AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreThe media may paint a different picture sometimes, but facts are facts: fewer people are living in extreme poverty than at any point in history.A new report shows that 200 million people have been lifted out of extreme poverty since 2012 — and since 1990 that global population figure has been slashed by 61%.As the world advances toward a goal of wiping out extreme poverty completely in the next 15 years, the biggest gains since the last World Bank survey in 2012 have been achieved in East Asia and the Pacific region. There, extreme poverty was reduced by 43% in three years, according to the new report by the World Bank. Since 1990, the rate in the region has plummeted by 91%.China to Set Up $1Bil Peace Fund and Cancel Debt of Poor Countries“This is the best story in the world today—these projections show us that we are the first generation in human history that can end extreme poverty,’’ World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said.The World Bank set its extreme poverty line based on purchasing power for basic food, clothing, and shelter for the purposes of their survey, defining it as income of less than $1.90 per day.The World Bank and United Nations both have goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030.Photo: World BankShare the Wealth of Good News… (Click to Share)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
John Gohsman, vice chancellor for information technology (IT) and chief information officer (CIO) at Washington University in St. Louis, will serve as Notre Dame’s new vice president for IT and as its CIO, the University announced in a press release Wednesday. Gohsman will take over the position from Ron Kraemer, who announced in February he will be retiring.“John has a long and distinguished career in information technology at major research universities, and we look forward to him bringing his knowledge and expertise to Notre Dame,” John Affleck-Graves, the University’s executive vice president, said in the release. “Ron Kraemer has developed an exceptional team and culture, and I have every confidence that John will carry on in that tradition.”With a bachelor’s degree in business data processing from Ferris State University, Gohsman spent 30 years leading the University of Michigan in adopting academic and administrative analytics and managing various innovative IT projects before joining Washington University’s faculty as its first CIO in 2013, the release said.As an expert in “strategic planning, IT governance, program, project and change management, and administrative, academic and business intelligence systems,” Gohsman will be responsible for overseeing IT infrastructure and developing enterprise systems, the release said.“[My wife] Mary and I are looking forward to joining the Notre Dame family,” Gohsman said. “Notre Dame has a strong reputation in academics, research and information technology. I look forward to building on the solid foundation, continuing the strong collaborative approach Ron has established, and working with an excellent and innovative OIT organization to further the mission of the University.”Tags: chief information officer, information technology, John Gohsman, Ron Kraemer, vice president for information technology
German brand Lightweight introduced their Urgestalt road bike in August, just prior to Eurobike, so we used the tradeshow to get closer and see where the complete bikes weighed in.The “archetype” frame comes in at a claimed 790g, and framesets including their new seatpost are catalogued at 1,340g with fork and headset. But when you add in their new Rennbugel handlebar, their wheels and a full build, here’s what it looks like… Cable ports work with either mechanical or electronic drivetrains. Nice to see a fat taper on such a light bike.There’s just enough room above the dropout to slide the rear cable/wire through, keeping it internal until the last minute.The seatpost is shaped just for this bike……and is held in place by a stealthy bolt on the bottom that simply pushes a wedge inside the top tube against the post.Stout rectanglar chainstays and a massive bottom bracket section should help keep things stiff and efficient where it counts, but the stays are pretty thin and ever so slightly flattened. That combo is increasingly common and lends to this bike’s plans for long distance riders.The included seatpost can be adapted to run either Monolink or standard saddles.The complete bike (sans pedals) tipped in at 5.93kg (13.07lb) with full Dura-Ace 9000.The Runnbugel handlebar starts dropping at the bend but has a fairly shallow drop. Claimed weight is just 168g!The center section morphs to flat faces that look pretty comfy. It’s otherwise a pretty round bar.Lightweight.info
