Understanding the Financial Health of Nova Scotia Communities

first_imgNova Scotia’s municipalities now have a powerful tool to help them assess their own fiscal health. With the recent release of two more years of data, all Nova Scotians now have a clearer picture of the opportunities and challenges facing their communities. I believe that can lead to better decision-making for all of us. The Financial Condition Index is an annual report that looks at the areas of revenue, budget, and debt and capital assets for municipalities. The index can help municipal elected officials and administrators prepare budgets, identify capital improvements and develop business plans. This initiative was a recommendation by the Towns Task Force, which identified long-term viability of municipalities as an important objective. The Towns Task Force defined viability as a state where a municipality is capable, both in the short and long term, of providing a basic level of service to residents and businesses at an affordable cost that is sufficient to support those services. It recognized there are situations where the long-term viability of a municipality is in doubt, even though it may be doing fine at that moment. The Towns Task Force believed residents should decide the future of their communities. However, it was felt they must have adequate information to guide the decision-making process. That recommendation led the provincial government, the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities (UNSM) and the Association of Municipal Administrators to develop financial condition indicators. The Financial Condition Index is created from information provided by each municipality, which then reviews and verifies the data. The index shows where a town or rural municipality is having challenges and allows them to engage citizens. Cumberland County Warden and UNSM president Keith Hunter says the index is a good source of information showing how a municipality is doing and making it more accountable. The public is able to see how a municipal unit is doing, while elected officials and administrators can see what they’re doing right and what can be improved. Greg Herrett, chief administrative officer for the Town of Amherst, believes the index is a good benchmarking tool and allows staff to analyze the results against others and have discussions with colleagues across the province. Amherst has had an inquiry from another town about its tax collection results. Westville Mayor Roger MacKay says some of the Financial Condition Index indicators are out of the town’s direct control but it is making positive progress on others and appreciates the index as a tool to guide it to future success. Kentville Mayor Dave Corkum says the index represents an opportunity for municipalities to do things in a different way. I will continue to work collaboratively with municipalities and the UNSM to bring positive outcomes for citizens. I consider the index to be a valuable tool that allows the provincial government to work with municipalities, helping them manage these financial challenges. The intent of the Financial Condition Index is to have municipalities, citizens and the provincial government better informed about the financial health of our communities. This information will empower all of us to make good, evidence-based decisions. -30-last_img read more

Draft on new Constitution not yet ready talks continuing

The Government also insisted that there is no truth to claims that existing clauses in the Constitution on Buddhism have been removed or will be amended. “There is no truth to claims that clauses are being included to the new Constitution,” the Prime Ministers office added. According to the Government, discussions held so far on the proposed new Constitution were only on the Executive Presidential system, a new electoral system and devolution of powers to the provinces. (Colombo Gazette) The Government today insisted that a draft of the new Constitution is not yet ready and that discussions are still ongoing.The Prime Minister’s office dismissed reports that a draft of the proposed new Constitution has been prepared.

Large gender gaps remain across global labour market UN agency reports

Despite some modest gains in some regions in the world, millions of women are losing ground in their quest for equality in the world of work, according to a new report prepared by the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) as part of the its Women at Work Centenary Initiative . “The report shows the enormous challenges women continue to face in finding and keeping decent jobs,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder in a press release.“Our actions must be immediate, effective and far-reaching. There is no time to waste. The 2030 Agenda is an opportunity to pool our efforts and develop coherent, mutually supporting policies for gender equality,” he added.The report, Women at Work: Trends 2016 examined data for up to 178 countries and concludes that inequality between women and men persists across a wide spectrum of the global labour market. What’s more, the report shows that over the last two decades, significant progress made by women in education has not translated into comparable improvements in their position at work. Employment gender gap closed by 0.6 points since 1995 At the global level, the employment gender gap has closed by only 0.6 percentage points since 1995, with an employment-to-population ratio of 46 per cent for women and almost 72 per cent for men in 2015. In 2015, 586 million women were working as own-account and contributing family workers across the world. As globally, the share of those who work in a family enterprise (contributing family workers) has decreased significantly among women (by 17 percentage points over the last 20 years) and to a lesser extent among men (by 8.1 percentage points), the global gender gap in contributing family work is reduced to 11 percentage points. Although 52.1 per cent of women and 51.2 per cent of men in the labour market are wage and salaried workers, the report shows that this in itself constitutes no guarantee of higher job quality. Globally, 38 per cent of women and 36 per cent of men in wage employment do not contribute to social protection. The proportions for women reach 63.2 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa and 74.2 per cent in southern Asia where informal employment is the dominant form of employment. The report also provides new data for up to 100 countries on paid and unpaid working hours and access to maternity protection and pensions. Women work longer hours Women continue to work longer hours per day than men in both paid and unpaid work. In both high and lower income countries, on average, women carry out at least two and a half times more unpaid household and care work than men. In addition, across more than 100 countries surveyed, more than one third of employed men (35.5 per cent) and more than one fourth of employed women (25.7 per cent) work more than 48 hours a week. This also affects the unequal distribution of unpaid household and care work between women and men. The cumulative disadvantage faced by women in the labour market has a significant impact in later years. In terms of pensions, coverage (both legal and effective) is lower for women than men, leaving an overall gender social protection coverage gap. Globally, the proportion of women above retirement age receiving a pension is on average 10.6 percentage points lower than that of men. Globally, women represent nearly 65 per cent of people above retirement age (60-65 or older according to national legislation in the majority of countries) without any regular pension. This means some 200 million women in old age are living without any regular income from an old age or survivor’s pension, compared to 115 million men. On average, women earn 77 per cent less than men In terms of wages, the results in the report confirm previous ILO estimates that globally, women still earn on average 77 per cent of what men earn. The report notes that this wage gap cannot be explained solely by differences in education or age. The gap can be linked to the undervaluation of the work women undertake and of the skills required in female-dominated sectors or occupations, discrimination, and the need for women to take career breaks or reduce hours in paid work to attend to additional care responsibilities such as child care. Though there has been some small improvement in reducing gender wage gaps, if current trends prevail, the report confirms estimates that it will take more than 70 years to close the gender wage gaps completely. Getting to Equal by 2030 The ILO theme for International Women’s Day 2016, observed worldwide on 8 March, is “Getting to Equal by 2030: The Future is Now,” reflecting the urgency of addressing these gaps if the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are to be achieved. Nearly all of the agenda’s goals have a gender component. “Achieving gender equality at work, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is an essential precondition for realizing sustainable development that leaves no one behind and ensures that the future of work is decent work for all women and men,” said Shauna Olney, Chief of the ILO’s Gender, Equality and Diversity Branch. According to ILO, more jobs – and quality jobs – for women, universal social protection and measures to recognize, reduce and redistribute unpaid care and household work are indispensable to delivering on the new transformative agenda. Working alongside her male team member, a woman employee checks the quality of work at a dam under construction in Sri Lanka. Photo: World Bank/Lakshman Nadaraja read more

