Hardouin http://hardouin.info/ Tue, 24 May 2022 17:45:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 D-backs release Humberto Mejia, Ryan Meisinger https://hardouin.info/d-backs-release-humberto-mejia-ryan-meisinger/ Tue, 24 May 2022 16:42:04 +0000 https://hardouin.info/d-backs-release-humberto-mejia-ryan-meisinger/

The Diamondbacks released the right-handers Humberto Mejia and Ryan Meisinger of their Triple-A subsidiary in Reno yesterday, according to the transaction log on MiLB.com. Mejia was slated for assignment and outright Triple-A earlier this season. Meisinger signed a minor league deal at the end of spring training and has not appeared for the big league club this season.

Mejia, 25, was one of three players acquired in the 2020 swap deal that sent Starling Marte from Arizona to Miami. Lefties Caleb Smith and Julio Frias also landed in Arizona thanks to this deal, which was largely financially driven. The D-backs reportedly had no intention of taking Marte’s $12.5 million option for the 2021 season on the heels of a shortened 2020 roster with no gate revenue.

At the time of the trade, Mejia was an interesting name. He posted huge numbers across two Class A tiers in 2019 and, due to missing a minor league season in 2020, made a brief big league debut with Miami that summer. He opened the 2021 season with Arizona’s Double-A affiliate and threw reasonably well, recording a 4.22 ERA with much more impressive strikeout and walk rates, but Mejia was beaten in both Triple-A (86 2/3 innings, 6.23 ERA) and in the Majors (22 1/3 innings, 7.25 ERA) with the Diamondbacks. Mejia has solid strikeout and walking rates throughout his minor league career, but he’s also struggled with shoulder injuries and, since reaching the upper minors, he’s become a increasingly susceptible to home runs.

Meisinger, 28, is now part of five organizations since being selected by the Orioles in the 11th round of the 2015 draft. He has seen major league time at Baltimore (2018), St. Louis (2020) and with the Cubs (2021), but only had 31 total innings in the Majors. He was scored for a macabre 7.26 ERA in that stretch, thanks to his own home run issues as well as an inflated 13.8% walk rate.

Meisinger pitched 14 2/3 innings with Triple-A Reno this season and had 10 runs on 19 hits and seven walks with 16 strikeouts. It was a tough performance, but his broader Triple-A track record remains solid. Even with this year’s 6.14 ERA, Meisinger carries a lifetime mark of 3.37 in 117 2/3 innings in Triple-A and a 3.32 ERA in 81 1/3 Double-A frames. He’s stoked 29.7% of opponents throughout his minor league career against a solid 7.9% walk rate. Things clearly haven’t worked out with the D-backs organization, but his strong minor league track record might be worth looking elsewhere.

]]> Last Call for 5/23/22 – A prime-time read of what’s happening in Florida politics https://hardouin.info/last-call-for-5-23-22-a-prime-time-read-of-whats-happening-in-florida-politics/ Mon, 23 May 2022 22:03:31 +0000 https://hardouin.info/last-call-for-5-23-22-a-prime-time-read-of-whats-happening-in-florida-politics/

Last Call – A prime-time reading of what’s happening in Florida politics.

First attempt

Attorney General Ashley Moody announced on Monday that his office had won a $20 million judgment and lifetime ban against a consortium of shady moving companies.

All of the companies involved in the settlement were owned by Ohad Guzi: Eight moving companies in Florida, operating under names such as All USA Van Lines, Moving Group and Top Movers.

According to the attorney general, the companies advertised professional moving services across the country performed by well-trained employees in company-owned trucks. In reality, they employed untrained contractors using rented van trucks and outsourced delivery services to third parties without informing customers.

Companies also regularly offered low prices for services before charging significantly more after collecting their customers’ belongings.

“This deceptive large-scale moving plan victimized people across the United States, many here in Florida, by adding excessive fees to the quoted price, advertising professional moving services that the movers did not provide, falsely promising safe handling of household goods and hiding bad reviews using a variety of misleading company names. I am grateful to my consumer protection team for stopping these outrageous practices and holding the moving companies accountable,” Moody said.

After a week-long trial, Circuit Judge Carol Lisa Phillips in Broward County found the defendants engaged in numerous deceptive practices. She ordered Guzi’s companies to pay $21.7 million — $5.2 million for consumer restitution and $16.5 million in penalties for violating Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act , the Florida Moving Law, and the Federal Law Governing Interstate Movers.

Additionally, she permanently banned Guzi and affiliated businesses from engaging in any services related to moving to Florida.

The Fiorentino group earned about $760,000 in lobbying fees last quarter, according to new lobbyist compensation reports.

The company run by Marty Fiorentino represented 66 clients in all, including 59 in the Legislative Assembly where the six-person team earned approximately $420,000.

The Fiorentino Group raised an additional $340,000 from its executive branch clients.

Florida Politics estimates lobbying compensation based on the average number of companies listed per client in their compensation reports. Contracts are reported in increments of $10,000 up to $50,000.

The company’s largest customer in the Legislative Assembly was Flagler Health+, which paid between $30,000 and $40,000 last quarter. He shipped another $35,000 to the company for executive lobbying — he also topped that report.

