FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – A gas line leaked in Fort Lauderdale, Monday morning, and fire officials know who caused it.According to Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, a gas line was accidentally cut by a construction crew near Southeast 20th Street and 21st Avenue.The construction crew secured the area until hazmat crews arrived to the scene.The leak was capped soon after.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
WILMINGTON, MA — Here are highlights of the Wilmington Police Log for Sunday, July 21, 2019:Wilmington Police assisted Tewksbury Police with an arrest on Avalon Drive. (8:51am)Police received a report that a box of nails fell in the roadway at Woburn Street and Eames Street. Police notified DPW to sweep up the nails. (10:05am)Police contacted Comcast over long hanging wire on Salem Street. (2:23pm)Gwen M. Evans (48, Wilmington) was arrested for disturbing the peace. A caller reported a Loumac Road neighbor was outside intoxicated and screaming at her kids. Police responded and advised Evans to stay in her home. Caller reported neighbor was back outside yelling. Boyfriend of Evans took her back inside and told police he guaranteed she would stay there. Caller again reported neighbor was back outside in the street screaming. Police responded and arrested Evans. (7:44pm)(DISCLAIMER: This information is public information. An arrest does not constitute a conviction. Any arrested person is innocent until proven guilty.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedPOLICE LOG for August 14: Missing Teen Located; Trash Left Behind At Yentile FarmIn “Police Log”POLICE LOG for August 3: Man Issued Summons For Resisting Arrest; Turkeys Struck In Roadway; Hit & RunIn “Police Log”POLICE LOG for July 1: Man Arrested For OUI (Drugs); Resident Taps Into & Damages Fire HydrantIn “Police Log”
Ruhul Kabir Rizvi AhmedBNP on Monday postponed its scheduled public rally at Suhrawardy Udyan on 8 February due to the ongoing Ekushey Book Fair, reports UNB.Instead of the public rally, the party will now hold a protest rally at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh on the same day, marking the 1st anniversary of jailing of its chairperson Khaleda Zia in a graft case.Besides, the party’s different units across the country will hold similar programmes across the country the following day.BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi came up with the announcement at a press conference at the party’s Naya Paltan central office.”We had earlier announced to hold a rally at Suhrwardy Udyan on 8 February demanding the release of our chairperson Khaleda Zia and other detained party leaders and activists. We’ve postponed it due to the Book Fair. We’ve decided to stage a protest rally on the same day at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh,” he said.Earlier on 29 January, the party announced to hold the public rally in the city.On 8 February, 2018, Khaleda was sent to Old Dhaka Central Jail after her conviction in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
Kolkata: Padma Vibhushan awardee astrophysicist J V Narlikar advocated on Saturday that at least a single class should be dedicated to inculcate the scientific spirit among school children, adding that their interests should be created in science by changing the teaching method.Professor Narlikar, who is in the city to attend a two-day National Science Conference on the theme ‘Integrating Science with Society’ at Jadavpur University, said: “The way science is taught in most schools is unable to attract students in most cases. The receiver often does not understand and is therefore unable to appreciate the beauty of a thing. A student mind particularly after a science class often wonders why this or that happens. If we can have a period in a week where he or she can ask questions and get answers, the interest will grow automatically,” Narikar said. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe noted scientist, who is an Emeritus professor of the Pune-based Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), said students from Class IX and X at the Centre get the opportunity to associate with science every day. 30 to 40 school children in batches from different schools turn up daily and use toy models which have a magical impact. When they ask questions, their queries are answered. “The activity is a drop in the ocean but, believe me, interacting with students who have participated in such activities at IUCAA, tell me that they have been motivated by it,” Narlikar maintained. The activity in IUCAA has been going on for 20 years and is extremely popular among students, claimed Narlikar. More than 30 scientists of international repute from various institutes of the country are attending the conference organised by ‘Breakthrough Science Society’, a voluntary body committed to propagate science and scientific outlook. Jadavpur University Vice-Chancellor Prof Suranjan Das in his inaugural address of the meet said scientific reasoning-based education can help the country come out of the present crisis.
