Analyzing Low-Cost Mortgages, Affordable Housing

first_img Previous: Tracking Retirement Migration Next: National Housing Conference Adds Board of Governor Members Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Secondary Market Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Tagged with: Affordability Minorities July 3, 2019 686 Views  Print This Post Subscribe Share Save According to the Urban Institute, families have the stable income needed to support homeownership in smaller, more affordable communities, but are unable to afford a home because they can’t access a mortgage, or don’t have cash to buy a home. The study states that there were more than 700,000 homes sold for $85,000 or less in 2018, and according to the Urban Institute, these homes are less likely to be financed with a mortgage than high-priced homes. Limited financing options becomes a barrier for homeownership. Instead, the home is sold to investors, and families may turn to riskier seller financing options, such as land contracts, which have fewer borrower protections than mortgages.The study continues by saying expanding access to small-dollar mortgages could help many households in communities with lower-than-average homeownership rates. The Urban Institute states that about 10% of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s households own a home worth less than $70,000, and 22% are renters. With average incomes of $36,000 and $32,000 for these owners and renters, respectively, they are close to suggest a small-dollar mortgage could put the renters in a position to buy a low-cost home. Statistics show that 26% of Pittsburgh’s renters are people of color, with around 10% owning a home valued at $70,000 or less. Fewer than 5% own a home worth $150,000 or more. A recent report by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), with data from the U.S. Census Bureau, found that homeownership rates for minorities fell to 64.2% in Q1 2019 from 64.8% to end 2018.The “all minority” homeownership rate, which includes African American, Hispanic and “other households” (Asian, Native American, etc.), came in at 47.1% in Q1 2019—a slight year-over-year decrease from 48%, and a decline from 47.7% in Q4 2018.Recent NAHB information revealed that the amount of newly-formed owner-occupied home grew in the first quarter. Expansion during Q1 2019, though, was slower than last year, indicating the decline of affordable housing due to elevated home prices. Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Related Articles About Author: Mike Albanesecenter_img Analyzing Low-Cost Mortgages, Affordable Housing Mike Albanese is a reporter for DS News and MReport. He is a University of Alabama graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in communications. He has worked for publications—both print and online—covering numerous beats. A Connecticut native, Albanese currently resides in Lewisville. The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Affordability Minorities 2019-07-03 Mike Albanese Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily Home / Daily Dose / Analyzing Low-Cost Mortgages, Affordable Housinglast_img read more

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People’s United reports Q2 net income of $51 million, 15 cents per share

