first_imgCARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela’s new President Nicolás Maduro was roughly pushed aside Friday by a youth in a red shirt who ran on stage during his inaugural address in the National Assembly and grabbed the microphone.The incident caused momentary confusion as national television coverage of the event briefly went off the air, returning after Maduro had regained his composure and the youth had been moved off stage.“Incident overcome,” said Maduro, saying he would speak to the man after the address and then continuing with his speech.“I swear it before the eternal memory of the supreme commander,” he said after being read the oath by National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello.Cheers broke out in the packed assembly as the presidential sash was placed over the 50-year-old Maduro, who was elected president in snap elections to replace Hugo Chávez, who died of cancer on March 5 after 14 years in power.Close Chávez allies including presidents Raúl Castro of Cuba and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran watched the ceremony along with leaders from other Latin American countries who rallied around Venezuela’s new government.Fireworks fired by Maduro supporters boomed across the city in celebration but the fainter sound of pots being banged in protest could also be heard, recalling that his narrow victory has been challenged by the opposition. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

first_imgSo while Mitchell’s praise of Johnson may feature some hyperbole, at the same time, it’s fair to say he knows a thing or two about quality running backs.So, is Johnson destined to arrive in Canton in, say, 15 years or so?A guest of Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Friday, ESPN NFL insider John Clayton said folks around the league are a bit more guarded about trying to predict Johnson’s future, but that does not mean they are unimpressed.“I think they realize there’s a special back there,” he said, adding that Cardinals assistant Tom Moore compares Johnson to Franco Harris.Harris, of course, is in the Hall of Fame.“The one thing [Johnson] is so good at is he’s great on the outside, whether it’s going to be running to the outside, catching the ball to the outside,” Clayton said. “If he can develop more of an inside game, that will make him better.“But I mean, he looks like a beast out there, and you watched how he came on and, honestly, I think this is kind of the wave of the future is that it’s hard to anticipate who the good backs are going to be.”Clayton cited second-round picks Matt Forte and Le’Veon Bell as players who slid in the draft but turned out to be excellent running backs. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling David Johnson is already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame — sort of.Last season, he became the first player in NFL history to score touchdowns on a run, a catch and a kickoff return in his first two games, and because of that, the folks in Canton asked for his jersey and cleats to display.As we all know, Johnson did not slow down after Week 2. The third-round pick out of Northern Iowa set a rookie franchise record for total touchdowns, with 13, while running for 581 yards on 125 carries and catching 36 passes for 457 yards. 0 Comments   Share   Arizona Cardinals’ David Johnson runs past Carolina Panthers’ Shaq Green-Thompson during the first half the NFL football NFC Championship game Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn) Johnson’s performance down the stretch and in the postseason solidified his role as the Cardinals’ No. 1 running back, and since then there has been no shortage of excitement over the 24-year-old’s future.If his ridiculous workout routine doesn’t pump people up over what could be in store, a quote from Arizona’s running backs coach Stump Mitchell might.A great NFL back in his own right, Mitchell — in the final episode of the Amazon series “All or Nothing,” had nothing but praise for Johnson.“The only thing you can control is David, and you did a good job,” Mitchell said, before adding Johnson was the running back he wanted the team to pick because he thought the Northern Iowa product was better than Todd Gurley, who was chosen 10th overall and was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.“The Hall of Fame — you should have a bust when your ass is done playing,” he added. “Hopefully, if you can stay healthy.“I’ve coached some good backs; ain’t no question you’re a Hall of Fame guy. None whatsoever.”At the NFL level, Mitchell coached elite runners Ricky Watters and Shaun Alexander in Seattle as well as Clinton Portis in Washington. As a player, Mitchell finished his career second in Cardinals franchise history in total rushing yards, third in rushing attempts, fourth in rushing touchdowns and second in rushing average. His 14 100-yard rushing games rank second, too. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires “I think David Johnson fits into that group,” he said. “Hall of Fame, a little bit early yet. Got to wait five years after he retires to think about that, but I think he’s going to be a very good back in a very good running division.” Top Stories Your browser does not support the audio element. LISTEN: John Clayton, ESPN NFL insider The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

first_imgOctober 26, 2009 After a week of intensive composing and rehearsals, Difference Skies delivered their final performance on Saturday October 24, 2009. On the night of the performance, the Colly Soleri Music Amphitheater was illuminated under the night sky and the audience huddled together around the amphitheater. The musicians and visual artists together created a stunning tapestry of improvised and composed space music, ambient, experimental, and electronic, mixed with interactive video synthesis, for the audience. [photo: Alfonso Elia & text: Anna Tran] After the formal part of the program and a brief intermission, the artists played numerous spontaneously improvised pieces, stirring the awe and imagination of the audience. [photo: tt & text: Anna Tran] The Different Skies performance was absolutely astounding. Thank you and congratulations to all who helped bring this wonderful performance together. We hope to see you all again next year! [photo: Alfonso Elia & text: Anna Tran]last_img read more

first_imgSouth African pay TV broadcasters DStv has launched a SuperSports TV app on Samsung’s Smart TVs.The app resizes internet content for Samusng flatscreen TVs, enabling the delivery of live sports updates including pictures and news ticker.The SuperSport application is available on all Samsung Smart TVs through the Smart Hub as a downloadable application, and expands on the current sports update sidebar available on the SuperSport channel.“Being an internet connected device, the Smart TV allows for the delivery of content in a manner that is less restrictive than traditional television sets. We are always experimenting with new and exciting ways of delivering sports content to our audience, and this seemed like a good place to start. We will continue to experiment with new technologies, and in doing so, we aim to delight our users on multiple platforms,” said Graeme Cumming, general manager, DStv online portals.last_img read more

first_imgFrench transmission services outfit TDF has struck an agreement, through its Ad Valem Technologies unit, with Australia’s Telstra to collaborate on transport services, which TDF says will enable it to grow its business in providing services for international sports and music events.The agreement will see Ad Valem Technologies’ international network of local operators integrated with Telstra’s global network, providing the capacity to cover events from several thousand sports stadiums and event venues globally.Currently, TDF retransmits a number of big events in HD and UHD including Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 football matches and France’s Top 14 rugby as well as international sports events such as the Ryder Cup, Formula 1, the Davis Cup and the Champions League as well as c cultural and musical events.TDF CEO Franck Langrand said that Telstra, which was already a supplier to TDF, would now be a partner. He said that Ad Valem Technologies already connected over 60 stadiums to a high-bandwidth fibre network.Trevor Boal, director of Telstra Broadcast Services said that the agreement would connect TDF’s customers to over 2,500 stadiums, arenas and TV stations globally.last_img read more

