first_imgI wrote a previous article titled “You are already banking marijuana. You just don’t know it.”  The article focused on the fact that marijuana proceeds have a wide reach and are most likely found in all financial institutions across the United States.  Landlords, lawyers, CPA’s, electricians, plumbers, bookkeepers, insurance companies, home improvement stores, pizza delivery, and numerous other businesses are providing products and services to marijuana related businesses (MRB’s) and are receiving proceeds from marijuana sales.  Also included in that list are all the states, counties, and local municipalities that are receiving tax revenue from MRB’s. I was at a speaking engagement last month and a banker from a state without legalized marijuana felt confident that they nor their proceeds had any association with MRB’s.  I asked if they or any of their account holders owned any of the popular mutual funds by Vanguard or Fidelity. Their answer was “yes”. What they didn’t realize was that widely held stocks, such as Scotts Miracle-Gro, are holdings in several index and mutual funds, and that Scotts has been increasing its cannabis-focused Hawthorne Gardening subsidiary for the past several years.  The dividends they pay contain marijuana revenue, and those monies eventually find their way into financial institutions and accounts across the United States. The point here is that even if you are in a state without legalized marijuana, you have investors and monies in your state, whether direct or indirect, that touch the marijuana space.I subscribe to the generally accepted three tier classifications of MRB’s:  Tier I – Product touching, Tier II – Businesses directly supporting or whose primary customers are Tier I MRB’s, and Tier III – Those that have incidental business with Tier I and Tier II MRB’s.  Here is a summary list of ways to identity possible MRB activity in your institution:Ask “Do you derive revenues from marijuana related activity” in your CIP, account opening, and ongoing risk assessmentsScreen your current accounts against the names and addresses of Licensed MRB’sEnhance your transaction monitoring, especially as it pertains to cashReview large items in more detailReview websites on suspect accountsMarijuana cash has a distinctive scentConduct a site visitAs Tier I MRB’s are generally easier to identify, I am going to focus more on the ancillary Tier II and Tier III MRB’s.  When you identify a possible MRB account, or if the account holder or applicant answers “Yes” to the question of derived revenue, you should obtain more information to determine their MRB tier.  At that point, you need to determine if you are going to accept or keep the account, or to de-risk them out of your institution.The FinCEN guidance of February 2014 uses the wording “funds derived from illegal activity” when outlining the Suspicious Activity Report filing requirements.  Outside of that, it really does not specifically or narrowly define the question of “What is a marijuana related business?”. So, if you are directly banking Tier II or Tier III MRB’s, do you need to file a marijuana SAR?  Generally speaking, banking Tier III MRB’s poses little risk and it is my opinion that FinCEN does not expect you to be filing SAR’s on the pizza delivery person that happens to drop off an occasional food order at a dispensary.  Tier II MRB’s become a different story.In closely examining Tier II MRB’s, I have found that in some circumstances their risk profile is actually higher than banking a Tier I.  Those Tier I MRB’s undergo license and underwriting scrutiny from the State. They typically have strict inventory and reporting requirements and undergo third-party inspections.  Your Tier II MRB’s generally have close ties with product touching MRB’s, are not required to be licensed, and have no State required marijuana audits. Being that the FinCEN guidance is the only federal document regarding marijuana banking, I lean towards taking the guidance very literally regarding SAR reporting.  Although some institutions set a percentage threshold to define Tier II and Tier III (i.e. 20% or more in marijuana revenue), I recommend filing marijuana SAR’s on all of your Tier II MRB’s.  Better to be conservative and file an extra SAR than to be penalized for failing to file a SAR.If you are deciding to accept or keep Tier II MRB’s, you still have preparation to complete.  Many of the requirements in banking Tier I’s are applicable to Tier II. I have a 12-Step process that will assist you:Is the Board “on board”?Determine if banking MRB’s is appropriate for your institutionReview and understand relevant regulationsAnalyze the strength of your current BSA / AML programAssess training requirementsPerform a risk-reward analysisReview relevant technologiesPrepare a business planCommunicate with regulatorsObtain Board approvalDevelop MRB policies, procedures, and underwriting standardsImplementation The initial application and documentation for a Tier II MRB would generally start with the type of documents necessary if you were giving them a commercial loan, along with marijuana specific additions.  