To avoid the impact of the Western sanctions on Russian arms exports, a senior legislator has proposed the use of a cryptocurrency backed by gold. The Russian lawmaker who had suggested this idea is Vladimir Gutenev, first deputy head of the economic policy Committee at the State Duma.

Gutenev has also asked the Russian government to suspend all the crucial treaties inked with the US government, including the non-proliferation of missile technology. Furthermore, Gutenev has suggested avoiding US dollar completely and opt for US dollar based commerce. He referred this as an “asymmetric response to the US.”

While speaking to the local media TASS, Gutenev alleged that the US is trying to block Russian arms and civilian goods and the only way to bypass the sanctions is to conduct transactions using gold-backed cryptocurrencies. He further stated that “it will be a very interesting option for China, India, and other states as well.”

Gutenev, however, refrained from pointing to any particular cryptocurrency. Still, one might be reminded about the digitized Royal Mint Gold (RMG) released by the British Royal Mint earlier this year. The cryptos launched by the firm are backed by $1 billion worth gold bars held in the Royal Mint’s vaults. The price of one RMG equals one gram of gold.

There were rumors of Russia planning to launch its own cryptocurrency, named cryptoruble. However, Russian President Putin, despite meeting Vitalik Buterin, has denied such reports.

Colin KaepernickColin Kaepernick and his legal team are savoring a small but important victory in his collusion case against the NFL.

The arbitrator who is overseeing the matter denied the NFL’s bid to have the case thrown out. The NFL had argued Kaepernick and his lawyers did not have sufficient evidence to prove that the league conspired to keep the former quarterback from playing in the NFL.

Arbitrator Stephen Burbank considered arguments from both sides and he concluded that the case should proceed to the dismay of the NFL. This decision would indicate that Kaepernick’s collusion case has merit and that he is deserving of a trial.

Since opting out of his contract in 2017, no teams have signed the former 49er although a few teams appear to have at least considered the possibility.


Does This Decision Mean He Will Win?

This decision is by no means a guarantee that Kaepernick will win. It simply means that Kaepernick and his legal team were successful in blocking the NFL’s bid to throw out the case. It’s uncertain whether this ruling will tip the scales in Kaepernick’s favor but it’s worth mentioning that Burbank will be the one to hear the arguments and ultimately make a ruling on the case.

It seems logical to think that Burbank has seen some compelling evidence. He at least saw enough to allow the case to move forward. Burbank must now decide whether Kaepernick’s lawyers can once again move to obtain documents, digital evidence and additional depositions.

What’s Next?

A trial date is expected to be announced before the end of the year but the issue of additional discovery needs to be decided first. If Burbank allows discovery to be reopened then there will be another round of gathering evidence which would also likely include more depositions from team owners.

Sources have said that Kaepernick’s lawyers will try to obtain a deposition from Donald Trump concerning statements that he made to team owners regarding protests and Kaepernick in particular. Trump’s influence on NFL franchise owners has been a major topic in past depositions.

A lot of questions regarding the path of this collusion complaint remain unanswered but is appears that the most pressing issues have been resolved. The case will press ahead in spite of the NFL’s attempts to stop it and the man who made a ruling in Kaepernick’s favor will have the final say.

North American Securities Administrators AssociationAided by multiple state and provincial securities regulators in Canada and the US, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) is carrying out more than 200 investigations on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and crypto-related investment vehicles. The agency also stated that the continuing investigations are a part of its initiative named “Operation Cryptosweep”, which targets dubious practices in the unregulated cryptocurrency sector.

NASAA, founded in 1919, claims to be the first international agency committed to the protection of investors from financial malpractices. The “Operation Cryptosweep” was launched back in April 2018 to clampdown on deceptive crypto related businesses and ICOs.

Joseph Borg, President of NASAA, stated that enforcement investigations were started after suspecting securities fraud. However, the agency soon identified that many projects were violating several state and provincial security laws. This includes the compulsory requirement for financial institutions to register a product before offering it to prospective investors.

All crypto firms are not shady

Borg, however, agreed that that “not every ICO or cryptocurrency-related investment is a fraud.” Still, he emphasized that investors and firms operating in crypto sector are subject to the provincial and state laws.

The NASAA President further stated that

“Sponsors of these products should seek the advice of knowledgeable legal counsel to ensure they do not run afoul of the law. Furthermore, a strong culture of compliance should be in place before, not after, these products are marketed to investors.”

Borg cautioned investors to avoid trusting an ICO, which claims to be exempt from the prevailing securities laws, and appealed them to inform relevant authorities before committing their “hard-earned money” in cryptocurrency projects.

