Winners give just a little bit more

first_img 92SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The Olympics offers us innumerable lessons on leadership and winning.Watching some of my favorite competitions, I am once again reminded of the razor-thin margins that separate the top from the bottom.“A winner is just a loser who tried one more time.” –George Augustus MooreIn many events, the difference between the treasured gold medal and not placing at all is nearly undetectable. A first-place finish often can be measured only by going out into the hundredth of a second. Many of us remember watching Michael Phelps win his 7th Gold medal by a finger tip. Without the power of technology, and slow motion replays, it can be questionable who won an event. continue reading »last_img read more

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When fintechs attack: One more thing for credit unions to worry about

first_imgGenerally speaking, fintechs are friends, not threats. Most fintechs just want to make people’s financial lives a little easier. Fortunately, they often hit the market with help from community financial institutions like credit unions.But sometimes fintechs aren’t so friendly. Sometimes they see an opportunity and they go for it. And there are two fintechs that are shoehorning themselves into the traditional banking space:Are you ready to see what happens when fintechs attack?Are Fintechs a Threat to Credit Unions?If you keep up with our blog, you’ve probably seen our Fintech Friday series. Each week, we highlight a new or established fintech. Sometimes we spotlight a technology company that supports credit unions and community banks. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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COVID-19 loan accommodations continue

first_imgHappy Middle Child Day! You’re not the wise elder, nor the adorable baby of the family but we still appreciate you!Speaking of appreciation, thousands of borrowers are grateful for the efforts of credit unions as the pandemic continues. Over the past few months, many credit unions have been offering loan modifications and accommodations for members affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These options have included renewable forbearance periods, elimination of fees, reduction of interest rates, reduction of payment amounts, increased lines of credit and more. Unfortunately, with the continued impact on the economy, many credit union members are still out of work or facing financial hardship.Last week, NCUA along with other federal regulators, issued a joint statement on additional loan accommodations related to COVID-19. Regulators encourage credit unions and other financial institutions to continue offering accommodations for affected borrowers. The statement describes principles for working with borrowers in a safe and sound manner to reduce the long-term impact of current financial challenges: prudent risk management practices, well-structured and sustainable accommodations, consumer protection, accounting and regulatory reporting and internal control systems. These are all important for credit unions, but I will narrow today’s discussion to consumer protection and internal control systems. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

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Flu vaccine makers get HHS funds to prepare for pandemic

