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Hello, Hanover – The Post – Ontario

Winters in Hanover are a breeze.That was my first impression about this area, when my fiance and I moved here for work-related reasons, a little over a year ago.Sure, the snow is still wet and chilly here, the cool air still forces one to bundle up in extra clothing and warmth, but a winter here is not a Sudbury winter. Thats an entirely different and frosty animal. Northern cold.Theres only two seasons in Sudbury winter and construction season. Thats a common joke made around the city, anyway. However, itd be more accurate to say there are about eight months of winter and four months of construction, after the citys roads get wrecked by the long winter season.See, Sudbury, or Nickel City, or the Bury, as many locals refer to it as, is a northern city known for its rich history in mining, however, the city has expanded from its resource-based economy, and has emerged as a major retail, economic, health and educational centre for Northeastern Ontario.Sudbury is also home to one of Canadas best-known landmarks the Big Nickel, its numerous lakes (theres more than 60), Science North, its re-greening project and its city-wide adoration for the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League, just to name a few. Oh, and its also my hometown.After roughly 10 years of writing as a freelance journalist for the Sudbury Star newspaper, and with a public relations and journalism degree from Cambrian College tucked into my back pocket, Im here, in Hanover, as a full-time multimedia journalist for The Post.Back in Sudbury, I covered everything from sports, to hard-hitting news, like politics, court, city council, etc. Thatll be the same here.Covering sports is what initially interested me in a career in journalism, as I was raised in a sports-oriented family. Both of my brothers played hockey growing up, and I was no different. Heck, even my father coached hockey for a bit, too. Every Saturday, like many Canadians, mom, dad and the three boys were glued to the television for Hockey Night in Canada.Hockey, though, was always more of a pastime for us, and as weve aged, weve all branched out into different careers. One brother is a chef in our nations capital, while the other is a mechanic in Sudbury.At 18 years old, I became the sports editor for the Cambrian Shield, a now defunct and student-ran online-only newspaper for Cambrian College. During the two-year span of journalism school is when I began freelancing for the Sudbury Star, after the then sports editor, Bruce Heidman, convinced me to start writing for the local paper.Fast-forward all those years later to now and, well, here I am a more well-rounded journalist, with some additional experience in this field to my name, to go along with a laid-back, free-spirit personality.Since our arrival in Hanover, Ive come to appreciate the close-knit, family-feel of a small town and the trust among neighbours.It helps, too, selfishly-speaking, that weve added to our small family since our arrival, with the addition of two kittens, and that can only be regarded as a positive.This opportunity as a full-fledged journalist is many years in the making, and I couldnt be more excited to get started.Journalism isnt about me. Its about you and the community. So, to that, I say, lets get started and share your stories together.Hello, Hanover.kdempse@postmedia.comTwitter: @keith_dempsey

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Ghana And World Bank Sign $570 Million Agreement | Banking/Finance – Peace FM Online

Ghana and the World Bank on Friday signed four agreements, totalling nearly $570 million aimed to transform the economy, boost education, improve sanitation and fight flooding in Accra as well as reduce forest losses.

Out of the total commitment for the four projects, $557 million is in loans and just over $12 million in grants.

The Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Development project is a $200 million, multi-sector and transformative urban project which aims to support Greater Accra to become a cleaner, safer and more resilient city.

It focuses on reducing flood risk along the Odaw urban river basin and three selected low-income communities: Nima, Alogboshie and Akweteman.

Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project is $150 million for 6 years, which has the development objective to improve the quality of education in low performing basic education schools and strengthen education sector equity and accountability in Ghana.

The objective of the $200m Ghana Economic Transformation Project is to promote private investments and firm growth in non-resource-based sectors of the Ghanaian economy. The project will work towards improving the business environment to facilitate firm growth and investments.

The final project is the Additional Financing for the Ghana Forest Investment Programme, which is a $12.4 million grant and $7 million loan project. It seeks to reduce forest loss and degradation in selected landscapes in Ghanas High Forest Zone, where deforestation is at the highest.

Finance Minister Mr Ken Ofori-Atta and Mr Pierre Laporte, the World Bank Country signed the deal on behalf of Ghana and the World Bank respectively.

In his address Mr Ofori-Atta commended the World Bank for its support, saying the projects would help to advance governments quest for inclusiveness and transformation.

He said since the government came into office some three years ago, the goal has been to accelerate the pace of development and ensuring that no one was left behind.

However, this could not be done without focus on wealth creation, which is key to ensuring sustainability.

He said government has proven to Ghanaians its desire of inclusiveness through flagship programmes such as the one district one factory and the free SHS programme.

Mr Ofori-Atta urged development partners not to slow down the process because of an election year because the government was desirous to move forward development.

On his part, Mr Laporte said the event affirmed the banks commitment to the government and Ghanaians through the signing of the legal Agreements of the four important and potentially transformative projects.

We have a longstanding and strong partnership with the Government and the people of Ghana. The World Bank is committed to strengthening our partnership even further going forward, he said.

We will work with you hand in hand to ensure that these projects, as well as others already ongoing, are implemented timely and effectively. This will, in turn, result in efficient use of resources, achieve the projects objectives, and most importantly positively impact the lives of the people, communities and institutions, he added.

He said project delays were costly, and encouraged the teams to identify implementation challenges and work collaboratively with other government organizations as well as with the Bank teams to resolve them.

One important aspect of the implementation process is feedback from beneficiaries. Implementing entities thus need to ensure there are functional grievance redress mechanisms and strong citizens engagement for all projects as they contribute to effective, efficient and sustainable delivery and outcomes, Mr Laporte.

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Ghana And World Bank Sign $570 Million Agreement | Banking/Finance - Peace FM Online

Carbon pricing: Research on carbon taxes and cap-and-trade – Journalist’s Resource

In the lead-up to the 2020 elections, theJournalists Resource team is combing through the Democratic presidential candidates platforms and reporting what the research says about their policy proposals. We want to encourage deep coverage of these proposals and do our part to help deterhorse race journalism, which research suggests can lead to inaccurate reporting and an uninformed electorate. Were focusing on proposals that have a reasonable chance of becoming policy. For us, that means at least 3 of the 5 top-polling candidates say they intend to tackle the issue. Heres what the research says about carbon pricing.

Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer, Andrew Yang

Carbon pricing schemes put a financial price on carbon emission. They are widely portrayed in the economic literature as an effective way to reduce carbon emissions from high-carbon emitting industries, such as certain types of energy production. Academics and politicians often frame carbon pricing not as a cure-all, but rather as one part of a broader strategy to slow or reverse rising global temperatures.

Rising temperatures caused by climate change could cost the U.S. economy many billions of dollars. A 2017 paper in Science projects that for every 1.8 degree Fahrenheit average temperature increase in the U.S., gross domestic product will fall by 1.2% yearly equal to roughly $233 billion at todays GDP.

Poorer areas of the country could be hit hardest, according to the paper. By the end of this century, under business-as-usual emissions, the poorest third of U.S. counties are likely to lose between 2% and 20% of current income that residents earn, the authors write. The richest third of counties could lose up to 6.8% of income, according to the authors estimates or gain 1.2%.

The Science paper offers one estimate of the effect of climate change on U.S. economic output, or productivity, as measured by GDP. Another paper by two Environmental Protection Agency staffers, published April 2019 in Nature Climate Change, looks at costs related to infrastructure, health, agriculture and other sectors across two scenarios.

The first scenario where the average global temperature is trending toward 5 degrees Fahrenheit higher in 2100 compared with pre-Industrial Revolution levels would come with about $170 billion in annual costs by 2050 across the 22 sectors the authors analyzed.

The second scenario heading toward an average global temperature in 2100 thats 8 degrees Fahrenheit higher than pre-industrial levels would come with about $206 billion in annual costs across those sectors by 2050. The estimates dont include potential cost savings from adaptation measures, such as creating dunes to protect beaches or building levees to divert floodwater, which can reduce infrastructure damages.

Aside from estimating the costs of rising global temperatures, economists have also come up with two big market-based ideas to address climate change and put a price on carbon emissions: Carbon taxes and cap-and-trade.

Carbon taxes put an initial financial burden on entities that emit carbon as part of their regular business. Think a coal-fired electricity plant. Under carbon tax schemes, governments set the price of pollution while markets determine the amount of pollution companies can pollute and pay the tax or reduce emissions to avoid it.

There are carbon taxes in other countries but not in the U.S. Some academics have argued that there is already a kind of carbon tax borne by people, not companies in the sense that some parts of the U.S. experience substantial economic losses from climate change, like from more severe storms that cause billions of dollars in property damage.

In practice, businesses could pass along the cost of a carbon tax to consumers. If a refinery that produces heating oil pays a tax for emitting carbon, customers might end up paying higher prices for home heating oil.

To some economists, this is not a bug but a feature: higher prices would lower demand for carbon-intensive fuels. In some countries, revenues from carbon pricing programs are disbursed to households to help pay higher fuel prices, according to an October 2019 paper in Climate Change and Renewable Energy.

Cap-and-trade puts a cap on overall carbon emissions levels. Unlike carbon taxes, where governments set the price and markets determine the amount of pollution, under cap-and-trade governments set an amount of allowable pollution while markets set the price.

The emissions cap is divided into credits and governments then sell those credits to companies that pollute. Companies that pollute under the cap can sell their credits to entities that pollute more. Part of the appeal is that as the cap lowers over time, so does the number of credits, incentivizing companies to pollute less.

A national carbon tax is a popular idea among some economists and policymakers in the U.S. More than 3,500 economists from across the political spectrum, including 27 Nobel laureates, support a carbon tax plan that would give dividends directly to Americans. But so far, jurisdictions in the U.S. have gone with cap-and-trade strategies over carbon taxes.

Michael Bennet, Deval Patrick and Elizabeth Warren have indicated to The Washington Post they might pursue carbon pricing as president, but none have released firm policy statements in support of carbon pricing schemes. Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard would not pursue carbon pricing as president, according to the Post.

In June 1990, Colorado State University economist Jo Burges Barbier wrote in a paper in Energy Policy that further policy instruments and considerations beyond carbon pricing alone were needed to curtail carbon emissions from the energy sector.

The EPAs Acid Rain Program in 1995 became the first national cap-and-trade effort. It seeks to reduce airborne sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides coming from power plants.

Acid rain happens when those pollutants get into the atmosphere, then fall to the ground through precipitation like rain or snow, contaminating waterways and crops. Since the programs introduction, acid deposits have decreased 30% across the Midwest and Northeast and the program prevents an estimated 20,000 to 50,000 premature deaths each year, according to the EPA.

Another national cap-and-trade program was the NOx Budget Trading Program, which operated during the 2000s and sought to reduce nitrogen oxides from power plants during the summer.

But a national cap-and-trade program failed in 2010, in part because opponents rebranded it cap-and-tax, making the idea politically unpalatable. No national cap-and-trade program has come close to passing Congress since.

Though now defunct, the NOx Budget Trading Program prevented nearly 2,000 summertime deaths each year in participating states, most of them along the east coast, according to a 2017 analysis in the American Economic Review.

Harvard University economist Robert Stavins assesses the state of carbon pricing in a May 2019 National Bureau of Economic Research working paper. He writes that economists have reached consensus that pricing systems such as carbon taxes and cap-and-trade will be key to reducing carbon dioxide emissions:

There is widespread agreement among economists and a diverse set of other policy analysts that at least in the long run, an economy-wide carbon pricing system will be an essential element of any national policy that can achieve meaningful reductions of [carbon dioxide] emissions cost-effectively in the United States.

States have taken up the cap-and-trade baton in the last decade or so. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative covers nine New England and Mid-Atlantic states and set its first carbon cap for the power sector in 2009. Since then, greenhouse gases have fallen 40% in those states, and theyre aiming for another 30% reduction by 2030. The initiative has raised $2.7 billion, which has been invested into wind and solar power generation, and to help low-income people pay their energy bills.

Power plants across those nine states generate about 112,000 megawatts less each month than plants in other states, and they emit 286 fewer tons of sulfur dioxide and 131 fewer tons of nitrogen oxides per month, according to a May 2019 paper in Energy Economics. However, that analysis finds the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative had a causal effect only on reductions of sulfur dioxide emissions, not nitrogen oxides.

Californias cap-and-trade program began in 2006 and the legislature extended it in 2017. It has an emissions cap affecting 80% of greenhouse gases coming from about 450 of the states biggest polluters.

That program has demonstrated the feasibility and effectiveness of an economy-wide approach, compared with sectoral systems, write economists Richard Schmalensee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stavins of Harvard in the Oxford Review of Economic Policy.

California reports it is on track to beat its initial target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and is aiming for emissions levels 40% under 1990 levels by 2030.

But the California cap-and-trade program may be distributing benefits, like cleaner air, unequally. Companies that emit greenhouse gases there tend to be located in areas where more people live in poverty, but the program hasnt led to environmental benefits in those neighborhoods, according to a July 2018 analysis in PLOS Medicine.

In fact, greenhouse gas emissions in neighborhoods near polluters actually increased from 2013 to 2015, compared with 2011 to 2012, the authors find. They peg overall greenhouse gas reductions to the state importing less electricity from coal-fired plants.

Emissions reductions also vary widely by industry, the authors find. Seventy percent of certain power plants reduced emissions over the period studied, while 75% of cement plants increased emissions. A glut of credits on the market may keep lower-income California communities from enjoying the environmental benefits of cap-and-trade.

Some experts also caution that California is markedly dissimilar from most states. California has a strong, mostly popular, single-party majority in its legislature, so its an easier lift politically to experiment with market-based emissions reduction strategies.

Utilities in the state are also largely on board with addressing climate change, even through regulation. The state doesnt rely much on coal to produce energy, while many other states do.

Because California is a unique case in several respects, it is unlikely that other states in the U.S. will be able to adopt similar systems, Guri Bang, research director at the Center for International Climate Research in Oslo, and her co-authors write in a 2017 article in Global Environmental Politics.

Finally, on the global scale, there is the free-rider problem.

Right now theres no prospect of an enforceable, international cap-and-trade system that could put a meaningful dent in global carbon emissions. There are too many hurdles to mention, but one of them is that countries would probably want higher emissions ceilings for themselves, but lower emissions ceilings for the rest of the world, as the late Harvard economist Martin Weitzman explained in a June 2019 article in Environmental and Resource Economics.

In other words, countries want to reap the environmental benefits of carbon reduction without paying the price they want a free ride.

Still, people in countries with carbon pricing programs can reap monetary benefits.

