TOTTENHAM (4-2-3-1)LLORIS, WALKER, ALDERWEIRELD,VERTONGHEN, DAVIES,DIER, DEMBELE,SON, ERIKSEN, CHADLI,KANEDEENEY, IGHALO,JURADO, WATSON, CAPOUE, ABDI,AKE, BRITOS,CATHCART, NYOM,GOMESWATFORD (4-4-2)Tottenham Hotspur are riding high after winning 3-0 at Norwich City on Tuesday. It was Spurs’ fifth win in a row in all competitions and third in the Barclays Premier League and it rook them to third place, leap-frogging near neighbours Arsenal.The win at Carrow Road meant that they have now gone 11 away games without defeat for the first time since they went 16 without lost away in 1985.And Spurs have an impressive scoring rate with 44 goals; only Manchester City, with 46, have more. And 22 of those have come at home, where they have won six and drawn four of their 12 games.Watford have won four and drawn three of their 13 away games but when these teams met at Vicarage Road in last December Spurs won 2-1 with goals from Erik Lamela and Heung-Min Son, a result helped by the fact that Watford were reduced to 10 men with the score at 1-1 after Nathan Ake was dismissed.In all competitions, Spurs are unbeaten in eight games home and away against Watford, while the Hornets have lost both Premier League visits, conceding seven goals in the process (3-1 and 4-0).And Watford have lost on their last five league visits to White Hart Lane, conceding 15 goals. Their last league win there was nearly 31 years ago, in May 1985, when they thrashed Spurs 5-1.At Norwich, Spurs forward Dele Alli’s goal was the fourth quickest in the Premier League this season (1 min 36 secs) and Tottenham’s quickest in the Premier League since Boxing Day 2014 (Harry Kane vs Leicester, 57 seconds).Kane added two goals at Norwich but Alli undergoes a test after being withdrawn at half time with illness.
Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Mainland China, with a population of 1.4 billion, dominates the Asian Games along with Japan and South Korea. But Taiwan, with only 23.5 million, is also a player. Its delegation of 558 ranks among the largest, and through five days it was ranked No. 8 in the medal table with 22 medals — five gold.China led with 116 overall, followed by Japan (86), South Korea (63) and Iran (27).Mainland China in recent months has also forced many major airlines to show on their websites that they fly to Taipei — not Taiwan — or face possible sanctions.“I’m sure that many people (in Taiwan) feel dismayed,” Shen said. “But quite a lot understand that it is the reality in the international sporting realm. If we use our own name, we will lose the chance for our athletes. They will lose the playground, or the showcase they have. The right of our athletes to compete is our utmost concern. And I think most Taiwanese understand that.”Taiwan won 10 gold medals in the 2014 Asian Games, and is on track to match that. It claimed one gold medal in the last three Olympics, and a high of two in Athens in 2004.ADVERTISEMENT “Our aim is to win more than one gold in Tokyo,” Shen said.The 1972 Olympics in Munich was the last in which Taiwan competed under the name of the Republic of China. It boycotted the next several games and did not return until 1984, agreeing to use the name Chinese Taipei, an illustration of China’s rising diplomatic clout.Taiwan did not compete in the Asian Games in 1962 when they were last held in Indonesia. Indonesia declined to issue visas, under pressure from China.Taiwan has won medals this week in almost a dozen sports at the Asian Games — badminton, kabaddi, canoe/kayak, bowling, mountain bikes, shooting, rowing, tennis, taekwondo, wushu, and weightlifting. At the Olympics its best chances may come in archery, weightlifting, badminton, taekwondo and shooting.Taiwan is capable of holding large events like the Asian Games, though China would surely oppose it. Last year it held the Summer University Games with about 7,500 athletes. China declined to participate in the opening ceremony, but competed in the events.Athletes from several countries waved Taiwan’s red, blue and white flag at the closing ceremony, and athletes from Argentina were reportedly reprimanded for it by Summer University Games officials.“We are very much interested in hosting games like this,” Shen said. “I think we are more than capable.”She said Taiwan was awarded the 2019 East Asian Youth Games, then later stripped of the honor by the East Asian Olympic Committee.Reports say China demanded the change, increasingly angered by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and her independence-leaning party. China views the island as its possession.“Political reasons, whatever,” Shen said. “Our athletes just want a space undisturbed by political issues. They just want to concentrate on their sports.” Gold medalist Taiwan’s Hsingchun Kuo makes her last attempt to beat her own record during the women’s 58kg weightlifting at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018. Kuo placed gold. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)JAKARTA, Indonesia — Imagine if the United States could not compete under its real name at the Olympics. Or Japan, or Spain or India.That’s the reality for Taiwan, which is also formally known as the Republic of China.ADVERTISEMENT Gov’t in no rush to rescue animals in Taal LATEST STORIES But at the on-going Asian Games in Indonesia — as well as the Olympics — the island is listed officially as Chinese Taipei, and marches under a white flag adorned with the Olympic rings.Its own red, blue and white flag is banned.