. This is just another ancillary issue with Baker Mayfield.”The biggest problem for the Browns, other than actual football, is that nearly all of the teams that have been featured on the show in recent years have followed up with awful seasons. There aren’t many examples of a reality show making any relationship better, and it’s hard to see how this won’t be a bad start for the Baker Mayfield era in Cleveland.“Reality shows seek dysfunction and time bombs. This is just another ancillary issue with Baker Mayfield.”@ColinCowherd reacts to the Browns being chosen for Hard Knocks pic.twitter.com/o0fhPqX3UE— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) May 17, 2018
Register Now » December 16, 2014 2 min read For Instagram aficionados with an affinity for the nostalgic (a.k.a. pretty much every millennial), Polaroid just rolled out a new camera for you.The Polaroid Socialmatic is a camera that both prints mini photos (rectangular ones – not your standard square Polaroid photo with the white border, sadly) and allows users to upload photos to their social accounts instantly. It’s now available to pre-order and is set to ship in January.Related: This Is How Millennials View Work (Infographic)The Socialmatic concept was developed by a designer named Antonio de Rosa with marketing and communication firm ADR Studio, and first went around the web back in 2012. The physical camera made the rounds at the Consumer Electronics Show last winter. The camera itself looks like an oversized, three-dimensional Instagram icon and comes in black and white. It costs $299.99 when you buy enough paper and ink for 10 prints, and $350 for 110 prints. Related: Want Clickable Images? Check Out These 6 Tips.You can upload photos to your followers with the camera’s built-in in Wi-Fi connection, but you can also use Bluetooth to hook it up to your phone or tablet. It has a 14-megapixel front-facing camera and a 2-megapixel camera on the back (for selfies, naturally) and 4 GB of storage.The camera has a 4.5 inch touchscreen and is powered by Android, so users will also have an internet browser, e-mail and apps at their disposal. It also comes with a unique QR code to track the images and is GPS-enabled. The prints are two inches by three inches and have an adhesive back. Related: Entrepreneur’s Top 10 Crazy Tech Articles of 2014 Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global
Data TransitionMatrix; input CL PR PL; datalines; 0.98 0.01 0.01 0.02 0.93 0.05 0.06 0.21 0.73 ; Run; In the current data set, we have chosen the last available data point, 2017 H2. This is the base position of customer counts across classic, premium, and platinum accounts. While calculating the transition matrix, we haven’t taken into account new joiners or leavers. However, to enable forecasting we have taken 2017 H2 as our base position. The transition matrix seen in Figure 4.6 has been input as a separate dataset. Markov model code PROC IML; use Current; read all into Current; use Netflow; read all into Netflow; use TransitionMatrix; read all into TransitionMatrix; Data Netflow; input date CL PR PL; datalines; 2018.1 0.21 0.1 0.05 2018.2 0.22 0.16 0.06 2019.1 .24 0.18 0.08 2019.2 0.28 0.21 0.1 2020.1 0.31 0.23 0.14 ; Run; Current = Current [1,2:4]; Netflow = Netflow [,2:4]; Budgetinputs = Model_2018_1//Model_2018_2//Model_2019_1//Model_2019_2//Model_2020_1; Data Output; Set Budgetinputs (rename=(Col1=Cl Col2=Pr Col3=Pl)); Run; Proc print data=output;Run; Figure 4.7: Model output The Markov model has been run and we are able to generate forecasts for all account types for the requested five periods. We can immediately see that there is an increase forecasted for all the account types. This is being driven by the net flow of customers. We have derived the forecasts by essentially using the following equation: Forecast = Current Period * Transition Matrix + Net Flow Once the 2018 H1 forecast is derived, we replace the Current Period with the 2018 H1 forecasted number while trying to forecast the 2018 H2 numbers. We are doing this as, based on the 2018 H1 customer counts, the transition probabilities will determine how many customers move across states. This will help generate the forecasted customer count for the required period. Understanding transition probability Now, since we have