Speech: Margot James’ speech to the Creative Industry Federation International Summit

first_imgGood morning. Thank you to Amanda and the BFI for inviting me here today to the launch of the Screen Business report. And it is great to be here at Warner Bros, home of so much great screen entertainment, for it.It is a pleasure to see so many of you here representing all screen sectors from games and VFX to film and TV. As the Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, I’m certain that such connectedness between our screen sectors is the future.It is exciting to see such comprehensive analysis of the impact of creative business on the UK economy. To pick out a few highlights:Over £3 billion total production spend in 2016, with high end TV spend doubling to almost £900 million in just three years; and the video games sector attracting £1.75 billion of corporate investment since the introduction of the Video Games Tax Relief.The report goes beyond these impressive headline figures to detail just how well the sector delivers benefits across the UK’s nations and regions, as my colleague the Chancellor notes in his foreword.Over £850 million invested in national infrastructure and facilities: so yes, we have the legendary James Bond and Harry Potter franchises resident at Pinewood and Leavesden, but there’s a whole new wave of high-end TV and UK indies shooting across the country: Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland, The Levelling in Somerset, Outlander in Scotland, Doctor Who in Wales, God’s Own Country in Yorkshire.And with over £390 million invested through video game tax relief in 2016, the UK’s trailblazing video game development clusters such as Edinburgh, Dundee, Leamington Spa and Guildford are flourishing.The UK provides a truly national screen offer.The report also highlights the importance not just of place but of people: how the government’s tax reliefs have enabled the creation of almost 140,000 Full Time Equivalent jobs in 2016, and highly productive ones at that.This, coupled with the government’s and industry’s efforts in advancing skills pipelines, from the work of the National Film and TV School and the newly rebranded ScreenSkills, to the BFI’s £19 million Future Film Skills Strategy and Lucasfilm’s fantastic Star Wars trainee scheme, are ensuring that a broad and representative new generation of screen professionals is on the march.Screen Business shows how, over the past decade, the UK has capitalized on its traditional strengths – ongoing government support, our skilled crews and excellent facilities – while taking advantage of new opportunities such as the incredible growth in demand for content, screen tourism – worth almost £900 million in 2016 – and our world-class visual effects.It is this innovation, this confidence to be daring with new stories, new technologies, new ways of engaging audiences, that I advocate for proudly as Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries.And government is driving this progress in partnership with industry: from the Industrial Strategy’s Sector Deal to the forthcoming launch of the Contestable Fund which has been designed to stimulate the provision and plurality of innovative, original UK content.Now, more than ever, such confidence will benefit us as we embrace a post-Brexit world. We will continue to be an outward facing, open, and internationally respected nation. And it is reports like these and examples like Shepperton Studios, investing £500m to create one of the largest studios in the world, that give us, Global Britain, the evidence we need to continue to drive growth, enhance our competitiveness and further support the UK’s creative ambition, the diverse results of which are enjoyed by audiences globally.I am grateful to everyone who has contributed to this piece of work which tells such an important story about the UK screen sectors – many of you are here today, thank you.I am going to hand over to Harriet now, so it remains for me to thank you all again for this positive and insightful piece of work.last_img read more

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Press release: More than 4 million people receive first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in UK

