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Humanity Will Continue to Live an Inferior Life Than What is Possible Until the Two Halves: All Individuals in Them: That Make It are Absolutely Fundamentally and Jubilantly Equal at Liberty
 

 

Year Gamma: London: Wednesday: October 18: 2017
The Arkive

First Published: September 24: 2015

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IV PRAT Conference 2017: New York: October 27-28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Humanion Bank of Copyrightfree Works

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

Medicine: An Oath to Life: An Ode to Life

 

 

 

 
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Political Economics Arkive Q-Delta 2016

||  October  || November  || December || 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

||  Political Economics ||  Arkive Q-Delta 2016 ||  October  || November  || December || 

Forcing Working Mothers From Jobs Costs Business £280 Million Each Year: The Equality and Human Rights Commission

Political Economics Arkive Q-Alpha 2016   

Political Economics Arkive Q-Beta 2016  

Political Economics Arkive Q-Gamma 2016

Political Economics Arkive Q-Delta 2016

 

 

 

If Political Economics Does Not Seek to Achieve Liberty and Equality for all it is doomed to remain a broken system of human affairs management reflecting a broken and fragmented society and it will continue to hurt, divide and harm all members of society: The Humanion

Please, Note: The Humanion Does Not Give Investment Advice

The Humanion does not offer investment advice. Investment of any kind has risks as the value of investment may go up as well as down and, most importantly, past performance of a particular 'fund':any 'fund' is not a guarantee of similar future performance but a guide only. It is, therefore, paramount to seek to make investment decisions, having acquired enough facts:knowledge about the entity being considered for investment from well established and legitimate sources including relevant professional:financial bodies and government departments:agencies, and having consulted professional investment advice from bona fide, qualified financial advisers. Only than, one is likely to be able to make an informed choice and decision about an investment. The Humanion

Finnish Economy is Not Quite Finished Recovering: Growing Though Slowly

 Petteri Orpo: Finland's Minister of Finance: Image: Finland Government
 

|| December 23: 2016 || ά. Finland will post GDP growth of 01.6 per cent for 2016, predicts the Ministry of Finance in its latest Economic Survey. Structural problems in the labour market threaten to curb the level of growth towards the end of the forecast period. The growth in Finland’s gross domestic product:GDP in 2016 has been spurred by the positive trend in the early months of the year and has been reliant on domestic demand. In 2017 and 2018, the growth in GDP will slow to around one per cent, which is close to the long-term growth potential. The GDP growth forecast for 2017 is 0.9 per cent, and for 2018 1.0 per cent.

Growth will slow in 2017 because the rise in domestic demand will ease up and export growth will again be muted. The export outlook is nevertheless significantly better than in recent years. The Competitiveness Pact will improve price competitiveness measured in terms of unit labour costs, which will facilitate export growth. However, there will be a delay before the Pact’s positive effects on economic performance become evident. The Competitiveness Pact will, in addition, weaken both private and public consumption in 2017. The global economic outlook has become more subdued, and there will not be a strong demand for Finnish exports.

Growth in many of the emerging economies has slowed significantly. In the industrial countries, recovery is still modest because investment levels are low, earnings are rising slowly and, as a consequence, consumer demand is weak. Private consumption will grow at a slower rate as there will be only a moderate rise in the earnings level and inflation will gather pace. The trend in private consumption may prove to be more favourable than predicted if household indebtedness continues to grow at the rate seen in recent years.

There are negative risks associated with private consumption that may materialise if the employment trend is weaker than anticipated. The effects on consumption would be evident through income formation and consumer expectations, which could add to consumer caution and lead to a higher savings rate.

The unemployment rate has already declined to 08.6 per cent and the level of employment is rising, notably in construction. Employment will continue to improve, but the unemployment rate will fall only slowly. A more rapid improvement in employment is prevented by structural problems: unemployed job seekers may not have the occupational skills needed for the job vacancies offered, or the jobs may be available in other locations than those in which unemployed job seekers reside.

The recovery in the Finnish economy has bolstered general government finances in 2016. However, sluggish economic growth in the coming years will not be sufficient to correct the imbalance between revenue and expenditure, which means that public finances will remain significantly in deficit.

The adjustment measures under the Government Programme will strengthen general government finances during the forecast period. However, the growth in age-related expenditure will continue to be rapid, hampering efforts to achieve a balance in public finances. The next few years will see a further increase in the general government debt-to-GDP ratio.

Inquiries: Mikko Spolander, Director General, tel. +358 2955 30006, mikko.spolander at vm.fi
Jukka Railavo, Senior Financial Adviser, tel. +358 2955 30540, jukka.railavo at vm.fi
Marja Paavonen, Senior Financial Adviser, tel. +358 2955 30187, marja.paavonen at vm.fi:
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Better Access to G20 Markets Could Boost Exports From the Poorest Countries by 15%: UNCTAD Report

Image: ILO

|| December 22: 2016: Geneva: Switzerland || ά. The world’s poorest countries are barely engaging in the global economy, but fully liberalising trade for these countries into G20 markets could boost their exports by about 15%, according to an UNCTAD report released on Thursday. While least developed countries:LDCs account for about 12% of the world’s population, their share in global exports stands at about 01%, the report, Key Indicators and Trends in Trade Policy 2016, says.

Boosting exports from LDCs could help accelerate economic growth, generate jobs, and provide financial resources for sustainable and inclusive development. Recognising the importance of trade for LDCs, the sustainable development goals:SDGs include Target 17.11 to 'Increase significantly the exports of developing countries, in particular with a view to doubling the least developing countries’ share of global exports by 2020'. “We've seen some progress in the last decade, but the participation of least developing countries in the global economy remains marginal.” says Guillermo Valles, Director of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in goods and services and Commodities.

"To double the LDC share of global exports and achieve the SDG target, the trick will be not just to fix the issue of tariffs but to do the non-tariff measures, too." he said. The report finds that LDCs generally trade much less than the size of their economies would suggest. The export-to-GDP ratios of the 48 LDCs are on average about 25%, substantially less than the average for other developing countries of about 35%.

“This indicator has been on a clear downward trend since 2011 and it shows the LDC struggle to integrate into the global economy.” Mr. Valles said. Generally speaking, G20 countries support LDCs through a range of mechanisms to facilitate trade, such as duty-free and quota-free access. But removing all tariffs could boost LDC exports to G20 countries by about $10 billion per year.

Similarly, reducing the distortionary effects of non-tariff measures (NTMs) could boost LDC exports by about $23 billion per year. But this requires a more complex approach. NTMs such as quality standards serve public policy objectives and cannot be removed without disrupting these objectives.

Therefore, the report says, reducing the distortionary effects of NTMs comes not from removing them, but from helping LDCs to comply. “Taken together, fully liberalising market access for LDCs and eliminating the negative trade effect of NTMs on LDCs would increase their exports by about 15%.” the report says. The textile and apparel sectors, as well as some agricultural categories, would benefit most, it says.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Nordic Innovation Networks: Nordic Countries Aim for Growth in the Blue Bioeconomy

Nordic prime ministers’ meeting in Åland September 27: Image: Finland Government: Laura Kotila


|| December 21: 2016 || ά.  The Nordic Council of Ministers has set out common objectives for business relating to water and aquatic natural resources. These are specified in the Nordic Road Map for Blue Bioeconomy, completed under Finland’s Presidency in December 2016. Co-operation will be enhanced especially in aquaculture, that is, farming of fish and other aquatic animals, and development of high value added products such as food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.

Other fields for co-operation specified in the Road Map are water expertise and wellbeing services. Through closer cooperation and by sharing new concepts the Nordic countries aim for rapid growth of blue bioeconomy. In the Nordic countries efforts will be made to increase research and innovation activities with companies to create new and successful products and services. In the beginning of 2017 an application process will be organised to promote the creation of Nordic innovation networks.

In the global context, the Nordic countries are in an excellent position to be pioneers in blue bioeconomy. They also have diverse expertise of a high standard in the field. In the development work the focus will be on a market-driven approach, innovation and efficient use of resources. Finland has recently adopted a national development plan for blue bioeconomy.

Blue bioeconomy refers to business activities based on the sustainable and smart use of renewable aquatic natural resources. It comprises activities such as fishing, fish processing and aquaculture, business based on water expertise and technology, tourism and recreation based on waters and the aquatic environment, and utilisation of aquatic biomass, e.g. algae. The Nordic Road Map for Blue Bioeconomy was one of the key achievements of the Finnish Presidency in the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2016.

Inquiries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry: Orian Bondestam, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 162 494:
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Wärtsilä to Supply Germany with Groundbreaking Biohybrid Plant

The Wärtsilä biohybrid plant represents a new and unique response to market needs. Image: Wärtsilä

 

|| December 21: 2016 || ά. Wärtsilä has been awarded the contract to supply a biohybrid production plant to the German energy company, Erdgas Südwest GmbH. The new plant will produce both bioLNG, liquefied biogas, and LNG. The contract with Wärtsilä was signed in December, and delivery will be made on a fast-track basis.

The Wärtsilä delivery will include the company’s unique liquefaction system. Moreover, the system is specially designed to clean and liquefy both biogas and pipeline gas streams. In the process, the liquid is cooled to a temperature of minus 160° C before being stored in a fully insulated tank. The ability to clean both biogas and pipeline gas is new to the market and groundbreaking in terms of flexibility and energy storage.

“The contract award is based upon Wärtsilä’s compact and proven technology and on our capabilities in adapting the system to the customer’s specific needs. Biogas and pipeline gas compositions can vary substantially, and Wärtsilä Gas Solutions’ advanced technology can handle both.” says Timo Koponen, Vice President, Flow and Gas Solutions, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions.

The technology for this plant represents a new and unique response to market needs to liquefy and store methane-based streams. Both gas cleaning and liquefaction are cost and energy efficient, thereby making profitable projects possible even for smaller gas streams. This is especially important within the European Union where the target is to have 10 percent of the fuel produced from renewable sources by 2020.

The new biohybrid solution will be integrated into the customer’s existing biowaste-to-biogas production, whilst LNG production will be part of the customer’s existing pipeline gas infrastructure. Everything will be located at a single site in southern Germany.

“This is a very important milestone for us at Erdgas Südwest. It is a completely new concept adapted to the future needs of the German energy market and we see a great future for this storage solution.” says Oliver Auras, Project Director, Erdgas Südwest GmbH.

Wärtsilä: Wärtsilä is a global leader in advanced technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising sustainable innovation and total efficiency, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2015, Wärtsilä's net sales totalled EUR 05 billion with approximately 18,800 employees. The company has operations in over 200 locations in more than 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Luxemburg Startup World Cup 2017: March 08: Open for Submissions From Startups for  $1,000,000 Prize in Investment.


 

|| December 21: 2016 || ά. The Luxemburg Startup World Cup, the first event of its kind ever held in Europe is taking place in Luxembourg on March 08, 2017. This is no coincidence due to the efforts made by the Government of Luxembourg to maintain its reputation as a startup nation and its rapidly developing ecosystem. The Startup World Cup is a global series of conferences and competitions with the goal of bridging startup ecosystems worldwide. It encourages the most talented entrepreneurs to battle for the prestige of winning the Startup World Cup. 16 regional events are scheduled all over the world, leading up to the Grand Finale in Silicon Valley. Startup World Cup is organised by Fenox Venture Capital, an early stage, Silicon Valley based VC firm. The March event in Luxembourg represents the European debut of the competition.

Because of its strong local anchorage and well-known international experience in supporting startups from all around the world, from creation to transformation into multinational companies, EY Luxembourg was chosen to be the main partner of this event, which will take place in the EY premises. “At EY Luxembourg, entrepreneurship is part of our DNA. We are therefore very pleased to collaborate with Farvest and to host this world-class event which perfectly fits with our 'Building a Better Working World' mission. As part of it, our EYnovation programme aims at providing full support to startups around the world and brings us to the centre of the Luxembourg startup nation, while providing opportunities to our professionals to innovate and develop an entrepreneurship spirit.” said Olivier Lemaire, Technology, Media and Telecom Leader and EYnovation Leader at EY Luxembourg.

The event will include pitches from the top startups across Europe, and a few guest keynote speakers, including Olivier Lemaire of EY Luxembourg. “We are thrilled to host Startup World Cup in Luxembourg.” said Kamel Amroune, partner of Farvest Group and Co-founder of ICT Spring. “The soul of this Startup World Cup is innovation and the spirit of competition that often goes hand in hand with it.

We could not be more excited to introduce this event to our community, regionally as well as across all of Europe. We expect this event to be a resounding success and we will use all the know-how the firm has acquired through the organization of ICT Spring, a two-day yearly Global Tech Conference held in Luxembourg, to help create, host and support this new regional event.”

“We are very excited to partner with Farvest Group.” said Anis Uzzaman, CEO and General Partner of Fenox Venture Capital and Chairman of Startup World Cup. “Our joint forces will be able to deliver one of the best startup events in the region and cater to the entrepreneurs.”

The Grand Finale will take place in San Francisco on March 24, 2017. The winner of the pitching competition will represent Europe and compete alongside 15 other startups from all over the world for a chance to win a U.S. $1,000,000 prize in investment.

For any inquiries regarding Startup World Cup, contact, Chris Abshire: Executive Director, Startup World Cup: chris at startupworldcup.io

Submit your applications:
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Dena Global Start Up Energy Transition Awards Open for Applications: Deadline January 31

Image: dwr-eco


|| December 21: 2016: Berlin: Germany || ά. The Deutsche Energie-Agentur, the German Energy Agency, or Dena for short, has initiated the international competition, Start Up Energy Transition. Start-ups and young companies worldwide are invited to apply with their business models and visions. Applications may be submitted through the initiative's website. Within a few short weeks, the initiative has managed to attract numerous internationally-renowned supporters from the field of environmental and climate protection, including Patricia Espinosa, General Secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change:UNFCCC, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research:PIK and Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute. The initiative’s patrons include the Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel, as well as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Applications open until January 31, 2017.

The aim of our initiative is to bring pioneers and enablers of global energy transition together, and to establish an international network of companies, start-ups and sustainability-conscious organisations. We can only make energy transition and climate protection a worldwide success with the help of innovation.” says Andreas Kuhlmann, Dena's Chief Executive. “We are proud that this unique initiative has been set into motion with so many great partners in such a short time, not least because of the support of both of our patrons”. At the same time, we are open to more visionary cooperation partners, ambassadors and sponsors from all over the world who want to get involved in our project and support this global movement to make energy transition a reality.”

There are six categories in total, The Urban Energy Transition for contributions to digitalised and sustainable cities; Cleantech against Climate Change for technologies that are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a wide range of sectors; Future of Production and Manufacturing for digital solutions in the industry; Mobility meets Energy Transition for sustainable mobility concepts; and Platforms and Communities for the expansion of networks. The special prize Start Up SDG Seven will go to a company whose project contributes to the United Nations' sustainable development goal:SDG Seven: affordable, clean energy for all.

The award will be presented as part of the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue:BETD in March 2017 in Berlin, where over 1000 delegates from 70 countries are expected to attend. The day before the BETD, the winner in each category will be announced from a selection of three nominees as part of an international Tech Festival in Berlin. They will therefore have the opportunity to network and exchange knowledge with companies, decision-makers, political visionaries and non-governmental organisations.

The annual global Energy Transition summit, jointly organised by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Foreign Office, brings political decision-makers from all over the world together with experts from business, science, administration and civil society, and promotes the expansion of international cooperation in climate protection, energy efficiency, and renewable energies.

About Start Up Energy Transition: Over 70 cooperation partners from more than 20 countries support the project, including the International Energy Agency:IEA, the internationally-renowned alliance Rocky Mountain Institute:Carbon War Room, the High-Tech Start-Up Fund:HTGF, the 2° Foundation, the international incubator Hub:raum, Climate-KIC, KIC InnoEnergy, the European Climate Foundation:ECF, as well as a long line of important German industrial associations and organisations from all over the world. Key initiative partners include the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad:AHK, the German Society for International Co-operation:GIZ, the Borderstep Institute for Innovation and Sustainability, the KfW Group and Deutsche Welle.

The initiative’s ambassadors include: Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change:UNFCCC; Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research:PIK; Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute; Maria Krautzberger, President of the German Federal Environment Agency:UBA; Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency:IEA; Ortwin Renn, Scientific Director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam:IASS; Christoph Wolff, Managing Director of the European Climate Foundation; Ewald Woste, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Thüringer Energie AG; Martha Isabel:Pati Ruiz Corzo, Mexican environmental activist and winner of the UN environmental prize, the Champions of the Earth award; Mohan Munasinghe, former Vice-chair of the IPCC; Connie Hedegaard, former European Commissioner for Climate Action, 2010-2014; Christoph Beier, Vice-Chair of the GIZ Management Board; and Felix Zhang, CEO of the Chinese energy company, Envision Energy, and platinum sponsor of the initiative.

About Dena: dena is Germany’s centre of expertise for energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and intelligent energy systems. It supports the implementation of the energy transition in politics, industry and society. It views the energy system as a whole and promotes energy generation and use as efficiently, safely affordably and as environmentally friendly as possible, both nationally and internationally. Dena’s shareholders are the Federal Republic of Germany, the KfW Group, Allianz SE, Deutsche Bank AG and DZ BANK AG.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Outotec to Establish a Services Business Unit to Focus on This Sector


|| December 21: 2016 || ά. In order to strengthen its focus on service business, Outotec has decided to change its business structure and establish a Services Business Unit as of April 01, 2017. The change aims at further developing Outotec's service offering and capabilities close to customers.  The recruitment of the head for the Services Business Unit has been started. Until the appointment is made CEO Markku Teräsvasara will lead the design work of the new business unit.

Mr. Kimmo Kontola, MBA, B.Sc, Chemical Eng, 54, has been appointed President of Minerals Processing business unit. Mr Kontola will join as a member of the Executive Board of Outotec as of January 01, 2017. Mr Kimmo Kontola has a long experience within Outotec in various leadership positions. He is currently leading the Beneficiation business line in Minerals Processing business unit and, prior to that, he was head of Outotec's Americas region.

"Outotec has plenty of untapped potential for service business in its installed base. We are establishing a new Services business unit to further strengthen the focus and management of our service business. After this change, we will have an better clarity in Outotec's business mode with three business units.

With stronger operational focus we aim to improve our performance and customer satisfaction. I am also pleased that we have been able to nominate Kimmo Kontola from within the company to lead the minerals processing business." says Markku Teräsvasara, President and CEO of Outotec.

The company has two reporting segments according to IFRS Eight: Minerals Processing and Metals, Energy and Water. The service business will continue to be reported as part of the two reporting segments, Minerals Processing and Metals, Energy and Water.

For further information, please contact: Outotec: Markku Teräsvasara, CEO: Tel. +358 20 529 211: Kaisa Aalto-Luoto, SVP, Human Resources & Communications: Tel. +358 20 529 4005: Emails: firstname.lastname at outotec.com: ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Alvéole Goes to Australia with Its Multi-Protein Photopatterning Technology with GeneWorks as Its Exclusive Distributor


 

|| December 20: 2016: Adelaide: Australia and Paris: France || ά.  The Managing Director of GeneWorks Pty. Ltd. Peter Guilhaus and the CEO of Alvéole Romuald Vally have entered into a Distribution Agreement for marketing and supporting Alvéole’s multi-protein photopatterning technology or PRIMO. For many years, studying the influence of the microenvironment on intracellular and intercellular mechanisms has been essential for research in cell and medical biology. Among the methods for controlling this microenvironment is the rapidly developing process of 'micropatterning', which involves creating protein patterns on which living cells are cultivated.

However, current micropatterning techniques are tedious, complex and non-quantitative. Based on this finding, the scientists at Alvéole developed an innovative multi-protein photopatterning technique, PRIMO, to make experimental manipulations easier for researchers. The PRIMO technique is based on Light Induced Molecular Adsorption of Proteins:LIMAP technology and combines a UV illumination system controlled by a dedicated software, called 'Leonardo' and a specific photo-activatable reagent:PLPP. Working together, these two key system components make it possible to generate, in only a few seconds, any multi-protein pattern on standard cell culture substrates.

It, therefore, opens up new possibilities for multiple areas of application, such as stem cell research, and cell-based assays for drug development and predictive toxicology. Peter Guilhaus, Managing Director of GeneWorks, said, “We’re delighted to be chosen as Alvéole’s first distribution partner.

Their unique technologies in the area of protein micropatterning will enable researchers to control several parameters in the cell microenvironment and study their impacts on cell development. We are looking forward to working together with Alvéole to bring this new solution to cell researchers in Australia.”

Romual Vally, CEO of Alvéole said, ''I’m very glad that Peter Guilhaus and his company GeneWorks are our first distributor. Peter and his team understand the challenges we are faced on and want to contribute to implement our new technology in cell biology labs. Australia is a large country with a very dynamic community of researchers in the field of cell micropatterning.”

About GeneWorks: GeneWorks Pty Ltd, established in 1996, is a major Australian supplier of visionary molecular biology research products. Centrally headquartered in Adelaide, South Australia with sales offices in all Australian key cities GeneWorks services and supplies the Australian and New Zealand markets with a select range of innovative leading edge equipment, reagents, consumables and associated services. For further, contact: Tetyana Shandala, Product Manager Alvéole, Tel: +61881596250, E-mail: tetyanas at geneworks.com.au

About Alvéole: Alvéole was founded in 2010 by three researchers from CNRS in collaboration with Quattrocento, a 'creator of companies' in the life sciences field that enables academic researchers to transform their inventions into commercial products. Vincent Studer, a microfluidics specialist, Maxime Dahan, a cell imaging specialist and Jean-Christophe Galas, a specialist in nanostructures, have collaborated since 2008 to develop tools for research in cell biology. In 2016, after six years of industrial development, Alvéole launched its first product, PRIMO, a photopatterning device that allows biologists to create protein patterns for cell-based assays with applications in cell biology and medical research. The company, currently undergoing expansion, now comprises 12 people, five of whom are devoted to research and development.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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How Did  2016 House the Market

 

|| December 19: 2016|| ά. 2016 proved a challenging year for the Prime Central London:PCL property market. The past 12 months not only witnessed a marked slowdown in sales activity as Stamp Duty changes dramatically affected sentiment, but uncertainty has been a recurring theme, both before and following the UK’s EU Referendum. With the headwinds it has been encountering, this year has seen the PCL market fragment with different dynamics driving the performance of property at the lower end and the luxury end. This has created a watershed at £01m, above which tax is having the most significant effect on investor decisions.

As a whole, prices have remained resilient. According to new Q3 statistics released by HM Land Registry and analysed by London Central Portfolio:LCP, they have remained broadly static this year, reflecting a fall of just 0.5% to £1,590,470 on a rolling annual basis. A 0.5% increase in prices, however, has been recorded in the last quarter. Significantly more dramatic has been the 24% fall in transactions vs the previous year and 58.1% and 50% falls for Q2 and Q3 respectively. This far outweighs the 29% increase in sales in Q1 2016, due the introduction of the Additional Rate Stamp Duty:ARSD on April 01.

The number of transactions for the last year stand at 3,696, one of the lowest annual figures since Land Registry began recording transactions and equivalent to the depth of the Global Financial Crisis:GFC. This is 42% lower than two years ago when the graduated Stamp Duty regime came in.

The Luxury End

Three successive Stamp Duty increases since 2012, resulting in a rise from 05% to 15% for some purchases, alongside other aggressive tax hits, has seen the luxury end of the market suffer a discernible price correction with marked falls in sales activity. Whilst statistics are hard to come by for this sector, all market information points to a softening in prices. Knight Frank has recently revised their forecast downwards for 2016 with a 07% fall for Prime Central London, West. Other high-end estate agents have reported similar or greater falls. The market has also seen a suppression of rents in this area according to Knight Frank, who are forecasting a 06.5% fall.

Naomi Heaton, CEO of LCP, comments, “Following an influx of discretionary capital in Q1 as buyers sought to beat the ARSD deadline, a notable price correction has taken place for the top end of the market. Unlike the lower end, this sector has been hard hit by the succession of new taxes. Historically, it witnesses far more volatility in periods of political and economic turmoil. While the long term outlook remains compelling as a global destination with exclusive and limited stock, it may take some years to correct with prices rebasing themselves to take account of the additional buy-in costs.”

The Market Under £01m

Despite the gloomy picture for the luxury end of the market and more subdued reports for PCL as a whole, some sectors have shown signs of positive growth in 2016. LCP target properties in PCL’s Private Rented Sector comprising units under £01m. According to independent RICS accredited valuations, these have seen a 04.3% increase in value over last year.

This is corroborated by the Land Registry HPI data for October 2016. Annual price growth for the City of Westminster, where prices average £937,473, has been 03.8%. In contrast, Kensington and Chelsea, where prices average over £01m, has seen a fall of 02.6%. LCP’s rental portfolio has also considerably outperformed the higher-end sector, with rental renewals increasing by 02.8% and re-lets falling by just 01.7%.