A 2016 paper in Energy Policy analyzed real-world carbon tax and cap-and-trade programs and found that policymakers earmark 70% of revenues from cap-and-trade to climate-friendly efforts, while 72% of revenues from carbon tax systems there are several in Europe are refunded to people or put into government general funds.

Policy perspective: Building political support for carbon pricing Lessons from cap-and-trade policies

Leigh Raymond. Energy Policy, November 2019.

The gist: This review of long running cap-and-trade programs suggests that a new idea in carbon pricing the idea of a carbon dividend in the form of an equal per capita payment to all citizens is consistent with the successful public benefits strategy discussed here.

Perceived fairness and public acceptability of carbon pricing: A review of the literature

Sara Maestre-Andrs, Stefan Drews, Jeroen van den Bergh. Climate Policy, July 2019.

The gist: Somewhat surprisingly, most studies do not indicate clear public preferences for using revenues to ensure fairer policy outcomes, notably by reducing its regressive effects. Instead, many people prefer using revenues for environmental projects of various kinds.

Carbon pricing and energy efficiency: Pathways to deep decarbonization of the US electric sector

Marilyn A. Brown, Yufei Li. Energy Efficiency, February 2019

The gist: Our modeling results suggest that carbon taxes coupled with strong energy-efficiency policies would produce synergistic effects that could meet deep decarbonization goals.

Marilyn Brown, professor of sustainable systems, Georgia Institute of Technology.

Jo Burgess Barbier, assistant professor of economics, Colorado State University.

Noah Kaufman, research scholar, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University.

Gilbert Metcalf, professor of economics, Tufts University.

Leigh S. Raymond, professor of political science, Purdue University.

Robert Stavins, professor of energy and economic development, Harvard University.

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Carbon pricing: Research on carbon taxes and cap-and-trade - Journalist's Resource

Focus on demand creation reforms in budget: PHDCCI to govt – ETAuto.com

MSME exporters must be fully exempted from tax on their export earnings as this will enhance the exporters' motivation and strengthen their competitiveness in the global markets. New Delhi: PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the government that demand rejuvenating reforms should be the major focus area of the forthcoming Union Budget 2020-21.

Demand creation reforms will push the broad based recovery of the economy and create an environment of enthusiasm to become a US $5 trillion economy, going forward, D K Aggarwal, president, PHDCCI said in a press statement covering the broad pre-budget expectation of the industry chamber.

At this juncture, rationalisation of direct taxes and an income tax exemption upto the level of income of Rs 5 lakhs will be a great breakthrough to enhance the personal disposable income of the individuals and to increase the consumption demand in the economy, said Aggarwal.

With no personal income tax applicable upto the income of Rs 5 lakhs for the individuals, income tax slabs should be rationalised to 10 per cent for people earning upto Rs 10 lakhs per year, 20 per cent for those with incomes of over Rs 10 lakhs and upto Rs 20 lakhs, 30 per cent for income over Rs 20 lakhs and upto Rs 2 crore and 35 per cent for individuals earning more than Rs 2 crore, he said.

Access to finance is a major roadblock being faced by the industries particularly by the MSMEs impacting their competitiveness and growth. To address the liquidity crunch in MSMEs, there is a need to set up a dedicated fund of Rs 25,000 crore or more with no collateral being asked for the MSMEs, PHDCCI has said.

Long term Capital Gains Tax on shares is suggested at 10 per cent for the holding period after one year, 5 per cent after two years and zero per cent after three years as when STT was levied it was in lieu of exempting long term capital gains tax.

Around 95 per cent of MSMEs are in Proprietorship/Partnerships business. They are not getting any relief from the recent cut in corporate tax rates. So at this juncture we suggest a uniform tax rate of 25 per cent to such businesses, going forward, Aggarwal said.

To kick-start the exports growth trajectory, the PHDCCI president suggested increase in export earnings by the exporters on the base of the previous year (year-on-year earnings) should be tax free.

MSME exporters must be fully exempted from tax on their export earnings as this will enhance the exporters' motivation and strengthen their competitiveness in the global markets.

For doubling farmers' income, a properly designed market support scheme for agricultural produce and dismantling of barriers to markets for farmers must be pursued, the chamber has suggested.

APMC should be dismantled and e-NAM should become the vehicle for farmers' produce across the states.

Aggarwal also urged for increase in public healthcare spending to at least 3 per cent of GDP with increase in annual budget each year for delivery of better health services to the people.

Health centres should be made available within the radius of one kilometer and hospitals within the radius of 10 km, said Aggarwal.

There is a need to initiate work on inclusive and approachable education with a spending of at least 4.5 per cent of GDP on education, he added.

A robust analysis of current skill gaps to promote effective skill development should be undertaken to create more and more employment opportunities for the growing workforce in the country.

Skill Mapping must be done to scientifically plan human resource needs in the different sectors of the economy.

--IANS

sn/rt

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Focus on demand creation reforms in budget: PHDCCI to govt - ETAuto.com

Union Budget 2020 | PHDCCI urges govt to focus on demand creation reforms in budget – Jagran English

Publish Date: Sun, 19 Jan 2020 12:00 PM IST

New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: Ahead of the Budget 2020, the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry has asked the government to focus on demand creation reforms forthcoming Union Budget 2020-21.

PHDCCI President DK Aggarwal in a statement said that the demand creation reforms will push the broad based recovery of the economy and create an environment of enthusiasm to become a USD 5 trillion economy, going forward.

At this juncture, rationalisation of direct taxes and an income tax exemption upto the level of income of Rs 5 lakhs will be a great breakthrough to enhance the personal disposable income of the individuals and to increase the consumption demand in the economy, Aggarwal, quoted by news agency IANS, said.

With no personal income tax applicable upto the income of Rs 5 lakhs for the individuals, income tax slabs should be rationalised to 10 per cent for people earning upto Rs 10 lakhs per year, 20 per cent for those with incomes of over Rs 10 lakhs and upto Rs 20 lakhs, 30 per cent for income over Rs 20 lakhs and upto Rs 2 crore and 35 per cent for individuals earning more than Rs 2 crore, he added.

Aggarwal further said that the increased expenditure of the government to enhance consumption demand along with implementation of Rs 102 lakh crore National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) has the potential to push economic growth trajectory to more than 8 per cent in the next three years.

Talking about liquidity crunch in MSMEs. Aggarwal said that the government need to set up a dedicated fund of Rs 25,000 crore or more with no collateral being asked for the MSMEs.

Around 95 per cent of MSMEs are in Proprietorship/Partnerships business. They are not getting any relief from the recent cut in corporate tax rates. So at this juncture we suggest a uniform tax rate of 25 per cent to such businesses, going forward, he said.

Aggarwal also spoke about the exports growth trajectory and suggested that increase in export earnings by the exporters on the base of the previous year (year-on-year earnings) should be tax free.

The PHDCCI President also urged the government to increase the spending in the public healthcare sector to at least 3 per cent of GDP with increase in annual budget each year for delivery of better health services to the people.

Health centres should be made available within the radius of one kilometer and hospitals within the radius of 10 km, said Aggarwal.

There is a need to initiate work on inclusive and approachable education with a spending of at least 4.5 per cent of GDP on education, he added.

A robust analysis of current skill gaps to promote effective skill development should be undertaken to create more and more employment opportunities for the growing workforce in the country.

Skill Mapping must be done to scientifically plan human resource needs in the different sectors of the economy.

(With IANS inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma

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Union Budget 2020 | PHDCCI urges govt to focus on demand creation reforms in budget - Jagran English

Shadowfax Ties Up With ASSOCHAM To Upskill And Employ Youth Under The Skill India Mission – IndianWeb2.com

Ritika Singh, Maninder Singh, Ajay Sharma, Praharsh Chandra, Saurabh Sharma, Kumaresan.B

Shadowfax, Indias only crowdsourced, cross-category, full-stack logistics platform, has joined hands with the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India, ASSOCHAM, in a first-of-its-kind and an exclusive partnership to promote micro entrepreneurship in gig economy under the aegis of Government of Indias Skill India Mission initiative.

With the gig economy gaining traction, logistics and delivery are the sunshine sectors providing immense employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. Under this partnership, ASSOCHAM, which is an independent body, will work closely with the government to create awareness about the benefits of working in this attractive sector and the right candidates shall be trained as per government standards to make them employment ready for the delivery & hospitality sector.

Once trained, these fully skilled human resources will be provided business and entrepreneurship opportunities in delivery sector through the crowdsourced Shadowfax logistics platform. This first-of-its-kind socio-economic association is expected to create an additional resource pool of 1.6 lakh trained delivery personnel in the course of next two years across India including metros, tier 2, tier 3 cities and even rural areas.

Sharing the details of the partnership, Saurabh Sharma, V.P. Growth & Expansion, Shadowfax said, We are privileged to partnerwith ASSOCHAM in this socio-economic initiative under the Skill India mission. The Shadowfax delivery partners are all microentrepreneurs who, if they choose to, rewrite their destiny a little better every day. This partnership which seeks to upskill more than 150000 youth to make them employable, is in line with our corporate social mission to create a million microentrepreneurs by 2023. It is also in sync with our business goal to increase our footprints to a 600+ Indian cities and towns as the project will provide us a ready pool of trained delivery partners from across India including metros, tier 2-3 cities and towns and even rural areas including parts of J&K and North-East India. We expect this Shadowfax-ASSOCHAM partnership to set an exemplary instance of the best kind of socio-corporate tie-up.

Speaking on the occasion, Maninder Singh Nayyar, Co-Chairman, Skill & Entrepreneurship ASSOCHAM, said, ASSOCHAM has found a worthy partner in Shadowfax, a company which believes in not only providing gainful employment but also in sowing the seeds of entrepreneurship in its workforce. Upskilling alone does not help our youth, they need enough business opportunities to prove their mettle. Our partnership with Shadowfax will provide our trained youth right and ample opportunities to make their mark. The project alone is expected to add approximately 20% more delivery personnel to the existing pool with reputed organizations like Bal Bharti Academy also supporting this initiative at pan India level.

Ajay Sharma, Assistant Secretary General, ASSOCHAM, added, GOI has allocated handsome amount for skill development under various programs. ASSOCHAM will identify and train each selected youth as per standards set out by the government under the aegis of this initiative. The project is expected to add approximately 2 lakh delivery personnel to the current 10 lakh+ community.

About Shadowfax

Shadowfax Indias largest crowdsourced logistics platform, was established in 2015 withthe vision of enabling commerce by empowering lives for everyone, everywhere. The Shadowfax technology platform optimizes for best-in-class partner efficiency and uniteconomics. Its AI based location processing engine, using location data from orderprocessing, enables highest service levels among its competitors. Driven by a massiveword-of-mouth growth in the India market, Shadowfax has the lowest partner acquisition cost in its segment. Shadowfax APIs are available for small as well as enterprise businesses throughout India for seamless and trustworthy logistics service.

About ASSOCHAM

ASSOCHAM initiated its endeavour of value creation for Indian industry in 1920. Having in its fold over 400 Chambers and Trade Associations and serving over 4.5 lakh members across India. ASSOCHAM has emerged as the fountainhead of Knowledge for Indian industry, which is all set to redefine the dynamics of growth and development in the Knowledge Based Economy.

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Shadowfax Ties Up With ASSOCHAM To Upskill And Employ Youth Under The Skill India Mission - IndianWeb2.com

Timipre Sylva: Nigeria to focus on five critical areas in oil and gas sector in 2020 – TODAY NEWS AFRICA

The Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, on Thursday, held his first major press conference in Abuja since he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, and rolled out the five critical areas of focus for oil and gas sector in Africas most populous nation in the year 2020.

Theformer governorofBayelsa Statein Southern Nigeria expressed optimism that both the Petroleum Industry Governance, Administration & Host Communities Bill on one hand, and the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill on the other, will be passed within the first anniversary of the Buhari administrations second term in office.

His confidence, he explained, was based on the current harmony between the Executive and Legislative arms of the Government.

President Muhammadu Buhari won a second term of four years in 2019, with his All Progressives Congress (APC) sweeping both chambers of the National Assembly.

That victory gave Mr. Buhari, 77, the backing he lacked in his first term when Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara rose to defeat his preferred candidates and antagonized him until the very last minute.

On the PIB, or Petroleum Industry Bill, which is the first priority of Mr. Sylva, he said a special focus will be placed on the Midstream and Downstream sectors.

Consequently, we are considering two regulators, one for the Upstream (the Commission) and another for the Midstream & Downstream (the Authority), he said, adding that the Midstream and Downstream sectors will particularly open enormous opportunities to local investors and create massive job opportunities in the country.

For example, investments will be available in pipeline engineering design, procurement & construction, terminal operations, pipe mills, fabrication of pressure vessels, storage facilities, pipe transportation and laying equipments, Refineries, Central Processing Facilities and also investment in Gas-based industries (Fertilizer, Methanol, Petrochemicals, LPG and CNG) etc. Open access for oil and gas transportation will be fully enhanced, he said.

On the upstream side, we are coming up with more robust fiscal provision, acreage management, drilling-or-drop program, etc. We are not only going to retain investors, multitudes will join the leagues of high-value operators, the Minister added.

Mr. Sylva explained that his second point agenda would be to address security challenges around oil and gas installations, specifically to curtail theft of petroleum products and crude oil.

He said the crude theft was being currently contained with legislation, security, surveillance, community engagement and diplomacy.

Mr. Sylva explained that oil theft lingers because of the presence of an active market for stolen crude and products, a weak measurement and surveillance mechanism, weak and inadequate sanctions, low cost and high incentive for theft as well as lack of infrastructural development.

As a solution, he proposed to use technology for pro-active leak detection and community participation in the oil and gas assets, as well as engage PTI in the training of unemployed youths in the region.

In addition, the government would have to revamp security architecture, increase supply to underserved areas, provide good infrastructure in the regions where oil is exploited and give incentives to host communities.

This would not be complete without increasing community stake-holding, designing and enforcing stiffer legislations and mobilizing global community, traders, refiners, regulators and international groups.

His third agenda, he said, would be to enable the operations of the National Oil company as a responsive commercial enterprise

Mr. Sylva said various transformation processes were currently ongoing in NNPC Growing from Business Unit Focus Areas (12 BUFAs) to Transparency, Accountability and Performance Excellence (TAPE). We are considering the Incorporation of NNPC and its existing Joint Venture Companies.

In addition, his fourth priority would be to conduct bid rounds for marginal and opportunities within 2020 and to ensure settlement of dispute with partners and pave way for FID on major capital projects.