first_img helping out: help those aged 80 and over by supporting friends, family and loved ones with their appointments, as well as volunteering to help those in the community joining up: sign up to clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments staying informed: keep up to date with accurate and trusted NHS advice and make sure to share facts with friends and family More than 4 million people in the UK have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as part of the largest vaccination programme in British history.The NHS vaccinated a total of 4.06 million people between 8 December and 17 January, including more than half of those aged 80 and over and more than half of elderly care home residents.This is more than double the number of vaccinations, per person per day, than any European country and is a significant step towards hitting the Prime Minister’s target of offering vaccines to the top 4 priority groups by the middle of February.This group of around 15 million people accounts for 88% of COVID deaths, so vaccines will play a crucial role to saving lives and protecting the NHS.Speaking at today’s Downing Street press conference (18 January 2021), Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: Bournemouth International Centre Taunton Racecourse Blackburn Cathedral Salt Hill Activity Centre, Slough Norwich Foodcourt, Castle Quarter The Lodge, Wickford, Essex Princess Royal Sports Arena, Lincolnshire St Helens Rugby Ground Park and Ride at Askham Bar, York Olympic Office Centre, Wembley, London Letters have been sent to those aged 70 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable today in England inviting them to get their vaccinations as the NHS begins roll out to the next 2 priority groups.The NHS has so far been working to vaccinate the first 2 priority cohorts recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which are care home residents and staff, and those aged 80 and over and frontline health and care staff.Vaccinating the first 2 groups will remain the priority, but vaccination sites which have enough supply and capacity for vaccinating further people are allowed to offer vaccinations to the next 2 cohorts – those aged 70 and over and clinically extremely vulnerable people.This will allow areas that have already vaccinated the first 2 groups to keep up the momentum and protect more people.In some parts of the country, like Gloucestershire, more than 4 in 5 of people aged 80 and over received the first dose. In Slough, every elderly care home resident has already been vaccinated.The vaccination programme continues to expand, with 10 large-scale vaccination centres coming on stream in England today.The government is also urging people to play their part in the historic programme by: Significant milestone as more than 4 million people receive first dose of COVID-19 vaccine More than half of those aged 80 and over have been vaccinated This is the biggest medical deployment in British history and it’s one of the biggest civilian operations that this country’s ever undertaken. We’re on track to deliver our plan to vaccinate the most vulnerable groups by the middle of February, the groups that account for 88% of COVID deaths. Our approach is, of course, to save as many lives as possible – as quickly as possible and to reduce the pressure on the NHS. Background informationA total number of 4,062,501 have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the UK. 452,301 people have received their second jab.The 10 new vaccination sites are:last_img read more

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Tesco issues profit warning

first_imgTesco has stated that it does not expect group trading profit to exceed £1.4bn for the financial year, in an unscheduled trading statement. This is below the £1.8bn to £2.2bn range expected by markets.In a trading statement released this morning referring to the financial year ending February 2015, the struggling supermarket giant outlined plans to take a new “commercial approach”, which would aim to establish stronger relationships with suppliers.It also said it had increased product availability on key lines to enhance its customer offer.Dave Lewis, chief executive, said: “Tesco is focused, and will continue to focus, on doing the right thing for customers. This means running our business in a way that everything we do creates sustainable value. Whilst the steps we are taking to achieve this are impacting short-term profitability, they are essential to restoring the health of our business. We will not engage in short-term actions that compromise in any way our offer for customers.“We still have much to do, but are making good progress in developing our plans to improve the long-term positioning of the group and I will share more of that on 8 January. “Our priorities remain restoring competitiveness in the UK, protecting and strengthening the balance sheet and rebuilding trust and transparency. For now, all the Tesco team is focused on delivering the best Christmas for customers.”Since the profit warning, shares for Tesco have taken a hit, plunging 11.51% to 165.75p at the time of publication.last_img read more

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Veggie Eaters

first_imgIncreasing a child’s exposure to a new food increases the likelihood the child will consume it and become healthier in the process, according to MaryBeth Hornbeck, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent in Rockdale County. “You have to eat a vegetable eight to 15 times before you know if you like it or not,” said Hornbeck, who teaches adults and children how to eat healthier as part of her job as a Family and Consumer Sciences agent.To encourage children between the ages of 2 and 6 to eat produce, Hornbeck says parents should be vigilant and introduce new fruits and vegetables to their children.“This is the time that kids start to exhibit choices for themselves,” she said. “If parents enjoy eating vegetables, then it will help normalize a vegetable for kids. The more times they see the vegetable at the table or on their plate — even if they don’t eat it — the better.”To help encourage children to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, Hornbeck suggests making it fun by doing at-home taste tests.“If you buy it, chances are, they would eat it,” she said of introducing new foods to children. “If they have something in their hand and feel involved, the chances are higher that they will try it.”She also recommends involving children in the preparation of food. For example, when teaching children about eating green beans, Hornbeck lets them help her snap the fresh beans.  “I try to make it fun for the kids,” she said. “They loved to hear them snap.”For more information on healthy eating, visit www.fcs.uga.edu/extension/food.last_img read more

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‘Project Lives’: Inside the Misunderstood World of New York City’s Public Housing

