Father 2 brothers of Sri Lanka bombings mastermind killed

first_imgCOLOMBO/KALMUNAI: The father and two brothers of the suspected mastermind of Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday bombings were killed when security forces stormed their safe house two days ago, police sources and a relative of the suicide bombers said on Sunday. Zainee Hashim, Rilwan Hashim and their father Mohamed Hashim, who were seen in a video circulating on social media calling for all-out war against non believers, were among 15 killed in a fierce gun battle with the military on the east coast on Friday, four police sources said. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: ReportNiyaz Sharif, the brother-in-law of Zahran Hashim, the suspected ringleader of the wave of Easter Sunday bombings that killed over 250 people in churches and hotels across the island nation, told Reuters the video showed Zahran’s two brothers and father. Three of the people killed in Friday’s gun battle were the same people who were seen in the undated video on social media, in which they discus martyrdom and urge their followers to kill all non believers, police sources said. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protestsSri Lanka has been on high alert since the attacks on Easter Sunday, with nearly 10,000 soldiers deployed across the island to carry out searches and hunt down members of two local Islamist groups believed to have carried out the attack. Authorities have detained more than 100 people, including foreigners from Syria and Egypt since the April 21 bombings. In the video, Rilwan Hashim is seen calling for all out ‘jihad’, or holy war, while children cry in the background. “We will destroy these non-believers to protect this land and therefore we need to do jihad,” Rilwan says in the video, sitting beside his brother and father. “We need to teach a proper lesson for these non-believers who have been destroying Muslims.” Authorities suspect there may be more suicide bombers on the loose. Defence authorities have so far focused their investigations on international links to two domestic groups they believe carried out the attacks, the National Thawheedh Jamaath and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Easter bombings, and on Sunday the group said three of its members clashed with Sri Lankan police for several hours in Friday’s gun battle on the east coast before detonating their explosive vests, the militant group’s news agency Amaq said. The group said 17 policemen were killed or injured in the attack, but the Sri Lankan military has denied this. A police source told Reuters two policemen were slightly injured in the battle. Police have said six children were among the other 12 people who died in the gun battle, but have not released further details.last_img read more

Moroccan Adel Taarabt joins AC Milan on a loan

first_imgRabat – Morocco international player Adel Taarabt has signed for AC Milan.The 24-year old player will be transferred to the Italian club on a loan for the rest of the season.A statement released by AC Milan says that “Adel Taarabt has landed on a private jet to (Milan’s) Linate airport.” The Moroccan international has undergone a medical examination before joining the prestigious Italian club.“I am honoured to be able to play in the best club in the world,” Taarabt told the official website of AC Milan.“I have spoken to (AC Milan coach Clarence) Seedorf and we are both really happy.”“I am a striker and I like to play behind the forwards or even on the left or the right.”“I don’t know personally Balotelli but it’s a great honor for me to be able to play with him,” he added.last_img read more

Humanitarian crisis for Pakistans displaced far from over – UN official

The Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan for 2010, put together by the Government, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other aid actors, will enable continued assistance in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) for at least another six months. UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan Martin Mogwanja urged the international donor community “to keep up their invaluable contributions to enable the humanitarians to continue assisting the people in need in Pakistan.”A total of 3.1 million people from NWFP and FATA were displaced in 2009 due to Government operations against militants in these areas. The funds sought for the response plan just launched will not only response to the needs of the internally displaced persons (IDPs), but also support those who have returned to their places of origin, those who never left and the families who opened up their homes to host the displaced.“Considering that the number of IDPs from Orakzai Agency has risen nearly tenfold in the last two months, the emergency in Pakistan seems far from over,” said Mr. Mogwanja. In addition to providing relief to the IDPs, the main humanitarian activities in 2010 will include the distribution of food, the rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure and assistance to farmers who lost their crops due to hostilities and displacement. The largest share of the requested funds – $195 million – will be needed for food-related projects, since a large part of the affected population will continue to depend on food aid. Other priority areas include shelter and non-food items, health, water and sanitation, agriculture and the coordination and management of IDP camps, among others.As of 31 December 2009, last year’s $680 million appeal was 71 per cent funded. Those funds enabled the humanitarian community to reach more than four million people in need of assistance with vital relief including food and drinking water. 9 February 2010The top United Nations humanitarian official in Pakistan has called on the international community not to forget the vulnerable civilians displaced in the country’s northwest, urging donors to contribute to a $537 million appeal launched to meet immediate relief needs. read more

Walmart Canadas COO Lee Tappenden to take over as Canadian head in

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Walmart Canada says it will have a new CEO on Aug. 15, when Lee Tappenden is promoted to the role.Tappenden joined Walmart Canada in 2010 and has held several senior positions since then. He’s currently chief operations officer, a position that’s often seen as a prelude to becoming CEO.He will succeed Dirk Van den Berghe, who was appointed to the position in August 2014.CNW Group/Walmart Canada Walmart using customers as ‘leverage,’ Visa says as battle over credit card fees heats upWalmart Canada to name new CEO amid global management shakeupWalmart stores in Canada will no longer accept Visa because of ‘unacceptably high’ feesPrior to joining Walmart’s Canadian subsidiary, Tappenden held a number of global leadership roles including chief merchandising officer with Walmart Japan and vice-president of merchandising for the company’s international division.As head of Walmart Canada, Tappenden will report to the president and CEO of Walmart International, David Cheesewright.Bob Hakeem, Walmart Canada’s chief administrative officer, will become its chief operations officer. read more

