Harvard University’s Institute of Politics (IOP) at the Harvard Kennedy School has announced its visiting fellows for spring 2008. The three fellows are Elizabeth Edwards, author and political advocate; Vaira Vike-Freiberga, former president of the Republic of Latvia; and Andrew White, president and CEO of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East.Edwards’ fellowship began April 8 (it ends today, April 10). As part of the fellowship, she delivered a public address at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum on April 9. Vike-Freiberga’s fellowship will begin the week of April 14 and continue through the end of May, while White’s fellowship will occur the week of April 21.Visiting fellows maximize their time at the institute by interacting with students, faculty, and Harvard research center staff. They traditionally meet with student groups; lead discussion groups on topical issues and share their experiences in public and political service; and participate in public policy classes with students and Kennedy School faculty.“This spring’s group of IOP Visiting Fellows is extraordinary for the breadth of public service embodied,” said IOP Director Jim Leach. “Elizabeth Edwards stands as one of the foremost women in American politics; Vaira Vike-Freiberga as one of ‘new’ Europe’s most distinguished former heads of state; and Canon Andrew White has served as the representative of the Church of England on issues related to Israeli-Palestinian disputes, and as a mediator in Baghdad on religious reconciliation approaches.”An author, political advocate, and wife of former U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, Elizabeth Edwards has served as an accomplished attorney and as a tireless supporter of children and families, strengthening communities, and supporting many other important causes.As president of the Republic of Latvia from 1999 to 2007, Vike-Freiberga was the first woman to hold the post and played a leading role in achieving Latvia’s membership in NATO and the European Union.White is the president and CEO of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, vicar of St. Georges Church Baghdad, and Anglican/Episcopal chaplain of the International Zone Baghdad.Edwards, Vike-Freiberga, and White will join IOP spring resident fellows, who include Connie Morella, U.S. ambassador, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (2003-07) and U.S. representative (1987-2003; R-Md.); Bart Peterson, mayor, city of Indianapolis (1999-2007); Lois Romano, political reporter/national politics, The Washington Post; Sile de Valera, member, Irish National Parliament (1977-81; 1987-2007) and member, European Parliament (1979-84); David Yepsen, political columnist, The Des Moines Register; David Zwick, founder and president, Clean Water Action (1972-2007).The fellows program is central to the institute’s dual commitment to encourage student interest in public life and to increase interaction between the academic and political communities.
Services for Lawerence Guidry, 66 are pending at Moody-Harris Funeral HomeSidney “Sid” Paul Clark, 86, of Nederland, died Wednesday, July 12, 2017. Broussard’s, NederlandServicesMr. Tavon Keith Clobert-Willis, Thomas Blvd. Church of Christ, Port Arthur 11 AM DeathsMichael Brian Hebert, Faith Harbor Assembly of God Church, Port Acres, 11:00 a.m. Michael Porter, age 54, passed away in Trinity, Texas on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. Arrangements are currently pending with Dorman Funeral Home.Jaryd “Ginger” Arledge, 22, of Port Acres, died Wednesday, July 12, 2017.Harry Maurice Harbert, Port Arthur, TX, 73, died Thursday, July 13, 2017, services pending through Levingston Funeral Home, Groves, TX Marjorie Aline Rhodes: Visitation will be Saturday, July 15, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. till 11:00 a.m. at Melancon’s Funeral Home in Nederland, with the funeral service to follow at 11:00 a.m. The interment will be at Greenlawn Memorial Park in Groves.Randy Paul Adams: Visitation will be Saturday, July 15, 2017 from 2:00 p.m. till 4:00 p.m. at Melancon’s Funeral Home in Nederland, with the funeral service to follow at 4:00 p.m.