Breakfast at Bebetos All you need to know from last nights World

first_imgLAST NIGHT WE waved goodbye to the Belgians and gave every last one of that Costa Rican squad a big tearful hug.We’re down to four World Cup teams and (sniff) just four games remain at the greatest show on earth. Source: Martin MeissnerThe Netherlands needed 120 minutes plus penalties before they could finally wriggle clear of Costa Rica and into the semi-finals.The Oranje threw everything at the South Americans during a dramatic two hours, but Keylor Navas continued his marvellous form in this World Cup to, somehow, keep Holland at bay. Source: Frank AugsteinMarc Wilmots talked an aggressive game pre-match, and his players were emotional after the final whistle. But during the contest they looked like a side lacking belief that they actually had what it took to knock out the two-time World Champions.Joga BonitoThe weight on this pass almost made the entire football world faint yesterday afternoon.https://vine.co/v/MUQQmUiIFJuWhat we’ve got to look forward to todayNada. You might as well go hibernate until semi-final Tuesday.Twitter was loving Brian Kerr’s commentary for Argentina-BelgiumKrul exit for Costa Rica as Netherlands hold their nerve to reach World Cup semi-final Source: Matt DunhamNavas was denied his moment in the limelight, however, as Tim Krul made it easy for all od us to write headlines. The Newcastle ‘keeper came off the bench late in extra-time and was unleashed to save two penalties from a Costa Rican side who were beginning to look indestructible.The earlier game saw Argentina claim the first berth in the second semi-final. Gonzalo Higuain’s glorious snapshot volley allowing them follow the script of Friday’s quarter-final, holding  Belgium at arm’s length to push their behind-enemy-lines operation into an even stronger position.WinnerNot for the first time, we’re giving the gong to Louis Van Gaal today. Had Holland failed to get past Costa Rica there would have been serious criticism of the coach, but he sent out a team that created a host of chances. Source: Natacha PisarenkoAnd, when the chips really went down, he showed he had had the foresight to pre-plan a penalty shoot-out strategy and was brave enough to follow through on it by sending Tim Krul onto the field seconds before the final whistle in extra-time.LoserOn paper there’s no great shame in losing to Argentina, but Belgium will board their flight home wondering how they allowed a flawed (admittedly with one untouchable talent) side shorn of a potent counter-attacking weapon off the hook so lightly.last_img read more

The Evzones are coming to Oakleigh

first_imgThis month will see Melbourne and the City of Monash welcome Greece’s famous Evzone Guard to Australia.As the Presidential Guard of the Hellenic Republic, this important ceremonial military unit guards the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Presidential Mansion in Athens, and with its iconic and distinctive historic uniform, the Evzone is known the world over.We welcome their visit to Melbourne also as a tribute to the link between Greece and Australia through our Anzac tradition, for indeed the Evzones are inextricably linked to Australia’s Anzac tradition.When war broke out in 1939, Melbourne’s Hellenic community joined with the rest of Victorian’s to support the war effort and send much needed aid to the civilian victims of the Axis invasion of Greece, and so was born the famous Greek Days which were held across Australia.Nearly 100,000 people flocked to Melbourne’s CBD in February 1940 in one of the biggest Greek Day rallies ever held during the war. Greek and Australian flags featured at these popular events – and of course photographs from the time show young local Greek-Australians dressed in the famous evzone uniform.Australian soldiers and their Greek comrades on the Acropolis, Athens. 25th March 1941. Photograph Damien Parer. Australian War Memorial.The iconic uniform would also feature in one of the most famous photographs taken as the Australian troops arrived in Greece. War photographer Damien Parer arrived in Athens with the Anzacs in March 1941. Walking across the Acropolis, Damien came across a group of Australian soldiers chatting with their Greek comrades – three Evzone guards on Greece’s National Day – 25th March – in 1941. This image would typify the strength of the connection between Greece and Australia, forged in war and enriched with the waves of post-war migration.What better location for them to celebrate this link but in Melbourne – the largest home of Greece’s overseas diaspora – and in Oakleigh, one of Melbourne’s distinctive Hellenic precincts.Oakleigh’s link to Greece’s Anzac connection goes back to Private William Withers who served in the Gallipoli campaign in 1915 and is buried on the Island of Lemnos, in the waters of the northern Aegean while Oakleigh’s War emorial was re-dedicated by Brigadier Ned Herring, an Australian artillery officer who served both in the Salonika Front in the First World War and in the Greek campaign of 1941.These are only some of the reasons why the visit of the Greece’s iconic Evzone Guard to Melbourne – the largest home of Greece’s overseas diaspora – and to Oakleigh – provides an opportunity for all Australians to celebrate the Hellenic link to Anzac. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Vancouver man pleads guilty to fatally shooting wife

first_imgA 73-year-old Vancouver man pleaded guilty Tuesday in Clark County Superior Court to shooting and killing his wife of more than 20 years on Nov. 12 over a monetary dispute related to their pending divorce.Victor W. Frye, a retired U.S. Postal Service employee, will be sentenced at 10 a.m. Feb. 1 by Judge Daniel Stahnke.Frye, represented by court-appointed defense attorney Gerald Wear, agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced charge and faces fewer years in prison as a result. Frye was initially charged with first-degree murder; he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.He faces a sentence of 183 to 280 months, according to state sentencing guidelines, said Deputy Prosecutor Dan Gasperino. The deputy prosecutor said he would recommend the maximum sentence.Frye shot his 67-year-old wife, Nita, twice Nov. 12 after learning her plans for the couple’s money following their divorce, according to court documents. He was arrested the next day.Police responded Nov. 12 to the Frye home in a gated community at 3414 N.E. 83rd Ave. and found Nita Frye lying in the bathroom covered with a blanket.last_img read more