Feds Still heavy risk in big loans despite better economy loose standards

WASHINGTON – Federal regulators say they’re still seeing a heavy dose of risk in large loans made by banks and other financial institutions, despite the recovering U.S. economy.The Federal Reserve and other agencies cite ongoing loose lending standards and an increase in loans made for financing takeovers of companies. Those loans are risky because they can greatly exceed the amount of a firm’s earnings.The steep decline in oil prices over the past year has hurt many energy companies. Loans in the industry are at greater risk of souring or are already in default, according to the agencies’ 2014 annual review.The review found that banks are making progress in improving their credit standards. But there are “continuing gaps” between industry practices and standards of bank safety, it said.Overall, the review found that loans at risk of failing or already in default, plus those showing potential weakness, remained high at 9.5 per cent of the total $3.9 trillion in large loans. Loans in that category were up 9.4 per cent from $340.6 billion last year.Loans in the oil and gas industry represent about 7 per cent of total large loans outstanding. The credit problems could spread to the service companies that cater to the industry and banks should closely watch that area, agency officials said in a conference call with reporters.Oil prices have fallen dramatically over the past year, touching levels not seen since the depths of the recession in 2009. They have slid from near $100 a barrel to $38 in September. Against a backdrop of rising global supplies came mounting evidence from around the world that demand for oil would be far less than expected.Regulators are worried about a heavy load of risky loans weighing on institutions’ financial soundness and the potential threat to the broader banking system. By conducting an annual review, they are seeking to prevent the kind of risk-taking that touched off the financial crisis in 2008.Through a series of rules for banks’ increased capital cushions against losses and other requirements, regulators have put into effect the tougher standards mandated by Congress in a 2010 law responding to the crisis.Because of what they found in the 2014 review, the regulators said they will continue to monitor leveraged lending and lending in the oil and gas industry.The annual review is conducted by examiners from the Fed, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. It examines large loans, defined as those worth at least $20 million that are made jointly by three or more financial institutions.For 2014, the examiners reviewed $1.04 trillion of the $3.9 trillion in loans extended. U.S. banks held 43.3 per cent of the total loans, foreign banks with operations in the U.S. held 33.7 per cent and the remaining 23 per cent were made by lenders other than banks. Feds: Still heavy risk in big loans despite better economy; loose standards a problem by Marcy Gordon, The Associated Press Posted Nov 5, 2015 2:36 pm MDT Last Updated Nov 5, 2015 at 3:09 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

New allegations of sexual abuse emerge against UN peacekeepers in Central African

In a press release, MINUSCA said the cases were brought to its attention on 21 January by a team of Human Rights Watch researchers, who passed the information to the Mission in the interest of ensuring medical and psycho-social care for the victims and accountability for any alleged crimes.Upon receipt of these allegations, MINUSCA says it dispatched a fact-finding expert from the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) to Bambari, near the centre of the country. OIOS found sufficient initial evidence that five of the victims were minors and had been sexually abused and that one adult had been sexually exploited.Also, OIOS said it was unable to interview the seventh alleged victim, reportedly a minor. Finally, one of the allegations passed to MINUSCA by Human Rights Watch was previously reported and is currently under investigation.The soldiers implicated in these cases are from the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Governments of Republic of Congo and DRC have been notified of these allegations and have been asked to launch investigations. The CAR national authorities have also been informed.“Due to the gravity of these allegations and given the information collected through the initial fact-finding, the United Nations has decided to take immediate measures, including the repatriation of the 120 Republic of Congo soldiers who were deployed to Bambari from 17 September to 14 December 2015,” the Mission announced, noting that this repatriation will occur after an investigation is carried out, and in the meantime the soldiers will be confined to barracks.The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MINUSCA, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, today travelled to Bambari with a high level delegation. He expressed his outrage and shame, reminding the troops that “sexual abuse and exploitation is a serious breach of the UN regulations and a human rights violation; a double crime that affects the vulnerable women and children you were sent here to protect.”He also discussed the sexual exploitation and abuse incidents with affected communities and recommended additional emergency mitigation measures.Addressing the DRC battalion in the final weeks before its repatriation, MINUSCA’s Force Commander Major General Balla Keita urged the soldiers to “honour themselves, their country, and the UN flag by serving with the highest standards of conduct and dignity.” Speaking with the press at the end of the visit, the Mr. Onanga-Anyanga said that MINUSCA is “in combat mode” and explained that “he will not rest until these heinous acts are uncovered, perpetrators are punished, and incidents cease.” Finally, he thanked all partners for the important role they are playing in reporting allegations and caring for victims, adding “we will never win this fight unless we work together.” read more

Suffering deepens in Yemen as border shutdowns enter second week – UN

Speaking over the phone to journalists in Geneva, Jamie McGoldrick, the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, called for the reopening of the country’s major import hubs, Hodeida and Saleef, along with Sana’a airport. Smaller ports such as Aden in southern Yemen and Jazan – which is in neighbouring Saudi Arabia – lack the capacity to handle the amount of fuel, food and medicines that’s needed, Mr McGoldrick said. “Coming from Jazan in the north or coming from Aden in the south to serve the bulk of the population that we have identified, in the northern part of the country, it would be very difficult in many places because of for security issues, because of logistical issues” he said. This would increases the cost of supplies by an estimated $30 per metric tonne “and this is something that would then reduce the amount of money we have to serve the population and right now our humanitarian response plan is only 57 per cent funded,” explained Mr. McGoldrick. He said that Yemen has just 20 days’ worth of diesel left in the north, and three months’ reserves of wheat, adding that while he has heard reports that Aden and other ports were opening, there has been no confirmation of it. The decision to blockade Yemen was taken by the Saudi-led coalition – engaged there in a three-year war against Houthi militants, which, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), has left more than seven million close to famine and 21 million needing assistance in one of the world’s poorest countries. With humanitarian supplies “dangerously low,” Mr. McGoldrick warned that keeping famine and disease at bay risks setbacks. Suffering worsens in YemenWith the closure of land, sea and air borders now entering its second week, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed alarm at the worsening humanitarian situation. “Over the past week, the closures have prevented humanitarian and commercial supplies and restricted the movement of aid workers. They are also placing new economic strain on a civilian population already suffering through many months of conflict,” said UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler at the regular press briefing in Geneva. “As a result,” continued Mr. Spindler, “our staff and those of our partners are seeing an increase in the number of civilians seeking humanitarian help. Vulnerable populations including internally displaced people, refugees and asylum seekers are especially hard-hit.”The spokesperson reminded reporters that since the conflict began in March 2015, it has become the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, affecting 21 million people. “Two million internally displaced people, a million returnees and 280,000 refugees and asylum seekers are all struggling to survive through increasingly prolonged displacement,” he stressed, adding that worsening conditions have also led to child labour and early marriage. “Together with other members of the humanitarian community in Yemen, UNHCR is advocating for the border closures to be lifted without delay. The closures are exacerbating the humanitarian crisis, posing a critical threat to the millions struggling to survive,” Mr. Spindler concluded. read more

