first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Ex-Man Utd striker Van Persie: Pogba played out of positionby Freddie Taylor24 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Manchester United striker Robin van Persie thinks Paul Pogba should be playing further in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.The World Cup winner has lined up primarily as a defensive midfielder under the Norwegian this season.Speaking after Monday’s draw with Arsenal, van Persie said: “For him, the coach, for us, for everyone, it’s just important to choose a position.”I would play him not as a defensive midfielder, and not as a number 10 but in between – [the] number eight position. “So, he still has his freedom, he’s not judged then on 20-plus goals a season, if he scores 10-plus goals, makes assists, everyone will look differently at him then, but it needs to be clear for everyone.” last_img read more

first_imgNew Delhi: In a big bang election promise, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday announced that 20 per cent families belonging to the poorest category will be given Rs 72,000 each annually as minimum income if his party comes to power. Making the announcement at a press conference here, Gandhi said five crore families and 25 crore will directly benefit from the scheme. “Final assault on poverty has begun. We will wipe out poverty from the country,” he said Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Gandhi said the Congress has studied the fiscal implications of the scheme and consulted renowned economists and experts before finalising the scheme. “It is an extremely powerful, ground-breaking and well-thought through idea. We have consulted many economists on the scheme,” he said. “People have suffered in the last five years and we are going to give justice to them,” he added.last_img read more

first_imgLondon: A cornered Theresa May issued a stark warning to the warring factions within the UK Parliament that the choice was between agreeing on a withdrawal agreement or risk no Brexit at all. In her latest statement from Downing Street on Saturday evening, the British Prime Minister sought to defend her move to reach out to Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in an attempt to break the ongoing parliamentary deadlock over Britain’s impending exit from the European Union (EU). Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USBecause Parliament has made clear it will stop the UK leaving without a deal, we now have a stark choice: leave the European Union with a deal or do not leave at all, she said. My answer to that is clear: we must deliver Brexit and to do so we must agree a deal. If we cannot secure a majority among Conservative and DUP MPs we have no choice but to reach out across the House of Commons, she added. Her latest intervention comes amid a mounting mutiny within her own Conservative Party for sitting down with Corbyn to thrash out a solution, which will inevitably take the form of a so-called soft Brexit given Labour’s preference for a common Customs Union with the EU as part of any future relationship with the economic bloc. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsHowever, the British PM highlighted that it was either that or not leaving the 28-member economic bloc at all and reneging on the June 2016 referendum in favour of Brexit. She said: The longer this takes, the greater the risk of the UK never leaving at all. It would mean letting the Brexit the British people voted for slip through our fingers. I will not stand for that. It is essential we deliver what people voted for and to do that we need to get a deal over the line. In a clear attempt at placating her hard Brexiteer party MPs, May insisted that there are areas where the two main UK parties, Conservatives and Labour, agree. We both want to end free movement, we both want to leave with a good deal, and we both want to protect jobs. That is the basis for a compromise that can win a majority in Parliament and winning that majority is the only way to deliver Brexit, she stressed. May is set for another trip to Brussels next week to follow up on her letter to European Council President Donald Tusk seeking a short extension to Article 50 until June 30. However, it remains to be seen what the remaining EU member countries will be willing to agree to, with any decision on an extension to the Brexit mechanism requiring their unanimous backing. The UK has already sought one extension to the March 29 Brexit deadline and is set to crash out of the bloc on April 12 unless an alternative arrangement is agreed with the EU. British MPs have rejected May’s EU divorce bill three times over the controversial Irish backstop clause and last week’s talks between the two main parties were aimed at trying to find a proposal which could break the deadlock in the Commons before an emergency EU summit on Wednesday. However, the three days of meetings stalled without agreement on Friday. Corbyn has said he was “waiting to see the red lines move” and had not “noticed any great change in the government’s position”. He is himself under pressure from his MPs to demand another referendum on any deal he reaches with the government, with 80 Labour MPs signing a letter saying a public vote should be the “bottom line” in the negotiations.last_img read more

