Ohio State cancels football series with North Carolina

Members of the OSU football team huddle around coach Urban Meyer during the first day of fall practice Aug. 4 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus.Credit: Tim Moody / Lantern sports editorTwo potential Ohio State football games have ended before they were ever started.OSU’s scheduled home-and-home series with the University of North Carolina, originally set for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, has been cancelled, according to OSU associate athletic director Martin Jarmond.Jarmond, who handles most of OSU’s football scheduling, confirmed the cancellation to The Lantern, saying that it was a mutual decision between both schools, based upon the switch to a nine-game in-conference schedule in the Big Ten and other scheduling changes underway in the ACC.“We worked with UNC to provide both us and them some scheduling flexibility with the things going on in the Big Ten and some things that they were doing in the ACC,” Jarmond said. “We tried to make it work, but we couldn’t get it done.”With games cancelled in both 2017 and 2018, Jarmond said OSU will fill the two holes in the schedule left by the Tar Heels sooner rather than later.“We’re going to have something very soon with that game in ’17 and that game in ’18,” Jarmond said. “We’ve been working with other non-conference schools to get those games scheduled.”When the Big Ten made the change to create a nine-game in-conference schedule, Jarmond knew that scheduling issues, such as this one, were bound to arise.“I wouldn’t say you ‘expect’ a series to have to be cancelled, but going to the nine games did create some flux,” Jarmond said. “You know going in that you have to re-adjust and re-calibrate your schedule and you never hope that a series is going to cancel, but we knew with the changes in the Big Ten that it was going to be in flux trying to schedule.”Looking at further future non-conference schedules for OSU, the Buckeyes are still set to face the University of Oklahoma in Columbus in 2017 after a road matchup in 2016 and Texas Christian University away in 2018, before TCU heads back to Columbus the following year.The Buckeyes are set to kick off their 2014 season against Navy at noon on Aug. 30 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. read more

Ohio States Jalin Marshall ready for extended role

Redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall (17) carries the ball during a game against Michigan State on Nov. 8 in East Lansing, Mich. OSU won, 49-37. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorAfter weeks of sharing the spotlight with Dontre Wilson, redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall is set to have his own stage on Saturday.With sophomore H-back Wilson out for the foreseeable future with a broken foot, Marshall is expected to get the majority of the reps at H-back, something he said he is excited for.“When me and Dontre were sharing the position, we did share reps, so this just gives me the opportunity to play a little bit more,” Marshall said Wednesday. “I feel like I am ready to take on that role to play a little bit more at the H-back position.”Marshall has lined up in multiple spots all over the field this season, including quarterback in a wildcat formation.The Middletown, Ohio, native played quarterback throughout high school and threw for 2,240 yards as a senior.Marshall said he’s had fun taking on different roles in the offense.“I definitely enjoy it. It is fun for me to be at different positions around the field. I get a kick out of playing quarterback just because that is where I came from,” Marshall said. “Every time they say ‘go in at quarterback,’ I take it to the most advantage I can.”OSU coach Urban Meyer compared Marshall’s skill set to one of his former players and a current NFL star.“The thing I always look at is Joe Haden was a quarterback in high school. You’re not just going to put your best player out there for 30 plays a game at corner,” Meyer said. “If he’s a great player, he’s going to touch the football.”Marshall has gotten exactly 45 touches this season — 17 carries, 14 receptions, 11 punt returns, two kick returns and one pass attempt — and has scored three times in his first season of action as a Buckeye.Marshall said his experience at quarterback has helped him on the field this season at the H-back spot.“We are taught as receivers to read defenses because you have to know when you are getting the ball and when you are not,” Marshall said. “It helped me out a bit coming from the quarterback position.”He added that he tries to keep his arm warm on the sideline, just in case he is called upon to attempt a pass.“I try to swing it around a little bit, I don’t try to give it away to the fans as much,” Marshall said. “They are yelling down, ‘Jalin, throw one, throw one,’ I don’t control that so I just try to warm up a little bit with the quarterbacks before the game just in case I have to go out there and throw a pass.”Marshall has attempted one pass this season, as a throw downfield intended for redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Michael Thomas fell incomplete in a game against Illinois.After the game against the Fighting Illini, Meyer said Marshall’s role in the offense is expanding not only because of his skill set, but also because of necessity.“We’ve been working on Jalin playing quarterback first because he’s very talented,” Meyer said Nov. 1. “Second of all … you hear these stories, I’ve never been down to our third- and fourth-string quarterback, but you always try to be ready in case something happens. And he’s a gifted guy. So we’re going to expand his package each week.”Despite the excitement of extended playing time, Marshall said he and the Buckeyes are focused on the task at hand: beating Minnesota.“We got to take it one week at a time,” Marshall said. “This is a big game, Minnesota just cracked the top-25 (in the College Football Playoff rankings) and I feel like we have to prepare this week, just as we did last week.”The Buckeyes are scheduled to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers at noon Saturday in Minneapolis. read more

