FTSE CLOSE: Markets close in the red after US fails to signal further emergency stimulus measures

July 31, 2012

By This Is Money Reporters

PUBLISHED: 02:34 EST, 12 July 2012 | UPDATED: 11:21 EST, 12 July 2012

17.15 (close): The London market closed in the red today after US policymakers failed to signal that more emergency stimulus measures were on their way.

The FTSE 100 Index closed 56.2 points lower at 5608.3 despite US unemployment claims falling to their lowest level in four years in a rare hopeful sign for the world’s biggest economy.

Investors were left disappointed by minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s most recent meeting, which put an end to hopes of any further quantitative easing to boost growth.

Market watch: Traders were hoping for stronger signals of more stimulus measures from the U.S. Federal Reserve

David Jones, chief market strategist at IG Index, said: ‘While hopes for QE3 will linger on, last night’s Fedminutes have, for the moment, put the possibility of central bank action in the US on the back burner.’

The pound was down against the US dollar at 1.54, as the greenback was strengthened by the weakening prospect of further QE in the US. Sterlingwas down against the euro at 1.26.

Sentiment was further dampened by speculation that economic powerhouse China will tomorrow announce a worrying slowdown in gross domestic product (GDP) as the eurozone debt crisis and slowing US growth undermines its export markets.

The world’s second biggest economy is expected to announce that growth slowed to 7.9 per cent in the second quarter of 2012, down from a near three year low of 8.1 per cent in the previous three months.

Heavily-weighted miners, who rely on China’s thirst for fuel and metal, led London’s leading shares index lower, with Rio Tinto down 4 per cent or 107p to 2926p and Antofagasta off 43p at 1040p.

Emerging market investment specialist Ashmore Group was the biggest faller after its assets under management fell 3.3 per cent to 63.7 billion US dollars (?41 billion), which was lower than City expectations. Shares fell 7 per cent, or 22.2p to 307.8p.

Security group G4S was 3 per cent lower, off 7.4p to 283p, after admitting that it was facing staffing issues just two weeks before the Olympic Games, prompting the Government to step in with an additional 3,500 troops.

A ?3.2 billion takeover deal sparked major interest in the FTSE 250 Index after the board of London-based media buying firm Aegis, which hasclients including Coca-Cola and Disney, backed an offer from Japan’s Dentsu.

The deal came as a surprise to City analysts and prompted Aegis shares to rally 45 per cent or 73.1p to 235.3p, just short of the 240p a share takeoverprice.

Superdry chain SuperGroup rose 15 per cent after it spared investors another profits warning and said it would slow its growth plans to a more measured pace following a series of blunders. Shares rose 50.5p to 385p.

Associated British Foods said its budget retail chain Primark enjoyed a 16 per cent sales boost in the 16 weeks to June 23, helped by resilient demand and more overseas store openings. Shares rose 9p to 1276p.

The biggest Footsie risers were Admiral Group up 13p at 1181p, Johnson Matthey ahead 17p at 2120p, Associated British Foods up 9p at 1276p and Resolution ahead 1.4p at 210.3p.

The biggest Footsie fallers were Ashmore down 22.2p at 307.8p, Eurasian Natural Resources off 17.3p at 393.6p, Antofagasta down 43p at 1040p andAggreko off 74p at 1919p.

15.25: Concernsabout global growth prospects have dampened the mood on Wall Street, sending the Dow Jones 91.1. points lower to 2,513.4.

The FTSE 100 isn’t budging out of negative territory either – it’s still down 66.8 points at 5,597.7 in later session trading.

‘Volumes may be low but the mood of the markets is lower still,’ said Michael Derks, chief strategistatFXPro. ‘Thursday has seen yet another burst of risk-repulsion with equities and commodities heading south, the dollar heading north and yields on government bonds drifting lower.’

‘It would be difficult to pinpoint a particular trigger for the selling, apart from ongoing concerns regarding global growth and the situation in Europe.

‘Germany’s gradual back-sliding from the commitments made by Angela Merkel at the EU summit two weeks ago is certainly hurting, with the single currency falling to $1.2170 [against the U.S. dollar], a new two-year low.

Derks added: ‘Over the past year, the dollar index has risen by 12 per cent. Although the market seems quite long of dollars, it appears that the weight of capital flows still favours the greenback.’

Futures trading points to a lower open on Wall Street despite better than expected weekly U.S. jobless claim figures.

The fall in claims is being put down to one-off factors affecting the U.S. auto industry.

The FTSE 100 is down 62.9 points at 5,601.6 on disappointment over the lack of stimulus action by the U.S. Fed and speculation that China is poised to announce a slowdown in recent GDP.

The world’s second biggest economy is expected to announce that economic growth slowed to 7.9 per cent in the second quarter of 2012, down from a near three-year low of 8.1 per cent in the previous three months.

The eurozone debt crisis and slowing U.S. growth are thought to be undermining China’s export markets.

Heavily-weighted miners, who rely on Chinese demand for fuel and metal, helped to lead London’s leading shares index lower.

Rio Tinto was down 4 per cent or 113p to 2920p and Eurasian Natural Resources was off 12.5p at 398.5p.

Emerging market investment specialist Ashmore Group fell after its assets under management fell 3.3 per cent to $63.7billion (?41 billion), which was lower than City expectations. Shares fell 8 per cent or 27.8p to 302.2p.


Associated British Foods said its budget retail chain Primark enjoyed a 16 per cent sales boost due to resilient demand and more overseas store openings in the 16 weeks to June 23.

Despite pressure on its groceries business, which makes Kingsmill bread, the group confirmed it is on-track to deliver ‘substantial growth’ in underlying profits in its full-year to September. However, shares fell 4.5p to 1262.5p. Read more here.

Shares in HSBC have dipped 2 per cent today after Britain’s most profitable bank was revealed to be facing a $1billion (?600million) fine for money laundering offences.

