Following the announcement that D.C. parking meters would increase to $2.30 per hour, several machines were found broken or vandalized. (Photo by Shantella Y. Sherman)Several parking meters throughout Southwest D.C. were knocked from their pedestals with the money removed which seems to allegedly be a response to the D.C. Department of Transportation’s June 1 fee increase similar to the city’s meters in the 1990s.While some residents voiced disdain over what they perceived as predatory increases in parking and speeding fees, others are concerned that the city is witnessing the beginning of public service-related acts of destruction – reminiscent of those in the 1990s that cost the city roughly $500,000 a month in lost revenue.The June 1 change in metered parking fees across the city brought the cost to $2.30 an hour – up $.30 from $2 in high demand zones such as Adams Morgan, the National Mall, Georgetown Historic District, the U Street NW Corridor, and the Downtown Central Business District. The parking meters in areas with less demand were also increased from $.75 to $2.30.The increase comes as more drivers take to the road in lieu of Metrorail closures and single-tracking, raising the ire of residents like Vincent Wright, who said with mainly one and two-hour parking limits, the meter system is too restrictive.“The number of spaces has decreased due to new vendor and corporate licensing, so when you want to visit downtown D.C. and have night out, you are forced on a two-hour meter, to expect to have to move in the middle of dinner or a film, and spend upwards of $20 in parking fees – if you find a space,” Wright said. “The cost is one thing, but the inconvenience is another.Vandalism is no solution, but I can understand that level of frustration.”In the mid-1990s, the District had more than 800 parking meters vandalized, their heads smashed off with baseball bats or sledgehammers, according to police reports. By March 1997, the total was 3,000 meters, out of the city’s 16,000 – which D.C. officials estimated caused the city to lose $500,000 a month in revenue.DDOT said on its website that despite the $2.30 per hour rate, other major cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Baltimore, and Philadelphia have meter rates that are at least $3 an hour or more. The rate increase should bring more than $2 million into the city’s coffers, which is slated to help with Metro’s operating budget.At press time, DDOT communications specialist Michelle Phipps-Evans said the office had not been made aware of the vandalism and would investigate the damaged machines.
As Khanna unrolled his life’s hardships and his rise from the streets of Amritsar in 1971 to being a Michelin starred chef in New York infront of the starry-eyed girls, they could not help fawning and talking about how dreamy the host of Masterchef was. One of them even recited a poem she had written on the star chef and his life’s journey and was appraised with a hug from Khanna. However, the voice of reason at the event, Vinod Dua, finally steered the conversation to the book which harbours the taste of Amritsar.Amritsar: Flavours of the Golden City takes you on a culinary and cultural journey through his hometown, Amritsar. From its early days as Ramdaspur to the war of 1971. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’From his mother’s preferred pulao recipe to the gardens of the Ranjit Singh Museum. From the famous Maqbool Road kulchas to his Biji’s favourite hand-churned ice cream recipe. This book is a guide to the city as Khanna knows it.More than just a cookbook, Khanna shares the history and culture of his hometown peppered with anecdotes from his childhood. He examines Punjabi cuisine in its historical, cultural, and spiritual context. For foodies, Khanna provides the definitive guide of the best street-food eateries. This book, featuring stunning visuals, is a must-have for gourmands and non-gourmands travelling to Amritsar.
Graph Nets is a new DeepMind’s library used for building graph networks in TensorFlow and Sonnet. Last week a paper Relational inductive biases, deep learning, and graph networks was published on arXiv by researchers from DeepMind, Google Brain, MIT and University of Edinburgh. The paper introduces a new machine learning framework called Graph networks which is expected to bring new innovations in artificial general intelligence realm. What are graph networks? Graph networks can generalize and extend various types of neural networks to perform calculations on the graph. It can implement relational inductive bias, a technique used for reasoning about inter-object relations. The graph networks framework is based on graph-to-graph modules. Each graph’s features are represented in three characteristics: Nodes Edges: Relations between the nodes Global attributes: System-level properties The graph network takes a graph as an input, performs the required operations and calculations from the edge, to the node, and to the global attributes, and then returns a new graph as an output. The research paper argues that graph networks can support two critical human-like capabilities: Relational reasoning: Drawing logical conclusions of how different objects and things relate to one another Combinatorial Generalization: Constructing new inferences, behaviors, and predictions from known building blocks To understand and learn more about graph networks you can refer the official research paper. Graph Nets Graph Nets library can be installed from pip. To install the library, run the following command: $ pip install graph_nets The installation is compatible with Linux/Mac OSX, and Python versions 2.7 and 3.4+ The library includes Jupyter notebook demos which allow you to create, manipulate, and train graph networks to perform operations such as shortest path-finding task, a sorting task, and prediction task. Each demo uses the same graph network architecture, thus showing the flexibility of the approach. You can try out various demos in your browser using Colaboratory. In other words, you don’t need to install anything locally when running the demos in the browser (or phone) via cloud Colaboratory backend. You can also run the demos on your local machine by installing the necessary dependencies. What’s ahead? The concept was released with ideas not only based in artificial intelligence research but also from the computer and cognitive sciences. Graph networks are still an early-stage research theory which does not yet offer any convincing experimental results. But it will be very interesting to see how well graph networks live up to the hype as they mature. To try out the open source library, you can visit the official Github page. In order to provide any comments or suggestions, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more 2018 is the year of graph databases. Here’s why. Why Neo4j is the most popular graph database Pytorch.org revamps for Pytorch 1.0 with design changes and added Static graph support
Governor Graco Ramírez ordered the State Security Commission to take charge charge of police in 15 municipalities of Morelos state, including the capital, Cuernavaca, and Temixco, where the slain mayor served.Gisela Mota, 33, a left-of-center former member of Congress, was gunned down on Saturday, barely 24 hours after taking her oath of office in Temixco, which is about 90 kilometers south of Mexico City.Two suspected gunmen were killed and three were detained, including a minor.The state of Morelos has been plagued by drug cartel violence as well as kidnappings and extortion.Mota had vowed to clean up crime when she took office. The governor said she had agreed to back a “single command” coordination scheme that groups state and municipal police.Her murder “is a message and a clear threat for the mayors who recently took office to not accept the police coordination scheme that we have supported and that is being built at a national level,” Ramírez told a news conference.Morelos has around 30 municipalities and about half have not ratified the single command.The governor, who attended Mota’s funeral, declared three days of mourning in the state and ordered flags to be flown at half-staff.Ramírez has clashed with the new mayor of Cuernavaca, former Mexico football star Cuauhtemoc Blanco, over the single command.Blanco has decided to suspend the scheme, saying crime has risen despite its existence and proposing to beef up the municipal force instead.Several mayors have been murdered in Mexico in recent years amid a bloody drug war that has cost tens of thousands of lives in the past decade. Related posts:‘El Chapo’ is Mexico’s hit Halloween costume Villagers recall fear as troops fired in ‘El Chapo’ raid Mexico’s top court opens door to recreational pot use Slain Mexico mayor sacrificed herself to save family CUERNAVACA, Mexico — A central Mexico state took over police command in several towns on Sunday after a mayor was assassinated, a crime described as a gang threat to other mayors. Facebook Comments