Business leaders celebrated a court decision Friday that they say guarantees Costa Rica’s public hospitals, ports and electricity grid will continue to function even if public sector workers are involved in a labor dispute.The ruling, from the Constitutional Chamber of Costa Rica’s Supreme Court, is the latest chapter in a legislative saga spanning two presidencies. At issue is a comprehensive labor law which, among numerous other provisions, would allow workers providing essential public services to go on strike.The court, also known as Sala IV, struck down a December 2014 decision by President Luis Guillermo Solís to lift a prior veto of the law. The original veto came from ex-President Laura Chinchilla (2010-2014) in 2012.Costa Rican law allows the president to reverse a former president’s veto under certain circumstances, but Sala IV ruled against Solís’ veto-lifting in this case on a technicality.When Solís announced last year his intention to let the law go into force, he said the country’s labor laws were obsolete and that the urgency to update them was greater than the threat of strikes that could paralyze essential public services. These services include hospitals, emergency and police services, port operations, telecommunications, water and energy distribution, among others.The reform dealt with a wide range of labor issues that even pro-business lobbies supported. Among the bill’s provisions were protections for pregnant women and employees who have filed sexual harassment complaints. The law also prohibited firing someone based on their religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity. It also included reforms to make the country’s labor courts more efficient.Despite Solís’ support for the bill, he said last year that he didn’t agree with the provision allowing strikes that would jeopardize essential services, so he issued an executive order banning such strikes. Opponents weren’t appeased, saying the executive order would be trumped by the law. The court’s decision Friday — in a 4-3 vote — was applauded by the business sector, which had vehemently opposed the labor reform, primarily because of the strike clause.Ex-President Chinchilla also celebrated the court’s decision, calling it a win for legal certainty and guaranteeing essential services in Costa Rica during an interview with Radio Monumental. During Chinchilla’s administration there were several large public sector strikes, including a nationwide doctors strike in 2011 and another healthcare workers strike in 2013.Ronald Jiménez, president of the Union of Private-Sector Chambers and Associations (UCCAEP), an organization that represents more than 40 private business chambers, said in a statement that he hoped lawmakers would take up the provision of the law that dealt with labor court reform.Casa Presidencial released a statement Friday afternoon saying that the executive branch would respect the Sala IV’s ruling. Casa Presidencial said that it would continue to work with lawmakers to improve working conditions and modernize labor dispute resolutions.Despite Solís’ decision to lift the veto, the law never actually came into force. It was set to take effect in May 2016.The reform bill now returns to the Legislative Assembly for consideration. Facebook Comments Related posts:Refusing to hire obese man is not discrimination, Costa Rican court finds Costa Rica regulators order Facebook page removed over advertising it deems sexist and blasphemous Costa Rica IVF decree loses support of public health care system Uber supporters say court case could legalize ride-hailing service in Costa Rica
Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories In recent years, North Korea has turned increasingly to China to provide trade, investment and knowhow in exchange for access to its minerals and labor.Government policy calls for strengthening economic cooperation with other countries while still maintaining North Korea’s “juche” policy of self-reliance, Yun Yong Sok, vice department director of North Korea’s Committee for Investment and Joint Venture, told the state-run Korean Central News Agency in March.“Contracts on joint venture and joint collaboration have been on increase with the investment environment changing for the better,” he told KCNA.The government directive to seek foreign business partnerships is a shift in a policy away from the insularity of past decades.Still, doing business in North Korea is a challenge. Most foreign visitors cannot travel freely in and out of the country, drive their own cars or communicate with their local counterparts by cellphone _ basics for conducting business anywhere else in the world.New rules for Rason were designed to get around some of these restrictions and make it more foreigner-friendly. Still, Rason is working on providing basic infrastructure, said Kim Yong Nam, vice director of the Economic Cooperation Bureau of the Rason City People’s Committee. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Parents, stop beating yourself up RASON, North Korea (AP) – More than a year after construction began, the road from China to North Korea’s special economic zone in Rason is paved. Power substations are being built, railway lines are being linked to routes to Siberia, and piers at the harbor expanded.This week, an international trade fair staged at the exhibition hall in the zone in North Korea’s far northeast offered foreign investors and visitors from China, Britain, Russia and elsewhere, as well as journalists from The Associated Press, a glimpse at the efforts to turn a long-neglected, remote region into a manufacturing, tourism and transportation hub. Xiyang said it invested $37.1 million to set up a joint venture to build a mining facility, and sent 100 workers to North Korea last year. North Korean officials later demanded changes to the contract and when Xiyang refused, they cut off utilities to the plant and deported the workers, Xiyang said in a statement.On the other hand, the Yatai Group, a Chinese conglomerate, announced last week that it signed a 50-year contract with Rason officials to build a sprawling complex around Unsang Harbor to produce cement and mortar.The push to develop Rason moves forward, and an AP reporter found Russian crews working this week on renovating rails to link Rajin and the Siberian city of Khasan, which would provide a link to European markets, and laborers upgrading the tracks between Rajin and the Tumen River at the Chinese-North Korean border.City officials say they are even working on sprucing up tourists sites.Kim Yong Ho, the president of the Kumyong Co., which provides services to restaurants in Rason, said business in the area is booming and he has seen more customers, both North Korean and foreign.