first_imgHealth care in the U.S. Virgin Islands remains in a critical state, five months after Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria pummeled the region. The only hospital on St. Thomas, the Schneider Regional Medical Center, serves some 55,000 residents between the islands of St. Thomas and St. John. Schneider’s facilities suffered major structural damage, forcing a decrease in its range of services, mass transfers of its patients, staff departures and significant losses in revenue. Only about one-third of the beds are currently available for patient care.In early September, when Irma hit the Virgin Islands, most of Schneider’s staff members were on duty. At the height of the storm, a large window on the hospital’s top floor gave out. “You had winds of 175, 180 miles per hour whipping through here,” says the hospital’s Vice President Darryl Smalls.The screws holding the window in place failed. The window itself, made from hurricane impact glass, remained intact. It’s here, leaning against a nursing station that’s now in shambles. Ceiling panels are gone, exposed pipes and ducts are damaged and sagging in places. A large plywood barrier covers the window opening.When the window tore off, Smalls says the staff worked quickly to evacuate some 20 patients to a safer part of the hospital. They couldn’t use the elevator in the middle of the storm, so staff transported patients from the fourth floor to the third floor using the emergency stairwells. “We literally took the patients on the mattresses, slid them down the stairs, down to the third floor, across the building and up onto the other side,” Smalls says. “We have a surgical unit which was not compromised and capable of handling patient care.”Eventually, all of the patients who were at Schneider during the storm were evacuated off of the island. But even as staff dealt with a host of problems, the hospital remained open. In the emergency room, which flooded badly from a leaky roof, Smalls says, “You probably had about 3 to 4 inches of water on the floor in here. I had pumps. I think we probably had 50 people in here at any given time just trying to evacuate as much water out of the facility.”Today, the hospital continues to provide surgery, labor and delivery care, radiology and lab services. But its cancer center, a $28 million facility, remains closed because of extensive storm damage. The hospital can now only provide limited services for patients requiring dialysis. Meanwhile, Schneider Medical’s sister center, the only hospital on St. Croix, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ other major island, suffered even more extensive damage to its operating rooms.Without adequate medical services available, Schneider Regional CEO Bernard Wheatley says most patients who evacuated St. Thomas have not been able to return. “It’s over 400 that have been transferred off island,” Wheatley says. “And to this day, we’re still transferring some patients, especially the ones requiring extensive length of stay.”Along with the lack of facilities, another major problem is staffing. Wheatley says he’s lost 150 of the hospital’s 600 employees — many of whom left the island after the storms destroyed their homes. “The sad part of it, we’ve lost a lot of nurses,” he says. “If you ask me right now, what’s my key entity in terms of shortages, from a clinical standpoint it would be the nursing staff.” Shanique Woods-Boschulte, who directs Schneider’s foundation says, “Every day we get one or two resignations.” After five months, Woods-Boschulte says, the daily struggle is wearing down many staff members. “The morale was really high after the storm because we saw what we were able to accomplish — no patients hurt,” she says. “But now things are trickling down and everyone is leaving a broken hospital and going home to a broken home.”Adding to the woes, the hospital is in desperate financial straits. Revenues are half of what they were because there are far fewer patients. The government-supported hospital is projecting a $7 million loss.With all the competing problems on the islands, CEO Bernard Wheatley says it’s not clear how much help the local government can provide. “The territory itself is projecting a $400 million loss,” he says. “They don’t have the hotel rooms, tourism is down. It’s just not the same island.”The U.S. Virgin Islands is now looking to Congress to help decide what to do about its battered hospitals. The local government is in talks with FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers to determine whether the hospitals can be rehabilitated, or if new facilities will be needed. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

first_imgMarilyn Bartlett took a deep breath, drew herself up to her full 5 feet and a smidge, and told the assembled handful of Montana officials that she had a radical strategy to bail out the state’s foundering benefit plan for its 30,000 employees and their families.The officials were listening. Their health plan was going broke, with losses that could top $50 million in just a few years. It needed a savior, but none of the applicants to be its new administrator had wowed them.Now here was a self-described pushy 64-year-old grandmother interviewing for the job.Bartlett came with some unique qualifications. She had just spent 13 years on the insurance industry side, first as a controller for a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, then as the chief financial officer for a company that administered benefits. She was a potent combination of irreverent and nerdy, a certified public accountant whose smart car’s license plate reads “DR CR,” the Latin abbreviations for “debit” and “credit.” Most importantly, Bartlett understood something the state officials didn’t: the side deals, kickbacks and lucrative clauses that industry players secretly build into medical costs. Everyone, she had observed, was profiting except the employers and workers paying the tab. Now, in the twilight of her career, Bartlett wanted to switch teams. In her view, employers should be pushing back against the industry and demanding that it justify its costs. They should ask for itemized bills to determine how prices are set. And they should read the fine print in their contracts to weed out secret deals that work against them. The way health care works in America, most employers cede control of costs to their health insurers, the hospitals that treat their employees and the companies they pay to manage their benefits. The costs are a dense thicket that few employers feel equipped to hack through. So they don’t.This failure helps explain why Americans pay the highest health care costs in the world — and why the tab continues to increase, year after year. Employers fund these costs through employee compensation packages, so the math is typically bad news for workers: Rising health costs mean fewer wage increases and less take-home pay. Montana was no different.And so Bartlett pitched a bold strategy. Step 1: Tell the state’s hospitals what the plan would pay. Take it or leave it. Step 2: Demand a full accounting from the company managing drug costs. If it won’t reveal any side deals it had with drugmakers, replace it.Bartlett’s strategy would expose a culture in which participants fail to question escalating costs and the role each part of the health care industry plays in them. These little-seen aspects of the health insurance industry and the way Americans pay for medical care are the focus of an ongoing series from ProPublica and NPR. As Bartlett laid out her plan that day in July 2014 in a conference room in Helena, Sheila