Vermont Business Magazine Accessing health care and health insurance are significant challenges for farmers in Vermont and nationwide, creating obstacles for farm viability, health and well-being, job creation, business expansion and the ability to farm full-time. A day-long summit at the University of Vermont on Thursday brought together key stakeholders in Vermont’s health, agriculture, tax, government, and Extension sectors to share perspectives and discuss opportunities for collaboration and integration of the spheres of health and agriculture to better serve Vermont’s farmers.The intended outcome is to develop a statewide coordinated approach to addressing health and health insurance in the Vermont farm sector. This event is part of the ongoing USDA Health Insurance, Rural Economic Development and Agriculture research project (HIREDnAg(link is external)).In opening remarks, lead author University of Vermont Professor Shoshanah Inwood said Vermont farmers face a magnified version of the same issues and obstacles as small business owners everywhere face in regards to health insurance, the Affordable Care Act, cost of health care, time it takes to understand and deal with health insurance, and child care.“Agriculture is the least likely industry to offer health insurance,” Inwood told summit attendees.University of Vermont Professor Shoshanah Inwood. VBM photo.For labor-intensive Vermont dairy farms, which represents 77 percent of all agricultural sales in the state, there is little time to wrestle with forms or negotiate the Vermont Health Connect Website.Cash flow for health insurance also creates a barrier, Inwood said. Farmers will typically have unsteady income streams from month to month and year to year.Farmers also worry most about catastrophic injury. While catastrophic-only health insurance plans have low premiums, they have high deductibles. They also frequently lack dental and optometric coverage.Given that, the Platinum health insurance plans might present the best option, but the staggering monthly premiums bump into the cash flow problem. The 2017 monthly premium for a Platinum plan (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont) is $686.76/month for an individual or triple that for a family plan.An Health Savings Account allows for pre-tax savings to pay for out-of-pocket expenses like dental and deductibles, but HSAs also have higher deductibles that would be quickly eaten away by a hospital stay, and still have a significant premium.Those who attended the summit included UVM researchers, research partners from University of Maryland, nonprofit service providers, health insurance providers, technical assistance providers, Extension employees, VT State Agency employees from Dept of Labor, Agency of Agriculture, Dept of Health, Dept of Taxes, and Vermont Health Connect, as well as representatives from the office of Senators Leahy and Sanders and the USDA.Study Background and Purpose The project “Health Insurance Economic Development and Agriculture” (HIREDnAg) is a project lead by researchers at The University of Vermont and the Walsh Center for Rural Health Policy, NORC at the University of Chicago. The goal of this national study is to understand how health insurance influences farm family decision making, quality of life, and economic development.Farming ranks among the most dangerous occupations in the US (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2013). Health and safety risks inherent in agricultural work include sun and heat exposure, heavy lifting and bending that lead to chronic back and joint pain, operating farm machinery, exhaustion, exposure to disease from farm animals, handling chemicals and dangerous materials. Mental health issues can be exacerbated by economic hardships, chronic pain, stress, long hours, and solitude.Health insurance is one way to access and pay for needed health care. Having health insurance increases the likelihood of accessing preventive care and treatment in a timely manner, improving health outcomes, and reducing medical debt (Dorn, 2008). Farming families who are uninsured or underinsured can accrue crushing medical debt which can increase financial risk, lead to farm foreclosure, and reduce overall quality of life. While most farmers had health insurance from off-farm jobs, 20% had outstanding debt from medical bills with 25% reporting health care expenses contributed to their financial problems (Lottero, Pryor, Rukavina, Prottas, & Knudson, 2009).In addition to the occupational farmer health and safety concerns, studies have consistently found that longtime farmers, beginning farmers, and hired workers identify the high cost of health insurance as a major barrier to job creation and the ability to farm full-time (Inwood, 2015; Mishra, El‐Osta, & Ahearn, 2012; Ohio Rural Development Partnership, 2006;Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, 2011; Young Farmers Coalition, 2011).Farmers and ranchers make health insurance decisions from two perspectives:1) “Farmer and Family” health insurance decisions are made for themselves and their families, and;2) “Farmers as employers” producers decide if and how to