Gold caps biggest four-day fall since Nov

Written by admin on 30/07/2019 Categories: 苏州美睫

Gold has capped its biggest four-day drop since November after the Federal Reserve stoked the outlook for higher interest rates.

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Bullion, which slid the most since 1981 last year as some investors lost faith in the metal as a store of value, rebounded 11 per cent in 2014 amid faltering US economic growth and escalating tensions in Ukraine before retreating to near $US1,330 an ounce.

Goldman Sachs’ Jeffrey Currie said this month the gains would be short-lived and the chances were increasing prices would reach $US1,000 for the first time since 2009.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday said the central bank’s stimulus program could end this northern autumn and benchmark interest rates could rise about six months later. Policy makers cut monthly bond-buying by $US10 billion at the conclusion of their two-day meeting on Wednesday, leaving purchases at $US55 billion.

People are re-assessing their reasons to hold gold, Adam Klopfenstein, a senior market strategist at Archer Financial Services in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. Gold has removed its safe-haven hat.

Gold futures for April delivery fell 0.8 per cent to close at $US1,330.50 on the Comex in New York. Prices dropped 3.5 per cent in four straight sessions of losses, the longest slide since November. Bullion reached $US1,320.80 on Thursday, the lowest since February 28.

Trading was 34 per cent higher than the 100-day average for this time of day, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

The Fed on Wednesday released new forecasts showing more officials predicting the benchmark rate, now close to zero, would rise at least to one per cent at the end of 2015.

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Taylor labels co-star a ‘big Nordic pussy’

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A big Nordic pussy.

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That’s how Noah Taylor describes fellow Game of Thrones’ star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau when quizzed about the Danish actor’s claim the Australian dished out some real pain when filming the scene where the Kingslayer loses his sword hand.

Taylor plays Locke, who slices off Jaime Lannister’s right hand in the hit TV series.

The props team made a huge knife for the 44-year-old to wield that had a gap in it so the Australian could whack it down on Coster-Waldau’s arm without actually harming him.

But it required accuracy and, Coster-Waldau claimed recently, Taylor painfully missed his mark.

Asked about those comments, Taylor was quick to quip to AAP: “Big Nordic pussy.”

But it’s clear both men are actually very fond of each other.

“It’s like a knife with a big hole in the middle,” Taylor said of the prop.

“So ideally the hole goes over the wrist … but he (Coster-Waldau) is a trooper – and a lovely, lovely man.”

The Dane, speaking in London in mid-February, further claimed Taylor missed his mark in another scene when Jaime falls off his horse into the mud before Locke beats him up.

The Australian was meant to kick him in the stomach but because it was muddy and the pair were rolling around “he kind of missed and hit my ribs,” Coster-Waldau said.

Taylor tells AAP it definitely wasn’t deliberate.

“You’ve got to understand with those shows, they are asking you to horse ride, sword fight, fight – all those sorts of things in mud, at night, in winter,” he said.

“We’re not trained stunt people so accidents happen.

“Obviously I’m not trying to injury anyone – that’s the last thing you want to do.”

Taylor started to say the incident hurt him more than Coster-Waldau.

“No, well I’m sure it hurt him more, actually, but it’s a horrible feeling to hurt someone.”

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Like Murray, Djokovic to go it alone in Miami

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“He has surgery of both hips today and tomorrow, so that’s unfortunate.

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He couldn’t come, he was supposed to come here,” Djokovic said during a pre-tournament news conference.

“Basically in the finals of Indian Wells he called us and said that he had an emergency and he has to operate both hips.”

While Becker recovers, world number two Djokovic arrives in Miami fresh off a confidence-boosting win over Roger Federer in Sunday’s final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

It was the first win of the season for the Serb, who joined forces with the German tennis great last December after losing grand slam finals in 2013 to Spain’s Rafa Nadal (U.S. Open) and Briton Murray (Wimbledon).

“I knew I’m playing well,” said Djokovic, who will take on Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in a second-round clash after receiving a first-round bye. “I had an incredible end of 2013, so I did have confidence but I started a little bit doubting myself on the court.

“I was struggling a little bit with my, I would say, consistency and the concentration.”

