If you’re going camping this summer, there’s a decent chance your phone will be protected inside an OtterBox case. The same may be true for your lunch, as it turns out. OtterBox has taken the wraps off its new Venture Coolers, a lineup of rugged boxes designed for holding food and ice rather than gadgets. The coolers are being offered in three different sizes and include things like an integrated cutting board, organization slots, and various durable accessories, among other things. Story Timelineolloclip 4-in-1 lens lands on the new OtterBox uniVERSE case systemGoal Zero Nomad Folio joins OtterBox uniVERSE case systemOtterBox’s new accessories line includes earbuds and chargers OtterBox accessories line includes earbuds and chargersOtterBox is perhaps best known for its ultra-durable phone cases, but it has also dabbled in the world of durable boxes, and the new Venture Coolers are no exception. These models are designed for serious outdoorsy folks who want to head out into the hot, harsh wilderness without sacrificing their cold beverages and fresh foods. Unlike many coolers, though, the OtterBox Ventures takes things to the next level with built-in tools and more. The Venture Coolers can preserve ice for up to two weeks straight, no doubt depending on how often the cooler is opened. It also contains clips and mounting points for attaching accessories, as shown in the video above. A small OtterBox case can be attached to the back of the cooler; included cutting board and cup holders can be removed from inside the cooler and mounted on the outside, as well. There’s also a dry storage board.The coolers are available in Venture 25/45/65 sizes, the smallest of which (the 25) being priced at $249.99 USD. The Venture 45 is priced at $349.99 and the Venture 65 is priced at $399.99 USD. As well, the coolers are being offered in three different color schemes: white and blue called Hudson, tan and green called Ridgeline, and Realtree Xtra camo called Back Trail.SOURCE: OtterBox
Story TimelineAmazon’s Echo Look gives Alexa fashion-judging eyesAmazon Echo Show gives Alexa a screen and free video callsWith “Amazon Fire TV Edition”, 4K TVs now come with AlexaGoogle Home understands accents better than Siri, Alexa DISH is looking to end “where’s the remote?” hunting with an update for its Hopper and Wally set-top boxes that adds Amazon Alexa support. The new feature works with Amazon’s Echo, Echo Dot, and Amazon Tap, with voice control for everything from navigating between channels, search, and the basics of pause, fast-forward, and rewind. It’s the first official integration of this sort between Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant, and a third-party TV provider’s hardware. Other platforms, like Comcast’s Xfinity, do offer voice control natively. Back in 2015, Comcast offered a special remote with a microphone built-in that could be used to search for channels and control playback. Meanwhile Amazon’s own Fire TV has Alexa support, while Apple’s fourth-generation Apple TV has a Siri-powered remote. Rather than go the home-grown route, DISH has instead opted to integrate with one of the rising stars in the third-party marketplace. You can connect the two by heading into the Alexa app and finding the DISH TV skill under the “Music, Video & Books” category. Then, you can get an Alexa code from the internet-connected Hopper or Wally set-top box. Once activated, you choose the desired Hopper or Wally receiver from the list of discoverable devices in the Alexa app. At that point, by using the “Alexa” wake-word you can instruct the smart speaker to do a wide variety of commands:“Alexa, change channel to ESPN”“Alexa, tune to channel 130”“Alexa, go to the History Channel”“Alexa, find the Big Bang Theory”“Alexa, search for Game of Thrones”“Alexa, show me Tom Hanks movies”“Alexa, search for comedies”“Alexa, play This is Us”“Alexa, skip forward”“Alexa, rewind 30 seconds”“Alexa, pause”“Alexa, resume”In fact, you’ll be able to navigate, play, pause, fast-forward, rewind, and search content, the latter based on channel, title, actor, or genre. As well as DISH’s live, recorded, and on-demand streaming content, the universal search will also work with Netflix’s catalog. DISH says that there are more commands and integrations in the pipeline, too. That could mean the ability to program recordings using voice, perhaps, or manage a list of DVR-recorded shows. Of course, the big challenge might be preventing living room arguments. The good thing – and frustrating thing – about having a traditional remote control is that only one person can use it at a time. With Alexa listening from across the room, and responding to any voice, heated debates about what should be playing could end up escalating into a battle of raised voices.
This morning the price of Bitcoin VS USD is lower than it’s likely set to be over the next few days. As such, it’s a good time to trade your dollars for all the satoshi* you can hold. The big problem with what you’re about to do isn’t the cash exchange, it’s the taxation of said investments that might end up being applied retroactively in the near future. Story TimelineApple pulls Blockchain Bitcoin wallet from App StoreThis Blockchain phone is unreal: Sirin Labs, Solarin, and FINNEYBitcoin goes mainstream with futures trading on Wall StreetBitcoin price down today: Here’s whyOpera bitcoin mining protection feature arrives in next update Do I pay taxes on Bitcoin?Whether you buy one full Bitcoin or a smallest fraction of a Bitcoin (one satoshi,) there’s a good chance you’ve got a potential for taxation. If you’re the sort of person that reports every monetary transaction to the Federal Government as you’re supposed to, you’ll want to tell them you’ve dropped some cash on Bitcoin, too. The potential for an audit if you fail to report an investment like this is real.*DID YOU KNOW: You can buy a fraction of a bitcoin: Satoshi!The idea still up for debate is whether trading USD for Bitcoin is an investment, or simply an exchange of funds. If you plan on trading massive amounts of cash for Bitcoin, the risk might just be too great to consider. The risk, that is, of finding yourself on the wrong side of the IRS.OF IMPORTANT NOTE: Nothing above or below should be considered legal advice, tax advice, or investment advice. Anything you do before, during, or after reading this article is entirely of your own accord, and most certainly none of the business of the author or SlashGear. Be cautious, be safe, and be smart!VPN TimeIf you’re extremely, particularly fearful of any 3rd-party entity seeing your Bitcoin business, you’ll want to work with a VPN. Connecting to the web through your standard internet provider without a VPN includes the possibility that your website visits and actions are being tracked. It sucks, but it’s true.If you use a VPN, there’s a greater chance that your actions and website visits will be private. Privatizing your wi-fi connection, using a VPN, and connecting with TOR might be your best combo at home, barring using the internet connection of some trusted, wired network other than your own. Even if you have all of these secure measures in place, there’s still a chance your Bitcoin investment might be seen – sort of. Bank Account InvestmentIf you use a service like Coinbase, you’ll likely move money from your bank account to your Coinbase wallet, then trade it for Bitcoin. This in itself might not be enough evidence that you’ve made some sort of investment that needs to be taxed – but then again, it might. There are other ways to buy Bitcoin – and other, multiple services which you can use to make your USD turn into Bitcoin without direct connection to your bank account. I’m not going to link you to those services here, not least of all because I’ve only tried a couple, and I don’t trust any service implicitly.Cash OutJust as important as keeping your trade of USD to BTC private is the privacy of BTC to USD. If you ever plan on going back to USD, that is to say. You might just want to keep Bitcoin for the rest of your life, up unto the point at which digital currencies are the only currencies on this planet worth working with. If that time ever comes!
