Jacaranda Mesmerizes at Pre-Season Garden Party

first_imgUncategorizedJacaranda Mesmerizes at Pre-Season Garden PartyBy Sean Fitz-Gerald – June 25, 2012309ShareEmailFacebookTwitterPinterestReddItA garden in Mar Vista was transformed Sunday into a concert venue à la Alice in Wonderland (minus the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter) for Jacaranda’s pre-season concert “50 Fingers & 88 Keys.” Renowned for its carefully curated classical music series, Jacaranda took concertgoers on a trip down music’s rabbit hole with ethereal works by Erik Satie, John Cage, and other composers performed by five pianists who will play during the upcoming season. Sunny skies, wine, and sculptures (courtesy of local artist Tanya Ragir) set the stage for artistic director Patrick Scott. “In the spirit of John Cage, we have a plan,” Scott said, “but then reality steps in.”   The first half of the performance featured music from composers David Lang, Tobias Picker, Nico Muhly, and Satie with pianists Danny Holt and Steven Vanhauwaert in the driver’s seat. Holt enthralled audiences with his interpretation of Lang’s “spartan arcs,” a toccata-like piece that pulses from beginning to end with tantalizing serialist-like cycles. Taking the wheel for Picker’s “Old & Lost Rivers,” Vanhauwaert displayed his precise control amid the ebb and flow of wandering melodic lines, which ended with a deliberate whisper.   Joining forces, Vanhauwaert and Holt treated the audience to a performance of Satie’s provocative “Parade,” an absurdist ballet originally created with Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau. In slapstick comedy argot, Satie (along with Holt and Vanhauwaert) took the powder and left the listeners holding the bag. Fortunately, the audience was amused. At intermission audience members couldn’t stop talking about the “Parade.” As they grazed at the buffet of salads, pasta, and berries, patrons got the chance to chat with Vanhauwaert and Holt, both of whom said they had fun with the piece.   The second half took the crowd into more psychedelic territory with trancelike works from Alvin Lucier, Veronika Krausas, Kaija Saariaho, Harrison Birtwistle, Cage, and Olivier Messiaen. Pianist Genevieve Feiwen Lee’s rendition of Lucier’s “Nothing is Real (Strawberry Fields)” had spectators craning their necks. Lee performed fragments of the famous Beatles’ melody on the piano and recorded them in a sound system inside a teapot. She played back the snippets, lifting the lid and sometimes the entire teapot to alter harmonies and resonances.   Pianist Aron Kallay played three of Veronika Krausas’ “Un-Intermezzi,” which she described as “un-Brahmsian miniatures,” before Grammy Award-winner Gloria Cheng closed out the afternoon with a smorgasbord of reveries. She reeled listeners in with her clarity and direction, then broke the dreamy haze with Birtwistle’s “Betty Freeman: Her Tango.” It was a brief but wonderful spin on the popular dance before the presentation of Messiaen’s “Preludes: Les sons impalpables du rêve.” A complex work of tonal melding, Cheng played the Messiaen with tremendous force, nearly enough to blur the lines of sound and reality. Photograph © 2012, Nicole Greenberg TAGS2012June 2012L.A. CulturePrevious articleThe Monday Afternoon Cram, 6/25/12Next articleDVD Review: The ArtistSean Fitz-Gerald RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORFollow in Pee-wee Herman’s Footsteps Across L.A.What Defines a Successful Immigrant?The Undocumented Immigrants Who Are Redefining ‘American’last_img read more

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Amazon lends its expertise — and its cash — to Covid-19 research