(Click on image to enlarge) The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 88 gold and 27 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories. The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here. Both GLD and SLV had withdrawals by authorized participants yesterday. In GLD it was 145,034 troy ounces…and in SLV it was 1,544,992 troy ounces. The U.S. Mint reported selling 5,500 ounces of gold eagles yesterday…and that was it. It was a busy day in silver over at the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday. They reported receiving 1,274,887 troy ounces of the stuff…and shipped 513,511 troy ounces out the door. The link to that activity is here. On the same day in gold, the Comex-approved depositories reported receiving 75,751 troy ounces…and shipped 44,054 troy ounces of the stuff out the door. The link to that activity is here. Like yesterday, I have no other news, charts, or graphs to post…except for your “cute quota”… Here’s the New York Spot Silver [Bid] chart on its own, so you can see the Comex action in more detail. It was pretty much the same sort of price action in silver…and the silver chart looks a lot like the gold chart. The low tick…$22.41 spot…most likely came at the same moment as gold’s low, but even the New York Spot Silver [Bid] chart didn’t come close to catching it. Not surprisingly, silver got hit worse than gold, as that’s “da boyz” problem child…at least it is for JPMorgan Chase and Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia. Silver closed at $22.59 spot…down 82 cents from Tuesday’s close. Gross volume was a very chunky 65,000 contracts. The gold stocks gapped down a bit at the open…and then headed south with a vengeance when gold was hit at the London p.m. fix. The stocks finished barely off their lows of the day…as the HUI was crushed for another 4.72%. Sponsor Advertisement Silver came within a few pennies of its Far East April 16th low price tick at 10:00 a.m. BST in London, but gold is still fifty bucks away from its low of the same day. If I use Wednesday’s trading action as a template for what might happen in Comex trading in New York today, I’d guess we’ll see JPMorgan et al try to punch a new low price in silver. But as Ted Butler has carefully pointed out, there are few technical fund long holders left to sell…and even fewer of them are prepared to go short at these prices. “Da Boyz” may get the price lower, but it will probably won’t allow them to improve their short positions by much…or go long themselves. As you can imagine, I await the New York open with some apprehension. See you on Friday…or on Saturday west of the International Date Line. Uranium Energy Corp. (NYSE MKT: UEC) is pleased to announce that the final authorization has been granted for production at its Goliad ISR Project in South Texas. As announced in previous press releases, the Company received all of the required authorizations from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, including an Aquifer Exemption which has now been granted concurrence from EPA Region 6. Amir Adnani, President and CEO, stated, “We are very pleased to have received this final authorization for initiating production at Goliad. Our geological and engineering teams have worked diligently toward achieving this major milestone and are to be truly commended. We are grateful to the EPA for its thorough reviews and for issuing this final concurrence. The Company’s near-term plan is to complete construction at the first production area at Goliad and to greatly increase the throughput of uranium at our centralized Hobson processing plant.” Please contact Investor Relations with questions or to request additional information, email@example.com. All four metals closed down on the day. Gold was down 2.34%…silver was down 3.50%…platinum down 0.67%…and palladium 0.41%. The dollar index closed at 83.605 in New York late Tuesday afternoon…and traded just about ruler flat until shortly before 2:00 p.m. Hong Kong Time. The rally from there peaked out at precisely 8:00 a.m. in London. The high tick was 84.05. From there, the index sagged slightly for the rest of the Wednesday session, closing in New York at 83.785…up 18 basis points from Tuesday’s close. JPMorgan et al made no attempt to hide their actions behind the smoke screen of a currency move in New York yesterday, as it was all blatant in-your-face price management that started right at, or just after, the London p.m. gold fix. Platinum got sold off as well during the New York session, but recovered smartly once the selling pressure disappeared. There was no such sell-off in palladium, as the chart below so plainly shows. Of course the silver stocks got hammered as well…and Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down another 4.33%. I have a lot fewer stories today, which suits me just fine…and probably you as well. I believe that the big buyer of the 10 million oz of gold liquidated in the GLD was JPMorgan, either alone or with other collusive commercial banks. It dawned on me that the same methodology I’ve previously attributed to a potential Mr. Big in SLV (also probably JPMorgan) is at work in GLD. If one (or 2 or 3) big buyers in GLD had merely purchased the 100 million shares that were sold in GLD by liquidating shareholders, that would have quickly pushed the big buyer(s) over the 5% SEC reporting threshold, thereby revealing the identity of the buyers. Remember, we’re talking about 23% of shares outstanding and there is no way to buy that many shares and not quickly be into reporting status. But by having the gold redeemed out of the trust and the metal being purchased (instead of shares), stock reporting requirements are evaded. A single holder, perhaps working with a few collusive partners, came to own what is, effectively, almost a quarter of the world’s largest gold stockpile and no one is the wiser. – Silver analyst Ted Butler…15 May 2013 Another day…and another engineered price decline in silver and gold. One would have to fairly delusional to buy into the ‘stronger dollar’ story considering it’s rather anemic performance. The price action in both those precious metals had zero to do with currencies, as the dollar index was doing squat at the London p.m. gold fix where most of the price damage occurred. It’s amazing…and discouraging…to look at the precious metal share prices. They’re now back to where they were when silver was selling for under ten bucks an ounce…and gold around $500. You’d think that the mining companies would be up in arms, but there hasn’t been a peep out of any of them…or from the organizations that purport to represent them…the World Gold Council and The Silver Institute. Of course these organizations are strong with the dark side of The Force…and any mining executive that has ever worked in an executive position in either of them had already been totally compromised, or they would never have been offered those positions in the first place. It’s too bad that yesterday’s price action occurred on a Wednesday, as it was the day after the cut-off for tomorrow’s Commitment of Traders Report. And as I’ve pointed out countless times over the years, this is a little trick “da boyz” pull when they want to hide their tracks for as long as possible, as what happened yesterday won’t be public knowledge until the COT Report on May 27th. Not much happened, or was allowed to happen, in Far East trading on their Thursday…and as the London open approaches [in less than ten minutes] as I write this paragraph, all four precious metals are basically unchanged from Thursday’s close in New York. Volumes are already very high in both silver and gold but, as per usual, it’s virtually all high-frequency trading. The dollar index is up a handful of basis points. It’s been more than two hours since I wrote the above paragrah…and there have obviously been some ‘developments’. Around the time of the London open, the high-frequency traders showed up on the scene…and all four precious metals came under selling pressure once again. And as I hit the ‘send’ button at 5:15 a.m. EDT…gold is down seventeen bucks, silver is down 40 cents…and platinum and palladium are down over a percent each. Volumes skyrocketed…now over 65,000 contracts in gold and 14,000 contracts in silver…and the dollar index is up a magnificent 15 basis points. It’s amazing…and discouraging…to look at the precious metal share prices. The gold price didn’t much of anything in Far East trading for most of their Wednesday. However, about 2:30 p.m. Hong Kong time, which is thirty minutes before the 8:00 a.m. BST London open, gold got sold down about fifteen bucks by 9:00 a.m. BST…and that certainly could have been currency related. After that, the gold price didn’t do much of anything until at, or shortly after, the London p.m. gold fix. Then, in the space of less that ninety minutes, gold got sold down about twenty-five dollars, with the low tick [$1,387.00 spot] coming shortly before 11:30 a.m. EDT in New York. The subsequent rally, such as it was, didn’t amount to much…and after that, gold continued to sell off quietly into the close of electronic trading at 5:15 p.m. Gold closed at $1,392.50 spot…down $33.30 on the day. Net volume was very large…around 204,000 contracts.