New Gridding, acreage management and bidding process are thoroughly elucidated in the upcoming Petroleum Industry Bills. It is therefore highly desirable that the Bills are passed before any bid round. This is one of the reason we implore Nigerians to support us in our quest to pass the bills in earnest, Mr. Sylva said.

His fifth priority would be to deepen domestic gas utilization and overall monetization of gas resource.

As you are aware, Natural gas has the capacity to transform an economy. We have seen successful examples all over the world. Qatar has the worlds highest GDP per Capita its growth anchored on natural gas. Saudi Arabia has positioned itself as the worlds hub for petrochemicals, creating significant job opportunities and enabling industrialization of the country, he said.

He added: Nigerias gas reserves is significant. Nigeria current 2P gas estimate is about 202TCF with potential for up to 600TCF in undiscovered resources. With the undiscovered potential, Nigeria could be in the same league as Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Recognizing the potential of our enormous natural gas resources and the unprecedented growth in domestic gas demand, the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources over the years has championed various interventions to stimulate gas utilization and monetization.

This led to the Gas Master-Plan Policy initiative where detailed major gas infrastructure expansion and integration, gas supply development projects, revamp of the commercial framework for gas and tactical efforts to accelerate gas supply to Power sector, in addition to our gas industrialization strategy for investments in Fertilizer, Methanol, Petrochemical, CNG and LPG are fully stated.

Also the Ministry of Petroleum Resources is driving the Nigeria Gas Flare Commercialization Program (NGFCP). This initiative is designed as the strategy to implement policy objective of the FGN for the elimination of gas flares with potentially enormous multiplier and development outcomes for Nigeria. The objective of the NGFCP is to eliminate gas flaring through technically and commercially sustainable gas utilisation projects developed by competent third party investors who will be invited to participate in a competitive and transparent bid process.

The Federal Executive Council in June 2016 approved the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Program (NGFCP).

The Federal Government ratified the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and is a signatory to the Global Gas Flaring Partnership (GGFR) principles for global flare-out by 2030 whilst committing to a national flare-out target by year 2020.

In November 2018, the Federal Government of Nigeria called for Expression of Interest (EoI) in the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Program (NGFCP).

Over 850 interested parties registered their interest in the NGFCP. 205 Applicants emerged successful and all 205 companies will be invited to submit their proposal for flare gas utilization through the Request for Proposals (RfP) phase of the NGFCP, Mr. Sylva said.

He added that the commercialization approach has been considered from legal, technical, economic, commercial and developmental standpoints.

It is a unique and historic opportunity to attract major investment in economically viable gas flare capture projects whilst permanently addressing a 60 year environmental problem in Nigeria.

About US$ 3.5 billion worth of inward investments is required to achieve the gas flare commercialization targets by 2020.

The analysis also shows that the NGFCP will deliver significant social and economic benefits to host communities in gas-rich regions of the Niger Delta, to investors and to the national economy. Benefits would include, he added.

See more here:

Timipre Sylva: Nigeria to focus on five critical areas in oil and gas sector in 2020 - TODAY NEWS AFRICA

Digital citizen rights need to have teeth for Canada to succeed in data-driven economy – The Globe and Mail

Alex Benay, Partner, Digital and Government Solutions, KPMG in Canada

Over the past decade, the world has steadily been shifting from a resource-based economy to a data-driven one. This transition is having major effects on countries all over the world.

In many jurisdictions, the digital economy represents a massive growth opportunity. But at the same time, the common thinking is that it also poses significant risks to citizens commercialization of private data, cyberbreaches, identity theft and inequality owing to the lack of connectivity in many regions. It seems that for every digital economy opportunity, there is a digital risk to a citizen.

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Based on the online rhetoric, it appears as though one needs to choose between the two growth or rights.

But there should be no tension between the concepts of expanding our digital economy while simultaneously creating new digital citizen rights. But for this to be true in Canada, we need action from both the private and public sector. Otherwise, the world is changing at such a rapid pace that we are at risk of being left behind as both a country and as digital citizens.

So what are basic digital rights? For starters, they are laws not policy instruments. Digital rights need to have teeth they cannot be mere strategy documents.

First, in order to participate in the digital economy, citizens need connectivity as a basic human right. Connectivity would provide all Canadians access to digital services and the ability to participate in the new data-driven economy.

With connectivity as a basic human right in Canada, there would be no reason why one cannot have a tech unicorn in a Canadian region outside of the traditional major city centres. Hyperconnectivity would permit all ideas and all citizens to contribute to Canadas innovation economy.

Second, citizens must retain ownership of their data in this digital economy. Citizens should not be commercialized by any platform without their consent full stop. Otherwise, Canadians will not be able to reap the benefits of the data driven economy because they lack the control over their biggest asset their own personal data. If we are to ever reach this goal of ownership of ones own data, it is now time to update, and in some cases, rewrite our laws to reflect the new digital reality.

Privacy laws, for example, are not equipped to deal with digital-aged constructs, many of which were written in the industrial age. Instead of modern privacy laws that enable secure data sharing across sectors, or trusted digital wallets that would permit control of ones online activities, we have policies and procedures based on fax machine transmissions. This prohibits secure data sharing while ensuring data multiplication and a slower economy. It means our businesses cannot build the right infrastructure required to support privacy in a digital age because our laws impede the innovation.

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A critical example in the context of this new digital economy will be the openness of those holding our data. Traditionally, we see intellectual property and openness as opposing factors. Yet, we cannot operate in a digital economy without providing openness of digital rights and economic opportunity. Too often we see companies use intellectual property as a blocker for releasing their algorithms to the public. But protecting citizen rights in the digital age and economic growth are not necessarily at odds. As the data economy grows, the companies who operate with a higher degree of openness will likely profit more.

So where does this leave us?

We need our governments to double their current efforts to address the hard items getting in the way of both digital prosperity and the rights of Canadians. Laws must be changed, regulations adjusted and policies must reflect the new digital economy and at a much faster pace.

We must also invest one dollar in digital infrastructure for every dollar we invest in roads and bridges to ensure Canada can compete in this data-driven economy.

Looking ahead, sectors must begin to work better together in order to increase the speed of the economy in order to remain internationally competitive.

Canada should provide a model to the world highlighting that human rights are now also digital rights, and that this new reality does not need to compete with advancing economic interests.

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The country that sets the stage for digital economic growth while protecting citizen rights will win the race.

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Digital citizen rights need to have teeth for Canada to succeed in data-driven economy - The Globe and Mail

Azmin: Malaysia to realign economy in the next decade – The Malaysian Reserve

Minister says all the initiatives will be outlined in the 12MP and spill over into the 13MP

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

MALAYSIA will push for a realignment of the countrys economy over the next 10 years as the old economic model of manufacturing, commodity and labour-intensive operations would hamper future growth.

The country for decades had been dependent on manufacturing from investment abroad, which created jobs but had failed to push for innovation and development of our own homegrown products.

Dependence on manufacturing and commodity had also stifled salary growth and high-paying jobs.

Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (picture) said all the initiatives to realign the countrys economy will be outlined in the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) 2021 2025 and spill over into the 13MP 2026-2030.

The government remains vigilant and continues to focus on strengthening Malaysias near-term resilience and advancing structural reforms to raise medium-term growth.

The countrys growth potential will be optimised by strengthening productivity and innovation as catalysts of growth. Emphasis will be placed on empowering the manufacturing sector to produce more high quality, diverse and complex products, he said in a statement yesterday.

Azmin said the RM56 billion allocated for the countrys development expenditure in 2020 will be utilised for 5,466 development projects to generate momentum and strengthen Malaysias longterm economic capacity.

From the total amount, RM53.2 billion will be allocated for 4,744 ongoing projects and the remaining RM2.8 billion will be set aside for 722 new projects.

Azmin said deeper focuses will be given to the high-growth sectors such as aerospace, electrical and electronics, medical devices production, machinery and equipment, as well as chemicals and chemical products.

The development and modernisation of the resource-based industries through research, development, commercialisation and innovation initiatives will also be given priority, he said.

Meanwhile, the governments [emailprotected] initiative announced in Budget 2020 is expected to support household spending for the next five years, coupled with the upward revision of minimum monthly wage, Azmin said.

Malaysias household spending will continue to be supported by wage growth and favourable employment prospects, in line with the [emailprotected] initiative announced in Budget 2020, with a total allocation of RM6.5 billion for the next five years.

The upward revision of the minimum monthly wage rate to RM1,200 beginning Jan 1 next year in 57 cities and municipalities across Malaysia, along with cash transfer programmes, income tax refund and lower cost of borrowings, is also expected to provide additional impetus to household spending, he said.

In boosting economic activities in the country, the government has identified 15 Key Economic Growth Areas as the new fundamentals of growth, including Islamic finance hub 2.0, Commodity Malaysia 2.0 and the Industrial Revolution 4.0.

Recognising the importance of infrastructure projects in boosting the countrys supply chain, Azmin said the government has emphasised some of the strategic projects in the 12MP.

During the first nine months of 2019, significant levels of foreign and domestic investments amounting to RM149 billion have been approved.

Recognising the importance of infrastructure projects to facilitate supply chains and the mobility of goods and people, several strategic projects will be continued in the 12MP such as the Pan Borneo Highway, East Coast Rail Link, Bandar Malaysia and GemasJohor Baru Electrified DoubleTracking Project, he said.

On the global front, Azmin said the country will continue to leverage on its open trade policy, especially in pursuing a greater unification with Asean.

Malaysia will continue to adopt an open trade and investment policy, particularly to pursue greater integration with Asean, leveraging on the regions large population size of more than 600 million people.

The hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit and Visit Malaysia Year 2020 will be catalysts for growth, particularly for the tourism industry, he said.

On the performance of Malaysias economy, Azmin said the government is confident of achieving 4.8% in GDP growth next year due to the countrys strong macroeconomic fundamentals.

Malaysia has a highly diversified economic and export structure, supportive labour market, low and stable inflation, a strong and well-capitalised financial sector and a healthy current account surplus of the balance of payments.

This outlook is higher than the estimates by the International Monetary Fund at 4.4% and the World Bank at 4.5%, as the government remains committed to implementing its development priorities, he said.

Read more:

Azmin: Malaysia to realign economy in the next decade - The Malaysian Reserve

There’s a Genius, Sustainable Economic System We Could All Be Using. Here’s How – ScienceAlert

In her Hugo-finalist novel Record of a Spaceborn Few, Becky Chambers envisions a future where humanity travels the galaxy in generational ships, their entire civilisation dependent on a well-oiled system of reusing and recycling resources. Every waste product is expertly crafted into something else, sustaining the space travellers for generations.

Although this book is science fiction, the concept behind the economy used by this spaceborn civilisation is not. Economists have been talking about this idea - called a 'circular economy' - for over 50 years.

The notion itself is pretty simple: In its ideal form, a circular economy is a system where our products and the resources that go into them can be simply and easily reused, repaired, remade and recycled, with absolutely nothing going to landfill.

When we compare this idea to what we're currently doing digging up resources, manufacturing a product, using it for a short time, and then throwing it away, generating massive amounts of unusable waste that takes up space and ruins our health - a circular economy starts looking extremely attractive.

So why are we still dumping so much garbage? Why are the products we buy still nearly always wrapped in virgin plastic?

"I think it is possible, but hard, to imagine a sustainable society because it means a shift of lifestyle and economic systems, which we are currently so stuck in we can't imagine alternatives," says Ed Morgan, a researcher from Griffith University in Australia, who works on climate, natural resources, and government planning.

"But no one in a monarchy could imagine being in a democracy!"

We don't have to look far to find clear examples that demonstrate how our current arrangement of managing resources in a linear fashion is broken.

For example, it's easy to think we're all making great headway on supporting a circular economy when we put our tin cans into the recycling bin... Except in 2018, the economically developed world had a rude awakening to a 'recycling crisis', when it came to light that millions of tons of our recycling were simply being shipped to China.

Much of that material was not being recycled at all. Right now, we're back at the drawing board trying to work out what to do with all this 'recyclable' waste we keep generating.

Breaking the cycle entirely and moving away from our current linear system may seem like an enormous challenge, but there are groups working towards it, already figuring out the nuts and bolts of circular economies at various scales.

"There are lots of ways to make us more sustainable, many of which we haven't harnessed. It does mean a shift of lifestyle for many. But, and I think this is key, it doesn't necessarily mean a 'backward' change," Morgan told ScienceAlert.

"It comes back to what is actually important to us. I remember one person I heard speak say when it comes down to it, what they want is time with their kids and a glass of wine. We should be able to do this sustainably."

So, with that in mind - how do we start creating circular systems? Even a small change is better than nothing.

Take glass, for example. Glass containers are regularly found in the supermarket; it's one of the easiest materials to melt into something else. But in Australia and many places around the world, it's cheaper to import brand new glass bottles than do anything with the 'recycled' glass we all so dutifully put in the recycling bin.

In contrast, The Beer Store in Canada has been collecting and reusing its beer bottles since 1927. The business has one of the highest recovery rates in North America: 99 percent of their bottles are returned and refilled.

One bottle in this cycle will be returned and refilled on average 15 times before it breaks and is recycled into new glass.The glass bottles are reused and refilled, which takes less energy and resources than recycling them into something new, and the company itself is managing the waste it produces something bigger companies should really be taking a hard look at.

This shows how a circular economy can work on a small scale, in a single business, with a single resource.

But we can also go bigger. What about cities?

When you think of futuristic cities, you might think of flying cars or a Wall-E-like trash city, but Steffen Lehmann, an environmental architect at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is picturing microclimates and sustainable buildings.

Urban Nexus, a project Lehmann is working on, is trying to achieve an exciting goal - using the waste of one system to power another. Our water, energy, food and waste are usually seen as separate sectors, but Lehmann explains this doesn't have to be the case. In an ideal world the waste of one sector would flow into the next one to be used as a resource.

"It's very important to understand the inter-connectedness and nexus of the various currently separated sectors," he explains.

"Cities have a governance that is based on the separation of these sectors - for example, the water management people do not talk to the waste management folks in the administration. A first step is to bring these different but inter-connected sectors closer together."

In a paper published in the journal City, Culture and Society back in 2017, Lehmann demonstrates how waste water that was polluting nearby creeks in a small town in the Philippines was successfully rerouted into a system producing biogas and fertiliser.

Not only did this approach clean up the local ecosystem, it also provided the town with a viable product to use in other economic activities.

So, how big could we go? Do we have the ability to become the Spaceborn Few overnight?

"It's impossible to achieve zero waste, or zero emissions, because there are laws of physics and chemistry that we need to follow," explains Anthony Halog, an ecology and bioeconomy researcher at the University of Queensland.

