I recently read a very interesting article from The New York Times about how social science and behavioral economics was used to get out the vote. The article, “Academic Dream Team Helped Obama’s Effort,” details how experts like Robert Cialdini (whom I covered just this past week), formed a consortium that provided research-based ideas on motivating people to take certain actions (especially voting). Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or of any party, the advice the academics provided is very useful to all of us involved in the work of social change. We’re all in the business of compelling people to do things. So I wanted to pass on the most interesting tips.1. People favor candidates – and organizations! – that exhibit a combination of competence and warmth. You want to seem smart but also likable.2. When countering rumors (or myths), it’s a bad idea to repeat them. People may register a denial in the short term, but they only tend to remember the rumor or myth in the long term. Don’t deny or counter something – simply assert your competing notion.3. Use people’s sense of identity to influence behavior. In the election, volunteer canvassers said, “Mr. Jones, we know you’ve voted in the past,” to prompt future voting. We can do the same with volunteers or donors: “Mr. Jones, we know you’ve supported us in the past.” People want to stick to their past behaviors, so this can work well.4. Informal commitments help. Getting people to sign a card promising to vote increases likelihood to vote, for example. Pledging is also useful in fundraising!5. Tell people to make a plan. People are more likely to follow through on a promise if they have a plan, however simple. Ask people to specify when they’ll help you.6. Use social norms. When people were told others in their neighborhood planned to vote, it influenced them. Never forget the power of peer pressure – call out your supporters to inspire others to jump on board.For more fascinating tips on how this worked during the campaign, check out the article here.
Network for Good is hosting a free webinar this Thursday, March 14 at 1 p.m. ET on neuromarketing – a topic definitely worth your time!The urge to help and give is hard-wired into the human brain. As a champion for a cause, it’s your task to tap into those recesses by appealing to that urge. The simplest things – images, words, gestures, even type fonts – can have a major effect on the potency of your message. Neuromarketing expert, Roger Dooley, has discovered some brain-science-based tweaks you can make to your print, web, and in-person outreach that will boost the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Join Roger Dooley for this free event as he makes neuromarketing easy for nonprofits. Register here.
Is it easy to find you on Twitter and Facebook? Include links to your profiles on your website, email newsletters, and staff email signatures. Always include a short description about your organization and a link back to your website in your social media profiles’ “about” section. Think about social media as a way to open the doors of your organization to new guests and friends. But unlike hosting guests at your home for an hour or two, social media is open to guests 24/7. Because of the constant accessibility of social media, keeping profiles tidy all the time is a must. Here are some tips and ideas for social media housekeeping that you can tackle right now:Your social media avatar/profile pictures should mesh with your nonprofit brand and be recognizable to fans of your cause. Consider creating a special page on your nonprofit website that is solely dedicated to visitors from social media. Don’t let replies and comments linger—use them as an opportunity to engage your community. Set up alerts to use social media as a listening platform: @ mentions, hashtags, keywords about your cause, etc. Start tracking and planning your organization’s tweets. Programs such as HootSuite, TweetDeck and Sprout Social can help you plan tweets in advance and monitor replies, mentions, and hashtags. Is your nonprofit’s Facebook profile picture just as good as your cover image? While this may be obvious, it’s worth stating that your Facebook profile picture will be seen more often than your cover image. Be consistent with your hashtags. One small typo could add your tweets to a hashtag conversation that you didn’t intend to join! Don’t forget to post pictures. Photos help your Facebook posts stand out on your fan’s news feeds. Use compelling images to make an emotional connection and engage more supporters with your cause. Encourage more likes, shares, and comments. More likes and shares increase the odds that your post will be seen by friends and friends of friends. Start analyzing the types of posts that get shared the most by exporting your Facebook insights and taking an hour or two to dive into the data.
Is your nonprofit website sending the right message to potential donors? Year-end fundraising season will be here before you know it. Now is the time to clear away the cobwebs and roll out the welcome mat for prospective donors, volunteers, and those who may benefit from your work. If you haven’t updated your site in a while, you might give donors the impression that your organization is no longer active.Worried your site may say “move along” instead of “come on in”? Here are the top issues that can scare visitors away from your nonprofit website (and how to fix them).Broken linksThey’re not just aggravating and confusing for your website visitors, broken links can also be a big red flag for search engines like Google. Having internal links that don’t work or that don’t point to real content can affect how your site shows up in search.How to fix it: Most website platforms and content management systems have reporting that will show you the top pages that are returning an error. Taking a close look at your Google Analytics can help as well. Do some internal testing on your website to make sure all of your links are taking visitors where they should. Stale content Do you still have information about your “upcoming event” on your home page even though the “upcoming event” took place several months ago? Is the last post on your nonprofit’s blog from 2012? This is a surefire sign that no one in your organization is actually looking at your website. To your visitors, it says: we gave up.How to fix it: Make it someone’s responsibility to frequently review your website and do regular housekeeping. If you have a news feed or blog that shows up on your home page, make sure you’re adding new content frequently. If you don’t have a plan to add new items, remove these feeds from your pages. Dated designThis one is somewhat subjective, but there are certain hallmarks of an outdated web design: crazy animations, hard to read text (usually light text on dark background, or a veritable rainbow of font colors), randomly-placed images, to name a few. Geocities is dead. It’s time for your nonprofit website to move on to better things.How to fix it: A complete makeover would be nice, but if that’s not in the cards, focus on fixing the most egregious cosmetic issues within your current design and platform. Start with your key pages and branch out from there. Make it easy to read and remove anything that makes your site look like this. No contact informationThe lights may be on, but without obvious and current contact information, is anyone really home? Your contact details give people an easy way to ask questions and find out more, plus openly listing this information on your website is a sign of trust and transparency. How to fix it: Add your physical address, phone number, and a way to email you to the footer of your website. Place clear links to your “Contact Us” page within your site’s global navigation. No clear way to donateThis is the first thing I look for when I am asked to review an organization’s website, and it’s amazing how many nonprofits still don’t have a prominently placed donation button on every page of their website. Without a clear and highly visible way to donate, you’re effectively telling donors: we don’t need your money. How to fix it: Make your donate button big, bold, and above the fold of your website. Make sure your donate button actually says “Donate Now”, “Donate”, or “Give”. Fuzzy language won’t cut it here. Slow to loadOne Mississippi, two Mississippi … by three Mississippi your website better be finished loading, or most visitors will simply leave. It may not be fair, but people are impatient. They have better things to do than to wait for your carousel of images or Flash presentation to load. How to fix it: Start by confirming there are no technical problems with your website’s platform or hosting service. Then, take a hard look at your website’s key pages and see how you can streamline them by removing extraneous images, code, or other files that are bogging down your site. A reputable web developer can also provide suggestions for other improvements that can speed up your site. (Bonus: Decluttering your site will have a positive effect on potential donors, making it easy for them to figure out what it is you do and why they should care.) Not mobile friendlyWhen your nonprofit website is difficult to load (or completely dead) on a mobile device, you may as well not exist for that smartphone user. 56% of US adults are smartphone users, and they’re becoming more and more likely to read your emails and social media outreach on a mobile device. If your links take them to a site that’s non-functional on their phone, you’ve missed out on another opportunity to connect.How to fix it: You don’t need a complete overhaul to make your website more mobile friendly. Focus on a handful of key pages (think: home page, donation page, contact page, any other pages you point to regularly from emails or social media) and improve them with these 8 tips for making your nonprofit website mobile friendly. (Bonus: Most mobile-friendly website tweaks will improve usability overall.)What are your biggest website challenges? Have you made a recent change to your site that’s made a big difference? Chime in with your thoughts in the comments below.