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’“This gives us a chance to compete and make our strength known internationally, so we accept the pity that we have to compete under the name of Chinese Taipei,” Jacqueline Yi-ting Shen, the secretary general of Taiwan’s Olympic committee, told The Associated Press.This is due primarily to pressure from the People’s Republic of China, which regards self-governing Taiwan as a break-away province — a remnant of the Chinese civil war. 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ICJ Border CaseVenezuela has called for the Guyana Government to resume talks about the border controversy even though the Good Offices Process has expired, and former Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Henry Jeffrey is of the opinion that talks between the two countries should continue on a diplomatic level.Former Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Henry JeffreyDescribing Venezuela’s proposal as bold, Dr. Jeffrey says that while he does not agree with the proposal, it would nevertheless be in the best interest of both countries to continue talks on a tactful level. This, he said, does not necessarily have to be purely on the basis of addressing the controversy.“Guyana can’t stop talking to Venezuela, but what is it that they are talking about?” he asked rhetorically. “The Guyanese and Venezuelans will live together for the longest while, regardless (of) where the border is. Guyana has a position on the border, so there will always be discourse,” he opined.Dr. Jeffrey said he views Venezuela’s request, or proposal, as one that does not have any bearing, and one that shows “advantage to mess around and exercise unjust power.” But what Guyana is looking for, he said, is to bring a peaceful resolution to the century-old border controversy.Revisiting his suggestion that talks between Guyana and Venezuela continue, the former minister said talks should never cease, because Venezuela has already made its position clear that it will not accept the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the border controversy. Within that context, he said, Guyana must still find a way to continue to exist within the same space that borders the two countries.Apart from that, he said, both Guyana and Venezuela have embassies operating in each other’s country.Former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with President David Granger and Venezuelan President Nicolás MaduroDr. Jeffrey maintained that the credibility of the Nicolás Maduro Government of Venezuela will be tested now that a decision has been made to send the case to the ICJ. He believes the present Venezuela Government is too weak to carry the border controversy resolution decision to its people.At present, Venezuela is facing several international sanctions over rights and corruption allegations. Support for the Maduro Administration has declined sharply, and Venezuela’s economy has plunged deeper into a crisis that is marked by widespread shortages and a rise in inflation.Some two months after the United Nations Secretary General had handed over the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy case to the ICJ for final settlement, formal proceedings were filed on June 30, asking the World Court to confirm the legal validity and binding effect of the 1899 Arbitral Award. Guyana’s application was submitted to the ICJ by Second Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge.This application follows a decision by UN Secretary General António Guterres earlier this year to choose the ICJ as the next means of resolving the controversy, which arose as a result of Venezuela’s contention that the Arbitral Award of 1899 in regard to the frontier between British Guiana and Venezuela was null and void.According to Guyana’s application to the World Court, Venezuela had, for more than 60 years, consistently recognised and respected the validity of the binding force of the 1899 Award and the 1905 Map agreed by both sides in furtherance of the Award.Guyana maintains that the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award that settled the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela was full and final, but Venezuela has, for several decades, registered its diplomatic and military objection to Guyana’s development of its natural resources onshore and offshore.Venezuela, with almost 40 times the population of Guyana and a territory that is several times bigger, has purported to claim, in 1968, the entire territorial sea of Guyana by means of the Leoni Decree, which has never been withdrawn.Relations between Guyana and Venezuela have worsened ever since oil giant ExxonMobil announced in 2015 that it had found oil offshore Guyana. Venezuela has staunchly been against oil exploration in Guyana’s Stabroek Block, where multiple oil deposits have been found by ExxonMobil.In fact, Venezuela’s National Assembly had approved an agreement to reject the oil exploration activities in March 2017.