first_imgFINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS  Dividend payout ratio106.4%104.9%172.5%230.4%352.0%  Net income51.251.732.024.116.0 Selected Statistical Data: (dollars in millions, except per share data)20112011201020102010  Return on average tangible stockholders’ equity (3)6.36.43.72.71.7  Operating earnings (2)57.353.836.727.731.8 Per Common Share Data:  Non-interest income76.674.668.168.069.7  Operating return on average assets (2), (3)0.920.870.640.500.58 Earnings Data:  Operating dividend payout ratio (2)95.1100.7150.4200.4176.7 BRIDGEPORT, Conn., July 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ —  Net interest income$   221.2$   220.3$      189.8$   175.8$   173.8    stockholders’ equity (2), (3)7.16.74.23.13.4  Return on average assets (3)0.820.840.560.440.29  Non-interest expense (1)207.0202.8199.1186.3202.7  Dividends paid per share0.15750.15500.15500.15500.1550  Return on average stockholders’ equity (3)4.04.02.41.81.2  Common shares (end of period) (in millions)346.12345.97350.07356.73358.51  Operating return on average tangible People’s United Bank,People’s United Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ: PBCT) today announced net income of $51.2 million, or $0.15 per share, for the second quarter of 2011, compared to $16.0 million, or $0.04 per share, for the second quarter of 2010, and $51.7 million, or $0.15per share, for the first quarter of 2011. Operating earnings totaled $57.3 million for the second quarter of 2011, compared to $31.8 million for the second quarter of 2010 and $53.8 million for this year’s first quarter.  As previously reported, People’s United Financial completed its acquisition of Danvers Bancorp, Inc. on June 30, 2011, effective July 1, 2011.  Accordingly, People’s United Financial’s second quarter and six month results do not include the results of Danvers.The Company’s Board of Directors declared a $0.1575 per share quarterly dividend, payable August 15, 2011 to shareholders of record on August 1, 2011.  Based on the closing stock price on July 20, 2011, the dividend yield on People’s United Financial common stock is 4.7 percent.”Our performance this quarter continues to build on the momentum generated in the first quarter of 2011, reflecting another solid quarter of operating results, organic loan and deposit growth throughout our franchise, and encouraging overall trends in asset quality,” stated Jack Barnes, President and Chief Executive Officer.  “In fact, on an annualized basis, both loans and deposits increased 4 percent this quarter; our net interest margin remains above 4 percent; and our efficiency ratio continues to improve.”Barnes added, “In the second quarter, our originated commercial and retail loan portfolios increased $239 million, or 9 percent annualized, and $213 million, or 19 percent annualized, respectively.  We also had another quarter of meaningful deposit growth in our legacy and de novo branch network.  In addition, we successfully completed the Bank of Smithtown core system conversion and our efforts with respect to the Danversbank conversion, scheduled for early in the fourth quarter, are already well under way.”Barnes concluded, “We continue to evaluate opportunities to reduce our level of non-interest expenses and lower our efficiency ratio.  As such, earlier this month we implemented several cost-saving initiatives, which included changes in certain retirement benefit programs and the elimination of selected positions, primarily within corporate functions, non-core lending businesses and the former Bank of Smithtown.  We expect to realize annual cost savings of approximately $23 million beginning in 2012.””On an operating basis, earnings were $57 million or 17 cents per share this quarter,” said Kirk W. Walters, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.  “The Company’s performance this quarter reflects an improvement in net interest income, continued positive results in our fee businesses and tighter expense control.”Walters continued, “The net interest margin increased 44 basis points in the second quarter of 2011 compared to last year’s second quarter and, as expected, declined a modest 3 basis points from the first quarter of 2011.  The decline in the net interest margin from the first quarter reflects repricing pressure within the loan portfolios, partially offset by an increase in investment income and a reduction in our cost of deposits.”Walters added, “Non-interest income this quarter continues to reflect improvement in most of our fee-based businesses as well as additional gains on sales of acquired loans, partially offset by weakness in insurance revenue and lower gains on sales of residential mortgages.  The level of quarterly operating non-interest expense continues to remain below $200 million, despite the addition of the acquisitions completed in the fourth quarter of 2010, and our efficiency ratio improved to 65.7 percent.”Walters concluded, “While the overall level of non-performing loans is reflective of a period of prolonged economic weakness, we are pleased with the improvements noted over the past few quarters.  The increase in originated non-performing loans this quarter is attributable to a single commercial real estate loan (with a remaining balance of $23 million) that was placed on non-accrual status this quarter. The decrease in the allowance for loan losses this quarter reflects a $6.0 million charge-off on this loan against a previously established specific reserve, partially offset by steps taken to increase the allowance for loan losses in light of continued strong growth in the commercial and residential mortgage loan portfolios. In addition, the decline of $74.0 million in acquired non-performing loans this quarter reflects our efforts to proactively reduce this portfolio through a variety of resolution efforts.”Loans acquired in connection with acquisitions have been recorded at fair value, including a reduction for estimated credit losses, and without carryover of the respective portfolio’s historical allowance for loan losses.  