George Foreman Became Americas Top Pitchman on Advice From

The amazing thing about George Foreman goes beyond winning the heavyweight championship at the creaky boxing age of 45, after losing it at 25 to Muhammad Ali in Zaire, Africa.It’s pretty amazing that all this time later, George Foreman remains relevant. More than that, Foreman, once a boorish and mean oaf, has done so by becoming corporate America’s No. 1 pitchman.It is a position he holds unrivaled, and one no one would have pegged him for after he became this behemoth knockout artist with no room for cheer.But after losing to Jimmy Young in 1977, Foreman said he had a “religious experience.” In that moment in the locker room he decided to retire from boxing and eventually became a born-again Christian.It also was the beginning of him morphing into a Black man who would become the face of white corporate America on a significantly larger scale than O.J. Simpson and even Michael Jordan.Foreman told Sports Illustrated that he mimicked John Wayne when he walked; he adopted mannerisms like boxing champion Sonny Liston; and shaped his mustache after all-time great running back Jim Brown—three men with imposing reputations. He released those elements when he retired.“It took so long for me to find me,” he said to the magazine. “Once I did, my mom even liked me. She didn’t like me much when I was trying to be those other guys.”Ten years after retiring, Foreman, in need of money, returned to boxing with not much fanfare. Promoter Bob Arum recalled to SI: “I was not enthusiastic, realizing what a horrid person he had been.” But after spending an hour with Arum said, “This is the greatest con man in history because he was so different from what he had been before. But it wasn’t a con. He had really changed.”That change made him an embraceable pitchman. It helped that he knocked out Michael Moore at age 45 to become the oldest heavyweight champion in history.Young George Foreman was a force.His always-grinning disposition bordered on buffoonery, but he laced his persona with enough wisdom, gospel and Black empowerment for it to be more congenial than a caricature.Suddenly, with the historic victory and this warm and fuzzy person came offers to endorse products. Foreman told SI he had been hesitant about putting his name to products. But in 1991, none other than Bill Cosby called Foreman.“I don’t want to be on TV saying this and that,” the champ told the comedian.Cosby, Foreman said to the magazine, was not having it. “Come on, man. You’re no different from anyone else. You want to be on television, you want to be known,” Foreman remembers him saying. “If you don’t take ’em, I’ll take ’em.”That was the moment Foreman became the all-time pitchman. Over the years he has done commercials for Nike, Doritos, McDonald’s and Meineke. The deal that made him rich and famous came in ’94, when he agreed to lend his name to and appear in commercials for a line of indoor grills. The George Foreman Grill became a blockbuster hit, earning him more than he ever took as a boxer.He made so much money off the grills that in 1999, Salton Inc., the maker of the product, gave him $137.5 million in combined stock and cash to avoid having to continue paying him royalties, SI reported.He became the spokesperson for InventHelp last year, a company that helps people get patents for prototypes of products. He’s also launching Foreman’s Butcher Shop, a mail-order meat company with an emphasis on quality, health-conscious products sourced from family farms in the Midwest.Why does Foreman push products on all media platforms and speaking?“Never say no,” he said is his approach.He does, however, have other interests. His George Foreman Youth Center in Houston has existed for years as a place Black kids come to play sports and learn life lessons.“The kids would come in and want to learn to box,” Foreman has said. “They wanted to tear up the world, beat up the world. And I’d try to show them they didn’t need anger. They didn’t need all that killing instinct they’d read about. You can be a human being and pursue boxing as a sport.“When you speak to a lot of kids, as I’ve done over the years, you know what to say, keep them laughing, (giving them) good illustrations and (stressing to) learn to read.”Foreman has learned to live with a reality that will not go away, no matter how many products he endorses and how much he’s on TV. At the height of his career, at 40-0 with 37 knockouts, Ali knocked out Foreman in a victory that resounded around the world.“If that fight hadn’t turned out like it did, my life would have been very different,” Foreman said. “I have no regrets. They’ll be talking about it for 100 years, and they’ll always have to mention my name.”He now calls Ali one of his best friends.“After 1981, we became the best of friends,” Foreman said. “By 1984, we loved each other. I’m not closer to anyone else in this life than I am to Muhammad Ali. Why? We were forged by that first fight in Zaire, and our lives are indelibly linked by memories and photographs as young and old men.” read more

Volkswagen most popular as new vehicle licenses jump 16 per cent

first_imgTHE NUMBER OF new private cars licensed for the first time increased by 16 per cent last month, according to the latest CSO figures.The data reveals Volkswagen as the manufacturer of choice and the only brand to see more than 1,000 vehicles licensed during October. It was followed closely by Ford and then Audi.The CSO noted that the three month transition period for motor tax gapping provided for in the Non-Use of Motor Vehicles Act 2013 ended on 30 September 2013, meaning that any car designated as ‘off the road’ still needs to be tax compliant.The cars licensed when a valid motor disc was issued for the first time would be included in these figures.So far this year, 111,497 vehicles have been licensed in Ireland.The total number of all new vehicles licensed during October 2013 was 4,974 compared with 3,563 during the same month in 2012 – an increase of 39.6 per cent.SIMI: New number plates haven’t helped motor industryMore: Volvo slashes 2,000 jobs worldwidelast_img read more

What we know about Acers 99 tablet

first_imgAmazon and Google rocked the boat quite a bit this year by releasing a pair of powerful tablets for $199. Since the release of the Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7Best Price at Amazon, there has been no shortage of rumors surrounding a $99 device — due out this year — that would drive price down even further. It looks like Acer is the company looking to step up to that rumor.Price will always be a deciding factor when it comes to selling consumer electronics. If you head to WalMart’s website right now and look at the top selling tablets across the company, most of them are $120-140 Android tablets with no Play Store installed. These are low end tablets that can barely handle the OS installed on them, and some of them don’t even have capacitive touch panels on them.Until the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD, it was assumed than anything under $400 was going to be of questionable build quality. Now that the bar has been set, Acer is looking to compete in international markets that are flooded with lower quality hardware with a tablet that could compete in place with higher average tablet prices.In order to be successful, Acer would need to offer previous generation hardware with current generation software and a higher build quality than what is currently available in these throwaway, off-brand tablets. Acer’s plan is to stick a 1.4GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM and a 1024×600 resolution display in a 7-inch WiFi-only frame. With a 4GB model at $99 running Android 4.1 or better, the Iconia B1 would be more than enough to compete in the developing world and offer a far greater experience than what is available in most of those markets today.Compared to the $199 Nexus 7 or the Kindle Fire HD, to say nothing of the iPad Mini or Nook HD tablets, the Iconia B1 would be outclassed in every respect but pricing. This probably has a lot to do with the decision to not bring this tablet to the United States, but instead focus on areas where poorly made, inexpensive tablets are readily available. The Iconia will be able to compete in those places with a superior build quality, a name brand that comes with some assurance that the hardware will last, and access to the apps and the other content in the Google Play Store.There’s nothing that says Acer couldn’t bring their $99 tablet to other countries, including the US. A tablet like the Iconia B1 would sell well anywhere, and given Acer’s limited success in the high-end, it may not be a bad thing to be the company with the best priced budget tablet. Securing a foothold in these domains would offer a powerful advantage for Acer, allowing them to compete where very few of their upmarket competition would be willing to travel.last_img read more