Be sure to obtain information on the Tier I customers of your Tier II accounts. I would even go to the extent of checking licenses and creating a whitelist of vetted vendors. Ongoing due diligence and transaction monitoring should be commensurate with risk and I would include site visits in the mix.  Be open with your MRB clients and establish a set of required expectations (Covenants) from the start.  If your MRB’s understand up front what it takes for you to bank them, it helps to establish a partnership mentality.  Regarding pricing, the fee schedule for banking Tier II MRB’s is generally less than that in banking Tier I’s.  Pricing may vary greatly depending on risk, volume, and geographic region. Supply and demand also come into effect in MRB pricing.  Compliance is not free, and you should charge sufficient fees to cover your costs, plus a reasonable rate of return. Your ultimate goal is to bank MRB’s in a sustainable, responsible, and profitable manner.Feel free to contact me with any questions. 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Andre Herrera Andre’s broad experience in payment system and banking technology management spans over 22 years and includes the management of complex, large-scale conversions, migrations and new product implementations. He also … Web: Detailslast_img read more

first_imgIf you’re working to maintain a good credit score, you’re not alone. Perhaps you’re a college student with HUGE student loan debts. Or, maybe you’re a startup with SBA loans trying to get your foot in the door (we hear ya’.) You might also be rebuilding your credit after a job loss, illness or other major life circumstances (See changes to medical bills, tax liens and judgments below). Credit report scoring model changes might affect your ability to get financing later on.Let’s look at the good and bad news.Good News First…If you carry student loans or an existing mortgage, you might see little to no changes to your FICO score (yaay!). The FICO credit scoring model changes occurring this summer will be based on debt levels, payment histories and card balances (gulp).Notice how we eased into the bad news?Credit report scoring will affect 110 million consumers with credit cards by less than 20 points. However, there’s a light at the end of this tunnel because you CAN bring your card balances down. But, let’s go over how FICO breaks down debts first.Your Credit ScoreScores range from 300-850 and the three bureaus that report your credit-worthiness (my precious!) are Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Good scores are in the 670-739 range while anything less than 580 is bad…really bad. So, if you hear someone say, “Hey, I’ve got a 380,” let’s hope that’s their batting average.Now, when it comes to debts, your score is divided into credit accounts, payment history, how much you owe and how long you’ve had credit.It looks like this:35% Card Payment History30% Payments Owed15% Length of Your Credit History10% How Much New Credit You HaveAnd Now for Some Insightful News…Judgments and tax liens are no longer added to credit reports. AND, credit reporting agencies have to wait 6 months before adding medical debts (major sigh of relief for those struggling with debts). However, here’s where it gets tricky…The new scoring model’s 10T score uses your trended data, i.e., what you’ve done over the past two years. And, this is where you want to pay close attention (and don’t miss our credit tips at the end).Let’s say you have $50,000 in credit and you carry a balance that’s $25,000. Your rate’s 50%. You might think, 50-50, not bad, right? Wrong! Consumers with scores of 795 only spend about… wait for it….7% of their card limits. Yeah, that’s a BIG gulp.So, what can you do? There are ways to improve your score AND get better interest rates.About 40 million consumers with good spending habits will see their scores go up 20 points or higher. So, how can you get in?Credit report tips:Check your report’s accuracy with all three bureaus annually (get your free credit report)Dispute inaccurate charges or items over seven years oldPay off past-due bills, loans and collectionsHave no late payments, missed payments or past due notices for two yearsPay your bills on time and don’t take out credit you don’t need or can’t affordPay down your debts (snowball/avalanche methods)Apply for loans at credit unions where interest rates are significantly lowerPay existing cards off and keep accounts open to show your good payment historyContact a reputable debt consolidation agency if you’re underwater (gulp)Final ThoughtsUltimately, having credit is a HUGE responsibility. But, don’t beat yourself up. Many people started with credit cards in college but never learned how to maintain their credit. Because FICO credit reporting changes occur this summer, now’s the time to reduce debts and lock in lower interest rates at your local credit unions. Let’s face it. As your credit improves, you can secure that new mortgage or new auto loan with the best rates possible. It’s a great financial move that can fast-track your savings. And, who doesn’t love savings? 69SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Steve Maloney Steve Maloney is president/CEO of Sync1 Systems, has more than 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field in addressing issues specific to the financial services industry.  Prior … Web: Detailslast_img read more

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionI’m ashamed to be associated as an alumni of Niskayuna High School. I read in the Oct. 7 Gazette: “Niskayuna Central School District Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra Jr. issued a statement just after noon Friday stating that the national anthem will not be played at the high school pep rally Friday afternoon, as has been the custom in past years.The statement read in part: “After careful thought and consideration by our administration, and after meeting with members of our student body, it was decided that the national anthem would not be played as it has been in the past. This is an event focused on school spirit and unity, and there was a concern that given the intensity of this issue and the diversity of viewpoints, that this event could turn what is supposed to be a positive experience for our students into a negative one.”What a cowardly and unpatriotic statement. I’m calling for the immediate removal of Superintendent Tangorra. A person in that leadership role shouldn’t be in a position to influence our children. His statement claims that in the interest of the diversity of viewpoints, the anthem will not be played. Has he disregarded the viewpoint of the majority of students and Americans? Why is a patriotic viewpoint being discriminated? Why does he insist on soiling our freedom and flag and national pride by refusing to continue the traditional playing of the anthem at pep rallies? The students should be taught respect and honor, not encouraged to participate in an act of such disrespect. Freedom of speech is of utmost importance, but what the superintendant has done here is extinguish that freedom of speech. He’s denying the majority of the students rights to express their love of country when putting their hand over their heart while playing our anthem, as has been tradition.I will never support NHS fund-raisers or any other event sponsored by NHS until the superintendant has been removed or issues a statement of apology and reverses his deplorable, yes deplorable, actions banning our national anthem. His statement and actions are a disgrace and are cowardly. We all should be ashamed.Joseph WolfeOrmand Beach, Fla. (formerly of Niskayuna)More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusNiskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesPuccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfectlast_img read more

first_imgThe use of decoy construction equipment, Dias said, was just the latest ruse employed by Brazil’s drug gangs. In less than a decade, he had watched them rise from domestic street sellers to major international players, using Santos and other ports to ship narcotics offshore.”Europe is the destination par excellence,” said Dias, who retired late last year from Brazil’s Federal Revenue Service.Brazil has become one of the top suppliers of cocaine to Europe, transforming the country’s role in the trans-Atlantic drug trade at a speed that has stunned anti-narcotics authorities.A Brazilian custom agent inspects the cargo inside a container going to Europe for smuggled drugs at the Port of Santos in Santos, Brazil September 23, 2019. (REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli) Long regarded as a cocaine-consuming nation, a market for the product manufactured in Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, Brazil has turned into a critical launch pad to get it across the ocean. Local syndicates have infiltrated Brazil’s ports, authorities said, sending record amounts of coke on container ships bound for Europe, where it fetches premium prices.Brazilian gangs are now integral players feeding Europe’s cocaine market, valued at more than 9 billion euros ($10.15 billion), according to a Reuters analysis of customs data on cocaine seizures, confidential intelligence reports and research studies on illegal drugs; and interviews with more than two dozen people, including law enforcement agents, public officials, diplomats, anti-narcotics experts and people involved in the illicit trade.”For coke, Brazil has emerged as a major