UGA Prez goes south

first_imgBy Brad HaireUniversity of GeorgiaThe University of Georgia is committed to agriculture and to economic and academic development of rural Georgia, says UGA President Michael F. Adams.Adams visited the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Tifton, Ga., campus here July 30. He was briefed on research studies that focus on crop genetics, farm irrigation efficiency and precision farming tools like variable-rate irrigation and autonomous robotic tractors.He toured the construction site of a new 83,000-square-foot conferencing expansion to the CAES Rural Development Center and the college’s state-of-the-art microgin, where CAES specialists will study ways to improve the state’s cotton quality.He also learned about Cooperative Extension Service programs that focus on migrant workers’ safety, combating poverty and high school abstinence from alcohol and drugs.He met with teachers, administrators and students enrolled in four-year degree programs here, too.Adams wrapped up his visit with a community listening session and luncheon.Thriving”All the vital signs of the University of Georgia are as strong as or stronger than they have ever been,” Adams told about 70 community leaders, state legislators and farmers.The farmers expressed concern over the university’s commitment to agricultural research and extension programs. Adams assured them that UGA “has one of the leading agricultural colleges in the nation and will continue to have.”This fall’s freshman class will average a 1240 SAT score and about 3.8 on a 4-point grade point scale, he said. On paper, it will be the ninth or 10th strongest freshman class of any public university in the nation, he said. Georgia Tech will have the fourth strongest.The university will continue to welcome and accept south Georgia students, he said. And it will expand academic opportunities to rural areas of the state.FundingThe university must keep finding ways to fund itself. Eight years ago, he said, UGA got 43 percent of its funding from the state. It now gets 35 percent.UGA has had about $1 billion in construction in recent years. Of that money, 52 percent came from sources other than state funds.”The days of standing with the tin cup out in the state legislature are probably over,” he said.The university will continue to seek out partnerships with private industry.UGA received a record $77.8 million in private gifts and pledges in the fiscal year that ended June 30. This is an 8-percent increase over the previous year. It marks the fourth straight record year in private donations.The UGA athletic department will remain a top competitor in the Southeastern Conference. But less than 2 percent of the students who compete in the SEC will ever cash a check earned athletically, Adams said.”Our responsibility is first and foremost an academic one,” he said. “And we are committed to the academic development of this state.”last_img read more

Lima Group Requests Using Human Rights Violations as Evidence in International Criminal Court

first_imgBy Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo December 08, 2020 In a statement issued on October 13, 2020, the Lima Group urged that complaints about human rights violations in Venezuela included in a United Nations report, serve as evidence for the International Criminal Court in its investigations into the illegitimate Nicolás Maduro regime.“[The Lima Group governments] condemn the systematic violations of human rights perpetrated by the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro, which include alleged crimes against humanity,” the statement said.The U.N. Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela documented the crimes in a report published on September 16.Foreign ministers of Lima Group member-countries hold a meeting to discuss the Venezuelan crisis, in Santiago, on April 15, 2019. The Lima Group, consisting mainly of Latin American nations, is seeking a solution to the Venezuelan crisis. (Photo: Martin Bernetti/AFP)“[The governments] also express that the illegitimate regime’s connections with organized crime, terrorism, and transnational corruption networks, narcotrafficking, human trafficking, and smuggling should be thoroughly investigated,” the Lima Group said.Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela (Lima Group members), in addition to Ecuador and El Salvador (observer countries), signed the statement.Meeting virtually, the members of the forum, consisting of foreign ministers from the Americas, renewed their support for Interim President Juan Guaidó and the National Assembly as legitimate and democratically elected Venezuelan authorities.In September 2019, the U.N. Human Rights Council created the Independent International Mission to investigate extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture, and other cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment committed in Venezuela since 2014.The Bolivarian National Police’s Special Actions Forces and state intelligence agencies, including the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service and the Military Counterintelligence General Directorate, perpetrated the crimes.According to the report, “torture techniques included stress positions, suffocation, beatings, electric shocks, cuts and mutilations, death threats, and psychological torture.”“Intelligence agencies also subjected dissidents — both men and women — to sexual violence, including rape with body parts or objects, and rape threats against the detainees or their loved ones, forced nudity, as well as beatings and electric shocks on genitals,” Francisco Cox, one of the Mission members, said in a statement.last_img read more