Heaton comments, “Whilst the top end of the market is more vulnerable to the recent succession of tax hits, the tax increases have been far less painful at the lower end. In addition, property is commercially rented and if buyers are unable to achieve their price expectations, they will generally hold onto their asset. As an entry price market, it is also more accessible, remaining particularly attractive to international investors taking advantage of current exchange rate benefits resulting from Brexit.”

The Year To Come

“2016 has been a rollercoaster year for PCL residential, but signs of stabilisation at the lower value end of the market are good news. LCP would anticipate that after a year of constrained activity and increased uncertainty both in the USA and elsewhere in the EU, investors will actively re-enter the market. Current dynamics echo the recovery following the GFC when low interest rates, weak sterling and a softer market encouraged investors back in, resulting in a subsequent rally in prices. LCP expect steady but muted price growth for 2017” comments Naomi Heaton, CEO of LCP.

Adding to existing tax pressures at the luxury end of the market, the scope of Inheritance Tax is being widened to look through offshore structures and capture underlying UK residential property assets. This is likely to further impact sentiment where it has been usual for buyers to use such structures. Heaton comments: “For those planning to acquire higher value property in corporate structures, this will be another tax burden which could postpone purchasing decisions or lead to a decision to divest. This will undoubtedly slow the recovery of the top-end of the market until buyers get used to the new normal”.

The Wider Impact

The new Stamp Duty rates and general uncertainty of the UK EU exit in the domestic economy may also be starting to impact the wider London market. According to the Land Registry October HPI figures, Outer London saw its first monthly fall in prices, -0.2%, in almost four years and Inner London, its first fall in six months, -0.9%.

About London Central Portfolio Limited:LCP: LCP is a specialist residential property advisor focusing on Prime Central London. It has an extensive private client practice and has successfully brought multiple funds to market, capitalising on this sector.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Finland's Basic Income Experiment Update: Research Group Recommends Expansion of the Experiment

Pirkko Mattila, Finland's Minister of Social and Affairs and Health: Image: Finland Government

|| December 19: 2016|| ά. The research group working on Finland's Basic Income Experiment proposes its implementation in multiple stages. According to the group, this would be the most reliable way of learning more about the basic income. It would also enable the further development of study designs and provide the information needed to revamp the Finnish social security system to meet future needs.

The research group reviewing the basic income experiment submitted its final report to Pirkko Mattila, Minister of Social and Affairs and Health, on December 16. In its final report, the group no longer proposes a method of implementing the basic income experiment due to begin in January 2017, since a experiment design has already been prepared. In a preliminary report issued in March 2016, the research group reviewed various basic income models and experiment designs, and anticipated their costs and effects. In its final report, the group focuses on the presentation of various options for further research.

The final design of a experiment is always the result of compromise. The current legislation is very restrictive with respect to experiments intended to have a material impact on people’s lives. The budget for the experiment is just as crucial as legislative changes. Sufficient funds should be set aside for continuous experiments. The research group proposes a series of experiments which would involve testing a range of basic income and tax models on an expanded test group.

The objective of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s Government is to foster a culture of experimentation. The basic income experiment is one of the Government’s six experiments. The purpose of the experiment is to explore whether it might lead to the overall reform of the social security system and, in particular, liberate people from the welfare trap.

Although the basic income experiment is a major step in itself, the research group hopes to see a series of other field experiments, on issues of social importance, performed at the same time. This would enable a social reform based on stronger, fact-based evidence.

Background: The report on options for the basic income experiment was prepared by a consortium comprising the Social Insurance Institution of Finland Kela, VATT Institute for Economic Research, the universities of Helsinki, Tampere, Eastern Finland and Turku, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, the think tank Tänk, and Finnish entrepreneurs, with the help of the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities. The project formed part of the implementation of the Government's analysis and research plan for 2015.

For further information on the Government's analysis and research activities, visit tietokayttoon.fi

For additional information, please contact: Professor Olli Kangas, Director of Community Relations, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, Kela, tel. +358 400 261158, firstname.lastname at kela.fi: Timo A. Tanninen, Ministerial Counsellor of Finance, tel. +358 295 163 572, firstname.lastname at stm.fi: Liisa Siika-aho, Director, tel. +358 295 163 085, firstname.lastname at stm.fi:
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Year in Review for Graphite, Salt and Activated Carbon

 

|| December 19: 2016|| ά. Carbon and chemicals experienced a complicated year in 2016. Overarching trends included debt reduction by the major public mining companies, adjustment to China's slowing economy, and market reactions to the growing public sentiment against 'business as usual' – the European referendum vote and the presidential election in the USA. The end of the year saw a paradigm shift in how major governments view trade. Globalisation is being usurped by protectionism.

Prices for many commodities were at several-year lows as 2016 began. But by the middle of the year, commentators and companies alike were calling the bottom of the market, and prices improved. Moving into 2017, stability appears to be the key aim of the major producers. For carbon and chemical commodities, the outlook for 2017 is positive. Graphite looks set to capitalise on the anticipated lithium-ion batteries boom. Activated carbon markets are being boosted by environmental legislation. Salt trade is being facilitated by low shipping rates.

Natural and Synthetic Graphite

The graphite industry is poised for growth in 2017 with robust demand growth forecast from lithium-ion battery anodes and increasing competition between natural and synthetic graphite in this application. Yet the sector in 2016 was fairly subdued. Natural graphite prices continued to fall through the first half to reach a nine-year low in June. A very small uptick of 01% was reported for the highest grades in July, followed by a return to stable pricing for the remainder of the year. Most synthetic prices remain curtailed by low electrode demand.

Consumption remained sluggish for refractories and electrodes, the largest consuming applications for natural and synthetic graphite respectively. Ultimately driven by steel production, these applications performed poorly with depressed steel output in Europe and North America. While there have been concerns about the Chinese economy slowing down, domestic crude steel output continued to ramp up throughout the year although this was not enough to stimulate the refractories sector.

China continued to consolidate its natural flake graphite industry in an attempt to bring production further under state control and to eliminate environmental concerns. Major anode manufacturers, such as Shenzhen BTR New Energy Material, increased control over flake resources. Ongoing encouragement of downstream production resulted in increased export of processed spherical graphite in 2016, while exports of natural flake graphite remained static.

Meanwhile, ROW producers ground to a halt with closures persisting for recently-opened natural graphite projects in Sweden, Leading Edge Materials and Australia, Valence Industries, which voluntarily entered administration in July.

Producers continue to look to the batteries sectors in an attempt to forecast future trends in graphite. Automotive manufacturers targeting extensive battery consumption, such as Tesla, BYD and Volkswagen, have yet to commit to potential sources for their graphite. Questions remain over whether they will choose natural or synthetic graphite, and if it will be sourced from China or ROW suppliers. Tesla officially opened its ‘gigafactory’ in July following claims that it could triple planned battery output to 150GWh if needed in future.

A number of natural graphite hopefuls claim to have graphite of the correct quality and price for supply to the battery industry. Syrah Resources progressed with its large Balama project in Mozambique, reporting an offtake agreement with Marubeni and an increase to reserve estimates.

China still dominates the supply chain: from flake graphite mining, spherical graphite processing and synthetic graphite production, through to production of anodes and final battery manufacture. A consortium of ROW graphite producers and companies with development projects joined together in early 2016 in the hope of establishing a spherical graphite supply chain outside of China, acquiring a micronising and spheronising mill in the USA.

Salt

The global salt market in 2016 was facilitated by historically-low shipping rates. Transporting salt and other bulk commodities over long distances has become increasingly viable and new, long-distance routes opened up throughout the year. This led to an inter-regional salt market.

Countries in Asia have historically relied on imports of high-grade, low-cost solar salt from Australia for use in the domestic chemicals industry. The last 12 months saw Australia remain as the world’s largest salt exporter, shipping an estimated 09.2Mt, accounting for 17% of the global total, Australia does not disclose export figures, so those quoted represent reported imports from trade partners.

Exports were, however, down 19% y-on-y, which can in part be explained by reduced demand following cutbacks in Asian chloralkali and synthetic soda ash capacity in 2015/16, but also added competition from low-cost Indian solar salt, which put downward pressure on salt prices. Exports of solar salt from India destined for the Chinese chemical market proved significant in 2016, totalling an estimated 3Mt of salt to China, up 28% year on year.

In October, the global salt industry was boosted by the Chinese government’s announcement that it would be liberalising the domestic salt market, ending its administrative price controls. Wholesale and retail salt prices will be determined from January 01, 2017 by operating costs, salt grades and the performance of the salt market. The move marks the end of over 2,000 years of Chinese state monopoly, providing opportunities for Chinese salt suppliers as well as suppliers from the rest of the world.

Earlier in the year, the world’s largest salt producer K+S Group announced that it was developing its 03.5Mtpy high-purity solar salt Ashburton project in Australia. With the Chinese chloralkali industry forecast to grow 05%py to 2025, much of this increased demand will be met by Indian solar salt, but also by exports from Australia. Such an opportunity is resulting in producers positioning themselves to supply this increased demand.

The USA remained the largest importer of salt, with demand being driven by de-icing applications. Shipments are estimated to have been 12.5Mt in 2016, which is down some 40% year on year. The drop can be attributed to lower demand for de-icing, following milder weather in Q1 2016.

Activated Carbon

Activated carbon markets were reinvigorated in April 2016, following the US Court of Appeal’s decision to keep the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards:MATS regulation in place. Roskill estimates that once all coal-fired utilities are in compliance with MATS, the US industry will consume approximately 150,000tpy activated carbon to reduce mercury emissions. Powdered activated carbon systems are one of the dominant technologies in the control of mercury emissions from coal-fired power plant flue gas.

Nearly 40% of the electricity generated in the USA comes from burning coal. In China, more than 80% of electricity generation is from coal-fired power stations. If China enacts similar legislation to the US EPA MATS rule, the potential world demand for activated carbon in flue gas treatment systems could double to 300,000tpy of powdered activated carbon. China was one of the 140 countries that signed the Minamata Convention on mercury on 19 January 2013 and it went on to ratify the treaty on 31 August 2016. By late September 2016, 140 countries had signed the treaty and 32 had also ratified it. The Convention will enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified by 50 countries.

In the municipal drinking water market, an important driver of activated carbon use in 2016 was the reduction of Disinfection By-Products Rule in the USA. Water treatment in industrialising countries represents a larger long-term potential market.  Activated carbon is expected to enjoy further market growth to 2025 and expansion in world production capacity to meet this growth is underway, led by China and the USA but at least four other countries have increased their capacities.

Cabot Purification Solutions remained the leading producer of activated carbon in 2016. Since the acquisition of Jacobi Carbons of Sweden from Addsorb Holding in June 2014, Osaka Gas Chemicals of Japan has moved up into second place. A relatively recent entrant to the market, Datong Coal Jinding Activated Carbon, is already the largest activated carbon producer in Asia and the third largest producer of activated carbon in the world.

Calgon Carbon, the leading producer of granular activated carbon and the largest regenerator of spent activated carbon worldwide, increased its regeneration capacity with the acquisition of Ceca in November 2016. Calgon Carbon has a granular activated carbon capacity of more than 123,000tpy and net capacity is scheduled to increase further by end-2017.

Activated carbon production is based largely on coal, coconut shells and wood charcoal, and raw materials availability can be an issue. Activated carbon is a by-product. Coal (or coconut, or wood) producers do not make production decisions based on the market for activated carbon.

International trade increased in 2016 while prices fell from the peaks experienced in anticipation of the MATS rule and then recovered when the regulation stayed in place. Monthly prices continued to increase in North America, in contrast to trends seen in Chinese and south-east Asian prices. The average value of shipments from the USA increased from US$2,967/t in 2012 to US$4,200/t in 2016. This upward trend is supported by a range of factors and partly reflects higher shipments of speciality activated carbons produced for specific applications. Roskill expects that US prices for speciality grades will continue to increase into 2017.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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ILO Director-General Guy Ryder Poses the Question to the 16th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting: What Kind of World Do You Want to Live in?

 Image: ILO


|| December 17: 2016: ILO News || ά. Our world is changing with unprecedented rapidity. Technology, demography, climate change and globalisation are mega-trends that seem to be powering ahead, creating uncertainty and, in some cases, fear of change. But, in Asia, the experience of change over the last 50 years is generally positive. It has brought prosperity, lifting hundreds of millions of ordinary people out of poverty.

Today, about half of the region’s workers and their families are now classified as middle class or richer, meaning they spend more than US$05 per person per day. With better education and more investment, people are moving from agriculture into higher-value manufacturing and services. Social protection is expanding. Labour productivity has been growing at about twice the global rate.

But the wave of prosperity has not washed over everyone equally. Income and social inequality persists, and in some places has widened, notably among marginalized groups. One in 10 of the region’s workers still live in extreme poverty, less than US$01.90 per day. More than a billion people are in vulnerable employment. There is a concerning trend for formal employment to become ‘informalised’, through contract, temporary or part-time work.

So the issue is not change itself, but what kind of change? How do we shape these global mega-trends so that they deliver the future we want? I see one very clear answer to this. That future must be based on the notion of Decent Work and social justice.

Placing decent work and social justice at the core of policymaking is simply a recognition of the obvious; none of us can build a better future for ourselves unless we include others. For proof, we hardly have to look beyond today’s headlines to find cases where the denial of the basics of social justice have created threats to peace, stability and development.

The importance of Decent Work for inclusive and sustainable development has been recognized internationally and is fully reflected in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development , in particular in Goal Eight. We must harness these mega-trends so they support the Sustainable Development Agenda, and shape the future of work so that it delivers the maximum benefit to all people, equally. The question is, how?

In a few days, I’ll be joining hundreds of Government ministers, workers' and employers' organization representatives, academics and others to discuss this, at the ILO’s 16th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting, in Bali, Indonesia.

The delegates represent more than 40 countries in Asia, the Pacific and the Arab States – equivalent to about 60 per cent of the global workforce. This ambitious forum only takes place every four years, and the range of actors brought together is unique in the international system, nowhere outside the ILO do employers and workers’ leaders sit down to negotiate equally with Government ministers. This gives our discussions real representational and policy-making strength.

The countries in this group are very diverse, economically, socially, politically and geographically, but, as they prepare for this meeting, I strongly encourage them to focus more on the similarity of the challenges they face. If they use their combined strength to harness these mega-trends, they can create a region-wide, co-ordinated programme of action that will pave the road to an inclusive and prosperous region that offers decent work and social justice to all.

We need economic growth that is sustainable and job-rich, rather than just statistically impressive. Such growth can only be lasting and equitable if it is built on the foundations of strong and relevant labour market institutions, which themselves are founded on internationally-accepted principles and rights that underpin better quality work. I must point out that ratification of the ILO’s eight core Conventions is disappointingly low in this region.

These standards cover the basic human rights issues of forced labour, child labour, discrimination and freedom of association, yet just 14 of 47 of Asia Pacific ILO members have signed up to the full suite of these standards. Asia Pacific leads the world in so many areas, why not in workplace standards too?

The promotion of equity and equality must be at the heart of our labour market systems; for example, through effective legislation, social protection systems, and the appropriate use of wage setting and collective bargaining.

We must recognize that workers’ rights do not end at borders. Labour migration is a massive and growing trend. The economies of many Asia Pacific countries depend heavily on migrant labour, both as sending and receiving countries. When labour migration is properly managed, it is a conduit for skills and wages to flow where they are most needed. It can, and must, be a triple-win; benefiting migrants and their families, their home country and their destination.

And, crucially, we need effective social dialogue. None of this will be achieved without discussions and negotiations that engage all the stakeholders of the ‘real’ economy, Governments, workers’ and employers, in policy-making and implementation, and treat their views with equal importance and respect.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development offers us a chance to transform the future of work so that it is inclusive, decent and equitable. It is a huge challenge, which will take great political will, long-term thinking and sophisticated co-ordination. I am confident that the countries of this region can rise to it.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Grünenthal Receives Breakthrough Therapy Designation From U.S. FDA for Neridronic Acid for the Treatment of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome


|| December 16: 2016 || ά. Grünenthal, an R&D-driven, privately held international pharmaceutical company, headquartered in Germany, and Abiogen Pharma, privately held Italian pharmaceutical company, headquartered in Pisa, Italy, have announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:FDA has granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation to Neridronic Acid, an investigational medicine, for the treatment of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome:CRPS, a serious, disabling orphan disease. Currently in Phase III of clinical development, Neridronic Acid, could be the first FDA-approved treatment in the U.S. for CRPS, with severe, persistent pain without sufficiently effective treatment options today.

Gabriel Baertschi, CEO of the Grünenthal Group: Dr. Massimo Di Martino, President and CEO of Abiogen Pharma

Today, with no FDA or EMA approved drug treatments, there is a clear need for effective treatment options to address this significant unmet medical need. CRPS is a debilitating condition characterised by severe, continuous, burning pain often occurring in an extremity after injury or surgery. It is one of the most painful conditions a patient can experience. The Breakthrough Therapy Designation is supported by data from a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase II clinical trial showing significant reduction in pain and symptoms of CRPS-I with Neridronic Acid treatment.

Neridronic Acid is a new chemical entity:NCE and investigational drug in the U.S. It received fast track designation in August 2015 and orphan drug designation in March 2013 by the FDA. "The terrible burden for patients with CRPS motivates us every day to deliver true benefits to them." said Dr. Klaus-Dieter Langner, Chief Scientific Officer of Grünenthal.

"It is very encouraging to see that the FDA recognises the urgent need for new treatments for patients with CRPS and has granted Neridronic Acid the status of a Breakthrough Therapy. This supports our efforts to develop an efficacious treatment option to these patients. We are committed to working closely with the FDA to bring Neridronic Acid to patients with CRPS as fast as possible."

Gabriel Baertschi, CEO of the Grünenthal Group, points out, "Grünenthal is highly dedicated to improving the lives of patients with pain as well as rare diseases with limited treatment options. This is an area of high unmet medical need. As a worldwide leader in pain, our focus is to develop potentially life-changing treatments for patients with various diseases accompanied with pain.

Through the acquisition of Thar Pharmaceuticals, we have recently added an orally available form of Zoledronic Acid to our pipeline which is to enter phase III development for treatment of CRPS. Together with Neridronic Acid as our lead compound in CRPS, our platform of promising development candidates for this debilitating disease is growing."

"We are very pleased to see how the ongoing collaboration with Grünenthal on a molecule born in our Research Centre is evolving, and we are looking forward to continuing our relationship." said Dr. Massimo Di Martino, President and CEO of Abiogen Pharma. "Working to potentially improve the lives of patients with CRPS is very rewarding and we are committed to do everything supporting Grünenthal in its efforts."

The FDA's Breakthrough Therapy Designation is intended to expedite the development and review of medicines that treat a serious or life threatening disease and show early evidence of potential clinical benefit in such diseases, to help ensure that patients receive access to medicines as soon as possible. Grünenthal obtained the development and commercialisation rights for North America and South America in 2013.

About Neridronic Acid: Neridronic Acid is an investigational aminobisphosphonate in phase III of development. It is not approved in the United States. Grünenthal holds the development and marketing rights for North America and South America. Neridronic Acid was discovered and developed by Abiogen Pharma, Pisa, Italy. Abiogen had licensed the development and commercial rights for North America and South America to the U.S.-based company NovaPharm Therapeutics; Grünenthal had obtained these rights in 2013.

About CRPS: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome:CRPS: Formerly known as RSD or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is a debilitating condition characterised by severe, continuous, burning or throbbing pain often occurring in an extremity after injury or surgery. The excessive pain is accompanied by changes in skin colour, temperature and:or swelling:edema. It is persistent and is ranked as the most painful form of chronic pain that exists today by the McGill Pain Index. CRPS results in loss of physical function, and can lead to significant and sometimes permanent disability. There are currently no FDA or EMA approved treatments for patients with CRPS.

About Grünenthal: The Grünenthal Group is an independent, family-owned, international research-based pharmaceutical company headquartered in Aachen, Germany. We are an entrepreneurial specialist delivering true benefits to patients. By sustainably investing in research and development above the industrial average, we are committing to innovation in order to treat unmet medical needs and bring value-adding products to markets. Grünenthal is a fully integrated research & development company with a long track record of bringing innovative pain treatments and state-of-the-art technologies to patients. Altogether, the Grünenthal Group is present in 32 countries with affiliates in Europe, Latin America and the U.S. Grünenthal products are sold in more than 155 countries and approx. 5,400 employees are working for the Grünenthal Group worldwide. In 2015, Grünenthal achieved revenues of € 1.2 bn. Grünenthal also has a U.S. presence in Morristown, N.J.

About Abiogen Pharma: Abiogen Pharma is a privately owned specialist pharmaceutical company focused on bone metabolism and some rare diseases. The Company was founded in 1997 as a spin-off of Istituto Gentili. Abiogen employs about 330 people with its head quarter in Pisa, Italy. The team of R&D of Abiogen Pharma had developed and continues to develop several bisphosphonates, including alendronate, clodronate ethidronate, and neridronic acid.

For further information, ccontact: Grünenthal, Steffen Fritzsche: Tel.: +49 241 569-1335: Fax.: +49 241 569-51335: steffen.fritzsche at grunenthal.com. Grünenthal GmbH, 52099 Aachen, Germany

Abiogen: Carlotta Cesqui Di Martino: Asset Management & Comunication Director: Tel. : +39 05003154259: Fax.: +39 0503161191: c.dimartino at mdmholding.it: Abiogen Pharma, 56121 Pisa, Italy. ω.

Images: The Grünenthal Group and Abiogen Pharma

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Globally Millions of Jobs are Needed to Ensure Essential Health Care

Image: A. González Farran:UNAMID

|| December 16: 2016: ILO News: Geneva: Switzerland || ά. An estimated 50 million decent jobs are missing in 2016 to address essential global health requirements through universal health coverage:UHC and ensure human security, particularly, with respect to highly infectious diseases like Ebola. Demographic ageing over the next 15 years is expected to further increase employment needs in the global health supply chain by 84 million jobs. The study Health workforce: A global supply chain approach provides new data on the employment effects of health economies in 185 countries. It takes an unprecedented approach by including all workers in the wider economy contributing to the delivery of health care and services within and across countries in global health supply chains.

The data provide evidence that a large invisible workforce of globally 57 million unpaid workers fills in for the huge shortages of skilled health workers. Most of them are women who gave up employment to provide care, for example, to older family members. According to the study, globally some 234 million workers are working towards the achievement of health targets such as universal health coverage:UHC. This number includes 27 million doctors and nurses and other workers in health occupations employed in the public and private sector. However, the large majority of the workforce, 106 million workers representing 70 per cent of the health economy workforce, have jobs in non-health occupations. The latter include the 57 million unpaid family workers already mentioned, and another 45.5 million often low paid workers in jobs lacking decent working conditions, mainly in the areas of maintenance, cleaning, administrative support and informal care.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution may make some jobs obsolete and displace employment, but health care services are going to generate millions of jobs.” said Isabel Ortiz, Director of ILO Social Protection Department. “The creation of the missing millions of jobs will improve living standards, economic growth and development, especially, in countries with high levels of unemployment among lower-skilled workers and lacking health services.”

According to the author of the report, Xenia Scheil-Adlung, ILO Health Policy Co-ordinator, this is due to the fact that 91 per cent of the health employment potential exists in lower-middle and low income countries of Africa and Asia where jobs would boost inclusive economic growth and contribute to achieving full employment. In Africa, currently about 15 million workers could be employed in the formal economy if sufficient investments in UHC were made available. In Asia, the current employment potential amounts to 29 million workers in health and non-health occupations. By 2030, employment in Africa could be increased by additionally 27 million and in Asia by 39 million jobs.

Applying the global supply chain and health economy perspective reveals the multiplier employment effects of investments in UHC across economic sectors and professions in the wider economy. The study finds that each investment in a job for a physician or a nurse is resulting in jobs for 02.3 workers without a health profession.

The study suggests that in meeting health needs full consideration should be given to the large number of people working in the broader health economy in non-health occupations, particularly, unpaid workers. For achieving sustainable results and progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals:SDGs, it will be crucial to focus on decent working conditions for all workers in global health supply chains and national health economies, including the payment of adequate salaries and social protection coverage.

“We need a rethinking of current policies to achieve universal health coverage by unlocking the potential of decent employment.” concludes Scheil-Adlung. The study highlights the need for transforming informal unpaid care giving into sufficient numbers of jobs for skilled workers with decent working conditions. This would have a direct positive impact on the economy and on millions of women who gave up formal jobs to provide care to older family members in the absence of skilled care workers.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Slowing Global Wage Growth for the Fourth Straight Year Greatly Concerning: ILO

Overworked and undervalued, women migrant workers in the Thai construction and domestic work sectors are regularly
discriminated against and often lack labour protection. Image: ILO

 

|| December 15: 2016 || ά. Pulled down by declining wage growth in developing countries and regions, earnings around the world dropped to their lowest level since 2012, a new United Nations report has revealed. According to the International Labour Organisation:ILO Global Wage Report 2016:17: Wage inequality in the workplace, wage growth fell from 02.5 per cent in 2012 to 01.7 per cent in 2015. Furthermore, if China, with the fastest wage growth in the world, is not included, the drop would be from 01.6 per cent to 0.9 per cent.

