BED to Seek Rate Increase

first_imgBED to Seek Rate IncreaseBurlington Electric Department announced October 23, 2008, that it will seek a rate increase of up to 5.9 percent from the Public Service Board, pending the approval of the City Council. The increase would become effective Jan. 1, 2009. The exact amount of the increase will be determined as BED endeavors to arrange the optimal debt strategy for 2009 and beyond. The need for the increase is driven by increased power, transmission and operating costs, along with declining sales of electricity that are a result of BED’s successful energy efficiency programs.BED has advanced its ongoing major capital projects, the McNeil air quality improvements and the East Avenue reliability upgrade, through favorable short-term borrowing arranged through the City. This allows BED to reap the benefits of these projects in lowered operating costs as it moves into 2009 without fully absorbing the cost of the debt these projects will require.”That’s the bright side,” said general manager Barbara Grimes. “More problematic is that these projects will still need long-term financing in a bond market that is very uncertain, given the current financial turmoil. Though thankfully we have voter support to obtain bond funding, and we prefer long-term to short-term debt, the bond market is currently expensive. It is difficult to say today when the time will be right. But by implementing these cost-effective projects now, we can count on reaping their benefits to lower the amount needed when we do go for long-term financing.”BED is sensitive to the difficult economic times Burlington’s residents and businesses are experiencing. “While we’re reluctant to put off what we know will be needed and defer debt until tomorrow, we think it is best in the current economic situation to ask for as small a revenue increase as possible,” said Grimes.BED will continue to offer aggressive energy efficiency programs to all its customers. “We’ve known through our planning that these programs will reduce revenue and impact rates in the short term, but participating in these offerings is the best way for our customers to lower their own bills and offset the increased cost. The payoff will come in the long term, when BED can avoid buying new supply sources.”All BED customers are encouraged to explore what’s available for reducing their energy bills by visiting BED’s web site, www.burlingtonelectric.com(link is external), or by calling 658-0300.#30last_img read more

Editorial: EPA’s Phony Promises to a Fading Industry

first_imgEditorial: EPA’s Phony Promises to a Fading Industry FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享New York Times: While environmental rules have played some role in the closing of coal-fired plants, the main driver is cheaper and abundant natural gas. Coal’s use in power generation has been declining since 2007, and by 2016 coal-fired plants produced only 30 percent of the nation’s total generation, compared with 50 percent in 2003.The trend will continue; an estimated 46-plus coal-fired units will close at 25 electricity plants in 16 states over the next five years, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. In its outlook for 2017, the institute skewered Mr. Trump’s campaign vows, saying, “Promises to create more coal jobs will not be kept — indeed the industry will continue to cut payrolls.”About 60,000 coal industry jobs have been lost since 2011, and three of the four major mining companies have gone bankrupt, according to a new study by Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. Even so, Mr. Trump remains obstinate in his “war on coal” statements and steadfast to his bloated campaign promises to laid-off miners, despite expert opinion, expressed in the study, that lifting vital environmental controls “will not materially improve” the coal industry’s prospects.It is shocking that an administration led and staffed by supposedly shrewd business executives deliberately overlooks the blossoming of profitable and cleaner energy products simply because of Mr. Trump’s hollow showmanship before his campaign base.Until now, the E.P.A. and the environmental safeguards Congress has ordered it to enforce have been crucial to the development of new technologies. To have Mr. Pruitt sully that history with false promises to a fading industry is irresponsible.More: Using the E.P.A. to Prop Up Big Coallast_img read more

Juanes Launches Campaign Against Child Recruitment in Colombia

first_img Singer songwriter Juanes launched the campaign “Dreaming is a right” on September 19 in Bogota to preclude forced recruitment of minors into armed groups. This effort expects to reach about 200,000 children and teenagers in three years. In the Cultural Center of Ciudad Bolívar, in southern Bogota, Juanes, songwriter Fonseca, and hip-hop artist Jeihhco, introduced their proposal to coach community leaders of 14 cities in Colombia on peace issues, so that they can offer life alternatives to children and teenagers, and preclude them from joining armed groups. The project, with an initial funding of 200,000 dollars, attempts to keep families and children away from these groups, mainly guerrillas and criminal gangs. In his speach, Juanes recalled that he was born in Medellin, the second largest Colombian city in the northeast, in a period when drug lord Pablo Escobar was at the peak of his career. “I lived during the 80s and music saved me. That’s why I believe in this. For me, art has been a transforming experience,” said the composer of “La camisa negra” (The Black Shirt) and “Odio por amor” (Love and Hate). “Our message goes to the children: don’t join that armed group or gang. Furthermore, it is also aimed at parents,” he explained. Even though it is unknown how many minors participate in Colombian armed groups, Colombian National Family Welfare Institute statistics show that since 1999, 4,935 of them have escaped from these organizations. Out of these escapees, 58.8% had been recruited against their will by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), 21.3% by extreme right wing paramilitary (demobilized at present), and 14.8% by the National Liberation Army (ELN). By Dialogo September 24, 2012last_img read more

