LM&TC terminates franchise agreement with Right Start Foundation

first_img…sights breach of agreementThe Linden Mayor and Town Council (LM&TC) has moved to terminate the 2018 Linden Town Week ‘All Black’ concept party event franchisee agreement with Right Start Foundation, sighting breaches in the agreement. In August 2017, the Council reserved the right to host Linden Town Week 2018 in honour of the town’s 48th anniversary, with the aim of stimulating economic activities. In a press release on Friday, the LM&TC stated that it was on this premise that it moved to award event franchises – one being the Linden Town Week ‘All Black’ activity. This was awarded on December 30, 2017, by way of the highest bidder process to Right Start Foundation who won at the tune of $3,600,000. The LM&TC noted that contrary to accepted bidding procedures, the winner was not required to make any payment on the day of bidding, however was given time to review the Event Franchisee Agreement and to offer in writing proposed amendments to the Council for considerations. “Upon signing the Franchisee is then required to pay 60 per cent of the bided sum within one week and the remaining 40 per cent on or before 31st January, 2018. Subsequently on January 12, 2018, after dispatching proposed amendments, the Council considered and Right Start Foundation proceeded to sign said agreement.”As guided by Clause 4 (Franchise fee) of the Event Franchisee agreement, the first instalment should have been paid within one week of signing but was not upheld by the Franchisee. This led to the Linden Town Week Secretariat serving calls and letters as reminder of the party’s obligations, but went unanswered. This forced the Linden Mayor and Town Council during its January 24, 2018 statutory meeting to amend the clause that stipulated the 60 per cent and 40 per cent payment method to now reflect 100 per cent of full payment be made by already established January 31, 2018 deadline across the board, the release stated.It added that in a recent turn of events, one day before the deadline, Right Start Foundation proceeded to collect its copy of the Agreement (despite being reminded in writing of its availability) which followed with a correspondence highlighting corrections and additional proposed amendments to the agreement with the absence of payment.“To date, the Linden Mayor and Town Council has exhausted all options to amicably resolve this situation and was forced to terminate Right Start Foundation’s ‘All Black’ Concept Party Event Franchisee Agreement effective 1st February, 2018…”, the release said.last_img read more

‘A very heavy injury’ – Louis van Gaal confirms Antonio Valencia faces three months on the sidelines after surgery

first_imgAntonio Valencia will be out for at least three months with a foot injury, Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed.Valencia suffered the injury to his left foot in the 0-0 draw against Manchester City last month.Valencia underwent surgery last week and Van Gaal said the Ecuadorian would not be back until the end of February at the earliest.The United manager told MUTV: “Valencia is longer term and very long.“It is not within three months or something.“It is a very heavy injury.”The 30-year-old utility man has only started two league games for United this season, but his absence will still be felt by Van Gaal.The United manager only has one specialist right-back in his squad – Matteo Darmian, who signed from Torino in the summer.Phil Jones and Ashley Young have also deputised in the position when Darmian and Valencia have been unavailable this season. 1 Antonio Valencia suffered the injury to his left foot in the 0-0 draw against Manchester City last month last_img read more

Citigroup taps Stuckey to help bank get out of subprime pridicament

first_imgNEW YORK – Citigroup Inc., after revealing it may have to write down $8 billion to $11billion of its debt this quarter, named Richard Stuckey to help it untangle the complicated subprime portfolio that may lead to a fourth-quarter loss for the bank. Back in 1998, Stuckey helped Citigroup extricate itself from losing bets on Long Term Capital Management, a Connecticut hedge fund that collapsed. The failure and bailout of LTCM nine years ago is regarded as the last time the global credit markets were as tight as they are this year. Citigroup has direct subprime exposure of $55 billion, $43 billion of which is collateralized debt obligations. CDOs are instruments that bundle different kinds of risk, and some include pieces of bonds backed by mortgages given to subprime borrowers, or those with poor credit history. What has worried investors is not only that Citigroup, the nation’s largest bank, may have to take losses but that those losses could end up being even wider if the credit markets don’t improve. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Jeffrey Harte, managing director at Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP, lowered his stock price and earnings expectations for Citigroup on Tuesday, noting that he anticipates an additional $4billion loss in 2008 besides the fourth quarter’s potential $11billion loss. In a memo to Citigroup’s global capital markets business Sunday, the company said it was creating a subprime portfolio group to be led by Stuckey. Mark Tsesarsky, another Citigroup veteran, will assist in risk management for the group. The team doesn’t have a plan in motion yet, but over the coming weeks will review Citigroup’s credit businesses. In a call with analysts Monday, Citigroup’s chief financial officer, Gary Crittenden, admitted that the bank did not hedge its bets on subprime debt appropriately before the credit markets froze up over the summer, when worries about spiking subprime-mortgage defaults led investors to avoid the credit markets and banks to slash the value of their CDOs. “There’s no excuses here,” Crittenden said. “It is what it is.” Citigroup, after falling nearly 5percent Monday, fell 82cents, or 2.3percent, to close at $35.08 Tuesday. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