Facebook has vowed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 75-percent with an ultimate goal of switching entirely to renewable energy by the end of 2020. The company has worked on reaching various renewable and clean energy goals over the years, having signed contracts for more than 3 gigawatts of solar and wind energy since 2013. Over the last year, Facebook has added more than 2500 megawatts to its renewable energy contracts, saying in a statement today that it has no plans of slowing down. In 2015, Facebook had a stated goal of covering 50-percent of its facilities with renewable energy by this year; it reached 51-percent last year, exceeding its goal.Facebook is focusing on new solar and wind projects that are on the same grid as its data centers. The idea here is that Facebook’s investment helps support jobs in the communities where it operates. As well, Facebook says its efforts help “move energy markets forward,” doing so by giving other companies access to renewable energy via opening projects to them, as well as building infrastructure. Assuming everything goes according to plan, Facebook’s operations around the world will be covered entirely by renewable energy within the next two years.AdChoices广告Facebook’s goal joins similarly stated plans by other major tech companies, including Google and Microsoft. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it had entered into the US’s largest corporate solar power deal as part of its own ongoing efforts.SOURCE: Facebook
Toyota’s Mirai is a four-door mid-size sedan that produces zero emissions. It has an EPA estimated driving range of 312 miles and gets 67 mpge city/highway/combined. The Mirai performs on par with traditional gas-powered vehicles according to Toyota, but the Mirai uses no gas.The refueling time of the hydrogen vehicles about five minutes. The hydrogen creates electricity using oxygen and a fuel cell and the only byproduct emitted during that conversion process is water vapor. Toyota also notes that it is committed to building a hydrogen refueling network.For now, California is one of the only places where you can refuel a hydrogen-powered car, which is why the vehicle is only sold in California. Air Liquide and Toyota are working together to set up a network of 12 additional hydrogen fueling stations that will stretch from New York to Boston to expand the availability and appeal of the Mirai.Toyota is also working on a new hydrogen production facility at the Port of Long Beach that will use bio-waste from the agriculture industry in California to generate water, electricity, and hydrogen. That hydrogen will power Toyota fuel cell vehicles that are moving through the port. SOURCE: Toyota Toyota has announced that it has reached a milestone with the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The car has passed over 3,000 units sold in California. That number means that the Mirai makes up over 80% of all hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the roads in the US.
Everything has been building up to Model YAfter several years and with numerous cars under its belt, it’s easy to get blasé about what Tesla has achieved. The Model Y, though, will catapult the California automaker into the midst of the fiercest category in the car space today. Crossovers and small SUVs are perennial best-sellers these days, and you need to bring your A-game if you want to succeed. In Tesla’s case, that’ll require great packaging, pricing, and production. The “production hell” of the Model 3 has hopefully given the automaker enough lessons when it comes to figuring out how to produce an electric car for the mass market. Similarly, by now it should have an angle on how to deliver premium features – including advanced driver-assistance technology like Autopilot and Autopark – without forcing buyers to break the bank. We’re expecting a bigger car than Model 3With the Model Y set to build on the success – and the design – of the Model 3, it’s no surprise that the two cars will share a common design language. Tesla has been coy with pre-announcement images of its new EV, unsurprisingly. Still, from what we’ve seen so far, it certainly appears like the Model Y will look a little like a Model 3 that has been stretched upwards. That’s going to give it a distinct look on the road, much as the Model X distinguishes itself from the Model S. However it should also improve on factors like ride height and clearance. Model Y drivers may not have off-roading in mind, but the ability to go down rutted roads – potentially while towing – without worrying about catching the underbody could be a huge advantage. More than that, though, is the psychological impact. Crossovers and SUVs are a huge category right now, comfortably out-selling sedans and other body styles. Key to that is the feeling drivers have when they’re at the wheel: higher up in traffic, generally with better visibility, and the perception that, should the worst happen and they be in a crash, their car will handle it better.Tesla has some big Model Y questions to answerDespite what we know already, there are still plenty of gaps that Tesla needs to fill in today at the Model Y reveal. Style is just one of those: arguably more important are factors like price, range, and performance. We already have a rough idea how much the Model Y will cost. Elon Musk described the crossover as being around 10-percent bigger than the Model 3, and carrying a similar price premium. That would suggest the Model Y will start at around $39,000 before any incentives or other savings.As we’ve seen before, though, the cheapest Tesla isn’t necessarily the first to go on sale. As with the Model 3, the $35k version of which arrived a long time after more expensive trims of the car were available to order, we’d expect Model Y buyers to be nudged toward the higher-spec versions initially. Tesla may not be too forthcoming on how soon, exactly, the cheapest Model Y will go on sale – after all, that might dampen sales of more premium trims, even if the automaker could put a solid date on it – but we’ll be listening closely for an idea on timescales. How much will those more expensive versions cost? Again, looking at the current Model 3, a $52,000 starting price for the top-spec trim seems likely. That will presumably come with all-wheel drive, the premium interior, and the longest range. The entry-level Model Y, meanwhile, is likely to be rear-wheel drive and have the shortest range. Musk previously said that, as a bigger and heavier car, it won’t go as far on the same battery size as a Model 3, but we’d still be surprised if the Model Y’s starting range dropped below the 200 mile mark. That’s an important psychological barrier, after all. Tesla Model Y livestreamExcited? You probably should be. The big Tesla reveal kicks off at 8pm PDT, and the automaker will be live-streaming the whole thing at livestream.Tesla.com. Expect Elon Musk to make some big promises as he tackles all the questions investors and potential customers have about this new challenge. SlashGear will be at the event in LA, and we’ll be bringing you all the details as well as some first-impressions as the launch goes down. Join us this evening as we get our first look at what’s shaping up to be Tesla’s most important car to-date! Story TimelineTesla sales go online-only amid huge test drive changeTesla Model Y will finally be unveiled next weekTesla changes plans and will keep more stores open Tesla is about to take the wraps off the Model Y, and the electric car company has shared another teaser image to fully whet appetites ahead of today’s big reveal. The fourth car in Tesla’s current line-up will arguably be its most important: a compact SUV to target one of the most popular segments in the automotive market today.