Microsoft doesnt use customers data for profit CEO Satya Nadella

first_imgA Microsoft logo is seen on an office building in New York City in this July 28, 2015 file photo. Microsoft Corp announced more big cuts to its smartphone business on Wednesday.REUTERS/Mike Segar/FilesIn an apparent jibe against rivals Google and Facebook, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said the company doesn’t use customers’ personal data for profit, unlike some other firms.In an interview with The Times on Monday, Nadella said the company “had chosen not to squeeze the last drop of revenue from the troves of user data on its Bing search engine and the Linkedin social network, which it bought in 2016″.LinkedIn, which Microsoft bought for $26 billion, has over 560 million users and Bing is the number 3 search engine globally.”We don’t want to overmonetise. If anything, one of the things we’ve done is to is to make sure that the utility is maximised for the users,” Nadella was quoted as saying.Nadella’s comments “draw a sharp divide between Microsoft and other large American technology companies, which have been criticised for abusing the personal information of their users”.At a Microsoft event in London last week, Nadella called on technology companies to defend users’ privacy as the human right, urging firms and governments to collectively work together to protect the most vulnerable section in society.Nadella applauded the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as the first step towards securing data privacy.”All of us will have to think about the digital experiences we create to treat privacy as a human right,” Nadella was quoted as saying.”GDPR as a piece of legislation, a piece of regulation is a great start and we’ve done a lot of hard work to become compliant with GDPR.”Amid increasing data breaches, tech giants are busy deliberating on how to ensure privacy and security for the users.”Customers must be in control of their data. It is our collective responsibility to keep the data safe,” the Microsoft CEO had emphasised in May.”We have the responsibility to ensure that the new-age technology is empowering everyone, creating equitable growth for all while creating employment on the global scale.”last_img read more

Google Maps Speed Limit Signs Are Spotted in More US Cities

first_img Easily Assign Tasks With Google AssistantLGBTQ+ Video Creators Sue YouTube, Google Stay on target Google Maps is making its speed limit signs more accessible for drivers across the U.S.On Wednesday, Google Maps users in Los Angeles, New York City, and Minnesota spotted the speed limit feature on their smartphones, Android Police reported. The feature, which was introduced in 2017, was previously only working in two metropolitan areas: Rio de Janeiro and San Francisco.#HeyGoogle, take me to work.Now you can use the Google Assistant hands-free to have a productive and safe commute → https://t.co/nfIuqi3Glm pic.twitter.com/wOjLTIPf1g— Google Maps (@googlemaps) January 14, 2019AdChoices广告The speed limit feature is easy to see: It appears on the left side of users’ smartphone screens, so they’ll be alerted right away if they have to drive faster or slower on their trip. Google Maps also notifies drivers how long it will take if they choose another route. For example, if a driver decides to make a right turn, Google Maps will say “8 min slower” or “2 min slower” if their directions change.It’s unknown if Google is rolling out the speed limit feature in more destinations, however, Google Maps has recently received more updates, Engadget reported. In November, Google Maps conducted a speed traps test, which will help it improve car incident evaluations in the future. Last year, Google Maps also added EV charging station information for electric car drivers, so they can juice up their vehicles on the go.More on Geek.com:Google Translate Adds More Languages to Wikipedia Article EditingGoogle Assistant Will Soon Be Available on One Billion DevicesFCC Approves Google’s ‘Soli’ Radar-Based Motion Sensorlast_img read more

Virtual Reality Is About to Change Your Business

first_img 6 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now » Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. April 12, 2017 Oh, how far virtual reality has come in recent times. In its fledgling years, virtual reality (VR) was simply thought of as a new frontier in gaming technology, where players could immerse themselves in their favorite gaming worlds. While there have been many iterations of the gaming device over the past few decades, the Oculus Rift has most notably brought the concept of VR to the consumer forefront in the 2010’s.But virtual reality and augmented reality (AR) have found their way into more practical uses outside the realm of gaming. Developers are experimenting with real-life simulation software, such as one that allows the user to climb Mount Everest from the comfort of their home. Psychologists are also hopping on the VR trend, using the technology to combat phobias and other, more serious mental illnesses. With the help of AR, you can even shop for furniture — new technologies are allowing shoppers to transpose various furnishings into a photo of their home.Related: Virtual Reality: Changing Shopping ExperiencesStill, all of these applications are relatively novel ideas. Perhaps the most impactful use of VR and AR we will see in coming years is in the world of business. I had the chance to speak with Taylor Freeman, CEO of Upload, Inc., about some of the important ways businesses can use virtual reality to communicate, envision and expedite their projects and operations in ways that we have never seen before.Reduce business travel.You are probably sick of dealing with the security checks, long lines and crying infants that are synonymous with business travel. Luckily, with the advances in voice and video conferencing in recent years, you may soon be able to forego a few flights each year. However, this form of communication can often be unreliable, and it still doesn’t truly connect you with your constituents across great distances. Enter the concept of VR meetings. It’s exactly as it sounds — you put on your VR headset and are transported to a virtual space occupied by your colleagues, business partners or potential customers. Or rather an avatar meant to represent them. Now, you may ask, “How is that better than a video conference?”Jeremy Bailenson, director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, says that as the technology gets more sophisticated, VR business calls will usher in more nuanced nonverbal communication that is lost in today’s video conferences. He imagines that one day users might be able to enable touch and smell, should they so desire.“Current digital meeting solutions are inherently flawed,” said Freeman. “Only one person can speak at a time and the video and audio always seem to have problems. When you attend a meeting in VR, you are able to share the same sense of place with multiple others, interact naturally with 3D objects and speak one-on-one with others as you would in the real world.”Unfortunately, the utilization of these virtual meetings is still largely experimental, so you might want to keep racking up those frequent flyer miles for the time being.Enhance collaborative efforts.Let’s say you’re an architect. You spend countless hours toiling away to create a blueprint in your favorite architectural software. You put the finishing touches on your mock-up and email the project file to a senior colleague or your customer for a critique. You wait patiently and nervously for a response, only to hear back hours or perhaps days later that your design was a disaster and that you need to start over. You throw your hands up in frustration and sit down to try again. Collaboration with the client or managing partner earlier if not throughout the design process might well have averted the crisis, but how?Related: This Couple Is Amalgamating Virtual Reality with Architectural VisualizationCollaborative business efforts conducted in VR or AR could one day make email seem as antiquated as the Pony Express. Imagine being able to analyze a new prototype for a car engine with your colleagues in a virtual space in real-time, or visualize the schematics of a solar panel installation before even going to the project work site. John Restrick, chief technology officer for Cisco Systems’ collaboration technology group, identifies these virtual and augmented technologies as a paramount asset to Cisco’s collaborative work in the future. “All of these scenarios involve connecting people, letting them exchange information efficiently and letting them collaborate around content,” Restrick said.A business’s success is measured by its ability to operate efficiently, and these virtual work spaces will dramatically reduce fumbling with communicative or strategic inconsistencies.Make humans more efficient and healthy.We humans are feeble, easily-damaged creatures. Recently, studies have found that sitting all day at work stunts brain activity and carries a myriad of health issues. Additionally, repetitive motions like typing on a keyboard and clicking a mouse can ignite further complications down the road. In light of these findings, it may be time for us to be a little bit more mobile in our workplace.Virtual reality can help us do just that. A VR environment is an exciting place to be — it will encourage people to stand up and move around at work. Furthermore, the controls used to interact in the virtual space are much more ergonomic than typing and clicking on a computer.Here in the early stages of VR development, the controls and functions in VR can seem toilsome and inefficient. However, as the technology improves and people become more savvy, we can expect to see a huge uptick in human efficiency in the virtual world. And we’re making headway quickly. “VR is already having a profound impact on our physical and mental health,” Freeman said. “Paraplegics are regaining control of their bodies, PTSD victims are successfully recovering, doctors are using VR simulations to successfully prepare for advanced surgery, along with many other examples. Immersive technology is unlocking the next generation of healthcare.”Related: 5 Trends Reinventing HealthcareThe full acceptance and adoption of VR and AR in the workplace may be a few years off, but we get closer and closer every day to creating an amazing technology that will help better connect and inspire us, and will improve the overall way in which we conduct business.last_img read more

