“Each player in the South Africa cricket team has demonstrated a hunger to succeed in the toughest format of the game, and the team’s consistency over the last few years has seen South Africa reach this top position, winning them the Reliance ICC Test Mace.”Time at the top The Proteas, under Graeme Smith, first took over at the top in August 2012, when they beat England 2-0 in England. Australia had an opportunity to take over the top spot in November 2012, but South Africa won 1-0 Down Under to secure their grip on the number one ranking. Since then, they have gone opened up a considerable gap at the top of the pile to remain the world’s top test team.Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings tableSouth Africa, 127 Australia, 115India, 112England, 107Pakistan, 100Sri Lanka, 89New Zealand, 87West Indies, 87Zimbabwe, 34Bangladesh, 19 16 April 2014 The Proteas were recognised as the number one test team in the world on Tuesday when the Chief Executive Officer of Cricket South Africa (CSA), Haroon Lorgat, received the prestigious Reliance ICC Test Championship Mace on their behalf. The Proteas finished on top of the Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings table on the annual cut-off date of 1 April, and were also rewarded with a cheque of $475 000.Second time at number one It was the second time, since the current ranking system was introduced in 2003, that South Africa has finished as the number one ranked test team in the world. In their last test series, South Africa lost 1-2 to Australia as captain Graeme Smith bowed out of international cricket. Irrespective of the series result, however, South Africa was assured of the number one position on the table. David Richardson, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Chief Executive, presented the Mace and cheque to Lorgat in a ceremony staged at the Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town.‘Delighted’ At the presentation, Lorgat said: “I am delighted to receive the Reliance ICC Test Mace and prize money, not just on behalf of the players and the team management, but on behalf of all South Africans. “I know the players relish the enormous privilege of representing our country and also appreciate the responsibility that goes with it.” ‘A symbol of excellence’ Richardson, a former Proteas’ wicketkeeper from 1992 to 1998, said: “The Mace is a symbol of excellence and recognition of a side’s outstanding achievement in the toughest and most traditional format of the game. “South Africa has all the reasons to be proud of its feat as it is only the fourth team after Australia, India and England to hold the Mace. “Test cricket is the pinnacle of our sport and by promoting it as much as we can we will help to ensure its continuing good health as one of our three forms of the game at international level.”‘The world’s best test-playing team’ Gurdeep Singh, the President and CEO of Wireless Business, Reliance Communications, said: “We would like to congratulate South Africa for once again emerging as the world’s best test-playing team on the Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings. SAinfo reporter
Compiled by Mary AlexanderFrom New York and Paris to Tamboerskloof in Cape Town, graffiti artists across the world have paid tribute to the legacy of Nelson Mandela on buildings, walls and bus stops. In celebration of Mandela Month, we bring you a selection. A mural by well-known artist David Flores in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, as part of the Branded Arts initiative. Image via Springleap. A psychedelic Mandela by Spanish muralist Eduardo Kobra, also in Los Angeles. Image via Global Street Art. A close-up of Eduardo Kobra’s Mandela in Los Angeles. The freedom mural by celebrated Cape Town graffiti artist Mak1one shows South Africa’s journey to democracy over the decades, from the 1960s to the 1990s. Mandela’s image on Jamaica Street in Bristol, England. Photo by Sam Saunders. Portrait of Mandela on the wall of a ruin in St Romain, Rhone-Alpes, France. Photo by Thierry Ehrmann. Artist Phil Akashi paid tribute to Mandela in Shanghai in 2013 by attaching a seal with the Chinese characters 自由 (meaning “freedom”) to a boxing glove, and punching out a monumental mural with 27 000 blows.Watch Akashi create the portrait: On a wall in Spuistraat in central Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Image via Global Graphica. A close-up of the Amsterdam portrait. Image via Global Graphica. A portrait by artist Peat Wollaeger at Welling Court in Astoria, Queens, New York. Photo by Lois Stavsky, via Street Art New York. On rue Denoyez in Paris. Photo by Kate Noakes, Boomslang Poetry. A tribute to Mandela by graffiti artist Pakone in Brest, France. Photo by Mathieu le Gall, via Street Art Utopia. Madiba on a bus stop in Tamboerskloof in Cape Town, by street artist Tennille Pillemer. Unfurling a massive Mandela on the Civic Centre building in the Cape Town CBD. Artwork by Linsey Levendall; photo by Lisa Burnell. In Stellenbosch, Western Cape. Photo by Mathieu Labaki via Street Art in Cape Town.
Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces This post is an excerpt from Rana Sobhany‘s new book, Mobilize: Strategies for Success from the Frontlines of the App Revolution. Mobilize walks developers through the positioning, marketing and outreach needed to create successful apps. In her opening chapter, Sobhany follows the history of the app store phenomenon from its early days through the successes, failures, loopholes, and overhauls that have shaped the multi-million dollar industry.The App Store will continue to evolve, and participants in this new economy must continuously reevaluate and refine their relationship with the platform. Gone are the days of cheating one’s way through the App Store. In order to create a sustainable platform, we must document and memorialize the best practices that will serve as a guide and template for ensuring high quality on the store. While we can get crafty with our marketing campaigns and techniques, there must be a basal level of understanding for which acceptable practices will be moving forward. As with all good retail, there are certain rules fundamental to establishing a presence in the App Store. Here are some of those