our forecasts let’s take a step back and revisit our business goals. The finance team wants to estimate the revenues from the revamped premium and platinum customer accounts for the next few forecasting periods. As we have seen, one of the important drivers of the forecasting process is the transition probability. This transition probability is driven by historical customer movements, as shown in Figure 4.4. What if the marketing team doesn’t agree with the transitional probabilities calculated in Figure 4.6? As we discussed, 26.7% of platinum customers aren’t retained in this account type. Since we are not considering customer churn out of the bank, this means that a large proportion of platinum customers downgrade their accounts. One of the reasons the marketing teams revamped the accounts is due to this reason. The marketing team feels that it will be able to raise the retention rates for platinum customers and want the finance team to run an alternate forecasting scenario. This is, in fact, one of the pros of the Markov model approach as by tweaking the transition probabilities we can run various business scenarios. Let’s compare the base and the alternate scenario forecasts generated in Figure 4.8: A change in the transition probabilities of how platinum customers moved to various states has brought about a significant change in the forecast for premium and platinum customer accounts. For classic customers, the change in the forecast between the base and the alternate scenario is negligible, as shown in the table in Figure 4.8. The finance team can decide which scenario is best suited for budget forecasting: Cl Pr Pl Cl 98.2% 1.1% 0.8% Pr 2.0% 93.2% 4.8% Pl 5.0% 15.0% 80.0% Figure 4.8: Model forecasts and updated transition probabilities To summarize, we learned the Markov model methodology and learned Markov models for forecasting and imputation. To know more about how to use the other two methodologies such as ARIMA and MCMC for generating forecasts for various business problems, you can check out the book SAS for Finance. Read more How to perform regression analysis using SAS Performing descriptive analysis with SAS Akon is planning to create a cryptocurrency city in Senegal Model_2018_1 = Current * TransitionMatrix + Netflow [1,]; Model_2018_2 = Model_2018_1 * TransitionMatrix + Netflow [1,]; Model_2019_1 = Model_2018_2 * TransitionMatrix + Netflow [1,]; Model_2019_2 = Model_2019_1 * TransitionMatrix + Netflow [1,]; Model_2020_1 = Model_2019_2 * TransitionMatrix + Netflow [1,]; Budget and demand forecasting are important aspects of any finance team. Budget forecasting is the outcome, and demand forecasting is one of its components. In this article, we understand the Markov model for forecasting and budgeting in finance. This article is an excerpt from a book written by Harish Gulati titled SAS for Finance. Understanding problem of budget and demand forecasting While a few decades ago, retail banks primarily made profits by leveraging their treasury office, recent years have seen fee income become a major source of profitability. Accepting deposits from customers and lending to other customers is one of the core functions of the treasury. However, charging for current or savings accounts with add-on facilities such as breakdown cover, mobile, and other insurances, and so on, has become a lucrative avenue for banks. One retail bank has a plain vanilla classic bank account, mid-tier premier, and a top-of-the-range, benefits included a platinum account. The classic account is offered free and the premier and platinum have fees of $10 and $20 per month respectively. The marketing team has just relaunched the fee-based accounts with added benefits. The finance team wanted a projection of how much revenue could be generated via the premier and the platinum accounts. Solving with Markovian model approach Even though we have three types of account, the classic, premier, and the platinum, it doesn’t mean that we are only going to have nine transition types possible as in Figure 4.1. There are customers who will upgrade, but also others who may downgrade. There could also be some customers who leave the bank and at the same time there will be a constant inflow of new customers. Let’s evaluate the transition states flow for our business problem: In