The Fiorentino Group is one of Northeast Florida’s leading companies, a fact reflected in its client profile, which includes many of the region’s largest companies and associations.

Other Jacksonville-area interests represented by the company include Duval County Public Schools, the Florida East Coast Railroad, and UF Health Jacksonville. Each paid the firm $15,000 for legislative lobbying work and an additional $15,000 for executive lobbying work.

The Fiorentino Group also represents some national companies, such as the PGA Tour and AT&T. Local governments are also a big part of the roster – TFG is the contract team for Clay, Flagler and St. Johns county governments.

In addition to Fiorentino, the company’s Q1 roster included Davis bean, Melissa Braude, Joseph Mobley, Marc Pinto and Shannan Schuessler.

According to the Fiorentino Group Reports total compensation ranges, the company earned at least $500,000 last quarter with a cap of $1 million. Their median estimate for the first quarter exceeds their average quarterly earnings for 2021, which reached around $620,000.

Florida lobbyists and lobbying firms faced a May 15 deadline file compensation reports for the period from January 1 to March 31. Compensation reports for the second quarter are due to the state on August 14.

Evening readings

—“Governor Ron DeSantis wants insurance market issues resolved before diving into Citizensvia Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

—“If you can’t legislate, regulate: David Altmaier passed property insurance policies, lawmakers didn’t agreevia Jeffrey Schweers of the Orlando Sentinel

—“Florida lawmakers want to fix property insurance. Here are the big issues.via Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times

—“DeSantis Named to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People Listvia A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

—“As Joe Biden focuses on decision to forgive student loan, voter anxiety risesvia Andrew Restuccia of The Wall Street Journal

—“Florida won’t stop raising insurance rates without fighting climate changevia Jason Garcia of Seeking Rents

—“Governor DeSantis plans to award $100 million in housing assistance for ‘hometown heroes’via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

—“Florida senators denounce state management of property insurancevia Laura Cassels of the Florida Phoenix

—“Appeals court upholds injunction on Big Tech Crackdown Actvia Florida Politics’ Drew Wilson

—“‘Ghost’ judge candidate shields records to protect confidentiality of former lawmaker’s contacts” by Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel

—“Gas prices in Florida drop a little but still hover around $4.50 a gallonvia Scott Powers of Florida Politics

—“How a French bank captured Haitivia Matt Apuzzo, Constant Méheut, Selam Gebrekidan and Catherine Porter of The New York Times

quote of the day

“We don’t want to be in a situation where hundreds of thousands of people lose their policies and get dumped on citizens. There will be things in there that I think will be very positive for individual owners. »

— Govt. Ron DeSantison property insurance reforms.

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Opinion: Ottawa must fix trade loopholes hurting independent businesses https://hardouin.info/opinion-ottawa-must-fix-trade-loopholes-hurting-independent-businesses/ Mon, 23 May 2022 21:10:52 +0000 https://hardouin.info/opinion-ottawa-must-fix-trade-loopholes-hurting-independent-businesses/

Vass Bednar is Executive Director of McMaster University’s Master of Public Policy in the Digital Society program and Adjunct Professor of Political Science. Denise Hearn is Principal Investigator at the American Project on Economic Freedoms.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry and Technology is currently conducting a study on the productivity of our small and medium-sized businesses, with a focus on competitiveness and competition law reform.

As Ottawa plans to consult on a modernized law, it must rethink the unfair trading conditions that currently favor dominant companies and commit to fixing a series of loopholes, in both digital and traditional markets, that are hurting consumers and independent businesses.

To do this, policy makers should draw inspiration from current case studies. Consider the United States, where mobile payment service Venmo, owned by PayPal, introduces mandatory arbitration clauses into its consumer contract. This contractual clause requires the parties to resolve their disputes through an arbitration process instead of going to court. Forced arbitration processes have been criticized for being secretive, limiting the plaintiff’s legal rights, and often requiring them to pay large up-front fees to file a claim.

In Venmo’s case, the only way to opt out of binding arbitration is to physically send the company written notice. And if Venmo changes the terms of the agreement in the future, the opt-out does not hold. At this point, customers have one last option: accept our terms or close your account.

While Venmo is only available in the United States, Canadians are also at the mercy of the bank-owned INTERAC e-transfer payment system, which also mandates arbitration to resolve disputes, as many do. large Canadian companies. These take-it-or-leave-it contractual clauses are known as “adhesion contracts” and are increasingly common in the economy.

These terms illustrate how stakeholders, such as consumers, workers and businesses, are increasingly on the wrong side of an asymmetric bargaining position in markets. And while many provinces have used their consumer protection laws to protect consumers from binding arbitration clauses, these protections do not extend to businesses and commercial transactions.

Independent businesses often manage coercive, unfair, or unclear contract terms with dominant buyers on their own, some of which are anti-competitive. These one-sided contract clauses can be used to silence stakeholders (as with non-disclosure or non-disparagement clauses), limit options or legal rights (with waivers of binding arbitration or class action lawsuits) , hinder fair dealings (with exclusive sales agreements), restrict the freedom to set prices (without price competition clauses) and to extract profits or information (with mandatory disclosure of commercially sensitive information) .

