Cost Benefit – After Hours http://after-hours.org/ Mon, 17 Jan 2022 10:46:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.3 https://after-hours.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/icon-1-150x150.png Cost Benefit – After Hours http://after-hours.org/ 32 32 State auditor concerned about government mega-airport plans https://after-hours.org/state-auditor-concerned-about-government-mega-airport-plans/ Mon, 17 Jan 2022 10:31:06 +0000 https://after-hours.org/state-auditor-concerned-about-government-mega-airport-plans/ Poland’s state auditor has expressed concern that plans for a new mega-airport – the government’s biggest investment project – lack a full business justification, were prepared according to a “unreliable planning” and seek to meet “impossible deadlines”. The report, published last week by the Supreme Audit Office (NIK), finds that a number of tasks have […]]]>

Poland’s state auditor has expressed concern that plans for a new mega-airport – the government’s biggest investment project – lack a full business justification, were prepared according to a “unreliable planning” and seek to meet “impossible deadlines”.

The report, published last week by the Supreme Audit Office (NIK), finds that a number of tasks have already exceeded up to two and a half years and that there is a high probability that the construction will not be not completed by the current deadline of 2027.

The entity overseeing the project, however, argues that the issues identified are not unusual for such an investment and claims that NIK’s overall report is positive. He also denies that the target date of 2027 is in danger.

The Solidarity Transport Hub (CPK), located between Warsaw and Łódź, will include new rail and road connections, as well as the planned airport. The government aims for it to become a major regional air hub.

NIK, however, called for an immediate cost-benefit analysis of the business, especially given the collapse in passenger air traffic during the pandemic.

Before the pandemic, the government envisioned the airport initially serving 45 million passengers a year, which would have put it on a similar level to London Gatwick. The goal was then to expand that figure to 100 million a year, which by pre-pandemic figures would have made it the second-busiest airport in the world alongside Beijing and behind only Atlanta.

However, managers and officials admitted last year that the pandemic had necessitated a “completely different” business model than previously envisioned, with a greater emphasis on air cargo.

Poland’s mega-airport will have a ‘completely different’ business model than planned, executive says

In its new report, NIK found that for the airport to be profitable, it would need to serve 24.3 million passengers per year by 2030 and cost no more than 46 billion zlotys (10.1 billion euros). CPK currently estimates the total costs at 34.9 billion zlotys (7.7 billion euros).

However, NIK notes that an official document containing the implementation schedules and budgets for the different parts of the project has not yet been adopted. “As a result, there is no complete material and financial schedule for CPK,” the auditors write.

They also note that although funding for the preparatory work (9.23 billion zlotys until 2023) has been secured, it is still unclear where the remaining funding will come from for later stages of the venture.

Accordingly, NIK has signaled that failure to provide funding for later stages of investment is a serious risk. He also expressed concern that current staffing plans could lead to an “unwarranted increase in costs resulting from the duplication of certain tasks and excessive employment”.

Ryanair accuses Poland of ‘wasting billions’ on a ‘dumb’ mega-airport

NIK also criticized the CPK for its “unreliable planning” and setting “impossible deadlines”. Due to the issues identified, there is a “high probability” that construction will not be completed by the set deadline of 2027, the auditors concluded.

In response to NIK’s report, CPK argued that the issues identified by the auditors “occur in the implementation of every investment” and said it was taking “appropriate steps” to minimize those risks. The company said a multi-stage funding approach was the method it chose to organize the budget.

She also argued that NIK’s report was “positive” overall, pointing out that the most frequently repeated phrase was “that no irregularities were found in the activities of the inspected entity” and that no mismanagement has therefore not been identified.

Addressing parliament last week, the government’s plenipotentiary for the CPK project, Marcin Horała, said spending had been “rational and appropriate to the stage of the investment.” He added that management expenses had been halved in 2021 as the number of board members dwindled.

The CPK also said the auditor’s assumption that the 2027 deadline was under threat was “unwarranted”. Horała acknowledged that the project is “on schedule at the moment” and that investment timelines are being updated and analyzed, reports the Polish News Agency (PAP).

In recent years, NIK has published a number of negative reports on government projects and even issued notices of alleged crimes by ministers.

However, government supporters have argued that the audit body is being used for political purposes by its leader, Marian Banaś, in response to corruption allegations he and his family are facing.

“The government wants to intimidate me, but it won’t work”: Interview with Poland’s auditor

Other critics of the government’s airport plan, including the political opposition, have long argued that it is a wasteful use of vast state resources. They note that the pandemic has dramatically reduced air travel and the hub model is becoming less relevant.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary also condemned CPK as a “dumb project” that “will waste billions of zlotys on a sandcastle in the middle of nowhere”. However, Poland’s national airline, LOT, has backed the project, with its CEO, Rafał Milczarski, saying CPK can be a “gateway to the EU to the east”.

In October, the company behind CPK announced that it had started buying the first plots of land for the project and signed a €6.5 million deal for a master investment plan. Later that month, the first eviction was ordered.

In response, local residents protested plans to bulldoze a number of villages. The planned transportation hub site includes 520 properties and 3,800 residential lots, and is currently inhabited by approximately 1,000 people.

Residents protest plans to bulldoze villages to make way for Poland’s new ‘mega-airport’

Main image credit: CPK Press Materials

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Uptake of biosimilars in the United States remains suboptimal and requires intervention https://after-hours.org/uptake-of-biosimilars-in-the-united-states-remains-suboptimal-and-requires-intervention/ Sat, 15 Jan 2022 19:03:26 +0000 https://after-hours.org/uptake-of-biosimilars-in-the-united-states-remains-suboptimal-and-requires-intervention/ Compared to the European Union, the use of biosimilars in the United States is lagging behind, and the US government, health systems and medical associations all have a role to play. While biosimilars have the potential to improve access to treatment while saving patients and healthcare systems significant money, uptake in the United States has […]]]>

Compared to the European Union, the use of biosimilars in the United States is lagging behind, and the US government, health systems and medical associations all have a role to play.