Agencies detail new CECL standard

first_imgNCUA, the FDIC, the Federal Reserve Board and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a joint statement Friday detailing the key elements and scope of the final current expected credit loss standard from the Financial Accounting Standards Board.FASB issued the final standard Thursday; it is effective for credit unions beginning for fiscal years after Dec. 15, 2020. As urged by NAFCU, this is one year later than originally planned for credit unions.The statement notes that the standard applies to all banks and credit unions, regardless of asset size, and it includes a table with the effective dates for different institutions. The statement also details the regulators’ initial supervisory stances regarding the standard.“The agencies’ goal is to ensure consistent and timely communication, delivery of examiner training, and issuance of supervisory guidance pertaining to the new accounting standard,” the statement said. “The agencies will be especially mindful of the needs of smaller and less complex institutions when developing supervisory guidance describing the expectations for an appropriate and comprehensive implementation of this standard. The guidance will not prescribe a single approved method for estimating expected credit losses.” continue reading » 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Officials call Asia-Pacific pandemic drill a success

first_imgJun 9, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Australian officials who coordinated an exercise Jun 7 and 8 on pandemic influenza response among Asia-Pacific nations called the drill a success, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) story today.Meanwhile, in Vienna a 2-day international meeting on avian flu that adjourned yesterday called attention to the urgent need for substantial funding and preparedness, especially in Africa, and announced plans for an international meeting in Africa later this year, according to news services.The pandemic exercise included the 21 countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). It began in New Zealand and ended yesterday with calls to the United States, according to AFP.The test scenario involved a new avian flu strain—dubbed the “Malacca Straits Flu”—sparking a pandemic in the region after several infected fishermen were rescued by a cruise ship, AFP reported. APEC countries then needed to respond to the mock crisis and communicate with each other.”The scenario successfully achieved the goal of testing communication responses during the exercise, which lasted 26 hours across eight time zones,” Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said in a statement, according to AFP. They said the exercise “attracted credible responses.”Neil Head, director of development with Emergency Management Australia, which coordinated the exercise, told AFP he found the level of cooperation among countries encouraging.”The things that make [a pandemic threat] preventable are early detection, close cooperation and information sharing, and the rapid sourcing and the development of appropriate antibodies and medicines,” Head told AFP. “The fact that these [countries] seem willing to do all these things, we would have to say, is a very positive outcome.”Detailed results of the drill will be presented at an APEC leaders conference in November, according to the AFP story.In addition to Australia and New Zealand, APEC countries that played a major role in the drill, according to a Jun 7 Reuters report, were Chile, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.Africa needs more money, conferees sayOfficials at the donors meeting in Vienna this week discussed funding efforts and said Africa now needs $760 million for avian flu preparedness, far more than previously discussed, according to news reports.The Influenza Partners’ Senior Officials Meeting was cosponsored by the United States, the European Union, and China and involved the World Bank, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and representatives from African countries.The meeting, said US Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky in a Jun 7 Reuters story, was a “strong . . . appeal to those who have not fulfilled their commitments.” Dobriansky, the top US official present, was referring to the $1.9 billion pledged worldwide last January in Beijing to fight avian flu, only $286 million of which has been paid (see link to earlier story below).The donors meeting determined that Africa now needs $760 million, or three times the funding allocated at the Beijing conference, according to the Reuters report, because in January the H5N1 virus had not been detected on the continent. Since February, at least seven African nations have reported outbreaks, with human cases