New Book Reveals Congbacked Chandra Shekhar Govt Was Planning Ordinance to Resolve

first_img Ayodhya disputeBabri Masjidcongressram mandir First Published: July 14, 2019, 5:54 PM IST New Delhi: Two years before the demolition of the Babri masjid in 1992, the then Congress-backed Chandra Shekhar-led government was “on the cusp” of resolving the Ayodhya dispute by promulgating an ordinance, according to a book written on the former prime minister by Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh.The book titled “Chandra Shekhar — The Last Icon of Ideological Politics”, says in 1990, the former prime minister, along with then chief ministers Sharad Pawar, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, had mediated between Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Muslim leaders on the sensitive issue. Quoting veteran journalist Ram Bahadur Rai, a close associate of Jayaprakash Narayan, the book states that it is widely believed that the Chandra Shekhar government was “on the cusp of solving the Babri mosque-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute by promulgating an ordinance”.After getting the information of preparation of such an ordinance, then Congress president Rajiv Gandhi and his “coterie of advisers panicked” as they “did not want Chandra Shekhar to gain in stature” by resolving such a complex problem, the book states.Harivansh, in his book, further says that Chandra Shekhar, during his tenure as the prime minister, did not hesitate from taking some of the boldest initiatives to reduce the overt belligerence between the purported leaders of the Hindu (VHP) and Muslim communities (BMAC — the Babri Mosque Action Committee).He adopted an innovative yet straightforward approach to look for a peaceful and permanent solution to the dispute by engaging openly with the conflicting parties.”Chandra Shekhar managed to get both the groups of claimants to sit across the negotiating table and explore avenues for mutual agreements to bring about a peaceful solution to the issue,” the book states.In a bid to resolve the dispute, the former prime minister invited his old friend Shekhawat, a senior BJP leader and then the incumbent chief minister of Rajasthan, another old friend from the Congress and then the incumbent chief minister of Maharashtra, Pawar, and the serving chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yadav, to work out a mutually acceptable solution.”Amidst discussions with the three chief ministers, the leaders of the VHP and the BMAC agreed to refer the dispute to the Supreme Court. It was a very significant and positive development from both the sides to agree to accept the Supreme Court’s decision,” Harivansh said in the book, which he has co-authored with Ravi Dutt Bajpai.He further said the Muslim leaders had even considered the possibility of shifting the mosque, if it was desired by a court verdict based on historical facts.Chandra Shekhar organised two meetings between the leaders of the VHP and the BMAC in December 1990, the book says, adding that the former prime minister also directed a debate in Parliament on one specific question — was the Babri mosque constructed after demolishing an existing temple on that site?In a major breakthrough, Chandra Shekhar’s government instituted four experts’ committees to go into historical, archaeological, legal and revenue records, and examine in depth the evidence submitted by the VHP and the BMAC, the book says.Quoting from Pawar’s autobiography, it says Chandra Shekhar had worked out an agreement between the VHP and the BMAC that the disputed site in Ayodhya would be retained as a memorial and that land would be allotted for the construction of both a temple and a mosque.The Babri masjid was demolished on October 6, 1992 by Hindu activists.Harivansh, a Janata Dal (United) member in the Upper House of Parliament, worked as an additional information commissioner in the Chandra Shekhar government.last_img read more

Trial of Juvenile in Kathua Gangrape and Murder Case to Begin From

first_img kathuakathua horrorKathua rapeRape First Published: July 14, 2019, 9:05 PM IST Jammu: A juvenile justice board has framed charges against a minor in the case of gangrape and murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Kathua and has fixed Monday for examining prosecution witnesses and commencing trial.According to an order served to the Crime Branch here, officials have been asked to bring in their prosecution evidence and witnesses for the trial to begin. The order has left the prosecution baffled as the crime branch contested before the Jammu and Kashmir High Court last year that he is not a minor. The case has seen only adjournments till date.According to the notice, the charges were framed against the accused by the Juvenile Justice Board Kathua on July 8 and “the next date of hearing has been fixed on July 15″.”The case has been fixed for prosecution evidence… Kindly arrange the presence of public prosecutor appointed in the case so as to examine the prosecution evidence/ witnesses,” it said. The juvenile is accused of raping and murdering the young girl.The crime branch had filed a petition in the high court against his claim of being juvenile.The crime branch petition had stated that the chief judicial magistrate in Kathua erred in accepting the accused’s claim of being a juvenile.It had also annexed a report of the medical board of Government Medical College, Jammu, which said the accused was “not less than 19 and not more than 21”.The trial in this case was shifted to the Pathankot Sessions Court on the directions of the Supreme Court last year.The Pathankot Sessions Court had on June 10 this year sentenced Sanji Ram, dismissed special police officer Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar to life imprisonment while sacked policemen Anand Dutta, Tilak Raj and Surender Verma — were handed five years in jail.The verdict came 17 months after the girl was brutally gang-raped inside a ‘devisathan’ (local temple) and later killed. She was kidnapped on January 10 and her body was found on January 17.last_img read more

Extradition Appeal Against Vijay Mallya to be Heard at UK High Court

first_imgLondon: Embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya’s appeal in the UK High Court against his extradition order has been listed for a three-day hearing from February 11 next year, the UK court said on Thursday.The 63-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss had won a reprieve earlier this month when a two-judge panel at the Royal Courts of Justice in London granted him permission to appeal against the extradition order of a lower court to face fraud and money laundering charges amounting to an alleged Rs 9,000 crores in India. The appeal hearing has been listed on 11 February 2020 with a time estimate of three days, a UK High Court official said.At a hearing on July 2, Justices George Leggatt and Andrew Popplewell concluded that “arguments can be reasonably made on some aspects of the prima facie case presented by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), on behalf of the Indian government. The ruling on the basis of that material by Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot in her extradition order of December 2018, which was signed off by UK home secretary Sajid Javid earlier this year, is therefore now set for a full appeal hearing in the higher court.By far the most substantial ground is that the senior District Judge was wrong to conclude that the government had established a prima facie case, noted Judge Leggatt.Mallya’s counsel, Clare Montgomery, had successfully contested the basis on which Judge Arbuthnot had arrived at certain conclusions. She claimed the judge had been “plain wrong” in accepting some of the Indian authorities’ assertions that Mallya had fraudulent intentions when he sought some of the loans for his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, that he made misrepresentations to the banks to seek the loans and had no intentions to pay them back. Montgomery also questioned the admissibility of some of the evidence produced during the extradition trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.The High Court judges accepted the broad arguments and directed her to submit a draft for the appeal to proceed to a full hearing, a time-frame for which has now been set for February next year.Mallya had said he felt vindicated by the ruling and repeated his offer to pay back the money owed to the Indian banks.I still want the banks to take all their money, do what they have to do and leave me in peace, he said.He has repeated this offer of settlement in subsequent Twitter interventions, most recently telling social media critics to ask your Banks why they are not taking 100 per cent of the money I have been offering.Meanwhile, the liquor tycoon remains on bail on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard in April 2017, involving a bail bond worth GBP 650,000 and other restrictions on his travel. At the end of a year-long extradition trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last December, Judge Arbuthnot had found clear evidence of dispersal and misapplication of the loan funds and accepted a prima facie case of fraud and a conspiracy to launder money against Mallya, as presented by the CPS on behalf of the Indian government. The court had also dismissed any bars to extradition on the grounds of the prison conditions under which the businessman would be held, as the judge accepted the Indian government’s assurances that he would receive all necessary medical care at Barrack 12 in Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail.The High Court panel had concurred with most of the other findings of the lower court, including satisfactory prison conditions in India. KingfisherlondonUKUK High Court First Published: July 18, 2019, 11:50 AM ISTlast_img read more