Opposition Member of Parliament and point person on the economy, Irfaan Ali, has lashed out at Finance Minister Winston Jordan for blaming the private sector for contributing to the slowdown of the economy.During a diaspora meeting in Washington DC on Friday, Minister Jordan slammed the local private sector for being “stuck in their ways”, and not adapting to the changing business environment.In a statement made to the Guyana Times on Monday, Ali joined several private sector bodies in criticising Minister Jordan’s comments. “Our private sector is perhaps the most resilient in the region. It is the function of the Government to stimulate growth and inject confidence in the economy,” he stated.Ali explained that risk is a function of confidence and signals. “Stability, policy predictability, trust, incentives and clarity in direction are essential factors in providing that confidence for the private sector. If you continue to attack the private sector and alienate (its members), how will you be able to set these conditions?” he reasoned.Ali believes that, by its statements and actions, Government is singling out the private sector as an enemy of the State. He contends that Government needs to build and strengthen the private sector, give its members incentives, and remove barriers to growth and development.“Creating an enabling environment requires incentives to match the direction you want the private sector to go in,” he stated. “Instead, the Government has been actively removing incentives,” he charged.The parliamentarian reminded that forestry, mining, commerce, the services sector, construction, and agriculture have all suffered from removal of incentives granted under the PPP/C Government.“Worst is the application of new measures — taxes inhibitive to sustaining these sectors, much less advancing growth and development. The private sector has contributed significantly to our development, and we must recognize that contribution,” Ali emphasised. Unreasonable complaints Heads of two major private sector umbrella bodies, Eddie Boyer of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) and Deodat Indar of the Georgetown Chambers of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), told this publication on Sunday that Minister Jordan’s complaints are unreasonable.They both contend that Government needs to review its tax policy, and offer incentives that create an attractive environment for investment.Economist Sasenarine Singh has also contended that businesses will not pump money into an economy if the investment climate is not favourable. He explained that it all comes back to the ‘risks and rewards’ balance, and if the risks outweighs the rewards, then businessmen will not be encouraged to invest.“No businessman is going to invest if he is not going to make returns. Who is going to make investments in Guyana when the risks are so high and the returns are so low?” he questioned, highlighting that there are other countries with greater risks involved, but businesses opt to make investments there because of the attractive rates of return.Minister Jordan has explained to this publication that he wants a new breed of private sector players; ones willing and prepared to think outside of the proverbial box, and be creative and innovative in using cutting edge technology to improve productivity, thereby increasing competitiveness.“My new ‘breed’ of private sector players would be seizing the many opportunities that are available for expansion, especially with oil on the horizon. They will try to form partnerships and alliances with the private sector in the Caribbean and further afield to overcome some of the barriers they face, such as financing and human resources,” Minister Jordan has stated.