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York [dropcap]B[/dropcap]eginning in 2010 a nonprofit group called Seeing for Ourselves trained over 200 residents living in New York City’s housing projects in photography, gave them Kodak disposable cameras, and sent them out to document their day-to-day lives in what amounted to the largest program in participatory photography ever undertaken.The result is remarkable. Project Lives: New York City Public Housing Residents Photograph Their World is a small book that, in words and pictures, delivers a very big punch. Each turn of the page is a visit into the homes and lives of people most of us rarely see and would not recognize on the street yet their presence is vital to the city and its economy.Since its April 2015 launch and accompanying photography exhibition in DUMBO, the fashionable upscale Brooklyn art center, the exhibit has traveled to Patchogue Artspace, an innovative affordable-housing center for Long Island artists. While there are many Artspace affordable-housing projects for artists across America, this is the first one on Long Island. Although that show has closed, Long Islanders will get their next chance to see this remarkable exhibit later this month at fotofoto gallery in Huntington.New York City is where affordable public housing began in the 1930’s and where its survival is at stake under the unrelenting pressure of cutbacks in government funding on the federal, state and city levels. An estimated 400,000 low-to-moderate income residents live in the 2,563 buildings that comprise the 334 public housing projects. But most of us never know anything about them until something horrible occurs that commands the front pages of the city tabloids and dominates the evening news.We live in an age where amped-up violence is rampant, accentuated and marketed.  Project Lives is the complete antithesis. What is extraordinary about this book is that it is so normal, real and readable—and some of the photographs are absolutely brilliant.The soulful expression, for instance, captured by Margaret Wells of the elderly man standing in the kitchen and dressed for church is so poignant and genuine. His resignation to attend the weekly ritual is a visual contradiction to the halo-like light fixture above his head. In all likelihood it was not intentional, but it was captured.The snowflakes on the window of her apartment intrigued Helen Marshall. This dark photograph is filled with the light of her creative mind and stands apart from all the other photos as this one gravitates to the abstract. The famed photographer Dorothea Lang once remarked that “the camera is a tool that helps us see,” and Marshall has allowed us to see beyond the obvious.A girl named Aniyah using the back porch as her canvas. (Photo credit: Sheik Bacchus)The photograph of the chalk drawings on the red playground by Sheik Bacchus makes me think of Miro’s constellation paintings where he symbolically connected the celestial to the terrestrial. This child’s creative sprawl dwarfs the green box of chalk, and all that we see of the maker is her lower torso with pink painted nails. The mystery is pink-alicious.Aaliyah Colon photographed the face of her sleeping brother tenderly juxtaposed with the wide-awake face printed on the pillowcase. How simple and pure…what dreams and thoughts are drifting within the tranquil innocence of that sleeping child. And I wonder what his day will be like when he awakens.The mystery and melancholy of the shadows on the sidewalk in the photograph by Jared Wellington immediately brings to mind the foreboding in the paintings of Giorgio de Chirico, the Italian artist whose work influenced the Surrealists. I am almost certain Wellington knows nothing of de Chirico yet…but he may in the future.Wellington’s evening photo of his cousin roaming around the neighborhood is mighty potent. The glow of the night-lights complements the child’s expression perfectly. What ideas churn behind those wide-open eyes…and those eyes continue to follow me even when I am not looking at him.These are but a few of the 80 photos in this book, and I can go on and on discussing them. Yes, they were taken in the housing projects but they are universal icons of daily life in America in our time. Their unpretentious truth has the power to change how we see life in the projects. Perhaps, we may even become more sensitive to our own daily lives as well as to each other wherever we live.These pictures might have been plucked from any of our smart phone or family albums. But it was New York City housing project residents from children to seniors, with no previous photographic skills, who documented their lives. Their photos and words are filled with hope and love and family and life, even though they live in an environment where the deck certainly seems to be stacked against them.The three editors of Project Lives, George Carrano, Chelsea Davis and Jonathan Fisher, prompted by their lifelong relationship with NYC, envisioned this participatory photography project and with singular determination brought the idea to actuality. For the first time, nearly half a million residents of the New York City housing projects have been presented with the opportunity to tell their own story and not have it told for them.This book brilliantly and succinctly weaves background information into the photos to complete the whole picture of life in the projects. Exuding sensitivity, humanity and love for the city and its people, it has the power to be a