rules. Rule 1: Remember the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility “Diminishing marginal utility” is a law of economics stating that as a person increases consumption of a particular product, while keeping consumption of other products constant, there is a decline in the marginal utility that person derives from consuming each additional unit of that product. As a co-founder of Medialets, the largest in-application analytics and advertising platform, Rana Sobhany has been deeply involved in the successful design and implementation of comprehensive application marketing campaigns for products across the mobile industry, including iPhone, and was among the first to promote app marketing as a discrete practice. She has coached mobile application developers at every level: individual developers; independent development shops; creative and media buying agencies; and large, venture-backed application firms. Rana is a frequent speaker at mobile and technology conferences, helping educate developers about how best to develop and market their products for the iPhone and iPad ecosystems. Tags:#apps#mobile guest author 1 This concept boils down to a simple idea: something is only as valuable as what you are willing to pay for it. Thereby, apps are only worth as much as users are willing to pay for them at the time of purchase. A great example this concept executed poorly is the newspaper industry. The high-level concept of news is that information is very timely, valuable, and accurate. Yet most newspaper content costs less than a dollar to purchase in physical format, and it is absolutely free in digital format. This makes absolutely no sense from a pricing standpoint. If this content is valuable, then users will be willing to pay for it. As it relates to your app, if you as the decision maker train your customers via pricing strategy that your content is a valuable commodity, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Inversely, no one wants to participate in content that’s not viewed as valuable, even if it’s only for entertainment purposes. Marketing your applications well may merit a higher price point, thus increasing the perceived quality of your app and leveling the playing field between you and big-name, big-budget publishers. Every developer is an indie developer in the App Store. Everyone is going through the exact same thing. Electronic Arts values its games at $9.99. Why can’t you. Rule 2: Don’t Spam . . . Unless It’s Helpful Many observers say that Apple’s App Store download figures and application counts are inflated due to a large number of generally useless applications. This is troubling and devalues the benefits having a closed environment brings. However, moderation of applications via the App Store approval process has inevitably filtered out many of the “test” applications developers are building and attempting to distribute just to say they have an app on the store. Which brings us to spam. Anytime a developer attempts to game the system in order to advance in the App Store rankings, it is referred to as “spamming.” Spamming techniques have been around since the beginning of the App Store, beginning with the exploitation of naming conventions. And in an effort to drive revenues simply by sheer volume in the App Store, some developers have created thousands and thousands of lightweight shells of applications populated with basic or low-value content, and flooded the market in hopes of tricking a few thousand customers into buying them for $0.99. To put it lightly, this is not a recommended way to market applications. Apple has started to crack down on this type of behavior. On multiple occasions it has banned developers who abused the App Store platform in this way, eradicating thousands of “filler” applications. But there’s a lot we can learn from the spam techniques tested by others that caused users to respond positively.The beauty of a digital distribution system like the App Store is that developers can test pricing, colors, marketing copy, and all other types of branding to determine what users like. Be sure to include this type of A/B testing–comparing your core message with variants to see which works best–when you are launching your application, especially if you think there may be fragmentation in your user base and target audience. Knowing what your audience wants will help you learn how to best present your application to it in the most appealing way possible. Rule 3: Avoid Update Fatigue In previous iterations of the App Store, updating your application was grounds for reentering the “What’s New” list, but not anymore.This was a very popular spam technique, but then Apple spotted this trick and quickly changed its mechanisms around app updates. Software engineers tend to be compulsive updaters of their software, but don’t assume that consumers are like you. Many users don’t know what those red numbers sitting next to the App Store icon on their phone mean, let alone on their desktop version of iTunes. Update only when you need to update. Otherwise you may alienate your core customers. Rule 4: Don’t Necessarily Blame Apple When Things Go Wrong It seems that the first response developers have when they encounter challenges, no matter what they may be, is to blame Apple. Although Apple has certainly contributed to frustration in some regards, developers have made Apple the scapegoat. This doesn’t benefit developers who ultimately need Apple to provide the platform that has made them so successful. Developers are constantly getting entangled in the minutiae of their day-to-day experience with the inefficient vagaries of the App Store and neglecting to think about the big picture. Taking a step back, we need to think about the rest of the world and how it perceives the marketplace offering a selection of software to choose from. “Average consumers could care less if iPhone developers are unhappy,” says Brian Chen. Yet Apple has incentive to keep a basal level of peace among iPhone developers. The worst possible outcome for Apple would be a developer revolt leading to a mass exodus of famous developers providing killer apps to competing smartphone platforms while boycotting Apple’s [he warns]. I highly doubt this will happen, but Apple must