As such, selected asset quality metrics have been highlighted to distinguish between the ‘originated’ portfolio and the ‘acquired’ portfolio.At June 30, 2011, the allowance for loan losses as a percentage of originated loans was 1.15 percent and as a percentage of originated non-performing loans was 68 percent, compared to 1.19 percent and 74 percent, respectively, at March 31, 2011.For the originated portfolio, representing all loans other than those acquired, non-performing loans totaled$258.8 million at June 30, 2011, or 1.69 percent of originated loans, compared to $240.5 million and 1.62 percent, respectively, at March 31, 2011, and $219.7 million and 1.57 percent, respectively, at June 30, 2010.  Excluding the $23 million non-performing commercial real estate loan discussed above, originated non-performing loans were 1.54 percent of originated loans at June 30, 2011.Non-performing loans in the acquired portfolio, which represent the contractual balances of loans acquired that meet our definition of non-performing but for which the risk of loss has already been considered by virtue of our estimate of acquisition-date fair value and/or the existence of an FDIC loss-share agreement, totaled $250.4 million at June 30, 2011 compared to $324.4 million at March 31, 2011 and $359.8 millionat December 31, 2010.  During the second quarter, loans with a contractual balance of approximately $56 million (carrying amount of approximately $41 million) were sold at a gain of approximately $7 million.  In addition, loans with a contractual balance of approximately $64 million were reduced by virtue of full or partial payoffs.Non-performing assets (excluding acquired non-performing loans) totaled $315.4 million at June 30, 2011, up from $292.1 million at March 31, 2011 and $284.5 million at June 30, 2010.  Non-performing assets equaled 2.05 percent of originated loans, REO and repossessed assets at June 30, 2011 compared to 1.96 percent at March 31, 2011 and 2.02 percent at June 30, 2010.Second quarter net loan charge-offs totaled $15.5 million compared to $9.6 million in the first quarter of 2011.  The previously mentioned commercial real estate loan, which carried a specific reserve, accounted for $6.0 million, or 39 percent, of this quarter’s total loan charge-offs.  Net loan charge-offs as a percent of average loans on an annualized basis were 0.35 percent in the second quarter of 2011 (0.22 percent excluding the aforementioned $6.0 million loan charge-off) compared to 0.22 percent in this year’s first quarter.  The provision for loan losses in the second quarter of 2011 reflects a $4.5 million increase in the allowance for loan losses related to the growth in the commercial and residential mortgage loan portfolios.For the second quarter of 2011, the return on average assets was 0.82 percent and the return on average tangible stockholders’ equity was 6.3 percent, compared to 0.84 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively, for the first quarter of 2011 and 0.29 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, for the second quarter of 2010.  Operating return on average assets was 0.92 percent for the second quarter of 2011, compared to 0.87 percent for the first quarter of 2011 and 0.58 percent for the second quarter of 2010.  Operating return on average tangible equity was 7.1 percent for the second quarter of 2011, compared to 6.7 percent for the first quarter of 2011 and 3.4 percent for the second quarter of 2010.  At June 30, 2011, People’s United Financial’s tangible equity ratio stood at 13.9 percent.People’s United Financial, a diversified financial services company with $28 billion in assets (pro forma with Danvers), provides commercial banking, retail and business banking, and wealth management services through a network of approximately 375 branches in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, New Hampshire and Maine. Through its subsidiaries, People’s United Financial provides equipment financing, brokerage and financial advisory services, and insurance services.Conference CallOn July 21, 2011, at 5 p.m., Eastern Time, People’s United Financial will host a conference call to discuss this earnings announcement.  The call may be heard through www.peoples.com(link is external) by selecting “Investor Relations” in the “About Us” section on the home page, and then selecting “Conference Calls” in the “News and Events” section.  Additional materials relating to the call may also be accessed at People’s United Bank’s web site.  The call will be archived on the web site and available for approximately 90 days.2Q 2011 Financial HighlightsSummaryNet income totaled $51.2 million, or $0.15 per share.Operating earnings were $57.3 million, or $0.17 per share.Net interest income totaled $221.2 million.Net interest margin decreased 3 basis points from 1Q11 to 4.13%.Investment income increased $2.2 million from 1Q11.The interest cost on deposits declined 1 basis point from 1Q11 to 58 basis points.Provision for loan losses totaled $14.0 million.Net loan charge-offs totaled $15.5 million or 0.35% of average loans.Non-interest income totaled $76.6 million in 2Q11 compared to $74.6 million in 1Q11.Bank service charges increased $1.9 million in 2Q11 to $32.9 million.2Q11 and 1Q11 include $7.2 million and $5.5 million, respectively, of net gains on sales of acquired loans.Net gains on sales of residential mortgages declined $2.0 million from 1Q11.Non-interest expense totaled $207.0 million in 2Q11 compared to $202.8 million in 1Q11.Operating non-interest expense totaled $197.8 million in 2Q11 compared to $199.7 million in 1Q11.2Q11 and 1Q11 include a total of $9.2 million and $3.1 million, respectively, of merger-related expenses and one-time charges.Effective income tax rate was 33.3% in both 2Q11 and 1Q11.Commercial BankingExcluding acquired loans, commercial banking loans increased $239 million, or 9% annualized, from March 31, 2011.Average commercial banking loans totaled $12.7 billion, an increase of $227 million, or 7% annualized, from 1Q11.Non-performing commercial banking assets, excluding acquired non-performing loans, totaled$220.7 million at June 30, 2011, up from $192.2 million at March 31, 2011.A single commercial real estate loan accounted for $23.3 million of the increase.The ratio of originated non-performing commercial banking loans to originated commercial banking loans was 1.71% at June 30, 2011 compared to 1.54% at March 31, 2011.Net loan charge-offs totaled $13.2 million, or 0.42% annualized, of average commercial banking loans in 2Q11, compared to $6.8 million, or 0.22% annualized, in 1Q11.2Q11 net loan charge-offs include $6.0 million related to a single commercial real estate loan.For the originated commercial banking portfolio, the allowance for loan losses as a percentage of loans was 1.55% at June 30, 2011 compared to 1.61% at March 31, 2011.The commercial banking allowance for loan losses represented 91% of originated non-performing commercial banking loans at June 30, 2011 compared to 104% at March 31, 2011.Retail and Business BankingExcluding acquired loans, residential mortgage loans increased $187 million, or 30% annualized, from March 31, 2011.Average residential mortgage loans totaled $2.9 billion, an increase of $151 million, or 22% annualized, from 1Q11.The ratio of originated non-performing residential mortgage loans to originated residential mortgage loans was 2.47% at June 30, 2011 compared to 2.84% at March 31, 2011.Net loan charge-offs totaled $1.2 million, or 0.16% annualized, of average residential mortgage loans in 2Q11, compared to $1.6 million, or 0.23% annualized, in 1Q11.Excluding acquired loans, home equity loans increased $23 million, or 5% annualized, from March 31, 2011.Average home equity loans totaled $1.9 billion in 2Q11, unchanged from 1Q11.Net loan charge-offs totaled $0.8 million, or 0.17% annualized, of average home equity loans in 2Q11, compared to $0.8 million, or 0.16% annualized, in 1Q11.Wealth ManagementInvestment management fees and brokerage commissions both increased slightly from 1Q11.Insurance revenue decreased $1.3 million from 1Q11, primarily reflecting the seasonal nature of insurance renewals and the continued soft insurance market, and increased $0.3 million from 2Q10.Assets under administration and those under full discretionary management, neither of which are reported as assets of People’s United Financial, totaled $12.8 billion and $4.3 billion, respectively, at June 30, 2011.Certain statements contained in this release are forward-looking in nature. These include all statements about People’s United Financial’s plans, objectives, expectations and other statements that are not historical facts, and usually use words such as “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe” and similar expressions. Such statements represent management’s current beliefs, based upon information available at the time the statements are made, with regard to the matters addressed. All forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause People’s United Financial’s actual results or financial condition to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by such statements. Factors of particular importance to People’s United Financial include, but are not limited to: (1) changes in general, national or regional economic conditions; (2) changes in interest rates; (3) changes in loan default and charge-off rates; (4) changes in deposit levels; (5) changes in levels of income and expense in non-interest income and expense related activities; (6) residential mortgage and secondary market activity; (7) changes in accounting and regulatory guidance applicable to banks; (8) price levels and conditions in the public securities markets generally; (9) competition and its effect on pricing, spending, third-party relationships and revenues; (10) the successful integration of acquired companies; and (11) possible changes in regulation resulting from or relating to recently enacted financial reform legislation. People’s United Financial does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.Access Information About People’s United Financial at www.peoples.com(link is external) .People’s United Financial, Inc.  Efficiency ratio (2)65.766.271.171.272.2  Tangible book value (end of period) (2)9.389.279.3010.0710.14  Provision for loan losses14.014.610.921.817.8  Stock price: June 30,March 31,Dec. 31,Sept. 30,June 30,  Weighted average diluted common shares (in millions)343.88346.01352.53354.99358.24 Three Months Ended    Close (end of period)13.4412.5814.0113.0913.50  Book value (end of period)$   15.01$   14.92$      14.91$   15.04$   15.10    Low12.5512.1712.2012.5613.49 (1) Includes a total of $9.2 million, $3.1 million, $7.0 million, $5.3 million and $23.2 million of merger-related expenses, core system conversion costs and one-time charges for the three months ended June 30, 2011, March 31, 2011, Dec. 31, 2010, Sept. 30, 2010 and June 30, 2010, respectively.(2) See non-GAAP financial measures and reconciliation to GAAP.(3) Annualized.    High13.8114.4914.1714.3516.79  Net interest margin (3)4.13%4.16%3.87%3.74%3.69%  Income before income tax expense76.877.547.935.723.0  Return on average tangible assets (3)0.890.910.610.480.32  Basic and diluted earnings per share$     0.15$     0.15$        0.09$     0.07$     0.04  Operating earnings per share (2)0.170.150.100.080.09last_img read more