ExBenfica coach reveals what made a young Andre Gomes special

first_imgEx-Benfica U-19 coach Joao Tralhao has revealed what set Andre Gomes apart from the rest during his formative yearsGomes’ old youth side are at the Everton’s Halewood training complex, where they will face the Merseyside club’s under-23s in Southport.The game will likely stir some old memories from Gomes, who continues to recover from a hamstring injury that has prevented him from making his Everton debut.And the on-loan Barcelona midfielder’s old youth coach remembers him well.“If you talk about his physical condition, he was prepared,” Tralhao told Liverpool Echo.“His physical image was top class but we felt that when he arrived he needed to know how to play in a different possession game, in a different mentality and he needed to be able to control the match.David Villa, SpainQuiz: How much do you know about David Villa? Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Time to test your knowledge about Spanish legendary forward David Villa.“In Porto and in Boavista, there is a different culture so our main objective was to teach this guy how to play in possession, how to press, how to attack with control and how to defend with aggression.“He was not ready but we believed in him because he was a clever player.”Tralhao also appointed Gomes as the captain of the youth side after just one month in order to speed up his development.After making his first-team debut in 2012, Gomes has since played for Valencia and Barcelona.He was also a member of Portugal’s Euro 2016 Championship-winning squad.last_img read more

YSR Congress leader YS Vivekananda Reddy found dead under unnatural circumstances

first_imgY. S. Vivekananda ReddyTwitter [Representational Image]Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) leader and former Agriculture Minister, YS Vivekananda Reddy passed away on Friday morning at his home in Pulivendula in Andhra Pradesh.   The family has alleged it to be an unnatural death owing to certain circumstances.Initial reports suggested cardiac arrest to be the cause of his death, but several injuries have been reported on his body leading to suspicion of murder. As per the media reports, Reddy was found lying on the floor by a housemaid, who came to his residence around 6.30 am.YSRCP former MP, Avinash Reddy told the media that the family has suspicion over Reddy’s death as there are two severe injuries on his head and other injuries on his arms and face. A case has been registered over Reddy’s death after his Personal Assistant Krishna Reddy expressed doubts of murder. According to the sources in his complaint, Krishna Reddy specified the circumstances in the bedroom, and bathroom which blood stains witnessed raised many doubts. He said that he found there were two blood injuries on Vivekananda Reddy’s forehead and right hand, reported The Hans India.Till late-night Thursday, Vivekananda Reddy had participated in the election campaigns at Jammalamadugu, chapadu, Duvvuru mandals. Krishna Reddy said that Vivekananda Reddy had discussions with party workers up to 11:30 PM, the previous night and later home alone.The 68-year old Reddy is the brother of late Andhra Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy and uncle to the YSRCP President Jaganmohan Reddy. He is survived by his wife Sowbhagya and daughter Veronica. His wife had recently gone abroad and is staying with their daughter.Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu has ordered a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the death of Reddy.Reddy was twice elected as a legislator from Pulivendula constituency and was also elected to the Lok Sabha from Kadapa constituency with a high majority.His final rites are expected to be conducted at Idupulapaya.last_img read more

Justice not delivered even 1 yr into police attack on Santal

first_img6 November marks a year after three Santals were killed and many injured in an arson attack on Santals allegedly by police. The Santals now live in make-shift houses near Madarpur Church at Gobindaganj, Gaibandha.”We fought for our ancestral lands. I’ve lost one eye and can barely see with the other. My scars haven’t healed. I can’t walk in the sun and even talking makes me dizzy,” says Dijen Tudu (52), in tears. He composes himself and continues, “We have lost so much, but haven’t received justice.”The events still haunt Mikai Murmu (48) from the next village, “We are asked to live in the cluster village, but we won’t go there. We don’t need houses. We only want our ancestors’ land back.”This is the story Dijen and Murmu. This is the story of all the suffering Santals of Joypur and Madarpur, Gaibandha. A year ago on 6 November, sugar mill workers, backed by the police, clashed with the Santals at Sahebganj Commercial Farm, Gobindaganj, over the sugarcane harvest. Three Santals died and numerous were injured. Their houses were looted and set on fire.The commercial farm is near the Santal-populated areas of Joypur and Madarpur. The farm is enclosed with barbed wire fencing and the sugar cane grows on the plantation there. The serenity around the mud homes of Santal belies the horrific events that took place.Tadu Tudu (60) from Joypur fumes, “Three persons died. Police burnt down our houses. One year has passed and yet we’ve got nothing. We’re starving. We lost lives but didn’t get our lands back.”Mangal Maddi from Ghoraghat, Dinajpur, Shyamol Hembrom from Dhongoir Gomostapur, Chapainawabganj, Romesh Soren from Sintajuri, Gobindaganj, were killed in the clashs. Their families did not receive any compensation as yet. Nor is there any rehabilitation for the wounded.After the occurrence, the district administration gave rice and lentils to 150 Santals. And the sugar mill authorities delivered the rice to Santal houses following a High Court Order. Some Tk 2 million had been donated thought the Chief Justice’s efforts. There was some non-government relief too.No progressA year has passed since the clashes but there is little progress in the case. The police have not submitted any charge sheet. Three cases were filed. Police filed a case as a plaintiff convicting 300-400 unnamed persons and 42 identified ones. Four Santals were arrested in this case and were later released on bail. Both Swapan Murmu and Thomas Hemrom filed cases on behalf of the Santals. The High Court transferred those cases from the thana police to Gaibandha PBI (Police Bureau of Investigation).The Gaibandha PBI Additional Police Super told Prothom Alo that progress has been made in the case. “Investigation is still on. It will take some time to file a charge sheet,” he said.Santals lived here near Sahebganj sugar mill, Gobindaganj. They were evicted and their houses set on fire.Where are the two police officers?Two police officers were identified in the incident, from video footage. Among them Gaibandha DB (Detective Branch) Police Constable Mahbubur Rahman was temporarily suspended and later transferred to Dinajpur. The other one Sajjad Hussain, Gaibandha Reserve Force constable, was transferred to Panchagarh. No other action has been taken against them. Both have resumed their regular duties.The Santals are still in fear as there is no progress in the case and no punishment for the criminals. Philemon Buske, the vice-chairman of action committee, , “The Santals are afraid to go shopping, because strangers are threatening them in the market.”Gaibandha police super Mashrukur Rahman Khaled claims there is no reason to panic. There are 120 Ansar-VDP (Village Defence Party) members deployed along with police patrol.ProgrammeA gathering was organised at the Shapmara Goverment Primary School im memory of the day. The Sahebganj-Bagda Sugarcane Farm Land Rescue Sangram Committee, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, Bangladesh Adivasi Union, Adivasi-Bangali Songhati Parishad and Jano-Uddyog, a volunteer organization of Gaibandha, joined the gathering.last_img read more