“In an economic context in which lower demand leads to lower prices or deflation, falling wages could be the source of great concern, as it could add further pressure to deflation.” Deborah Greenfield, the ILO Deputy Director-General for Policy, said in a news release announcing the report. The release added that in much of the period following the 2008-2009 financial crisis, wage growth was propelled by relatively strong growth in developing countries and regions. However, more recently, this trend has slowed or reversed.

Among emerging and developing G20 countries, real wage growth declined from 06.6 per cent in 2012 to 02.5 per cent in 2015. Among developed G20 countries, it rose from 0.2 per cent in 2012 to 01.7 per cent in 2015, the highest rate in the last decade. The report also showed vast differences between regions among developing economies. In 2015, growth in South and East Asia, and the Pacific was relatively robust at 04.0 per cent, but this declined to 03.4 per cent in Central and Western Asia, and is estimated at 02.1 per cent in the Arab countries and at 02.0 per cent in Africa. However, real wages fell by 01.3 per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean, and by 05.2 per cent in Eastern Europe.

At the same time, the report also showed stark distribution among wages within countries. In Europe, for instance, the top 10 per cent of best paid employees took on average 25.5 per cent of the total wages in their respective countries, almost as much as what the lowest paid 50 per cent received, 29.1 per cent.

“While the overall hourly gender pay gap for Europe is about 20 per cent, the gender pay gap in the top one per cent of wage earners reaches about 45 per cent. Among men and women CEOs who are among the best-paid one per cent of wage earners, the gender pay gap is more than 50 per cent.” the release added. 

This report was also the first instance that explored wage distribution within enterprises. It found that inequality between enterprises tended to larger in developing than in developed countries. “On average, in 22 European countries, inequality within enterprises accounts for 42 per cent of total wage inequality, while the rest is due to inequality between enterprises.” said Rosalia Vazquez-Alvarez, ILO economist and one of the authors of the report.

When comparing the wages of individuals to the average wage of the enterprises where they work, the ILO report found that in Europe about 80 per cent workers are paid less than the average in those enterprises. The report also highlighted policies that can be used to reduce excessive wage inequality.

“Minimum wages and collective bargaining play an important role in this context.” said ILO, noting that other possible measures such as regulation or self-regulation of executive remuneration, promoting the productivity of sustainable enterprises and addressing the factors leading to wage inequality between groups of workers, including women and men.
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Caught in the Poverty Trap: World's Least Developed Countries are Being Left Behind: UN Report

|| December 15: 2016 || ά. Even as the international community pledged to ‘leave no one behind’ with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development:UNCTAD has warned that without stronger global support, 48 of the world’s most vulnerable countries will lose ground in economic development and face increasing levels of poverty. UNCTAD’s The Least Developed Countries Report 2016: The Path to Graduation and Beyond: Making the Most of the Process, released earlier this week, underscores the need for more action from the international community to help these countries progress.

“These are the countries where the global battle for poverty eradication will be won or lost." stated stated UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi, stressing that a year ago, the global community pledged to ‘leave no one behind’, the rallying call at the heart of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals:SDGs but that is exactly what is happening to the least developed countries. The proportion of the global poor in those countries has more than doubled since 1990, to well over 40 per cent. They also currently account for the 01.1 billion people worldwide who do not have access to electricity, an increase of two thirds.

Many of these countries are stuck in poverty, where the only way out is with finance, trade and technology support. Countries can also graduate from the category if they meet a certain economic and social criteria. However, for many this goal remains out of reach. In addition, in order to achieve a long-term development, each country needs to take more than one step. Countries also require what the Report calls 'graduation with momentum' a process of structural change to increase the productivity of their economies, criteria which many graduated countries will not meet.

“Graduation is not the winning post of a race to escape from the least developed country category. It is the first milestone in the marathon of sustainable long-term development.” said Mr. Kituyi, adding that ‘how’ is just as important as ‘when’ in terms of graduation. The Report actively targets the issue of insufficient international support that least developed countries receive to fulfil their developmental needs.

The report suggests a few measures that can be taken, such as faster progress towards 100 per cent duty-free and quota-free access for least developed country exports to developed country markets, renewed efforts to break the stalemate on special and differential treatment for the countries in World Trade Organisation negotiations, improved monitoring of technology transfer to, and fulfilment by donors of their long-standing commitments to provide 0.15–0.20 per cent of their national income for assistance to the least developed countries, to make aid more stable and predictable, and to align it more closely with national development strategies.
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Read the Report

UNCTAD Image: Mukhisa Kituyi: UNCTAD Secretary General

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FAO Reports Rise in Wood Production and Demand for Bioenergy

Forests play a critical role for many countries in their ability to mitigate climate change. Image: FAO:Rudolf Hahn

 

|| December 14: 2016 || ά. According to new data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation:FAO, global production of wood products has been increasing for the past six years, while wood trade saw a slight decline. “Our data registers a healthy growth in the global production of wood products and a rapid growth in production and trade of relatively new products indicating that the forest industry is adapting to changes and has huge potential to become a key player in emerging bio-economies.” said Mats Nordberg, FAO Senior Forestry Officer.

The data also suggests that the growth in the production volume ranged from between one to eight per cent, and was mainly triggered by the continuous economic development in Asia, a recovering housing market in North America, and expansion of the bioenergy targets. In addition, FAO reported a small decrease in global trade value of wood and paper products from $267 billion in 2014 to $236 billion last year. The wood pellet production in Europe has grown in the last decade, due to a high demand for bioenergy, reaching 28 million tonnes, which represents an eight per cent increase from the previous year, and 47 per cent increase from 2012.

According to the agency, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania produced and exported 3 million tonnes of pellets in 2015, overtaking Germany and Canada. The global markets of wood pellets were dominated by Europe and North America, with the US and Canada accounting for over one-third of global pellet production, and the UK, Denmark and Italy accounting for some 80 per cent of global pellet imports (UK alone 52 per cent).

FAO has also incorporated global figures on Oriented Strand Board:OSB, a type of wood panel commonly used in construction, in its statistical database. “Increased use of modern wood-based building materials and energy assortments can contribute to lower net carbon dioxide emissions.” said Mr. Nordberg.

The numbers have also shown a fall in production of graphic paper for publishing and writing from 02.3 per cent or by three million tonnes in just one year, reaching its lowest level since 1999. This decrease reflects a widespread global shift towards electronic media and mobile technology.

“FAO’s database on wood production provides a crucial tool in the context of measuring progress towards targets set out in the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, since it can help countries enable sustainable forest management and scale up forestry's greenhouse gas mitigation potential.” added Mr. Nordberg.

The FAO’s wood products statistics from 1961 onwards are now available in a new and more user-friendly format in the FAOSTAT database.
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They Go Up and Down: Prices of Currencies, Assets, Capitals and Investments and the Machines, Devices and Technology Get Worn Out, Softwares Become Obsolete: But the Only Capital That Never Loses Its Value But Actually Increases It is the Human Capital

This young surgeon is the 'miracle' of this human wealth for she is going to get better and better and better at what she does. The older she gets, practising and learning, the higher most value she is, to her place of work and for her nation, for her people and for humanity.

 

|| December 13: 2016 || ά. In view of the tightening international competition, making the best possible use of the intangible human and knowledge capital is more important for Finland than ever before. Publicly funded research is in a key position in the utilisation of human capital. All the opportunities for more efficient steering and coordination of publicly funded research must be identified, evaluated and taken into use. This was the conclusion of the final report of the research project ‘Utilisation of human capital and more effective targeting of public research and development resources’, published on December 13.

According to the report, the strengths of the overall research and innovation policy in Finland include functioning interaction between actors, benefits of small-scale systems in coordination, and increased cooperation enabled by the new financial instruments. These create a solid foundation for even better national coordination. There are great expectations targeted to the reformed Research and Innovation Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, concerning its strong role in the overall steering, national strategies and stakeholder involvement.

The recommendations presented in the final report are:
The work of the new Research and Innovation Council to outline national strategies is supported by sufficient research and innovation policy expertise, while securing the involvement of the different ministries in the strategy work.
The problem concerning the so-called “permanent beneficiary” is avoided in different parts of the system by using steering procedures to ensure sufficient competition.
Incentives are created for the research organisations to report and bring forth the social and economic impacts of research.
The need to differentiate the steering according to specific themes and tighten sector-specific cooperation in selected sectors will be examined.
The evaluations of key actors in the future innovation system should include an evaluation of the utilisation of human capital and development work on suitable indicators for this.
The research project ‘Utilisation of human capital and more effective targeting of public research and development resources’ was conducted as part of the Government plan for analysis, assessment and research 2015.

Further information about the Government’s analysis, assessment and research at tietokayttoon.fi.

Inquiries: PhD Janne Lehenkari, Head of the Research Team, janne.lehenkari(at)vtt.fi, tel. +358 40 350 8044. Erja Heikkinen, Counsellor for Science Affairs, Head of Team, Ministry of Education and Culture, erja.heikkinen at minedu.fi, tel. +358 295 330 101.
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UNCTAD Welcomes Finland's $770,000 Donation for Its Work in Trade and Development in the Developing Countries

Image: ESA


|| December 12: 2016: Geneva: Switzerland || ά. UNCTAD welcomed a Finnish pledge of more than $770,000 or €725,000 over the period 2016-18, saying on Monday that the donation will enable technical assistance on a range of trade and development issues such as information technology, training, and gender equality. The funding comes from Finland's Ministry for Foreign Affairs and follows a previous contribution covering 2014–2015. "This generous support for our technical assistance follows closely on the heels of recent Finnish support for our Information Economy Report and for our eTrade for All project." UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said.

"It will make a big difference for our developing country partners and clients who receive UNCTAD technical assistance, helping them to integrate better into the global economy." he added. "The agreement shows how Finland and UNCTAD are both committed to help developing countries meet Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals." The Finnish contribution will support UNCTAD's work on Information and Communications Technology Policies for Development, supporting developing country governments to create up-to-date legal, institutional and policy frameworks in order that they can better participate in the information economy.

New money for work on Trade and Gender will help tackle the economic consequences of gender inequality. Through this collaboration, UNCTAD's Trade, Gender and Development Unit will customise a trade and gender course, matching it to the needs of specific regions. The project will focus on the Southern African Development Community, South-East Asia, and the Caribbean region.

"We are proud to support this work and help UNCTAD fulfil its mandate from Nairobi by reinforcing the work on the links between gender equality, women's and girls' empowerment and trade and development." said Terhi Hakala, Finland's Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva.

Financial support for the UNCTAD Virtual Institute will help it continue in its work of partnering with dozens of universities around the world to share knowledge and research on trade and development topics. The government of Finland has been co-funding the development and delivery of Virtual Institute online courses since 2007.

"We see e-commerce as a transformational opportunity for developing countries to participate in the global economy, generating jobs and trading out of poverty." Ms. Hakala said. "We're delighted to see UNCTAD pursuing this goal vigorously and are very glad to support it." she said.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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IFC and EBRD Help Aversi Pharma Expand Access to Quality Healthcare Services in Georgia

But world trade and globalisation has left her behind and made her 'invisible' and with her billions of others


|| December 12: 2016: Tbilisi: Georgia || ά. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development:EBRD are supporting Aversi-Pharma, one of Georgia’s leading healthcare providers, in expanding access to affordable, high-quality medical care. IFC will provide a €13 million loan to Aversi, supporting a drive by the company to expand its network of healthcare facilities and provide advanced medical services across Georgia. The EBRD will contribute a €05 million loan to the company’s development.

The loans will finance the construction of an advanced oncology centre in Tbilisi and an outpatient clinic in Telavi, East Georgia. They will also support the acquisition of advanced medical equipment for both clinics. Many of those services are scarce in Georgia, especially in the country's outlying regions. “Accessibility to affordable, high-quality healthcare services is vital for Georgia.” said Paata Kurtanidze, Aversi's founder. “It contributes to the well-being of our society, promotes the country’s development, and reduces poverty. With support from international finance institutions, we plan to meet increased demand for quality healthcare services in Georgia.”

Bruno Balvanera, EBRD Director for the Caucasus, Moldova, and Belarus said: “We are proud to continue our successful cooperation with Aversi. This project is extremely important for the welfare of the population and will help to improve the healthcare infrastructure of the country. EBRD strives to support Georgia in all its aspects of economic development. This project is also important as it fits with EBRD’s strategy to promote higher energy efficiency, competitiveness, innovative product development, and corporate governance standards among local private companies.”

Jan van Bilsen, IFC Regional Manager for the South Caucasus, said, “Companies like Aversi demonstrate the impact that the private sector can have on the healthcare industry in developing countries. As the world’s largest multilateral investor in private health care in emerging markets, with over $1.6 billion committed portfolio in health services and life sciences, we provide private companies with long-term financing and global expertise. That enables them to improve the reach and quality of medical care, making life better for people in countries, like Georgia.”

As a result of its expansion, Aversi, which is one of the largest employers in the country with over 8,000 full-time workers, is also expected to create new jobs. As part of the project, Aversi Pharma will also receive up to $127,000 in grants under the EBRD’s FINTECC capital improvement programme. The grants will help the company install insulation, efficient heating systems, improved ventilation, and building management system in its hospitals. In 2015, the EBRD provided the company with financing to expand a hospital in Marneuli and to renovate the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Tbilisi.

Private companies are a key part of Georgia's healthcare system, providing more than 80 percent of the health services in the country. Patients pay only the difference between the fee of the healthcare providers and state's universal health coverage, which makes healthcare services more affordable for the population. The government reimburses hospitals for the services they provide to patients.

Georgia became an IFC member in 1995. Since then, IFC has committed more than $01.2 billion in long-term financing, of which $436 million was mobilised from partners. Those investments covered 55 projects in the financial services, agribusiness, manufacturing, and infrastructure sectors. In addition, IFC has supported more than $331 million in trade through its trade finance programme, and implemented a number of advisory projects focused on developing the private sector in Georgia. In fiscal year 2016, IFC invested almost $19 billion in developing countries worldwide.

About IFC: IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.

About EBRD: The EBRD, owned by 64 countries and two intergovernmental institutions, is supporting the development of market economies and democracies in countries from central Europe to Central Asia. The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Georgia, with about €02.87 billion invested in various sectors, from energy to agribusiness.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Results Show Biovica's DiviTum Biomarker Assay Can Evaluate the Efficacy of the Novel Breast Cancer Drug


 

|| December 12: 2016:Uppsala: Sweden || ά. New clinical study results presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, the world’s leading breast cancer conference, December 06-10, 2016, demonstrate that Biovica’s DiviTum biomarker assay can evaluate the efficacy of the novel breast cancer drug palbociclib, Ibrance, Pfizer. The US study, performed by Dr Cynthia Ma, St Louis, investigated 50 women with clinical stage II or III estrogen receptor positive, HER2 negative breast cancer, treated with anastrozole in combination with palbociclib prior to surgery.

DiviTum was used to measure levels of thymidine kinase:TK activity, an enzyme closely linked to cell proliferation rate, in blood samples collected before and after treatment. Results demonstrate a highly significant correlation between the anti-proliferative effect of palbociclib and the reduction in TK levels measured by DiviTum post two weeks of adding palbociclib and at the time of surgery. The assay may thus serve as an early indicator of treatment response by CDK 4:6 inhibitors like palbociclib.

“Our study provides the first clinical evidence of a method, DiviTum, for palbociclib treatment effect in breast cancer. The results are very promising and support future studies of DiviTum to evaluate and identify patients for response to CDK 4:6 inhibitors.” says Dr Cynthia Ma, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, US.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women today, affecting approximately 362,000 individuals in EU and 233,000 in the US each year. Around 1,600 new cases are diagnosed every day and 136,000 deaths occur annually in the EU and US combined.

Palbociclib was FDA-approved in February 2015. In the drug’s first year on the US market, more than 20,000 women were prescribed the medicine, whose sales are estimated to exceed $02 billion in 2016. In November 2016 palbociclib was approved in the EU.

“These first results correlating DiviTum to palbociclib efficacy are highly promising since there are no other biomarkers available for CDK 4:6 inhibitors today. We aim to provide DiviTum as a tool for clinicians to optimise the survival and quality-of-life benefits gained by patients treated with this new class of drugs.” says Anders Rylander, CEO Biovica.

About Biovica: Biovica is a biotech company focused on providing improved diagnostics, predictive data and monitoring of cancer patients under treatment. Biovica has developed DiviTum, a highly sensitive assay for measuring cell proliferation. Since one of the most fundamental characteristics of cancer is uncontrolled and increased cell growth, DiviTum enables valuable prediction capability and monitoring of compounds regulating cell proliferation and the cell cycle. Biovica is ISO 13485 certified for Quality Management Systems and DiviTum is CE labeled and MPA registered.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Defenition Limited: A University of Sheffield Spin-Out Secures Investment to Develop New Antibiotic

Image: University of Sheffield 


|| December 10: 2016 || ά. A new class of antibiotics which target highly drug-resistant bacterial infections could be one step closer after a Sheffield drug discovery spin-out company secured a major investment to tackle one of the world’s biggest health threats. Defenition Limited, a spin-out company from the University of Sheffield, has agreed funding of up to £415,000 from IP Group plc, the developer of intellectual property-based businesses, to support the vital development of a new class of antibiotics.

The continued rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria suggests that by 2050, 10 million lives a year will be at risk due to superbug infections. In order to tackle this global health crisis, the company’s initial focus will be on bacteria that the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention view as the biggest drug-resistant threats. The early-stage drug company, which was formed in May 2016, will commercialise and enhance world-leading research on flap endonucleases:FENs, a group of bacterial enzymes that are vital for bacterial cell growth due to their essential role in DNA replication, conducted by Professor Jon Sayers from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Infection, Immunity & Cardiovascular Disease.

Using its own screening platform, Defenition is identifying small molecule inhibitors of FENs which is a novel approach to tackling highly drug-resistant bacteria in a targeted manner with a reduced likelihood of developing resistance. Jon Sayers, Founder of Defenition and Professor of Functional Genomics at the University of Sheffield, said, “Increasing resistance to antimicrobials is frequently cited as one of the biggest threats to human health.

We have formed Defenition to address this critical need for new antibiotics. We have an exciting plan to target FENs, a new antibacterial target, that we believe will transform the treatment of highly resistant bacterial infections.”

Defenition continues to work closely with the University of Sheffield, including The Florey Institute for Host-Pathogen Interactions and Sheffield Institute for Nucleic Acids. Part of the funding raised will also sponsor FEN-based drug discovery research within the Department of Infection, Immunity & Cardiovascular Disease.

Sarah Fulton Tindall, Director of Research and Innovation Services:RIS at the University of Sheffield, said, “I am delighted that RIS and the Sheffield Healthcare Gateway have brought together an academic with a fantastic research ambition to meet this important societal challenge with our preferred investors IP Group, who bring access to capital and expertise to translate the science to a medicinal use.”

Defenition Limited: Defenition is an early-stage drug discovery spinout company from the University of Sheffield that is focussed on developing a new class of antibiotics for highly resistant bacterial infections.

IP Group: IP Group is a leading intellectual property commercialisation company which focuses on evolving great ideas, mainly from its partner universities, into world-changing businesses. The Group has pioneered a unique approach to developing these ideas and the resulting businesses by providing access to business building expertise, capital (through its 100%-owned FCA-authorised subsidiary IP Capital), networks, recruitment and business support. IP Group has a strong track record of success and its portfolio comprises holdings in approximately 80 early-stage to mature businesses across four main sectors -- Biotech, Cleantech, Healthcare and Technology. The Company is listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange under the code IPO.

The University of Sheffield: With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities. A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines. Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in. Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2016 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life. Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields. Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Iran's Opportunity to Commercialise Its Science and Technology Skills

|| December 09: 2016 || ά.  Iran has developed the science and technology skills necessary to be a global player in more than oil and gas, but must invest more in innovation to compete effectively in the global economy, according to an UNCTAD report. Since 2005, when UNCTAD last assessed the country's policies on science, technology and innovation:STI, Iran has had one of the world's fastest growing scientific outputs, climbing from 34th to 16th position in terms of scientific publications.

Its population now has the world’s second-highest number of engineer graduates per capita, says UNCTAD's new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Review for Iran. "Iran’s impressive human resources position it well to seize the opportunity of reconnecting with the global economy, and its policies on science, technology, and innovation will be critical to its success.” said Shamika Sirimanne, Director of UNCTAD's Division on Technology and Logistics.

"UNCTAD is happy to support and to work with Iran at this important moment in their history." Ms. Sirimanne said ahead of the report’s launch in Tehran on Tuesday. Iran has shown it can do top-notch research and work with technology, even in emerging sectors like nanotech, but the challenge now is to commercialise this knowledge, the report finds.

In place since 1980 and strengthened in 2008, sanctions may have limited Iran's access to foreign finance, technologies and markets, but they also forced the country to become self-reliant. Iran is now the most economically diverse oil-producing country in West Asia. Iran's Vice President for Science and Technology, Sourena Sattari, said, "The Iran STI Policy Review, prepared by UNCTAD, is a constructive effort to provide Iran with an assessment of its policies and actions. The report proposes some policy recommendations to increase STI effectiveness in creating more economic and social impacts and to fully benefit from our STI capabilities."

"I wish to show my appreciation for all the efforts undertaken by UNCTAD’s team of experts to formulate the present STI Policy Review and hope the constructive cooperation will be an ongoing one in different STI related areas." Dr. Sattari added. With global trade growing at its slowest pace since the financial crisis began, businesses are seeking new opportunities for growth, and Iran’s $400 billion economy holds the promise of a lucrative market of nearly 80 million consumers.

Iran will face serious competition from foreign companies. Good policy can facilitate more innovation by Iranian companies, helping to boost growth and create more jobs. Tehran has taken important steps since 2005 to put in place the right policies on science, technology and innovation, the report says, but needs to better align these with other key policy areas such as trade, investment, industrial development, education, and competition.

Foreign direct investment, for example, will be most useful for Iran if it leads to genuine collaboration on technology and innovation, rather than just an increase in productivity. Iran has set up institutions to promote technological development and innovation, but could do more. Some key institutions remain too focused on production, the report says.

However, Iran has increasingly shifted its focus from research and education toward technological development and a stronger emphasis on innovation. The economy has seen 2,700 knowledge-based firms worth $06.6 billion spring up in recent years. But new knowledge-based firms cannot transform the economy on their own. Large established industries, such as oil and gas, automobiles and steel, should also invest more in innovation.

One of the report's recommendations is to increase spending on research and development to 02.5% of gross domestic product, with an emphasis on increased private sector spending. Currently, the figure sits below 01%, most of which comes from government or state-owned companies. "Research and development is important, but is not a silver bullet." said Michael Lim, an UNCTAD economist and one of the report's authors.

The key is not just to create a product that works, it is to create something that sells in markets or solves practical social and environmental problems. "Iranian companies can boost their competitiveness by improving design capacity and softer, non-technical skills like marketing and management." Mr. Lim added.

To create an environment where innovation and creativity can flourish, Iran needs to strengthen systems that support innovation. And this entails promoting collaboration between industry and universities and research institutes, and strengthening the business environment, for example.

UNCTAD’s STI Policy Reviews assist developing countries to leverage science, technology and innovation in pursuit of sustainable development. Since 2008, UNCTAD has worked with 10 developing countries to improve their STI policies, helping their industries and companies to compete more effectively in today's knowledge-based economy.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Namibian Economy: Macroeconomic Stability, Robust Growth, and Rising Living Standards: High Unemployment and Persistently High Inequality

Namibian Coastal Desert: Image: ESA


|| December 08: 2016 || ά. On December 02 the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund:IMF concluded the Article IV consultation] with Namibia. Since the financial crisis, Namibia has experienced remarkable growth and economic progress. Strong policy frameworks and expansionary domestic policies have contributed to macroeconomic stability, robust growth, and rising living standards. Yet, deep-rooted structural impediments have kept unemployment high and unresponsive to growth, contributing to persistently high inequality.

In 2015, growth remained strong, but vulnerabilities increased. Despite a severe drought, real GDP grew by 05.3 percent buoyed by construction in the mining and housing sectors, and expansionary fiscal policy. However, with strong domestic demand and declining Southern African Customs Union:SACU revenue, the current account registered a double-digit deficit. In combination, the large fiscal deficit, the depreciation of the Namibian dollar along with the South African rand, to which it is pegged, and the issuance of a Eurobond in November 2015 increased public debt to about 40 percent of GDP, close to the median of similarly-rated emerging economies.