While biosimilars have the potential to improve access to treatment while saving patients and healthcare systems significant money, uptake in the United States has been suboptimal, underscoring the need to adapt strategies like those of the European Union to improve the acceptance of biosimilars, according to an article published in Seminars on arthritis and rheumatism.

As of January 1, 2022, the United States has approved 33 biosimilars, the most recent being Yusimry, a biosimilar to adalimumab, and Rezvoglar, a biosimilar to insulin glargine. Although biosimilars are often described as similar to generic versions of biologics, this is not the most accurate definition, according to the authors.

Biosimilars are much more complex, as they cannot be chemically synthesized on a commercial scale, and therefore are more expensive to develop than generic drugs, they explained. “A generic may cost only $1-4 million and take 2 years to develop versus $100-250 million and 7-8 years for a biosimilar.”

Not only are biologics expensive, but their increasing use has significantly contributed to rising health care costs. Despite accounting for just 2% of prescriptions in the United States, biologics account for nearly 40% of prescription drug spending, the authors wrote.

Biosimilar approval requirements in the United States and the European Union are broadly similar, but there are 2 major differences: the European Medicines Agency requires a post-market surveillance plan and individual European countries, not the regulatory agency, decide on the interchangeability or the passage of the product reference.

The EU’s first biosimilar was approved in 2006, and since then it has approved 80 in total, although only 74 remain authorized as of January 1, 2022. a few years there has been a significant increase in use biosimilars in the EU,” the authors wrote.

The wider use of health technology assessment has led decision-making bodies, such as the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, to ask providers to use the cheapest treatments to start with. Belgium and Germany have systems in place that have resulted in the prescription of biosimilars to 40% of patients. Norway’s incentives to switch to biosimilars have resulted in market shares of 80% or more for some biosimilars.

“The systems in place in EU countries support increased use of biosimilars,” the authors wrote. “This contrasts with what is happening in the United States where, of the $126 billion spent on biologics in 2018, only about 2% was spent on biosimilars.”

The authors highlighted these barriers to the adoption of biosimilars in the United States:

  • Reimbursement and tariffs: Because biosimilars have a lower average selling price, under the current system, a biosimilar offers a lower reimbursement. A pharmacy benefit manager with an agreement to receive discounts for use of the reference product has little financial incentive to offer the biosimilar.
  • Patent litigation: AbbVie holds 136 patents on Humira. While 7 Humira biosimilars have been approved as of August 2017, AbbVie, the maker of Humira, has reached agreements with biosimilar manufacturers to delay the launch of their products until 2023.
  • Physician and Patient Concerns: There have been concerns in several countries about switching from the reference product to a biosimilar, particularly for non-medical reasons (eg cost). Doctors have raised concerns about increased immunogenicity as a result of the switch, although this increased risk is “purely hypothetical”. Patient concerns relate to safety and effectiveness and the idea that their medication could be changed without their knowledge.

The authors note that the US government, medical associations and health systems all have a role to play in increasing the use of biosimilars. Updating guidelines, improving communication and education of healthcare providers, and offering financial incentives can all increase the use of biosimilars in the United States.

Additionally, more biosimilars approved for interchangeability may improve uptake, as pharmacists will be permitted or required to dispense interchangeable biosimilars in certain situations based on laws passed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“The relaxation of interchangeability standards, clarification of regulatory requirements and post-approval changes, and increased funding opportunities for switch studies may encourage more biosimilar manufacturers to seek interchangeable designation in the United States. United,” the authors wrote.

Reference

Kvien TK, Patel K, Strand V. Biosimilar cost savings can help increase patient access and ease the financial burden on healthcare systems. Semin Arthritis Rheum. Published online December 30, 2021. doi:10.1016/j.semarthrit.2021.11.009

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Stephen Price: As British Columbia faces an Omicron tsunami, it’s time to get educators ventilators https://after-hours.org/stephen-price-as-british-columbia-faces-an-omicron-tsunami-its-time-to-get-educators-ventilators/ Fri, 14 Jan 2022 02:07:45 +0000 https://after-hours.org/stephen-price-as-british-columbia-faces-an-omicron-tsunami-its-time-to-get-educators-ventilators/ Breadcrumb Links Opinion Op-Ed Opinion: We need the help of school trustees, parents, and especially PACs, teachers and anyone who cares about education to make their voices heard Publication date : January 13, 2022 • 41 minutes ago • 3 minute read • Join the conversation Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Teresa Tam, says […]]]>

Opinion: We need the help of school trustees, parents, and especially PACs, teachers and anyone who cares about education to make their voices heard

Content of the article

It’s time to update our approach to masks in BC schools.

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Content of the article

If we imagine that the current layers of protection follow the model of Swiss cheese, the Omicron strain turns out to be a very hungry mouse. Although the province has done a good job of expanding vaccinations, we still need more layers between us and Omicron. Switching from masks to respirators like N95s and KN95s for school staff offers a pragmatic way to give us some space between us and school closures.

The province could add that layer quickly by offering every K-12 worker a $100 mask allowance so they can purchase the highest quality, best-fitting respirators currently available, or by offering respiratory masks to workers in schools.

As Omicron reports, Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts that up to a third of staff could be away from their workplace at any time due to COVID. Teachers spent four days last week planning for a functional shutdown – the possibility of moving a school online because too many staff are away.

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But what is the impact of a closure? How should we understand the cost-benefit equation the government makes when choosing what is worth and what is not worth as we fight COVID?

The most obvious cost is medical. We know that some of those who contract COVID – especially the most vulnerable – face significant short- and long-term consequences. Teachers and their families, like all frontline workers unable to work from home, have faced heightened risks of COVID and long COVID throughout the pandemic. While Omicron will be mild for the most part, every day we go to work we play the COVID lottery. Each time a teacher or family member hits the macabre jackpot and gets a long debilitating COVID, their life is changed forever. The costs to society could run into the millions in terms of disability and medical support.