The penalty relates to transactions that took place between 2004 and 2010. The stock was down 10.4p at 558.3p. Read more here.

Fashion chain SuperGroup has confessed to disappointment with its annual results after a spate of ‘largely self-inflicted’ problems.

But its shares were up 16 per cent or 55p at 389.5p as investors welcomed the group’s mea culpa over past mistakes and its humble promises to do better in future. Read more here.

The FTSE 100 has dropped 50.4 points to 5,614.1 as the U.S. Fed’s latest minutes offered only vague hopes more quantitative easing will be offered as the economy falters.

‘Disappointment has set in as the world’s most powerful central bank still seems unwilling to provide another sugar rush of cheap money,’ said Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG Index.

‘The minutes of the most recent Fed meeting did not suggest that policymakers in the U.S. were about to embark on more extensive easing measures, with only “a few” committee members in favour of further easing.


‘Others seemed content to wait for more concrete signs that the US economy was slowing down, leaving markets on their own for now. Easing measures over the past few hours from the Brazilian, Japanese and South Korean central banks provided scant comfort, and losses are the order of the day for most assets.’

Meanwhile, the ever-present eurozone crisis remains on investors minds following the announcement of a swingeing €65billion worth of budget cuts in Spain yesterday.

The debt-ridden country’s benchmark 10-year borrowing rate is at 6.6 per cent today.

Michael Hewson of CMC Markets said that opposition to the tax hikes and spending cuts was reverberating through Spanish society.

‘The fact is €65billion worth of cuts would be difficult in the best of times, but in an economy stuck in recession, they are likely to compound the problem,’ he said.

‘Unfortunately for [Spanish leader Mariano] Rajoy he doesn’t have much choice given the conditions being imposed by Brussels in exchange for helping the banks, but the hand he is being dealt is akin to being asked to play Russian Roulette with five of the chambers loaded, and not empty.’

The FTSE 100 is 299.7 points in the red at 5,634.8 amid disappointment over the failure of U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers to signal more help for the world’s biggest economy.

Investors are unsettled by the lack of firm pointers in last night’s U.S. central bank minutes, and by speculation that economic powerhouse China is about to announce slower GDP figures for the the second quarter.

Protest: Coal miners demonstrate in Madrid against the Spanish government’s spending cuts

‘Whilst many hopes were dashed that stimulus is unlikely to be anytime soon, considering the lack of fire power left in the Fed’s arsenal, they can’t just push the quantitative easing button again purely because the economy is dipping,’ said Simon Denham of Capital Spreads. 

‘They have at least been clear that they will act should the economic conditions dictate and with the way things are going expectations are still for something to happen later this year. 

‘So whilst the eurozone continues to suffer its own problems and China’s starting to wobble, across the pond the U.S. economy is also seeing confidence slowly being eroded as demand from its biggest customers is falling and thus the labour market, not in a perilous position yet, is faltering.’

Miners have been hit by the concerns over economic growth, as Anglo American dropped 3 per cent or 56p to 1999.5p and BHP Billiton declined 38p to 1773p.

Security group G4S was 3 per cent or 8.4p lower at 282p after admitting that it was facing staffing issues just two weeks before the Olympic Games, forcing the Government to offer 3,500 troops in additional manpower.

A ?3.1billion takeover deal sparked major interest in the FTSE 250 after the board of London-based media buying firm Aegis, which has clients including Coca-Cola and Disney, backed an offer from Japan’s Dentsu.

The deal came as a surprise to City analysts, prompting Aegis shares to rally 46 per cent or 73.75p to 235.95p, just short of the 240p a share takeover price.

8.40: The FTSE 100 opened down 42.5 points at 5,622 after U.S. Federal Reserve minutes revealed it was keeping its powder dry over more stimulus action.

The papers published late yesterday showed the world’s biggest economy would have to worsen further before the central bank took any more quantitative easing steps.

A few officials thought extra stimulus was justified, but the majority remained unconvinced.

‘The Fed said very little about the U.S.’s sluggish recovery and gave no indication as to if or when QE3 might be introduced, though some members have indicated that an increase in stimulus packages will eventually be required,’ said David Buik of BGC Partners.

‘These minutes are three weeks old and since then employment data has been very discouraging. The Street of Dreams was underwhelmed by the lack of guidance.’

The Dow Jones saw a late session rally but still closed down 48.6 points at 12,604.5 yesterday. The FTSE 100 closed closed up 0.4 points at 5,664.48 before the Fed minutes were released.

Copper edged down, dropping for its fifth session in seven, as uncertainty over U.S. stimulus measures soured market sentiment. Prices are staying in tight ranges on caution ahead of China’s GDP data, to be released tomorrow.

UK companies cut their marketing budgets for the first time in a year in the second quarter, as pessimism about the economy regained the upper hand, an IPA Bellwether survey said.


Barclays: Top shareholders in Barclays fear regulators will rush through the appointment of a new head at the scandal-hit bank, and not take the time to search for an outsider to bring about a root-and-branch culture change.

Barclays is poised to approach regulators for clearance of a plan to appoint Sir Michael Rake as its new chairman, with a view to an announcement within weeks, The Times said.

HSBC: The bank plans to ‘acknowledge and apologise’ for failing to spot and deal with money laundering within the bank during a U.S. Senate panel hearing next week, its chief executive Stuart Gulliver said in an internal memo sent to staff and seen by Reuters.

Rio Tinto: The Anglo-Australian miner said its chief financial officer Guy Elliott would retire at the end of next year, and that the company would create a new position to oversee the group’s strategy.

Rio has decided not to participate in a planned iron ore project worth over €1billion in Portugal, but the government remains confident it will find prospectors as other foreign firms remain interested, two sources close to the process told Reuters.

Vodafone: Australia’s Telstra will sell its struggling New Zealand operations to British mobile operator Vodafone in a NZ$840 million ($670million) deal, threatening Telecom New Zealand’s dominance and potentially making it a future takeover target.