Linos and Rothstein believe our tax system is too complicated, and that we should make claiming the EITC, and filing for taxes more generally, much simpler. Linos says the good news is that other countries provide examples of systems that don’t require mind-numbing paperwork to file for taxes or receive government benefits. … … … Nudges are simple, low-cost interventions aimed at gently guiding people to make better decisions. For example, making retirement plans the default option when you join a job, which has been shown to significantly increase the likelihood you save more for retirement. The California Policy Lab and its partners decided it would try and nudge workers to claim the EITC by sending them letters and text messages. The solution seemed like a no brainer: inform people how they can get free money, and they’ll get that free money! If only it were that simple. … “We found a very precise zero effect,” says Elizabeth Linos, a behavioral scientist at UC Berkeley who was also behind the study. Many of those who received the messages, she says, did visit the website advertised in the messages to help them sign up for the EITC. But in the end, they didn’t fill out the forms to receive their credit. They turned down free money. “We weren’t able to increase the rate at which people file for taxes and we weren’t able to increase the number of households that claim the EITC,” Linos says. … The Earned Income Tax Credit supplements incomes through the tax code, awarding thousands of dollars each year primarily to low-wage workers with kids. But there’s a problem: a huge population of eligible workers fails to file their taxes and get the money each year. In 2018, the state of California and the California Policy Lab, an interdisciplinary think tank of scholars from various University of California schools, started trying to solve this problem, and they commissioned one of the most fascinating experiments in “nudging” we’ve seen in a while. A dark view of the findings might write off this population as doomed to poverty because of bad decision-making and self-destructive behavior. But psychologist Eldar Shafir and economist Sendhil Mullainathan suggest a more charitable lens, which they call the “psychology of scarcity .” Their research suggests the poor bear a unique cognitive burden that hurts their decision-making. They work long hours. They have higher stress. They’re consumed with thinking about paying their rent, getting their kids medical care, and putting food on the table. Shafir and Mullainathan find these stresses lower their “mental bandwidth,” and it might help explain why so many low-income Californians are turning down free money. Read the whole story: NPR More of our Members in the Media >
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Danish shipping and offshore energy conglomerate Maersk Group reported its profit at USD 224 million for the first quarter of 2016, a drop of 86 percent compared to USD 1.6 billion seen in the same period a year earlier.Maersk’s underlying profit was at USD 214 million for the quarter, against USD 1.3 billion in the first quarter of 2015, with six out of eight businesses returning to profit.Maersk added that the underlying profit was significantly lower than same period last year due to all businesses except Maersk Drilling, Maersk Tankers and Damco being lower and Svitzer being at the same level.The company said that the result was negatively impacted by the low oil price and low average container freight rates.The group’s revenue decreased by USD 2 bn or 19 percent compared to the same period of 2015, predominantly due to 37 percent lower oil price and 26 percent lower average container freight rates. This was partly offset by 7 percent higher container volumes and 15 percent higher oil entitlement production.“The Maersk Group delivered an underlying profit of USD 214m in the first quarter. While market conditions remain challenging, we continue to adjust our cost base to the new conditions and maintain a good operational performance across our businesses,” Group CEO Nils S. Andersen said.“We maintain our focus on strengthening the group’s position in the market and have completed acquisitions within APM Terminals and Maersk Oil, and in Maersk Line we have defended our market leading position,” he added.Maersk Line’s profit dropped to USD 37m from USD 714mThe group’s subsidiary Maersk Line saw its profit slide to USD 37 million for the period, against the USD 714 million reported in the first quarter of 2015.Revenue of USD 5 billion was 20 percent lower than in same period a year earlier, driven by a 26 percent decline in average freight rates to 1,857 USD/FFE from 2,493 USD/FFE in 2015, and only partially offset by a 7 percent increase in volumes to 2,361k FFE.“The freight rate decline was attributable to lower bunker prices and deteriorating market conditions. Container freight rates declined across all trades, especially Maersk Line’s key trades to/from Europe as well as Latin America and North America were impacted,” the company said, adding that the recognised freight revenue decreased from USD 5.6 in the first quarter of 2015 to USD 4.5 billion.The group’s APM Terminals also experienced a decrease in its profit from USD 190 million to USD 108 million, mostly attributed to a weak demand, especially in Europe, slowing growth in China, and the low oil price.Decreased volumes on the westbound Asia-Europe trade lane impacted terminals in both China and Europe.Image Courtesy: DP World London GatewayAPM Terminals’ revenue decreased by 15 percent to USD 962 million, while operating businesses generated an underlying profit of USD 116 million.Maersk Tankers, however, was positively affected by improved commercial performance and cost savings, therefore the company saw an increase in its profit from USD 36 million to USD 48 million.The group’s Maersk Supply Service business made a loss of USD 2 million for the quarter, against a profit of USD 38 million reported in the same period a year earlier.“The market situation in the offshore industry continued to be challenging with significantly reduced demand for offshore services,” the company said.
