Where refugees settle matters for their health

first_imgHealthWhere refugees settle matters for their health Where refugees settle can affect their long-term risk of type 2 diabetes. Muhammed Muheisen/AP [email protected] Experts have long observed that people who live in poor areas face higher risks of future health problems. But because researchers cannot go around randomly placing families in different neighborhoods and studying what happens, they have struggled to tease apart whether neighborhoods themselves play causative roles in future health problems, or if the factors that drive people to live in poor neighborhoods are the root of the health issues.A policy in place in Sweden during the 1980s and 1990s created something of a natural, randomized experiment.A similar natural experiment occurred when a US program offered some people in low-income public housing vouchers through a lottery to move to better neighborhoods. In that case, researchers found that people who received the vouchers had lower rates of obesity and diabetes down the road than those who stayed.But one limitation was that families had to elect to enroll in the lottery. The refugees in Sweden — who were fleeing conflicts such as the Iran-Iraq War — did not choose to partake in the dispersal policy.The Swedish government, concerned about the influx of people settling in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and other cities, divided the refugees throughout the country, based only on education, language, and family size.For their analysis, Hamad’s team — led by her husband, health policy expert Justin White of the University of California, San Francisco, along with colleagues at Stanford and in Sweden — studied health data from more than 61,000 refugees who arrived in Sweden as adults between 1987 and 1991, when the dispersal policy was most strictly implemented. They chose to examine type 2 diabetes because of how where you live can contribute to it: Is healthy food available? Is the area walkable? Are good jobs available?Poring over the data, the team discovered that people placed in the more deprived neighborhoods had a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people placed in the more affluent neighborhoods. (The researchers divided neighborhoods into three levels of deprivation based on poverty and unemployment, education, and social welfare participation.) About the Author Reprints As a girl, Dr. Rita Hamad and her family fled Lebanon’s civil war and found a home in the United States. Three decades later, her research is offering a glimpse into the long-term health impacts of such a migration.And while the research’s focus is on the 1980s and 1990s, it’s a period that echoes what is happening today: conflict driving people from their homes on a mass scale, and the countries where they are heading struggling with the economic, cultural, and political ramifications.The study, published Wednesday in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, throws another question into that mix: How will the specific places the thousands of refugees settle affect their well-being years down the road? And it could influence broader conversations, including those in the United States, about how where we live shapes our future.advertisement Related: In the worst neighborhoods, 7.9 percent of refugees had the disease, compared to 7.2 percent in the moderately deprived neighborhoods. In the best neighborhoods, only 5.8 percent of refugees had the disease — a rate on par with the national average. And where people were settled initially had an impact on their health even if they moved within a few years of arriving in Sweden, the researchers found.“It helps build the story that there might actually be something about the composition of the neighborhood that does matter,” said Kathleen Cagney, a sociologist who directs the University of Chicago’s Population Research Center and who was not involved with the study.The study’s results could also inform efforts to reduce the type 2 diabetes rates in the United States, said Briana Mezuk, an epidemiologist at Virginia Commonwealth University. If the government’s National Diabetes Prevention Program, for example, proves to be more effective in some areas than others, then specific neighborhood differences could be in part responsible.“When we go to refine diabetes prevention programs, [the study is] going to be very important for us to look to,” Mezuk said.The study’s findings come as the number of people displaced around the world reaches levels never before recorded. According to the United Nations, more than 1 million refugees and migrants headed to Europe by sea in 2015 alone.Of course, the exact difference in risk experienced by the people included in the study might not apply to other settings. Sweden, for example, has a famously strong safety net that could have even improved the health of arriving refugees overall.And it’s possible that the Swedish dispersal policy, which ended in the mid-1990s, actually lowered the overall prevalence of type 2 diabetes. If refugees had chosen where to settle, Hamad noted, they might have largely congregated in lower-income areas because of affordability and the presence of refugees there already.The research team started work on the project two years ago, before the refugee crisis exploded across Europe and the world. That meant Hamad did not reflect on a personal connection to the research until more recently.Her father had studied at the University of Texas at Austin, so her family headed to that city when they left the Middle East. But, she said, “if we had decided to go to Europe for some reason, we could have been subject to this type of policy.” Related: Deportation raids draw protest for harming immigrants’ mental health Tags community healthdiabetesimmigration Diabetes rose fourfold over last 25 years, WHO says Andrew Joseph @DrewQJoseph By Andrew Joseph April 27, 2016 Reprints General Assignment Reporter Andrew covers a range of topics, from addiction to public health to genetics. Hamad and her colleagues specifically looked at refugees who went to Sweden and found that they were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if they landed in poorer neighborhoods.“We did not intend for this to be informing the refugee crisis in Europe,” said Hamad, a family medicine doctor and PhD student at Stanford University. “But it does suggest that when people wind up in highly deprived neighborhoods straight off the bat … that we are going to see the effects of that years later.”advertisementlast_img read more