Nordic welfare state model strained by ageing populations

first_imgAase Blytsoe, 92-year old, who has dementia, sits in her apartment in Aarup. Photo: ReutersThe Nordic welfare model, long the envy of many across the world seeking an egalitarian utopia, is creaking.Ageing populations have led to politicians across the region chipping away at the generous cradle-to-grave welfare state for years. In Denmark, next week’s election could prove a turning point as frustrated voters say: No more.Danes, like citizens of other Nordic nations, have largely been happy to shell out some of the highest taxes in the world, seeing them as a price worth paying for universal healthcare, education and elderly services.However, spending cuts by successive governments to reduce the public deficit have led to more people paying out of their own pockets for what used to be free.”We pay very high taxes in Denmark, and that’s alright. But in return, I think we can demand a certain service,” said pensioner Sonja Blytsoe.Her 92-year old mother, who has dementia, was told by her local council in the central Danish town of Assens that the cleaning of her small apartment at a nursing home would be almost halved to 10 times a year.Her mother, who lives off her state pension of 9,000 Danish crowns ($1,350) per month, could not afford to pay the roughly 1,000 crowns a month for a private cleaning firm, Blytsoe said.In an illustration of the simmering public anger at such cuts, the council’s move sparked an outcry on social media that prompted the prime minister to comment on the case in parliament and the decision to be reversed.The erosion of the welfare state has now become a defining issue in the June 5 general election in a country where people hand over an average 36% of their personal income to the state each month.Opinion polls indicate Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen of the Liberal Party will lose power to Mette Frederiksen of the centre-left Social Democratic Party.Frederiksen’s Social Democrats have won popular support by pledging to increase public spending, making businesses and the wealthy pay more towards welfare services through higher taxes, and to partially roll back some recent pension reforms by allowing people who have worked 40 years to retire earlier.However Rasmussen has accused his rival of being in “the business of selling dreams”.”Either you’ll leave voters massively disappointed, or leave an enormous hole in the treasury,” he told Frederiksen about her pension plans during a TV debate earlier this year.Danes Go PrivateThe Nordic model has been held up as the gold standard for welfare by many left-leaning politicians and activists globally.It featured in the last U.S. presidential election campaign, for example, when Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders pointed to Denmark as a model for his vision of an ideal American future.However the tough choices confronting Denmark are reflected across Nordic nations faced with a generation of baby-boomers creeping into retirement. Voters feeling a rising sense of insecurity are increasingly pressuring politicians to safeguard their cherished welfare model.In Finland, the Social Democrats came out on top in an April election, for the first time in 20 years, after campaigning on tax hikes to meet the rising costs of welfare.In Sweden, one of Europe’s richest countries, support for the nationalist Sweden Democrats surged in last year’s election on the back of fears over immigration and welfare.Nordic countries still top other high-spending OECD countries like the United States, Germany and Japan for public spending per capita on social benefits targeted at the poor, the elder, disabled, sick or unemployed.Denmark itself spends a higher proportion of its wealth on public welfare than most European countries, at 28% of GDP, behind only France, Belgium and Finland.But many Danes are distressed at the way things are going following two decades of economic reforms.Cuts to healthcare services, which include everything from free doctor appointments to cancer treatment, have led to the closure of a quarter of state hospitals in the past decade alone.A recent survey showed that more than half of Danes don’t trust the public health service to offer the right treatment. As a consequence the proportion of the 5.7 million Danish population taking out private health insurance has jumped to 33% from 4% in 2003, according to trade organisation Insurance & Pension Denmark.Other cuts over the past 10 years have led to the closure of a fifth of state schools, while spending per person above 65 years on services such as care homes, cleaning and rehabilitation after illness has dropped by a quarter.Since the early 2000s, governments have also pushed through unpopular measures to encourage people to work longer.They include gradually increasing the retirement age to 73 – the highest in the world – in decades to come from 65 currently, phasing out early retirement benefits and cutting unemployment benefits to two years from four.Spending ContestWhile the policies have generated economic growth averaging 1.6% since 2010 – above the EU average – and sound public finances, the election could mark a change of direction.Frederiksen says she will increase public spending by 0.8% per year over the next five years – the equivalent of 37 billion Danish crowns in 2025 – to buttress welfare.”The reason you can’t agree to spend the money needed to keep the current (welfare) level is that you want to set aside money for tax cuts,” she told Rasmussen during the TV debate.Frederiksen is however bound by a 2012 law not to allow a public deficit of more than 0.5% of GDP, much stricter than EU rules setting the ceiling at 3%.Her message about increased spending is nonetheless going down well with the public, along with a tougher stance on immigration which has also helped her win voters from the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party.Rasmussen has argued that an acceptable level of welfare can be achieved in part by technological advances and letting more private players into areas like health and elderly care.But this month, in a change of tack to address voters’ concerns, he announced a new plan to raise public spending by 0.65% a year – almost the same rate as the Social Democrats.’Not enough people’With government debt at 49% of GDP, way below the OECD average of 111%, and a budget close to being balanced, there is room to raise welfare spending, according to economists.However Jan Stoerup Nielsen at Nordea said certain election promises, such as those by both candidates to come up with 1,000-2,000 new nurses, were unrealistic at a time of record high employment of 2.77 million, or 97% of those able to work.”The problem is that there’s not enough people,” he added. “There is not much politicians can do at the moment. You can say you want a thousand new nurses in the hospitals, but they are nowhere to be found,” he added.He warned more public spending risked overheating the economy and hurting growth down the line if more people shifted from the private to public sector.Pensioner Blytsoe said that when her mother’s services were curbed, she did her best to tidy up the apartment when she visited, but refused to do the regular cleaning previously offered by the state.”If I did that, the municipality would’ve achieved their goal to cut costs and make us fill the gap.”($1 = 6.6614 Danish crowns)last_img read more

