Reilly on board with new state government transparency initiative

first_img Tags: FOIA Categories: Reilly News State Rep. John Reilly of Oakland Township says he supports bipartisan legislation introduced today to make state government more transparent.“This is another sign of the House’s commitment to be more accountable and accessible to the people of Michigan,” Reilly said.Reilly joined colleagues in the announcement of the bill package to make Michigan’s governor and lieutenant governor subject to the Freedom of Information Act. The proposal also calls for a similar disclosure requirement for state representatives and senators, called the Legislative Open Records Act.“I believe government should be held accountable to the people they serve,” he said.Michigan is one of just two states where public records disclosure does not apply to the governor’s office.The Legislative Open Records Act would exempt some records, including letters to and from people in the lawmaker’s district, human resources files and ongoing legislative investigations or lawsuits.Today’s bill package introduction comes in the wake of the House’s recent announcement that its website now includes the salary information of every representative and employee, another move toward increased transparency.###center_img 01Feb Reilly on board with new state government transparency initiativelast_img read more

Viacom International Media Networks has promoted K

first_imgViacom International Media Networks has promoted Kerry Taylor to senior VP, Youth & Music. The role involves overseeing all branding activity and taking responsibility for all non-music-related content on the international MTV channels.Taylor will report to VIMN CEO Bob Bakish in the new role as well as continuing in her current position as senior VP and general manager of MTV for VIMN UK, reporting to David Lynn, executive VP of all VIMN operations in the UK, Australia, Russia, and Hungary.Taylor will take the lead in deciding how the MTV brand is positioned and presented as well as in developing original programmes and identifying acquisitions.Bakish said: “[Taylor] has led our MTV portfolio in the UK to so many noteworthy accomplishments and I’m confident that, under her leadership, we will continue the successful evolution of the MTV brand and to deliver entertaining and compelling content to MTV viewers around the world.”Taylor first joined VIMN as VP of marketing, creative & consumer press for MTV UK & Ireland in September 2007. Prior to that she was director, marketing & on-air for Living TV, Bravo, Challenge and Trouble at Virgin Media.last_img read more