But it’s not just about contracts – dominant players now dictate the terms and conditions of trade in so-called “free markets”. As things stand, entrepreneurs have to deal with a series of competition issues imposed by digital gatekeepers that are almost invisible to the consumer.

For example, independent businesses that sell in a marketplace based on a technology platform deal with gatekeepers who continually increase the “tolls” they charge sellers and vendors. Etsy sellers recently went on strike and shut down online stores to protest rising transaction fees. Meta recently announced that it will be taking a 47.5% cut of all digital assets sold on its metaverse platform – an astonishing percentage that will leave far less for artists, developers and creatives. And Amazon now derives most of its revenue from seller fees, which have risen steadily every year, and recently hit sellers with a 5% “fuel and inflation” surcharge.

These tolls act as private taxes on markets, and in the absence of adequate competition law and enforcement, small players have little means to refuse them.

But despite the increased fees, the platforms fail to take responsibility for the challenges that companies constantly complain about, such as copying, counterfeit products and fake reviews. Not to mention platforms like Google and Amazon that self-prefer their own products, making it nearly impossible for small businesses to compete. Platforms are not neutral commercial spaces; they are markets shaped by rules. These rules are now set by private regulators.

And tech platforms aren’t the only ones. Sector after sector, entrepreneurs and business people cannot access markets on fair and equal terms because of the dominant gatekeepers that stand between companies and their customers, or artists and their fans.

If you’re a musician, Live Nation/Ticketmaster’s vertical integration has created a stranglehold on venues and ticket sales. If you’re a grocery supplier, you have to contend with the grocery retail oligopoly of Loblaws, Empire, and Metro, which have imposed “compliance fees” on small businesses for late deliveries independent of their will due to supply chain constraints. If you’re a restaurant owner, the high tolls and manipulative behavior of mainstream delivery platforms like GrubHub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash nearly bankrupted your business during the pandemic. Many business owners are rightly afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation.

While competition policy regulators have mostly stood idly by over the past few decades, the rules of the competitive game have shifted from selling in open markets to monitoring markets. Innovation, business dynamism and start-up rates suffer. This means that companies no longer compete on the basis of producing higher quality goods and services, but rather through the aggregation of market power through endless mergers and acquisitions – which have reached a record level in Canada in 2021.

Even when dominant companies do things that are seemingly beneficial to business, it can still serve their interests. For example, larger companies also regularly participate in entrepreneurial ecosystems and may offer cash grant equivalents of their products and services. While this undoubtedly benefits small businesses, it also locks them into the incumbent’s services and prevents other providers from competing. As one entrepreneur at the Access to Markets initiative put it, “I would love to give away thousands of dollars in free cloud storage credits to startups, but that would bankrupt my business.”

Because of these threats to start-ups in Canada, achieving a vibrant, fair, and resilient economy requires a whole-of-government commitment to clarifying the terms of trade for businesses of all sizes. The government needs to consult directly with small business owners and entrepreneurs to understand the various ways in which their access to markets may be restricted. In addition, the Competition Bureau should conduct market research on adhesion contracts – and the effect of terms such as mandatory arbitration on independent businesses.

Given the complex and changing nature of business transactions, reviewing, updating and expanding Canada’s approach to competition to accurately reflect the needs of small and medium-sized businesses is a necessary step. to reduce transaction costs and improve affordability for Canadian consumers and entrepreneurs.

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FDA panel hosts June 15 meeting on Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for infants and toddlers https://hardouin.info/fda-panel-hosts-june-15-meeting-on-pfizer-and-moderna-vaccines-for-infants-and-toddlers/ Mon, 23 May 2022 17:14:34 +0000 https://hardouin.info/fda-panel-hosts-june-15-meeting-on-pfizer-and-moderna-vaccines-for-infants-and-toddlers/

Bridgette Melo, 5, prepares for her inoculation with one of two reduced 10ug doses of the Pfizer BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine during a trial at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina on September 28, 2021 in a still image from the video.

Shawn Rocco | Duke University | via Reuters

The Food and Drug Administration’s expert panel will meet on June 15 to review new data on Pfizer and Moderna’s Covid vaccines for infants and toddlers, setting the stage for the injections to receive approval in the beginning of this summer.

“We know parents are eager for us to determine if these vaccines are safe and effective,” the FDA said in a Twitter post on Monday. “We are working as quickly as possible to carefully review all data.”

The FDA’s independent expert panel will review vaccine safety and efficacy data in an open public meeting and make a recommendation on whether the agency should authorize the injections. The FDA is not obligated to follow the committee’s recommendation, although it usually does.

The FDA announced the June date hours after Pfizer and BioNTech said their three-dose vaccine for children aged six months to 5 years was 80% effective in preventing omicron variant Covid disease based on preliminary data from a clinical trial.

The FDA and Pfizer originally sought to expedite the approval of the first two doses in February during the winter wave of omicron. However, Pfizer decided to delay its application to await data from the third hit after the first two doses had only 30% to 40% efficacy against omicron.