mind-changer, forcing us to shed the stereotypes that have filled our thoughts with negativity, violence and waste for far too long._____In conjunction with the upcoming exhibit at fotofoto gallery in Huntington, we spoke with one of the key forces behind the lens on “Project Lives,” George Carrano, who brought the Developing Lives photography program to the New York City Housing Authority in 2010 and helped oversee the publication of the book and the creation of the show.Long Island Press: So what led you to “Project Lives”?George Carrano: “I started working for the New York City Transit Authority back in the ‘70s and the garage where I was working in is directly across from the street from the Manhattanville Houses, which is a very large housing project in Harlem built in the late ‘60s. So I used to walk through there on the way to work and I never felt threatened, never felt uncomfortable. It was just another New York community. The 1970s’ “Cooley High” was the last Hollywood film where the housing projects were shown in a favorable light. Since then, I started seeing this contrast between the reality that I experienced and the way residents in housing projects were being portrayed in films like “American Gangster,” with Denzel Washington and “Brooklyn’s Finest” with Richard Gere, where the projects were described as “Bagdad on a bad day.”How did you come to team up with Chelsea Davis and Jonathan Fisher on this project?Carrano: Jonathan Fisher also worked at the Transit Authority and we became life-long friends.  When we decided to do this project in 2010, we came upon Chelsea Davis, who was doing this kind of photography project in a children’s hospital in St. Louis, where she worked with children with cancer and used photography to deal with the tragedy of living with cancer.What inspired you to see this through?Carrano: I think it was the unfairness of seeing the way hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers were being portrayed and feeling that something should be done about it. The tabloids and the Hollywood films had deprived housing residents of their public voice by portraying them all as violent offenders. And we felt that the most authentic way to push back would be to have the residents themselves tell their own stories and talk about their own lives. So this participatory photography concept became a vehicle for story-telling. It allowed those whose public image had been defined by others to take control of their own narrative. That’s what was driving this project from the beginning.Did you envision a book from the beginning?Carrano: The first instance was to have an exhibit of their photographs, but then we thought of a book because affordable housing is really a national issue. And New York is where public housing all began back in the ‘30s. It’s the last stronghold for public housing and we felt there would be national interest. What made public housing successful in New York was the triple subsidy: the city, the state and the federal government came together with Franklin Roosevelt in the White House and Herbert Lehman in the state house and Fiorello LaGuardia in Gracie Mansion, and that allowed public housing to begin. Since then, federal cuts to public housing have been steadily declining and the deficits are now huge. Major rehabilitation of the housing stock is needed. And we hoped that the book would spark a national discussion about federal funding to public housing.The photographer captures a photo of her sleeping brother Quahmel. (Photo credit: Aaliyah Colon)How did you make your final selection?Carrano: We probably could have done a much bigger book but for this project we chose to use Kodak disposable cameras, which offer 27 shots per camera and they’re on film. The cameras cost under five dollars each, whereas a digital would be a couple of hundred dollars. And you have a film negative that you can blow up to a huge size, and to get a digital equivalent of that would require a fairly expensive camera. We didn’t have the funding for that. And, at the same time, 27 shots taught a certain economy of selecting and composing consciously, knowing that you had a limited number of frames to play with. Sometimes with digital photography, you can shoot off a hundred pictures in a matter of seconds. This really forces you to think about composition and know that every single shot had to count.How did you get these people from the projects involved?Carrano: People were eager to participate. We ran the project in 15 different housing projects across the city from the Bronx to Brooklyn. Kids and seniors just gravitated to the program. There was a lot of excitement about it. Kodak donated hundreds and hundreds of the single-use cameras, which helped reduce costs. The three of us spent a lot of time going through the pictures and through the bios of the photographers. It was a long, hard process to come up with the photographs that are actually in the book. Even with the limitations that we had imposed on ourselves of only 27 shots per camera we still had enough photographs for a couple of books. So it required a lot of discriminating selection by age, by location, by issues. It was our job as editors to come up with a coherent book.Did the participatory process pose any problems?Carrano:  People today are far more protective than in the period of Henri Cartier-Bresson and street photographers  of his era. People didn’t have the same sense of themselves being photographed. Today people have to feel very comfortable around