Interest rates could soon take off.If we wrote this a few months ago, you might have thought we were crazy. That’s because the Federal Reserve’s done everything it can to avoid raising interest rates this year.In March, it didn’t raise rates because of a bad jobs report. In June, it held off due to concerns about the global economy and “market volatility.” In September, it didn’t raise rates because it’s waiting for the job market to improve.These are legitimate reasons to not raise rates…but the Fed also held off for another reason: the presidential election.You see, the Fed has held its key rate near zero since 2008. This made it incredibly cheap for households and businesses to borrow money. In many ways, the economy is now hooked on cheap money.At this point, the Fed could trigger a financial crisis or recession by raising rates. And that’s the last thing it wanted to do before the election.• With the election behind us, most people think the Fed will finally raise its key rate next month… To be fair, most investors have been preparing for a December rate hike since the summer. But now that Trump’s going to be president, it looks like rates could rise faster than people expected.You see, most people thought the Fed would raise rates slowly if Hillary won. But Trump has a much different plan for America.He wants to grow the economy using fiscal stimulus, which basically means government spending. Specifically, he wants to spend hundreds of billions fixing the country’s infrastructure.According to Bloomberg, Trump’s policy could force the Fed to jack up rates quicker than they would have under Hillary:“We do view the election of Donald Trump as a game changer,” said Adam Donaldson, head of debt research at Sydney-based Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “The strong bias toward fiscal expansion and inflationary policy represents a stark change to the malaise of recent years. This opens the door for the Fed to hike in December, but also more quickly in 2017 and 2018 than previously expected.”• This is a HUGE deal… You see, interest rates aren’t some arbitrary number. They’re the price of money. A big move in interest rates affects everything from stocks to commodities.You also have to remember that almost no one thought Trump would win. The market didn’t “price in” rates rising quickly. That’s why we’ve seen big moves by every major financial asset since the election.Today, we’re going to show you how the prospect of rising interest rates is impacting different asset classes…starting with a sector that’s very sensitive to interest rates.• Utility stocks tanked after the election… The sector closed the week down 4.08%. Keep in mind the S&P 500 jumped 3.7% last week. According to Fidelity Investments, utilities were by far the worst-performing group in the S&P 500.Utilities provide electricity, gas, and water to people. They sell things that people can’t live without. This makes for relatively stable revenues, which allows them to pay steady dividends.Many investors own utility stocks specifically for their dependable dividends. That said, utility stocks aren’t as attractive when interest rates are high or likely to rise. That’s because investors can collect decent income in other assets, like bonds.If rates rise like many investors expect, utility stocks could keep falling.• Emerging market assets could also be in big trouble if rates head higher… As you probably know, it’s riskier to invest in emerging markets than in developed countries like the U.S. or Japan. To attract money, emerging markets offer higher returns.For example, Brazil’s 10-year government bond pays a 12.1% yield right now. That’s almost six times more than the 2.1% yield of the U.S. 10-year Treasury.If U.S. interest rates keep rising, U.S. investors could start pulling money out of emerging market assets. According to Reuters, this is already happening:Emerging market shares and currencies slumped on Friday as investors feared higher U.S. interest rates under incoming President Donald Trump will spark capital outflows…The most volatile trading on Friday was across emerging markets, as investors bet that Trump’s fiscal policies will be inflationary, push U.S. rates up and drive investors into dollar-based assets. The real risk here is doing nothing…Porter Stansberry says this could be the domino that starts it all… He’s recommending a strategy to bet AGAINST the most vulnerable companies as it all unfolds. Join him on Nov 16th, to hear how this approach works. – Recommended Links “Project Fedcoin” to Start January 1st?The U.S. dollar is in crisis. Fed members just wrapped up a special “behind-closed-doors” meeting to discuss one of the most dramatic changes to our money in the last 100 years. A change that not only affects how we spend, save, and earn… But that will also transform the very nature of “money” itself. This currency expert explains the shocking details here… — • The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) plummeted last week… EEM tracks emerging market stocks across the world. According to Bloomberg Markets, the fund suffered its worst day since 2011 on Thursday, when it experienced more than $1.5 billion in withdrawals.You can see it’s now down 8% since Election Day and trading at its lowest level since July.On Friday, Bloomberg Markets warned that emerging market stocks could head much lower in the coming days:“EM ETF flows are about to look like the elevator scene from The Shining as you have the double whammy of rising rates and an oncoming ‘America first’ trade policy,” writes Eric Balchunas, ETF Analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “We could see $20 billion in outflows by the end of next week.”