Moderna applied to the FDA to clear its two-dose vaccine for children under age 6 in April. The two-shot vaccine was about 51% effective against omicron infection in children under two years of age and about 37% in children aged 2 to 5 years. However, Moderna’s chief medical officer, Dr Paul Burton, said the antibody levels seen in children should translate into high levels of protection against serious disease.

The FDA said it would complete its review of Pfizer and Moderna’s applications within days of each other, meaning the two vaccines would receive approval around the same time if the agency believes the data supports a decision. such a decision, giving parents two options to choose from.

Moderna’s vaccine for infants and toddlers consists of two 25-microgram injections, while Pfizer uses a triple course of 3 microgram injections. The dosage of both vaccines is much lower than that used by companies for adults.

Children under the age of 5 are the only group in the United States who are not currently eligible for vaccination against Covid. Many parents and doctors have been asking the FDA to allow the injections for months. As the omicron swept through communities during the winter, it also infected large numbers of children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around 75% of children aged 11 and under had been infected with Covid in February.

Although Covid is normally less severe in children than in adults, hospitalizations of children under age 5 were five times higher during the omicron wave than the previous delta surge, according to the CDC. Public health experts are also concerned that children will develop long Covid and multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C for short, a condition associated with a viral infection.

Covid infections are rising again in the United States as even more transmissible omicron subvariants sweep the country. The United States is reporting more than 105,000 Covid cases per day on average on Friday, a 16% increase from the previous week, according to CDC data. Hospitalizations have also increased by 16% over the past week, with more than 3,300 patients admitted with Covid per day on average, the data shows.

CNBC Health and Science

Read CNBC’s latest global coverage of the Covid pandemic:

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Two women-led startups seek to solve infant formula crisis with synthetic breastmilk https://hardouin.info/two-women-led-startups-seek-to-solve-infant-formula-crisis-with-synthetic-breastmilk/ Sun, 22 May 2022 10:30:00 +0000 https://hardouin.info/two-women-led-startups-seek-to-solve-infant-formula-crisis-with-synthetic-breastmilk/

Although years away from FDA approval, Helaina and BioMilq are banking on parents’ willingness to feed their newborns a lab-developed product


The shortage of infant formula is an issue that Laura Katz and Michelle Egger considered when they separately decided to develop synthetic alternatives to breast milk.

Katz’s startup Helaina and Egger’s BioMilq have each raised more than $20 million from backers that include, in BioMilq’s case, Bill Gates. Although their products are likely years away from FDA approval, the respective 29-year-old founders are confident that their scientific innovations will provide caregivers with healthier alternatives that will be easier for modern families to find than breast milk. real. The question they need to answer: Will enough parents make the jump to synthetics?

For Katz, the idea for Helaina came at age 23, long before parenthood came to mind. She had left her Global Nutrition class at New York University’s Masters in Food Science program and boarded the N train, playing the role of Gimlet Media. Reply to all podcast to distract from the crowded subway car. It was when the host described a new mom who drove for hours and paid dodgy internet personas for breastmilk to breastfeed her baby that Katz realized no one had successfully marketed breastmilk. synthetic. Katz decided she would be the first. She created Helaina to use precision fermentation – the process of programming yeast to ferment into breastmilk protein – to manufacture and market scientifically made breastmilk.

“The shortage shows us how critical it is to drive innovation in this space, to provide wider and better access for parents who need to feed their children something other than breastmilk,” Katz says. “We humanize infant formula and bring it closer to breast milk in terms of the properties that breast milk brings to babies who drink it.”

Currently, caregivers have the option of feeding infants either naturally pumped breast milk or formula, which is cow’s milk scientifically modified to resemble human milk.

Katz raised $25 million in funding from backers like Spark Capital and Siam Capital. She and her team of 30 operate out of a New York lab where they experiment with precision fermentation and its uses for infants and the elderly. It is currently in the early stages of clinical trials. Katz declined to offer an estimate of when Helaina will be available to fill infant nutrition aisles, but she says her debut will stabilize prices, provide caregivers with a time-cost-free alternative to milk and break the oligopoly of the four. companies – Abbott, Nestlé, Perrigo and Reckitt Benckiser – which together represent 90% of the American market.

Despite what may be an initial reluctance to breastfeed their babies with milk made in a test tube, Stefani Bardin, who teaches food technology and design at New York University and Parsons School of Design, says that there will be takers. “I think technology can be really helpful in closing gaps in the food system,” says Bardin, who was one of Katz’s instructors at NYU but has had no contact with her since. “My only concern with these types of replacements is that companies [need] look at the body holistically. Bardin cites Soylent, a meal replacement drink that had to recall its product multiple times due to unintended consequences.

From a market perspective, infant nutrition companies are experiencing low growth, which explains the lack of innovation and consolidation in the space. “Synthetic milk could provide a solution,” says Shagun Singh, director of research at RBC Capital Markets. “I’m sure there could be a future for that.”

BioMilq is another company hoping to capitalize on this vision for the future. With backing of $25 million from investors like Gates, Novo Holdings and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Egger, CEO and co-founder of BioMilq, plans to launch synthetic human milk within the next three to five years. Rather than ferment yeast, as Helaina does, BioMilq takes breast milk and breast tissue, donated by women in exchange for Target gift cards, and grows human cells capable of secreting milk.