Coronavirus Daily Noticeboard – Thursday, April 30, 2020

first_img Electric Picnic Bizarre situation as Ben Brennan breaks up Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael arrangement to take Graiguecullen-Portarlington vice-chair role By Megan Shiel – 30th April 2020 Coronavirus update and Laois cases1,232 people have now died from Coronavirus in Ireland – an increase of 43 from yesterday.While there has been a total of 359 new cases of Coronavirus have been diagnosed in Ireland today.This is an increase on the cases from yesterday and takes the overall total to 20,612. Electric Picnic organisers release statement following confirmation of new festival date Previous articleBREAKING: 43 more deaths reported from Coronavirus in IrelandNext articleJOB VACANCIES: Oakdale Nursing Home seeking to hire Staff Nurses Megan ShielMegan is currently studying English and New Media at the University of Limerick. A Raheen native, she’s happiest when talking sport, especially soccer but just don’t mention the 2019 champions league final In Laois, there are 218 cases.Read the full update from today here.Local TD calls on government to consider ‘reducing or refunding motor tax payments’Independent TD Carol Nolan has called on the government to consider introducing measures that would see vehicle owners of all types being granted a reduction or refund of their motor tax expenditure.Deputy Nolan went on to say that recent moves by the car insurance sector to provide minimal levels of refunds also needs to be reflected in the states approach to motor tax payments.You can read the piece in full here. Coronavirus Daily Noticeboard – Thursday, April 30, 2020 WhatsApp TAGSCoronavirusCoronavirus Daily Noticeboard Conor Stapleton: What it’s like getting a cancer diagnosis – and why staying in is so vital“In 24 hours, I had transitioned from being the nervous medical student perched in the corner of the consultation room to being the nervous patient perched opposite the consultant.“Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer, developing from the cells which give colour our skin, the melanocytes.“When caught early, it has an excellent prognosis. When caught late, the prognosis is more uncertain. After two surgeries and a PET scan, I found out that my melanoma was more the latter than the former.”You can read the piece in full here.Property sales drop in March as effect of Coronavirus begins to showA total of 50 residential properties changed hands in Laois in the month of March – a drop of almost 30% on the same month in 2019.With the Coronavirus restrictions announced in the middle of March, the market understandably slowed down though the figures recorded on the Property Price Register could have been for previous months.However, the figures do show that there were 50 properties recorded as sold in Laois in March, compared to 70 in 2019 and to 61 sold in February of this year.You can read the piece in full here.Laois Rose Sarah BerginNext Laois Rose selection won’t be until 2022 as this year’s festival is postponedThe next Laois Rose selection night won’t be until 2022 after the Rose of Tralee Festival organisers announced this week that this year’s event has been postponed until August 2021.There has been a Laois Rose selection every year since 2004 but there will now be a three-year gap between events following the decision to postpone the national festival this year because of the Coronavirus.Excel experts from all over the world to “spread” their skills to Laois lockdown workers to raise COVID-19 response funds for humanitarian aid agency, GOALTwenty-five of the top global Excel professionals have created a bespoke, cut-price four-hour course, with video, to benefit workers and business owners with time on their hands due to closure or downsizing because of the coronavirus pandemic.The Excel experts are offering their expertise for either €10 or €20 – with every penny of fees going to help GOAL in its respond to the COVID pandemic in the 13 countries it works in.Each expert will submit a lesson and a video covering various aspects of Excel and subscribers can pick what aspects of the course they want to dip into. The course is designed to appeal to people of all skill levels with something for everyone.The course will cover:General Level Excel TipsAdvanced Excel TipsCharting, Dashboards and VisualizationsExcel Power Tool TipsFinancial Modelling TipsThe two-week enrolment period opens on Monday May 4thYou can pre-register here: https://goalexcel.newzenler.com/f/pre-registerMinister Humphreys opens applications for new €2 million COVID-19 online retail schemeMinister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD has announced that applications are now open for the new Enterprise Ireland €2 million Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme to support retail companies to enhance their digital capability.The new fund, which builds on two previous successful calls of the pilot Online Retail Scheme, will be open to indigenous retailers with a physical store and employing 10 or more people to develop a more competitive online offer in response to the Covid-19 crisis.Successful applicants will receive financial support of up to 80 percent of eligible project costs, with funding ranging from €10,000 to €40,000 under the competitive call. Information on the Covid 19 Online Retail Scheme and details on how to apply are available at www.enterprise-ireland.com/retail.SEE ALSO – Conor Stapleton: What it’s like getting a cancer diagnosis – and why staying in is so vital Pinterest Twittercenter_img Facebook Pinterest RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Laois Councillor ‘amazed’ at Electric Picnic decision to apply for later date for 2021 festival Laois GAA chairman calls for minor and U-20 grades to be looked at for 2021 – if 2020 season doesn’t go aheadLaois GAA chairman Peter O’Neill has called for both the U-21 grade to be used again in 2021 if this season’s U-20 inter-county hurling championship has to be cancelled due to the Coronavirus restrictions.Speaking on this week’s LaoisToday Talking Sport Podcast, he suggested that both an U-20 and an U-21 grade be played next year, as well as U-18 and U-17 to ensure players of that age don’t miss out on playing for their county.You can read the piece in full here. WhatsApp Twitter News Home News Community Coronavirus Daily Noticeboard – Thursday, April 30, 2020 NewsCommunity Electric Picnic Facebooklast_img read more