DONEGAL PUT ON GLOBAL MAP BY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

first_imgNational Geographic is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) magazines on the planet for travel buffs.Now a feature on the Wild Atlantic Way, which includes a major hats-off to Donegal, is set to have tourists keen to see what all the fuss is about.Of course, we could tell them any day of the week. But here Kathleen Mangan does her own bit for Donegal tourism.This is the article.Kathleen M. ManganAt the western fringe of Europe is a marginal zone where the force of the Atlantic crashes against the jagged rock defenses of Ireland’s western seaboard. The Wild Atlantic Way, a new driving route that covers approximately 1,500 miles, highlights the battle of land and sea with stunning vistas and iconic adventures. This epic, sign-posted route skirts Ireland’s coastline from north to south and takes travelers through traditional rural outposts where Gaelic is still spoken, tweeds are woven on wooden looms, the fish on the menu is from the boat tied up at the pier, fiddlers play sessions in the pubs at night, and—as the locals say—the craic is mighty (meaning the social banter is fun).We’ve broken the Wild Atlantic Way into seven segments and offer insider suggestions on authentic cultural experiences, killer views, and little-known highlights.Inishowen Peninsula to Donegal TownDonegal is rugged, remote, and sparsely populated, a place dominated by seabirds and sheep. Soaring sea cliffs and northern headlands seem to taunt the fishing fleet—11 lighthouses along the coast help vessels navigate to safety.Hike One Man’s Pass: Go beyond the viewing platform at the granite cliffs of Slieve League, among the highest sea cliffs in Europe, by hiking the trail along the ridge topping the cliffs. It’s not for those afraid of heights—the sheer drops are dizzying, especially in the stretch known as One Man’s Pass. Stay at Slieve League Lodge in Carrick, where the pub’s hot whiskies with lemon and cloves will heal all aches.Join a program in Glencolmcille: Guided hill-walking is one of the programs offered at Oideas Gael, a cultural center in Glencolmcille. The most popular route is over a mountain to the deserted village of Port and back around the sea cliffs at Glen Head. You can also take a week of classes covering Gaelic language, Irish harp or whistle, archaeology, and more. At Glencolmcille Folk Village, thatched cottages reveal country life during different centuries. Donegal fiddling is often heard in sessions at Roarty’s Bar. A couple strolls by the sea on Inishbofin, a small island off the coast of Connemara.Watch traditional Irish hand-weaving: Studio Donegal in Kilcar maintains hand-weaving traditions by spinning their own yarns and weaving signature tweeds and woolens on old wooden looms. Ask for a peak at the workshop, then shop for high-quality wool clothing, plus colorful pillows and throws.Try sea-stack climbing: With guides from Unique Ascent, descend sea cliffs to a storm beach, cruise by boat to a sea stack, then climb to the stack’s stony summit.See impressive late Neolithic dolmens: The Dolmen Centre near Portnoo features two stone portal tombs dating back more than 4,000 years. The larger of the two Kilclooney dolmens is one of the best preserved in Ireland and features one of the biggest capstones, which stretches 20 feet wide and soars above upright portal-stone supports. The smaller dolmen is partly collapsed. Photo op: Driving from Glencolmcille to Ardara, pull off at the top of Glengesh Pass for a view of the road looping downward into what appears to be a Hobbit-like world below.Get a guide: Derek Vial of Tour Donegal is the expert on history, sights, and everything Donegal.Donegal Town to BallinaThis stretch consisting mostly of Sligo, with bits of Counties Donegal, Leitrim, and Mayo, is a coastal zone of rugged sand dunes and wild beaches. It’s world-renowned for surfing. Streedagh Strand made news in the summer of 2015 when nine cannons from one of three Spanish Armada galleons wrecked here in 1588 were recovered offshore and taken to the National Museum of Ireland for conservation.Soak in seaweed: At Kilcullen’s Seaweed Baths, an Edwardian bathhouse in Enniscrone, experience a therapeutic soak in a tub filled with hot seawater and freshly harvested seaweed, which releases nutrients and oils to soothe skin and bones.Catch a wave: Rossnowlagh hosted the European Surfing Championships back in 1985, and the reliable curls here make it an excellent destination for beginner and experienced surfers. The Fin McCool Surf School will help you hone your technique. You can watch big-wave surfing from the headlands at Mullaghmore in winter; the nearby Prowlers surf break can sometimes throw up waves reaching 55 feet high, attracting the world’s most extreme surfers.DONEGAL PUT ON GLOBAL MAP BY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC was last modified: September 26th, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Lampard failed with bid for Ampadu during the summer