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Opinions vary on banning death penalty

first_imgProp. 34 opponents argue, however, that eliminating the death penalty would actually cost the government more money. Opponents say it will cost $100 million over the next four years because of the lifetime housing, food and healthcare benefits that former Death Row inmates would receive.Another argument against repealing the death penalty center on the importance of ensuring that justice is served and taking the victims’ families into account, Jeffe said.Steven Lam, a sophomore majoring in biological sciences, also said that the serving justice is more important than cost.“I’m more in favor of keeping the death penalty because I feel for the victims’ families,” Lam said. “The cost of having peace of mind shouldn’t matter. I think finding solace for the victims’ families is more important.”The section with the case against the measure in the Official Voter Information Guide, for example, says that abolishing the death penalty is “indefensible, cruel to loved ones of victims, misleading and insulting to voters and dangerous for California.”Lansky echoed this argument as a reason for opposing the proposition.“I think about the Aurora shooting — would we be OK if he only got life in prison and not the death penalty?” Lansky said. “Unless you know someone who’s been murdered, I don’t think you can really understand.”Prop. 34 is the latest attempt to quash the death penalty after it was suspended in 1972 and reinstated in 1978 by Proposition 7. Though much of the focus on the Nov. 6 election has centered on the presidential race, several significant measures that will affect California policy will also be considered.One such proposal is Proposition 34, which seeks to abolish the state’s death penalty for convicted murderers, according to the California Official Voter Information Guide. This would apply not only to future trials but also retroactively to existing cases; prisoners who have already been condemned to Death Row would now receive life in prison without the possibility of parole.A poll released Sept. 25 by the University of California, Berkeley and the Field Group showed that 45 percent of total likely voters are opposed to Prop. 34, while 42 percent of voters are in favor. Thirteen percent said they are undecided. Opinions on the issue are largely dependent on party lines: 50 percent of Democrats responded that they plan to vote for the proposition but only 23 percent of Republicans said the same.USC students have mixed opinions on Prop. 34 and on the death penalty itself. USC College Republicans President Maddy Lansky, a senior majoring in political science, said she opposes the measure.“When you consciously and intentionally take someone’s life, you lose the ability to keep yours,” Lansky said.USC College Democrats President Aaron Taxy, a junior majoring in international relations, has a different opinion on the issue.“Virtually no other countries have a death penalty besides the United States,” Taxy said. “The United States has the worst murder rate of any developed country, so there’s no evidence that the death penalty is [a] deterrence.”Under California’s current system, criminals who are convicted of first-degree murder plus special circumstances — if the murder was particularly heinous, occurred for financial gain or occurred along with other criminal activities — are eligible to receive the death penalty. Once a criminal is sentenced to death, his or her case is automatically appealed to the California Supreme Court. After that, the condemned prisoner has the right to appeal his or her case many more times and before many more courts, judges and juries before the sentence is actually carried out.One argument for the ballot measure is that doing away with capital punishment will be more cost-effective, according to Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a senior fellow at the Sol Price School of Public Policy.According to the proposition, former Death Row prisoners would be required to work and pay their earnings to their victims’ families. The state would also save money by reducing the costs of the special individual-cell housing and extra security allotted to Death Row inmates, as well as on lawyers’ fees for criminals who cannot afford their own lawyers but seek to appeal their cases.“In California, we spend seven times as much on death row inmates than we do on life sentence inmates because the appeals process is incredibly expensive,” Taxy said. “California really can’t afford its current criminal policy. Unless we reform it, Proposition 34 really is the best option.”Other proponents took issue with the ethics of capital punishment.Merahm Hamdan, a senior majoring in math and theater, said she objects to the death penalty on grounds that it is immoral.“I’d rather see someone imprisoned for life,” Hamdan said. “I have a hard time with the idea of taking another person’s life. It rubs me the wrong way and I think it rubs everyone the wrong way.  I wouldn’t say murderers and rapists don’t deserve the death penalty, but taking someone’s life is a really hard thing to do.”According to Jeffe, proponents also argue that eliminating the death penalty will ensure that innocent individuals are not executed in California.“One of the most compelling arguments is there is always a question that an innocent person will be sentenced to death and will have the death penalty implemented,” Jeffe said. Daniel Rothberg contributed to this report.last_img read more