McClatchy reports that in most states opting against the health law’s Medicaid expansion, millions will be stranded without insurance: They will make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to get subsidies to help buy coverage on the new insurance marketplaces. Other news organizations report on the Michigan Senate’s decision to move ahead with expansion, but not until April, and on the continuing debate in Ohio.McClatchy Medicaid ‘Coverage Gap’ Looming For The Poor In 21 States The law was supposed to provide health insurance for most Americans next year by expanding Medicaid in all states to people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. That’s about $15,900 for an individual in 2013, or nearly $32,500 for a family of four. But when the Supreme Court ruled that states could opt out of the expansion, Republican-led states took advantage. Rather than expand their Medicaid programs, most kept their programs as is – open mainly to the poorest of the poor (Pugh, 8/28).Detroit Free Press: Delay In Medicaid Expansion To Be CostlyGetting the expansion of Medicaid passed in the state Senate Tuesday night was a huge victory for Gov. Rick Snyder, state health officials and, ultimately, nearly 500,000 low-income Michiganders. But the failure of the Senate to vote to give the bill immediate effect, thus delaying the implementation of the law until April 1, could cost the state and individuals hoping to qualify for Medicaid coverage dearly (Gray, 8/29).Stateline: Michigan Senate Narrowly Passes Medicaid ExpansionThe Michigan Senate narrowly voted in favor of expanding Medicaid eligibility Tuesday night, extending Medicaid benefits to an additional 345,000 residents (according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and The Urban Institute) now without health insurance. The measure is expected to be approved by the House in early September and signed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who lobbied forcefully for expansion. Under the legislation, beneficiaries would be required to pay a portion of their premiums (Ollove, 8/28).Columbus Dispatch: Citing Depression, Maurice Clarett Joins Call To Boost MedicaidMental health advocates gathered at the Statehouse today to push for Medicaid expansion in Ohio. Among the supporters? Former Ohio State phenom running back Maurice Clarett. Clarett, part of the 2002 National Championship team, had numerous off-the-field troubles, including robbery and weapons convictions that put him in prison. He has since been treated for depression (Felser, 8/29). Poor People In At Least 21 States To Face Medicaid Coverage Gap This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services welcomed its third group of “entrepreneurs-in-residence” — mainly private-sector tech experts and start-up founders who are spending a year advising the agency on its health IT projects. Two are working on data collection and analysis. Paula Braun, a data scientist with Charlottesville, Va.-based consulting firm Elder Research, is embedded in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to devise a better Electronic Death Registration System, so that the CDC can refine its analytics and predictive modeling. (Ravindranath, 12/7) North Carolina’s rates for individual insurance vary significantly across the state and are among the highest in the nation. The state’s high insurance costs have been blamed on a grab bag of causes, including entrenched market dominance by Blue Cross, the state’s decision last year not to expand Medicaid, and a decades-long race among hospital companies to build one of the nation’s best health care networks. The Affordable Care Act has been blamed and credited for lots of things, but one of the legacies of the federal health law is greater transparency for insurance costs, which for years had been treated as a closely guarded secret. Today anyone with Internet access can get on healthcare.gov and compare rates within their own state or with other states. (Murawski and Raynor, 12/7) A Supreme Court challenge that poses a grave threat to President Obama’s health care law had its genesis precisely four years ago as a power-point presentation by a self-proclaimed pessimist from South Carolina. The idea was picked up by an Ohio law professor, given a policy and public relations push by a Washington health economist and turned into a lawsuit by an Oklahoma attorney general. Three more lawsuits followed. Nearly five years after the law was passed, their effort has reached the Supreme Court, which saved the president’s signature domestic policy achievement in 2012 but now could deal Obama a significant setback. (Wolf, 12/7) And USA Today traces the origins of the latest Supreme Court challenge to the law – The Sacramento Bee: With Affordable Care Act, Fewer Uninsured In California Emergency Rooms USA Today: Pessimist’s Persistence Could Pay Off Against Obamacare At 61, Ken Helms of Charlotte would love to have health insurance. Based on what he earned directing traffic this year, he’s eligible for federal help paying premiums and out-of-pocket costs under the Affordable Care Act. But he worried that his unpredictable income could leave him in the lurch. The subsidies are designed to provide more help to those with smaller paychecks. But in North Carolina, the floor drops out when a wage-earner falls below the poverty level, a distinct possibility for Helms.His fear: Getting health insurance – and long-delayed care – could leave him worse off if he loses his coverage and has to repay Uncle Sam. Experts say that won’t happen, but his trepidation is understandable. People who rely on tips, commissions or jobs with variable hours can have a tough time predicting annual income, which is the basis for ACA subsidies. In a recent Federal Reserve survey, almost one-third of Americans said their income fluctuates from month to month. (Helms, 12/7) What happens when you break a leg and you live hundreds of miles from the nearest hospital? Or when you can’t afford to get a new pair of glasses because you don’t have health insurance? For many, the answer is to go without help. That’s why the organization Remote Area Medical was conceived. As we’ve reported before, the team travels across the United States and abroad to provide health care to those in need. That’s a lot of people — about 16 percent of Americans are uninsured, according to the latest Gallup poll. (Bruzek, 12/5) Fewer uninsured Californians are seeking treatment in the state’s emergency rooms, a decline that experts say is a direct result of the federal Affordable Care Act. The trend represents welcome news for previously uninsured patients who had trouble affording a trip to the emergency room. But it has not brought down ER treatment costs for everyone else, health care experts said, nor has it slowed a years-long increase in overall emergency room traffic. (Reese, 12/6) Who will be the new health care leaders for Democrats? Sens. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Ben Cardin of Maryland want more delivery system reforms. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington wants better contraceptive coverage and more doctors. All three want to beef up mental health coverage. And Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey aren’t even saying what’s on their agenda — they want the Republicans to go first. It’s all smaller bore stuff — a real comedown from the visions of the past. (Nather, 12/7) The Washington Post: HHS Adds New Class Of ‘Entrepreneurs-In-Residence’ The Charlotte Observer: In NC, Health Insurance Rates Vary Widely, Depending On Location The Charlotte Observer: For Working Poor In North Carolina, Income Drop Creates Health Care Fear This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Politico: Health Care Torch Passed … To Nobody Exodus Of Democrats’ Health Care Crusaders In Congress Politico looks at the generational upheaval among congressional Democrats as a new Republican Congress takes over in January. Other stories examine how the Health and Human Services Department has “entrepreneurs-in-residence” advising on health IT projects and how the working poor in North Carolina who rely on tips, commissions or jobs with variable hours can have a tough time predicting annual income to qualify for insurance subsidies. Meanwhile, media outlets look at the decline in uninsured Californians in emergency rooms and the release of a documentary, Remote Area Medical, which follows a team of doctors, dentists and nurses as they treat thousands of people in Tennessee – NPR: Delivering Health Care To The Uninsured For $15 A Pop