He further explained that all crypto related investment vehicles must be compulsorily registered with the appropriate regulatory authority for a procedural review. Borg believes that such a process will offer an additional layer of security for investors. Even then, according to Borg, there may be a few fraudulent projects which may creep through the regulatory process successfully.

Aaron RodgersAaron Rodgers watched patiently as other NFl players have signed some very lucrative contracts during the offseason.

Now, the two-time NFL MVP is enjoying his moment in the spotlight after signing a record-breaking four-year contract extension with the Green Bay Packers worth a whopping $134 million. The deal, which is rumoured to include over $100 million in guarantees, could be worth up to $180 million with incentives.

One of the important aspects of the deal from Rodgers’ point of view is the cash that he’ll receive in the first year of the deal. It is expected that Rodgers will be paid $67 million by the end of 2018 and then another $13 million prior to March 17th, 2019.

The two sides started working on an extension in early March when GM Brian Gutekunst stated that the deal would be completed during the offseason.


Comparing Salaries

Matt Ryan signed an extension with the Atlanta Falcons in May which averages $30 million per year. Prior to that, Jimmy Garoppolo inked a deal with the Niners which will see him get an average yearly salary of $27.5 million and Kirk Cousins got the Minnesota Vikings to cough up $28 million per year. When he signed his last deal for $84 million over 3 years, it made him the highest paid player in the league. He was the ninth highest-paid player before signing this new extension and Rodgers is now the highest paid player in the NFL once again.

Rodgers Wants To Finish In Packer Green

Aaron Rodgers has said that he would love to be able to play into his 40s like Tom Brady. Rodgers is now 34 and entering his 14th season but he has only been a starter for 11 of those years having spent three seasons playing behind Brett Favre. Rodgers has said that he wants to finish his illustrious career in Green Bay. The veteran quarterback realizes that most players can’t control how and when their careers end so he vows to play as well as he can for as long as he can.

Rodgers has been a relatively durable player throughout his career but he has sustained a pair of major injuries during the last 5 years. After he suffered a broken left clavicle in 2013, he returned to win the MVP in the following season. Last year, Rodgers broke his right clavicle and missed significant time. Can he bounce back like he did in 2014 is the question that Green Bay Packer fans have on their mind.

Chuck SchumerESPN has alleged received a memo where Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has asked for a federal framework to be put in place for sports betting to be rolled out across the United States.

Among his suggestions, Schumer said that all bookmakers should only use official data that is provided by sports leagues to determine outcomes and that leagues should be part of the decision-making process in determining what bets should be accepted.

Schumer also hinted that he supports the idea of leagues increasing their monitoring but he didn’t go so far as to call for “integrity fees” which would see sports leagues receive compensation for beefing up their security in relation to open sports betting.

He also called for common restrictions such as making it illegal for sports bets to be placed by anyone under 21, gambling companies do not use advertising to target young people and that ads should educate people on the dangers of gambling.

Leagues Could Benefit If Their Data Is Official

Making bookmakers use official data provided by leagues could create a lucrative revenue generator for sporting leagues across the country. However, many opponents of the measure state that doing so would create a monopoly for the leagues and it isn’t an integral component to the “sanctity of a bet”.

Schumer said that his priority is to maintain the integrity of sports and that he doesn’t want to see young people and those with gambling problems taken advantage of.

He feels that it is the federal government’s responsibility to take the lead in providing the required guidance that is needed to prevent uncertainty and confusion among leagues, governments and consumers. It is his opinion that individual states can decide whether or not to legalize sports betting but they shouldn’t be able to make their own rules. The NBA, MLB, and the PGA Tour jointly stated that they support Schumer’s ideas.

Other Leagues Also Show Support

The NFL and NCAA also stated that they applaud Schumer’s leadership on the matter and that maintaining the integrity of sports is of utmost importance. The American Gaming Association (AGA) chimed in as well saying that they shared Schumer’s goal of maintaining integrity in sports and making sure consumers are protected.

Despite the support, it is unlikely that such a bill would be pushed through Congress with just 4 months left in the current session.

The Mississippi House decided to reverse a previous decision and passed a bill on Tuesday that will allow the creation of a state lottery.

Mississippi is a Bible Belt state and a potential state lottery has faced a history of opposition from churches.

The vote was held in a special session a day after the House voted to snuff the bill.

