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The shifting landscape in biosocial science

first_imgProfessor Dorothy E. Roberts of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, a leading scholar on legal and biosocial theory, will present this year’s Tanner Lectures at Harvard on Wednesday and Thursday. Her two-part talk will examine a profound shift in biosocial science, and its effects on theories of race and social inequality.Founded in 1978, the Tanner Lectures focus on human values. “Those values of course change historically and even geographically in different phases,” said Homi K. Bhabha, director of the Mahindra Humanities Center. “We bring to our campus speakers who, from their different disciplinary perspectives, have something to say about the transformation in cultural and ethical values around a particular topic. Roberts brings together a wide range of expertise, and also a range of perspectives that makes her work transdisciplinary. And it speaks to many parts of the campus on issues that are relevant at this point.”Reached before her Harvard visit, Roberts, J.D. ’80, explained the focus of her talk. “What I’ll be doing is looking at the ethics of biosocial science — which as I define it is science that investigates the relationship between biology and society,” she said. “I point out that there is a difference between science that claims that biological difference produces social inequalities, and science that claims social inequalities produce biological differences. That is the distinction I’m making between the old and new theories.”In the first lecture, “The Old Biosocial and the Legacy of Unethical Science,” she’ll examine how science was affected by outdated — and sometimes preposterous — theories about race.“I point out that race is an invented category that was promoted by scientists in the late 1600s and early 1700s. They invented the concept of race as a biological difference in human beings, and this happened before scientists even knew anything about genes. This was inherited and passed down from one generation to the next. And the claim that race is a biological trait, rather than a political division, justified the enslavement of Africans in a nation that was based on the radical commitment to liberty and equality.”Chair of the Harvard Tanner Committee Homi K. Bhabha said Roberts was chosen as lecturer for her transdisciplinary knowledge that “speaks to many parts of the campus on issues that are relevant at this point.” File photo by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerEven after slavery ended, the idea persisted that some humans could be genetically inferior. As Roberts pointed out, the 1927 Supreme Court case of Buck v. Bell put that theory into high relief. “The case considered the constitutionality of the compulsory eugenics sterilization law that allowed the government to sterilize people against their will, if they were found to be feeble-minded. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the opinion upholding the law, based on eugenicist science. He thought it would be better if these feeble-minded people were sterilized, rather than having to execute their children for their crimes. The children were thought to damage the stock of the nation and make it a weaker society. And the difference was then linked to whole groups of people who were seen to be genetically inferior.”Her second lecture, “The New Biosocial and the Future of Ethical Science,” will examine the thinking since then, as eugenics have generally been discredited. One key discovery, she said, is that genes may actually react to the environment — that a parent’s living conditions may determine her child’s genetic makeup. The new science of epigenetics investigates how body cells function, and the effect that physical surroundings may have.“The revolution in biosocial science is that the distinction between nature and nurture isn’t tenable anymore, because scientists are learning that genes don’t operate by themselves, they respond to the environment. And that absolutely includes where you live, the toxins you breathe in, the stress that you experience, your diet. All of this affects the epigenetic process in your cells.”Roberts cited the higher rates of low birth weight and cardiovascular disease among African-Americans. “There were assumptions that there was a genetic predisposition causing that. But epigenetic scientists have now shown that the stress of various aspects of racial inequality — segregated neighborhoods, lower incomes, and even the stress of discrimination experienced by a black mother — can have an impact on the fetus and cause them to have smaller babies. And these babies grow up to have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease. This is not because of the gene structure, but the way these adverse environments affect pregnant African-American women.”Eugenics still has its proponents, so the new science hasn’t completely replaced the old. Roberts said there was no particular event that led to a scientific shift, but “I could definitely name some of the influences, though. For one thing, after the Holocaust there was a global rejection of eugenicist thinking, because of the realization that attributing group inequality to innate differences could lead to horrific government actions. Another factor was the development of science — particularly neuroscience, which examines how social environment affects the actual anatomy of the brain.”In the final part of her lecture, Roberts will look at how biosocial science is likely to evolve. “This research I’m talking about is still relatively new. What’s controversial with human beings is how durable and transgenerational these effects are. We start by looking at the old science, aspects of which are perceived as unethical. But what was unethical about it: That it led to sterilization of groups of people? Yes, but there was also something flawed in the scientists themselves — not that the science fell into the wrong hands, but that the science itself was unethical. It’s a demonstration of the power and the violence that it takes to hold unequal social hierarchies. There is potential for the new science to be more ethical than the old. Part of my lecture is to point out how radical this new science is, but also how it incorporates some of the flaws of the old.”Asked if there was a particular moment when biosocial science took a leap forward, she said, “I think we’re seeing that moment right now.”The Tanner Lectures will take place Wednesday and Thursday at 4 p.m. in the Lowell Lecture Hall. Dorothy Roberts will be introduced at the first lecture by Harvard President Drew Faust and then by Law School Dean Martha Minow, who co-authored “Women and the Law” with Roberts.SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSavelast_img read more