first_img @erbrod Erin Brodwin Amazon was also influential in the design of the study and suggested that health care workers be included as one of the groups on which the trial focuses, Lipkin said. He added that the Amazon team includes Vin Gupta, who Amazon hired in January as a principal scientist for Amazon Care, its health care initiative.“I’ve been very impressed with their level of commitment,” Lipkin told STAT.Connecting potential plasma donors and researchersAmazon Web Services, the company’s web services provider, has pitched in to help build an online registry for potential plasma donors. The site, created in collaboration with Michigan State University, lets potential donors sign up to be contacted by local researchers. So far, the site enrolled 10,000 potential donors, an Amazon spokesperson said.Nigel Paneth, a professor of epidemiology at Michigan State and the lead on the website, said AWS contacted him out of the blue one day to ask if they could help.“I didn’t even know AWS existed” before this, Paneth said. “The only Amazon I knew was the river in Brazil and a shipping company. Next thing I know, there’s a conference call for getting this website started.” Shipping behemoth Amazon is increasingly throwing its weight into the pandemic response, sharing its staff’s web and research design expertise with scientists across the country and digging into its deep pockets to fund and shape a smattering of Covid-19 studies and projects.The company is backing a wide range of efforts, from funding a clinical trial of blood plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients to delivering at-home coronavirus tests to health workers and others in the U.K. Much of Amazon’s work is focused on people at a high risk of being exposed to the virus, such as delivery drivers, grocery store staff, and health care workers — all roles that exist within Amazon and its subsidiaries.Many of the projects won’t bear fruit for the next several months, or even years. And Amazon’s multimillion-dollar investments in scientific research could come across as cold comfort to workers at its shipment facilities, many of whom have been calling for basic safety precautions since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March. Earlier this week, a worker at Amazon’s Staten Island, N.Y., fulfillment center died from Covid-19.advertisement Related: About the Author Reprints DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images Newsletters Sign up for STAT Health Tech Your weekly guide to how tech is transforming health care and life sciences. Leave this field empty if you’re human: Amazon Care is also delivering and picking up self-swab kits to people in Washington state’s King County as part of a research effort backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation called the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network, or SCAN.Experts noted that because much of Amazon’s effort focuses on people at high risk of exposure, it could stand to help the company’s own employees and those of its subsidiaries, which include its delivery service, grocery chain Whole Foods, and Amazon Care.“They’re trying to find ways they can mitigate risk to their employees and customers,” Lipkin said. “They had early exposure to the impacts of this pandemic.” HealthAmazon lends its expertise — and its cash — to Covid-19 research linkedin.com/in/erinbrodwin/ Still, Amazon’s efforts have the potential to give a boost to several Covid-19 efforts. In addition to funding, the company is lending the expertise of its staff, with some Amazon employees helping to set up coronavirus research websites and others joining weekly virtual meetings with researchers across the country to pitch in on projects. Here are four key areas of Amazon’s efforts in the pandemic response.Searching for clues in the blood of Covid-19 survivorsAmazon donated $2.5 million in grant funding to a Columbia-led clinical trial — approved by the Food and Drug Administration last month — to study whether blood plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients could help prevent infections in high-risk people or treat severe cases of the disease. Every week, a team from Amazon meets virtually with Columbia researchers including W. Ian Lipkin, director of Columbia University’s Center for Infection and Immunity and the principal investigator on the trial, to talk about the study, how it is progressing, and to go over logistics and pending approvals.advertisement Health Tech Correspondent, San Francisco Erin is a California-based health tech reporter and the co-author of the STAT Health Tech newsletter. Related: A gulf emerges in health tech: While some companies surge, others lay off their workers Paneth and his colleagues now meet weekly with several AWS staff members to troubleshoot problems and talk about the website’s latest needs. They’re also working on developing a donor-matching program that would allow donors to connect with researchers accepting donations in their area.The website also has resources for clinicians on the ongoing research of blood plasma for Covid-19. It lets clinicians record notes on how patients who’ve received plasma for Covid-19 outside of a clinical trial are responding to the treatment and also lists FDA-approved clinical trials of plasma. The researchers hope the responses offer an early look at how plasma is affecting patients while they await the results from clinical trials.“Hopefully we can start to see a little bit of a signal before the results from the randomized controlled trials come in,” Paneth said. “No one knows whether this is going to work.”Studying the spread of Covid-19Amazon is also funding a study by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, based in Seattle, that aims to collect data on Covid-19’s infection rate, how long an infected person remains contagious, and whether they develop immunity.The study, similar to the other research efforts Amazon is supporting, is focused on high-risk people, including workers in health care and food service workers as well as custodians and members of law enforcement. Participants send weekly nasal swabs — the kind that requires people to sample the very back of their nose — and monthly blood samples to the researchers at Fred Hutchinson. The specimens are collected at home using swab kits and blood collection devices made by Seattle-based diagnostics company Tasso Inc. Amazon is providing an undisclosed amount of funding to the research, as well as collaborating on the study design and lending web hosting support from AWS.Delivering at-home tests to health workersIn the U.K., Amazon is helping to ship at-home coronavirus tests to symptomatic essential workers including health care workers, teachers, delivery drivers, and supermarket staff. The government sends the test kits — made by telehealth company Medbelle and diagnostics company Randox — to Amazon. The company then distributes them at no cost, a spokesperson for Amazon U.K. told STAT. Please enter a valid email address. [email protected] Will employers still shell out for health tech benefits in an unemployment crisis? The industry is about to find out By Erin Brodwin May 7, 2020 Reprints Tags Coronaviruspublic healthlast_img read more