first_imgMADRID – President Mario Ray says he will not work for differences, but for solidarity.Spain intensively discusses the referandum to be held on November 9 next year for the separation of autonomous Catalonia.Ruling Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CIU) has declared the coalition by compromising with the seperatist parties in Catalonia saying “Spain can not hinder the plebiscite”, nevertheless Spain’s ruling People Party (PP) and main opposition Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE) argues that referandum will not be implemented under any circumstances. President Mariano Roy said, “I obviously expressed my idea regarding this issue. I will work to emphasize connective factors, not the differences. Spain’s sovereignty can be decided by all Spanish people. Any prime minister, political party or parliament can not decide what Spain is.”Spanish Prime Minister commented on the plebiscite by saying, “Spain is one of the oldest nations of Europe and it is one of the leading countries which provided its union.”Chief of PSOE Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba also criticized the developments. He said, they are not in favor of “self-determination of future” which was mostly used by autonomous Catalonia, stressing that a probable seperation of Catalonia would not be for the good of Spain and Europe.The referandum will include the “Do you want Catalonia to be a state?” question, and “Do you want this state [Catalonia] to be independent?” which will be asked to voters saying “Yes” to the first question, and its pre-agreement is expected to be voted and confirmed in Catalan Parliament on January 15, 2013. Then the Catalan government is expected to submit the results of the plebiscite and ask for a general referandum in Spain.last_img read more

first_imgOTM Mumbai is the largest travel trade fair in India and Bangladesh has been participating for the last couple of years. The event is important for us since Mumbai is one of the important markets for Bangladesh and also since OTM provides the platform to connect with other foreign markets. We hope to continue our association with OTM in the coming years.last_img

first_img(Photos by Sue Kirsch text by Jesse F.) September 7, 2018Photos from the last few days and nights, of a Peruvian Apple Cactus Cereus Peruvianus in bloom. The first one actually bloomed during the full moon night and started shriveling during the late morning. The Peruvian apple cactus, is a large, erect, thorny columnar cactus found in South America as well as the nearby ABC Islands of the Dutch Caribbean. We have two of these cactuses in the cactus gardens behind EC Unit 9 and 10. They were bought during the 2017 FORM Arcosanti event by SOLANGE, with a lot of other plants that were to be used as backdrop during her performance. All of the plants were donated and planted in different places all over the site. The photos are of the evening before the first bloom with just the bud, the night bloom, still blooming in the early morning [with a bee],then the next evening with the second bud opening and blooming, while the first flower is already shriveled up.The cycles of life, so beautiful and sometimes so short. Who know what we might miss if we look away for just a day or two. And thanks as always for checking in on us!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_imgCampaigners have questioned a series of claims by the minister for disabled people that there have been substantial improvements to major government disability programmes.Justin Tomlinson, who was appointed to the post in May, spoke this afternoon (Thursday) to two separate audiences of disabled people and campaigners.He claimed there had been substantial improvements to the Access to Work (AtW) scheme, and in the programme to introduce personal independence payment (PIP).He also attempted to justify government plans to cut £29 a week from the benefits of new claimants of employment and support allowance (ESA) placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG) from April 2017.Tomlinson first addressed a joint meeting of the all-party parliamentary disability group (APPDG) and the all-party parliamentary group on learning disability in Westminster, before heading across London to speak at the annual meeting of Disability Rights UK.He told the APPDG there had been “clear improvements” to AtW, with his department “speeding up the process” and increasing awareness of the scheme among small and medium-sized businesses.He also said there had been a “dramatic turnaround” in the PIP claim system, with four times more assessors, 200 more assessment centres, centres opening for longer hours and “improved communications with claimants”.He later told the DR UK event that PIP had had a “terrible start”, with a “terrible claimant journey”, but that “we have transformed it”.But he said he was “not complacent” and would ensure that the reassessment process of 1.3 million people on long-term disability living allowance, now underway, would proceed in “a