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“CPR” Website Urges Immediate Land Use Permit Reform

first_imgxA coalition of business leaders is doing everything it can to create jobs in Vermont. A new website, www.vermontcpr.org(link is external), has arrived on the scene to encourage revision of Vermont’s permitting process in order to pump life into the Vermont economy. The website urges legislative initiatives to make meaningful changes to the Act 250 process this legislative session.Sponsored by the Coalition for Permit Reform (CPR), the goal of the new site is to mobilize individuals to encourage the legislature to enact reform that creates a more consistent, more predictable and more timely permit process, while preserving Vermont’s existing environmental protections.In his inaugural address Governor Douglas stated, “We have two great economic advantages– our natural environment and Vermonters themselves… However, the choice we face today is not between jobs and the environment. It is a choice between both or neither.” The www.vermontcpr.org(link is external) site delves deeper into choices that are ripe now: problems with the current permit process, innovative and sensible solutions, tips for contacting legislators, the text of several reform bills; and a legislative update page and an alert page to follow proposed bills as they move through the House and Senate.Chuck Nichols, Vermont Chamber Senior Vice President and a founding member of the Coalition, noted, “The Coalition developed the site to cut through the rhetoric: as a simple resource for Vermonters, providing accurate information regarding various permit proposals currently in the legislature.”The Vermont Coalition for Permit Reform is a broad-based coalition of statewide and local organizations that are dedicated to enacting common sense reform to Vermont’s environmental permitting process.Nichols observes that the legislature does not operate in a vacuum. “By developing www.vermontcpr.org(link is external), we encourage Vermonters to educate themselves; get involved in the issues. This is a call to action to preserve the environment we all value while ensuring that Vermont remains a viable choice for the quality of life we seek this year, next year, and for our children.”last_img read more

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What makes a good judge?

