• The Berkman Center at the Internet Governance Forum 2015

    first_img Read Full Story The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a multistakeholder forum for policy dialogue on issues of Internet governance. This year is the 10th annual meeting, and it’s being held in João Pessoa, Brazil, Nov. 10-13. The Berkman Center for Internet & Society is thrilled to be an active participant in key discussions about some of the most pressing, complex, and exciting issues facing our increasingly networked world.The full schedule of sessions is here.As more and more global attention focuses on the challenges and opportunities presented by the Internet and its impact on our society, there becomes an even greater need to address the complex issues at play to inform decision-making at all levels. IGF is an important forum for sharing, discussing, and identifying opportunities to build upon this work. The Berkman Center’s participation in IGF relates to much of the work we do, including our recent examinations of multistakeholder governance groups  and of the role of online intermediaries (both reports produced in partnership with the Global Network of Internet & Society Centers), as well as our Internet Monitor project, which recently launched a new online dashboard that helps users better understand trends in Internet health and activity through data analysis and visualization, and our new Digital Currency Initiative, which explores the challenges and opportunities that distributed ledgers present across sectors.last_img read more

  • Reed Calls On Trump, Pelosi To Re-Open Stimulus Negotiations

    first_imgShealah Craighead / The White House / CC BY 2.0 / S Pakhrin / Flickr WASHINGTON – In the face of President Trump calling off negotiations for another COVID-19 relief and stimulus package until after the elections, Congressman Tom Reed called on Trump and lawmakers to return to negotiating to reach an agreement.Reed, joined by Congressman Josh Gottheimer the co-chair of his Problem Solvers Caucus, said in a joint statement that families and small businesses cannot afford more delays in receiving financial help.“American families and America’s small businesses are hurting and cannot afford more delays — especially when a deal is within reach. The 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans of the Problem Solvers Caucus have already crafted a bipartisan framework for relief that has been widely supported, including by the Administration,” the statement said.“We cannot overstate how important it is that leaders in both parties — along with the President — return to the table and agree on a package that will provide immediate relief to families and businesses. Inaction is not an option,” they said. On Tuesday, Trump called an end to negotiations with Democrats over additional COVID-19 relief, delaying action until after the election.Trump said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “not negotiating in good faith” and said he’s asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to direct all his focus before the election into confirming his U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.“I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,” Trump tweeted.A few hours later, Trump called on Congress to send him a “Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200).”The President called for Congress to immediately approve $25 billion for airlines and $135 billion the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses. As expected, Former Vice President Joe Biden took aim at Trump’s move.“Make no mistake: if you are out of work, if your business is closed, if your child’s school is shut down, if you are seeing layoffs in your community, Donald Trump decided today that none of that — none of it — matters to him,” Biden said in a statement released by his campaign.Trump’s move came immediately after he spoke with the top GOP leaders in Congress, who had been warily watching talks between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Pelosi. Many Senate Republicans had signaled they would not be willing to go along with any stimulus legislation that topped $1 trillion, and GOP aides had been privately dismissive of the prospects for a deal. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