confirmed in Egypt and Djibouti.”In Beijing the cost was calculated only for prevention,” OIE Director-General Bernard Vallat told Reuters during the Vienna conference. “But when a country is infected, the cost is multiplied by at least three or four.””We need money to be moving into Africa in support of countries very quickly indeed,” added David Nabarro, UN senior coordinator for avian and pandemic influenza, in a Bloomberg report today.Amid increased concern about Africa’s plight, meeting officials announced a follow-up meeting to be held on that continent later this year, according to the Bloomberg story. Host city and specific dates are to be determined, but the story said Bamako, Mali, might be the site.In other conference news, the European Commission announced it has pledged $58 million to a new trust fund to help developing countries prepare for a possible avian flu outbreak, according to a Reuters report yesterday. This is separate from money already promised during the January Beijing conference.China, Hungary report poultry outbreaksChina has reported its first avian flu outbreak among poultry since February, AFP reported today. China’s Ministry of Agriculture said the H5N1 outbreak occurred on a farm in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region, but the number of birds killed by the virus was not specified.More than 17,100 poultry were culled to contain the outbreak, and the area has been disinfected, Xinhua reported Friday, quoting Ministry of Agriculture sources, according to AFP.The affected farm is in Hetian County, which is on a flight path for birds migrating between eastern Africa and western Asia, today’s AFP story said.The last reported outbreak in domestic poultry in the country occurred in February in the eastern province of Anhui, AFP reported. The latest incident brings the total of officially reported outbreaks on Chinese farms to 35 since October 2005.Also today, Hungary reported an outbreak of a deadly strain of H5 avian flu in a flock of domestic geese, according to news accounts. “The suspicion is that it is highly pathogenic H5,” Agriculture Ministry Deputy Chief Veterinarian Lajos Bognar told Reuters today.Hungary detected H5N1 in wild swans in February, but it has reported no H5N1 outbreaks in domestic birds.An AFP report today said Hungarian officials have slaughtered all 2,300 geese on the affected farm and were also culling poultry and ducks within 1 km of the site in Bacs-Kiskun, in southern Hungary.Samples have been sent to the European Union’s reference lab in Weybridge, UK, to determine whether the H5N1 strain is the culprit.Also, authorities in Niger have begun culling poultry in the southeastern part of the country to stop H5N1 spread, according to an AFP story today. The slaughter focused on the area of Boko Mai Gao, where avian flu was detected for the first time last week.Last week’s outbreak in Boko Maigao village, 434 miles east of the capital of Niamey and near the Nigerian border, was the first among domestic birds in Niger since February, the AFP report said.Officials said the culling operation would last one day and that bird owners were being compensated on the spot, according to AFP.See also:Jun 5 CIDRAP News story “Global avian flu pledge money slow to arrivelast_img read more

Working meeting before the start of the main part of the tourist year 2018

first_imgUsusret početka glavnog dijela turističke 2018. godine, ministar turizma Gari Cappelli će danas ( ponedjeljak, 26. ožujka 2018. godine )  u rovinjskom hotelu Lone, s početkom u 10:00 sati održati radni sastanak s ključnim predstavnicima turističkog sektora Republike Hrvatske.This meeting is a traditional meeting of stakeholders of the tourism public and private sector of the Republic of Croatia, ie representatives of tourism associations, travel agencies, airports, hoteliers, private accommodation, caterers, public institutions, representatives of chambers, county tourist boards, emergency medicine associations, associations for protection and rescue and many others, as well as representatives of the Ministries of Foreign and European Affairs, Environment and Energy, Interior, Finance and Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure who work together all year round for a quality and safe tourist year.Na sastanku će biti predstavljen dosadašnji tijek, ali i očekivanja od nadolazećeg dijela turističke godine te će ključni dionici u turizmu razmijeniti mišljenja i ideje o tome kako dodatno unaprijediti kvalitetu usluge i ponude u turizmu, ali i razmotriti inicijative kako otkloniti eventualne postojeće poteškoće kako bi dodatno doprinijeli uspješnom nastavku ove turističke godine. Na sastanku će uz ministra sudjelovati i direktor Hrvatske turističke zajednice Kristjan Staničić.last_img read more