first_img November 1, 2002 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News What makes a good judge? Senior EditorGov. Jeb Bush said he wants to see judicial candidates with diversity, character, and a philosophy of judicial restraint, while Supreme Court Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead said integrity is a key ingredient.Both were giving advice October 8 at the annual Judicial Nominating Commission training seminar in Tallahassee. New and experienced commissioners got advice about everything from what questions to ask candidates to potential conflicts of interest, sprinkled with war stories from current and former JNC members, including some who went through the process and became judges.Bush came into the training session as a member the Bar’s Judicial Nominating Commission Procedures Committee, Linda Sweeting, was explaining the governor’s diversity preferences. Bush picked up that theme without missing a beat.“This state is only going to become more diverse in terms of the evolution of women in the workplace. I think it’s important that there be a recognition that the number of women in the judiciary is too low in terms of the contributions they can make. The same applies to African Americans and Hispanics,” the governor said. “While I’m proud of the record we’ve had as it relates to diversity, one of the responsibilities you have is to make sure we don’t slip back to the old ways; we don’t slip back to a clubby process.”Besides diversity, Bush said character and judicial philosophy were two other things he wanted JNCs to seek in judicial applicants.“Character matters a whole lot,” he said. “There are things in life that relate to absolute truth. Some people define that as faith, others don’t. To me that doesn’t matter; there are things that you can clearly identify on whether they adhere to absolute truth.. . . You want people in the judiciary whose compass points north all the time.”Bush said he considered a judicial candidate’s judicial philosophy more important than political philosophy. He noted he considers himself a “reform” governor and that he doesn’t like judges who act as a mini legislature when they review laws passed by the legislature and signed by him.“I would hope they are judges who don’t define their role as being a second legislature, if you know what I mean,” he said. “When there’s a chance to determine, to interpret law, they may not have the intention, but the end effect in some cases with some judges is they make law from the text of the statute. I would rather have someone who may not share my philosophical beliefs, but believes in judicial restraint.“Personal ideology is not nearly as important as judicial philosophy, and there are ways without offending people that you can find that out.”Chief Justice Anstead reminded the commissioners that the distinctive feature of the U.S. that makes it envied and copied around the world, especially among emerging democracies, is its rule of law and independent judiciary. To continue that tradition, JNCs should recommend applicants with high levels of professionalism and ethics, he said.The chief justice said his definition of professionalism is “if you can properly identify the responsibilities you have in a situation and then you can carry out those responsibilities with great personal integrity. Then you can be pretty sure you are acting with professionalism.. . . The first 10 things you have to focus on are integrity, integrity, integrity, and so on.”He noted that one thing everyone — coworkers, opposing counsel, judges he appeared before — agreed about new Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero, whose formal installation ceremony was held a few days earlier, was his high level of integrity.Candidates should also show impartiality toward litigants, Anstead said, noting the court reiterated that point a couple years ago in a disciplinary order removing a judge from office.“We felt we had to go back to fundamentals in that opinion and say, doesn’t everyone realize that the first quality a judge must have is impartiality, a level playing field?” he said. “All sides in any dispute have to feel that for a person on the bench who is going to end up making decisions on the most fundamental issues affecting people. . . that the primary assurance has to be impartiality. That goes along with personal integrity.”Anstead added that the nomination of Cantero to the Supreme Court shows that JNCs are doing a good job.The Bush and Anstead talks were punctuation on a day filled with information and advice, ranging from conflicts of interest, what questions to ask candidates, what constitutes public records, ethics laws, and filling out expense reports.A morning panel discussion focused on a rules overview, operation of the commissions, duties of JNC chairs, and ticklish problems JNCs can face.Fifth District Court of Appeal Judge Bill Palmer, a former JNC member who was nominated for five judgeships before being appointed to the Fifth DCA, said one of those touchy issues is whether JNC members should actively recruit applicants.“Some favor commissioners actively encouraging applicants to get as many qualified people as possible, but the other side is there is an impression people who are recruited by commissioners have a better chance,” Palmer said. “It puts the commissioners in an awkward position of ‘Gee, you asked me to apply and then I don’t get your vote and I didn’t make the short list [of candidates nominated to the governor].’“Most avoid active recruiting for that reason.”One audience question, from former Bar Board of Governors member Bill Loucks, now a member of the Seventh Circuit JNC, sparked some lively discussion. Loucks noted that state law allows JNCs to nominate between three and six candidates. He asked the panelists what they would do if they had three outstanding candidates, and three others who were qualified but markedly less impressive. Should they send the three best names, or send six? he inquired.“If I felt that three candidates were far and away better than three other candidates, it was my suggestion we send the three best qualified to the governor,” said panel member Michael Band, former member of the 11th Circuit JNC. While some would favor giving the governor the broadest number of choices, he added that “my position is this is a person I may be appearing before, I want the best qualified.”Carol Licko, a former general counsel for Bush, the chair of the Bar’s Judicial Nominating Procedures Committee, and the organizer of the training session, took a different view.“Our concern in the governor’s office was that he had qualified people and he had the greatest number possible,” she said. “In making that cut, you’re making sure they are all qualified. We always asked that you send up the six names of the qualified people and the governor would make a selection from those.”Carl Pennington, a past chair of the Supreme Court JNC, said he thought panels had the obligation “to send up the best, the very best names you can.” Palmer said he read the language giving JNCs the authority of sending between three and six names as granting them discretion in such matters.Bush, during his appearance, asked whether he would rather have three or six candidates submitted, but the issue of different qualifications was not raised to him.“I think generally I would like more.. . . If you look at it from a broader perspective, the more options the better it is,” he replied.In a multi-county circuit, more options give a better chance of providing geographical diversity, which Bush called a secondary consideration. And the larger the number of candidates, the less likelihood there will be a suspicion a JNC is attempting to manipulate the appointment by submitting one candidate whose qualifications far surpass the other two, he said.On another matter, Licko told the commissioners they will soon have a rules convention, probably in January. That is needed because the current rules were drafted for the previous JNC system, where the Bar appointed three members, the governor named three, and those six chose three public members. Under a law passed two years ago, the governor was given all nine appointments, although four must come from a list submitted by the Bar.Licko said several other changes have been suggested, and JNC Procedures Committee member Diana Bock distributed potential amendments. Bock said the amendments are only intended as suggestions to stimulate discussions among JNC members, adding, “These aren’t written in stone, they aren’t even written in dark pencil.”Two items addressed in possible amendments are whether some members of a JNC can meet in private to discuss nominations and a recommendation that when a JNC member obtains negative or derogatory information about a candidate, that it be shared with other JNC members and the candidate before the interview.The former issue, Bock said, was raised by Sen. Skip Campbell, D-Tamarac, and Bush agreed that some JNC members should not meet privately to discuss nominations. But there currently is no rule that addresses that issue, she said.The second change was to prevent candidates and JNC members from being “ambushed” by negative information without a chance for the JNC members to research the matter and for the candidate to respond.Other comments and tidbits from the session include:• Members were reminded that except for deliberations, all their meetings and records are open to the public, and the public must be noticed about upcoming meetings. That can lead to some unusual situations. Judge Mark Wolfe recalled as one JNC prepared to interview candidates, a court reporter showed up and set up in the back of the room. It turned out the reporter was hired by one of the applicants scheduled for one of the last interviews and who wanted a transcript of what questions were likely to be asked and how other candidates responded. While some JNC members were disconcerted, they determined since the interviews were public, the court reporter had the right to be there, and at least one member thought the lawyer had hit upon an ingenuous way to prepare for the interview.• JNC members should realize they will be doing a lot of background checking on applicants, including interviewing numerous references, lawyers, judges, and others familiar with applicants.• Each JNC has a fair amount of latitude on how it conducts its business. For example, Palmer said when faced with a large number of applicants, some JNCs review the written applications and then select only some for interviews, some conduct full interviews of all applicants even if it takes several days, and some conduct short interviews and then cull the list down for full interviews. Palmer said he prefers to give all candidates at least a short interview because many prove more impressive in person than their written applications would indicate.• Pennington advised that JNCs should go beyond what the written rules require in avoiding conflicts of interest and appearances of impropriety. Band advised commissions to emphasize collegiality and to avoid splitting into factions.• Bush General Counsel Charles Canady, who is leaving to take a seat on the Second DCA, reminded commissioners they play a vital role. “Our legal system is based on the principle that an independent, fair, and competent judiciary will interpret the laws that govern us,” he said. “A judge is an arbiter of facts and law for the resolution of disputes and a highly visible arbiter. One of the greatest blessings we enjoy is a government of the rule of law. As a member of the JNC, you play an important role in maintaining government under the rule of law.” What makes a good judge?last_img read more