Football Former Ohio State running back Brionte Dunn found not guilty on

Then-redshirt-sophomore running back Bri’onte Dunn (25) carries the ball during the 2014 OSU Spring Game on at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Lantern file photoBri’onte Dunn, a former backup running back at Ohio State from 2012-15, was found not guilty on two counts of rape, according to the case docket with the Franklin County Clerk of Courts. A third count of rape had been previously dismissed by prosecutors. Facing 22 yards in prison, Dunn was charged on Oct. 5, 2017, with forcing himself on a woman three times after she had picked him up after him being stranded on Aug. 20, 2017. Dunn testified Thursday he had casual, but consensual sex with this women he met on a dating app last year, according to the Columbus Dispatch.  Dunn was dismissed from the Ohio State football team in 2015 for a violation of team rules. He was later charged with domestic violence and assault, though the charges of domestic violence were dismissed. He was found guilty on charges of assault on Feb. 6, 2017, and was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 730 days of probation, according to court documents. The 180-day sentence was suspended and not served. read more

Time to think about the best watch for back to school

first_img Sarah Tew/CNET Apple Watch Series 4 reading • Time to think about the best watch for back to school Apple revamped the whole feel of its watch a year ago, adding a larger screen and some extras like ECG to spot-check your heart rhythm, or fall detection. You could also just get the older Series 3 and still have GPS, music, on-wrist Apple Pay and speakerphone functions. Apple Watch is absolutely the best way to stay connected on your wrist, and it’s a fun fitness companion. But its limited battery life and higher price, and need for an iPhone to use, might not fit everyone. (And again, you should wait to see what Apple announces in September!)A note on pricing: For the Series 4, don’t pay more than $350 for the 40mm version, or $380 for the 44mm (with standard bands and no cellular). That’s $50 off the Apple Store price, and the general “street price” for these models. For the Series 3, you want to get the 38mm for $200 or less, the 42mm for $230 or less — that’s $80 off list price. See at Amazon 1 Fitbit Versa Lite Read about the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Comment Aug 30 • Hate subscription software? Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements are on sale for $60 each Read about Fitbit’s latest trackers Read the Amazfit Bip review Aug 29 • Best college laptops for 2019 If you’re a serious runner who wants something with longer battery life for GPS, Garmin’s smartwatch might be for you. It lasts about 13 hours on standalone GPS, or a week for everyday on-wrist use. A step-up model offers music, if you think you’d want that. Aug 29 • Our favorite back-to-school picks for 2019 Fitbit’s attempt at a smartwatch works best as a casual way to track stats and load a variety of crazy watch faces. It can be worn while swimming (but only the step-up regular Versa can do swim tracking), has a longer battery life (lasting four days) so it can track sleep, gets phone notifications, and tracks heart rate, but it doesn’t have GPS (you can use your phone’s GPS to track runs, though). Still, for everyday fitness, it’s an excellent budget choice at around $160. But again, you can also wait to see if any price drops or updates come in the fall. Amazfit Bip Read the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active review Josh Miller/CNET See at Amazon Wearable Tech Angela Lang/CNET Fitbit Fitness Apple Share your voice See at Amazon Aug 29 • Save up to $500 on Microsoft Surface laptops and tablets Samsung may also have a new watch soon, so let’s see what happens. But the version that arrived in the spring is a great, affordable, full-featured $200 watch that can do almost anything, and pairs well with Android phones. Samsung’s fitness tracking features are also a lot better than you might think. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active Samsung Galaxy Watch Active and Apple Watch Series 4. Angela Lang/CNET School is closer than you think, and odds are, you’ll be running around a lot once you’re back. Something useful on your wrist could help, as long as you know what you want to use it for. Smartwatches and fitness trackers can be fantastic companions for a busy campus life, from the obviously popular Apple Watch to social fitness companions like Fitbit. Whether you value staying connected to your phone, high-performance fitness tracking, or a little helpful motivation on a budget, here are some solid picks.These all come with one giant caveat, however: Students may wish to ask for an IOU for now. That’s because Apple is expected to release its newest watches in the fall — and other brands may well follow. That said, if you need something now, here are our top picks.Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.   See at Amazon Back-to-School Tech Gift Guide Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Garmin Vivoactive 3 The Bip is affordable, and its battery life and always-on screen are great. It’s almost like a modern version of a Casio watch. The phone app feels a little off-brand compared to Samsung, Fitbit, Google and Apple’s apps, but it’s fine. The best part of Bip is how long the battery life is (weeks), and how it can be worn anywhere, even swimming. The Bip can do some basic fitness tracking, but it’s great as a casual watch that can also get phone notifications. And it’s usually $80 or less.Read: Apple Watch vs. Amazfit Bip See All • See at Amazon Sarah Tew/CNET Tags Andrew Hoyle/CNET Read the Apple Watch Series 4 reviewlast_img read more