Roy Evans claims securing Champions League qualification again would represent a good season for Liverpool.Having come so close to the Premier League title last term, optimism is high at Anfield ahead of the new campaign.But it has been a summer of change at the Merseyside club, with star man Luis Suarez sold to Barcelona and six players coming in, and Evans believes Brendan Rodgers will do well to lead the Reds to a top four finish.“You never quite know what you are getting until you get those new people in. He has bought some exciting players, but it is sometimes difficult to make sure they can play together,” said the former Liverpool boss, speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.“The expectation will go massively back on to Brendan. People are talking about winning the Premier League, but I think if he gets them back into the Champions League again, having bought six or seven players, he has done a great job.”
1 Former Man City defender Micah Richards Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger turned down the chance to sign Micah Richards during the summer transfer window, talkSPORT understands.Wenger was on the search for defensive steel after selling centre-back and Gunners captain Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona for £15million in August.The Frenchman was alerted to Richards’ availability, with the 26-year-old finding first-team opportunities limited at the Etihad Stadium under manager Manuel Pellegrini.But Wenger instead opted to sign Southampton teenager Calum Chambers in a £16million deal, with Richards eventually joining Italian side Fiorentina on loan for the season on deadline day.Richards previously revealed to talkSPORT that he was offered more money to stay with Premier League champions City, but decided to revive his career in Florence with the prospect of playing regular Europa League and Serie A football.
Romelu Lukaku got one back, but Pascal Gross’s penalty capitalised on more poor United defending to send Brighton into the interval with a 3-1 lead.United rarely looked like mounting a fightback and Paul Pogba’s penalty with virtually the last kick of the game came way too late.A shell-shocked Mourinho conceded United’s players had only themselves to blame for their first defeat of the Premier League season.“We were punished by the mistakes we made. For me that’s the story of the game. We made incredible mistakes in some crucial moments. Mistakes that killed us,” Mourinho said.“Especially that third goal – we expected to come at 2-1 with positivity – then the third goal killed us off in the second half. Our second goal came too late.“The week leading up was good and I expected the team collectively to be better. There are basic mistakes that makes almost an impossible mission to win the match.”Many of Mourinho’s stars, including World Cup winner Pogba, new signing Fred and French forward Anthony Martial, were anonymous for long periods, but the boss refused to criticise individuals.“I don’t want to go in that direction. I have to learn from my reality,” Mourinho said.“Last season when I was critical of my team and was debating openly of the performances I was criticised for being too open about my players.“I will be open when they are doing well. I cannot criticise the desire of my players.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho shows his frustration in the defeat at Brighton © AFP / Glyn KIRKBRIGHTON, United Kingdom, Aug 19 – Jose Mourinho admitted Manchester United had paid the price for “incredible mistakes” in their dismal 3-2 defeat at Brighton on Sunday.Mourinho’s side were blown away on the south-coast as Brighton scored twice in two minutes thanks to goals from Glenn Murray and Shane Duffy midway through the first half.
“Shots were fired to disable the vehicle,” the military said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press. “Coalition forces later received reports from Iraqi police that two women had died from gunshot wounds … and one of the females may have been pregnant.” Jassim’s brother, who was wounded by broken glass, said he did not see any warnings as he sped his sister to the hospital. Her husband was waiting for her there. “I was driving my car at full speed because I did not see any sign or warning from the Americans. It was not until they shot the two bullets that killed my sister and cousin that I stopped,” he said. “God take revenge on the Americans and those who brought them here. They have no regard for our lives.” He said doctors tried but failed to save the baby after his sister was brought to the hospital. The U.S. military said the incident in Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, was being investigated. The city is in the heart of the so-called Sunni Triangle and has in the past seen heavy insurgent activity. “The loss of life is regrettable and coalition forces go to great lengths to prevent them,” the military said. BAGHDAD, Iraq – U.S. forces killed two Iraqi women – one of them about to give birth – when the troops shot at a car that failed to stop at an observation post in a city north of Baghdad, Iraqi officials and relatives said Wednesday. Nabiha Nisaif Jassim, 35, was being raced to the maternity hospital in Samarra by her brother when the shooting occurred Tuesday. Jassim, the mother of two children, and her 57-year-old cousin, Saliha Mohammed Hassan, were killed by the U.S. forces, according to police Capt. Laith Mohammed and witnesses. The U.S. military said coalition troops fired at a car after it entered a clearly marked prohibited area near an observation post but failed to stop despite repeated visual and auditory warnings. The women’s bodies were wrapped in sheets and lying on stretchers outside the Samarra General Hospital before being taken to the morgue, while residents pointed to bullet holes on the windshield of a car and a pool of blood on the seat. Khalid Nisaif Jassim, the pregnant woman’s brother, said American forces had blocked off the side road only two weeks ago and news about the observation post had been slow to filter out to rural areas.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