Durant Cook Jenkins Team Up for Documentary

first_imgBy Mark F. Gray, Special to the AFRO, mgray@afro.comKevin Durant may be on the sidelines of the NBA Finals at this point, but he and his D.M.V. teammate Quinn Cook are still carrying the mantle for basketball in this area. With local filmmaker Jimmy Jenkins, this version of a big three is set to chronicle the stories of the hardwood where the impact of Prince George’s County is undeniable.Jenkins announced that he is teaming with the two Golden State Warriors stars to produce a documentary for the Showtime TV Network, which should air sometime this fall.  The young filmmaker shared this news as he accepted his Community Service Award from the D.C. Pigskin Club of Washington’s 2019 Spring Sports Banquet.NBA stars Kevin Durant and Quinn Cook are teaming up with local filmmaker Jimmy Jenkins on a documentary about Prince George’s County basketball. (Courtesy Photo)The project’s working title is right now is “Basketball County: A People’s History of Hoops and it’s Hotbed” and will be the second documentary project the two time NBA world champion has produced.  For Jenkins, this collaboration is his first foray into documentary filmmaking. “It’s different when making a documentary,” Jenkins told the AFRO while in Oakland, California with Cook during the NBA Finals.  “I still want to tell the stories about the community where I’m from in Prince George’s County.”Jenkins, the son of Pastor John Jenkins of First Baptist Church of Glenarden, recently debuted his first feature length film “Sinners Wanted”. The movie, produced with his brother Joshua for their independent film label The C.R.E.W.,  is the story of a young vibrant minister from Atlanta, who relocates to Washington, D.C., for an opportunity to become pastor of a church.  He learns the lessons of unconditional love by falling in love with a prostitute who drops into his life after she bursts through the church doors on the first night of his installment service.Earlier this year, Durant was the subject of an ESPN Sports Center feature story that focused on the impact of his Prince George’s County based Durant Center in Suitland, where he grew up.  The seven-minute feature was the first time that the reclusive NBA superstar revealed his personal side and philanthropic efforts in his community. That story focused primarily on where he was raised and how his foundation is providing education opportunities for kids after high school in what is considered to be a dangerous neighborhood.The two time NBA Finals most valuable player has also begun to diversify his portfolio of off the court projects, that include acting and filmmaking in his own right.  Prior to the start of this year’s NBA series Durant’s first produced documentary aired on the Fox Sports 1 network.“Q Ball,” was directed by accomplished documentary producer   Michael Tolajian, who has chronicled basketball’s effect on the world for ESPN’s “30 for 30 franchise.  The project was part of Fox Sports’ “Magnify” series of feature-length documentaries. Durant’s entry into documentary filmmaking is mostly set inside San Quentin State Prison, where it follows two members of the prison’s basketball team on their personal journeys to rehabilitation through the game as well as the team’s head coach, a convicted murderer, who works to prepare players for their return to the outside world. The documentary on Prince George’s County basketball is a collaboration between he, Cook and several other current NBA stars including DeMatha alumni and NBA all star Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers, who is also listed as one of the executive producers as well. The interview subjects featured will represent the legacy of basketball from Prince George’s County over the last half century. Hall of Famer Adrian Dantley and Maryland legend Walt Williams are among those who will featured when the film is expected to debut this fall.last_img read more

Why hide contracts with FB YouTube from us HC asks Centre

first_imgDelhi High Court on Wednesday asked the government why it was “hiding” the contracts it has with social media sites like Facebook and Google and not submitted them despite orders issued five months ago.“Why are you not filing them (contract)? Why are you hiding them from us? Why aren’t you placing it? What is the hesitation? Why aren’t you doing it? It’s been five months since our May 7, 2015 direction,” a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva said. Also Read – Punjab & Sind Bank cuts MCLR by up to 20 basis pointsOn May 7, the Centre had sought time to place before the court the “exact nature of the contracts which have been entered into by the Government/Government Departments with the social media sites on the internet”.Thereafter on July 30, the government had again sought more time. Today, the bench asked,”What do the contracts say? Because we have a lot to say on that.” In response to the court’s query, the government counsel said the Centre has “standard contracts” with the sites and they are “not tailor-made”. Also Read – ‘The great gold bull market has begun’To this, the bench remarked, “that is exactly what he (petitioner) wants to say”. The court’s direction and observations came while hearing a PIL filed by former BJP leader K N Govindacharya who has raised questions on the usage of social media by government departments.The court, however, directed the Centre to ensure that the contracts it has pertaining to Facebook, YouTube and Whatsapp be filed before the next date of hearing on October 28, so that the matter can be decided finally. Advocate Virag Gupta, appearing for Govindacharya, told the court during the hearing that the “central government has become the biggest marketing agent for social media sites”.Gupta also contended that as per contracts the government has with these companies, it is “transferring/surrendering” all intellectual property rights of the data being uploaded on these sites. The high court on July 30 had asked the Centre to “come out” with details of contracts it has with social media sites to ascertain whether these websites have licences to the intellectual property rights of the contents uploaded.Earlier, the court had observed it appeared that when anything was uploaded on social media sites, the websites got a licence to the intellectual property rights (IPR) of the content without paying any royalty and had asked the Centre whether it was aware of this.last_img read more