Former Unilever COO Harish Manwani may succeed Cyrus Mistry as Tata Sons

first_imgHarish Manwani, the former chief operating officer of Unilever, is being considered as the top contender in the running for the chairmanship of Tata Sons.Manwani was appointed as the global COO for Unilever in June 2011. He retired in December 2014, after more than 38 years of service.According to Sky News, the 62-year-old is likely to replace ousted Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry. The names of Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Indra Nooyi and Arun Sarin are also being considered.Tata Sons, the over 100 billion dollar conglomerate, has set up a team to scout for a new chairman within next four months. The team includes Ratan Tata, Venu Srinivasan, Amit Chandra, Ronen Sen and Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya.The Cyrus Mistry-Ratan Tata row has led to many unsavoury developments since the ouster of Mistry on October 24, including high-profile exits and defamation suits. Nusli Wadia, whose ouster from many Tata Group companies is almost imminent, has threatened to sue the Tata Group for “false” and “defamatory” allegations made against him.Despite his removal, Mistry continues to head the group’s several listed firms such as Tata Motors, Tata Power, Tata Steel and Tata Chemicals. Several Tata Group firms have called for EGMs, with Tata Consultancy Services on December 13, Indian Hotels on December 20, Tata Motors on December 22 and Tata Chemicals on December 23 to seek Mistry’s ouster.Tata Power will be declaring its Q2 results on November 29.last_img read more