More VW EV News Fortunately, Philipp von Hagen – executive board member of Porsche SE – was on hand at today’s BloombergNEF San Francisco Summit to share his take on EVs. Von Hagen was asked if Porsche SE (and therefore VW) is “all in” on electrification? He replied, “Not really.”Yes, Volkswagen has committed to $50 billion in electric cars, autonomous driving, and mobility services by 2024. But what von Hagen revealed – and I have not heard before – is what the $50 billion figure represents. It’s only one-third of the company’s investment powertrain technologies in the next five years. He said, “The investment is big and consequential, but we still are making two-thirds of our investment in existing drivetrain technologies.”That’s fascinating. We hear all the time about the number of billions of dollars that one company or another is making in electrification, but automakers are always investing significant sums in technology. You almost never hear what percentage of the investment is going to EVs and other emerging technologies.You also hear about the number of models that are going electric. Von Hagen said that we could see 50 EVs from Porsche SE and its brands by the end of 2030. But keep in mind that the company makes 300 models, according to von Hagen.When asked about the risks that VW faces in making its investment in electrification, he put the onus on consumers. “I’m a great believer in how electrification improves the vehicles offered to consumers,” he said. “But will people buy electric vehicles?” Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on February 4, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Volkswagen Group Reports Rising EV, PHEV Sales Mysterious VW EV Mule Spied Testing Statement comes from VW’s financial parent company, but you get the idea.The company entity known as Porsche SE is not a carmaker. It’s the financial holding company that owns the Volkswagen Group and all its brands, including Audi and Porsche. So it matters a lot what Porsche SE thinks about electrification. Source: Electric Vehicle News Spied: Volkswagen I.D. Crozz Mule Based On Tiguan
… we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. William Fotheringham France’s coach, Marc Lièvremont, having used this year’s Six Nations as a testbed for emerging young players, has largely abandoned the policy for Saturday’s tournament decider against Wales in Cardiff. With France needing to win by a clear 20 points to take the championship, Lièvremont’s team will be predominantly seasoned campaigners with only three youngsters included.At scrum-half, Jean-Baptiste Elissalde returns after an ankle injury, while David Skrela is recalled at fly-half, with a third place-kicker in Dimitri Yachvili on the bench. The hard-tackling flanker Thierry Dusautoir is also back, while among the backs Damien Traille is partnered at centre with Yannick Jauzion, as so often under Bernard Laporte, with Vincent Clerc reinstated on the wing.”We had decided before the game against Italy to look again at certain players who had been left out, such as Dusautoir, Clerc or Elissalde,” said Lièvremont. “Seeing what they have produced since the start of the tournament, it was only reasonable to bring them back for this last game. And as far as the team goes as a whole, we simply wished to put together the best team we could to win.”There are still decisions that will raise eyebrows, notably the selection of Fulgence Ouedraogo at No8 ahead of Elvis Vermeulen, who has been in fine form for his club Clermont-Auvergne. The 21-year-old from Montpellier got the nod, however, because his speed around the pitch is what Lièvremont believes he needs to counter the dynamic play the Welsh will produce on Saturday.Vermeulen, said Lièvremont, is likely to appear as an impact replacement late in the game. Another surprise was the absence of Cédric Heymans, whose partnership with Clerc on the wings was so influential against Scotland and Ireland. Instead, France will look to the pace of the young Clermont full-back Anthony Floch and his team-mate Julien Malzieu to complement Clerc.France, said Lièvremont, will start the game with the same plan as in their earlier games: to retain the ball and dictate the pace, even more important given the speed of the Welsh backs. “We always want to have the initiative, even if we haven’t always managed it perfectly. We will have to defend well to win the ball, but letting them run at us in a stadium where the atmosphere will be white-hot will be a sure way to defeat.”Italy’s coach, Nick Mallett, has made no changes to his side for Saturday’s wooden-spoon decider against Scotland in Rome. The flanker Alessandro Zanni will once again deputise for Mauro Bergamasco, who is unavailable through suspension.France (v Wales): Floch (Clermont-Auvergne); Clerc, Jauzion (both Toulouse), Traille (Biarritz), Malzieu (Clermont-Auvergne); Skrela (Stade Français), Elissalde (Toulouse); Barcella (Auch), Szarzewski (Stade Francais), Mas (Perpignan), Nallet (Castres, capt), Thion (Biarritz), Dusautoir (Toulouse), Ouedraogo (Montpellier), Bonnaire (Clermont-Auvergne). Replacements: Servat, Poux (both Toulouse), Mela (Albi), Vermeulen (Clermont-Auvergne), Yachvili (Biarritz), Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Heymans (Toulouse).Italy: (v Scotland): Marcato (Treviso), Robertson (Viadana), Canale (Clermont-Auvergne), Mirco Bergamasco (Stade Français), Galon (Overmach Parma); Masi (Biarritz), Picone (Treviso); Lo Cicero (Racing Métro Paris), Ghiraldini (Calvisano), Castrogiovanni (Leicester Tigers), Del Fava (Ulster), Bortolami (Gloucester), Sole (Viadana), Zanni (Calvisano), Parisse (Stade Français). Replacements: Ongaro (Saracens), Nieto (Gloucester), Perugini (Toulouse), Erasmus (Viadana), Travagli (Overmach Parma), Patrizio (Padova), Sgarbi (Treviso). Share on Messenger Support The Guardian France rugby union team Six Nations Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn France turn to experienced heads for Cardiff decider Since you’re here… Share via Email Share on WhatsApp Share on Facebook Sport Six Nations rugby 2008 Share via Email Rugby union Topics Shares00 Share on Twitter Wales rugby union team Sport First published on Wed 12 Mar 2008 20.09 EDT Wed 12 Mar 2008 20.09 EDT Share on Facebook Share on Pinterest Reuse this content
Twitter Premier League Top clubs beat the crunch with loyalty and long deals 24 Sep 2008 12:34 David Conn Wooderbeen First published on Tue 23 Sep 2008 19.03 EDT howyouknowIhe? Reply Share on Twitter Facebook Comments 84 Reply 24 Sep 2008 18:31 Share … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Facebook Reply Report I’m not sure how accurate that steward’s story is but if it is true you have to wonder what genius at Borothought that share of 25,000 full price empty seats was better than a share of 25,000 reduced price seats.A major reason for the relatively low attendance at OT last night is that season ticket holders can opt out of buying the Carling Cup matches this season whereas last season they had no choice in the matter. I note that attendances elsewhere last night were very low. Only 28,000 turned up at Anfield and 8,000 at Stoke to name a couple. While the demand for Premier League games remians high it is abundantly clear that the Carling Cup is on its arse.As for City not filling the stadium, this is nothing new. The notion that they are super fans who follow their club through thin & thinner is a media myth as huge swathes of empty blue seats are visible at most City home games. Sunderland is also one of the poorest parts of the country but they dont seem to have too many problems filling the Stadium of Light so it cant all be down to economics. | Pick Back on topic Wooderbeen so your evidence that clubs filling their ground not being a problm is that the most people that have ever been to the City of Manchester stadium is 47,331 but not 48,000 the actual capacity. Meaning that there have always at least 669 empty seats. In fact the average gate last season was 42,077 meaning that there were on average almost 6000 empty seats per game (that is the stat for league attendances too, not the sherbert double dip cup – I like that – so the mean is even lower), and United beat citeh’s record attendance last night.Not that i wouldn’t like prices reduced, my purse strings are tight this year. Facebook Share | Pick | Pick Share on WhatsApp Twitter Despite banking meltdown, big crowds and TV money make the Premier League an industry that can cope Share 4 Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 24 Sep 2008 15:38 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share Twitter Share Threads collapsed | Pick Share on Twitter | Pick Twitter 2 Report extraordinaryrvanp Report Reply 0 1 Facebook Share on