In This Issue ECB and Fed to show their hands

first_imgIn This Issue. * ECB and Fed to show their hands * Global data shows a wider slowdown * UK data continue to disappoint * Aussie dollar touches 4 month high And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Waiting on the Fed. Good day, and welcome to August. As Mike mentioned, July will go down as the hottest month ever here in St. Louis and we aren’t alone in our battle against the heat as the entire country will probably set a record for the average temperature in July. At least our power hasn’t shut off and we can enjoy some AC, unlike the folks in India where there was a massive power outage over the past few days. The dollar rally seemed to lose power yesterday as currency investors were afraid to take positions ahead of the ECB and Fed announcements. The world’s two top central banks continue their meetings today and the markets will look to the post meeting announcements for some direction. The Fed head, Ben Bernanke, will be the first up to the podium this afternoon and then he will be followed by the ECB President Mario Draghi who will hold his press conference tomorrow. I don’t think we will see any dramatic action taken by our Fed this meeting, as they chose instead to ‘kick the can’ for another month. But things are different for the ECB who will be forced to come up with something. The global economy continues to slow, which has put increased pressure on both central banks to come up with some sort of stimulus. Data released yesterday here in the US showed consumer spending stagnated in June after dropping a revised .1% the month before. Personal income was up slightly both months, which indicates US consumers continue to tighten their belts. This data, along with the stagnant employment picture here in the US shows the problem Bernanke and the rest of the FOMC members face. They need to try and stimulate the US economy, but their only tools are their ability to control interest rates. Typically the Fed only has a direct impact on the short end of the curve, and the only way for them to control longer rates was by ‘jawboning’ them up or down by adjusting the markets inflation expectations. But during the credit crisis, the Fed felt rates were still too high on the long end so they took a lead from the UK and Japan and instituted a couple of ‘quantitative easing’ plans to try and drive them down. The Fed became big buyers of longer dated bonds which helped drive the 10 year yields to record low levels (I question just how much of this drop in rates was due to the Fed as the Euro crisis has probably done more to reduce rates here in the US than ‘operation twist’!). But have these lower rates had any kind of stimulative impact on the US economy? Yes, every time the Fed announces another easing program the stock market has rallied a bit, but the last time I checked the Fed’s dual mandate did not include keeping equity markets in the black. The purpose of lower rates are to try and get consumers and businesses to make the decision to borrow and spend, stimulating the economy. But as I just mentioned, US consumer spending has stagnated, and companies don’t seem to be confident enough to begin hiring workers. Lower mortgage rates are great for those of us who are working, but I have to believe most homeowners who have the ability to re-finance have already done so. So just how much stimulus will lower rates bring? Not much if you ask me. Both consumers and businesses will continue to be worried about the outcome of the elections, and what that will mean for tax policy here in the US. There is also that nagging ‘fiscal cliff’ which is lurking out there at the end of 2012. I certainly don’t envy the position our boys and girls over at the Fed have put themselves into, and I think they will take the ‘safer’ option today and simply tell the markets they will continue to monitor the situation and stand ready to ‘take action’ if needed (what exactly that action is will remain a mystery). As Mike wrote yesterday, the ECB President has painted himself into an even more difficult position with his assurance that the ECB will do ‘whatever is necessary’ to support the euro. The currency markets have certainly priced in some action by the ECB. Nobody expects either central bank to take action on rates, as they are just about as low as they can go. Instead, the markets have been pricing in some other type of stimulus program, either an extension of their current quantitative easing programs or new ones designed to pump more liquidity into the markets. I think currency traders will probably give Bernanke some room, but now is the time for Mr. Draghi to put up or shut up. But the problems in Europe won’t be solved with one dramatic announcement. Draghi can only hope to convince the markets that the ECB has a long term plan to deal with the crisis, but I think the risk is that the markets won’t be convinced by his words and the euro will give back all of the appreciation we have seen over the past week. There is no ‘silver bullet’ which will kill the debt crisis in Europe. The collapse of the Greek economy is well underway, and the ECB can only hope a similar situation does not occur in Spain or Italy. The labor markets are bad here in the US, but are even worse in Europe with the jobless rate reaching a record level. According to a report released today, unemployment in the eurozone reached a revised 11.2% in May and held at that record level in June. And the ECB won’t be able to depend on a global economic rally as data indicates the globe will continue to be stuck in a ‘slow growth’ mode for the next few years. Euro-are manufacturing contracted for a 12th month in July according to a report released today; falling to a 37 month low of 44 from 45.1 in June. A report released in Canada this morning showed GDP in our neighbor to the north rose just .1% in May, less than economists forecast. Another report showed China manufacturing, which most believe will be the force driving the global economic recovery, stalled out in July and is teetering on the edge of contraction. The Purchasing