13 Jul

EU migrant crisis: Royal Navy ship HMS Richmond to tackle people smugglers risking refugees’ lives off the coast of Libya

first_img EU migrant crisis: Royal Navy ship HMS Richmond to tackle people smugglers risking refugees’ lives off the coast of Libya Wednesday 16 September 2015 9:04 am Share whatsapp In what is another attempt to head off the escalating migrant crisis facing the European Union, the Royal Navy is being dispatched to tackle people smugglers around the coast of Libya. HMS Richmond is being sent to international waters around the country to try and stop criminal gangs from ferrying refugees across the Mediterranean Sea. So far this year more than 2,000 people have died attempting the crossing in boats that are often unfit for use, according to the International Organisation for Migration.  HMS Richmond has a special surveillance system that allows it to cover vast areas. Its primary role will be to board and seize vessels in the southern Mediterranean, according to the Ministry of Defence. It is being sent into replace the HMS Bulwark, as the operation begins to focus more on stopping smugglers. Defence secretary Michael Fallon said the crisis must be tackled “at source”.”The vital work of HMS Bulwark, HMS Enterprise and our Merlin helicopters shows the UK’s commitment to tackling the refugee crisis at source,” he added. “The Royal Navy has rescued thousands of people from peril but we’ve been clear we have to tackle the gangs behind this, which is why it’s important the mission moves to the next phase.”We will not stand by and let this smuggling trade escalate; we will confront this criminal activity which risks the lives of innocent people every day.”  center_img Catherine Neilan whatsapp by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeSwift VerdictChrissy Metz, 39, Shows Off Massive Weight Loss In Fierce New PhotoSwift VerdictPost FunKate & Meghan Are Very Different Mothers, These Photos Prove ItPost FunMaternity WeekA Letter From The Devil Written By A Possessed Nun In 1676 Has Been TranslatedMaternity WeekEquity MirrorThey Drained Niagara Falls — They Weren’t Prepared For This Sickening DiscoveryEquity Mirrorzenherald.comMeghan Markle Changed This Major Detail On Archies Birth Certificatezenherald.comArticles SkillHusband Leaves Wife For Her Sister, Not Knowing She Won The Lottery Just Moments BeforeArticles SkillDefinitionThe Most Famous Movie Filmed In Every U.S. StateDefinitionTotal PastThis Was Found Hiding In An Oil Painting – Take A Closer LookTotal PastInteresticleMan Finds Wierd Cave In Scottsdale, Enters And Drops To His KneesInteresticle Show Comments ▼last_img read more