• The anticipation of higher interest rates has hurt gold, too… Last week, the price of gold fell 6.1%. It’s now trading at its lowest level since April.Like utilities, gold sold off due to expectations that interest rates will head higher. You see, unlike a bond, gold doesn’t pay interest. Because of this, many investors don’t like to own gold if they expect rates to rise. Of course, regular readers know the conventional wisdom about gold and interest rates is dead wrong.As we’ve pointed out many times, the price of gold has actually increased after the last four Fed rate hikes.You can see in the chart below that the price of gold jumped 20% in just six months when the Fed started raising rates in 2004.In other words, gold can still do very well if the Fed raises rates quickly…which is still a big “if” at this point.• You also have to remember that we don’t buy gold to make a quick profit… We own it because it’s real money and serves as the ultimate protection against financial chaos. And right now, there’s a lot of uncertainty about the economy and financial system.If you’re nervous about the economy, hold on to your gold. If you’re nervous about the financial system, hold on to your gold. If you’re nervous about our new president, hold on to your gold.Even a small gold position could save you from huge losses when the next financial crisis hits.If you would like to buy gold while it’s “on sale,” check out this presentation we recently put together. It reveals a “loophole” in the global gold market. In short, one of our analysts found what may be the cheapest way in America to buy gold.We can’t say how long this offer will last. So make sure to watch this video today if you’re thinking about buying gold. Click here to learn more.Regards,Justin SpittlerDelray Beach, FloridaNovember 14, 2016How to Hedge Against a Bear MarketEditor’s note: We’re continuing our special mini-series today featuring Stansberry Research founder Porter Stansberry.If you haven’t been following along, Porter says there are unprecedented warning signs in credit markets all around the world…The global scale of these problems means the coming crisis—what Porter has called “the greatest legal transfer of wealth in history”—will be truly historic. And folks who don’t see what’s coming could be wiped out. In fact, Porter says what’s about to happen in the markets will be worse than anything you’ve experienced as an investor…In today’s essay, Porter describes the best way to reduce your risk as this crisis unravels…(The following essay was published on November 14, 2016, in the Stansberry Digest.)From Porter Stansberry, founder, Stansberry Research***For most of the last 15 years, I’ve focused on building tools and advisories to help you avoid risk…You might not have thought of it that way, but that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.Just read almost any of the newsletters I (Porter) have written since 2001. You’ll immediately see that my Investment Advisory is primarily about mitigating investment risk. We do this by focusing our recommendations on safe, capital-efficient companies. Alongside this core portfolio, we add a few non-correlated hedge-like investments (such as Fannie and Freddie, which have soared lately). And we even hedge against the market directly with a small number of short-sell recommendations that ideally will “zig” when the rest of our portfolio “zags.”Long-term studies of our results prove this approach has created the best risk-adjusted returns of any letter we publish. (That’s the highest returns with the least amount of volatility.)***But today, I’m recommending the riskiest thing you can do with your money in the markets… There’s an enormous apparent dichotomy here. But… once you really understand this strategy, you’re going to see that there’s no divergence at all. At times, doing things that seem risky (like shorting a stock) are actually the best ways to reduce your portfolio’s risk exposure. Regardless whether you follow me with this particular strategy, I want to make sure you understand why I’m advocating that you take significant steps to hedge your portfolio today.***The biggest pitfall for most investors is the tendency to misjudge risk tolerance… Most subscribers who think they can handle lots of volatility really can’t. But if you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “That’s not me. I’m a conservative investor. I don’t take big risks with my portfolio,” I’d bet you’re wrong. Almost every investor I talk to about risk also underestimates the volatility of his or her own portfolio.Not you, though… right? Well, maybe. Think about your own investment experiences. What happened in your account from October 2008 through March 2009? Most people who would have sworn they were conservative investors ended up watching their life savings collapse by 50% or more. Most of them decided they weren’t “buy and hold” investors after all. (They ended up being “buy and fold” investors.) Holding too much risk inevitably trips up most investors.***Risk doesn’t equal reward…I also know from empirical studies of investment results that contrary to what just about every finance department in the country will teach you about finance, risk simply doesn’t equal reward.Lots of good research out there suggests that a strategy of buying well-financed, low-volatility stocks can beat the market by a wide margin.Plenty of real-life examples guide our thinking in this area, too. Investing legend Warren Buffett is a classic example. He made nearly 25% a year in the market between 1954 and 2000 by focusing on the least risky businesses to own, like insurer GEICO, beverage giant Coca-Cola (KO), and credit-card issuer American Express (AXP).It was a brilliant strategy. And it worked, primarily, because he avoided taking risks. He even sold almost all of his stocks in 1969 because he thought the market was too expensive. He didn’t buy back in until 1974. Do you think you could avoid making any equity investments for five years just because you thought the market was too risky?Editor’s note: We are on the precipice of an opportunity where betting against the biggest and most indebted companies in the U.S. could lead to life-changing profits. Porter is hosting a FREE live event on Wednesday night where he’ll lay out all of the details. Click here to reserve your spot.