offer health insurance to employees.The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has introduced federal and state health care policy changes and has implications for how farmers and ranchers source health insurance, need for off-farm jobs, and requirements for employee-mandated health insurance (Ahearn, Williamson, & Black, 2014). Differences in how ACA markets are being implemented across states may lead to variation in adoption by agricultural enterprises, with implications for farm family and farmworker health. Little is known how ACA reforms will influence the way farm and ranch families’ structure and grow their enterprises, manage risk, and balance labor resources.Utilizing interviews and surveys in ten study states, the core objectives of the HIREDnAg Project are to:Understand how health insurance influences he way operators’ structure their enterprise; manage family and business resources; impact farm labor supply, and; operator and farm worker health, vitality, and quality of life.Conduct a needs assessment of farm and ranch technical assistance providers (farm viability and business planning professionals and tax accountants). Develop outreach and educational tools that can assist farmers and ranchers understand health insurance options.Communicate the results of the study to national and state policy makers to inform them about how health insurance impacts the vitality of the farm sector and the overall rural American economy.The ten case study states were selected based on several criteria:Active agricultural base, regional, and production variation;Medicaid expansion policy;State receptivity to participating in the studyIn this HIREDnAg case study profile series, we examine the health insurance and agriculture sector in each of the ten case study states. The health insurance policy landscape shifts rapidly; these reports are based on data accurate as of July 2016. Additionally, all agricultural data reported in this series are from the 2012 Census of Agriculture (United States Department of Agriculture, 2012).VermontVermont is the second least populated state in the U.S. with a population of 620,453 residents in 2014 (United States Census Bureau, 2014). Vermont expanded Medicaid and is operating a State-Based Marketplace with two participating insurers. (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 2016; The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2016). Between 2009 and 2014 the rate of uninsured residents dropped by 42.3% from 53,192 to 30,716. In 2014, 5.0% of the population remained uninsured , the lowest rate of uninsured beyond Massachusetts (Redmond, 2015). Overall, 45.5% of the population has health insurance through employment alone, while 19.0% reported health insurance coverage through Medicaid or other means-tested programs alone (United States Census Bureau, 2009, 2014). Vermont is one of the states with the highest number of Medicaid recipients per capita (O’Gorman, 2015) with a Medicaid enrollment increase of 38.0% between 2006 and 2016 (Redmond, 2015).Farm Size and Type The majority of agricultural sales in Vermont are from dairy product and livestock. Out of $776.1 million in sales, over $598 million (or 77.19%) were related to livestock including $504 million in milk. Maple syrup and hay represented the largest sales in crops with over $88 million (11.4%) in sales.Between 2007 and 2012, the number of farms increased by 5.1% (from 6,984 farms to 7,338 farms) while farm sales increased by 15.2% (from $673 million to $776 million). Of the 7,338 farms, the majority (84.9%) are considered hobby or small farms with sales under $1,000 and $100,000 respectively, 6.6% are considered medium with sales between $100,000 and $250,000 and 8.5% are considered large with sales over $250,000. However, the majority of the sales come from the large farms (66.6% of the sales) (Figure 3). In Vermont, 7.5% of farms are certified organic.Marketing Orientation Twenty eight percent of the Vermont farms reported direct sales to consumers, 13.8% engaged in value adding activities while 4.5% of farms reported selling through a CSA (Figure 4). A very small minority of farms 2.1% reported any tourism activity.Farmer Population There are 12,257 farm operators in Vermont including 7,338 principal operators. The average age of the principal operator in Vermont is 57.3 years old, 54.9% of the principal operators were 65 years and older while 11.1% of the principal operators where under the age of 35. Farming was the primary occupation for 51.5% of the principal operators while 69.5% of households reported that farming accounts for less than 25% of their total household income. Women farm operators (including first, second, and third) account for 38.4% of operators compared to the national average (30.5%). Minorities account for 4.7% of the general population in Vermont, but only 1.7% of farm operators (Figure 5) (United States Census Bureau, 2014). Minorities counted in this figure