Hogan, then-director of the state’s Department of Administration, liked what she was hearing. They needed something radical. To her knowledge, no one had ever tried anything like this. Bartlett would be taking on some of the state’s power players: hospitals and health insurers — and their politically connected lobbyists. If her plan didn’t work, the state and its employees were in trouble. If it did, it could create a blueprint for employers everywhere.Bartlett knew employers have negotiating power that few of them use. The health care system depends on the revenue produced by the surgeries, mammograms, lab tests and other services it provides, and it can ill afford to lose it. Bartlett got the job. She would call the industry’s bluff.Ballooning medical costsEmployer-sponsored health benefits are almost as old as America itself. In 1798, John Adams, the second U.S. president, signed a law that took 20 cents per month from the paychecks of U.S. seamen to fund their medical care. After the Civil War, lumber, mining and railroad companies in the American West withheld money from employee paychecks to pay for doctors and hospitals.After World War II, such plans became mainstream. Today, about 150 million Americans get their health benefits through their employers. The industry is dominated by what some call the “BUCAH” plans ­– Blue Cross Blue Shield, UnitedHealth Group, Cigna, Aetna and Humana. Half a dozen health insurers currently sit near the top of the Fortune 500, with combined annual revenue of about half a trillion dollars. Despite the money at stake, many employers have, wittingly or not, deferred to the industry. Decisions about health benefit plans are usually made by midlevel human resources managers who may not understand the forces in the medical industry operating against them. They’re often advised by insurance brokers, who are traditionally funded by the industry. And they’re trying to keep the peace for employees — who demand convenient access to the care they need. It’s a recipe for inertia.The conventional wisdom is that insurance companies want to reduce health care spending. In reality, insurers’ business plans hinge on keeping hospitals and other providers happy — and in their networks — often at the expense of employers and patients. Employers often feel caught between rising costs and concern that changes they make will be bad for their employees, says Michael Thompson, president of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, which represents groups of employers who provide benefits to more than 45 million Americans. And, he says, they rely on the advice of industry experts instead of digging into the details.”We have got to get control of this thing or it’s going to bring down the economy, our personal bankrolls and our wages,” he says. “It’ll cost jobs in the United States and it’ll bring down our public programs. This is not a small issue. It’s a huge issue.”But Bartlett soon discovered that it was easier to talk about pushing back than to do it. A showdown with Montana’s hospitalsBartlett arrived in Helena, the state capital, in fall 2014 as an outsider navigating a minefield of established relationships. From the start, she knew she would have to tackle the staggering bills from the state’s hospitals, which made up the largest chunk of the plan’s expenses. It wouldn’t be popular because they also made up a significant chunk of hospitals’ profitsMontana, like many large employers, self-funds its plan. That means it pays the bills and hires an insurance company or other firm to process the claims. More than half of American workers are covered by self-funded plans. As the boss in this arrangement, Bartlett assumed she would have access to detailed information about how much the plan, which was managed by Cigna, paid for procedures at each hospital. But when she asked Cigna for its pricing terms with the hospitals, Cigna refused to provide them. Its contracts with hospitals were secret, Cigna representatives told her. That didn’t sit well with Bartlett, she recalls. “The payer cannot see the contract,” she says, “but we agree to pay whatever the contract says we will pay.” A cumbersome querying process set up by Cigna allowed her to get individual claims and other limited information. But the company would only give her aggregate data, with things lumped together, to show what she paid each hospital. It was like telling a family trying to reduce its grocery spending that it could only see what it spent in a year, not a breakdown of what bread and fruit and other items cost at each market. When Bartlett continued to demand information, Cigna balked; it needed to balance what she wanted with keeping the hospitals happy. “I don’t see the need for a balance,” she recalls telling them. “I am representing the payer.” Cigna declined to answer questions about its relationship with Montana’s plan, but it said in a statement that it had prioritized the plan’s preferences and needs. Bartlett ultimately settled on a radical solution: The plan would set its own prices for the hospitals.In the illusory world of hospital billing, the hospitals typically charge a high price for a procedure, then give insurers in-network discounts. These charges and discounts might be different for each procedure at each hospital, depending on who has more leverage during negotiations. The discounts, however, are meaningless if the underlying charges aren’t capped. When Bartlett looked at a common knee replacement, with no complications and a one-night hospital stay, she saw that one hospital had charged the plan $25,000, then applied a 7 percent discount. So, the plan paid $23,250. A different hospital gave a better discount, 10 percent, but on a sticker price of $115,000. So, the plan got billed $103,500 — more than four times the amount it paid the other hospital for the same operation. Bartlett recalled wondering why anyone would think this was OK. Under Bartlett’s proposed new strategy, the plan would use the prices set by Medicare as a reference point. Medicare, the federal government’s insurance for the disabled and patients over 65, is a good benchmark because it makes its prices public and adjusts them for hospitals based on geography and other factors. Montana’s plan would pay hospitals a set percentage above the Medicare amount, a method known as “reference-based pricing,” making it impossible for the hospitals to arbitrarily raise their prices. Fed up, Bartlett ended the plan’s relationship with Cigna. Her battle to upend the status quo riled some employees of her own office, who complained that she was demanding too many changes. Some quit. Bartlett didn’t let up. That Christmas, the Cigna representative sent each employee in Bartlett’s office a small gift, a snow globe. Bartlett didn’t get one. But her ideas were exciting to Ron Dewsnup, the president of Allegiance Benefit Plan Management, a Montana-based subsidiary of, ironically, Cigna. Allegiance had been studying variation in hospital prices for years and had twice sent reports to Montana hospitals showing how their prices for the same procedures differed significantly. The company had also considered a reference-based pricing model, but it “didn’t have any employers that were serious about taking a stand,” Dewsnup says. Allegiance got the state contract and began by comparing what the plan paid the 11 biggest hospitals in the state with the Medicare rates. The cheaper ones averaged about twice the Medicare rates, the most expensive one about five times the Medicare rates. No one wanted to stiff the hospitals, but this was ridiculous, Bartlett recalls thinking. She determined the new rate for all hospitals would be a little more than twice the Medicare rate — still a lucrative deal, but a good starting point to get prices under control. The contracts would also prohibit a practice called “balance billing,” under which hospitals bill patients for whatever charges a health plan refuses to pay. It would mean a boost for some lower-cost hospitals. Now, she had to persuade the more expensive hospitals to take less. “You’re in or you’re out”Kirk