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Banks dropped from FSB list will maintain strong capitalization: Fitch

U.S. action on climate benefits banks, asset managers: Moody’s But, regardless of whether banks are on the systemically important list or not, the rating agency says that it expects global banks to target capitalization in line with their peers. “A bank may be downgraded below peers if it is unable to bolster and maintain capitalization in line with its peer group,” it says. Global systemically important banks are required to hold additional capital buffers ranging from between 1% and 3.5% above the 7% Basel III minimum, although none of them are required to hold the 3.5%. However, Fitch observes that the large global banks are now targeting Common Equity Tier 1 ratios of at least 10%, which it says sets a benchmark for others. “Banks around the world… continue to improve their capitalization. Together with Basel III, market and peer pressure, the capital surcharges will ensure that safe capital buffers are built and maintained. However, we expect returns on equity to run at a lower level for banks than they have historically as a result of the heightened capital buffers,” it says. James Langton Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Facebook LinkedIn Twitter High debt levels threaten banks’ strong results: Fitch G7 tax pledge may be upstaged by CBDC work Peer pressure, along with regulatory changes, will push global banks to maintain strong capitalization, says a new report from Fitch Ratings. Last week, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) released its updated list of banks that are considered globally systemically important. Three banks were dropped from the list, and two were added. Fitch said it expects the three banks leaving the list to maintain good levels of capitalization, which it says “will be important if they are to improve their credit ratings and maintain access to the funding markets without depending on extraordinary state support.” Related news Keywords Banking industry read more

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Amaya confirms AMF conducting investigation

first_imgJames Langton A sealed court order remains in place regarding the investigation, Amaya says, and the company is not permitted to disclose any further details. However, the AMF did authorize Amaya to confirm the existence of the investigation. “To date, the AMF has neither threatened nor initiated any legal proceedings against the corporation or its employees. Amaya has also not been provided with any evidence that any officers, directors, or other employees violated any securities laws or regulations,” said Ben Soave, retired chief superintendent of the RCMP, who is a member of Amaya’s compliance committee and has been an advisor to its board since 2012. “Nonetheless, as we previously announced, the corporation conducted an internal review, supervised by its independent board members with the assistance of external legal counsel, which thoroughly reviewed the relevant internal activities surrounding the Oldford Group acquisition. This review found no evidence of any violations of Canadian securities laws or regulations,” Amaya says. “We have been cooperating with the AMF since the announcement of our acquisition of Oldford Group,” said Baazov. “I believe that any concerns that I or other Amaya officers or directors violated any Canadian securities laws are unfounded and we are confident that at the end of its investigation, the AMF will come to the same conclusion.” “Amaya’s independent board members have been following this issue very closely and we fully support David Baazov, Daniel Sebag and Amaya’s management team,” said Dave Gadhia, the firm’s lead director and independent board member. “The corporation is not aware of any reasonable basis for proceedings against Amaya or its directors, officers or employees. We will continue to cooperate with the AMF and intend to provide further updates on the investigation if and when it is permitted.” The firm notes that the “AMF has not in any way endorsed” these statements from the firm on the findings of its own investigation. The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) is conducting an investigation into the trading of securities of online gambling firm Amaya Inc. around the time the company acquired the Oldford Group on June 12, 2014, the Pointe Claire, Que.-based firm confirmed Monday. The investigation involves senior executives at the firm, including CEO David Baazov and Chief Financial Officer Daniel Sebag, says Amaya, although it adds that the investigation does not involve any personal trading by the two men. “The AMF has neither announced any proceedings nor filed any charges,” Amaya (TSX:AYA) notes. Companies Autorité des marchés financiers center_img Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Facebook LinkedIn Twitterlast_img read more