Facebook Twitter All PKMUFC Reply Share on Facebook Ramalution windbag Wooderbeen Facebook Sorry there was an error. Please try again later. If the problem persists, please contact Userhelp Facebook BrazilBranch Is it just me, or is this new format putting everybody off posting comments.Slow, finickity and irritating.Anyway, to judge the financial resilience of the PL by looking at gates is of limited relevance.It all comes down to Sky.Sky needed football to get penetration of the market. They now have it.Now football needs Sky both to pay the wages and to generate the audience for the sponsors.If Sky massively reduces the TV contract, for business reasons or because Murdoch’s priorities are elesewhere, The PL will still have to accept it. Otherwise less money (BBC/ITV) or lower audiences (Santanta).Over-dependence on one income source is never a recipe for economic security. Share on LinkedIn Wha? 0 1 Sign in or create your Guardian account to recommend a comment 0 1 | Pick 24 Sep 2008 17:23 Reply The reason that there are gaps in the stands at AG is because some well-heeled morons (usually companies, I think) buy up season tickets and then choose not to come to the matches.Maybe they just really want the Members’ pack and don’t much care for the football, dunno, but it’s rather sad when you consider the massive waiting-list for the season tickets. Share on Twitter Report The loyalty of supporters should see clubs through these difficult financial times. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/Guardian Report With any luck, everyone will cancel their TV subscriptions to pay for fuel bills, so the next time the rights are up for grabs, Sky and Setanta will have gone bust, the Premier League will get a much-deserved drop in revenue, and the games will end up on ITV. Report 24 Sep 2008 18:21 Share on Twitter 100 Share on Facebook 24 Sep 2008 15:55 Share on Twitter As a by the by I work in Finance recruitment. When I worked in the UK and dealt with newly qualified accountants, do you know how many asked about the Deloitte Footballing Group?Fricking nearly every single one of them. Its only open to the best of the best. Its the most elite division in the whole of finance. All they do is snoop round football clubs,bask in corporate entertainment and publish one report a year whilst not asking to many questions about the accountsFootball is just to massive, Man U fans would be reduced to eating dung before they stop going to Old Trafford and appaluding Ronaldo for having an affair behind their back, like very sad cuckholded men. Facebook Premier League Facebook Close report comment form Reply Show 25 Share on Facebook Facebook Share on Twitter Report Reply Share on Twitter To join you off topic, ersatz, but as a regular rugby league, very infrequent football watcher, the suspensions you hand out for foul play in football look completely mad to me. They are a (very bad) joke.Funny, really, because rugby league is a much more violent game than football, but you would get a season long suspension for deliberately breaking someones leg in Australian rugby league. Is breaking the attendance record for the ground not good enough, David?http://www.thestateofthegame.com extraordinaryrvanp Report pierrelemer Share GMcG Share Shares00 And another thing!Tonight was a very disappointing attendance at Old Trafford. 20,000 empty seats means that somebody isn’t thinking straight. The future of the club needs the future support to be able to attend these prices. I guess including the cup matches in the season tickets means that many are discouraged. These matches should be a fiver for anyone under 16, give the future generation a chance to see the future generation of players and GET THEM INTO THE MATCH-GOING HABIT!What a wasted chance. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong about the pricing etc though. Twitter 0 1 0 1 | Pick | Pick 0 1 24 Sep 2008 16:45 Stubborn Prophets of Doom Share on Facebook Tue 23 Sep 2008 19.03 EDT | Pick Share on Twitter Actually, never-mind. I misread BB’s post, I thought he meant that AG and Anfield don’t get filled.What i wrote still stands true, but…gah, whatever. Facebook whathappenednext 24 Sep 2008 17:54 I was at OT last night and paid £80 (on the day of game) for 2 tickets for me and my teenage son.I enquired with the steward why the tickets had not been reduced and apparently Utd wanted to slash admission price but Boro refused, as they get an equal share of the gate receipts.Why should the oppostion club have any say whatsoever in what the home club can charge…its well out of order.So, instead of having a full-house with say £25 max ticket price , we were left with swathes of empty seats.This will be the last time I ever will pay this much, especially for the sherbert dib-dab cup. Share on Twitter | Pick collapsed 1 Email (optional) | Pick Twitter Share on Facebook | Pick Report Share Reply Share on Facebook Report Share on Facebook Twitter 3 Twitter BB,I read it wrong. Twitter Reply Reply Share on Twitter 24 Sep 2008 11:58 | Pick 24 Sep 2008 7:36 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Twitter Share Share on Twitter Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Twitter | Pick Share via Email Ever since the Premier League boomed into life in 1992, fuelled by Sky’s millions, stubborn prophets of doom have warned it is a bubble that is bound to burst. More measured observers wondered if clubs would be particularly vulnerable to a recession, because in order to pay enormous wages to their blessed players they rely on millions of ordinary people paying £400 a year for their Sky packages, season tickets which have ballooned about 800% in 16 years, and sponsorship and corporate entertainment budgets which many companies have to cut in rocky times.Now, here it is: banking meltdown, and the prospect of a recession for which the outlook varies only in the depth of its grimness. But look at the attendances: the football public’s response to last week’s dire headlines gave a clue to how the game is likely to fare – at the top, clubs believe, perhaps surprisingly, that they will be safe, while lower down, they will have to be careful. At six of the 10 weekend Premier League matches there were capacity or almost full houses. These came at Chelsea, for Manchester United’s highly charged visit, Liverpool, West Ham, Tottenham Hotspur and newly promoted Hull City and West Bromwich Albion. Sunderland did not fill the 49,000 Stadium of Light seats but 38,388 people at a match against Middlesbrough hardly represents an exodus of fans in hard-pressed Wearside. Bolton Wanderers, with 6,000 seats empty despite Arsenal’s presence, illustrated the continuing struggle to raise Reebok crowds above 22,000, and Blackburn Rovers’ kids-for-a-quid deal for the game against Fulham helped to draw 19,398. That is 12,000 below Ewood Park’s capacity but Rovers’ chairman, John Williams, argues that 20,000 attendees in a town of 100,000 people demonstrates profound commitment, rather than a game losing its lustre.The most spectacular statement of optimism in the Premier League’s future was delivered in Manchester, where City’s 6-0 rampage against Portsmouth followed the takeover of the club by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He issued a public letter headed “Dear fellow Manchester City fans”, in which he pledged to be a “long-term investor”, to nurture homegrown players “not just a team of all-stars” and to support City’s role “in Manchester and the community it represents”.The letter did not offer just warm words. “In cold business terms,” it said, “Premiership football is one of the best entertainment products in the world and we see this as a sound business investment.”That could hardly be clearer: Sheikh Mansour, of the Abu Dhabi royal family and chairman of the emirate’s International Petroleum Investment Company, does not see the Premier League as a bubble about to burst any time soon.Despite City suddenly becoming the world’s richest club and featuring Robinho in the line-up, there were still more than 7,000 empty seats at the City of Manchester Stadium for Sunday’s match, which was not broadcast on live TV. For all the petro-billions behind City, “Manchester and the community it represents” comprises some of the UK’s poorest people. Although 40,000 is, historically, a good crowd, City remain in the category of clubs needing to work to fill their ground. Across Manchester, last week’s bail-out of the stricken insurers AIG, United’s £14.125m-a-year shirt sponsor, was read by some as a powerful sign of the downturn hitting football, but United sent out a “business as usual” message. The club did not argue with marketing