who’s taking pictures. These [issues] were all part of the workshops that we ran. We went to the masters; we showed examples of great photographs. We talked about composition, about lighting. We gave a 10-week program that was a serious photography program for all the participants.How much aesthetic judgment went into the final selection of these images compared to the political importance of showing these lives that have been stereotyped in the media?Carrano: What surprised me most about the project is that we didn’t get a lot of pictures of disrepair, of broken elevators and broken windows. The photographs actually portray a kind of benign banality of daily life. A kid walking in the park, someone sitting in their kitchen.Does that normalcy undercut the significance of these photos? There’s no buzz: no murder victim on the sidewalk? Carrano: I think the spark comes from the fact that it’s not what people expect to see. They’re going to be surprised and wonder about these pictures. If you just read the tabloids and see the movies, you’d expect to see kids collecting shell casings on a Saturday morning, not kids playing basketball in the park. These pictures are the reality.Did all three of you editors have to agree on whether a particular image made the final cut?Carrano: The three of us are all consensus builders! We all shared many favorites. The one I liked the best is from the Bronx of two women, one looking out her window and the other standing on the sidewalk because it just conveyed to me a sense of community. I grew up in the Bronx and it just took me back to that sense of neighborhood and people watching out for each other. [Editor’s note: The caption of Jane Mary Saiter’s photo says simply: “My neighbors.”Can a typical suburbanite view these photos without bias?Carrano: Everyone brings some bias to looking at anything. There are those suburbanites who were part of the urban flight from the city at one point in time, although there’s also been a counter stream of people going back into the city and rejuvenating neighborhoods that were once abandoned. I think the connection is really about American lives. Even if their circumstances aren’t the same, the same joys, hopes and concerns go across both groups.Did you get photos of crime scenes and other disturbing subjects?Carrano: No, we left that to the tabloids. We didn’t get pictures of crime scenes and disrepair. People were told to go out and document what’s important to them. We were taken aback that we didn’t see these pictures of disrepair. It took us time to understand that this was really a vehicle for people to tell their own stories and what’s important to them. And the story they wanted to tell was not one of disrepair, but of the day-to-day joys of living.What more do you have in mind for ‘Project Lives’?Carrano: I would like to see the resident photographers who participated in this book have an opportunity to testify in Congress on hearings that focus on affordable housing. Sympathetic Congressman could hold ad hoc hearings in the Rayburn building and bring together like-minded Congress-people to hear testimony of people living in public housing. That would be a valuable way to shine light on this issue.It’s interesting that the banality in itself is political in the context of the debate over public housing. Carrano: What comes to mind when you hear the words ‘housing projects’? Nothing good comes to mind because everything the public has been bombarded with has been negative. I think of a Congressman from Idaho going to the movies on a Saturday night and seeing the movie, ‘American Gangster,’ and then going into the halls of Congress and voting on an appropriations bill for public housing. How’s he going to vote? This is pushing back!Neighbors catching up. (Photo credit: Jane Mary Saiter)Do you think we’ve seen the end of public housing projects like this?Carrano: I hope not! I think it’s needed. For a studio apartment in Manhattan the average going rate is $2,350 a month. Getting a one bedroom or two-bedroom apartment in the city, where would these people go if you lost public housing? Where would low-income people go? The people working in fast food and the hospitals—people whose jobs pay the minimum wage—where could they possibly go? It’s necessary. It’s one of the four freedoms that Roosevelt talked about.Is “Project Lives” more a political book or an art book?Carrano: Art is political. I don’t want to use ‘political’ as a pejorative word. The book tells a story; that’s what this book does, and it can have political implications. But it’s basically using photography to tell a story about the lives of those living in public housing whose voices haven’t been heard.How should viewers approach your photos? Should they say, ‘Oh, that’s what a project looks like inside!’ Or should they marvel at the light and the composition, for example?Carrano: I would want them to look at it and say, ‘These are people just like me! Their lives are very similar to my life.’And that should be a revelatory experience in itself?Carrano: Yeah, that’s it exactly.Exhibit runs from July 31-August 29 at fotofoto gallery, 14 West Carver St., Huntington. Gallery is closed Mondays and Tuesdays; check for hours. Holly Gordon is a working fine art photographer whose work has appeared in published form and in museums and galleries. George Carrano, Chelsea Davis and Jonathan Fisher (eds): Project Lives: New York Public Housing Residents Photograph Their World. Brooklyn: powerHouse Books 2015.last_img read more