Crunch time!Can it be…Labor Day weekend is really behind us? 2014 is in the home stretch and that means it is crunch time for nonprofits.In fact, 30% of the projected $300 billion in total annual donations to charities are made in December — and 10%, or $30 billion, come during the year’s last 48 hours. (Source: NY Post, December 2013)For most nonprofits, it’s make or break time. And for donors, whether they are motivated by making an impact or by the tax year, December underlines the urgency of giving.Countdown to #GivingTuesdayThe movement that has changed the December giving season since 2012 is #GivingTuesday. It started with a simple idea – to be a counterpoint to the consumerism of Black Friday and CyberMonday. From a couple hundred nonprofits in 2012, #GivingTuesday has grown into an international day of giving with organizations and donors around the globe joining the movement.Traditionally, year-end givers to nonprofits are loyal supporters or those with personal ties to an organization. Now, nonprofits can harness the energy of #GivingTuesday to engage new donors, and to extend and amplify the giving season. We know first hand. Last year we led BMoregivesMore, the campaign to make Baltimore the most generous city in America on #GivingTuesday. Nonprofits that participated in BMoreGivesMore reported that between 20% and 60% of donors on that day were new. And more than 80% who shared their results said that they had a comparable or better December overall!13 Tuesdays to go: We’re here for you.Despite all the excitement and opportunity of #GivingTuesday, your team has a full plate planning for year-end already. So how do you capitalize on #GivingTuesday?Network for Good is launching N4G Gives, a national campaign to launch the giving season on #GivingTuesday.Beginning this week, we’re offering a combination of free and client-only resources to get your team ready. We’re arming ALL nonprofits with the tools, tactics, training and motivation to make this your best December ever.And for Network for Good clients, we’ll also be offering:• Two great platforms: • DonateNow – your customized online giving page to maximize donor conversion• GiveCorps – a cutting-edge giving platform that offers donors a superior online giving experience, plus crowdfunding and peer-to-peer.• Exclusive toolkits, expert webinars, specialized coaching, and communications resources• Matching funds to make your gifts go further• Visibility with Network for Good donors What’s the first step? Start by downloading our comprehensive Giving Days eBook. According to nonprofit thought leader Beth Kanter, it’s a “terrific, free eBook with lots of tips and planning templates to help your organization decide whether to participate.”Then every Tuesday, we’ll bring you new resources to get ready for #GivingTuesday.It’s time to plan for your best December ever!Ready to get started? Our team can help you get your site ready for #GivingTuesday. Set up a time talk with a fundraising consultant today and get a free demo.
Encouraged donors to give generously and repeatedly through the day when the “win” was in sightSent a thank you email Wednesday morning announcing the win and encouraging those that did not participate to consider giving. This outreach produced their second best day ever.Most Recurring Donors: Wildlife SOSIndia’s wildlife is under severe threat – every animal from the majestic elephant and the tiger, to the shy sloth bear and rare pangolins are being hunted. Wildlife SOS actively works towards protecting Indian wildlife, conserving habitat, studying biodiversity, conducting research, and creating alternative and sustainable livelihoods for former poacher communities.Wildlife SOS did not focus explicitly on a #GivingTuesday campaign, rather they viewed #GivingTuesday as part of their year-end fundraising. Their success in the N4G Gives campaign is a particularly powerful demonstration of the impact of #GivingTuesday. Donors are inspired be part of the movement and will seek out organizations to support – sometimes, even when they are not asked specifically.What we learned from Wildlife SOS is that the building blocks they put in place all year round pay dividends. One of those building blocks was an emphasis on recurring, or sustaining, givers.Key TacticsWildlife SOS believes in strategies focused on creating lifelong supporters. Year-round they focus on animal sponsorships for monthly donors and feel like this gives people a tangible connection to their donation. Having the building blocks in place and then capitalizing on big events means they’re not scrambling on days like #GivingTuesday and at year-end.Make this #GivingTuesday your best yet! Kick off your year-end fundraising with our tools, training and matching funds. It doesn’t matter if your organization has 2 staff members or 200, you can raise money on #GivingTuesday and we can help.Free #GivingTuesday resources are available to all nonprofits through Network for Good’s All TUEgether campaign. Network for Good customers can leverage matching funds for all donations made on December 1, 2015. Plus, customers have access to expert coaching, new donors, and exclusive resources to help plan a stellar #GivingTuesday campaign.Not a Network for Good customer yet? No problem. Sign up for a demo and find out how easy it is to raise money online. Get ready to have your best giving season ever. Created a visual “badge” for all #GivingTuesday communicationsChanged website header and homepage, and published a post about #GivingTuesdayAsked a corporate supporter to provide a match on first $20k raisedSent their first email on the Monday of Thanksgiving weekLaunched their big push on 12/1:Sent email announcing matching fundsLaunched #GivingTuesday branded donation pageAsked supporters to take #UNselfies and share #GivingTuesday has arrivedOn December 2, nonprofits and donors came together in an inspiring day of generosity. Millions of dollars were raised to fuel the good work of nonprofits all over the world.Network for Good hosted a special campaign, N4G Gives, focused on equipping nonprofits with the tools and knowledge for #GivingTuesday success. The N4G Gives campaign provided free #GivingTuesday resources to the entire nonprofit community and special training and matching funds to nonprofits using DonateNow, our online giving platform. In addition to matching funds, we also recognized the leaders in 10 fundraising categories with special awards.The most exciting validation of the value of #GivingTuesday is reflected in the experience of the “winners” of Network for Good’s N4G Gives campaign. They are large and small. Some planned for months, and some started the day before. Some have large staff teams, and some are staffed exclusively by volunteers.The common thread across all the winners was their determination to activate their passionate supporters and advocates to both give and inspire others, and to create a sense of excitement and urgency under the umbrella of #GivingTuesday.And the winner is…Most Dollars Raised: Alameda County Community Food Bank, Oakland California (ACCFB)Alameda County Community Food Bank is on a mission to end food insecurity in Alameda County, California. In 2014, the Food Bank distributed 25 million meals – more than half of the food was fresh fruits and vegetables.Their big vision can only be realized with strong donor support, and ACCFB inspired people to donate more than $100,000 (online and offline) on #GivingTuesday.Key tacticsAfter watching the progress of the #GivingTuesday movement in 2013, the team at ACCFB decided to go “all out” in 2014. They pursued a multi-channel approach including email, website, digital ads, and social. Planning started about six weeks before #GivingTuesday, but activation went into high gear during Thanksgiving week.Key elements Most Donors: Middle East Cultural and Charitable Society (Electronic Intifada)The Middle East Cultural and Charitable Society’s #GivingTuesday campaign raised funds for The Electronic Intifada, its award-winning online news publication focusing on Palestine, its people, politics, culture, and place in the world. As a nonprofit digital publication, The Electronic Intifada relies on readers and supporters to provide the funding for its investigative journalism, news, and analysis.Key TacticsMECCS used #GivingTuesday as part of its already planned year-end campaign. The campaign’s focus was to activate new donors by emphasizing the N4G Gives matching funds, and the potential to ‘win’ bonus dollars through the N4G Gives special challenges. The friendly competition inspired by the leaderboards was very motivating to their audience.Key ElementsDeployed three emails on #GivingTuesdayFirst email laid out the opportunity to receive bonus and matching fundsSecond and third emails were sent throughout the day to build excitement as they rose up the leaderboard. Added a homepage popup window asking visitors to donate nowPushed social media outreachLaunched #GivingTuesday branded retargeting ads