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10 interview mistakes that could cost you your next job

first_img 32SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Knowing what to do in an interview — and what not to do — can make or break your job hunt. Apart from the more obvious interview mistakes, such as a poor appearance, limp handshake or lack of eye content, some mistakes may not immediately come to mind. Kevin Robson, a London-based recruitment consultant with Capable Consultants Limited said, “Candidate mistakes can reflect a lack of respect, a lack of desire or both.”Respect during an interview is paramount. “One of my personal favorites was when a candidate came into the office with ‘Eye of the Tiger’ playing on their smartphone,” said Val Matta, Vice President of Business Development at CareerShift. “I understand the intention — to show excitement about the job … however, it doesn’t really say anything about what kind of employee the young man was going to be.”Here are 10 more interview mistakes you’ll want to avoid at all costs.Mistake #1: Arriving Late or Not at AllIf you’re running late, call and inform the company. If you will be more than 10 minutes late, call and ask if the interviewers would rather reschedule. Kevin Crane, a retired U.S. Special Agent and author of “Access Granted,” told GOBankingRates. “The candidate should have called and explained that they were running late and ascertain if it was still OK to come in for the interview. There may have been other candidates lined up for timely interviews already.” continue reading »last_img read more

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Credit union rep shares views at FASB credit-loss meeting

first_img 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Credit unions’ unique structure as member-owned, not-for-profit institutions was reiterated Thursday during a NAFCU-attended Financial Accounting Standards Board meeting where financial institution representatives, auditors and regulators shared their concerns over the board’s current expected credit loss standard.During the meeting, Susan Hannigan, senior vice president and CFO of Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union in Massachusetts, reminded FASB representatives that credit unions are unique and only serve members; they do not have investors. She also expressed concerns about the additional costs of compliance and the need for a standard that is simple and scalable to small institutions.NAFCU Regulatory Affairs Counsel Alexander Monterrubio attended yesterday’s meeting, where many voiced reservations with the standard and its impact due to the need to estimate expected credit losses. D. Scott Neat, director of supervision in NCUA’s Office of Examination and Insurance, also attended.The CECL standard is still in draft form; FASB is expected to make the standard final in mid-2016. continue reading »last_img read more