Mississippi is one of just six states that do not have a lottery and there has been pressure from Governor Phil Bryant to create one.
The Governor Bryant took to Twitter to announce his approval and said that it was a historic day in the state and gave legislators a pat on their backs for standing up when it mattered. Supporters of the lottery said that it should be up and running in about a year.

Strong Opposition

The controversial bill had plenty of opposition from Baptist and Pentecostal groups as well as others who referred to a state lottery as a “regressive tax on the poor”. Mississippi’s casino lobby was not against the implementation of a lottery but they were not in favor of a failed bid to introduce video lottery terminals (VLTs) in locations such as truck stops.

Bryant argued that Mississippi’s four neighbouring states have lotteries and that Mississippi residents buy millions of dollars’ worth of lottery tickets from them every year. The lottery bill initially passed the Senate but failed in the House by a 60-54 margin. A day later, 58 voted in favour while 54 opposed it.

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State In Dire Need Of Funding

During the special session, Bryant has been pleading with lawmakers to invest millions of dollars into highways and bridges citing that over 400 bridges in Mississippi are currently closed because they are in a state of disrepair. The Department of Transportation claims that at least $400 million is needed annually to prevent Mississippi’s highways from crumbling.

Proponents of the lottery say that it could add about $40 million to the state’s dwindling coffers in the first year and that number could rise to $80 million in the years that follow.

Republican Representative Bill Denny claimed that he has been against creating a lottery for over 20 years but changed his mind because that is what the majority of his constituents wanted. Denny said that every time he goes to the grocery store he is hounded by people who tell him that a lottery is badly needed.

Novak Djokovic struggling with-rising-temperatures during-first round match at us open 2018For the first time in the US Open’s illustrious history, the men’s matches had to be paused for a 10-minute break because of the stifling heat. Temperatures soared into the mid-90s but the humidity made it feel like it was 105 at Flushing Meadows. While the women’s tour has a rule that calls for a 10-minute break after the second set if temperatures exceed 86.2 Fahrenheit, it is up to the tournament officials in men’s competition. Heeding the advice of the US Open’s medical team, officials allowed the men to take a 10-minute break.

Despite the breaks, the oppressive heat has taken its toll causing a few competitors to drop out. Lithuania’s Ricardis Berankis was forced to retire due to a heat stroke during the fourth set while Italy’s Stefano Travaglia was also forced to call it a day when he was forced out by cramps that were brought on by the heat.

The heat policy which is currently in effect is still being enforced at the discretion of tournament officials who say that it could be dropped on short notice if it cools off. The forecast for Wednesday calls for temperatures to be in the mid-90s. The heat rule doesn’t make the 10-minute breaks mandatory. Play can go uninterrupted if both players agree to play on but the 10-minute break starts if one player elects to leave the court. Coaching and medical treatment are prohibited during these breaks.


Tough To Come Out Of The Break

Marton Fucsovics took an ice bath during his break but regretted it as he tightened up on returning to the court and was easily defeated by Novak Djokovic.

Andrea Petkovic also regretted how she spent her time during a break in her match against Jelena Ostapenko at Louis Armstrong Stadium. She said that it felt it was extremely hot on the court once she returned from resting in an air-conditioned room. Players use to warmer climates such as Florida resident Caroline Wozniacki brush the searing heat off a little more easily and pointed out that it’s the same for both players.

Closing The Roof – An Option

The rules make no provisions for closing the roofs at Arthur Ashe Stadium or Louis Armstrong Stadium because of the heat. However, the United States Tennis Association’s communications director confirmed that the idea was being explored for Tuesday’s late matches.

Gaming operators in Kenya have not had a good year in 2018 as the government has made things difficult for them in a number of ways. Kenya’s gambling industry is currently very unhappy with the 35 percent tax rate that was put into effect this from January 1st and industry representatives say that the new tax regime is taking a severe toll on stakeholders.

The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) has put forward a proposal to impose a gambling advertisement ban from 5 am to 10 pm. The idea behind the ban is to protect minors from being exposed to gambling ads. This new proposal on advertising regulations has not gone down well with betting operators who feel they are being subject to far too many regulations.

Lawmakers in Kenya might bend to pressure and reduce the 35 percent tax that currently applies to betting and gaming. The Star reported that the Kenyan government is debating amendments to the Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act and that a lower tax rate could be implemented if it gets support in parliament. It is expected that the tax rate will drop down to 15 percent.