Figure 4.2, we haven’t jotted down the transition probability between each state. We can try to do this by looking at the historical customer movements, to arrive at the transitional probability. Be aware that most business managers would prefer to use their instincts while assigning transitional probabilities. They may achieve some merit in this approach, as the managers may be able to incorporate the various factors that may have influenced the customer movements between states. A promotion offering 40% off the platinum account (effective rate $12/month, down from $20/month) may have ensured that more customers in the promotion period opted for the platinum account than the premier offering ($10/month). Let’s examine the historical data of customer account preferences. The data is compiled for the years 2008 – 2018. This doesn’t account for any new customers joining after January 1, 2008 and also ignores information on churned customers in the period of interest. Figure 4.3 consists of customers who have been with the bank since 2008: Active customer counts (Millions) Year Classic (Cl) Premium (Pr) Platinum (Pl) Total customers 2008 H1 30.68 5.73 1.51 37.92 2008 H2 30.65 5.74 1.53 37.92 2009 H1 30.83 5.43 1.66 37.92 2009 H2 30.9 5.3 1.72 37.92 2010 H1 31.1 4.7 2.12 37.92 2010 H2 31.05 4.73 2.14 37.92 2011 H1 31.01 4.81 2.1 37.92 2011 H2 30.7 5.01 2.21 37.92 2012 H1 30.3 5.3 2.32 37.92 2012 H2 29.3 6.4 2.22 37.92 2013 H1 29.3 6.5 2.12 37.92 2013 H2 28.8 7.3 1.82 37.92 2014 H1 28.8 8.1 1.02 37.92 2014 H2 28.7 8.3 0.92 37.92 2015 H1 28.6 8.34 0.98 37.92 2015 H2 28.4 8.37 1.15 37.92 2016 H1 27.6 9.01 1.31 37.92 2016 H2 26.5 9.5 1.92 37.92 2017 H1 26 9.8 2.12 37.92 2017 H2 25.3 10.3 2.32 37.92 Figure 4.3: Active customers since 2008 Since we are only considering active customers, and no new customers are joining or leaving the bank, we can calculate the number of customers moving from one state to another using the data in Figure 4.3: Customer movement count to next year (Millions) Year Cl-Cl Cl-Pr Cl-Pl Pr-Pr Pr-Cl Pr-Pl Pl-Pl Pl-Cl Pl-Pr Total customers 2008 H1 – – – – – – – – – – 2008 H2 30.28 0.2 0.2 5.5 0 0.23 1.1 0.37 0.04 37.92 2009 H1 30.3 0.1 0.25 5.1 0.53 0.11 1.3 0 0.23 37.92 2009 H2 30.5 0.32 0.01 4.8 0.2 0.43 1.28 0.2 0.18 37.92 2010 H1 30.7 0.2 0 4.3 0 1 1.12 0.4 0.2 37.92 2010 H2 30.7 0.2 0.2 4.11 0.35 0.24 1.7 0 0.42 37.92 2011 H1 30.9 0 0.15 4.6 0 0.13 1.82 0.11 0.21 37.92 2011 H2 30.2 0.8 0.01 3.8 0.1 0.91 1.29 0.4 0.41 37.92 2012 H1 30.29 0.4 0.01 4.9 0.01 0.1 2.21 0 0 37.92 2012 H2 29.3 0.9 0.1 5.3 0 0 2.12 0 0.2 37.92 2013 H1 29.2 0.1 0 6.1 0.1 0.2 1.92 0 0.3 37.92 2013 H2 28.6 0.3 0.4 6.5 0 0 1.42 0.2 0.5 37.92 2014 H1 28.7 0.1 0 7.2 0.1 0 1.02 0 0.8 37.92 2014 H2 28.7 0 0.1 8.1 0 0 0.82 0 0.2 37.92 2015 H1 28.6 0 0.1 8.3 0 0 0.88 0 0.04 37.92 2015 H2 28.3 0 0.3 8 0.1 0.24 0.61 0 0.37 37.92 2016 H1 27.6 0.8 0 8.21 0 0.16 1.15 0 0 37.92 2016 H2 26 1 0.6 8.21 0.5 0.3 1.02 0 0.29 37.92 2017 H1 25 0.5 1 8 0.5 1 0.12 0.5 1.3 37.92 2017 H2 25.3 0.1 0.6 9 0 0.8 0.92 0 1.2 37.92 Figure 4.4: Customer transition state counts In Figure 4.4, we can see the customer movements between various states. We don’t have the movements for the first half of 2008 as this is the start of the series. In the second half of 2008, we see that 30.28 out of 30.68 million customers (30.68 is the figure from the first half of 2008) were still using a classic account. However, 0.4 million customers moved away to premium and platinum accounts. The total customers remain constant at 37.92 million as we have ignored new customers joining and any customers who have left the bank. From this table, we can calculate the transition probabilities for each state: Year Cl-Cl Cl-Pr Cl-Pl Pr-Pr Pr-Cl Pr-Pl Pl-Pl Pl-Cl Pl-Pr 2008 H2 98.7% 0.7% 0.7% 96.0% 0.0% 4.0% 72.8% 24.5% 2.6% 2009 H1 98.9% 0.3% 0.8% 88.9% 9.2% 1.9% 85.0% 0.0% 15.0% 2009 H2 98.9% 1.0% 0.0% 88.4% 3.7% 7.9% 77.1% 12.0% 10.8% 2010 H1 99.4% 0.6% 0.0% 81.1% 0.0% 18.9% 65.1% 23.3% 11.6% 2010 H2 98.7% 0.6% 0.6% 87.4% 7.4% 5.1% 80.2% 0.0% 19.8% 2011 H1 99.5% 0.0% 0.5% 97.3% 0.0% 2.7% 85.0% 5.1% 9.8% 2011 H2 97.4% 2.6% 0.0% 79.0% 2.1% 18.9% 61.4% 19.0% 19.5% 2012 H1 98.7% 1.3% 0.0% 97.8% 0.2% 2.0% 100.0% 0.0% 0.0% 2012 H2 96.7% 3.0% 0.3% 100.0% 0.0% 0.0% 91.4% 0.0% 8.6% 2013 H1 99.7% 0.3% 0.0% 95.3% 1.6% 3.1% 