BioMilq is technically ready for consumers, says Egger, but it won’t be available until at least 2025 because, like Helaina, it’s in trials. “Child nutrition hasn’t really interested mainstream entrepreneurs and investors because over the past decade it’s been relegated to a women’s issue,” says Egger. “Nobody on the street can launch an infant nutrition product, to some extent with good reason. This has blocked innovation because it is not easy to bring a product to market. It requires a lot of capital and scientific expertise.

When BioMilq receives marketing approval, Egger will begin by selling it directly to consumers at a premium price to offset the technology’s high cost of production. She believes her product will help women achieve equality at work without compromising child nutrition. “Breast milk is the absolute best source of nutrition,” she says. “The reality is that exclusive breastfeeding for most modern families is circumstantially out of reach.”

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MORE FORBESForbes Under 30 Hall of Fame ]]> Japan emerges from U.S. shadow as Chinese threat grows https://hardouin.info/japan-emerges-from-u-s-shadow-as-chinese-threat-grows/ Sun, 22 May 2022 00:13:00 +0000 https://hardouin.info/japan-emerges-from-u-s-shadow-as-chinese-threat-grows/ Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, he has imposed sanctions on Moscow, agreed to seek a nuclear-free world with the Pope, and toured Southeast Asia and Europe diplomatically to rally world leaders to to protect democracy.

But it’s not just democracy in Ukraine that he’s trying to protect – Kishida sees parallels between Russia’s actions in Europe and China’s expansion into the Indo-Pacific, a region that stretches from the US Pacific Coast to the Indian Ocean.

“We strongly oppose any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force anywhere,” Kishida said, in a joint statement with European Union leaders in May. The same statement included a clause expressing “serious concern over reports of militarization, coercion and intimidation in the South China Sea”, although it did not name China as the aggressor.

Japan’s location places it in an increasingly unstable security environment – ​​flanked by China to the south, nuclear-armed North Korea to the west and Russia to the north. As a result, the war in Ukraine has catalyzed debates over Japan’s national security like never before.

In April, members of the country’s ruling party presented a proposal to increase the country’s defense budget from 1% to 2% – in line with NATO members – and developing “counterattack capabilities” – a move that heralds big changes for Japan’s longstanding pacifist security posture.

But Tokyo isn’t just investing in its defense, it’s using diplomacy to strengthen relations in the region and beyond. Ahead of Kishida’s meeting with US President Joe Biden on Monday, experts say the world’s third-largest economy is reassessing its approach to deterrence and presenting itself as a reliable partner on the world stage.

A Japanese invention

Japan floated its idea of ​​an “arch of freedom and prosperity” that would stretch across the Indo-Pacific and draw in the United States and Australia more than a decade ago.

In 2007, then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Indian lawmakers that a “wider Asia” was beginning to form and implored Delhi to work alongside Tokyo “to nourish and enrich these seas”. It was the start of what would become the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), a loose strategic alliance between the United States, Australia, India and Japan.

Abe’s attempts to unite Pacific allies came as China overtook Japan as the world’s second-largest economy. Soon after, Beijing was promoting its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to develop new trade routes linking China to the world.

5 Asian military hotspots and how they play into Biden's visit

China claims sovereignty over nearly all of the 1.3 million square kilometers of the South China Sea and has turned several reefs and sandbars – far from its coastline – into man-made man-made islands heavily fortified with missiles, tracks and weapon systems.

Observers feared that China’s expansion could eventually allow Beijing to control the South China Sea waterways, threatening the free flow of trade. So in 2016, Abe improved his idea and introduced the concept of “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP).”

Under FOIP, like-minded countries and organizations across Southeast Asia and Africa would protect the Indo-Pacific and the trillions of dollars worth of goods that pass through it every year.

Cleo Paskal, Indo-Pacific strategist at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said countries were initially slow to adapt to JTFP. “A lot of people didn’t even think FOIP was a problem because they thought the seas would be open and people would be free,” she said. “But now we realize that those two things of being free and open are actually under threat.”

China’s expansion in the region is expected to be one of the main talking points when Quad leaders meet in Tokyo on Tuesday, following Kishida’s bilateral with Biden.

President Joe Biden gestures as he boards Air Force One for a trip to South Korea and Japan, May 19, 2022.

Forging a Stronger American Security Pact

Japan’s efforts to unite its democratic allies bore fruit when the United States adopted FOIP in 2017, giving the concept more weight as well as new resources, programs and partnerships.

But now analysts say the United States expects Japan to take a stronger leadership role in the region, and Tokyo knows that means it must strengthen its defenses.

“Japan recognizes that relying solely on the United States would not really maintain political trust between the two sides,” said Ken Jimbo, a national security expert and professor at Keio University.

Last December, Kishida announced that the government was exploring options to give Japan the ability to strike enemy bases. Since then, calls have intensified within Japan’s ruling party to develop “counterattack capabilities” in coordination with the United States. The move would push the boundaries of the country’s pacifist constitution, but expand Tokyo’s ability to retaliate against mobile and submarine-launched attacks.