Summer Sale Xiaomis IndustryLeading Robot Vacuum Cleaner Hits Its Lowest Price Yet

first_img Share Tweet Submit Intelligent Route PlanningLaser Distance Sensor ( LDS ) allows the robot to scan its surroundings at 360 degrees, 1800 times per second, with the Simultaneous Localization and Mapping algorithm to map out the interiors of your home and then provides real-time planning routes, edge cleaning followed by Z-shaped cleaning according to the surroundingsYikes! Roborock S50 details and specs (taken from GB):2 in 1 Sweep and MopDouble cleaning: sweep first and then mop the floorThe filter is root-inspired when the mopping pad is served as leaves to control water flow like a living organism. It can mop the floor constantly for 45 – 60 minutes Three-dimensional Vacuum Cleaning SystemWith its vacuum system, the robot empower your house a super cleaning like a tornado, with no dust, debris, granule, or any other wastes left, so clean and smooth that you can walk with bare feet on the floorAPP Remote ControlCustomized cleaning area is available, just one click to set wherever you wanna clean with the map in your phone5200mAh Large Capacity BatteryThe robot carries 5200mAh Li-ion battery which ensures 2.5 hours cleaning for a house of 250sq.m in full charge2000Pa Super SuctionWith a strong power, the robot absorbs all the debris, steel beads, soybeans, dust, millet or any other wastes all in a suddenAlmighty Helper– 2cm obstacle climbing– 2mm Rubber Bumper– 360 degrees LDS pressure sensor– 4 anti-drop stair sensors– 10mm laser edge sensor– Auto power-off after leaving the floor– Automatic self-recharging sensorHead over here to grab Roborock S50 for just $419.99 for a limited time only. Not ready for this commitment? You can also get the original Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum Cleaner, now available for only $289.99 with code IT$APXMV. Roborock S50 We may have been a little judgemental initially about vacuum cleaners carrying “robot” in their names, but we definitely couldn’t resist falling for them once we started testing these robot vacuum cleaners. In an in-depth review, some of our readers agreed that this is probably the only smart product available right now that is worth your money.By having something that can clean up for you in your absence, at scheduled times, while requiring little to no monitoring, robot vacuum cleaners are essentially removing you from this mundane daily routine (beach people would understand why this has to be, unfortunately, a daily thing).Personally, I have only tried three different smart vacuum cleaners so I would avoid calling myself an expert but out of these three (two from the same company) that I have so far tested, Xiaomi’s second-generation Roborock S50 definitely takes the cake. The product carries a premium look that sets it apart from the usual plasticky looks and is also extremely easy to use, partially thanks to Tesla’s mapping technologies. Perhaps, one of the very very few “tech” products that require nearly zero learning curve.Get second-generation Xiaomi Robot Vacuum Cleaner (Roborock S50) for $419.99 with code IT$APRBSIf you have been waiting for the right time to automate your home or office cleaning process, now is a good time with summer promotions going in full force. When we bought our Roborock S50, it cost us over $500. However, the second generation robot vacuum cleaner is available for only $419.99 until July 15 (or until the stock lasts).Head over to this link to get Roborock S50 for $419. Add the product to the cart and use coupon code IT$APRBS during checkout to get the price down. [Right now, the sale price is mentioned right on the product page but this could change depending on the stock, in which case, the above code would help.]If you missed our previous coverage, you can head over here for a small review of Xiaomi robot vacuum cleaner. Roborock S50 took the industry by a storm by featuring Tesla-like mapping technologies. The vacuum cleaner basically uses a laser distance system to scan the room and utilizes a SLAM algorithm (simultaneous localization and mapping) to convert that into a readable map of the floor.last_img read more