Djokovic expects Becker to be back with his team in Monte Carlo next month and otherwise expects no other disruptions to their schedule.

While Djokovic and Becker will continue their relationship, defending champion Murray will go it alone in Miami, announcing this week that he had split with Ivan Lendl.

Murray, the world number six, offered few clues on Thursday as to why he and Lendl ended their successful partnership but reiterated that it had been a mutual decision.

“Well, to be honest, I was not surprised,” said Djokovic, when asked for his thoughts on the breakup. “But, again, I didn’t know what to expect.

“They worked for two years, and obviously it brought both of them, especially Andy, a lot of success on the court.

“He won Olympic Games, won a few grand slams. I think it was a very good decision from inside to be working with Ivan.

“Now they split. I mean, they obviously had a good reason for that. I’m not the one who should judge.”

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

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Oil mixed; US price falls below $100

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US oil prices have slipped below $US100 ($A110.

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86) a barrel as the dollar strengthens on raised expectations of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike sooner than previously thought.

New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in April, fell 94 US cents on Thursday to close at $US99.43 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for May rose 60 US cents to $US106.45 a barrel in London.

Markets were still digesting Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s comments on Wednesday that the US central bank could begin increasing its key federal funds interest rate about six months after it ends its stimulus program.

With the asset-purchase program likely to wrap up by year-end, Yellen’s comments suggested to some that the Fed would raise its main rate in the first half of 2015. Expectations had been for an increase later in the year.

“We see a spillover effect” from Yellen’s comments, said John Kilduff of Again Capital.

The more hawkish outlook for interest rates put the dollar back on rally mode, he said. “That seems to be pressuring commodities generally, and crude oil as part of that.”

The dollar reached a two-week high against the euro Thursday, trading at $US1.3747. A stronger greenback makes dollar-priced commodities more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

Traders kept an eye on the escalating Ukraine crisis, as the West and Russia dug in their heels over Moscow’s absorption this week of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

US President Barack Obama announced Thursday expanded sanctions against Russian officials, and minutes later the Kremlin struck back with travel bans against US officials and lawmakers, including the leaders of the two chambers of the US Congress.

The new US sanctions notably target Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko, a co-founder of Gunvor, one of the world’s largest independent commodity trading companies involved in the oil and energy markets.

Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research, said the US sanctions against Gunvor raised some market worries, and oil prices “bumped up a bit” after the announcement.

“The fear is that customers will think that if they buy from Gunvor, the financial transactions might be interfered with, that banks may not want to handle the transactions because the US would threaten sanctions” against those banks, Lynch said.

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Ricky Gervais and a frog

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Strange things happen in Hollywood.

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We all know that.

Take this recent situation in a Beverly Hills hotel.

Ricky Gervais is sitting on a chair in a beautiful suite with views over the mansions of Beverly Hills and up to the Hollywood Hills, but at the British comedian’s feet is a strange man in a red shirt.

On first impression it feels like a scene from a new Hangover movie, although there are no empty bottles of booze, roaming tigers or abandoned babies in sight.

“Did you put him to sleep?” I ask Gervais, while pointing to the man on the floor.

Gervais smiles.

“I’m just lying down,” the man, proving he is conscious, suddenly says.

“Hi, I’m Matt.”

Still lying on his back, Matt offers his left hand to shake.

Matt, who will later be revealed as actor and veteran puppeteer Matt Vogel, can’t shake with his right because it is buried inside a familiar looking green frog.

The frog looks like Kermit, ringleader of The Muppets, but on closer inspection it is not.

This frog speaks with a Russian accent and has a mole on the right side of his face, just above his mouth.

Suddenly it is clear.

The frog is Constantine, the evil Russian jewel thief who broke out of a Siberian gulag and wreaks havoc, alongside Gervais, in Muppets Most Wanted, the new family-musical-comedy film starring Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of the beloved puppets created by Jim Henson back in 1955.

Constantine is bad news and it is an uneasy feeling sitting so close to him, particularly with Vogel flat on his back below.

“Ricky, are you scared of this guy because with one flipper he could maim both of us?” I ask Gervais.

“He’s a one-man frog,” the British comedian replies.

“I’m the only human he trusts.”