  • Georgia tobacco ’07

    first_imgBy Brad HaireUniversity of GeorgiaThe Georgia farmers who still grow tobacco will likely battle a deadly plant disease again all season, trying to squeeze out a profit come harvest time.If the profit window of opportunity was a foot wide a dozen years ago, it’s only a 3-inch gap today, says Fred Wetherington, a tobacco farmer in Lowndes County, near the Florida line.”It’s hard to get the yields that you need to make a profit now,” Wetherington said.Adverse weather can always hurt crops, but one thing will surely stand in the way of profitable tobacco yields this year, just as it has for the past few years.The tomato spotted wilt virus hits other Georgia crops like tomatoes, peppers and peanuts. But it hits tobacco the hardest. Over the past three years, it has infected as much as 35 percent of the crop and destroyed 15 percent to 20 percent.”If it were not for tomato spotted wilt, we could be hitting the yields we need,” Wetherington said. Before TSWV, he said, growing tobacco was cheaper and potential yields much higher.Scientists with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have developed systems, strategies and publications to help farmers reduce the risk of TSWV and control it and other diseases and pests.To protect against TSWV, for example, a farmer should transplant after April 7 greenhouse-grown plants treated with a concoction of Admire and Actigard. He’ll need to do it, too, on a day that isn’t too wet, dry, hot, cold or windy. Plants treated with Actigard don’t tolerate stress.Wetherington joined about a dozen other farmers from three surrounding counties at an informal lunch meeting Feb. 6 at the UGA Cooperative Extension office in Lowndes County.In a region where almost every county used to have a tobacco meeting with 20 to 30 growers at each, they’re the few of a relative handful still growing tobacco, said J. Michael Moore, a UGA Extension tobacco agronomist.There’s no comprehensive list, but Moore figures about 400 farmers will grow tobacco in Georgia this year. This is down from about 1,000 in 2004, when the federal government, at farmers’ request, ended its Depression-era tobacco quota program.The tobacco program provided price support but restricted how much tobacco farmers could grow and where. Farmers and quota owners were compensated for the end of the program.Farmers now are free to grow the tobacco acreage they feel they need to fill contracts they get from cigarette manufacturers or marketing companies. Georgia farmers sold about 41 million pounds last year.Since the end of the program, things appear to have stabilized a bit, Moore said. The growers left now have the know-how and on-farm infrastructure to make a go of it.Growers last year grew 18,000 acres and may even slightly increase that this year. But costs will be at least 3 percent higher at around $4,120 per acre, Moore said.If a farmer can receive an average price between $1.55 and $1.60 per pound and make around 2,500 to 2,800 pounds per acre, he said, he may squeeze out a profit at best. At worst, he’ll at least lose less money than if he didn’t grow tobacco, due to fixed investments like machinery, irrigation and curing barns.A conservative average for contract prices last year was $1.50 per pound or a little higher, the farmers at the meeting agreed. The average yield was 2,500 pounds per acre, compared to pre-TSWV yields as much as 500 pounds higher.That window of opportunity to make money growing tobacco in Georgia will likely not get any larger if left alone, Moore said. Growers will need new and innovative ways to force it wider in the future.last_img read more

  • CSJ receives $10,000 from Davis Foundation

    first_imgThe College of St. Joseph in Rutland has received a grant from the Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation for its pioneer STEPS (Students Taking an Effective Path to Success) program. The foundation, based in Greenwich, CT, gave the college $10,000 to further its work in the STEPS program. This is the second $10,000 grant the college has received from the Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation, which provides charitable funding to organizations that aid in the development of the lives of children and young adults. In particular, the Foundation recognizes organizations that focus on providing education for the underprivileged.STEPS is a unique program designed specifically to meet the needs of Vermont youth transitioning from state custody to college. Fall 2010 marks the third year of the College’s pilot program. STEPS is the first program of its kind in the state of Vermont.The faculty, staff, and trustees at College of St. Joseph are committed to the STEPS project on every level. College President, Dr. Frank Miglorie, who developed plans for the program, said that the College faculty and administration ‘saw a clear connection between helping Vermont youth in foster care transition to higher education and the College’s mission.’ Miglorie acknowledged that without CSJ’s help through the STEPS program, ‘these young people might otherwise have little hope of pursuing a college education or developing a worthwhile career path. The STEPS program can truly make a difference in their lives.’Source: College of St. Josephlast_img read more

  • Baby Boomers redefining ‘golden years’

    first_img 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Casey DowdThe concept of retirement in the U.S. has been around since the early 1900s and originally meant spending a few good years resting after a lifetime of labor.  For the baby boomer generation, the “golden years” are barely resembling that early definition, especially since today people are living longer.A recent Franklin Templeton survey found that the concept of retirement is loaded with contradictions in both attitude and preparedness. “Americans have long struggled with preparing for the realities of retirement,” said Michael Doshier, vice president of Retirement Marketing for Franklin Templeton Investments. “The survey uncovered several contradictions related to the degree of understanding and often divergent approaches to retirement.  Doshier offered these additional findings from the survey:Boomer:  What are some of the top retirement concerns found in the study and why?Doshier:  Concerns vary depending on your stage of retirement thinking. Running out of money, and health and medical issues are the top concerns for many pre-retirees. Running out of money is the top concern for pre-retirement, and during retirement, concern for health and medical issues increases steadily, while worry over the risk of living too long/outliving one’s assets tends to fall off. continue reading »last_img read more