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Ex-Goldman banker banned by Fed

first_img Mouth mechanic turned market manipulator James Langton Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Keywords EnforcementCompanies Goldman Sachs Group, Federal Reserve Board gavel 123RF BFI investors plead for firm’s sale Another former senior executive at Goldman Sachs has been permanently banned by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board for his role in the 1MDB embezzlement scandal.The Fed said that Andrea Vella, a senior executive at Goldman Sachs, has been barred from the banking industry for his role in the firm’s financing of a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Goldman arranged bond offerings for the fund in 2012 and 2013.Two former Goldman employees, Tim Leissner and Roger Ng, and a Malaysian businessman, Low Taek Jho, were charged by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for allegedly participating in a scheme to divert proceeds of the bond offerings, and for bribing government officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi.In banning Vella, the Fed said that he “engaged in unsafe and unsound practices by failing to ensure that the involvement of [Low] in the 1MDB offerings, which indicated heightened potential underwriting risks, was fully escalated within the firm.”Last year, the Fed permanently prohibited Leissner and fined him US$1.42 million for his role in the scheme to divert bond proceeds. Ng is also currently prohibited. PwC alleges deleted emails, unusual transactions in Bridging Finance case Related news Share this article and your comments with peers on social medialast_img read more

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Moody’s affirms Tasmania’s credit rating

first_imgMoody’s affirms Tasmania’s credit rating Peter Gutwein,Premier & TreasurerThe State Government welcomes Moody’s credit rating release for Tasmania which has affirmed the State’s Aa2 credit rating with a stable outlook.The Moody’s credit rating reinforces the confidence in the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s strong budget management, and our continuing recovery. As Moody’s notes, our economy may be small, but it is “resilient and diverse”.This recognition does not happen by accident. It is proof that because we entered the pandemic from a position of strength, with one of the strongest economies in the nation and no net debt, we were able to use our balance sheet as an economic stabiliser and deliver the largest economic and social support package in the nation as a proportion of our economy.The Government also welcomes Moody’s endorsement that the “state is focused on mitigating climate risk” and recognises our “significant investment in irrigation and infrastructure.”The Moody’s rating confirmation comes on top of the latest CommSec State of the States Report for January 2021 which showed that Tasmania has held the mantle for the best performing economy in the country for the last four consecutive quarters. Since the height of the pandemic’s impacts in May, more than three quarters of Tasmanians have returned to work.The 2020-21 Budget includes a landmark $5 billion infrastructure program across the next four years to support around 25,000 jobs, as well as a $22 million investment to make it easier for Tasmanian businesses to employ more apprentices, trainees and youth employees.We will continue to focus on growing our economy, creating jobs, and getting more Tasmanians back into work as we continue to rebuild a stronger Tasmania and this report is proof that we’re delivering on our plan and doing exactly that. /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:accident, AusPol, Australia, climate, Economy, Employees, Government, infrastructure, Investment, jobs, pandemic, Premier, rating, TAS, Tasmania, Tassielast_img read more

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CU Volleyball ready to unveil its ‘Sister Act’

first_imgShare Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail When the volleyball season begins at the University of Colorado – and it won’t be long – the Coors Events Center will become The Court of Three Sisters.Coach Liz Kritza believes having three siblings on the same team might be an NCAA Division I first. She should know; she’s followed national women’s volleyball recruiting for nearly three decades and has kept close watch on who’s gone where.But even if three sisters have played together on the same college team, CU landing the Simpson siblings was a major recruiting coup. Taylor, a senior, is the oldest; Cierra – or “CC” – is a sophomore; and Gabby is an incoming freshman. They are from Colorado Springs (Doherty High School) and being the offspring of two former college basketball players – Rick played at Louisiana Tech, Serena at UMKC – come by their athleticism naturally.There could be times this season when half of Kritza’s players on the court will be the Simpsons, and if that happens there shouldn’t be any slide in the Buffaloes’ performance. Each of the Simpson sisters was highly sought and the pair already at CU – Taylor, a top 10 national recruit, and Cierra, easily a top 25 prospect who might have been higher ranked had she been playing her current position – have proved themselves in NCAA play. No less is expected from Gabby, also a top 10 national prospect.Taylor, a 6-3 outside hitter, took a circuitous route to Boulder, enrolling first at Nebraska, then transferring to Missouri before setting at CU in the spring of 2013. Cierra, a 6-0 libero (defensive specialist), had her sights set on Texas-San Antonio before a late moment of clarity about her college career brought her to the realization that she wanted to play at a higher level of competition and stay nearer home. Gabby, a 6-4 setter/hitter, initially committed to Colorado State in her sophomore season of high school, then reconsidered when she went to Minneapolis to watch CU and her sisters compete against Minnesota in the NCAA Tournament.“I think the opportunity to play with her sisters was really hard to pass up,” Kritza said. “Her sisters were able to show her what was going on in the program, what her life here would be like, what her future might be like.“Last season was helpful; it offered more tangible proof, she could see our improvement. Seeing her siblings play almost all their matches on the Pac-12 Network, that kind of visibility, and playing against the best in the country – that’s what any competitive player wants.”Plus, Gabby says her original commitment to CSU simply came far too early – but that seems to be national norm these days in volleyball, soccer and lacrosse. “If I had to go back I would have waited (to commit) until my senior year,” she said. “You’re so much more mature and you have a better picture of what you want. You get forced to make a decision so young and that’s why you have all of these people transferring because they don’t know if that’s exactly where they want to go or if that’s exactly what they want to do. I love it here.”Of course, Kritza loves having them – even without having seen Gabby play her first college match. But she should prove to be a major contributor to a Buffs team that was 18-14 last season (9-11 in the Pac-12) and knocked off three nationally ranked opponents – No. 1 Washington, No. 11 UCLA and No. 25 Arizona – at the Coors Events Center. CU advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006 and defeated Iowa State (3-1) before losing in five sets (2-3) to No. 10 Minnesota in its home city.By: B.G. Brooks, contributing editor, cubuffs.com. Read the whole story at cubuffs.com. Categories:AthleticsCampus Communitycenter_img Published: July 17, 2014 last_img read more