exporter nation,” said Laurent Laniel, a senior analyst at the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the Lisbon-based EU drugs agency. “This is definitely something that is new.”The Brazilian cocaine trade spans vast distances across South America’s largest nation. Reuters accompanied Brazilian and Peruvian police battling gangsters near the countries’ shared border in the remote Amazon, where there has been an explosion of cultivation and processing of coca, the plant used to produce cocaine.”It’s out of control,” Brazilian Federal Police Officer Antônio Salgado said after joining his Peruvian counterparts to take out coca processing labs. “You go up in the helicopter and within two minutes you start seeing plantations here, there, everywhere.”Reuters also reported from Paraguay, whose law enforcement has proven to be no match for Brazilian gangs using the country as a way station to move Andean product into Brazil; and from Santos, Latin America’s largest port, where drug seizures keep breaking records.Every link of this vast supply chain underscored Brazil’s new status as a leading transshipment hub for coke to Europe, the world’s second-largest economic bloc.The shift can be seen in Belgium, the top gateway for South American cocaine entering Europe, almost entirely via the port of Antwerp, according to the EMCDDA. In 2019, authorities apprehended a record of nearly 62 tonnes of cocaine at Antwerp, Europe’s second-largest port. The single-largest share of that – 15.9 tonnes, about a quarter of the total – came from ships arriving from Brazil, official Belgian data show. In 2015, Belgian customs seized just 293 kilograms (646 pounds) hailing from Brazil, less than 2% of that year’s haul.It’s a similar story in Spain, Europe’s second most important portal. Five years ago, Brazil did not rank among the major embarkation points for cargo ships caught bringing cocaine into Spain. The top five slots belonged to Colombia, Venezuela, Portugal, Ecuador, and Chile, according to data provided to Reuters last year by Spanish customs. Brazil vaulted to the No. 1 spot in 2016 and again in 2018 when law enforcement seized a record 4.3 tonnes from ships arriving from Brazilian ports, the figures show.Brazil was also the top point of origin for cocaine apprehended entering Germany in 2018, with a historic capture of nearly 2.1 tonnes, according to the most recent German customs data.Experts cautioned that apprehension figures don’t tell the whole story; bigger seizures can reflect better policing rather than increased flows.But two things are certain: Europe is “swimming in drugs,” and Brazil plays an increasingly crucial role in getting them there, said Andrew Cunningham, another expert at EMCDDA, the EU drugs agency. “There’s absolutely no doubt about it,” he said.Part of the 158 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside the arm of a second-hand backhoe that was bound for the Belgian port of Antwerp and found by the Brazilian anti-narcotics authorities is pictured at the port of Santos, Sao Paulo state, Brazil, November 18, 2019. (REUTERS/Handout/RECEITA FEDERAL DO BRASIL)BRAZIL TAKES OFFBrazil has always had the potential to become a major cocaine exporter, according to Elvis Secco, who leads a specialized anti-narcotics unit of Brazil’s federal police. The country sits between coke-producing powerhouses to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.Brazil’s three most important gangs – First Capital Command, Red Command and the Family of the North – have proven adept at moving drugs enormous distances to supply Brazilian consumers. With thousands of cargo ships leaving Brazil annually for Europe, Africa and beyond, there was no reason to stop at the water’s edge, Secco told Reuters.But other recent trends have helped Brazilian traffickers expand. Global cocaine production – almost exclusively from Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia – more than doubled between 2013 and 2017, to reach an estimated 1,976 tonnes, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). South America has been awash with high-purity powder in need of buyers.Burgeoning supplies have resulted in falling prices that have attracted new users worldwide, according to the UNODC’s World Drug Report 2019.With distribution into the lucrative U.S. market cornered by Mexican cartels, Brazil’s gangs trained their sights on Europe. Prices there are higher than in the United States, due to the longer distances it must travel, authorities said. Europe is also a convenient pit stop for cocaine bound for growing markets in the Middle East and Asia, they added.Like Europe, Brazil is also flooded with coke. In 2019, the federal police nabbed a record 105 tonnes, up 32% from 2018. Brazil’s law-and-order President Jair Bolsonaro says it’s proof the country is winning its war on drugs. “We’re suffocating organized