At the same time, continued rapid credit growth contributed to fast growing residential real estate prices and elevated household indebtedness. Headline inflation rose to 06.9 percent in September, from the 03.4 average in 2015, mostly due to rising food prices caused by the drought. Fiscal and monetary policies are on a tightening course. The government has revised the FY16:17 budget and announced the intention to reduce the fiscal deficit in the coming years. In the context of the peg with the South African rand, the Bank of Namibia raised its policy rate in 2015 and in 2016 to 07 percent, at par with the South African Reserve Bank’s rate.

The outlook remains positive with considerable vulnerabilities and risks. Growth is projected to temporarily weaken in 2016 to 01.6 percent as the construction of large mines ends and the government starts consolidating; it would then accelerate to about 5 percent in 2017–18 as production from new mines ramps up. However, without further deficit reduction, public debt is projected to increase above 60 percent by 2021. On the positive side, the current account deficit is expected to narrow to around 05 percent of GDP on the back of larger mining exports. Inflation is anticipated to decline to 6 percent by 2017 as food prices normalize.

Downside risks dominate the outlook and stem mainly from possible further declines in SACU revenues and commodity prices, lower growth in mining and construction, and sudden corrections in housing prices and domestic credit. With limited buffers, shocks could be amplified by abrupt policy responses, especially if combined with sovereign credit rating downgrades. Linkages between banks and non-bank financial institutions could further amplify shocks.

Executive Directors welcomed Namibia’s robust economic performance and rising living standards in the past several years. Directors noted, however, that while medium‑term growth prospects remain positive, rising public debt, a widening current account deficit, low international reserves, and further declines in commodity prices pose risks. They underscored that continued strong commitment to sound policies and structural reforms will be key to preserving macroeconomic stability, managing financial sector risks, and promoting job creation and inclusive growth.

Directors welcomed the authorities’ debt and fiscal strategy, and agreed that additional consolidation over the medium term will be necessary to put public debt on a declining path. Noting the authorities’ preference for some front‑loading, they emphasized that adjustment efforts should be carefully calibrated and focus on both revenue and expenditure measures while safeguarding priority capital and social spending, thus minimising the impact on growth. Directors noted that measures to contain the public wage bill, curtail transfers to state‑owned enterprises:SOEs and other entities, as well as the strengthening of public financial management and revenue administration would help facilitate the adjustment and ensure equitable burden sharing. They also encouraged steps to reform SOEs to strengthen their governance, oversight, and performance.

Directors noted that fiscal consolidation would lift pressure on monetary policy and that, in the context of the peg with the South African rand, the authorities should consider maintaining the policy rate at par, or with limited positive spread, with the South African Reserve Bank’s rate.

Directors recognised that Namibia’s financial sector is generally stable, and called for continued efforts to monitor and manage risks from rising housing prices, household indebtedness, and linkages between banks and non‑bank financial institutions. They commended the central bank for introducing loan‑to‑value‑limits for non‑primary residence purchases, and recommended that further targeted macro‑prudential measures to tame housing price dynamics be explored. Directors recognised that the tight linkages between banks and non‑bank financial institutions are macro critical and stressed the importance of monitoring and assessing possible financial stability risks from such linkages. In this context, Directors encouraged steps to improve the financial regulatory architecture and to enhance the central bank’s capacity to assess macrofinancial risks and exercise macroprudential controls.

Directors emphasised that implementation of well‑focused structural reforms is necessary to address high unemployment and income inequality. They highlighted that priority should be given to reducing skill mismatches through targeted education and training programmes, simplifying business regulations, including improving the functioning of the labour market. Directors welcomed the authorities’ intention to improve the targeting of key social assistance programmes, including cash transfers and housing subsidies to make further inroads in reducing inequality and poverty.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Circular Economy Principles Could Help India Realise $624 Billion

This is, however, is Incredible India, Made of Tablets: Image MSF

|| December 08: 2016: Geneva: Switzerland || ά.  India could save $624 billion a year by 2050 if it adopts circular economy principles rather than following a conventional but more wasteful development path, according to a new report on India produced by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in association with UNCTAD. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, an economic research and innovation think tank, promotes the concept of a 'circular economy', which is restorative and regenerative by design, and which aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times.

"Today's linear ‘take, make, dispose’ economic model which relies on large quantities of cheap, easily accessible materials and energy, is increasingly challenged in the long term. A circular economy is an attractive and viable alternative that businesses are already exploring." the Ellen MacArthur Foundation said. Pilot projects have already shown these practices contributing towards cost savings of hundreds of millions dollars per year. "Increasing circularity can help unlock efficiencies, opening up urgent investment opportunities and delivering environmental, economic and social gains." Guillermo Valles, Director for International Trade in Goods, Services and Commodities, UNCTAD said.

"Lessons from this work in India serve as an important example for other developing countries seeking to meet both the Sustainable Development Goals:SDGs and commitments in the Paris Agreement." India's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Ajit Kumar, said, "India is earnestly working towards finding ways to improve the living standards of its citizens, compatible with its resources. Sectors such as mobility, agriculture and construction will play a crucial role in the future growth of India. The suggestions contained in the report are therefore, noteworthy and timely."

Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, said, "This report builds on the Foundation’s previous analysis of the circular economy opportunity for Europe, by exploring for the first time the potential of applying the circular framework in a fast-growing market context. With its existing circular mindset and strong digital backbone, India can reap significant economic and societal benefits, embarking on a positive development path as it focuses on regenerative practices."

The report says that better product design and innovative business models could generate cost savings and increase profits for businesses, in parallel with the shift to digitally enabled platforms for asset sharing, such as Zipcar, in which procuring services replaces owning goods. A shift from selling cars to providing vehicles as a service could create new revenue streams for India's car industry. Only about 02% of the Indian population currently owns a car, but the demand for mobility is increasing, the report says.

Using data from UNCTAD, the report estimates that India could save costs amounting 11% of its current GDP in 2030 and 30% of GDP in 2050 if proven circular approaches were adopted by the public and private sectors. Greenhouse gas emissions could be cut by 44%.

The report is the first conducted into a developing country by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The Foundation was set up by Ms. MacArthur, a world-famous British yachtswoman, in 2010. The report was launched in New Delhi, India, on December 05, and an international briefing will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, on December 12.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Civil Conflict and Unpredictable Weather Cast Long Shadow on Food Security in 2016: UN

Image: WHO

|| December 08: 2016 || ά. This year, the world suffered many weather-related shocks and civil conflicts which pressured food security for many countries, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation:FAO, said today in a new report, which said that while the global agricultural situation is posited to improve in 2017, some 39 countries currently need food assistance. The Crop Prospects and Food Situation report also projects favourable growing conditions for crops, and upcoming robust grain harvests, however, due to the lean seasons before the crops have matured in some regions, the hunger will most likely intensify.

Affected by El Niño, the number of people requiring food assistance in Southern Africa is expected to increase significantly, with very high stunting child rates in Madagascar, Malawi, and Mozambique areas. El Niño is the term used to describe the warming of the central to eastern tropical Pacific that occurs, on average, every three to seven years. It raises sea surface temperatures and impacts weather systems around the globe so that some places receive more rain while others receive none at all, often in a reversal of their usual weather pattern.

The report has identified the root causes of food crises, such as shortfalls in food productions, lack of access due to low incomes, high prices, and local conflicts, including refugee movements. Civil conflicts also led to loss and depletion of households’ productive assets, and to security concerns that interrupt farming activities. In part of Sudan, the ongoing conflict has reduced the ability to engage in agriculture, which can harm most vulnerable communities.

In addition, according to the report, the ongoing conflicts led to 09.4 million people in Syria in need of food assistance, more than eight million people in Afghanistan, and above eight million in Nigeria. The weather has also affected many countries, especially Africa. As a result of droughts and El Niño, there is a decline in aggregated cereal production, and a decrease in maize output in Southern Africa, which led to harsh food conditions.

Poor harvests triggered sharply higher prices for staple maize in Malawi, where 6.5 million people are expected to be food insecure during the upcoming lean period. However, preliminary estimates point to a 27 percent increase in maize plantings for South Africa's 2017 crop, by far the region's largest producer, said FAO.

While much of Asia benefited from robust food production in 2016, led by a sharp recovery in India, the impact of long-running conflicts in several Near Eastern countries continues to severely depress agricultural production despite generally beneficial weather conditions for staple grain crops. In Latin America and the Caribbean, expectations of a production rebound in Central America in 2016 are welcome, following the drought-affected outputs in the previous year. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Ford Simply: This is the Truth: The Truth is Getting Lost in the Muddle and Getting Ever So Difficult to Find

 

|| December 07: 2016 || ά. On the leading edge of what is shaping up to be perhaps the most dynamic time in the transportation business, consumers find themselves at a crossroads. Change is the only constant, as the world seems to be in a perpetual state of flux. With truth and accountability front and center, most consumers concur it has never been more difficult to find accurate and reliable information. As such, consumers are rethinking priorities and changing how they define prosperity, value material possessions and use their time. And this is the most fundamental truth: that one ought to define and choose what is of value and what is the point of one's existence on this earth that one shall invariably come to find, ends and thus, how to use the time one has, that is a tiny flicker against infinity and not waste it in what other people tell them to be fashionable, what companies, propagandists and self-interest-seeking manipulators seek to force them to go and do and get wasted in doing that and, instead, choose to use it, this tiny flicker of time, the best way one finds worthwhile so that it helps one make one's marks of one's existence so that when one leaves this existence, it leaves a wealth of its marks for humanity, for its benefits when one left this earth.

In the Looking Further with Ford 2017 trend report, Ford Motor Company draws upon the societal shifts taking place beyond the auto industry to inform and drive its business. Insights gleaned from technological, economic, environmental and political arenas allow experts at the company to explore how trust, relationships, technology and innovation can be leveraged to create meaningful vehicles and services that add value to consumers. Sheryl Connelly, Ford global trend and futuring manager, says, ''There is no escaping the fact that disruption is now the status quo. “What’s fascinating,” she says, “is how Ford is adapting and innovating, offering customers and society at large tangible ways to improve their mobility needs and ultimately, their daily way of life.”

Key consumer findings
As the pace and scale of change increase in unprecedented ways, consumers are reassessing their values, attitudes, behaviors and priorities – placing greater accountability on brands to be transparent and truthful, and to act in the best interest of both individuals and society overall. Key findings from this year’s report include:
With a heightened focus on truth and transparency, roughly two-thirds of adults worldwide say it has never been more difficult to find information that is objective. As information can be contradictory, consumers are confronted with a decider’s dilemma, and ultimately, end up conflicted by the choices they make
Establishing relationships built on trust never has been more daunting, making trust the most precious of assets
Consumers increasingly are holding themselves, and others, accountable for making the right decisions for society at large
Globally, consumers are finding more joy in less, and taking advantage of access-over-ownership service models
An abundance of choice in the marketplace is impacting attitudes toward commitment
In an on-demand world, patience has become less of a virtue; there now are more ways to rationalizs how we spend our time rather than declaring it 'wasted'

Looking back and leaning forward
This anniversary edition of Ford’s annual trend report highlights three trends from the past that continue to shape behaviors today, while establishing seven up-and-coming trends for the future.

Revisiting Relevant Trends
01. Trust Is the New Black 2013: Where truth was once held to be indisputable, it increasingly tends to be heavily influenced by perception – and reinforced by like-minded viewpoints
02. The Female Frontier 2014: Profiles of women have reached new prominence, with demographic shifts changing household and work dynamics; together, women and men continue to redefine roles and responsibilities
03. Sustainability Blues (2014): From devastating floods, debilitating droughts, water contamination and disputes, concern for the world’s most precious resource continues to grow, with consumers increasingly mindful of their water footprint

Rethinking Micro Trends

01. The Good Life 2.0: Bigger isn’t always better, and ownership does not equate with happiness. Consumers are finding joy in less, where “good” encompasses not just possessions, but also experiences and values
02. Time Well Spent: In an on-demand world, punctuality is a dying art and procrastination can be a strength. Conventional ideas about time – and the rules that go with it , often are discarded
03. Decider’s Dilemma: With the internet, consumers face an abundance of choice – impacting their attitudes toward commitment. Products and services are adapting to accommodate a 'sampling society' that prioritises trying over buying
04. Tech Spiral: Is technology improving our way of life, or eroding it? In many ways, tech has made life more convenient and efficient, yet consumers are beginning to grapple with its downside, from lower attention spans and retention capacities to allowing their gadgets to do their thinking for them
05. Championing Change: For decades, the buck was passed between individuals and institutions. Now, who really has the greatest opportunity – and influence, to make a difference?
06. The Parent Trap: It used to be there was only one way to raise a child. Now, as parenting styles proliferate, so does judgment – yet parents are more open and forthcoming about their struggles, looking to their peers for empathy and advice
07. Community Ties: Today, community takes on various forms, shapes and sizes as citizens, educators, economic leaders and governments act in concerted, coordinated ways to build societies that give members purpose and hope

Insights that drive positive change

As Ford expands to be both an auto and mobility company, it remains committed to changing the way the world moves, just as it has for more than 100 years. As it does, the company remains focused on creating ways to make people’s lives better, whether they choose to own a car or not.

Connelly says that over the five years Ford has published its annual collection of micro-trends, important shifts have kept moving the needle toward the positive. “We’re inspired by the creativity and enterprising spirit driving innovation in the marketplace.” she says. “It gives us hope for what the future holds.”

About Ford Motor Company: Ford Motor Company is a global automotive and mobility company based in Dearborn, Michigan. With about 203,000 employees and 62 plants worldwide, the company’s core business includes designing, manufacturing, marketing and servicing a full line of Ford cars, trucks and SUVs, as well as Lincoln luxury vehicles. To expand its business model, Ford is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities with investments in electrification, autonomy and mobility. Ford provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Dutifully Stamp and You Will Find There is the Downhill Tumbling of the Run......Stamp Duty Takes Falls by Upto £0.5bn Over the Last Six Months as Prime Housing Sales Tumble Across the Country


|| December 07: 2016 || ά. In the aftermath of the UK’s EU Referendum and following a steady stream of residential tax increases, just released statistics from HM Land Registry, analysed by London Central Portfolio:LCP, has shown an unprecedented decrease in top-end sales across England and Wales in the first half of this financial year 2016-17. Recording sales from May to October, the data reflects the period immediately following the introduction on April 01, 2016 of the new 03% Additional Rate Stamp Duty:ARSD on second properties.

In the super-prime market, sales above £10m have fallen 75%, compared with the same six-month period last year, whilst a reduction in sales of 51% between £05m-£10m has also been seen. This means that only 262 properties have been sold in the last six months. Large falls in transactions have also been witnessed across the other ‘luxury’ price bands, with a 36% and 33% reduction in sales between £02m and £05m and £01m and £02m, respectively.

According to LCP’s analysis, the super prime new build market, above £05m has been hardest hit by the recent tax changes. Over the last six months, only nine sales were registered above £05m. Naomi Heaton, CEO of LCP comments, “As can be seen over the last 6 months, the market appears to have finally succumbed to the constant residential tax hits from the Government. Against a backdrop of uncertainty around Brexit and the direction of travel of the UK’s economy, it seems that the introduction of ARSD has been one step to far for both domestic and international buyers.

Developers have been particularly affected by the new landscape with only nine properties sold above £5m, a staggering 83% fall compared with last year. With these top end sales typically off-setting the cost of providing more modest housing and essential cash-flow to reinvest into new development, the Chancellor may well struggle to deliver upon his new affordable housing targets as developers begin to face losses.”

These findings will have a significant impact on the Government’s Stamp Duty tax take for the financial year 2016-17. The increase in receipts from top-end sales, which were expected to counter lower levels of Stamp Duty under £01m, appear to have fallen far short.

According to LCP, Stamp Duty takings above £05m have already halved compared with last year, even assuming every sale attracted the 03% ARSD. Calculating the tax take on sales over £01m, LCP project that the Government could be facing a £0.5bn hole in its Stamp Duty receipts over the last six months alone. With top-end sales unlikely to pick up in the face of the forthcoming ‘look through’ non-dom inheritance tax, this fall could be as much as £01bn at the end of the financial year. Ironically, it is the significant fall in the value of sterling, due to the UK’s exit from the EU, that is preventing the decline in transactions and the associated reduction in tax take being even more significant.

The picture is substantially worse for the Exchequer when comparing Stamp Duty revenues for the six months to April 2016 with the following six months. In this period, many sales were brought forward before April as buyers rushed to beat the 03% ARSD deadline. This has resulted in a 43% collapse in £01m+ transactions and a potential £645m Stamp Duty loss for the economy .

Heaton comments, This slowdown in the luxury property market, a big contributor for the Exchequer and UK economy in general, is very concerning, particularly as the Government faces wider economic and financial instability in the face of Brexit. With an already increasing deficit to address and the Government’s declared intent to increase tax revenues, these statistics should make some worrying reading for Chancellor Hammond. Having missed the opportunity to reconsider Osborne’s strategy at the Autumn Statement, we hope the Government will now look to relax some of these measures before there are detrimental knock-on effects for developers, the Exchequers balance sheet and the wider UK economy”

Heaton concludes: “It is about time that the Government understands that the political posturing that has made foreign investment the scapegoat for our UK housing crisis is having an entirely negative impact. A contraction of the luxury market will not miraculously provide new homes for the domestic market. It will simply reduce tax take and damage the wider economy as affluent investors spend their money elsewhere. At a time when the Government is actively trying to encourage investment into the UK globally, it is counter-intuitive to restrict investor access to our top-end market. This makes the UK appear a less attractive place to do business in, with the concomitant economic downside which goes with it.”

About London Central Portfolio Limited:LCP: LCP is a specialist residential property advisor focusing on Prime Central London. It has an extensive private client practice and has successfully brought multiple funds to market, capitalising on this sector.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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While the World is Busy in Other Things....... This Happens That Makes the World's Poor Suffer More

But world trade and globalisation has left her behind and made her 'invisible' and with her billions of others


|| December 06: 2016: Geneva: Switzerland || ά. For trade to deliver the maximum benefits to the most people, we need better competition policies and stronger, more independent authorities, a senior UNCTAD official says. History has shown that market abuse is more likely when too few companies become too powerful, and that the consumer, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, ends up paying for the lack of competition.

Yet the world economy has recently seen a growing concentration of market power in fewer hands. Today, some 10% of public companies generate 80% of all profits, firms with over $o1 billion in annual revenues account for 60% of total global revenues, and the rate of mergers and acquisitions is more than twice what it was in the 1990s, according to a recent article in The Economist. "Now more than ever, competition matters for effective trade policy." said Guillermo Valles, Director of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods, Services and Commodities.

"Healthy competition ensures that the private sector makes better products at lower prices available to more people, and this will be important in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals." Mr. Valles said on Monday, World Competition Day. Thirty years ago today, the UN General Assembly first adopted a set of rules for controlling anti-competitive behavior, the UN Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices.

Restrictive business practices can have a serious impact on prices, and therefore on social and economic development. Cartels decrease production by an average of 15% and overcharge by 20%, according to a study by a member of UNCTAD's Research Partnership Platform. More and healthier competition, on the other hand, can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, for example, by facilitating access to food. Reducing the price of food staples by 10% could lift nearly half a million people out of poverty in Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia alone, saving consumers more than $700 million per year.

Since 2000, UNCTAD has been helping governments to adopt and implement better competition policy. Its intergovernmental group of experts convenes global experts and policymakers to ensure that competition laws and policies are effectively regulating new markets, such as the "Uber" economy.

Organised by UNCTAD, voluntary peer reviews on competition law and policy have allowed 34 developing countries so far to benchmark their laws and policies against international best practices. Following the peer review process, 10 countries have seen their competition climate improve in the World Economic Forum's annual global competitiveness assessment.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Dena Global Start Up Energy Transition Awards Open for Applications: Deadline January 31

Image: dwr-eco


|| December 05: 2016: Berlin: Germany || ά. The Deutsche Energie-Agentur, the German Energy Agency, or Dena for short, has initiated the international competition, Start Up Energy Transition. Start-ups and young companies worldwide are invited to apply with their business models and visions. Applications may be submitted through the initiative's website. Within a few short weeks, the initiative has managed to attract numerous internationally-renowned supporters from the field of environmental and climate protection, including Patricia Espinosa, General Secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change:UNFCCC, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research:PIK and Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute. The initiative’s patrons include the Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel, as well as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Applications open until January 31, 2017.

The aim of our initiative is to bring pioneers and enablers of global energy transition together, and to establish an international network of companies, start-ups and sustainability-conscious organisations. We can only make energy transition and climate protection a worldwide success with the help of innovation.” says Andreas Kuhlmann, Dena's Chief Executive. “We are proud that this unique initiative has been set into motion with so many great partners in such a short time, not least because of the support of both of our patrons”. At the same time, we are open to more visionary cooperation partners, ambassadors and sponsors from all over the world who want to get involved in our project and support this global movement to make energy transition a reality.”

There are six categories in total, The Urban Energy Transition for contributions to digitalised and sustainable cities; Cleantech against Climate Change for technologies that are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a wide range of sectors; Future of Production and Manufacturing for digital solutions in the industry; Mobility meets Energy Transition for sustainable mobility concepts; and Platforms and Communities for the expansion of networks. The special prize Start Up SDG Seven will go to a company whose project contributes to the United Nations' sustainable development goal:SDG Seven: affordable, clean energy for all.

The award will be presented as part of the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue:BETD in March 2017 in Berlin, where over 1000 delegates from 70 countries are expected to attend. The day before the BETD, the winner in each category will be announced from a selection of three nominees as part of an international Tech Festival in Berlin. They will therefore have the opportunity to network and exchange knowledge with companies, decision-makers, political visionaries and non-governmental organisations.

The annual global Energy Transition summit, jointly organised by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Foreign Office, brings political decision-makers from all over the world together with experts from business, science, administration and civil society, and promotes the expansion of international cooperation in climate protection, energy efficiency, and renewable energies.

About Start Up Energy Transition: Over 70 cooperation partners from more than 20 countries support the project, including the International Energy Agency:IEA, the internationally-renowned alliance Rocky Mountain Institute:Carbon War Room, the High-Tech Start-Up Fund:HTGF, the 2° Foundation, the international incubator Hub:raum, Climate-KIC, KIC InnoEnergy, the European Climate Foundation:ECF, as well as a long line of important German industrial associations and organisations from all over the world. Key initiative partners include the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad:AHK, the German Society for International Co-operation:GIZ, the Borderstep Institute for Innovation and Sustainability, the KfW Group and Deutsche Welle.

The initiative’s ambassadors include: Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change:UNFCCC; Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research:PIK; Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute; Maria Krautzberger, President of the German Federal Environment Agency:UBA; Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency:IEA; Ortwin Renn, Scientific Director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam:IASS; Christoph Wolff, Managing Director of the European Climate Foundation; Ewald Woste, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Thüringer Energie AG; Martha Isabel:Pati Ruiz Corzo, Mexican environmental activist and winner of the UN environmental prize, the Champions of the Earth award; Mohan Munasinghe, former Vice-chair of the IPCC; Connie Hedegaard, former European Commissioner for Climate Action, 2010-2014; Christoph Beier, Vice-Chair of the GIZ Management Board; and Felix Zhang, CEO of the Chinese energy company, Envision Energy, and platinum sponsor of the initiative.

About Dena: dena is Germany’s centre of expertise for energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and intelligent energy systems. It supports the implementation of the energy transition in politics, industry and society. It views the energy system as a whole and promotes energy generation and use as efficiently, safely affordably and as environmentally friendly as possible, both nationally and internationally. Dena’s shareholders are the Federal Republic of Germany, the KfW Group, Allianz SE, Deutsche Bank AG and DZ BANK AG.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Eurogroup Statement on Greece

Image: ILO


|| December 04: 2016 || ά. The Eurogroup welcomes the progress that has been made in reaching full staff-level agreement between Greece and the institutions in the context of the second review of the ESM programme. In particular, the Eurogroup welcomes the agreement with the European institutions on a budget for 2017, which confirms the agreed primary balance target of 01.75% of GDP and which allows for the national rollout of the Guaranteed Minimum Income:GMI, which establishes a genuine social safety net.

The Eurogroup notes that staff-level agreement should include measures to reach the agreed fiscal target for 2018, a primary balance of 03.5% of GDP, as well as reforms to enhance growth and cost competitiveness, including further substantial reforms of the labour market, the opening up of closed professions and the removal of barriers for investment. In particular, the Eurogroup recalls that the appointment of the members of the Board of Directors of the Hellenic Corporation of Assets and Participations:HCAP should be implemented before the end of January 2017 to make the fund fully operational.

The Eurogroup recalled that the primary surplus target of 03.5% of GDP reached by 2018 should be maintained for the medium-term. We also recalled the importance of a fiscal trajectory that is consistent with the fiscal commitments under the EU framework. In order to ensure compliance with the fiscal targets in a sustainable manner after the completion of the programme, the Greek authorities commit to agree with the institutions on a mechanism and structural measures that would ensure this.