analysts who said United would easily find another sponsor if AIG did pull out, because a Manchester United footballer’s chest represents a glittering, global shop window for any company, even in this market.Many have noted the melting away of United’s season-ticket waiting list following the expansion of Old Trafford and serial price increases, but crowds so far, 75,512 against Newcastle and 74,944 for the Champions League tie with Villarreal, remain immense, up with the record numbers famously packed in cheaply during any previous “golden age”. All the other boxes are ticked at Old Trafford, including the corporate ones, which, according to a club spokesman, are 96% full for this season. In short, they are not worrying about a meltdown. At the other top clubs, Arsenal and Liverpool still have waiting lists for season tickets, and Chelsea, with adult prices this season between £650 and £1,150, are also sold out.Dan Jones, of the sports business group at Deloitte, believes Premier League football is less vulnerable than other industries, because of fans’ enduring loyalty, and because much of the clubs’ money is already secured. The record £2.7bn TV deal runs till 2010 and the clubs are confident that Sky’s competitors, for Sheikh Mansour’s coveted “entertainment product”, will trump that figure next time. “Season tickets are paid up until May, sponsorship deals are fairly long-term,” Jones points out, “so football clubs are actually more protected than other businesses who look at the current economic climate and wonder how they will be doing next month.”Clubs such as Blackburn, Bolton, West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland, Wigan and Middlesbrough did not need last week’s news from the City of London to tell them of difficult economic circumstances – they are surrounded by them. Williams is acutely aware that Blackburn and much of east Lancashire have never struggled out of long-term decline and says most Rovers fans are in lower income bands. “The A666 is not the King’s Road, and we have to be aware of the impact of any recession,” he says. Blackburn season tickets and corporate box sales are both slightly down this season and the club is working harder, as with Saturday’s “kids-for-a-quid” offer, to attract crowds match by match.West Bromwich Albion provide a ready preview of how clubs may react if recession does bite their fans – they can reduce prices. West Midlands’ traditional engineering economy has been grinding down for years, and Albion responded to promotion last season by cutting season ticket prices 11%, following 20% the previous season. That makes season tickets at The Hawthorns almost a third cheaper than when Albion were last in the Premier League. The result: full houses at all three home games so far. The demand is there. Much has been made of Albion starting the season without a sponsor, but the club’s finance director, Mark Jenkins, says they are confident: “Clearly companies are watching their budgets, but we are talking to two very attractive potential sponsors. However, we are not willing to under-sell our sponsorship and have a price below which we won’t go.”Below the gilded Premier League, clubs must battle harder to attract fans, sponsors and corporate customers, but Football League crowds are still at historically vast levels. Since football was cleaned up, reinvented and actively marketed following its Hillsborough nadir, a huge well of fan loyalty – gold dust for any business – has been amassed, and it looks durable, even in a recession.Of the economic downturn, one fan said last week: “Obviously, if people lose their jobs, some will have to give up going to the match if they need the money to feed their kids. Mind you,” he added, “I’m not one of them.”He may have been joking. Twitter Sportblog Share on Facebook Reply 24 Sep 2008 17:30 Support The Guardian joe5000 Facebook Share No one young supports their local team anymore. All choose 1 of the big 4 and buy the shirt and watch on telly. Maybe it will end up with just the big 4 playing each other every week. Report Share on Twitter ‘Ever since the Premier League boomed into life in 1992, fuelled by Sky’s millions,’Did it really ‘boom’ into life, David? … or had it been getting along very nicely, thank you, for around one hundred and four years under a different name? … and with substantially better attendance records?’Fuelled by Sky’s million’s’ … my ar$e. 25 Share on Twitter MarcelaProust Arsenal and Liverpool don’t even fill grounds now. Loading comments… Trouble loading? Twitter Share Football used to be a working class mans game. But as the years go on, less and less working class people can afford to go to every game like they used toToo many empty seats where business’s and general biffs buy season tickets and don’t go.Most clubs are more interested in satisfying their corporate fans than the real ones.No club should charge more than £25 for a game. invain Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Reply Share on Facebook Facebook Share on Facebook kingmarv34 Share 24 Sep 2008 10:13 Share Twitter 0 1 24 Sep 2008 13:34 0 1 Share Report Share What a peculiar article and from a writer I had always thought looked for the truth behind the hype. It’s a strange mix of the smug ‘World’s Best League’ rallying call of the Sky Sports commentator, the pseudo business speak of the Premier League suits and their ‘Product’ but surprisingly little interaction with the fans – neither the Sky subscription couch potatoes nor the actual match attendees. Yes, the supposed quote from a ‘fan’ this week (who, where, which team?) was a joke and I’ll tell you why: WIVES.He quotes some beancounter (albeit one from the Premier League of beancounters) – “Dan Jones, of the sports business group at Deloitte, believes Premier League football is less vulnerable than other industries, because of fans’ enduring loyalty,…………”Well erm…. yes. But surely we don’t yet know how that loyalty is going to stand up to increasing job losses and the cost of living along with the frankly scandalous prices being charged by some clubs. We may be moving into uncharted territory and it could be quite terrifying – particularly for the clubs. Twitter 0 1 Facebook 0 1 Share on Twitter BernieZ Topics 24 Sep 2008 10:33 Share on Pinterest | Pick 24 Sep 2008 10:57 Hmmm. I like that. I also enjoyed the irony of the phrase being coined by one David Conn.Also, using Manchester City as an example of a club who must try harder to fill up its stadium based on the Chelsea game is laughable as it is annoying… Facebook 24 Sep 2008 16:52 24 Sep 2008 15:59 | Pick Order by oldest 0 1 Highest Official Attendance – 47,331 V Chelsea, 13/09/2008 (previous record – 47,321 v Liverpool, 30/12/2007; 47,304 V Chelsea, 28/2/2004) Reason (optional) 24 Sep 2008 9:18 Reuse this content,View all comments > 0 1 0 1 Facebook Report Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Twitter | Pick Not if it drops 7000 the next week against such minnows as the FA Cup winners. I always thought that City were about the best-supported team in the land for numbers and loyalty, home and away, perhaps along with Burnley. If they can’t be bothered to turn up to watch Robinho play, surely that signifies that there IS a problem developing with English football. After that 6-0 spanking, they’ll all be back for the next match, sure. Tis a sign though. The prices are too high to entice the casual fan for the occasional match when United or Chelsea aren’t the visitors. Arsenal and Liverpool don’t even fill grounds now.As for the rest, I don’t agree with David Conn. Doesn’t happen often. Give it a year of economic difficulties and Sky subscriptions will be the first to go for many families. You can justify a trip to the pub for the important matches only and still be saving money. You’ll have to choose the pub though – they too will be binning their digi dishes as the prices rise. It has been happening already.Doomed I tell ye! Doomed! Report Sportblog Facebook | Pick 0 1 Share via Email Share on Facebook Share Twitter Share on Facebook 24 Sep 2008 17:15 Twitter AndyRAC Share on Facebook 24 Sep 2008 10:22 Facebook Reply As someone who used to ‘eat, drink, sleep Football, it now largely leaves me cold. The main reason is money. When will fans wake up and smell the coffee? Theyre all a bunch of mugs being taken for a ride. How on earth can you justify £40 a ticket for game, especially a Carling Cup game? When is Football going to join the real world?It might sound harsh, but the sooner the bubble bursts the better, a reality check is needed. A train out of control.Also, this notion that Football started in 1992 and anything before doesnt count is grossly wrong and misleading. 