___Associated Press photographer Kim Kwang Hyon in Rason and researcher Flora Ji in Beijing contributed to this report. “Right now, the most important thing is to improve the infrastructure, including electricity supply, transport and harbor construction as soon as possible,” he said.The geographic potential of Rason, which encompasses the cities of Rajin and Sonbong, is clear. It sits in the far northeastern tip of North Korea, with Russia on one side and China on the other. Officials told AP the zone is called the “golden triangle” because it has three ports with waters that never freeze, even in winter, offering potential routes into all three countries.It was earmarked in 1991 as a special economic zone, with officials seeing promise in building factories for manufacturing and expanding the Rajin port for shipping. However, little was done to develop Rason until North Korean authorities in recent years gave the area some autonomy from Pyongyang and amended or wrote new laws that make it easier for foreign businesses to set up shop, particularly regarding visas and entry.It also signed a pact with China two years ago to jointly develop the zone.But even longstanding ties with China haven’t guaranteed smooth sailing. Earlier this month, a Chinese firm, the Xiyang Group, warned other companies against investing in North Korea, calling its four-year experience trying to tap into North Korea’s mining industry “a nightmare.” A diorama of the future Rason International Commercial Trade Center displayed at the trade fair showed rows of modern buildings sparkling with lights and cars parked under street lamps along tree-lined streets _ a look at what officials hope the zone will look like in years to come. But whether that vision comes to fruition will depend in large part on whether China comes through with the electricity, supplies and money needed to bring Rason into the 21st century.Over the past two years, North Korea’s leadership has made the bid to transform Rason into an international hub a priority, along with drawing much-needed foreign investment. Last week, Jang Song Thaek, a senior official and uncle of leader Kim Jong Un, led a visit to China to discuss joint cooperation on developing economic zones along the border in an indication that the project has the attention of top officials.North Korea’s economy has languished in sharp contrast to the booming market economies of its neighbors in Northeast Asia. Pyongyang has not publicly released detailed economic data for decades, but the CIA Factbook estimates its per capita GDP at $1,800. Outside the capital, Pyongyang, much of the country remains poor, with buildings and roads in dire need of repair, and the United Nations says two-thirds of North Koreans face some form of chronic food shortage. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Comments Share 3 international destinations to visit in 2019
ROME (AP) – A law professor, a botanist, a music historian and a climate expert have won this year’s Balzan Prizes.The Balzans are awarded each year in a variety of subjects and are handed out by a foundation based in Milan and Zurich, Switzerland. Each prize is worth 750,000 Swiss francs (about (EURO)620,000 or $790,000), and half of the amount must be destined for research, preferably involving young scholars. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The winners announced Monday were: Ronald Dworkin, 80, a New York University law professor; Australian Kurt Lambeck, 70, the climate expert; Reinhard Strohm, 70, a German-born music scholar; and David Baulcombe, 60, the head of the plant sciences department at the University of Cambridge.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments Share Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Men’s health affects baby’s health too
After Lufthansa and the shareholders of SN Airholding had agreed on the terms of the complete takeover, Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Executive Board has decided to exercise the call option for the outstanding 55% of the shares. The call option came into effect in December 2016, while the closing of the transaction would happen by the beginning of January 2017.The price mechanism for the takeover of the remaining 55% of the shares had already been part of the agreement for the call option in 2008. The price for the acquisition of the remaining 55% of the shares is 2.6 million Euros, which would be paid to a consortium of 30 shareholders.Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG said, “Following the acquisition of the 45% share of SN Airholding eight years ago, we now want to take the next step in our already very solid and successful cooperation. As a longstanding shareholder and partner of Brussels Airlines, we are already closely linked to each other. Accordingly, we value Belgium and especially Brussels as highly attractive markets that perfectly complement our offer in the heart of Europe.”Following the acquisition, Brussels Airlines would continue to operate its 23 long-haul destinations as well as 79 destinations within Europe under the umbrella of the Eurowings Group. The common goal of Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines is to further strengthen the market position in the Belgian Airline market.Viscount Etienne Davignon, Chairman of the Board remarked, “Our sound and trustful collaboration with Lufthansa has proven its potential to jointly create perspectives. More than ever, consolidation in the aviation business is key. Joining the Lufthansa Group allows us to further increase synergies, while keeping our specific competencies. Together we are able to further strengthen our competitiveness within a tough market environment and develop our long-haul and short-haul operations. We will supplement the Lufthansa Group’s network with our important long-haul and transfer traffic to Africa and want to enhance our strong position.”
State Rep. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, today took the ceremonial oath of office in the state Capitol. The oath was administered by Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young Jr. (left). He was joined at the Capitol by his daughter Kayla, left, and his wife Kathy, right. Categories: Runestad News,Runestad Photos 15Jan Rep. Runestad takes the ceremonial oath of office
State Rep. Daniela R. Garcia, R-Holland, issued the following statement following the state Senate and House’s approval of a multi-bill financial and educational reform package for Detroit Public Schools:“The children and parents of Detroit were put first again and I applaud our partners in the Senate and House for approving this legislative package. We needed to make difficult decisions throughout this process. The focus has always been about putting the children of Detroit in a position to succeed in their education, whether it be in DPS or public charter schools. So many people spoke to my fellow legislators, advocating for any form of legislation to help the families who relied on DPS. It’s now the responsibility of everyone who advocated for legislative action, including with the children, families, teachers, city leaders and other stakeholders to work together to ensure the success of our state’s largest public school district. The future of our children in Detroit depends on it.” Categories: Garcia News,News 09Jun Rep. Garcia: We all must work together for the children of Detroit