crime,” he tweeted in October.Secco, the Brazilian federal police drug czar, was more circumspect. He said apprehensions are up because Andean production has risen sharply and more cocaine is entering Brazil, “not because of any new investments” in law enforcement.Peruvian anti-narcotics police officers patrol the Amazon river in Caballococha, Peru October 29, 2019. (REUTERS/Gabriel Stargardter)DRUGS ON THE DOCKSMuch of the cocaine flowing through Brazil to Europe is trafficked by Brazil’s largest and most powerful criminal organization, First Capital Command, known by its Portuguese acronym PCC, according to authorities.They say the gang dominates a prime smuggling route that starts in Bolivia, then heads southeast to Brazil via Paraguay, where the syndicate is overwhelming that nation’s weak institutions. In January, 75 PCC members escaped from a Paraguayan prison in a brazen jailbreak that top security officials knew was coming, but were powerless to stop, because the gang had so many prison guards under its sway.Based in São Paulo, the PCC dominates the nearby port of Santos, which handles some 7,000 containers a day. Police say the gang bribes or threatens port workers to place cocaine in outbound shipping containers. Some drugs come aboard cargo ships at sea, with smugglers pulling alongside in smaller craft, said Cunningham of the EU drugs agency.After reaching Europe, the merchandise is distributed across the continent by Eastern European, Moroccan and Italian mobsters partnered with the PCC, officials said.In July 2019, Brazilian police arrested Nicola Assisi, reputedly a senior player in Italy’s ‘Ndrangheta mob, along with his son Patrick, near Santos. They are “accused of being some of the biggest suppliers of cocaine to Europe,” according to a Brazilian federal court document. Currently jailed in Brasília, they await extradition to Italy. Their lawyer, Eugênio Malavasi, declined to comment.With Santos swamped with cocaine, port officials have tightened security. Since 2016, every Europe-bound container has been X-ray scanned, according to Dias, the retired customs inspector. In 2019, customs agents nabbed a record 27 tonnes of cocaine at Santos, a 154% increase from three years earlier.Ciro Moraes, the federal police commander in charge of Santos, reckons authorities only catch a fraction. The only good news, he said, is that cargo theft at the port has declined precipitously. “The guys who were stealing cargo are now in drug logistics,” he said.Federal Police officer, Ciro Tadeu Moraes, is seen at his office in Santos, Brazil September 23, 2019. (REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli)COCAINE SURGE IN THE AMAZONBrazil’s gangs also import cocaine into the remote, northern Amazon region of the country along the so-called triple frontier with Colombia and Peru, according to federal police.They say much of the product enters Brazil by boat along the Amazon River, bound for Manaus, a city of roughly 2 million people. From there, it moves downriver until it reaches northeastern seaports like Suape and Natal in preparation for the Atlantic crossing.The Family of the North, known as the FDN, is the biggest player in the Amazon, authorities said. But booming European exports have lured challengers, with the PCC, Rio de Janeiro’s Red Command and others looking to wrest control.Much of the ensuing violence has played out in the region’s jails where gangs recruit unaffiliated prisoners into their crews. Brazilian authorities blamed warring cartels for two prison riots that killed more than 100 people last year. Shootouts are common in Manaus and along the Amazon River. Police say they are increasingly outgunned.Gangs are “less scared and more powerful” than they used to be, said Brazilian Federal Police Officer Charles Nascimento, a veteran of the Amazon drugs beat.Bolsonaro’s government has taken aim at the gangs by targeting their finances and moving jailed leaders to maximum-security federal lockups.Brazil is also cooperating with other affected countries. Belgian and Brazilian authorities in 2019 pledged to deepen information sharing, tighten port security and tackle money laundering. And Bolsonaro’s administration is stepping up anti-narcotics efforts with its Andean neighbors.Peruvian anti-narcotics police officers are seen at a coca leaf plantations in Caballococha, Peru November 2, 2019. (REUTERS/Gabriel Stargardter)GANG PACTLate last year, Reuters joined a joint mission between Brazil and Peru, spending a week with four Brazilian federal police officers and a few dozen Peruvian anti-narcotics cops in Caballococha, a Peruvian town of about 24,000 people. Accessible only by air or boat, Caballococha sits on the banks of the Amazon, just south of Colombia and about 100 kilometers upriver from the Brazilian border.This region of Peru, classified as the Bajo Amazonas, accounts for just 4% of the nation’s 