  • Being there when they need us

    first_img 33SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Robert Trunzo Robert (Bob) N. Trunzo is the president and chief executive officer for CUNA Mutual Group, the leading provider of insurance and financial services to credit unions and their members. He … Web: https://www.cunamutual.com Details Life can turn on a dime. Major milestones and unexpected moments create a unique and unpredictable journey for each of us. For some, that unpredictability can be what makes life worth living, but it also presents a challenge: how do credit unions keep up with members when their lives and needs are constantly changing?Bryan Dowd’s story resonates with me because it’s familiar. He’s a young man who just wants the best for his partner, his child, and his future. It’s a simple aspiration but one that can be a challenge without the right support.Credit unions exist to help millions of people like Bryan. At CUNA Mutual Group, we strive to help credit unions reach members with products, services and solutions that fit their lives, right now, today. That needs an enhanced understanding of today’s members. So, we commission and share consumer insights that shed light on what matters most to the people and families we all serve.As a trusted provider to credit unions nationwide, we can gather insight from across the movement and share what we find back across the industry. Stories like Bryan’s show us, first-hand, the personal impact consumer-savvy credit unions can make.Whether it was life insurance, an auto loan, or a mortgage, in Bryan’s own words: “Time and time again, my local credit union was stepping up and coming to the rescue.” This understanding of his needs – in those moments – meant he had the advice and support he needed. This is where our movement really shines, isn’t it?I believe the consumer insights, products and services we share with credit unions can really make a difference. Just ask Bryan.last_img read more

  • Joe Biden: How the president-elect plans to tackle climate change

    first_img– Advertisement – More radical Democrats such as congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez have put forward a proposal called the Green New Deal, which would eliminate carbon emissions from most sources over a decade. The Biden climate plan is more moderate.- Advertisement –last_img

  • Fed slashes rates, rips open crisis tool kit to cushion coronavirus blow

    first_imgThe US Federal Reserve slashed rates back to near zero, restarted bond buying and joined with other central banks to ensure liquidity in dollar lending to help put a floor under a rapidly disintegrating global economy during the escalating coronavirus pandemic.And in a dramatic move that underscored the depth of the economic threat as businesses shutter and potentially millions of jobs evaporate, the Fed encouraged banks to use the trillions of dollars in equity and liquid assets built up as capital buffers since the financial crisis to support firms and people whose lives have been upended by the virus.“The effects of the coronavirus will weigh on economic activity in the near term and pose risks to the economic outlook. In light of these developments, the Committee decided to lower the target range,” the Fed said, adding that it is “encouraging banks to use their capital and liquidity buffers as they lend to households and businesses who are affected by the coronavirus.” Topics : The Fed cut rates to a target range of 0 percent to 0.25 percent and said it would expand its balance sheet by at least US$700 billion in coming weeks.Read also: Government allocates $8b to stimulate economy as businesses, workers suffer from COVID-19 impacts“The Committee expects to maintain this target range until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve its maximum employment and price stability goals,” the Fed said.The Fed and other major foreign central banks also cut pricing on their swap lines to make it easier to provide dollars to financial institutions facing stress in credit markets. The Fed, the Bank of Canada, European Central Bank, Bank of England, Bank of Japan and Swiss National Bank had set up swap lines in the financial crisis.center_img It was the third time this month the US central bank took emergency action outside of a regularly scheduled policy meeting to protect financial markets and the economy.On March 3, it cut interest rates by a half of a percentage point and last week in the face of an accelerating market meltdown it injected cash into short-term funding markets and launched a wave of Treasury security purchases.On Sunday, the Fed took further steps to boost liquidity in the US financial system.It lowered the primary credit rate by 150 basis points to 0.25 percent in order to encourage banks to tap its emergency lending window. Depository institutions may borrow from this so-called discount window for periods as long as 90 days, pre-payable and renewable by the borrower on a daily basis, it said.Read also: What rout? Two newcomers defy gloomy market openingThe Fed also said it would support US banks that began to tap the capital and liquidity buffers they built up in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and would reduce reserve requirement ratios to 0 percent effective on March 26.“This action eliminates reserve requirements for thousands of depository institutions and will help to support lending to households and businesses,” the Fed said.Policymakers were not due to hold their next interest-rate setting meeting until Tuesday and Wednesday.President Donald Trump called the actions “good news” that “makes me very happy.”last_img read more