"But why do we bother doing it? I think in my opinion, it's better to be doing something. Moving towards that direction - towards zero waste and zero emissions."

Working towards a system where all of our stuff lasts longer, is repairable, and can be recycled at the end of its life would take a lot of effort and resources. As would changing our cities and industrial systems to interconnectedly use each other's waste.

"For a circular economy to be successful, it has to be holistic and systemic in approach," says Halog.

"Whether we talk about cities, we talk about products, we talk about countries, we need to really look at in a systemic way. Because otherwise it's just a Band-Aid approach."

But at this point, business as usual is a much worse option. Building and sustaining large-scale circular economies would at least give us a fighting chance - after all,Earth is just one big generational ship, complete with finite resources and a limited capacity to contain our waste.

Right now, it's the only one we have. And we're going to have to start reusing stuff much more efficiently, if we want our ship to last.

See the original post:

There's a Genius, Sustainable Economic System We Could All Be Using. Here's How - ScienceAlert

The Malaysian economy in 2020 – Malaysiakini

MP SPEAKS |As Malaysia heads into the final year of Vision 2020, the government is confident the countrys economy will achieve a stronger and more sustainable growth of 4.8 percent next year.

This is due to Malaysias strong macroeconomic fundamentals, such as a highly-diversified economic and export structure, supportive labour market, low and stable inflation, a strong and well-capitalised financial sector and a healthy current account surplus of the balance of payments.

This outlook is higher than the estimates by the International Monetary Fund at 4.4 percent and the World Bank at 4.5 percent as the government remains committed to implementing its development priorities.

For 2020, RM56 billion has been allocated for 5,466 development projects to support the growth momentum and strengthen the countrys long-term economic capacity.

Of this amount, RM53.2 billion is allocated for 4,744 ongoing projects and the remaining amount of RM2.8 billion has been set aside for 722 new projects.

Over the next decade, the government will place greater emphasis on restructuring the economy by developing new economic areas to propel the economy forward and create business opportunities and high-paying jobs, in line with the objectives of Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (Wawasan Kemakmuran Bersama 2030).

This entails ensuring an inclusive, sustainable and meaningful socio-economic development to provide a decent standard of living for all Malaysians, which will be operationalised through the Twelfth Malaysia Plan, 2021-2025 and the Thirteenth Malaysia Plan, 2026-2030.

The government remains vigilant and continues to focus on strengthening Malaysias near-term resilience and advancing structural reforms to raise medium-term growth.

Hence, the countrys growth potential will be optimised by strengthening productivity and innovation as catalysts of growth. Emphasis will be placed on empowering the manufacturing sector to produce more high quality, diverse and complex products.

In this regard, focus will be given to strengthening sectors with high growth potential such as aerospace, medical devices, E&E, machinery and equipment as well as chemicals and chemical products.

Similarly, the development and modernisation of the resource-based industries through research, development, commercialisation and innovation initiatives will also be given priority.

While the external environment continues to face uncertainties, the government will increase its efforts in building up resilience and boosting endogenous sources of growth as domestic demand will remain as the key driver of growth for 2020, underpinned by the continued expansion in private sector activity.

Also, household spending will continue to be supported by wage growth and favourable employment prospects.

This is in line with the [emailprotected] initiative announced in Budget 2020 with a total allocation of RM6.5 billion for the next five years that is aimed at creating better employment opportunities for youth and women while reducing the countrys dependence on low-skilled foreign workers.

The upward revision of the minimum monthly wage rate to RM1,200 beginning Jan 1 in 57 cities and municipalities across Malaysia, along with cash transfer programmes, income tax refunds and lower cost of borrowings are also expected to provide additional impetus to household spending.

In ensuring economic development is not geographically centred, the government will boost economic activities at selected locations based on the strength and uniqueness of each area.

In this regard, 15 Key Economic Growth Areas have been identified as new sources of growth, comprising among others, Islamic Finance Hub 2.0; Commodity Malaysia 2.0; smart and high-value farming; content industry, animation and digitalisation; as well as manufacturing, supply and services related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

To improve regional balance, RM1.1 billion has been set aside in Budget 2020 to boost regional economic corridor development, among others in Chuping Valley Industrial Area in Perlis (RM50 million), Kuantan Port in Pahang (RM69.5 million), Sungai Segget Centralised Sewerage Treatment Plant in Johor (RM42 million), Samalaju Industrial Park in Sarawak (RM55 million) and Sabah Agro-Industrial Precinct (RM20 million).

Besides, private investment will be reinvigorated through more effective incentives, better coordinated promotional strategies and a more conducive business environment.

The government has made available up to RM1 billion worth of customised packaged investment incentives annually over the next five years as a strategic push to attract targeted Fortune 500 companies and global unicorns in high technology sectors.

To qualify, these companies must invest at least RM5 billion each in Malaysia which will generate additional economic activities, create 150,000 high-quality jobs over the next five years and strengthen our manufacturing and services ecosystems.

During the first nine months of this year, significant levels of foreign and domestic investments amounting to RM149 billion have been approved.

Recognising the importance of infrastructure projects to facilitate supply chains and the mobility of goods and people, several strategic projects will be continued into the Twelfth Malaysia Plan such as the Pan-Borneo Highway, East Coast Rail Link, Bandar Malaysia and Gemas-Johor Baru Electrified Double Tracking project.

Towards accelerating the digital economy and improving competitiveness, the government has lowered broadband prices by 49 percent and will implement the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan over the next five years.

Tax incentives will also be provided to further promote high value-added activities and increase productivity in transitioning into a 5G-enabled digital economy and Industry 4.0.

Furthermore, the government has also provided a comprehensive incentive package for SMEs to increase their contribution to the economy and facilitate access to financing.

The government will further allocate an additional RM50 million to My Co-Investment Fund (MyCIF) under the Securities Commission Malaysia to leverage such platforms to help finance underserved SMEs.

In addition, the government will provide a 50 percent matching grant of up to RM5,000 per company to adopt digitalisation for their business operation including the electronic Point of Sale systems (e-POS), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and electronic payroll systems.

This matching grant will be worth RM500 million over five years, limited to the first 100,000 SMEs applying to upgrade their systems.

On the external front, Malaysia will continue to adopt an open trade and investment policy, particularly to pursue greater integration with Asean, leveraging on the regions large population size of more than 600 million people.

The hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit and Visit Malaysia Year in 2020 will be catalysts for growth, particularly for the tourism industry.

In the context of an increasingly networked global economy, Malaysia will also continue to leverage our cultural endowment to further boost our competitive advantage.

In this regard, Malaysia has organised the Kuala Lumpur Summit (KL Summit), which saw the successful conclusion of 18 agreements, whereby leaders from across the Muslim world agreed to channel more direct investments toward the development of their economies.

Cooperations were forged during the KL Summit in areas of media, centres of excellence, youth exchange, defence and security as well as food security.

Among others, an agreement was concluded between Felcra Berhad and one of Qatars largest livestock and dairy farm owners, Baladna Food Industries, for a large-scale dairy venture to further strengthen the nations food security.

A document exchange involving aerospace components manufacturer Composites Technology Research Malaysia Sdn Bhd (CTRM) and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) also took place on the sidelines of the KL Summit.

These initiatives undertaken by the government to build up resilience and boost endogenous sources of growth, along with better commodity prices and a stable ringgit, will pave the way towards enhancing Malaysias economic prospects.

Thus, the ongoing policy initiatives will further enhance Malaysias economic fundamentals and continue to support the ringgit going forward.

The government will continue to ensure that concerted efforts are undertaken to propel Malaysia towards achieving a more sustainable and equitable growth in line with the shared prosperity agenda.

AZMIN ALI is the economic affairs minister.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

See original here:

The Malaysian economy in 2020 - Malaysiakini

How Cambridge Analytica and the Trump campaign changed Big Tech forever – CNBC

(L-R) Amazon's chief Jeff Bezos, Larry Page of Alphabet, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Vice President-elect Mike Pence and President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower December 14, 2016.

Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had made it about an hour into his two-day marathon testimony in front of Congress before the M-word came up.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was the first to float the term as lawmakers began their grilling at the April 2018 hearing. The senators wanted to know how the data from 87 million Facebook profiles was able to be harvested and sold to a political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, without users' consent.

"You don't think you have a monopoly?" Graham asked Zuckerberg.

Pausing and tripping slightly over his response, Zuckerberg said, "Doesn't feel like that to me," to a chorus of stilted laughter.

A year and a half later, Graham's suggestion is no longer being laughed off. Facebook now faces antitrust investigations by the Federal Trade Commission, the House Judiciary Committee and a coalition of attorneys general from 47 states and U.S. territories. The Department of Justice has said it's conducting a broad review of the tech industry. And lawmakers are regularly introducing legislation aimed at tamping down tech companies' wide-reaching power and influence.

As the 2010s draw to a close, the relationship between Washington and Silicon Valley appears fraught. It's a far cry from the relatively cozy alliance they fostered at the beginning of the decade, when the aftershock of the antitrust case against Microsoft had mostly waned and lawmakers and the public alike still seemed in awe of tech's promise of advancement.

The 2010s could have been the decade that Washington embraced the tech industry. But a series of scandals has frayed the trust tech executives built up with lawmakers and regulators early on. This is the story of how the 2010s became the decade D.C. turned on Big Tech.

Barack Obama threw his trust into technology in 2008, and it helped deliver him the presidency.

The young senator's campaign seemed novel at the time for its savvy use of social media to build a following. Once in office, Obama made good on his promise to appoint the first chief technology officer to the White House to leverage industry advancements and modernize U.S. infrastructure and services.

Over at the FTC, agency leaders decided it was time to bring on an expert who could advise on issues intersecting technology and policy, and they hired their first chief technologist in 2010.

While there was some skepticism by government regulators over the tech industry, they still mostly let companies like Facebook and Google run their course. In 2011, the FTC settled charges that Google used deceptive practices and violated privacy promises in launching its social network, Google Buzz, forcing it to submit to regular audits for 20 years.

President Barack Obama (3R) and Vice President Joe Biden meet with executives from leading technology companies, including Apple, Twitter, and Google in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on December 17, 2913 in Washington, DC.

Getty Images

About a year later, the FTC also settled with Facebook for allegedly misleading users about how their data would be shared publicly and with third parties. The company agreed to new stipulations, and the same month, the FTC cleared Facebook's $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, a money-losing company with just 13 full-time employees. As of last year, Instagram was worth an estimated $100 billion-plus, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence.

By all accounts, Obama's reelection campaign in 2012 was even more digital than his first. The staff built on the previous successes, scaling up the campaign's analytics team and hiring former tech employees to work on technical aspects of the campaign. The team relied heavily on Amazon Web Services to build a variety of tools, Ars Technica reported shortly after the election.

The Obama administration continued to hire tech alums in the White House. A 2016 report from The Intercept revealed 55 cases where Google employees moved into jobs in the federal government under Obama. The report also found that Google and its affiliates had at least 427 White House meetings during Obama's presidency, based on data from The Intercept and the Campaign for Accountability.

By the middle of the decade, some latent concerns about the tech industry were starting to bubble up. The White House was beginning to take steps to promote competition across the economy, and the administration's Council of Economic Advisers wrote that workers and consumers would stand to gain from such a push.

In April 2016, Obama issued an executive order calling on federal agencies and departments to assess and suggest specific actions to reinvigorate competition across all sectors. Alongside the order, the CEA released an issue brief suggesting, "Regulators may want to consider whether this 'big data' is a critical resource, without which new entrants might have a difficult time marketing to or otherwise attracting customers."

The report signaled concerns about competition in tech markets but stopped short of a full-throttled endorsement of antitrust action. The CEA wrote that "more work is needed to understand how policies that promote competition should be applied in the digital economy and other technologically dynamic sectors."

Within some government agencies, however, doubts about the tech industry had already started to creep in.

The DOJ, for example, sued to block a proposed $39 billion merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, claiming the combination would be harmful to consumers and unnecessary to build out AT&T's wireless network. The companies ultimately gave up the plan in September 2011, putting AT&T on the hook for $4 billion in cash and spectrum rights due to T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom.

"AT&T trying to buy T-Mobile was an effort to say, 'Wait a minute, have we reached the limit of acquisitions within wireless?'" said a former senior antitrust official, who asked not to be named to protect the official's current employer. The deal would have combined the second and fourth-largest telecommunication carriers in the U.S.

The FTC later opened an investigation into Google to understand if it used anticompetitive practices to fuel its search engine. It closed the case in a unanimous vote in 2013 with minor concessions from Google, but an inadvertently released copy of staff's recommendations to the commissioners revealed underlying concerns.

The FTC staff had recommended pursuing a case against Google, The Wall Street Journal reported after the recommendation was accidentally disclosed in an open records request from the outlet. While it's not uncommon for commissioners to vote against staff recommendations, the report fueled Google's critics, who still point to it as a sign they are onto something.

In 2016, law enforcement started to realize tech companies wouldn't always help their cause. Apple refused to assist the FBI in unlocking the iPhone of a mass shooter in the San Bernardino, California, attack that left 14 people dead. Apple CEO Tim Cook called a court order requesting Apple's help "chilling" and warned of putting the security of all iPhone users in danger if the company wrote a "master key" to break the encryption. The FBI was ultimately able to crack into the iPhone without Apple's help.

Eventually, two major flashpoints seemed to convince lawmakers and regulators that they could and in some cases, should do something about Big Tech.

The first mainly rippled through circles of academics and antitrust professionals. Lina Khan, then a law student at Yale, published an article in the Yale Law Review called "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox" in January 2017. The article called into question traditional interpretations of antitrust law that often measure the so-called consumer welfare standard based on price. That standard is not adequate to measure harm by a tech company like Amazon, Khan argued, since the firm's structure has allowed it to keep prices low while circumventing antitrust enforcement.

The article didn't spark immediate consensus, but it did light up conversation.

"It was a good piece at the right time," said Harry First, a law professor at New York University. "You walk around you see you're in a nice middle class neighborhood and the stores are all going out of business and you know that you're using Amazon a lot. These are very visibly big companies, it is not like an oil company or a steel company that you don't see it. These are consumer-facing businesses that are part of your everyday life."

The second flashpoint went far beyond academic circles. In March 2018, The Guardian and The New York Times broke the story of how Cambridge Analytica obtained Facebook data without users' consent and used it to aid Donald Trump's presidential election campaign in 2016.

The story prompted outrage at a time when Americans were particularly divided in the wake of Trump's election and concerned about Russian interference through social media platforms. The most important response, according to Jen King, director of consumer privacy at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, came from lawmakers.