The Evolution of Breast Imaging Technology

first_img Technology | Mammography Reporting Software | July 25, 2019 Hologic Partners With MagView to Develop Unifi EQUIP Solution Hologic announced a partnership with mammography information solutions provider MagView to develop Unifi EQUIP, an… read more Feature | Breast Imaging | October 03, 2017 | By Jeff Zagoudis The Evolution of Breast Imaging Technology As the cancer-masking effects and increased risks of breast density become more understood, mammography is no longer the one-size-fits-all approach Hologic’s new Brevera breast biopsy system allows real-time tissue sample collection and verification on one system.When it comes to breast imaging, mammography has long been the gold standard among breast cancer detection technologies. But as the cancer-masking effects and increased risks of dense fibroglandular breast tissue become better understood by both healthcare professionals and patients, mammography is no longer feasible as a one-size-fits-all approach to breast cancer screening. Radiologists of all subspecialties are also having to become more efficient as workloads continue to increase.“With new focus on population health and value-based healthcare payment models, our customers need to be extremely effective in getting to a clinical answer,” said Tracy Accardi, global vice president of research and development at Hologic. Recent advances in breast imaging technology — from acquisition to image processing, analysis and sharing — are geared toward helping radiologists tackle these challenges. Technology | Artificial Intelligence | July 18, 2019 Paragon Biosciences Launches Qlarity Imaging to Advance FDA-cleared AI Breast Cancer Diagnosis System Paragon Biosciences LLC announced the launch of its seventh portfolio company, Qlarity Imaging LLC, which was founded… read more News | Artificial Intelligence | August 13, 2019 Artificial Intelligence Could Yield More Accurate Breast Cancer Diagnoses University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system that… read more Technology | Breast Biopsy Systems | July 24, 2019 Fujifilm Releases Tomosynthesis Biopsy Option for Aspire Cristalle Mammography System Fujifilm Medical Systems U.S.A. Inc. recently expanded its breast imaging solutions with the launch of its… read more TomosynthesisDigital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), also known as 3-D mammography, was first put into clinical use in the early 2000s. In traditional 2-D mammography, images of the breast are captured in a single flat view, with lesions showing as white over a background of gray tissue. In breasts with high fibroglandular density, however, the cancer can be masked by the white dense tissue. Tomosynthesis images are built with layers, allowing radiologists to see past the dense tissue to the cancer underneath.One of the newest offerings hit the market in January when Fujifilm received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) premarket approval (PMA) for the DBT option on its Aspire Cristalle full-field digital mammography (FFDM) system. Fujfilm’s hexagonal close pattern (HCP) detector design forms the backbone of the tomosynthesis option. According to the company, traditional mammography systems — which feature square pixels — have a weakness in the electric field intensity between pixels due to the right angles, meaning that some of the converted X-ray information is not collected. The hexagonal pixel design of Aspire Cristalle features no right angles, improving overall electric field intensity, increasing the efficiency of signal capture and resulting in a higher-quality image.Siemens Healthineers also received FDA approval for tomosynthesis add-on technology this year, introducing High Definition Breast Tomosynthesis in April. A new option for the Mammomat Inspiration digital mammography system, High Definition Breast Tomosynthesis uses advanced algorithms to enhance image quality. Dubbed EMPIRE technology (Enhanced Multiple Parameter Iterative Reconstruction), it uses advanced iterative reconstruction and machine learning algorithms to deliver sharp 3-D reconstructions. EMPIRE was approved for use only in 3-D exams, but it also includes Insight 2-D and 3-D, which creates a synthetic software-generated visualization of tomosynthesis volumes in both 2-D and 3-D.While mammogram image quality is the primary concern of the radiologist, discomfort has long been the biggest complaint about the exam for patients. Compression of the breast is required to obtain an optimal image, and patients may be required to maintain an uncomfortable position during the exam. In recent years, mammography vendors have been working to improve the patient experience as well as the technology. GE Healthcare’s newest mammography system, the Senographe Pristina — introduced at the 2016 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual meeting and launched in the U.S. in March — was designed on such a patient-centric philosophy. All parts of the machine in contact with the patient’s breasts have gentle, rounded corners for greater comfort, and new armrests allow the pectoral muscles to relax for easier positioning. Perhaps most importantly, patients can set their own compression level with a handheld remote. “Senographe Pristina offers patients a reinvented mammography experience, one that had not significantly changed for the last 40 years,” said Kathy Schilling, M.D., medical director of the Christine E. Lynn Women’s Health and Wellness Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital (Fla.). Each method is suited for particular applications. BSGI, for example, is often employed as a mammography adjunct to differentiate scar tissue from cancer recurrence, to screen patients contraindicated for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and/or to investigate indeterminate mammographic findings. PEM is often employed for presurgical staging and planning, evaluation of axillary lymph nodes, neoadjuvant chemotherapy response monitoring and to look for recurrent disease.1Though it has only been in clinical use for a relatively short time, the effectiveness of MBI in detecting mammographically occult breast cancers has played out in several studies. Most recently, an August 2016 trial published in the American Journal of Roentgenology retrospectively assessed 1,696 women with dense breasts and negative mammography results who were subsequently screened using MBI. A total of 13 cancers were detected: 11 were invasive, one was node positive and one had unknown node positivity. Cancers ranged in size from 0.6 to 2.4 cm (mean 1.1 cm).In total, the incremental cancer detection rate was 7.7 percent, recall rate was 8.4 percent and the biopsy rate was limited to 3.7 percent.2 The number of commercially available MBI systems is currently limited to two — the LumaGEM MBI system from Gamma Medica and the Dilon 6800 from Dilon Diagnostics. Both systems were introduced in 2011. News | PACS | August 09, 2019 Lake Medical Imaging Selects Infinitt for Multi-site RIS/PACS Infinitt North America will be implementing Infinitt RIS (radiology information system)/PACS (picture archiving and… read more References1. Shirazi, Parvez M.D. “Pros and Cons of Molecular Breast Imaging Tools,” Imaging Technology News, July 25, 2012.2. Shermis, Robin B., Wilson, Keith D., Doyle,  Malcolm T., et al. “Supplemental Breast Cancer Screening With Molecular Breast Imaging for Women With Dense Breast Tissue,” American Journal of Roentgenology, August 2016 FacebookTwitterLinkedInPrint分享 Related Content Feature | Artificial Intelligence | July 19, 2019 | Michal Chorev AI Models Predict Breast Cancer With Radiologist-level Accuracy Breast cancer is the global leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women, and the most commonly diagnosed cancer… read more Related Breast Imaging ContentNew Technology and Clinical Data in Breast ImagingVIDEO: Personalized Breast Screening and Breast DensityNew Technology and Clinical Data in Breast ImagingThe Evolution of Breast Imaging TechnologyVIDEO: Innovative Breast Cancer Screening for Women With Dense Breast Tissue Qlarity Imaging’s software is used to assist radiologists in the assessment and characterization of breast lesions. Imaging features are synthesized by an artificial intelligence algorithm into a single value, the QI score, which is analyzed relative to a database of reference abnormalities with known ground truth. Image courtesy of Business Wire. News | Mammography | August 14, 2019 Imago Systems Announces Collaboration With Mayo Clinic for Breast Imaging Image visualization company Imago Systems announced it has signed a know-how license with Mayo Clinic. The multi-year… read more Image courtesy of Imago Systems News | Mammography Reporting Software | July 26, 2019 Ikonopedia Releases Automated Combined Reporting Package at AHRA Ikonopedia showcased its recently released Automated Combined Reporting package and its entire suite of structured… read more All key performance indicators (KPIs) tracked by the applications are presented via dynamic, interactive dashboards. These and other quality metrics are updated with each mammogram or tomography examination, and can help facilities comply with the FDA’s Enhancing Quality Using the Inspection Program (EQUIP) mammography quality assessment initiative.  Visualization Software EnhancementsWhile imaging system advances have helped improve the quality and workflow of acquisition, other technologies are enhancing the processing, analysis and sharing of breast imaging data.Konica Minolta Healthcare offers a mammography module for its Exa PACS, which includes a multimodality zero-footprint viewer to eliminate the need for a dedicated breast imaging workstation. “Three-dimensional mammography exams are significantly larger than 2-D exams, and they can take much longer to open and read,” said Emily Lafella, women’s imaging product and sales specialist with Konica Minolta. Exa Mammo offers server-side rendering that Lafella said reduces network traffic up to 60 percent. She noted that the software has diagnostic-grade viewing capabilities.Other recent software launches have been aimed at helping breast radiologists improve cancer detection. iCAD received FDA approval in March for its PowerLook Tomo Detection. Available on the PowerLook Breast Health Solutions platform, the application is designed for concurrent reading with tomosynthesis exams. It analyzes each layer of a tomo exam using machine learning algorithms (also known as artificial intelligence) for suspicious findings, then blends the findings onto a 2-D synthetic image, speeding up the interpretation process.At the 2017 annual meeting of the Association for Medical Imaging Management (AHRA) in July, Volpara Solutions introduced Volpara Enterprise DDP, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering combining its VolparaDensity, VolparaDose and VolparaPressure tools. Breast radiologists can now access all three quantitative assessment applications through a subscription-based model. Each application adds a different dimension to breast imaging assessment: •    VolparaDensity provides objective, quantitative assessment of fibroglandular breast density, assigning a Volpara Density Grade to each image.•    VolparaDose computes the radiation dose delivered to the patient based on individual breast density, delivering a personalized mean glandular dose (MGD). This provides a more accurate estimation of patient dose than most manufacturer systems, which is often based on phantom measurements; and•    VolparaPressure helps monitor and optimize mammographic compression during the exam. News | Breast Imaging | August 02, 2019 Volpara to Distribute Screenpoint Medical’s Transpara AI Solution Volpara Solutions and ScreenPoint Medical BV signed an agreement under which Volpara will sell ScreenPoint’s Transpara… read more •    Localization accuracy test (daily);•    Phantom imaging (weekly);•    Printer QC (monthly);•    Visual checklist (monthly);•    Compression (semi-annually);•    Repeat analysis (quarterly);•    Zero alignment test (per manufacturer); and•    Dark room testing (if using film screen). IBM collected a dataset of 52,936 images from 13,234 women who underwent at least one mammogram between 2013 and 2017, and who had health records for at least one year prior to the mammogram. The algorithm was trained on 9,611 mammograms. Image courtesy of Radiology. News | Ultrasound Women’s Health | July 11, 2019 FDA Clears Koios DS Breast 2.0 AI-based Software Koios Medical announced its second 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Tomosynthesis-guided BiopsiesBreast imaging plays an important role in the second component of cancer diagnosis — tissue biopsy to confirm visual findings. For the procedure to be successful, there has to be strong correlation between what is seen on the mammogram and the biopsy system’s findings. According to Rachael Bennett, BHS, R.T.(R)(T) and Julie Johnson ofMD Buyline, when DBT first came into clinical use, many biopsy systems — especially prone biopsy systems — were still using FFDM technology. This led to clinicians being unable to identify the lesion(s) found on the 3-D mammogram when the patient was on the biopsy table.“It’s imperative that clinicians are able to biopsy using the modality on which they’ve found a suspicious area,” stressed Accardi.“When you do tomosynthesis, you can find the precise slice where the lesion is, so the needle can be centrally located,” said William Geiser, MS, DABR, senior medical physicist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston during the 2017 American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) meeting in July. Geiser added that this capability is especially helpful for asymmetric lesions, as it is easier to get above and below the lesion.Hologic became the first (and to date only) mammography vendor to offer a tomosynthesis-guided biopsy system when the Affirm prone biopsy table got FDA approval in April 2016. Then in late August of this year, the company announced the launch of the Brevera breast biopsy system with CorLumina imaging technology, which allows real-time biopsy and verification all on one system, potentially saving up to 10 minutes per patient and cutting the procedure time up to 25 percent, according to Hologic. The tissue sample collection and separation is automated, and the Brevera can integrate directly with the picture archiving and communication system (PACS) to streamline image sharing and transfer of patient records.Geiser noted that there are currently no manufacturer-provided quality control (QC) programs for tomosynthesis-guided biopsy, and his advice to the audience at AAPM was to “do what you think is best.” He suggested a number of QC procedures that technologists can perform, including: Molecular Breast Imaging Molecular breast imaging (MBI) offers a supplemental screening choice when mammogram results are inconclusive. While mammography provides an anatomical assessment of the breast, MBI works to detect cancers via metabolic activity in the breast.At present there are two different types of molecular breast imaging: •   Breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI) tracks blood flow via uptake of the radiotracer sestamibi. A single one-dimensional image is captured per view similar to mammography using a small-field-of-view gamma camera; and•    High-resolution positron emission mammography (PEM), which uses the PET tracer F18-FDG to track glucose activity. read morelast_img read more