Bodlovic, the chief financial officer of Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, remembers the day an entourage from the state health plan, including Bartlett and Hogan, arrived at his hospital. Bodlovic knew from Allegiance’s reports that St. Patrick’s prices were on the high side. But he wasn’t prepared for the ultimatum: If St. Patrick’s wanted to treat state employees, the hospital would have to accept lower rates. If it didn’t, the state would pay for its employees to travel to other hospitals. “You’re in or you’re out, basically,” Bodlovic says.The state’s demand set off a series of meetings within the Providence chain, which also operates in California, Alaska and the Northwest. It didn’t have a lot of leverage because Missoula is a two-hospital town. Its competitor, one of the lower-priced facilities, had already agreed to the deal. St. Patrick’s considered rejecting the deal. Bodlovic says that thought gives him heartburn to think about now, envisioning the wrath of doctors if some 3,000 state plan members had ended up at a rival hospital. And the hospital would have lost about $4 million in annual revenue. “That’s a good chunk of business,” he says. In their final analysis, he says, St. Patrick’s officials decided it was the “lesser pain” to accept the new contract than to be left out of the deal. While the state worked to get hospitals to sign new contracts, their CEOs and lobbyists plotted end runs, scheduling meetings with the governor’s office to propose alternative solutions. When they arrived for the meetings, they found that Bartlett had also been invited. She effectively blocked their ideas. Still, Bartlett had to get all the hospitals on board — or else. The new pricing was set to go live on July 1, 2016, and, with a month to go, six of the major hospitals were holding out. “I started to panic,” Bartlett recalls. During sleepless nights, Bartlett imagined thousands of state employees being forced to zigzag across the state for medical care or running up massive bills at noncontracted hospitals. She put together communication plans for members describing how they would need to travel to avoid certain hospitals.With her stomach in knots, she went on the offensive. She took a graph showing the variation in hospital prices to state legislators. Then she threatened to go public. She couldn’t name names because of contract restrictions, but she could tell the media that some hospitals’ prices were three times as high as others and let reporters figure out which ones were which. Five of the holdouts surrendered and signed the contract. “The hospitals didn’t want that out there,” she says. Only Benefis Health System in Great Falls, one of the higher-priced hospitals, refused. The hospital’s CEO told the local newspaper that “it was business for them and it was business for us.” The new plan went into place July 1, without Benefis as a contracted hospital. Bartlett ratcheted up the pressure one more time, calling in the Montana Federation of Public Employees. The union has hundreds of members in the Great Falls area, including Keith Leathers, who works as an investigator with the state’s child support enforcement division. Leathers has a young daughter with scoliosis, and he didn’t want to drive long distances to get her the care she needs. He readily engaged in the fight.”We have a regional medical facility here that’s supposed to be able to handle almost any medical problem, period,” he recalls thinking. “And I got to go out of town to get care because they want to charge more than anyone else?”Union leaders launched a campaign against the hospital. Leathers says he sent a postcard and made a phone call every day to the hospital CEO, the board members — anyone he could find in leadership. He urged them to accept the new rates. Hundreds of other employees from across the state did the same. Within a month, Benefis agreed to join the health plan. The hospital declined to comment for this story.Leathers says employers and workers should be protesting health care costs “over and over again” all over the country. “Are we going to wait until the health care system just crashes?” he says. When Bartlett took over the state health plan, it spent about $200 million a year. Bartlett’s team estimated that the new hospital pricing schedule saved the plan more than $17 million in the second half of 2016 and all of 2017 — almost $1 million a month. By 2017, a plan that state officials had predicted would go broke had turned itself around. And it’s projected to save an additional $15 million in 2018 without cutting benefits to employees or raising their rates. Exposing hidden drug dealsBut Bartlett had one more target in her sights: prescription drug costs. Health plans contract with separate companies, middlemen entities known as pharmacy benefit managers, to get members their medication. And everyone assured Bartlett the state’s pharmacy benefits deal was “state of the art.” But just like with Cigna, she insisted on examining it herself. That wasn’t easy because the pharmacy benefits were run through a cooperative arrangement with other health plans, including those of universities, school trusts and counties. The state plan anchored the co-op, and the other partners were happy with the arrangement. Bartlett knew that pharmacy benefit managers are notorious for including deals that boost their profits at the expense of employers. One of the common tricks is called the “spread.” A pharmacy benefit manager, for example, will tell an employer it cost $100 to fill a prescription that actually cost $60, allowing the pharmacy benefit manager to pocket the extra $40. The fine print in the contracts often allows it. The spread is widespread. A recent report by the Ohio state auditor noted that the spread on generic drugs had cost that state’s Medicaid plan $208 million in a single year — 31 percent of what it spent.Sure enough, when she got the contract, Bartlett found that the state plan had fallen victim to the spread. Pharmacy benefit managers also rake in dollars through rebates paid by pharmaceutical companies. Most health plans would assume that because they’re paying for the drugs, they should get any rebates. But pharmacy benefit managers often don’t disclose the size of the rebate, which allows them to keep some or most of it for themselves. When Bartlett pressed, she discovered the state wasn’t getting the full amount of its rebates. Montana was getting taken, but it put Bartlett in a touchy political situation. The co-op needed the state as a partner or it wouldn’t survive. Bartlett decided her allegiance was to the plan’s bottom line. She pulled out of the deal. “She wasn’t afraid of ruining her career or making people angry,” says Scott McClave, a consultant with Alliant Insurance Services who helped analyze the pharmacy benefit contract. Bartlett says it helped that she was near the end of her career and didn’t need to please people. “I’m 67, so I could give a s***,” she says. “What are they going to do, fire me? I’m packin’ a Medicare card.” Bartlett found a pharmacy benefit manager, Navitus Health Solutions, that would not take any spread and would pass along all rebates in full. The next year, the plan saved an average of almost $16 per prescription. It purchased a similar mix and volume of drugs in 2016 and 2017. But it saved $2 million on the spread. And its revenue from rebates jumped from $3.5 million to $7 million, Bartlett said. The savings continue to this day.In July of this year, her mission accomplished, Bartlett left her position as administrator of the state employee health plan. She now works for the office of the Montana insurance commissioner, which is taking on pharmacy benefit managers in a bigger way. But Bartlett also has a side gig as a guru to other employers across the country seeking to pay less for their health benefits. Her advice boils down to pushing back. “You’ve got to get in there and do it,” she says. So how are Montana’s hospitals after the price cut? Just fine, it appears. Bob Olsen, vice president of the Montana Hospital Association, says he has not heard hospital leaders say they are struggling under the new state contract. They have had “reasonable financial performance,” he says. But Bartlett’s legacy may be even greater. With the state’s model in mind, St. Patrick’s Bodlovic said Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, the state’s largest insurer, recently came calling. Now it wants a similar pricing arrangement. ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom based in New York. Sign up to get ProPublica’s Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox as soon as they are published.You can follow Marshall Allen on Twitter: @marshall_allen. Copyright 2018 ProPublica. To see more, visit ProPublica.last_img read more