23 Jun

Why a First Amendment win is good for science

first_imgThe WatchdogsWhy a First Amendment win is good for science The decision, which reverses a ruling from a lower court, doesn’t stop the defamation suit, although it is quite difficult to sue someone whose identity is unknown. But it does uphold a principle we strongly support: Science needs anonymous whistleblowers, and they deserve protection. We hate to contemplate what might have happened had the judges ruled otherwise. Why science would benefit from being self-refereed Some of Donald Trump’s recent comments have bloodied the nose of the First Amendment, but here, at least, is a glimmer of good news: Judges in a Michigan defamation case this week ruled that anonymous scientific critiques are a protected form of speech.The decision, by a three-judge panel on the Michigan Court of Appeals, gives a boost to the nascent but growing practice of online post-publication peer review.The ruling stems from a defamation lawsuit involving Fazlul Sarkar, formerly of Wayne State University. Sarkar is angry because posters to the site PubPeer — which allows people to critique the work of scientists — questioned the integrity of his work. Those comments, he claims, cost him a lucrative job at the University of Mississippi and tarnished his reputation. He has demanded to know the names of the anonymous critics who were calling his findings into question. (Sarkar has now had 18 papers retracted.)advertisement Should researchers publish their findings before peer review? Spencer Platt/Getty Images Related: PubPeer offers a forum for vigorous post-publication review of published research. Critics of the site have argued that it would prove to be a cesspool of vendettas and grudge-bearing. That hasn’t happened. In fact, not only are unfounded accusations quickly moderated from the blog, posters have surfaced evidence there that prompted the retractions of a number of articles and that launched several institutional investigations.advertisement Why is anonymity so important to science? A few reasons. The first: Many people in a position to observe questionable research practices in a lab are underlings — postdocs, students, and others of similarly low station. Like the indentured servants they for all practical purposes are, they’re powerless against lab heads and senior members of the faculty. The shield of anonymity is a crucial protection against retribution.In addition, even peers may not feel comfortable making public allegations or questions about a colleague’s work, for obvious reasons. They may doze through the same department meetings, sit on the same editorial boards, or be active in the same professional societies.We wish humans weren’t so defensive and tribal, really, we do. But until some mad scientist genetically engineers those traits away — which would probably involve a cure that’s worse than the disease — we’re stuck with ourselves. Luckily, we’re also “stuck” with the First Amendment — at least for now. Related: Given the First Amendment stakes, PubPeer had support in the lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union, whose attorney, Alex Abdo, praised the decision in a statement: “This ruling is a critical victory for freedom of speech and scientific inquiry,” Abdo said. “Anonymity has a storied history in our country, allowing the nation’s founders to express unpopular views in relative safety. Anonymity is no less important today. Scientists who anonymously review the work of their peers should not have to fear retribution for exposing the anomalies they find, and the court rightly agreed.”Meanwhile, Nicholas Roumel, Sarkar’s attorney, told the Scientist that the ruling “sucked” but was “in line with the trend of these cases all over the country.”Other notable defenses of First Amendment rights in science include the 2015 ruling by a judge in Massachusetts that the journal Diabetes did not defame a scientist in Brazil when it issued an expression of concern about four of his papers. And in another Massachusetts case also last year, a different court ruled that First Amendment rights allowed a journal to retract a paper over an author’s objections.This week’s decision may suck for Sarkar, but it’s good for PubPeer, and, in turn, for science. By Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky Dec. 9, 2016 Reprints Tags legallast_img read more