first_img 3 Ampadu featured seven times last season under Antonio Conte but is yet to play under new boss Maurizio Sarri.Lampard, meanwhile, has already raided his former club to snap up midfielder Mason Mount and defender Fikayo Tomori on loan this season. 3 Ampadu contributed to Wales’ third goal by providing an assist for Aaron Ramsey after a direct run through the heart of the Irish midfield.The former Exeter City player is highly regarded at Stamford Bridge and ater the match, Sky Sports presenter Scott Minto claimed Derby were keen for the youngster to join Chelsea legend Frank Lampard at Pride Park. Ampadu was the standout performer on his competitive debut The youngster broke into Chelsea’s first team last season Chelsea blocked Derby County’s approach to sign 17-year-old whizz-kid Ethan Ampadu during the summer transfer window.The teenager was in top form for Ryan Giggs’ Wales side on Thursday night as he picked up the man of the match award on his competitive debut in the comfortable Nations League win against the Republic of Ireland. getty “I know Derby tried to sign him on a season loan, I also know that Maurizio Sarri said no,” Minto, who played for Chelsea during the 1990s, explained.Sitting alongside him in the studio was Phil Babb, who thinks the teenager has ‘one hell of a career in front of him.”“He’s a terrific talent, I’m looking forward to seeing him. He’s got all the ability, he’s an athlete,” Babb said.“For Giggsy to throw him in for such an important competitive game shows the faith he has in him. So hopefully he justifies his selection.”Asked about Ampadu’s performance against Ireland, Giggs said: “Ethan is a talent, but not only as a player, but as a person. He is so measured and mature and takes it all in his stride. I am really pleased for him.” 3 Wales manager Ryan Giggs handed Ampadu his first start for Wales last_img read more

AROUND THE COUNTY: DONEGAL NEWS IN BRIEF

first_imgFAREWELL FRANK: The funeral mass has taken place in Belfast of comedian Frank Carson who died from stomach cancer last week at the age of 85. In his homily, close freind Bishop Edward Daly, recounted telling Mr Carson a joke only to be told he would never make a comic. The bishop promised not to make jokes or try to be witty but just remember the 85-year-old as he was. “Frank made millions of people smile and laugh. He brightened up their lives. He was a Prime Minister of fun. That was his mission in life. In his live performances, he could light up an audience and make them laugh and laugh. That is surely a great service to humanity.” Frank had lived for a number of years in Dunfanaghy.METAL MANIA: Donegal TD Joe McHugh says the economy could benefit if we were to regulate the recovery of metals from the sea off Ireland’s coast. He wants the  Government to work with private investors to salvage valuable items like disused copper cabling for recycling.SLEIGH WAY: Co Donegal man Colm Burns from Letterkenny is set to represent Ireland at the Canadian International Sled Dog Championships later this month. The Letterkenny man said: “I can’t wait to get there. I’ve wanted to do this since I was a kid.” Colm is looking for sponsorship. If you can help email him on frostylakehusky@hotmail.com. IRISH FACEBOOK: Abair Leat!, the world’s first social network exclusively dedicated to Gaeilge has been officially launched by comedian and Irish language enthusiast, Des Bishop along with TG4’s Maire Treasa Ní Dhubhghaill and Síle Ní Bhraonáin. Abair Leat! – which is aimed at anyone with an interest in the Irish language or interested in learning Irish – is first user generated content application of its kind.ANCIENT GRAVESTONE: The Irish Times carried a lovely feature today on the Inishowen ancient gravestone of Magnas MacMhoireasdain “of the Isles”. More can be read about it here http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2012/0303/1224312677032.html AROUND THE COUNTY: DONEGAL NEWS IN BRIEF was last modified: March 3rd, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:AROUND THE COUNTY: DONEGAL NEWS IN BRIEFlast_img read more