"I think Cambridge Analytica was pivotal a little bit less because of the public impact and a little bit more because of the effect on Congress," King said. "Cambridge Analytica, because of its potential effect on the election, I think, is what motivated a lot of congressional actors to go, 'Oh crap, this is a serious issue.'"

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to guests during a campaign stop at the Val Air Ballroom on November 25, 2019 in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Scott Olson | Getty Images

If the 2010s were the Wild West for tech, the 2020s are likely to be the decade of rules.

While it's still unknown how any of the various investigations into Big Tech will end, Congress and state lawmakers across the country are keen on reining in the industry's power.

"I think to some degree it's going to depend on whether something comes out of these investigations," First said of how the next decade will shake out. "It may be that some of the attention will move seriously to Congress to make changes in antitrust laws. Some disillusionment could be in store if either cases are not brought or they're brought and lost [in court]."

Lawmakers are already beginning to question how various laws, and the lack thereof, have allowed tech companies to grow so rapidly and dodge legal obstacles. Congress and federal regulators are asking how data can amass power at a tech company. They're asking how much that data is worth, who owns that value and what it should take for a user to pick up and move their data elsewhere.

Lawmakers are starting to seem sympathetic to the FTC's pleas for more funding and enforcement powers. Two new Senate proposals for a federal privacy law would grant the FTC resources and authority to enforce that law.

Congressional leaders are also rethinking a law that has long-protected tech platforms from liability for their users' content. One has suggested tying the legal shield to audits that evaluate if their processes are "politically neutral."

Even if no enforcement actions are taken against the Big Tech firms this time, that could fuel lawmakers to take up proposals to amend the antitrust laws themselves. Given the bipartisan concern over the tech industry, it's not difficult to imagine that laws governing mergers could be reined in, the former senior antitrust official said.

"That's the area where I think there is the greatest prospect for there to be any sort of change," the official said.

Already, there are some proposals on the table. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., ranking member of the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee and presidential contender, introduced the Merger Enforcement Improvement Act in 2017 to give federal regulators more tools and resources to enforce merger laws.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who is also seeking the presidency, is drafting a broad bill co-authored by House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline, D-R.I. According to a draft viewed by CNBC, the bill would apply sweeping guidelines to a range of large companies over how they price their products and treat competitors.

There's still one major unknown that could sway the course of the next decade.

"The elephant in the room," said Stanford Law professor Doug Melamed, "is the 2020 election."

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Diane Francis: If Ottawa won’t listen to the West on resources, perhaps the West should stop listening to Ottawa – Financial Post

Alberta and Saskatchewan must take a page from Atlantic Canada, and simply defy and ignore Ottawas injurious energy policies.

Last week, Reuters broke a story that Canadas largest oil refinery, Irving Oil in New Brunswick, quietly scrapped its 2020 emission reduction target of 17 per cent. It made the pledge in 2005 to bolster Liberals who were campaigning on a promise to fight climate change. No public announcement accompanied the change in policy, which was removed from the companys website earlier this year.

When asked for comment, Irving said the targets jeopardize the refinerys future financial viability. The company refines 320,000 barrel per day and exports half to the U.S. northeast. A spokesman said obliquely: We continually update our standards to accurately reflect the targets set in the areas where we operate.

Then theres Newfoundland and Labrador, who have also put the interests of people, jobs, and the economy first over the made-in-Ottawa climate emergency. Last week, the province issued the first of many permits to mostly foreign oil giants who want to invest up to $4 billion in offshore exploration.

Newfoundland shamelessly and admirably hopes to nearly triple its oil production by 2030 to 650,000 barrels of oil daily, up from 230,000 barrels per day now.

Hypocritically, Ottawas Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi opted to support giving Newfoundland the green light. He issued a press release worthy of a Trump tweet: The decision was made following a thorough and science-based environmental assessment process concluding that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects when mitigation measures are taken into account.

Then the feds claimed, without blushing, that the Chinese company who got the permit would comply with environmental and other laws because they said they would. They also said they would honour canola contracts. As well as the Sino-British Joint Declaration concerning Hong Kong.

Ottawa has given this region and Quebec both defiant in the past a free pass in terms of wildlife monitoring, Indigenous rights and tanker shipping hazards. Compare that with what has happened in the West.

Emboldened by favouritism, Newfoundlands Natural Resources minister Siobhan Coady gushed that there could be 650 Hibernias (1.9 billion barrels produced since 1997), in other words. I dont expect there is, but (there) will be discoveries made in offshore Newfoundland and Labrador

By contrast, an Alberta or Saskatchewan leader who laid out, and lauded, the phenomenal economic and jobs potential of the oilsands, LNG largesse, or conventional gas deposits, would be trolled as an evil climate change denier. He or she would be shunned in Ottawa, decried by the socialists and Quebeckers and Liberals, and pilloried by the climate change industry and many in the media.

But Atlantic Canadians have their priorities right. They understand that resource development is what has built Canada and will do so in the future, that Ottawa doesnt know what its doing and should be shrugged off or disobeyed. In 2017, the Trudeau climate change gang started to circle Newfoundland with talk of centralized regulation and revised environmental reviews and other red tape. They were told to butt out.

The industry threatened: Our members and Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will not accept the loss or delay of the benefits of these valuable resources while we struggle to pay for the demands of an aging population.

One observer underscored the seriousness of the pushback: Newfoundland has always been a fighting province. Anything that goes against perceived ownership of resources, whether its fisheries or oil and gas, they will fight the federal government on it.

Thats what the West must do, simply tell Ottawa to butt out and go ahead and develop the countrys resources. A government that destroys economic activities without justification or plays favourites is no longer legitimate, and deserves disobedience or worse.

Financial Post

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Diane Francis: If Ottawa won't listen to the West on resources, perhaps the West should stop listening to Ottawa - Financial Post

Abe says planning to visit Middle East in early Jan. – The Mainichi

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday he plans to visit the Middle East early next month as Japan has decided to send Self-Defense Forces personnel to the region to help secure the safe navigation of commercial ships.

The government is making arrangements for him to visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to officials. The Middle East supplies crude oil to resource-scarce Japan and stability in the region is critical.

"I'm considering visiting the Middle East at the beginning of next year if conditions permit," Abe said during a TV program recording.

"Ninety percent of our crude oil imports come from the Middle East. If they stop, the Japanese economy and our daily lives will be severely impacted," Abe said.

The government plans to send a destroyer and P-3C patrol planes to the region for the purpose of intelligence gathering as tensions remain high in the Middle East over a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the United States.

But Japan will not join a U.S.-led maritime security initiative near the Strait of Hormuz, a key waterway for transporting oil, for fear of hurting Tokyo's good relations with Tehran.

The SDF will instead operate off Oman and Yemen -- the Gulf of Oman, the northern part of the Arabian Sea, and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait connecting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

"Japan aims to make its own unique contributions to safe navigation and regional stability," Abe said.

Before the prime minister, Defense Minister Taro Kono will visit Djibouti and Oman during his four-day Mideast trip from Friday. The P-3C patrol planes engaged in anti-piracy activities based in Djibouti and Oman will serve as a refueling base for the SDF destroyer.

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Abe says planning to visit Middle East in early Jan. - The Mainichi

The Next Big Thing – The Maritime Executive

Offshore wind is poised for liftoff in the U.S. But obstacles remain as do opportunities. file photo

By Jack O'Connell 12-27-2019 12:00:00

(Article originally published in July/Aug 2019 edition.)

In early July Dominion Energy broke ground on the second U.S. offshore wind farm, called the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project and located 27 miles off the coast from the resort city of Virginia Beach. It was a purely symbolic moment and a literal groundbreaking since it took place on land and nowhere near where the turbines will be. Its purpose was to install a half-mile pipeline to the final stretch of cables connecting the turbines to a company substation close to nearby Camp Pendleton.

But it was significant nonetheless as its been three years since the first U.S. offshore wind farm off Block Island in Rhode Island came online in 2016, three long years that had consumers, developers and investors alike wondering, Will this ever happen? Whats the holdup with offshore wind?

Its happening, all right, but at a much slower pace than expected. And the Virginia project is nothing to write home about its only two six-megawatt turbines, even smaller than Block Island, enough to power maybe 3,000 homes. Purely a demonstration project. Proof of concept and all that. If successful and completion is expected by the end of next year it will provide the necessary operational data for development of an adjacent 112,800-acre site with capacity for up to 2 GW (gigawatts, or a thousand megawatts) of offshore wind. Now were talking!

European Expertise

Dominions partner in the project is rsted, the Danish state energy company formerly known as DONG (Danish Oil & Natural Gas). The Danes know a thing or two about offshore wind, which generates about half their electricity, and rsted is a global leader in the technology, design and development of offshore wind farms. Last year it bought Deepwater Wind, developer of the Block Island wind farm, and its moved fast in the U.S. market, where help is needed and European firms are only too happy to oblige.

The U.S knows all about land-based wind power where it ranks second in the world to China, of all countries, but not much about offshore wind, which is an entirely different ballgame. The wind blows a lot harder. The turbines are much bigger, the technology more sophisticated, the degree of expertise required much higher.

Thats where the Europeans come in. Europe leads the world in offshore wind. According to WindEurope, at the end of 2018 it had 18.9 GW of offshore wind power, 105 offshore wind farms and more than 4,500 offshore turbines in 11 countries. The U.K. has the most nearly half of all installations with Germany second and Denmark third. Theyve been doing it for nearly 30 years, ever since the Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm was built about a mile off the coast of Denmark in no more than 10 feet of water by you guessed it rsted, in 1991.

Last year Europe completed the worlds first floating offshore wind farm in the North Sea off Scotland at a depth of nearly 400 feet. Thats how advanced they are. And theyre anxious to export that expertise to the U.S.

The big players are Denmarks rsted and Vestas and the German/Spanish giant, Siemens Gamesa. All three are partnering with U.S.-based companies to stake claim to the potentially huge U.S. market. rsted has the early lead and in June was chosen by the state of New Jersey to negotiate a 20-year contract for a wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City with a nameplate capacity of 1.1 GW the first to exceed the one gigawatt mark.

Called Ocean Wind, its a partnership with the Public Service Enterprise Group, which serves more than two million electric utility customers in the Garden State. With a scheduled completion date of 2024, it would power more than half a million homes, create 3,000 jobs and have a 25+ years lifespan.

Ocean Wind joins rsteds expanding portfolio in the U.S. that includes Revolution Wind, a 700-MW project off the coast of Rhode Island, South Fork Wind (130 MW) off Long Island, and Skipjack (120 MW) offshore Maryland all scheduled for completion by 2023. In July it won another big one, this one from New York State, for an 880 MW project called Sunrise Wind that will provide electricity for Long Island.

Throw in Vineyard Wind off the coast of Massachusetts, touted as the U.S.s first utility-scale offshore wind farm at 800 MW with construction expected to start later this year, and you have more than 5 GWs of offshore wind in the pipeline. And dont you just love those names Skipjack, Revolution, Sunrise, Vineyard!

The Opportunity

But 5 GWs is just the tip of the iceberg. According to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which is responsible for offshore oil and gas operations as well as offshore wind, there are currently 15 active commercial leases for offshore wind development that could support more than 21 GWs of generating capacity. Thats more than Europe currently has.

The demand for offshore wind has never been greater, stated Acting Director Dr. Walter Cruickshank in releasing the bureaus long-awaited report, The Path Forward for Offshore Wind Leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf. Plummeting costs, technological advances, skyrocketing demand and great economic potential have all combined to make offshore wind a highly promising avenue for adding to a diversified national energy portfolio. The U.S. Outer Continental Shelf presents a world-class wind resource on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Cruickshank went on to state that Offshore wind is an abundant domestic energy resource located close to major coastal load centers, providing an alternative to long-distance transmission or development of onshore electricity generation in these land-constrained regions.

And thats really the key, isnt it? Close to major load centers like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Norfolk, Virginia on the East Coast, Los Angeles and San Francisco and Portland and Seattle on the West Coast. Offshore wind makes sense in those regions. Onshore wind can take care of the rest of the country.

Providing further incentive is the promise of ongoing federal tax credits, critical to the success of any renewable energy project, but particularly one as expensive as this. Two bills recently introduced in the U.S. Senate the Offshore Wind Incentives for New Development (WIND) Act and the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act would extend the Investment Tax Credit for such projects (currently at 30 percent) for up to eight years and provide much-needed breathing room for investors.

Offshore wind has the potential to change the game on climate change, stated Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, one of WINDs co-sponsors, and those winds of change are blowing off the shores of Massachusetts. Offshore wind projects are a crucial part of Americas clean energy future, creating tens of thousands of jobs up and down the East Coast and reducing carbon pollution. In order to harness this potential, we need to provide this burgeoning industry the long-term certainty in the tax code that it needs.

Added Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, Without Congressional action, the federal Investment Tax Credit for offshore wind is set to phase out this year just as the first wave of large-scale offshore wind projects prepare to begin construction. At this critical moment for a new U.S. energy industry, policy stability is more important than ever. We appreciate and strongly support proposals that would extend the Investment Tax Credit for offshore wind, jumpstarting the projected $70 billion build-out of America's offshore wind infrastructure, delivering large amounts of reliable, homegrown clean energy and tens of thousands of jobs to the U.S. economy.

Cities like New Bedford, Massachusetts, the one-time whaling capital of the U.S., which has since fallen on hard times, are poised to benefit from the expected boom. And U.S. boatbuilders, not to mention the entire Gulf of Mexico offshore fleet, could find themselves swamped with new business in what is fast becoming a modern gold rush.

Roadblocks

But obstacles remain, including the controversial Jones Act, seen by some as inhibiting the required investment. Not so, says Joan Bondareff, chair of the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority and Of Counsel at Blank Rome: I like to look at the Jones Act as an incentive for shipyards, not an impediment. Its been around for 100 years and its a law were going to have to live with.

Bondareff is right, and U.S. shipyards and suppliers are making the necessary adjustments. In some cases they are partnering with European companies to design and build equipment like installation jack-up vessels, crew transfer vessels and windfarm service boats. In other cases they are retrofitting the highly sophisticated, dynamic positioning-equipped workboats used in the offshore oil-and-gas industry. The consensus seems to be that there are sufficient vessels and equipment available to meet the first wave of offshore construction.

The other supposed constraint is port infrastructure, but this is a red herring as well. U.S. ports have been handling the turbines, nacelles and blades for the land-based wind power industry for years, and they will make whatever adjustments and investments are needed to accommodate the offshore buildout. And do so gladly.