(Left to right) Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel, President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and NPC Deputy Chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa, with children.(Image: National Planning Commission) Trevor Manuel first presented the National Development Plan to Parliament in August 2012.(Image: British High Commission)MEDIA CONTACTS • Dumisa JeleChief of staffNational Planning Commission+27 12 300 5277 +27 82 908 4798RELATED ARTICLES• National development plan unveiled• Zuma: shared prosperity for all• No stopping Africa’s growth: Zuma• State of the Nation 2013Yvonne FontynThe National Development Plan (NDP), has taken the raw material that is South Africa as it emerges from decades of colonialism, apartheid and inequality, and mapped a way forward. By 2030, it says, we can have a country that we can all proudly call home. It is quite an arduous road to travel, however, and every resident is urged to participate.Origins of the planThe government concedes that though there has been significant progress made over the past 18 years, there is a need for a much faster pace, more action and better implementation of national goals.According to the National Planning Commission in the Presidency, the NDP was initiated to significantly reduce inequality in South Africa by 2030 “through uniting South Africans, unleashing the energies of its citizens, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities and enhancing the capability of the state and leaders to work together to solve complex problems”.The NDP was formulated after extensive research and input from tens of thousands of South Africans.National Planning CommissionPresident Jacob Zuma appointed the commission in May 2010 to draft the NDP. An advisory body consisting of 26 people, the commission was drawn largely from outside the government, with members being selected for their expertise in key areas. It is chaired by Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel, while the ANC’s deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, is the deputy chairman.The commission’s Diagnostic Report, released in June 2011, set out South Africa’s achievements and shortcomings since 1994. It identified a failure to implement policies and an absence of broad partnerships as the main reasons for slow progress. And it set out nine primary challenges:Too few people work.The quality of school education for black people is poor.Infrastructure is poorly located, inadequate and under-maintained.Spatial divides hobble inclusive development.The economy is unsustainably resource intensive.The public health system cannot meet demand or sustain quality.Public services are uneven and often of poor quality.Corruption levels are high.South Africa remains a divided society.DemographicsThe commission had to take into account the demographics of South Africa, including:The birth rate, which is at 1% now and is dropping, and is predicted to stand at 0.5% by 2030.About 60% of the population live in urban areas; by 2030 it is predicted to be 70%.The effects of immigration, which will add 0.1% to 0.2% to the population by 2030.The effects of HIV and Aids, which has stabilised at 10% of the population being HIV-positive.To maximise the benefits of this “demographic dividend”, says the commission, the country requires better nutrition and health care, improved educational standards, increased access to further and higher education, easier entry into the labour market and greater labour mobility, which is the ability to move to where jobs are on offer. All of these factors need to be taken into account in national planning.The youthThe commission stipulated that the NDP should specifically embrace issues affecting the country’s youth, “as South Africa has a young population which is rapidly urbanising”. Young people bear the brunt of unemployment, it says, which is why it has adopted a “youth lens” in preparing its proposals, which include:A nutrition intervention for pregnant women and young children;Universal access to two years of early childhood development;Improve the school system, including increasing the number of students achieving above 50% in literacy and mathematics, increasing student retention rates to 90% and bolstering teacher training;Strengthen youth service programmes and introducing new, community-based programmes to offer young people life skills training, entrepreneurship training and opportunities to participate in community development programmes;Strengthen and expand the number of further education and training (FET) colleges to increase the participation rate to 25%;Increase the graduation rate of FET colleges to 75%;Provide full-funding assistance covering tuition, books, accommodation and living allowance to students from poor families;Develop community safety centres to prevent crime and include youth in these initiatives;A tax incentive to employers to reduce the initial cost of hiring young labour-market entrants;A subsidy to the placement sector to identify, prepare