Messi divorce: ‘Bombshell’ fax signals end of era, legal fight at Barcelona

first_imgSix-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi told Barcelona he wants to leave — on a free transfer — in a “bombshell” fax on Tuesday that is expected to trigger a legal battle over a buy-out clause worth hundreds of millions of dollars.Signaling the end of an era at Barcelona, where Messi is the record scorer and has won four Champions League titles, the disgruntled Argentine wants to terminate his contract “unilaterally” by triggering a release clause, a source told AFP.Relations have plummeted this year and speculation swirled about Messi’s departure after this month’s humiliating 8-2 Champions League quarter-final defeat to Bayern Munich, which left Barca without a trophy for the first time since 2007. Drastic changesBarcelona have yet to react officially but are understood to believe Messi’s release clause expired in June, and that he remains under contract until the end of the 2021 season.”In principle, this clause expired on June 10, but the unusual nature of this season disrupted by the coronavirus opened the way for Messi to ask to be released from his contract now,” wrote Spanish sports daily Marca.”It’s the first step towards opening negotiations over his departure, on the basis of which his release clause amounts to 700 million euros ($828 million).”Messi joined Barcelona’s youth academy at the age of 13 and made his debut in 2004 as a 17-year-old, before going on to score a club record 634 goals.  But his future at Barca was thrown into serious doubt by the 8-2 loss to Bayern, the first time Barca had conceded eight goals in a game since losing to Sevilla 8-0 in the 1946 Spanish Cup.The defeat has sparked drastic changes. Coach Quique Setien was sacked after barely six months in charge, and sporting director Eric Abidal was also dismissed.According to Spanish media, Messi met with new coach Ronald Koeman last week and told the Dutchman he saw himself “more out than in” at the club.Koeman has vowed to “fight to put Barca back on top” and said at his unveiling he was hopeful Messi would remain at the club for several more years.But Koeman has reportedly told Luis Suarez he is no longer part of Barca’s plans, delivering a similar message to Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic and Samuel Umtiti. The 33-year-old’s demand sparked protests against Barcelona’s under-fire president Josep Maria Bartomeu outside the Camp Nou where Messi, synonymous with the club’s most successful period, is worshipped by fans.”I don’t see him anywhere else. I can’t believe it,” said Ruben Tejero, 28, one of about 100 fans at the stadium calling for Bartomeu to resign.”I prefer to think it’s an ultimatum given to management for Bartomeu to go.”Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan are among those to have been linked to Messi, who is among the greatest players in history and has wages to match, with a reported weekly salary of nearly a million euros. ‘Rock bottom'”The club needs changes,” said defender Gerard Pique following the Bayern demolition. “Nobody is untouchable, least of all me. Fresh blood is needed to change this. We’ve hit rock bottom.”Argentine sports daily Ole described Messi’s wish to leave as a “complete bombshell”, but he has had regular disagreements with the club’s board in recent times.The Lisbon loss, Barca’s heaviest in Europe, exposed an ageing team that Messi repeatedly had said was simply not good enough.He said it in February and again in July, when a rant in the aftermath of handing Real Madrid the title turned into a brutal, but honest, assessment of their season. As his relationship with the club hierarchy grew increasingly strained, Messi also reacted publicly when Abidal appeared to blame the players for the sacking of Ernesto Valverde in January. He also led the fightback from the Barcelona players over a dispute with the board in March regarding pay cuts during the coronavirus pandemic.”Respect and admiration, Leo. All my support, friend,” tweeted Barca great Carles Puyol, a long-time former team-mate of Messi, to which Suarez replied with two applause emojis.Vidal also tweeted: “When you shut a tiger in a cage he doesn’t give in, he fights back.” Topics :last_img read more