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Scandalous – APNU+AFC regime handling of the oil sector

first_imgDear Editor,The PNC-led APNU regime has begun their time in power from exactly where they left off twenty-six years ago. The deals that they have been making are simply scandalous. The public is hard pressed not to conclude that corruption is at the heart of this regime. They cannot help themselves, it is in their nature. The PNC has not changed.I see the media that is sympathetic to the regime, mainly ‘Kaieteur News,’ are unable to cover up the disaster that the regime is. So they are doing the next ‘best thing’. They are blaming the ExxonMobil for the disaster they have made in handling the agreement with ExxonMobil.If we want to be generous to say they are not stealing and not making huge ‘backdoor/under the table deals’, then we have to conclude that they are the most incompetent bunch of persons to ever assume high office. Added to their incompetence is the high intoxication with power that is showing in sheer arrogance.Form all that is being revealed in the press, we see that our country has lost, is losing, and will lose billions of US dollars by this deal.In the first instance, the royalty of only 2% is indeed very suspect. Dr. Mangal, the expert that the regime hired, said the norm is between 10% and 20%. Why was Dr. Mangal ignored? If he was not, why was his recommendations not considered?On the basis of 2% royalty, and if we assume oil price at US$50 per barrel, production at 300,000 barrels per day and production of 360 days for the year, then Guyana will receive  US$108,000 per year. That works out to US$144 per person (assuming a population of 750,000). That is really chicken feed.Some apologists for the regime say that it is because we have no experience, Exxon took advantage on us. That is the lamest excuse I have heard. Information is available and could have been sourced. Trinidad and Tobago, with decades of experience, would have been most helpful. Were they asked? If not, why not?The regime could have sought council from the UN and many other sources. They chose not to, and produced the most lopsided agreement probably in the world.There is no clarity on the Government’s policy on oil. The regime seems to be blundering blindly all the way.For instance, we are all in the dark as to the issue of local content in the oil and gas sector. Would our private sector benefit? This is a big concern, but the nation remains unenlightened.Another unpardonable aspect of this agreement is the regime’s concession to our sovereignty! How could this regime agree that no official can visit ExxonMobil locations without giving seven days’ notice?!This really makes us look worse than a banana republic. One cannot help wondering what was the inducement to sign something as objectionable as this. These are the same people who beat their chest talking about nationalism, yet they have compromised our sovereignty.This regime action in relation to the collection of funds is also very disturbing. For more than a year, they collected US$18 million in signing bonus and kept that information hidden. When asked about it, they denied ever collecting any. They also ridiculed those asking.Now it has come out that they had collected it and placed it in a private account. How can anyone be blamed for believing that it was put aside to be carted off by the elite?Even now that it is exposed, they continue to refuse to put it in the Consolidated Fund, thereby perpetuating an illegality.In any normal democratic country, the regime would have resigned. They had sworn to uphold the Constitution and the Laws of Guyana, but now are regularly and knowingly violating them.Donald RamotarFormer Presidentlast_img read more