and place matric graduates into work, to be paid upon successful placement;Expand learnerships and make training vouchers directly available to job seekers;A formalised graduate recruitment scheme for the public service to attract highly skilled people; and,Expand the role of state-owned enterprises in training artisans and technical professionals.Global trendsThe commission noted that long-term shifts in global trade and investment were reshaping the world economy and international politics. Chief among these developments was the emergence of the rapidly growing economies of the Brics countries, and particularly China, India and Brazil, as well as the increased growth in Africa. Globalisation presented additional risk for emerging markets, while climate change was another factor affecting development in South Africa. The country stands to benefit significantly from regional co-operation.Goals of the NDPBy 2030:Eliminate income poverty – reduce the proportion of households with a monthly income of below R419 (US$42.2) a person (in 2009 prices) from 39% to 0%.Reduce inequality – the Gini coefficient should fall from 0.69 to 0.6.This will be achieved by:Increasing employment from 13-million in 2010 to 24-million in 2030;Raising per capita income from R50 000 ($5 000) in 2010 to R120 000 ($12 100) by 2030;Increasing the share of national income of the bottom 40% from 6% to 10%;Establishing a competitive base of infrastructure, human resources and regulatory frameworks;Ensuring that skilled, technical, professional and managerial posts better reflect the country’s racial, gender and disability makeup;Broadening ownership of assets to historically disadvantaged groups;Increasing the quality of education so that all children have at least two years of preschool education and all children in Grade 3 can read and write;Providing affordable access to quality health care while promoting health and well-being;Establishing effective, safe and affordable public transport;Producing sufficient energy to support industry at competitive prices, ensuring access for poor households, while reducing carbon emissions per unit of power by about one-third;Ensuring that all South Africans have access to clean running water in their homes;Making high-speed broadband internet universally available at competitive prices;Realising a food trade surplus, with one-third produced by small-scale farmers or households;Ensuring household food and nutrition security;Entrenching a social security system covering all working people, with social protection for the poor and other groups in need, such as children and people with disabilities;Realising a developmental, capable and ethical state that treats citizens with dignity;Ensuring that all people live safely, with an independent and fair criminal justice system;Broadening social cohesion and unity while redressing the inequities of the past; and,Playing a leading role in continental development, economic integration and human rights.Critical actions to be taken:A social compact to reduce poverty and inequality, and raise employment and investment;A strategy to address poverty and its effects by broadening access to employment, strengthening the social wage, improving public transport and raising rural incomes;Steps by the state to professionalise the public service, strengthen accountability, improve co-ordination and prosecute corruption;Boost private investment in labour-intensive areas, competitiveness and exports, with adjustments to lower the risk of hiring younger workers;An education accountability chain, with lines of responsibility from state to classroom;Phase in national health insurance, with a focus on upgrading public health facilities, producing more health professionals and reducing the relative cost of private health care;Public infrastructure investment at 10% of GDP, financed through tariffs, public-private partnerships, taxes and loans, and focused on transport, energy and water;Interventions to ensure environmental sustainability and resilience to future shocks;New spatial norms and standards – densifying cities, improving transport, locating jobs where people live, upgrading informal settlements and fixing housing market gaps; andReduce crime by strengthening criminal justice and improving community environments.An important focus of the NDP is to unite South Africans around a common programme that will enhance the Constitution’s vision of a united, prosperous, non-racial and non-sexist society. “Although progress has been made to improve the lives of women; discrimination, patriarchal attitudes and poor access to quality education persists. The plan deals with these factors holistically, recognising that key priorities such as education or rural development will have the biggest impact on poor women,” says the NDP document.In addition, citizens should be encouraged to be active in their own development. The document says that while the state “must actively support and incentivise citizen engagement”, citizens should:Actively seek opportunities for advancement, learning, experience and opportunity;Work together with others in the community to advance development, resolve problems and raise the concerns of the voiceless and marginalised; and,Hold the government, business and all leaders in society accountable for their actions.“The country we seek to build by 2030 is just, fair, prosperous and equitable,” says the NDP document. “Most of all, it is a country that each and every South African can proudly call home. It is up to all South Africans to play a role in fixing the future.”