lifeIMAGE Acquires Mammosphere Mammography Image Exchange Network

first_img January 26, 2016 — lifeIMAGE announced that it has acquired Mammosphere, the leading national medical exchange network specializing in mammography and women’s imaging. Through this acquisition, the Mammosphere network, which provides hospitals, imaging centers and patients with electronic access to prior mammograms, will be made available to healthcare providers currently utilizing the lifeIMAGE platform. The goal is to improve access to comparison studies and enhance the effectiveness of breast cancer screening programs.With an estimated 60 million women in the United States undergoing regular breast cancer screenings, Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA)-certified imaging centers perform nearly 40 million mammography procedures each year. It is not uncommon for women to move between medical facilities, or to new cities or states, during their recommended mammographic age. The Mammosphere network saves providers time, energy and resources by allowing them to securely access an individual patient’s prior exams, regardless of timing or location of the performed study.Additionally, using the vendor-neutral Mammosphere network, providers can allow patients to take a more active role in their treatment and ensure continuity of care by making tests performed at their facilities available to patients for their personal use via secure, online accounts. With this access, patients can easily share imaging studies with new providers and can store and access additional ultrasounds, magnetic resonance images (MRIs) and positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CTs) at any time. This is particularly useful to patients who are at risk for breast cancer, are one of the millions of women in the United States diagnosed with breast cancer, or have plans to change providers.Breast imaging centers utilizing the Mammosphere network have demonstrated significant improvements to the efficiency and effectiveness of their breast cancer screening programs. After the introduction of Mammosphere at one facility in 2015, there was a 48 percent reduction in mammograms read without prior comparison, and a 73 percent decrease in patient callbacks due to false-positive findings. These improvements in the quality of care prevented the cost of unnecessary imaging and testing, kept new screening exams on schedule for the center, and, most importantly, saved patients weeks of emotional turbulence and unwarranted concern about their outcome.For more information: www.lifeimage.com FacebookTwitterLinkedInPrint分享 News | Artificial Intelligence | August 13, 2019 Artificial Intelligence Could Yield More Accurate Breast Cancer Diagnoses University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system that… read more News | Breast Imaging | January 26, 2016 lifeIMAGE Acquires Mammosphere Mammography Image Exchange Network Patient-focused network enables sharing of women’s imaging to improve breast cancer screening and detection, and reduce treatment costs News | Breast Imaging | August 02, 2019 Volpara to Distribute Screenpoint Medical’s Transpara AI Solution Volpara Solutions and ScreenPoint Medical BV signed an agreement under which Volpara will sell ScreenPoint’s Transpara… read more Technology | Artificial Intelligence | July 18, 2019 Paragon Biosciences Launches Qlarity Imaging to Advance FDA-cleared AI Breast Cancer Diagnosis System Paragon Biosciences LLC announced the launch of its seventh portfolio company, Qlarity Imaging LLC, which was founded… read more News | PACS | August 09, 2019 Lake Medical Imaging Selects Infinitt for Multi-site RIS/PACS Infinitt North America will be implementing Infinitt RIS (radiology information system)/PACS (picture archiving and… read more Qlarity Imaging’s software is used to assist radiologists in the assessment and characterization of breast lesions. Imaging features are synthesized by an artificial intelligence algorithm into a single value, the QI score, which is analyzed relative to a database of reference abnormalities with known ground truth. Image courtesy of Business Wire. Technology | Mammography Reporting Software | July 25, 2019 Hologic Partners With MagView to Develop Unifi EQUIP Solution Hologic announced a partnership with mammography information solutions provider MagView to develop Unifi EQUIP, an… read more Related Contentcenter_img Image courtesy of Imago Systems News | Mammography | August 14, 2019 Imago Systems Announces Collaboration With Mayo Clinic for Breast Imaging Image visualization company Imago Systems announced it has signed a know-how license with Mayo Clinic. The multi-year… read more IBM collected a dataset of 52,936 images from 13,234 women who underwent at least one mammogram between 2013 and 2017, and who had health records for at least one year prior to the mammogram. The algorithm was trained on 9,611 mammograms. Image courtesy of Radiology. Technology | Breast Biopsy Systems | July 24, 2019 Fujifilm Releases Tomosynthesis Biopsy Option for Aspire Cristalle Mammography System Fujifilm Medical Systems U.S.A. Inc. recently expanded its breast imaging solutions with the launch of its… read more Feature | Artificial Intelligence | July 19, 2019 | Michal Chorev AI Models Predict Breast Cancer With Radiologist-level Accuracy Breast cancer is the global leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women, and the most commonly diagnosed cancer… read more News | Mammography Reporting Software | July 26, 2019 Ikonopedia Releases Automated Combined Reporting Package at AHRA Ikonopedia showcased its recently released Automated Combined Reporting package and its entire suite of structured… read more News | Remote Viewing Systems | July 16, 2019 Anatomage Releases Anatomage Cloud Platform Anatomage Inc. released an update to the Anatomage Cloud platform that allows medical and dental professionals to… read morelast_img read more

Envision Diagnostic Center Deploys Exa PACS Across 11 Facilities

first_img News | Mammography | August 14, 2019 Imago Systems Announces Collaboration With Mayo Clinic for Breast Imaging Image visualization company Imago Systems announced it has signed a know-how license with Mayo Clinic. The multi-year… read more Image courtesy of Imago Systems Technology | Radiographic Fluoroscopy (RF) | August 09, 2019 Shimadzu Medical Systems Receives FDA 510(k) for FluoroSpeed X1 RF System Shimadzu Medical Systems USA, a subsidiary of Shimadzu Corp., announced they have received U.S. Food and Drug… read more News | PACS | August 08, 2019 NetDirector Launches Cloud-based PDF to DICOM Conversion Service NetDirector, a cloud-based data exchange and integration platform, has diversified their radiology automation options… read more The CT scanner might not come with protocols that are adequate for each hospital situation, so at Phoenix Children’s Hospital they designed their own protocols, said Dianna Bardo, M.D., director of body MR and co-director of the 3D Innovation Lab at Phoenix Children’s. News | Artificial Intelligence | August 13, 2019 Artificial Intelligence Could Yield More Accurate Breast Cancer Diagnoses University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system that… read more Related Content News | Enterprise Imaging | June 28, 2017 Envision Diagnostic Center Deploys Exa PACS Across 11 Facilities Software delivers multispecialty enterprise imaging capabilities while enabling computerized physician order entry Technology | Cybersecurity | August 07, 2019 ScImage Introduces PICOM ModalityGuard for Cybersecurity ScImage Inc. is bridging the gap between security and functionality with the introduction of the PICOM ModalityGuard…. read more center_img Shimadzu FluoroSpeed X1 Walkaround AHRA 2019Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:25Loaded: 11.42%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:25 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. News | Artificial Intelligence | August 08, 2019 Half of Hospital Decision Makers Plan to Invest in AI by 2021 August 8, 2019 — A recent study conducted by Olive AI explores how hospital leaders are responding to the imperative read more News | PACS | August 09, 2019 Lake Medical Imaging Selects Infinitt for Multi-site RIS/PACS Infinitt North America will be implementing Infinitt RIS (radiology information system)/PACS (picture archiving and… read more Sponsored Content | Case Study | Radiation Dose Management | August 13, 2019 The Challenge of Pediatric Radiation Dose Management Radiation dose management is central to child patient safety. Medical imaging plays an increasing role in the accurate… read more June 28, 2017 — Envision Diagnostic Center (Novi, Mich.) has implemented Exa PACS (picture archiving and communication system) from Konica Minolta Healthcare Americas Inc. to facilitate the sharing of multispecialty medical images and reports while enabling the use of computerized physician order entry (CPOE).Exa provides the infrastructure and flexibility for Envision Diagnostic, a division of the multispecialty Envision Medical Group with 11 locations, to manage data across the imaging workflow in different ways depending on the source of the imaging order. All Envision physician orders are generated through the organization’s electronic medical record (EMR) solution with reports sent electronically back to it. Non-Envision physician orders are submitted through Exa’s referring physician portal and reports are then faxed back to the provider’s office.Exa also supports the center’s reading and reporting of digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), eliminating the need for a dedicated breast imaging workstation. Additionally, the facility uses Exa for viewing and managing echocardiograms for cardiac imaging via the solution’s diagnostic-quality zero footprint universal viewer. In addition to DICOM studies, the vendor neutral archive (VNA) also stores non-DICOM data such as cardiac and holter monitoring data. Exa is structured to support the addition of new facilities and imaging modalities.“Exa provides all the capabilities that we need to facilitate electronic sharing of patient data and images with our medical group and referring physicians, which supports our continued growth,” said Michelle DeVries, administrator, Envision Diagnostic Center. “With Exa and the referring physician portal, physicians can easily log in from their remote offices to order imaging studies, which has significantly reduced manual data entry errors. We also have voice recognition to streamline reporting and one solution for reading and archiving all imaging studies, including breast and cardiac.”According to DeVries, the center purchased a DBT system after installing Exa and was able to avoid the additional expense of a dedicated breast imaging workstation by utilizing the Exa Mammo Universal Viewer with the new imaging system. Through Server-Side Rendering technology, Exa provides quick access to prior exams and large files without the need for prefetching and cyber security with no data transferred to or stored on local workstations.“We are able to access all studies from any location or workstation with the Exa Universal Viewer, helping enhance efficiency and report turn-around-times so our referring physicians and specialists can deliver the highest quality patient care,” said James Selis, M.D., a diagnostic radiologist at Envision Diagnostic Center. “Since the solution can handle breast imaging and cardiac studies, we have reduced our reliance on dedicated workstations, which lowers our overall costs but as importantly further enhances radiologists’ productivity and reporting.”For more information: www.konicaminolta.com/medicalusa FacebookTwitterLinkedInPrint分享 Videos | Radiographic Fluoroscopy (RF) | August 09, 2019 VIDEO: Demonstration of the Shimadzu FluoroSpeed X1 Radiographic Fluoroscopy System Shimadzu displayed the FluoroSpeed X1 conventional radiographic fluoroscopy (RF) system at the Association for Medica read more News | Artificial Intelligence | August 05, 2019 Montefiore Nyack Hospital Uses Aidoc AI to Spot Urgent Conditions Faster Montefiore Nyack Hospital, an acute care hospital in Rockland County, N.Y., announced it is utilizing artificial… read morelast_img read more