Today the Eurogroup discussed again the sustainability of Greek public debt with the objective to regain market access. In this context, the Eurogroup endorsed today the full set of short-term measures on the basis of proposals by the ESM and preparatory work by the EWG, which will be implemented by the ESM following this meeting. Those measures will consist of:
The smoothening of the EFSF repayment profile within the current weighted average maturity of up to 32.5 years;
The waiver of the step-up interest rate margin amounting to 200 bps related to the debt buy-back tranche of the 2nd Greek programme for the year 2017;
The use of the EFSF:ESM funding strategy as markets allow to reduce interest rate risk without incurring any additional costs for former programme countries. This measure will be implemented through: i: exchanging the EFSF:ESM back-to back notes supporting the bank recapitalisation loans to Greece, ii: the ESM entering into interest rate swaps to mitigate the risk of higher market rates and iii: introducing matched funding for future disbursements to Greece under the current programme.

The short-term debt measures will have a significant positive impact on the sustainability of Greek debt. The Eurogroup calls upon the institutions and Greece to swiftly resume negotiations in order to reach staff-level agreement as soon as possible, based on a shared conditionality, as agreed in August 2015, and mandates the EWG to assess this.

The Eurogroup stands ready, in line with usual practice, to support the completion of future reviews provided that the policy package, including the contingency fiscal mechanism as agreed in the context of the first review, is implemented as planned. The Eurogroup confirms that the programme implementation, as well as policy conditionality and targets, will be reviewed regularly based on input from the institutions.

The IMF staff reconfirmed today its intention to recommend to the Fund's Executive Board a new financing arrangement for Greece as soon as possible once staff-level agreement is reached in accordance with established Fund policies.

The full implementation of all prior actions related to the second review and the completion of national procedures would pave the way for the ESM governing bodies to approve the supplemental Memorandum of Understanding.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Palm Oil: Global Companies Profiting From Child and Forced Labour: Conscious Consumers Can Put a Stop to It by Simply Making a Choice as Consumers of the Products These Companies are Selling

Image: ILO

|| December 04: 2016: Amnesty International News || ά. The world’s most popular food and household companies are selling food, cosmetics and other everyday staples containing palm oil tainted by shocking human rights abuses in Indonesia, with children as young as eight working in hazardous conditions, said Amnesty International in a new report published yesterday. The report, The great palm oil scandal: Labour abuses behind big brand names, investigates palm oil plantations in Indonesia run by the world’s biggest palm oil grower, Singapore-based agri-business Wilmar, tracing palm oil to nine global firms: AFAMSA, ADM, Colgate-Palmolive, Elevance, Kellogg’s, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever. "Companies are turning a blind eye to exploitation of workers in their supply chain. Despite promising customers that there will be no exploitation in their palm oil supply chains, big brands continue to profit from appalling abuses.

These findings will shock any consumer who thinks they are making ethical choices in the supermarket when they buy products that claim to use sustainable palm oil.” said Meghna Abraham, Senior Investigator at Amnesty International. “Corporate giants like Colgate, Nestlé and Unilever assure consumers that their products use ‘sustainable palm oil’, but our findings reveal that the palm oil is anything but. There is nothing sustainable about palm oil that is produced using child labour and forced labour. The abuses discovered within Wilmar’s palm oil operations are not isolated incidents but are systemic and a predictable result of the way Wilmar does business. Something is wrong when nine companies turning over a combined revenue of $325 billion in 2015 are unable to do something about the atrocious treatment of palm oil workers earning a pittance.”

Amnesty International says it will campaign to ask the firms to tell customers whether the palm oil in popular products like Magnum ice-cream, Colgate toothpaste, Dove cosmetics, Knorr soup, KitKat, Pantene shampoo, Ariel, and Pot Noodle comes from Wilmar’s Indonesian operation. Systematic abuses in supply chain of major firms

Amnesty International spoke to 120 workers who work on palm plantations owned by two Wilmar subsidiaries and three Wilmar suppliers in Kalimantan and Sumatra in Indonesia. The investigation exposed a wide range of abuses including:

Women forced to work long hours under the threat of having their pay cut, paid below minimum wage, earning as little as US$2.50 a day in extreme cases and kept in insecure employment without pensions or health insurance,
Children as young as eight doing hazardous, hard physical work, sometimes dropping out of school to help their parents on the plantation,
Workers suffering severe injuries from paraquat, an acutely toxic chemical still used in the plantations despite being banned in the EU and by Wilmar itself,
Workers being made to work outdoors without adequate safety equipment despite the risks of respiratory damage from hazardous levels of pollution caused by forest fires during August to October 2015,
Workers having to work long hours to meet ridiculously high targets, some of which involve highly physically demanding tasks such as operating heavy manual equipment to cut fruit from trees 20 meters tall. Attempting to meet targets can leave workers in significant physical pain, and they also face a range of penalties for things like not picking up palm fruits on the ground and picking unripe fruit.

Wilmar acknowledged that there are ongoing labour issues in its operations. Despite these abuses, three of the five palm growers that Amnesty International investigated in Indonesia are certified as producing 'sustainable' palm oil under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, a body set up in 2004 to clean up the palm oil sector after environmental scandals.

“This report clearly shows that companies have used the Roundtable as a shield to deflect greater scrutiny. Our investigation uncovered that these companies have strong policies on paper but none could demonstrate that they had identified obvious risks of abuses in Wilmar’s supply chain.” said Seema Joshi, Head of Business and Human Rights.

Using export data and information published by Wilmar, Amnesty International researchers traced palm oil to nine global food and household companies. When approached, seven of the firms confirmed they buy palm oil from Wilmar’s Indonesian operations, but only two, Kellogg’s and Reckitt Benckiser were willing to give any level of detail about which products were affected.

All but one of these companies are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, and claim they use 'sustainable palm oil' on their websites or product labels. None of the companies Amnesty International contacted denied that the abuses were taking place, nor did any provide examples of action taken to deal with labour rights abuses in Wilmar’s operations.

“Customers will want to know which products are connected to abuses and which are not. Despite being confronted with such terrible abuses in the operations of a major supplier, companies have been very secretive about which specific products are affected.” said Seema Joshi.

“Companies must be more transparent about what goes into their products. They must disclose where the raw materials in the products on our supermarket shelves come from. Until they do, they will be benefiting from and contributing in some way to the labour abuses happening. They are showing a total lack of respect for customers who think they are making ethical choices at the checkout counter.”

The report documents how children aged from eight to 14 years old are carrying out hazardous work on plantations owned and operated by Wilmar’s subsidiaries and suppliers. They work without safety equipment on plantations where toxic pesticides are used, carrying heavy sacks of palm fruit that can weigh from 12 to 25kg. Some have dropped out of school to work with their parents for all or most of the day. Others work in the afternoon after attending school, and on weekends and holidays.

A 14-year-old boy who harvests and carries palm fruits on a plantation owned by Wilmar told Amnesty International that he dropped out of school when we was 12 because his father was sick and unable to meet his work targets. He said his 10 and 12-year-old siblings also work on the plantation after school:

“I have helped my father every day for about two years. I studied until sixth grade in school. I left school to help my father because he couldn’t do the work anymore. He was sick...I regret leaving school. I would have liked to have gone to school to become smarter. I would like to become a teacher.”

The physically demanding and tiring work can cause physical damage for young children. A 10-year-old boy who also dropped out of school to help his father, who works for a Wilmar supplier, when he was eight said he gets up at 6.00 AM to gather and carry away loose palm fruit. He said he works for six hours every day, except Sunday:

“I don’t go to school…I carry the sack with the loose fruit by myself but can only carry it half full. It is difficult to carry it, it is heavy. I do it in the rain as well but it is difficult...My hands hurt and my body aches.”

The report highlights a discriminatory pattern of hiring women as casual daily labourers, denying them permanent employment and social security benefits such as health insurance and pensions. Amnesty International also documented cases of forced labour and of foremen threatening women workers with not being paid or having their pay deducted in order to exact work from them.

A woman, who works in a unit involved in maintaining palm plants told Amnesty International how she was pressurised to work longer hours with implicit and explicit threats: “If I don’t finish my target, they ask me to keep working but I don’t get paid for the extra time…my friend and I told the foreman that we were very tired and wanted to leave. The foreman told us if you don’t want to work, go home and don’t come again. It is difficult work because the target is horrifying…My feet hurt, my hands hurt and my back hurts after doing the work.”

Indonesia has strong labour laws under which most of these abuses can amount to criminal offences. However, the laws are poorly enforced. Amnesty International is calling on the Indonesian government to improve enforcement and to investigate the abuses set out in the report.

Amnesty International researchers traced palm oil from specific refineries or mills directly supplied by the plantations investigated to seven of the companies, Colgate-Palmolive, Reckitt Benckiser, Nestlé, ADM, Elevance, AFAMSA, and Kellogg’s through its joint venture. The other two companies, Unilever and Procter & Gamble, confirmed that they source palm oil from Wilmar and Indonesia but did not respond to Amnesty International’s questions about which refineries they source from. Given that they source from Indonesia and that Amnesty International traced palm oil from the plantations it investigated to 11 out of Wilmar’s 15 refineries, it is highly likely that they are supplied by at least one or more of these refineries.

Amnesty International asked the companies to confirm whether the palm oil in a list of their consumer products came from Wilmar’s Indonesian operations: only two of the companies, Kellogg’s and Reckitt Benckiser, would confirm. Colgate and Nestlé acknowledged that they receive palm oil from Wilmar refineries in Indonesia. Amnesty International linked these refineries to plantations investigated for this report. However, Colgate and Nestlé said none of the products Amnesty International listed contained palm oil from Wilmar’s Indonesia operations, but did not say which of their products do. Two others. Unilever and Procter & Gamble, did not correct the list. The other three offered vague or no responses.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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What is Exactly a Junction Hackathon

Kuva: University of Helsinki

|| December 04: 2016 || ά. The activities of Slush, Aalto University and ESA encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, and are just the kind of practical work to promote Finland’s economic growth that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment wants to encourage. Bringing together the experts, businesses and technology promotes the Finnish Government’s key projects on entrepreneurship and growth in a most practical way. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment wishes good luck to those who participate in Junction and looks forward to hearing about the winners, the successful future entrepreneurs and business ideas.

This year, one of Slush’s partners is the European Space Agency:ESA. This is the first time ESA participates in Junction Hackathon, a side event of Slush. It aims at highlighting the many possibilities to use the space infrastructure, space technology and space data, and the new innovative products and services they make possible. Between November  25 and 27, ESA makes an information system that uses data received from remote sensing satellites available to the participants of Junction. In addition, the participants have an opportunity to use Arctic data provided by the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

The two best teams that make innovative use of the space data provided by ESA will be granted ESA’s Arctic Space award, 2 x €50,000, at Junction. The awarded money can be used at the ESA BIC space incubator, which is a business incubator that provides support for further development of the service or product and for building business operations. The winners were announced at 16.00 on Sunday, November 27.

Slush was organised between November 30 and and 1 December 01 at the exhibition and convention centre Messukeskus in Helsinki. At ESA’s stand at Slush, visitors can familiarise themselves with how space technology and data can be made use of in different fields. ESA will also attract start-up companies to the event.

What Junction: Junction Hackathon is a 48-hour hackathon organised by Aalto University, in which 1,200 participants from across the world build new solutions by combining the latest technologies. Junction also aims to generate new technological innovations and promote the creation of new growth companies in Finland. The objectives are: to build an international hub of the culture of experimentation in the field of technology to Finland; to meet the recruitment needs of Finnish growth companies; to enable new innovations by bringing together different industries, the latest technologies and technology experts.  Our aim is to build a Finnish hub of the culture of experimentation, in which young technology experts; work on new innovations in different industries under the leadership of experienced operators.

The estimated number of projects is about 350 this year. Collaboration partners that have participated include companies such as Finnair, UPM, Supercell and Kesko. The joint impact of Junction can be divided into two main themes.

The number of technology experts available in the markets cannot currently meet the increasing recruitment needs of today’s growth enterprises. Junction brings a large number of skilled experts from dozens of different countries to Finland, and serves as a meeting place for Finnish technology operators and young technology experts from Finland and abroad.

Many new innovations originate from technological experimentations. The event provides the participants an important opportunity to work on and experiment with new technologies in an innovative environment that is rich in ideas and in which the resources of the experts and established technology companies meet.

Further Information: Tuija Ypyä, Special Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, firstname.lastname at tem.fi or tel. +358 29 506 2115: Jesse Phaler, Head of Industrial Management Office, ESA, jesse.phaler at esa.int or tel. +33 677 531 799: Pauli Stigell, Senior Adviser, Tekes, firstname.lastname at tekes.fi or tel. +358 50 5577 856: Anna Brchisky, Communications, Junction, firstname.lastname at aaltoes.com or +358 41 545 8841:
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Biotrade is Growing Exponentially: Generating Jobs and Protecting Biodiversity



|| December 03: 2016: Geneva: Switzerland || ά. The trade in sustainable plant and animal products or BioTrade is growing exponentially, with export values reaching $04.5 billion in 2015 from $40 million in 2003, according to a new UNCTAD report published on Saturday. Increased environmental awareness and shifting consumer preferences mean this growth is set to continue, generating jobs and incomes and protecting biodiversity, too, says the report, entitled BioTrade: Connecting People, Planet and Markets.

"By applying commercial self-interest to the plants and animals around us, we use trade both to create jobs and livelihoods, but also to protect rare species." UNCTAD Secretary-General, Mukhisa Kituyi, said, ahead of an UNCTAD Congress to celebrate 20 years of work on BioTrade around the world. The Congress takes place in Cancun, Mexico, on December 03 to link with the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity running  from December 04-17. "For developing countries with a wealth of biodiversity, this opportunity has hardly been tapped." Dr. Kituyi said.

To seize this opportunity, policy makers must enable new products to get to market faster, by removing unnecessary non-tariff measures, easing access to finance for small business, and supporting small business to upgrade their business skills, and developing sustainable supply chains too, the report says.

The results can be impressive, says the report, which provides examples of BioTrade's success. In north-west Vietnam, some Dzao communities have nearly doubled their incomes by processing and selling one of their region's native plants, Che-day, ampelopsis cantoniensis, to a local company, Traphaco. Traditionally used to treat digestion-related diseases, the plant is a key ingredient in one of the company's best-selling products for common gastric and intestinal inflammations.

In Ecuador, WIKIRI is a small BioTrade company that breeds amphibians for pets and educational markets. In doing so, the company developed new breeding technologies to help recover critically endangered species of amphibian.

New EU regulation on novel food, 2015:2283, which comes into force on January 01, 2018, may facilitate access to the EU market for some traditional food products which have a history of safe use, cutting the authorisation procedure for a novel food from about three years to 18 months. Further efforts are needed to address its implementation in developing countries, the report finds.

UNCTAD supports countries to identify and seize new opportunities for BioTrade, and to introduce and implement the policies that help this trade to grow.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Episalvan Treatment of Rare Skin Disorder Goes Towards Its Phase Three Study as Amryt Pharma Gets €20m Backing From European Investment Bank’s First Ever Pharma Loan in Ireland

Image: Amryt Pharma plc

|| December 02: 2016 || ά. Sufferers of rare skin disorders will benefit from new treatment being developed by Amryt Pharma to be supported by the European Investment Bank’s first direct backing for pharmaceutical investment by an Irish company. The agreement for the new Eur 20 million loan was formally agreed at the European Investment Bank’s Luxembourg headquarters by Joe Wiley, Chief Executive Officer of Amryt and Andrew McDowell, European Investment Bank Vice President.

Epidermolysis Bullosa is a rare and inherited skin disorder that causes the skin to become very fragile and for which there is currently no available treatment. Amryt Pharma recently secured a US patent for the use of Episalvan in the treatment of EB, having previously obtained a patent in Europe for the treatment of all partial thickness wounds, including those from Epidermolysis Bullosa. The Epidermolysis Bullosa treatment market in the US and Europe is estimated to be worth around Eur 01.5 billion a year.

Amryt, the clinical-stage specialty pharmaceutical company focused on best-in-class treatments for rare and orphan diseases, has entered into a €20m facility agreement with the EIB on highly attractive terms for the Company. The Facility is significant because it provides non-dilutive funding that secures the Company’s near and mid-term funding needs for its lead product, Episalvan. It also provides the funding required to progress the Company’s orphan designated acromegaly drug compound, AP 102, through pre-clinical development and into the clinic.

“Continued investment in innovation is crucial to improve lives and build on European strengths to develop world leading pharmaceutical products. The European Investment Bank is pleased to support innovation and development of new treatment of painful skin disorders by Amryt Pharma. This represents the EIB’s first-ever direct support for investment by an Irish pharma company and I am pleased to confirm the EIB’s intention to increase support for private sector innovation in Ireland in the years ahead.” said Andrew McDowell, European Investment Bank Vice President.

As previously announced, the Company has submitted its protocol for the pivotal phase three study for Episalvan, to demonstrate its efficacy and safety for the treatment of Epidermolysis Bullosa:EB. First patient enrolment is set to commence in the first quarter of 2017 with top-line data anticipated in mid 2018 and commercial launch expected in 2019.

The Facility has a five-year term from drawdown and the associated repayment schedule is expected to present a minimal cash burden to the Company during the term, ahead of repayment. The Facility is split into three tranches, with €10 million available immediately and two further tranches of €05 million available upon the achievement of certain milestones in relation to Episalvan. The Facility has an interest rate of 03% over the Euro Interbank Offered Rate to be paid periodically, with a further 10% accruing and payable in a bullet together with the outstanding principal amount on expiry of the Facility.

Joe Wiley, CEO, commented, ''This €20m facility with the European Investment Bank is a significant milestone for Amryt and represents a material endorsement of our potential from a leading European investment body. We are delighted to have secured non-dilutive funding for the pivotal phase 3 clinical trial of Episalvan, our lead asset. The facility also enables us to progress our acromegaly drug compound, AP 102, as well as consider other licensing opportunities as part of our ongoing strategy to acquire, develop and commercialise products for rare and orphan diseases.

We remain very excited about the potential of Episalvan to treat Epidermolysis Bullosa, a rare and distressing hereditary skin disorder that affects about 500,000 patients worldwide. Currently, there is no available treatment for EB and we believe that Episalvan, a topical gel, has a compelling clinical profile. EB is one of the many rare diseases where sufferers currently have no treatment options, there are 7,000 known rare diseases but only circa 550 orphan drugs have been approved to date. Having now fully funded our Episalvan program, we will look for further opportunities to fill the incredibly high unmet need in the orphan drugs market.”

Over the last decade the European Investment Bank has provided more than Eur 130 billion to support innovation investment across Europe. The new European Investment Bank loan to Amryt is supported by the InnovFin, EU Finance for Innovators’ Midcap Growth Finance programme, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments.

About EIB: The European Investment Bank:EIB is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

About Amryt Pharma plc: Amryt Pharma is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing and delivering innovative new treatments to help improve the lives of patients with rare or 'orphan' diseases. The Company is building a diversified portfolio of commercially attractive, best-in-class, proprietary new drugs to help address some of these rare and debilitating illnesses for which there are currently no available treatments. Amryt's lead product, Episalvan, received marketing approval for the treatment of partial-thickness wounds from the European Commission in January 2016. Amryt intends to develop Episalvan as a new treatment for Epidermolysis Bullosa:EB, a rare and distressing genetic skin disorder affecting young children for which there is currently no treatment. Amryt is currently planning a phase three study of Episalvan in EB, which has been granted US and EU orphan drug designation. The market opportunity for EB is estimated to be circa US$01.5 billion. Amryt's earlier stage product AP102 is focused on developing novel, next generation somatostatin analogue:SSA peptide medicines for patients with rare neuroendocrine diseases, where there is a high unmet medical need, including acromegaly and Cushing's disease. AP102 was recently granted orphan designation in the US in acromegaly by the FDA. The Company joined AIM and Dublin's ESM in April 2016 following the reverse takeover of Fastnet Equity PLC.

About InnovFin: Under Horizon 2020, the EU research programme for 2014-20, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group:EIB and EIF have launched a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services in 2014 to help innovative firms access finance more easily. Until 2020, 'InnovFin-EU Finance for Innovators' offers a range of tailored products which will make available more than Eur 24bn of financing support for research and innovation:R&I by small, medium-sized and large companies and the promoters of research infrastructures. This finance is expected to support up to Eur 48bn of final R&I investments. Backed by funds set aside under Horizon 2020 and by the EIB Group, InnovFin financial products support R&I activities, which by their nature are riskier and harder to assess than traditional investments, and therefore often face difficulties in accessing finance. All are demand-driven instruments, with no prior allocations between sectors, countries or regions. Firms and other entities located in EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries will be eligible as final beneficiaries.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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We Do Not Live in Countries: We Live on Earth and We Must Learn to Look at the Earth as One System of Unity

|| December 01: 2016 || ά.  We Do Not Live in Countries: We Live on Earth and We Must Learn to Look at the Earth as One System of Unity: If It Gets Sick We All Get Sick: National Borders and Maps and Mindsets Cannot Save Us From the Impacts of That Sickness. And We Make the Earth Sick by the Way We Live, Work, Do Business and Go About Using Transport Systems and Make Waste and Pollution and Who Does It All Cause Harm to: It is the Humanity Regardless of What Part of the Earth They Live for Polluted Air and Environment Do the Same Harms to All of Us. This Does Not Require Shouting, Screaming and Being Angry and Opinioneering. It is a Statement of Fact. The Earth That We Make Sick Makes Us Sick and It Won't Get Better Unless We Stop Doing What We are Doing to the Earth. Unless We Learn to Live Sustainably Nothing is Going to Change for the Better But Everything is Going to Go Downhill. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Enabling Youth to Shape Their Own Future Key to Arab Region’s Development Progress: UN Report

In the Arab region, average participation of young women in the workforce is 24 per cent. Image: UNDP

|| December 01: 2016 || ά. The future of development and security in Arab countries depends on investing in their youth populations, which are better educated and more connected than ever before, the United Nations Development Programme:UNDP said in a new report on the region. The report, Arab Human Development Report:AHDR 2016: Youth and the Prospects for Human Development in a Changing Reality, urges countries to adopt policies that guarantee the well-being, productivity, self-determination, and good citizenship of their young people.

Today, there are some 150 million people aged 15-29 in the region. 60 per cent are under the age of 30. The report thus urges countries to take action to secure their futures by investing in youth.  Gains in health and education led to increases in the Human Development Index:HDI in all Arab countries between 1980 and 2010, but incomes fell behind. The HDI measures wellbeing through factors that include a long and healthy life, education and knowledge, and a decent standard of living. However, since the 2008-2009 global economic crisis and political instability that began in 2011, annual growth in the HDI has dropped by more than half from 2010 to 2014. Arab young people are unfortunately facing unfavourable conditions for development.

“The wave of uprisings that have swept across the Arab region since 2011 has shown us that we can no longer treat young people in the Arab region as passive dependents or a generation-in-waiting.” said Sophie de Caen, acting Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States in UNDP. Young people in Arab countries today are more educated, mobile, and connected than ever before. As a result, he says, “Arab countries can reap the huge demographic dividend that their young populations represent if they invest in enhancing the capacities of their youth and enlarging opportunities available to them.”

“It starts from a younger age.” said Adel Abdel Latif, the report’s Coordinator and Senior Strategic Advisor at UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Arab States. Key to such investments are, he added, 'giving them a good education, empowering them and helping them in their studies in school and critical thinking, and also making sure that they’re able to compete at the global level'. According to the report, these conditions are creating obstacles and leading to cultural, social, economic, and political exclusion.

While education has improved, these gains have failed to translate into good jobs, unemployment among youth in the region is thus twice the global average, and the report expects the situation to deteriorate further. Weak political engagement is another problem: while youth participate in public protests, voting rates for this demographic in Arab countries are the lowest worldwide.  It also cites pervasive discrimination against women, a result of deep-seated sexism, embedded cultural beliefs and traditions in childrearing, education, religious structures, the media, and family relations, and various legal obstacles, all of which present serious barriers to progress.

As Mr. Latif explained in an interview with UN Radio, “Development should be engendered, otherwise it will be endangered. If development does not begin with women as equal partners with men in their societies, it will not be a complete development and it will have a huge impact on society.”

These factors create frustration, marginalization, and alienation from institutions. While the overwhelming majority of young people in Arab regions have no desire to engage in extremist groups or activities, a significant minority is open to participating in violent activities that can lead to radicalisation.

The report therefore advocates for new development models in order to accommodate for younger generations. A call for empowering youth is not, the UNDP says, only to support young people, but also to rebuild Arab societies as a whole and create a better future.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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New UN Report Reveals Barriers to Inclusive Development and Highlights Key Steps to Progress

Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Wu Hongbo. Image: UN Photo:Eskinder Debebe

|| November 30: 2016 || ά. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs has just released its 2016 Report on the World Social Situation, which includes important new findings about persisting inequalities in education and economic opportunity and challenges the international community to work harder to break down barriers to participation. While there has been unprecedented global social progress, it has not been evenly experienced. Some 40 per cent of the world’s population does not have access to education in a language they understand. Leaving no one behind is a meaningless expression for most of humanity, most of the world population have already been left behind and they are not just left behind, they are falling farther and father away from the rest. That is the sad and cruel truth. How do you change this? How do you deal with this? This is the question.