Can This 24YearOlds Startup Prevent 86 Percent of Traffic Accidents

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 4 min read March 15, 2017 Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Though convenient, automotive transportation can be deadly. Over 35,000 people lost their lives in traffic accidents in 2015 (the last full year available), and more than 30,000 fatalities occur annually.Related: Is America Too ‘Safe’ for Innovation? Or Will Driverless Cars Ever Have Their Day? Prevention is is an area where businesses are active — with some working to create autonomous vehicles that eliminate human error altogether, and other, perhaps more practical, startups, striving to assist business owners, teens and other drivers to curb their driving mistakes, some of them fatal.Certainly, autonomous cars are nice, in theory, but a number of logistical and legal hurdles are preventing them from becoming a practical reality. Nor is their widespread adoption likely any time soon.But, what if a new app and technology could prevent up to 86 percent of traffic accidents altogether?Enter ITFT Innovative Technology for Transportation (ITFT) is a North Carolina-based company, currently in its crowdfunding stage, which has designed a Safe Driving System, (SDS) whose up-and-coming app and technology is designed to prevent speeding and reckless driving.The U.S. Department of Transportation has calculated that 94 percent of all traffic accidents are attributable to human error, so the Safe Driving System is designed to reduce those errors through controls and notifications that limit driver behavior.Compatible with any car manufactured since 1996, the Safe Driving System will be targeted primarily toward teenagers (and their reasonably worried parents). When the SDS is installed, parents will receive alerts whenever their teens drive over a designated speed threshold and when they make it to their destinations safely (or, less happily, when an accident has occurred).Related: Driverless Cars Won’t Make Roadways Perfectly SafeThe technology, however, also applies to businesses: It will be available to employers to keep track of their company vehicles and employee-drivers.Plus, individuals can use the SDS to gain a better awareness of their personal driving habits and to block distracting apps on their mobile devices (while they retain access to necessary phone and navigation functions).ITFT is further working on a “panic button,” designed for integration with ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. If pressed, the panic button will simultaneously alert local authorities and force the vehicle to come to a stop, while recording video and audio of the scene. Then, the door will automatically unlock, allowing the passenger to exit safely. The button will be available for both drivers and passengers.The competitionITFT isn’t the first company developing technology designed to help drivers and prevent traffic accidents, but it is one of the only solutions capable of issuing both speed and reckless driving alerts. Zubie, for example, was designed as a GPS tracker for teenage drivers, but can’t alert parents when their teenagers are going over the speed limit.Instead, its technology is designed to send alerts when the car goes over a manually set speed. Hum, by Verizon, works similarly.Almost every solution now on the market will come with a monthly or yearly fee, usually in the neighborhood of $10 per month. The founderThe founder of ITFT, Matthew Godley, has said he was inspired to create the system after experiencing the deaths of community members in traffic accidents. Still relatively young, Godley, now 24, has assembled a team of engineers, innovators and advisors to help make his vision a reality.Start EngineCurrently, ITFT is listed on Start Engine, a crowdfunding website designed to help entrepreneurs meet their fundraising goals with the help of the general public. Until the offering deadline of April 2, 2017, investors can purchase up to 100,000 series B non-voting common shares of the company at a price of $10 per share. The future of accident prevention Chances are, the SDS is just the beginning of a new wave of technology aimed to help control traffic accidents in this country. Some companies are targeting the improvement of vehicles, with higher safety standards, automated elements, and in some cases, full autonomy. However, the other side of the equation is the driver: Until autonomous cars become reality, controlling driver behavior is the best tool available for limiting traffic accidents.Related: This Startup Aims to Make Sure Driverless Cars Don’t Run You OverThe more we learn about our own driving habits and the driving habits of our loved ones, the fewer risks we’ll face in our daily commutes and adventures. And while our dashboards currently provide us with baseline information to guide our operations, new technology like the SDS will help us alter our behaviors and motivate us to drive more responsibly. Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now »last_img read more