first_imgDoctors who are opposed to abortions don’t have to provide them. Since the 1970s, a series of federal rules have provided clinicians with “conscience protections” that help them keep their jobs if they don’t want to perform or assist with the procedure. Religious hospitals are also protected. Catholic health care systems, for example, are protected if they choose not to provide abortions or sterilizations. Doctors who work for religious hospitals usually sign contracts that they’ll uphold religious values in their work. But as the reach of Catholic-affiliated health care grows, these protections are starting to have consequences for doctors who do want to perform abortions — even as a side job.Religious hospitals often prohibit their doctors from performing abortions — even if they do so at unaffiliated clinics, says Noel León, a lawyer with the National Women’s Law Center. León was hired about two years ago to help physicians who want to be abortion providers. They have little in the way of legal protection, she says. “Institutions are using the institutional religious and moral beliefs to interfere with employees’ religious and moral beliefs,” León says. This kind of legal argument, León says, may prevent doctors from providing care they feel called to offer. And since many clinics that provide abortions rely heavily on part-time staff, it may also prevent these clinics from finding the doctors they need to stay open. Dr. Kimberly Remski sought help from León when she was job hunting. She is a primary care physician but had always been interested in women’s health. When she first set foot in a clinic that provides abortions, she realized it was her passion. “A lot of the things we spend our time doing in training are monotonous, or you’re getting swamped in work,” she says. “I just remember leaving the clinic feeling like I was doing something really important.”She interviewed for a job as a primary care doctor with IHA, one of the largest physician groups in Michigan, in 2017. She says she was clear about her desire to work one day a week in an independent clinic that provides abortions. Part-time work is common for outpatient physicians, and Remski says the doctors she interviewed with were receptive. “I was very upfront. I told that them that was a special interest of mine. I wanted to be able to pursue it,” she says. She signed a contract, and started preparing for her move. Then she got a call that the offer was off. Remski learned that her potential employer was actually owned by a larger Catholic hospital network called Trinity Health, and it requires physicians to “provide services in a manner consistent with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” according to her contract. And, she says, she was shocked to learn Trinity Health would also have had a say over how she spent her free time. IHA officials told her that she couldn’t work on the side as an abortion provider if she took the job, Remski says. Trinity Health had merged with IHA in 2010, part of a wave of mergers that has led to a net increase in Catholic ownership of hospitals. According to a 2016 report from MergerWatch, an organization that tracks hospital consolidation, 14.5 percent of acute care hospitals are Catholic-owned or affiliated. That number grew by 22 percent between 2001 and 2016, while the overall number of acute care hospitals dropped by 6 percent. And as Catholic-affiliated health care expands, says León, doctors increasingly encounter morality clauses that prohibit them from performing abortions.León says she has worked with at least 30 physicians and nurse practitioners from 20 different states who faced problems similar to Remski’s when they disclosed to their employers, or potential employers, that they planned to provide abortions. “They’re being told, ‘We can’t provide the care we went into medicine to provide,’ ” León says. “We shouldn’t be putting providers in the position of caring for their patients or keeping their jobs.”Representatives of IHA would not agree to a phone interview about Remski’s situation, but spokesperson Amy Middleton explained in an email that IHA “works hard with our physicians to enable them to pursue other positions.” But, she added, “outside work that interferes with a physician’s ability to serve patients or contradicts the organization’s practices could present a conflict of interest.”IHA physicians follow Catholic health care guidelines, Middleton wrote, which requires that physicians “not promote or condone contraceptive practices.” Dr. Barbara Golder, the editor of the Catholic Medical Association journal, Linacre Quarterly, says that language about morality is ubiquitous in contracts — and that it is reasonable that religious institutions might not want to be associated with abortion providers. “The person is seen primarily as Dr. X of Catholic hospital Y, and then it turns out that Dr. X of Catholic hospital Y is doing abortions on the weekends,” Golder says. “There’s sort of a cognitive dissonance about that. It’s in opposition to what Catholic health care is.”According to Lance Leider, a Florida attorney who has reviewed hundreds of physician contracts, it is “exceedingly common” for contracts, not just at religiously affiliated hospitals, to include language about the reasons an employer can fire a doctor, including but not limited to morality clauses.”There’s always a laundry list of things the employer can terminate the contract for,” Leider says. “There’s usually a catch-all. Anything that calls into question the reputation of the practice.” These clauses tend to be vague, León adds, which means employers can invoke them to prevent a wide range of activities, like political activity, controversial posts on social media or, in religious hospitals, physicians spending time at clinics that provide abortions. The restrictions may have ramifications not only for physicians but for many clinics that provide abortions. Smaller clinics may be staffed almost entirely with part-time doctors, and when they can’t find enough, they’re sometimes left unable to meet the demand for services. “We don’t have full-time doctors,” says Shelly Miller, the executive director of Scotsdale Women’s Center in Detroit, one of the clinics where Remski worked. “We really cannot afford to have a provider sit here all day and wait for patients to come in.” Through her involvement with the National Abortion Federation, Miller often talks with other directors of small clinics that provide abortions and sometimes other women’s health services. She says that many of her counterparts say they exclusively hire part-time physicians because they simply don’t need somebody full time. If more physicians are prohibited from part-time abortion work, it may put some smaller clinics out of business, Miller worries.It’s hard to know exactly how many of these clinics primarily use part-time staff, according to Rachel Jones, who studies the demographics of U.S. abortion services at the Guttmacher Institute, a family planning research organization. Ninety-five percent of abortions take place in clinics as opposed to hospitals, Jones notes, which may be more likely to utilize a team of part-time staff. León doesn’t have data to show how common it is for physicians to be threatened with termination for providing abortions. She guesses that doctors will either give up on providing abortions — or, like Remski did, look for a different job that allows them to. León spends much of her time speaking to groups of doctors about how to approach contract negotiation if they want to provide abortions. Ultimately, Remski says, she parted amicably from IHA, since “it felt like the wrong place for me.” She ended up finding a job at an urgent-care clinic in Michigan, which allowed her to work part time at three separate clinics that provide abortions. She has since moved to Chicago, where she also splits her time between providing abortions and primary care. “I was providing a service that was needed and necessary,” Remski says. “I realized it was something I really needed to do.” Mara Gordon is a family physician in Washington, D.C., and a health and media fellow at NPR and Georgetown University School of Medicine. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