Empire Life launches suite of passive-active seg funds

first_img Related news Facebook LinkedIn Twitter IG Wealth amends product shelf Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Desjardins to close four ETFs CC&L launch quant funds for European market man opening curtain to reveal something Sergey Nivens/123RF IE Staff Keywords Dividend funds,  ProductCompanies Empire Life Insurance Co. The other six are part of a multi-strategy suite that’s overseen by portfolio manager Dave Paterson. They combine passive, smart beta and actively managed strategies, and are called:Empire Life Multi-Strategy Canadian Equity GIF,Empire Life Multi-Strategy US Equity GIF,Empire Life Multi-Strategy Global Equity GIF,Empire Life Multi-Strategy Global Conservative Portfolio GIF,Empire Life Multi-Strategy Global Balanced Portfolio GIF, andEmpire Life Multi-Strategy Global Moderate Growth Portfolio GIF.The company’s GIFs provide exposure to ETFs as well as “actively managed investments from third-party managers within one segregated fund solution,” the release says. Kingston, Ont.-based Empire Life Insurance Company has introduced eight new guaranteed investment funds (GIFs), six of which are part of a new offering that combines passive and active management.The two standalone funds are called the Empire Life Global Dividend Growth GIF and Empire Life Short Term High Income GIF. The first, a fund that’s been reopened for GIF clients according to a Wednesday release, invests primarily in mid- to large-cap stocks from around the world. The second emphasizes short-term, higher-yielding corporate bonds. last_img read more