LGIM sees results from ‘engagement with consequences’ over climate

first_imgDominion Energy made changes after having been put on LGIM’s exclusion list last yearThe asset manager said the average scores of all sectors covered by its ‘Climate Impact Pledge’ had improved, with those sectors under most public scrutiny – such as oil and gas – making “great strides in disclosures and targets”.The pledge was introduced in 2016 and involves LGIM assessing and scoring more than 80 of the world’s largest companies across six sectors identified as key to meeting global climate change goals.If, after engaging with the companies, LGIM considers they do not meet minimum standards, they are put on an exclusion candidate list. Within the £5bn (€5.6bn) Future World index funds, LGIM then divests from those companies deemed as failing to demonstrate sufficient action, and votes against the re-election of their chairs across all other funds where it has voting rights.The Future World funds include the default option for HSBC’s UK defined contribution pension scheme.In addition to holding companies to account with a “clear escalation model”, LGIM’s approach also involves a “name and fame” strategy for sector leaders.“We can’t demonise sectors, we need leaders in every sector,” said Omi.She added that, in some cases, divestment or a vote against a company was the trigger for them to start engaging with the manager. Omi said investors were putting more pressure on companies in relation to change, but there was still “a little bit of a gap between talk and action”.“A lot of people are talking about climate change, but are they really forcing companies to change their disclosure, behaviour, actions and so forth?” she said.LGIM was advocating that investors start to “have a similar voice” and take “tangible action” following conversations with companies, Omi added. Speaking to journalists yesterday, Meryam Omi, head of sustainability and responsible investment strategy at the €1.1trn asset manager, said it believed in engagement, but “we’re not having a dialogue forever, because this is a massive problem that requires urgent action”. LGIM’s Climate Impact Pledge The UK’s largest asset manager has said its climate change “engagement with consequences” programme has had positive results, but it will continue to press companies “to meet this era-defining challenge”.Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) added five new companies to its exclusion/vote against list this year, including oil giant ExxonMobil and MetLife, a US insurer that LGIM said “has not responded to our attempts to engage and has scored poorly across most categories of assessment”.MetLife Investment Management, a top 50 global asset manager according to IPE’s Top 400 survey, is part of MetLife.LGIM said that in 2018 it voted against and divested from eight companies within its Future World fund range. Since then it has engaged with all eight of them and reinstated two: Occidental Petroleum and Dominion Energy.last_img read more

Who needs sex to make babies? Pretty soon, humans won’t

first_imgThe Guardian 6 April 2016Family First Comment: Brave New World. “A couple who wants children will visit a clinic – he will leave a sperm sample; she will leave a skin sample. A week or two later, the prospective parents will receive information on 100 embryos created from their cells, telling them what the embryos’ genomes predict about their future. Prospective parents will then be asked what they want to be told about each embryo – serious early onset genetic diseases, other diseases, cosmetic traits, behaviours, and, easiest but important to many: gender. Then they will select which embryos to move into the womb for possible pregnancy and birth.”The abuse of Nature.I confidently predict that people will still be having sex in 20 to 40 years’ time, but they will be using sex to conceive their babies much less often. Two biomedical advances are going to change how humans reproduce: whole genome sequencing and stem cell technology.For over 25 years now, some babies have been born after something called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Three- to five-day-old embryos have some of their cells removed and subjected to genetic testing. Parents and doctors then decide, based on the test results, which embryos to transfer into the womb in the hope of making a baby. Last year 3,000 to 4,000 babies were born in the US after PGD without any obvious safety problems.PGD will soon get much better, becoming what I call “easy PGD.” Cheap whole genome sequencing is one reason. The first whole human genome was sequenced in 2003 at a cost of about £350m. Today, a whole human genome sequence costs around £1,000; in 20 to 40 years, it will be far less. Before, PGD was able to look at one or a handful of genetic traits; it can now look at an embryo’s whole genome and the futures that genome implies. That will make PGD much more useful to parents.The big problem with PGD, though, has been that it requires in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Invented in the UK nearly 40 years ago, IVF has been a godsend for millions, but it has not been easy. Harvesting eggs from a woman’s ovaries is expensive, uncomfortable, and somewhat risky (life is unfair – sperm collection usually has none of those problems).Stem cell technologies will bypass egg harvesting. Instead we will take a woman’s skin cells; turn them into so-called “induced pluripotent stem cells” (cells very similar to the famous embryonic stem cells but made from living people); turn those cells into eggs, and mature the eggs in the lab. This would not only greatly reduce the cost, discomfort and risk of IVF, but would allow each woman reliably to produce hundreds of eggs (or more). It already has worked in mice and the first steps have been taken with humans.The result will be easy PGD. A couple who wants children will visit a clinic – he will leave a sperm sample; she will leave a skin sample. A week or two later, the prospective parents will receive information on 100 embryos created from their cells, telling them what the embryos’ genomes predict about their future. Prospective parents will then be asked what they want to be told about each embryo – serious early onset genetic diseases, other diseases, cosmetic traits, behaviours, and, easiest but important to many: gender. Then they will select which embryos to move into the womb for possible pregnancy and birth.READ MORE: read more