Posted on September 26, 2012Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Today, the Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report provided a brief summary of the focus on women and children at the United Nations General Assembly. The summary highlights a number of news publications that report on the discussions about the health and well-being of women from the General Assembly.One of the featured articles, A pledge for every woman, every child, was published this morning on devex. The article describes announcements for new money to protect women and children from sexual violence as well as a new funding mechanism for maternal and child health.From the article:World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, meanwhile, announced a new special funding mechanism aimed at boosting financial support for the fourth and fifth Millennium Development Goals at the Every Woman, Every Child event.The mechanism would enable donors to scale up funding for maternal and child health. Details, however, have yet to be fleshed out.“We will be talking with our IDA shareholders and other interested donors and partners in the coming weeks to agree on the best way to do this, together,” Kim said, who also identified the bank’s work to achieve “better outcomes” for money spent on health: increasing focus on maternal health, designing innovative programs linking financing to results, and helping countries put in place strong health systems.Read the full story here.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Posted on October 3, 2012August 15, 2016Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)On September 29th, The Lancet published a commentary, Women’s and children’s health: no time for complacency, by Richard Horton, Editor of The Lancet. The commentary describes discrepancies between research groups that estimate maternal and child mortality. Horton calls on these groups to work together to reach some level of consensus in order to help country leaders and program implementers to make important decisions. He also discusses big challenges with equity, accountability and monitoring of recent pledges for women’s and children’s health.When new figures for under-5 child mortality were released this month, the headline message was that aid works. Deaths among children younger than 5 years fell from an estimated 12 million in 1990 to 6·9 million in 2011. That remarkable achievement means that 14 000 fewer children now die each day than in 1990. There are many examples of success. In Niger, rates of under-5 mortality almost halved between 1998 and 2009. Rates of reduction of newborn mortality have also accelerated since the 1990s. These are truly impressive results, fully deserving of celebration. But not complacency.Read the full commentary here.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
New Delhi: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra attacked the government on Friday over an RBI report showing bank frauds have gone up by 15 per cent year-on-year in 2018-19, asking who is the guarantor allowing such “big bank frauds”.The number of cases of frauds reported by banks saw a jump of 15 per cent year-on-year basis in 2018-19, with the amount involved increasing by 73.8 per cent in the year, the Reserve Bank of India’s annual report showed. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’In FY19, banking sector reported 6,801 frauds involving Rs 71,542.93 crore as against 5,916 cases involving Rs 41,167.04 crore reported in 2017-18. “Country’s biggest banking institution RBI is saying that bank frauds are increasing right under the nose of the government. In 2018-19, this theft has increased,” Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi. “Banks have been duped of Rs 72,000 crore. But, who is the guarantor who is allowing such big bank frauds to occur,” the Congress general secretary asked. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KCongress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also hit out at the government over the rising number of bank frauds. “‘Loot & Scoot’ in ‘New India’ as a complicit BJP govt looks the other way and common man is taxed!” he said. Congress urges govt to declare financial emergency in countryNew Delhi: The Congress on Friday demanded that a financial emergency be declared in the country and a white paper be released on the “shrinking economy and rising frauds”. Congress spokespersons Jaiveer Shergill and Gaurav Vallabh accused the BJP government of destroying the credibility of the country’s economy and banking system and demanded that it should declare the names of wilful defaulters, along with the details of their non-performing assets (NPAs). “The Congress demands that a financial emergency should be declared in the country,” Shergill told a press conference here. “We reiterate that the BJP government should release a white paper on the shrinking economy and rising frauds,” he said. “It is getting clearer by the day that the country is heading towards a major recessionary phase. This is a classic case of recession under expansionary trends, as whenever there are three continuous quarters of growth recession (reduction in growth quarter-on-quarter), the chances of slipping into a full-blown recession are significantly higher,” Vallabh said. He added that once the June 2019 quarter numbers were announced, it would be clear that India was witnessing a reduction in growth for five consecutive quarters. Vallabh said the problems that this phenomenon put forth were that natural recovery did not occur and the country had to solely rely on monetary policy actions, while the short-term stimulus remained short-term and only helped in assuaging wounds. “The questions we want to ask the government are what is its response to the prolonged reduction in growth? Does it have any clue of what is actually wrong and who’s responsible for the same,” Shergill said. As a responsible opposition, the Congress wanted the government to immediately issue a white paper on the state of economy, he added. “Rather than a band-aid approach, we want substantial solution to this state of the economy,” the Congress spokesperson said, wondering why the government would not accept that the country was witnessing a recession and it would only be revived when a private and public investment cycle would start in the economy. Shergill alleged a “systematic decimation of the economy” with a worsening distress in the farm sector, factories and finance, adding that only frauds, fake promises and aggression on the system were rampant in the country under the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) rule. He also alleged that frauds in the banking system shot up by 74 per cent to Rs 71,543 crore in the 2018-19 financial year, compared to frauds worth Rs 41,167 crore committed in the 2017-18 financial year. “RBI data has revealed that 27,125 cases of bank frauds of a whopping Rs 1.74 lakh crore (Rs 1,74,753 lakh crore) were reported in the past five years. Is this amount similar to recapitalisation of banks? Why, suddenly now, so many cases of frauds are out? Is it an indirect way of looting taxpayers’ money?,” the Congress spokesperson asked.
The ad hoc committee set up by Vivendi to weigh the rival offers for telecom unit SFR tabled by Numericable shareholder Altice and construction-to-telecoms conglomerate Bouygues came out yesterday in favour of a deal with Numericable, according to a report in financial daily Les Echos, without citing sources.According to the paper, the committee’s opinion is not decisive but is likely to carry weight as Vivendi’s board meets to consider the matter this morning. Vivendi has confirmed that its supervisory board is meeting now to consider the two offers.The belief that Vivendi is leaning towards a deal with Numericable was given weight by an interview given by industry minister Arnaud Montebourg to the Europe 1 radio station this morning. Montebourg, who is know to favour a deal with Bouygues, in part due to his belief that France would benefit from a reduction in the number of mobile telecom players from four to three, said that he “understood” that Vivendi “prefers the choice of Numericable”.Montebourg underlined what he sees as the risks of the Numericable option, citing the latter’s debt levels and the relatively small size of Numericable relative to SFR.Montebourg also criticised the tax arrangements of Altice proprietor Patrick Drahi, citing the fact that Numericable is owned by a holding company based in Luxembourg and quoted on the Amsterdam stock exchange, while Drahi is a Swiss resident with holding based in Guernsey.
BBC Radio 1 now has more than 2 million subscribers to its YouTube channel, and more than 2 million followers on Twitter and Facebook, the BBC Trust revealed as part of a radio service review.The review by the BBC’s governing body, which relates to BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, Radio 2, Radio 3, 6 Music and Asian Network, called for BBC radio to “continue to develop its online strategy” and said it should engage on a regular basis with the UK music sector and commercial radio.“As the current definition of ‘new’ music is becoming invalid, the BBC should work with the music industry to find a more appropriate way to define new music on BBC radio,” according to the Trust.The review claimed that BBC Radio 1’s own website is used by around 2.5 million unique browsers each week. Though this is the highest of all the BBC’s network radio stations, it has not grown over the last few, the Trust added.In late 2014, Radio1 launched a branded space on the BBC’s TV iPlayer, marking an extension of its existing online presence.