CARICOM Ready for Implementation of Single Domestic Space Feb. 1

first_imgRelatedCARICOM Ready for Implementation of Single Domestic Space Feb. 1 FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail With the implementation of the CARICOM Single Domestic Space set for February 1, regional immigration and customs officials throughout the Caribbean are completing their preparation for this regime, which will significantly expedite the movement of persons within the region during the upcoming Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007 tournament.Speaking on behalf of the CARICOM Ministerial Subcommittee on Resource Mobilization, O’Neil Hamilton, Special Advisor to Jamaica’s Minister of National Security, has said that “adequate structures have been put in place to ensure that both visitors from the international community as well as CARICOM nationals will be able to transit the Caribbean with minimal encumbrance during Cricket World Cup”.Mr. Hamilton was speaking yesterday (January 30), after a meeting in Washington, D.C., where he briefed the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) about security preparations being put in place by CARICOM.He also discussed the provision of additional assistance from IADB member states, aimed at bolstering the region’s security preparations for Cricket World Cup.He described the introduction of the Single Domestic Space as a “key element in the region’s thrust to both facilitate greater freedom of movement and to attend to the significant security challenges that will face the region during the hosting of the games”.Mr. Hamilton stressed that the Single Domestic Space was a fundamental component of the region’s new security architecture and is supported by regional law enforcement and military personnel as well as partners from the international community.To this end, the CARICOM Ministerial Subcommittee on Resource Mobilization for Crime and Security, under the leadership of its chairman, Dr. Peter Phillips, had held a range of important discussions with political leaders and military personnel from several countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and France.These meetings have served to forge partnerships, aimed at strengthening CARICOM’s capacity and preparedness and has led to the establishment of an International Support and Advisory Group (ISAG), which has co-ordinated international support.Reiterating the need for CARICOM to be vigilant with respect to securing the region during the tournament, Mr. Hamilton explained that the imposition of the CARICOM Common Visa Policy was necessary, given the reality that travellers already in the region would not face traditional immigration and customs controls while moving from country to country within the Single Domestic Space.“It is therefore understandable that an effective vetting process would necessarily have to be implemented in order to ensure the safety and security of the Single Domestic Space. The (CARICOM) visa regime adequately addresses this very critical requirement,” he added.The CARICOM Single Domestic Space which will be initiated on February 1, 2007, will remain in force until May 15, 2007, approximately two weeks after the conclusion of Cricket World Cup 2007. RelatedCARICOM Ready for Implementation of Single Domestic Space Feb. 1 RelatedCARICOM Ready for Implementation of Single Domestic Space Feb. 1center_img CARICOM Ready for Implementation of Single Domestic Space Feb. 1 UncategorizedJanuary 31, 2007 Advertisementslast_img read more

Hospitality operators sought for new dining venue on Nepean River

first_imgHospitality operators sought for new dining venue on Nepean River The NSW Government and Penrith City Council are transforming a former police cottage on Crown land into a waterfront dining venue on the Nepean River, and a call is out for hospitality operators to run it.The former Emu Plains police cottage is being brought back to life through an adaptive reuse of the property into a unique dining experience.It will blend heritage, nature and modern conveniences across 240 square metres of retail space, with outdoor seating and magnificent views of the Nepean River.Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres said the refurbishment on Crown land is supported by a $1.5 million injection by the NSW Government and a further $1 million contribution by Penrith City Council.“113 years after the police station and residence was built it will be given a new lease of life by being transformed into a restaurant or café on the banks of the beautiful Nepean River, for all the community and visitors to the area to enjoy,” Mr Ayres said.“The Police Cottage will be a highly sought-after venue due to its prime riverfront location on the Great River Walk adjacent to the Yandhai Nepean Crossing which attracts up to 1,300 pedestrian movements on weekdays and 1,700 on weekends.”Penrith City Council is seeking innovative food and beverage operators for the planned new café and restaurant.Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown OAM said the transformation of the police cottage is part of Council’s vision to revitalise Penrith and improve our connection to the Nepean River with increased amenity and vibrant spaces for people to eat, meet and relax.“The revitalised Police Cottage will be the crucial link in the growing dining circuit along the Nepean River, playing an important role in enhancing our greatest natural asset and improving the gateway to the new Regatta Park precinct,” Cr McKeown said.“The refurbishment of the police cottage will not only attract more visitors to the area, but also celebrate and conserve our history for generations to come.“We are looking for an experienced food and beverage operator that shares our vision for heroing local and sustainable produce and materials, to provide a premium casual dining experience and quick service takeaway, helping visitors make the most of their time at the river,” Cr McKeown added.Constructed in 1908, the Police Cottage was the purpose-built police station and residence for Emu Plains. The building will be sensitively refurbished with the restoration of the façade, replacement works to the verandas and roof, services upgrades, internal enhancements and the upgrade of the outdoor privy.An extension of the deck is also proposed to create a 106 sqm outdoor dining area, shaded by a row of mature Jacaranda trees with views of the iconic Yandhai Nepean Crossing and the Nepean River.Interested food and beverage operators can submit a Request for Tender from 1 June 2021 to 5 July 2021 via:WSROC / RFT20/21-39 The Police Cottage Food and Beverage Operator – RFT20/21-39A Development Application for the refurbishment of the Police Cottage has been submitted, and construction is set to commence in late 2021. /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:building, community, council, Emu Plains, food, Government, industry, meet, NSW, NSW Department of Industry, Pedestrian, Penrith, police, property, purpose-built, restaurant, space, sustainablelast_img read more