include Hispanic, Black, Native American and Asian farmers. Beginning farmers in this area represent 22.3% of the principal operators compared to 18.1% at the national level.Health Insurance Information and Programs for the Agricultural Sector Nationally, USDA refers farmers and ranchers to the national website healthcare.gov. Given state health insurance policy variations we examined if states have specific health insurance programs or outreach efforts directed towards farmers by consulting the websites of the state agencies of agriculture, state extension services, and state exchange (when applicable). The Vermont Agency of Agriculture and University of Vermont do not currently provide health insurance information for the agricultural sector. Vermont Health Connect, the State-Based Marketplace, provides resources for small business owners through the SHOP Employer Guide, as well as a fact sheet to help legal migrant farm workers obtain health insurance.About the Authors Florence Becot is a research specialist at the University of Vermont Center for Rural Studies and a PhD student in the University of Vermont Food Systems Program.Shoshanah Inwood is an assistant professor in the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont.Lucy McDermott is a community manager at the Collaborative Health Network in Maine. She graduated from the University of Vermont with a bachelors’ degree in economics and minors in community development and political science in 2016.Source: UVM. 11.3.2016. 1 The rate of uninsured residents does not include the institutionalized population. The U.S. Census Bureau defines the institutionalized population as “people who are primarily ineligible, unable, or unlikely to participate in the labor force while residents of institutional group quarters” (https://ask.census.gov/f(link is external) faq.php?id=5000&faqId=6669).
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Singapore’s Ezion is slashing 2017 capex and delaying delivery of four service rigs to stop the cash outflow amid the tough offshore oil and gas environment.The company said on Thursday it would reduce its originally planned capital expenditure by approximately $270 million with the indefinite postponement of deliveries of four Service ordered back in 2014.Ezion said the the decision to „indefinitely postpone“ the service rigs came after a „careful deliberation“ by the group amidst the continued challenges faced by the marine and offshore oil and gas industry to conserve the cash position of the Group, Ezion said.“The indefinite postponement of the Service Rigs would reduce the significant cash outflows required to take delivery of the service rigs and also the burden of the additional financial liabilities on the balance sheet with the drawing of additional bank loans required for taking delivery of the service rigs,“ Ezion added.The group’s revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016 decreased by $12.1 million to $72.6 million as compared to the corresponding fourth quarter of 2015.The company said the revenue fell due to a reduction in charter rates and delays in the completion of the modifications and upgrade of its service rigs due to unexpected technical issues and longer lead time for delivery of certain critical equipment.The company’s net loss for the quarter deepened. The loss was $66,6 million in 4Q 2016, compared to a loss of $63,5 million in 2015.Offshore Energy Today Staff
The Legal Services Commission has announced it is to drop peer review as a method of quality assurance for firms seeking to bid for most publicly funded work. From April 2010 peer review will only be used on a risk-based and random-sampling basis, rather than being incorporated into the process of bidding for work. The LSC said it was adopting a more proportionate approach, as the majority of completed peer reviews since 2005 show firms have achieved good standards, scoring three or above. It said the move also reflects the transformation it is making towards becoming a purely commissioning organisation, with quality assurance, accreditation and regulation done by the professions. Providers will need to have Lexcel – the Law Society’s practice management standard – or the LSC’s own Specialist Quality Mark. ‘The changes do not affect the quality standard that we require of providers, but mean that we will get the assurance we need in a different way,’ said the LSC. ‘We will work closely with regulators and representative bodies to ensure that professional standards provide a good baseline of quality which clients can rely on.’ But Carol Storer (pictured), director of the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, said the move added to concerns about the reduction in quality of service and blamed cost considerations. Rodney Warren, Law Society council member and director of the Criminal Law Solicitors Association, said: ‘If we’re not careful this will be the LSC abrogating all responsibility for quality.’