Managers’ index in China unexpectedly fell to 50.1 in July, the weakest in eight months from 50.2 in June. Another piece of data due out today is predicted to show manufacturing in the US also stagnated in July. The ISM factory index is due out this morning, and is expected to show a slight increase from last month’s reading of 49.7, but the index isn’t expected to rise much above 50 which is the dividing line between contraction and expansion. Regional reports in the US released yesterday confirmed that manufacturing is sputtering with manufacturing gauges in Wisconsin and Ohio declining. The pound sterling dropped a bit overnight after a report showed UK manufacturing shrank the most in more than three years in July. The gauge fell to 45.4 from a revised 48.4 in June, weaker than any of the 30 forecasts on Bloomberg. The Bank of England is meeting today and tomorrow, and is expected to announce no change in their policies. The BOE was the first to institute a bond buying program designed to stimulate their economy, a model followed by the US and Europe. Unfortunately, the results of this QE program have not lasted. This is worrisome for the US and the ECB, as our stimulus programs were instituted after those of the BOE. While the economies are definitely different, it is not good to see a QE program which has been in place longer than our own seemingly having little lasting impact on the UK economy. The pound barely even got a lift from hosting the Olympics. There was one bright spot in all of the manufacturing data released yesterday. Sweden’s manufacturing unexpectedly expanded in July, with a purchasing managers’ index rising to 50.6 in July from 48.4 the previous month. The Swedish economy expanded 1.4% in the second quarter as consumer spending rose and an increase in exports of services offset a decline in exports of goods. The news sent the Swedish krona higher as currency traders lowered bets that the Riksbsank would lower rates in September. The Swedish krona was the second best performing currency during the month of July, rising 2.45% vs. the US$. The top performer during last month? It was the Australian dollar which rose 2.77% vs. the US$. The aussie dollar touched the highest level in more than four months moving solidly through $1.05. The currency was helped by a report which showed house prices unexpectedly rose in the three months through June as lower rates helped stimulate the housing market. Another report showed building approvals decreased by less than economists had expected, which was another good piece of news for the important housing sector in Australia. There was a pickup in the number of first time homebuyers, increasing the amount of liquidity in the housing market. Then there was this. As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, people in India faced a massive power outage over the past few days. I was actually made aware of the outage well before anything was reported about it here in the states, as I continue to work with programmers based out of India. I was scheduled to be on a call with a programmer early yesterday morning, and was a bit upset when he never called in as we were waiting on some code improvements which we wanted to get in place prior to the month end. We were finally able to reach an associate of his in London who told us about the power outage. India has gone through some tremendous growth, but their infrastructure hasn’t been able to keep up with the changes in the population. Throw in a drought and high temps similar to what we have been experiencing here in the Midwest, and you end up with a power system which just couldn’t handle the demand. Apparently over 620 million were without power across India, that equates to almost two times the entire population of the US. While the power is expected to come back on sometime today, the drought is continuing and Goldman Sachs announced yesterday that they were lowering their GDP growth forecasts for India because of the lack of rain. Goldman reduced India’s FY2013 GDP forecast to 5.7% from 6.6% due to the weak monsoon season. They also reduced their rate cut forecast to 25 bps in 2012 which will probably occur in the 4th quarter. Goldman maintained their view that the RBI will cut an additional 50 bps in 2013. None of this is good news for the Indian rupee. To recap. The ECB and FED begin their meetings today, and Bernanke should make an announcement this afternoon. I don’t expect our Fed to take any new action, but the markets are expecting something big from the ECB. The currencies remained in a tight range waiting for any news. Manufacturing data released across the globe verified a global slowdown is underway. UK manufacturing data weighed on the pound and Sweden was the sole bright spot, posting a positive manufacturing number. The Australian dollar was the top performer in July, and added to its gains moving up above $1.0530. And finally, there was a massive power outage in India, with over twice the population of the US losing power. Currencies today 8/1/12. American Style: A$ $1.0531, kiwi .8129, C$ .9989, euro 1.2310, sterling 1.5630, Swiss $1.0248. European Style: rand 8.2568, krone 6.0121, SEK 6.7564, forint 227.72, zloty 3.3377, koruna 20.5835, RUB 32.3128, yen 78.15, sing 1.2446, HKD 7.7539, INR 55.5175, China 6.3687, pesos 13.2847, BRL 2.0569, Dollar Index 82.582, Oil $88.27, 10-year 1.48%, Silver $27.93, Gold $1,614.90, and Platinum $1,410.25 That’s it for today. Thanks to all the readers who sent me notes regarding Lucy. I am happy to report that she pulled through last Friday’s operation with no complications and is almost back to her sweet self. I enjoyed watching the US girls grab the gold in gymnastics last night, and enjoyed watching Phelps set the record as the most decorated Olympian ever. The crew is coming in and the phones are about to turn on, so I better end this and get it out the door. Hope everyone has a Wonderful Wednesday, and thanks for reading the Pfennig!! Chris Gaffney, CFA Vice President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837 www.everbank.comlast_img read more