“Japan wants to be able to defend itself in a fight. The country has a very strong part of the population that does not want to depend on outside powers in order to be able to make decisions that may or may not risk its sovereignty,” Paskal said.

However, there is resistance within the country to any departure from Japan’s pacifist stance.

“Popular public opinion still views Japan as a pacifist country that should not have the ability to attack others, it should only have sufficient means to defend itself,” said James Brown, an international relations expert at the International Relations Office. ‘Temple University.

“So that concern has caused the government to move more slowly on this.”

However, the war in Ukraine seems to be changing mentalities. A recent poll conducted by Asahi Shimbun and the University of Tokyo showed that 64% of 3,000 people polled were in favor of boosting Japan’s defensive capabilities, the highest percentage since the survey began in 2003.

Managing China’s Influence

China’s support for Russia’s actions in Ukraine has bolstered Kishida’s mission to protect the integrity of the Indo-Pacific. Not only is he reaching out to larger allies in the United States and Europe, but he is engaging in diplomacy closer to home to make it clear that Japan is a partner to be counted on in uncertain times. .

In March, a Japanese delegation visited the Solomon Islands after China and Honiara signed a security pact that some say could eventually see a Chinese military base in the Pacific. Paskal, the Indo-Pacific analyst, said the diplomatic trip highlights Tokyo’s interest in positioning itself as an alternative security provider.

Japan also wants to offer an alternative to China by presenting its own quality infrastructure projects, which use local labor, have high quality controls and do not leave an unsustainable debt burden in the countries. participants, said Thomas Wilkins, senior research fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Tokyo’s efforts have not gone unnoticed in Beijing.

In a video call with his Japanese counterpart on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that even before Biden arrived in Asia, the perception that Japan and the United States were united against China “was already endemic” and had created “a nauseating atmosphere”. according to a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Japan’s forceful response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the hallmark of a country trying to strengthen democratic ties in its own region.

When Quad members meet in Tokyo on Tuesday, they will seek to present a united front that matches Japan’s original vision of “the arc of freedom and prosperity.”

Paskal said in this regard that Japan’s leadership in the region was “respected and appreciated”.

“Much remains to be done, but it is changing in a way that many Japan watchers perhaps did not expect even five years ago,” she said.

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Two petrol pumps seized for delivering shorter quantity in Srinagar https://hardouin.info/two-petrol-pumps-seized-for-delivering-shorter-quantity-in-srinagar/ Sat, 21 May 2022 15:28:22 +0000 https://hardouin.info/two-petrol-pumps-seized-for-delivering-shorter-quantity-in-srinagar/


Two petrol pumps seized for delivering shorter quantity in Srinagar

The legal metrology service seized and registered lawsuits on Saturday against two petrol pumps for delivering a shorter amount of fuel to consumers.

posted on May 21, 2022 | Author RK Online Office



The legal metrology service seized and registered lawsuits on Saturday against two petrol pumps for delivering a shorter amount of fuel to consumers.

In one of the cases, it was observed that 6 nozzles from a petrol pump located on the national road in Srinagar were delivering a lack of fuel of around 30ml against every 5 litres. All nozzles at the outlet were seized on the spot and the case was registered under Section 30 of the Legal Metrology Act 2009.

The department has previously received a consumer complaint in which it was alleged that few petrol stations across Srinagar engaged in unfair business practices and looted consumers using various tricks against them. The LMD quickly inspected various outlets where two gas pumps were found to be in violation of the law and subsequently seized.

In another similar case, a gas pump was inspected and found delivering short term fuel to consumers and seven nozzles from the outlet were seized for similar violations.

At present, two of these gas pumps are under seizure and based on the indictment, charges will be brought against them according to law. The inspection campaign will continue in the coming days.

Consumers are advised that if in doubt regarding the delivery of fuel from a petrol pump, they can verify the quantity for themselves using the certified 5 liter measure which is available with every petrol pump and in the case where a Pompe petrol pump refuses to do so, a complaint may be filed with the Service de Métrologie Légale.

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Lanarkshire’s Bookface Book Swap Brunch features author Sam Baker’s novel The Shift https://hardouin.info/lanarkshires-bookface-book-swap-brunch-features-author-sam-bakers-novel-the-shift/ Sat, 21 May 2022 07:50:00 +0000 https://hardouin.info/lanarkshires-bookface-book-swap-brunch-features-author-sam-bakers-novel-the-shift/

In addition to the extensive portfolio of the journalist and presenter, there are five novels, the most recent of which, The running womanis a captivating psychological thriller.

Elsehwere, based on his hugely popular and best-selling memoir, The Shift: How I Lost and Found Myself After 40 Years – and You can also.

The upcoming Bookface Book Swap Brunch will focus on The Shift, first published in 2020 for women over 40 going through menopause.

In the book, Sam again addresses this much overlooked demographic based on his own experiences in the post-fertile years.

Candid and funny, with chapters on sex, culture, work, and rage, the book is for women looking at their lives, acknowledging change, and looking to recalibrate themselves.