Andy Rubins Essential Phone breaks all the rules

first_imgBefore we get into the phone itself, we should look to the motivation behind it. Why did Rubin create Essential, and why does it want to change the way smartphones are made? Rubin points to a pair of conversations with one of his friends, in which they both went down the list of things they dislike about the current state of mobile technology. Rubin says that Android’s success – now running on more than 2 billion devices worldwide – has created this “weird new world where people are forced to fight with the very technology that was supposed to simplify their lives.”“After another long talk with my friend we decided that I needed to start a new kind of company using 21st century methods to build products for the way people want to live in the 21st century,” Rubin writes on Essential’s website. That leads us to the Essential Phone, a device that tries to put simplicity first. In doing so, Essential hopes to cut out a lot of the frustration associated with modern-day devices.For instance, the phone offers a somewhat modular approach to accessories. On the backside of the device, in the upper right corner, you’ll find a magnetic accessory connector that wirelessly transfers data between your phone and whatever you have attached. The mentality here is that you shouldn’t need to buy all new accessories every time you buy a new phone – this connector will allow you to use accessories you buy now with future iterations of the Essential Phone.One of the first accessories Essential is releasing for the PH-1 is a 360-degree camera, which is actually packed in with the device as something of a launch promotion. The Essential Phone’s wireless dock, another accessory that was announced today, uses that same connector for wireless charging. Expect to see a lot of accessories centered around this magnetic connector.Despite this major focus on accessories, you won’t see Essential offering phone cases for the PH-1. That’s because the phone’s body is made out of titanium, not aluminum like a lot of other phones out there. Since titanium offers more scratch and dent resistance than aluminum, Essential has decided to skip phone cases for now, though there will no doubt be cases on offer from third-party manufacturers.You may want to consider picking up one of those third-party cases, because even though the titanium body sounds tough, the phone’s 2560 x 1312 QHD edge-to-edge display does not. The phone, unsurprisingly, is running Android, but you also won’t find any bloatware on this device, a rarity outside of Google’s own smartphones. Other internal specifications include a Snapdragon 835, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 13MP megapixel rear camera that features dual RGB and monochrome lenses.Interestingly, Essential has decided to skip out on branding the phone entirely. Unlike phones from other manufacturers, you won’t find the Essential brand on the back of the device, which means that you won’t act as a walking billboard for your phone’s manufacturer.It sounds good, but price is the most important aspect of buying a new device for many people. With that in mind, how much will the Essential Phone cost? It turns out quite a bit: Essential is offering the PH-1 in a launch bundle with the 360-camera for $749, though you can buy the phone on its own for $699. Keep in mind that the phone isn’t ready to ship yet, and with no release date at the moment, you’ll only be reserving your phone. Essential will follow up later with an actual ship date for your reservation.Be sure to check out the source link below to read more on Essential’s first phone. Just as well, be sure to head down to the comments section and let us know what you think of Essential’s first smartphone outing. Will it change the game, or is it going to have an uphill battle ahead of it despite having Andy Rubin at the helm?SOURCE: Essential Three years after leaving Google’s Android division behind, Andy Rubin is back in the smartphone business. Today his company, Essential, revealed its first phone, the Essential PH-1. Otherwise known simply as the Essential Phone, this new device wants to shake up the way smartphones are made and marketed, simplifying some things while improving others. Story TimelineAndy Rubin created Android: now he’s making the “Essential” smartphoneAndy Rubin’s Essential phone details begin to spillAndy Rubin’s Essential phone pops up at GFXBenchAndy Rubin’s Essential jumps on Twitter, teases something biglast_img read more

Google mulls Assistant shopping in war with Alexa

first_imgThat didn’t go entirely to plan, however. Someone, it seems, forgot to ask the Assistant for a weather forecast in CES week, and torrential rains on Tuesday forced the Google tent – which proved not to be waterproof in several places – to close. Nonetheless, Google Assistant powered devices were at least in evidence in more water-tight areas of the show. Lenovo’s Smart Display, for instance – our Best IoT/Smart Home award winner this year – pairs the AI technology with two different sizes of touchscreen, aiming to conquer a place on the kitchen counter that until now might have been home to an Amazon Echo Show. Other manufacturers announced their own smart speaker products running the Google Assistant, or at least plans to adopt it. Now, sources tell Bloomberg, Google is looking to further catch up to Amazon’s system. While it may quote 400 million devices with Assistant access, most are Android smartphones rather than the smart speakers or other devices that we’ve seen Alexa proliferate on. Indeed, insiders say, there are concerns within Google that it is losing market share and needs to catch up. One possibility being discussed is a shopping system. While details are sketchy at this point, the core idea would be a voice-navigated system for buying products and services. It’s unclear if this would be limited to Google’s own offerings, like subscriptions to Google Play Music, its Spotify and Apple Music competitor, or more broadly to other vendors, as Alexa permits. Another idea is said to be a new online store, tipped to debut in February. That would apparently put the Google Assistant at the heart of a smart home ecosystem, illustrating its close ties and integrations with other hardware from under the Alphabet umbrella like Nest thermostats and the Chromecast streaming adapter. Though Google released a cheaper version of its smart speaker, the Google Home Mini, late last year, Amazon’s aggressive promotions of the discounted Echo Dot are believed to have made it the holiday sales winner. While Android has proliferated wildly due in no small part to Google offering it on an open-source basis, adoption of the Google Assistant has been slower on third-party devices. Partly that’s down to Alexa’s lead time advantage, with the original Echo reaching the market back in late 2014, but Amazon’s courting of third-party developers for Alexa voice skills – and the ease with which talents ranging from games through to media playback and smart home control can be created and distributed – has been a particular boon. At CES 2018, Amazon announced a collaboration with Toyota, which will see Alexa feature in select car dashboards this year. The Google Assistant could echo Amazon’s Alexa in selling products and services by voice, insiders claim, with the search giant hunting ways to close the gap between the smart speaker technologies. Google’s presence at CES 2018 this week has been considerable, buying out much of the advertising space on the strip and around the Consumer Electronics Show convention centers, and setting up shop in a sizable tent to demonstrate its Assistant’s prowess. last_img read more

Oppo R17 Pro phone has 2 batteries is this the future

first_imgStory TimelineOPPO R15, R15 Pro launched with a notchOPPO R15 Pro ReviewOnePlus 6 specs we expect via OPPO R15 This smartphone is very similar to the Oppo R17, revealed in the week of August 13th, 2018. Here we’re having a look at an amped-up edition of that device, now coming with a 6.4-inch AMOLED display, with Corning Gorilla Glas 6 up front, and with Android 8.1 inside. This Pro version also comes with a total of four cameras – one up front and three on the back. The Oppo R17 Pro’s display has 1080 x 2340 pixels across it with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. As with other Oppo devices, this phone runs ColorOS over Android, providing a unique experience to each Android user. Inside this machine is the relatively new Qualcomm SDM710 Snapdragon 710. Perhaps most important from that SoC is its ability to connect with a Qualcomm Snapdragon X15 modem – working with “stronger signal” through “hard-to-penetrate walls.”There’s a 25-megapixel camera up front for all the selfies in the WORLD. On the back the triple camera setup is 12MP + 20MP + a TOF depth sensor. According to Oppo, this setup is for “taking full 3D photos” and getting some super-quick focus. This week the folks at Oppo delivered a “Pro” version of the R17, a device we recently got a peek at a little over a week ago. This new version looks rather similar to its predecessor – or launch partner? Either way, it’s quite remarkably similar in exterior build and internal software. This is the Oppo R17 Pro, and I dare you to guess why it has two batteries instead of just one. Also this phone has two batteries. What in the world?This phone has 2x 1850mAh batteries. Each charges with a single Super VOOC system (10 minutes from 0% to 40% charge) for a total capacity of around 3700mAh. Oppo suggests that because the two batteries can be charged at once, charging can go faster than if the device only used one unit. How strange is that! Imagine if the phone had a bunch of tiny batteries – how would that work? Did we just see into the future?According to Oppo (translated, roughly): “The R17 Pro uses an equivalent 3700mAh dual battery. The maximum charging power is close to 50W, and it can be charged to 40% of the total power in 10 minutes, which brings about a visible increase in power. More intelligent five-core protection, five chips full monitoring, charging is more secure.”• Battery type: non-removable battery• Cell capacity: 2x1850mAh, equivalent 3700mAh battery energy• Charging type: Support SuperVOOCUp front there’s an under-display fingerprint scanner for quick unlocks. This device is wild.As yet, the folks at Oppo have not revealed the price or the release date for this smartphone. It’s likely this device will be released within the next few weeks, and certainly before the end of this year. Cross your fingers for a price that fits the specs! OPPO R17 Pro can scan your face in an instant, apparently. That seems kinda… wild?— WFDJ (@design_junkies) August 24, 2018last_img read more

Tesla pushes back on supplier renegotiation fears

first_imgBuoyed by hitting Model 3 production goals, Tesla is attempting to renegotiate supplier contracts in the hope of fulfilling Elon Musk’s promise to be profitable in the second half of the year. The automaker more than doubled EV production in Q2 2018 versus the first quarter, setting a new goal of 6,000 Model 3 rolling off the line by late August. That came after a significant push – including building a new “tent” facility alongside Tesla’s usual plant – to meet targets by the end of June 2018. By the last week of the month, it managed to produce 5,031 of the more affordable electric sedans. To achieve it, Tesla has been running its line 24/7. Production numbers aren’t Tesla’s only commitment, however. Musk also promised that, in Q3 and Q4 of this year, the company would be cash positive. It also has a long-term gross margin target of 25-percent for the Model 3; in the last financial quarter, gross margin for the car was negative “due to temporary underutilization of our manufacturing capacity,” the automaker explained. Now, it’s looking to renegotiation to help with the figures. A report from the WSJ over the weekend revealed that Tesla had asked some of its suppliers to refund some of its previous spend since 2016, with “a meaningful amount” requested in order “to sustain operations during a critical production period.”The claims triggered a further round of questions as to just how stable a footing Tesla is on. The automaker has a long list of Model 3 reservations, with each person on that roster having paid a $1k refundable deposit to stake their claim. In late June, it opened up the ordering process to North American reservation holders, though asked for a further $2,500 in order to do so. That upfront payment would go toward the final sticker price of the car, though only be eligible for a refund within three days of being made. According to a statement from Tesla, the renegotiations are standard business practice, and reflect a change in scale with Model 3 production expanding. Fewer than ten suppliers have been petitioned, the automaker said, all of which have ongoing, incomplete projects with Tesla that the automaker believes could now be more competitive. Any improvement, it insists, would only affect future cashflow, not Q3 2018 profitability. Certainly, Tesla has seen a significant transition between 2016 and today. Back in 2016, when some of the deals in question were inked, Model 3 production was yet to begin. Indeed, that year the automaker produced 83,922 vehicles overall. “Negotiation is a standard part of the procurement process, and now that we’re in a stronger position with Model 3 production ramping, it is a good time to improve our competitive advantage in this area. We’re focused on reaching a more sustainable long term cost basis, not just finding one-time reductions for this quarter, and that’s good for Tesla, our shareholders, and our suppliers who will also benefit from our increasing production volume and future growth opportunities. We asked fewer than 10 suppliers for a reduction in total capex project spend for long-term projects that began in 2016 but are still not complete, and any changes with these suppliers would improve our future cash flows, but not impact our ability to achieve profitability in Q3. The remainder of our discussions with suppliers are entirely focused on future parts price and design or process changes that will help us lower fundamental costs rather than prior period adjustments of capex projects. This is the right thing to do” Tesla Story TimelineTesla Model 3 price cuts make the EV more affordableTesla sets 6,000 Model 3 goal amid car quality promiseTesla tax credits are changing, and Model 3 buyers face a tough choicelast_img read more