controlled and measured way”, with weekly checks on how the system was coping so that this final stage of the PIP roll-out does not “compromise quality”.He attempted to justify the WRAG cut – which will see £640 million a year cut from disabled people’s benefits – by highlighting that only one per cent of those in the WRAG find sustainable work every month.He said there was “no way of describing that as anything other than unacceptable”, and said later that the WRAG top-up “was not meant to be an income boost”.He said: “That was not the intention when it was brought in. It was to provide direct support to get you into work.”Tomlinson told the APPDG that eventually an extra £100 million a year of those WRAG savings would be spent on employment support for disabled people.But Tomlinson’s claims were repeatedly disputed by disabled people and disability organisations who attended the two events.Tom Hendrie, from Cheshire Centre for Independent Living, told Tomlinson at the DR UK event: “A number of members are concerned about the way changes to local authority funding, the end of the Independent Living Fund, changes to benefits, have all come together in a perfect storm.”He asked if Tomlinson would encourage ministerial colleagues to attempt an assessment of the cumulative impact of all of the government’s reforms and cuts.Andrew Lee (pictured), director of policy and campaigns at People First Self-Advocacy, said at the APPDG: “I hear a lot about the government wanting more people to be in work, but as a person with learning difficulties myself, my experience is actually that there are more and more barriers to employment for disabled people.“The way the changes to Access to Work are hitting people with learning difficulties is one thing I know.”He said cuts to social care had forced him to cut his work hours so he could support his disabled wife.Lee said: “We do not get any support with things like form-filling, so we are running around everywhere trying to find someone to help us fill in our benefits assessment forms.”Mike Smith, chief executive of the London disabled people’s organisation Real, and former disability commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, asked Tomlinson at the DR UK event why the need for a national AtW scheme did not also apply to the Independent Living Fund, which the government closed in order to pass its funding to local authorities.Tomlinson did not appear to answer that question.Rebecca, a young disabled woman who spoke at the APPDG meeting, described her own experiences of claiming ESA and the difficulty of finding work, and said that cutting WRAG payments “could make life even more difficult for disabled people”.She said: “I need the money. Without it, I struggle.”She added: “I applied for so many jobs but I keep getting letters back saying they cannot accept me. I think it’s because I have a disability.“I find it really hard to have to explain that I could actually do the work.”Victoria Holloway, co-chair of the Disability Benefits Consortium, told Tomlinson at the APPDG that there was “no evidence whatsoever” that cutting WRAG payments would incentivise disabled people to find work.She said the move would instead move them further from the workplace, could mean people were unable to meet their essential living costs, and might even put some people’s recovery from ill-health at risk.A Mencap representative later asked Tomlinson for the evidence that cutting WRAG payments would “incentivise” disabled people to find work.He failed to make any reference to such evidence in his reply, but appeared to claim that the “incentive” was the extra money that would be available for employment support for disabled people.Gordon McFadden, chair of United Amputees, raised concerns about the quality of PIP assessments, and said that one contractor had been advertising for paramedics to carry out the tests, in addition to physiotherapists, nurses and doctors.McFadden told Disability News Service after the APPDG meeting that he had supported two people, both of whom had had both their legs amputated and were still turned down for the enhanced mobility rate of PIP, and told their Motability vehicles would be removed. Both decisions were only over-turned after McFadden became involved in their cases.Asked at the DR UK event whether he would look again at the decision to slash the qualifying distance for the enhanced rate of PIP mobility support from 50 metres to just 20 metres, Tomlinson said the department had “incredibly bright medical advisors who advise on the way of doing things”.He added: “We feel, based on the advice we have been given, it is the right thing to do but I recognise that most of you in the room do not [share that view].”Natalie McGarry, the SNP’s disability spokeswoman, told Tomlinson at the APPDG that disabled people placed in the WRAG had “already been found not fit for work”, and she told him that the government had apparently “not learned anything” from its failure to carry out preparatory work before the introduction of the bedroom tax.She said: “You are making their lives significantly more difficult but you are not changing their conditions, the barriers to work, or the work for people to get into.” And Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, Debbie Abrahams, told the DR UK event, after Tomlinson’s departure: “As much as the minister provided a relatively rosy picture, I do not quite see things as he did.”She said she believed the cumulative impact of the new welfare reform and work bill on disabled people would be “very severe”.last_img read more