Children of ethnic minorities and those who are disabled are much less likely to finish their primary and secondary educations. Even among those who are educated, youth, migrants, and indigenous peoples continue to be underpaid and unpaid. In some cases, social and economic inequalities have actually worsened. The theme of this year’s report is ‘Leaving No One Behind, The Imperative of Inclusive Development.’ It examines key causes of social exclusion and identifies social, economic and political disadvantages that some groups face as a result. The report concludes with concrete policy recommendations that are central to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

“The Sustainable Development Goals recognise that development will only be sustainable if it is inclusive.” said Wu Hongbo, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Development, adding “Pursuing development grounded in social justice will be fundamental to achieving a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable future for everyone.”

A central pledge of that Agenda is to ensure that ‘no one is left behind’ inclusiveness and shared prosperity are at the core of sustainable development. The report argues that in order to promote social inclusion, barriers to participation must be broken down by revising laws, policies, institutional practices, discriminatory attitudes and behaviours, and taking steps to ensure that participation is easier. 

The report’s analysis focuses on three sets of indicators: those measuring access to opportunities, such as education and health; access to employment and income; and those measuring participation in political, civic, and cultural life. Of course, many of these indicators overlap – lower levels of health and education tend to correlate with high levels of poverty and unemployment, for example.

Such inequalities tend to persist even after the structural conditions that created them change. That is, formal barriers may disappear, but discrimination can operate in less overt ways to perpetuate inequality. For example, labour markets continue to reflect socially driven distinctions based on race, age, gender and other personal attributes, even after the effects of educational attainment and other sociodemographic traits are taken into account.

“Not only are these differences in life chances fundamentally unfair, they also lead to loss of human potential and development opportunities.” said Assistant Secretary-General for Economic and Social Development Lenni Montiel.

Such trends extend to participation in political, civic, and cultural life as well, such as in voting patterns and engagement in political activities. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that the data reveals lower levels of trust and confidence in policing and justice systems among ethnic and racial minorities.

It is not enough for countries to remove discriminatory policies; subtler forms of discrimination, through attitudes and entrenched practices, must be confronted and rooted out, contends the report. While there is no “one size fits all” solution for all countries, certain efforts like a universal approach to social policy and integration of measures that tackle discrimination have been successful in the past.

The report also advocates that stakeholders must promote inclusive institutions. Examples of ways to achieve that goal are by engaging with civil society, supporting equitable work environments, and challenging exclusionary attitudes. Such changes, however slow to unfold, are necessary for sustainable progress, especially at the highest levels in powerful institutions.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Wellmo: To Take Preventative Digital Medicine Farther Afield

Jaakko Olkkonen, Managing Director of Wellmo


|| November 30: 2016 || ά. Wellmo is a comprehensive mobile health solution that allows healthcare providers and insurance companies to create powerful, compelling and scalable health and wellness services. The solution combines the most popular health applications, wearable tracking devices, as well as IT systems of service providers, and has already over 20 customers in four countries: Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and South Africa. The Wellmo concept originates from Nokia, and was spun out in 2012. Wellmo is headquartered in Espoo, Finland. What Wellmo says is that leading European insurance companies are now helping their clients to reduce health risks with new digitally based services. Wellmo is emerging as a leading player in these flexible solutions. Wellmo’s customers have a combined base of seven million clients.

“In the near future, the preventive digital health service market will be worth several billion euros in Europe.” says Jaakko Olkkonen, the Managing Director of Wellmo. Only in Germany, the total healthcare expenditure is over 300 billion euros. According to OECD, the expenditure in the Euro area is over 1000 billion. Majority of these funds goes through either public or private health insurance. For instance, in Germany, only three percent of this amount is used for preventative services.  There is vast evidence that digitally assisted lifestyle modification programmes connected to sensors and remote coaching are helping consumers to pay attention to healthy living, reducing their risks for chronic diseases.

Highly personalised and cost efficient mobile services are helping people take charge of their own health, live healthier lives, and reach their goals. Leading insurance companies have started to redefine insurance business with the help of these digital services. In addition to traditional financial cover, insurers have started to offer their members lifestyle coaching programs and rewards to help them manage their risks better. A good example of Wellmo-powered new approach is LocalTapiola’s Smart Life Insurance concept.

It was launched a year ago, combining financial cover with virtual health check and coaching, tracking of individual’s own activity and sleep quality, as well as a mobile app to collect wellness data and to integrate all services included. A survey of the participants reveals that Smart Life Insurance has helped to effect a positive lifestyle change: over 80% of the participants say they have improved their lifestyle, with 88% reporting improved habits now being a part of their daily routines.

With its background with Nokia, Wellmo has developed a market leading mobile health solution that enables insurance companies, as well as advanced health service providers to offer a rich branded digital health services. "We have seen a tremendous increase in interest among insurance companies for mobile health services." says Mr. Olkkonen. "Wellmo has over 20 international clients, now, with a total of seven million customers. We are happy to be able to contribute to healthy living." Olkkonen says.

During the past three months alone, Wellmo has gained four major insurance companies as customers and entered new insurance markets in Germany and the Benelux. Together with its customers and partners, Wellmo is building a compatible and adaptive ecosystem. Wellmo’s role is to facilitate the creation of a uniform mobile user experience and data exchange between the various partners, while ensuring regulatory compliance.

The ecosystem is open and grows continuously. It currently includes partners for wearable devices, e.g. Garmin, coaching services, e.g. Trainer4You, Pim Mulier, Fysergo, health & wellness content providers, e.g. Duodecim, lifestyle intervention platforms, e.g. MealLogger, and communication technology providers, e.g. Netmedi.

One of LocalTapiola’s Smart Life Insurance concept content partners is the Finnish Medical Society Duodecim, the leading medical content provider in Finland. "We have been amazed how well our electronic health check and related health coaching programmes work on the Wellmo mobile platform. In Smart Life Insurance concept, we have seen that practically all users have done the survey and started at least one coaching program." says Tuomas Lehto, product manager for Duodecim.

Wellmo was present at SMASH in Helsinki. At SLUSH, Wellmo is focusing on expanding its presence further in Scandinavia, Germany, Netherlands and the UK. Wellmo is also looking for local health and wellness content partners in all its target markets.

Further information: Jaakko Olkkonen, CEO: tel: +358 50 482 2161: email: jaakko.olkkonen at wellmo.com

Wellmo is a comprehensive mobile health solution that allows healthcare providers and insurance companies to create powerful, compelling and scalable health and wellness services. The solution combines the most popular health applications, wearable tracking devices, as well as IT systems of service providers, and has already over 20 customers in four countries: Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and South Africa. The Wellmo concept originates from Nokia, and was spun out in 2012. Wellmo is headquartered in Espoo, Finland.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Having Signed an Agreement with Qigenix WidCells Group is to Undertake Stem Cell Research at Manchester Institute o Stem Cell Technology


|| November 30: 2016 || ά. WideCells Group PLC, the healthcare services company focused on providing stem cell banking services and insurance for stem cell treatment has announced that it has taken steps to secure a new revenue stream, in addition to the cash flow opportunities outlined in the Company’s prospectus published in July this year, having signed a Letter of Intent with Qigenix and its CEO, Dr. Todd Ovokaitys. Qigenix is a California-based clinical stage medical device company which has co-developed a new laser technology designed to increase the homing and integration of stem cells.

The two parties aim to sign a definitive, binding agreement before March 01, 2017. Qigenix has agreed to pay a fee of £100,000 in aggregate to WideCells Group to undertake research work at its Institute of Stem Cell Technology laboratory:ISCT at the University of Manchester Innovation Centre:UMIC, designed to test Qigenix’s laser technology on cord blood cells to enhance the clinical applications of these cells. The first payment of £25,000, which is binding under the agreement, will be paid to WideCells by the end of December 2016. The remaining £75,000 will be paid in two further instalments, with the final payment due when the research project is completed, which is targeted for Q2 2018.

The ISCT is operated by the Company’s stem cell laboratory division, WideCells, which has been established primarily to retrieve, process and store stem cells from a wide range of human tissues in Europe within its Cryogenics department. In support of this, the ISCT has recently made an application to the Human Tissue Authority:HTA for a Human Application Licence. Additional licence applications for dental pulp and adipose stem cells are planned to be made in 2017. However, with this agreement now signed, the Company is now applying to the HTA Research Licence to permit it to carry out the Research Project. The Research Project is planned to begin in H1 2017, subject to the HTA Research Licence having been granted.

Work to establish the ISCT is progressing according to schedule and budget. It is due to become operational in H1 2017. The Cryogenics Department, which will handle the freezing and long term storage of stem cells, is currently under development. The Cryogenics Department will have state of the art controlled rate freezing technology along with liquid nitrogen tanks for the long term storage of stem cells.

The storage tanks are constantly monitored and have automatic alarms, which contact WideCells ISCT staff directly in the event of any activities which could affect the quality and safety of the stored stem cells. The Cryogenics Department has constant atmospheric oxygen level monitoring linked to an automatic ventilation system which activates if the atmospheric oxygen levels drop due to the presence of liquid nitrogen. This system is essential for the health and safety of WideCells ISCT staff. The Cryogenics Department also has a bespoke security system, including CCTV monitors, to ensure the safety and security of stored stem cells.

WideCells Group CEO, João Andrade, said, “The signing of the LOI with Qigenix represents a significant milestone in the fulfilment of WideCells’ strategy. We established the Institute of Stem Cell Technology at UMIC in order to create a stem cell processing and storage facility in the UK, and whilst we continue to make excellent progress in this regard we are delighted to have identified a second potential revenue stream from this facility. We look forward to announcing completion of the definitive agreement and receipt of our first revenues.

Qigenix has co-developed an extremely innovative laser technology, which has the potential to enhance the clinical applications of stem cells, and we are delighted to be able to offer our state-of-art-technology and industry knowledge to further the development of this. WideCells is committed to broadening access to and combating the financial barriers associated with stem cell treatment and we are consequently delighted to be able to support research and innovation within the sector.” ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Nicaragua’s Dry Corridor to Benefit From UN-Backed Sustainable Agriculture Project

One of the areas most affected by extreme hazards, in particular natural hazards, is the Dry Corridor of Central America,
with recurrent droughts, excessive rains and severe flooding affecting agricultural production. Photo: FAO
 

|| November 29: 2016 || ά. About 30,000 families in 58 municipalities in Nicaragua’s ‘Dry Corridor' the area of the country most affected by droughts and climate change, are expected to benefit from a financial agreement between the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development:IFAD and Nicaragua to boost sustainable agricultural production. “In recent months, we have seen how bad things can be, not only for small farmers, but for the entire population living in the area.” said Ladislao Rubio, IFAD’s Country Programme Manager for Nicaragua, noting that the rise in temperatures caused by the El Niño phenomenon made agriculture almost impossible, leaving more than 03.5 million people in Central America dependent on food aid to survive.

“The only way to avoid these food crises is to build small farmers’ resilience to climate change by investing in climate-smart agriculture.” he added. Regional falling agriculture production has led to food insecurity and particularly a decline in household incomes and has stretched rural families and indigenous people’s resilience. With the investment, the UN agency, through the Dry Corridor Rural Family Sustainable Development Project:NICAVIDA project, addresses the situation of Nicaraguan smallholders living in the Dry Corridor, a strip of land in which with 52 per cent of soils are overused and 40 per cent is strongly or severely eroded. 

“Life in the Dry Corridor was never easy, but climate change has made things even worse and, unless we give small farmers living there the tools they need to adapt to increasingly dry and unpredictable weather, they will not be able to cope.” said Mr. Rubio. The NICAVIDA project aims to ensure small farmers’ access to nutritious food and an adequate diet and increase their capacity for natural resource management and adaptation to climate change by promoting the links between economic diversification, productive transformation, environmental protection and family nutrition.

IFAD, together with regional partners will, among others, focus on the needs of communities in terms of infrastructure, road improvement and investments in public services that will improve the living standards of the Corridor’s rural families and indigenous peoples, and connect them to markets.

The term Dry Corridor defines a group of ecosystems in the eco-region of dry tropical forests in Central America covering the lowlands of the Pacific coastal area, and most of central pre-mountain region of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and parts of Costa Rica and Panama.

The total cost of the project is $48.5 million, of which IFAD is providing $20.5 million. The other contributors are: the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, $15 million, the Government of Nicaragua, $06 million and the beneficiaries themselves, $07 million.

About 191,380 households benefit from IFAD’s involvement in the Central American country, and the NICAVIDA project is one of the agency’s three ongoing operations. IFAD also sponsors the Agricultural, Fishery and Forestry Productive Systems Development Programme project in North Atlantic Autonomous Region and South Atlantic Autonomous Region Indigenous Territories as well as Adapting to Markets and Climate Change Project.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The European Council Approved the EU Budget 2017: Set at €157,858 134,490 with an Emphasis on Youth Employment

Image: ESA


|| November 28: 2016 || ά.  On November 28, the European Council gave its final go-ahead to the 2017 EU budget by approving the deal reached with the European Parliament on November 17. If the Parliament endorses the agreement at its vote on December 01  the 2017 EU budget is considered adopted. The 2017 EU budget contains €157.86 billion in commitments, with a leeway of €01.1 billion to react to unforeseen needs. Payments are set at €134.49 billion, which is 01.6% lower than the 2016 EU budget after being aligned to real needs.

"The 2017 EU budget is a blueprint for the future. It is sound, focused and shows solidarity. It delivers on citizens' main concerns by tackling the migration challenges, reinforcing security, boosting growth and creating jobs. And it provides for significant increases to programmes such as Erasmus+ that benefit young people in particular." said Ivan Lesay, State Secretary for Finance of Slovakia and President of the Council.

Two digit growth rates for top priorities

Two digit growth rates are provided to a number of top priorities:
almost €06 billion in commitments and hence around 11.3% more than in 2016 will be available to address the migration pressure and make the life of European citizens more secure; the money will help member states to resettle refugees, create reception centres, integrate persons who have the right to stay and return those who don't; it will also contribute to enhancing border protection, stepping up crime prevention and counter terrorism activities and protecting critical infrastructure
€21.3 billion in commitments are mobilised to boost economic growth and create new jobs under sub-heading 1a, competitiveness for growth and jobs; this is an increase of around 12% compared to 2016; this part of the budget covers instruments such as Erasmus + which increases by 19% to €2.1 billion and the European fund for strategic investments which rises by 25% to €02.7 billion

More money for young people

Besides the significant increase for Erasmus +, the 2017 EU budget also delivers on a number of other measures that benefit young people in particular. This includes the youth employment initiative for which an additional €500.00 million is available to help young people find a job. The 2017 EU budget also allows the Commission to start an initiative to help young people to travel and discover other European countries.

The 2017 EU budget also includes the €500.00 million aid package announced in July to support milk and other livestock farmers.

Headings 2017 EU budget, in million €
Commitments Payments
01. Smart and inclusive growth 74,899 56,522
01a. Competitiveness for growth and jobs 21,312 19,321
01b. Economic, social and territorial cohesion 53,587 37,201
02. Sustainable growth: natural resources 58,584 54,914
03. Security and citizenship 4,284 3,787
04. Global Europe 10,162 9,483
05. Administration 9,395 9,395
0Special instruments 534 390
Total 157,858 134,490

Next steps

The 2017 EU budget is expected to be formally adopted by the Parliament on December 01. If the Parliaments rejects the agreement the Commission has to propose a new 2017 EU draft budget. Should the budget not be adopted at the beginning of 2017, a sum equivalent to not more than one twelfth of the budget appropriations for 2016 or of the draft budget proposed by the Commission, whichever is smaller, may be spent each month for each chapter of the budget.
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IFS Events: Family Background and University Success: December 05 and Green Budget 2017: February 07


 

|| November 28: 2016 || ά. Two Institute of Fiscal Studies events taking place in this December and in February next year. the first one being, Family Background and University Success: Individuals who go to university still earn substantially more, on average, than those who don’t. But the socio-economic status of your parents may affect how likely you are to go to university and how well you do once there. This event will bring together the latest quantitative evidence on the size of the socio-economic gaps in university access and success in England, and what drives them. This event takes place on December 05 between 13:30 and 16:30 at the Nuffield Foundation, London, WC1B 3JS.

This event will be chaired by Tim Gardam, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Foundation, and speakers so far confirmed include Jo Johnson MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Claire Crawford, IFS:University of Warwick, Lorraine Dearden, IFS:UCL Institute of Education, Les Ebdon, Office for Fair Access, John Micklewright, UCL Institute of Education, Anna Vignoles, University of Cambridge, and Chris Wilson, The Brilliant Club. Places are strictly limited, but for more information on this event and to express your interest, visit IFS website.

The second IFS event is IFS Analysis: Green Budget 2017 to take place on February 07, 2017, 10:00-13:15 at the Guildhall, London, EC2 7HH. The IFS Green Budget 2017, in association with ICAEW and funded by the Nuffield Foundation, will analyse the issues and challenges facing Chancellor Philip Hammond as he prepares for his first Budget. The findings from a selection of chapters will be presented at the event, where the full publication will be launched.

The areas covered by IFS researchers will include a discussion of the UK public finances, including risks for the future, alongside analysis of budget options for reforms to personal and business taxes. Additional analysis will be provided by ICAEW and Oxford Economics. Support from the ESRC through the Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy at IFS is gratefully acknowledged. This event is held with kind support from the City of London Corporation. This event is free to attend, but places must be registered in advance.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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There is Always Much to Give and Much to Learn: There is Always Much to Bridge and Connect

 

|| November 25: 2016: Geneva: Switzerland || ά. In Jordan's northern desert, less than 20km from the Syrian border, Marah is learning to sew, a useful skill in Jordan's labour market. It looks like a typical training course, but her trainer is Hamda, one of 80,000 Syrian refugees living in her hometown, Mafraq. Since 2011, when the Syrian conflict broke out across the border, Mafraq has seen its population double, becoming home to the world's largest refugee camp. Unemployment has also risen in the town, and many residents now see their guests as competition.

"Access to jobs is the biggest risk for social cohesion in Mafraq." says Nayef Stetieh, CEO and President of the Business Development Centre, which runs Empretec Jordan, an UNCTAD programme teaching business skills to entrepreneurs. "Many Jordanians fear Syrians will take their jobs as the government eases employment restrictions for refugees, while Syrians worry they'll face discrimination in the workplace." Mr. Stetieh says. By pairing 100 Syrian refugees like Hamda, a fashion student back home, with 200 Jordanians like Marah, who dreams of selling custom-made clothes, the skills transfer programme helps both sides to gain from each other, Mr. Stetieh says.

"Syrians are teaching Jordanians new skills they can use to get a job or start a business, and Jordanians are helping Syrians to feel more secure and at home in their host community." he says. "It's about building bridges, and getting both sides to reach over and help the other." he adds. In an interview with the Jordan Times, Hamda said she is excited to pass on her skills to Marah and is confident the programme will build strong bonds between the two. A recent high school graduate, Marah has high hopes, too, saying that Syrians are skilled and creative people.

“It's important I plan my life and learn new skills." she said. "I will not just stay at home."  After an initial three-month training phase, the programme will help Marah and others to find work in sectors such as manufacturing. A select few will get access to seed capital and more training.

Meanwhile, the Syrian refugees will continue to mentor their trainees, earning 10 Jordanian dinars a day, about $15. In the process, they are building personal and professional networks that will help them succeed once they can work or start a business.

Designed using research by Harvard psychology professor David McClelland, UNCTAD's Empretec programme has been active in 39 developing countries since its launch in 1998. To date it has trained over 370,000 budding entrepreneurs. This nine-month skills transfer programme is a joint venture between Empretec Jordan, the UN Development Programme and the World Food Programme.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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World Trade Matters Because People Matter: UNCTAD

But world trade and globalisation has left her behind and made her 'invisible' and with her billions of others


|| November 24: 2016: Geneva: Switzerland || ά. Trade is benefiting more people than ever before, but the trade community must do more to protect the vulnerable and to include more people in the global trading system, UNCTAD’s Deputy Secretary-General Joakim Reiter said. Talking at a commemorative event to mark the 100th session of the WTO’s Committee on Trade and Development, Mr. Reiter highlighted the fact that in 2015 trade accounted for 30% of global GDP, up from 20% two decades ago. Also, five decades ago, developing and transition economies accounted for less than a quarter of global trade. Today, they account for nearly half.

“We have never traded as much as we do today.” he said. “More than ever, our individual destinies are tied to the destiny of others.” This trade-driven transformation has helped with a massive reduction of poverty around the world. In just 20 years, nearly one billion people have been lifted out of poverty. Despite these achievements, however, trade and possibly globalisation, have increasingly come under fire, especially in developed countries. To some extent, this was not a surprise. “We always knew that trade created winners and losers. But we focused more on telling the story of the winners and neglected the reality of the losers.” he said.

The international trade community must do a better job of addressing concerns about trade, including among those who have not yet benefitted. Mr. Reiter underlined that for trade to deliver the maximum benefits, it needs complementary policies such as competition policy, consumer protection, skills development, and more.

More people, especially the poorest among us, must also be given better opportunities to take part in trade, Mr. Reiter said, noting among other things the potential of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, e-commerce, and the value of ending harmful fishing subsidies.

“Trade matters, because people matter.” Mr. Reiter stressed. “We should not care about trade for the sake of trade, but because it has the power to transform the lives of people and their standards of living.”
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Hired and Fired: In Finland the Later Gets Re-employed Quickly: OECD Report

 

|| November 24: 2016 || ά. The Finnish labour market model has proven to be fairly flexible in recent years assesses the OECD. Dismissals are common in Finland by international standards, but a majority of displaced workers gain re-employment quickly. However, special attention should be given to people over the age of 55, who are dismissed, and the long-term unemployed. On November 24 the OECD published a country report, which analyses the functioning of Finland's labour market from the perspective of dismissal and re-employment and examines policy measures that support employment.

In Finland, 05.5 per cent of Finnish workers with at least one year of tenure become displaced each year due to dismissals, mass dismissals or as a result of firms closing down. According to a survey, nearly five out of six dismissed workers gains new employment within a year. Of the OECD countries that can be compared to Finland, only Sweden has as high a re-employment rate. As in other OECD countries, re-employment in Finland is less common for people over the age of 55 and under the age of 25. People, who have been dismissed and have a low level of education or work in industry, are less likely to gain re-employment.

The OECD estimates that the Finnish labour market is effective from the perspective of the majority of its labour force. Especially in the case of older displaced workers and the long-term unemployed the model could be further developed.

The report finds that funding of public employment services is lower in Finland than in many other OECD member countries. For this reason, the OECD is recommending that Finland increase the resources allocated to public employment services and focus them more on identifying the potentially long-term unemployed earlier than previously. Additionally, the OECD recommends that dismissed workers are provided more intensive employment services by funding the services in a performance-based manner.

The OECD feels that Finland's unemployment benefit system is comprehensive and fairly effective. According to the OECD, it is not possible to lower benefits in Finland a great deal from their present level, so benefit recipients should be encouraged to seek employment by e.g. implementing stricter obligations for job searches.

''It is beneficial to gain up-to-date research data on how Finland's labour market places in international comparisons. Reforms to the Government's unemployment security and employment services will make accepting employment more appealing and will better support the unemployed in job search.'' Minister of Justice and Employment Jari Lindström says.

On November 24, the OECD published its Back to Work country report on Finland as part of a comparative study covering nine countries. In addition to the OECD, the Labour Institute for Economic Research participated in the preparation of the report.

Further Information: Labour Market Counsellor Kimmo Ruth, tel. +358 29 50 48073
Research Director Heikki Räsänen, tel. +358 29 50 47118:
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The Autumn Statement: I am Abolishing the Autumn Statement


|| November 23: 2016 || ά.  The much anticipated Autumn Statement has been delivered by the Chancellor of Exchequer Philip Hammond today. And, in order to understand what has been declared, one must read the Statement which follows. However, the most noteworthy of all the announcements, in terms of how out of expectation it was, the chancellor announced: I am Abolishing the Autumn Statement! There is not going to be anymore Autumn Statement to come. And here is, therefore, the very first and the very last Autumn Statement made by Philip Hammond: ''It is a privilege to report today on an economy which the IMF predicts will be the fastest growing major advanced economy in the world this year. An economy with employment at a record high, and unemployment at an 11 year low. An economy which, through the hard work of the British people, has bounced back from the depths of recession. And an economy which has confounded commentators at home and abroad with its strength and its resilience since the British people decided, exactly five months ago today, to leave the European Union and chart a new future for our country.

That decision will change the course of Britain’s history. It has thrown into sharp relief the fundamental strengths of the British economy that will ensure our future success: The global reach of our services industries; The strength of our science and high-tech manufacturing base. And the cutting-edge British businesses that are leading the world in disruptive technologies, But it’s a decision that also makes more urgent than ever the need to tackle our economy’s long-term weaknesses. Like the productivity gap.
The housing challenge. And the damaging imbalance in economic growth and prosperity across our country. We resolve today to confront those challenges head on. To prepare our country to seize the opportunities ahead. And in doing so, to build an economy that works for everyone…and where every corner of this United Kingdom is part of our national success.