East County fire captain gives aid, gets misfortune

first_imgDriver of head-on collision steals truck and boat of man trying to helpBATTLE GROUND — ‘No good deed goes unpunished.’ That saying was all too applicable to James Troutman and his friend Travis Langer on Monday. James Troutman, east County Fire and Rescue captain. Photo courtesy of KGWJames Troutman, east County Fire and Rescue captain. Photo courtesy of KGW Troutman spoke with KGW earlier this week about the harrowing experience of witnessing a head on collision on 179th Street while the two men were returning from a fishing trip.“There was a car in front of us,” Troutman told KGW. “And I just mentioned to Travis that this guy was driving really erratically when I saw him cross the center line and (cause a) head-on collision into another car.”Troutman, who is a captain with East County Fire and Rescue, immediately blocked the road with his Ford pickup which was towing his boat, and then leapt out to assist those injured in the crash.Troutman describes the man who caused the crash as “shaky, twitchy, running around real nervous.”The accident occurred near this stretch of 179th Street near Battle Ground. Photo by Mike SchultzThe accident occurred near this stretch of 179th Street near Battle Ground. Photo by Mike Schultz As soon as sirens could be heard, Troutman says the unidentified man cursed and jumped into his truck.“Travis went to the passenger side, I went to the driver’s side to reach in and get the keys that he had found,” says Troutman. “When that happened, he took off, pulling me along and hurting my knee.”The truck hit Langer hard enough to break the phone in his pocket before the driver fled the scene with Clark County deputies in pursuit.The deputies eventually called off the chase as the truck entered Portland. It has not been recovered. It is a grey 2019 Ford F-150 XLT.James Troutman’s Ford F-150, which was stolen as he tried to assist at a crash scene. Photo courtesy James TroutmanJames Troutman’s Ford F-150, which was stolen as he tried to assist at a crash scene. Photo courtesy James TroutmanTroutman did get his boat back, but stripped of thousands of dollar’s worth of equipment. “You need to do the right thing, you want to do the right thing, but when something like this happens, it’s really frustrating,” said Troutman.The fire chief is now out of work for an extended period of time due to injuries he sustained in the attempt to stop the thief. His friends have set up a GoFundMe that can be found here. KGW News/Tim Gordon contributed to this reportAdvertisementThis is placeholder textTags:Battle GroundClark CountyLatestshare 0 Previous : Camas city manager wants to reimagine and reinvent Parks and Recreation Next : REMINDER: 3rd Congressional District candidates debate Friday afternoonAdvertisementThis is placeholder text East County fire captain gives aid, gets misfortunePosted by Jacob GrannemanDate: Thursday, October 8, 2020in: Newsshare 0 last_img read more

Critic Greil Marcus To Speak At CU-Boulder

first_img Published: Feb. 10, 1998 Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail Popular music and cultural critic Greil Marcus will give a public lecture Thursday, Feb. 19, at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In the lecture, titled “Prophecy in the American Voice — John Winthrop, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. and Allen Ginsberg,” Marcus will address the prophetic strain in American political rhetoric. The talk, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Old Main Chapel, is free and open to the public. Best known for his work as a popular music critic, Marcus also has written extensively on literature, art, movies and politics. His acclaimed books include “Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music” (1975, 4th revised edition 1995), “Dead Elvis: A Chronicle of a Cultural Obsession” (1991), “Ranters and Crowd Pleasers: Punk in Pop Music, 1977-1992” (1993) and “Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes” (1997). Marcus, who lives in Berkeley, Calif., also has worked as an editor, columnist and staff writer with a number of newspapers and magazines since the late 1960s, including Rolling Stone, Artforum and Village Voice. He has published articles and essays with journals such as Representations, Esquire, Threepenny Review and Der Spiegel. In addition to his voluminous critical writing, Marcus is a highly regarded public speaker. He has never previously given a talk at CU-Boulder. The lecture and a 3-hour seminar with Marcus for students and faculty are sponsored by the American Studies Program and the President’s Fund for the Humanities.last_img read more