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Sip, Shop, Dance and Dine at Sonoma’s 122nd Vintage Festival

first_imgPinterest Home Industry News Releases Sip, Shop, Dance and Dine at Sonoma’s 122nd Vintage FestivalIndustry News ReleasesWine BusinessSip, Shop, Dance and Dine at Sonoma’s 122nd Vintage FestivalBy Press Release – September 5, 2019 213 0 Linkedin Share TAGSConsumerValley of the Moon Vintage Festival ReddIt Facebook Twitter AdvertisementWhether You’re Ready to Bust a Move, Taste Some Wine, or Check Out the Art, Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival Has You Covered(Sonoma, Calif.) – For the 122nd year in a row, the Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival is celebrating the harvest season with a wine county tradition of events, taking families and friends on a food, wine and art extravaganza. During the weekend of September 27-29, festival-goers will have the opportunity to enjoy local culinary creations, indulge in a variety of wines and participate in some exciting events all while soaking up rich cultural history.The festival kicks off with the Opening Night Gala at the historic Sonoma Barracks showcasing local wines and creations from restauranteurs. Dancing under the stars to live music from the popular cover band Notorious, and a silent auction sets the tone for a fun-filled weekend.The Vintage Festival transforms the Sonoma square into a weekend-long outdoor celebration with live music, art, crafts, food and more. In addition to wine tasting there are over a dozen opportunities to participate in the weekends’ events that are fun for the whole family. Sip, Shop and Savor, include a custom souvenir wine glass, commemorative charm and four tastings.Throughout the weekend, visitors are invited to toss down a blanket, kick-up their heels and enjoy free concerts with The Kerry Daly Band, Trotta, Walters and Lewis, Levi Lloyd All-Stars, Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings, Sue Albano and Scarlett Letters, Nicole Sutton and Luvplanet, Take Off and Shana Morrison and Caledonia and the headliner Tommy Castro and the Painkillers!Wineries such as Gundlach Bundschu, Sangiacomo (add more)] will be serving the region’s most beloved award-winning wines.“There is nothing else quite like the Vintage Festival and there is no place quite like Sonoma! We are thrilled to share this special event with locals and visitors alike and join together in the heart of wine country for the pinnacle of the season – harvest.” said Maria Toimil, President of the festival’s board of directors.The Vintage Festival has strong community ties and will be continuing its tradition of philanthropic support by donating 100% of its proceeds to local community organizations. Sonoma Valley Fire & Rescue, Native Sons of the Golden West, Sonoma Valley High School Sports Team and Girl Scouts are among this year’s grantees.Vintage Festival is free and open to the public. Tickets for wine tastings and events, including the Opening Night Gala are available online. www.valleyofthemoonvintagefestival.com.About Valley of the Moon Vintage FestivalA nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization, the Vintage Festival serves as a celebration of the grape harvest and rich community history. Held at the historic Sonoma Plaza since 1897, this year’s festival marks 122 years of celebration.Advertisement Email Previous articleA New Breed of Wine Amphoras – Measured Porosity, Oxygen Transfer Rates and New InnovationsNext articleDry Creek Vineyard President Kim Stare Wallace Nominated for Wine Star Executive of the Year Press Releaselast_img read more