24 Sep 2008 16:28 Reply “The biggest problem with the game is that no one actually sees there’s any problem at all”you said it Miro. This is the problem with most sports in the modern era: those running the show are too divorced from the fans to know there is a problem. Some clubs are finding gaps appearing in the stands. Man City are one of them, though this may change post-takeover. Boro & Blackburn are others. The problem is the average age of fans has climbed to 44. There are so few young fans at the match, cos of the high ticket prices. What will happen when the average age climbs into the 50s, and older fans begin to think “ah, I can watch it at home on telly in the warmth and comfort”?Incidentally, did you know clubs count ALL season ticket holders as having turned up, whether they have or not? So, very few clubs’ official attendance figures bear any relation to reality it seems a bit silly to take crowd numbers of one or two weekends as arguments for/against reactions to economic slumps. As if a football fan would say ‘oh Lehmann has gone bust, and the FTSE is down this week, so I won’t go to the match this saturday’.Of course you have to look at the long-term trend. I think it’s called “elasticity of demand” in economic theory. And if the dole per week is still 50 GBP, and a match ticket is 80GBP, your outlook seems optimistically stretched to me.miroljub, I admire your capability to come up with a LIST OF things/teams/problems/etc no matter what the subject is 🙂 (I mostly agree with your list of problems today though) Share on Facebook Share on Facebook ersatz1 unthreaded | Pick Share 24 Sep 2008 16:35 Reply Share on Facebook Facebook Twitter Facebook Share on Facebook 24 Sep 2008 10:37 Share on Facebook | Pick 0 1 Share miroljub Report extraordinaryrvanp Report Well let’s all crawl under a rock and have a good cry because there’s money in football! There has been for years and years and years. It’s not about to implode, the fans aren’t going to leave suddenly in droves and it will always be the countries biggest sport. Breathe… Share on Facebook newest Share Reply 3 Report Report Twitter Report Report Report Report miroljub Report | Pick comments (84)Sign in or create your Guardian account to join the discussion. | Pick Reply Share on Twitter 24 Sep 2008 11:09 Share 50 I’m with Miro.Blimey, who’d’ve thought?Many of today’s football “supporters” (sic) demonstrate something more akin to brand loyalty than traditional support ; they are loud and brash with their support for their team, the best, one and only ‘don’t you dare criticize’ team. They’ll verbally chant down any gainsayers, like samurai heralding their warlord but in truth are a fairly shallow bunch. Watch what happens when the going gets tough, the glister fades and the popularity renders the whole shooting match somewhat less appealing. At the end of the day, it’s a product they consume.In music terms, they are the equivalent of the Kiss Army. They’ve heard the riffs but haven’t a clue who Robert Johnson was. And sooner of later they’ll want to change the record.I’m convinced that football sold its soul when the game stopped being primarily a game and increasingly became a business opportunity. There’s not the soul, not the connection that there was and frankly, Mr Shankley, I’m damn glad to have grown up when it was still the people’s game rather than the virtual reality behemoth that it’s become. Facebook 0 1 0 1 Share | Pick 2 0 1 The biggest problem with the game is that no one actually sees there’s any problem at all. The ‘best league in the world’ stereotypical phrase has become the aspirin-like universal answer to almost all problems. The second problem is that football doesn’t have the power to control its own destiny. The centres of real power are somewhere else, many of them invisible, and with a single aim to make the biggest possible profit at any cost, thus inevitably allowing greed, monopoly and corruption to go unchecked and later on to dominate. The third problem are the highest positioned football officials, and particularly the managers, like Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger. They have become too self-confident and prideful plus selfish to be concerned about the game future. They keep fighting each other, having no sense of perspective. The fourth problem is the utterly clueless media. Reply Share recommendations oldest Share on Facebook Twitter Reply 0 1 Reply I’ll correct myself instead – ‘these matches’ obviously. Fk knows who will proof-read what I’m writing now but after 14 hours in front of a laptop, it’s probably as bad as my last post. Everything begins to look Russian at this point.And Miss VP – did you reed it wrong or did I яight it wrong? And howyouknowIhe? Twitter Twitter Reply Reply Report Facebook Share on Twitter Twitter 0 1 Facebook 0 1 expanded Reply Share Reply Share on Twitter Share Facebook blogposts Twitter Since you’re here… 0 1 Share on Twitter Report 0 1 BrazilBranch Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Please select Personal abuse Off topic Legal issue Trolling Hate speech Offensive/Threatening language Copyright Spam Other BrazilBranch DavidThe Premier League, as it is, is a recipe for total disaster:The ‘old-fashioned’ ingredients such as: enduring loyalty/profound commitment/feeling that you are not alone/sense of identification and membership/real love for the game/devotion/curiosity/addiction/trust…which all, despite being antithetical to our sinful human nature seeking to satisfy our own selfish whims, still exist among the PL followers, are destined to fade away and fail. Why? Because they are faced with too many fundamental challenges not to be ridiculed, so losing their meanings, with no adhesives to keep them together. The corporate greed and selfishness combined with the football people incompetence and blindness, will kill the game in England for good.The bigger the PL hype, the louder and more disturbing disaster will occur. Facebook | Pick 24 Sep 2008 16:13 1 Share on Messenger JJ139 Share on Twitter 4 Share Report donwendyagain | Pick 0 1 0 1 View more comments
Tired of reading about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act?Well sometimes I get tired writing about the FCPA.Thus, today’s post is short on written content, but otherwise long on content as it contains links to several multi-media sources for your FCPA listening enjoyment.An FCPA Fireside Chat of SortsDavid Yosifon is a law professor at Santa Clara University School of Law. Professor Yosifon also runs The Corporate Social Responsibility Podcast and I had the pleasure to recently visit with him in this February 25th recording available on iTunes.During the approximate one hour conversation, we talk about the original goals of the FCPA, current approaches to enforcement, and areas of potential FCPA reform.A Focus on DPAsRecently, I had the pleasure to again visit with Thomas Fox for his Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Compliance and Ethics Report.In this episode, we discuss recent writings and rulings concerning the DOJ’s use of deferred prosecution agreements.Former FCPA Unit Chief Duross The Global Anticorruption Blog highlights a recent conference “Combating Grand Corruption: Is International Law the Answer” including comments by former FCPA Unit Chief Chuck Duross who speaks generally of his time at the DOJ.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by design looks outward.Because of this, most of the chatter in the FCPA space is about foreign corruption and how foreign citizens feel about corruption in their own countries, and how that foreign corruption (however defined) serves as a destabilizing force resulting in broad-ranging effects in the foreign country.Many in the FCPA space latch on to foreign developments, no matter how loosely tied to corruption, such as a hunger strike in one foreign country, a march in another foreign country, or an act of civil disobedience in another foreign country.There is nothing wrong with this of course, but the anti-corruption community here in the United States should pause from time-to-time and look inward.Why?Because according to the recent Chapman University Survey of American Fears (a random sample of 1,541 adults from across the United States) the top fear of Americans is corruption of government officials. This fear, expressed by 58% of poll respondents, exceeds the fear Americans have about, among other things, terrorism, identify theft, and economic issues.It is time for the anti-corruption community to wise up and look a bit more inward.A good place to start is by reviewing the over 55 posts tagged under this double standard heading.