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Sloppy defense costs Giants, Vogt’s late home run not enough to carry offense

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO — In their first 81 games this season, the Giants looked the part of a last-place team.The club posted its third-lowest winning percentage (.432) at the season’s halfway point since 2000 and finished with a team batting average (.224) that checks in nine points below the worst full-season mark in franchise history. Giants starting pitchers compiled an ERA above 5.00 and the staff allowed 116 home runs in its first three months of games.As the Giants opened their unofficial …last_img read more

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Molecular Motors Galore: How Did They Evolve?

first_imgMyosin is one of the cell’s little monorail motors that trucks cargo around the cell, pushes false feet into the surrounding environment, forces packages out the cell membrane, makes muscles move and wiggles hairlike cilia.  Scientists reporting in Nature1 found twice as many varieties of myosin (37) than were previously known (17) and decided to plug them into the evolutionary tree of life and figure out how they diversified throughout eukaryotic lineages.  Although they found many “synapomorphies” (apparent instances of “convergent evolution”), Richards and Cavalier-Smith think they reduced the diversity of myosins down to three ancestral types.  They wrote, “We conclude that the eukaryotic cenancestor (last common ancestor) had a cilium, mitochondria, pseudopodia, and myosins with three contrasting domain combinations and putative functions” (emphasis added in all quotes).  They did not elaborate, however, on how these mechanisms and functions arose in the hypothetical single-celled ancestor.  Margaret Titus, commenting on this paper in the same issue of Nature,2 said, “Analysis of their sequences in a wide range of organisms reveals an unexpected variety of domains, and provides insights into the nature of the earliest eukaryotes.”    In another molecular-machine story, three scientists found that the cellular powerhouse motors named ATP synthase come in pairs.  Reporting in PNAS,3 they actually photographed pairs of the miniature machines – an incredible feat, considering they are only about 12 nanometers tall – and found them bridged together at 40° angles.  They suspect that this arrangement helps in the formation of cristae (curved membranes within the mitochondria) and stabilizes the little rotary engines as they generate ATP: “This complex is assumed to improve the efficiency of ATP synthesis by substrate-product channeling.”  The authors did not speculate on the evolution of the motors or of the larger structure that they call an “ATP synthasome complex.”  Additional proteins and enzymes, whose functions are as yet unknown, appear to take part in the operation.1Thomas A. Richards and Thomas Cavalier-Smith, “Myosin domain evolution and the primary divergence of eukaryotes,” Nature 436, 1113-1118 (25 August 2005) | doi: 10.1038/nature039492Margaret A. Titus, “Evolution: A treasure trove of motors,” Nature 436, 1097-1099 (25 August 2005) | doi: 10.1038/4361097a.Evolutionary theory is so useless.  The first two scientists ought to be humbly standing in awe of cellular wonders at the fringe of our ability to comprehend them, and all they wanted to do was speculate about how machines built themselves by chance.  Did Richards and Cavalier-Smith add any logical or observational support for evolution?  Assuredly not.  They merely assumed it from the start, then organized the observations into a presuppositional template.  Could they delineate the actual mutations and selective forces that morphed one form into another?  Could they tell how the original ancestral forms – already highly complex – emerged out of the primordial chemistry lab?  Did they even for a moment consider the possibility that apparent design might represent actual design?    Each of these motors, and the functions they perform, are examples of what Michael Behe dubbed irreducibly complex machines.  Without myosin and the tracks on which they run already assembled and functioning, there would be no functional advantage on which natural selection could act.  But even if the motors and tracks emerged somehow, why would they persist if there were no jobs?  Like superhighways without towns and settlers, they would be like pork-barrel projects of dubious utility.  The entire cell is interdependent.  The cell as a unit has to have a high degree of minimum complexity in place before anything will work.  Such cavalier speculation as exhibited here is no more logical or useful than arranging the cars at an auto show into an evolutionary sequence and claiming they arose without designers.    The article about ATP synthase, by contrast, did not walk into Storybook Land.  The team advanced our knowledge by using novel techniques to image the machines, and then offered a testable hypothesis about the purpose of the bridge structure.  Notice that this was an implicit intelligent-design assumption.  They assumed the bridging improved the efficiency of ATP synthesis by channeling the substrate into a coherent operation.  That can be tested, whereas evolutionary speculation about presumed ancestors cannot.  The paper also illustrated the common experience of biochemists that the closer we look at cellular structures, the more complex they become.  By extension, that means the harder it becomes to explain them by evolution, and the more we begin to see design on higher levels of organization and efficiency.  ATP synthase is wonderful enough, but to see it organized into an “ATP synthasome complex,” well – that’s awesome.(Visited 106 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Student thrashed for not saying ‘Jai Shri Ram’