EPG data specialist EBS is showcasing its Pawa software at this year’s IBC.Pawa enables linear and non-linear EPG data to be aggregated, restructured and delivered to any platform in any format, according to EBS. Customers include BBC Worldwide, BT Sport, DStv, AMC Networks, Turner Broadcasting, Euronews, and QVC.According to the company, the Pawa system is able to fulfill the full range of distribution requirements necessary for broadcasters, driving linear and non-linear EPG data from a single database.Pawa can import listings from a variety of formats storing them centrally in preparation for distribution. Editors can then add any additional data required such as translations, editorial, images or cast before the listings are delivered wherever required, including platform operators both linear and non-linear, web, print, apps and more.Pawa can be bought as a managed service, whereby EBS handles the entire EPG data process, or alternatively as a software-as-a-service option with full training and support.“Pawa is unique as it enables us to deliver unrivalled client focussed propositions around the delivery of EPG data, which is increasingly rich in the connected era. This highly flexible approach allows us to easily deliver exactly what the customer requires and our recent announcements with customers, including BT Sport, BBC Worldwide and AMC Networks, further highlights our strength in the market,” explains Keith Bedford, EBS’ managing director.EBS will be exhibiting at IBC on stand 14.B01
Vodafone plans to launch a cloud-based TV service in the UK and Italy this year that can be ported to multiple markets, and is also planning to ensure that mobile video services are available wherever it offers mobile voice, according to chief technology officer Johan Wibergh.Speaking on an analyst call after Vodafone reported its full-year results, Wibergh said that Vodafone would introduce its cloud-based TV service this year, delivering services from its private cloud to low-cost boxes.He said that the product could be deployed once and then subsequently sold “in many markets”.Wibergh also said that Vodafone would upgrade its cable networks to DOCSIS 3.1 and use next-generation PON technology on its fibre networks to deliver “multi-gigabit speeds”.Referring to Vodafone’s mobile business, Wibergh said that the company’s goal was to have video available everywhere that voice is available, with a “continuous experience” of around 10Mbps.Also speaking on the call, Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao said that Vodafone was now “the fastest-growing fixed broadband provider in Europe by quite a distance”, with 21% of the company’s revenues now coming from its fixed networks.Colao said that on mobile, Vodafone was now delivering 3Mbps or above on 91% of its data sessions, meaning that it could support video.
In This Issue.* Plethora of data push dollar lower… * German unemployment show a surprise improvement… * Pound continues to get sold… * Canadian dollar moves back above parity…And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts!US data push the dollar lower…Good day. And welcome to February. I can’t believe January is already over, it really flew by didn’t it? The St. Louis University basketball team pulled off what many would call a big upset yesterday by beating #9 Butler last night, and they won in impressive fashion! Congrats to the B-ball Billikens!! We had a busy day on the trading desk yesterday with the markets reacting to what was a plethora of data releases here in the US. And today we will have just as much data released which should lead to another volatile day. The last day of January started off with data showing the Personal Income and Spending of US consumers increased in December. The surprise number was on the income side where the data showed a 2.6% jump after an adjusted increase of 1% in November. These are some very strong numbers on the income side and were thought mainly to be due to questions regarding the fiscal cliff at year end. It seems many companies paid dividends and employee bonuses earlier than usual in order to avoid the jump in tax rates which everyone knew would be happening as we turned the calendar over. According to a story I read in Bloomberg, the Commerce department estimated about $26.4 billion of the increase in incomes was attributable to early dividend payments and another $15 billion reflected bonuses on other types of irregular pay. So the jump in income wasn’t really increases, it was simply a timing difference so the income numbers during the first quarter will undoubtedly show the flip side of these increases during last quarter.And in addition to the early bonuses, the payroll tax will be more of a drag on consumer’s disposable income this quarter. And even after the large surge in incomes during the last month of 2012, Personal spending actually showed a smaller increase than expected. Spending was up .2% in December after a .4% increase in the previous month. Other data showed prices remained flat in December as the PCE numbers were flat on a MOM basis. This data was followed up with the weekly jobs numbers which showed a slight increase in the number of jobless claims last week. The data showed 368k more workers applied for first time employment benefits compared to last weeks 330k. Continuing claims increased to 3197k compared to an adjusted figure of 3175k last week. The pace of recovery in the US labor market certainly isn’t increasing, and we will get even more jobs data later this morning. Economists are expecting today’s Nonfarm Payrolls numbers for January to reflect an increase of 165k with Private payrolls showing a 168k increase and another part of the report to show 10k more manufacturing jobs were added last month. The Unemployment rate is expected to remain at 7.8%, stubbornly high and well above Bernanke’s 6.5% target.The labor department will also be issuing its annual benchmark update, reflecting all of the revisions which it has made to the employment numbers from April 2011 to March 2012. The government will also incorporate new Census Bureau estimates into the household survey it uses to calculate the jobless rate. I’m sure Chuck will be dissecting these ‘adjustments’ and will share his thoughts with all of you (I can just hear him screaming at the walls now!)And yesterday’s plethora of data ended with the release of the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort index which fell again last week. The index dropped to minus 37.5 from -36.4 the previous week. This was a fourth consecutive decrease, and the lowest reading since October as the increase in the payroll tax put consumers in a negative mood.There was a bit of good news across the pond as German unemployment unexpectedly declined in January. Even with the improvement in the German labor market, unemployment in the euro area remained relatively high at 11.7%. But this reading is still below economists forecast of 11.9% for the EU jobless rate. These good employment numbers combined with the worrying data here in the US to push the Euro up almost a full cent. The Euro surged to a high of $1.3675, the highest level for the common currency since November of 2011. The euro ended January with a 2.93% increase vs. the US$, with Brazil being the only currency with a better return vs. the US$ at 3.02% for January. This is the sixth straight month of gains for the Euro vs. the US$, a somewhat surprising run for the common currency. We still caution investors against the euro, as the sovereign debt problems are sure to raise up again sometime this year; but this run by the euro is certainly impressive.Currency experts at some of the major banks feel the Euro has even more room to appreciate. According to a report by BNP Paribas SA the euro will strengthen to $1.40 by the third quarter of this year, the highest level since 2011. The Paris bank’s experts also said they expect the yen to experience ‘sustained’ weakness this year. BNP feel the Japanese currency will fall to 95 during the first quarter before strengthening to 85 by year end.That reminds me of an alert which caused a bit of a stir on the desk yesterday. Brian Arabia, the head of our Business Foreign Exchange department, forwarded all of us an alert which stated “Dollar at 2 ½ year high”. I immediately turned toward the screens to figure out what had caused the big reversal of fortune for the US$, but saw the euro