Shaw Vows Full Disclosure of JDIP

first_imgRelatedShaw Vows Full Disclosure of JDIP By DOUGLAS McINTOSH, JIS Reporter RelatedShaw Vows Full Disclosure of JDIP RelatedShaw Vows Full Disclosure of JDIP Shaw Vows Full Disclosure of JDIP Finance & Public ServiceJune 4, 2011 FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail KINGSTON — Finance and Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, has pledged to ensure that all details of the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) are fully disclosed to the public as the works progress. He said that the Government is committed to ensuring absolute transparency in the execution of the project. “This year, 153 roads are going to be constructed, several major bridges are being constructed, and one of the things that I, as Minister of Finance, am going to ensure, is that all of the information is provided, (and) made available in Parliament…that the technical specifications that attend each project (and) the amount of money… be properly declared to the people of Jamaica,” he stated. Minister Shaw was speaking on Thursday at the official launch of Kia Motors’ 2011/12 model of sport utility vehicles at the company’s Chelsea Avenue showroom in Kingston. He noted that adequate funds are being allocated for each road shortlisted under JDIP “to ensure that proper drainage is in place, (and) proper construction is in place, so that the road will have the ability to be long lasting and to withstand the normal stresses of bad weather that is inevitable in our experience”. JDIP, which started in 2010, is a major five-year US$400 million road rehabilitation and infrastructural development programme being financed through an agreement between the Governments of Jamaica and China. The programme, which is being implemented islandwide by the National Works Agency (NWA), has seen work already commencing in a number of parishes, including, Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Thomas, Manchester, St. Ann, St. James, St. Catherine, St. Mary and Clarendon. Some $100 million has been allocated in the 2011/12 Estimates of Expenditure to fund the programme in its second year. Advertisementslast_img read more

AT&T pays $105M to settle claims of unauthorised mobile charges

first_img Related Home AT&T pays $105M to settle claims of unauthorised mobile charges Ken Wieland Tags FCC mulls expanded Huawei, ZTE bans FCC commissioner eyes further Chinese vendor curbs AT&T said it will pay federal and state authorities a combined total of $105 million to settle claims it unlawfully billed for unauthorised third-party charges, a practice known as ‘cramming’.AT&T Mobility will stump up the bill, $80 million of which goes to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to cover the cost of customer refunds.The settlement also includes $20 million in penalties and fees paid to 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as a $5 million penalty to FCC, the US telecoms regulator.Complaints about mobile cramming have been going on for years and they typically involve premium text messages, such as flirting and horoscope information, charged at $9.99 per month.Provided by third parties, these services are not asked for by the customer. FTC has long contended that mobile operators indulging in this practice do not make clear what the $9.99 charge relates to. Moreover, in its complaint, FTC alleges AT&T kept at least 35 per cent of the charges it imposed on its customers.“I am very pleased that this settlement will put tens of millions of dollars back in the pockets of consumers harmed by AT&T’s cramming of its mobile customers,” said FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez.“This case underscores the important fact that basic consumer protections – including that consumers should not be billed for charges they did not authorise  – are fully applicable in the mobile environment.”An AT&T spokesman, in an emailed statement quoted by Reuters, said the operator now had “rigorous protections” against unauthorised billing, although it no longer offers premium short messaging services (PSMS).“We reached a broad settlement to resolve claims that some of our wireless customers were billed for charges from third-parties that the customers did not authorise,” reads the statement. “This settlement gives our customers who believe they were wrongfully billed for PSMS the ability to get a refund.”AT&T consumers who believe they were wrongly charged can now visit the FTC website to submit a refund claim.This is FTC’s seventh mobile cramming case since 2013, and the second against a mobile operator. The trade body filed a complaint against T-Mobile US in July. Author AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to MoreAddThisMore 09 OCT 2014 FCC approves $7 billion for emergency connectivity AT&TFCCFinancialFTCRegulatory Previous ArticleFacebook expands Audience Network reachNext ArticleTIM Participacoes confirms Bradesco on board – but not for Oi bid Ken has been part of the MWC Mobile World Daily editorial team for the last three years, and is now contributing regularly to Mobile World Live. He has been a telecoms journalist for over 15 years, which includes eight…More Read more last_img read more