50,000-hectare coca crop, according to the UNODC. But cultivation is growing, up 41% in 2017 from the previous year, the most recent data show.Colonel Miguel Ángel Peric, the local head of Peru’s anti-narcotics police, said those figures don’t begin to capture the scale of the problem. He estimated almost all of Caballococha’s residents had some direct or indirect link to the cocaine trade. Peruvian cops told Reuters they suspected some colleagues were in league with traffickers, although they presented no evidence.Shifting gang alliances have added to the complexity. A partnership has emerged between Brazil’s FDN and Los Caqueteños, a Colombian gang that supplies it with coke produced at home and in Peru, according to two classified intelligence reports seen by Reuters, one from Brazilian police and the other from Colombian cops.Los Caqueteños was founded in 2010 by former members of a local paramilitary force and is based in the Colombian border town of Leticia. It is “the most belligerent organization in the triple frontier region,” according to the Colombian report.The bi-lateral anti-narcotics force hoped to disrupt some of Los Caqueteños’ operations around Caballococha. But out in the jungle, the police always appeared to be one step behind the traffickers.An ariel view of cocaine plantation in Caballococha, Peru November 2, 2019. Picture taken November 2, 2019. (REUTERS/Gabriel Stargardter)DISAPPEARING ACTThe mission relied on two aging Russian Mi-17 helicopters provided by the Peruvians. One broke down immediately, causing a delay of a few days while a new part was flown in.Once the chopper was repaired, the mission netted just three arrests. Suspects vanished into the jungle at the sound of approaching aircraft.The team also torched five so-called paste labs, which perform the first stage of processing on coca plantations. These facilities are typically crude shacks where workers fill plastic barrels with coca leaves, gasoline, and other chemicals to form coca paste. This green-hued sludge is then transported to more sophisticated labs to be processed into white, powdery cocaine.But as the days passed, the paste seizures didn’t amount to much. Then came a potential break. An informant said a small plane carrying 300 kilograms (661.4 pounds) of coca paste had crashed during takeoff from a clandestine landing strip. There were another 700 kilograms (1,543.2 pounds) by the side of the runway, guarded by as many as 10 heavily armed men, according to the informant.Around noon the following day, a few dozen Peruvian police set off in the choppers. As the runway came into view, helicopter gunmen strafed it with machine-gun fire.But upon landing they found no armed guards, no drugs and no plane. They located the charred wreckage of a Beechcraft Baron 58, a Brazilian-owned aircraft, hacked up and left in the river. It, too, was empty.Topics : Years of rooting out drugs at the Brazilian seaport of Santos had given customs inspector Oswaldo Dias a good nose for suspicious cargo. A shipment of second-hand backhoes, bound for Europe late last year, seemed fishy.So on the morning of Nov. 18, Dias sent the machinery through a scanner, which revealed a strange mass lodged inside one of the excavator’s yellow arms. He hopped up for a look and saw cracks in the metal and a dodgy paint job. Dias called for a blowtorch.Inside, he found 158 kilograms of cocaine – almost 350 pounds of white powder – destined for the Belgian port of Antwerp.last_img read more

first_imgInvestment between the United States and China tumbled to a nine-year low in the first half of 2020, hit by bilateral tensions that could see more Chinese companies come under pressure to divest US operations, a research report said.Investment, both direct investment by companies and venture capital flows, between the two countries fell 16.2 percent to US$10.9 billion in January-June from the same period a year earlier – also hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, according to figures from consultancy Rhodium Group and the National Committee on US-China Relations, an NGO.That’s a far cry from half-yearly totals of nearly $40 billion seen in 2016 and 2017. Flows are unlikely to recover this year, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election, the report said, as “systemic concerns driving caution on Chinese investment in high technology, critical infrastructure and personal assets will not subside.”Citing national security risks posed by Chinese technology firms, US President Donald Trump’s administration has sharply expanded actions to hobble Chinese companies.This has included putting telecoms giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd on its trade blacklist, threatening similar action for Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp and ordering TikTok owner ByteDance to divest the short-form video app.ByteDance is currently seeking approval for a deal with Oracle Corp that is structured as a partnership rather than an outright sale.