Disabled campaigners have criticised the chancellor’s failure to provide any money in the budget to solve the social care funding crisis, despite a warning from the UN.Although Philip Hammond announced some extra funding for the NHS, there was no mention of social care in his budget speech, or in the main budget report.It came only days after the government left disabled campaigners “completely frustrated” by admitting that it will side-line the needs of working-age disabled people from next summer’s social care green paper (see separate story).In August, the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities warned that the UK was “going backwards” on independent living, and called on the government to draw up a “comprehensive plan” to address the problem.Despite that call, there was not a single mention of disabled people, disability, independent living or social care in the chancellor’s 7,700-word speech to MPs yesterday (Wednesday), repeating his failure to mention disabled people or disability in his 6,700-word budget speech in March.The chancellor (pictured delivering the budget speech) did announce an extra £335 million for the NHS in England this winter, £1.6 billion in 2018-19, and another £900 million in 2019-20 – still far short of the extra £4 billion-a-year health leaders say it needs – as well as overall increases of £2 billion for the Scottish government, and £1.2 billion more for the Welsh government, but he allocated nothing to social care in England.In March, the chancellor allocated just £2.4 billion in extra money for social care over the next three years, a sum described by disabled campaigners at the time as “meaningless” when set against the scale of the funding crisis.A survey of social workers in England by Community Care magazine and the Care and Support Alliance, published in September, found that more than two-thirds felt they were expected to cut people’s care packages because of local authority funding pressures, while more than a quarter were not confident that the reduced care packages they had to oversee were “fair and safe”.Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said yesterday, in his speech responding to the budget, that by March next year more than £6 billion will have been cut from social care budgets since 2010.Linda Burnip, co founder of Disabled People Against Cuts, said: “As expected, the Tories have completely ignored yet again the human disaster they have allowed to develop in relation to social care and have failed to address in any way the ever increasing lack of funding to support disabled people’s human rights to live independently in the community with adequate levels of support.”Disability Rights UK said: “There will be deep disappointment amongst disabled people that there was no mention of social care in the budget.“The crisis in services looks set to continue unabated.”The Local Government Association said it was “a completely false economy to put money into the NHS while not addressing the funding crisis in adult social care” and “sends a message that if you need social care, you should go to hospital”.The disability charity Sense warned the government that it “cannot save the NHS if it delays dealing with social care”.And another disability charity, the MS Society, said the failure to provide more money for social care was “even more alarming” than the refusal to meet the NHS funding gap, and “provides nothing to prevent the current crisis from worsening”.The budget report did include one disability-specific spending announcement, with an extra £42 million for the disabled facilities grant – which provides funding to make disabled people’s homes more accessible – increasing the total budget for this year (2017-18) to £473 million, although this was not mentioned in Hammond’s speech.There was also relief that the government finally agreed to introduce measures to soften the impact of the botched rollout of universal credit (UC), which is gradually replacing six working-age benefits.Campaigners have been warning that the rollout is leaving hundreds of thousands in debt, and forcing people – many of them disabled – to borrow from loan sharks, pawnbrokers and payday loan companies, while many have been left in rent arrears and facing eviction.Hammond announced a package of improvements to UC that will cost £1.5 billion over the next five years (£300 million in 2018-19), including removing the seven-day waiting period for new claimants so that entitlement starts on the day of the claim.Claimants will also be able to secure an advance, equal to a full month’s UC payment, within five days of making a claim, and will be allowed to make online applications for advances.They will also be allowed to pay back the advance payment over 12 months, instead of the current six, while claimants moving from housing benefit to UC will receive an extra two weeks of their housing benefit award to ease the transition.The Treasury told Disability News Service that the changes will cause a further three-month delay to the rollout of universal credit, so it will now reach all jobcentres – although not all claimants – by December 2018 rather than September 2018.Further details were due to be announced today (Thursday) by work and pensions secretary David Gauke.Citizens Advice Scotland welcomed the “significant” changes, and said they would “make a real difference to those claimants who are currently experiencing hardship”, but warned that there were “other problems with universal credit which we believe still need to be addressed”.
A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… Campaigners are warning the Labour party to rethink its support for a radical new benefit system because of risks that its introduction would further isolate and impoverish disabled people.In a new report, UBI: Solution or Illusion? The Implications of Universal Basic Income for Disabled People in Britain, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) says support for universal basic income (UBI) has been growing steadily among those both on the left and the right of politics.Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell has expressed some support for UBI and has suggested that the party’s next general election manifesto is likely to include a commitment to a UBI pilot.The Scottish government is also providing funding for possible pilot schemes to be run by four local authorities.UBI is a regular cash payment made to every citizen regardless of their income, paid without any requirement to be in a paid job or looking for work.Many see it as a solution to the UK’s flawed and much-criticised social security safety net, which has seen years of cuts to support and an increasingly-harsh sanctions and conditionality regime.DPAC says this interest in UBI has intensified with the introduction of universal credit.Supporters of UBI also see it as the answer to the “stigmatisation of social security, the scapegoating of benefit claimants and associated hostility towards disabled people”, says DPAC in its report.But the DPAC report warns that too little attention has been paid to the implications of UBI for disabled people.The report warns that it is likely that housing benefit and disability benefits would remain outside a UBI system.This would mean the need for continuing disability assessments, and the risk that the high cost of running a UBI system would mean further cuts to benefits and services relied on by disabled people, such as social care support.DPAC’s Ellen Clifford, author of the new report, said: “While we would be in favour of tax rises to fund welfare provision – particularly corporation tax and a progressive rise in the higher rate of income tax – the use of this for a UBI rather than more traditional forms of disability and unemployment support would mean much of the benefit flowing back to employers rather than those in most need.”Two other grassroots organisations of disabled people, Black Triangle and WinVisible, have this week added their voices to the concerns raised by DPAC about UBI.Clifford’s report concludes that implementing UBI “risks detracting attention and resources from the urgent task required to overhaul the disability benefits system and make it fit for purpose”.It adds: “Given the history of disabled people’s exclusion and the marginalisation of our issues it is reasonable for disabled people to fear that attention and resources dedicated to the task of implementing a UBI will be at the expense of affecting the level of change needed to ensure disabled people receive adequate support.”There are also concerns, says the report, that a more flexible employment market ushered in by UBI, with greater job insecurity and the likelihood of poorer working conditions and lower wages for lower-paid workers, would further disadvantage disabled workers.They also say that right-wing versions of UBI are seen as a way of saving money by avoiding spending on a decent living wage and social protection.And the report says that pushing for UBI risks deferring demands for full reasonable adjustments at work for disabled workers, and “full and unconditional support” for those unable to work, while “ending up with a system that is more of a helping hand for employers than for disabled people”.The report says DPAC’s concerns are born out by the results of pilot UBI schemes that have been run across the world, including one in Finland that has just ended, but has not yet been assessed officially, which critics say has forced unemployed workers into bad jobs while undermining unions, wage equality, and the welfare state.And it says concerns have been raised about the proposed pilot schemes in Scotland, including the cost and potential negative impacts on disabled people, including likely cuts to other social protection schemes.But the report does say that a pilot scheme in India proved successful, with disabled people benefiting more than others, but mainly because “many of those benefiting had received no previous support at all”, which was “very different to what would happen with the introduction of a UBI in Britain to replace existing social security payments”.Clifford said it was worrying how marginalised disabled people had been in the debate around the introduction of UBI.She said DPAC’s message to Labour was to include disabled people in the debate and to consider how they would be affected by the introduction of UBI.Clifford said it was important to have the debate about UBI as there was growing support for the idea that universal credit would have to be scrapped, and that UBI could be the system to replace it.She said: “We have seen with universal credit and personalisation how what can sound like progressive ideas can end up badly for disabled people in practice.“We remember how the personalisation pilots actually went very well.“It isn’t always possible for pilots to capture the full implications of policy roll outs so we are concerned that Labour’s proposed pilots will not on their own be enough to avoid a future situation where UBI is fully rolled out and ends up widening rather than reducing inequality.”The report could surprise some of DPAC’s critics, who often assume that the grassroots group will support the left-wing policies of the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn and McDonnell.But DPAC has repeatedly made it clear that it is not aligned to any political party and that its loyalties lie instead with those fighting for disabled people’s “full human rights and equality”, and against government austerity measures “which target the poor while leaving the wealthy unscathed”.John McArdle, co-founder of Black Triangle, said existing experiments with UBI appeared to “have been driven by a right wing agenda that undermines workers’ rights”.He said: “On the face of it, UBI seems to be progressive but the devil is in the detail.”He said Black Triangle echoed DPAC’s call for the immediate focus to be on “removing conditionality and sanctions and the hostile environment for disabled people”, replacing the UK government’s disability assessment regime, and co-producing with disabled people a social security system that “will again be fit for purpose”.Claire Glasman, from WinVisible, which supports and campaigns for disabled women, said the problem with UBI was that it was not based on need and – like universal credit – did not recognise the importance of unwaged caring work.She said: “We are very worried that it is going to be a way of cutting benefits based on need: the needs of disabled people, the needs of mothers and children, the needs of bereaved people, which specific benefits exist to cover.”