Tips on reaching consumers when they’re on the go

first_imgMobile is still booming. People now spend more time on their smartphones than on their desktops and laptops combined. And the gap is widening. We are now officially past the smartphone tipping point. Now that users are in the mobile world, how do we get them into our mobile world? Here are a few tips to encourage them to download and use your mobile banking app.Tip #1 — Keep it simpleWork with your IT team from the very beginning to make the process of downloading and using your banking app as painless as walking into one of your branches and opening up a checking account. On the other end of the process, train your in-branch team members as well as your online and telephone helpline staff on guiding your users through downloading and setting up your app.These associates should know everything about this process just like they are expected to know everything about the other products you offer. The people jumping into a mobile banking app at this point aren’t exactly early adopters. They’ll need a little technology hand holding, and the financial institutions that do that will capture this end of the adoption bell curve. continue reading » 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Keep an eye on international laws (GDPR)

first_imgAll of us have been bombarded recently with those updates on our mobile phones and on the various websites asking us to accept the new privacy terms.  Very few of us take the time to actually read those, myself included, instead opting to “click the box” and move on to where you want to be. Many of these recent updates, however, are driven by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) which went into effect in Europe on May 25, 2018.  Which brings us to the question, how is it that a European regulation is governing the conduct of U.S. businesses, including U.S. credit unions, and why do I have to comply with a European regulation when I already have privacy laws governing me in the U.S.?  These questions do not have simple, easy answers, but it is clear that the European Union is attempting to extend its influence beyond its borders and is setting a new and higher standard in the data privacy/data protection arena. By way of background, the EU GDPR applies whenever an entity (such as a credit union) processes the personal data of an EU resident when offering them goods or services; or when you monitor the behavior of an EU resident; or where a country’s public law provides for it.  Any of these potential jurisdictional thresholds warrant extensive discussion, but basically the more contacts you have with EU residents or businesses or perhaps a physical presence in the EU, the more likely you will be subject to the GDPR. This is why, with our world becoming increasingly connected through the internet and otherwise, big tech companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook, with their extensive data collection activities and global focus are being dramatically affected by this regulation (hence the increase in those privacy update requests).So, yes, as a credit union you will need to pay attention to certain international regulations and look closely at your operations in the United States to figure out if this EU regulation affects your credit union and whether this regulation can be enforced against your credit union.  Further, with the publication of the ePrivacy regulation as a proposal text (affecting electronic communications such as email, instant messaging, electronic marketing, etc.) which will round out the EU data protection framework, the compliance picture will likely get more complicated.  To that end, it could have been much worse.  WOCCU was active during the development of this regulation in urging the elimination of registration requirements and fees, and flexibility in who can be a data protection officer (such as a BSA officer) under the regulation.  Also, there are still ways to ensure compliance with the EU regulation without having to significantly alter your operations (i.e. through contractual provisions, the Privacy Shield). So don’t ignore those international laws from some far off place.  Keep an eye on them. The world isn’t that big any more. A complete guide to the EU GDPR available for WOCCU and CUNA Members is available at:  https://members.woccu.org/documents/EUDataProtectionPrivacyShield2017ComplianceGuide 5SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Andrew Price Andrew “Andy” T. Price currently serves as the Regulatory Counsel for the World Council of Credit Unions where he engages in advocacy on behalf of credit unions worldwide before the … Web: www.woccu.org Detailslast_img read more