first_imgDisabled people’s rights have regressed in at least nine areas since the coalition government assumed power in 2010, according to a new report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).The report concludes that disabled people are still being treated as “second-class citizens” and that rights have regressed in many areas of society, while in others progress has stalled.The report says: “It is a badge of shame on our society that thousands of disabled people in Britain are still not being treated as equal citizens and continue to be denied the everyday rights non-disabled people take for granted, such as being able to access transport, appropriate health services and housing, or benefit from education and employment.”The report, Being Disabled In Britain: A Journey Less Equal, aims to provide comprehensive evidence on disability inequality in Britain, and calls on disability groups to use its findings to “strengthen their case for change”, and on the UK and devolved governments to use it to improve laws and policies.The report examines progress on education; work; standard of living; health and care; justice and detention; and participation and identity, and says that disabled people are experiencing “disadvantages” in all of them.But the commission has also told Disability News Service (DNS) that it believes there has been a regression in rights in at least nine areas since 2010.One of these areas is the right to independent living, including the disproportionate effect of the government’s welfare reforms on disabled people.The report says that social security reforms have had a “particularly disproportionate, cumulative impact” on disabled people’s right to independent living and an adequate standard of living.It repeats its previous calls for the UK government to carry out an assessment of the cumulative impact of its cuts and reforms on disabled people, a demand that disabled activists have been making since at least 2011.Across the UK, according to the report, 18.4 per cent of working-age disabled people were considered to be in food poverty compared with 7.5 per cent of non-disabled people.Disabled people over the age of 65 were twice as likely as non-disabled people in the same age group to be in food poverty.The report also says there is a “growing body of anecdotal evidence” that the government’s welfare reforms, including the work capability assessment (WCA), are causing “significant harm and distress, particularly to people with mental health conditions, and that in some cases being found ineligible for Employment Support Allowance has resulted in suicide”.It points to an investigation by the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, research by academics from the universities of Liverpool and Oxford, and two prevention of future deaths letters, written by coroners and discovered originally by DNS, all of which have linked the WCA to the deaths of benefit claimants with mental health conditions.Other areas where there has been regression in disabled people’s rights include social isolation, with fewer opportunities for some disabled people to participate in the community; housing, with some disabled people being forced to move from adapted properties into unsuitable accommodation as a result of the government’s “bedroom tax”; and in healthcare, including the inappropriate use of “do not attempt resuscitation” orders.Other areas of regression include the inability to challenge detentions under mental health and mental capacity laws; discriminatory school exclusions, and – in Wales – the failure to protect disabled pupils from bullying; and the impact of government reforms on protection from employment discrimination.The report warns that detentions in health and social care settings under the Mental Health Act are continuing to increase in England and Wales, with the number of detentions in hospitals rising from 46,600 in 2009-10 to 63,622 last year.The report also points to regression as a result of government reforms to legal aid in England and Wales, which it says have harmed disabled people’s access to justice in family law, housing, employment, debt and benefits cases.The report says there was a 54 per cent drop in employment tribunal claims on the grounds of disability discrimination between 2012-13 and 2015-16, following the introduction of tribunal fees of up to £1,200 across Britain in July 2013.In new analysis carried out for the report on the Office for Disability Issues’ Life Opportunities Survey, the commission found that the proportion of disabled people who found it difficult to access public services (health, benefits, tax, sport and leisure) rose from 37.9 per cent in 2009-11 to 45.3 per cent in 2012-14, compared to a rise from 26.2 per cent to 31.7 per cent of non-disabled people.The report also calls again on the government to reopen its Access to Elected Office fund, which offered grants to disabled people to pay for their additional impairment-related costs in standing for election as a councillor or MP, and has been lying dormant since the 2015 general election.This week’s report draws mostly on previously-published research and analysis – including seven DNS stories – but also includes new analysis of published data.David Isaac, the commission’s chair, says in the report: “The Equality Act 2010 has still not been implemented in full, the [UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities] has not been incorporated into domestic law and policy, life chances for disabled people remain very poor, and public attitudes to disabled people have changed very little.”Commenting on the report, he added: “This evidence can no longer be ignored. Now is the time for a new national focus on the rights of the 13 million disabled people who live in Britain.“They must have the same rights, opportunities and respect as other citizens.“We must put the rights of disabled people at the heart of our society. We cannot, and must not, allow the next 20 years to be a repeat of the past.”When asked how the minister for disabled people responded to the watchdog’s conclusion that disabled people were still being treated as second-class citizens, that their rights had regressed in some areas, and social security reforms had had a “particularly disproportionate, cumulative impact” on disabled people’s rights to independent living and an adequate standard of living, a DWP spokesman said: “We are committed to ensuring that a disability or health condition should not dictate the path a person is able to take in life.“The UK is a world leader in this area and we are proud of the work we do to support people with disabilities and health conditions, to increase opportunities and tackle inaccessibility.“Not only do we spend over £50 billion a year to support disabled people and those with health conditions – more of our GDP than Japan, Canada and France – we also offer a wide range of tailored and effective support.“Our focus is on helping disabled people find and stay in work, whilst providing support for those who can’t.”But Liz Sayce, chief executive of Disability Rights UK, said: “This new report makes sombre and disappointing reading, and highlights the unfairness disabled people continue to face, day in and day out.“As a society, we say we want progress towards disabled people taking a full part in society; but instead we appear to be going backwards. “We need concrete plans from government, with outcomes measured regularly, to ensure we get back on track.“We welcome the EHRC report and are keen to work with them and others to tackle discrimination.”last_img read more