Published: June 14, 2017 6:17 AM EDT SHARE Tillerson to testify in House as Russia sanctions vote nears WASHINGTON (AP) Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will testify before a House panel as momentum builds on Capitol Hill for a package of new Russia sanctions aimed at punishing Moscow for meddling in the 2016 presidential election.Tillerson is scheduled to appear Wednesday before the Foreign Affairs Committee, just hours ahead of a vote in the Senate on the sanctions. Tillerson has warned lawmakers the U.S. relationship with Russia is at an all-time low and deteriorating further. And he’s also cautioned against taking steps that might close off promising avenues of communication between the two former Cold War foes.Tillerson was noncommittal about a package of new Russia sanctions during testimony Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He said he’s still reviewing the proposed penalties that Senate Republicans and Democrats agreed upon after lengthy negotiations. But it’s important, he stressed, that President Donald Trump have the flexibility “to turn the heat up” on Russia if necessary.At the same time, he also said he doesn’t want to preemptively shut down a potentially productive conversation. As an example, Tillerson said talks with Moscow on stabilizing war-ravaged Syria are progressing, but it’s too early to tell if the discussions will bear fruit. Imposing more sanctions could lead the Russians to curtail the dialogue, he said.Top lawmakers on two Senate committees – Banking and Foreign Relations – announced the sanctions deal late Monday amid the firestorm over Russia’s meddling in the presidential election and investigations into Moscow’s possible collusion with members of President Donald Trump’s campaign.The plan calls for strengthening current sanctions and imposing new ones on corrupt Russian actors, those involved in human rights abuses and those supplying weapons to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The package also would require a congressional review if a president attempts to ease or end current penalties. And, penalties would be slapped on those responsible for malicious cyber activity on behalf of the Russian government.If the Trump administration decides to oppose the new sanctions, they could be in a bind. The package is to be added to a bill imposing penalties on Iran that the Senate is currently debating. So the White House would have to reject stricter punishments against Iran, which it favors, in order to derail the parts of the legislation it objects to.“The amendment to the underlying Iran sanctions bill maintains and substantially expands sanctions against the government of Russia in response to the violation of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine and Crimea, its brazen cyberattacks and interference in elections, and its continuing aggression in Syria,” said Republicans and Democrats on the committees.A vote on the Russia sanctions is scheduled for Wednesday, and the measure is expected to get strong bipartisan support. The legislation was worked out by Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, of the Banking Committee, and Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., of the Foreign Relations panel.Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., also participated in the negotiations and pushed for provisions that bar punished individuals from using family members to get around the sanctions.“This amendment also takes appropriate steps to ensure that current sanctions cannot be unilaterally unwound by this administration,” Shaheen said.The legislation also allows new penalties on key elements of the Russia economy, including mining, metals, shipping and railways.House and Senate committees are investigating Russia’s meddling and potential links to the Trump campaign. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is conducting a separate probe.Then-President Barack Obama in late December ordered sanctions on Russian spy agencies, closed two Russian compounds and expelled 35 diplomats the U.S. said were really spies. Those penalties were on top of existing U.S. sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine, which have damaged Russia’s economy but had only limited impact on President Vladimir Putin’s behavior. Related Articles:Sessions heatedly denies improper Russia contactsSessions to testify as Republicans prod Trump on tapesSessions to appear before Senate intelligence committee Author: AP Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know.