be aware there’s something broken in its system that could lead to epic consequences if unaddressed. The first aspect of this rule is that it’s not Apple’s fault that developers hate the App Store. It seems like every day there’s another story about a developer who feels personally persecuted by the App Store’s policies. Apple’s Phil Schiller, senior vice president of Marketing, has on two occasions addressed this: once when he reached out to prominent Apple blogger John Gruber via email to discuss the decision Apple made in removing a dictionary application from the App Store that contained “objectionable content” in August 2009; and a second time when he went to the press directly to talk about the App Store’s approval process in a one-on-one interview with Business Week’s Arik Hesseldahl in November 2009. Chen theorizes: Phil Schiller’s outreach is hardly a direct solution for Apple’s communication problem, but it’s a positive sign that Apple is even making the slightest effort to publicly communicate its approval process. It suggests the company is aware that it needs to do something to maintain positive relations with developers, and knowing that Jobs isn’t the type to sit around and twiddle his thumbs, there must be a larger solution in the works.And some of the problems are simply the result of the App Store growing so big, so fast. Once again, keep in mind that Apple could never have predicted the level of popularity the store would achieve in such a short period of time. In order to launch the App Store as scheduled, Apple created a subsection of the existing iTunes Music Store and leveraged existing technology to support the App Store.This distribution system wasn’t custom built to accommodate applications, and even two years later many of the basic problems have not been addressed. For example, consumers “gift” applications to one another. Previously, there was an ad-hoc promo code system that was slapped together to enable developers to distribute their apps to the media and other relevant parties. Changes like this indicate signs that Apple is working on correcting the challenges for developers. There have, however, been numerous problems with redeeming promo codes for applications. And Beta testers will inevitably encounter problems with accessing popular apps if they’ve recently acquired a new phone or upgraded to a newer model. There is a one hundred-UDID (unique device identifier) limit to beta testing applications, and once you’ve hit that, that’s it. Early on in iTunes, there was a similar problem on the music side. When users reformatted their computers or bought a new one, the authorization of their new machine would count toward the five computers allowed to play back the purchased content. Apple resolved this – somewhat – by enabling users to purge authorizations once a year and manually reauthorize the machines they wanted to give access to. Apple has gotten smarter about the App Store, but the App Store still isn’t perfect. It will improve as Apple begins to get its head wrapped around the needs and desires of each constituency represented on the platform. Excerpted from MOBILIZE, by Rana June Sobhany. Copyright © 2011 by Rana June Sobhany. Published and reprinted with permission from Vanguard Press, a member of The Perseus Books Group. All rights reserved.App screenshots by dougbelshaw Related Posts Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …
Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Here are this week’s best players:(1) CJ Perez – F, Lyceum Pirates24 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 stealsLast Week: 1CJ Perez. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netIf you still don’t know who CJ Perez is at this point, where in the world have you been?ADVERTISEMENT The undoubted leader of Lyceum once again spread his wings, highlighting a dominating 100-63 thumping of JRU with a pair of thunderous slams on Friday.But he’s not just all style as Perez also showed he has substance to nab the throne for the third consecutive week and fifth overall, solidifying his case for the league’s Most Valuable Player award.But the last remaining test for the Pirates will be in this upcoming week as Lyceum and San Beda clash anew with an 18-0 sweep on the line.(2) Lervin Flores – C, Arellano Chiefs11.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 4.0 blocksLast Week: N/ALervin Flores. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netTalk about staying alive.Dead and gone a few weeks back, Arellano woke up from its slumber just in the nick of time to make a late case for the Final Four.It shouldn’t come as a surprise, too, that Lervin Flores’ stellar play coincided with the three-game winning stretch as he rekindled his magic and established himself once again as a force to be reckoned with down low.One more win separates the Chiefs from their goal of forcing a playoff, and Flores is once again expected to backstop his side in their all-important clash against Perpetual. Robert Bolick. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netHe’s not going anywhere just yet as Robert Bolick is staying in San Beda.Skipping this year’s draft, the veteran playmaker showed how valuable he is for the Red Lions as he helped his team to pull off the 73-68 win over Letran on Friday.It’s just the kind of performance the San Beda faithful have gotten themselves accustomed to, and something they will look forward to as the Red Lions engage in a collision course against league-leading Pirates on Thursday.(5) Levi dela Cruz – G, Arellano Chiefs10.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 stealsLast Week: N/ALevi dela Cruz. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netIt’s easy to see Arellano flop after Kent Salado suffered a slight MCL tear in his right knee.But the Chiefs are still fighting, and one of the reasons for that is Levi dela Cruz.The pint-sized playmaker has taken the baton and ran with it to keep Arellano in the thick of the playoff race.Even dela Cruz would admit that he’s no Salado, but he’s doing an admirable job holding the fort for the Chiefs in this late run as they are just a win away from forcing a playoff for the fourth and final semifinals seat. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC (6) Jayson David – F, San Sebastian Golden Stags13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 stealLast Week: N/AJayson David. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netCoach Egay Macaraya’s secret weapon once again came to play on Friday, unleashing 24 points in San Sebastian’s 97-70 win over Mapua on Friday.Jayson David has shown glimpses of his potential being a game-changing forward for the Golden Stags, but he has to figure things out quick, especially as his team is making a run to get into the final dance.He has one more shot to show that he’s more than just a one-game sensation when San Sebastian ends its elimination schedule against Perpetual on Thursday.(7) Tey Teodoro – G, JRU Heavy Bombers15.0 points (3/11 3PT), 2.5 rebounds, 1.5 assistsLast Week: N/ATey Teodoro. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netTey Teodoro remains to be one of the most deadly snipers in the collegiate level today, but just like what coach Vergel Meneses is asking from him, he has to be consistent. LATEST STORIES (3) Clement Leutcheu – C, College of St. Benilde Blazers24 points, 14 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 blockLast Week: N/AClement Leutcheu. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netNot much can be said of College of St. Benilde’s campaign this season, but that won’t stop rookie coach TY Tang from looking for silver linings.And one of the pleasant surprises for him was the improvement of Clement Leutcheu.Without much to fight for, the Senegalese center has been a rock for the Blazers as they seek to finish the season strong, aiding his side to nab the 94-84 win over EAC on Thursday.St. Benilde has already made strides with its four-win output this season, but Tang remains unsatisfied as he hopes his boys learn a lot of lesson from this run and take it in the Blazers’ rebuild for next year.(4) Robert Bolick – G, San Beda Red Lions13 points, 1 rebound, 6 assists, 1 stealLast Week: N/A MOST READ For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president One.That’s the number of Final Four spots that’s left to be disputed between the three teams still chasing a playoff berth in the penultimate week of NCAA Season 93.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAnd by the looks of it, whether or not Lyceum completes the 18-0 sweep, we would still go on a stepladder playoff as San Sebastian, Letran, Arellano are poised to finish the eliminations in a three-way tie for the fourth spot, barring any upset against their also-ran foes.That leaves much of the responsibility to the team’s leaders as their play late in the season would very much dictate whether their teams progress or not. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes PLAY LIST 01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games FEU pushes shorthanded UST to brink of elimination With the collegiate season in full swing, INQUIRER lists the week’s top seven performers in the ongoing NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball tournament. From their game statistics to their overall impact in the outcomes, everything is weighed to come up with the best players from the week that was.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Stellar in JRU’s 62-58 squeaker over Mapua on Tuesday, he was largely inefficient as league-leading Lyceum bamboozled his side to a 100-63 beatdown.The Heavy Bombers may have already secured their seat in the Final Four, but it doesn’t mean that they can now fall into the trap of complacency, especially with motivated teams raring to upset them on their way to the semifinals. Read Next BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients View comments
In This Issue. * A$ & kiwi back to rallying. * Eurozone IP prints weaker than expected. * Swedish CPI prints negative. * Watch out for year-end trading. And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! RBNZ Greases The Rate Hike Tracks! Good Day! And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you! Man is it cold outside! 7 degrees my phone told me it was outside this morning on my way to work. YIKES! It’s time to sing a song to make it all go away. Little Jack Frost get lost, get lost. Little Jack Frost get lost. You know you don’t do a thing but put a bit on my toes, freeze up the ground and take the bloom from the rose. Oh little Jack Frost go away, go away, and don’t you come back another day! There! I told him! Speaking of Frost. There certainly seems to be a chill that’s been cast over Aussie dollar (A$) in the past few months. Every time the A$ seems to get some wind in its sails, along comes a vacuum sucking up all the wind. And yesterday was another example of the vacuum sucking up all of the A$’s wind. Recall, I told you yesterday that the traders were scared of the Employment report that would print Wednesday night, and so they sold A$’s, since the recent trend was for the jobs data to disappoint. Well, the jobs report actually printed better than expected with 21,000 jobs gained in November, VS 10,000 expected. But the Unemployment Rate rose to 5.8%, which is the highest rate since 2009. And so, I guess the traders were correct in trading ahead of the report based on the recent results, but now they need to back track and reverse those losses they put on the A$ yesterday. It appears that the A$ is being bought again this morning, just not by the truck load at this point. But what is being bought by the truck load is the New Zealand dollar / kiwi. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) left no doubt at their meeting last night, of what they plan to do with interest rates next year and beyond. RBNZ Gov. Wheeler, said that, “the key rate will probably need to rise 225 basis points (2 ¼%) over the next 2 ¼ years. Talk about greasing the rate hike tracks! Recall when I told you that the markets were thinking that January might be the first rate hike for New Zealand? Well, I think it will be in the 1st QTR of 2014, but January might be rushing spring a bit. There’s something to be said about a country, and that country’s currency, when their Central Bank is giving an indication that they are going into a rate hike cycle, when every other Central Bank around the world is cutting rates, buying bonds, printing money, and debasing their respective currencies like there’s no tomorrow! I still think that New Zealand’s Current Account Deficit is too high, but as I’ve explained many times in the past, having a large interest rate differential goes a long way in covering up the warts that a country may have. It all depends on the country. For you can get blinded by the light of high interest rates in a country that has major problems. In Sweden this morning, their CPI (consumer inflation) missed its mark, printing a touch softer than expected. November CPI printed -.1% VS October, and was expected to be flat. This is not good news as the Riksbank (Sweden’s Central Bank) is going to be meeting next week, and you don’t want this to be the last thing they see before they decide what to do with rates! But it’s done, and there’s nothing that can be done about it now. The Riksbank was apparently on the fence with what to do with rates before the CPI print, so the krona is getting sold this morning on the thought that this CPI print will lead the Riksbank to a rate cut next week. The euro traded above 1.38 yesterday. I had mentioned to Tim Smith, our metals guru, that 1.3832 was the 2013 high for the euro, and if the euro continued to trade up and through that figure, we could see a large move to the upside. But the single unit couldn’t hold 1.38 yesterday, and then overnight, the euro lost a bit more ground (not much, but some) when a report from the 17-nation Eurozone showed that Industrial Production contracted in October. Yes, I know this is two month old data, and should be wrapped up with the left over fish from yesterday, but the markets think they know it all, and sold euros today, on two-month old data. I spent a good amount of time talking about the euro in the January edition of the Review & Focus that was put to bed yesterday, and in the letter, I talked about how I thought that the euro could continue to move higher in 2014, and gave my reasons. So, you’ll have to make certain you get your copy when it comes out! A teaser. that’s what that is called. But keep in mind, that the markets are of the mind that the European Central Bank (ECB) is going to deliver another dovish message to them in 2014, while I don’t think they will. I know I’m out on a limb all by myself here folks, so don’t worry I picked out a nice big fat limb that will support me! I always tell you how I learned very early in my trading career that “the markets are never wrong” but I’ve held to the idea that while they aren’t wrong because the masses always follow them, it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for my idea. And a wise man told me something yesterday that I had heard a version of many years ago, and find it to be very apropos here. If the majority were always right, then the majority would be rich. Yesterday, I mentioned my friend, Peter, who had sent me a great description of what the Fed was doing. Well, I didn’t know this, but I mentioned him in the Pfennig yesterday and yesterday was his birthday! Talk about Karma flowing. The Chinese decided that they had seen too much One-Way Street talk for their currency, and pushed it weaker overnight. The downward move wasn’t huge nor did it erase the appreciation moves in the currency earlier this week. Just a reminder if you will, that they will not allow the markets to dictate where the currency goes as long as they maintain the conn on the renminbi / yuan. Once they decide to float the currency, then that’s a different story, but for now, the Chinese still are the gatekeepers on the renminbi/ yuan. So, with the renminbi / yuan weaker this morning, the rest of Asia is weaker too. The Singapore dollar, Indian rupee, and Japanese yen are all weaker. Now, don’t go crazy here folks, these weaker moves are small, nothing to get all lathered up about, so settle down. That’s it, nice and calm, take a sip of your coffee, dip that chocolate chip cookie in your coffee, now. Doesn’t that feel better? The British pound sterling continues to be well bid, which is somewhat surprising to me, in that they’ve got more problems that you can shake a stick at in England right now, and that should not be anything that is used as fuel to a currency rally. But it is what it is, and the pound sterling is 1.64 this morning. The last time the pound sterling was 1.64 it was going the other way (down) in April of 2011. The graph of the pound is crazy folks. I went back to 2010, and the ups and downs look like a jagged piece of broken glass, and is probably just as sharp and painful to whomever touches it, just like the holders of sterling experienced these past 4 years. But the rise from 1.48 in July of this year to 1.64 now, has been impressive I must say. But remember the jagged edged piece of broken glass. Gold is down another $8 this morning. Earlier this week, it looked like we were putting the weak levels for Gold behind us and moving forward, but apparently not! I review the trading logs each day for the metals, and I’ve noticed that quite a few of our clients that held Gold are selling. That makes no sense to me, but then I don’t buy Gold for just price gains. It’s a store of wealth, and always has been, but here in the U.S. most investors treat Gold as a commodity that goes up and down in price only, and therefore the wild swings in the price. The rest of the world views Gold as a store of wealth, and an insurance policy. You know, you buy health insurance and hope you never need to use it, the same with flood insurance, and so on, the one you hope you really never need to use is life insurance, but you own these pay on them, and hold them, just in case. Gold should be viewed the same way. But then that’s just me. I’m just saying. The U.S. Data Cupboard finally gets to some data today, with the November Retail Sales data, which are expected to be supported by auto sales, and the Christmas shopping season. For instance, the headline number is expected to increase .6%, but take out auto sales and it only increases .2%… We’ll also see if the Weekly Initial Jobless Claims can show two consecutive weeks under 300,000. I doubt it can, but then who knows when it comes to surveys. Which leads me to what I talked about earlier this week, regarding the employment surveys being