Smokers hit hard by new limit

first_imgCommencing 1 September, as part of this year’s Federal budget, duty free limits on Tobacco are being reduced from 250 cigarettes to 50 or 50 grams of cigars or tobacco products.This new limit applies to all tobacco products in accompanied baggage, regardless of where or how they were purchased.The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service has warned that if passengers exceed the duty free concession they will be charged duty and tax on all items of that type (general goods, alcohol or tobacco), not just the items which exceed the limit.The general goods and alcohol duty-free concessions remain the same, if you are 18 years or over you can bring up to A$900 worth of general goods into Australia Duty free.If you are aged 18 years or over, you can bring 2.25 liters of alcohol duty free into Australia with you.  All alcohol in accompanied baggage is included in the category, regardless of where or how it was purchased. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.Plast_img read more

Construction Jobs and the Housing Market

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Government, News September 7, 2018 723 Views Share Unemployment has stayed steady, according to the latest Employment Situation Summary from the U.S. Census Bureau. The unemployment rate is still at 3.9 percent as of August 2018, and the number of unemployed persons remains relatively unchanged at 6.2 million.“Today’s jobs data showed wage growth is slowly increasing, currently at 2.9 percent compared to 2.3 percent at this time last year,” said Mark Fleming, Chief Economist, at First American. “The increased pace of wage growth, combined with the recent slowdown in price appreciation, should bode well for consumer house-buying power this fall.”Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men, adult women, teenagers, Whites, Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics showed little or no change in August.Construction has seen a trend upward in employment, up by over 23,000 in August, and up by 297,000 over the year.“The headline numbers from the August jobs report point to a solid labor market,” said Doug Duncan, Chief Economist at Fannie Mae. “Despite the downward revisions in the prior two months, average monthly job gains year-to-date sit at 207,000, above the 189,000 over the same period in 2017. The pop in annual wage gains to the expansion best, along with the recent uptrend in inflation, seems to support Fed Chair Powell’s argument in Jackson Hole that moving interest rates too slowly could risk overheating, consistent with our call for September and December rate hikes. For housing, a pickup in residential construction workers was encouraging and badly needed as supply constraints largely kept housing on the sideline during the first half of the year while other consumer and business demand helped propel strong economic growth.”Fannie Mae notes that increased employment has led to an overall more positive sentiment among homeowners. Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index was 88 points in August, up 1.5 points month over month. According to Fannie Mae, the uptick in home purchase sentiment can be attributed to job- and income-related HPSI components, as 15 percentage points fewer Americans were afraid of losing their job as of August, a large recovery from July’s 11 point month over month decrease. This puts the share of those who are unafraid of losing their job at 80 percent, a record high for the survey.Find the complete Census Bureau charts here.center_img Construction Jobs and the Housing Market Census Bureau Employment Fannie Mae 2018-09-07 Seth Welbornlast_img read more