first_imgAn 11-year-old madrasa student was beaten up in Purulia district of West Bengal on the pretext that he refused to say ‘Jai Shri Ram’. The police have initiated a probe following a complaint by the boy’s father on Thursday. The madrasa student alleged that he was stopped on his way to the seminary in Nituria village of Purulia. First he was asked his name and then told to say ‘Jai Shri Ram’. As he refused, he was “brutally beaten up”. ‘Four men involved’“I was beaten for quite a few minutes before one of them said that ‘if he dies, we would be in trouble’ and let me go,” the student told local journalists. Four men were involved in the incident, the student said. The boy’s father took him back home from the madrasa and said that he was severely “traumatised.” While the Trinamool Congress blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party for “spreading communal hatred and extremism”, BJP officials in the district said the Trinamool was “organising such incidents to tarnish the BJP’s image.”last_img read more

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Andy Murray to skip Britain’s Davis Cup playoff tie vs Uzbekistan

first_imgAndy Murray is set to skip Britain’s Davis Cup playoff match against Uzbekistan in Glasgow to work on his rehabilitation following a hip surgery.Murray, who returned to best-of-five-set tennis for the first time in 14 months at the US Open last week, crashed out in the second round after losing to Fernando Verdasco 5-7 6-2 4-6 4-6.Murray apologised to this fans through an Instagram post for skipping the September 14-16 World Group playoff tie.”With this possibly being my last chance to compete in Scotland as a professional I really wanted to be there with the team and found this decision emotionally quite challenging,” he said.”I had spoken about possibly coming to just play doubles but having been recommended to take a couple of weeks off hitting to continue my reconditioning I didn’t want to just show up not ready to perform to a high enough standard and ultimately let my teammates/country down.”Along with the three-time Grand Slam champion, British number one Kyle Edmund will also miss the tie.Dan Evans, Cameron Norrie and Jay Clarke will be joined by doubles specialists Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot.(With inputs from Reuters)last_img read more

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