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first_imgU.S. President Donald Trump turns away in the rain after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider as he attends a Veterans Day observance in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, November 11, 2020.Carlos Barria | Reuters President Donald Trump‘s continued refusal to concede 2020 elections poses a host of national security dangers. However, the most hazardous of them all won’t be found on the conventional list of threats that occupy Washington’s legion of foreign policy experts.That doesn’t mean there isn’t potential for increased peril across the usual list of concerns: China, Russia, Iran, North Korea or terrorism. It’s just none of them – as significant as they are – pose as existential a danger to U.S. interests at home and abroad as the growing prospect of continued domestic political polarization and growing cultural divides.Those, in turn, prompt adversaries to seek advantage by fueling these divisions and finding advantage in them. It leaves even the most hopeful of allies, encouraged by President-elect Joe Biden‘s commitment to restoring a more traditional U.S. approach to international common cause, hedging their bets.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – President-elect Biden wishes to counter President Trump’s continued influence and fulfill his goal of being the unifying leader for all Americans and for global democracies. If he can do that, his team believes he could be one of those transformative presidents that comes along now and again at historic moments. What could be more so than our time of health crisis, economic threats, authoritarian resurgence around China’s rise and democratic weakness? President Trump’s actions following his electoral defeat, which won’t alter the outcome that he leaves office on Jan. 20 next year, underscore his intention to emerge as the Republican Party’s most significant force and thus a continued international rallying point for populist and nationalist politicians across the world.The failure thus far of a host of such leaders globally to recognize President-elect Biden’s victory underscores this reality. They have included Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, and Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša has congratulated Trump on his victory.The closer Trump’s day of departure comes, the more he talks to friends about preparing the ground for a 2024 run to retake the office he is so reluctantly leaving. He promises to be as untraditional a former president, remaining in the spotlight through whatever means prove to be most effective, as he has been in office.- Advertisement –center_img To achieve that outcome, his team first must slay the Trump Dragon, which remains their most significant obstacle. To do so, they’ll need to study the four central motivations for President Trump’s actions that have followed the Nov. 3 elections.These include:Trump maintaining his leadership of the Republican Party. He is determined to remain the kingmaker for primaries and state races, while at the same time being able to kill candidacies that have been disloyal to him. It would be shortsighted not to take seriously Trump’s musings about running again for president at age 78 in 2024. Even if he doesn’t run, just the suggestion he might would keep him at the center of national and international attention.Trump emerging from his electoral defeat with enough standing and authority to refinance his business and get new loans. By all accounts, he is under significant financial pressure, including a debt load of anywhere from $400 million to $1 billion. To maintain his brand, he’ll need to finance it, including the possibility, reported by Axios, that he’s planning to launch a digital media channel to compete with Fox.Achieving immunity from federal prosecution. President Trump believes law may allow him to even pardon himself, a concept that almost certainly would be tested, up to and including the Supreme Court. Trump also has other options: he could resign before Jan. 20 and have Vice President Mike Pence pardon him. President-elect Biden on the campaign trail has said he wouldn’t pardon Trump.Finally, Trump would want to protect his family members and ensure they could continue to pursue their business and political interests.  The dilemma for the Biden team is that if President Trump achieves these four goals, he is far more likely to retreat quietly from office. However, his success in doing so also would ensure that he would remain as an immovable obstacle.Republican leaders, particularly those in the Senate, who have failed to criticize President Trump or call for him to concede the election, privately cite several motivations. First, they say they don’t want to corner Trump, which they believe would make him more difficult, and they are trying to provide him room to make his own decision to step away. Second, they recognize he won more than 72 million national votes, the most of any Republican presidential candidate in history, and thus he will have continued influence on their political futures. Finally, the Republican party is focused on winning the two Senate runoffs in Georgia in January, where more than $100 million is likely to be spent on get-out-the-vote efforts. What’s at stake in Georgia is whether Republicans will hold the Senate. Even those Republicans who want Trump far from the scene don’t see mileage in a confrontation with him that could risk Georgia.The 2020 elections were a personal defeat for President Trump, but they weren’t the repudiation of Trumpism that his opponents, both Democrat and Republican, had hoped. His party did better in Senate and House races than expected.“If the 2024 Republican nominee isn’t Mr. Trump himself,” writes Brooking’s William A. Galston in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal, “it will likely be someone who embraces the president’s orientation without his loud rhetoric and character flaws.”  Wrote Galston, “Mr. Trump’s critics saw him as a threat not only to racial progress and social inclusion but to the Constitution. And they came to understand that this threat represented the culmination of long-standing trends.”     Should President Trump and Trumpism remain as a central factor in American politics, even in opposition, that will have global consequences. Trump challenged party orthodoxy on alliances, on the use of American power, on democracy promotion, on cooperative trade policy with democratic partners and in the harsh tone he normalized in international statecraft.To understand what’s driving President Trump most at the moment, a colleague pointed me to a must-read interview By Gaby Wood with him from January 2007 in the Observer of London. She closed by asking, “If no one were looking at you, do you think you’d still exist?”Replied Trump, after a pause and with palms together in front of his face, “No. Because, honestly, I wouldn’t have any fun. There are people who are successful, but nobody knows who they are, and I say what’s the purpose? Everyone knows who I am.”   Whatever impact that might have in President-elect Biden’s ability to lead, that reality seems unlikely to go away.Frederick Kempe is a best-selling author, prize-winning journalist and president & CEO of the Atlantic Council, one of the United States’ most influential think tanks on global affairs. He worked at The Wall Street Journal for more than 25 years as a foreign correspondent, assistant managing editor and as the longest-serving editor of the paper’s European edition. His latest book – “Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth” – was a New York Times best-seller and has been published in more than a dozen languages. Follow him on Twitter @FredKempe and subscribe here to Inflection Points, his look each Saturday at the past week’s top stories and trends.For more insight from CNBC contributors, follow @CNBCopinion on Twitter. President-elect Joe Biden discusses protecting the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and his health care plans during a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware, November 10, 2020.Jonathan Ernst | Reuters – Advertisement –last_img read more