Forget hamsters the 2020 Kia Soul EV is charming by itself

first_imgKia doesn’t need hamsters any more: the 2020 Soul and Soul EV are compelling enough on their own merits. With the furry sidekicks out of the way, the third-generation Soul hatchback can focus instead on its own particular recipe of quirky style and punchy performance, particularly in its newest electric form. Kia has borrowed the floating C-pillar conceit we’ve seen well used before, though we can forgive them given how good it looks with the neon paint job of the Soul EV. The rear should be familiar enough to keep Soul purists happy, but is fresh enough that it matches the rest of the car. Indeed, if there’s a criticism you could level at the 2020 Soul, it’s that the car looks like it should be a little off-roader, but there’s no all-wheel drive option. That might well be overkill for the urban environs where the new Soul will roam, but you can’t look at the dark, mossy green example Kia had brought to LA and say that it doesn’t make you want to go roam the wilderness. AdChoices广告Instead the automaker will have two fairly straightforward gas engine models. The standard engine will be a 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder, delivering147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque, and paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT. Yes, Kia gets credit for keeping a stick-shift in the range, even if we suspect most buyers will opt for the auto upgrade. The second gas engine is a 1.6-liter twin-scroll turbocharged I-4 GDI. That kicks things up to 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, and comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission as standard. Kia’s spec sheet for the cars’ tech and comfort features has grown impressively, too.You’ll forgive us, though, if we’re far more excited about the 2020 Soul EV. We’ve had a soft spot for Kia’s punchy little all-electric car since it first launched in MY2015 form in the US back in late 2014. Perky driving dynamics and lots of flexible space almost made up for the mere 93 miles of range. This new version, however, should significantly improve matters. For a start it’s the most powerful overall of the three, with 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque. Just as important, range should be up considerably. Kia has fitted a 64 kWh battery, along with fast charging as standard. The automaker is playing range close to its chest for now, but sibling Hyundai conspicuously uses the same size of battery – and quotes the same power figures – in its 2019 Kona. That’s rated for 258 miles of driving, so it doesn’t seem too far-fetched to expect similar from the 2020 Soul EV. It’s not just how far it’ll go, though: it’s how engaging it’ll be as you use up that range. Independent rear suspension should help there, while Kia’s new paddle shifters will allow the driver to choose between four levels of regenerative braking. All in all it’s a more grown-up electric car than the old Soul EV, and we’re looking forward to driving it. That won’t be an option for a little while yet. Kia says the 2020 Soul will go on sale in the first half of next year. That’ll also be when we hear pricing. If the automaker can keep this bold new model in the same ballpark as its affordable current car, this may just be the urban hatchback to watch. It’s hard to argue with the idea that the 2020 Soul is coming into its own in this latest iteration. The urban runaround has always been distinctive, not to mention had its share of fans. For the 2020 model year, though, the design cred has stepped up a notch. The fascia, with its grille squinting like a John Wayne cowboy and its angular lights, is a pleasing counterpoint to the overall weight of the front of the car. Meanwhile the high waistline and pinched side glass still looks like wraparound sunglasses, but in the best possible way. center_img 2020 Kia Soul and 2020 Kia Soul EV Gallerylast_img read more

Galaxy Note 10 Snapdragon 855 might not be happening

first_imgSamsung has always used a two-chip strategy when it came to its flagship phones. Due to licensing or legal considerations, some models are equipped with Samsung’s latest Exynos chips while some run on Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon. That’s especially true for the Galaxy Note line, which is produced close to Snapdragon’s launch of new chips for the year.That was naturally the expected arrangement when Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 855+. But now WinFuture’s information claims that it won’t be the case for the Galaxy Note 10. The source gives no reason for the change in course which, admittedly, goes against history and an earlier leak.Even more curious, the Exynos variant of the phablets will reportedly have a new chip in contrast. The Exynos 9825, like the Snapdragon 855+, is a slight bump up from the existing Exynos 9820. It would indeed be the perfect counterpart to Qualcomm’s new chip which, again, would make sense to put in the same phones.AdChoices广告If this new leak is correct, there will be a rather big discrepancy between Exynos and Snapdragon variants of the Galaxy Note 10. That said, Samsung also has a history of clocking down processors and features to put models on equal footing. Galaxy Note fans might be in for yet another disappointment with this year’s models. Yes, plural as it might affect both the normal model and the Plus model. Emotions ran high when Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 855+, which seems to be perfect timing for the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10+. Unfortunately, a new leak claims that that will not be the case and that some models will be left with an older Snapdragon while others will use a fresh new Exynos chip.last_img read more

Toys R Us reopens with the future of retail in play

first_imgAt less than a third of the size of previously standard Toys ‘R’ Us store, the new locations might feel unfamiliar. It won’t feel particularly familiar to the original customers of the mega-massive toy store chain, anyway. But what the new, more compact locations lack in size will be more than made up for with a modern retail cool factor. That’s the aim, now that Tru Kids Brands (owners of Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us brands) are partnered up with the group called b8ta. Story TimelineSNES Classic in-store at bankrupt Toys R Us at launchToys’R’Us to employees: we are closing all US stores We’ve been waiting to share this for a long time…I’m proud to announce that we’ve partnered and entered into a joint venture with Tru Kids to bring Toys R Us stores back to the US this yearRead here for more info from b8ta on our exciting news:— Vibhu Norby (@vibhu) July 18, 2019 With Toys R Us, b8ta-infused stores will be aimed at kids. They’re selling toys, after all. B8ta and Tru Kids Brands efforts will create stores that are something akin to the most profitable small store locations in the world: Apple Stores and Microsoft Stores.They’ll hold events and workshops, they’ll play movies and give kids the opportunity to play video games. There’ll be interactive play experiences aplenty.All (or most) of the products they’ll have available will be shown with hands-on stations. Toys R Us provides established brand power of the ultimate toy store – and the connections with toy brands therein. The b8ta contribution provides software for the whole shebang, including inventory management, staff software, point of sale essentials, and a full checkout system. This is all part of the b8ta Retail as a Service (RaaS) platform. In the past, a store like Toys R Us would buy product from each individual brand or brand representative, then sell each product at their own risk in a very traditional retail manner. With the b8ta RaaS platform, Toys R Us opens the door for brands to handle their own business. They bring the space and handle the in-store sales while they allow and encourage online sales, too. Each brand will use b8ta software to “manage the Toys“R”Us in-store customer experience, while receiving real-time feedback and analytics to help them market, manage and measure how offline retail experiences translate into online sales.”This means less space between the creator of the product and the end customer. For toys and all products meant for children, the more responsibility and reward for a great product placed on the creator, the better. Cross your fingers for a future with Toys R Us in it in a city near you. Two locations will open in November of 2019. One is in Houston, Texas, the other is in New Jersey. These stores will be similar to the few b8ta stores already out in the world – but they’ll be different in several key ways. With Toys R Us, the audience is no longer the standard b8ta crowd – young adults and older. last_img read more