“At a time of rising discomfort with US-China technology integration numerous other companies – both Chinese firms operating in the US and US firms with a presence in China may be forced to divest,” the report said.It added that the US treatment of ByteDance and the broader shift away from US-China technology integration may lead to policies which make it more difficult for US tech firms to operate in China.Investment by US firms in China in the first half tumbled 31 percent to $4.1 billion, while investment by Chinese companies in the United States rose 38 percent to $4.7 billion, the report said. That was mostly due to one deal – a Tencent Music -led consortium’s purchase of a minority stake in Universal Music group for $3.4 billion.Topics :last_img read more

first_imgThe Guardian 30 March 2014One of the world’s leading neuroscientists, whose work has been acknowledged by work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, has suggested that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not “a real disease”.On the eve of a visit to Britain to meet Duncan Smith and the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, Dr Bruce D Perry told the Observer that the label of ADHD outlined a broad set of symptoms. “It is best thought of as a description. If you look at how you end up with that label, it is remarkable because any one of us at any given time would fit at least a couple of those criteria,” he said.Prescriptions for methylphenidate drugs, such as Ritalin, which are used to treat children diagnosed as suffering from ADHD, have soared by 56% in the UK, from 420,000 in 2007 to 657,000 in 2012. Such “psychostimulants” are thought to stimulate a part of the brain that changes mental and behavioural reactions.However, Perry, a senior fellow of the ChildTrauma Academy in Houston, Texas, said he was concerned that children were being labelled as having ADHD when that merely described the symptoms of a range of different physiological problems. The symptoms that lead to a diagnosis of ADHD include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness over a sustained period.Perry added that clinicians were also too readily prescribing psychostimulants to children when the evidence suggested there were no long-term benefits. Animal studies have raised concerns over the potential for damage to be done. read more

first_imgNZ Herald 3 October 2017Family First Comment: Breakdown of family and values = breakdown of schools. Sadly, it will only get worse. Teachers say they are struggling to cope with growing numbers of children who are violent – and often still in nappies.Two-thirds of 380 mainly primary and early childhood teachers raised their hands at the NZ Educational Institute conference in Rotorua when asked if they had been hit or assaulted by children recently.Ministry data provided to the institute shows that the number of primary school children given this interim support jumped by 41 per cent from 1512 in 2013 to 2134 last year.There was a similar 43 per cent jump, from 1775 to 2434, in the numbers of primary and intermediate school children stood down from schools because of physical assaults on other students or staff.But Oliver said there were now not enough behaviour specialists available to provide long-term support after a short-term intervention.“It’s not money that we want,” he said. “It’s experts to come in and give us support and advice.”Kindergarten teacher Helen Hansen said she has had problems with a boy since he started aged 1. Now aged 4, he is pushing other children around.“We restrain him. While we are restraining him he’s trying to head-butt you, bite you,” she said.She said that in theory the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki could bring in support from other agencies, but she was unable to get their help because the boy’s parents denied that there was a problem.“It’s heartbreaking. You have relationships with these children, you have loved them for a long time,” she said.“In an ideal world you’d have community hubs – people that come in and work with families and with children without needing parental permission.”An Oranga Tamariki spokesman said: “If a school or anyone has concern about the care and protection of an individual child they can contact us with their concerns and we will assess that child’s situation and if there is need for a response from Oranga Tamariki.”Ministry of Education head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said the ministry understood that schools “face real challenges supporting children who have complex learning and behaviour needs”.“Last year we spent about $95 million on behaviour assistance for about 10,000 children. This includes children receiving help from the Severe Behaviour Service and from specialist teachers in learning and behaviour,” she said.“In this year’s Budget, the Government provided an additional $69 million over four years to support children with additional learning and behaviour needs. This includes $34.7 million over four years to expand services for 1000 extra children with severe behavioural difficulties.”READ MORE: read more