How to Play It

If you want to get in on the action, one of the best ways is to invest in some of the companies mentioned in this article. The utilities especially, like Dominion Resources and Public Service Enterprise Group and New Englands Eversource, are an attractive proposition as they diversify away from traditional generating sources. The same goes for big oil companies like BP and Shell and Exxon, who are fast seeing the writing on the wall and diving into the bidding for offshore wind farm leases.

Last but not least, the developers and makers of wind farm equipment rsted and Vestas and Siemens and GE (yes, GE, a major turbine manufacturer) are all worth a look.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.

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The Next Big Thing - The Maritime Executive

ANCHORAGE PRESS PERSON OF THE YEAR: At 95, Vic Fischer continues to fight for the Alaska Constitution he drafted – Anchorage Press

Alaskas constitutional system of government has never faced an assault like the one it endured in 2019 from Governor Mike Dunleavy and Attorney General Kevin Clarkson. Yet as we head into 2020, the Alaska Constitution, and the Alaskan people, are winning. The rule of law is prevailing because of the wisdom of Alaskas statehood founders, and the last living constitutional convention delegate continues to fight in the trenches to defend the Constitution he drafted.

Even at the age of 95, Vic Fischer shows no signs of slowing down. When the clarion call went out to recall the governor this summer, he could be seen at just about every signature drive as a tireless grassroots worker much more than a symbolic figurehead for the movement.

For this type of service, after a lifetime invested in building Alaska, Vic Fischer is our choice for Anchorage Press Person of the Year.

I asked Vic about why he chose to be one of the primary co-sponsors of the recall campaign, and about how he sees Governor Dunleavys agenda as a threat to the statehood eras monumental achievements. Because the direction Dunleavy was pursuing was designed to undermine everything wed we created with the Constitution and with statehood, Fischer said. Our goal was to remove Outside control of Alaska and her resources. In contrast, the Governor has solicited Outside support while cutting education, cutting health care, and the Governors agenda runs counter to what so many of us had been working for over the last sixty or seventy years.

In May, Fischer addressed the House State Affairs Committee two days after his 95th birthday and strongly condemned three unconstitutional amendments put forth by the Dunleavy administration, which would have the effect of making any sort of taxation virtually impossible.

It is concise. Short, declarative statements of policy, of process, of organization. The amendments are atrociously written, Fischer said. The power of taxation shall never be surrendered. Period. That is a solid policy statement And then this proposed amendment goes on to undermine this policy.

Vic Fischer has never been shy about standing up to power.

He grew up in Stalinist Russia, and barely escaped annihilation both by the Soviets and the Nazis. After emigrating to the United States, he served in the U.S. Army during WWII, then completed his education at MIT.

With the choice of settling anywhere in the United States, Fischer moved to Alaska in 1950 and immediately became involved in local politics, working as a city planner for Anchorage, and then with the statehood movement. During the three-month long Constitutional Convention that began on November 8, 1955, he served as a delegate to the Alaska Constitutional Convention, where he drafted much of the document that is still the basis of our states laws. Fischer also served as a Delegate in Alaskas last Territorial legislature, and as a State Senator in the 1980s. He founded the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER), which continues to be the most respected institution in the state for modeling fiscal and economic policy.

Alaskas Constitution was a model in 1956, and remains so today. It contains powerful language regarding collective benefits from resource development, along with clear protections for personal privacy and civil liberties. Equally important, the Constitution sets out a meritocratic system of judicial selection that comes as close as possible to guaranteeing a non-partisan judiciary. Finally, the Constitution thoroughly and thoughtfully establishes a balance of power among the governor, legislature, and judiciary.

The last year has made clear that the Constitution and Governor Dunleavys agenda are mutually incompatible. The Governor has attempted to seize the legislatures power of appropriation by refusing to disburse funds appropriated for public schools. Hes attempted to neuter the judiciary by defunding part of its budget over an abortion ruling that clearly aligns with the Constitution and long-standing case law. Dunleavy has declared war on workers job security and rights to collectively bargain, but has lost high profile court cases related to privatization of Alaska Psychiatric Institute and dues collection by public employee unions. Dunleavy has also gone to extreme lengths to advocate for permitting of Pebble Mine, even cutting-and-pasting lettaers from Pebble lobbyists onto Governors stationary. Yet Dunleavys legal effort to shut down the free speech of fishermen protesting the mine proposal was blocked in court. Dunleavy has accumulated a remarkable 0-7 record in his attempt to tear down long-standing legal statutes, both because his vision is fundamentally inconsistent with the Constitution and because Alaskas merit-based system of judicial appointments elevates judges who respect the law rather than subordinating it to partisan interests.

From Dunleavys perspective, the lost lawsuits are not the endgame. It has been clear since the beginning of his administration that the Governor is laying the groundwork to campaign for opening the Constitution to revision through a Constitutional Convention. Such as question last appeared before voters in 2012 and each decade before. Though voters generally reject re-writing the Constitution by a 2 to 1 margin, weve never faced a situation in which the Governor and Outside interests like the Koch Brothers coordinate to push for a Convention. Fortunately, Vic Fischer is still with us to defend the Constitution that has served Alaska well for more than sixty years.

When I interviewed Fischer for the Press in 2016, he was fighting to protect our merit-based system of judicial appointment. Fischer has not slowed down since: He is co-chairing the campaign to recall Governor Dunleavy, along with Arliss Sturgelewski and Joe Usibelli. Fischer testified before the legislature in 2019 to oppose Governor Dunleavys proposed Constitutional amendments. He said the byzantine proposals to effectively block any new revenue measure is preposterous, and concluded that: What seems to be behind the proposals is a strategy of reducing the wealth of the people of Alaska, he said. If you apply those into the future, Alaska will become impoverished. Its a downhill spiral.

Fischer also was on the front lines helping to block Dunleavys budget proposals, advocating for public schools, Medicaid health insurance, Pioneer Homes, and ferry system.

As Alaska ages, few of its founders are still with us. Fischer is the last living delegate from the Constitutional Convention. Governors Jay Hammond and Wally Hickel, who remained active in public affairs late in life, have passed away in the last decade and a half. Vic Fischer is the only Statehood era leader with us today who has the moral and historic authority to protect Alaskas Constitutional legacy across multiple centuries.

Alaskans have far higher incomes and lower inequality, and more secure civil rights than citizens of most states. We have outstanding public schools and a university with world-renowned research programs, despite a tiny population and correspondingly limited tax base.

To a great extent, Alaskans have built a strong state democracy, state economy, and public institutions on the foundation that Vic Fischer and other statehood founders provided with our Constitution. Vic Fischer is not simply resting after sixty years of public service, but continues to be at the forefront defending Alaska and the many institutions he helped establish.

And as he told legislators back in May, Im still alive, and if I can be of any help, I will be happy (to).

Zack Fields is a long-time Anchorage Press contributing writer and currently represents District 20 in the Alaska State Legislature.

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ANCHORAGE PRESS PERSON OF THE YEAR: At 95, Vic Fischer continues to fight for the Alaska Constitution he drafted - Anchorage Press

Year in Review 2019: The five fastest-growing jobs in Singapore – Yahoo Singapore News

SINGAPORE Demand for digital talent skyrocketed in 2019 as Singapore continued its push towards becoming a Smart Nation, and companies accelerated their own transformation journeys. Here are some of the fastest-growing jobs in the city state this year, based on Yahoo Finance searches.

1. AI Specialist

Singaporeslead in the global race for attracting robotic and AI investmentskicked AI Specialists to the top of this years list. Global giants with AI facilities in the city state include Alibaba Group, Salesforce, YITU Technology and Adatos. Demand is expected to intensify with Singapores recently announcednational AI strategy, which includes its plans to deploy AI at a national scale, and become a global leader in the developing and deploying the technology by 2030. Those seeking a job in the field should purse skills in TensorFlow, machine learning, Python, and computer vision, according to a LinkedIn, which put AI Specialist at the top of its list of fastest growing jobs in 2019.

An engineer sets up a CloudMinds robot with a 5G sign before a performance at the World Robot Conference in Beijing, China August 20, 2019. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Jason Lee)

2. Robotics Engineer

Increasing use of robotics from chatbots to driverless technology - in industries from manufacturing and healthcare to hospitality and education put demand for Robotics Engineers capable of building and deploying Robotics Process Automation (RPA) software second only to AI specialists. Robotic Engineers automate mundane tasks or processes, speeding them up significantly to reduce costs, grow revenue and improve customer experience. Demand is expected to increase further Singapore currently has the worlds second most automated workplace, with advisory, broking and solutions firm Willis Towers Watson projecting that robots will account for29% of all work done by companies in Singapore in 2020.

3. Data Scientist

With access to a growing amount of data, organisations are looking to data scientists to unlock trends, and generate actionable insights that will allow them to deliver more relevant products, streamline business practices, and identify business opportunities. In the four years to 2017, jobs in data science jumped by 17 times, and according to a LinkedIn study, data scientists continued to be the most-viewed profession in LinkedIn in 2019. According to Singapores Economic Development Board, data analytics industry will contribute an estimated US$730 million to the nations economy annually.

4. Cyber security analyst

Demand for cyber security analysts grew across industries this year alongside growing awareness of cyber threats. It was cited among the top five jobs in demand in Singapore by LinkedIn, as well as recruitment consultancies Robert Half and BGC. According to Robert Half, cyber security analysts can expect salaries ranging from S$90,000 to S$150,000, depending on how relevant the candidates experience is. Cyber security analysts are responsible for protecting sensitive information, including information stored in computer networks, cloud servers, and mobile devices, as well as for designing firewalls, monitoring the use of data files and protecting the network.

5. Human Resource Officer

Hiring in the human resource industry increased 48 per cent this year, and will continue to increase over the next three years, according to recruitment consultancy Michael Page, who places Chief Human Resource Officeramong Singapores highest paying job at $275,000 per annum on average. According to BGC, organisations are looking to recruit professionals with strong experience in HR technologies and talent acquisition. As competition for technology-related skills heats up, it has also driven an increasing demand for those with relevant talent acquisition experience in the technology sector.

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Year in Review 2019: The five fastest-growing jobs in Singapore - Yahoo Singapore News

Moe has no regrets about divisive 2019 as he targets more autonomy in New Year – Regina Leader-Post

For Premier Scott Moe, the political low-point of the year came in a tension-filled office on Parliament Hill.

It was Nov. 12, 2019. That was the day he met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to present, in person, his new deal for Canada.

It was a frustrating meeting for me, likely one of the more disappointing meetings that Ive had in my political career, he said in a year-end interview with the Leader-Post.

The meeting was important for Moe. It had been a challenging year for Saskatchewan, capped off by a divisive election that proved how deep the frustrations ran on the Prairies.

In Moes view, Trudeau had spent the past year making it worse.

The biggest challenge that this province has had over the course of this last year has been on two fronts, he said. One has been natural resource prices. Two has been natural resource policies coming out of the federal government and so we need to continue to work with, stare down at times, our federal government.

But Trudeau would not be stared down. Moe came out of the prime ministers office saying he heard nothing new.

Premier Scott Moe in the cabinet meeting office in the Saskatchewan Legislative Building in Regina on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.TROY FLEECE / Regina Leader-Post

It was a fitting symbol of a year of intergovernmental drama that produced plenty of harsh words, but little in the way of concrete change.

Moes government spent 2019 directing a full rhetorical and constitutional assault against a federal carbon tax that still doesnt show any sign of going away.

A May decision at the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, which ruled the tax constitutional, was another tough moment for Moe. But it didnt change his mind about broad-based carbon pricing.

We were aware that this was not an open and shut case for either side. It is an area of jurisdiction that has some questions around it. I was disappointed, he said.

I firmly believe that it doesnt work. The carbon tax does not reduce emissions here in the province of Saskatchewan.

On April 4, 2019 hundreds of vehicles that took part in the Regina Rally Against The Carbon Tax in Regina gather at Evraz Place. Premier Scott Moe spoke with those in attendance.TROY FLEECE / Regina Leader-Post

As Moe looks forward to 2020, hes trying to remain hopeful that federal-provincial relations might improve in the New Year.

We have the same Prime Minister but a much different face to our federal government. Its a minority administration, they are going to need the support of at least one other party with any of the legislation that they move forward on, he said.

So I am optimistic that we will see some different direction.

There were also high points, of course, including on the national stage. Moe pointed to his recent meeting with other premiers that produced a more united agenda to take to Trudeau.

That meeting, Moe explained, is how he prefers to work.

Im viewed as a very confrontational politician with our federal government, he said. Thats not my first place of comfort. My first place of comfort is where we got to with the premiers. Its to collaborate, identify the challenges, identify positive solutions pick one and go.

We havent been able to this point do that with the prime minister.

Other victories Moe cited came on the provincial stage. He celebrated the completion of the Jim Pattison Childrens Hospital and the Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford.

What I am most proud of over the course of the last year is the opening of two new healthcare facilities that are indicative of what growth can achieve in this province, he said.

He said his growth plan, unveiled this fall, is the key to ensuring the money is there to pay for those kinds of projects.

On March 19, 2019, Minister Donna Harpauer, left, and Premier Scott Moe watch the Federal Finance Ministers Budget speech from the Legislative Building in Regina.TROY FLEECE / Regina Leader-Post

The March budget also stood out as a victory for Moe. It marked the end of a three-year struggle to return to the black after tumbling resource revenues drove the province into the red.

For the premier, its more than an accomplishment. Its a way to differentiate his party from the rival NDP which has publicly mused about deficit spending with an election campaign set for this coming fall.

Theres one party that is committed to continuing to balance that budget and not leveraging against the next generations future and theres a party that is willing to spend their childrens income far into the future, Moe said. So thats a difference.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is seen during a news conference after a meeting with Canadas provincial premiers in Toronto on Dec. 2, 2019.CARLOS OSORIO / REUTERS

He said the key to victory in 2020 is keeping a steady course, but also an open mind.

We need to continue doing exactly what weve been doing for 22 years now as a party, to focus on the growth of our economy, focus on investing the proceeds of that growth back in our communities, thats the simple answer, he said.

The other part of that is we need to keep listening. We need to keep listening to people right across this province, whether theyre in urban or rural Saskatchewan, wherever they are.

Saskatchewan people should expect a focus on three points over the coming year, according to Moe. Saskatchewan will build up its economic independence, its financial independence and its political autonomy all the better to resist the kind of challenges he saw in 2019.

That means balanced budgets. It also means a push for more control over issues like immigration and tax collection. In an end-of-year surprise this December, Moe floated efforts to explore a Quebec-style approach on those two points.