first_img[dropcap]B[/dropcap]log, some of our followers, will remember an incident, in Fuerteventura, when I spotted a nasty-little-Facebooker, taking photos, on it’s mobile phone, of a dying man, who had just had a heart-attack, and was being lifted into an ambulance. Well, they’ve been at it again! And this time it’s a Labour politician, getting in on the act, unable to resist the opportunity, to update his flock of ‘friends’, as to the latest acts of hedonism and culture, of his Facebook-Life!!Yes, Amran Hussain, a Labour wannabe-do-gooder, has been busily promoting himself, on the beach in Tunisia, by taking photos, of his group of fellow Facebookers (obviously, with the assistance, of an expert selfie-stick).Facebookers, stop clogging the streets up, in central London, whilst you’re taking ghastly ‘selfies’. And when someone is busy, lying on the ground, snuffing it; PLEASE, HAVE SOME RESPECT, and let them get on with it IN PEACE!!In other news:Indian Express, 3 North End Parade, West Kensington, W14. www.indian-express.net/ Ooohh, let me mark your card here, Blog. Top class grub, with no unpleasant after effects, that really was EXCELLENT, from start to finish. But, I mean, in Kensington, it must have been expensive, right? A meal for two… £125? No. £100, then? Nahh. £75?? Nope. Well, what was it then, you bloody cheap-skate?! £38. Yep. £38 for two. And I’m putting it in; as the second best Indian in London, behind Nazmins in Earlsfield.Indian Express. Bit of a crap name. But the grub’s excellent, and the owner, Rocky, can’t do enough to help. Don’t miss the mushroom-rice. 9.GREAT VALUE STILL TO BE HAD IN LONDON.Over and out, B xlast_img read more

first_img 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Is your ISP Throttling Your Internet Service? 3 min read Next Article –shares Technology Brought to you by PCWorld David Courseycenter_img February 12, 2009 Add to Queue Learn about these new tools to measure boradband network performance. The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Is the speed of your company’s Internet connection being throttled back by your ISP? Unless you’re using a cable modem for your business Internet connection–and have Comcast or Cox as the provider–probably not. But, wouldn’t you like to know, just to be sure?By offering new tools to measure broadband network performance, developers at a Google-backed venture called Measurement Lab are putting pressure on all ISPs to stop limiting customer bandwidth, or at least to not do it in secret.While I don’t know of any small businesses that have run into throttling issues–in which your ISP slows your Internet traffic because they think you’re overusing bandwidth–it is surely possible. Particularly if you actually do occasionally download large files in the course of your daily business.If it’s happening, a new tool called Glasnost will ferret it out. Should you find you’re being throttled, please drop me a note and I’ll investigate. It’s possible, even likely, that there is a whole lot more of this going on than people think.The ISPs’ real targets aren’t businesses, but people playing bandwidth-intensive games and doing huge uploads/downloads using things like BitTorrent. Some ISPs appear to be slowing these bandwidth hogs’ traffic to protect the network for everyone else. The ISPs don’t like to talk about throttling, so we aren’t sure how common it is or what the thresholds are for setting it off.Net Transparency I think the ISPs ought to be up-front about what they are doing–surely a new experience for telcos and cable providers–and offer customers a way to buy the bandwidth they need for a reasonable price. Customers should be told if their traffic is being throttled and given options to have the block removed.Business users probably don’t run into bandwidth throttling very often. Most small businesses don’t generate all that much Internet traffic and, when we do, it is likely directed at a hosted Web or commerce site, not our small office network.However, as businesses embrace VOIP telephony, video conferencing, and other bandwidth hungry apps, the possibility of finding a governor placed on your traffic might increase. Especially if you’re not purchasing a premium business package from your ISP.For example, many small businesses have fairly large numbers of people sharing what is probably a too-limited Internet pipeline. If all these folks pick up their VOIP handsets or join a two-way video conference at once, there could be trouble.For those reasons, it’s probably a good idea for small businesses to run Glasnost at least occasionally, especially during peak network loading.It isn’t clear to me how serious a throttling problem that home-based workers face, except that they seem more likely to be dealing with the ISPs associated with throttling.I don’t have a problem with ISPs charging bandwidth hogs for the privilege. But, I think it should be done in the open based on usage limits that are published. Usage data, likewise, needs to be available to customers in real time so they can either be aware some of their traffic is being blocked or reduce their usage before throttling occurs.After 25 years covering technology, David Coursey is, at different times during the day, a writer, radio talk show host, animal rescue volunteer, ham radio operator, and small business owner. Write him at david@coursey.com . Apply Now »last_img read more

first_imgNational Herald case: HC dismisses pleas of Sonia, Rahul challenging reopening of tax assessment RELATED SC refuses to quash National Herald case politics The Central Bureau of Investigation has named former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda as an accused in the chargesheet filed in the AJL-National Herald Panchkula land grab scam.Hooda is accused of misusing his position as then Chief Minister of Haryana to cause unlawful gains to the Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and corresponding loss to the Government of Haryana. Hooda, who was also the then chairman of the Haryana Urban Development Authority, is accused of illegally allotting a government plot of land for ₹ 59 lakh to AJL. The actual cost of the land is estimated to be worth several crores rupees.A CBI statement said, “The CBI has today filed a Charge Sheet Under section 120-B of  IPC, 420 of IPC and section 13 (2) read with 13 (1) (d) of PC Act in the Court of Special Judge, CBI cases, Panchkula(Haryana) against Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the then Chairman, HUDA (then CM), Haryana; Motilal Vora, then Chairman, M/s Associated Journals Ltd. and M/s Associated Journals Ltd  in a case relating to an  alleged re-allotment of institutional plot No.C-17, Sector-6, Panchkula to M/s. AJL.”Further investigation is continuing, the CBI said. December 01, 2018 Published on CBI charge-sheets Hooda in ₹1,500-crore Manesar land case COMMENT Bhupinder Singh Hooda, former Haryana chief minister   –  THE HINDU SHARE SHARE EMAIL National Herald case: Subramanian Swamy records his statement in Delhi court crime, law and justice SHARE COMMENTSlast_img read more