Satellite still has the edge over other distributi

first_imgSatellite still has the edge over other distribution technologies in CEE, according to a panel of operators speaking at the Digital TV CEE conference in Budapest.Satellite operators has the advantage of delivering content to a large-scale audience at a fixed cost and because there is no economic case for investing in high-capacity fixed networks across much of the region, according to panelists.Stanislav Georgiev, head of media broadcasting, Telekom Austria Group said satellite penetration in the region was up to 45% in some markets. “It is going to grow because pay TV is still growing in the region. It has an important role to play in delivering pay TV revenues,” he said, noting that there has been a lot of discussion around “new things” such as multiscreen TV and OTT that “deliver about 1% of revenues”.Georgiev said that satellite operators would be unable to do much about the trend towards OTT and non-linear viewing and may need to consolidate in a few years’ time. “There is a trend and an increase in non-linear consumption, but is it at the expense of linear consumption. We are not that scared that linear  is going to disappear. We see growth of subscribers and growth in our revenue in the coming years,” he said.Georgiev said that the CEE region is more conservative about changing viewing habits and less able and willing to spend a lot of money on additional services. Telekom Austria typically bundles satellite TV with broadband and mobile services, including mobile broadband, and TV is seen as a way to provide a full service rather than a huge revenue generator in its own right.Apolotolos Triantafyllou, SVP of sales for DACH, CEE, Israel, Caucuasus and Central Asia, Eutelsat said that satellite still had a role to play “because there isn’t enough money to build terrestrial networks – it’s as simple as that”.Operators nevertheless admitted that growth is declining.Tryantafyllou said that markets are maturing and growth is slowing. However,  he  said there is also “nothing to prevent us distributing OTT. Eutelsat is trying hard to come up with an OTT over satellite solution. We think the industry should do the same. If broadband can be delivered via satellite, OTT is an opportunity rather than a problem.”Eyal Altshuler, VP sales CEE, Spacecom said that growth was mostly coming from within existing customers rather than from new launches, with HD and now 4K providing additonal demand for capacity.Lev Petukhov, head of web projects department at Russian satellite pay TV operator NTV+, said that satellite would remain at the core of NTV+’s business. He said that distributing content to a country like Russia had its challenges. He said that the operators could provide satellite services for summer homes and complement that with IP-delivered services in cities to apartment complexes.last_img read more

Mark Harrison The BBCs director of transformation

first_imgMark HarrisonThe BBC’s director of transformation for design and engineering, Mark Harrison, is stepping down to lead the Digital Production Partnership (DPP).Harrison is due to leave the BBC on March 31 to devote more time to the DPP, where he has been seconded part time from the BBC since April 2015 to work as its managing director.Harrison will continue to act as MD of the DPP, while upping his work around strategic leadership, authorship and presentation of the DPP’s insights, membership growth and international relationships.The DPP is a membership-based, not-for-profit company, founded by its shareholders – UK terrestrial broadcasters ITV, the BBC and Channel 4.The DPP defines itself not as a standards body, but as an organisation that aims, through its membership, to bring the understanding of business needs and requirements to make common standards and specifications effective.Its three areas of work revolve around generating insights, enabling change and creating market opportunities.“We are thrilled with the success of the DPP to date and want to build on this in a way that will keep pace with ever-accelerating industry demands,” said DPP chair and ITV’s director of broadcast operations, Helen Stevens.“Having more of Mark helps us do just that – he is a great leader for the DPP and has been instrumental in our achievements so far. We are delighted to have more of his time and look forward to delivering in 2017”.last_img read more

Scripps Networks Interactive is launching Food Net

first_imgScripps Networks Interactive is launching Food Network as a free-to-air channel in Italy. The channel will launch on May 8 as the first dedicated multi-platform food entertainment channel in the country, according to Scripps.o accompany the on-air offering, Food Network will launch a localized website featuring tested recipe collections, tips and food hacks. In addition to a social media presence on Facebook and Instagram to showcase exclusive clips and behind the scenes content.Scripps Networks has appointed Viacom International Media Networks Pubblicita’ & Brand Solutions to represent Food Network’s advertising sales efforts for both linear and digital properties.Scripps already operates its Fine Living lifestyle channel as a free-to-air network on the Italian digital-terrestrial platform. According ot the company, Fine Living grew its ratings in the country by 33% last year and achieved a 36% in total TV share.Phillip LuffFood Network will offer a mix of local original productions and flagship international shows across genres including culinary entertainment, competitions series and in the kitchen cooking techniques. In addition to original local commissions, which will be produced in Italian, all programming will be dubbed in Italian.“The launch of Food Network in Italy, a key growth market for Scripps Networks Interactive, represents a significant milestone in the global expansion of this brand,” said Phillip Luff, managing director, UK & EMEA, Scripps Networks Interactive.“Italy offers a rich and dynamic culture, where food is in people’s DNA, and Food Network’s unique and entertaining programming will engage the many millions of Italians who celebrate food.”last_img read more