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Content of the article

But that’s not the only cost. A week-long functional closure has a huge impact on parents’ ability to work, on students’ ability to learn, and takes away the most important resource for some of our most vulnerable students. Schools are essential. That’s why teachers in British Columbia have overwhelmingly supported keeping schools open for the most part while providing options for those whose circumstances mean staying home is the wisest choice.

What if we had a protective layer that could help reduce the number of functional closures? A $100 mask upgrade benefit for education workers in BC (including teachers, support staff and administration) would be around $10 million. How much does it cost in context? That’s 0.14% of the $7.1 billion education budget.

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Content of the article

Health Minister Adrian Dix said in CBC’s January 5 advance edition that we “must keep workplaces as safe as possible for all workers.” Despite this, he says N95 masks do not add significantly to safety.

Minister Dix gave no response to why Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Teresa Tam, disagreed when she told Canadians that respirators like N95 were the best option for COVID protection.

Minister Dix is ​​right in some respects: respirators are not a silver bullet. They are a prudent insurance policy. They are another slice of Swiss cheese. N95 respirators are simpler, faster and cheaper than retrofitting schools with Merv-8 air filters to Merv-13. They’re much less disruptive than keeping half the class home every day. They are the next pragmatic step we can take.

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Content of the article

So how do you get there? We need the help of school counselors, parents, and especially PACs, teachers, and anyone who cares about education to make their voices heard. Teachers only got permission to ask students to wear masks because of such a push; it’s time for another one.

In a system where so many reasonable requests made by K-12 workers are ignored, let’s show every educator that improving their safety is worth $100. Let’s follow Dr. Tam and the growing chorus of experts who suggest it’s time to give ventilators to educators.

Stephen Price is a public elementary school teacher and vice-president of the West Vancouver Teachers’ Association. He was an educational columnist on CKNW from 2018 to 2021.

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Earth saving promises in ESG fund prospectuses are not so green: report https://after-hours.org/earth-saving-promises-in-esg-fund-prospectuses-are-not-so-green-report/ Wed, 12 Jan 2022 03:10:00 +0000 https://after-hours.org/earth-saving-promises-in-esg-fund-prospectuses-are-not-so-green-report/ The fund company that promised to help you save the world and align your retirement nest is lying to you? Malicious or not – loose regulations and uneven reporting make intention difficult to enforce – companies that build portfolios with stocks, mutual funds, and exchange traded funds under the banner of environmental, social and governance, […]]]>

The fund company that promised to help you save the world and align your retirement nest is lying to you?

Malicious or not – loose regulations and uneven reporting make intention difficult to enforce – companies that build portfolios with stocks, mutual funds, and exchange traded funds under the banner of environmental, social and governance, or ESG, may have a language problem.

The University of California at San Diego and the nonprofit sustainable investment advocacy group As You Sow concluded that the linguistic patterns found in the language of the prospectuses of the mutual funds and ETFs they examined have a relatively low correlation with its ESG rating. The collaborating teams spent four months analyzing 94 mutual funds and ETFs with “ESG” in their name.

“We are seeing funds with ESG in their names getting F’s on our screening tools because they own dozens of fossil fuel mining and coal-fired utilities,” said Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow.

Sustainable investment: Widely adopted ESG ratings today and net zero commitments are mostly worthless, say two pioneers of sustainable investing

Their report said investors might not be able to tell the difference between a prospectus for a true ESG as opposed to so-called greenwashing mutual funds and ETFs.

The language models found in the prospectus language of mutual funds and ETFs have a relatively low correlation with their ESG rating.


– As You Sow and Univ. from California, researchers from San Diego

For example, there are currently many claims of “fossil-free” funds with large investments in traditional oil. CL00
and NG00 gas
companies, the researchers said.

One reason could be that a fund is operating under a ‘low carbon transition’ theme, where even large energy companies ExxonMobil XOM,
Chevron CVX
and others, as well as fossil fuel utilities like Duke Energy DUK
and Southern Co. SO,
have diversified their activities into solar, wind and other renewable energies. Yet the “transition” timeline is often a moving target and, for the moment, unenforceable. Most operate faithfully at their primary profit centers of pumping oil and gas, or feeding the U.S. electricity grid with natural gas or coal, whichever is more competitive as the markets go up. and descend.

Related: Chevron Deepens Carbon Capture Push with Microsoft and Schlumberger Liaison

Such portfolio diversity can occur when funds operate under multiple mandates: “growth” and “ESG”, for example. In this regard, tech stocks have historically had cushioned returns for otherwise predominantly ESG funds. Others with an independent view of “sustainable” investing have argued that activism and shareholder ownership is what will drive the “cleaner” transition, without completely ignoring these actions.

Read: The “dirty” US economy rebounded faster than overall growth last year – here’s how

What’s in a word?

The research teams at As You Sow and UC San Diego have explained their methodology here, but in essence, they combed through fliers for words like “carbon,” “weapons,” or “work.” . The analysis also looked at “variable terms” often found in prospectus language to make ESG terms less precise: they include “may consider”, “believe” and “possibly”, among others.

As You Sow said, he approached the college team after noticing that of the 3,000 mutual funds and ETFs on the association’s Invest Your Values ​​online dashboard, 94 had “ESG” in their name – but 60 of them scored a “D” or an “F” on one or more ESG criteria. This scorecard reports companies in funds in seven areas: fossil fuels, deforestation, gender equality, civilian firearms, the industrial prison complex, military weapons and tobacco.

Read: Some ETFs combine investing with charity, should you?

Much remains open to interpretation by investors. Investors who are already considering risk tolerance, diversification and other factors. Plus, spectacular returns may allow some investors to forgive the labeling, at least for now.

ESG had an exceptional year in 2021. For example, the $ 867 million Xtrackers S&P 500 ESG ETF SNPE
and the $ 450 million SPDR S&P 500 ESG ETF EFIV
gained 31.4% and 31.3% respectively.

