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Daily Archives: January 4, 2020
Posted: January 4, 2020 at 12:51 pm
After a month long trial, after hearing more than 100 hours of testimony and reviewing hundreds of exhibits, some going back to the early 1900s, the Linn County jury deliberated for only a few hours before returning with a verdict.
David YamamotoTillamook County Commissioner
The jury determined that the State had indeed breached a long-standing contract with the 13 plaintiff forest trust counties and awarded full damages of $1.065B.Of the 15 Trust Counties, Clatsop County Commissioners opted out of the lawsuit, although the majority of their taxing districts decided to stay in and are entitled to $243M, and Judge Thomas McHill determined that Klamath County forests operate under a pre-2001 forest management plan and removed them from the lawsuit. This left 13 Counties and 151 taxing districts found to be harmed and eligible for compensation.The 1941 Forest Acquisition Act created the idea of Greatest Permanent Value (GPV) to mean managing these forest trust lands to return timber revenue to the Counties, taxing districts, and the Oregon Dept. of Forestry (ODF). It was in 1998 that the Board of Forestry decided to change the definition of GPV, and for the last 20 years, timber revenue suffered while the State instead prioritized going far above the mandates of the Federal Endangered Species Act and directing funds to increasing recreational opportunities.While these are admirable goals, these shortfalls over the last 20 years were being born entirely by the trust counties. What the jury found is that the trust counties have been shorted $1.065B to provide these additional services to all residents of Oregon and it is only fair that we be fairly compensated for these services. Over the last 20 years, trust counties have had to cut public safety, education, emergency services, road maintenance, healthcare, libraries, and other essential services.When it comes to natural resource-based industries, Tillamook County is blessed with dynamic timber, dairy, and fishing opportunities. Some think that increasing timber harvest will harm the environment. As a Tillamook County Commissioner, I am proud to be able to say that when it comes to clean water, habitat restoration, and fish recoveryno Oregon County does these things better than Tillamook County.Over the decades, our timber, dairy, and fishing partners have collaborated with our Tillamook County public works department, watershed councils, OR Watershed Enhancement Board, Tillamook Soil & Water Conservation, Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, Salmon SuperHwy, and others to provide continuing improvements to our watersheds.We recently completed a 600+ acre, $11M habitat restoration project called Southern Flow Corridor. In Tillamook County, we have over 3500 culverts, which often, due to increased fish passage rules, need to be replaced with a bridgewhich is an expensive proposition. This is one of the reasons we have a bridge for every 3 miles of roadway. A difficult environment for a small rural county, but a true success story in Oregon.Our victory in Court does not mean we can or should diminish our commitment to our environmental responsibilities. As I explained above, Tillamook County is the State leader in clean water, habitat restoration, and fish recovery. ODF cannot disregard the Endangered Species Act, or Clean Water Act, but I feel this jury verdict clearly specifies that the State should not go above and beyond to the detriment of the trust counties.Timber revenue is but one part of the economic and social sustainability of rural Oregon Counties. It must also be understood that jobs in the woods, mills, and truck transportation are some of our rural counties best paying, fully benefited jobs.In the state of Oregon, the Total Private Sector Average Annual Wage is $52K. This same classification of jobs in Tillamook County is $37K. Yet, when you look at forest products industry (FPI) jobs in Tillamook County, we have Forestry and Logging at $55K, Wood Products Mfg at $59K, and Truck Transportation at $47.5K. These are family wage, fully benefited jobs. Tillamook County has 852 FPI jobs which adds over $43.5M to the Tillamook County economy.In the State of Oregon, there are over 60,000 FPI jobs paying an average of $53.5K. This total FPI employment in Oregon adds more than $3.2B to the State economy. Every County in the State has some economic activity generated by the forest sector. Total wood product sales in Oregon exceeded $10.34B in 2016. The total number of wood processing facilities in Oregon was 360 in 1988 and was down to 172 in 2017. When looking at sawmills in Oregon, number have decreased by 53% during the period 1988 to 2017, down to 78 sawmills in 2017.The jury award underestimates the real social cost which was caused by the States breach of contract. According to the States own figures, each additional million board feet of harvest results in 9.8 family wage jobs. 3.6B board feet of foregone harvest meant 3700 jobs lost. Imagine what those lost jobs would have meant to the trust counties, not only in terms of the productive lives of its residents but of the economic multiplier which would have attached to all the purchasing power those jobs would have resulted in.It is important to note that interest at the State mandated rate of 9 percent accrues on this damages award which equates to $260K per day. It is expected that the State will appeal this verdict to the Oregon Court of Appeals and then possibly to the Oregon Supreme Court, taking years for these court decisions.No one should blame the trust counties for this situationhad the State performed the contract as originally promised, the Counties would be in a much better financial condition and ODF would also have had the financial means to properly manage the State Forests. It is not right to expect rural Counties to shoulder the burden to benefit the entire State.We in rural Oregon have a great story to tell when it comes to our magnificent forests and the sustainable forestry practices that bring so much to so many. It is unfortunate that the urban-rural divide is so poignant in Oregon. Most rural counties will never be the home of a Nike, or Intel, or Columbia Sportswear. Long before these companies came into existence, rural counties and their natural resource-based industries were the growth engines of Oregon. We can continue to be vibrant, sustainable, self-reliant, rural counties if given a level playing field, and our success will not come at the expense of the environment if we have reasonable harvest policies.