Associated British Food: The food producer and Primark owner reported an 11 per cent rise in group revenue in the year to date, with AB sugar substantially ahead and Primark sales growth of 16 per cent at constant exchange rates. The group said the trading outlook for the full year in line with expectations.

Aegis: Japan’s Dentsu Inc has agreed to buy the British marketing group for ?3.2billion or 240 pence a share, to combine the Japanese firm’s strong presence in Asia with the British group’s operations in Europe and digital services.

Ashmore Group: The fund manager reported a fall in the amount of money it manages in its fourth quarter after weak performance and the exit of clients saw it lose more than a fifth of its equity assets.

Rockhopper: Premier Oil is to acquire 60 per cent of Rockhopper’s interests in its North Falkland basin licences for an upfront cash payment of $231million.

Premier Oil: The oil explorer said it traded strongly in the recent quarter.

888 Holdings: The online gaming group expects its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation (EBITDA) for the first half of 2012 to significantly exceed current forecasts, and its full year EBITDA to be materially ahead of current expectations.


Strong trading in the second half of 2011 has continued throughout the first half, although the second half is expected to show slightly lower margins.

SuperGroup: The fashion group posted full-year profit before tax of ?51.4million, up 8.7 per cent from the ?47.3million recorded in the previous year.

It said the Superdry brand remains strong despite the glum economic backdrop, and it was encouraged by the potential for 2013 ranges.

Aveva Group: The firm said it has seen no change in its demand environment during the first quarter, and it continues to be cash generative and has a strong balance sheet.

Fenner: The group said it continued to make solid progress, achieving revenue and earnings in line with expectations, and recent trading supports its confidence in meeting its expectations for the full year.

Telford Homes: The firm said it expected a substantial increase in profits for the year to March 31 2013, in line with market expectations, and the outlook for the group remained strong.

Oxford Instruments: The group said it has made an encouraging start to year with orders, sales and profits all ahead of last year, and markets remaining strong despite continued economic uncertainty, particularly in Europe.

Cupid: The UK-listed online dating company is rumoured to be attracting the attention of U.S. peer Interactive Corporation, which operates subscription-based online dating services Match.com, uDate.com and Chemistry.com.

IC is rumoured to be looking to expand in the UK, with a cash bid of around ?290million or 350 pence a share potentially in the offing, according to the Daily Mail market report.


FTSE CLOSE: Markets close in the red after US fails to signal further emergency stimulus measures

Dispatch Analysis

July 31, 2012

In a state where gambling is exploding — with four 24-hour casinos, “racinos” at sevenhorse-race tracks, Keno, Powerball and the state lottery — one form of gambling remains completelyunregulated and untracked.

Ohio has at least 772 Internet sweepstakes cafes, mysterious businesses that some call “strip-mall casinos.” They have no rules, required payouts or oversight. The only thing cafe ownersmust do is file an affidavit of operation with the state.

 There is a moratorium on new Internet cafes but only until June 30, 2013. In most cases,no one knows where the money to start cafes comes from or where the profits go.

Owners and operators do not have to undergo background checks.

Unlike slot machines and video-lottery terminals, which are inspected by the state and must, bylaw, pay at least 85 percent of the money bet back to customers, there are no inspections orrequired payouts for Internet terminals.

   While the Internet cafes are a far cry from the storefronts that offer customers aspot to go online, operators and proponents say what goes on inside these establishments isn’tgambling at all, but simply a sweepstakes. Columbus attorney Kurt Gearhiser, who represents about150 cafe locations, said they offer product promotions similar to the Monopoly game that McDonald’srestaurants often run.

   “You get some fries or a drink and get a entry ticket to win a prize. That’s nodifferent than going to an Internet cafe and having a chance to   win $5.”

   Gearhiser said his clients welcome regulation but don’t want to be regulated out ofbusiness.

   The amount of money being spent at cafes and profits made by owners are among manyunknowns. Several companies provide startup services for new sweepstakes businesses. One websitesays, “An Internet cafe gives you an opportunity to convert every minute of your life into money.Almost every time people think that starting a business involves high risk, but that’s not the casewith an Internet cafe business.”

   The sweepstakes machines — essentially computers with access to games that playlike video-slot and poker machines — can readily be found at Internet cafes, clubs, bars, bowlingalleys, restaurants, carryouts, and gas stations. There are 35 cafes in   Franklin Countyalone, with an even heavier concentration in northern Ohio.

   There is even a cafe at a Columbus church.

   The Rev. Joseph J. Mauriello of the Guiding Light Spiritualist Church, 3195 MorseRd., was desperately looking for a way to raise money to replace dwindling proceeds from churchbingo games. He came up with the idea of operating an Internet cafe and now has 20 machines openfor business six days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The cafe is closed on Sunday for church, whichis held in an adjoining room.

   “At the moment, we’re struggling to survive,” he said. “If they want us toregulate, fine, but give the Internet games to the charities.   What we’re doing islegal.”

   Mauriello said his customers range in age from 18 to 80. Some stay a few minutesand spend very little. Others linger longer and spend more. He said all proceeds go to the church,a “God-centered religion” that doesn’t rely on the Bible for guidance.

   James Haning, a Hilliard man who operates 53 cafes in Ohio and some in Michigan,won a fight with the city of Heath last year over Starz Internet Cafe, 789 Hebron   Rd.The city wanted Haning to pay a $5,000 application fee, $500 apiece for his 120 machines, andfollow other regulations. A judge stopped the city from closing the cafe; Starz remains inbusiness.

   Here’s how cafes work:

   A customer pays for either Internet time or a phone card. The card is used in acard-reader, that links to the computer and gives the player the card’s face-value amount of moneyto gamble. Some require customers to swipe their driver’s license, capturing information from themagnetic strip on the back.  