Read: ESG ETFs won 2021, but CFRA’s Todd Rosenbluth says to be selective

Main influencers

The investment community, particularly the arm that backs socially responsible and environmentally responsible stocks, funds and ETFs, is increasingly torn between encouraging the nascent growth of green technologies or alternative energy companies like A way to get into the fight to slow global warming and push for greater representation on boards early, while demanding that these types of investments stay true to their purpose and generate positive returns.

BlackRock BLK,
the world’s largest fund manager with $ 9 trillion in assets under management, has made much of its call for disclosure of the business climate, including to the big oil companies it still finances, and stating that climate change is the investment opportunity of a lifetime.

In 2019, BlackRock and CEO Larry Fink declared their intention to more than tenfold ESG investments, from $ 90 billion to $ 1 trillion within a decade.

Read: BlackRock’s Larry Fink warns oil assets will pass into private hands to avoid scrutiny – and that’s ‘greenwashing’

“It’s a very encouraging discussion, but it’s also a difficult discussion because we want to be with these companies for decades.”


– Sandy Boss, Head of Investment Management at BlackRock

Sustainability advocates embrace BlackRock’s weight in ESGs, but have criticized what they see as a barge-like turn for the funds giant.

“The science on climate change has been crystal clear for many years … yet the world’s largest asset manager, with remarkable resources, only started taking concrete action last year,” Peter Uhlenbruch, Head of Investor Standards at ShareAction, an investor activist. group, told S&P Global last year.

Sandy Boss, global head of investment management for BlackRock, told a Bipartisan Policy Center event last February that the asset manager was doing more to engage with businesses on climate change issues.

“It’s a very favorable discussion, but it’s also a difficult discussion because we want to be with these companies for decades,” Boss said. “We are increasingly seeing that sustainability and climate change in investing are really accelerating. We’ve all seen that when capital markets move, they can move incredibly fast. “

Universal Owner, who publishes reports using cost-benefit models for carbon intensity and other information he thinks investors should have, called fund firm Vanguard, the second-largest asset manager in the world. world, claiming that she is leveraging the climate brand by joining Net Zero Asset Managers. Initiative but continues to invest the capital of its beneficiaries in “harmful” fossil fuel companies. Vanguard responded to a request for comment before work was completed on Tuesday.

Opinion: Don’t let perfection get in the way of good enough when it comes to ESG investing

“The problem is, there is no truth in the labeling. “


– Peter Behar, As you sow

The findings of the ESG report on greenwashing also encouraged a call to action. The investment community – regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, in particular – should create a universal glossary and apply such language when it comes to attracting potential investors to the ESG space, noted the authors.

“The purpose of this study is to highlight the need to create a common glossary of fund terms and classifications subject to [Securities and Exchange Commission] law enforcement, ”said Behar of As You Sow. “This will help eliminate confusion and misleading marketing, fund naming and prospectus language.”

The teams presented their findings to the SEC, which is considering stricter regulations on how publicly traded companies calculate and report climate change risks, such as coastline erosion or higher insurance premiums. for their shareholders. The SEC also examines how ETF funds and companies sell their ESG philosophies.

“The problem is, there is no truth in the labeling. If those funds were groceries, a jar labeled “peanut-free” may contain 19% peanuts and people with nut allergies would end up in the hospital, “Behar said. “When investors put their hard-earned money in an ‘ESG’ or ‘fossil-free’ fund, they expect to reduce their climate risk and not own big oil, coal and deforestation.”

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Capitals Launches Online Merchandise Store in Fort Dupont, Profits Benefit Fort Dupont and Capital Impact Fund https://after-hours.org/capitals-launches-online-merchandise-store-in-fort-dupont-profits-benefit-fort-dupont-and-capital-impact-fund/ Sun, 02 Jan 2022 18:09:13 +0000 https://after-hours.org/capitals-launches-online-merchandise-store-in-fort-dupont-profits-benefit-fort-dupont-and-capital-impact-fund/ The Washington Capitals today announced the launch of an online store selling Fort Dupont ice hockey club merchandise, with proceeds going to Fort Dupont and the Capital Impact Fund. Currently, a t-shirt, hoodie, beanie and iron-on patch are available for purchase at WashCaps.com/FortDupontApparel. PHOTOS: The @Capitals and @MSEFndn launched a Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club […]]]>

The Washington Capitals today announced the launch of an online store selling Fort Dupont ice hockey club merchandise, with proceeds going to Fort Dupont and the Capital Impact Fund.

Currently, a t-shirt, hoodie, beanie and iron-on patch are available for purchase at WashCaps.com/FortDupontApparel.

Fort Dupont is Washington DC’s only indoor hockey rink, and the Fort Dupont Cannons are the oldest minority hockey club in North America. Neal Henderson founded the program in 1978 and since then has offered local and downtown youth the opportunity to participate in an organized ice hockey program.

Over the years, several Capitals players have organized individual skates for the Fort Dupont Cannons, either at MedStar Capitals Iceplex or at Fort Dupont, including Alex Ovechkin.

The Capital Impact Fund supports organizations that help break down the financial barriers faced by young local minority players. The aim of the fund is to help young minority players to reach their greatest potential and to create more level playing conditions for all.

In August 2020, the team announced that it will help promote hockey diversity and racial equality through efforts focused on three pillars: youth hockey, education and awareness.

More capitals:

Capitals launches Fort Dupont Cannons merchandise store

ARLINGTON, Virginia – The Washington Capitals and the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation today announced the creation of an online merchandise store for the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club, the proceeds of which will be donated to Fort Dupont and the Washington Capitals Capital Impact Fund.

A Capitals and Fort Cannons co-branded t-shirt, hoodie, pom pom beanie and iron-on patch are available for purchase at WashCaps.com/FortDupontApparel.