By Marin Katusa Chief Energy Investment Strategis

first_imgBy Marin Katusa, Chief Energy Investment StrategistIn its later days, the Soviet Union was desperate for strong leadership. Instead the country found itself with a succession of weak leaders who kept dying on the job.Leonid Brezhnev helmed the country for 18 years until his death in 1982. Yuri Andropov took over after Brezhnev’s passing but suffered renal failure within a few months. He continued to govern from the hospital for another year before dying just 15 months after taking office.The next leader of the USSR did not even last that long. Konstantin Chernenko was 72 years old and in poor health when sworn in as First Secretary in early 1984. In March 1985, after only 13 months in office, Chernenko died, the third Soviet leader to die in less than three years.When Ronald Reagan was informed of Chernenko’s passing, the US president supposedly said, “How am I supposed to get any place with the Russians if they keep dying on me?”This may be just what the next US president has to say about Saudi Arabia.The resemblances are uncanny. The USSR in its later years was a socially repressed and ethnically divided society in a resource-rich but economically poor country, led by an autocratic ensemble of old men who kept dying and yet had no clear plans for succession, set smack in the middle of a global battle for power.You only have to change a few words for the description to suit today’s Saudi Arabia.Saudi is not poor, but it is facing major economic challenges as dramatic increases in social spending and domestic fuel consumption eat through the kingdom’s all-important oil revenues.Saudi may not be fighting the Cold War, but it is smack in the middle of the Middle East, an ever-tumultuous region currently rocking and roiling more than usual as the Arab Spring challenges longstanding autocratic assumptions, while war-torn Syria and defiant Iran tip the delicate Sunni-Shia religious balance in the world’s most important oil region.While the House of Saud might present itself as a stable, strong, and cohesive royal family, in truth the king and his successors are growing old and incapacitated in a throne room full of competing contenders. Meanwhile, the only other organized social group in the country – the Islamists – are waiting just outside the door.You want a surefire way to send oil to $300 a barrel, to see Saudi troops attack Tehran, or to strangle US oil imports? Try a failed succession battle in the House of Saud that ends up destroying the whole family and ushering in an Islamist age in Saudi Arabia.There is little that could rock the oil world more. And it is all too likely.A Shaky House of SaudThe king of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Aziz bin Saud, is almost 90 years old. In Saudi Arabia’s royal system, the throne passes not from father to son but from brother to brother. The problem with the system is that none of King Abdullah’s brothers are exactly young and full of vigor.Crown Prince Salman, next in line to the throne, is already 76. He got the Crown Prince nod after two of his elder brothers died. The remaining brothers now average 80 years of age.A king who ascends the throne in his seventh or eighth decade is unlikely to have the energy or even the time to enact significant reforms. And reforms are needed. I’m not pushing democracy – Saudis don’t generally want democracy. What I’m talking about are the endemic problems that are battering the world’s biggest oil producer: high unemployment, a corrupt bureaucracy, a crippled economy, a weak education system, and a society full of frustrated youth.While the country crumbles, the three pillars that have long supported the royal family are also weakening. Massive oil revenues, which have long been used to buy public support, are being squeezed by sharply increased domestic demand. The Wahhabi Islamic establishment that supported the House of Saud is increasingly fractious and is losing credibility. And the royal family itself is struggling to maintain its rock-solid façade after losing two crown princes to old age in just a few years.The country’s foreign relations are little better. The Middle East is in turmoil, and Saudi Arabia’s longstanding alliance with the United States is in distress.Alongside these tangible problems is a multitude of intangible challenges that are revolutionizing the country. The regime used to control the population by controlling access to information, but of course that age is now almost over. The Internet has connected young Saudis with the rest of the world, and that worldview is prompting them to question some of the rules of their society.Even the religious establishment in Saudi Arabia is seeing its power eroded. Young Saudis are increasingly