Analyst Reviews Housings Progress Under Obama

first_img Share in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News Analyst Reviews Housing’s Progress Under Obama Auction.com Barack Obama FHA HAMP 2015-01-12 Tory Barringercenter_img One of the main points in President Barack Obama’s speech about housing in Phoenix on Thursday was how far the housing industry has come since the bust of 2008 and particularly since he took office in January 2009.The president reported in his speech that the housing market has not come all the way back yet and there is still work to be done. But according to one analyst, the president may have overestimated how far the housing market has come back and the administration’s role in the recovery.”We have come back off the bottom of one of the worst housing busts in the country’s history,” said Rick Sharga, EVP at Auction.com, the largest online real estate market in the United States. “But we’re still closer to the bottom than we are to the peak of the market during the housing boom. Prices have recovered, but are back to 2004 levels, meaning that we’ve still essentially lost a decade of equity. So there’s still quite a bit of room for expansion, and most people (myself included) are predicting that 2015 will be flat compared to 2014, and that 2016 may not be much better. So the market has gotten better, but it’s hardly robust.”Sharga said that the progress the housing market has made so far was mainly brought about by several factors.”And it’s important to note that this ‘recovery’ was facilitated by unprecedented action by the Federal Reserve; several years of historically low interest rates; and government-backed lending that accounts for about 96 percent of all loans being issued,” he said. “In a lot of ways, housing is still on life support; in stable, rather than critical condition, but hardly ready to fend for itself.”The president was in Phoenix to officially announce the lowering of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance premium rates by 50 basis points down to 0.85 percent in order to allow more first-time homebuyers to enter the market. The lowering of MIPs by the FHA has been widely praised by government officials and housing executives alike. While Sharga said he believes that lowering the insurance premiums will result in only a “miniscule” risk to taxpayers due to the profitability of FHA, he said the impact that the recent lowering of the premiums will have on home sales will be minimal if the administration’s estimates come to pass.”The administration estimates that 250,000 people may be able to buy a home due to the reduction over the next three years,” he said. “If they’re correct—and frankly, this administration has always overestimated the impact of its mortgage and housing-related policies—those extra homebuyers will add approximately 1.6 percent more home sales than what’s already being projected. More likely, we’ll see the FHA’s share of loan volume go up a little bit, as their offerings will now be competitive versus conventional loans, especially for sub-729 FICO score borrowers.”During his speech on Thursday, the president encouraged the audience not to buy things they could not afford, saying the new lower FHA insurance premium rates are for “responsible borrowers.””Overall, I thought the President made some good points [Thursday]. I was pleasantly surprised to hear him urge people to not buy a home that they couldn’t afford,” Sharga said. “Most of the rhetoric coming out of Washington over the past few years—and from this administration in particular—have painted borrowers as helpless victims and lenders as evil predators. It was refreshing to hear a clear message encouraging people to take personal responsibility for their personal finances.”Sharga was skeptical that the Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) has had the effect on housing recovery that the administration is touting, however.”HAMP was intended to save 4 to 5 million borrowers from foreclosure,” Sharga said. “The last time I checked, there were about 750,000 modified loans in the HAMP program, and there are lingering concerns that many of them may re-default when their rates begin to reset this year. I believe that the HAMP program did have a role in pushing servicers toward better-designed loan modification programs, but to give HAMP credit for all the proprietary loan modifications made by servicers and lenders seems somewhat disingenuous, or at least too optimistic.”While the Obama Administration created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, the impact of the Bureau on lenders and housing as a whole may not be all positive, Sharga said.”And the CFPB, with its QM and ATR rules, along with some of the regulatory uncertainty the administration has fostered with its record financial penalties to lenders, has essentially caused lending to all but the most qualified borrowers to seize up,” he said. “This might be one way to define ‘stability,’ but it’s not doing much for the housing market, or for the broader economy.” January 12, 2015 471 Views last_img read more