Proceeds from the merchandise will benefit the Washington Capitals Capital Impact Fund and the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club. Customers will receive their orders within three weeks of the store closing on January 31.

The Capital Impact Fund supports organizations that help break down the financial barriers faced by young local minority players. The aim of the fund is to help young minority players to reach their greatest potential and to create more level playing conditions for all.

The Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club is part of the National Hockey League’s Hockey is for Everyone program and is the oldest minority hockey program in North America. The Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club, founded in 1978 by coach Neal Henderson, is a development program that offers area and downtown youth the opportunity to participate in an organized ice hockey program. The cannons play from the Fort Dupont ice rink in southeast DC

Title photo: Elizabeth Kong / RMNB



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US and Russia face deep differences ahead of talks with Ukraine | Politics https://after-hours.org/us-and-russia-face-deep-differences-ahead-of-talks-with-ukraine-politics/ Fri, 31 Dec 2021 22:45:21 +0000 https://after-hours.org/us-and-russia-face-deep-differences-ahead-of-talks-with-ukraine-politics/ WILMINGTON, Delaware (AP) – After difficult discussions between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin over the build-up of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, both sides insist they hope that a way of appeasing the tensions could open during diplomatic talks scheduled for January. But less than two weeks before the meeting of senior American […]]]>

WILMINGTON, Delaware (AP) – After difficult discussions between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin over the build-up of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, both sides insist they hope that a way of appeasing the tensions could open during diplomatic talks scheduled for January.

But less than two weeks before the meeting of senior American and Russian officials in Geneva, the chasm is deep and the prospect of finding a way out of the crisis is not without complications.

Biden told reporters on Friday that he informed Putin in a telephone interview a day earlier that the upcoming talks could only work if the Russian leader “defuses, not escalates, the situation” in the days to come. . The US president has said he is also seeking to convey to Putin that the United States and its allies are prepared to strike Russia with punitive sanctions if the Russians invade Ukraine further.

“I have made it clear to President Putin that if he takes any further steps in Ukraine, we will have severe sanctions,” Biden said. “We will increase our presence in Europe with NATO allies. There will be a price to pay.”

Meanwhile, Biden’s national security team focused Friday on preparing for talks in Geneva, scheduled for January 9 and 10, to discuss regrouping some 100,000 Russian troops on its border with Ukraine.

The Geneva talks, which are to be led on the US side by senior State Department officials, are expected to be followed by Russia-NATO Council talks and a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. .

Biden is due to speak by phone Sunday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The two leaders plan to review preparations for upcoming diplomatic engagements, according to the White House.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken briefed Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on the Biden-Putin appeal on Friday and discussed the preparations for the next summit.

“The next two weeks are going to be difficult,” said Daniel Fried, former US Ambassador to Poland who was a top Eastern European advisor to Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush. and Bill Clinton. “The Biden administration did a fairly credible job of describing, framing the negotiations. But the most difficult test is yet to come, as Putin will continue to engage in threats and collapsing maneuvers to see how determined we are. “

As Biden reiterated his readiness to impose punitive sanctions that would reverberate across Russia, Kremlin officials redoubled warning Biden to make a “colossal mistake” that could have huge ramifications for one. already strained US-Russian relationship.

A senior Putin official confirmed on Friday that Russia is maintaining its demands for written security guarantees. Moscow wants codified that any future NATO expansion must exclude Ukraine and the other countries of the former Soviet bloc and demands that the bloc withdraw offensive weapons from countries in the Russian neighborhood.

“We will not allow our initiatives to be drowned in endless discussions,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the state news agency RIA-Novosti on Friday. “If no constructive response arrives within a reasonable time and the West continues its aggressive course, Russia will have to take all necessary measures to maintain a strategic balance and eliminate unacceptable threats to our security.”

The Biden administration and NATO allies have made it clear that the Russian demands are unfounded.

The seemingly unrealistic rhetoric has made some in Washington question how effective the talks can be.

Following the Biden-Putin appeal, a group of 24 former US national security officials and Russian experts – a group that includes several officials who served in the Obama, George W. Bush and Clinton administrations – released a statement calling on Biden to immediately, and publicly, lay out the sanctions Russia would incur if Putin were to proceed with military action.

Signatories to the declaration included several former U.S. ambassadors, including Fried, Russian envoys Michael McFaul and Alexander Vershbow, and Ukrainian envoys Steven Pifer and John Herbst.

“We believe that the United States should, in close consultation with its NATO allies and with Ukraine, take immediate steps to change the Kremlin’s cost-benefit calculations before the Russian leadership opts for a new military escalation, ”the group wrote. “Such a response would include a package of major and painful sanctions that would be applied immediately if Russia attacks Ukraine. Ideally, the outline of these sanctions would be communicated to Moscow now, so that the Kremlin clearly understands the scale of the economic blow it will face. “

The Russians, for their part, continue to argue that they face an existential threat with Ukraine.

Lavrov noted on Friday an increase in arms deliveries to Ukraine and the growing number and scope of joint military exercises conducted by Western powers with Ukraine, saying “the Kiev regime naturally sees this support as a card white for the use of force “. He added that Russia will protect its citizens living in eastern Ukraine.

“As for the inhabitants of Donbass, where hundreds of thousands of our citizens live, Russia will take all necessary measures to protect them,” he said. “An adequate response will be given to any possible military provocation by Kiev against the Donbass.”

Simon Miles, diplomatic and international historian of the Cold War at Duke University, said it would be a mistake for the White House to let “Russia unilaterally set the pace for what is about to unfold.”

“Anything the United States can do to keep the Russians on their feet, instead of letting the Kremlin set the agenda, will be important in securing a favorable resolution,” Miles said.