above $1.35 and the Brazilian real below the 2 handle. But after looking a bit harder at the news story Brian had sent I saw it was just referring to the dollar/yen. Yes, the dollar is certainly strong vs. the Japanese yen, but this isn’t because of the dollar’s strength but is rather due to the weakness of the Japanese yen. This just goes to show you how the media can twist things around a bit and spin them to give readers a much different first impression. A clearer story on the US$ can be seen by looking at the dollar index. This broader based index dropped to a six week low and has just dropped below a key support level of 79.2. The only currency which joined the yen in dropping vs. the US$ yesterday was the Pound sterling which tumbled to the weakest level in 14 months. A report showed UK manufacturing growth is slowing with the Markit Economics supply index falling to 50.8 from a revised 51.2 in December. The pound dropped almost 2.5% vs. the US$ in January, and is down about 2% over the past 3 months. The UK is close to slipping into a ‘triple dip’ recession, with GDP dropping .3% during the 4th quarter of 2012. Depending on the data this morning in the US, currency traders could start to bid up the commodity currency in a ‘risk on’ day as China’s manufacturing index is expected to have climbed in December. The median estimate of economists pegs China’s January PMI at 51 compared to a reading of 50.6 in December. If the number is as expected, this would be the fourth straight month of a 50+ reading which signals the Chinese economy is again on an expansionary route. This would help the Australian and New Zealand dollars which depend on the strength of the Chinese economy. The Aussie can use a little ‘love’ from the Chinese after a report showed a gauge of Australian manufacturing fell to a 3 ½ year low in January. The strength of the Australian dollar has hurt exports and manufacturing in Australia, causing a 4.1 point drop in the manufacturing index. This gauge has shown Australian manufacturing has been in contraction since February of 2012. But currency strategists are still boosting forecasts for the Aussie dollar as they expect the Australian economy to rebound along with renewed growth in China. According to Bloomberg, estimates for the Aussie have climbed 8.2% to $1.05 from 97 cents on June 30. This isn’t a large increase from the $1.0419 where it is trading now, but it is still an increase.The Canadian dollar broke above parity for the first time in a week after a report showed the Canadian economy grew faster than forecast in November. The report released by Statistics Canada said the Canadian economy grew .3% following a .1% gain in the month prior. The loonie had been beat up a bit in January, but this data was enough to push the currency back above parity vs. the US$. To recap. Data pushed the dollar lower as the US economy is seen as stagnating in the 4th quarter. More data released today may give the markets direction, with the jobs data expected to show a small improvement. German unemployment data surprised on the upside and pushed the euro above $1.365 with many ‘experts’ feeling the euro has even further to run. Japanese yen continues to fall and was joined by the pound sterling which also dropped. The commodity currencies direction will be determined by the Chinese manufacturing numbers which will be released later today. Currencies today 2/1/13: American Style: A$ $1.0392, kiwi .8424, C$ 1.00, euro 1.3645, sterling 1.5839, Swiss $1.1052. European Style: rand 8.9420, krone 5.4461, SEK 6.3043, forint 214.50, zloty 3.0635, koruna 18.796, RUB 29.98, yen 92.13, sing 1.2409, HKD 7.7581, INR 53.1975, China 6.2273, pesos 12.7241, BRL 1.9869, Dollar Index 79.029, Oil $97.30, 10-year 2.00%, Silver $31.44, and Gold $1,664.70.That’s it for today. Happy birthday to my wonderful wife of 21 years. Tina is a great mom and good friend and I could not imagine my life without her. I asked her if she wanted to go out to a romantic dinner this evening and as is typical she instead wanted to just have a casual dinner with our kids, her mom and her sister. It’s a big day on the desk today as we finally get our replacement for Lori who left at the end of last year. Dane Moody, who started off in our operations area and then transferred to our wealth division is joining Christine on the trading side of the WorldMarkets desk. Welcome Dane, we all are excited to have you join the team!! I hope everyone has a Fantastic Friday and a Wonderful Weekend. GO NINERS!!Chris Gaffney, CFA Vice President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837
One of the cool things about the Bible is that it contains some very interesting passages that no one seems to read. Understand, please, that I’m neither promoting a literal interpretation of the Bible nor giving you a sermon. I’m just pointing out a fascinating fact that most everyone seems to have missed, religious folks included. In this case, I’m referring to a passage that comes at the very end of the book, where a list is given, itemizing the kinds of people who will be condemned to “the second death.” Who would you expect to stand at the top of the list? Murders? Idolators? Maybe adulterers? Nope, none of those. The first people heading off to destruction are “the fearful.” But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Not what you expected? You can look it up if you like. That’s from Revelation 21:8 (King James Version). And I even checked the original Greek: fearful is the right translation. Fear as a Tool of Damnation I’m not going to get into theological engineering here, but yes, this would mean that the promoters of fear are sending people to hell. And, considering that we live in a fear-based culture, that’s an interesting thought indeed. Now, if you want to be truly bold, think about this: Who is it that currently promotes fear? We know the answer, of course. The people who live on fear are the majesties of the age: politicians being chief among them but followed by the entire ‘law enforcement‘ complex, military and intelligence organizations, television news-readers, religious bosses, newspaper operators, and, increasingly, anyone who wants something and has access to the public stage. If the Bible is correct, people who profit from fear are profiting from the destruction (nay, the damnation!) of their fellow men and women. Religion Isn’t Necessary, of Course The conclusion that fear is the enemy of mankind doesn’t require religion, of course. We can reach the same conclusion just by recognizing that fear (and especially the chemicals associated with fear) damage our health. Literally, people who make you fear are making you sick. (We covered this in issue #38 of Free-Man’s Perspective) Beyond that, it is clear that fear is the number one tool of manipulators. If you want to get large numbers of men and women to do your will, scare them. Every tyrant in history has known this and used this technique. What To Do About It First of all, start paying attention to your feelings and notice when things make you afraid. Stop your thinking and pay attention to the whole fear process. If you do, you can deal with most of these attacks quickly, rather than leaving an indistinct fear to roll around the back of your mind all day. Second, start analyzing the words that convey fear to you. Are they really true? Is the response the fear merchants deliver to you really the only course of action? The hard part of doing this is that the words come too fast; by the time you’re ready to analyze one statement, another one is halfway complete. Analyzing them in writing is far easier, or getting a live speaker to slow down and go one phrase at a time. Third, start discounting the people who consistently throw fear at you. If that’s all they have, they’re not worth paying attention to. Turn off the TV; excuse yourself from the conversation; walk away. You don’t have to take it. Finally, start pointing out these things to other people. They may be defensive at first, but isn’t that worth facing, to clear the minds of your friends and family? Why should they suffer under the lash of fear all their lives? Paul Rosenberg FreemansPerspective.com