First Edition March 8 2013

first_imgToday’s headllines include various reports about state abortion laws and related legal challenges. Kaiser Health News: Capsules: A Bump In The Road To Accountable Care?; Idaho, Utah, N.M. Running Out Of Time To Set Up State ExchangesNow on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Jenny Gold reports on accountable care organizations: “For the first year of the program, everything seemed like smooth sailing. But the pioneers appear to have hit their first pothole—and the administration is scrambling to make sure the project goes forward. The problem: That pesky little part about accountability” (Gold, 3/8).Also on the blog, Phil Galewitz reports on the time pressures some states face regarding health exchanges: “Three western states which had gotten tentative go-aheads to run their own online health insurance websites — Utah, Idaho and New Mexico — are running out of time to be ready for an Oct. 1  launch and experts doubt they will get green lights from the federal government” (Galewitz, 3/8). Check out  what else is on the blog.The Wall Street Journal: Republicans Warm To Obama’s EffortsBoth Republicans and administration officials described the discussions as productive and even pleasant. But while the lawmakers’ mood may be improving, fundamental disagreements over taxes and spending persist, and lawmakers in both parties acknowledged that any significant deal would be months away at best. … Both the president and some GOP members have indicated a willingness to discuss a deficit-reduction approach that would involve overhauling the tax code and slowing the growth of spending on entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security. But, as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) noted, “The details may trip us up” (Nelson and Paletta, 3/7).Los Angeles Times: Obama Charm Offensive Sows GoodwillWhite House officials say the president is trying to find congressional allies to chart a new path on deficit reduction. Both parties have an interest in trying to strike a big deal, preferably before the next budget showdown in summer, when Obama must ask Congress to raise the legal limit on the national debt (Hennessey and Mascaro, 3/7).The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: New Idea On Tweaking Medicare EligibilityRaising the Medicare eligibility age to 67 from 65 is a third-rail for many Democrats, who argue that it could leave some seniors without access to insurance. It’s also difficult to do without disrupting the implementation of the federal health-care law, as we noted in this story, which makes it a tough proposition for the White House to swallow (Radnofsky, 3/7).The Washington Post: Hospitals Want To Delay A Key Obamacare ProgramIn 2011, the Obama administration settled on 32 health care systems, scattered across the country, to lead the Affordable Care Act’s most ambitious cost-control effort. … For the past year, the Pioneer ACOs have received payments just for reporting data on the 33 metrics, which includes data on how many patients receive mammograms or end up back in the hospital 30 days after their discharge. In 2012, no payments were tethered to how good or bad their outcomes were. That changed in 2013. Now, the health care providers are scheduled to move from pay-for-reporting to pay-for-performance—and are getting nervous about how they will be judged (Kliff, 3/6).USA Today: What Surgeons Leave Behind Costs Some PatientsThousands of patients a year leave the nation’s operating rooms with surgical items in their bodies. And despite occasional tales of forceps, clamps and other hardware showing up in post-operative X-rays, those items are almost never the problem. Most often, it’s the gauzy, cotton sponges that doctors use throughout operations to soak up blood and other fluids, a USA TODAY examination shows. Yet thousands of hospitals and surgical centers have failed to adopt readily available technologies that all but eliminate the risk of leaving sponges in patients (Eisler, 3/8).Los Angeles Times: California Insurance Commissioner Chides Blue Shield Over RatesFor the second time in two days, a state regulator criticized Blue Shield of California for an “unreasonable” rate hike affecting tens of thousands of individual policyholders. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said Thursday that the nonprofit health insurer’s latest rate hike of as much as 20% for about 268,000 individual policyholders was excessive. But he and other state officials don’t have the authority to reject changes in premiums (Terhune, 3/7).The New York Times: Opposition Emerges To Cuomo’s Plan To Cut $120 Million For The DisabledA plan by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to cut $120 million in financing for nonprofit organizations that serve people with developmental disabilities is emerging as a flash point in this year’s budget negotiations (Kaplan, 3/7).The Associated Press/Washington Post: After Conn. Massacre, Ga. Lawmakers Back Relaxing Gun Laws For Mentally IllWhile some states push to tighten gun control laws after the Connecticut school massacre, lawmakers in gun-friendly Georgia want to ease rules preventing some mentally ill people from getting licenses to carry firearms. Legislators in Georgia’s House voted 117-56 on Thursday to allow people who have voluntarily sought inpatient treatment for mental illness or substance abuse to get licenses (3/7).Los Angeles Times: Idaho Law Banning Abortions After 20  Weeks Ruled UnconstitutionalA federal judge has struck down an Idaho law prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks, ruling that the so-called fetal pain law violates U.S. Supreme Court prohibitions against unduly impeding a woman’s ability to seek an abortion before her fetus is able to live outside the womb. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill in Boise declared the 2011 law — similar to limits adopted in at least seven other states — to be unconstitutional in a ruling that took the Idaho Legislature to task for acting against the advice of its own attorney gene (Murphy, 3/7).Politico: Idaho ‘Fetal Pain’ Abortion Law Is Struck DownThe ruling, by a Democrat-nominated district judge, begins a new phase in the legal fight over a spate of laws enacted in the past couple of years that push earlier and earlier bans on abortion, mostly based on the argument that a fetus can feel pain after 20 weeks. Arkansas is the most recent to act, passing both a 20-week ban and a 12-week one — constituting what abortion rights proponents consider the most restrictive state laws in the nation (Smith, 3/8).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Not Content With Strict New Abortion Laws, Arkansas Republicans Eye Planned Parenthood FundsNot content with enacting the most restrictive abortion law in the country, Arkansas Republicans plan to press the legislative advantage their party hasn’t enjoyed since Reconstruction by making it even more difficult for women to get abortions in the state (3/7).The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog: Arkansas A.G. Says He’ll Defend Abortion Ban Despite ConcernsA day after Arkansas lawmakers voted to enact the most-stringent abortion restrictions in the nation, the state’s attorney general said he is preparing to defend the law against inevitable challenges – despite his personal feelings on the matter. Some abortion rights supporters indicated that they would sue Arkansas in federal court to try and overturn the law, which bars most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy (Gershman, 3/7).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Va. Board Of Health Conducts Public Hearing On New Abortion Clinic RegulationsFormer Virginia Health Commissioner Karen Remley was among more than two dozen people who testified Thursday at the latest in a series of public hearings on the state’s new abortion clinic regulations (3/7).  Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. First Edition: March 8, 2013last_img read more

Failed State Exchanges Set Sights Too High Say Experts

first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Failed State Exchanges Set Sights Too High, Say Experts Common themes characterize several failed state exchanges, including trying to do too much the first year and having tangled lines of authority, reports CQ HealthBeat. Meanwhile, officials who oversaw those troubled marketplaces prepare to testify before congressional committees. CQ HealthBeat: What’s The Matter With Blue State Exchanges? Experts See a PatternMaryland . . . Oregon . . . Massachusetts . . . Hawaii . . . Minnesota . . . it’s hard to think of a group of states with a politically stronger commitment to expanding coverage under the health law. But the marketplaces they set up to get that accomplished either malfunctioned mightily, underperformed or didn’t work at all … Overly ambitious website designs, tangled lines of authority and incompetence and bad luck in picking contractors are among the reasons (Reichard, 4/3).The Associated Press: Md. Panel To Get Update On Health ExchangeA legislative oversight panel on Maryland’s troubled health exchanged is holding a meeting to get an update from state officials. The Joint Oversight Committee of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange is scheduled to meet in Annapolis on Thursday afternoon to hear details about an audit by state analysts (4/3).The Washington Post: 7 Questions You Should Ask About Maryland’s Effort To Replace Its Troubled Health ExchangeMaryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) announced Tuesday that the state will replace nearly all of its troubled online health insurance exchange with technology borrowed from Connecticut, which has had one of the most successful exchanges in the country. The new system will be completed by November, officials say, in time for residents to enroll in private plans for 2015. Here are questions, and answers, about Maryland’s decision and the impact it will have on citizens seeking to benefit from the 2010 Affordable Care Act (Johnson, 4/2).The Oregonian: Kitzhaber Adviser To Congress: Cover Oregon Health Insurance Exchange Succeeding Despite ‘Bumpy’ StartAn adviser to Gov. John Kitzhaber plans to tell a Congressional committee on Thursday that despite a “bumpy” start, Cover Oregon has enrolled more than 175,000 people in coverage and “those numbers grow every day.” Greg Van Pelt has helped advise Kitzhaber on Cover Oregon following his retirement as CEO of Providence Health & Services last year. With several top Oregon exchange officials having either resigned or expected to resign, it’s left to Van Pelt to address a Republican-led group of lawmakers probing problems at state-based health insurance exchanges (Budnick, 4/2). Stateline: Next Steps For States And ACALike other states that opted to run their own exchange, Colorado spent several years and hundreds of millions in federal dollars to create an insurance marketplace specifically tailored for Coloradans. Complex legislation, multiple studies, numerous vendor contracts, dozens of public hearings and behind-the-scenes preparations led up to the launch of Colorado’s site in October. As of April 1, Colorado signed up 119,000 people for commercial insurance – a little shy of its goal of 136,000. State officials are already working on improvements for next year’s enrollment period, which starts Nov.15 and runs until Feb. 15, 2015 (Vestal, 4/3). The Star Tribune: MNsure ‘Stable, Secure And Successful,’ Interim CEO To Tell CongressMNsure’s interim CEO will tell a congressional panel Thursday that Minnesota’s online health insurance exchange is “stable, secure and successful,” according to an advance copy of testimony reviewed by the Star Tribune. In testimony before two House Oversight subcommittees in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, interim CEO Scott Leitz will also acknowledge the exchange’s “rollout was rocky.” MNsure is one of the six “problem-filled state exchanges” members of Congress will hear from (Mitchell, 4/2). Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: GOP Proposal Would Regulate ‘Navigators’ Of Federal Health LawA Republican-backed proposal to regulate the workers who help customers learn about insurance plans under the federal health care law appears to have traction in a [state] Senate committee. Pennsylvania would join numerous states in regulating the so-called navigators called for in the federal law. … The Pennsylvania proposal, which has been sponsored by more than half the members of the Senate’s Republican majority, would require navigators to register with the state Insurance Department and pass a criminal background check. The legislation would allow navigators to provide “general information” about enrolling in a health insurance marketplace but not to compare specific health plans (Langley, 4/3).last_img read more