Range of strong views heard by politicians considering abortion law change

first_imgTVNZ One News 8 October 2019Family First Comment: Thanks to the good doctor…Dr Aimee Kettoola put forward her case against the proposed new laws. “As a paediatrician it is my life goal to care for and protect the most vulnerable in society and hence that must also include the unborn,”But the usual trash from the so-called Human Rights Commission (but no rights for the unborn human )A range of strong and emotionally charged views were heard today by politicians considering major changes to our abortion laws. “As a paediatrician it is my life goal to care for and protect the most vulnerable in society and hence that must also include the unborn,” she said. Dr Aimee Kettoola put forward her case against the proposed new laws. Counter arguments were just as compelling from those in favour of giving women more choice and making abortion a personal decision, not a criminal act. “We strongly support this bill. The foundation is pleased that pregnant people will no longer have to lie about their mental health in order to access healthcare,” Mental Health Foundation policy analyst Janet McAllister said. Doctors, nurses, health advocates and women who’ve had terminations all fronted up at a select committee in Auckland. It’s a mix of views the select committee must now carefully weigh before reporting back to Parliament. read more

CAF postpones Africa Cup of Nations, unveils new format for CL, CC

first_imgRelatedPosts COVID-19: NCAA to revoke erring airlines licence over non-compliance FRSC to Schools: We’ll arrest, prosecute drivers who flout COVID-19 rules Sanwo-Olu: We’re committed to fulfilling promises to Lagosians The Confederation of African Football has postponed the next edition of Africa Cup of Nations, which was slated for next year, to 2022.The development was confirmed on Tuesday from the CAF Executive Committee meeting held via zoom conferencing. The decision has been influenced by the current global situation in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic that has seen a number of events or activities either called off or postponed.With two of the six qualifying rounds played, CAF deemed it possible given the current situation to have the remaining qualification phase and have the biennial tournament in January next year.Therefore, the CAF Executive Committee decided to postpone AFCON to January, 2022 with Cameroon still retaining the hosting rights.Championship of African Nations, which was earlier scheduled for April this year in Cameroon, has been postponed to January 2021.CHAN is a tournament that features only locally based players. The CAF Executive Committee has also taken a decision on the CAF Interclubs, that is CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup.With the 2019/20 season for the two competitions already at the semi-final stage, CAF has announced that Cameroon and Morocco will host the semi-final and final of the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup respectively.Both the semifinal and final will be staged on a one-legged basis, changing from the usual format that has been played on home and away.The 2020 Africa Women Cup of Nations has been cancelled.It has also been confirmed that the inaugural Africa Women’s Champions League will begin next year. Tags: CAF Champions LeagueCAF Confederations CupConfederation of African FootballCOVID-19last_img read more