“The #1 Investment I recommend you make right now” – Chris Mayer This is a big secret behind some of the world’s greatest stock pickers’ fortunes – but not many people know how to take advantage. In this FREE event, Chris will share this “success formula” with you. Click here for the details and to join this FREE event before it expires. Justin’s note: Today, Casey Research founder Doug Casey and International Man senior editor Nick Giambruno explain why it’s never been more important to diversify your savings. Read on to learn how… Nick Giambruno: For centuries, wealthy people have used international diversification to protect their savings and themselves from out-of-control governments. Now, thanks to modern technology, anyone can implement similar strategies. Doug, I’d like to discuss some of the basic ways regular people can internationally diversify their savings. For an American, what’s the difference between having a bank account at Bank of America and having a foreign bank account? Doug Casey: I’d say there is possibly all the difference in the world. The entire world’s banking system today is shaky, but if you go international, you can find much more solid banks than those that we have here in the US. That’s important, but beyond that, you’ve got to diversify your political risk. And if you have your bank account in a US bank, it’s eligible to being seized by any number of government agencies or by a frivolous lawsuit. So besides finding a more solid bank, by having your liquid assets in a different political jurisdiction you insulate yourself from a lot of other risks as well. America’s “Shadow President”—and how he’s getting rich(er) [not who you might think] Billionaire Peter Thiel has been spotted in Trump’s “NY Whitehouse” and has even been called the “Shadow President” for the influence he wields. He is a heavy backer of a new type of currency that’s already making some people very rich. This has been an opportunity for the average guy to generate “small fortunes,” writes The Economist. $24,955,415,087 have left traditional currencies and gone into this new type of currency. We’ve spoken with dozens of insiders about this phenomenon… including the world’s top investor in this space and members of the “Fed.” Click here for the full story. — Nick Giambruno: Moving some of your savings abroad also allows you to preempt capital controls (restrictions on moving money out of the country) and the destructive measures that always follow. Doug Casey: This is a very serious consideration. When the going gets tough, governments never control themselves, but they do try to control their subjects. It’s likely that the US is going to have official capital controls in the future. This means that if you don’t have money outside of the US, it’s going to become very inconvenient and/or very expensive to get money out. Nick Giambruno: Why do you think the US government would institute capital controls? Doug Casey: Well, there are about $7-8 trillion—nobody knows for sure—outside of the US, and those are like a ticking time bomb. Foreigners don’t have to hold those dollars. Americans have to hold the dollars. If you’re going to trade within the US, you must use US dollars, both legally and practically. Foreigners don’t have to, and at some point they may perceive those dollars as being the hot potatoes they are. And the US government might say that we can’t have Americans investing outside the country, perhaps not even spending a significant amount outside the country, because they are just going to add to this giant pile of dollars. There are all kinds of reasons that they could come up with. We already have de facto capital controls, quite frankly, even though there’s no law at the moment saying that an American can’t invest abroad or take money out of the country. The problem is because of other US laws, like FATCA, finding a foreign bank or a foreign broker who will accept your account is very hard. Very, very few of them will take American accounts anymore because the laws make it unprofitable, inconvenient, and dangerous, so they don’t bother. So it’s not currently against the law, but it’s already very hard. — Recommended Link Recommended Link Nick Giambruno: What forms of savings are good candidates to take abroad? Gold coins? Foreign real estate? Doug Casey: Well, you put your finger on exactly the two that I was going to mention. Everybody should own gold coins because they are money in its most basic form—something that a lot of people have forgotten. Gold is the only financial asset that’s not simultaneously somebody else’s liability. And if your gold is outside the US, it gives you another degree of insulation should the United States decide that you shouldn’t own it—it’s not a reportable asset currently. If you have $1 million of cash in a bank account abroad, you must report that to the US government every year. If you have $1 million worth of gold coins in a foreign safe deposit box, however, that is not reportable, and that’s a big plus. So gold is one thing. The second thing, of course is real estate. There are many advantages to foreign real estate. Sometimes it’s vastly cheaper than in the US. Foreign real estate is also not a reportable asset to the US government. Nick Giambruno: Foreign real estate is a good way to internationally diversify a big chunk of your savings. What are the chances that your home government could confiscate foreign real estate? It’s pretty close to zero. Doug Casey: I’d say it’s just about zero because they can make you repatriate the cash in your foreign bank account, but what can they make you do with the real estate? Would they tell you to sell it? Well, it’s not likely. Also, if things go sideways in your country, it’s good to have a second place you can transplant yourself to. And I know that it’s unbelievable for most people to think anything could go wrong in their home country—a lot of Germans thought that in the ’20s, a lot of Russians thought that in the early teens, a lot of Vietnamese thought that in the ’60s, a lot of Cubans thought that in the ’50s. It could happen anywhere. Nick Giambruno: Besides savings, what else can people diversify? How does a second passport fit into the mix? Doug Casey: It’s still quite possible—and completely legal—for an American to have a citizenship in a second country, and it offers many advantages. As for opening up foreign bank accounts, if you show them an American passport, they’ll likely tell you to go away. Once again, obtaining a foreign bank or brokerage account is extremely hard for Americans today—that door has been closing for some time and is nearly slammed shut now. But if you show a foreign bank a Paraguayan or a Panamanian or any other passport, they’ll welcome you as a customer. Nick Giambruno: The police state is metastasizing in the US. Is that a good reason to diversify as well? Doug Casey: It’s a harbinger, I’m afraid, of what’s to come. The fact is that police forces throughout the US have been militarized. Every little town has a SWAT team, sometimes with armored personnel carriers. All of the Praetorian style agencies on the federal level—the FBI, CIA, NSA, and over a dozen others like them—have become very aggressive. Every single day in the US, there are scores of confiscations of people’s bank accounts, and dozens having their doors broken down in the wee hours of the night. The ethos in the US really seems to be changing right before our very eyes, and I think it’s quite disturbing. You can be accused of almost anything by the government and have your assets seized without due process. Every year there are billions of dollars that are seized by various government entities, including local police departments, who get to keep a percentage of the proceeds, so this is a very corrupting thing. People forget that when the US was founded there were only three federal crimes, and they are listed in the Constitution: treason, counterfeiting, and piracy. Now it’s estimated there are over 5,000 federal crimes, and that number is constantly increasing. This is very disturbing. There is a book called Three Felonies a Day, which estimates that many or most Americans inadvertently commit three felonies a day. So it’s becoming Kafkaesque. Nick Giambruno: Thanks, Doug. Until next time. Doug Casey: Thanks, Nick. Justin’s note: The US government gets bigger, more invasive, and more aggressive by the day. Fortunately, you can take concrete steps to protect yourself from this hostile giant. New York Times bestselling author Doug Casey explains how you can maximize your personal and financial freedom in this new special report. Click here to download the PDF now.