23 Jun

5 most widely read First Opinion articles of 2020

first_img Alex Hogan/STAT [email protected] Editor, First Opinion Patrick Skerrett is the editor of First Opinion, STAT’s platform for perspective and opinion on the life sciences writ large, and the host of the First Opinion Podcast. In a year of crisis and tragedy, 2020 lent itself to an abundance of opinions from writers looking to make the world a better place. First Opinion published nearly 600 essays written by more than 750 authors from the biopharmaceutical industry, academia, government, and private life in the United States and beyond.The emergence and global spread of a deadly infectious disease that came to be known as Covid-19, and the U.S.’s response to it, was the spark for many essays. But First Opinion authors also tackled other issues, like the ongoing overdose crisis; the use — and possible hazards — of artificial intelligence in health care; the long road to adoption of biosimilars; a patient’s chaos narrative of being “stuck in the tornado of life”; surprise medical bills; the use of CRISPR to edit the genomes of human embryos; and a remembrance of Burton “Bud” Rose, a kidney specialist who created UpToDate, which became the go-to medical resource for clinicians.Here are the five most widely read First Opinions of 2020. If you didn’t get to read them when they first appeared, now is as good a time as any:advertisement Patrick Skerrett Leave this field empty if you’re human: The essay prompted a vigorous response from Harvard’s Mark Lipsitch, who said that, although Ioannidis’ assertion that we lacked data was correct, “We know enough to act; indeed, there is an imperative to act strongly and swiftly.” The essay also provoked an exchange of essays on The Boston Review and elsewhere.advertisement First Opinion5 most widely read First Opinion articles of 2020 Privacy Policy By Patrick Skerrett Dec. 30, 2020 Reprints 2. What does the coronavirus mean for the U.S. health care system? Some simple math offers alarming answers Early in the pandemic, biologist Liz Specht used estimates of both diagnosed Covid-19 cases and serious cases to predict the outlook for the U.S. Like many early models, her numbers were on the high side. But her take-home message was prescient: “Each passing day is a missed opportunity to mitigate the wave of severe cases that we know is coming, and the lack of widespread surveillance testing is simply unacceptable. The best time to act is already in the past. The second-best time is right now.”3. Why medical school should start at age 28 Monya De, a Los Angeles-based physician and journalist, offered one way for physicians-to-be to protect themselves from burnout and other problems that plague doctors today: spend your formative years working at a first career and meeting your life partner, and wait to begin medical school until age 28.4. The white scarf on the door: a life-saving lesson from the 1918 Spanish flu As influenza swept across the United States in 1918, a white scarf on a family’s door alerted the community to the virus residing within. Kara N. Goldman, a Chicago-based physician, tells the story she heard from her grandmother who, at age 3, came down with the flu and was quarantined in her room. Her grandmother’s family, Goldman wrote, “practiced the kind of social distancing and quarantine that is today being actively sanctioned but inadequately implemented. Because of their white scarf and caution, they saved each other and their neighbors, friends, and colleagues, as well as their doctors.”5. Going viral: What Covid-19-related loss of smell reveals about how the mind works It took months before the loss of smell and taste was pinned down as an early symptom of Covid-19. One reason for the delay, according to cognitive scientist Ann-Sophie Barwich, was that the sense of smell “has acquired a poor reputation over centuries. It has been viewed as too ephemeral, too fickle, and too subjective to be studied scientifically or considered a reliable sense. Olfaction also seems to lack the attractiveness of the visual system that has characterized modern Western science and culture. What you see is not always what you get, though.”Onward to what we pray will be a safer, saner 2021. 1. A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data In a March essay, Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis argued that public health and public policy decisions about SARS-CoV-2 were being made without reliable evidence on how many people had been infected, or who continued to become infected. Better information, he said, was needed to guide decisions and actions of monumental significance and to monitor their impact. “How can policymakers tell if they are doing more good than harm?” wrote Ioannidis. @PJSkerrett Newsletters Sign up for First Opinion A weekly digest of our opinion column, with insight from industry experts. Please enter a valid email address. About the Author Reprintslast_img read more

23 Jun

The new leader of 500 Women Scientists on finding community and supporting women of color in STEMM