In Muppets Most Wanted Gervais plays Dominic Badguy, who poses as The Muppets tour manager while helping Constantine rob treasures across Europe.

As I stare into Constantine’s plastic eyes, I remark how he is almost identical in looks to Kermit.

“To me, all frogs look alike,” I say.

Gervais lets out a gasp.

“What are you talking about? All frogs look alike?” an agitated Constantine responds.

I explain that, apart from the “Cindy Crawford style mole” on his face, he is a dead-ringer for Kermit.

“Yes, go on. I let you dig hole,” Constantine says.

Gervais, enjoying watching me sink, laughs again.

It’s time to switch the conversation.

“Do you like the British version of The Office or the US version of The Office?” I ask Constantine.

“I like British Office because it is original and funny and is not always trying to be clean and happy,” Constantine says.

Gervais wants to say something, but restrains himself.

“It is a little dirty. It is not all happy go lucky,” Constantine says of Gervais’ 2001 UK comedy TV series.

Gervais, as executive producer of the nine season award-winning US sitcom based on the UK series, disagrees.

“I like the American version,” Gervais, rubbing his fingers together to demonstrate he made millions and millions of dollars from the long-running US update, says.

“I like the American version because Ricky get paid more. It is his vision. He make vision in brain and vomit it out,” Constantine says.

“Exactly. Because I’m human I have a huge brain,” Gervais says.

There’s tension in the room.

It could get ugly.

“You are making fun of my brain size? I was supporting you. You are saying my brain is small,” an irate Constantine, ready to launch a karate kick at Gervais, responds.

“No, I’m not saying that,” Gervais, holding his ground, says.

“Your brain is small, but that is not a bad thing.”

Constantine is furious.

“You are saying I can’t make worldwide phenomenon television shows in multiple countries?” Constantine asks.

“No, I’m saying we are all different and, viva difference,” Gervais says.

Constantine is confused by “viva”.

“That’s French,” Gervais, losing patience, explains.

The end of the interview is near and I try to bring them back together.

“No, we are so tight, man,” says Gervais, nodding to Constantine.

“We are as thick as thieves.”

“I like what you say Ricky Gervais,” Constantine says warmly, admiring the comic’s reference to the roles they play in the movie.

The interview comes to an end, no blood is spilt, Gervais gets up out of his seat, shakes my hand and walks away.

“I just have to go to the loo,” he says.

Vogel and Constantine remain on the floor.

Muppets Most Wanted opens in Australia on April 10.

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Qld fruit flies set to lose their manhood

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One of Australia’s worst pests could soon lose its manhood or undergo a sex change.

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It’s part of a bid to save the nation’s $7 billion fruit and vegetable industry from the dreaded Queensland fruit fly.

Australian and New Zealand scientists are working on a plan to alter the DNA of the insect.

They are exploring how feeding certain genes to larvae can alter their DNA so they grow into sterilised male flies, whether they start out as male or female.

If the five-year study succeeds, thousands of the flies will be released into infected orchards across Australia to breed with female flies, which mate only once.

Lead CSIRO researcher Dr Paul De Barro says the large-scale research project is a “game changer” in controlling the insects.

Researchers also hope to create 1.5-millimetre sensors, which can be glued to the flies to pinpoint their location and identify where they breed.

They will also look at creating traps that can notify scientists when a fly has been caught.

“The traps will then detect the flies and send that information back to fruit fly control,” Dr De Barro said.

“A call will then go out to the factory which load up thousands of flies onto drones.

“Those drones will then go out on a pre-planned mission and they will drop the fruit flies.”

QUEENSLAND’S FRUIT FLY PEST

* A native Australian fly about 8mm long

* Considered one of farming’s most damaging pests

* Infests apples, avocados, capsicums, kiwi fruit and mangoes

* Larvae laid on plants can rot and discolour fruit and vegetables

* South Australia and Tasmania are the only Australian states that are fruit fly free

* A declared outbreak can restrict the sale of produce

* Insect parasitoids, which latch onto and kill insects or larvae, and some chemicals are used to control fruit fly numbers

(Source: Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation).