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The 3 best investments you can make in 2015

first_imgby: Scott PleshaFirst and foremost: Happy New Year!It’s officially 2015, and that is a beautiful thing—because the new year brings the promise of a clean slate, rife with new opportunities and potentially, a new you. So whether you’re planning to hit the gym, marry the love of your life or start saving for retirement, it’s time to clear the confetti and turn your resolutions into reality.To give you a head start, we broke down America’s top ten resolutions for 2014 and came up with three key investments you need to make in 2015.Are you ready to Transform Tomorrow®?The 3 Smartest Investments for 2015Investment #1 – your health.Few things in life are more important than your health, and you probably won’t find a better return on investment—so invest as much time, energy and money as you can reasonably afford into improving it. continue reading » 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Halladale dividend up as profits surge

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

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In Indiana, Governor Wolf and Majority Leader Reed Host Roundtable to Address Pennsylvania’s Opioid Epidemic

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter May 06, 2016 Press Release,  Substance Use Disorder Indiana, PA – Governor Tom Wolf was joined by House Majority Leader Dave Reed and Senator Don White, as well as local officials, law enforcement, and health care professionals, at a roundtable in Indiana today to discuss local and statewide efforts to lead the nation in combating the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic in Pennsylvania.In an effort to confront this epidemic collaboratively, Governor Wolf is conducting roundtables statewide to discuss the initiatives of his administration, the state legislature, county agencies, treatment centers, hospitals, and medical schools. The Wolf Administration is eager to engage in these local conversations in order to listen to local officials about the challenges that they are facing.“Fighting Pennsylvania’s opioid and heroin epidemic is a top priority for my administration,” said Governor Wolf. “These roundtables are an opportunity to work collaboratively with the General Assembly and community leaders to ensure Pennsylvania leads the nation in the fight to combat the opioid abuse and heroin use crisis.”Governor Wolf was joined by a number of other state and local leaders at the event at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, including IUP President Dr. Michael Driscoll, Indiana County Commissioner Sherene Hess, Indiana County Commissioner Mike Baker, Indiana County Sheriff Robert Fyock, and Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty.“Lives are being lost to drug addiction, and not just in inner cities, but our Indiana County communities, too,” said Majority Leader Reed. “It’s going to take all of us working together—law enforcement, lawmakers, and community members alike—to find a solution. It’s good that the governor has recognized the gravity of the issue and is willing to work with us as colleagues to help confront this challenge head on.”“I genuinely appreciate Governor Wolf spending time in my district to discuss a grave matter that knows no political, economic or social bounds,” said Senator White. “Drugs are ravaging communities across the country and our region is not immune. We must take immediate steps to provide the education and rehabilitation services necessary in the community to combat this scourge.”The Wolf Administration hopes that these discussions are just the beginning of a larger conversation with both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate as well as local officials, law enforcement, emergency responders, and health care professionals.“I look forward to continue working collaboratively with the General Assembly and community leaders to ensure Pennsylvania leads the nation in the fight to combat the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic,” said Governor Wolf. “The magnitude of the addiction and overdose death epidemic in Pennsylvania is shocking: at least seven Pennsylvanians die every day from a drug overdose. With nearly 2,500 overdose deaths in Pennsylvania in 2014 and estimates that the 2015 total will be higher, a collaborative effort on the federal, state, and local levels is crucial in combating this crisis.”Some of the administration’s initiatives in the fight against heroin include: signing a statewide standing order for naloxone, making it possible for all Pennsylvanians to access this life-saving drug; equipping the Pennsylvania State Police with naloxone so that those troopers who are first on the scene of an overdose can have another tool on-hand during these emergencies; partnering with Adapt Pharma to make Narcan available to public high schools across the state at no cost; developing the ABC-MAP prescription drug monitoring program to detect and prevent prescription fraud and abuse, which contribute to addiction; and appointing a director for the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) Office, who will work to ensure that the PDMP meets its goal of assisting healthcare professionals in identifying patients that would benefit from treatment.In an effort to curtail drug addiction and curb the supply of excess drugs that can be used illicitly, the Department of Health is leading an effort to build upon the opioid prescribing guidelines already created, including specialty specific guidelines for emergency department providers, dentists, obstetricians and gynecologists, and pharmacists. These guidelines give healthcare providers direction for safe and effective pain relief practices, with greater emphasis on non-opioid therapies and greater caution to prevent addiction and diversion. In addition, the DOH recently joined dozens of healthcare organizations, medical experts, and consumer advocacy groups in signing petitions requesting changes to federal pain management requirements that are believed to foster dangerous prescribing practices.The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs is developing the “warm hand-off” process “warm hand-off” process, whereby overdose survivors would be taken directly from the emergency department to a licensed drug treatment provider, as well as Pennsylvania’s Prescription Drug Take-Back Program. This program helps communities properly dispose of unused prescriptions at any of the 400+ police station locations across Pennsylvania. To date, approximately 40,000 pounds of prescription drugs have been taken back and destroyed.Governor Wolf’s decision to expand Medicaid eligibility in Pennsylvania under the Affordable Care Act has greatly increased access to treatment services for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians.Finally, Governor Wolf’s proposed 2016-17 budget provides more than $34 million to treat more than 11,250 new individuals with substance use disorder. The Department of Human Services will provide 25 new Opioid Use Disorder Centers of Excellence for individuals with substance use disorder, providing medication-assisted treatment and appropriate wraparound services, such as cognitive-based therapies. After this first phase of implementation, there will be a push for 25 more facilities that would have the capacity to treat 22,500 individuals total.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolfcenter_img In Indiana, Governor Wolf and Majority Leader Reed Host Roundtable to Address Pennsylvania’s Opioid Epidemiclast_img read more