  • Russia probes FT, NYT after virus death toll reports

    first_imgTopics : Russia on Thursday launched a probe into the Financial Times and the New York Times after the newspapers said local authorities could be vastly under-reporting deaths from the coronavirus in the country.State communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said it was studying the reports to establish whether they violated the country’s law against disinformation. Contacted by AFP, the watchdog did not say whether it planned to punish the media outlets. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova demanded that the FT and the NYT retract the “disinformation”, adding that formal letters had been sent to the newspapers’ editors-in-chief.”We see — and there is more and more evidence — that unfortunately certain forces in the West are seeking to use the current crisis in the world to discredit government efforts in a number of states, to destabilize the situation,” Zakharova told reporters.She said the FT and NYT stories were suspiciously similar and published the same day.Formal complaints will be also sent to the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media; Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General and the UN secretariat, Zakharova said.center_img There was no immediate comment from the FT, while the NYT said it stood by its report. “We’re confident in the accuracy of our story, which is based on publicly available government records and interviews with experts from government-run institutions. No facts in our story are in dispute,” The New York Times Vice President for Communications Danielle Rhoades Ha said in a statement.Russia has the world’s second-highest number of coronavirus cases but has registered 10 times fewer deaths than Britain, France, Italy and Spain.As of Thursday the country had 252,245 confirmed coronavirus infections and 2,305 deaths.Critics accuse Russia of under-counting the number of deaths to downplay the scale of the crisis. They say it is hard to believe that the country’s under-funded healthcare system is managing better than those in the United States and western Europe.Authorities have denied falsifying the numbers, saying they are only counting deaths caused directly by the coronavirus and that since the pandemic came later to Russia, it was able to learn lessons from the experiences of western Europe.last_img read more

  • Facebook says to block foreign state media ads for US election

    first_imgFacebook says it will block ads from foreign state media during the US election, as well as allowing users to hide all paid-for political messages. The move comes with the social media giant under growing pressure over its hands-off approach to misinformation and inflammatory posts — including from Donald Trump — and following criticism it turned a blind eye to foreign interference in the 2016 presidential poll.Facebook’s head of global affairs acknowledged the company fell short during the contentious poll in which it has acknowledged Russia-backed content reached as many as 126 million Americans on its platform. Nick Clegg, writing in the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper on Wednesday, said the company would be “blocking all ads in the US during the election period from state-controlled media organizations from other countries.”Anyone running political ads on the platform would have to be authorized to do so, Clegg said, adding that between March and May Facebook had stopped “more than 750,000 political ads targeting the US from running because the advertiser had not completed the authorization process.”He said the social media giant now had more than 35,000 people working on safety and security issues, three times the number of four years ago.In a separate opinion piece, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted to use the vast reach of his company for good in this November’s election. The threat to democracy “is real and ongoing, but our systems are more prepared than ever.” Topics : Register to vote Announcing a campaign aimed at getting four million people registered to vote, he said Facebook was creating a new hub with “authoritative information, including how and when to vote, as well as details about voter registration, voting by mail and information about early voting.”Facebook first announced the voter hub at the beginning of June, as well as promising to review policies that led to the decision not to moderate controversial messages.For users who have already made up their minds “and just want the election to be over,” Zuckerberg wrote, the network is “also introducing the ability to turn off seeing political ads.”The feature will start to be rolled out from June 24 and will mean users can turn off political, electoral and social issue ads.Zuckerberg has been strongly criticized for his company’s decision not to moderate controversial, incendiary and inaccurate posts by the US President.Twitter’s decision in May to hide one of Trump’s tweets for “glorifying violence” exposed turmoil at Facebook, with employees rebelling against Zuckerberg’s refusal to sanction false or inflammatory posts by the US president.But writing in USA Today, he again defended his network’s guidelines.Facebook has “rules against speech that will cause imminent physical harm or suppress voting, and no one is exempt from them,” he wrote.”But accountability only works if we can see what those seeking our votes are saying, even if we viscerally dislike what they say.”The best way to ultimately hold politicians accountable is by voting, Zuckerberg wrote.last_img read more