A Muslim Turkish-German couple is behind the world’s first effective coronavirus vaccine

first_imgAccording to Reuters, an article published in The Lancet in January on Wuhan’s outbreak sparked Sahin’s interest in a COVID-19 vaccine and how BioNTech’s work could be applicable. This led to a partnership with Pfizer in March. The vaccine has left health officials and scientists feeling optimistic after it outperformed expectations in phase three of trials. “If the question is whether we can stop this pandemic with this vaccine, then my answer is: yes, because I believe that even protection only from symptomatic infections will have a dramatic effect,” Şahin said told The Guardian.While the trials do not guarantee the vaccine will prevent transmission of the virus, this development has been the most effective one yet. “The vaccine hinders Covid-19 from gaining access to our cells. But even if the virus manages to find a way in, then the T-cells bash it over the head and eliminate it. We have trained the immune system very well to perfect these two defensive moves. We now know that the virus can’t defend itself against these mechanisms,” Sahin said.As people live in fear while the coronavirus pandemic impacts millions across the world, news of this couple’s achievements brings hope. As of this report, more than 52.9 million people have been infected with COVID-19 and at least 1.2 million have died worldwide as a result, according to The New York Times database.   “It could be the beginning of the end of the Covid era,” Sahin told The New York Times Tuesday. In an earlier interview, he noted that “There are not too many companies on the planet which have the capacity and the competence to do it so fast as we can do it. So it felt not like an opportunity, but a duty to do it, because I realized we could be among the first coming up with a vaccine.”He added that the partnership BioNTech created with Pfizer was personal from the start. Prior to collaborating on the COVID-19 vaccine, the two companies worked together on a flu vaccine in 2018. Sahin then bonded well with Albert Bourla, the Greek chief executive of Pfizer, over shared backgrounds and identities as both scientists and immigrants.“We realized that he is from Greece, and that I’m from Turkey,” Dr. Sahin said, without mentioning their native countries’ long-running antagonism. “It was very personal from the very beginning.”- Advertisement – The couple’s extensive research in the field of modified genetic code has allowed them to be the powerhouse behind the world’s first effective coronavirus vaccine. According to CNN, the vaccine uses “never-before-approved technology called RNA or mRNA, to spark an immune response in people who are vaccinated.” The development is being called the “greatest medical advance” in the last 100 years by companies like Pfizer, making the couple historic pioneers. Not only is the vaccine the fastest one ever developed, but its efficacy is much higher than virologists ever hoped for. As a result, the couple’s company BioNTech has seen a significant increase in worth, which now sits at almost $4 billion.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Both Sahin and Türeci were born in Turkey and immigrated to Germany at a young age. But their paths to medicine differed greatly. While Sahol was the child of a car factory worker, Türeci grew up with a surgeon as a father. Their shared passion for medical and disease research allowed their paths to cross while pursuing medicine. Despite the couple’s historic accomplishments, they still remain humble and dedicated to helping others above all. “I don’t have a car. I’m not going to buy a plane,” Sahin told The Washington Post, noting that the company’s monetary value does not affect the couple. “What’s life-changing is to be able to impact something in the medical field.”When asked about being role models for future generations of Germans with migrant backgrounds, the couple noted the importance of equality and not assuming one race is more intelligent than another. “I am not sure I really want that. I think we need a global vision that gives everyone an equal chance. Intelligence is equally distributed across all ethnicities, that’s what all the studies show. As a society, we have to ask ourselves how we can give everyone a chance to contribute to society. I am an accidental example of someone with a migration background. I could have equally been German or Spanish,” Sahin told The Guardian.A year before they married, Türeci and Sahin founded their first pharmaceutical company, Ganymed Pharmaceuticals, in 2001. Having been drawn together over a shared passion for medical research, the couple set out to use immunotherapy in cancer vaccines. According to the Times, they even began their wedding day in a research lab, attended the ceremony, then returned back to work. “I understood that what we can offer cancer patients at the hospitals is not much, and we could do more by bringing new discoveries to the patient’s bedside,” Türeci told LABIOTECH in a 2017 interview. “In 2008, we recognized another platform had reached a maturity point where they had to be accelerated towards individualized vaccines, and BioNTech was founded,” Türeci added.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Sony Xperia XZ1 fresh leaks, shows off huge camera module and big flash