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Largest pension funds in Netherlands facing rights cuts next year

first_imgThe €357bn ABP reported a 3-percentage-point drop in its current funding to 88.2% at the end of February, whereas the trigger level for rights discounts stands at 90%.A coverage of 88.2% at year-end would entail a 1.8% rights cut for its 2.8m participants and pensioners.The discount, however, could be spread out over a 10-year period.PFZW’s coverage at February-end came out at 87% – its trigger level – following a decrease of 3 percentage points.Van Ek pointed out that the trigger level depends largely on the scale of a pension fund’s securities allocation and can range between 85% and 100%.“The larger the allocation combined with a cost-covering contribution, the lower the critical funding is, as the better return prospects for securities weigh heavier than their risks.”According to the actuary, the trigger level for most large schemes is approximately 90%.PMT closed February with a funding of 89.6% after a drop of 2.6 percentage points.Since the start of the financial crisis, the €62bn metal scheme has had to reduce pension rights a couple of times.The same goes for its €41bn sister scheme PME, which saw its coverage fall by 2.2 percentage points to 89.2% last month.With a funding of 102.4% as of the end of February, BpfBOUW, the €48bn scheme for the building sector, is the only large pension fund in the Netherlands managing to avoid the danger zone. Four of the Netherlands’s five largest pension funds have conceded they are facing rights cuts next year if their funding at year-end fails to improve relative to the end of February.Over the last month, civil service scheme ABP, healthcare pension fund PFZW and metal schemes PMT and PME saw their coverage ratios fall below the critical level.Whether they will be required to cut pension rights, however, remains uncertain, as funding has increased by 3-4 percentage points on average in the meantime, according to Mercer.Dennis van Ek, an actuary at the consultancy, pointed out that the MSCI World Index had improved by 4 percentage points over the past two weeks, while the 30-year swap rate – Dutch schemes’ main criterion for discounting liabilities – increased from 1% to 1.2%.last_img read more

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Port of Rotterdam’s H1 Throughput Down 2.2 Pct

first_imgThe rise in container handling in the first half of 2018 did not offset the fall in the throughput of wet and dry bulk at the Port of Rotterdam.Hence, the port reported a throughput of 232.8 million tonnes, a drop of 2.2 percent in total throughput year-on-year.The decline in bulk goods was mainly seen in the throughput of coal, crude oil and mineral oil products such as fuel oil.“Coal transshipment fell because of, among other things, the closure of coal-fired power plants, lower energy production by plants that were still in operation and a reduction in the flow of cokes for the steel industry. Striking growth segments were LNG and biomass, which more than doubled by comparison with throughput volumes in the same period last year,” the port said.The financial position of the Port Authority remained almost unchanged with the result before taxation reaching EUR 126.1 million (USD 146.8 million).Nevertheless, the net result was strongly influenced by a one-off gain as a result of the fiscal opening balance sheet, a consequence in turn of the Port Authority’s tax liability.Commenting on the geopolitical strains between world trade blocks, the port added import tariffs and trade quotas interfere with global trade and are therefore bad for the global economy.“In addition, it is uncertain whether negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom will lead to a new trade agreement after Brexit. Both developments are rendering the prospects for the further growth of world trade uncertain. The fluctuations in volume in the Port of Rotterdam would not, for the time being, seem to be caused by recent trade restrictions, the impact of which will be felt only after some time,” the Port of Rotterdam Authority said.last_img read more

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