Senior school teachers to vote on new regulations in January

first_imgAround 5,500 members of the secondary education teachers’ union Oelmek will be called to a referendum in January to state if they agree with the introduction of the midterm exams in high schools as per the regulations to be introduced in September, the union’s head Yiannos Socratous said on Tuesday.The union’s general representatives from all districts agreed last week to bring back the issue of the introduction of midterm exams, which was voted by the House plenum last year as part of the new regulations for high schools.“This issue has caused serious friction within the union so we wanted the opinion of those who are directly involved, and who are also scientists, we tend to forget that. Their opinion is very important,” Socratous told the Cyprus Mail.He added that the new school regulations, that are to be introduced in the next school year, must be amended.According to the announcement of the general representatives, the result of the referendum will be binding and will determine Oelmek’s stance in the upcoming consultations between the education ministry and the House education committee on the new regulations.The new regulations are deemed by the education ministry as an important reform of the educational system as they contribute to a great extent to the streamlining of day to day school operations. The ministry maintains that the introduction of midterm exams will help students as they will receive feedback on their performance so that they can work on their weaknesses.The union however feels that midterm exams will fail the goals they aspire to and on the contrary pupils will take even more private lessons, causing a serious strain in family budgets.The introduction of the new rules, the union said, conflicts with the philosophy of the new curricula and the student success indicators and at the same time creates “an extremely stressful and burdensome school programme, which will de facto have a negative impact on teachers, pupils and the operation of school units”.Teachers also fear that it would dramatically decrease teaching time while at the same time “the volume of the curriculum remains enormous”.“Consequently, teaching will have to align with traditional teacher-centred models as there will be no time for innovative learner-centred approaches, for experiential and active learning, projects, etc,” the announcement said.The timeframes set, it said, are so stifling that not only will they not work, but will cause rigidities and distortions in terms of procedures, creating many organisational problems and dysfunction in schools.You May LikeLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsThese SUVs Are The Cream Of The Crop. Search For 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsUndoFreedom Debt ReliefPeople In Heavy CC Debt Are In For Big SurpriseFreedom Debt ReliefUndoSecurity SaversWindows Users Advised To Do This TodaySecurity SaversUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Howrylak retired teacher attend 2015 State of the State address

first_imgState Rep. Martin Howrylak (left), R-Troy, was joined by Janet M. Watts, a retired Detroit Public Schools early elementary teacher and Troy resident, and Ray Watts for the 2015 State of the State address at the Capitol in Lansing. The governor outlined his plans for his second term during the State of the State speech.### Categories: Howrylak News,Howrylak Photos 20Jan Howrylak, retired teacher attend 2015 State of the State addresslast_img

Rep Webber kicks off March is Reading Month at North Hill and

first_img Categories: News,Webber News Lawmaker will be reading at more area schools later this monthState Rep. Michael Webber recently visited classrooms in Rochester’s North Hill and Baldwin elementary schools to promote March is Reading Month.State Rep. Michael Webber, R-Rochester, reads to a classroom at North Hill Elementary School. Rep. Webber is visiting schools across the greater Rochester area and reading to students in support of March is Reading Month.“Reading is one of those necessary life skills, but it can also be a fun hobby,” said Rep. Webber, R-Rochester Hills. “It’s great to be able to show our students that reading can be an adventure, and not just homework.”The lawmaker will be spreading that message as he continues touring elementary schools in the 45th House District.“As the representative of the greater Rochester area, I feel strongly about making sure our students are on track and their education is of the highest quality,” Rep. Webber said. “March is Reading Month is not only a great way to encourage the learning process, but it’s also a fun way for me to meet with my youngest constituents.”Rep. Webber will continue his reading tour on Monday, March 21, as he visits Brewster Elementary in Rochester Hills; Delta Kelly Elementary in Oakland; and McGregor and Musson Elementary Schools in Rochester.For more information and ideas on how to celebrate March is Reading Month or to encourage children to read, visit the Michigan Department of Education’s online resources website at www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/Reading_Month_270348_7_272048_7.pdf.##### 17Mar Rep. Webber kicks off March is Reading Month at North Hill and Baldwin schoolslast_img read more

Rep Lucido takes oath renews commitment to 36th District

first_imgState Rep. Peter Lucido was sworn in as representative of the 36th District today, reciting the oath of office from fellow Macomb County native and Michigan Supreme Court Justice David Viviano during a House floor ceremony.Joining Rep. Lucido was his wife, Ann Marie.“This morning it was truly an honor and privilege to be sworn in to a second term serving the residents of Macomb County,” said Rep. Lucido, R-Shelby Township. “It was also special to have Ann Marie and Macomb County’s own Supreme Court Justice David Viviano present to swear me in. I look forward to the next two years and continuing to do all I can for the families and businesses in the 36th District.”With the swearing-in to his second term, Rep. Lucido encourages residents to contact his Lansing office for any questions or concerns involving state government. Residents can speak with Lucido or 36th District Legislative Director Scott Czasak at (517) 373-0843, via email at PeterLucido@house.mi.gov and by mail at S-885 House Office Building, Lansing, MI 48909.“Representing my district’s residents and businesses will always be my first priority,” said Rep. Lucido. “We’ve got a lot of work to do at the Capitol and I’m looking forward to representing Macomb County – in Lansing and back home.” 11Jan Rep. Lucido takes oath, renews commitment to 36th District Categories: Lucido News,Newslast_img read more

Rep Frederick statement on governors 2018 State of the State address

first_img24Jan Rep. Frederick statement on governor’s 2018 State of the State address State Rep. Ben Frederick of Owosso, left, welcomed Perry Mayor James Huguelet to the state Capitol for the governor’s annual State of the State address. Frederick invited Huguelet to sit alongside him in the House chamber while Gov. Rick Snyder presented his agenda for the year.State Rep. Ben Frederick of Owosso issued the following statement after Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2018 State of the State address:“Gov. Snyder did a tremendous job highlighting just how far Michigan’s economy has come in the past eight years. We’ve added 540,000 private-sector jobs since December 2010, more than any other state in the Great Lakes region. The challenge we have now is building a large talent pool of skilled individuals who are qualified to fill those jobs.“As chair of the House Workforce and Talent Development, I’m tasked with finding ways to help our young people gain the skills they need to land these well-paying, in-demand careers. We’ve accomplished a lot legislatively over the past year with the Career Pathways Alliance to offer K-12 students more opportunities to explore careers in the professional trades.“I was pleased to hear the governor discuss an initiative in the works to enhance educational and training opportunities for high-tech jobs, and I look forward to working with Gov. Snyder on further workforce based initiatives in the coming months. Breaking down the walls between our schools and local businesses will make a dramatic difference in connecting students with well-paying careers in their communities.“I also appreciated the fact that Gov. Snyder touched on the need for more civility in all that we do. The divisiveness that has taken over across the country, particularly when it comes to politics, needs to end. We will do more to improve the quality of life across our state and our nation if we listen more and show respect toward our friends, neighbors and colleagues.”### Categories: Frederick Newslast_img read more