Plan improves Jackson County roads without increasing taxes 22Feb Rep. Alexander votes for additional road funding Categories: Alexander News,News Rep. Julie Alexander of Hanover recently cast her vote along with a bipartisan majority in the House approving a plan to invest an additional $175 million into road repairs across Michigan as early as this summer.“This funding is additional money that enables us to repair roads across Michigan sooner rather than later. It’s been an exceptionally brutal winter, and pothole season is already upon us,” Alexander said. “Our Jackson community has been innovative and resourceful by starting the process to repair our roads, with some townships even taking on an additional tax burden. Now is the time to invest more state dollars to fix our roads without increased taxes or fees, but with funding coming from unspent money from a previous budget year.“Voting to provide more money for our Jackson roads is one announcement I am pleased to make,” Alexander said.The money included in the bill approved today comes in addition to previous allocations that provide more funding for road and bridge projects in Michigan.Jackson County will receive more than $1,170,000, and the city of Jackson is expected to receive $272,289.The money is left over from a previous state government budget cycle and is already available, meaning no budget cuts or additional taxes are required for the investment.House Bill 4321 advances to the Senate for further consideration.###
07Jan Rep. Huizenga announces office is open to serve residents State Rep. Mark Huizenga of Walker announced today his office in Lansing is officially open for business and stands ready to serve the people of the 74th District. Zachary Sikkema will serve as Rep. Huizenga’s legislative director, and Phoebe Biermann will serve as the Director of Constituent Relations. Sikkema previously worked for former state representatives Rob VerHeulen and Roger Victory, and Biermann worked on staff with the Senate Majority Policy Office.“I am very proud of our team,” Rep. Huizenga said. “As I begin my first term as your state representative, I want to hit the ground running, and we are prepared to work hard for you. I am in Lansing to be your voice, so if you have any questions, thoughts, or ideas, then please do not hesitate to reach out or stop by my office.”Residents of the 74th District can contact Rep. Huizenga by calling (517) 373-8900, emailing MarkHuizenga@house.mi.gov, or by sending a letter to P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909. Rep. Huizenga’s office is located at 124 N. Capitol Ave., Room N-1093, in Lansing and is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Categories: Huizenga News
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares July 31, 2014; Third SectorWhile the granting of nonprofit status to new nonprofit news sites in the U.S. had slowed to a crawl until a year or so ago, the attainment of such status in the UK has apparently been even more difficult. In 2012, a House of Lords Communications Committee report actually appealed to the Charity Commission for “greater clarity on which activities related to the media—in particular, investigative journalism—are charitable in the current state of the law.” But the commission declined to provide such clarity, writing that each application would be considered on its own merit and that it had “no current plans to consider this issue further in a policy context unless an application for registration raising this issue is made.”So now that the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which provides journalism in the public interest free of charge, has been turned down twice, maybe we are a little clearer about where the commission stands? BIJ fully expected to be granted status when it first applied in 2010, but now Christopher Hird of the BIJ thinks it will not try a third time because “failure would be an inhibition to bodies that give us funding.”“We made our contribution as a test case,” said Hird. “We don’t want to be a guinea pig again.”NPQ has been tracking this issue in the U.S. for years, and it was interesting to find out that one of the problems with IRS approvals for journalism sites in the U.S.—despite the fact that there were already many in existence—was that the IRS reportedly noted that there were simply more applications, which caused the agency to choke and flag the whole field for scrutiny. They began to worry that the revenue models were too similar to for-profit models and wanted groups to declare themselves as educational rather than journalistic. In the end, it was a combination of advice to applicants and, presumably, the IRS getting its collective head screwed on a bit straighter on the matter that turned the tide. Of course, we also have a number of existing nonprofits willing to incubate start-ups as well and that has helped applicants wait out the approval process.In general, the free press is so clearly a function of a healthy civil society that the reasoning that the nonprofit sector was a worse placement for it than the for-profit sector eludes us.We would love to hear more about this issue from our friends in the U.K.—Ruth McCambridge ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share4TweetShareEmail4 Shares June 10, 2015; Aswat MasriyaIf you look hard enough, you’ll find numerous examples of governments around the world clamping down on nonprofits not because they are misspending money, but because they might be engaging democracy-building activities that are not welcome by those in power.The latest example comes from Egypt, where the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies was visited by a committee from the Egyptian government’s Ministry of Social Solidarity. The Institute was not given any explanation, much less an explicit accusation of why it was targeted. Instead, the three-member committee from the Ministry simply showed paperwork explaining that they were to launch an investigation of the NGO. In December, the Institute had already moved its regional and international programs out of Egypt, keeping only its Egypt program in the country, due to what it said were “ongoing threats to human rights organizations and the declaration of war on civil society.”The risk to NGOs is serious. Last September, the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi amended the penal code to permit the government to sentence people to life in prison or even death if charged with receiving foreign funds for the purpose of “harming the state.”It may seem inconsequential, but the attack on foreign funding, particularly funding from sources in the U.S., has more widespread support than many readers might think. For example, the Azerbaijan Press Agency just put out an analysis that the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy (along with the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute) has been connected to “all the global and tragic events happening from the bombing of Milosevic’s Serbia in 2000 to the ongoing civil war in the Ukraine.” [Note: NATO’s bombing of Serbia was actually in 1999.]Undoubtedly, governments