Award-winning course for people with arthritis to run in Letterkenny

first_imgA six-week self-management course to help people living with arthritis will commence in Letterkenny on Wednesday 4 September.The Living Well with Arthritis course gives people with arthritis the tools and techniques to help them better manage their condition. The award-winning course will be held in Station House Hotel, Letterkenny and costs €35 for the six weeks.A discounted rate is available for medical card holders. Classes run on Wednesdays from 7.00pm-9.30pm. The course is suitable for people with any form of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, or related conditions like fibromyalgia or lupus.Previous participants on the course have reported that it helped decrease their pain, reduced their reliance on health professionals and medication, and improved their overall sense of well-being.Participants learn about pain and fatigue management; healthy lifestyle and the importance of healthy eating; dealing with negative emotions; and exercise techniques for weak and damaged joints.Bronwen Maher, Services Manager, Arthritis Ireland, said: “This programme was developed by Stanford University and has been proven to be an essential part of effective arthritis treatment. After completing the course, people are able to do things that they couldn’t before, they experience improvements in their mobility, mood and in their quality of life.” A previous course participant commented: “While my friends and family support me, I don’t think they really understand what it’s like to live with a chronic illness. Many of the people who attended the course will tell you they didn’t require support, myself included. What we did need was the skills to manage living with a chronic illness.”Developed by Stanford University, some 6,500 people have successfully completed the Living Well with Arthritis course since it was introduced here in 2006 by Arthritis Ireland.Places are limited on the course. To book, visit the Arthritis Ireland website, www.arthritisireland.ie, phone 01 647 0206 or email training@arthritisireland.ie.Award-winning course for people with arthritis to run in Letterkenny was last modified: August 18th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Arthritis courseArthritis Irelandlast_img read more

Man who headbutted social worker ordered to keep the peace

first_imgA man who headbutted a social worker after he called to his home in Letterkenny for an appointment has been ordered to keep the peace.Patrick Mongan appeared today at Letterkenny District Court charged with assault at Cashel Park on February 16th, 2018. The court heard that social workers had called to the family home for an appointment with Mrs Mongan.While there Mongan returned to the house and was drunk and got into an altercation with the social workers.He became abusive and was asked to leave but he headbutted one of the social workers with a glancing blow.He was arrested and charged with a Section 2 assault.His solicitor Donagh Cleary had previously told the court that his client in his 30s, struggles with alcohol and is currently undertaking an anger management course.The case had been adjourned to hear a victim impact statement from the social worker who was headbutted.The court was told by Garda Inspector David Durkin that the social worker did not wish to make a statement as he had not been seriously hurt in the attack.Judge Paul Kelly said that Mongan should be thankful of the gracious attitude shown by the social worker towards the case.He ordered Mongan to sign a peace bond and be of good behaviour for a year.Man who headbutted social worker ordered to keep the peace was last modified: October 17th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Darwin Still Doesn’t Do Well in Polls