embellished. I’m really surprised that the major media outlets didn’t jump all over this news, but then they do have a problem with real investigative journalism. I did hear that one of the cookie cutter cable news outlets reported it, but just kind of did so, and then swept it under a rug. This is when I wish I were king, and I could dictate what got put on the news! I guess somebody else has that job right now. HA! Before I head to the Big Finish today. Well, before I get out of here, and begin my annual Christmas Vacation, I wanted to bring something to everyone’s attention as we head into the year-end. (I’ll be back before year-end) As we draw closer to the end of the year, traders are going to be squaring up their books to close the year. That means a lot of short positions get closed out, which in past years, saw the currencies benefit from those shorts being closed, and cause an end of the year rally in the currencies. These rallies don’t usually shake themselves out until about the 3rd week of the New Year, as it takes that long for everyone to come back to work, and figure out what they want to do in the new year. So. don’t chase markets higher. buy on weakness, sell on strength. remember that, and you’ll never be caught trying to catch falling knives. This has been a public service announcement, had it been a real event you would have been instructed to head to the doors! For What It’s Worth. Yesterday I talked about the new Budget Accord, and discussed my problems with it. Apparently I wasn’t the only one that had a problem with it. David Stockman who doesn’t pull punches on this stuff was on CNBC talking with Rick Santelli about the Budget Accord. I pulled this from zerohedge.com, so let’s listen in. “Former OMB director David Stockman rages to none other than Rick Santelli that the budget deal is a “betrayal and a joke” and “the final surrender of the House Republican leadership to beltway politics.” The dismal reality – that little to no one in the mainstream media will dare utter – the budget adds $70 billion to spending this year and next year, and “then they’re going to pretend to save it in ’22 and ’23.” Stockman blasts, “they’ve not only kicked the can down the road, but kicked it into low-earth orbit.” The only hope of getting our fiscal house in order was if House Republicans stand up, and Stockman warns “will trigger an enormous negative reaction from Tea-Party Republicans.” The truth hurts… Santelli “we’re not talking about kicking the timeline can till the mid-terms, ” – “this is a two-year vacation on the fiscal budget.” “Just from the momentum built-in, our debt load will be $25 trillion by the end of the next Presidential cycle.” Chuck again. Yes, smoke and mirrors, seems to have been used in the announcement of this Budget Accord. But one thing we must keep our eye on, and that is the expiration of the unemployment benefits for those unemployed for more than 6 months, that could come at the end of this year. By cutting it out and allowing it to expire we could say $25 Billion. Not a lot when you consider the size of our debt, but you have to start somewhere! The thing that will really throw a spanner in the works if the benefit is allowed to expire, is that about 1.4 million workers will then be dropped from the “looking for work” category, which according to the mental giants that put this together, means the U.S. doesn’t count you as unemployed any longer, and the Unemployment Rate would drop like a rock! Which would be misleading because on the outside it would appear that our labor picture is fine, but under the hood would be all these American workers out of jobs, and no longer counted as “unemployed”. Go figure. To recap. The RBNZ left no one to confusion as they told us that rates will move higher by 225 Basis points in the next 2 years. You’ve got to love a Central Bank that is doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing! Eurozone Industrial Production was weaker than expected, and brought the euro back down from 1.38. Swedish CPI was negative and that’s not a good thing ahead of the Riksbank meeting next week! And today is Retail Sales here in the U.S. take out the auto sales and there’s not much there to be happy about. Currencies today 12/12/13. American Style: A$ .9050, kiwi .8310, C$ .9460, euro 1.3780, sterling 1.6405, Swiss $1.1290, . European Style: rand 10.3670, krone 6.1640, SEK 6.5765, forint 219.95, zloty 3.0360, koruna 19.9160, RUB 32.73, yen 102.75, sing 1.2535, HKD 7.7535, INR 61.82, China 6.11150, pesos 13.05, BRL 2.3350, Dollar Index 79.90, Oil $97.46, 10-year 2.85%, Silver $19.73, Platinum $1,375.25, Palladium $728.95, and Gold.. $1,235.94 That’s it for today. And this week for me, as I begin my annual Christmas vacation tomorrow. I will start my vacation off with my annual “shopping day” wink, wink. Our house guests are moving into their new house on Friday! Little Delaney Grace sat at the kitchen table with me last night and we sang Christmas songs, she’s so adorable! She told her mom that she was going to stay with me until Mimi got back next week, so I wouldn’t be alone. So adorable! I used to sing out loud, Christmas songs at house but then the chemo plays games with my voice now, so it’s rare I find myself in strong enough voice to sing out loud. So. I hope that you have a Magical Christmas. It’s such a fun time of year for me, and now that we have “little ones” around the house again it’s even more fun! I worry about their future all the time, but at Christmas, I put that away and enjoy watching them have fun! So. there you go! In my December Review & Focus I left the readers with a line that I’ve used for several years now, and will use it here too. May the light of faith, the warm of heart, and the love of family be your gifts this Christmas. Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837