   At that point, whether the customer wins or loses is already decided, much likebuying a scratch-off lottery ticket. Playing the computer games is optional, although nearlyeveryone does. But no matter what the customer does or doesn’t do in playing the casino-stylegames, the payout is predetermined. How it is determined and the amount of the payoff are hazy.

   Customers who buy a $5 phone card, for example, leave with a phone card with $5 inusable long-distance phone service. Winning or losing does not affect the value of the card.

   Those who buy Internet   service can play the games, check their email orsurf the net.

   Cafes sometimes offer customers soft drinks and snacks.

   Some have one, two or three machines, but others have 100 or more, according todocuments obtained from Attorney General Mike De-Wine’s office. Customers spend an average of $20to $50 per visit.

   “We think the only reason they are popular and profitable is, they are gambling,”said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling. “We’ve hadnumerous complaints from customers.   They are exploiting people with gambling problems.”& amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; lt; /p>

   Many cafes are located in low-income areas and often are used by retirees, Whytesaid. The council is concerned because the cafes contribute nothing to problem-gambling treatmentprograms, something casinos are required to do by law.

   DeWine is frustrated by what he sees as the anything-goes nature of the cafes inOhio. He’s tried for 18 months to persuade state lawmakers to act; the only result was aregistration requirement and one-year moratorium on new businesses, which expires June 30,2013.

   “We would not concede at all that these are legal,” De-Wine said. “But as apractical matter, with a couple of exceptions, law enforcement has felt uncomfortable going afterthem.

   “It’s irrelevant to me what you call it,” he said. “All we’re   sayingis, there’s a lot of money going out, and it’s unregulated. And nobody can tell you what the oddsare.”

   Rob Nichols, spokesman for Gov. John Kasich, said, “Let’s be clear: This isgambling, and we’re very concerned with the gray, unregulated area in which it operates, as well asthe explosive   proliferation it’s seen.”

   Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason investigated and temporarily shut down someInternet operations in Cleveland, indicting 10 people and seven businesses on illegal gambling,money laundering and racketeering charges. Mason said some have connections to the Ukraine and thatfour cafes accounted for $50 million in business; neither allegation has been substantiated.

   Judge Karen Russo of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court allowed four of the cafesto reopen last month, deciding that they are legitimate businesses and not gambling.

   A similar decision came in 2009 after Toledo police charged Players Club, anInternet cafe, with operating a gaming house. Toledo Municipal Judge Francis X. Gorman ruled thatthe “element of risk” was missing because,   even if the sweepstakes player did not winmoney, he still left with a product — a phone card.

   However, investigators say customers seldom use the phone cards, meaning that moneybecomes profit.

   Ohio has plenty of company in the murky water of Internet cafe regulation.Attorneys general and law-enforcement officials in California, Florida, Indiana, Michigan andVirginia have tried to shut them down, with limited success.

   Three companies provide service to the vast majority of Ohio cafes — VS2 WorldwideCommunications, Farming-ton, N.J.; Innovative Entertainment, Excelsior, Minn.; and Pong Marketing& Promotions, Vaughan, Ontario,   Canada.

   Typically, 25 percent of the cafe proceeds go to the service provider, according torecords from the attorney general’s office.


Dispatch Analysis

Racino’s revenue exceeds projections

July 31, 2012

The new Scioto Downs racino took in $7.4 million in revenue from its video-lottery-terminalbusiness during its first month of operations, and distributed an additional $3.7 million to thestate, according to the Ohio Lottery Commission.The racino’s 1,787 video lottery terminals averaged $207 in revenue per day, during themonth.The facility opened on June 1.Revenue is the amount of money gamblers put into the slot machines, minus the total paid outin winnings. This revenue does not include what Scioto Downs took in for the sale of food andbeverages, nor does it take into account expenses such as salary, operating costs and taxes.The state receives 33.5 percent of the revenue from the video-lottery terminals, andestimated before the opening this would total $3 million per month.“It’s above what we projected, so we’re pleased,” said Danielle Frizzi-Babb, spokeswoman forthe lottery commission. “All the money goes to K-to-12 education programs in the state. The moneyis transferred to the Lottery Profits Education Fund and then it goes to the Department ofEducation, which distributes it.”@stevewartenberg 