first_imgIn the LabThe new leader of 500 Women Scientists on finding community and supporting women of color in STEMM Lauren Edwards, the interim executive director of 500 Women Scientists Courtesy Trey Martinez What is your favorite initiative that you’ve worked on?The Fellowship for the Future is my favorite. That project specifically is to support, recognize, and amplify women of color who are leading revolutionary, community-based projects in making STEMM (and when I say STEMM I mean the acronym for science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine), in making STEMM more equitable and just. A large part of our approach is providing financial support. That one’s my favorite one only because I think it’s so necessary. We know that women are underpaid, but it’s disproportionately women of color who are underpaid for their work. And we do a lot of slave labor, especially within our communities. And so then being able to tell the women that, you know, we see you, we recognize you, we want to support you, and provide honorarium for project support. I think that’s huge. And I know personally, I’ve always been in spaces where I am the minority as a Black woman, and especially in my professional spaces. So also providing that bridge to the community for our fellows, to have women of color in their cohorts and the leadership as well, because the fellowship is run by women of color for women of color, which I think is a revolutionary tenet of bringing diversity into our initiative.What has the journey been like going from volunteer to executive director in two years?It actually still shocks me! I was surprised and honored when they asked me to take that position. It’s been a whirlwind. I think that I have, with each month, increased my integration into the organization. I started on the fellowship, and then I led the Reproductive Justice Initiative. And then this past summer 2020, I was asked to be part of the executive leadership team. There’s seven of us total, including two of the co-founders. That set me up for really understanding and knowing kind of the inner workings, but also asking, where are the gaps? What do we need?You wrote in a recent Medium post that the organization will be “unapologetically equity and justice focused, rooted in collective action, and sustainable for years to come.” What does that mean for 500 Women Scientists going forward?Some of the things we’re looking to do are create more initiatives that are geared towards addressing those needs. One initiative that we are in the process of getting off the ground is the Black Women’s Collective. That is specifically addressing the needs of Black women in STEMM to have dedicated space, and the voice to embrace their culture and identity. To Edwards, volunteering with the organization offered a chance to support women of color on a larger scale and help them confront patriarchy and racism in the sciences. In May 2020, she took the helm of its Fellowship for the Future, a program for women of color that does just that. And now just two years after joining as a volunteer, Edwards was recently named interim executive director of 500 Women Scientists, becoming the first full-time, paid employee in what had been an all-volunteer organization. It’s a role she’ll hold before heading to medical school this fall. In the spring of 2019, Lauren Edwards was a graduate student studying neuroscience at Emory University in Atlanta and was running local initiatives to support women of color. As a Black woman in science, she said she often felt mistreated and disrespected.“I’m someone who experienced quite a bit of exploitation in my doctoral program,” she said. Edwards eventually ended up leaving her program in July 2020 after four years with a Master of Science. Edwards didn’t want anyone else to have to go through that, especially not alone. She started volunteering with 500 Women Scientists, an organization that works to make science more equitable and inclusive, and to address the many forms of discrimination and oppression within it. Now with over 500 “pods,” or local chapters, and over 20,000 members all over the world, 500 Women Scientists has grown far beyond the scope of its name.advertisement By Rebecca Sohn Feb. 17, 2021 Reprints Privacy Policy STAT talked to Edwards about her experiences at 500 Women Scientists, both as a volunteer and now leader of the organization. The conversation has been condensed and edited.advertisement ‘This is the tip of the iceberg’: More than 8,500 women have joined the 500 Women Scientists database Related: Newsletters Sign up for Daily Recap A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day. ‘We do belong here’: The scientist behind #BlackInNeuro hopes to transform a Twitter movement into a lasting community Leave this field empty if you’re human: Then we also are looking to increase our efforts internationally. In our organization, most of our leadership members are in the U.S. So our purview isn’t as great as it could be internationally. Equity and justice look very different depending on what country you’re in. What looks like revolutionary racial work in the U.S. is not the same as what it may look like in South Africa. So making sure we’re giving credence to international aspects, and then having more conversations that are necessary for this. What would you say to women scientists, especially women of color, who may feel discouraged about their work and the way they are treated or regarded in the field? I would say to other women scientists, to have a community that is resilient and strong that can lift you through those times. Because I think, just the pursuit of so many careers, but especially STEMM, can break you down, if you don’t have that community. Also, to find ways to find joy in what you do. If you can find that joy, it can keep you rooted in what you’re doing this for. The last thing would be, do not break yourself to fit into a mold that someone else created. Like, I’m a Black woman, I wear my hair in natural hairstyles, but sometimes I have chosen not to, because of fear that it wouldn’t come off as professional. So I was changing myself to fit into this ideal. And I think now I know better and I’m confident enough to stand in that, making sure that women in science can stay true to who they are, and know that they don’t have to give that up in order to pursue their career. Related: Please enter a valid email address. What initially made you want to get involved with 500 Women Scientists? I came across 500 Women Scientists in April 2019. I was really interested in the organization because they were coming up with this new fellowship [the Fellowship for the Future] to support women of color who were doing a lot of the work that I was doing. At this time, I had been running initiatives locally. … I decided to switch gears and invest into something with a larger impact. And so that was why I was initially intrigued. I also felt I did not have the same support that I should have for my community efforts in graduate school. And so I knew that I wanted to help build that out for other women of color to have that, because I was using my own money to host projects. It was my weekend time, and I was still working 50 hours in lab. So it was a lot, and I decided I want to take away that burden or ease the burden for other women of color in that position. What was your experience like as a new volunteer? It was great; I was taken in with open arms. I showed early on that I was really interested and really dependable, and so I was actually invited to attend the national leadership meeting that June [of 2019]. … So I was taken in with so much love and open arms, and really given space to make my ideas heard and increase my contributions to the organization, which was great. I was surprised!  Tags advocacydiversity and inclusionlast_img read more