—-

Associated Press writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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Mesh Service Architecture – Explained https://after-hours.org/mesh-service-architecture-explained/ Thu, 30 Dec 2021 09:53:58 +0000 https://after-hours.org/mesh-service-architecture-explained/ Microservices are everywhere now and have taken the software development landscape by storm. In a recently completed survey, 28% of those surveyed said they had used microservices for more than three years while 61% said they had used them for a year. Interviewees claimed that some of the biggest benefits of microservices are increased flexibility […]]]>

Microservices are everywhere now and have taken the software development landscape by storm. In a recently completed survey, 28% of those surveyed said they had used microservices for more than three years while 61% said they had used them for a year. Interviewees claimed that some of the biggest benefits of microservices are increased flexibility and responsiveness to changing technology and evolving business demands, as well as greater scalability as well as greater code refresh. . These advantages are becoming essential in today’s dynamic business environment to maintain a competitive advantage.

The microservices challenge

However, microservices, like everything else in life, also presents challenges and tradeoffs. While microservices bring multiple benefits, the biggest challenge they add is complexity.

This complexity stems from breaking down legacy monolithic applications into microservices and managing microservices in general. The complexity also increases as these applications begin to grow and require multiple microservices to communicate seamlessly with each other to improve performance. It becomes difficult even if a microservice is overloaded due to excessive traffic or if it receives too many requests too quickly.

This is where Service Mesh can step in and solve these challenges.

What is the Mesh service?

Service-to-service communication is what makes microservices work. This process of one service requesting data from many other services becomes complex as microservices evolve. A service mesh is a dedicated infrastructure layer that is integrated into an application and controls service-to-service communication in a microservices architecture. It automatically routes requests to the correct destination while optimizing how these parts work together. It enables regular load balancing, enables data encryption, and facilitates service discovery.

The logic that governs communication can also be directly encoded in microservices, but as microservices become more complex, a mesh of services becomes all the more valuable. For cloud native applications, a service mesh also becomes the path to understand several discrete services in a functional application.

The advantages of the Mesh service

The main drivers of Service Mesh adoption are security / encryption, service level observability, and service level control. A service mesh provides security for data in transit in a cluster and may be motivated by industry specific regulatory concerns. This too:

  • Built in greater visibility on how workloads and services communicate at the application layer, especially in multi-tenant environments like Kubernetes or as more services are deployed.
  • Enforce service level control and help determine which departments should communicate with each other and how. It also gives organizations the ability to implement zero trust models around security. Service Mesh provides organizations with an operationally simpler approach to manage microservice communication and improve security and communication and observability of applications.
  • Solves complexities at the highly elastic, fast, and containerized end of the architecture spectrum. Organizations that have large-scale applications consisting of many microservices benefit from Service Mesh. As the complexity of applications increases, more and more sophisticated routing capabilities are needed to optimize data flow. This ensures that the application performance remains optimal.
  • Allows developers to focus on driving commercial value and business logic when building each layer instead of wasting energy worrying about how one service communicates with another.
  • Allows DevOps teams to have CI / CD pipelines to programmatically deploy applications and application infrastructure (Kubernetes) to manage source code and test automation tools like Artifactory, Jenkins, Git or Selenium. It also allows DevOps teams to manage security and networking policies through code.
  • Makes applications more resilient. It allows organizations to continuously force authentication, encryption, and other policies on various protocols or runtime environments. The ability to redirect requests from failed services also helps increase application resiliency.

Where is Service Mesh in Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is now considered the de facto standard for container orchestration and allows service mesh to sit comfortably there. Using a service mesh when building applications on Kubernetes provides reliability, critical observability, and enhanced security features. The biggest advantage is that the application does not even need to implement these features or even know the mesh of services at work.

Kubernetes focuses on the management of the application while the service mesh aims to make the communication aspect more secure and reliable.

However, if organizations are not using Kubernetes, the adoption of cost of service mesh can accelerate as they must focus on evaluating their strategy to manage thousands of proxies by hand in the absence of underlying Kubernetes functionality. To solve this challenge, organizations must examine cross-platform service meshes. But that makes the cost-benefit equation quite different.

The network of services offers immense value

  • When microservices are written in many different languages ​​and don’t follow a common architectural pattern or framework.
  • For organizations that integrate third-party code or interact with teams a little further away (for example, across the boundaries of partnerships or mergers and acquisitions) and need a common foundation to build on.
  • If organizations are constantly solving problems, especially in utility code, have strong security, auditability, and compliance needs, or find that teams are spending more time locating and identifying problems than they are solve them.

For organizations that leverage microservices, it makes sense to implement a service mesh before they reach the tipping point where the libraries built into the microservices can no longer handle uninterrupted service-to-service communication.

The Mesh service is now becoming an essential and widely used component of the cloud native stack. This technology rapidly evolves and matures to align with the microservices goals of enterprises and enables them to connect, manage and observe microservice-based applications with behavioral insight



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The 2022 budget of the Township of Exeter OK; expected changes | Regional News from Berks https://after-hours.org/the-2022-budget-of-the-township-of-exeter-ok-expected-changes-regional-news-from-berks/ Tue, 28 Dec 2021 14:42:37 +0000 https://after-hours.org/the-2022-budget-of-the-township-of-exeter-ok-expected-changes-regional-news-from-berks/ EXETER TWP., Pa .– Supervisors in Exeter Township followed the letter of the law when they met Monday night, passing a budget and setting tax rates for 2022. Based on comments from several supervisors current and future ones, however, the budget could be reconsidered immediately in 2022. “I have several major concerns,” commented supervisor John […]]]>

EXETER TWP., Pa .– Supervisors in Exeter Township followed the letter of the law when they met Monday night, passing a budget and setting tax rates for 2022. Based on comments from several supervisors current and future ones, however, the budget could be reconsidered immediately in 2022.

“I have several major concerns,” commented supervisor John Piho. “We haven’t raised taxes since 2015, and I am opposed to raising taxes. I prefer to transfer money from reserves.”

“I don’t remember agreeing to raise taxes,” said Carl Staples, supervisor for two months. “How didn’t we know we were in deficit? “

“We must review these budget items line by line in 22,” he added. “We have to be smart about the way we do things so that we don’t have to tap into the reserves.”