CBO Shrinks Estimate Of Health Law Spending Based On Lower Subsidy Costs

first_imgExpanding health coverage under the health law will also slow premium growth, helping lower the total cost of the law, the nonpartisan office said.The New York Times: Budget Office Lowers Estimate For The Cost Of Expanding Health CoverageThe insurance expansion under the Affordable Care Act will cost $1.383 trillion over the next decade, more than $100 billion less than previous forecasts, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday. The nonpartisan budget office’s report, an update to projections from February, shows the law costing less than in previous estimates in part because of the broad and persistent slowdown in the growth of health care costs. The news might come as welcome to Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the White House who are struggling to defend the law in an election year (Lowrey, 4/14).Los Angeles Times: Obamacare Cost Forecast Is Reduced 7% By U.S. Fiscal WatchdogLower-than-expected health insurance premiums under Obamacare will help cut the long-term cost of the program 7 percent over the next decade, according to the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office. The government’s reduction of $104 billion in subsidies for those premiums was the main factor that led the nonpartisan fiscal watchdog to cut its projection of the nation’s federal deficit by nearly $300 billion through 2024 (Memoli, 4/14).The Wall Street Journal: CBO Estimates U.S. Deficit Will Shrink More Than Expected In 2014CBO also reduced the government’s projected 10-year deficit by $286 billion, to $7.6 trillion, mainly because of lower subsidies related to the health-care law. Future Medicare spending was also revised lower. The estimates come during a brief period of rapidly shrinking budget deficits, forcing both political parties to rethink their approaches to taxes and spending heading into the November midterm elections. The White House and Republican lawmakers have battled over the deficit for years, primarily through protracted debates over how much revenue to collect and how to structure government programs (Paletta, 4/14).USA Today: CBO Lowers Estimate Of Health Care Law CostsNet costs in 2014 are due almost entirely to subsidies paid out to those who make less than 400% of the federal poverty level who enrolled in the health insurance exchanges, as well as the Medicaid expansion in some states. The government will pay out $1.84 trillion through 2024 for health exchanges and subsidies, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and tax credits for small employers. But the budget office expects $456 billion in penalty payments from those who do not have health insurance as well as excise taxes on high-premium insurance plans, income taxes for those who make more than $200,000 a year, and payroll taxes that come from changes in employer coverage (Kennedy, 4/14).McClatchy: CBO Sees Lower Costs For Affordable Care Act Insurance ProvisionsThe Affordable Care Act’s insurance coverage provisions will be less costly to the federal budget than first projected and premiums for a key health plan are expected to rise by about 6 percent a year, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday. Updating estimates issued in February, the non-partisan CBO said the cost to the federal government for the insurance provisions is $5 billion less than thought earlier this year. From 2015 through 2024, the provisions should prove $104 billion less costly. That’s 7 percent below earlier projections (Hall, 4/14).The Fiscal Times: CBO Says Obamacare Will Cost Less Than ProjectedThe White House is kicking off the week with some more good news for Obamacare. The Congressional Budget Office said on Monday that the federal government will spend significantly less than expected on health insurance benefits under the new law. The CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation said the law’s insurance coverage provisions will now cost about $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years — about $104 billion less than previously estimated. This year alone the government will spend $5 billion less than projected. The CBO said lower spending on the health care law is helping shrink deficits overall (Ehley, 4/14).Politico: Smaller Premium Hikes Forecast In 2014 For ObamacareCoverage through the law will cost the federal government about $5 billion less than expected this year. And overall, the law’s 10-year cost for the coverage provisions is pegged at $1.383 trillion — $104 billion less than prior calculations. Both figures are lower than prior estimates mostly because the CBO and JCT anticipate premium subsidies being smaller (Haberkorn and Norman, 4/14).Other highlights from the report include that the deficit will shrink as a result of the lower health care costs and that 6 million will be the average number getting coverage in health law marketplaces –The Associated Press: CBO: Deficits To Drift Lower On Lower Health CostsA Congressional Budget Office report Monday said this year’s deficit will now be $492 billion, $23 billion less than previously estimated. Last year’s deficit registered $680 billion, the first year in President Barack Obama’s tenure that the deficit was less than $1 trillion (4/14). CBS News: Report: Average Of 6 Million In Obamacare Marketplaces In 2014Over the course of 2014, an average of 6 million Americans will have health insurance through the new Obamacare marketplaces, according to the latest estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). All told, the CBO said that 12 million more nonelderly people will have health insurance in 2014 than would have had it in the absence of the Affordable Care Act. That includes the 6 million in private Obamacare plans, 7 million more enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the subtraction of 1 million losing coverage on the nongroup market (Condon, 4/14).But a survey also says premiums are going up –Fox News: Survey Shows Obamacare Sending Premiums Rising At Fastest Clip In DecadesA recent survey of 148 insurance brokers shows that Obamacare is sending premiums rising at the fastest clip in decades. “For the last, about, five years they’ve been doing this survey, so this was the largest percentage increase in any quarter since they’ve been doing (it),” said Scott Gottlieb of the American Enterprise Institute. “But at 12 percent, 11 percent increase on average across all the states — that puts it at the upper end of any increase we’ve seen for decades.” That is the national average in a survey done by Morgan Stanley. … The reported hikes are for the first policies issued under Obamacare in 2014 (Angle, 4/14). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. CBO Shrinks Estimate Of Health Law Spending Based On Lower Subsidy Costslast_img read more

US Territories Including Puerto Rico Exempted From Obamacare

first_imgU.S. Territories, Including Puerto Rico, Exempted From Obamacare The administration waives the law’s requirements for insurers selling policies in the U.S. territories since it does not require residents there to get coverage or provide subsidies. Other stories look at pressure on the administration to issue guidance on the employer mandate and the need to educate newly insured consumers about their coverage.The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: The Administration Just Took Obamacare Away From The TerritoriesLooking for a place where Obamacare doesn’t exist? Try moving to the U.S. Territories, where the Obama administration just provided a pretty big waiver from the law’s major coverage provisions. The Affordable Care Act’s design dealt a pretty big problem to the territories. It required insurers there to comply with the law’s major market reforms — guaranteed coverage, mandated benefits, limits on profits, etc. — without requiring residents to get coverage or providing subsidies to help them afford coverage. The territories — Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands — have been warning for years that would destroy their insurance markets (Millman, 7/17).The Hill: Pressure Builds On Obama For Decision On Employer MandateWith the [employer] mandate set to take effect in January, businesses are awaiting final world from the administration on whether they will be required to track and report how many of their employees are receiving coverage. Federal officials are late in delivering the final forms and technical guidance necessary for firms to comply, raising suspicions that the mandate could once again be delayed (Viebeck and Goad, 7/18).The Washington Post: New Challenge For Obamacare: Enrollees Who Don’t Understand Their InsuranceNine months after Americans began signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, a challenging new phase is emerging as confused enrollees clamor for help in understanding their coverage. Nonprofit organizations across the country are being swamped by consumers with questions. Many are low-income, have never had insurance and have little knowledge of the health-care system. The rampant confusion poses a potential hurdle for the success of the health law: If many Americans don’t understand how health insurance works, that could hurt their ability to use their benefits — or to keep their coverage altogether (Sun, 7/16).Modern Healthcare: Insurers, Providers May Need to Work Harder To Educate ACA’s Newly CoveredMillions of Americans gained health insurance coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act this year, but the influx apparently has not yet translated into patients packing doctors’ offices. That may reflect a lack of understanding about how and where to seek care—and a lack of outreach by their new plans and providers.  “If coverage expansion is allowing patients to establish new relationships with physicians, we would expect to see physicians devote a greater share of their calendars and work effort to caring for new patients,” wrote the authors of a report released this week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Athenahealth, a company that sells cloud-based health information and practice management technology. But that is not what they found. Though it may seem counterintuitive, the organizations discovered that during the first five months of 2014, all specialties—with the exception of pediatrics—experienced lower rates of new-patient visits than they had in the year-ago period (Landen, 7/17).Meanwhile, an analysis looks at the impact on Florida should a legal challenge to the law’s insurance subsidies in federal markets prevail -Health News Florida: $4.8B In Florida Subsidies At StakeA court case challenging the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies for plans sold on the federal marketplace could have an outsize effect on Florida, according to a new analysis. A ruling is expected any day on Halbig v Burwell from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. If the government loses and further legal maneuvers fail, the 34 states that rely on the federal exchange would see a $36-billion loss of subsidies, three Urban Institute researchers project. The effects in Florida would be huge, says the study, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and released on Thursday.  Here, 931,000 people would lose a total of $4.8 billion in subsidies for health insurance. The researchers say most of those people would find premiums unaffordable without subsidies and would become uninsured. That would lead to a collapse of the federal marketplace (Gentry, 7/17). And in health law news from Capitol Hill – Politico: Democrats Seek Cost Estimate Of Barack Obama SuitDemocrats on the House committee tasked with overseeing a Republican lawsuit against President Barack Obama are asking the panel’s chairman to detail how much the suit will cost. The four Democrats on the Rules Committee, led by New York Democrat Louise Slaughter, sent a letter on Thursday to Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) asking for the total expected bill for the lawsuit and how the House plans to pay for the cost (French, 7/17). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