that lean toward the totalitarian side of things aren’t likely to appreciate funding from outside entities for NGOs that might be pushing for democratic reforms, particularly those associated with the U.S. government. Azerbaijan is probably less than thrilled with NED grants to indigenous NGOs like the Alliance of Woman for Civil Society, the Azerbaijan Lawyers Association, Women’s Media Watch Azerbaijan, and others generally focused on press freedoms, humanitarian issues, election monitoring—the kinds of NGO activities that governments leaning toward the totalitarian find classifiable as the “opposition” by definition.Given this country’s many alliances with nations that are just as repressive as Azerbaijan, a U.S. government-funded nonprofit dedicated to promoting democracy may seem like an anachronism, but NED funds groups in Azerbaijan and elsewhere that would be generally without local financial support otherwise. Presumably, the Azerbaijani government is equally unhappy with the reporting that appears in NED’s Democracy Digest, including news that Azerbaijan spent $2.3 million in 2013 and $4 million in 2014 on U.S. lobbyists, including a monthly retainer for the Podesta Group, founded and headed by Tony Podesta, the brother of the John Podesta who is running Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.The NED is funded by the U.S. government, but its total appropriation shrunk between FY2014 and FY2015 from $135 million to $104 million. Annually, it makes around 1,000 to 1,200 grants averaging $50,000 apiece. Grants to Azerbaijani NGOs in 2013 totaled roughly $1 million, not a huge amount more than the $668,000 spent by the Open Society Foundations in Azerbaijan that year. OSF’s commitment to democracy building in the former component nations of the Soviet Union is probably little more popular than NED’s.It doesn’t, however, take funding from the National Endowment for Democracy—or even OSF—to spur the enmity of some governments, and they don’t need to be totalitarian. For example, draft legislation from the new right-wing government in Israel would implement a 45 percent tax on foreign donations to Israeli NGOs. Ayelet Shaked, the Netanyahu government’s Justice Minister from the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party, accuses foreign-funded NGOs of “eroding the legitimacy of Israel to exist as a Jewish and Democratic state.” It isn’t difficult to imagine the devastating impact of a 45 percent tax on NGOs. Larger groups such as B’tselem might shrink but survive, while others would go out of business. Under the draft law, the government could give exemptions to some NGOs, which would be the likely scenario for the several NGOs that receive funding from U.S. sources to work on building and strengthening Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.The major economic and political competitor with the U.S., China, is also tightening the screws on NGOs. According to Andrew Browne in an essay in the Wall Street Journal, “A newly proposed law [being considered by Chinese president Xi Jinping’s government] would put the entire foreign nonprofit sector under police administration, effectively treating such groups as potential enemies of the state.” The draft law defines NGOs so very loosely that it would apply to American professors invited to lecture in China as well as to overseas dance troupes invited to perform. After weeks of discussion, 45 American business and professional organizations have signed a letter to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress indicating that the new NGO law could harm U.S.-China relations. For trade groups like the American Petroleum Association and the Motion Picture Association to weigh in on NGO issues indicates just how broadly restrictive the proposed Chinese regulations would be.Azerbaijan and other countries might be disturbed by the grantmaking of the National Endowment for Democracy, but the reality is that civil society is under broad attack in a wide variety of nations. The justifications might be foreign intrusion or political opposition, but the consistent objection from country to country is the core mission of civil society—to serve as a democratic voice for populations that don’t always toe the line of national government powers. The message for U.S. nonprofits is twofold: Nonprofits have to speak up for civil society protections around the world, and they must remember to fight to protect the independence of civil society organizations at home so that they aren’t manipulated or dictated to by governments or by the powerful institutions of the nation’s ultra-wealthy elite.—Rick CohenShare4TweetShareEmail4 Shares
Share15TweetShare11Email26 SharesOctober 16, 2015; The HillAdd Oregon and Colorado to the list of states whose nonprofit consumer-oriented health insurance cooperatives have shut down. Health Republic Insurance in Oregon voluntarily decided “to refrain from entering the market in 2016 and begin an orderly wind down of business” as a result of the federal announcement to limit Risk Corridor Payments to 12.6 percent of what the CO-OPs had anticipated. Colorado’s shutdown was ordered by the state Division of Insurance and protested vociferously by Julia Hutchins, the CEO of Colorado HealthOP: “We are astonished and disappointed by the Colorado Division of Insurance’s decision,” Colorado HealthOP CEO Julia Hutchins said in a statement. “It is both irresponsible and premature.”In response to the latest news about Oregon and Colorado, Kelly Crowe, the CEO of the National Alliance of State Health CO-OPs (NASHCO) issued a statement explaining what had actually happened to cause a third of the CO-OPs to go under in rapid succession:The dissolution of three CO-OPs this week is a devastating blow to Americans who seek competition, choice, innovative benefits, and non-profit alternatives when selecting a health insurer. It is no coincidence these announcements come on the heels of the recent notice by [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] (CMS) that only 12.6 percent of the 2014 risk corridor will be paid to insurers. Many of the CO-OPs now closing were well on their way to longer term financial sustainability, but few businesses can sustain hits like the CO-OPs and other small and new insurance companies have endured from unexpected risk adjustment obligations and much lower-than-promised risk corridor payments.Note the phrase “lower than promised.” In their understanding of the risk corridor payments, explained last week in NPQ’s coverage of the first of this run of shutdowns, the CO-OPs had clearly anticipated much larger payments for the absorption of enrollees with significant healthcare needs. The CO-OPs were offering more-than-competitive products and pricing to people who might have been previously underinsured or uninsured. With new coverage gained through the CO-OPs, these consumers sought the healthcare they needed—as they should, and as most observers anticipated—leading to the CO-OPs having to bear high levels of expense. Blindsided by the CMS with a 12.6 percent risk corridor payment (that is, 12.6 percent of what the CO-OPs had requested), the impact on the CO-OPs’ operations was devastating and destructive.The issue is more than just the failure of a number of new nonprofit entities. Crowe’s statement adds the following:With HHS already issuing lower ACA enrollment projections and health insurance giants merging to further limit competition, the presence of CO-OPs is needed now more than ever. Though federal regulators have taken some modest steps to ease CO-OPs’ short term financial burdens, a firmer commitment to fulfill the obligations of the ACA’s risk programs is needed to provide stability to the marketplaces.This week’s news should not be viewed as start-up failures, but rather closures due to unfulfilled promises.In other words, the nonprofit health insurance CO-OPs were brought into existence to do more than test the idea of seeing what a dozen nonprofit ventures might do in the health insurance field. The CO-OPs were created under the Affordable Care Act in the absence of a “public option,” much less a single-payer system, to provide price and product competition to the oligopolistic big corporations that dominated the health insurance markets across the nation. As a matter of the policy objectives of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government should have been looking at all reasonable means for sustaining the CO-OPs through their early years in order to challenge the dominance, the high costs, and the inadequate consumer care that the big corporate insurers were known for.Despite a number of regulatory hurdles aimed at constraining the operational flexibility of the CO-OPs, the CO-OPs used their nonprofit ingenuity for reaching out to potential enrollees, building alliances with other nonprofits, overcoming restrictions on marketing by engaging in public education about health insurance and healthcare, and succeeding in many cases with enrollments beyond expectations—and despite dysfunctional state health exchanges. The CMS decision on the risk corridor payments pulls the rug out not only from the CO-OPs as organizations, but from the federal policy commitment in the ACA to resist and overcome the dominance of the likes of Aetna, Anthem, Cigna, and Humana.It is truly embarrassing that nonprofit leadership organizations have taken the opportunity to say absolutely nothing about the unfair treatment of nonprofit health insurance CO-OPs. Perhaps it is a matter of numbers—there were only a couple dozen CO-OPs after the budget deal eliminated startup loan funds for the creation of new CO-OPs, not a large enough swath of the nonprofit sector to be seen as broadly relevant. Perhaps it is a matter of technical knowledge—the nonprofit health CO-OPs operated in the arena of health insurance, a subject which apparently exceeds the research and analysis capacities of nonprofit leadership organizations, even though it is likely that many nonprofit employees had signed up for insurance purchased through the exchanges with the CO-OPs themselves.When the news of the risk corridor payments first came out, Crowe said in a statement,Today’s news that risk corridor payments will be much lower than requested is another sign the so-called “3 R’s” are not working as the Affordable Care Act envisioned. CO-OPs and most new entrants were recently hit hard in risk adjustment payments, even though the populations they serve were often very high-risk. Rather than encouraging choice and competition, these ACA programs appear to be hindering the viability of new entrants to the marketplace.The CMS decision undermines what the ACA was meant to do, and the silence of nonprofit leadership organizations contributes to a weakening of the voice, power, and credulity of nonprofits.—Rick CohenShare15TweetShare11Email26 Shares
Share9TweetShareEmail9 SharesBoston Latin School / CliffMarch 2, 2016; Boston.com and Boston GlobeUnited States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz announced on March 2nd, 2016, that the Civil Rights Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts is launching an independent investigation of alleged civil rights violations at Boston Latin School (BLS). Eight civil rights organizations and community members submitted a joint written complaint to the U.S. Attorney’s Office on February 26th, raising concerns about racial harassment and discrimination at BLS.The Boston Globe reported that some of the matters raised in the five-page complaint by parents of current and former BLS students included “disparate discipline and suspension of black students compared with their similarly situated non-black counterparts.” There was also an alleged incident wherein a teacher “greeted a black student by using the ‘n-word’” that school officials reportedly did not investigate.Complaints of widespread racism came to light during Martin Luther King Day in January when two students, Meggie Noel and Kylie Webster–Cazeau, posted a YouTube video and launched the hashtag #BlackAtBLS on social media.Other alleged incidents of racism happened long before. The Globe reported on the story of Milton Britton Jr., who came home from work one evening to find his teenage daughter crying hysterically. The girl eventually told her parents a secret she’d been keeping for months: A classmate at Boston Latin had said to her, “I should lynch you with this,” while holding an electric cord in his hand. He also allegedly called her a crude racial epithet.This incident is directly related to the current climate at the prestigious school. A school department investigation into the racial climate at BLS acknowledged mishandling the girl’s case. Of the seven race-related incidents investigated, it was the only case in which the school failed to respond adequately, according to the report.The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion in public schools and colleges and universities, hence the need and legal basis for a federal investigation. The Boston Globe quoted Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, as saying, “We really need an independent third-party like the US attorney to make sure that what happened did violate or didn’t violate [the students’ rights].” He went on to say that Ortiz’s decision to investigate “speaks to how disturbing the incidents have been.”In spite of these occurrences and the announcement of the attorney general’s federal investigation, many parents at the school still back the administration, including the headmaster, while also supporting the investigation. An informal group of hundreds of parents of students present and past have come together to support BLS headmaster Lynne Mooney Teta. In a statement, they said, “We are confident in Attorney Ortiz’s ability to go ‘where the facts lead.’ We are anxious for the process to be brought to a conclusion in a timely manner so we in the community can move forward.”The headmaster herself acknowledged some missteps in a letter sent home to students and staff: “While I am optimistic that the dialogues begun over the past few weeks will lead to a more respectful and welcoming racial climate at our school, I deeply regret that we did not begin such conversations earlier.”So what could be the outcome of this investigation? As with any other investigation, Ortiz will have to find evidence to substantiate any criminal or civil violations. If criminal wrongdoing is discovered, charges could be filed. If civil rights violations are found valid, the U.S. Attorney General’s office could force BLS to change its standards and rules. The school may be forced to retrain staff and comply with regular Justice Department reviews, and if the school disagrees with any proposed remedies, prosecutors could seek a court order. This is what happened when the U.S. Attorney General sued the city of Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting of Michael Brown by police in 2014 led to protests about widespread discriminatory practices from the police. The next investigation led to findings that required the city to make substantive changes in the way its police department and city court operates.Both the mayor of Boston and the school superintendent have agreed to fully cooperate with the investigation:We continue to work on launching an independent investigation that will look deeper into any allegations, the culture at Boston Latin School and make recommendations on how the district should move forward. It is always our top priority that all schools provide respectful and accepting learning environments and we welcome working in collaboration to reach a positive outcome for the kids.Will these efforts be enough to allay the concerns of parents with children of color attending the school?—Alexis BuchananShare9TweetShareEmail9 Shares
Share31Tweet8ShareEmail39 SharesJune 26, 2018; RevCycleIntelligence.comFor health care providers and hospitals, just treating patients may not be good enough. Increasingly, experts have seen the need to view health in a larger, societal context. The American Hospital Association has recognized that people’s health is heavily influenced by the overall context of their lives.To meet medical objectives and to reduce the overall cost of health care, the American Hospital Association now advises its members that the “social determinants of health—where we live, work and play—have tremendous effect on one’s health, and they can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, ethnicity.” And it is urging hospitals to become engaged in efforts to change this larger picture.According to a recent article on RevCycleIntelligence.com, a patient’s overall health is more dependent on the quality of their overall circumstances of their lives than it is on the quality of the health care they receive or on the accessibility of health care services. “Socioeconomic factors are responsible for approximately 40 percent of a patient’s health, while just 20 percent was tied to care access and quality of care.”Being homeless, living in unsafe or unhealthy conditions, lacking transportation to get to needed medical appointments, or living in a food desert effects health more significantly than being able to see the best doctor or be treated in the finest hospital.With pressure from all quarters to reduce the cost of health care, hospitals and health care providers are motivated to build partnerships with other service providers toward improving the larger context of their patient’s lives. The AHA advises its members to invest in network building: “Knowing that hospitals and health systems alone cannot address all of these issues, external partnerships will be critical. Externally, hospitals and health systems can partner with other stakeholders or make other investments in their communities. This allows hospitals to not only serve as part of the solution, but to work with other stakeholders to better use limited resources to match the needs of their communities.”Recognizing that many patients enter care with nutrition deficits, “organizations should also consider investments in food systems, such as food banks, local pantries, grocery stores, and farmers…establish community gardens, and allow food stands from local farmers on their property.”Homeless individuals are heavy and regular emergency room users. Helping them leave the streets and enter stable, safe housing requires skills and resources outside the health care system. RevCycleIntelligence.com cited the University of Illinois Medical Center as a dramatic example of a service network addressing homelessness. The Center partnered with a community group called the Center for Housing and Health:Hospital providers identified emergency department patients who were experiencing chronic homelessness and referred them to the community group. A panel of physicians, social workers, and other experts would then determine each applicant’s needs and pair qualifying individuals with an outreach worker who connects the individuals with the needed services. Individuals who accept the hospital’s help move into a “bridge unit,” or transitional housing unit, and case managers develop long-term solutions for independent living.Hospitals’ openness to forming partnerships like these presents an opportunity for a range of organizations that focus on community improvement. Effective initiatives will require each partner to look beyond its own needs and see the work’s overall context. With each sector of the service community already under fiscal pressure as funding becomes harder to get and maintain, everyone needs to be concerned about more than the individual bottom line. The ongoing well-being of each partnership is important if the array of needed support services and community interventions will continue.—Martin LevineShare31Tweet8ShareEmail39 Shares
Share15Tweet7ShareEmail22 Shares“In China Coca-Cola means ‘delicious happiness,’” Börkur SigurbjörnssonJanuary 10, 2019; Harvard GazetteThe ties between public health and industries like Big Tobacco, Pharma, and Soda are well known, especially in the US. Over the years, NPQ has written extensively about Big Soda’s connection to nonprofits and its role in influencing public policy (articles can be found here, here, and here). However, how large industries influence policy decisions in other countries is not as well known. Now, new research from Harvard University shows China’s efforts to address its growing obesity epidemic has been deliberately undermined by Coca-Cola. By developing connections with China’s leading health organizations, including the Chinese CDC and Ministry of Health, the company shifted the direction of obesity research in its favor.One of the company’s most significant tactics used to develop legitimacy was financially supporting the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI). The organization, created in 1978 by Coca-Cola Vice President Alex Malaspina, aims to “provide science that improves human health and well-being and safeguards the environment.” The organization is fueled by snack food heavyweights such as Nestle, McDonald’s, Yum! Brands, and PepsiCo with far-reaching global influence due to the strategic placement of 17 branches across emerging markets like South Africa, Mexico, and