23 Jun

‘There are no alternatives’: As Pfizer discontinues an old glaucoma drug, a small group of patients struggles to cope

first_img “Sometimes, manufacturers have been encouraged to continue the supply based on public outcry. But if they’re not going to produce the product anymore as a for profit company, that’s their prerogative. But this is really a societal problem. We should be trying to develop a way of dealing with these issues so it doesn’t fall on shoulders of individual patients to bang on Pfizer’s door.”Pfizer did acknowledge that Emergent BioSolutions (EBS) performs all of the fill and finish, which refers to filling the eye solution into bottles and then final packaging before distribution. But Emergent, which last year won contracts to help produce Covid-19 vaccines, is now embroiled in a scandal over contamination of millions of doses of the shots at its Baltimore plant and was harshly criticized by the Food and Drug Administration after an inspection last week.Whether Emergent would be in a position to maintain its involvement with this medication is unclear. We asked the company for comment and will pass along any reply. Also unclear is whether a compounding pharmacy could step in, given the manufacturing challenges. Meanwhile, Pfizer declined to identify the company that supplies the active pharmaceutical ingredient, although AMRI confirmed that it previously filed documentation with the Food and Drug Administration to supply the ingredient in the U.S.“Unfortunately, I don’t think anybody is going to produce the drug. There’s only a select group of people for whom this works great and they may have problems, because they will need surgical intervention,” said Alan Robin, executive vice president of the American Glaucoma Society and an associate professor of ophthalmology and international health at Johns Hopkins University.“In the old days, pharmaceutical companies would make loss leaders out of a product as a service to both doctors and patients as a goodwill effort. But nowadays, Pfizer is out of the eye care business, so there’s no incentive to produce this. I wonder whether they would be different if this was a profitable drug. Then they might find some way to minimize the manufacturing and API issues.” By Ed Silverman April 22, 2021 Reprints Pharmalot Columnist, Senior Writer Ed covers the pharmaceutical industry. “We understand that some patients, caregivers, and ophthalmology scientific organizations are disappointed about Pfizer’s decision to discontinue Phospholine Iodide,” the spokesperson wrote us. “We did not come to this decision lightly and made every effort to inform those impacted as soon as the decision was made to allow time to seek the best alternative treatment options.”A month’s supply may cost about $75 to $100 for patients with insurance. “But if they increased the price by a factor of 10, we would still pay it,” said Elizabeth Kinder, a TV commercial producer whose son uses the drops. “Without these eye drops, the next step is surgery, which is not curative. It’s just a form of management. It doesn’t last forever and doesn’t always work. It’s the last thing we want to do.”The decision reflects an ongoing dilemma facing drug makers, physicians and patients. Older medicines used by a small number of people may generate little to modest revenue, sometimes forcing drug makers to coldly calculate the return on the investment made to continue production or, in this case, contracting with other companies to manufacture a product.From a financial perspective, discontinuing such a product may make sense. At the same time, a company runs a risk of enduring bad publicity, especially when companywide sales are in the billions of dollars and goodwill can be generated by maintaining supplies. Consequently, such situations point to a need for policymakers to address such scenarios on a societal level, according to one expert.