Viewpoints Presidential Politics And The Vaccine Issue CDC Issues Strong Zika Warning

first_img Premiums for Obamacare insurance are rising more quickly this year than they have in the past. But, on average, the coverage remains cheaper than what the government’s own forecaster had predicted it would be by this point. That’s the conclusion of two new independent reports, by scholars at the Brookings Institution and at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The finding is likely to surprise people who have read all the headlines about skyrocketing premiums in the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges, to say nothing of those consumers who are weighing whether to pay the higher prices next year or to seek out cheaper alternatives for coverage. (Jonathan Cohn, 8/1) Vox: Hillary Clinton Is Now The Only Candidate Not Pandering To The Anti-Vaccine Movement The science is clear on vaccines’ safety and efficacy. But the presidential candidates’ thoughts on vaccines? Well, they’re a mixed bag. … Out of the four big presidential candidates, only Hillary Clinton seems to be fully pro-vaccine, meaning she’s the only one aligned with the scientific consensus on this issue. Republican Donald Trump is a straight-up anti-vaxxer, and the other two candidates — Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson — have mixed views on the issue. (German Lopez, 8/1) Modern Healthcare: When Presidential Candidates Pander On Health Issues The time has come to tax sugary drinks like we tax tobacco. The analogy is powerful: As with tobacco, rock-solid evidence shows habitual use harms health. Sugary drinks are a prime culprit in rampant health problems — diabetes, obesity, and heart, dental and liver disease – that cut lives short and drive up health care costs. (Jim Krieger, 8/1) Lexington Herald Tribune: Bevin Should Use Medicaid To Build A Healthier Workforce, Not To Belittle Low-Wage Workers Los Angeles Times: Obamacare Covers Free Annual Physicals, Right? Wrong It’s hard to find a more complicated thicket than health care finances, yet there are some clear truths: We all end up paying for each others’ health care. The best way to control costs is to prevent disease and expensive medical crises. With that in mind, dividing Kentuckians covered by taxpayer-funded Medicaid from those covered by taxpayer-subsidized private health insurance, as a Bevin administration spokeswoman seemed to do last week, sheds no light. It does stigmatize as “dependent” people who toil for low wages with only Medicaid to keep them healthy. (8/2) Worries about all manner of pathogens — disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and larger parasites — are an underappreciated contributor to prejudice, distrust of foreigners, and resentment toward those who spurn traditional values, according to a growing body of psychology research. To understand why, it helps to be acquainted with the behavioral immune system, our defense against infection that’s shaped by natural selection and further embellished by learning. Largely below the level of our conscious awareness, we constantly scan our surroundings for any potential source of contagion. … But this germ radar is not guided by sophisticated reasoning, and it pays particularly close attention to other people, a leading source of infection. (Kathleen McAuliffe, 7/31) Amy Kapczynski and Aaron Kesselheim proposed in Health Affairs that the federal government reduce the price of on-patent prescription drugs using an obscure federal law (codified as 28 USC 1498) to either threaten to, or actually, seize patent rights to drugs in a manner similar to eminent domain. The idea is that the federal government would “produce or import low-cost versions of patented medicines” itself, while paying the drug company that previously controlled the patent “reasonable and entire compensation” according to some vaguely measure. (Robert Book, 8/1) I’m not an economist. But I find it hard to imagine that we can achieve sustainable health reform if we ignore 70 percent of what’s driving health outcomes and costs. Yet if you look at spending in the health care sector, little funding is devoted to identifying or addressing unmet social needs. Today we spend most of our time and money wrangling about clinical care, while population health — the health outcomes of groups of individuals — has been allowed to languish. We need to blur the distinction between clinical care and population health and look more closely at unmet social needs. (Rocco Perla, 8/1) The Hill: Zika Warning Marks Alarming Shift In CDC Mindset Banning resident Jim Bailey and his wife went in recently for their annual physicals. They came away with hundreds of dollars in charges for co-pays and tests. Bailey, 78, told me that he feels duped. “The Affordable Care Act dictates that all annual physicals be provided at no cost to the policyholders — no deductibles or co-pays,” he said. “But that wasn’t the case with us.” … “There’s nothing in the ACA that guarantees a free checkup,” said Bradley Herring, an associate professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins University. “It’s surprising how many people think it’s part of the law.” (David Lazarus, 8/2) Los Angeles Times: How A Fear Of Germs Infects Our Political Views Yesterday Florida governor, Rick Scott, reported that ten additional cases of Zika were in all likelihood, acquired locally. This followed Friday’s announcement that the emerging virus had been spread from person-to-person by mosquitoes in Miami. The advisory was somewhat surprising, given that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, Dr. Thomas Frieden said as recently as Friday, that local transmission was not enough to warrant advising against travel, and that he expected additional cases to emerge. (Meghan May, 8/2) The latest attack on America’s expanding waistlines is aimed at your wallet, as health advocates and lawmakers hope to tax consumers out of drinking so many sugary drinks. … Americans, more than one-third of whom are obese, would be better off if they did cut back on sugary drinks. But efforts to tax people out of the habit are likely to fall flatter than day-old cola. People are quick to see through ideas described as good for them but which make little sense. Why slap a surtax on sodas but not on Twinkies (135 calories per cake) or McDonalds’ Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese (780)? And why tax diet sodas, as Philadelphia does, if the target is sugar? Maybe because the tax is a money grab disguised as a public health initiative. (8/1) center_img The Huffington Post: Obamacare May Be Getting More Expensive, But It’s Still Cheaper Than Predicted Stat: It’s Time To Incorporate Social Needs Into Patient Care In 2015, city supervisors in San Francisco passed an ordinance requiring billboards advertising sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) to include a notice: “Warning: drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the city and county of San Francisco.” The ordinance, originally scheduled to go into effect on July 25, 2016, represents the first such SSB warning notice law in the world. A clear, factual warning notice about health effects related to SSBs may be important in reducing disease rates among many people. (Dean Schillinger and Michael F. Jacobson, 8/1) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. USA Today: Sugary Drinks Are ‘Uniquely Harmful’: Opposing View Modern Healthcare: Full Speed Ahead On Bundled Payments Viewpoints: Presidential Politics And The Vaccine Issue; CDC Issues Strong Zika Warning A selection of opinions on health care from around the country. JAMA: Science And Public Health On Trial: Warning Notices On Advertisements For Sugary Drinks USA Today: Soda Taxes Fall Flat: Our View It must be tough being both a physician committed to scientific evidence and a politician running for the presidency. Over the weekend, Dr. Jill Stein, a retired internist who is the Green Party’s presidential candidate, got caught between the conflicting demands of those two professions when the Washington Post asked her a brief question about public health. “Do you think that vaccines cause autism?” (Harris Meyer, 8/1) Usually it’s a good thing that everything’s bigger in Texas, but that isn’t true when it comes to health-insurance premiums for Obamacare. Recent federal data show that Texas’ largest insurer on the Obamacare exchanges is seeking average premium increases of nearly 60 percent for 2017 — among the highest hikes in the entire country. (Jerome Greener, 8/1) Rulemakers in outgoing administrations usually end their tenures with a bang, not a whimper. President Barack Obama’s appointees at the CMS are no exception. Over the objections of most healthcare provider trade groups, the agency last week proposed expanding its mandatory bundled-payment program to include heart attacks and coronary artery surgery in 98 markets. It also extended the purview of the orthopedic joint replacement bundles, just getting started in 67 markets, to include hip and femur fractures. (Merrill Goozner, 7/30) Houston Chronicle: Premium Hikes Under Obamacare Forbes: Why Eminent Domain Won’t Reduce Drug Prices, And Might Increase Costs last_img read more

Tesla Supercharger Gets Vandalized Images

first_imgThis is why charging stations needs to be monitoredHere is example of vandalized Tesla Supercharging station, with damaged charging cables and plugs. At least three stalls are disabled, while the rest barely work, according to Mark Larsen who posted the photos.“I saw on a forum our local Superchargers were vandalized last night. @Tesla knows. The bastards tried to cut a cable, then decided to drill into all the plugs instead. Units 1A, 4A & 4B don’t work; others do, but just barely. Hope the security cameras recorded the assholes. ”It happens from time to time around the world, as in the case of any public infrastructure, but hopefully not too often.See Also Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on January 26, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Tesla is in a good position against vandals anyways, because the stations usually are equipped with many Superchargers and there is always a chance that only part of the site will be damaged, while the others survive. Some of the vandals could be deterred by security cameras too. Lastly, Tesla is a big company, which always help when it comes to dealing with trouble, as compared to a small charging operator.I saw on a forum our local Superchargers were vandalized last night. @Tesla knows. The bastards tried to cut a cable, then decided to drill into all the plugs instead. Units 1A, 4A & 4B don’t work; others do, but just barely. Hope the security cameras recorded the assholes.— Mark Larsen (@yanquetino) January 26, 2019 See The World’s Largest Tesla Supercharger: Video First Tesla Supercharging Station With CCS DC Plug In Norway: Video Tesla Increases Supercharging Fees Around the World Source: Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