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Tyler did not incite SXSW riot: lawyer

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A lawyer for Tyler, The Creator, says the Odd Future rapper did not incite a riot at a show during South By Southwest and would not deliberately put fans at risk.

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Perry Q Minton said in the statement released on Thursday morning to The Associated Press that the events that occurred on March 13 at the Scoot Inn in Austin, Texas, leading to his arrest do not constitute a riot.

“At no time during the … concert did Tyler seek to incite or participate in riotous activity as has been reported in the press,” Minton wrote.

“It is clear from video clips and witness reports that the patrons and fans attending the show on that date were full of positive energy appropriate for this type of event and never exhibited any anger or aggression whatsoever.”

Police arrested the 23-year-old Los Angeles resident on a warrant on Saturday at the airport as he left Austin for a show he still kept later that night in Dallas.

He was charged with misdemeanor riot and posted a $US25,000 ($A27,714.65) bond. Police allege he incited fans at an unofficial day party held during the annual music conference to storm the entrance to the club where he was performing. He faces up to a year in prison and a $US4,000 fine if convicted.

Minton said police, who released a video of scores of fans pushing through the gate at a club that was already at capacity, are overstating what happened.

“For law enforcement or the media to describe the rush of fans through the gate and the subsequent benign, boisterous activity as a riot is an unfortunate and inaccurate description of what occurred,” Minton wrote.

Tyler does not apologise in the statement, but Minton adds the rapper, whose real name is Tyler Gregory Okonma, “fully appreciates” the need for police to protect citizens and provide security at large events, and did not intend to “disrupt that mission”.

“Tyler is not a violent individual and would never deliberately engage in any activity that would put another person at risk of being hurt,” he wrote.

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Ex-Micosoft worker arrested over leaks

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FBI agents have arrested a former Microsoft employee on charges that he stole trade secrets from the company and leaked them to a blogger.

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Federal prosecutors are accusing Alex A Kibkalo of stealing trade secrets related to pre-release software updates for Windows 8 and Microsoft’s Activation Server Software Development Kit, and giving that information to a tech blogger in France.

Kibkalo is a Russian national and former seven-year Microsoft employee who worked as a software architect in Lebanon, according to a complaint filed in US District Court in Western Washington.

Federal agents made the arrest on Wednesday morning in Bellevue, where he apparently was travelling. He lives in Russia, The Seattle Times reported.

The complaint says an internal investigation by Microsoft concluded that in July and August 2012, Kibkalo uploaded the proprietary software to a computer in Redmond and then to his personal SkyDrive account.

Kibkalo then allegedly provided the blogger with links to the files on his account and encouraged the blogger to share the software development kit with those “who might be able to reverse engineer the software and write ‘fake activation server’ code,” the complaint says.

Microsoft investigators interviewed Kibkalo in September 2012, and Kibkalo admitted he had provided confidential Microsoft products and information to the blogger, including “internal unreleased ‘hotfixes’ for Windows 8, ‘code for the PID generator’ (a technical description of the SDK), unreleased versions of Windows Live messenger and documents and presentations about products,” an FBI agent said in the complaint.

The Windows 8 hotfixes were intended to update and correct critical operating system flaws prior to the release of the operating system.

The blogger to whom Kibkalo allegedly provided the information is unnamed in the complaint but “was known to those in the Microsoft blogging community for posting screenshots of pre-release versions of the Windows Operating System.”

That blogger “deliberately hid his identity,” the complaint says.

The blogger allegedly admitted in an interview to “knowingly obtaining confidential and proprietary Microsoft IP from Kibkalo, and selling Windows Server activation keys on eBay.”

The complaint also says computer files found in the blogger’s home showed the blogger trying to get Kibkalo to find pre-release software, attempting to use Kibkalo’s corporate network access to get into Microsoft servers, and discussing Kibkalo leaking data.

Microsoft issued a statement on Wednesday saying: “We take protection of our intellectual property very seriously, including cooperating with law enforcement agencies who are investigating potential criminal actions by our employees or others.”

Kibkalo could not be immediately reached for comment.

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UK telcos crack down on text spam

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Four of the UK’s largest mobile phone operators have launched a new service to report and prevent spam text messaging to customers.