In recent years some cities including Memphis an

first_imgIn recent years, some cities, including Memphis and Phoenix, withered into health insurance wastelands, as insurers fled and premiums skyrocketed in the insurance marketplaces that were set up under the Affordable Care Act.But today, as in many parts of the U.S., these two cities are experiencing something unprecedented: Insurance premiums are sinking and choices are sprouting.In the newly competitive market in Memphis, for example, the cheapest midlevel “silver” plan for 2019 health coverage will cost $498 a month for a 40-year-old — a 17 percent decrease compared to last year.And four insurers are now selling ACA policies in Phoenix. That’s the same market that then-presidential candidate Donald Trump highlighted in 2016 because all but one insurer had left the region — he called it proof of “the madness of Obamacare.”Janice Johnson, a 63-year-old retiree in Arizona’s Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, said her monthly premium for a high-deductible bronze plan will be $207 for 2019, instead of $270, because she is switching carriers.”When you’re on a fixed income, that makes a difference,” said Johnson, who receives a government subsidy to help cover her premium. “I’ll know more in a year from now if I’m going to stick with this company. But I’m going to give them a chance, and I’m pretty excited by that.”Looking across all 50 states, the premiums for the average “benchmark” silver plan, which the government uses to set subsidies, are dropping nearly 1 percent. And more than half of the counties in the 39 states that rely on the federal HealthCare.gov exchange are experiencing a 10 percent price decrease, on average, for their cheapest plan.In most places, the declines are not enough to erase the price hikes that have accrued since the creation of the health care exchanges in 2014.Instead, next year’s price cuts help to correct the huge increases that jittery insurers set for 2018 to protect themselves from anticipated Republican assaults on the markets. While Congress came up one vote shy of repealing the federal health law in the summer of 2017, Trump and Republicans in Congress did manage to strip away many of the structural underpinnings that induced people to buy plans and helped insurers pay for some of their low-income customers’ copayments and deductibles. Insurers responded with a 32 percent increase, on average, for 2018 plans.”Insurers overshot last year,” said Chris Sloan, a director at Avalere, a health care consulting company in Washington, D.C. “We are nowhere close to erasing that increase. This is still a really expensive market with poor benefits when it comes to deductibles and cost.”For 2019, the average premium for the benchmark silver plan will be 75 percent higher than it was in 2014, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)When Republicans failed to kill the health law last year, they inadvertently may have made it stronger. Insurers banked hefty profits in 2018, and that attracted new companies to most ACA markets.All these factors were especially influential in Tennessee, where the average benchmark premium is dropping 26 percent, according to an analysis by the federal government. That’s a bigger drop than in any other state.Seventy-eight of 95 Tennessee counties had just one insurer for 2018. That monopoly allowed the insurer to set the prices of its plans without fear of competition, said David Anderson, a researcher at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy in Durham, N.C. “They were massively overpriced,” Anderson said of all available policies.But for the coming year, 49 Tennessee counties will have more than one insurer, with a few — like Shelby County, where Memphis is located — having four companies competing. There, Cigna dropped the price of its lowest-cost silver plan by 15 percent. Even then, Cigna was underbid by Ambetter of Tennessee, a company owned by the managed-care insurer Centene Corp.”We’re finally at the point where the market is stabilized,” said Bobby Huffaker, the CEO of American Exchange, an insurance brokerage firm based in Tennessee. “From the beginning, every underwriter — [and] the people who were the architects — they knew it would take several years for the market to mature.”Still, the cheapest Memphis silver premium is nearly three times what it was in 2014, the first year of the marketplaces. A family of four, headed by 40-year-old parents, will be paying $19,119 for all of next year unless they qualify for a government subsidy.”The unsubsidized are leaving,” said Sabrina Corlette, a professor at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute. “They are finding these premiums unaffordable.”The landscape in Phoenix is greatly improved from when Trump visited after the federal government announced a 116 percent premium increase for 2017; the number of insurers at that time had dropped from eight to one.Now, three new insurers are entering Maricopa County. Meanwhile, Ambetter, the only insurer that offered plans for 2018, reduced its lowest price for a silver plan for next year by 12 percent — and it offers the cheapest such plan in the market.Still, Ambetter’s plan is 114 percent above the least expensive silver plan offered there in the first year of the exchanges. And neither Ambetter nor any of the insurers coming into the market for 2019 offer as broad and flexible a choice of doctors and hospitals as consumers had back then, according to Michael Malasnik, a local broker.Since the start of the exchanges, Malasnik said, insurers have “raised their rates by multiples, and they’ve figured out you have to be a very narrow network.”Each plan in Phoenix for 2019 contains trade-offs, he said. Only Bright Health’s plan includes Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Ambetter’s plan includes the most popular hospital and doctor groups, Malasnik said. But those providers are not as conveniently located for people living in the southeastern corner of the county, and that makes other insurers’ plans more appealing for some customers.”Geography is the name of the game this year,” Malasnik said.Theresa Flood, a preschool teacher who lives outside Phoenix, said none of the provider networks of the plans she considered included her doctors, such as the specialist who treats her spine problems. She has had four surgeries, and a neurologist who monitors a cyst and benign tumor in her brain is also outside the network she ended up choosing.”I have to establish care with a whole new spine doctor and establish care with a whole new neurologist if I want to follow up on these things,” said Flood, who is 59. “You’re going from ‘established care’ to ‘who in the heck am I going to see?’ “The plan Flood ultimately chose would have been too expensive, except that she and her husband John, who is a minister, qualified for a $1,263-a-month subsidy that will drop the cost to $207 a month. That bronze plan from Ambetter carries a $6,550-per-person deductible; so Flood expects she’ll still have to pay out-of-pocket for her treatments and doctor visits unless she needs extensive medical attention.”It’s gone from being able to have a plan that you could sort of afford and got some benefit from, to putting up with what you can afford and hoping nothing happens that you actually have to use your insurance,” she said. “At this point, I’ll take what I can get.”Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit news service, is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, and is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Copyright 2018 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit Kaiser Health News.last_img read more