As Moe looked back at all the fire and fury of Saskatchewan politics in 2019, he said he harbours no regrets.

He dismisses the idea that an unexpected debate over abortion was a distraction. Comments by his then-minister of rural and remote health, Greg Ottenbreit, turned the focus on anti-abortion sentiment in the Saskatchewan Party.

On Nov. 26, 2019, Canadas Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, left, meets with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe in the Premiers office at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building.BRANDON HARDER / Regina Leader-Post

Moe said he believes that debate is healthy.

I dont think its a distraction, he said. I think its something that should be debated from time to time, at any level of leadership, if you will.

There are laws, and those laws need to be respected, despite what your personal beliefs may be on whatever topic that may be. So, I have my own personal views. But I also have my own personal views about following the law in the nation of Canada.

And he still isnt willing to let NDP Leader Ryan Meili off the hook for refusing to attend the Regina Rally Against the Carbon Tax.

Meili had raised concerns that it was a yellow vest rally without the yellow vests.

Ill be honest with you, I did not have any idea or understanding of where the leader of the Opposition was coming from with respect to his claims accusatory claims namely directed at a farmer from Estevan, but also directed by grouping anyone that would attend such a rally in a yellow vest as being anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic, he said.

Meili later insisted he was talking about the worst of the worst of the yellow-vest movement, not everyone who planned to attend the rally. But eight months later, Moe faulted him for tarring people with the same brush.

I didnt understand why it got as personal, said Moe.

He shouldnt have said it, and he should apologize for it.

But Moes party was willing to make things personal too, issuing ads against Meili calling him out of touch with Saskatchewan and making links with unpopular figures like Jagmeet Singh and Justin Trudeau.

The premier isnt about to apologize.

awhite-crummey@postmedia.com

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Moe has no regrets about divisive 2019 as he targets more autonomy in New Year - Regina Leader-Post

65 Outstanding Black And Hispanic Men Leading In Cannabis – Benzinga

This article was originally published on The WeedHeads blog, authored by Dasheeda Dawson.

While researching for the latest update of our top-selling workbook, How to Succeed in the Cannabis Industry, 3rd edition, I found information around Black and Hispanic-owned businesses in the legal cannabis industry underwhelming. Far too often invisible. From High Times Magazine to MJ Biz Daily, people of color are rarely included in the global lists highlighting key cannabis industry insiders in significant numbers. Only a few consistent names make the mainstream round-ups, largely focused on big name celebrities doing little to truly impact the industry's public perception, government regulations or social equity.

For most, especially men of color, there are no shortcuts to success in the legal cannabis industry. Through the years, I have been inspired by those working passionately on the ground to make it happen for themselves and their communities. Yet, the stories of impactful work, inherent risks and incredible sacrifices of the Black and Latinx cannabis community remain far too often untold. Legitimate and visible representation matters to the future of this industry. While too many men of color have been rendered victims or criminals by prohibition, there are some making headway in legal cannabis. This list offers a glimpse into the ways Black and Hispanic men are trailblazing the legal cannabis industry. These 65 outstanding men are truly pioneers, reshaping the narrative around marijuana and hemp to push the movement beyond past incarceration and current domination by a wealthy and privileged few. This list of men to watch in 2020 aims to inspire, motivate and empower the next wave of professionals, entrepreneurs and investors looking for their successful path into the legal cannabis industry.

As one of the first internal medicine doctors in Florida to recommend medical cannabis treatments for patients, Dr. Joseph Rosado is a global pioneer and best-selling author of Hope & Healing: The Case for Cannabis. He is the CEO of International Medical Consultants and medical director of Minorities for Medical Marijuana.

Raft Hollingsworth III is the CEO and co-founder of The Hollingsworth Cannabis Company (THC Co), a Black-owned, family farm developing premium cannabis products for the Washington market. THC Co. has been featured on CNN, Buzzfeed and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.

Board Chairman for Minorities for Medical Marijuana, co-founder of Art 420 and founder of Monarch Manufacturing & Distribution, Erik Range wears many hats as an entrepreneur and leading advocate in the cannabis industry. A seasoned community engagement director, he is also co-host of CannaTalk with Roz, providing weekly cannabis insights and education. He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Co-founder of the California Minority Alliance and a founder emeritus of the Southern California Coalition , Virgil Grant is an OG pioneer and staple in the California cannabis industry. A dispensary owner for over 15 years, he has been at the forefront of the movement for social equity since Prop 215 as both an entrepreneur and an activist.

#5 Jim Jones - Global

Legendary hip-hop icon Jim Jones is the face of Saucey Extracts, a California-based brand known for a patented extraction methodology to create full-spectrum cannabis oil. Bringing his east coast flare to the Cali market, Jim Jones has been featured on cannabis panels at Source 360 Summit and Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo (CWCBExpo).

Award-winning advocate and pioneer in the cannabis industry, Leo Bridgewater is the National Director of Outreach for Edify PAC, working toward responsible, regulated, and socially just cannabis access and distribution. A strong and well known voice for veteran access to medical marijuana, Leo is also the National Director of Veterans Outreach for Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM).

A native of New Jersey, Dr. Rasean Hodge is a family physician and medical director of Premier Chronic Pain Care in Atlanta. In addition to serving three times as "Doctor of the Day" for the Georgia House of Representatives, Dr. Hodge was a contributory factor in writing the law for HB 722 and its inclusiveness of Peripheral Neuropathy, as one of the qualifying conditions for participation in Georiga's medical cannabis program.

David Kellman, an experienced cannabis cultivator and vape technologist, is the Strategic Partnerships Manager for The WeedHead & Company, working to de-stigmatize the plant and educate consumers on cannabis as medicine. A college athlete turned advocate of criminal justice reform and sustainable environmental practices, David uses his platform MoarBluntsnStuff to be a unique voice for millennials focused on conscious cannabis consumption and patient-centered regulations.

A cannabis advocate since high school, Jason Ortiz started his career in advocacy with Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and has worked with multiple organizations to put together model legalization bills for cannabis policy development. Today, he is President of the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA), the first 501(c)(6) non-profit business league created to serve the specific needs of minority cannabis entrepreneurs, workers, and consumers.

Award-winning cannabis reporter with nearly 5,000 articles published on mass media, Javier Hasse is the author of "Start Your Own Cannabis Business: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Marijuana Business," a #1 best-seller on Amazon via Entrepreneur Press. He is also Managing Director at Benzinga Cannabis.

NFL Super bowl champion and cannabis advocate, Marvin Washington has become a leading voice in the huddle of former NFL players speaking out about the benefits of CBD for opioid addiction and CTE. He is the VP of Business Development for Isodiol, co-founder of Isodiol's performance brand, Iso-sport and on the Board of Directors for Athletes For Care.

After 18 years of experience in executing top development and management projects in New York City, Florida, & Haiti, James Victor is the co-founder and CEO of James Henry SF, a responsible lifestyle, health and wellness brand with proprietary cannabis formulations for therapeutic use. He is also a member of the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) Medical Committee.

Mehka King is a journalist, host of the "CashColorCannabis" podcast, and the filmmaker behind The Color Green: Cash, Color, and Cannabis a documentary investigating racial disparities in the cannabis space. CashColorCannabis is "a higher level of conversation" highlighting upcoming brands and voices in the budding industry.

A former NYC teacher and sales executive for JP Morgan Chase, Rani Soto is an educator, advocate and entrepreneur within the cannabis industry. After helping to launch the largest recurring cannabis industry networking event in New York, he is now president of Brote AG, a hemp distribution company. He also serves as National Director of Latinx outreach for Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM).

Corporate-to-cannabis crossover, John Gilstrap went back to his farming roots as co-founder and VP Business Development for Hudson Hemp, an association of farmers located in NY's Hudson Valley focusing on regenerative agriculture and soil science to cultivate organic sun grown hemp using environmentally sustainable practices. He is also co-founder of the NY Cannabis + Hemp Trade Association.

Alphonso Blunt is co-owner of Oakland's Blunts + Moore, the first fully equity-owned dispensary in the world. An Oakland-native, Alphonso had been working to open a dispensary since 1999 before he was awarded a license by the city through the equity program lottery.

A U.S. Navy Veteran and retired firefighter paramedic, Stanley Atkins is an advocacy leader and medical cannabis healthcare educator in Georgia, where he played an active role in the formation and expansion of the GA Medical Cannabis Program (HB65) along with key decriminalization laws. Best-known as "The CanniMedic", Stanley is the M4MM chapter president for Georgia and go-to cannabis resource for state legislators, brands and consumers in the market.

The most vocal public advocate for full cannabis legalization in Minnesota, Marcus Harcus is an experienced community organizer and former City Council candidate responsible for launching the Minnesota Campaign for Full Legalization (MN CFL) in 2017 after four legalization bills were introduced in the state legislative session. In his role as Executive Director, Marcus' efforts helped to elect a pro-legalization governor in 2018.

Jesce Horton is a well known pioneer in the cannabis industry with many noteworthy accomplishments including co-founder of Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) and founder of award-winning Panacea Valley Gardens, a state-of-the-art Oregon cannabis cultivation. Recently, he co-founded NuLeaf Project, specifically designed to address the various hurdles that people of color face when entering the cannabis industry. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Founder of Philadelphia's Color of Cannabis Conference, Tauhid is a digital content expert with the Philadelphia Inquirer. As an executive board member for the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ), he used his influence to create the first media-led cannabis conference aimed specifically to reverse the stigma of cannabis use and to educate local media on why covering underrepresented minority issues surrounding cannabis legalization is important and necessary as a function of the media industry.

Sean Tolliver is co-founder and CEO of CannaTrax (C-Trax) Software Solutions, provider of point of sale (POS), customer relationship management (CRM), merchant services and business intelligence to cannabis retailers. Now working with some of the largest hemp retailers in North Carolina, Sean is an active advocate for legalization, serving as both co-president for M4MM North Carolina chapter and on the board of directors for Charlotte NORML.

Retired NBA champion, Matt Barnes came into the cannabis advocacy spotlight after admitting to smoking weed before every NBA game. Already known for his advocacy work as founder of Athletes vs. Cancer (AVC), a 3-day event aimed at raising awareness for cancer research, Matt added a cannabis component to the ACV all-star weekend in 2018. He is also the first athlete endorsed by RAW papers and now launching his own brand of pre-rolls called Swish, in partnership with Sacramento-based Seven Leaves.

A Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) alum, Jake Plowden is co-founder and Deputy Director of the Cannabis Cultural Association (CCA), a NY-based non-profit organization helping marginalized and underrepresented communities engage in the legal cannabis industry, emphasizing criminal justice reform, access to medical cannabis, and adult use legalization. He is also executive producer and co-host of In the Know 420 podcast.

Canadian native , Raymond C. Dabney is co-founder and CEO of Cannabis Science, Inc. (OTC: CBIS), a U.S. company founded in 2009 specializing in the research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines. CBIS works with leading global experts in drug development, medicinal characterization, and clinical research. It is one of the key industry partners in the recently launched, ground-breaking International Phytomedicines Institute (IPI) at Harvard Medical School.

An expert on market research, John Kagia has been delivering big data insights for 15 years. Now, Chief Knowledge Officer for New Frontier Data, John was the one of the first data scientists to focus exclusively on legal cannabis. A highly-sought speaker and advisor, he oversees development of data, business intelligence, and risk management solutions for businesses and municipalities navigating the industrys complex global dynamics.

A highly-decorated executive chef and U.S. Marine veteran, Scott Durrah is co-founder, COO and Master Cannabis Chef for Simply Pure, one of the first dispensaries owned by an African-American in the country. As a cannabis industry leader and advocate, he has been featured across multiple media outlets, including CNBC's Marijuana USA and remains a strong voice for more minority inclusion in the industry.

Landon Dais is the Chief Strategy Officer of Plant Inspired Future (PIF), a minority-owned multi-state cannabis operation with a medical marijuana license in Michigan and hemp license in New York. An accomplished cannabis professional, political strategist, attorney & public speaker, Landon is also General Counsel to Plush Green Hemp Company and previously served as NY State Policy Director for Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Nadir Pearson is a multi-talented millennial taking the cannabis industry by storm with his content creation, digital strategy and passion for advocacy. While at Brown University, Nadir launched the Student Marijuana Alliance for Research and Transparency (SMART), a college cannabis community striving for positive social change. He is also a digital media strategist for Ardent Cannabis and Herb.

With more than 10 years in food service management, Luis Vega is a well-known east coast cannabis advocate and now, the only Latino to receive an industrial hemp license in Connecticut. Founder of Wepa! Hemp Farms, producing thousands of pounds of hemp flower for CBD products and stalk for construction, he is also co-host of Cannabis Corner: New Haven on 103.5 FM WNHH Community Radio. He is a member of Lambda Alpha Upsilon Fraternity, Inc.

Brooklyn-native and political strategist, Kamani Jefferson is co-founder and principal at North Star Liberty Group. With an extensive background in regulatory and municipal affairs as a cannabis lobbyist, Kamani focuses on multi-state public policies in this emerging industry. Before North Star Liberty, Kamani served as the President of the Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council (MRCC).

Retired NBA player, Al Harrington founded Viola Brands in 2011, naming the company after his grandmother. Inspired by her experience as a cannabis patient, Al has become a global cannabis advocate and Viola is now a nationwide leader in the production and sale of premium quality cannabis products, licensed to operate in Colorado, Oregon, Michigan and California, with plans to expand into Arizona and Nevada in 2020.

Known as "The Digital Marketing Ninja", Gary George has been an entrepreneur for over 20 years as President & CEO of Blazin' Multimedia helping companies in multiple industries increase revenue, market share and customer loyalty with creative & technical digital marketing solutions. He recently transitioned his expertise into the cannabis industry, launching Real Cannabis Entrepreneur, providing professional training and coaching from an elite group of proven cannabis pioneers.

Jose Belen is a decorated U.S. Army combat veteran and co-founder of Florida Mission Zero, a nonprofit organization addressing the PTSD and suicide epidemic plaguing U.S. veterans. An inspiring public speaker and an outspoken advocate for compassionate access to medical cannabis, he is one of six individuals and organizations who are currently suing the federal government to remove cannabis from its list of Schedule I drugs.

A Rebel Minded Society (A.R.M.S.), founded by Grizzly Bocourt, is a lifestyle brand known for curating events, producing content, as well as providing platforms that educate and equip millennials with tools to actualize positive change in their communities. A leader in the New York cannabis community, Grizzly is founder and Creative Director of Cannaware Society and head of NY Cannabis United, a coalition of advocacy groups.