We recently ran into Explorers’ League honoree Robert Quartermain in Vancouver, so we sat down with him for an update on the world-class Brucejack gold mine, currently under construction in northern British Columbia. Louis James: Bob, why don’t you take us back to the beginning of Pretium’s Valley of the Kings discovery on the Brucejack property and bring us up to date on how the project is going today. Robert Quartermain: Sure. The story goes back to 1993, when Rick Rule financed Silver Standard. We did a $2 million financing, issuing 3 million shares at C$0.78. Our mandate was to go look for silver. In about 1999, Rick suggested that we look at Newhawk. “They’ve got 26 million ounces of silver there, oh, and there’s a little bit of gold in the west zone. Maybe you should think about buying it.” So Silver Standard merged with Newhawk. It was a $5 million transaction. They had $2 million in cash and what was then the Brucejack and Snowfield Projects. In 2006, when the price of gold started to go up, we looked at the old data. There was a drill hole up at Snowfield. It was about 500 feet of about 3 grams of gold. I thought – that’s interesting. So I took our head geologist and we flew up in a helicopter. We saw all the incredible alteration. L: I’ve made that flight and posted pictures for our readers. It is indeed incredible. You can see that something big happened to the rock there. I should also note for those new to the story that Snowfield and Brucejack are adjacent. Bob: Yes. There are kilometers and kilometers of this red laminated alteration. That told me there’d been a lot of fluids moving through the earth there. So we landed at Snowfield and we started to walk. Because Snowfield is part of a large copper-gold system, it has a little bit of molybdenum at the top. I noticed the moly and it reminded me very much of the rocks at the Hemlo Camp. I’d worked at the David Bell mine there. Drilled it all back in 1982 and ’83. The rocks at Snowfield and Brucejack are much younger – only 200 million years old versus the 2 billion at Hemlo – but the association looked good. So we started drilling that in 2006. We put a lot of holes in through ’07 and ’08 and we outlined a large bulk tonnage resource. It was approximately 2 billion tonnes at a half-gram of gold for 34 million ounces. On our way up to Snowfield, we had, of course, flown over the old West Zone. There, you see this nice quartz-veined surface. The rest of the property has kilometers and kilometers of alteration. And I said, “Why don’t we go drill that off?” So we started drilling it at 200-meter centers because it’s a large area. Well, hole number 12 in that program hit a high-grade interval of 16 kilograms of gold, within the low grade. L: That’s not just high-grade – it’s almost off-the-charts bonanza-grade. Bob: Yes, but at the time, we thought it was a geological curiosity. Then, in 2010, we went back to do more drilling on it and found a few more higher-grade hits. I was thinking that with that kind of high-grade material, Mother Nature doesn’t often put it there by itself. I thought we should keep the Brucejack Project in Silver Standard and maybe change our name from Silver Standard into a gold or precious metals company. The board of directors and I had a difference of opinion. As you know, I retired. In August of that summer, the board decided to go and sell the Brucejack and Snowfield projects. They wanted about $500 million. They couldn’t find any buyers because most people thought it was too low grade. By that time, they had outlined about 10 million ounces at Brucejack but, again, at a gram. L: A gram is fine for a heap-leachable gold deposit with good recoveries, infrastructure, and so on. But Snowfield and Brucejack are pretty far off the beaten track in northern British Columbia. You need high margins to make a project work there. Bob: That’s why they couldn’t find any buyers. So I went and asked the geologist working at Silver Standard what the multi-kilo material looked like. He said, “Very high-grade seams of gold.” I looked at this piece of drill core, from hole number 84, that ran about 5 kilograms of gold. I said, “Well that’s not like a nugget of gold. That’s a seam of gold. If there are 5 kilograms sitting in this rock, the rest of it is still sitting underground somewhere. That’s probably a mine.” So I decided to put together a group and make an offer. L: Based on six scattered ultra-high-grade hits, you raised over $400 million to buy Brucejack and Snowfield. Bob: Yes, it was only half a dozen drill holes, but each of the holes had these seams of high-grade gold. It struck me: We have all of this low-grade material and a few of these high-grade hits – they may not line up so that you can mine them alone, but they’re going to carry the rock well enough that we could build a mine that would take it all together at what would be a very high-average grade. I knew this could be done because I worked at the Lamaque Gold Mine for Teck in Val-d’Or as an underground mine geologist. It’s a 6-gram, high-grade, nuggety mine. There are seams of gold that made it work. That was the turning point for me. I knew there was an opportunity to find a high-grade project. I put $7 million of my own hard-earned money into it. This was most of my net worth at the time. I liked the commodity, but more importantly, if I was right about the high-grade thesis, I’d create lots of money, not only for myself, but also for shareholders. L: I love stories about unlocking value simply by looking at things differently. That’s what you did when you saw a potential high-grade mine where others saw low-grade dirt. And you were right. You now have not only a super-high-grade deposit, but a monster-size deposit – the rarest of combinations. You’ve raised the money and are now building the Brucejack gold mine. Talk to us a little bit about that. How close are we? Bob: I should point out that the discovery was basically in 2011 – five years ago. Due to our consistent high-grade hits, we now have 9 million ounces of gold in our resource model at an average grade of 17 grams per tonne. That’s 17 times higher than the average grade of the gold mines currently in the world. That’s what makes this mine unique, and why, as you pointed out, we were able to finance it. Last year, we raised almost $550 million between a debt financing facility and a stream we put in place. We raised another $140 million earlier this year and are now fully funded. We started construction on the project last September. We have about an 18-month construction window. There are almost 900 people currently working at the site today. We’re getting the transmission line in place. We’re enclosing