Facebooks Brand Is Becoming the Uber of Social Media and Thats Not

first_img 6 min read Image credit: Shutterstock March 20, 2018 Entrepreneur Staff Facebook’s Brand Is Becoming the Uber of Social Media, and That’s Not a Good Thing Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Once upon a time less than five years ago every startup in existence pitched itself as the Uber of whatever it did. Nobdy frames their startup that way anymore. An ever unspooling series of scandals running the gamut from raunchy corporate culture to deliberately evading municipal regulators and alleged theft of trade secrets led to the ouster of Travis Kalanick, who now lives in exile and is remembered as the CEO who yells at his lowest-paid employees when they voice a complaint.Facebook and its famously boyish founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg appear to be spiraling toward the same branding calamity. The corporation and the man have consistently denied or downplayed Facebook’s role as a chief purveyor of Russian misinformation during the 2016 presidential campaign. An avalanche of new problems is burying Facebook with revelations that its loosey-goosey privacy rules allowed Cambridge Analytica, the company at the center of the scandal surrounding clandestine Russian involvement in the 2016 election, to “harvest” data from up to 50 million people without their permission (or, in the vast majority of cases, their knowledge) to sharpen the 2016 presidential campaigns of, first, Ted Cruz, then Donald Trump.The reporting on the Cambridge Analytica scandal is must reading no matter how burned out you are on politics and scandals. It reveals that Facebook operates a lot like a bar that doesn’t check ID — if you can pay for your drink, you get served and what happens after that is not their worry. In this instance, Cambridge Analytica — the data research firm owned by Steve Bannon and billionaire Robert Mercer, the same pair who brought us Breitbart News — hired a Cambridge University professor, Alexander Kogan, to entice Facebook users to download an app that vacuumed up their personal information as well as their Facebook friends.Related: Russian-Linked Facebook Ad Scandal Shows Just How Intricate Targeting Can BeThe data was supposed to be used for academic research but, as we know now (and Facebook has known for a long time but told nobody), it was used to draw exquisitely detailed profiles of American voters to guide how they were pitched during the 2016 campaign. Facebook is defensively arguing what is looking like one of the largest data breaches ever is not, in the narrowest possible sense, a data breach. As they explain it, everyone who dowloaded Kogan’s app agreed to surrender their data, but Kogan used the data he acquired in violation of his agreement with Facebook.That is something like telling a person who believes they have been robbed they are really victims of an embezzlement, so calm down and realize it isn’t Facebook’s fault. Alex Stamos, Facebook’s outgoing chief of security, seems to be among the many people skeptical of this explanation. According to The New York Times, Stamos has resigned from Facebook because of “internal disagreement rooted in how much Facebook should publicly share about how nation states misused the platform and debate over organizational changes in the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections.”Stamos advocated disclosing more about how the Russians rigged Facebook and he advocates trying harder to keep them out of the upcoming elections. Zuckerberg, you will recall, in November 2016 dismissed as a “pretty crazy idea” that Russians had used Facebook to spread fake news. That was the same month Stamos’s team had already confirmed the Russians had done exactly that.Stamos, who once oversaw 120 people, was all but fired in December and left to oversee a staff of three.Related: Here Are the Russia Facebook Ads That Tried to Dupe YouZuck will be flushed from his comfort zone.The fall from grace of Facebook and huge social media companies in general (Twitter is better know known for Russian bots than earnest public debate) is likely to result in more regulation and more energetic scrutiny from regulators. Lawmakers in the U.S., U.K. and EU are clamoring for Zuckerberg personally to testify before investigating committees. Zuckerberg has only dispatched other executives to do that, and their testimony has been widely seen as evasive.“I will be writing to Mark Zuckerberg asking that either he or another senior executive from the company appear to give evidence in front of the committee as part our inquiry,” British lawmaker Damian Collins, head of a parliamentary committee that has been investigating Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, said to The Washington Post. “It is not acceptable that they have previously sent witnesses who seek to avoid difficult questions by claiming not to know the answers.”U.S. lawmakers seem intent on hearing from Zuckerberg himself.Related: Facebook Says 126 Million Users May Have Been Exposed to Russian Posts“They say ‘trust us,’ but Mark Zuckerberg needs to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about what Facebook knew about misusing data from 50 million Americans in order to target political advertising and manipulate voters,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said in a statement.Being hauled in front of congressional committees for a public grilling is just the unpleasant beginning for Zuckerberg and his company. Public outcry is likely to give new momentum to legislation to regulate political advertising on social media just as it is regulated in legacy media. Equally likely is heavy pressure on the Federal Trade Commission to enforce a 2011 consent order supposedly governing how Facebook protects release of user data to third parties. The order calls for fines of up to $40,000 per breach of privacy. The penalties for compromising the data of 50 million people could, at least in theory, run into the billions of dollars. The Electronic Privacy Information Center, which led the public movement that resulted in the consent order and has since sued the FTC for failure to enforce it, argues this latest data loss underscores the need for a national data protection law and a standalone agency to enforce it.“This is the consequence of the Federal Trade Commission’s failure to enforce the 2011 consent order with Facebook,” Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told The Washington Post. “The United States needs a dedicated privacy agency and a comprehensive privacy law. The FTC can’t do the job.”Related: Mark Zuckerberg ‘Dead Serious’ About Stopping Russian Facebook AbuseThere are limits to how bad it gets when your brand is tarnished. Uber, after all, remains an enormous and growing company likely to only get richer. Kalanick, wherever he is and whatever he is doing, remains a billionaire. It’s just neither is esteemed any longer or used as an example of excellence. Facebook, vastly larger and far more central to the daily life of many more people, is in no danger of going out of business, just as Zuckerberg is certain to remain one of the wealthiest people on Earth. How much it or he is respected or admired is much more uncertain. Peter Page Next Article center_img Senior Editor for Green Entrepreneur Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Add to Queue –shares Facebook Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg have squandered the public’s good will by downplaying just how compromised the platform was during the 2016 election. Enroll Now for $5last_img read more