Racino’s revenue exceeds projections

The Top-10 U.S. golf and gaming resorts (not in Las Vegas) – RGT Online

July 31, 2012

The Top-10 U.S. golf and gaming resorts (not in Las Vegas) 30 July 2012

There is no doubt about it: golfing and gambling go together. Think about it: a round of 18 holes on a top-rated course, playing a hand of blackjack in a luxurious casino and then finishing the day by eating at an award-winning restaurant. Does it get any better? Las Vegas is considered the Mecca of all things gambling in the U.S., but with dry desert heats (especially this time of year) and pricey golf courses, it can be somewhat of a struggle on the body and the wallet to play multiple rounds of golf. Therefore, this list is comprised of golf-and-gaming resorts in other regions of the U.S. And since Mississippi is the third-largest gaming destination in North America a majority of the resorts on this list hale from the Magnolia State. . So grab some friends, load up the golf clubs, refresh your bankroll and book your stay at one (or several) of these golf and gaming resorts. 10. Harrah’s Grand Tunica/The Links at Cottonwoods – Mississippi With holes inspired by British Open courses and a Scottish Links atmosphere, golfers will think they left the banks of the Mississippi for the U.K. Just outside of Memphis, this Hale Irwin-designed course has wide fairways, three lakes and more than 80 bunkers. The dramatic design of the course provides a challenging and exciting experience for both the seasoned player and the novice. Off the course, your group can enjoy Harrah’s Tunica, the largest casino resort between Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Rest after your round in one of three luxurious towers at the resort or take a dive in your choice of four swimming pools. With countless dining options, 140,000 square feet of casino floor and a state-of-the-art entertainment center there is never a dull moment at this resort. Test your shooter’s touch at the Willows Sporting Clays and Hunting Center where realistic hunting environments are simulated on 14 different trap and skeet shooting stations or spend the day getting pampered at the resort’s spa. 9. Mount Airy Casino Resort/Mount Airy Golf Club – Pennsylvania The charming Pocono Mountains region is well-known for its long list of year-round outdoor activities, and golf is chief among them. Winner of the AAA Four Diamond award- the first of its kind in Pennsylvania to do so- Mount Airy Casino Resort is one of the finest gaming venues in the state. Sitting in the heart of the Poconos surrounded by scenic lakes and streams, the resort is just an hour from New York City. The Mount Airy Golf Club is a Hal C. Purdy design that provides a challenge for all skill levels along with some exceptional scenery of rolling hills, tree-lined fairways, ponds, lakes and streams. 8. Hollywood Casino/The Bridges Golf Club – Mississippi Just minutes from the Gulf Coast and less than an hour drive from New Orleans, sits the Hollywood Casino and the Arnold Palmer designed Bridges Golf Club. Hollywood Casino offers table games, a poker room, and more than 1,200 slots. The Hollywood Poker Room has free poker lessons and players receive special guest room rates in the hotel. Mississippi’s only Arnold Palmer signature golf course is the Bridges Golf Club at Hollywood Casino. The course is ranked among the Top 40 casino courses in the country and features an award-winning golf shop where you can find all of your game essentials. Fittingly, the course features nearly 21 bridges set along the banks of the Mississippi’s Bay of St. Louis. The Bridges is the first resort golf course in the world to obtain Audubon International’s Certified Silver Signature status, demonstrating Palmer’s design strength of working in harmony with nature. 7. Grand Biloxi Casino, Hotel & Spa/Grand Bear Golf Course – Mississippi Grand Bear is a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course with over 7,200 yards that winds through cypress wetlands and the tall pines of the DeSoto National Forest. The course is challenging for any skill level but enjoyable for all. Grand Bear has received many accolades, including Golf Digest’s 100 Greatest Public-Access courses and Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play. After playing a round, golfers can enjoy the 5,000 square foot, log-style clubhouse with pro shop and restaurant. The Grand Biloxi and Grand Bear are offering stay and play packages that include one night stay, one round of golf and a $25 food credit starting at $110 per person. Group golf packages are also available. Situated along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the Grand Biloxi Casino offers 24-hour gaming, award-winning dining and the renowned Bellissimo Spa & Salon. The all-new casino floor has 800 slots and 35 table games. Relax after your golf round in a cabana by the pool with TVs, a Tiki bar, and live entertainment. 6. Island Resort & Casino/Sweetgrass Golf Club – Michigan Owned and operated by the Hannahville Band of the Potawatomi Nation, the Island Resort & Casino offers more than 400,000 square feet of casino space in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, two hours north of Green Bay. The resort has live poker five days a week and was voted as Michigan’s Best Poker Tournaments in the Midwest Gaming & Travel Readers’ Choice Awards. On the 3rd Tuesday of each month, enjoy the Party Pit with music, prizes, drawings, and free bets. Adjacent to the resort is Sweetgrass Golf Club. Designed by Michigan-native Paul Albanese, this 7,275-yard, par-72 layout has earned many top honors in Golf Digest, Golfweek and Golf Magazine. The resort annually hosts The Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass, an LPGA Symetra Tour event. The popular Perfect Foursome package combines golf at Sweetgrass with two ranked regional layouts, Greywalls and TimberStone, and overnight accommodations at the Island Resort and Casino. Rates start at $265 for three rounds and a two-night stay. 5. Pearl River Resort/Dancing Rabbit Golf Club – Mississippi The Azaleas and Oaks courses at Dancing Rabbit Golf Club (Tom Fazio, Jerry Pate design collaboration), which is owned and operated by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, roll out over 14,000 yards on this immaculate 700 acres of land. A short ride from the golf club is Pearl River Resort which encompasses the full gambling experience with more than 5,000 slot machines, 115 table games, a poker room, 11 restaurants, and 1,000 well-appointed guest rooms. The resort experience also features the Geyser Falls Water Theme Park, the Spa at Silver Star and the Beach Club at Clearwater Key, a 360-degree tropical adventure complete with a Tiki Bar and heated pool. Make your stay even more memorable by booking one of eight elegant suites on the top floor of the majestic Dancing Rabbit Clubhouse and take advantage of having your own personal golf cart – with head lights – to transport back and forth to the casino. 4. Palace Casino Resort/The Preserve Golf Club – Mississippi After a large-scale expansion and renovation, the Palace Casino Resort re-opened in June 2011 revealing an all-new casino, lounge and restaurants. Tucked between the Gulf of Mexico and Biloxi’s Back Bay, the resort offers stunning views of the surrounding area. The newly expanded casino offers a gaming floor featuring 1,100 slot machines, 26 table games and a high limit room. After checking into the redesigned Palace Casino, head over to the Preserve Golf Club, designed by U.S. Open champion and award-winning designer Jerry Pate. The 245-acre course is surrounded by 1,800 acres of dedicated nature preserve with bogs, swamps, oak groves and grass prairies. Overlooking the lake and 18th hole is the 8,500 square foot clubhouse with a large covered patio, multiple high definition flat screen TVs and a restaurant. The Palace Casino Resort and The Preserve Golf Club offer many different stay and play golf packages. From June-February choose between four all-inclusive Palace & Preserve Golf Packages like the Eagle Package, which includes unlimited golf, one night hotel stay, one free meal and a $20 slot credit for $190 per person. 3. Beau Rivage Resort & Casino/Fallen Oak Golf Course – Mississippi As the tallest and largest building in Mississippi, the Steve Wynn-designed Beau Rivage Resort & Casino reaches 32 stories and 3.2 million square feet with the most table games, guest rooms and meeting space on the Gulf Coast. Visitors will enjoy a large casino with slot machines, video poker, high-limit lounges and table games. Guests of the MGM Resorts International-owned and operated venue can enjoy fine or casual dining, bars and lounges, a salon, arcade and shopping area. No need to travel for entertainment as the resort presents headlining acts including B.B. King on Aug. 24 and Jay Leno on Oct. 6. As a guest of the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, you can enjoy the exclusive Tom Fazio designed Fallen Oak. With your provided caddy, you will navigate through manicured greens, streams, lakes and marshland. Golfweek recently named Fallen Oak the No. 2 Casino Course in the country, behind its sister course, Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. It’s no wonder rave reviews regularly come from players, caddies and media who have attended the PGA Champions Tour’s Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic here the past three years. 2. Little Creek Casino Resort/Salish Cliffs Golf Club – Washington Come enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest at the Squaxin Island Tribe owned Little Creek Casino Resort and Salish Cliffs Golf Club. Opening in Sept. 2011, Salish Cliffs Golf Club is an award-winning course designed by Gene Bates. With more than 600 feet of elevation change and stunning 360-degree views of Kamilche Valley, it is no surprise that this course was named on Golfweek’s Best Casino Courses 2011 and recently ranked No. 4 on their 2012 Best Courses: State by State list. Forbes.com also named Salish Cliffs one of the best golf values in the U.S. The course is an amenity of Little Creek Casino Resort, which offers eight dining options as well as the brand new Skookum Spirit Cigar Lounge, which opened in March, and Seven Inlets Spa, which had its grand opening at the beginning of July. 1. Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel/Circling Raven Golf Club – Idaho Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel completed its seventh and most lavish major expansion in May 2011 since opening as a modest bingo hall in 1993. Located in the beautiful Idaho Panhandle, the casino has the area’s most gaming machines more than 1,100 jackpot winners each month. The expansion – which is completely smoke-free – included a new fitness center, a 15,000 square-foot spa called Ssakwa’q’n (pronounced “SOCK-wah-kin”), which describes a small, refreshing lake on a mountain top and a new gourmet steak house called Ts’elusm (pronounced “T-sell-OOS-m”), which means “stand before the fire.” The two new hotel towers overlook Circling Raven Golf Club for a spectacular view. Speaking of Circling Raven, the Gene Bates masterpiece meanders through 620 breathtaking acres. It is a must-play as it is consistently rated one of the top courses in the country. If you like your golf served with a heavy dose of beauty, brawn and seclusion, Circling Raven is for you. More good news: a stay-and-play package can be had for as little as $199 and includes a round of golf and a night in one of the newly appointed guest rooms. List courtesy of Buffalo Communications