first_imgSony is working on three Xperia phones and could unveil them at IFA 2017 in Berlin.  The Xperia XZ1 was recently spotted on an unknown Chinese website revealing the specs of the phone and now a leak from Slashleaks.com has revealed the phone in its full glory.The rear view of the phone reveals a large camera module and a big flash. The phone shows off a metal-built and the looks similar to the design of the the Xperia XZ Premium and Xperia X. The rumoured Xperia XZ1 is expected to come with Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC and 4GB RAM. The smartphone could sport a 5.1-inch full HD and flaunt a metal body as seen in the new leak. There are talks that the Xperia XZ1 could come with 19MP rear camera and a 13MP selfie snapper. The phone could be fuelled by a 3000mAh battery and come in colour options like Moonlight Blue, Venus Pink, Warm Silver and Moonlight Blue. The phone could run on Android 8.0 and priced around Rs 55,000.Also Read: Sony Xperia XZ1, XZ1 Compact images leaked, may launch by September 10The phone like the typical Xperia phone sports a rectangular design on the back with slightly rounded edges which offers a good hold on the phone. In a separate 3D CAD video, the alleged Xperia XZ1 is seen sporting the 3.5mm audio jack which many companies are ditching these days. A power button along with volume and shutter button is paced at the right edge of the phone while the hybrid SIM tray is placed at the left edge. There’s a home button that also doubles up as the fingerprint sensor.advertisementSony is also working on Xperia XZ1 Compact and Xperia X1 alongside the XZ1. While we know very little about the Xperia X1, there was a recent rumour that the Xperia XZ1 Compact could be priced lower than the Xperia XZ1. It could cost around Rs 48,000. The phone is purported to come with 4.6-inch display and run on Android 8.0. The phone could house 32GB of internal storage.last_img read more

Gay fans warned holding hands at Russia World Cup will be dangerous

first_imgLGBT fans will be warned about holding hands in public and other outward displays of affection when in Russia for the World Cup next summer. A cautionary guide will be produced by Fare – formerly Football Against Racism in Europe and now a pressure group that campaigns for equality in football – and dispersed to fans travelling to the tournament.Being gay is not illegal in Russia but the country has a law banning teaching about homosexuality in schools and there are numerous cases where gay people from foreign countries have been attacked because of their sexuality. Share on Pinterest Liam Rosenior Sexuality World Cup 2018 Russia Read more Share on Messenger Europe news Share on Facebook Piara Powar, executive director of Fare, said:“The guide will advise gay people to be cautious in any place which is not seen to be welcoming to the LGBT community. The same message is there for black and ethnic minority fans – do go to the World Cup but be cautious. If you have gay fans walking down the street holding hands, will they face danger in doing so – that depends on which city they are in and the time of day.“The guide will also include some detailed explanations of, for example, the actual situation of the LGBT community in Russia. It is not a crime to be gay but there is a law against the promotion of homosexuality to minors. Issues relating to the LGBT community are not part of the public discourse. Gay people have a place in Russia which is quite hidden and underground.”Fare has also written to Fifa on behalf of two fans’ groups from Britain and Germany to ask for permission to raise a rainbow flag inside stadiums during the World Cup, which begins in June next year. Although political displays are banned inside stadiums it is understood the governing body would not consider rainbow flags to fall into that bracket and fans would be welcome to wave them before and during games.The World Cup draw takes place on Friday at the Kremlin, where organisers will hope football is the focus of attention. But fears that the spectre of homophobia and racism could deter some supporters from travelling to Russia are very real. Fare is imploring Fifa to introduce an official rule whereby fans can be reprimanded under a specific charge of homophobia.The plea follows the court of arbitration for sport’s decision to cancel two fines imposed by Fifa on Mexico’s FA after their fans loudly chanted the Spanish word “puto” – widely known to be an anti-gay slur – during international matches. Fifa had to bring charges under general fan misbehaviour as opposed to specific homophobic abuse. Reuse this contentcenter_img Share on Twitter Share on WhatsApp Read more Alexei Smertin named as Russia’s anti-racism inspector before 2018 World Cup We need a culture shift, not just Rainbow Laces, for players to come out World Cup Share on LinkedIn “Since the Brazil World Cup we have seen variations of that chant becoming a big thing in football,” said Powar. “There is no offence of homophobia in Fifa’s rules and we have made clear that there should be. It is critical there is a clear message about Fifa’s ability to act in these cases against the fans that are responsible.”Far-right extremist groups have already had around 300 people banned from attending the World Cup. The former Chelsea midfielder Alexei Smertin was appointed as an anti-racism and discrimination inspector at the Russian Football Union and appears to be taking the problem seriously, issuing fines to offending clubs.Powar said: “In Russia it tends to be that politicians feel they are being attacked and say it is all a western conspiracy driven by the western media – usually the UK media – and then after a while they accept there are some issues and quietly get on with dealing with those issues. The local population are pretty proud of the fact they are hosting and want to be seen as acting as a good host.” Share via Email Topics Racelast_img read more