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Nation’s Children to be Celebrated in May

first_imgRelatedNation’s Children to be Celebrated in May RelatedNation’s Children to be Celebrated in May RelatedNation’s Children to be Celebrated in May FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail A number of activities have been planned to celebrate the island’s children during national Child Month, which will be observed in May. The month, which will be observed under the theme: ‘Children’s Care and Protection: A Fi Wi Mission’ was officially launched on April 17, at the GraceKennedy offices in downtown Kingston. In her address at the launch, Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, said the activities, which will extend into November, will seek to mobilise national support for the care and protection of children. She noted that while May is reserved for Child Month, the growth and development of children should be a constant focus. “The mission that we should all be on is the future protection of them so that the country can grow and build into leaps and bounds. Children are responsible for taking us to the pinnacles of our success and for keeping Jamaica’s name riding high,” she stated. Chairperson of the National Child Month Committee (NCMC), which is organising the celebrations, Dr. Pauline Mullings, said the theme was selected to increase awareness among persons, who interact with and share in the lives of children, that they are duty bound to safeguard their welfare. “It is so sad to acknowledge that, in many cases, our children have been abused physically, sexually and emotionally by those who they trust. Many have been neglected, deemed unwanted, lacking in love and consequently, hope,” she noted. Dr. Mullings is encouraging Jamaicans to support all the activities planned for the month and identify a project that can make a difference in the life of a child. “I believe that this mission can only be accomplished if we all come together, unite our hearts and our efforts, and make our voices be heard, as we aim to overcome the many challenges that face our children today,” she stated. In her remarks, Opposition Spokesperson, Youth, Sports, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Culture, Olivia Grange, stated that during Child Month “we need to reflect on what is good about childhood in Jamaica and work to change what is not”. Child Month 2013 gets underway on May 5, with a National Church Service at the Faith Chapel, 1 Renfield Avenue in Kingston. May 10 is National Children’s Action Day, where children will be encouraged to do something for their communities through schools, clubs and church groups; while National Children’s Day will be observed on May 17. Activities continue in June with the popular poster and essay competitions and awards ceremony. Several events are also slated for the month of November, including a youth forum at the St. Andrew Parish Church Hall on November 1; Youth Outstanding Academic Achievement Awards at the Alhambra Inn, St. Andrew on November 15; and International Day for Children on November 20. Child Month was first celebrated in May, 1953, under the patronage of Lady Foote, wife of the then Governor. The major objectives of the NCMC are: to heighten public awareness of the many issues and challenges  negatively affecting the development of children and steps that can be taken to address some of the issues and effectively meet the challenges; and to mobilise resources and facilitate action to support children-focused programmes. Main sponsors of the month are: GraceKennedy Limited; Lime; Continental Baking Company Limited; the Gleaner Company Limited and Jamaica Broilers Group of Companies. By Chris Patterson, JIS Reportercenter_img Advertisements Nation’s Children to be Celebrated in May CultureApril 19, 2013last_img read more

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Is it time for Florida to play in the legal lab/sandbox?