Next Article March 14, 2019 Add to Queue Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Entrepreneur Staff 2 min read Image credit: Courtesy of Outstanding Foods Stephen J. Bronner Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand PigOut is made of mushrooms, and its creator worked at Beyond Meat and Just. This Startup Has Created a Plant-Based Chip That Almost Tastes Like Bacon A startup has created a chip that tastes very much like bacon but is made from mushrooms, and it will soon be on the shelves of Whole Foods, Sprouts, Wegmans, Kroger and other retailers.Outstanding Foods — founded by Dave Anderson, who helped develop products at Beyond Meat and Just, and Bill Glaser, a serial entrepreneur — has secured distribution with UNFI for the product, PigOut. The company has raised more than $4 million and is backed by big names such as James Altucher, Cesar Millan, Jesse Itzler, Emily Deschanel and Alan Cumming.”We’re right at the convergence of two really strong trends — plant-based foods and better-for-you snacks,” Glaser said. “Our mission is to make it easy for anyone to eat plant-based foods, and we saw the flavor of bacon as being extremely popular. We wanted to own a category and come out with something that was really unique and innovative.”Related: Plant-Based Egg From Just to Soon Be Available Nationwide in Whole FoodsImage Credit: Courtesy of Outstanding FoodsPigOut is made from king oyster mushroom using a proprietary process to reduce fat, as mushrooms absorb liquids such as oil, Glaser said. The company is currently seeking a patent on the process, and Glaser said it plans to license it to other chip makers, since it also works with potatoes.Outstanding Foods also plans to introduce other pork-like products, including plant-based bacon strips and pork rinds. It also wants to expand to other proteins, such as chicken and beef.”We see PigOut not as as the entirety of our business, but a gateway to really establish our brand and then introduce other products after that,” Glaser said.The staff of Entrepreneur enjoyed a sample bag of PigOut provided by the company, with some saying it tasted like a better version of Bacos. We also were charmed by PigOut’s cute pig mascot, who doesn’t have a name yet. Glaser said the company plans to hold a contest and take suggestions from fans for a name. –shares Food Businesses Enroll Now for $5 News Director
Image credit: manolofranco |Pixabay Staples to Turn Parts of Some Stores Into Office Space Next Article April 4, 2016 Staples has announced a new way to make better use of its cavernous stores at a time of shrinking shopper traffic: turning some of that square-footage into office space.The office supplies giant said on Monday it was collaborating with office-sharing startup Workbar to open communal workspace at three of its stores in metro Boston in a pilot. Workbar runs a network of locations with desks and conference rooms that subscribers can use for a monthly fee. Each of the 2,500 to 3,500 square-foot Workbar facilities will have workspaces, conference rooms, private phone rooms and Wi-Fi access. The average U.S. Staples location is 20,000 square feet in size.The move is just the latest by big box retailers looking to find new uses for all their store space at a time more shopping is moving online. For instance, Macy’s has shops run by sports apparel retailer Finish Line and is testing out a similar idea with electronics retailer Best Buy . Sears has rented out parts of stores to everyone from Whole Foods Market to Dick’s Sporting Goods.Staples is struggling with a declining retail business. It said last month it would close 50 of its 1,607 North American stores this year, after shutting 242 others in the two previous years. Staples is also trying to convince the government to let it buy Office Depot to fend off growing competition in the office supplies area from Amazon.com.It recently re-named its business services division Staples Business Advantage from Staples Advantage to prop up that part of its business, which in contrast to the retail division, is growing. Business services now generate 40 percent of company sales, compared to 35 percent in 2013. What’s more, Staples’ North American B2B unit is far more profitable and looks set to surpass the retail division in the next year or two.Many of Staples’ stores have much more space than they need, now that people are buying more and more office items online. Add to Queue Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Phil Wahba Staples This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine –shares 2 min read Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Register Now »
Add to Queue Reuters Flush with the stunning popularity of the Pokémon Go mobile game, Nintendo aims to make more from marketing popular characters such as Super Mario, taking a leaf from the Walt Disney playbook where Mickey Mouse and friends bring in billions of merchandising dollars each year.But, where Disney’s animated characters often earn more than the films they star in, Super Mario, Pokémon and other Nintendo franchises have languished amid the Japanese firm’s reluctance to push them beyond its struggling game console platform.The success of Pokémon Go — created by Nintendo, Pokémon Company and Niantic, a Google spinoff — may signal that Nintendo’s move to let its characters roam beyond that console universe could help revitalize a company that had grown from a card game maker in 19th century Kyoto to the world’s top computer game and console maker.”We are now expanding how we leverage Nintendo IP in various ways beyond our traditional use of them predominantly within the dedicated video game platform business,” Tatsumi Kimishima, the company’s president, wrote in a message to investors.It could be sitting on a goldmine.”We believe the value of Nintendo intellectual property is enormous and will eventually be unlocked over a three to five year period,” Jefferies analyst Atul Goyal wrote in a Monday research note.A spokesman for Japanese toymaker Takara Tomy said: “We are seeing a resurgence of interest in Pokémon toys after the launch of Pokémon Go.”Nintendo, which on Wednesday partly blamed a strengthening yen for its April-June operating loss, is said to be doing more to expand the reach of its popular franchises, which also include The Legend of Zelda.”Nintendo used to have only few people in its licensing business and deal only with a limited number of merchandising companies,” said a toy company official, who asked not to be named as he is not authorized to talk to the media. “That’s gradually changing as the company has made it clear it will boost its IP business.”Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the puppet-inspired Super Mario, has indicated Nintendo has more appetite now to allow its franchise characters to spread beyond console gaming, and into revenue generating licensing agreements.”These projects will take time to bear fruit, but they are something to look forward to,” Miyamoto told Nintendo’s shareholder meeting late last month, adding Nintendo had started licensing characters for attractions at Universal Studios theme parks and was working to expand Nintendo products.Faded WiiSince its Wii game console boom faded four years ago and its successor, the Wii U, flopped, Nintendo has been buffeted by losses that have more than halved its cash pile to around $5 billion.Nintendo sold almost 100 million of its Wii consoles between its late-2006 launch and end-2011, the year before the Wii U was released. Subsequent sales of the Wii U have added only 13 million units. As casual gaming has shifted from the living room to the smartphone, sales of its handheld 3DS video game system are just a third of the older DS model.Wary of losing focus on its ailing console business, Nintendo has largely steered clear from producing games for other platforms or agreeing lucrative licensing agreements.In the year to end-March, the company’s licensing revenue was just 5.7 billion yen ($54.2 million) — around 1 percent of overall sales, and a tiny fraction of what Disney earns from the likes of Mickey Mouse, Toy Story, Winnie the Pooh and, more recently, Star Wars.Disney’s revenue from consumer products — from Mickey Mouse tea pots and tie clips to books, magazines and even English language schools in China — totaled $4.5 billion in its last full business year — around 9 percent of its total sales.It was Disney’s fastest growing business segment in the year to Oct. 3, 2015, with operating profit up 29 percent from a year earlier. While the Toy Story 3 movie, released in 2010, earned Disney $1.7 billion at cinemas and from TV broadcasts, the franchise’s licensed toys, books and a smartphone app have brought in $7.3 billion.That’s a merchandising masterclass that some investors reckon Nintendo will struggle to match.”Monetizing IP is a whole different thing from selling games,” said a fund manager at a Japanese asset management firm which owns Nintendo shares.”They say they’re going to sell a wrist watch, but it’s adults who are playing Pokémon Go… And are they going to wear a Pokémon Go Plus watch?”