It tackles topics like hot flashes, sleep deprivation, weight gain, career meltdowns (and the rest) that coexist with serious life episodes like lust, love, and heartbreak.

Sam also hosts a podcast of the same name, The Shift, where women will hear from a mix of personalities including Jojo Moyes, Delia Ephron, Lynda La Plante, Pepsi and Shirlie, Bobbi Brown and Mariella Frostrup.

Sam said, “I can’t wait to discuss why menopause is our superpower.”

The Bookface Book Swap Brunch was created by avid Coatbridge reader and environmentalist Heather Suttie online during lockdown via Facebook.

There are now 2100 members worldwide and over 1000 people have attended swap events.

Presenter Sally Magnusson, Sophie Gravia, Doug Allan, Maggie Ritchie and Helen Fitzgerald were some of the many notable guests and hosts.

Tickets for the Bookface Book Swap Brunch cost £30. The event runs from 9.30am to 12.30pm at Glaschu Restaurant and Bar in Glasgow’s Royal Exchange Square, and is supported by Lillet.

Tickets are available online.

]]> As soaring food prices begin to bite, experts say Malaysia has learned little from the pandemic https://hardouin.info/as-soaring-food-prices-begin-to-bite-experts-say-malaysia-has-learned-little-from-the-pandemic/ Fri, 20 May 2022 16:09:40 +0000 https://hardouin.info/as-soaring-food-prices-begin-to-bite-experts-say-malaysia-has-learned-little-from-the-pandemic/

KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 – Experts say Putrajaya has failed to react quickly enough to tackle long-standing structural issues threatening national food security, leaving Malaysia vulnerable to a global commodity supply shock which caused commodity prices to skyrocket.

Food policy advocates have long warned of the dangers of the country’s growing reliance on imports to meet its food demand, as well as on the fertilizers and crops that feed livestock, making it particularly vulnerable to supply chain disruptions.

Food insecurity came under the spotlight after the Covid-19 crisis exposed underlying disparities in access to food, but experts said no tangible action had been taken since the pandemic to solve Malaysia’s food conundrum, as calls grew for food production to be prioritized. cash crops.

Fatimah Mohamed Arshad, who heads the agriculture and food security group at the Malaysian Teachers’ Academy, suggested that Putrajaya should put in place what she called a “food-first policy” to divert resources towards producing more food locally, including the domestication of input production such as making our own fertilizers or small machinery to reduce costs.

“Malaysia should give high priority to food by instituting a food-first policy and mobilizing resources to increase food productivity and value addition and reduce production costs,” she told Malay Mail.

“It needs to produce its own fertilizer, apply advanced technology, develop small machinery and processing plants for small producers and traders, and move to a high-tech supply chain, among others.

Putrajaya unveiled the National Food Security Action Plan 2021-2025 last year amid public concern over the rising cost of food when Covid-19 restrictions disrupted supplies.

Although resource-rich, Malaysia’s food trade deficit has widened over the past decade. The nation of 33 million people imported RM55.5 billion worth of food against RM33.8 billion worth of exports in 2020, resulting in a large deficit of RM21.7 billion, according to data from Bank Negara Malaysia.

Total food imports amounted to RM482.8 billion, compared to RM296 billion in exports over the past ten years, a trend that food security researchers say is “worrying”.

Malaysia now ranks 39th in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2021 Global Food Security Index, which assesses food security in more than 100 countries using indicators such as affordability, access, natural resources and resilience, among others.

Malaysia’s ranking was well below resource-poor countries like Singapore, which ranked 15th, and Qatar, which ranked 24th.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, then prime minister, said the plan aimed to reduce the country’s reliance on food and input imports by focusing more on domestic food production.

One of the main thrusts of the plan would be to modernize food production, move away from labor-intensive methods and strengthen research.

But experts said structural reform and food production take time, so it will be years before consumers can expect to see tangible results from the plan, so some researchers have proposed liberalizing imports of food as a quick fix.

“We should limit the issuance of Approved Permits (AP) for imported products to certain categories only (such as) food products that have (lower) self-sufficiency rates,” wrote Amanda Yeo, an analyst at the Emir think tank. Research, in an article. on the subject published earlier this month.

“In other words, liberalize our food import system to ensure a level playing field and fight against monopolies and oligopolies that increase the cost of doing business and the cost of living.”

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob lifted the PA requirement for food imports in a bid to alleviate some of the problems stemming from global supply shortages that are squeezing food import prices.

The move was criticized by local producers who said it could hurt local farmers and food producers who will have to compete with cheaper imports from big producing countries, which tend to be heavily subsidized.

Food security advocates and researchers have mostly agreed that Malaysia’s food security is likely to depend on the political will of elected leaders to make painful reforms that would primarily harm allies who have benefited from a system of distorted supply which tends to favor cartels and oligopolies.

Nurfitri Amir Muhammad, an activist who coordinates the Food Sovereignty Forum, said the AP import system had largely enriched politically connected business elites instead of smallholders, although he suggested that the protectionism offered by a license quota could still help small producers thrive.

“There are numerous allegations that the AP system has been abused to allow certain parties to monopolize the market,” he told Malay Mail.