first_imgBritish Darwin defender Richard Dawkins is gnashing his teeth over the latest poll in Britain that shows “More than half of the public believe that the theory of evolution cannot explain the full complexity of life on Earth, and a ‘designer’ must have lent a hand,” according to the UK Guardian and UK Telegraph.  Dawkins said the result indicates a worrying level of scientific ignorance among Britons.  In his words, much of the population is “pig-ignorant” about science.  But what does the poll mean?    In “The Problem with Evolution Surveys” on Live Science, Robert Roy Britt said the announcement should not worry “those who know evolution to be a solid scientific theory” so much.  Only 10%, he pointed out, subscribe to Biblical creationism and a young earth.  Another 12% subscribe to intelligent design, which Britt called “not a theory” (like evolution is, in his view).  Britt says this means “only 22 percent reject evolution outright.”  From there, Britt went on to discuss the way questions are framed in polls and the complex interplays between science and religion in public opinions.  He also chalked up results to ignorance of what evolution is.  He asserted that “the theory of evolution is one of the most well-supported theories of science, and scientists and most science teachers think it should be taught in science class without religious ideas such as creationism and intelligent design.”    A different interpretation was offered by Dr. Michael Egnor on Evolution News, an ID blog from the Discovery Institute.  He noted that more people doubt Darwinism than go to church.  The meaning, he said, is obvious: “support for intelligent design extends far beyond the segment of the population that is traditionally religious.”  A similar proportion holds in America.  In addition, he noted how surprising this poll was for the land in which Darwin lived and wrote – the country that honors him as one of their most famous offspring: “After generations of Darwinist indoctrination in public schools, more than half of the British public doubts Darwinism as an adequate explanation for life.”    Egnor took umbrage at the arrogance of Dawkins calling his fellow-citizens “pig-ignorant” of science.  Dawkins had also tried to distance Darwin’s views from chance.  The Telegraph quoted him as follows:“Obviously life, which was Darwin’s own subject, is not the result of chance,” he said.    “Any fool can see that.  Natural selection is the very antithesis of chance.    “The error is to think that God is the only alternative to chance, and Darwin surely didn’t think that because he himself discovered the most important non-theistic alternative to chance, namely natural selection.”Egnor called this assertion disingenuous.  “An outcome can be entirely determined by natural laws – which is what he means by evolution – and yet can be chance,” he explained.  “….Chance in physical science refers specifically to events that lack intelligent design,” or teleology.  Coming back to the poll, Egnor said most people perceive the design in nature and cannot attribute it to chance.  He took pleasure in a comment by Lord Carey (a theistic evolutionist) who accused Dawkins of “evolving into a very simple kind of thinker.”  Egnor said, “Finally, we have an example of evolution that is undeniably true.”Polls are interesting but not definitive.  Better to be right than follow a crowd.  Nevertheless, it must remain utterly frustrating to the Darwinists that they cannot sell their ideas to the public after 150 years of nonstop indoctrination.  Why don’t they just admit that doubting Darwinism produces higher fitness?    We need to understand some oft-used tactics of the Darwin defenders to avoid being deceived.  First, consider the claim by Richard Dawkins that “natural selection is the very antithesis of chance.”  Notice that Dawkins feels impelled to distance Darwin’s theory from chance, because otherwise it would degenerate into the “Stuff Happens” Law – an abandonment of any and all claim to scientific explanation (see 09/15/2008 commentary).  He tries to portray natural selection as a law-like process that guarantees organisms will evolve toward increasing fitness.  (He knows he can’t portray this as progress or he will incur the wrath of fellow Dar-wino Michael Ruse.)  Is it really possible to spin evolution as un-chance?Let’s imagine a generic law-governed situation, say a set of equally-spaced steel bars that punch downward like hammers from a ceiling onto a concrete floor.  Each bar’s rate and interval can be measured and found to be predictably law-like.  No intelligence seems to be guiding them; they just hammer away mindlessly but regularly.  Now we see that beach balls are scattered around the floor.  Many get popped by the bars, but some are blown this way or that by the wind from the hammering, or by glancing blows.  In a sense, one could say that the beach balls that don’t go extinct are the fittest because they survive.  They have been naturally selected.  This is the only kind of law-like, non-chance behavior Dawkins can appeal to.  If there is no intelligent guidance, nothing interesting is going to happen.  A few balls will outlast the others, but that is it.  Can Dawkins appeal to anything else?  Let’s add the ability of balls to spontaneously vary in shape a little – another element of chance.  Over a period of time, it is observed that there is a slight preponderance of oblong balls accumulating – “survival of the fittest.”  Add another law-like element: a steady wind blows from one direction.  Oblong balls accumulate at the far end of the field (the ones that didn’t get popped).Is this evolution?  This is no better than bubbles accumulating in an eddy along a stream.  We don’t see any combination of laws of nature and chance producing engineered systems performing a function for a purpose.  Natural selection, therefore, is indistinguishable from chance.  The laws don’t care what the beach balls do, and the beach balls are at the whim of whatever pushes them around at the moment.  The bars and the balls have no mind, no eyes, no care about what happens.  Without a mind directing things toward an outcome, it really is all about chance; chance overrules the law-like elements.  The flaw in evolutionary thinking is to postdict their own teleological minds onto a history of this planet and re-interpret the design they see as the outcome of chance.  They are not being consistent.  If it were really mindless, you would have rocks, but not corn (see next entry).    Other evolutionary propaganda tactics are evident in these articles, especially Robert Roy Britt’s screed.  This was sad for a guy who used to try to make a pretence of objectivity but is evidently now a hardened Darwiniac.  For one, he and the others associate Darwinism with science.  Associating anything with the magic word “science” grants it an air of respectability, earned or not.  For another, they use the bald assertions of dogmatism (BAD) strategy: “evolution is one of the most well-supported theories of science.”  Why?  “Because I said so!”  Another is equivocation: what do they mean by evolution?  Britt referred to antibiotic resistance as evidence for evolution, something no young-earth creationist would reject.  To extrapolate that into the belief that philosophy came from bacteria is another thing entirely.  Another trick is the either-or fallacy; you are either a Darwin worshiper or you are pig-ignorant of science.  That’s also a case of ridicule.  Dawkins is good at that.  If he were a righteous man, he would be saying, “Come now, and let us reason together.”  We would reply: “Reason, what a capital idea.  Cheerio.  Tell us, Dr. Dawkins, how did reason evolve?  Some tea, perhaps, while you ponder that?”(Visited 28 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Bearish trends continue