independent, using the Koran to guide their decisions without following specific decrees from a particular religious leader.The fact is, Saudi society today bears little resemblance to the passive masses of just a decade ago, and a decade from now the difference will be even bigger.Trying to lead his country through these modern challenges is a 90-year-old king, backed by a 76-year-old crown prince and their octogenarian brothers.Not surprisingly, it’s not working very well.New Battles, Old TacticsWhen the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt sparked protests in Saudi Arabia, the protesters were not demanding democracy or trying to oust the royal family. No, the young Saudis who filled those streets had more basic demands.At the top of the list is jobs – 60% of Saudi’s citizens are under the age of 20, and the unemployment rate for young adults is nearly 40%. These young people want to be given the opportunity to better themselves and their country, but instead they cannot find work and live instead on government handouts.Adding fuel to the fire, those handouts have been shrinking. Saudi Arabia’s population has skyrocketed in the last half century. In 1972 the country had 6 million inhabitants; by 1992 that number had climbed to 17 million; and today there are 28 million Saudi Arabians. Oil incomes have climbed too, but not nearly apace. As such the government has been struggling to keep the population appeased with fewer dollars per head every year.The population keeps growing, and each person in the kingdom keeps using more oil. The result: shrinking oil revenues have to go further. It’s not a recipe for success, but when you’re 89 years old, you go with what has worked in the past.And that is precisely what happened in the wake of the Arab Spring: King Abdullah drowned the protestors in money – a $130-billion social-spending package that built new housing, increased payrolls, and boosted unemployment payouts. Saudi Arabia’s entire annual budget is just $180 billion, so the king almost doubled spending to appease the protestors.This tactic cannot work forever. Even in Saudi Arabia there is only so much oil money. The Saudi royals already need an oil price of at least $80 a barrel to support all their social programs, and with domestic oil consumption rocketing upward, that baseline price will keep climbing.But the unrest continues.The Summer of Saudi DiscontentAfter King Abdullah offered billions of dollars in social spending, many protestors went home… except in the country’s oil-rich eastern provinces, where the protests never stopped.For the last 18 months Saudis in the eastern Qatif region have been demonstrating regularly, demanding the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression, and an end to ethnic and religious discrimination. When Saudi security forces turned on the demonstrators last November, killing five, the protests took on a distinctly anti-Saud tone.In June, King Abdullah ordered the country’s security forces to go on a state of high alert due to what he called a “turbulent situation” in the eastern region.The unspoken side to the situation is that the turbulence is distinctly religious.Most Saudis are Sunni Muslims, and Sunni Islam is the only allowed religion in the country. However, 15% of the country’s inhabitants are Shia, and they have faced direct and indirect persecution for decades.Guess where the Shia live? In those turbulent, oil-rich eastern provinces.That is one aspect of Saudi discontent. But there are more.For example, last week Saudi security forces raided al-Qaida cells in Jeddah and Riyadh. Evidence recovered during the raids supports the suspicion that a new branch in the Arabian Peninsula is gathering momentum for a wave of attacks. The royal family is at the top of their list of targets. Toppling the House of Saud would be a major victory for al Qaida, simply because of the instability that would ensue.All told, between external threats, internal divisions, and domestic struggles, the Saudi royal family looks very unstable indeed. So what would happen if the House of Saud crumbled?Remember, religion is the only social structure in Saudi Arabia. There are no political parties, unions, or social organizations, aside from a few charities run by members of the royal family. Were the House of Saud to fail, the only candidates ready to step up would be the Islamists.The shift to Islamist rule in Egypt has made the world pretty nervous. Longstanding allegiances are in limbo, and long-term relationships are changing.Imagine if it happened in Saudi Arabia.Islamist leadership in Saudi would not be the moderate, democratic version we’re seeing in Egypt. The Islamists in Saudi Arabia are Wahhabi Muslims, who practice the strictest and most conservative version