The Law Society has welcomed the government’s ‘positive intention’ for UK-EU cooperation on criminal justice post-Brexit, after the government announced that cooperation should go beyond the EU’s agreements with countries outside of the union. In its latest move to set out its stall for negotiations, the Home Office and the Department for Exiting the European Union today published a ‘future partnership paper’ on security, law enforcement and criminal justice. The 21-page document states that the basis on which the UK cooperates at EU level ‘will evidently be affected by the UK’s withdrawal, raising the question of how that partnership should be shaped in the future’.As with other position papers on civil justice and data protection, the theme is to preserve existing technical mechanisms after March 2019. The government envisages a partnership ‘that goes beyond the existing, often ad hoc arrangements for EU third-country relationships in this area, and draws on the legal models that the EU has used to structure cooperation with third countries in other fields, such as trade’.Today’s paper states that the UK has supported and benefited from the development of a series of ‘legal instruments’, forming a ‘toolkit’ that facilitates a level of cooperation among EU member states and, in some cases, ‘third’ countries.Such instruments include the Schengen information system (SIS) II, a real-time alert system which flags people of interest to law enforcement agencies, and the European arrest warrant. From 2004 to 2015, more than 8,000 people accused or convicted of a criminal offence were extradited to other EU countries under the warrant.As a former member state, the UK will become a third country. However, the paper states that ‘while existing precedents for EU cooperation with third countries under [the Lisbon Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union] provide context, they are not the right starting point for a future UK-EU partnership’.Norway and Iceland, which are not EU members, have concluded an agreement with the EU to participate in an EU IT system for the rapid sharing of fingerprint, DNA and vehicle registration data for law enforcement purposes. The EU has also concluded agreements in relation to mutual legal assistance with the US and Japan.The government says the EU has adopted ‘more ambitious and strategic’ relationships in relation to the free movement of goods, services, persons and capital with some third countries. Christina Blacklaws, vice-president of the Society, said today’s paper signals a positive intention from government to maintain a high level of cooperation with the EU on criminal justice and security matters – ‘vital in these uncertain times’.She added: ‘It is in everyone’s best interests we maintain this close working relationship and this requires a deeper level of cooperation than currently exists between the EU and non-member states. This includes ways to continue our participation in crucial criminal justice infrastructure, such as the European arrest warrant and the Schengen Information System, or find an effective substitute for them.’
Railway Directory 1999& CD ROMAll maps in the 1999 edition of Railway Directory are in full colour, and this edition adds a new portfolio of city maps, showing all modes of rail-based transport. They include metro, light rail and tramway networks in 40 cities worldwide, large and small. Main line maps include new versions of France, Germany and Switzerland. Railway Directory lists statistics and personnel for 1400 railways, nearly 400 city operators and 2000 manufacturers and suppliers. Personnel listings cover railways, government authorities, industry associations and suppliers worldwide, in all around 14000 names with job titles and contact details. This data is also available in the second edition of the Directory in CD-ROM format, allowing rapid access to information and statistics from a PC, with search and label printing facilities and colour maps which can be viewed in large-scale format. Also new for 1999 are direct links from the CD-ROM to company web sites.ISBN 0-617-01267-9.Book £130 (Europe) £140/US$230 (rest of world). CD-ROM £320 (Europe), £340/US$545 (rest of world). Book + CD-ROM £400 (Europe) £425/US$690 (rest of world) from Esco, PO Box 935, Finchingfield, Essex, CM74LN, Great Britain.Fax: +44 1371 811065Southern Africa by RailSouthern Africa offers more opportunities for travel by rail than is generally appreciated, but it has long been difficult for intending travellers to obtain detailed information. This addition to the Bradt series brings together in a single source, details of scheduled passenger trains and services of the various private operators now serving this neglected region. Although a little sketchy in places, and containing some minor inaccuracies, this is a welcome guide to the region, and a vast improvement on anything previously available. ISBN 1-898323-72-0. ú12·95 from Bradt Publications, 41 Nortoft Road, Chalfont St Peter, Bucks, SL90LA, Great Britain.Fax: +44 1494 873478Fahrplankarte für Bus & Bahn DeutschlandThe perfect addition to the range of documentation which supports Germany’s integrated public transport network, this 1:750000 scale map published by the German Transport Club (VCD) shows, in full-colour geographical format with relief, rivers and regional boundaries, all rail and complementary bus routes. Long distance rail services (ICE, IC, EC, IR, D), Regionalexpress (RE), Regionalbahn (RB) and S-Bahn have separate coloured lines, giving up to four per route. The frequency of each train category is denoted by line width, and the journey times and stopping patterns are coded by colour and alternative station markings. There are 14 enlargements of major cities. An accompanying booklet contains a gazetteer, a table of inter-city journey times, details of telephone information services, and a list of car-sharing organisations. ISBN 3-933772-00-1.VCD eV, Eifelstrasse 2, D-53119 Bonn, Germany.Fax: +49 228 985 8510