The Top-10 U.S. golf and gaming resorts (not in Las Vegas) – RGT Online

Around the Region

July 31, 2012

n Ashland: During the July meeting of the borough council, members approved a request from Dr. Mary Stout, D.P. T., of Central Penn Physical Therapy, to hold a patient appreciation/community awareness day near the Ashland office at 1836 Centre St. The event will be held next to the office and will include free hot dogs, chips and water as refreshments, free basket raffles and chair massages plus information about the services provided. Live music may also be available. The council also OK’d the suggested dates of either Aug. 3 or 10. They also approved the request of Pioneer Tunnel business manager Kathy Lattis to hold the annual Pioneer Day celebration from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 18 in Higher-Up Park and approved a request from Girardville Mayor Edward Burns for the Ashland Fire Police to assist with traffic control on Aug. 18 for the Girard Hose Company’s anniversary parade beginning at 7 p.m. The approval was contingent on the ability of the fire police to assist that day in Girardville after working the entire day providing traffic control for Pioneer Day. Joyce said the fire company will be contacted by the fire police in advance if they cannot attend the parade.

n Barnesville: Kevin Clouser, wildlife conservation officer with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, will present a program on Pennsylvania mammals at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Locust Lake State Park amphitheater. The program, according to a press release, will include information on wildlife habitat, diet and life cycles. He will also speak about some of the unique characteristics of different mammals. In the event of rain, the event will be held in the program shelter. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

n Danville: The annual Danville Iron Heritage Festival, launched in 1999 to focus on the history of the Danville-Riverside areas, will be held today through Sunday. According to organizers and the festival’s website, “The Iron Age, 1829 through 1950, and Danville are truly synonymous.” In 1829, the first iron foundry was established in Danville to manufacture wagon boxes, plowshares, and iron and griddles. “In 1839-40, iron ore started to be mined locally and in 1840 the first anthracite furnace to efficiently produce iron was opened in Danville. On Oct 8, 1845, the first T-rail in America was rolled out at the Montour Iron Works, the largest iron manufacturing plant in the United States. The T-rail made it possible for Pennsylvania and America to become the leader in the industrial revolution. This festival is a celebration of America’s ingenuity and foresight and is of interest for all of our nation’s citizens,” according to the website at ironheritage festival.net.

n Frackville: The next bleenie sale at St. John the Baptist Polish National Catholic Church, 414 W. Oak St., will be at 11 a.m. July 27 at the church. Bleenie sales are held every other week throughout the summer.

n Frackville: Knights of Columbus Council 2580 will hold its monthly Hogan Happy Hoagie sale July 26. Hoagies come in a variety of configurations and may be ordered for pickup only by calling Tom Malloy at 570-874-1843 or Grand Knight John Costa at 570-773-0627.

n Mahanoy City: The Mahanoy City Neighborhood Crime Watch will meet at 7 p.m. Monday at the Sen. James J. Rhoades Downtown Center, Main and Centre streets. The guest speaker will be David Boehm, Pennsylvania State Police public information officer, Troop L, Reading barracks. The public is welcome.