the mill building. We’ve nearly completed our permanent camp and are continuing the underground development. We hope that a year from now, we’ll be able to show our shareholders that were producing gold. We plan to start commissioning the mill in the second half of next year. Now, because of its high-grade nature, the all-in sustaining cost projected in our 2014 feasibility study is less than $500 an ounce. We expect to produce about 500,000 ounces of gold per year in the first years, 400,000 on average over the life of the mine. We plan to generate – at a current gold price of $1,300 to $1,400 per ounce – some $300 to $400 million of free cash flow every year. When you consider our fairly low share count, 178 million shares outstanding, that’s a couple dollars per share of free cash flow. That means we should be able to pay back the capital costs for the mine quickly. More important is that down the road, our shareholders should be able to join us in the wealth that’s going to be produced from this high-grade opportunity. L: Dividend potential. Excellent. Happy to hear that. But, Bob, you’re an explorer. You haven’t stopped looking for more zones like Brucejack’s Valley of the Kings discovery, right? Bob: That is correct. In 2015, we drilled an area to the east called Flow Dome. It’s a recognizable, high-topographical area on the project. We had always kind of wondered what may exist below there. The current Valley of the Kings resource trends in an east-to-west direction, towards Flow Dome. So we stepped out about a kilometer and put a couple of holes in – Holes 657 and 666, if people want to look them up on our website. Both of those holes hit high-grade mineralization. Important for me was hole 666. We drilled that to 1.2 kilometers in depth where we hit half a meter of 8.6 kilograms of gold per tonne. That’s something like 240 ounces of gold per ton. L: That’s $300,000 rock. Bob: Yes. At the beginning of this interview, we talked about those first half a dozen high-grade holes. Now, we’re building a mine there and we’ve stepped out and drilled another half a dozen holes. Every one of them has hit high-grade gold, including multi-kilo intervals. This tells me that we could substantially increase the 9 million ounces we’ve outlined now if there’s a similar zone at Flow Dome. That could result in a very long-life mine. It means taking that cash we talked about generating and using it to grow organically. L: And the current Valley of the Kings zone is still open at depth, right? Bob: The Valley of the Kings is open to depth, open along strike, open in all directions. But we’ve also shown that there’s similar high-grade material almost a kilometer away on strike and 1.2 kilometers down plunge to the Valley of the Kings. So how deep does it go? We don’t know. L: And just to be clear here, there are no blanks between? Flow Dome could actually connect to the Valley of the Kings? Bob: There are no blanks. L: It’s hard to believe that high-grade veins like this, which are usually narrow and discontinuous, could extend that far. Even if they’re there, you expect to hit blanks because they “pinch and swell.” So I tell myself not to expect these dots to connect … but it’s actually possible that they do? Bob: Every drill hole there hit gold. Whether the zones connect or not, this shows how huge this system is. It goes back to when the discovery process began, when we walked over Snowfield and Brucejack. The area hosts a large porphyry copper-gold system. The gold mineralization is so widespread on both properties, it goes on and on… It’s a huge system. Everywhere we drill, we get low-grade gold. L: Not to mention Seabridge Gold’s KSM gold mega-project next door. Bob: If we include the neighbors next door, we’re looking at 5 to 6 billion tons grading a gram of gold. We’re talking 120 to 150 million ounces of gold. With all those mineralizing solutions moving through that gold when it was deposited 180 million years ago, it’s no surprise that some of it got concentrated. We’re fortunate to have found that in the Valley of the Kings. L: Once you get into production – and let’s assume that everything goes as planned – you’ll be gushing cash. If a larger company doesn’t buy Pretium, what then? Anything that would be high-grade in another camp would likely be dilutive to your story. Bob: You’re astute in hitting that if we do any mergers or do anything else outside of Brucejack, it will probably dilute the quality of this asset. But what’s wrong with continuing to explore nearby? Eskay Creek − one of Canada’s highest-grade gold mines – is 15 kilometers north of us. We have the same kind of rocks. We’re actually drilling now, looking for more Eskay Creek-style mineralization. But as we pointed out, we have lots of potential at depth where we’re already mining. To have a long-term annuity coming from a gold project, is that a bad thing? Rather than go and dilute it with lower-grade assets, why not continue to do as we have? Our plan is to continue to mine this project. Generate free cash flow. Do on-site exploration, cover our sustaining capital, and dividend the rest back to shareholders. L: Sounds good to us. We’re exploration fans. We want to see you doing what you’re so famous for doing, and more power to you. Bob: It’s a fact that we have 110 square kilometers that we can explore on our project. There are lots of untouched areas of this anomalous red, rusty rock still waiting to be explored. It’s like any major mining camp in North America, whether it’s the Carlin Trend or Timmins. These have 150 to 200 million ounces of gold. We have the same all within 6 to 8 kilometers. It’s a very tight area. L: That’s an amazing point. You have the equivalent of the entire Abitibi between you and your neighbors. Bob: Correct. What lies under the mountains that we see up from the Valley of the Kings and the Brucejack area? That’s what we want to focus on. Take the money from this and continue to deliver value for shareholders as we have but high-grade value for shareholders. L: Excellent. Well, thank you very much for the update. We look forward to seeing you pour gold next year. Bob:You’re very welcome – and we do, too. And we expect all our shareholders to have cause for celebration then and going forward.