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Recovery should focus on high-poverty sectors: UI researcher

first_imgAlin said the ongoing health crisis threatened the country’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), including progress in the alleviation of poverty, the development of infrastructure and the promotion of more equal access to quality education.The government has earmarked Rp 695 trillion (US$47.39 billion) in spending to boost the economy and strengthen the healthcare system during the pandemic.Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said in early August that the government planned to expand its social aid programs and incentives for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by reallocating Rp 70.8 trillion from existing ineffective stimulus packages.Under the plan, the government expects to allocate Rp 4.6 trillion to increase the amount of rice given to the 10 million recipients of the Family Hope Program (PKH) to 15 kilograms per month. It also plans to disburse Rp 500,000 to 10 million Staple Food Card recipients this month.The government has earmarked Rp 37.7 trillion for a wage subsidy program for workers earning less than Rp 5 million per month. The program will target 15.7 million workers.Masyita Crystallin, a special advisor to the Finance Minister, said the pandemic’s impact on poverty would depend on which sectors were prominent in a given province.The pandemic has hit agriculture, trade, construction and manufacturing the hardest, and these sectors tend to employ informal workers with less education.“These are the sectors that were hit first by the pandemic,” said Masyita. “The government is therefore focusing on supporting labor-intensive sectors first.”Topics : “This is the distribution of COVID-19’s impact on poor citizens,” said Alin. “This is how we tell the government that there are large numbers of poor people who have been hit in these sectors.”The government expects 4 million people to fall below the poverty line this year as a result of the pandemic, increasing the number of poor people in the country to 28 million, about 10.6 percent of the population.The SMERU Research Institute, however, has a grimmer estimate. The institute predicts that 8.5 million people will fall into poverty this year, increasing the poverty rate to 12.37 percent, a figure last seen in 2009.The economy shrank by 5.32 percent year-on-year (yoy) in the second quarter of this year as most sectors experienced pandemic restrictions and household consumption and investment fell. Indonesia’s recovery from the economic effects of the pandemic must focus on the sectors where the greatest number of workers have fallen into poverty, according to a researcher from the University of Indonesia’s Social and Economic Research Institute (LPEM UI).This would mean that agriculture would take priority in most of the provinces of Java as it has seen the most significant increase in poverty of any sector in those provinces, according to LPEM UI head of environmental studies Alin Halimatussadiah.In the Bangka Belitung islands, the priority sector would be mining, she added.last_img read more