In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill last week that, if federal authorities give it their go-ahead — still a very big if — would allow his state to import prescription drugs from Canada. That makes Florida the third state to pass such a law, joining Vermont and Colorado. More such legislative attempts are in the works.”There have been 27 different bills proposed across the country this year,” says Trish Riley, the executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy. “I think that it’s an approach that makes sense to states. It’s something they can do now to help their citizens.”The Trump administration has made bringing down the price of prescription drugs a priority, and politicians at every level are looking for ways to make that happen.Riley says her group didn’t help write the Florida plan, although it met with staff and provided resources and model legislation.”States are very much frustrated by the incredibly high costs of drugs,” she says. “When you’re a state and you have to balance a budget and you pay for so much prescription drugs through your state employee plan, your municipal workers [and] through Medicaid, the cost of drugs really is front and center. So I think this is very much a bipartisan issue of urgency at the state level.”Prescription drugs are often significantly cheaper outside the United States.”Canada negotiates drug prices just like many other countries around the world,” explains Rachel Sachs, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis who studies prescription drug pricing. “In the U.S., we’ve constructed a system where pharmaceutical companies are able to charge far higher prices because there’s no mechanism to push back — there’s no way to say, ‘We’re not going to pay for that drug unless we get it at a better price.’ “So what exactly is Florida’s plan to import certain drugs from Canada, and how would it work?The Florida law imagines negotiating with the federal Department of Health and Human Services to establish a pilot program to buy these medications from Canada in bulk. “The state would contract with a wholesaler in Canada, who would provide certain high-cost drugs that the state identifies to a wholesaler in Florida,” Riley explains.So Floridian patients who have a prescription for one of those drugs would just go to their pharmacy and pick up their medicine as usual — all the importing from Canada would be happening in the background.The law wouldn’t set up a way for Floridians to order medicines from Canadian online pharmacies themselves or enable them to drive north across the border to get a deal on the drugs. Rather, it’s a big-scale, institutional kind of plan.Would Floridians even notice that their drugs were coming from Canada under this plan?”It’s possible that the ability to purchase drugs for lower prices at the wholesale level translates into lower premiums overall for particular classes of patients or lower prices at the pharmacy for other patients,” says Sachs. “But without more details about the plan, it’s hard to know.”And before Florida’s plan can become a reality, it still needs to clear some major hurdles.First, the state needs to work out a lot of details — such as which Floridians and which drugs the plan would apply to.The next hurdle is a big one: The plan needs to get approved by the federal secretary of health and human services, Alex Azar. Though the authority of the secretary to make such an approval has existed since 2003, no secretary has ever exercised that right. To win approval, Florida needs to show that the drugs it wants to import are safe and that the plan will save the state money.On the safety front, Azar last year cited safety concerns when he, at least initially, dismissed the idea of importing drugs from Canada as a “gimmick,” in a meeting at HHS headquarters with the media and others.”The last four FDA commissioners have said there is no effective way to ensure drugs coming from Canada really are coming from Canada, rather than being routed from, say, a counterfeit factory in China,” Azar said. “The United States has the safest regulatory system in the world. The last thing we need is [to have] open borders for unsafe drugs, in search of savings that cannot be safely achieved.”A pharmaceutical industry group also has been running ads in Florida recently, talking about the dangers of counterfeit drugs. Riley, of the National Academy for State Health Policy, says those sorts of ads are misleading.”I’ve seen those in every state we’re working in,” Riley says. “In fact, this program follows current FDA rules. It will use FDA-registered wholesalers. It will simply follow that same supply chain, those same protections, those same assurances of safety.”Azar also said in that May 2018 speech that he doubted that importing Canadian drugs would save U.S. states or patients money.”[This idea] has been assessed multiple times by the Congressional Budget Office, and CBO has said it would have no meaningful effect,” he said. “One of the main reasons is that Canada’s drug market is simply too small to bring down prices here. They are a lovely neighbor to the north, but they’re a small one. Canada simply doesn’t have enough drugs to sell them to us for less money, and drug companies won’t sell Canada or Europe more, just to have them imported here.”Since those remarks last year, President Trump has urged Azar to work with Florida on its plan.”President Trump and Secretary Azar are firmly committed to getting drug prices down,” HHS spokesperson Caitlin Oakley told NPR in a written statement. “They are both very open to the importation of prescription drugs as long as it can be done safely and can deliver real results for American patients.”Of course, even if Azar has a change of heart, Florida would face another potential obstacle: getting Canadians and pharmaceutical companies to go along with the plan.”They need to find willing suppliers for each of the drugs they’re aiming to import, and that may be more of a challenge than they anticipate right now,” says Sachs, the law professor.Pharmaceutical companies won’t be inclined to cooperate, she says.”They’ll lose money — if it works,” explains Sachs. “There are many things they could do all along the supply chain to ensure that drugs aren’t diverted to the U.S. in the way that Florida wants.”Canada isn’t enthused about the idea either, Sachs says, because Florida’s laws could indirectly drive up the price of some drugs in Canada.When you talk about importing “Canadian drugs,” points out Steve Morgan, a professor of health policy at the University of British Columbia, you’re not actually talking about drugs made in Canada or otherwise especially Canadian. “They’re not actually Canadian drugs,” he says. “They are just international medicines, manufactured typically at one or two plants worldwide to supply the entire market with a particular drug.”If Florida’s Canadian drug importation plan were in place, Morgan says, “given the scale of manufacturing in the United States, if you were buying a drug made by and sold by an American pharmaceutical company, it’s likely you’re literally buying the same product shipped to Canada and then shipped back into the United States.”So are Canadians worried that all 21.3 million Floridians are coming for their cheaper drugs? Not really, according to Morgan.”Canadians feel that the policy is probably not going to result in millions and millions of Americans suddenly getting their drugs from Canada,” he says.”As a consequence of the money to be made by way of being a middleman in the United States, I don’t think you’re going to see institutional purchasers suddenly shopping in Canada,” Morgan adds. “They will be able to get better prices by negotiating continuous discounts right there in the United States.”And maybe that’s the point.Just before Florida’s governor signed the bill last week at The Villages, a large retirement community outside Orlando, he said the law was already making a difference.”It’s interesting,” DeSantis told a room full of Florida seniors who had been invited to witness the signing of the drug bill. “Since we’ve passed this bill, some of the American companies have already come to us saying, ‘Hey, we’re willing to deal and give you better prices’ — already, just for the fact that we have this.”The room broke into applause. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… The Home Office has been unable to explain why the number of disability hate crime cases referred to prosecutors by the police plunged last year by nearly a quarter, and why successful prosecutions of such offences fell even more sharply.In a week when the Home Office published its updated hate crime action plan, and its own figures showed a significant rise in the number of hate crimes recorded by the police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) figures are likely to embarrass home secretary Sajid Javid.In publishing his refreshed action plan, Javid said that hate crime “goes directly against the long-standing British values of unity, tolerance and mutual respect” and that he was “committed to stamping this sickening behaviour out”.But his department has been unable to explain this week why the new CPS annual report on hate crime showed the number of disability hate crimes referred by police forces in England and Wales to CPS fell from 988 in 2016-17 to just 754 in 2017-18, a drop of 23.7 per cent.This is likely to have contributed to a fall in completed prosecutions of disability hate crime cases from 1,009 to 752 last year (an even steeper fall of 25.5 per cent) and a slump in the number of disability hate crime convictions from 800 to 564 (a drop of 29.5 per cent).Only last week, Disability News Service reported how the work of police officers in more than half of disability hate crime investigations had been found to be “unacceptable”, following a joint inspection by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI).The new CPS figures came as the Home Office’s own figures showed the number of disability hate crimes recorded by police forces rose sharply from 5,558 in 2016-17 to 7,226 in 2017-18.There is continuing debate over whether the latest significant increase in recorded hate crimes is due to more disabled people willing to report such offences to the police or third-party reporting centres; because of an actual increase in disability hate crime; or because of a combination of the two.As incidents can take several months for the police to investigate, crimes reported in 2017-18 may not have been referred to the CPS in that period, so the Home Office and CPS figures are not directly comparable.Separate Home Office figures – taken from the Crime Survey of England and Wales, but less statistically significant than those recorded by police forces because of the survey’s sample size – suggest that the number of disability hate crimes may have fallen slightly.They showed an average of about 52,000 disability hate crimes per year from 2015-16 to 2016-17, compared with an average of about 56,000 a year during the period 2011-12 to 2013-14, and 77,000 per year during the period 2007-08 to 2009-10.Anne Novis, chair of Inclusion London and the Metropolitan police’s disability hate crime working group, said it was “very disappointing” to see statistics showing such a steep fall in police referrals to CPS and subsequent prosecutions and convictions.She said possible explanations included the lack of training for police officers and “a lack of senior police emphasising the importance of recording and investigating appropriately”.But she also blamed government cuts, which she said had hit police forces hard, including their training budgets.She said: “Hundreds of staff have gone from the police in London, including many senior staff.“It is unrealistic that they could provide a service to all of us, let alone a community that finds it hard to communicate with the police because of the barriers that we have to face.”Despite the cuts, she said, police forces were still letting disabled people down with their performance on disability hate crime.A Home Office spokeswoman was unable to explain the fall in police referrals and failed to say if the department was concerned and what action it was going to take.But she said in a statement: “We expect all incidents of hate crime to be taken seriously and we are committed to making sure that police and prosecutors have the powers they need to bring offenders to justice.“We will continue to work with stakeholders to address what more can be done to tackle disability hate crime, particularly increasing reporting, and how we can support the police response to this vile crime.”A CPS spokesman said: “The CPS is only able to prosecute cases which are referred to us by the police.“We note the fall in the number of disability hate crime cases prosecuted this year and will continue to work with the police to understand any emerging trends.“The recent HMCPSI report on disability hate crime praised the work of the CPS and particularly our hate crime co-ordinators, so we can be confident the CPS is prosecuting these cases appropriately.”Two years ago, the then home secretary Amber Rudd was heavily criticised when she published her hate crime action plan for a “totally disrespectful” failure to address problems around disability-related hostility.The government’s updated hate crime action plan bragged this week of how its efforts since 2016 had “delivered success, including examples of strong police practice in response to hate crime and dealing with perpetrators”.Among new measures announced this week in the action plan, the Law Commission has been asked to review current hate crime legislation – as the commission recommended four years ago in a heavily-criticised report – following concerns that it does not offer disabled and LGBT people equal protection to that given to other protected groups.The review is likely to include examining the possible extension of aggravated offences – which have higher sentences and currently can only apply to crimes linked to race and religion – to disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity.There will also be a national hate crime communications campaign, while the government will work with local groups to raise awareness of disability hate crime and examine how best to promote third party reporting centres, as well as attempting to “increase and broaden our engagement with stakeholders representing disabled people”.A separate report detailing progress made on the 2016 action plan reveals that a piece of research that aimed to identify the motivation behind disability hate crime had to be “abandoned” because they could not find enough perpetrators willing to work with academics.Meanwhile, a disabled people’s organisation has welcomed a £373,000 grant from the National Lottery that will further its work in tackling disability hate crime over the next three years.Disability Equality (nw), which is based in Preston, Lancashire, will use the money to develop disabled-led programmes and partnerships, focusing on the night-time economy, hate crime hot spots and “recruiting more disabled people who have been victims of hate crime to be ambassadors” so they can “spread the word” about how to report disability hate crime.