“It sounds like a story we’ve heard before and it’s a challenging story,” explained Aaron Kesselheim, a Harvard Medical School professor, who also heads the program on regulation, therapeutics, and law at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “It may be a rare problem, but these are the kinds of circumstances where we may need to think about alternatives for manufacturing and supplying the product. [email protected] Newsletters Sign up for Daily Recap A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day. Adobe Please enter a valid email address. Leave this field empty if you’re human: Vaghar and several other patients – in addition to parents of children who use the drops – have tried to convince Pfizer to reverse course, but so far their efforts have failed. Until recently, Pfizer declined to provide names of any manufacturing partners. Meanwhile, the patients enlisted physicians in hopes of locating another company willing to make the drops. But such a step would require regulatory approval, a challenging and time-consuming process. And time is not on their side.advertisement Pharmalot‘There are no alternatives’: As Pfizer discontinues an old glaucoma drug, a small group of patients struggles to cope Bluebird’s withdrawal of therapy from Germany could chill talks over gene therapy prices across Europe Next month, an eye drop that Carol Vaghar has taken for the past few years to manage a rare form of glaucoma will no longer be available, leaving her little choice but to consider potentially risky surgery to maintain the pressure in her eyes.The 62-year-old real estate agent developed cataracts in both eyes many years ago and after surgery, developed aphakic glaucoma, which causes intraocular pressure to rise dramatically. Vaghar tried various medications, but only one — a decades-old eye drop called Phospholine Iodide — has been effective. But Pfizer (PFE), which is the only supplier, will soon stop distributing the product.“I don’t have a natural lens in either eye, so I wear contacts to function and need this medicine,” said Vaghar, who lives in Newton, Mass. “I’ve tried many glaucoma drugs, but it’s the only one that seems to work for people who don’t have a lens in their eye and must keep the pressure down. And for those people who need it, they really need it. There are no alternatives. But Pfizer won’t budge.”advertisementcenter_img Related: @Pharmalot Video recording is coming to unlock the mysteries of the operating room. Surgeons warn that’s risky Privacy Policy Related: Ed Silverman Tags drug pricingpatients About the Author Reprints Aphakic glaucoma is an uncommon condition that can occur after the natural lens in the eye is removed as a result of cataract surgery, although very few people develop the problem. But for those who do, lowering the pressure in the eye is crucial, or patients are likely to lose their eyesight. Unfortunately, other glaucoma treatments on the market are often ineffective for this condition, according to ophthalmologists. “If this goes off the market, we’ll probably have to do surgery for some patients to control their pressure. This medicine is uniquely beneficial for this kind of glaucoma,” said David Walton, a Boston ophthalmologist who treats between 40 and 50 people with aphakic glaucoma, including children for whom it is a common cause of blindness.“They’re scared and anxious and desperate. It’s a very intense concern. And you have a big, multi-national, multibillion-dollar company that arbitrarily says it won’t make it anymore. I think it’s understandable from a Pfizer perspective. But there are things Pfizer could do to look good – make more drug or fund research to prevent the disease from recurring.”A Pfizer spokesperson said that the drops are being discontinued due to “a complex chain of external partners” that is “increasingly unstable,” which has led to multiple shortages in recent years. Other companies supply many of the components, including active and inactive ingredients, sterilized packaging materials, technologies, and final formulation. The active ingredient in the drops is also toxic, he added, which means it requires special handling and transportation.Moreover, Pfizer estimated there are only about 100 patients in the U.S. based on prescription data, which is another way of saying this is a small market that is fairly static and, therefore, sales are highly unlikely to increase. Pfizer does not break out sales for the eye drops and the spokesperson declined to say whether the product is profitable.last_img read more