Theis part of new plan to fix Michigans auto insurance system

first_img State Rep. Lana Theis of Brighton, along with five other House colleagues, today unveiled legislation as part of an eight-bill package repealing Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance system.The goal is to bring significant relief to drivers paying the nation’s most expensive insurance premiums.The proposal eliminates the no-fault system and moves Michigan to a full-tort system similar to 40 other states such as Ohio.“The residents of Michigan have made it clear they are tired of paying our outrageous auto insurance rates and they are demanding we do something,” said Theis, who chairs the House Insurance Committee. “For decades we have tried to reform no-fault and those attempts continue to fail, so now it is time to just eliminate the system all together.”The plan still mandates that all Michigan drivers have insurance, but provides more choice and flexibility by eliminating the mandate to buy unlimited medical coverage. Accident victims will have the ability to sue at-fault drivers for economic damages and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.The legislation also includes a “legacy fee” to continue to fund the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) until it is no longer needed. The MCCA system will be closed to new entrants.“Our no-fault system was adopted in 1973 with the promises of reducing the number of lawsuits, ensuring victims received payments faster and reducing our rates. Unfortunately, none of those promises have come true,” Theis said.Colorado abandoned its no-fault system in 2003. According to a 2008 governor’s study, the average car insurance premium in the state decreased 35 percent since the state moved to a tort auto insurance system. Michigan drivers could see greater savings by parting ways with its no-fault system, which is the only one in the nation mandating unlimited medical coverage. Florida, one of the 12 states operating with a no-fault system, is also debating repeal.Theis said repealing Michigan’s no-fault system will result in more insurance companies doing business in Michigan and ultimately create more competition to drive down insurance rates even further.The bill package, House Bills 5517-23, will be formally read into the record next week. 01Feb Theis part of new plan to fix Michigan’s auto insurance system Categories: Theis Newslast_img read more

Questions on Death Penalty Spotlight Clintons Checkered Past on Capital Punishment

first_imgShare3TweetShareEmail3 SharesMarch 13, 2016; The HillAs the battle for the Democratic nomination rages, Sunday night’s town hall in upcoming primary state Ohio gave Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton another chance to differentiate themselves for the swing voters.Sunday night brought to the forefront the issue of the death penalty, which generally Sanders opposes and Clinton supports. However, Clinton was asked to specify the capacity in which she supports capital punishment by an exoneree and former-death row Ohio inmate, Ricky Jackson. In anticipation of Tuesday’s next round of primaries, that moment at the town hall gives voters the opportunity to delve into the candidate’s past positions on the death penalty and what it may mean if she steps into the oval office.Jackson was convicted of murder at the age of 18 and spent the next 39 years in prison awaiting his execution, the longest-served sentence for any wrongful conviction exoneree. He was released more than a year ago with the help of the Ohio Innocence Project. Jackson stood up and asked Clinton:Senator, I spent some of those years on death row and I came perilously close to my own execution. In light of what I just shared with you and in light of the fact that there are documented cases of innocent people who have been executed in our country, I would like to know, how can you still take your stance on the death penalty, in light of what you know right now?In true pragmatic form, Clinton’s levelheaded response is unlikely to surprise those who have been following her position on the death penalty in recent years. Eschewing the states, Clinton said that it’s become apparent that states simply cannot conduct executions honoring the defendant’s rights and ensuring the wrong person is not imprisoned. Rather, she said, the capacity to use capital punishment should only be held by the federal government, and the death penalty should only be used in very specific cases where mass murder has been committed.“I have said I would breathe a sigh of relief if either the Supreme Court or the states themselves began to eliminate the death penalty,” said Clinton. “But a very limited use of it in cases where there has been horrific mass killings. That’s really the exception that I still am struggling with. And that would only be in the federal system.”A year ago, the Marshall Project and Politico both wrote pieces on the evolution of Clinton’s position on the death penalty and criminal reform in general. Before Clinton affirmed her current position against abolishing the death penalty in October of last year, she noted her “unenthusiastic support” for capital punishment when she ran for the Senate in 2000. What may explain her “unenthusiastic support” could be Clinton’s previous involvement in the 1976 case of Henry Giles, a mentally handicapped convicted murderer who she helped avoid the death penalty as a young attorney. At the time, Bill was running for attorney general of Arkansas, which persuaded her to keep her name off the amicus brief. According to the Marshall Project, during Bill’s time as governor, for which he oversaw four executions, including the execution of horrendously brain-damaged inmate Ricky Ray Rector, Hillary allegedly agonized over Bill’s position on the death penalty. However, publically she remained silent on her views.Clinton’s changing positions on the death penalty fit well with her general pragmatic disposition; her public views generally conformed to the accepted views at the time, including the ebb and flow of her husband’s views.In many ways, Clinton’s position on capital punishment is intertwined with her husband’s political career and beliefs. Bill painted a target on his back in 1979 after he commuted the prison sentence of mentally ill convicted murderer James Surridge, who, upon his release, committed another murder. While previously Bill had embraced more liberal policies in criminal reform, in the years that followed 1979 and in his years in the oval office, Bill took a harder stance on crime—and so did Hillary. In the early 1990s, Bill set 70 execution dates for 26 death row inmates while Hillary lobbied for the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which expanded the number offenses that could one could be sentenced to death for to 60. President Clinton signed it because it coincided with his position as being tough on crime. Twenty years later, we can look back and see how the mass incarceration policies of the 1990s were largely ineffective at decreasing crime, but they were the accepted views of the time.Therefore, in these dark times of domestic and international terrorist attacks, liberals should expect her to follow the status quo and support execution for Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was sentenced to death by a Massachusetts jury last year. Clinton also isn’t wrong when she remarks on the historic failings of the criminal justice system in the states. Arguably, if the death penalty were reserved for the most extreme cases, the federal government, which hasn’t executed an inmate since 2003, would be less likely to bungle executions. Only recently have executions by states garnered regular attention and scrutiny, based in part on the efforts of local publications. The level of scrutiny on the federal government when conducting executions is likely to be the same or even more elevated than it is now at the state level.However, Clinton’s shift contrasts sharply with her opponent’s position on capital punishment; Sanders has actively worked against the death penalty throughout his career. Given the record number of exonerations the last few years and states’ decreasing use of the death penalty, Clinton’s softened position on the death penalty will likely appeal to some on the fence about the issue themselves. But the staunch opponents of the death penalty are unlikely to find their candidate in Hillary Clinton.—Shafaq HasanShare3TweetShareEmail3 Shareslast_img read more