of the religion. I can see these imams making several moves.First, a Saudi Arabia led by Wahhabi Islamists would not stay at peace with the Shia Islamic Republic of Iran. Both branches of Islam believe the other has strayed so far from the path that its followers are infidels. Odds of open war between Saudi Arabia and Iran would shoot sky-high the moment Islamists took power in Saudi Arabia.Even worse, a Wahhabi Islamist Saudi Arabia might well turn its strongest weapon against the infidels of the West – by turning off the oil taps. It would be the 1973 oil crisis all over again, but in an even more oil-dependent world.The price of oil shot up 300% in six months during the oil crisis. Today, that would mean an oil price of $300 per barrel.It would also mean the end of the era of friendly US-Saudi relations… and the demise of the petrodollar. That is a story in itself – one of great significance to anyone who owns US dollars. I have discussed previously how a US-Saudi deal to only use dollars to trade oil created a deep pool of support for the US’s currency – and what will happen if the petrodollar dies. The short version is that as the global oil trade moves away from US dollars into yuan, yen, rubles, and pesos, the world would have yet another reason to devalue the dollar.Expensive oil, open Sunni-Shia war in the Middle East, the loss of one of the world’s biggest oil producers as a stalwart ally, and an inevitable increase in religious politics across the Arabian Peninsula – such are the likely outcomes if the House of Saud comes tumbling down.It is not inevitable. There are 7,000 princes in the Saud royal family, the result of multiple wives and lots of progeny. In that mix there is undoubtedly a prince with the right mix of progressive thought and religious reverence to lead Saudi Arabia through its succession and into the future.But whenever a throne room is that crowded, it is very easy for a brawl to break out, depriving that perfect prince of his chance and giving the Islamists their opening.Either way, oil investors with the right picks in their portfolio will prosper, and the Casey Research energy team will be available to guide you along the way.Investment markets are getting more interesting by the day right now, and nowhere is this more true than in the energy sector. I’ll be speaking on that topic at the upcoming New Orleans Investing Conference, held October 24-27. Doug Casey and Louis James, our metals and mining investment strategist, will also be presenting. Check it out at the link above – we hope to see you there. Additional Links and ReadsMarin Katusa Discusses Opportunities in the Coal Sector (BNN)Coal prices have slid significantly over the last year, and our chief energy Investment strategist believes that spells opportunity in the long run. In this Business News Network interview, Marin explains that the cure for low coal prices is more low prices. He also reveals when investors should start picking up their favorite stocks in anticipation of a rebound.Rail Gains Steam As a Crude Oil Mover (Globe and Mail)Canada’s oil patch is quietly sending large new volumes of oil on rail cars, as it fights to overcome opposition to plans for new pipelines to the US Gulf Coast and Canada’s west coast. Some 80,000 barrels of Canadian oil are being moved by rail every day, up dramatically from just 5,000 barrels a day last year, and volumes are expected to rise to 200,000 barrels per day next year.Fracking Banned by Quebec Government (Vancouver Sun)The new government of the province of Quebec has a very clear position on fracking: it wants it banned. New Natural Resources Minister Martine Ouellet said she doesn’t believe the method can ever be done safely, and says her government will push for a complete moratorium on exploration and exploitation of shale gas.“Smart” Money Targeting Low-Priced Coal Assets (Globe and Mail)Sliding iron ore and coal prices have touched off a spate of asset sales, boosting deal activity in what has been a lean year in the mining sector. Cashed-up Japanese, Korean, and Chinese buyers have their eyes peeled for bargains. The coal sector is one of their top targets, especially as many analysts believe the depressed sector may have reached its bottom.India Finally Makes a Move on Canadian Energy Assets (Financial Post)India’s national oil companies have been eyeing Canada’s oil sands for at least a decade. Now it seems they are finally making a move: unconfirmed reports suggest that three of India’s largest oil companies have jointly bid for the northern Alberta assets controlled by ConocoPhillips’ Canadian division, valued at $5 billion. It’s a reminder that China is not the only populous and energy-hungry nation looking to secure resources to fuel its future.last_img read more