first_imgJun 20, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Federal health officials last week announced the awarding of contracts totaling $132.5 million to help two vaccine producers get ready to start churning out vaccines in the event of a flu pandemic.The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded $77.4 million to Sanofi Pasteur and $55.1 million to MedImmune Inc. to retrofit existing vaccine production facilities and keep them in ready condition for 2 years to produce pandemic flu vaccines, with an option to extend the time to 5 years.The goal is that when the retrofitting is done, the facilities together will be capable of producing about 100 million doses of a pandemic vaccine within 6 months of the start of a pandemic, according to Marc Wolfson, a spokesman for HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (formerly the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness).That amount represents about 16% of the HHS goal of having enough domestic capacity to make 600 million doses of pandemic flu vaccine—enough for 300 million people—within 6 months after a pandemic hits, Wolfson told CIDRAP News.The renovations also will equip the two companies to produce prepandemic vaccines year-round, HHS said. Currently production of prepandemic vaccines is limited to the 3 months each year when facilities are not tied up with making seasonal flu vaccines, HHS officials said.The HHS contracts call for the two companies to maintain “warm base operations” in the renovated facilities for 2 years, meaning they will not be shut down. The contracts include options for another 3 years of warm-base operations, which would require more money, the agency said.Sanofi Pasteur, located in Swiftwater, Pa., has been the leading producer of seasonal flu vaccine for the US market in recent years. MedImmune, based in Gaithersburg, Md., makes the nasal-spray seasonal flu vaccine FluMist, which uses a live, attenuated virus.Sanofi makes the only prepandemic H5N1 flu vaccine licensed so far by the Food and Drug Administration. HHS has stockpiled the equivalent of 14.5 million 90-microgram doses of the vaccine, according to Wolfson. That’s enough for about 7.25 million people at two doses each. HHS has a goal of stockpiling enough prepandemic flu vaccine for 20 million people.Wolfson said the current US annual production capacity for prepandemic flu vaccines is 16.5 million doses. Besides Sanofi, he said, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis are also making prepandemic H5N1 vaccines for the US stockpile. Both companies also market seasonal flu vaccines in the United States.Sanofi is building a new flu vaccine plant in Swiftwater and hopes to have it completed in time for the 2008-09 flu season, company spokeswoman Patty Tomski told CIDRAP News. The company will contribute about $25 million to the renovation of its existing plant scheduled under the HHS contract.”The contract covers costs for design, retrofit and the maintenance of the facilities at a state of readiness so the company can switch to pandemic influenza vaccine manufacture at the HHS’s request,” the company said in a news release. Tomski said the plant will be able to start producing a pandemic vaccine at any time of year.The retrofitting is expected to be completed in late 2010, according to Tomski. The renovated plant will use the conventional production method of growing flu viruses in eggs, she reported.With the renovation, the company expects to maintain the plant’s existing production capacity of about 50 million doses a year, Tomski said. The new plant is designed to add capacity for another 100 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine annually.MedImmune will contribute about $14 million to the retrofitting of its facilities under the HHS contract, the company said in a news release.The work will affect MedImmune’s manufacturing and testing facilities in Santa Clara and Mountain View, Calif.; its blending, filling, packaging, and warehousing facilities in Philadelphia and Salem, Pa.; and a storage and distribution center in Louisville, Ky., according to company spokeswoman Karen Lancaster. As part of the renovation, she said, facilities will be expanded to maintain capacity for making seasonal flu vaccines.MedImmune uses an egg-based system to make its intranasal vaccine. The same approach will be used to make pandemic vaccines, though the company is developing a cell-based production system, Lancaster said.See also:Jun 14 HHS news releasehttp://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2007pres/06/20070614a.htmlJun 14 Sanofi news releaseJun 14 MedImmune news releaselast_img read more

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Breaking the monopoly

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Brazil to test vaccine as Europe emerges from lockdown

first_imgThe WHO has been holding clinical trials to find a treatment for COVID-19, which has killed more than 382,000 people and wrought vast economic damage since emerging in China late last year. Cautious reopening But outside of Latin America nations are cautiously reopening schools, beaches and businesses after months of quarantine, even as some still face rising numbers of cases.European nations among the hardest hit by the outbreak have mostly flattened out infection curves. They have turned to the tricky task of balancing economic recovery against the risk of a second wave of cases.Germany will plough 130 billion euros ($146 billion) into a stimulus package to kick-start an economy severely hit by the pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced.Berlin will also ease its blanket travel warning for European nations from June 15.Italy — the first country badly hit in Europe — opened its borders to European travellers Wednesday, hoping tourism will revive its recession-hit economy three months after its shutdown.But with health experts warning over reopening too quickly, some fear foreign visitors may be reluctant to travel. “I don’t think we’ll see any foreign tourists really until the end of August or even September,” said Mimmo Burgio, a cafe owner near Rome’s Colosseum. “Who’s going to come?” Austria announced it would scrap virus controls on all land borders, except for Italy.Belgium will reopen its borders to travellers from the EU, Britain and members of Europe’s passport-free travel zone on June 15.But Britain — with the second highest death rate in the world after the US at nearly 40,000 fatalities — is still advising against non-essential travel. Vaccine testing The race to find a vaccine meanwhile gathered pace.   Europe’s four largest economies — France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands — are forming an alliance to speed up production of a vaccine on European soil, Dutch officials said.Brazil said it would begin testing a vaccine being developed by Oxford University next week, the first country outside Britain to take part in the study. The vaccine will be tested in Brazil on 2,000 health services volunteers, said the Federal University of Sao Paulo, coordinating the study.Testing a vaccine in Brazil “is very important because we are in the acceleration phase of the epidemiological curve,” the university’s president Soraya Smaili told AFP.Authorities imposed curfews across a vast swathe of the Brazilian state of Bahia in the country’s hard-hit northwest.”It is necessary and urgent to impose greater restrictions, after recording extremely high [infection] rates,” in the area, said Bahia governor Rui Costa.Brazil has the world’s second highest COVID-19 caseload after the United States, with more than half a million cases and 31,000 deaths.In Africa, which has so far escaped the worst of the pandemic, police in Senegal arrested more than 70 people after protests tinged by violence broke out in several cities. Crowds demanded a nighttime coronavirus curfew, imposed by President Macky Sall on March 23, be lifted.The country has recorded nearly 4,000 cases of coronavirus, 45 of them fatalities. Topics : Focus on Americas “For several weeks, the number of cases reported each day in the Americas has been more than the rest of the world put together,” Tedros said.”We are especially worried about Central and South America, where many countries are witnessing accelerating epidemics.”Chile’s government said it was extending a three-week shutdown of the capital Santiago and its population of seven million as the death toll there reached a new daily record.Health officials said 87 people had died in the previous 24 hours, and nearly 5,000 new infections were recorded. Chile has now registered more than 113,000 infections and 1,275 deaths.  Researchers in hard-hit Brazil on Wednesday said they would begin testing a coronavirus vaccine developed in Britain, while across the Atlantic European nations began reopening borders in a bid to emerge from months of devastation caused by the disease.Authorities in Brazil — the latest frontline of the pandemic, with deaths and infections on the rise — imposed fresh restrictions in the country’s northeast after reporting “extremely high” numbers of cases.Concern over the spread of the coronavirus in Latin America has increased even as the health crisis has eased in other regions of the world. “The Americas continues to account for the most cases,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a briefing in Geneva.The UN body also said it would resume trials of hydroxychloroquine a week after halting them following a study in The Lancet medical journal that suggested the drug could harm COVID-19 patients.The U-turn came after The Lancet itself cast doubt on the study after it was widely contested by scientists.Another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine Wednesday suggested that taking hydroxychloroquine shortly after being exposed to COVID-19 does not help prevent infection in a statistically meaningful way, however.last_img read more