First trophies next youth then the world says Scolari

first_imgDominic Fifield First trophies, next youth, then the world, says Scolari Share on Facebook @domfifield A little after three o’clock last Saturday, in a conference room at Moscow’s plush riverside Baltschug Kempinski hotel, Chelsea’s players were subjected to their first glimpse of the other side of Luiz Felipe Scolari. They had choked in a penalty shoot-out the previous evening against Lokomotiv in the Railways Cup. It may have been a pre-season tournament but the Brazilian had spied weakness which will not be tolerated.”It was a big lesson for me, and for them,” he reflected. “They had two shots in the second half and scored once. We had three times as many chances and didn’t kill them off. Do that in the Premier League and opponents will kill us.”Wherever I’ve coached in the world the players have said: ‘I like Scolari because he is a true man and speaks honestly to you.’ I will remain that way until my last day at Chelsea. If I need to say something to a player I will say it to his face. I said some things in that meeting that the players had not heard from me before.” A 5-0 thrashing of Milan next day suggested his players were wiser for the experience.Scolari’s pre-season has taken in the industrial city of Guangzhou on China’s Pearl River delta, the Las Vegas-style extravagance of Macau, the steamy heat of Kuala Lumpur and the tedious gridlock of Moscow city centre. For the manager and his players it has been an exercise in mutual discovery. They returned to Cobham this week with Scolari having settled upon “85%” of his side for this Sunday’s visit by Portsmouth, FA Cup winners and an emerging force outside the elite four, who will provide a stern first test. He said he now knew the players he could “trust in certain positions, and those I cannot rely upon” to play specific roles. He is ready for the challenge. It remains to be seen whether the Premier League is ready for him.The 59-year-old’s biggest frustrations have centred on an inability to express himself with clarity in his latest adopted language. Fluency will come, particularly when he begins English lessons. Already his side are showing a pleasing vibrancy as he sets about reinventing the club’s image. He does not share Jose Mourinho’s brash confidence but, beneath the surface, he has the same thirst for success. Chelsea came close on three fronts under Avram Grant last season and the squad Scolari inherited were still suffering a hangover from those failures. Steadily he is drumming disappointment out of them.”I talk to them in training every day and tell them I’m always here to help,” he said. “They have been affected by what happened last year but I will help lift their heads. For example, in Russia we lost a penalty shoot-out, just like they did in the Champions League final. There will be a time this season when we need to win a shoot-out so I have to improve the players’ minds to stop it happening again.”I know about English teams and penalties. I was there in Euro 2004 and at the 2006 World Cup, remember. Like England, Chelsea have lost shoot-outs recently, so mentally there is a problem. How do you overcome things like that? You work every day to try to build the players’ self-belief. I need to change the mentality in the club where some players are afraid of penalties because they don’t want to make a mistake. They must cope with pressure.”Chelsea want to be at a higher level than they are now. They want to be first in the world. To do that we need not only to beat Manchester United and Ferguson but to finish above all the other clubs. The board haven’t said to me that we must win this or that. They just said to me: ‘Try to improve on where we are now. We need to win more competitions.'” Scolari may have scarred the English psyche as coach of Brazil and Portugal but he is something of an unknown quantity in domestic management, even among his peers. His dismissal of Sir Alex Ferguson’s first bout of mind games caught the eye. The other top-flight managers will soon understand him better too. “I’ve known Arséne Wenger for 10 years, and I like Martin O’Neill,” said Scolari, a touchline ranter to match the Irishman and, like O’Neill, a disciple of Brian Clough’s. “I like the way he is on the sidelines, and the players like him too. I have also heard the players saying many good things about [Harry] Redknapp at Portsmouth.”I know Juande Ramos, and Rafael Benítez a little. And Ferguson, because when I was with Portugal we talked about Cristiano Ronaldo and whether he was coming to the national team or not, whether he was injured or not.”That was delivered with a smirk which said much. The pair should enjoy their jousting. However, Chelsea’s progress in recent seasons has been undermined more by infighting than by conflicts with rival managers, with the humbling of Mourinho followed by the lingering demise of Grant last term. Roman Abramovich, whom Scolari first met two years ago when the Russian asked advice on South American players, was in Moscow over the weekend and enjoyed the scintillating display conjured against Milan.The oligarch’s secretive lifestyle adds to the intrigue surrounding Chelsea. “I’ve met Roman two or three times, no more, and he’s a normal, quiet, reserved person,” said Scolari. “We get on very well. The image people have of him, as someone who demands this and that, is not correct. It’s fantasy. He’s relaxed. He doesn’t ask me who will be playing or who won’t. He does not tell me who I should play. He never phones and when we do talk it is only to discuss little things – how the players are, how I am feeling.”When we first spoke about the job we met only once. All he wanted to know was how I play football, what system I use, if I thought Chelsea had a good team and who I’d want to buy. What they need is a coach to develop young players, and I think I am that coach. If we’re doing well and winning things, we can introduce one or two more players into the first team. I need that strong base, that winning mentality, and then I can bring young players in. I’m sure if I am still at Chelsea in two years’ time there will be three or four young players in the first group.”By then Chelsea will hope they have wrested back dominance from United. Scolari may be the man to turn the tide. Luiz Felipe Scolari First published on Tue 5 Aug 2008 19.01 EDT Luiz Felipe Scolari wants to develop a stong base of young talent at Chelsea. Photograph: Bazuki Muhammad/Reuters Chelsea Luiz Felipe Scolari has begun to show his tough side as he drives Chelsea on Shares00 Share on Messenger Chelsea Share on Facebookcenter_img Share on Pinterest Premier League 2008-09 Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter Share on Twitter Premier League Share via Email Share via Email Tue 5 Aug 2008 19.01 EDT Share on WhatsApp Topics Reuse this contentlast_img read more

A Government Required Transfer Of Shareholder Wealth To FCPA Inc

first_imgThis is the third time FCPA Professor has highlighted this specific topic.The prior two posts (here and here) were in connection with FCPA enforcement actions against healthcare companies Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer and the “enhanced compliance obligations” imposed upon the companies in resolving an FCPA enforcement action.In last week’s FCPA enforcement action against Bristol-Myers (BMS), the SEC also imposed enhanced compliance obligations on the company as a condition of settlement.Specifically, the SEC order requires BMS tp “report to the Commission periodically, at no less than nine-month intervals during a two-year term, the status of its FCPA and anticorruption related remediation and implementation of compliance measures.”The order also requires BMS to “undertake two follow-up reviews and submit written reports relating to [its] remedial efforts to devise and maintain policies and procedures reasonably designed to detect and prevent violations of the FCPA and other applicable anticorruption laws.”Are the post-enforcement action requirements imposed on BMS really necessary?After all, in the same order, under the heading “Remedial Efforts,” the SEC stated:“BMS has implemented significant measures to enhance its anti-bribery and general compliance training and policies and to strengthen its accounting and monitoring controls relating to interactions with HCPs, including travel and entertainment expenses, meetings, sponsorships, grants, and donations funded by BMS China. BMS took numerous steps to improve the internal controls and compliance program at BMS China. Examples include a 100% pre-reimbursement review of all expense claims; the implementation of an accounting system designed to track each expense claim, including the request, approval, and payment of each claim; and the retention of a third-party vendor to conduct surprise checks at events sponsored by sales representatives. Additionally, BMS terminated over ninety employees, and disciplined an additional ninety employees, including sales representatives and managers of BMS China, who failed to comply with or sufficiently supervise compliance with relevant policies. In addition, BMS replaced certain BMS China officers as part of an overall effort to enhance “tone at the top” and a culture of compliance. Further, BMS revised the compensation structure for BMS China employees by reducing the portion of incentive-based compensation for sales and distribution, eliminated gifts to HCPs, implemented enhanced due diligence procedures for third-party agents, implemented monitoring systems for speaker fees and third-party events, and incorporated risk assessments based on data analytics into its compliance program.”Again, are the post-enforcement action requirements imposed on BMS really necessary?Or is this another example of a boundless and unconstrained government required transfer of shareholder wealth to FCPA Inc.?Such post-enforcement action reporting obligations are, of course, lucrative for FCPA Inc.  Hence one of the reasons you probably do not see those in the industry raising concerns about the emerging trend of “enhanced compliance obligations.”Yet such concerns should be raised and have been raised here for a third time.For additional reading about the Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer post-enforcement action “enhanced compliance compliance obligations” see “FCPA Ripples.”last_img read more