first_imgBox Names Mark Wayland Chief Revenue Officer PRNewswireJune 10, 2019, 8:32 pmJune 10, 2019 Boxcloud content managementMark Waylandmarketing cloudMarketing Technology NewsNews Previous ArticleSmartsheet Announces General Availability of Smartsheet Gov at AWS Public Sector SummitNext ArticleMajor Marketers Up 6% on a Two-Year CAGR Basis Box a leader in Cloud Content Management, announced the appointment of Mark Wayland as chief revenue officer. Mr. Wayland will lead the company’s global sales organization, reporting to Box Chief Operating Officer (COO) Stephanie Carullo.“Mark brings a winning track record of success in leading global sales organizations and in building deep and lasting customer relationships in almost every segment of the enterprise software market”Mr. Wayland is a 10-year veteran of Salesforce where he held a variety of sales leadership roles, including senior vice president of Marketing Cloud, senior vice president of global sales for Salesforce Pardot, and senior vice president of commercial sales. He has worked in the information technology industry for 25 years with companies like Gartner, Nortel, and others. Most recently, Mr. Wayland was chief revenue officer of Tanium, an enterprise security company based in Emeryville, CA.Marketing Technology News: Crimson Agility Receives Two Nominations from Magento“Mark brings a winning track record of success in leading global sales organizations and in building deep and lasting customer relationships in almost every segment of the enterprise software market,” said Stephanie Carullo, COO, Box. “He’s adept at developing solution selling best practices at scale and we’re thrilled to add his depth of experience, leadership, and operational drive to Box as we on focus on capturing the large market opportunity for Cloud Content Management.”Marketing Technology News: DAA Announces Enforcement Deadline for ‘Political Ad’ Guidelines and Transparency Icon“Box has built a leading platform for secure content management, workflow, and collaboration that delivers significant value for customers,” said Mark Wayland, chief revenue officer, Box. “We have the potential to transform how nearly every company runs their business and how hundreds of millions of people get their work done every day. There is an incredible team in place, an exciting product portfolio, and a massive market opportunity ahead of us.”Marketing Technology News: Loyalty Brands Announces Partnership with Textellent To Deliver Innovative SMS Sales & Marketing Capabilitieslast_img read more

first_img Citation: Japan prosecutors seek to extend Ghosn detention (2018, November 30) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-japan-prosecutors-ghosn-detention.html Explore further Local media said prosecutors were seeking to keep Ghosn in a cell in a Tokyo jail for another 10 days while they investigate allegations that he underreported his salary by millions of dollars over five years.The 64-year-old tycoon was arrested on November 19 and prosecutors have already extended his detention once, while two of the companies he once led—Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors—have voted to remove him.The extension would give prosecutors until December 10 to decide whether to indict him on charges of under-reporting his salary. If he is indicted, he could then be released awaiting trial, or held in pre-trial detention.Prosecutors could also choose to file additional charges against him, and with each charge they can seek to hold Ghosn for another 22 days.Ghosn’s detention even before charges have been officially filed against him has prompted some criticism abroad, particularly in France, where the executive holds citizenship.On Thursday, the deputy head of the Tokyo prosecutor’s office rejected the criticism, saying: “We do not unnecessarily keep people in custody for a long time.””I do not criticise other countries’ systems just because they are different,” Shin Kukimoto added.Ghosn, who denies the allegations against him, faces an array of claims involving hiding money and benefits he received while chairman of Nissan and head of an alliance between the Japanese firm, Mitsubishi Motors and France’s Renault.Executives commit to allianceNissan had been investigating Ghosn and close aide Greg Kelly for months after a whistleblower report, and accused the pair of a scheme to misrepresent the Brazil-born chief’s earnings.Sources have since said Ghosn signed secret documents instructing aides to defer part of his salary, without disclosing this to shareholders.The scheme allegedly involved under-reporting Ghosn’s income by around $44 million over five fiscal years to March 2015.The same source confirmed that Nissan funds were secretly used to pay for residences for Ghosn in Rio de Janeiro and Lebanon, homes