n Port Carbon: The Port Carbon Public Library is having a Deppen pie sale again. The cost is $8.50 per nine-inch pie and all orders are due by July 26, according to a release from Jason Abati, library director. Flavors include are blueberry crumb, raisin crumb, apple crumb, strawberry rhubarb crumb, peach, cherry, shoofly, coconut custard, lemon sponge and no-sugar apple. Orders can also be made by calling the library at 570-622-6115. Pies can be picked up at the library Aug. 8

n Sacramento: The 10th annual Sacramento Community Fire Company Poker Run will be held July 29 rain or shine. Registration will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the firehouse, 2206 E. Main Street. In a release, Ronald T. Radel, fire chief, said that in 2011 more than 700 people participated with thousands of dollars in cash and prizes awarded. Food, refreshments and a live band follow the ride. The entry fee is $25 per hand. A custom-painted 2012 Harley-Davidson will be chanced off that day. Tickets for the bike are available at Koppy’s on the Square, Kissinger’s Family Restaurant, Erdman Sportsman’s Club, Valley View Gun Club, Mayer and Kehler, Jack’s Spot, One Stop Recycling, RC’s Bar and Grill, Traci’s Restaurant, Schaeffer’s Harley Davidson and Bubba’s Bar. Vendors are welcome. For more information, contact Radel at 570-682-9144 or Gene at 570-682-3082.

Around the Region

NASA Letter from SARA: China FAQ and New Volunteer Reviewer Form

July 31, 2012

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Alisher Usmanov Issues Scathing Open Letter, Craps All Over Stan Kroenke’s Ownership » Who Ate all the Pies

July 31, 2012

By Chris Wright

“What’s got two thumbs, three chins and don’t give a crap?”

Arsenal’s second biggest shareholders (the jokes write themselves), Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri, have written an open letter  - obtained by the AP – to openly criticise owner Stan Kroenke’s running of the club after it was made public yesterday that Robin van Persie is to effectively be released back into the wild this summer.

The letter in full (via Arseblog):

“It is down to our manager and not the shareholders to have to deal with the club’s tight finances, carry the burden of repaying the stadium debt by selling his best players and having to continue to find cheaper replacements.

“All of that, naturally, comes at the expense of performance on the pitch. This policy is leading to the loss of our best players, often to our main competitors, and even causes the players themselves to question their future at the club and the club’s ambitions. The situation with our captain and outstanding performer from last season, Robin van Persie, sums this up.

“Tight finances [mean Arsene Wenger is forced into] selling his best players and having to continue to find cheaper replacements. All of that, naturally, comes at the expense of performance on the pitch.

“Yet again we are faced with losing our true marquee player at the club because we cannot assure him of the future direction and given confidence that we can win trophies.

“Where are the safeguards to ensure that this doesn’t happen again and again in the future? As a top club we should, at the very least, match if not beat the offers that other clubs make to try and lure our very best players away, and also provide a more compelling vision of the future.

“You can try and put a good face on a bad game for as long as you want, pontificating about the merits of this model, but it will not hide the obvious fact that it just does not allow our great manager to fully realise his managerial talent and deliver success for the fans who are paying the highest prices in the land.

“It appears that a place in the Champions League will be the pinnacle of our ambition again next season. Unfortunately, in the future we may see this ambition lowered further.”

We’re sure it’s nowt but pure coincidence that the Usmanov letter was released a day after Van Persie’s announcement.

Actually, scratch that. It’s obviously been timed to cause the maximum damage in an attempt to undermine Kroenke entirely. Basically, as we’re led to believe by those much more in tune with boardroom-level machinations at Arsenal, Usmanov wants control.

That said, as someone who owns 29% of the business, he’s perfectly within his rights to voice his concerns over the way the club is ran. That said, the way he’s decided to go about doing it is probably the best measure of the man you’re ever likely to get.

Alisher Usmanov Issues Scathing Open Letter, Craps All Over Stan Kroenke’s Ownership » Who Ate all the Pies

10,000 free Euromillions Lucky Dip entries for Mirror readers for Friday's draw – Mirror Online

July 30, 2012

The National Lottery is set to smash the world record for the most millionaires ever created in one night by guaranteeing that on Friday 27 July, they will create 100 UK millionaires! And we’re giving Mirror readers 10,000 chances to become one of them.

This special one-off EuroMillions UK Millionaire Raffle draw takes place on the Opening Night of the London 2012 Olympic Games, and is a thank you to National Lottery players for the incredible £2.2 billion of funding they will have contributed towards the Games.

We’ve teamed up with The National Lottery to give 100 lucky Mirror readers the chance to bag 100 free EuroMillions Lucky Dip entries EACH! And for every EuroMillions line played you’re automatically entered into the Millionaire Raffle draw. So as well as the chance to win one of the 100 £1 million prizes, you will also be entered into the main EuroMillions draw with its huge multi-million pound jackpot up for grabs.

To win one of the 100 x £1 million EuroMillions Millionaire Raffle prizes, the Millionaire Raffle selection, consisting of three letters and six numbers, found at the bottom of each EuroMillions ticket, needs to match exactly one of the 100 Millionaire Raffle selections drawn.

Get your tickets NOW and remember to check your tickets to find out if you’ve become an overnight millionaire. EuroMillions costs £2 to play, and includes Millionaire Raffle. Tickets are available from over 29,000 National Lottery retailers, online at national-lottery.co.uk and via Play by Text on your mobile

* National Lottery Games Rules and Procedures apply. Players must be aged 16 or over.

For a chance to win 100 EuroMillions Millionaire Raffle selections for Friday’s special EuroMillions draw, correctly answer this question:

(Q) What is the previous world record held by The National Lottery for the number of millionaires created in one draw?

1) 1            2) 2            3) 25

CALL  0901 307 2040  and follow instructions (50p per call)

OR Text  DMLOTTO  followed by a space and then your answer (1, 2 or 3), your name, address, postcode and email address to  85858  (£1/text)

A EuroMillions Lucky Dip Entry

Terms & Conditions

1.   Competition open to UK/Isle of Man residents aged 16 or over excluding employees of the Camelot Group of Companies, the National Lottery Commission, Trinity Mirror plc and their immediate families.