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest It is easy to get caught up in the moment of the current news cycle trying to decide if it is bearish or bullish. Don’t be afraid at times to think things are not what they seem.Crop insurance assaults — while it is not new news, they keep coming back at unexpected moments. The 2014 Farm Bill seemed to lay the groundwork for crop insurance to be funded for years to come. It seemed to be safe. With the passage of time we now know that assumption is dead and gone. Last fall opponents in Congress attempted to cut billions of dollars from the crop insurance programs. Battle lines were again clearly defined. Work began in earnest to keep funding intact. Opponents were diligently working to see that funding might only come through an Omnibus spending package. They likely wanted to be able to point out with embarrassment to supporters, it was not a strong program. And if it did not get included in the Omnibus bill all the better. Those year end bills in the past contained funding for many, many items. Crop insurance funding was successful as it was included in a transportation bill. Then, President Obama’s budget for 2017 once again cut billions of dollars in funding.While it has been known for months, those out of conservation compliance will see their 2016 crop insurance subsidy cut to zero. This will effectively double their premium for 2016. Expect government monitoring of conservation to intensify in the future. Any new findings could likely result in penalty payments to remain in compliance. Bottom line — expect crop insurance battles to continue in the future.The supply and demand report was thought to be somewhat bearish for grains. Corn exports were lowered 50 million bushels to 1.65 billion bushels. Export reductions for January and February totaled 100 million bushels. Also corn used for ethanol did increase 25 million bushels to 5.225 billion bushels. The ethanol increase is not a surprise due to recent weekly grinds running higher than the average weekly amount needed. U.S. corn exports continue to face strong competition from South America. South American growing conditions the past several months were without any sustained stresses. As a result, corn production in Brazil was estimated at 84 million tons. That increase is 2.5 million tons. In addition, production in Argentina was increased 1.4 million tons to 27 million tons. Expect that corn exports from Brazil and Argentina will be steady and even increasing in coming months. U.S. corn exports are susceptible to further reductions in coming months.Adding further insult to injury are U.S. corn exports to Japan. They continue to be shrinking in spite of Japan being the largest buyer of U.S. corn. Japan decades ago was courted by various trade groups from the U.S., affirming to them the quality of our products. They also wanted strong assurances that purchased products would indeed get to them in a timely fashion. The peak level of U.S. corn exports seen in the past is likely to be exceeded in upcoming years. Brazil and Argentina can grow corn more cheaply than U.S. farmers. As a result, they will be aggressive in selling their corn exports cheaper than the U.S. In recent years on more than one occasion, corn from Argentina has been exported into the U.S. via Wilmington, North Carolina.On March 31, USDA will be releasing their 2016 planting intentions for U.S. crops. USDA will soon have their annual outlook conference. During this conference they estimate U.S. crop acres for the upcoming year. Also, they provide estimates for a total of 10 years.U.S. corn yields in 2015 were 168 bushels per acre, extremely close to the record seen in 2014 at 171 bushels per acre. Past weather events would suggest record, or near trend corn yields three years in a row are extremely unlikely to come to fruition. El Niño has seen record setting strength in recent months. As it wanes, it can bring severe droughts to the western Corn Belt.Price rallies for grains in the next two months will need to be weather related. Supply shortages are not in the cards at this time.last_img read more