The World Health Organization Wont Reschedule Cannabis Should We Care

first_img Add to Queue Green Entrepreneur Podcast December 7, 2018 –shares News and Trends Earlier this week at the International Cannabis Policy Conference, which is being held at United Nations Headquarters in Vienna, Austria, participants were very excited about the prospects of the United Nations World Health Organization rescheduling the legal status of the plant.All signs looked promising. Last May, the UN released its first-ever review of marijuana, offering some positive assessments. And earlier this month, the Federal Drug Administration got involved, asking the American people what they thought the U.S.’ recommendation should be.But, in a somewhat surprising blow, the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence came out with an announcement saying it would decline to give recommendations or reschedule cannabis. The Committee argued it needed more time to complete a thorough critical review.“It’s unfortunate to hear the news on the decision from the WHO,” said Evan Eneman, CEO of the MGO/ELLO Alliance. “Every day we see more and more researchers, health institutions, investors, large multinational operators and entrepreneurs entering the space to support the sustainable growth of this industry.”Related: FDA Welcomes Public Comments on MarijuanaShaken But Not SurprisedWhile many experts in the cannabis industry are disappointed, not all are surprised. Emily Paxhia, co-founder and managing partner at cannabis-focused hedge fund Poseidon Asset Management, noted that the cannabis industry is used to seeing “progress coupled with setbacks.” Hurdles are inherent to the nature of this space, she added. “We are always optimistic and hopeful about seeing progress, understanding the plant and studying it further, so we can better comprehend all the positive attributes that the plant can bring to society,” she told Green Entrepreneur. “But, it’s also not that surprising to see that outdated perceptions and misperceptions are holding back adoption of studying, researching and looking more positively into the cannabis plant.”Jonas Duclos, co-founder and CEO of Switzerland-based JKB Research, called the WHO announcement “obviously disappointing but not a real surprise,” explaining that “the main problem is that governments are far behind when it comes to innovation and research. They are not well informed and don’t know the right people to work with.” He sees opportunity in the disconnect. “The cannabis industry has to be led by its real wellness potential, rather than the profits it can beget. Although the WHO is a key actor in this process, this opens the door for others to demonstrate initiative in the short term.”Related: How Bad Is It?But, while many in the cannabis industry were unhappy with the WHO’s decision, some agreed with it.“We need to think of cannabinoids as we do any other plant-derived pharmacological agent that has historically been derived from plants such as paclitaxel, morphine and even codeine,” said Christine Allen, professor at the University of Toronto and Chief Scientific Officer at Avicanna, a Canadian cannabinoid biotech company. “All of these drugs have a safe and effective dose and are contraindicated in certain patient populations. It is critical that the gaps in our knowledge are filled in a timely manner in order to sufficiently educate the medical community and the public,”CEO of Avicanna, Aras Azadian,  also agrees with the WHO’s decision. “We have tested many products currently on the market that contain potentially toxic degradants and can be metabolized in the body to compounds with an unknown safety profile. Cannabis has become a cash crop and many unqualified companies are offering these unsafe products to consumers and patients. We’re afraid that many of the benefits patients experience with CBD products specifically may also be a placebo effect as we have tested the bio-availability of CBD products,” he saidWhat’s NextLezli Engelking, founder of the Foundation Of Cannabis Unified Standards, (FOCUS) who tracks issues like these predicts that the WHO won’t take action — if they take action at all — until March of 2020.But he cautions that “given the surprising and novel move by WHO, all bets are off. Policy can always be adjusted — just as it was today. One thing is for sure though: the time is now for the cannabis industry to step up their game and show the world it can produce safe, consistent, quality products that don’t pose an unnecessary risk to patients, consumers, the public, and the environment.”Adding to this point, Eneman said the industry as a whole, and society, have an “obligation to understand exactly what this plant is capable of as well as how it can be misused or abused.“It is clear that this plant in all the existing and contemplated forms is far safer than many other substances we consume. It is also clear as to the direction we are heading, and it is an important time to focus on establishing international trust and transparency for this industry. We need the support from policymakers, operators, financiers and regulators. There have been pioneers for years willing to support the safety and efficacy of the cultivation and consumption of this plant, and there are many many new entrants who want to explore the possibilities of what it can do, including the largest, most credentialed and most influential researchers in the world. WHO and others need to get behind this movement and allow all of the good stewards to help shape the way for a safe, effective and sustainable industry.” Each week hear inspiring stories of business owners who have taken the cannabis challenge and are now navigating the exciting but unpredictable Green Rush. In a surprising development, the U.N. comitee decided to punt on their decision to recommend or reschedule cannabis. VIP Contributor Image credit: Shutterstock The World Health Organization Won’t Reschedule Cannabis. Should We Care? cannabis, biotech and entrepreneurship reporter Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 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Study finds link between high pesticide exposure and poor sense of smell