that local media said cost “huge sums” and had no legitimate business purpose.Those sorts of expenses should have been disclosed as compensation but were arranged without shareholder approval and generally in secret, the source added.Local media also reported that Ghosn used Nissan corporate money to make a donation to his daughter’s university and fund a family trip, and paid his sister around $100,000 a year for a fictitious role as an advisor.Ghosn’s arrest sent shockwaves throughout the auto industry and beyond, with Japanese and French officials at pains to stress the alliance between the three companies would not collapse.On Thursday, executives from the three firms reaffirmed their commitment to the alliance despite reports of tension in the partnership, particularly on the part of Nissan, which outsells its French counterpart Renault.While Mitsubishi Motors and Nissan have removed Ghosn, he remains chairman and CEO of Renault.French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Thursday said there was no question of changing the alliance’s balance of power.The rules of the partnership state that Renault chooses the alliance’s CEO, who wields a tie-breaking vote in board decisions, while Nissan names the deputy.Japanese media said Friday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would meet French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the G20 summit this weekend to discuss the case.Japan’s government declined to confirm the meeting, but a spokesman said it was “important that stable relations be remained” despite the case against Ghosn. © 2018 AFP Tokyo prosecutors were expected Friday to request an extension to Carlos Ghosn’s detention over allegations of financial misconduct against the former Nissan chief that have shaken the auto industry.center_img Carlos Ghosn faces an array of claims involving hiding money and benefits he received while chairman of Nissan and head of an alliance between the Japanese firm, Mitsubishi Motors and France’s Renault Ex-Nissan chief Ghosn denies allegations: media This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

first_img(Reuters) – Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) said on Wednesday it lost U.S. streaming customers for the first time in eight years and missed targets for new subscribers overseas, an announcement that jarred investors ahead of looming competition. Netflix shares sank nearly 12% in after-hours trading after the company posted quarterly results that showed it shed 130,000 U.S. customers from April to June. The world’s dominant subscription video service said its slate of new shows during the quarter was not as appealing as expected and price increases in some markets dented growth. Netflix reported that it added 2.83 million paid streaming subscribers outside the United States, below analyst expectations of 4.8 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Analysts had forecast a U.S. gain of 352,000. Related CoverageNetflix to roll out cheaper mobile-only plan for India“Our missed forecast was across all regions, but slightly more so in regions with price increases,” the company said in a letter to shareholders. “We think Q2’s content slate drove less growth in paid adds than we anticipated,” it said. (For an interactive graphic, click here: tmsnrt.rs/2XPFdGg) Chief Executive Reed Hastings said on a video call with analysts the company’s internal projection still showed it expected to end 2019 with more new subscribers than it added in 2018. It currently boasts 151.6 million streaming customers worldwide. “I think our position is excellent,” he said. Netflix has staked its future on global expansion and creating original TV shows, movies and documentaries to attract new customers and keep the existing ones paying monthly subscription fees. “Even though we expected slowing user growth in the U.S., a negative paid net additions number is shocking,” said Clement Thibault, analyst at financial markets platform Investing.com. “The problem is that with intensifying competition, there is no guarantee Netflix has the pricing power needed to raise prices without massively bleeding users.” Netflix raised prices in Britain, Switzerland, Greece and Western Europe during the second quarter. A Reuters/IPSOS poll in March found 81% of U.S. Netflix subscribers polled said they would cut the service if the monthly price rose by $5. The last time Netflix lost U.S. subscribers was in 2011 following an uproar over a price hike and a plan to split its DVD-by-mail and streaming services. Looking ahead, Netflix projected it would add 7 million paid streaming customers in the third quarter with help from a new season of supernatural thriller “Stranger Things,” released on July 4. That is more bullish than the 6.6 million forecast from analysts polled by Refinitiv. But looming in November is the launch of Disney+, seen as a formidable entrant into the streaming market, and original programming from Apple Inc (AAPL.O). AT&T Inc (T.N) and Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) have said they plan their own offerings next year. Netflix also faces the future loss of its two most-streamed shows. “The Office” will come off Netflix in January 2021 and head to Comcast’s streaming platform, while “Friends” will end its run on Netflix at the beginning of 2020. It will move exclusively to the upcoming AT&T service HBO Max. FILE PHOTO: The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy NicholsonNet income fell to $270.7 million (£217.7 million), or 60 cents per share, in the second quarter ended June 30 from 85 cents a year earlier. Total revenue rose to $4.92 billion from $3.91 billion.Analysts on average had expected revenue of $4.93 billion. Netflix shares fell to $320.66 in after-hours trading after closing at $362.44 on Nasdaq. Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles and Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Peter CooneyOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.last_img read more

first_imgKarnataka crisis: Why resignation by Congress-JDS MLAs not so easyCan elected members of legislatures resign whenever they wish to do so? Here’s what the Constitution saysadvertisement Prabhash K Dutta New DelhiJuly 12, 2019UPDATED: July 12, 2019 13:19 IST Rebel Karnataka MLAs outside Raj Bhavan on July 6 after meeting with Governor Vajubhai Vala following their resignation as legislators. (Photo: PTI)HIGHLIGHTSRebel MLAs from Congress, JDS want to resign but Karnataka Speaker keeps them waitingSpeaker says he is not yet satisfied with voluntary nature of resignation by rebel MLAsLaw empowers Speaker to reject resignation if it is not voluntary or genuine in natureFifteen MLAs, including suspended legislator Roshan Baig, have resigned in Karnataka since July 1. All of them belong to the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition that is in power in the state for over 13 months. But the resignations by the MLAs have not been accepted by Speaker and they technically remain members of the Karnataka assembly.The stalemate in Karnataka has led to a question can an MLA resign if she/he wishes to?The answer to this question is not simple. A member of the legislative assembly is elected by the people and carries their mandate in assembly. Considering this, safeguards were placed in the Constitution to check resignation by the elected members on whimsical ground or with ulterior motive.Article 190 of the Constitution provides for resignation by an MLA or MP but gives the Speaker or any other presiding officer the power to reject it. It says the Speaker may conduct an inquiry to determine the reason for submitting the resignation.If the Speaker “is satisfied that such resignation is not voluntary or genuine, he shall not accept such resignation”, states Article 190 of the Constitution.There are other ways for an MLA or MP to give up their position — by abstaining from house proceedings for 60 consecutive days without permission, and by defection. In the first case, the house decides whether to declare the member’s seat vacant or not.In the case of defection, a separate law is applicable. It says, “A legislator is deemed to have defected if he either voluntarily gives up the membership of his party or disobeys the directives of the party leadership on a vote.”This law was passed by Parliament in 1985 in the backdrop of increased frequency of party hopping. One instance stood out in particular in which a Haryana legislator named Gaya Ram switched sides three times in nine hours. The law was inserted in the Constitution as Tenth Schedule and is generally referred to as the anti-defection law.This is the law that Karnataka Speaker Ramesh Kumar has invoked in delaying decision on resignations submitted by the rebel MLAs of the Congress and the JD (S). Speaker Kumar has said he is yet to ascertain if the resignations submitted to him by the rebel MLAs are “voluntary” and “genuine”, i.e. tendered on self-volition.The phrase “voluntarily gives up his membership” has been given wider connotation by the Supreme Court in various cases beginning from Ravi Naik vs Union of India case of 1994. It stated that “voluntary” can be inferred by his conduct.This could also mean that if the concerned MLAs have not expressed their opposition to the policy or programmes of their party or coalition at an internal forum, their conduct may be interpreted by the Speaker as “not voluntary” and their resignations may be rejected. This is the implied nature of Speaker Kumar’s argument when he said he can’t work at lightning speed.The rebel MLAs have listed “fed up with the maladministration” as their reason for resigning from the membership of the assembly. Meanwhile, the Congress party has issued a whip asking all its MLAs to be present and vote in accordance with party’s decisions in Karnataka assembly session that began today. Now, if the MLAs abstain from assembly session, they will be liable for defection under the law for violating the party whip.Read | SC asks Speaker not to take decision on rebels resignation till TuesdayAlso Read | BJP hand behind Congress-JDS trouble in Karnataka?You may like it | Karnataka: Why Congress-JDS MLAs are jumping shipWatch | Will Congress lose Karnataka?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 byPrabhash Kumar Dutta Nextlast_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