first_imgIs it time for Florida to play in the legal lab/sandbox? May 11, 2021 By Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Top Stories A giant, online provider of self-help legal forms and a Catholic order of nuns are among around two dozen entities that have applied under the Utah Supreme Court’s new legal lab that encourages creative ways to offer legal services to consumers.The head of that program, past Utah State Bar President John Lund, and Utah Supreme Court Justice Deno Himonas discussed how the program operates with the Bar’s Special Committee to Improve the Delivery of Legal Services, which is considering whether to recommend that Florida set up its own legal lab. The committee at its April 6 meeting also heard from Crispin Passmore, who helped set up a legal lab — also called a regulatory sandbox — in Great Britain.The committee took no action at the meeting although members closely questioned the trio.The legal lab/sandbox idea is to allow individuals and organizations to propose innovative ways of providing legal services while still meeting core values of the legal profession to protect consumers. Applicants can get waivers from some regulatory rules, but in exchange agree to be closely monitored by the lab to measure how many people are being helped, the cost, effectiveness of the program, and any complaints it generates.Utah and Arizona have approved such labs, and California is considering it. Jurisdictions in Canada have also set up labs, as has Great Britain.The key, according to Lund, Himonas, and Passmore, is that while there should be flexibility in business structures and approaches, there should be none on compromising client protections and core legal profession values whether services are provided by lawyers or nonlawyers.“It’s not about less regulation, it’s about better types of regulation. It’s about regulation affecting customers,” Passmore said. “We can do that by changing the structures and restrictions without changing the ethical restrictions on attorneys.”In response to a question about risks associated with programs approved by a legal lab, he added, “You manage that risk by being clear from the start what’s non-negotiable and what’s non-negotiable to me are those core values. Those standards cannot be weakened through a sandbox.”Passmore also said that since Great Britain adopted its sandbox regulations in 2014-15, approved programs run entirely or partly by nonlawyers have had a slightly lower complaint and discipline rate than those run by lawyers.Lund and Himonas said Utah decided not to limit legal lab applicants to certain areas of law or certain types of organizations.“One of the assumptions we made going in is we don’t know what we don’t know about innovation and where that innovation might happen,” Himonas said.Lund said even though Utah might be considered a small legal marketplace, it has attracted a wide variety of programs into its lab.That includes online companies like RocketLawyer with its forms services and Hello Divorce, which is in California, Colorado, and Utah.“At the other end of it, we have more what I call the Steve Jobs of their time. They’re working in their garage, they have an idea for a business, and they can demonstrate it’s a viable concept,” Lund said, adding those are mostly solo and small-firm lawyer efforts although they may have private investors.A third type comes from nonprofit organizations. Lund said the Utah Supreme Court has recently approved two nonprofit programs that help consumers with debt collections problems. One is aimed at those with medical debts including using a diversion program to avoid court. The other is run by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.“Those are very much experiments. These are things the court is allowing people to try to see if they are helpful, if they are something consumers like,” Lund said.Another program is aimed toward social workers and advocates who are working with domestic violence victims to help, with attorney supervision, those victims fill out requests for protective orders and other forms.Since legal labs are intended to generate information about whether programs actually address consumer needs, Lund and Himonas spent considerable time discussing Utah’s operation.Lund said the executive committee of Utah’s Office of Legal Services Innovation brings diverse experiences to evaluating and monitoring programs approved in its sandbox. That includes a MacArthur Foundation Fellows award winning social scientist, a former economist with the National Center of State Courts, and the current Utah State Bar president.The office has also hired a data scientist professor to determine what information program participants must provide and to review the periodic reports participants file.In response to a question, Lund said the office does evaluate applicants based on perceived risk. Smaller programs that are associated with lawyers are generally considered low risk such as the bankruptcy attorney whose request was to allow his paralegal to be a 10% owner of the firm.The further the operation is from a traditional legal practice and the more involved nonlawyers or online services are in providing services, the more high risk the program is rated and it will consequently have closer and more frequent scrutiny, he said.“What that means is we’re going to follow them more carefully, we’re going to require more data from them…we’re going to utilize audit services to test what’s happening,” Lund said. He said individuals may also be sent in to test the program without the knowledge of the provider.All consumers are informed up front the provider is part of a test and informed how to make a complaint if they are dissatisfied, he said.Programs, Lund said, have incentives to follow rules and provide valuable services because otherwise their permission to operate can be revoked, and they are also subject to normal civil tort and contract sanctions.Former Bar President John Stewart, chair of the special committee, asked about selling such a concept to a traditionally conservative legal profession. Lund replied by citing repeated studies and surveys that show about 15% of the U.S. population gets legal services it needs and about 85% does not.“I don’t know how lawyers can claim that something else doesn’t need to be tried in the face of that fact,” Lund said. “It’s not a very strong position to stand on.”The Utah Office of Legal Services Innovation has a webpage at https://utahinnovationoffice.org/.The special committee has also posted a report from the office, information from Passmore, and other reports and data it has collected on its Bar webpage at: https://www.floridabar.org/about/cmtes/cmtes-me/special-committee-to-improve-the-delivery-of-legal-services/.The Supreme Court created the special committee in late 2019 and charged it with reviewing Bar rules to improve the delivery of legal services to consumers and “to assure Florida lawyers play a proper and prominent role in the provision of these services.” Its final report is due to the court and the Bar Board of Governors by July 1.last_img read more

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