18 Jun

MX proposes changes to governance of regulatory division

first_img Keywords Stock exchangesCompanies Montreal Exchange Nasdaq sharpens market surveillance Canadian IPO market limps through Q3, PwC reports Specifically, the MX is seeking to amend its rules to ensure that the special committee that oversees its regulatory division is a committee of its board. The composition of the committee evolved over time so that it didn’t include any directors or employees of the exchange, according to the MX’s notice. However, ongoing dialogue with regulators “has led the [MX] to revisit the governance structure, which has resulted in the present proposal. “As a matter of sound corporate governance principles and public interest, a special committee which is a committee of the board better aligns decision making powers with responsibilities,” the MX’s notice says. “Considering that the SRO responsibilities of the [exchange] ultimately rest with the board, the special committee should therefore be a committee of the board.” Comments on the proposed amendments are due by May 8. Related news The Montreal Exchange (MX) is proposing rule changes that will clarify the governance structure for its regulatory division in response to feedback and in an effort to bring its structure more in line with other major derivatives exchanges. “The objective of the proposed amendments is to better align the governance of the division with the practices of other options and futures exchanges globally” as well as to reflect the MX’s recognition as an exchange and a self-regulatory organization (SRO), the MX says in a statement. center_img Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Negative 2021 outlook on exchange, clearing sector: Fitch James Langton Facebook LinkedIn Twitterlast_img read more

18 Jun

Central banks are embracing the concept of digital currencies: survey

first_img Hackathon targets global payments system James Langton IHS Markit to launch global online ledger for carbon credits Related news Central bankers see the potential for improving the speed and efficiency of cross-border payments by issuing their own digital currencies, according to survey results published Wednesday by the London, U.K.-based Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) and tech giant IBM.The survey of 21 central banks (which ran from July to September) finds that more than two-thirds (69%) of respondents see significant issues with the existing cross-border payments systems, and  just over half (54%) believe that central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) could be used to enhance the speed, efficiency and resilience of those systems. Facebook LinkedIn Twittercenter_img Instant repo settlement: a problem the blockchain may solve Keywords Payments system,  Blockchain Share this article and your comments with peers on social media In addition, 38% of respondents are examining the potential of CBDCs, which would be digital forms of traditional fiat money, and all respondents agree that smart contracts could be useful by providing central banks flexibility in payment and settlement processes.“Many central banks have devoted considerable effort to examining the viability of introducing digital fiat currency as a complement to physical cash. In the wholesale domain, the prospects for digital payment or electronic token exchange appear capable of delivering benefits while avoiding some of the difficulties inherent in retail CBDCs,” says Philip Middleton, deputy chairman at the OMFIF.Separately, one of the banks that participated in the survey, the Deutsche Bundesbank, announced that it has successfully completed tests of blockchain prototypes for clearing and settling securities transactions, along with the Deutsche Boerse.“We are very happy with the results of the project. The tests have shown that blockchain technology is a suitable basis for applications in the field of settlement and other financial infrastructures,” says Berthold Kracke, CEO of Clearstream Banking AG and head of Clearstream Global Operations at Deutsche Boerse Group, in a statement.“During this project, Deutsche Bundesbank and Deutsche Boerse learned a lot about the usage of this technology and its concrete implementation. We expect the rapid development to continue, and also see the potential in using it for high-volume applications. The approach of a permissioned architecture, which takes into account the requirements of the financial sector from the outset, has proven to be right,” adds Burkhard Balz, member of the Bundesbank’s executive board, in a statement.last_img read more

17 Jun

Exports up 39 Per Cent

first_imgExports up 39 Per Cent UncategorizedSeptember 26, 2006 RelatedExports up 39 Per Cent RelatedExports up 39 Per Cent RelatedExports up 39 Per Centcenter_img FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail President of the Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA), Dr. Andre Gordon, has reported a 39 per cent growth in exports for the period January to May 2006, with earnings moving from approximately $641,361,000 to $827,000,000.Giving a breakdown of the sector’s performance, Dr. Gordon said that food export “has recovered nicely and is up. Beverage export, which is a major growing segment of the food business, has increased significantly at over 39 per cent”.He indicated further that crude materials, which include bauxite, alumina and other exports, have also increased. “Fuel and minerals have shown the most dramatic increase of all areas, and this is largely due to the efforts of Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica and their ethanol subsidiary”.Dr. Gordon, who was speaking at a press briefing held yesterday (Sept. 26) at the Hotel Four Seasons, said that the creditable export performance since the start of the year, was in keeping with double digit growth in the sector over the last several years.He noted that “total traditional exports have been increasing for the last four years but last year, we saw a reduction in the rate of increase because of the challenges that we had”. He said however, that there has been “significant recovery in traditional exports, many of which are agricultural in nature,” while “we continue to see rapid growth in non traditional areas”.In the meantime, Dr. Gordon announced that the JEA would be employing strategies to sustain the growth in exports. “This includes making sure we build sustainable competitiveness into our products and services,” he stated.He pointed to plans to build a national brand platform, which would include small and medium size firms that are in the export market and were facing challenges in intellectual property protection in various markets.“There is a detailed programme that will be rolled out in the next couple of years so as to help firms in this regard, so that they can expand their markets without fear of losing business to fraudulent competitors,” said Dr. Gordon. Advertisementslast_img read more