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Get foot in Pine Rivers market before prices peak

first_imgThe home at 22 Grenadier St, Bray Park, is on the market in one of Mark Rumsey’s hot suburbs.WITH Pine Rivers still proving affordable for first homebuyers, a real estate expert is predicting a year of solid growth for the ­region.Mark Rumsey of David Deane Real Estate said he predicted market activity would remain strong throughout 2018.“I expect prices will continue to edge higher as the university draws closer to completion and the inner city prices start rippling out and having their affect,” he said.“Strathpine, Lawnton, Bray Park, Petrie and Kallangur will be the stars, however all suburbs will feel the effect.”More from newsLand grab sees 12 Sandstone Lakes homesites sell in a week21 Jun 2020Tropical haven walking distance from the surf9 Oct 2019Mr Rumsey said he expected the lower end of the market to “surge ahead” and push up prices across all price brackets.“We are fortunate to still be affordable for first homebuyers with median prices still hovering around $400,000,” he said.“Investors will like the solid prospects for reasonable rental yield of 4.5-5 per cent and the good prospects of capital gain.“Units and townhouses are well under true market value and should correct in the coming one to two years.”Mr Rumsey said the heat in the lower end of the market would have a flow-on affect at the higher end.“Families and couples can take the opportunity to upgrade to their dream homes cashing in on selling at higher than average prices and the cheap interest rates still on offer,” he said.“This year would definitely be a good time to enter the market (but) saving for a deposit could be difficult if prices were to accelerate faster than ­savings.”last_img read more

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EIOPA details first stress test for workplace pension funds