The other half of the dynamic duo behind James Henry SF, John Alston is a U.S. Navy veteran and mechanical engineer transferring his previous operational skills and experience with atmospheric gases to the cannabis space. As co-founder and COO, he is innovating and setting new standards in the cannabis industry with products carefully curated from seed-to-sale and undergoing various checkpoints during the CO2 extraction and distillation processes.

Headquartered in Oregon, Elev8 Cannabis is a multi-state operator of cannabis dispensaries founded by Chicago-native, Seun Adedeji. Leading the industry in his commitment to service, inclusion, and social equity, Seun is the youngest Black man in the country running a cannabis dispensary, with licenses and plans to open additional stores in Massachusetts and Illinois.

Todd Hughes is an experienced project manager, engineer and entrepreneur who has consulted with over 100 companies since his business EntreVation was formed in 2015. A business incubator and accelerator, EntreVation provides project management services and human capital development for public and private sector clients, including a vertical specifically for cannabis. He recently became Chairman of the Board of Directors for Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA).

With over 20 years of experience in software development and consulting, Roger Obando is co-founder and former Chief Technology Officer for Baker Technologies, a leading CRM software platform for the cannabis industry, servicing more than 800 dispensaries across the US and Canada. In 2018, after one the largest cannabis tech acquisitions in the history of the industry, Roger successfully exited from Baker. He is the author of The Highest Common Denominator, available on Amazon.

Clinton Carter, Jr. is co-founder of Comfy Hemp, an e-commerce business offering hemp-derived, CBD-infused tinctures, salves and protein for multiple ailments. As a patient treating his seizures with cannabis, CJ is committed to providing full-spectrum CBD hemp extract through multiple consumption methods to accommodate and help consumers. He is the president of Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM) Kentucky chapter.

Zachary Knox, Esq., a partner at Knox and Ross Law Group with extensive experience with in business law, tax and corporate finance, is Legal Counsel and a key team member at Make Green Go., the first consulting firm to be awarded a government contract to support social equity applicants. He is also the Vice Chair of the City of Oakland's Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

After experiencing an injury and subsequent opioid dependency, pro baller Mike James turned to cannabis and ultimately, became the first NFL player in league history to request an official "therapeutic use exemption" from the NFL's substance abuse policy. Mike has chosen to ignore the league's warnings and anti-cannabis education to remain a vocal advocate. He has been featured on CNN documentary series Weed 4: Pot vs. Pills with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and works closely with various organizations to lobby on behalf of medical cannabis and access for professional athletes.

Buffalo-native and cannabis advocate, Reggie Keith is the founder and visionary behind Canna-House, Western New York's #1 platform for education and activity-based cannabis events. Reggie has built the Canna-House community on the foundation of inclusion, innovation and information, providing much-needed resources for individuals looking to get medical marijuana certification in the northeast. Working in partnership with WNY NORML, he recently worked to bring Netflix' Grass is Greener film screening to Buffalo.

Brandon Banks is co-founder and COO of Natural Selections Dispensary in Colorado. After years of working for several fortune 500 companies including McDonalds Co, JP Morgan Chase, and Philip Morris, Brandon moved to Colorado and transitioned to the medical marijuana industry. An award-winning master grower, Brandon recently joined the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) Board of Directors, serving as co-Chair of the Economic Empowerment Committee.

Nelson Guerrero is co-founder and Executive Director of the Cannabis Cultural Association (CCA). Under his leadership, CCA has become one of the most influential advocacy groups in the industry, most notably one of six plaintiffs suing the Department of Justice and DEA for the removal of Cannabis from The Controlled Substances Act. A bilingual Ecuadorian-American, Nelson is also the Vice-Chair of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee of the National Cannabis Industry Association.

Founding board member of Chicago NORML, Donte Townsend is the regional chapter's Communications Director, amplifying the chapter's efforts to specifically educate and motivate communities of color to de-stigmatize and accept the cannabis plant as a vehicle for health, wellness, political and economic empowerment. Donte is a leader in the industrial hemp industry, providing premium products grown and harvested in an Illinois-based facility with over 3 million square feet.

Morehouse graduate and commercial real estate expert, Kevin Ford is CEO of Uplift Maryland. Under his vision and leadership, Uplift strives seeks to End The Stigma associated with cannabis through education and training. The company works to increase diversity and inclusion within the emerging medical cannabis industry, ensuring Black and Hispanic communities have an opportunity to participate in the economy of the future. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Brian Williams is an engineer and full stack developer with significant early stage experience and operational knowledge. He is Managing Partner for Wayne & Reed, a startup consulting firm focused on B2B cannabis technologies. A former management consultant for Accenture now leading the way in "cannatech", Brian also previously worked as Chief Technology Officer for BDTNDR, a proprietary learning management system for cannabis retail employees or "budtenders". He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Howard University graduate, Rashaan Everett is the founder and CEO of Good Tree Technology, a vertically integrated cannabis brand with over 30,000 square feet of space throughout Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco. After generating more than 20,000 deliveries and over $1.5 million in revenue with Good Tree, Rashaan also established Growing Talent, a community-driven solution that provides aspiring minorities with capital and software training to operate Good Tree franchise dispensaries.

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65 Outstanding Black And Hispanic Men Leading In Cannabis - Benzinga

The Triad of Commoning – Resilience

This excerpt is the Introduction to Part II: The Triad of Commoning from Free, Fair, and Alive by Silke Helfrich and David Bollier. You can find out more about the book and read excerpts from it here.

Over the years, there have been a number of attempts to conceptualize commons with greater clarity. But no one has yet imagined a framework thatat oncespeaks to the mundane realities of self-organization, the inner transformations that commoning catalyzes, and how these might transform the political economy over time. That is the challenge that we take up in the next three chapters by offering a comprehensive framework for commons and commoning. We hope to get beyond the growing confusion and faux-populism associated with these terms, and provide a more rigorous conceptualization. If the notion ofcommonsis used as a buzzword for everything in the world we would like to see shared, it loses its transformative power.

Frameworks are gateways. They subtly but deeply influence the ways that we perceive the world. They usher us into a specific interpretation of the world, much as opening a door takes us into one room and leaves others unexplored. Frameworks structure worldviews. They provide an analytical scaffold and a language for making sense of what we can observe. For these reasons, we provide in Chapters 4, 5, and 6 a scaffold and language for looking at the world of commons and commoning.

Our framework builds on the insights about the role of subjectivity, relationality, and language described in Part I of this book. OurTriad of Commoning: Social Life, Peer Governance, and Provisioningis based on the premise that commoning is primarily about creating and maintainingrelationships among people in small and big communities and networks, between humans and the nonhuman world, and between us and past and future generations. Thisrelationalunderstanding of the world will necessarily bring about new ways of thinking aboutvalue. It also helps us escape from standard economic and policy frameworks, and from overly economistic, resource-based understandings of the commons, both of which fail to express its social dynamics.

Two years before writing these lines, when we began to think about this book, we didnt aspire to propose a new framework. However, as we progressed, we felt increasingly uncomfortable with the ontological premises and languages used by most of the commons literature. They often did not come to terms with many of the things we had observed in the contemporary commons world. After a year of wrestling with this unease, we decided to start from scratch. In March 2017, we began to reflect more deeply and imagine a framework one step at a time, slowly, iteratively that could blend theory and practice. It was as if we were changing the point of departure for a journey. To explore the outskirts of Paris, for example, we could depart from either of the citys two most important train stations Gare du Nord or Gare de lEst, each only a stones throw away from the other. Choosing Gare du Nord would take us towards Lille in northern France, or to St. Quentin in the Hauts-de-France region. But were we to instead enter Gare de lEst, just five hundred steps away, a whole new set of destinations would be possible: Mulhouse in Alsace or Stuttgart in Germany, along with dozens of others. The distance between the gates is trivial, but the actual point of departure makes a huge difference in what kinds of worlds we can travel to. So it is with the frameworks we choose to interpret the world. The more a framing structure is true to our humanity and aligned with our aspirations and circumstances, the more likely that it will take us to destinations that are right for us.

Our framework aspires to articulate the deep correspondences among the bewildering diversity of the commons. Despite vivid differences among commons focused on natural resources, digital systems, and social mutuality, they all share structural and social similarities. Their affinities have just never been adequately identified and set forth in a coherent framework. Our idea was to make visible that which connects commons experiences in medieval times and today, in digital and analogue spheres, in cities and the countryside, in communities dedicated to water and to software code. Unraveling the tangled genetic history of commons to identify these connections can help explain why the commons is as old as mankind and as modern as the internet.

The structural commonalities that we identify are based on the recurring elements and relationships that we call patterns. Patterns help us see the common core of diverse world-making commons without ignoring their differences. A patterns approach recognizes that each commons develops and evolves in a different context, in different spaces and times. Each is shaped by different people, in different societies and environments. It is thus entirely logical that every commons will enact patterns according to its singular context. To fairly allocate water in the Swiss Alps in the sixteenth century requires a different set of rules than to fairly share bandwidth in the twenty-first. To govern a commons within a modern capitalist society is a different challenge than doing so within an Indigenous culture. What matters in each instance is for participants to produce a fair share for all.

When you have a closer look at how things are done in diverse commons, you begin to discover a world ordered by patterns. Using a patterns-based approach, we can grasp the idea that commons are enacted in myriad ways, without being merely arbitrary or accidental, and without ever being implemented exactly the same way twice. We can identify recurrent features of commons that are often not explicitly named. John C. Thomas has written that patterns are one way to capture what is invariant while leaving the flexibility to deal with the specifics of geography, culture, language, goals, and technologies. In this respect, patterns resemble DNA, a set of instructions that are underspecified so that they can be adapted to local circumstances. Does the DNA contain a full description of the organism to which it will give rise? asks Christopher Alexander in his book The Nature of Order. The answer is no. The genome contains instead a program of instructions for making the organism a generative program in which cytoplasmic constituents of eggs and cells are essential players along with the genes like the DNA coding for the sequence of amino acids in a protein.

Principles and Patterns

In describing the critical dimensions of a commons, what is the difference between a principle and a pattern? And why do we prefer to speak about patterns rather than principles of commoning? When patterns are expressed in a succinct form as in Ritualize Togetherness and Practice Gentle Reciprocity the phrase sounds like a principle. But patterns and principles are not the same. Each points to a different way of understanding the world and bringing about social change.

A principle points to an ethical or philosophical ideal that everyone should follow. It implies a universal, invariant truth. Thou shalt not kill and the separation of church and state are two familiar examples. Principles bring to mind scientific axioms, a term that comes from the Greek word axma which means that which is thought worthy or fit and that which commends itself as evident. Axioms are considered so self-evident that they dont need to be justified or explained. The same idea applies to principles, whose adherents regard their general claims about moral or political truth as beyond argument.

A pattern, by contrast, describes a kernel idea for solving problems that show up again and again in different contexts. The pattern will be the same, but concrete solutions will be different. For example, managing a cooperative in a German city will face similar problems as a co-op in an American city, but each will require approaches that take account of different legal, economic, and cultural realities. The idea of using patterns derives from the pioneering work of Christopher Alexander and colleagues in the 1970s in the field of architecture (see Chapter 1). A pattern isnt an ethical or philosophical ideal, but a concept that distills the essence of a variety of successful solutions that people implement because they work well and are life-enhancing.

Principles tend to make universal claims. This is problematic because it is virtually impossible to find the same institutional structures, cultural beliefs, and social norms in different places and contexts. By contrast, universal patterns of human interaction already exist. Take marriage: as a pattern it describes a universal social practice with countless variations in which people declare their commitment to each other (or have it declared for them). A pattern does not overspecify the details of marriage, such as the sex of the people involved or the conditions under which it occurs. It is a kernel idea for working solutions derived from observing real-world situations. In this sense, patterns describe, they dont prescribe. They start with the need to deal with tensions that cause problems. And tensions are omnipresent in our lives. A formal pattern description frankly recognizes the positive and negative forces that affect a given situation and does not assume that these forces can be resolved by invoking principles. The discourse of principles is less concerned with addressing these messy, complicated forces than in asserting a golden, inviolate ideal. In addition, a principle is usually presented as a standalone truth that need not take account of other principles with which it may conflict. For example, invoking freedom of expression does not address the tensions of that principle with the principle of respect for privacy and the dignity of others.

By contrast, patterns amount to design tools that help us address our practical challenges while speaking to our inner ethical, aesthetic, and spiritual needs. Patterns serve as a vessel for helping aliveness blossom. They are not a configuration of rules and metrics for how things can be controlled and regularized, nor abstract statements of principle with moral or normative meanings like solidarity or sustainability. This is not to say that there is no underlying ethics; its just that patterns recognize that ethical aspirations must take account of situational realities. This helps explain why no pattern is complete unto itself and necessarily relates to others.

Our framework naturally draws on the robust scholarly literature exploring the commons a body of work that has proliferated since Professor Elinor Ostrom won the Nobel Prize in Economic Science in 2009 for her pioneering studies of collective resource management. The International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) and its journal continue this valuable work. Ostroms famous eight design principles for enduring commons institutions set forth in her 1990 book Governing the Commons and developed over the past generation with hundreds of colleagues represent a major beachhead of understanding. But these principles do not say much about the inner life of commons or the complexities of what it means to common. (They do speak strongly to issues of governance, which we take up in Chapter 5.)

Our Triad framework points to the idea that commoners are engaged in world-making in a pluriverse because that phrase captures the core purpose of commoning: the creation of peer-governed, context-specific systems for free, fair, and sustainable lives. At the heart of the Framework is what we call The Triad the three interconnected spheres of Social Life, Peer Governance, and Provisioning. Or, in more conventional terms: the social, the institutional, and the economic spheres. We find it useful to structure our thinking around these realms, which doesnt mean that they are separate and distinct. Each sphere of the Triad simply provides a different perspective for looking at the same phenomena. Each is deeply interconnected with the others, as the accompanying image suggests.

It is reasonable to ask, how we can possibly generalize about the commons, knowing that there is no such thing as cultural universals? Is a coherent, general understanding of the phenomenon really possible? We believe it is if such an understanding acknowledges the immensely varied on-the-ground realities and distills their essential regularities! Thats what patterns do. They avoid the trap of reductionism, dont oversimplify messy realities, and help to avoid a totalizing way of understanding the world. Patterns provide a way to generate insights while relying on situated knowing peoples experiences, know-how, and intuition. And, most importantly, they help us create an open framework that is adaptable by design, and certainly not the last word. We therefore offer a flexible template, not a blueprint, and a commons vocabulary, not a classical, prescriptive taxonomy.

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The Triad of Commoning - Resilience


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