DOJ Enforcement Has Become A Joke

first_imgHistorically, the DOJ had two choices when a business organization was the subject of criminal scrutiny. The two choices — which have served as the foundation of the U.S. criminal justice system for nearly a century when corporate criminal liability was first recognized — was either charge the entity with a legal violation or not charge.Yet as highlighted in this chronological post ending with DOJ statements last week, in recent years DOJ “enforcement” has become a joke. When reading the below chronology of events, recognize that the vast majority of them occurred long before the Trump administration.The DOJ’s binary (charge vs. not charge) approach to criminal law enforcement began to change in the early 2000’s in response to an isolated event.Upon being criminally indicted in connection with Enron’s demise, Arthur Andersen exercised its constitutional right to a jury trial and put the DOJ to its burden of proof and in 2002 the jury criminally convicted the business organization of obstruction of justice. As a result of the criminal charges and criminal conviction, Arthur Andersen suffered numerous collateral consequences, including the loss of its certified public accounting license and the resulting inability to audit public companies.Ultimately in 2005 the Supreme Court unanimously reversed Arthur Andersen’s conviction. However, the near immediate negative consequences of the criminal charges and conviction had already occurred and could not be reversed. The perceived “Arthur Andersen effect” (i.e. that criminal charges alone, and certainly criminal convictions, could be the death sentence of a business organization) caused the DOJ to reconsider its historical binary option to resolving alleged instances of corporate criminal liability.In 2003, then Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson issued an official DOJ memorandum regarding “Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations” that became widely-known as the “Thompson Memo.” It began as follows:“As the [DOJ] Corporate Fraud Task Force has advanced in its mission, we have confronted certain issues in the principles for the federal prosecution of business organizations that require revision in order to enhance our efforts against corporate fraud.”The Thompson Memo set forth guidance to all DOJ enforcement attorneys on factors prosecutors should consider when a business organization is the subject of criminal legal scrutiny and set forth a subtle, yet important, change to DOJ policy that reflected concerns about the perceived constraining aspects of its historical binary approach to criminal law enforcement.Under the heading “Charging a Corporation: Cooperation and Voluntary Disclosure,” the Thompson Memo stated:“In some circumstances . . . granting a corporation immunity or amnesty or pretrial diversion may be considered in the course of the government’s investigation. In such circumstances, prosecutors should refer to the principles governing nonprosecution agreements generally.”Even though the Thompson Memo made “only the most fleeting of references” to alternative resolution vehicles it “effectively open[ed] the door to the use of DPAs and NPAs.” As with any new law enforcement policy, there was a period of absorption before the new policy became an accepted practice (even though the first DPA the DOJ used to resolve an enforcement action is believed to have occurred in 1994).In late 2004, the DOJ used alternative resolution vehicles for the first time in an FCPA enforcement action against InVision Technologies, Inc. and General Electric Company (“GE”). After additional NPAs/DPAs were used in 2005 to resolve FCPA enforcement actions against business organizations, a new way of resolving FCPA criminal actions was clearly developing, although it was still noted that alternative resolution vehicles were “not yet the norm in corporate investigations.” However, the new norm quickly emerged and alternative resolution vehicles became the dominant way for the DOJ to resolve corporate FCPA scrutiny.The next evolution in DOJ policy regarding alternative resolution vehicles occurred in 2008 with the release of an official DOJ memorandum by then Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip in what became widely known as the “Filip Memo.” Similar to prior DOJ memos, the Filip Memo concerned “Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations” and began:“[This memo] is a revision of the Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations . . . . The revised Principles will be set forth for the first time in the United States Attorneys’ Manual, and will be binding on all federal prosecutors within the Department of Justice. The revised Principles will be effective immediately, on a prospective basis.”Compared to the prior DOJ memos which made only fleeting reference to NPAs and DPAs, the Filip memo specifically stated, in pertinent part:“In certain instances, it may be appropriate . . . to resolve a corporate criminal case by means other than indictment. Non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements, for example, occupy an important middle ground between declining prosecution and obtaining the conviction of a corporation . . . .[W]here the collateral consequences of a corporate conviction for innocent third parties would be significant, it may be appropriate to consider a non-prosecution or deferred prosecution agreement with conditions designed, among other things, to promote compliance with applicable law and to prevent recidivism. Such agreements are a third option, besides a criminal indictment, on the one hand, and a declination, on the other. Declining prosecution may allow a corporate criminal to escape without consequences. Obtaining a conviction may produce a result that seriously harms innocent third parties who played no role in the criminal conduct. Under appropriate circumstances, a deferred prosecution or non-prosecution agreement can help restore the integrity of a company’s operations and preserve the financial viability of a corporation that has engaged in criminal conduct, while preserving the government’s ability to prosecute a recalcitrant corporation that materially breaches the agreement. Such agreements achieve other important objectives as well, like prompt restitution for victims. Ultimately, the appropriateness of a criminal charge against a corporation, or some lesser alternative, must be evaluated in a pragmatic and reasoned way that produces a fair outcome, taking into consideration, among other things, the Department’s need to promote and ensure respect for the law.”Perhaps mindful that NPAs and DPAs represented a radical shift from the DOJ’s traditional binary approach to resolving alleged instances of corporate crime, the DOJ was quick to craft policy rationales to justify its new approach. For instance, in a 2005 speech then DOJ Assistant Attorney General Christopher Wray stated:“[W]e’re encouraging prosecutors to develop flexible and innovative approaches as they work to ensure that companies accept responsibility and cooperate with us. In certain cases, an alternative resolution — like a deferred prosecution or even a nonprosecution agreement — can strike that balance. One option we’ve used increasingly is the deferred prosecution agreement, which some people describe as pretrial diversion. We file charges, but agree to defer prosecution for a year, two years, or even longer. In return, the company agrees to cooperate fully and admits publicly the facts of its misconduct. It also typically makes a payment, which can be structured as a fine, restitution, forfeiture, or some other category. We can also require the company to take remedial actions to make sure the conduct doesn’t happen in the future. If the company complies with the agreement, the charges are dismissed at the end of the term. If not, we go to trial, now armed with the company’s admission and all the evidence we obtained from its cooperation. In other words, if the company violates the agreement, its conviction is virtually a foregone conclusion.The DP structure has many of the same benefits as a conviction. In terms of remedies, anything that the judge could impose under the organizational sentencing guidelines can be required under a DP agreement. The DP won’t result in a criminal conviction if the defendant complies with the agreement, but filing charges publicly condemns the company’s conduct. . . . .In other cases, we’ve used nonprosecution agreements with cooperating companies. These don’t involve the filing of charges, but we still typically require the company to admit its conduct publicly. We also retain enormous leverage over the company, because we reserve the right to prosecute if it fails to comply with the agreement — again, armed with the company’s admissions. And we can still include virtually any combination of payments and remedial measures.”The DOJ’s implicit policy assertion that NPAs and DPAs were needed to avert another “Arthur Andersen effect” was quickly embraced by the legal practitioners — perhaps because they stood to benefit from NPAs and DPAs because the agreements expanded the market for legal services — and the “Arthur Andersen effect” became accepted as a sort of gospel truth. FCPA Institute – Boston (Oct. 3-4) A unique two-day learning experience ideal for a diverse group of professionals seeking to elevate their FCPA knowledge and practical skills through active learning. Learn more, spend less. CLE credit is available. The new position, similar to one implemented last fall on foreign corruption reporting, was announced on Thursday by Justice Department officials at a white-collar fraud conference in San Diego. Save Money With FCPA Connect Keep it simple. Not all FCPA issues warrant a team of lawyers or other professional advisers. Achieve client and business objectives in a more efficient manner through FCPA Connect. Candid, Comprehensive, and Cost-Effective. What is particularly funny about the DOJ’s announcement last week is that at the same ABA conference Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stated, as he frequently has in the past, that “the rule of law is not just about words on paper” and that the DOJ “must always be guided by the rule of law, transparency, fairness, and parity.” “The idea was maybe we can take some of those same principles that led to a little bit more self-reporting recently in the FCPA space to securities and financial fraud,” Singer said.”For additional coverage see here:“DOJ officials announced Thursday that the agency will now decline to bring some cases against companies that self-report crimes besides violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, starting with a $12.9 million front-running case against Barclays PLC.John Cronan, the acting head of the DOJ’s Criminal Division, and Benjamin Singer, chief of its securities and financial fraud unit, told attendees at the American Bar Association’s white collar conference that criminal division prosecutors will use the FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy as nonbinding guidance in other criminal cases.” “Barclays Plc will not face criminal charges over allegations that one of its traders defrauded Hewlett-Packard Co., signaling a new U.S. approach that results in lesser penalties for institutions that report securities fraud themselves.center_img Learn More & Register “When a company discovers misconduct, quickly raises its hand and tells us about it, that says something,” said John Cronan, acting assistant attorney general of the criminal division. “It shows the company is taking misconduct seriously and not willing to tolerate it and we are rewarding those good decisions.” Even as the isolated 2002 Arthur Andersen demise faded into history, the DOJ continued, over a decade later, to keep the perceived “Arthur Andersen effect” alive to justify its use of NPAs and DPAs. For instance, in 2012 then Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer stated:“I personally feel that it’s my duty to consider whether individual employees with no responsibility for, or knowledge of, misconduct committed by others in the same company are going to lose their livelihood if we indict the corporation. In large multi-national companies, the jobs of tens of thousands of employees can be at stake. And, in some cases, the health of an industry or the markets are a real factor. Those are the kinds of considerations in white collar crime cases that literally keep me up at night, and which must play a role in responsible enforcement.”Breuer and others in the Obama administration went beyond justifying its extensive use of NPAs and DPAs to championing their use to resolve alleged instances of corporate crime. For instance, in 2012 then Assistant Attorney General Breuer maintained that such agreements “have had a truly transformative effect on particular companies and, more generally, on corporate culture across the globe.” Breuer further stated:“The result has been, unequivocally, far greater accountability for corporate wrongdoing — and a sea change in corporate compliance efforts. . . . One of the reasons why deferred prosecution agreements are such a powerful tool is that, in many ways, a DPA has the same punitive, deterrent, and rehabilitative effect as a guilty plea . . . “However, the DOJ’s policy justification rang hollow as there was no data to suggest that resolving alleged instances of corporate criminal liability through NPAs or DPAs achieves any meaningful deterrence. Indeed, in the FCPA context several companies that resolved FCPA enforcement actions through alternative resolution vehicles have subsequently resolved additional FCPA enforcement actions.Fast forward to September 2016 when the Obama Department of Justice (in the aftermath of its April 2016 FCPA Pilot Program) invented yet another way to enforce the FCPA: the so-called declination with disgorgement (see here for the prior post).The DOJ’s historical binary option of charging vs. not charging had long not been good enough, but now the DOJ’s frequent use of NPAs and DPAs were no longer good enough and the DOJ apparently needed a new tool. Pursuant to a short letter agreement subjected to no judicial scrutiny, the DOJ would “decline” bring criminal charges against a business organization if the organization agreed to pony up some money (often millions of dollars)Soon however, this was not good enough either and in the November 2017 the DOJ tweaked the FCPA Pilot Program in its new FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy. (See here). According to the DOJ, the new policy was needed “due to the unique issues presented in FCPA matters.”However last week those “unique issues” became not so unique as the DOJ announced that it would be expanding the Corporate Enforcement Policy to non-FCPA matters.As reported here: The approach isn’t a formal policy, but an incentive for companies to self-report misconduct, said Benjamin Singer, chief of the department’s securities and financial fraud unit. He said the new approach will be taken by his unit in Washington and isn’t binding on prosecutors in other parts of the country. He said there is less self-reporting of securities fraud than violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Connectlast_img read more