I want to pay tribute to my predecessor, my Rt Hon Friend the Member for Tatton. My style will, of course, be different from his. I suspect that I will prove no more adept at pulling rabbits from hats than my successor as Foreign Secretary has been at retrieving balls from the back of scrums. But my focus on building Britain’s long-term future will be the same. He took over an economy with the highest budget deficit in our postwar history. And brought it down by two-thirds. But times have moved on. And our task now is to prepare our economy to be resilient as we exit the EU. And match-fit for the transition that will follow. So we will maintain our commitment to fiscal discipline. While recognising the need for investment to drive productivity. And fiscal headroom to support the economy through the transition.

Let me turn now to the forecasts. Since 2010, the Office for Budget Responsibility has provided an independent economic and fiscal forecast, to which the government must respond. And I thank Robert Chote and his team for their hard work. Today’s OBR forecast is for growth to be 02.1% in 2016; higher than forecast in March. In 2017 the OBR forecasts growth to slow to 01.4%, which they attribute to lower investment and weaker consumer demand, driven, respectively, by greater uncertainty and by higher inflation resulting from sterling depreciation.

That’s slower, of course, than we would wish, but still equivalent to the IMF’s forecast for Germany, and higher than the forecast for growth in many of our European neighbours, including France and Italy. As the effects of uncertainty diminish, the OBR forecasts growth recovering to 01.7% in 2018, 02.1% in 2019 and 2020, and 02% in 2021. While the OBR is clear that it cannot predict the deal the UK will strike with the EU, its current view is that the referendum decision means that potential growth over the forecast period is 02.4 percentage points lower than would otherwise have been the case. The OBR acknowledges that there is a higher degree of uncertainty around these forecasts than usual. Despite slower growth, the UK labour market is forecast to remain robust.

We’ve delivered over 02.7 million new jobs since 2010. This forecast shows that number growing in every year, another 500,000 over the OBR forecast, providing security for working people across the length and breadth of Britain. Over the past year, employment grew fastest in the North East; the claimant count fell fastest in Northern Ireland; pay grew most strongly in the West Midlands; and every UK nation and region saw a record number of people in work. A labour market recovery that is working for everyone.

Monetary policy has played an important role in supporting growth since the Referendum decision. But a credible fiscal policy remains essential for maintaining market confidence and restoring the economy to long term health. In view of the uncertainty facing the economy, and in the face of slower growth forecasts, we no longer seek to deliver a surplus in 2019-20. But the Prime Minister and I remain firmly committed to seeing the public finances return to balance as soon as practicable. While leaving enough flexibility to support the economy in the near-term.

Today I am publishing a new draft Charter for Budget Responsibility, with three fiscal rules: First, the public finances should be returned to balance as early as possible in the next Parliament, and, in the interim, cyclically-adjusted borrowing should be below 02% by the end of this Parliament. Second, that public sector net debt as a share of GDP must be falling by the end of this Parliament. And third, that welfare spending must be within a cap, set by the government and monitored by the OBR. In the absence of an effective framework, the welfare bill in our country spiralled out of control, with spending on working-age benefits trebling in real terms between 1980 and 2010.

As a result of the action we’ve taken since 2010, that spending has now stabilised. The cap I am announcing today takes into account policy changes since the last Budget, setting a realistic baseline reflecting all announced welfare policies. And I confirm again that the government has no plans to introduce further welfare savings measures in this parliament beyond those already announced. I now turn Mr Speaker, to the OBR’s fiscal forecasts, but first I will set out the key drivers of changes since the Budget: The post-Budget changes to welfare and housing policies cost the Exchequer £08.6 billion over the forecast period; Expected ONS classification changes have added £12 billion since Budget. And tax receipts have been lower than expected this year, causing the OBR to revise down projected revenues in future. Added to this is a structural effect of rapidly rising incorporation and self-employment, which further erodes revenues.

Combining these pressures with the impact of forecast weaker growth, and taking account of the measures I shall announce today, the OBR now forecast that in cash terms, borrowing is set to be: £68.2 billion this year; falling to £59 billion next year; £46.5 billion in 2018-19; then £21.9 billion; £20.7 billion, and finally £17.2 billion in 2021-22. Overall public sector net borrowing as a percentage of GDP will fall from 04% last year to 03.5% this year, and will continue to fall over the Parliament, reaching 0.7% in 2021-22. This will be the lowest deficit as a share of GDP in two decades.

The OBR expects cyclically adjusted public sector net borrowing to be 0.8% of GDP in 2020-21, comfortably meeting our target to reduce it to less than 02% … And leaving significant flexibility to respond to any headwinds the economy may encounter. The OBR’s forecast of higher borrowing and slower asset sales, together with the temporary effect of the Bank of England’s action to stimulate growth, translates into an increased forecast for debt in the near-term. The OBR forecasts that debt will rise from 84.2% of GDP last year to 87.3% this year, peaking at 90.2% in 2017-18 as the Bank of England’s monetary policy interventions approach their full effect.

In 2018-19, debt is projected to fall to 89.7% of national income, the first fall in the national debt as a share of GDP since 2001-02. And it is forecast to continue falling thereafter. Stripping out the effects of the Bank of England interventions, underlying debt peaks this year at 82.4% of GDP and falls thereafter to 77.7% by 2021-22. I have received representations from a range of external bodies. Some of them calling for fiscal expansion; while others have suggested there is no need at all to respond to a changed economic outlook. That reflects the challenge we face of resolving how best to protect the recovery, build on the economy’s strengths, yet at the same time respond appropriately to the warnings of a more difficult period ahead.

But with our debt forecast to peak at 90% next year, and a deficit this year of 03.5%, I have reached my own judgement. It is a judgement based on a sober analysis of our fiscal position. But also on a realistic appraisal of the weakness of UK productivity, and the urgent need to address our fiscal challenge from both ends: Continuing to control public expenditure, but also growing the potential of the economy and protecting the tax base. So we choose in this Autumn Statement to prioritise additional high-value investment, specifically in infrastructure and innovation, that will directly contribute to raising Britain’s productivity. And the key judgement we make today is that our hard-won credibility on public spending means we can fund this commitment, in the short-term, from additional borrowing.

While funding all other new policies announced in this Autumn Statement through additional tax and spending measures. That is the responsible way to secure our economy for the long term. The productivity gap is well known, but shocking nonetheless: We lag the US and Germany by some 30 percentage points. But we also lag France by over 20 and Italy by eight. Which means in the real world, it takes a German worker four days to produce what we make in five; which means, in turn, that too many British workers work longer hours for lower pay than their counterparts. That has to change if we are to build an economy that works for everyone.

Raising productivity is essential for the high-wage, high-skill economy that will deliver higher living standards for working people. I can announce today a new National Productivity Investment Fund of £23 billion to be spent on innovation and infrastructure over the next five years. Investing today for the economy of the future. Let me set out for the House how this money will be used: Mr Speaker, we do not invest enough in research, development and innovation. As the pace of technology advances and competition from the rest of the world increases, we must build on our strengths in science and tech innovation to ensure the next generation of discoveries is made, developed and produced in Britain. So today I can confirm the additional investment in R&D, rising to an extra £02 billion per year by 20-21, announced by my Right Honourable Friend, the Prime Minister on Monday.

Mr Speaker, economically productive infrastructure directly benefits businesses. But families, too, rely on roads, rail, telecoms, and, especially housing. We have made good progress, with the number of new homes being built last year hitting an eight-year high. But for too many, the goal of home ownership remains out of reach. In October, my Right Honourable Friend, the Communities Secretary launched the £03 billion Home Builders’ Fund, to unlock over 200,000 homes and up to £02 billion to accelerate construction on public sector land. But we must go further still. The challenge of delivering the housing we so desperately need in the places where it is currently least affordable is not a new one… But the effect of unaffordable housing on our nation’s productivity makes it an urgent one. My Right Honourable Friend, the Communities Secretary will bring forward a Housing White Paper in due course, addressing these long-term challenges. But in the meantime, we can take further steps: One of the biggest objections to housing development is often the impact on local infrastructure. So we will focus government infrastructure investment to unlock land for housing… With a new £02.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund to deliver infrastructure for up to 100,000 new homes in areas of high demand. And, to provide affordable housing that supports a wide range of need, we will invest a further £01.4 billion to deliver 40,000 additional affordable homes. And we will relax restrictions on government grant to allow a wider range of housing-types. I can also announce a large-scale regional pilot of Right to Buy for Housing Association tenants. And continued support for home ownership through the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme and the Help to Buy ISA. Mr Speaker, this package means that over the course of this Parliament, the government expects to more than double, in real terms, annual capital spending on housing. Coupled with our resolve to tackle the long term challenges of land supply. This commitment to housing delivery represents a step-change in our ambition to increase the supply of homes for sale and for rent, to deliver a housing market that works for everyone.

Mr Speaker, reliable transport networks are essential to growth and productivity. So this Autumn Statement commits significant additional funding to help keep Britain moving now, and to invest in the transport networks and vehicles of the future. I will commit an additional £01.1 billion of investment in English local transport networks, where small investments can offer big wins; £220 million to address traffic pinch points on strategic roads; £450 million to trial digital signalling on our railways to achieve a step-change in reliability. And squeeze more capacity out of our existing rail infrastructure. And finally, £390 million to build on our competitive advantage in low emission vehicles and the development of connected autonomous vehicles; plus a 100% first year capital allowance for the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

The Department for Transport will continue to work with Transport for the North to develop detailed options for Northern Powerhouse Rail. My Right Honourable Friend, the Transport Secretary will set out more details of specific projects and priorities over the coming weeks. Our future transport, business and lifestyle needs will require world class digital infrastructure to underpin them. So my ambition is for the UK to be a world leader in 5G. That means a full-fibre network; a step-change in speed, security and reliability. So we will invest over £01 billion in our digital infrastructure to catalyse private investment in fibre networks and to support 5G trials. And from April we will introduce 100% business rates relief for a five year period on new fibre infrastructure, supporting further roll out of fibre to homes and businesses.

We have chosen to borrow to kick-start a transformation in infrastructure and innovation investment. But we must sustain this effort over the long term if we are to make a lasting difference to the UK’s productivity performance. So today I have written to the National Infrastructure Commission. To ask them to make their recommendations on the future infrastructure needs of the country. Using the assumption that government will invest between 01% and 01.2% of GDP every year from 2020 in economic infrastructure covered by the Commission.

To put this in context, we’ll spend around 0.8% of GDP on the same definition this year. I am also backing the Commission’s interim recommendations on the Oxford-Cambridge growth corridor published last week. With £110m of funding for East West Rail, and a commitment to deliver the new Oxford to Cambridge Expressway. But this project can be more than just a transport link. It can become a transformational tech-corridor, drawing on the world-class research strengths of our two best-known universities.So I welcome the Commission’s continuing work on delivery model options, and we will carefully consider its final recommendations in due course.

The major increase in infrastructure spending I’ve announced today will represent a significant increase in funding through the Barnet formula of: Over £250 million to the Northern Ireland Executive. £400 million to the Welsh government. And £800 million to the Scottish government. But public investment is only part of the picture. About half of our economic infrastructure is financed by the private sector, and we will continue to support that investment through the UK Guarantees Scheme, which I am today extending until at least 2026. The new capital investment I have announced today will provide the financial backbone for the government’s Industrial Strategy, which the Prime Minister spoke about on Monday.

A firm foundation upon which my Rt Hon Friend the Business Secretary will work with industry to build our ambition of an economy that works for all. And I can announce four further measures to back business. I am doubling UK Export Finance capacity to make it easier for British businesses to export; I am funding Charlie Mayfield’s business-led initiative to boost management skills across British businesses; and I am taking a first step to tackle the longstanding problem of our fastest growing technology firms being snapped up by bigger companies, rather than growing to scale. By injecting an additional £400m into venture capital funds through the British Business Bank, unlocking £01 billion of new finance for growing firms.

And I am launching a Treasury-led review of the barriers to accessing patient capital in the UK. This government recognises that for too long, economic growth in our country has been too concentrated in London and the south east. That’s not just a social problem, it’s an economic problem. London is one of the highest-productivity cities in the world and we should celebrate that fact. But no other major developed economy has such a gap between the productivity of its capital city and its 2nd and 3rd cities. So we must drive up the performance of our regional cities. Today we publish our strategy for addressing productivity barriers in the Northern Powerhouse; and give the go ahead today to a programme of major roads schemes in the north. Our Midlands Engine strategy will follow shortly, but I am today providing funding for the evaluation study for the Midlands Rail hub.

In addition, we are investing in local infrastructure in every region of England: I can announce the allocation of £01.8 billion from the Local Growth Fund to the English regions: £556 million to Local Enterprise Partnerships in the North of England, £542 million to the Midlands and East of England, and £683 million to LEPs in the South West, South East and London. We will announce the detailed breakdown of allocations to individual LEPs shortly.

Devolution remains at the heart of this government’s approach to supporting local growth, and we recommit today to our City deals with Swansea, Edinburgh, North Wales and Tay Cities, and I can announce today we’re beginning negotiations on a city deal for Stirling. So that every city in Scotland will be on course to have a City Deal. To support new mayoral combined authorities in England, I can announce that we will grant them new borrowing powers to reflect their new responsibilities. And while we continue discussions with London and the West Midlands on possible devolution of further powers.

I can announce today that London will receive £03.15 billion as its share of national affordable housing funding to deliver over 90,000 homes. And that we are devolving to London the adult education budget, and giving London greater control over the delivery of employment support services for the hardest to help. Mr Speaker, I have deliberately avoided making this statement into a long list of individual projects being supported.

But I am going to make one exception: I will act today, with just seven days to spare, to save one of the UK’s most important historic houses: Wentworth Woodhouse near Rotherham. It is said to be the inspiration for Pemberley in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Wentworth Woodhouse is now at critical risk of being lost to future generations. A local effort has secured millions in funding, subject to the balance required being found by November 30th. So we will provide a £07.6 million grant towards urgent repairs to safeguard this key piece of Northern heritage. I can also confirm distribution of a further £102 million of LIBOR bank fines to Armed Forces and Emergency Services charities…

…including £20 million to support the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre at Stanford Hall in Nottinghamshire – and £03 million from the Tampon Tax Fund for Comic Relief to distribute to a range of women’s charities.

We choose to invest in our economic infrastructure because it can transform the growth potential of our economy, as well as improving the quality of people’s lives. That investment is only possible because the government is prepared to take the tough decisions to maintain control of current spending. In 2010, public spending was 45% of GDP, this year it’s set to be 40%. And since 2010 we’ve seen crime fall by more than a quarter; The highest proportion ever of good or outstanding schools; The number of doctors has increased by 10,000; Pensioner poverty at its lowest level ever; The lowest ever number of children being raised in workless households; And the highest ever number of young people going on to study full time at university.

We have demonstrated beyond doubt that controlling public spending is compatible with world-class public services and social improvement. But as the OBR’s debt projections demonstrate, we have more work to do to eliminate the deficit. So departmental spending plans set out in the Spending Review last autumn will remain in place, and departmental expenditure in 21-22 will grow in line with inflation. The £03.5 billion of savings to be delivered through the Efficiency Review announced at the Budget, and led by my Right Honourable Friend, the Chief Secretary, must be delivered in full. I have, however, exceptionally agreed to provide additional funding to the Ministry of Justice to tackle urgent prison safety issues increasing the number of prison officers by 2,500.

Having run two large spending departments in previous roles, I came to this job with some very clear views about the relationship between the Treasury and spending departments. I want departments to be incentivised to drive efficiencies. And I want the Treasury to be an enabler for good, effective spending across government. To kickstart this new approach, I will allow up to £01bn of the savings found by the efficiency review in 19:20 to be reinvested in priority areas and I have budgeted today accordingly. Mr Speaker, we manage public spending so that we can invest in the public’s priorities. And the government has underlined those priorities with a series of commitments and protections for the duration of this Parliament.

I can confirm that, despite the fiscal pressures, we will meet our commitments to protect the budgets of key public services and defence; We will keep our promise to the world’s poorest through our overseas aid budget, And we will meet our pledge to our country’s pensioners through the triple lock. But as we look ahead to the next Parliament, we will need to ensure we tackle the challenges of rising longevity and fiscal sustainability. And so the government will review public spending priorities and other commitments for the next Parliament in light of the evolving fiscal position at the next Spending Review.

Mr Speaker I now turn to taxation. Since 2010 the government has put a business-led recovery at the heart of our plan, we’ve cut corporation tax from 28% to 20%, sending the message that Britain is open for business. The additional investment in productivity and infrastructure that I have announced underscores that message…. And the raft of investments in the UK announced since the referendum, by Softbank, Glaxo, Nissan, Google and Apple amongst others, confirms it. My priority as Chancellor is to ensure that Britain remains the number one destination for business – creating the investment, the jobs and the prosperity to protect our long-term future. I know how much business values certainty and stability, and so I confirm today that we will stick to the business tax roadmap we set out in March.

Corporation tax will fall to 17%, by far the lowest overall rate of corporate tax in the G20. We will deliver the commitments we have made to the oil and gas sector; the Carbon Price Support will continue to be capped out to 2020; and we will implement the business rates reduction package worth £06.7 billion. I can confirm today that having consulted further, my Right Honourable Friend, the Communities Secretary will lower the transitional relief cap from 45% next year to 43%, and from 50% to 32% the year after. And I will also increase the Rural Rate Relief to 100%, giving small businesses in rural areas a tax break worth up to £2,900 per year.

In return for our competitive rates, the tax base must be sustainable. From April 2017 we will align the employee and employer National Insurance thresholds at £157 per week. There will be no cost to employees, and the maximum cost to business will be an annual £07.18 per employee. Insurance premium tax in this country is lower than in many other European countries, and half the rate of VAT. In order to raise revenue, which is required to fund spending commitments I am making today, it will rise from 10% currently, to 12% from next June. At the same time I can confirm the government’s commitment to legislate next year to end the compensation culture surrounding whiplash claims, a major area of insurance fraud – saving drivers an average of £40 on their annual premiums.

Mr Speaker, technological progress is changing the way people live, and the way they work; The tax system needs to keep pace. For example, the OBR has today highlighted the growing cost to the Exchequer of incorporation. So the government will consider how we can ensure that the taxation of different ways of working is fair between different individuals, and sustains the tax-base as the economy undergoes rapid change. We will consult in due course on any proposed changes. In the meantime, the government will take action now to reduce the difference between the treatment of cash earnings and benefits.

The majority of employees pay tax on a cash salary. But some are able to sacrifice salary and pay much lower tax on benefits in kind. This is unfair, and so from April 2017 employers and employees who use these schemes will pay the same taxes as everyone else. Following consultation with stakeholders, ultra-low emission cars, pensions saving, childcare and the cycle to work scheme will be excluded from this change. And certain long-term arrangements will be protected until April 2021.

For pensions that have been drawn-down, I will also reduce to £4,000 the Money Purchase Annual Allowance, to prevent inappropriate double tax relief. The government is committed to tackling tax evasion, avoidance and aggressive tax planning, and the UK tax gap is now one of the lowest in the world. But we must constantly be alert to new threats to our tax base, and be willing to move swiftly to counter them. At the Budget we committed to removing the tax benefits of disguised earnings for employees, and I am now going to do the same for the self-employed and employers, raising a further £630 million over the forecast period.

We will shut down inappropriate use of the VAT flat rate scheme that was put in place to help small businesses; We will abolish the tax advantages linked to Employee Shareholder Status in response to evidence it is primarily being used for tax-planning purposes by high-earning individuals; And we will introduce a new penalty for those who enable the use of a tax avoidance scheme that HMRC later challenges and defeats. These measures, and others set out in the Autumn Statement document, raise around £02 billion over the forecast period.

Mr Speaker, there is understandable public concern that the pitch is tilted in favour of large multinational groups which are able to use cross-border structures to manage their tax liabilities. Following detailed consultation, I can confirm that we will implement our new restriction on tax relief for corporate interest expenses, and reform the way that relief is provided for historic losses. These measures, scored at Budget 2016, will help to ensure large businesses will always pay tax in years where they make substantial profits. They will also mean that businesses cannot avoid tax by borrowing excessively in the UK to fund their overseas activities.

They take effect in April, and raise over £05 billion from the largest businesses in the UK. Mr Speaker, I said that the tax system must be fair and that means rewarding those who work hard by helping them to keep more of what they earn.There is one tax reform the government has pursued since 2010 to improve the lot of working people. Raising the tax-free personal allowance. When we entered government in 2010 it was £6,475. Now, after 6 years it is £11,000, and will rise to £11,500 in April. As a result, we have more than halved the tax bill of someone with a salary of £15,000 to just £800.

That’s a massive boost to the incomes of low and middle earners. Since 2010 we’ve cut income tax for 28 million people and taken four million people out of income tax altogether. And I can confirm today that, despite the challenging fiscal forecasts, we will deliver on our commitment to raising the allowance to £12,500, and the higher rate threshold to £50,000, by the end of this Parliament. Once £12,500 has been reached, the personal allowance will rise automatically during the 2020s in line with inflation, rather than the National Minimum Wage as currently planned.

It will be for the Chancellor to decide from year to year whether more is affordable. As well as taking millions of ordinary people out of tax, the government introduced the National Living Wage and gave a pay rise to over a million workers. The government has also introduced 15 hours a week of free childcare for all three and four year olds, and we will double that for working families from September. The government’s education reforms have raised standards and expanded opportunity with 1.4 million more children now in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools.

And the new capital funding I have provided today for grammar schools will help to continue that trend. The government, Mr Speaker, has pledged to invest in our NHS and we are delivering on that promise: backing the NHS’ Five Year Forward View plan for the future with £10 billion of additional funding a year by the end of 2020-21. But we recognise that more needs to be done to help families make ends meet and to ensure every household has opportunities to prosper. Today I can announce the National Living Wage will increase from £07.20 to £07.50 in April next year. That’s a pay rise worth over £500 a year to a full-time worker.

Creating jobs, lowering taxes and raising wages addresses directly the concerns of ordinary families. And the revenue-raising measures I have announced today enable me to go further to help families on low wages: Universal Credit is an important reform to our benefits system and is designed to make sure work always pays. We want to reinforce that position. From April, we can reduce the Universal Credit taper rate from 65% to 63%. This is effectively a targeted tax cut worth £700m in 21-22 for those in work on low incomes; It will increase the incentive to work and encourage progression in work; And it will help three million households across our country.

We believe that a market economy is the best way of delivering sustained prosperity for the British people. We will always support a market led approach; but we will not be afraid to intervene where there is evidence of market failure. We will look carefully over the coming months at the functioning of key markets, including the retail energy market, to make sure they are functioning fairly for all consumers. In the private rental market, letting agents are currently able to charge unregulated fees to tenants. We have seen these fees spiral, often to hundreds of pounds. This is wrong. Landlords appoint letting agents and landlords should meet their fees. So I can announce today that we will ban fees to tenants as soon as possible. And we will consult on how best to ban pensions cold calling and a wider range of pension scams.

We can also help those who rely on income from modest savings to get by. Low interest rates have helped our economy recover, but they’ve significantly reduced the interest people can earn on their cash savings. So we will launch a new, market-leading savings bond through NS&I. The detail will be announced at the Budget, but we expect our new Investment Bond will have an interest rate of around 02.2% gross and a term of three years. Savers will be able to deposit up to £3,000, and we expect around two million people to benefit.

The announcements I have made today lower taxes on working people; boost wages; back savers; and bear down on bills. In early 2017, we will begin the roll out of tax-free childcare across Britain, providing a saving of up to £2,000 per child. And once it’s rolled-out, we will keep it under review to ensure it’s delivering the support they need to working families. There is one further area of household expenditure where the government can help. The oil price has risen by over 60% since January; and sterling has declined by 15% against the dollar. That means significant pressure on prices at the pump here in Britain. So today we stand on the side of the millions of hardworking people in our country by cancelling the fuel duty rise for the seventh successive year.

In total this saves the average car driver £130 a year and the average van driver £350. This is a tax cut worth £850 million next year, and means the current fuel duty freeze is the longest for 40 years. Mr Speaker, I have one further announcement to make. This is my first Autumn Statement as Chancellor. After careful consideration, and detailed discussion with the Prime Minister, I have decided that it will also be my last. Mr Speaker, I am abolishing the Autumn Statement. No other major economy makes hundreds of tax changes twice a year, and neither should we. So the spring Budget in a few months will be the final spring Budget. Starting in autumn 2017, Britain will have an autumn Budget, announcing tax changes well in advance of the start of the tax year. From 2018 there will be a Spring Statement, responding to the forecast from the OBR, but no major fiscal event.