India.Coca-Cola entered the Chinese marketplace at an opportune time. In 2001, as the US Surgeon General sounded the alarm on obesity, consensus emerged in the public health community that sugar-laden drinks were part of the issue. As a result, policies such as soda taxes, bans on advertising to children, and public awareness campaigns were part of a comprehensive strategy to curb consumption—and it worked. In the US, overall soda sales are in steady decline.To make up for declining sales, Coca-Cola began extending its reach to emerging markets like China. The country was in the nascent stages of addressing obesity as a growing concern. With limited funding available to study chronic disease prevention and treatment, Coca-Cola stepped in to fill the gap. Through ILSI, the company provided research funding and sponsored conferences that aligned with the company’s corporate interests which allowed Coca-Cola to position itself as a charitable company and exert quiet influence on obesity science.As Coca-Cola’s influence increased, obesity research and policy markedly shifted with a predominance of research promoting the idea that physical activity was the most important strategy to combat obesity. National programs such as “Happy 10 Minutes,” a youth exercise program, was modeled after the company’s “Energy 10” program. Other national campaigns such as “Energy is Medicine” and “Healthy Lifestyles for All” were also the result of Coca-Cola’s funding. Company-approved language such as “energy balance” and “healthy active lifestyles” became commonplace in public health lexicon and coincided with the company’s belief that inactivity, not diet, is the main cause of obesity.Conferences were overridden with Coca-Cola’s views as well. During the time period between 2004 and 2015, ILSI hosted six international conferences on obesity. While Chinese researchers and clinicians might have believed they were being presented with best practices in alignment with US standards, this was not the case. The research found that every ILSI-sponsored conference was stacked with experts who had financial ties to Coca-Cola or ILSI. While researchers were not explicitly told that alternative views would not be supported, ILSI was unlikely to introduce research contradicting Coca-Cola’s company line. In fact, from 2010–2015 two-thirds of the research presented emphasized physical activity. Despite nutritional approaches such as setting dietary guidelines, providing nutritional education, and promoting healthy foods being included in national plans, such approaches did not receive similar levels of corporate or government support.This is not the first time Coca-Cola has used nonprofits to shield its true intentions. In the US, the company partnered with scientists to create the Global Energy Balance Network to promote exercising as the solution to obesity. However, the organization disbanded after an explosive investigative report by the New York Times. Since that time, the company has pledged to be more transparent in its grantmaking processes by listing grant recipients on its website however, this transparency does not extend to corporate sponsorships.According to Greenhalgh, Coca-Cola’s desire to craft the narrative around obesity science may have set the country decades behind. In an email to Greenhalgh, Barry Popkin, a global nutrition expert with twenty years of experience working in China states:There is now no immediate possibility the government will regulate food, beverage, or sugar in the way countries globally are beginning to work to create healthy diets and address not only obesity but all diet-related noncommunicable diseases. I believe ILSI’s influence in promoting the physical activity agenda was extremely detrimental and put China decades behind in efforts to create a healthier diet for its citizens.The tangled web between public policy and Coca-Cola serves as a reminder to frame early: Whoever frames the dominant narrative frames the solution. In this case, Coca-Cola took advantage of a weakened public health bureaucracy, limited research funding, and a pro-business culture to push its agenda and shape national discourse. Consequently, the notion that physical activity is the primary solution to obesity is deeply entrenched in Chinese culture. Greenhalgh found that within the country’s public policy plan, Healthy China 2030, the majority of health targets focused on increasing physical activity while newer perspectives such as regulating the food industry were not included. Moreover, the terms “energy balance,” “exercise is medicine,” and “eating and moving in balance” are frequently mentioned throughout showing the insidious nature of Coca-Cola’s influence.As NPQ writer Susan Nall Bates notes in her piece on framing, “Framing early sometimes entails starting over entirely. When many of the common concepts in public thinking are sticky, empty, just plain wrong or some combination thereof, the frames may have to be reinvented entirely.” It seems that China may need to go this route.— Chelsea DennisShare15Tweet7ShareEmail22 Shares
France’s Centre National du Cinéma (CNC) has released the first results of its study into the lifecycle of films in the country from theatrical release through to free-to-air TV distribution.The initial results cover 573 films released in 2007. Of these, the CNC study found that 86.2% had been released on DVD, 66.1% had been made available on video-on-demand, 63.4% had been distributed by a pay TV channel and 41.4% had been shown on free-to-air.Some 28.1% of the films had been exploited across all four windows, from theatrical release to free-to-air, while 10% had only been shown in cinemas. The pattern of distribution varied according to the extent of the initial cinematic release and the sources of finance for the film – with 96.6% films pre-financed by pay TV operators being shown on a pay TV channel, for example.The current system of windowing in France dates from 2005, with modifications in 2009 leading to a shortening of the period before films are available on VOD from 7.5 months to four months.The CNC study comes as the organisation is taking part in a new round of talks on the reform of windowing.
Multiscreen TV software company SeaChange has appointed Steve Craddock to its board of directors. He will also serve on the company’s audit committee.Craddock is president of The Del Ray Group, an independent consulting firm that provides services to high-technology and financial clients focused on the media and telecommunications markets. He previously served at Comcast as senior vice-president of technology in the office of the chief technology officer.SeaChange’s chairman of the board Thomas Olson said, “We are pleased to welcome Steve to our Board of Directors and applaud his outstanding achievements in the development of emerging video technologies throughout his distinguished career. His unmatched expertise will serve us well as we continually innovate and provide the next generations of multi-screen video platforms, advertising solutions and gateway software to video service providers worldwide.”