first_img“The stress test will retrieve valuable information on the sensitivity of IORPs (Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision), sponsoring undertakings and members and beneficiaries to such a scenario,” Bernardino said.The regulator said it was running the stress test and the quantitative assessment alongside each other to minimise the burden on IORPs.Both exercises will run until 10 August, the deadline for data to be submitted to the national supervisory authorities (NSAs).On 19 May, there will be a workshop with participating IORPs, and a Q&A procedure for the institutes will go on between May and August.From the end of August into September, EIOPA will then carry out what it described as a centralised quality assurance of all submissions, and finally, in December 2015, it will publish the results of the stress test analysis.The stress test exercise will be conducted in seventeen European countries and cover both defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) pensions.EIOPA said it would use the quantitative assessment to gather data from pension funds on the potential uses of its controversial holistic balance sheet (HBS) idea – which critics have said is too standardised – within an EU-wide supervisory framework.The outcomes would, it said, help EIOPA in further developing its advice to the European Commission on EU solvency rules for IORPs.At the same time, EIOPA has published responses to the consultation it launched last year addressing further work on the solvency of IORPs.Among other things, the paper discussed possible uses of the HBS, such as an instrument to set funding requirements.The responses reveal many negative reactions to this idea from the pensions industry.The UK’s BT Pension Scheme questioned whether EIOPA’s proposed one-size-fits-all approach was the best way forward.“Developing and complying with a mandatory and prescriptive regime predicated on the use of a holistic balance sheet will inevitably be time-consuming and costly for IORPs,” it said, adding that it did not see that this would lead to better outcomes for IORPs or their members than the processes already used locally.On the sponsor side, umbrella employers’ association Gesamtmetall in Germany described applying more solvency requirements to pension funds via a “Solvency II-like” approach using the HBS methodology as “objectively unnecessary and counter-productive”.Jerry Moriarty, chief executive of the Irish Association of Pension Funds, told IPE: “Like most people in the pensions industry, we struggle to see why EIOPA is proceeding with the stress tests, since the European Commission has taken the issue of solvency away from the IORP review that’s currently taking place.“It seems to us this is going to cause quite a bit of work and cost to schemes but doesn’t add anything to the protection of schemes across Europe, as it’s largely an academic exercise.” The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has announced details of its first stress test for occupational pension funds, as well as a quantitative assessment of the solvency of the institutions.The stress test is aimed at judging how resilient pension funds are to tough market scenarios, as well as a longevity scenario, the EU regulator said.Gabriel Bernardino, chair at EIOPA, said: “Pension funds are already experiencing a challenging environment with low interest rates and rising life expectancy.”He described the long period of low interest rates – combined with the fall in asset prices as risk-on financial markets had been reappraised – as a key vulnerability for the occupational pensions sector.last_img read more

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Irish Marriage Referendum: I’m gay and I’m voting No. Here’s why.

first_imgHere are the testimonies of two men which every voter should see before going out to the polling station in Ireland next Friday (22nd). Keith Mills is gay, agnostic and a dedicated blogger on Eurovision. Paddy Manning is gay, Catholic and a celebrity blogger and political pundit. Keith Mills and Paddy Manning give powerful and compelling reasons for voting NO to redefining marriage on May 22. Use your vote. Vote No. See more at www.keepmarriage.orgKeith Mills believes that it’s important for him, as a gay man, to speak out about his belief that children deserve a mother and a father whenever the circumstances of life allow, since too many people are being bullied into silence. He explains that the referendum is not about equality because already, through civil partnerships, we have a means of giving gay couples legal protection and recognition – in a ceremony that is almost identical to civil marriage, right down to saying the words “I do”.Furthermore, Paddy Manning points out that a gay or lesbian relationship is simply a different thing to a marriage. “Marriage is, at its heart, about children and providing those children with their biological parents. Recognising difference is not discrimination.”Keith agrees that the referendum is about children “because everyone knows marriage IS almost always about children – and because the government wants to change the section of the Constitution on the family.” But in order to have children, gay men like him either need to adopt or to use surrogacy. Surrogacy, he says, “turns children into commodities, putting adult desires above the rights of children, having babies made to order and wombs for rent.” If the referendum passes, as Mr Justice Kevin Cross, Chairman of the independent Referendum Commission, confirmed last week, it will make it very difficult for Irish law to give preference to motherhood and fatherhood compared with having two parents of the same sex.A Yes vote pretends there is no “distinction” between the union of two men or two women and the union of a man and a woman. It also says it doesn’t matter if a child is deliberately deprived of either a father or a mother.Source: http://www.mercatornet.com/conjugality/view/two-gay-men-campaigning-against-same-sex-marriage-in-ireland/16168last_img read more

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Mali hosts 4th International Urban Music and Fashion Festival

first_imgThe Malian  town of Selingue recently hosted the fourth edition of the International Urban Music and Fashion festival. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the country’s diverse cultures, and market some of the artists’ worklast_img

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