18 Months Later: Recovery Act’s Impact on the Flathead

first_img Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. The effectiveness of the $787-billion federal stimulus bill is among the more politically loaded topics of this midterm election season. Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg, who has long been an opponent of the stimulus and is seeking reelection, pointed in a July 20 release to an e-mail survey he conducted that found a majority of respondents believe the economy is worse than when the stimulus passed, and that it actually hurt the economy. But regardless of one’s opinion of the stimulus, officially called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, its tangible impacts on local economies can sometimes be hard to see. The ongoing construction of the Kalispell bypass is one obvious major project where stimulus dollars allowed work to get underway this summer. As for some of the less apparent uses, nonprofit investigative journalism group ProPublica has compiled a massive “Recovery Tracker,” that allows for searching how stimulus dollars were spent in every county in the United States – and some of its findings are surprising. Out of the $1.7 billion Montana received in stimulus, Flathead County has been allocated $123,644,153, according to ProPublica. In terms of stimulus spending per capita, Montana received $1,744, well above the national average of $1,170. Flathead County came down in between, receiving $1,398 per person. But the list of recipients that used or benefited from stimulus funding in Flathead County is long and varied, ranging from school districts to logging outfits. Community Action Partnership of Northwest Montana (CAP), which administers various social and economic assistance programs, is among the biggest recipients of stimulus dollars. According to Jane Nolan, ARRA oversight officer, CAP has so far spent roughly $4.75 million out of the $6.75 million it is obligated, on approximately 1,500 clients. Those programs include a weatherization service that has helped residents of 158 homes improve energy efficiency and reduce heating and other bills. CAP also co-sponsored Homeless Connect, on June 9, an event aimed at helping the homeless by offering medical care, counseling, food and other assistance. An attorney is now on staff at CAP, paid for by stimulus dollars, to provide free legal advice to those with questions on landlord-tenant issues, bankruptcy or other inquiries. “We’re really proud of that,” Nolan said. “That program did not exist before the stimulus.” Nor did the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing program, which Nolan said has helped some 370 people in danger of falling into homelessness stay in their homes through helping with utility, rent or deposit payments, exist prior to the stimulus. A new subsidized employment program, that paid for job training in fields like nurses’ assistants or commercial truck drivers, has put 46 people to work, Nolan said. And the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, in partnership with the City of Kalispell, buys foreclosed homes – 15 so far – and establishes community land trusts to renovate and put the homes on the market at affordable rates. Dozens of businesses, from dentists’ offices to coffee shops, are listed on ProPublica’s spreadsheet for obtaining loans through the Small Business Administration they wouldn’t have been able to get in the private credit marketplace. Among those was a $1.2 million loan for Bitney’s Furniture and Appliances Inc. Sid Bitney, president of Bitney’s Furniture, said it was simply a loan taken out in November 2009 through Three Rivers Bank, but having a portion of it guaranteed by the SBA allowed for better terms on the deal. “Because of the economy, having a lower payment and spread out longer helped in our payment structure,” Bitney said. John King, president and CEO of Three Rivers Bank, said loans to Bitney’s and others like it, backed up almost entirely by the SBA with no fees, have allowed Three Rivers to become the third largest SBA lender in Montana in the second quarter of 2010. “This made the SBA very attractive for the banks who used it,” King said. “It gave us another arrow in the quiver to help with a loan to get people into business or keep them in their business.” King now supports an effort underway in Congress to keep the program in place, even if SBA raises its fees slightly, since he believes it has facilitated business lending for banks and entrepreneurs. Darlene Schottle, superintendent of Kalispell’s School District 5, said the roughly $3.2 million it has been awarded in stimulus funds have been used for everything from purchasing heating and cooling units for Flathead High to hiring on additional, temporary educators to help high school students in danger of dropping out graduate on time. A large chunk of the City of Kalispell’s $1.8 million in stimulus will pay for renovations of the downtown fire station, and a new roof and heating and cooling system for the police station and city court. Other grants will pay to staff three firefighters for a two-year period and a new police cruiser. City Manager Jane Howington said many of the grants Kalispell applied for existed pre-stimulus, but may have had more funding available as a result of the ARRA. While this is a mere sampling of local beneficiaries, the list illustrates that, right or wrong, the stimulus has impacted the Flathead. Whether it was worth it’s price tag, however, remains debatable. For the more info and the full list on ProPublica, visit: http://projects.propublica.org/recovery/locale/montana/flathead#top300. Emaillast_img read more