When Vicente Garcia (a former head of Latin American sales for SAP) resolved a parallel DOJ / SEC FCPA enforcement action in August 2015 (see here for the prior post), the question remained: would there also be a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against SAP?Yesterday, the SEC answered that question in the affirmative by announcing an enforcement action against SAP (a German company with American Depository Shares registered with the SEC).The SAP action is the first FCPA enforcement action of 2016.Based on the same core conduct alleged in the prior Garcia action, SAP, without admitting or denying the SEC’s finding’s in an administrative order, agreed to pay approximately $3.9 million.In summary fashion, the order states:“This matter concerns violations of the books and records and internal controls provisions of the FCPA by SAP SE (“SAP”), a European Union corporation headquartered in Waldorf, Germany. The violations occurred due to deficient internal controls, which allowed SAP’s former Vice-President of Global and Strategic Accounts, Vicente E. Garcia, to discount the software price to a former SAP local partner at a level sufficient to permit Garcia and the local partner to pay $145,000 in bribes to one senior Panamanian government official, and offer bribes to two others. Through these bribes, Garcia secured government sales contracts of approximately $3.7 million for SAP, and also self-profited through kickbacks. By excessively discounting the SAP software, Garcia created a slush fund that the partner used to pay the bribes and kickbacks. Garcia concealed his scheme from others at SAP, circumvented SAP’s internal controls, and justified the excessive discounts by falsifying SAP’s internal approval forms.”“The deep discounts that Garcia used to create the slush fund were falsely recorded as legitimate discounts on the books of SAP’s Mexican subsidiary, which were subsequently consolidated into SAP’s financial statements. In addition, SAP failed to devise and maintain an adequate system of internal accounting controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurances that these improper payments to government officials did not occur.”According to the order:“Garcia, as a senior vice-president of SAP responsible for sales in Latin America, used his knowledge of the availability of discounts to push through large discounts in order to create a slush fund from which the local partner was able to pay the bribes. SAP routinely provides large discounts to local partners for legitimate reasons that Garcia used to justify the illegitimate discounts. Once Garcia obtained approval of the discounts based on his falsified justification forms, the bribes were then paid from the local partner.”[…]As a result of Garcia’s conduct in the bribery scheme, SAP, with its local partner, was able to sell software to the Panamanian government through four contracts from 2010 to 2013. These contracts generated revenues of approximately $3.7 million to SAP.The deep discounts that Garcia used to create the slush fund were falsely recorded as legitimate discounts on the books of SAP Mexico, which were subsequently consolidated into SAP’s financial statements.”Under the heading “SAP’s Insufficient Internal Controls,” the order states:“SAP lacked adequate internal controls to ensure that discounts to local partners were not improperly used. SAP’s system required employees to electronically submit requests within SAP to obtain approval of discounts to local partners. SAP employees, however, had wide latitude in seeking and approving discounts to local partners, and employees’ explanations for the discounts were accepted without verification. There were also no requirements for heightened anti-corruption scrutiny for large discounts. Garcia was therefore able to evade the basic approval procedures by taking advantage of his position and his knowledge of how discounts were approved. Furthermore, the nature of Garcia’s reporting structure made it easy for him to implement the bribery scheme. Although Garcia was located in Miami and employed by SAPI, he variously reported to supervisors employed by other regional subsidiaries and used employees from other subsidiaries such as SAP Mexico to execute the sales to the Panamanian government. This indirect reporting structure at SAP created gaps in supervising Garcia that provided him the opportunity to use the large discounts for creating a slush fund for bribes. Because of the deficient controls, Garcia was able to provide the partner with deep enough discounts to enable him to implement the bribery scheme, which continued unabated for over four years.”Based on the above findings, the order finds that SAP violated the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions.Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, SAP agreed to pay disgorgement of $3.7 million “representing ill-gotten gains received in connection with the bribery scheme” and prejudgment interest of $188,896.Under the heading “SAP’s Cooperation and Remediation,” the order states:“When SAP learned of the conduct as a result of the SEC’s inquiry, SAP conducted a thorough internal investigation and extensively cooperated with the SEC’s investigation by, among other things: (i) conducting an internal investigation; (ii) voluntarily producing approximately 500,000 pages of documents and other information quickly, identifying significant documents and translating documents from Spanish; (iii) conducting witness interviews, sharing Power-Point presentations and timelines; (iv) facilitating an interview of Garcia at work at SAPI offices in Miami without alerting him to the investigation into his conduct; and (v) initiating a third party audit of the local partner.After being alerted to Garcia’s misconduct, SAP terminated Garcia and undertook remediation efforts to uncover any other possible misconduct and to improve its FCPA compliance. Specifically, SAP audited all recent public sector Latin American transactions, regardless of Garcia’s involvement, to analyze partner profit margin data especially in comparison to discounts so that any trends could be spotted and high profit margin transactions could be identified for further investigation and audit. SAP also implemented new policies and procedures to detect and prevent similar issues from recurring in the future. For example, SAP elevated the status of its Chief Compliance Officer (“CCO”) by having that person now report directly to the CFO, who is a member of the Executive Board, and gave the CCO authority to independently terminate employees and partner contracts. SAP conducted, and continues to conduct, regular anti-corruption training, as well as anti-corruption audits through its internal audit function.In determining to accept the Offer, the Commission considered remedial acts undertaken by Respondent and cooperation afforded the Commission staff.”In this release, Kara Brockmeyer (Chief of the SEC’s FCPA Unit) stated: “SAP’s internal controls failed to flag Garcia’s misconduct as he easily falsified internal approval forms and disguised his bribes as discounts.”According to reports, SAP was represented by Patrick Robbins (Shearman & Sterling).
Another police officer approached the vehicle and pointed his gun at everybody inside, including Ames’ fiancee and two young children.All because a doll was allegedly stolen from a Family Dollar store.In the end, police left without arresting or charging anybody for anything.The ugly episode was recorded by at least two bystanders, with friends of one of the people filming being compelled to go get Ames’ children to keep them from watching police treat him and his fiancee like animals.Police were apparently concealing the name of the officer who kept screaming menacing curses at the family and threatening to shoot them. The family was suing for $10 million in damages for “battery, unlawful imprisonment, false arrest, infliction of emotional distress, and violation of civil rights under the fifth and 14th amendments of the United States Constitution,” according to the notice that Ames intends to file a lawsuit. He and his family were being represented by Former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne.SEE ALSO: 20 Tweets Dragging Roseanne Barr To A White Privilege Hell “My hands are up! My hands are up!” 22yo Dravon Ames says as a Phoenix police officer yells to “get your fucking hands up.” The same officer later says “You’re gonna fucking get shot!”Ames says the officers stopped him after his child walked out of a Dollar Store with a doll. pic.twitter.com/Nlkd7IXsyc— Meg O’Connor (@megoconnor13) June 12, 2019“Ames told New Times he had just pulled into the parking lot of an apartment complex to drop off his kids with a babysitter when Phoenix police officers surrounded the car and told them to get out,” the local news outlet wrote. “Ames alleges that Phoenix police approached him because, unbeknownst to him, his daughter had walked out of the nearby Family Dollar holding a doll from the store. Someone at the store told an officer on security detail that his daughter had stolen from the store, he said.”When police got Ames out of his car, an officer appeared to slam his head against a squad car while violently kicking his legs open to frisk and handcuff him.“If I tell you to do something you fucking do it!” the cop roared at Ames, who compliantly responded by saying, “Yes, sir.” Another angle of the incident filmed by a different resident of the apartment complex where Ames and his pregnant fiancee were dropping off their kids with a babysitter show a Phoenix police officer trying to yank the child from the mother’s arms. pic.twitter.com/pTb07lZAXD— Meg O’Connor (@megoconnor13) June 12, 2019 The video shows Ames and his family complying with police, with one officer yelling expletives hysterically while threatening to shoot them all.“You’re gonna fucking get shot!” the cop yells at one point.“I’m gonna put a fucking cap in your fucking head,” he said in another instance. Also On News One: Phoenix Police Department The Arizona family shown in a viral video having their lives threatened by police over a doll that was allegedly stolen from a store plans to sue the department for what they said was a number of civil rights violations, the Phoenix New Times reported. Dravon Ames was with his pregnant fiancée and their two small children when they were approached by numerous aggressive police officers in an apartment complex parking lot in Phoenix.