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 17 2019A Michigan State University study is the first to show an association between unusually high pesticide exposure and poor sense of smell among aging farmers.The research examined more than 11,200 farmers over a 20-year period. At the start of the study, about 16 percent of participants reported having experienced a high pesticide exposure event, or HPEE, such as a large amount of pesticide spilling on their body. Two decades later, they were asked if they suffered olfactory impairment, a partial to complete loss of sense of smell.Farmers who reported an HPEE were 50 percent more likely to report a poor sense of smell at the end of the study. The research also showed that an immediate washing with soap and water might mitigate risk. Compared to farmers who never experienced a high exposure event, those who did and washed within three hours, had about a 40 percent higher risk of having problems with smell. Those who waited four or more hours, saw their risk potentially double.Related StoriesHealthy lifestyle lowers dementia risk despite genetic predispositionAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaLiving a healthy lifestyle may help offset genetic risk of dementiaThe study, a collaboration with researchers from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Cancer Institute, is published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.”Studying farmers gives us more reliable data on pesticide exposures than if we had studied the general population,” said Honglei Chen, lead author and professor of epidemiology. “Because they use pesticides more and it’s part of their job, they’re more likely to remember what pesticides they used and in cases of high exposures, report the specific events.”In the study, Chen was able to identify two insecticides – DDT and lindane – as well as four weed killers – alachlor, metolachlor, 2,4-D and pendimethalin – that showed a greater association with poor sense of smell.”Farmers reporting incidents, involving unusually high exposures to certain organochlorine insecticides such as DDT and herbicides including 2,4-D, were more likely to have a poor sense of smell,” he said. “More research needs to be done, but some studies have linked these chemicals to Parkinson’s and possibly dementia too.”While poor sense of smell has been shown to be an early symptom of Parkinson’s and dementia, Chen said his study only addresses an association between pesticide exposure and impaired smell, not to neurodegenerative diseases.”Olfactory impairment affects up to 25 percent of our older population, and our understanding of what the consequences are is still very limited,” Chen said. “Studies have also suggested that older adults with a poor sense of smell are more likely to die earlier, so understanding the factors involved is very important.”​Source: https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2019/high-pesticide-exposure-among-farmers-linked-to-poor-sense-of-smell-later/last_img read more

Rajasthan notifies 10 per cent quota in government recruitment

first_imgRajasthan Reservation COMMENT The Rajasthan government has issued a notification providing 10 per cent reservation in government jobs for the economically backward in the general category, following the decision taken at the Centre. The state’s Department of Personnel (DoP) issued the notification on Tuesday night, saying that the quota for direct recruitment shall be in addition to the existing reservation. Families in the general category earning a gross annual income of Rs 8 lakh or more from all sources will be excluded from the quota. Also excluded are people whose families own five acre or more of agriculture land, a residential flat of 1,000 sq ft or above, a residential plot of 100 sq yard or above in notified municipalities or a residential plot of 200 sq yards in other areas. Parliament recently passed the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill approving the quota in government jobs and educational institutes. The DoP has also increased the limit for the creamy layer in the more backward classes (MBC) and backward classes (BC) to Rs 8 lakh annual income from an earlier limit of Rs 4.30 lakh. Published on February 20, 2019 SHARE SHARE EMAIL SHARE COMMENTSlast_img read more