“We need to reform and improve the system so that it is limited and granted only to eligible wholesalers, and not totally abolished,” he added.

On the retail side, Yeo said the government should work closely with non-governmental organizations to organize open-air food bazaars that could allow food producers to sell their fresh produce directly, cutting the “middlemen” to make food cheaper.

“They could identify several hotspots in each Malaysian state and implement carnivals at least twice a month. Owners of mom-and-pop stalls will have the option of selling leftovers but edible foods or ‘substandard’ vegetables and fruits, generating their economic livelihood,” she said.

“On the other hand, the middle class would find it more affordable to buy ‘low quality’ food at lower prices.”

Malaysia’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) in March 2022 increased by 2.2% to 125.6 from 122.9 in March 2021, exceeding the average inflation for the period January 2011-March 2022 which amounted to 1.9%. The surge was mainly driven by food prices, said Malaysia’s Statistics Department, which rose 4% in March year-on-year.

Food security is now a key part of Malaysia’s 12th Five-Year Plan, which Putrajaya says underlines its commitment to keeping food affordable and accessible to all.

But experts have warned of problems that often hamper execution, citing the failures of previous plans unveiled by several past administrations due to the government’s unwillingness to address structural shortcomings at all levels of the supply chain. supply.

“If Malaysia continues with business as usual or as it currently does, the situation could get even worse. Indeed, the global market may face more shocks in the future,” Fatima said.

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Council assesses Sebi penalty of Rs 1 crore, says Fortis Healthcare https://hardouin.info/council-assesses-sebi-penalty-of-rs-1-crore-says-fortis-healthcare/ Fri, 20 May 2022 08:32:00 +0000 https://hardouin.info/council-assesses-sebi-penalty-of-rs-1-crore-says-fortis-healthcare/

In response to market regulator Sebi’s May 18 order regarding the alleged embezzlement of funds by former Fortis Healthcare (FHL) promoters, the company said the board is currently evaluating the order in detail. , in consultation with legal advisers.

Fortis also noted that the order relates to Escorts Heart Institute and Research Center Limited (EHIRCL), a wholly owned subsidiary of FHL. “The management and board of directors of the newly incorporated company after NTK Ventures Pte Ltd. became a sponsor of the company are evaluating the order in detail, in consultation with their legal advisors,” Fortis said in a notice to the public. scholarships.



In the notification, Fortis further stated that a fine of Rs 1 crore has been imposed on EHIRCL for breach of certain provisions of the SEBI Act 1992 and the SEBI Regulations (Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trading Practices Relating to the Securities Market securities) of 2003.

However, Fortis added that Sebi pointed out that EHIRCL is currently under completely new management and that the revamped management has taken action against the old management for the fraud perpetrated under their watch.

According to PTI, Sebi imposed penalties totaling Rs 38.75 crore on 32 entities including Fortis Healthcare Holdings in a case related to misappropriation of funds from FHL and misrepresentation to cover up fraud.

This case dates back to 2018, when it appeared in the media that promoters of publicly listed FHL allegedly withdrew massive funds from the listed entity.

Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP, FHL’s auditor, had refused to sign off on the company’s second quarter results until the funds had been posted.

An investigation into the case has been opened. The investigation looked at Intercompany Deposit Grants (ICDs) to three corporate borrowers – Best Healthcare Private Ltd, Fern Healthcare Private Limited and Modland Wears Private Limited – over the period from FY12 to FY18.

The regulator was reviewing possible breaches of the Fraudulent and Unfair Trading Practices Prohibition (PFUTP) provisions.

Sebi discovered that a systematic fraud scheme had been devised by the former promoters of FHL to channel the resources of a listed company through ICDs or short-term loans to various intermediary entities for the benefit of RHC Holding, an entity indirectly owned by the former promoters. from Fortis – Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh.

PTI reported that according to the May 18 order, funds totaling Rs 397 crore were diverted from FHL to RHC Holding through a network of entities. Sebi imposed a fine of Rs 5 crore each on Best, Fern and Midland.

In addition, it imposed a penalty of Rs 1 crore each on Fortis Healthcare Holdings, Fortis Global Healthcare, Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, RHC Finance, Shimal Healthcare, ANR Securities, Oscar Investments, Ligare Aviation (formerly Religare Aviation), Adept Lifespaces (formerly Adept Creations), Best Cure (new name Devera Developers), Rexcin Finance, Best Medicines (new name -Best Health Management), Artifice Properties, Ranchem, Addon Realty, AD Advertising, Rosestar Marketing, Torus Buildcon, Tiger Developers, Zolton Properties, Saubhagya Buildcon and Lowe Infra and Wellness, PTI said.

The regulator also fined Rs 25 lakh each on Preetinder Singh Joshi, Anurag Kalra, Jasbir Grewal, Tejinder Singh Shergil, Pradeep Raniga, Brian William Tempest and Harpal Singh. In addition, Sebi had imposed sanctions amounting to Rs 24 crore on 9 entities, including businessmen Malvinder Mohan Singh and Shivinder Mohan Singh, in connection with violations in the Fortis Healthcare case.

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