first_imgWELLINGTON (Reuters) – The Auckland Blues have pulled off a major coup by signing All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett on a four-year contract, enticing him away from the Wellington Hurricanes and securing the playmaker they have needed for more than a decade.The twice World Player of the Year, has also signed a new deal with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) that runs until after the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.Barrett’s wife Hannah is from Auckland and local media had reported he would be moving there permanently anyway, with the Hurricanes holding out hope he might commute to Wellington during the Super Rugby season.”There were many reasons but ultimately it’s a family decision, it was the best thing for Hannah and I,” Barrett told reporters in Auckland on Friday. AdChoices广告”It is a big thing to sign anywhere for four years but the underlying thing was that I wasn’t ready to go offshore and I knew that I had plenty left in the tank to give New Zealand rugby.”The 28-year-old’s contract allows him an extended break after this year’s World Cup and before he joins the Blues midway through the next Super Rugby season, while he also has an option to pursue a short-term deal in Japan.Barrett said he had considered commuting from Auckland but felt that he could probably only sustain that for a year.”It was certainly a possibility, but family is first in my opinion, no matter what job you are doing,” Barrett added. “Commuting for four years would put a strain on any job.”Barrett’s move to the Blues, who won the last of their three Super Rugby titles in 2003, could help spark an upturn in the team’s fortunes after a moribund decade.They have not made the playoffs since 2011 and have consistently been the worst-performing New Zealand franchise in the intervening eight years.The Blues have struggled to find a flyhalf capable of driving the team around the field since Carlos Spencer left in 2005 and they almost enticed All Blacks great Dan Carter to the team towards the end of his career.”It’s huge for our club,” Blues coach Leon MacDonald said.”As well as getting a world-class player, our young first-fives will flourish with the opportunity to train and play alongside Beauden, and I am sure he will be an immediate fan favourite at Eden Park.” (Writing by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Nick Mulvenney) Related News Rugby 21 Apr 2019 Rugby: Carter would not let New Zealand down at World Cup – Henry {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} Rugby 09 Jun 2019 Barrett laid low by stomach bug, says Hurricanes coach Rugby 07 Jul 2019 Mo’unga magic adds fuel to All Blacks flyhalf debate Related Newslast_img read more

first_img Next Soch badlo papa: BJP MLA’s daughter who married Dalit boy makes emotional appeal to dad on live TVSakshi, the MLA’s daughter had earlier filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court, seeking protection to “live a peaceful life” as a married couple. She spoke to her dad from the Aaj Tak studio on Friday.advertisement India Today Web Desk New DelhiJuly 12, 2019UPDATED: July 12, 2019 19:12 IST Sakshi Misra, daughter of MLA Rajesh Misra had uploaded a video on social media and informed about her wedding to Ajitesh Kumar.HIGHLIGHTSBJP MLA Rajesh Mishra’s daughter Sakshi on Friday made an emotional appeal to her fatherEarlier, Sakshi had said she was being threatened by her father and “his men” because she had married a Dalit manOn Friday, Sakshi asked her father to change his thinking and requested him not to discriminateSakshi, the daughter of BJP MLA Rajesh Mishra, whose viral video gripped the country this week, on Friday made an emotional appeal to her father with whom she spoke while sitting in the studios of Aaj Tak TV.Sakshi, in her viral video, had said she was being threatened by her father and “his men” because she had married a Dalit man. On Friday, Sakshi appeared on Aaj Tak TV and while in the studio, spoke to her dad over a call.”I had so many dreams and wanted to study. I used to tell my father to take me to work but he never took me seriously,” Sakshi said in a trembling voice. In an emotional message, Sakshi asked her father to change his thinking and requested him not to discriminate.Sakshi claimed that her father never let her step out of the house. “He [Sakshi’s father] had no clue what was happening with us. My brother and mother used to harass me when you were in the office,” Sakshi added.When called, BJP MLA Rajesh Mishra alleged that his family was being harassed. As Sakshi spoke with her father on Aaj Tak, she broke down and apologised to him. Rajesh Mishra said he wished she finds happiness in life, but disconnected the call soon after.THE CASESakshi and her husband Ajitesh had earlier filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court, seeking protection to “live a peaceful life” as a married couple.The next hearing in the case has been fixed for July 15 as Sakshi Mishra and her husband Ajitesh were not present in the court.Sakshi Misra (23) had uploaded a video on a social media platform last week, making her marriage with Ajitesh Kumar (29) public.In another video, she alleged there was a threat to her life from her father, brother and an associate.The couple asked for security, contending that there was a threat to their life from the BJP MLA, who was “unhappy” with their marriage as Sakshi was a Brahmin and Ajitesh a Dalit.The petitioners prayed that police or Rajesh Mishra do not disturb them in “their peaceful living as both petitioners were major and had entered into marriage with a free will”.READ | Respect her decision: BJP MLA denies threatening his daughter for marrying DalitREAD | Tell your goons to back off: BJP MLA’s daughter fears for life after marrying Dalit, releases videoWATCH | BJP MLA’s daughter who married Dalit boy makes emotional appeal to dad on live TVFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted bySumeda last_img read more

first_imgSurgical strikes and Balakot demonstrate political will to fight terror: Army Chief Bipin RawatGen Rawat said a political will along with proactive diplomacy is key for success in military mattersadvertisement Abhishek Bhalla New DelhiJuly 13, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 12:46 IST Surgical strikes after the Uri attack in 2017 and the aerial strike this year on a terror camp in Balakot by the Indian Air Force has demonstrated that India has the political will to respond against terror, Indian Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat said on Saturday.Speaking at an event in New Delhi to commemorate 20 years of the Kargil War Gen Rawat said, a political will along with proactive diplomacy is key for success in military matters”We are working in a coordinated manner for a cogent and synchronized national response against sub-conventional and asymmetric threats by any adversary. Surgical strikes post-Uri and Balakot have amply demonstrated our political and military resolve against terror. Any act of terror will not go unpunished,” he said referring to current challenges for the armed forces and lessons learned from the past.The reference to the synergy between the military and diplomacy could be in the context of the Doklam standoff with China and Balakot air strikes. In both instances, the military and diplomatic channels made efforts to work in a coordinated manner to leave little scope for speculation.Speaking of the transformation of the Army since the Kargil War in 1999, Gen Rawat said tri-service wings dedicated to space, cyber and special operations are the way forward for jointness or synergy in the armed forces to combat future challenges.We have come a long way since Kargil. We need to be prepared for future wars and cannot let our guard down, he said.He stressed on the need for capability enhancement and fast track procurement.”While the armed forces have to be prepared for multi-spectrum challenges but at the same time need to be ready for conventional wars,” Rawat added.The Army Chief said the changing dynamics of cyber and space domains is the biggest challenge for the future. We must be prepared for future conflicts that will be more violent and unpredictable as technology will be the key driver in future wars. He talked about threats of cyber attack to critical infrastructure and the constant battle to shape perception in the information domain.Also read: Battle of the Bulge: Bipin Rawat’s radical plan to restructure armyALSO WATCH| Army better prepared to tackle 26\11-like attacks, says General Bipin RawatFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byIram Ara Ibrahim Nextlast_img read more