20 years of Kargil How not crossing LoC proved challenging

first_img20 years of Kargil: How not crossing LoC proved challengingadvertisement Next Abhishek Bhalla New DelhiJuly 13, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 14:38 IST Kargil warHIGHLIGHTSFailure of intelligence and surveillance could not detect Pak movement: Gen VP MalikNot crossing LoC also proved to be a challenge: MalikArmy chief Bipin Rawat says all movements on borders can be tracked todayRecalling the challenges for the army in 1999, Gen VP Malik (Retd), the then Chief of Army Staff said on Saturday, failure of surveillance and intelligence gathering led to the Kargil intrusion 20 years back.With lessons learnt, a lot has changed since then and the Indian Armed forces have better capabilities to detect enemy movements not just in Kargil but in all border areas of Pakistan and China, Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat said.The two along with few other veterans were part of a discussion on the Kargil War to celebrate 20 years of the victory over Pakistan.”We have revisited our capabilities to ensure such intrusions don’t happen. We have UAVs, air assets of the air force and other tactical means like quad copters for better surveillance today,” Gen Rawat said on the sidelines of the event in Delhi.Other veterans including Gen Malik shared their experiences regarding the gaps and ground situation then.”We lacked surveillance equipments and even helicopters were not capable of locating enemy locations. We were dependent on foot patrols”, he said.He also added that there was a complete intelligence failure and the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government’s instructions not to cross the LoC added to the challenges.”I had to ask the Prime Minister not to speak about it (not crossing the LoC) in public and explained that in case we don’t achieve our targets fully we will have no option but to cross the Line of Control,” said Malik.Malik said during the war he had often seen “long faces” in South Block but never encountered this in the forward areas. “My morale was not high when I was in South Block but when I met troops in forward areas it became high,” he added.Speaking about other challenges on the ground, Malik said there was initially no assessment on what the Pakistan Army was doing and everyone thought they were Mujahideens or terrorists at high peaks.”Even military formations on ground adopted anti-militancy operational tactics. This was the reason why we suffered high number of casualties initially,” he said.He pointed out that there was a major shortage of weapons and equipment, particularly high altitude clothing.”The fact that we overcame all these challenges was because of a blend of political, military and diplomatic leadership that got involved. We met 2-3 times a day,” he said.Also read | 20 years of Kargil victory: Army soldiers trek to Batra Top, Tiger Hill to commemorate dayAlso read | Letters from KargilFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byAnumika Bahukhandilast_img read more

Amarnath Yatra suspended for Saturday due to separatistbacked strike in Kashmir

first_imgAmarnath Yatra suspended for Saturday due to separatist-backed strike in KashmirAs many as 12 batches of pilgrims have so far left for the twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal in Kashmir valley from Jammu since the beginning of the pilgrimage on June 30.advertisement Press Trust of India JammuJuly 13, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 17:55 IST PTI image used for representation.Pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath was suspended for Saturday as a precautionary measure in view of a separatists-sponsored strike in the Kashmir valley on Martyrs’ Day, officials said.As many as 12 batches of pilgrims have so far left for the twin base camps of Pahalgam and Baltal in Kashmir valley from Jammu since the beginning of the pilgrimage on June 30.”Amarnath yatra has been suspended from Jammu as a precautionary measure in wake of the strike called by separatists in Kashmir valley Saturday,” an official said.July 13 is observed as Martyrs’ Day in Kashmir. On this day in 1931, 22 people were killed in firing by the forces of Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh.Separatists have called for a shutdown as a mark of respect to those killed in the firing.On July 8, the pilgrimage was suspended as a precautionary measure in view of the third death anniversary of former Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.Due to the strike, normal life was severely affected in the valley as shops and other business establishments remained closed, while public transport remained off roads, the officials said.They said some private vehicles, however, were plying in intra-city and inter-district routes of Kashmir.Over 1.50 lakh pilgrims have paid obeisance at the cave shrine in the last 12 days of the Amarnath yatra.Over 1.75 lakh pilgrims have so far registered themselves for the 46-day long pilgrimage, which is through the 36-km Pahalgam track in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district and the shorter 14-km Baltal route in Ganderbal district.The pilgrimage commenced on July 1 from both Baltal and Pahalgam routes. Multi-tier security arrangements were made for the smooth and successful conduct of the yatra that concludes on August 15.As many as 2.85 lakh pilgrims had paid obeisance at the cave last year, while the number of pilgrims was 3.52 lakh in 2015, 3,20 lakh in 2016 and 2.60 lakh in 2017.Also Read | 13,004 pilgrims pay obeisance at Amarnath cave shrineAlso Read | Jammu Darshan bus service launched in J&K to promote tourismAlso Watch | First batch of Amarnath pilgrims reaches shrineFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byChanchal Chauhan Nextlast_img read more