If unexpected changes in the economy require it, then I will, of course, announce actions at the Spring Statement, but I won’t make significant changes twice a year just for the sake of it. This change will also allow for greater Parliamentary scrutiny of Budget measures ahead of their implementation. Mr Speaker, this is a long-overdue reform to our tax-policy making process and brings the UK into line with best practice recommended by the IMF, IFS, Institute for government and many others.

The OBR report today confirms the underlying strength and resilience of the British economy…. This Autumn Statement responds to the challenge of building on that strength, while also heeding the warnings in the OBR’s figures, as we begin writing this new chapter in our country’s history. It re-states our commitment to living within our means; And it sets out our choice to invest in our future. It sends a clear message to the world that Britain is open for business; And it provides help to those who need it now. So Mr Speaker, we have made our choices. We have set our course. We are a great nation. Bold in our vision. Confident in our strengths. And determined in our ambition to build a country that works for everyone. I commend this Statement to the House.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Labour Party's Autumn Statement: Growth Down; Wage Growth Down; Investment Down. The Deficit Target, Failed. The Debt Target, Failed. The Welfare Cap, Failed.

|| November 22: 2016 || ά. John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, in a statement to the House on the Autumn Statement, said: Mr Speaker, Today’s Statement places on record the abject failure of the last six wasted years and offers little hope for the future. The figures speak for themselves: growth down; wage growth down; investment down. The deficit target, failed. The debt target, failed. The welfare cap, failed. The verdict could not be clearer. The so-called 'long term economic plan' has failed. As the Treasury’s own leaked paper revealed, they knew it had failed before the referendum result was announced. And we now face Brexit, the greatest economic challenge of a generation, unprepared. The new Chancellor acknowledged the failure himself in October, when he promised a 'reset' of economic policy. So today we expected a change of direction after those six wasted years. Instead we’ve seen further cuts to earnings for those in work through cuts to Universal Credit and a living wage increase that is lower than expected under the previous Chancellor.

This is a new Conservative leadership with no answers to the challenges facing our country following Brexit and no vision to secure our future prosperity. Labour respects the decision of the British people to leave the European Union. But the chaotic Tory handling of Brexit threatens the future prosperity of this country. The Chancellor must now do the right thing for British workers and businesses. He must insist on full, tariff-free access to the Single Market. He and the Treasury know that’s what will give the best deal for jobs and prosperity here. It may not be in the Chancellor‘s nature but in the national interest I urge him to stand up to the Prime Minister and the extreme Brexit fanatics in her Cabinet. If he stands up for British businesses and jobs in fighting for Single Market access he will have our full support.

But after six wasted years, wages are still lower than 2008. Self-employed people are on average paid less than a generation ago. Six million people are earning less than the Living Wage. Too many people are having to worry about buying school uniforms, affording a family holiday, or even just paying the rent or mortgage. We’ve had a month of briefing from the Party opposite on those people who are called 'just about managing'. To the Party opposite, these people are just an electoral demographic. To us, they are our friends, our neighbours, and the people we represent.

Let me tell you why they are 'just about managing'. It’s the result of Tories imposing austerity on an economy that couldn’t bear the strain. We’ve seen productivity stagnate. But there’s nothing in this Autumn Statement on the scale needed to overturn those six wasted years. If the Chancellor really wants to make a fairer tax system, he can start by bringing back the 50p rate for the very richest. And its familiar hollow rhetoric from the Tories on tax avoidance when they have cut resources at HMRC. Resources available to HMRC today are around 40 per cent less than they were in 2000.

The Chancellor has frozen in-work benefits at a time when food prices are rising and we don’t expect wages to keep up. But we need an economy that is fundamentally more prosperous and where that prosperity is shared by all. The increases in the National Living Wage announced today are lower than expected and leave the lowest paid workers still earning less than they need to live on. So I ask the Chancellor to adopt a Real Living Wage level, as Labour has pledged to do, and abandon his predecessor’s empty rhetoric.

Regrettably, the Chancellor is still going ahead with some of the cuts to Universal Credit. Thanks to pressure from all sides of this House he is offering to soften the blow. We don’t want the blow softened, we want it lifted altogether. Today’s changes will leave a single parent on the average wage £2,300 worse off. These are people working hard to deliver for their families and the Government is betraying them. As for people with disabilities put through the ordeal of the discredited Work Capability Assessment, who are trying to get themselves ready to return to work ‘just about managing’, yes, they still remain in the Chancellor’s firing line, cutting £30 a week from their support.

Those that are 'just about managing' rely upon our public services. They send their children to local schools. They depend on their local hospital. They rely on local council services like cleaning their streets, tending to their parks, and opening their libraries. But the reality is our public services are just not managing. Today, the childcare that parents rely upon remains underfunded, as the Public Accounts Committee has reported. I would like to also pay tribute to the Honourable Members for Swansea East and Erith and Thamesmead for their important work in bringing the issue of child burial fees to public attention.

I ask the government to do the right thing on child burial fees and reconsider making funding available for families in these desperate circumstances. Councillors from all political parties are reporting that they are at a tipping point in the provision of social care. The previous Chancellor cut nearly £05 billion from social care meaning over one million people who need care aren’t getting it. They’re not even just about managing. They got little help today.

We called for additional support for social care. But the funding being provided is only a stopgap measure. Our social care system will not be secure without long-term funding. Tonight, many elderly people will remain trapped in their homes, isolated, and lacking the care they need because of continuing cuts to funding. You can’t cut social care without hitting the NHS.

The supposed £10bn funding allocated is a restatement of an earlier commitment. But the Health Select Committee described this £10bn claim as 'misleading and incorrect'. The real amount is less than half that claimed. We have 03.9 million people on NHS waiting lists. More than ever. Many of those 03.9 million people are waiting in pain, and they got no relief today. Across the country, hospitals are facing losing their A&Es, losing their maternity units, losing their specialist units. This Tory Government is failing patients and failing dedicated NHS staff.

It is the first time healthcare spending per head has declined since the NHS was created. I fear there will be a crisis in funding and care over this Christmas. The NHS cares for us, we should care for the NHS. Members of this government have also overseen the biggest real terms cuts in education for four decades. One pound in every seven has been cut from FE colleges budgets. Conservative policy has saddled a generation of students with a lifetime of debt. How can the Government seriously talk about supporting a 21st century economy when they are planning to pour tens of millions into the failed 20th century policy of grammar schools?

The Chancellor has announced today that he is scrapping 'pay to stay' proposals and letting agents’ fees. This U-turn is a victory for Labour’s campaigning against both the ‘tenant tax’ and lettings agent fees. The Chancellor has spoken of the 'dream of homeownership' for the young. Nothing announced today is of the scale needed to suggest it will remain anything other than a dream.

The hard facts are these. The Government of which he was a member built fewer homes than at any point since the 1920s. There are now a third of a million fewer homeowners under 35. The Chancellor could have delivered today the scale of investment required to build the homes we need and create a new generation of home-ownership. He failed. The Chancellor has failed to address properly this government’s most consistent shortcoming. His predecessor cut public investment to the lowest it had been since the 1990s.

Instead of delivering the ambitious investment this economy needs, across the whole country, the Chancellor has failed to recognise the scale of the challenge. He also risks repeating the mistakes from last year, with the National Flood Resilience Plan failing to provide the protection our communities need. Just one in five of the projects in the investment pipeline are under construction and there are £82bn of shovel-ready projects still delayed.

The infrastructure gap between London and the rest remains unbridged. London was scheduled to receive 12 times the public investment per head of the north east of England. But the £01.1bn of investment in transport is a reannouncement. The Oxford-Cambridge rail link is significantly delayed against Network Rail’s original planned completion date of March 2019. No new ideas here, just a promise to deliver what they have previously failed to deliver on.

The 'Fourth Industrial Revolution' will not be delivered on delays and old news. At last, the Government has realised its mistake and now talk about an industrial strategy. But it isn’t enough to change a few Ministerial titles. This government and the Chancellor need to deliver. But we’ve yet to see the proposed green paper on industrial strategy that was promised over the summer. This same government that now talks up high tech oversaw £1bn in real terms cuts to science funding in the last Parliament.

The OECD recommends that developed countries should be spending 03 per cent of GDP on science. On what we’ve heard today, the new spending will lift our expenditure from under 01.7 per cent of GDP, to a mere 01.8 per cent. It’s the same familiar story for business. The Chancellor is continuing the race to the bottom on Corporation Tax. Whilst continuing the cuts to public services, the Chancellor is cutting taxes for big business. We now know it’s not headline tax rates that encourage long-term investment from businesses.

Business investment has been revised down every year. What encourages business investment is knowing they have access to skilled workers, to world-class infrastructure, and to major markets. Today’s grim economic forecasts show the challenge ahead. The Chancellor admitted, over the summer, that it was time for a change of course.He has now had to abandon his government’s fiscal charter with its failed hard surplus target. Labour warned that a hard surplus target lacked the flexibility to adapt to economic circumstances and the capacity to allow investment.

The Chancellor’s U-turn today demonstrates how right we were. Mr Speaker, Only weeks ago, the new Prime Minister offered the hope of change.
The Chancellor offered to 'reset' economic policy. Today we’ve seen the very people the Prime Minister promised to champion betrayed. The Chancellor has failed to break with the economic strategy of austerity.

The country remains unprepared and ill-equipped to meet the challenges of Brexit and secure Britain’s future as a world-leading economy. After all the sacrifices that people have made over the last six years, I fear today’s Statement has laid the foundations for more wasted years. Only a Labour Government will deliver on the ambition and vision to rebuild and transform our economy so no-one and no community is left behind.
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More on the Autumn Statement

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi States the Benefits of Trade Deals


|| November 23: 2016: Geneva: Switzerland || ά. UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi has defended international trade as the best means for developing countries to create jobs and tackle inequality in an article published in The Guardian newspaper on November 23. Trade deals became a hot topic in the United States presidential election earlier in the month with president-elect Donald Trump vowing to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership on the first day of his presidency. Earlier in 2016 the United Kingdom voted to withdraw from the European Union on as-yet unclear trade terms.

Dr. Kituyi said that while politicians in the global north may be 'getting cold feet' on trade, poorer countries have no choice but to deepen trade relationships. "As an ex-politician myself, I know that politicians must do a better, more honest job of discussing the costs and benefits of trade." said Dr. Kituyi, who, before becoming UNCTAD Secretary-General, served as trade minister in Kenya. "Too often in the global north, leaders, dictated by electoral needs, talk down trade, storing up problems for the future. To blame trade for job losses is to use a convenient scapegoat, but it ignores both the benefits of trade and the disruptive nature of technology." he said.

"Trade does not explain the relative decline in labour productivity. Nor does it account for the erosion in social protection." What trade does do, Dr. Kituyi said, is provide the jobs required by rising populations in developing countries. That is why developing countries are backing new, internationally integrative projects like Africa's Continental Free Trade Area and China's One Belt, One Road initiative.

However, Dr. Kituyi said, changing trade patterns are disruptive. He said policymakers must address the effects of change to protect the ultimate benefits of trade. "At the international level, trade deals need social and environmental safeguards." he said. "Competition policy and consumer protection can help to defend small businesses against the excesses of corporate power."

Dr. Kituyi concluded: "The nature of trade is changing, shifting to services, to developing countries, and to more being done online. But it is always going to generate jobs. And this is an urgent priority for any sensible politician."
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Empower Women to Empower Societies: Trust Women Conference 2016 at the Hilton Bankside in London: November 30-December 01

Dr Joanne Liu, the International President of Médecins Sans Frontières

|| November 22: 2016 || ά. The Thomson Reuters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the world’s biggest news and information provider, will welcome global women’s rights and anti-trafficking leaders at its annual Trust Women Conference, held this year at the Hilton Bankside, London, on November 30 and December 01. Some 600 delegates including Nobel Peace Prize winners, government and business leaders, legal and financial firms, TV and film personalities and NGOs and activists will attend the event which will include the launch of the Stop Slavery Award and the UK premiere of SOLD.

Actress Gillian Anderson speaking to Matt Wells of UN Radio at UN Headquarters for the podcast series: The Lid is On. Image: UN Radio

Trust Women provides an unparalleled platform for the exchange of ideas, experience and expertise. Each day ends with committing to taking specific and concrete action to empower women and to fight human trafficking and modern day slavery. Confirmed speakers this year include: Golden Globe-winning actress Gillian Anderson; Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus; Sculptor and Turner Prize winner Anish Kapoor; Cherie Blair CBE QC; Yazidi UN Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad Basee Taha.

Yazidi UN Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad Basee Taha with Ban Ki-moon

As well as the International President of Médecins Sans Frontières Joanne Liu; New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr; UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner Kevin Hyland; Former Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino; Chief Executive of the Police & Crime Commissioners for England & Wales Nazir Afzal; Girls Not Brides Chair Mabel van Oranje; Freedom Fund CEO Nick Grono; Mekong Club CEO Matt Friedman.

“Trust Women is all about taking action and impact.” says Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation and Founder of the global event. “We will address such issues as breaking taboos, deradicalisation, migration, and of course, how to clean supply chains from forced labour.

It is encouraging to see how this conference has evolved into an international movement of people and organisations eager to take action to put the rule of law behind women’s rights and eradicate slavery. The Stop Slavery Award, given for the first time this year, is a great example of impact through a business friendly initiative.” she added.

The Agenda of the Conference

The conference will address global issues through six main themes addressed over two days in plenary sessions. These are: Stories of survival: Child slavery; Cleaning supply chains from forced labour; Migrants: Crisis or new normality; Women entrepreneurs: They make it happen; Is deradicalisation possible; Breaking taboos; Trust Women Actions will follow, with participants actively encouraged to contribute.

Stop Slavery Award and Sold Movie Premier

On the evening of November 30, The Thomson Reuters Foundation will present the first ever Stop Slavery Award, a custom-made Anish Kapoor sculpture, to businesses who proved they took exceptional action in cleaning their supply chains of forced labour. Senior executives from the winning companies, which will be unveiled on the day, will then participate in a panel discussion about their involvement in the initiative.

Shortlisted companies for the Stop Slavery Award include: ABP UK; Apple Inc; Carlson; Fortescue Metals Group; Gildan Activewear Inc; Hewlett Packard Enterprise; NXP Semiconductors; R. Twining & Co Ltd; Tesco Stores Ltd.; Thai Union.

Following the Stop Slavery Award ceremony, the Foundation will host the UK premier of Sold, starring Gillian Anderson, a powerful film based on the true story of a survivor who was trafficked from Nepal to a Mumbai brothel as a young child. Gillian Anderson will participate in a Q&A session alongside the film’s producer Jane Charles, director Jeffrey Brown, and Tiffany Watts, executive director of Childreach International.

About the Thomson Reuters Foundation: The Thomson Reuters Foundation acts to promote socio-economic progress and the rule of law worldwide. It provides free legal assistance, media development and in-depth coverage of the world’s under-reported stories.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Water Resources a Reason for Co-operation, Not Conflict: Ban Ki-moon to the Security Council

A dam in Um Baru, North Darfur, which, during the rainy season, increases water storage, supports
frequent irrigation of agricultural lands and reduces the risks of floods. Image: UNAMID:Hamid Abdulsalam
 

|| November 22: 2016 || ά. Noting that three quarters of UN Member States share rivers or lake basins with their neighbours, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today highlighted the value of water resources as a reason for co-operation, not conflict. “The need for co-ordination in water management is especially compelling for the more than 260 international rivers and at least that many transboundary aquifers.” Mr. Ban told a Security Council debate, which was open to non-Council members.

According to a concept note issued by Senegal, the Council’s President for November, in the same way that disputes over oil and land have led to conflicts now and in the past, disputes over water could lead to confrontations in the future, if nothing is done. The debate is an opportunity to showcase successful experiences and mechanisms for co-operation and mediation with a view to strengthening one of the UN’s weaknesses, conflict prevention. “Access to water can exacerbate communal tensions.” the UN-Head said, citing hostile competition for scarce water resources in Darfur and Afghanistan as well as protests and violence against extractive companies by local communities in Peru.

On the other hand, shared water has historically, and sometimes rather improbably, brought adversaries together, and served as a crucial confidence-building measure in both inter-state and intrastate conflicts, Mr. Ban stressed, noting that in the second half of the 20th century, more than 200 water treaties were successfully negotiated.

 In addition, he said, international river agreements have enhanced security and stability in river basins, such as the 1960 Indus Waters agreement between India and Pakistan, which has famously survived at least two wars and numerous clashes and diplomatic crises. In the Nile Basin, last year’s signing of a Declaration of Principles by the Governments of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, followed more recently by various formal and informal dialogues, has been a vital confidence-building measure.

And in the Senegal River Basin, riparian States including Mali, Mauritania and Senegal have had a long history of benefit-sharing, providing a cornerstone for regional stability and peace. With at least one in four human beings likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water by 2050, the UN has actively promoted the potential of water for co-operation, the Secretary-General said.

The work of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia:UNRCCA on 'hydro-diplomacy' is one notable example. The UN Economic Commission for Europe:ECE Water Convention is now open for accession to all UN Member States, offering the opportunity to create a global framework for dealing with transboundary water issues. The Department of Political Affairs and the UN Environment Programme:UNEP have published a useful guide containing best practices in this area.

 Mr. Ban also stressed the central role of women in local water management, the negatively compounding impact of climate change on these challenges as well as the holding of water resources as military strategies. “Despite these serious challenges, we must also recognise the potential for co-operation around shared water resources.” he said. “And let us commit to invest in water security as a means to ensure long-term international peace and security.”

Today’s debate was also addressed by Danilo Turk, Chair of the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace; Christine Beerli, Vice-President of the International Committee on Red Cross; and Sundeep Waslekar, Strategic Foresight Group President.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The Enormous Cost of Occupation Prevents the Palestinian People From Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: UNCTAD

In late June 2016, 19 Palestinians, including 12 children, lost their homes when Israeli forces demolished
05 structures in Susiya, south of Hebron, in the occupied Palestinian territory. Image: OCHA


|| November 22: 2016: Geneva: Switzerland || ά. Occupation inflicts a heavy economic cost and denies the Palestinian people their human right to development, says an UNCTAD report to be presented to the United Nations General Assembly at the end of November. Under General Assembly resolutions 69:20 and 70:12, UNCTAD is tasked with reporting on the economic cost of occupation for the Palestinian people, an essential task which should be made more regular.There is a need to establish within the United Nations system a systematic, evidence-based, comprehensive and sustainable framework for estimating the economic costs of the occupation and to report on the results to the General Assembly, the report says.

This is not only to fulfil the request contained in resolution 69:20, but also to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The report maintains that, since the onset of occupation in 1967, the Palestinian people have never enjoyed sovereign control of their economy, natural resources or territory. They have been denied access to their natural and economic resources, while their water, land, property and other assets have been subjected to confiscation and frequent destruction.

Furthermore, the Palestinian people are denied the right to move freely within their homeland, and are deprived of the ability to produce and conduct normal trade and social transactions within their communities and with the rest of the world. Meanwhile, Israeli settlements continue to expand, new settlements are built and the settler population continues to grow.

More than 61 per cent of West Bank land is under the control of Israel and inaccessible to Palestinian producers. In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians are denied access to half of the cultivable area and 85 per cent of their fishery resources.

Meanwhile, more than 02.5 million productive trees have been uprooted since 1967. The government and Palestinian farmers are prohibited from maintaining or constructing water wells, while the occupying Power has been extracting water above the level determined by article 40 of appendix I of the Oslo II Accord, signed on September 28, 1995, thus confiscating Palestinian groundwater. As such, occupation policies have deformed the structure of the Palestinian economy and set in motion a continuous process of de-agriculturalisation and de-industrialisation.

The report also highlights the impact of the repeated Israeli military operations in Gaza. The direct damage inflicted by three Israeli military operations, between 2008 and 2014, is estimated as at least three times the size of annual production of Gaza's local economy. The total cost of destruction is much higher when taking into account the indirect costs that arise from the loss of human capital and the stream of future incomes from destroyed or damaged productive assets.

Existing research suggests that without occupation the economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory could easily produce twice the gross domestic product it produces now. Nevertheless, according to the report, all previous studies have been undertaken on an ad hoc basis and have barely scratched the surface of the much larger economic cost of occupation. Therefore, the report recommends to the General Assembly the establishment of a systematic, comprehensive and sustainable framework to assess, on a periodic basis, the economic costs and consequences of evolving measures taken by the occupying Power.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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What Good $22 Trillion E-Commerce Turn Over is to Them: When Half of the World and Three Quarters of Africa Have No Access to the Internet

Image: Mettler Toledo


|| November 22: 2016: Geneva: Switzerland || ά.  The Internet and e-commerce in particular, offer new opportunities for developing countries to grow, but maximising the potential of this opportunity requires more trust in these markets, for example, by protecting consumer rights and preventing cybercrime, a senior UNCTAD official said on Tuesday. E-markets which are growing rapidly, from $16 trillion in 2013 to $22 trillion in 2015, holds opportunities to generate jobs and incomes in developing countries, connecting both individuals and markets, even in remote locations. Analysts say e-commerce also offers a more stable market than, say, commodities, and a better source of growth than manufacturing given that trade growth for physical goods is sluggish at best.

But concerns have been raised about the numbers of people who still do not access this opportunity. More than half of the world's population still has no access to internet, and in Africa that share is about 75%. "We are concerned about the four billion people in the developing world who are still not connecting to this enormous and growing global market." the UNCTAD Deputy Secretary General, Joakim Reiter said. "Clearly the lack of infrastructure and access will need to be corrected. Looking to the future, however, consumers will need co-ordinated international protection from both cybercrime and market power so that they feel safe to buy online." he added, ahead of a meeting in Geneva on internet governance.

Organised by the Global Commission on Internet Governance and with support from the Canadian Government, the meeting discussed One Internet, the final report and recommendations of the Global Commission on Internet Governance, released in June 2016 at the OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy in Cancun, Mexico.

In July, UNCTAD launched the e-Trade for All initiative in Nairobi, bringing together 15 international organizations and 22 private sector actors, easing developing country access to cutting edge technical assistance and giving donors more options for funding.

In October, delegates from the consumer protection agencies of more than 70 countries welcomed the first ever meeting of UNCTAD's Intergovernmental Group of Experts:IGE on Consumer Protection Law and Policy. The meeting looked at the ways in which countries can coordinate to protect the rights of consumers in a digital era and launched the revised UN Guidelines on Consumer Protection. Carl Bildt, Chair of the Global Commission on Internet Governance welcomed the important contribution UNCTAD adds to these timely discussions.
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Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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ESA's Technology Transfer Programme: Creating Jobs by Bringing Space Technologies Down to Earth

Frank Salzgeber: Image:  ESA:SJM Photography


|| November 21: 2016 || ά. ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme brings space down to Earth, from comets to start-ups. It supports entrepreneurs who use space technology and space data in completely new fields and applications. This local investment successfully creates hundreds of jobs each year, boosting local industries across ESA Member States.  Its activity in recent years has sharply risen. It has established a total of 16 ESA Business Incubation Centres:BICs across Europe, where it works together with local partners to give start-ups the best possible support. In addition to office space, each start-up receives pre-seed funding and is supported and coached on how to raise additional funding through investors.

BICs also regularly host training sessions covering topics such as marketing, social media or legal issues. Throughout their two year incubation, a start-up further has access to technical support from different ESA establishments, national research institutes and industrial partners, opening doors to valuable international networks. As one recent example, an ESA BIC start-up used spectrometer technology originally developed for ESA’s Rosetta. New applications of this technology detect signs of bed bug infestation in hotel rooms and sniff out evidence of stomach ulcers on patients’ breath. These achievements join a long list of space solutions returning to Earth, from lightweight composites for automobiles to cold plasma for medical disinfection, to precision agriculture for boosting farm yields.

In this process the ESA Programme has nurtured over 400 new companies to date. This number is set to grow further still. The BIC network as a whole is now supporting 130 new start-ups every year, each positively impacting the job market, with some of our alumni already having 30-50 employees.

It isn’t just start-ups that benefit from the vast opportunities that space has to offer. Space is such a challenging environment that technologies developed for it are in a class of their own. Applying this know-how in the terrestrial realm is an attractive prospect for all kinds of businesses. Through our pan-European network of 15 technology brokers we seek to work closely with large companies who use space technologies to enhance their business needs, increasing competitiveness. Both small and large companies are able to license ESA’s intellectual property for these purposes, which is also managed by the TTPO.

One lesson learnt from this process is that the ESA Programme's role is really to foster a supportive ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship. Tje approach is a European network, but one with a local touch. This kind of environment needs to be established on a regional basis by linking up with the right partners: BICs and technology transfer brokers work closely with regional governments, research institutes and universities, while the European network guarantees a large market and outreach for our successful start-ups and transfers.

These partners are a source of leverage, extending the effectiveness of ESA’s investment, the Agency only ends up bearing a third of the cost of each new BIC. The result has been new hi-tech companies, jobs and growth across Europe, bolstering our continent’s global competitiveness and prosperity.
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