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Industry criticises quality of IASB, IFRS Foundation’s work

first_imgCommentators responding to a public consultation on the effectiveness of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation have slammed the quality of the global rulemaker’s work.The IFRS Foundation is the parent body of the London-based International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the IFRS Interpretations Committee.In a formal comment letter, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales wrote: “It seems significant resources have been dedicated to fixing problems that should have been identified during the standard-setting process.“Again, this may indicate further improvements can be made to the board’s due process.” Alongside the damning verdict on the IASB’s efforts, critics also slammed its interpretations committee and processes as “slow and unresponsive” and prone to making too many short-term changes to standards.The comments come despite a major bid in recent years by the Foundation and the board to address the committee’s past failings.In a summary of the feedback received by the board and the Foundation, staff told the IASB’s 16 March board meeting: “Many respondents, however, commented on the Board’s approach to finalising the issue of a Standard.”The board’s critics, it emerged, want it to pay more heed to quality control during the final stages of publishing a standard.They said this new focus would help to encourage consistent application of standards.Critics also claimed the board tended to publish a standard only to issue a flurry of editorial corrections, minor amendments and interpretive guidance.Staff wrote: “These respondents thought such amendments hurt the credibility of the Standards and [failed to] provide an incentive for preparers to take an early start in implementing the Standards.”Some respondents also believed the board and its interpretations committee were too willing to amend IFRSs rather than allow preparers and their advisers to exercise judgement.In addition, there were claims the IASB had got its priorities wrong by focusing on the development of new standards rather than on drafting and checking them.The IASB currently operates a fatal-flaw review where it sends out a near-final draft of a new or amended IFRS to a panel of experts.In the case of the 2011 amendments to IAS 19, the project staff circulated a draft of the changes to auditors and consultants.Sources familiar with the process alleged at the time that staff made substantive changes to the treatment of plan administration costs under IAS 19 during this process.Back in 2010, former IASB member Robert Garnett launched a withering public attack on staff for making amendments to a proposed standard on joint-venture accounting without putting them through formal due process.Garnett said: “We need to take the issue offline – we need to re-deliberate the whole basis for annual improvements.“I am not at all pleased with comments from staff about wording changes that go back to the beginning of this year that have been agreed in public meetings, and then offline you decide to change them.”Constituents now want the board to make its fatal-flaw review drafts public.They also want the board to spent more time checking the standards for errors and inconsistencies.Meanwhile, the board’s interpretations committee, responsible for the IFRS 14 asset-ceiling guidance, also came under fire.According to staff, commentators slammed the committee as “slow and unresponsive, with a long lag between submissions and decisions”.They also claimed it “sometimes addresses ‘symptoms’ of problems with standards rather than the underlying causes”.The feedback will come as a blow to the IASB, which four years ago launched a major bid to improve the committee’s image and make it more responsive.Speaking in during an IASB meeting on 21 March 2012, IASB director Michael Stewart said the IFRS Foundation Trustees wanted the committee to identify “other ways” to assist constituents “in conjunction with the board”.As matters then stood, the committee would either issue an interpretation, recommend that the IASB amends an IFRS or reject the issue on the grounds that the standards are clear.Stewart said the committee would in future also consider developing additional illustrative examples, providing more detailed agenda decisions, or handling an issue as an educational project.But IASB member Tak Ochi, speaking during the 16 March board meeting, said the move had turned out to be less than successful.“What happened was we issued more narrow-scope amendments … and then eventually we changed standards more than before,” he said. “Sometimes, it causes unintended consequences.”The change in strategy has also done little to win over some pensions-accounting specialists.In recent months, a major effort by the committee to amend IFRIC 14 has run into the sand, with an exposure draft receiving a mixed response among experts.last_img read more