The hefty tax rate was imposed on gambling and betting providers in Kenya was done when Finance Bill 2017 was passed and signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The steep tax rate, which has been in effect since January 1st, 2018, has created a lot of protest from companies that are affected. On top of the 35 percent tax on their betting revenues, Kenya’s licensed operators are also subject to a 30 percent corporate tax and they must also give 25 percent of their total sales to fund social programs which include sponsorships for sports. Legislators discussed on Monday, the possibility of cutting the social program share to 5 percent is being discussed as part of Financial Bill 2018.

Proposed Tax Rate Will Be Across All Services

When the 35 percent tax rate came into effect in January, Kenya became the most expensive country in Africa to run a gambling operation in. Prior to that, tax rates varied depending on the kind of gambling service offered. Companies that ran lotteries were taxed at a rate of 5 percent while a 7.5 percent rate was applied to sports betting revenue. The tax rate for casinos was set at 12 percent. If the tax rate is changed then all gambling services will be subject to the 15 percent tax rate.

The New York Giants and Odell Beckham Jr. have come to an agreement that will keep their superstar wide receiver in a Giants uniform for the next 5 years.

Based on news reports in circulation, it is believed that the deal is worth a staggering $95 million with $65 million coming in as a guaranteed payment.

Beckham Jr. made headlines when he skipped out on team activities this past May. It was later reported that this absence was directly related to his hope of getting a new deal done.

Co-owner John Mara publicly stated in June that the team wanted Beckham Jr. in a Giants uniform till he retires from the sport. Beckham Jr., who has been selected to the Pro Bowl three times and was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2014 was happy to stay on with the Giants.

After the deal was done, Beckham’s teammate, Roger Lewis, posted a video of the new multi-millionaire dancing in the locker room.

Impressive Numbers

The deal was always contingent on both sides being able to make the finances work. Beckham Jr.’s cap hit was just $3.3 million in 2017 but that came to an end in October when he broke his ankle. He has played 43 games throughout his young career and he has put up some incredible numbers. His states show 288 catches, 35 touchdowns and 4,122 receiving yards including his 101 catches for 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2016.

During the four games that Beckham participated in during the 2017 NFL season, he reeled in 25 catches and 3 scores for a total of 302 yards. He was on pace for another stellar season until he got hurt. The young wide receiver is entering his prime and should be an impact player for years to come.


Mixed Emotions And Thankful

Beckham Jr. gave thanks to Mr. Mara, Steve Tisch, Mr. Gettleman, and his coach along with veteran quarterback Eli Manning and all of his other teammates that helped him succeed. He also took the time to thank God and his family for standing by him throughout his journey.

In a statement, Beckham said

Honestly, I don't even know how to explain it. I don't know if it's a relief, I don't know – it's a combination of everything. You've worked all your life to get to this point and it's finally here

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has formed a special division to update its intellectual assets in the wake of budding technologies like artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency and blockchain. The new division will carry out research and perhaps draft rules, while monitoring new age technologies in the future, two people acquainted with the central bank’s agenda revealed.

One of the insider quoted above said “As a regulator, the RBI also has to explore new emerging areas to check what can be adopted and what cannot. A central bank has to be on top to create regulations. This new unit is on an experimental basis and will evolve as time passes.”

The one month old division is yet to appoint a chief general manager. Furthermore, the central bank is yet to make a formal announcement about the division. Analysts have opined that RBI is acting in the manner it should, considering the huge impact blockchain technology is making across the globe.

Commenting on RBI’s initiative, Piyush Singh, managing director-financial services, Asia Pacific and Africa, at Accenture,

“Unless regulators are part of the ecosystem, they understand and have a clear indication of what is accepted and what is not, it can neither protect the industry it regulates nor the consumers who use it.”

This is particularly true in the financial landscape where paper-based guidelines are outdated due to the arrival of digital technologies. From RBI’s standpoint, it is the perfect thing to do.
Notably, RBI has setup this division even while issuing frequent warnings on cryptocurrency trading.

When Bitcoin reached its historic high of about $20,000 in December 2017, RBI cautioned investors and traders of digital currencies, including Bitcoins about the implied “economic, financial, operational, legal, customer protection and security-related risks associated in dealing with virtual currencies”.

“These ideas have all taken fruit after governor [Urjit] Patel took charge two years ago. Another similar idea is the setting up of a new data sciences laboratory, which was announced in the April monetary policy,”

Back in April, RBI stated that it would establish a data sciences laboratory with professionals from statistics, data analytics, computer science, econometrics, economics and finance background. The goal is to utilize data, real time information and analytics for different RBI activities such as inflation targeting, policy enforcement and banking regulations. The proposed division is expected to begin working in December 2018.