($1 = 105.1900 yen)(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Tim Kelly; Editing by Ian Geoghegan) Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand What Nintendo Hopes to Learn From Disney to Turn its Business Around –shares Next Article Enroll Now for $5 July 28, 2016 4 min read Nintendo Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. This story originally appeared on Reuters
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 16 2018Over the past decade, hip-hop music has become a world-wide phenomenon and, in 2017, surpassed rock as the biggest music genre in the United States. Up until now little has been known about how often, or in what context, tobacco and marijuana products and imagery appear in hip-hop music culture. In order to get a better understanding of the presence of these products–and the potential public health threat they pose–a team of researchers from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health analyzed leading hip-hop music videos over the five years from 2013-2017. They found that that a substantial (40%-50%) proportion of the leading hip-hop videos during this time contained use of combustible or electronic tobacco and marijuana products (or smoke or vapor), corresponding to over 39 billion views to date. They also found that the use of these products in videos was often by main and featured artists, and that the prevalence of combustible or electronic use of tobacco and marijuana rose with songs’ popularity. In addition, brand placement was becoming more common in online hip-hop music content.” While there is no doubt that hip-hop artists have made many positive contributions to social change–speaking out on issues like police violence against minorities–there’s also a history of showing regulated substances in hip-hop and other popular music. These depictions may affect fans’ attitudes toward smoking and increase the likelihood of smoking –particularly among young people,” says Kristin Knutzen, MPH, lead author and Dartmouth Institute research scientist.In their analysis, the researchers included all hip-hop songs listed on Billboard magazine’s weekly Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs list (a list of the top 50 songs) between 2013-2017. During this period, 1,250 songs appeared on the Billboard Top 50 list; 769 of them had accompanying music videos. The researchers also searched YouTube, Tidal, iTunes, Vimeo, and artists’ websites for corresponding music videos of all top 50 songs.Among their findings recently reported in JAMA Internal Medicine: Related StoriesStudy: Tobacco and alcohol usage are common in British reality television showsStudies show no evidence of fall in cigarette consumption due to WHO’s FCTCRisk of children taking up smoking has reduced following tobacco display ban”When young people, especially adolescents, see their favorite artists using tobacco products in music videos, they can begin to view them as normal in hip-hop culture, and they can begin to see themselves using them. They also could view them as less harmful then they are. That’s a very real public health threat,” says study co-author and Dartmouth Institute Associate Professor Samir Soneji, PhD.The researchers note that while these music videos provide “largely unregulated opportunities” for the advertising of tobacco and marijuana products, future regulation that directly addresses the often co-occurring depiction and marketing of tobacco, marijuana, and electronic products in music videos could reduce the burden of tobacco and marijuana use. They also say that beyond federal and state regulation, the music industry and social networking sites could, themselves, reduce combustible and electronic use in hip-hop music videos. For example, advertisements of tobacco products are expressly prohibited by Google, the parent company of YouTube. Thus, YouTube could prohibit postings of music videos with product placement in accordance with Google’s advertising policies. The proportion of songs with accompanying music videos that contained combustible use, electronic use, or smoke or vapor equaled 44% in 2014, 40% in 2015, 50% in 2016, and 47% in 2017. (For a total of 39.5 billion views) Compared with hand-rolled products, manufactured cigarette use was less common in videos. In 2017, only 8% of songs with accompanying music videos contained manufactured cigarettes. Among songs with accompanying music videos containing combustible use, brand placement increased from 0% in 2013 to 10% in 2017. For those containing electronic use, brand placement increased from 25% in 2013 to 88% in 2017. Main or featured artists exclusively used combustible or electronic products in a third of music videos that contained the use of these products. The proportion of songs with accompanying music videos containing the use of these products increased with the popularity of these songs. The proportion equaled 42% among songs in the first quartile of viewership (8,700 to 19 million views) and increased to 50% among songs in the fourth quartile of viewership (112 million to 4 billion views). The researchers note that the music video for the popular song, “I’m The One” by DJ Khaled– featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance The Rapper, and Lil Wayne — contained both combustible and electronic use, as well as electronic brand placement (KandyPen)– and had been viewed over 1 billion times on YouTube as of June 2018. Source:https://tdi.dartmouth.edu/news-events/new-research-use-tobacco-and-marijuana-products-regularly-featured-hip-hop-music-videos
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 14 2019A new qualitative study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health identifies several key lessons from early efforts to establish sanctioned safe consumption sites in five U.S. communities. The results offer insights on one approach some localities are exploring to address the escalating drug overdose crisis in the U.S.Through interviews with key informants, the researchers identified strategies for organizing around this issue and engaging the community, as well as facilitators and barriers to progress.The study was published online February 13 in the journal Psychiatric Services.”We wanted to understand the environment in which these policy change efforts are occurring,” says lead researcher Alene Kennedy-Hendricks, PhD, assistant director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Mental Health and Addiction Policy Research and a faculty member in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management. “Study participants emphasized the importance of engaging diverse partners to organize around safe consumption sites, elevating the voices of people who use drugs in these discussions and framing the need for this harm reduction approach in terms of racial justice.”Safe consumption sites, also known as overdose prevention sites or supervised injection facilities, are places where people can use pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of trained staff who can intervene and prevent fatal overdoses. No sanctioned safe consumption site exists in the U.S. but