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UK think tank calls for state pension age increase to 75

first_imgThe CSJ proposed accelerating these increases, with the state pension age reaching 70 in 2028 and 75 by 2035, in order to keep the country’s old-age dependency ratio down and make its fiscal position more manageable. The group’s Ageing Confidently report warned that the UK was “not responding to the needs and potential of an ageing workforce”. However, Helen Morrissey, pension specialist at Royal London, warned that the proposal risked causing “huge issues” for retirees if they are not given enough time to prepare for the changes. “The state pension scheme still operates within the age thresholds set for the [first] pension schemes over 100 years ago”Centre for Social Justice“As the population ages, working longer has the potential to preserve mental and physical health, to contribute to the economy and to significantly relieve fiscal pressures,” the report stated.“Without a fundamental change in employment culture and an increase in opportunities for older workers, however, individuals, businesses and the economy will suffer.”The CSJ added: “The state pension scheme still operates within the age thresholds set for the pioneer pension schemes over 100 years ago, revealing a disconnect between contemporary life expectancies and the state pension age. This raises the question of whether the state pension age is fit for the 21st century.” The UK’s state pension age should be increased to 75, according to a report released over the weekend by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ).The think tank – set up in 2004 by the then-Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith – made a series of recommendations for policy reforms to address the UK’s ageing society.The proposed increase to the state pension age is a significant change from current UK government policy, adopted in 2014.From December 2018, the state pension age for men and women has been rising from 65, and is scheduled to reach 66 in October 2020. It will then rise to 67 by 2028, and to 68 by 2046, although the latter is subject to review.center_img “We need to give careful thought to what kind of jobs people in their 70s are able to do, and while some people will be able to work on for longer others simply won’t be able to,” Morrissey said.“These people will face severe financial hardship if they have not saved enough into a pension to cover the years between leaving work and claiming state pension. The government needs to think carefully before taking such drastic action.”Joe Dabrowski, head of governance and investment at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, tweeted that the CSJ’s retirement age plan was “an unbelievably bad idea”.Other proposalsAs well as raising the state pension age, the CSJ’s report proposed a government initiative to promote “the benefits of employing a diverse workforce” to employers, including advocating flexible working and flexible or gradual retirement.It also supported the “Mid-Life MOT” concept, first launched by the Department for Work and Pensions in February. This was designed to help individuals assess their financial wellbeing and highlight where they could access guidance and support. ‘MOT’ is a reference to the UK’s annual test of the roadworthiness of vehicles. The CSJ’s report is available here.last_img read more

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‘I got cold stares on my return to Barbados’

first_img Share Share Share NewsRegional ‘I got cold stares on my return to Barbados’ by: – April 26, 2012 Sharing is caring!center_img 19 Views   one comment Tweet Shanique MyrieJAMAICAN finger-rape victim Shanique Myrie says a flood of bitter memories fell on her like a ton of bricks on her return to the Eastern Caribbean island of Barbados last week.Myrie and her attorneys, Michelle Brown and Marc Ramsay, went to the island to take her case to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). The court ruled that she has an answerable case and gave her 21 days to file an application to sue the Barbadian Government.But while Myrie expressed relief that she will finally be given her day in court, the return to the island where she claimed she was bad-mouthed, subjected to a dehumanising cavity search, and locked up in a cold, dank room before being booted out of the country, brought back sordid memories of her ordeal.“When I went into the airport the bad memories just came flooding back. I saw the room I was locked in and everything came back to me. I had to be strong and compose myself,” Myrie told the Jamaica Observer.She said while at the Grantley Adams International Airport in Bridgetown she tried to look for any of the immigration officials she claimed abused her, but none were in sight.“None of them were there,” she said.Myrie said that every Barbadian inside the terminal dropped what they were doing, went over to where she was and stared at her. Some colder and harder than others. “Everybody came to look at me. Some ‘cut’ their eyes, while others just stared coldly. I felt like a victim, like a criminal…” she said.However, she said others were less hostile.“Some came over to me and hugged me and apologised softly,” she said.Although she tried to keep her trip to Barbados a secret, Myrie said it seemed the entire Barbados knew when she was arriving and the media came out in full force. “The whole country knew I was coming. The media was out, and they were all up in my face. I never commented and my lawyer did not allow them to get to close to me,” Myrie said.Myrie spent a week in the country, but most of the time was spent indoors as she was not sure what type of reception she would be dealt by the Barbadian people. “I hardly went outside, but when I did I was surprised. I thought Barbados was more sophisticated. They have board houses and zinc fences. I was shocked. I thought I was in rural Jamaica. I didn’t knew that it would be so ordinary,” Myrie told the Observer.She was, however, delighted that the first phase of her struggle to get justice was behind her.“I am relieved and I am certainly looking forward to the trial,” she said.Myrie admitted that she has not yet fully recovered mentally from her ordeal and is still having therapy sessions to help her cope.BY KARYL WALKERJamaica Observerlast_img read more

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