86.5% 0.0% 13.5% 2013 H2 97.6% 1.0% 1.4% 100.0% 0.0% 0.0% 67.0% 9.4% 23.6% 2014 H1 99.7% 0.3% 0.0% 98.6% 1.4% 0.0% 56.0% 0.0% 44.0% 2014 H2 99.7% 0.0% 0.3% 100.0% 0.0% 0.0% 80.4% 0.0% 19.6% 2015 H1 99.7% 0.0% 0.3% 100.0% 0.0% 0.0% 95.7% 0.0% 4.3% 2015 H2 99.0% 0.0% 1.0% 95.9% 1.2% 2.9% 62.2% 0.0% 37.8% 2016 H1 97.2% 2.8% 0.0% 98.1% 0.0% 1.9% 100.0% 0.0% 0.0% 2016 H2 94.2% 3.6% 2.2% 91.1% 5.5% 3.3% 77.9% 0.0% 22.1% 2017 H1 94.3% 1.9% 3.8% 84.2% 5.3% 10.5% 6.2% 26.0% 67.7% 2017 H2 97.3% 0.4% 2.3% 91.8% 0.0% 8.2% 43.4% 0.0% 56.6% Figure 4.5: Transition state probability In Figure 4.5, we have converted the transition counts into probabilities. If 30.28 million customers in 2008 H2 out of 30.68 million customers in 2008 H1 are retained as classic customers, we can say that the retention rate is 98.7%, or the probability of customers staying with the same account type in this instance is .987. Using these details, we can compute the average transition between states across the time series. These averages can be used as the transition probabilities that will be used in the transition matrix for the model: Cl Pr Pl Cl 98.2% 1.1% 0.8% Pr 2.0% 93.2% 4.8% Pl 6.3% 20.4% 73.3% Figure 4.6: Transition probabilities aggregated The probability of classic customers retaining the same account type between semiannual time periods is 98.2%. The lowest retain probability is for platinum customers as they are expected to transition to another customer account type 26.7% of the time. Let’s use the transition matrix in Figure 4.6 to run our Markov model. Use this code for Data setup: DATA Current; input date CL PR PL; datalines; 2017.2 25.3 10.3 2.32 ; Run; Create Budgetinputs from Budgetinputs; append from Budgetinputs; Quit;
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in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News, Origination Despite expectations that the Federal Reserve will significantly ease monetary policy through the end of the year, the Fannie Mae Economic and Strategic Research (ESR) Group expects 2019 and 2020 real GDP growth to slow to 2.1% and 1.6%, respectively. This prediction has been driven by an inverted yield curve, weak business investment, waning consumer and business sentiment, and ongoing trade and global growth concerns. The ESR Group also predicted that the Fed will cut interest rates by 25 basis points in July, followed by another 25 basis points in December. “As the current U.S. expansion celebrates its tenth anniversary, it does so under an economic backdrop of growing domestic and global uncertainty – and slowing growth,” said Fannie Mae SVP and Chief Economist Doug Duncan. “The heightened uncertainty, stemming in part from the seemingly intractable trade dispute between the U.S. and China, appears to have reduced business’ investment incentive, which is now poised to be a material drag on growth over the forecast period. With consumer spending the principal remaining GDP growth driver, in addition to the recent re-inversion of the yield curve suggesting that market participants expect economic activity to slow further, we believe that the Fed will take a more accommodative posture beginning with a rate cut at the July meeting of the FOMC.”The ESR Group notes that housing continues to benefit from the lower mortgage rate environment. Total origination volume is expected to improve 7% in 2019 on the back of a surge in refinances and moderate house price growth. Refinance activity is expected to represent 32% of originations in 2019, up from 29% in 2018 and more than 2%age points higher than was forecast last month.“Housing remains a net positive to the economy, as the industry anticipates growth fueled by strong household balance sheets, low mortgage rates, and a surge in refinance activity,” Duncan continued. “However, the housing industry still doesn’t have an answer for the related problems of low supply and affordability. While home price appreciation has largely moderated – particularly compared to the recent past – and demand for modestly priced homes has proven strong and resilient, the lack of affordable inventory continues to cap sales and limit the potential pool of would-be homeowners.” Share 17 days ago 249 Views Economy Fannie Mae HOUSING 2019-07-16 Seth Welborn Housing in the Low Mortgage Rate Environment