16 Jun

Order of Australia Medal honoured to man who has saved billions of dollars for others

first_imgOrder of Australia Medal honoured to man who has saved billions of dollars for others Bay PR90-year-old Geoffrey Jochelson from Kensington, Sydney, has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal for introducing The Security of Payment Act – a legislation that now allows contractors to recover disputed payments without having to go to court.Geoffrey is not the kind of guy that comes to mind when you think about construction payment disputes. He’s softly spoken, even tempered, and not a baseball bat in sight.His passion and motivation was fuelled by memories of his father, an electrical contractor in Johannesburg, being bluntly told that he wouldn’t get paid for his work. And not once, but many times.He lobbied the NSW state government for nine years through the 1990’s, and persisted under three different premiers. Then in his 70’s, he worked through endless proposals, meetings, government assessments, and all the difficulties that go with trying to bring into existence entirely new law. At the same time, he had his full-time role as commercial manager at the National Electrical Contractors Association to keep him busy.Finally, at the end of 1999 it all paid off. In that year, the New South Wales Government made the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act into law.It is a statutory process where payment disputes get decided by an adjudicator in a rapid compulsory adjudication scheme.A payment dispute can go from a claim to a decision in only six weeks. The Security of Payment system allows parties to bypass the lengthy and costly litigation route that forced many contractors to abandon the payments due to them, and to go into liquidation.It was so successful in NSW that it was adopted by Victoria in 2002, Queensland in 2004, and by 2009 every Australian State and Territory. It also spread to New Zealand, Thailand, and Singapore.Over the last 20 years, over a billion dollars of payments have been recovered using the Security of Payment process.In the last year alone, Anthony Igra, managing director of Contractors Debt Recovery recovered more than $8 million in unpaid money and over $70 million in the last 14 years thanks to the Security of Payment Act, putting money back in hardworking contractors’ pockets.“Geoffrey Jochelson’s work has effectively blasted a hole through the age-old roadblock facing unpaid contractors – no time and no money. Recovering disputed payments used to take months or years and cost a fortune in court proceedings. Geoffrey changed all that. Now a payment dispute can be decided in about five weeks at a tiny fraction of the cost. It’s not an overstatement to say that he single-handedly changed the face of construction cashflow around the entire country,” said Anthony.Who says one old man can’t change the world?#Ends /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:Australia, Australian, Building and Construction, construction industry, director, full-time, Government, legislation, New South Wales, New Zealand, NSW, Queensland, Singapore, Sydney, Thailand, Victorialast_img read more

16 Jun

Urban flood resilience issue published by Royal Society

first_imgUrban flood resilience issue published by Royal Society The Royal Society have published an issue of philosophical transactions on urban flood resilience.This issue compiles a series of scientific articles demonstrating developments in:understanding the changing drivers of floodingflood modellingmultifunctional infrastructure and their benefitssocial, community and economic interaction with flood management interventionseffectiveness of flood recovery responsesFlood infrastructure, which is resilient to climate change and increasing urbanisation is a global challenge. International examples have been used to demonstrate how countries are becoming more resilient.The issue can be accessed on The Royal Society website /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:climate, climate change, community, Government, infrastructure, resilience, royal society, Society, UK, UK Government, websitelast_img read more