The general property tax rate remains at 2,145 miles, however, the fire service tax will drop from 0.605 miles to 0.705 miles in 2022.

In addition, in 2022, the exemptions on family properties and farms that excluded the first $ 50,000 of assessed value for listed residential properties will be repealed. This will, in effect, present an increase in the property tax for residents who have previously requested the exemption.

“I am now comfortable with the changes we made in the last meeting,” noted supervisor George Bell. “I’m very interested in looking at things next year.”

The 2022 budget went 4-1 with Piho opposed.

Budget Highlights

Projected general fund revenues in 2022 are $ 12,583,497, a decrease of 1.8% from $ 12,807,824 in 2021. Expenses are projected at $ 12,565,798.

The township plans to add two patrollers, a public works mechanic and an increase in the contribution to the Exeter community library from $ 200,000 to $ 250,000.

Cost savings for administrative and police employee health insurance will include a 6% decrease due to the use of trust member rewards, a 12% decrease in workers’ compensation insurance and a decrease in complaints.

In addition, the state aid received in 2022 and in the years to come will cover the minimum pension cost of the municipality’s municipal bonds without having to withdraw from the general fund.

Additionally, the annual recycling fee will drop from $ 35 to $ 70 per property, and minor changes will be made to engineering and parks and recreation fees.

The Utilities Fund records tax revenue received from landowners who benefit from public lighting and fire hydrant services and expenditures, including utilities and maintenance.

The standpipe tax remains at 0.095 thousandths and the street lighting tax remains at 42 cents per foot of improved property and about 26 cents per foot of unimproved property.

In addition, the township will receive $ 2,697,534.94 by the end of 2022 from the US bailout. The use of funds is limited to a few eligible uses. In 2022, the township plans to use the funds for culvert replacement projects, computer upgrades, an electronic welcome sign, safety supplies and disinfection.

Other actions

Supervisors amended a resolution regarding the unbudgeted transfer of proceeds from the sale of sewage to the general fund in the amount of $ 1,500,000, adding $ 500,000 to make the total $ 2,000,000.

Additionally, supervisors filed for approval of an application by the Township of Exeter School Board to use the promenade location on Perkiomen Avenue as a temporary bus depot because supervisors had not received the information requested due to the school being closed for the holidays.


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Automation pushes us towards self-employment https://after-hours.org/automation-pushes-us-towards-self-employment/ Fri, 24 Dec 2021 20:32:52 +0000 https://after-hours.org/automation-pushes-us-towards-self-employment/ Opinions expressed by Contractor the contributors are theirs. Freelance work often seems like a dream to most, but with the start of the automation of traditional jobs and the evolution of the gig economy, we can move towards a new normal where self-employment is a traditional path. . I dreamed of becoming an inventor, of […]]]>

Opinions expressed by Contractor the contributors are theirs.

Freelance work often seems like a dream to most, but with the start of the automation of traditional jobs and the evolution of the gig economy, we can move towards a new normal where self-employment is a traditional path. . I dreamed of becoming an inventor, of building “things” that would solve the world’s problems, and entrepreneurship ended up serving as a channel to be that builder. But for a lot of people my age, self-employment is more than a dream, it’s a survival tool. Oddly enough, automation has made self-employment both possible and necessary for millions of people.

Rather than relying on human labor, we’ve been able to make various processes faster, cheaper, and less error-prone through automation – whether it’s flipping burgers and self-pay, or AI writers and digital robots. However, all good things come at a price. The reduced need for human labor – combined with the increase in the world’s population – has reduced the pool of “good” jobs. That is, jobs that pay a living wage and provide the kind of perks people want.

In the United States, this issue has become a source of division, with most people falling into one of two camps. On the one hand, you have people who argue that the jobs are still there; they allege that people are just too lazy, picky or allowed to take them. Then you have the people who argue that the jobs are gone and the positions that are left are not paying enough for people to live decent lives.

Related: How to Automate Technology to Help You Run Your Businesses

There is some truth to both sides. The Washington Post recently noted that in September 2021, there were approximately 8.4 million Americans unemployed and 10 million vacant positions. At a time when supply chains are hanging by a thread, the country is grappling with a pandemic, and individuals and businesses alike need cash, the question is why this is happening. The numbers show that the jobs are still there and people choose not to take them or that they are underqualified. However, a simple cost-benefit analysis of these jobs shows that they are simply not worth the effort for most Americans. Why? Because wages are low, working conditions are poor, and in an age when remote and concert work are extremely popular, why settle for a low-paying job?

Before Covid-19 was ever on our radar, automation took people away from traditional 9-5 jobs. Not only did it decrease the need for human labor, it also changed the way work is done. When you can accomplish a task with the push of a virtual button, it opens the door for employees to work remotely. The commercial push for automation, combined with the effects of the pandemic, has led companies of all sizes to allow more and more workers to do their jobs from home.

However, millions of Americans weren’t so lucky. Sectors like retail, hospitality and construction do not have so many viable paths to follow. After all, we just haven’t found a way to automate every type of work. Therefore, companies in these industries can either try to automate as best they can, thereby eliminating jobs altogether, or encourage workers to keep coming to work as they always have. The former leaves more people unemployed, while the latter leaves workers less satisfied and, at least in the context of a pandemic, more exposed.

Therefore, automation has had the odd effect of pushing people into self-employment in more ways than one. Process automation reduces the number of jobs available at all levels while making it easier for employees to work remotely. This has made non-distant jobs much less attractive to the modern job seeker.

Related: 5 Reasons Employees Prefer Self-Employment

What does all of this have to do with self-employment? Ultimately, people have to find a way to pay their bills or risk losing their savings, homes and potentially more. If the jobs do not exist or are undesirable, what is the solution? Create your own job!