policymakers in at least six states, including Maryland, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont, have introduced legislation to establish safe consumption sites, and at least two cities–Philadelphia and Seattle–are working to establish these sites without state legislation. These policy discussions have been controversial within the communities where they are being considered and potentially conflict with federal law. For example, federal prosecutors are currently suing to stop plans in Philadelphia to open a site.For the study, the researchers interviewed 25 participants from five jurisdictions over the phone from April to July of 2018. Study participants were asked about their strategy for changing policy to sanction safe consumption sites, organizing efforts, community engagement, facilitators of progress and barriers to adoption. Participants included community organizers, harm reduction advocates, local government officials and health and social service organization leaders from jurisdictions considering implementing safe consumption sites. The researchers identified initial study participants in each jurisdiction and then recruited additional participants on the basis of initial interviews. Researchers identified common themes that emerged in the interviews.One of the most commonly reported barriers to establishing these sites was developing an approach to respond to federal action, given federal law prohibiting the operation of spaces for the use of drugs. This concern also has created challenges in identifying the right location and physical structure for the site. Financing remained a challenge, although at least one community had allocated public funds for this purpose. Several communities emphasized efforts would only be successful if trust was built among communities of color, given the precedent of racially discriminatory drug policies in the U.S.Related StoriesGoing teetotal shown to improve women’s mental healthResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairParticipation in local food projects may have positive effect on healthParticipants from communities that already had well-established harm reduction programs, such as syringe services or scaled up naloxone distribution programs, said that those programs gave them a solid foundation on which to build support for safe consumption sites. These communities seemed to have an advantage since existing policies, programs and partnerships had been established. Researchers also found that securing political and community champions was critical in advancing policy on this issue. Community members who were trusted and respected by their neighbors and championed safe consumption sites helped improve local residents’ understanding of the purpose of these sites. Visits to safe consumption sites in areas outside the U.S. (specifically Vancouver, British Columbia) by local government officials and key community members helped to reduce opposition.Most jurisdictions reported that engaging a diverse set of community allies helped in building a broader coalition and stronger connection to policymakers. The community leaders who participated in the study all viewed establishing safe consumption sites as part of a broader, comprehensive strategy to respond to the devastating scale of the opioid epidemic. Co-author Colleen L. Barry, PhD, MPP, professor and chair of the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management, notes that advancing harm reduction measures, including safe consumption sites, is viewed as an important strategy for connecting people who use drugs with evidence-based treatment, social services, housing support and other services to make positive changes that reduce the risks associated with using drugs.Participants reported that organizing people who use drugs and involving them in policy efforts is critical, and some locations were involving drug-user unions in these efforts. Pressuring policymakers to take a stand on safe consumption sites during campaign events was viewed as an effective strategy.”This study brings to light the realities of how such an innovation could be implemented, the nature of the stakeholders and the complexity and uniqueness of each city’s process,” says Susan Sherman, PhD, MPH, professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health, Behavior and Society and the paper’s senior author. “It provides insight into the community-specific distinctions and important commonalities across these jurisdictions.””We have an approach here that other countries have found helpful in reaching a marginalized population that faces high rates of mortality,” says Kennedy-Hendricks. “A key question now is which jurisdiction will open the first sanctioned safe consumption site in the U.S. Their experience as an early adopter will inform efforts around the country.” Source:https://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2019/safe-consumption-sites-study-identifies-policy-change-strategies-and-challenges.html
PATNA: The Bihar Police Special Branch, the intelligence wing of the state police which briefs chief minister Nitish Kumar (who is also home minister) on sensitive issues, was directed to gather “detailed information” on the state functionaries of the RSS and its 17 subsidiary outfits in a letter issued by the SP (Special Branch) on May 28, two days before the swearing-in of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre. The letter – a copy of which is with TOI – had been addressed to all deputy SPs of Special Branch and asked them to furnish information such as names, addresses, posts and occupations of RSS office-bearers. JD(U) national secretary-general K C Tyagi called it a routine issue. “This is a routine matter, which the police or the intelligence wing of every state or the central government does from time to time. It should not be construed as an attempt either to target or malign the image of any organisation.” A senior BJP leader, on the other hand, remarked, “There is more a lot to it than meets the eye. After all, RSS is a nationalist organisation.” The senior officers assigned to field duty had been asked to treat the letter, copies of which were also forwarded to the ADG, IG and DIG of Special Branch, as urgent and provide the relevant information within a week. The current SP (G), Special Branch, Kartikey Sharma, whose office had issued the letter, said, “I have no idea about any such letter. I assumed charge as SP (G) recently. I was not in the post when the letter, as you have mentioned, was issued.” He did not confirm if his office had received the relevant data from the officers concerned. However, another officer, who did not want to be named, said, “Do you think any officer will delay in submitting the report? It was clearly mentioned in the letter to accord top priority to it.” Additional chief secretary (home) Amir Subhani could not be reached for comment. ADG (Special Branch) J S Gangwar was also not available for comment. A senior home department official, however, said nobody would comment on this “sensitive issue”. Apart from RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Jagran Samiti, Hindu Rashtra Sena, Dharma Jagran Samiti, Rashtriya Sevika Samiti, Durga Vahini, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Sikha Bharti, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, Hindu Mahasabha, Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh, Hindu Yuva Vahini, Hindu Putra Sangathan, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, Bhartiya Railway Sangh, and Muslim Rashtriya Sangh are also mentioned in the memo. Another senior RSS leader clarified that the names of many organisations have been wrongly mentioned in the letter. The list contained even a few non-existent ones. “This indicates how the intelligence wing of the state police functions in the state,” he said, adding that altogether 37 subsidiary organisations of the RSS were active across the country. Download The Times of India News App for Latest India News.XStart your day smart with stories curated specially for you
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