2.   Lines open 00.01 hours Wednesday 25 July, 2012 and close 10am Friday 27 July 2012. Landline calls cost 50p each plus network charges. Mobiles and payphones may he higher. Texts cost 50p each plus one standard network rate message.

3.  No purchase necessary.

4.  One hundred winners selected at random after lines close from all valid entries received. There are a total of 100 prizes, each comprising 100 £2 EuroMillions and UK Millionaire Raffle entries which will be sent via registered post before the EuroMillions draw on Friday 27 July, 2012. Only one set of 100 EuroMillions entries can be won per person. Delivery prior to the draw cannot be guaranteed.

5.  Prizes published in other Trinity Mirror titles, not transferable, no cash alternative

6.  Camelot UK Lotteries Ltd and Trinity Mirror plc cannot be held responsible or accept liability for prizes being lost, delayed or damaged in the post.

7.   This competition is not a game forming part of The National Lottery. This competition is run by Trinity Mirror plc. The prizes are funded by Camelot UK Lotteries Ltd. National Lottery Games Rules and Procedures apply to prizes.

8.   National Lottery logos are used with the consent of Camelot UK Lotteries Ltd, which is the exclusive licensee of the logos, which are owned by the National Lottery Commission.

9. Except to the extent that they may conflict with any provision of these Terms and Conditions or the National Lottery Games Rules and Procedures, Std Trinity Mirror plc Rules apply. See mirror.co.uk/rules

10. Entries not complying with these Terms and Conditions will not be valid.

10,000 free Euromillions Lucky Dip entries for Mirror readers for Friday's draw – Mirror Online

Back to School 2012: Latte ICE Smart 8 GB Smart Media Tablet

July 30, 2012

The Latte ICE Smart 8GB Smart Media Tablet is available at Amazon for $230.10.

Summer is in full swing and the last thing on your mind is heading back to school. Unfortunately it will be here before you know it. The best plan is to get all your supplies now and then sit back and relax and enjoy the rest of your summer with no worries. When you head back to school you will want a great tablet like the Latte ICE Smart 8GB Smart Media Tablet.

Ever feel that tablets are too big to carry around and Smartphone’s are too small to play around? Latte is introducing a Smart Media Player powered by Android 2.3, “Latte ICE Smart”. Latte ICE Smart with its 5″ dual touch screen nicely fits in your hand. Not too big to take everywhere you go and not too small to play games, watch HD videos, and surf the net. This nicely designed palm size Smart Media Player, Latte ICE Smart, is an HD media player, a MP3 player a MP4 player, a photo frame, an eBook reader, an ultimate game machine, an Android TV and it is smart, really smart. 5.0″ TFT Dual Touch Resistive Screen (800 X 480, 16million colors), 1080P Full HD Video Support, 800Mhz fast CPU with built-in 3D accelerator, External Micro SD card slot (Up to 32GB), TV mirroring output via mini HDMI, Wi-Fi (IEEE802.11 b/g), G-sensor, On-The-Go (OTG) function – connect directly to other USB devices (wireless keyboard, mouse, external HDD, digital camera, etc.), Built-in speaker and MIC, Access to countless applications via application marketplaces, Android TV – OTG and screen mirroring function via mini HDM.

The Latte ICE Smart 8GB Smart Media Tablet is available at Amazon for $230.10. I4U News brings you daily shopping tips on new releases, pre-orders, hot deals, sales events and unique gadgets. Read the latest Shopping Tips now.


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Back to School 2012: Latte ICE Smart 8 GB Smart Media Tablet

The Killers Prove They’re A Rock Band In ‘Runaways’ Video

July 30, 2012

The Killers always seem to be a band on a mission. After breaking through with their 2004 debut, Hot Fuss, they returned with Sam’s Town, on which they were determined to silence their critics, pay homage to Bruce Springsteen and dress like riverboat blackjack dealers, all while making — as Brandon Flowers famously put it — “one of the best albums in the past 20 years.”

Of course, the jury’s still out on whether that mission was successful (most critics would certainly disagree with Flowers’ assertion) … so on 2008′s Day & Age, the Killers dialed the ambition — and the bolo ties — back a tad, seemingly content to make the best Duran Duran album since Rio. And in that regard, they succeeded in sparkling, synthesized spades.

So given all that, one has to wonder: What’s the plan for their new album, Battle Born (due September 18)? After all, they’ve already been slightly foppish anglophiles, red-blooded Americans and the heirs to Simon LeBon’s glittery throne. So this time out, they appear ready to try something else entirely: they just want to be a rock and roll band.

This became apparent during their recent run stripped-down shows (which, to be fair, still relied pretty heavily on arena-sized bombast), where there was nary a bedazzled object to be seen on stage. Instead, the Killers dressed in black, ditched the artifice, and just blasted through a series of songs, both old and new. They even appeared to sweat. It was a good look for them.

And now, as further evidence of their transformation, they’ve unveiled the video for Battle Born‘s first single, “Runaways,” a dark, dreamy thing that relies less on razzle-dazzle as it does performance, imagery and metaphor. It is unquestionably the most muted thing they’ve ever done (especially when compared to overwrought epics like “When You Were Young”), little more than a starry sky, a dust-strewn valley and an open stretch of highway. These are all inherently American images, meant to invoke the kind of heart-swelling, lung-expanding pride the Killers have felt for years now, and it’s interesting that this time out, they’ve decided to express those sentiments in delightfully understated ways … especially considering Americans have never really been known for their subtlety.

And come to think of it, neither have the Killers. They’ve always been a band that operates in the most massive way possible. Until now, it would seem. With “Runaways” — and Battle Born — their mission is clear: Forget about the boasts, forget about the baubles; focus on the band. And in that regard, these certainly aren’t the Killers you grew up with; they’re something entirely new … like, for starters, strangely humble.

The Killers Prove They’re A Rock Band In ‘Runaways’ Video

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