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Doug Tenney, Leist MercantileThere is certainly plenty of news to mull over. Government shutdown, trade talks, USDA reports, snow, cold, South American weather, and charts are among the topics clamoring for significant attention.The partial government shutdown is approaching 30 days at this writing. The partial shutdown is affecting farmers in numerous ways this winter. It means local FSA offices are closed and unable to process loan payments along with the Market Facilitation Program (MFP). Those soybean payments of $1.65 per bushel are being welcomed profusely across Ohio and the U.S. While we are now well past the Jan. 15 original deadline, USDA had already announced that deadline would be extended the number of days FSA offices were closed by the partial government shutdown. The FSA offices across the country were last open on Dec. 28 with some Ohio offices open Jan. 17, 18, and 22. Numerous conversations with producers indicate many are still waiting on their second round of MFP payments. The first installment came through more quickly than expected. Some delayed signups wanting to make sure they would not get paid in 2018. Unfortunately, they soon found FSA offices were not open due to the partial government shutdown. Producers have until May 1 to certify 2018 soybean production.The Jan. 11 USDA report day did not happen with USDA closed offices. Reports that day were to include the final 2018 corn and soybean production and yields, the first report of 2019 U.S. winter wheat acres, U.S. Quarterly Grain Stocks as of Dec. 1, 2018, as well as the monthly Supply and Demand Report. In mid-January there were already ideas that the Feb. 8 monthly reports could be delayed.The lack of timely USDA reports released in January curbed participation in the markets as traders chose to be on the sidelines. Numerous trading days at the CBOT seemed sluggish with little news to trade on. Soybeans reached a near-term high Jan. 7 as there were just two major news events during the first week of January: China’s buying of the five million tons of U.S. soybeans agreed to on Dec. 1 and South American weather. As the market realized that one event of China buying U.S. soybeans had been fulfilled, that left just South American weather to be the dominant force in the news cycle. Daily ranges had a noose around their necks as corn struggled for a 3-cent daily range while soybeans could not muster much more than 7 cents. In a nutshell, the lack of government reports choked traders for lack of news to trade. The market needs news events and the timely release of government reports to function efficiently. With the government in its partial shutdown mode, there were no daily flash export grain sales reports or that weekly export sales report.Mid-January corn and soybeans were trading in a pennant fashion. The pennant has height on one side and narrows to a point on the other. While not a perfect predictor, about 65% of the time prices exit that pennant in the same direction as they entered.Ohio producers not finished with their 2018 corn and soybean harvest at Christmas had an excellent window of opportunity of four days during early January as the long awaited freezing conditions finally took place. Unfortunately, it came to a screeching halt with accumulating snow Jan. 12 and 13. Near sub-zero temperatures and more snow the following weekend contributed to even more weather delays for those unharvested acres. Southern Ohio received more rain, which eventually turned to snow.Trade talk progress during the first half of January had two different perspectives. Early in the month there were news stories indicating China and the U.S. were talking every day. Then on Jan. 15, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer reported no progress had been made on structural issues with China in the previous week. The issue of intellectual property rights continues to be a huge sticking point as mentioned in previous columns. Thought for the day. “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” – Bill Nye.