A new guide – written solely by autistic people – aims to show care providers, commissioners and inspectors how to provide “quality care” for other autistic people.An Independent Guide to Quality Carefor Autistic Peoplehas been written by members of the National Autistic Taskforce (NAT) and has a“heavy emphasis” on developing choice and control for service-users.The guidesays: “The more autonomy a person has, the less support services need to relyon external authorities such as good practice guides, instead looking to theperson themselves as the primary source of information, instruction andguidance.”Among itsrecommendations is that care providers should make the protection of service-users’autonomy “a core priority” and ensure they have choice and control over “majorlife decisions and not just everyday choices”.The guideadds: “Respect the rights of all people to privacy, dignity and the maximumpossible control over their own lives.”It also saysthere should be respect for the right of autistic service-users to make “unwisedecisions”, while their human rights should be prioritised over any “perceivedrisks to organisational or personal reputations”.The guide,which has been endorsed by organisations including the autistic-led AutisticUK and the non-user-ledcharity the National Autistic Society, warns that even “well-meaning approachesto care may be negative experiences for some autistic people when these do notrespect an autistic perspective”.This couldinclude being subjected to “treatments” that seek to “normalise” theservice-user or that try to include them in social activities they do not wantto participate in.The guidesays service-providers should carry out regular “sensory reviews” of the placeswhere autistic service-users spend time, ensure “prompt and effective” accessto advocacy, and embed “rights-based thinking” in day-to-day practice.And it saysthat any “physical intervention, pharmaceutical control of behaviour or anyother forms of restraint” should be viewed as service “failures”.The guidesays: “A good service for autistic people is one where staff try to putthemselves in an autistic person’s shoes, get to know each person as anindividual, and maintain a relationship with the person based on trust andrespect.”And it adds:“A good service for autistic people recognises autistic identity and does not assumethat what is ‘normal’ or ‘good’ for non-autistic people is necessarily rightfor an autistic person.”Thetaskforce hopes its new guide will be part of a growing move beyond the idea ofco-production of services and “towards autistic leadership”.Its mainauthor was trainer and consultant Yo Dunn, a member of the NAT executive.NAT was launched in December 2017 and has received two years’ funding of £100,000 from the Shirley Foundation, with its focus “to help empower autistic adults, including those with less autonomy and higher support needs, to have a stronger voice in the decisions and direction of their own lives”.A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…
Marie Stopes Uganda to launch their Reproductive Health App Challenge at Hive Colab. Advertisement Marie Stopes Uganda shall today Tuesday 1st December, 2015 launch their Reproductive Health App Challenge at Hive Colab.The challenge launch will call for applications from reproductive health and technology experts and young people from around Uganda: innovators, developers, healthcare workers, academics, software developers, entrepreneurs, designers and partners who will, in February 2016 gather for a three day hackathon to develop mobile app solutions, create mobile and web-based solutions, to address real healthcare challenges in sexual and reproductive health.Ugandan startups will be tasked to demonstrate the use of existing Marie Stopes resources API (SMS, USSD and Hotlines) in their app development and submit their app development ideas for the Marie Stopes Developer Challenge. These startups stand a chance of being supported by various partners. The developer challenge will give startups an opportunity to harness their skills and showcase to the rest of the world game changing ideas and products. – Advertisement – This is a great platform to showcase great ideas and provide solutions using the availed resources as well as interact with other great minds and we’d encourage all of you to take part and invite your friends to participate too.Sponsored by MSU’s Innovation Fund, the hackathon responds to a growing commitment to leverage information and communication technologies to empower young people, complementing MSU’s ongoing work to promote the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people.Using methods drawn from design thinking and creative problem solving, the hackathon will encourage participants to think outside-the-box and design unconventional solutions to promote young people’s health. The hackathon will follow principles of “user-centred design”, actively engaging young people in the development of solutions that are based on their real needs and experiences.[related-posts]The opportunityThere is a high and increasing use of mobile phone technology in the access of health information in Uganda basing on the research by Incite, 2014. Phones are the second means of reaching our clients second to the use of radio in Uganda.Ugandan startups will be tasked to demonstrate the use of existing Marie Stopes resources API (SMS, USSD and Hotlines) in their app development and submit their app development ideas for the Marie Stopes Developer Challenge. These startups stand a chance of being supported by various partners. The developer challenge will give startups an opportunity to harness their skills and showcase to the rest of the world game changing ideas and products.The challengeTechnology has developed in ways that we can now use a toll free hotline to reduce the reproductive health disease burden. How can we use phone applications to increase the use utilization of the toll free hotline?There is low male involvement in family planning in Uganda, how can we use phone applications to increase male involvement in family planning and promote maternal health?There is a high teenage pregnancy in Uganda where 1/3 girls are at risk of falling pregnant and failing to complete their secondary education. How can we solve this problem with the use of mobile technology?Life guard has been proven to be the best socially marketed condom brand in Uganda that has been listed as the ladies choice due to its high quality and unique features namely; the dots and studs. How can mobile technology be used to promote the demand and awareness?How can we utilize mobile app technology to increase the uptake of approved videography content and photography as IEC materials for use by community health workers by making them readily available even in remote places?KEY ACTIVITIES– Launch – 1st DecemberApplications open – Immediately after Launch ( Submit Ideas)– Hackathon – February 2016Winners announced – February 2016 ( End of Hackathon)You can register on Evenbtrite if you’d like to attend the event. Registration is free.