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The GSMA, a collective association of the networks, said in a statement that EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have signed up to the Spam Reporting Service, which will enable mobile phone users to report nuisance text messages by texting SPAM to a special mobile phone number.

This information will then allow operators to analyse the origin and scale of attacks, leading them to the source in order to shut it down.

Consumers previously had to fill out a questionnaire on the ICO website in order to file a complaint about spam messages. This new service means it is reported instantly, and is visible to all networks more quickly.

Working in collaboration with the UK Information Commissioner’s Office, mobile providers are already looking into how to expand the service to include nuisance calls.

“Increasing numbers of consumers are victims of spam and mobile network operators are working hard defending against these threats,” said GSMA CEO John Hoffman.

While figures of the amount of spam messaging that currently occurs in the UK are not available, Mr Hoffman is convinced the problem needs addressing.

He said trials showed the complaint data helps operators and authorities in deterring spam.

The information gathered from customers is stored in the Cloud, meaning that it can be accessed in real-time by all the operators, allowing them to quickly shut down spamming attacks and prevent them from spreading to other networks.

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Strong demand helps Nike 3Q earnings

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Nike says strong global demand for its athletic goods has helped third-quarter net income beat Wall Street expectations as it readies for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.

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Nike said results were hurt by the stronger US dollar during the quarter. That can affect US companies that sell goods overseas when they translate foreign income back into US currency. Nike is also dealing with higher costs for raw materials like chemicals and leather as well as labour.

But the company got a boost from big revenue gains, particularly in Europe. Higher prices helped offset discounts in some regions to clear excess merchandise.

Earnings from continuing operations rose three per cent, to $US685 million ($A759.38 million), or 76 US cents per share, in the three months that ended on February 28. Analysts expected 72 US cents per share, according to FactSet.

The year before, profit came to $US662 million, or 73 US cents per share. The Cole Haan and Umbro brands, which were sold in February 2013, added another $US204 million in profit to last year’s period.

Revenue rose 13 per cent to $US6.97 billion, beating analysts’ expectation of $US6.81 billion. Revenue rose 12 per cent in North America, its largest market, to $US3.07 billion. In Western Europe, revenue rose 22 per cent to $US1.29 billion and in China, revenue rose nine per cent to $US697 million.

The Beaverton, Oregan-based company on Thursday said that orders scheduled to be delivered between March and July rose 12 per cent to $US10.9 billion. That includes a 33 per cent jump in Western Europe, where the World Cup is popular.

Shares rose 44 US cents to $US79.71 in aftermarket trading after closing the day up 12 UScents at $US79.27.

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Curbing pesticides will slash wheat yields

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France’s winter wheat harvest could shrink by over a tenth if farmers meet targets to halve pesticide use, says a study highlighting the challenge of feeding Earth’s growing population.

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The estimates come from field trials where scientists compared yields to cuts in pesticide use.

Extrapolated for the country as a whole, halving pesticide use could mean a decline in winter wheat production of two to three million tonnes per year, the researchers said on Thursday.

This amounts to a reduction of five to 13 per cent of national production of winter wheat, and 15 per cent of French wheat exports.

Halving pesticide use “may not be profitable for farmers”, the team wrote in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.

With projections of an extra two billion mouths to feed by 2050 and a shortage of new farmland, increasing crop yield per hectare has never been as urgent.

Pesticides played a crucial role in doubling the average yield of cereal crops worldwide from 1960 to 1990, but their impact on human health and biodiversity have made them controversial.

European farmers are encouraged to limit pesticide use, and French environmental policy targets a 50-per cent reduction by 2018.

Now researchers have calculated what the impact of such a policy is likely to be.

They used data from 176 experimental farming plots from four sites in France that compared yields for wheat grown with pesticides, with less pesticides, or with none.

Statistical modelling then estimated a broader scenario for France.

Halving pesticide use would decrease input costs for winter wheat by about 66 euros per hectare in France, said the team.

This means a yield loss of 0.4 tonnes per hectare (80 euros lost per hectare) would be only partly compensated, at current wheat prices of more than 200 ($A308) per tonne.

“Even with the smallest estimated grain yield loss, a 50 per cent… reduction may not be profitable for farmers,” the team wrote.

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