The housing minister, Gavin Barwell MP, has been on a whirlwind tour of the country since the launch of the white paper in January 2017. He’s spoken to large and small housebuilders; housing associations, and local authorities, city regions and rural communities among others. The consensus is that he is navigating well, a tricky position of a genuine desire to deliver more homes, faster, and with a mix of tenures, while not upsetting traditional conservative interests, including the protection of the green belt.And he is doing all of this without any new money, as evidenced by the deathly silence of any mention of housing in the Budget this week.However, the Budget and other recent announcements signal a direction of travel that may have significant implications for the relationship between the government and those involved in housebuilding.The first set of announcements are the plans to strengthen local authorities powers to accelerate development, including compulsory purchase orders to help speed up housing deliveryThe first set of announcements are the plans to strengthen local authorities powers to accelerate development, including compulsory purchase orders to help speed up housing delivery, “to support the build out of stalled sites” and “to hold developers to account” as stated by secretary of state, Sajid Javid. And speaking at a recent Commons Communities and local government committee on the Housing White paper, Gavin Barwell discussed the idea of publishing performance tables for housebuilders, showing the number of homes they are building. And potentially fining developers for not building sites out. Build out or be punished is the message.The second set of announcements, at first glance are only indirectly related to housing. An industrial strategy green paper sets out an ambition to support growth across the UK. In the Budget there was confirmation of £690m for local authorities to get local transport networks started, as well as devolution of further responsibility to the GLA and the regions for infrastructure investment.The GLA has already pioneered the idea of housing zones, which see infrastructure funding used to provide a catalyst for home building in regeneration areas. The announcement of a taskforce to pilot a new approach to funding infrastructure is likely to take this a stage further. And the announcement following the Budget that there will be a £329m investment in the Midlands Engine scheme to support transport upgrades, has housing as a key target within the strategy. This follows the Autumn Statement 2016 announcement of the Housing Infrastructure Fund to support the development of new homes. Housing is now infrastructure.It is clear that the ministers want growth, have housebuilders in their sights and that local authorities are being given the responsibility and powers to ensure delivery. An anticipated review of the Community Infrastructure Levy and section 106 agreements in the autumn 2017 budget suggests levers to push this will be developed further.The relationship between housebuilders and the government is therefore likely to be an interesting one over the coming months.Steve Douglas is a partner at Altair
One in 10 chambers has given partial notice on its lease in a bid to relieve financial pressure, according to a survey which backs up the Bar Council’s prediction of a profession-wide move to flexible working.Carolyn Entwistle, head of services at the Bar Council and chair of the Covid-19 working group, said chambers have seen ‘very little increase’ in the number of members returning to the office and ‘some sets may never return to their previous model’.In a survey conducted by the Legal Practice Management Association and the Institute of Barristers’ Clerks, 10% of respondents said that their chambers had given partial notice on its lease, with a further 21% indicating that they are considering taking similar action in a bid to relieve financial pressure.Writing on the Bar Council’s website, Entwistle said: ‘A reduction in the space available to chambers’ members and staff heralds the beginnings of change, with those same sets presumably planning to maximise on the reductions to their square footage and introduce “work smart” policies which offer greater opportunity for flexible working.’She added: ‘It’s clear that many chambers are not planning to return to work now and that, having adapted to paperless working and a virtual working environment, some sets may never return to their previous model. What this will look like in reality remains to be seen but, for a multitude of reasons, it is a change that is arguably overdue and one that the Bar Council plans to support wholeheartedly.’However, Amanda Pinto QC, chair of the Bar Council, has previously said the ‘immediate advantages’ to downsizing need to be weighed against the ‘very important role a physical chambers plays in all barristers’ careers’.‘This is especially so for those at the junior end and pupils, where chambers’ help is essential to establishing and developing a practice. Chambers is a great support for barristers not just by sharing professional expertise and friendship, but with wellbeing and mental health issues too. None of these advantages should be compromised in any moves towards alternative ways of working,’ Pinto said.
RUSSIA: On May 21 Bombardier Transportation and Transmash Holding signed an agreement at the Third International Rail Business Forum in Sochi to establish an joint venture to develop locomotives with asynchronous traction equipment for the CIS market.The Russian-based joint venture will be equally-owned by the two companies. Transmash Holding is the major supplier of locomotives to RZD, and said it is ‘confident that the combination of Russian design experience with Bombardier’s technological know-how’ will allow the joint venture to ‘achieve significant results in the near term’. The companies already co-operate in component production under an agreement signed in May 2007. Bombardier Transportation Transmashholding AG was formed last year, with Transmashholding Bombardier Transportation (Engineering) Rus as its engineering subsidiary and TMBT (Industrial) Rus manufacturing traction converters based on Bombardier’s Mitrac family.