This is a factor that many people overlook when it comes to automation. The term itself often conjures up images of giant assembly lines, corporate initiatives and large-scale operations. Automation isn’t just for large companies, however; it also works for individuals by allowing them to work alone. When companies cannot offer what people want or need, self-employment becomes the only real alternative.

It’s not just a guess, either. According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 15 million Americans were self-employed in 2015. This meant that just over 10% of all workers in the United States were self-employed. Fast forward to 2019 (before the pandemic) and self-employment rate increased to around 28%. Some have disputed the latter figure, but 14% of those workers saw self-employment as their main source of income that year, implying that an additional 1% of the national workforce – or about $ 1. 5 million people – opt for self-employment. job with each passing year.

Although there are many reasons, many people simply choose freelance work because automation is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it makes jobs rarer and non-distant jobs less attractive; on the other hand, it makes it easier than ever to create your own work as a freelance writer, entrepreneur or entrepreneur. Automation doesn’t just mean it’s easier to work, it’s also easier to create your own.

Leaders and politicians will continue to debate stagnant wages and scarcity of jobs, but it’s automation that drives us toward ubiquitous self-employment. This is a change that has been brewing for years. As technology continues to advance at an increasingly rapid pace, so do automated tools. This means that self-employment will likely continue to increase even faster in the future.

In the age of widespread digitization, people want to work from anywhere, and rightly so. They also want to work for a living wage, with reasonable hours, and the opportunity to grow and move forward. Self-employment gives them the power to do it when many traditional jobs fall short. But the question remains: how long will it take for businesses, supply chains and even governments to adjust to a society in which self-employment is the new normal?


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Lock in extended benefits with your renewal https://after-hours.org/lock-in-extended-benefits-with-your-renewal/ Wed, 22 Dec 2021 16:52:52 +0000 https://after-hours.org/lock-in-extended-benefits-with-your-renewal/ Have you renewed your membership for 2022? Whether you are new to CDA or a long-time member, you may not have explored all the resources available to you. With your renewal, gain continued access to benefits that can help you get organized, save time and money, stay ahead of compliance and increase productivity, and stay […]]]>

Have you renewed your membership for 2022? Whether you are new to CDA or a long-time member, you may not have explored all the resources available to you. With your renewal, gain continued access to benefits that can help you get organized, save time and money, stay ahead of compliance and increase productivity, and stay connected to the latest issues and information.

Listening to the voices of its members, CDA continues to evolve its programs, tools and guidance in all the areas of practice that matter most.

Support for the practice of dentistry today

To help members better navigate the business side of their profession, Practice Support provides dedicated expertise in practice management, dental insurance plans, regulatory compliance and employment practices.

Individual guidance

Connect with specialist analysts by phone or email.

A comprehensive library of resources

Discover easy-to-implement tools that would be expensive or time consuming to research and build yourself. Only a few include:

  • Informed consent forms in multiple languages
  • Letters, templates and checklists to save time
  • Comprehensive guides and videos focused on dentistry
  • A personalized employee manual generator
  • A submission process for dental plan issues
  • Compliance schedule and postings required

Additional support and savings

Harness the purchasing power for the business services you need with CDA’s large membership base. Access expertise and special offers from approved vendors.

  • Ensure Electronic Prescribing Mandate Compliance with Henry Schein One ePrescribe and iCoreRx from iCoreConnect
  • Generate more revenue with CareCredit patient funding, eAssist claims processing or Cosentus revenue cycle management
  • Control your spending with the ADA Visa® credit card program, Bank of America Practice Solutions or the Staples Business Advantage program
  • Streamline operations with HR for Health and WEO Media marketing services

As another great benefit of membership, access consistent and competitive prices on dental supplies and equipment from a business founded by and partially owned by CDA. Buy online at TDSC.com, powered by Henry Schein.

Continuous training in the formats you love

In addition to CDA showcasing the art and science of dentistry, the nation’s most anticipated dental conferences, members benefit from expanded training options throughout the year through a variety of formats on hot topics.

In-person conventions

  • CDA Presents registration fees waived in Anaheim and San Francisco
  • Connection to world-class speakers, exciting lectures and hands-on workshops
  • Offers reserved for attendees of major exhibitors, as well as new networking opportunities

On-demand learning

  • Waived fees and significant discounts on the full catalog of e-learning courses
  • Clinical information, new research, and easy ways to get PE through the CDA Journal

Live learning events

  • Free access to special live virtual events throughout the year

Protection from an insurer focused on dentists

In California, The dentists’ insurance company offers a full range of professional insurance options only to CDA members, as well as attentive experts solely focused on dentistry.

Exceptional coverage at a fair price

  • Professional liability
  • Commercial property
  • Workers compensation
  • Responsibility for employment practices
  • Responsibility for cyber-suite
  • Generous discounts for new dentists

Extensive coverage options

Thanks to TDIC Insurance Solutions, access to more protection:

  • Individual and family health and in small groups
  • Disability
  • General business expenses
  • Life, AD&D and more

Step-by-step guidance

  • Annual insurance reviews to ensure the right coverage at every step
  • A free risk management advice line for members, whether or not they are TDIC policyholders
  • Additional savings and CE by attending a seminar on risk management

Tools to staff your firm and fuel your career

the CDA Career Center is a platform that connects brilliant dental professionals with relevant opportunities and helps chiefs of staff build their teams. Members also benefit from greater support in their roles as employers through practice support, TDIC coverage, continuing education and skill building courses, and advocacy of dental practices as small essential businesses.

  • Significant discounts on your Career Center assignments
  • Models, tools and expertise to boost your research
  • CDA-led recruiting initiatives to build pools of staff
  • CDA Resources and Courses to Become a Leader

Of course, these advantages all rely on the strength of the large number of organized members of dentistry. Navigate dentistry more easily today with the expertise, resources and support of your connected dental community.

Be an active member of your dental community and renew today. Visit cda.org/renew to pay your membership fee in minutes. Discover your benefits online anytime or call 800.232.7645 to find out more.


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