first_imgSomali government troops backed by African Union forces on Friday captured the Shabaab stronghold of Dinsor, the second town seized from the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamists this week, the defence minister said.”Our forces have secured control of Dinsor, and the insurgents have fled after losing the battle… the troops are now conducting security operations to clear the town,” Somali Defence Minster, General Abdulkadir Sheikh Ali Dini told reporters.The fall of Dinsor comes after the capture by AU troops of the nearby town of Bardhere on Wednesday, some of the last key towns held by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamists.Witnesses confirmed the takeover of the southern town, saying the Shabaab fled ahead of government and Ethiopian troops with the AU force, pulling out of the town on Thursday afternoon. “Most of the residents fled so it looks like a ghost town,” said resident Mohamed Added, adding that the government troops were in control. “There are very few people remaining, most of them elderly.”The African Union Mission in Somalia, or Amisom, last week launched “Operation Jubba Corridor” – an offensive it said was aimed at flushing the insurgents out of rural areas in southern Somalia and which has involved Ethiopian and Kenyan forces, officials said.Witnesses have reported heavy casualties in the offensive with civilians caught up in the fighting.The Shebab is fighting to overthrow Somalia’s Western-backed government which is propped up and protected by the 22 000-strong Amisom force.last_img read more

first_img Promoted ContentWhat Happens To Your Brain When You Play Too Much Video Games?7 Things That Actually Ruin Your Phone6 Interesting Ways To Make Money With A Drone10 Greatest Disney Female Villains We Love Anyways7 Of The Wealthiest Universities In The WorldWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?8 Fascinating Facts About Coffee10 Extremely Gorgeous Asian Actresses15 Extremely Surprising Facts About Disney Princesses7 Universities In The World With The Highest Market ValueFantastic-Looking (and Probably Delicious) Bread Art5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme Parks The Daily Express says Arsenal are tracking Osimhen as a potential replacement for Aubameyang. Aubameyang looks set to leave this summer after failing to negotiate new terms at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners are keen to avoid a repeat of the scenario which saw Aaron Ramsey leave for free last summer, so will offload Aubameyang this summer to ensure they get a fee. Osimhen has scored 13 goals in 25 Ligue 1 starts this season.Advertisement Meanwhile, Osimhen has turned down an offer from Napoli. The Nigeria striker is being put up for sale by LOSC president Gerard Lopez as he seeks to balance the club’s books for next season. Napoli are keen, but Eurosport’s Manu Lonjon reports Osimhen has already turned down the Italians. read also:Lille agree to slash Osimhen’s price tag The striker also is fielding interest from England, where Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal are all keen. Lonjon says a decision from Osimhen is expected in the coming weeks. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Arsenal chiefs have identified Lille striker, Victor Osimhen, as a replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Loading… last_img read more

first_imgVersailles, In. — Bring the family to your local fishing hole Saturday, April 20, the first of four Indiana Free Fishing Days this year.On Free Fishing Days, Indiana residents can fish public waters without a fishing license or a salmon/trout stamp. Free Fishing Days are a great opportunity for families to learn to fish together because adults do not need a fishing license on those days. Children 17 and younger do not need a license on any day. A number of fishing events will be held on April 20:A Women’s Learn to Fish workshop will be held at St. Patrick’s County Park in South Bend from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Advanced registration is required; register online at or by calling 574-674-9765.A Family Learn to Fish workshop will take place at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge in Seymour from 9 a.m. to noon. Advance registration is required by calling 812-522-4352 x12 or emailing Find more information at Parks are also hosting Free Fishing Day events. You can find a list of State Park events at information about all Free Fishing Day events can be found at read more