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Why the circular economy model is imperative for a brighter energy outlook in 2020 – Opinion by Anil Chaudhry – ETEnergyworld.com
Posted: at 12:51 pm
As the impact of climate change becomes more pronounced globally and in India, the importance of energy efficiency and effective management of resources increasingly comes into focus. When the global economy is facing challenges the case for energy efficiency remains as strong as ever. This is because efficient use and management of energy offers savings in both resource and monetary terms.
Against the above backdrop, the rationale for a shift to the circular economy (CE) appears more convincing. The CE is based on the mantra of eliminating or avoiding waste via the continuous use of resources. Its guiding principle revolves around making, using and then reusing or recycling products or resources. In contrast, the linear economy is based on the concept of take, make, use, and throw, which is wasteful and expensive in many ways.
The CE is based on the closed-loop system. Besides, minimising the use of resources, it limits the creation of all waste, carbon emissions and varied forms of pollution. Thereby, all waste is used or cannibalised in making another product or by-product.
Today, CE is especially effective in increasing the efficiency of resources through recycling, particularly in the case of urban and industrial waste. In this way, a better balance is fostered between the economy, ecology, and society. For the CE model to succeed in a big way, however, all stakeholders, including manufacturers and customers, need to change the way in which products are made and used. From the traditional but unsustainable take, make and dispose model, it is necessary to adopt the circular approach revolving around repairing, refurbishing, reusing, recycling, and remanufacturing products.
In driving the circular economy, it is vital to focus on clean sources of power such as solar and wind. Beginning with the grid and then across the entire chain of energy consumption an increasing use of technologically enhanced IoT-enabled software and hardware is allowing for an intelligent usage of energy. When we integrate energy, automation and software with connectivity we drive greater energy and process optimisation. This level of integration enables us to better save (reduced consumption, optimise assets), connect (IT-OT integration, real-time analytics, plug into ERP), and share saved energy back across grids. Further, studies show us that moving towards a more circular economy could deliver benefits such as reducing pressure on the environment, improving the security of the supply of raw materials, increasing competitiveness, stimulating innovation, boosting economic growth, and creating jobs.
Smart is circular
Irrespective of whether power demand is higher or lower, efficient energy management through the deployment of smart systems as well as the use of clean fuels can lead to tremendous power savings. The criticality of this approach becomes clear from two energy-related facts. Firstly, the countrys proportion of universal primary power demand is slated to double to about 11 per cent by 2040. Secondly, India is expected to surpass China as the largest global growth energy market in the mid-2020s.
Given such facts, its essential to shift to smart, energy-efficient systems available via the digitalisation of electricity services, which will help save both power and financial resources. This is managed by increasing the recovery of resources and reducing supply costs. Smart systems include the smart management of electricity demand and supply in commercial, industrial or residential structures, achieved by deploying smart meters, connected power infrastructure and allied energy management systems. Smart grid technologies comprise micro-grids, virtual power plants and demand-response systems, all of which are already improving power production, transmission and distribution across the entire supply chain.
Additionally, smart grids are being used in meeting energy needs under the Smart Cities mission. From generation and distribution to consumption, smart grids offer higher efficiency, greater control and more value by minimising the consumption of resources. Smart grids ensure energy supply requirements are met via entirely safe, secure and sustainable systems while leaving a much lower carbon footprint. India seeks to meet its sustainable development goals of 2030 through lower consumption of fossil fuels, smart systems based on solar power are an ideal, efficient and cost-effective solution.
For making Indias 2020 energy outlook brighter, its necessary to adopt a CE model and an efficient energy system that benefits the economy, ecology, and society at large facilitating humankinds transition to a cleaner, greener planet.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETEnergyworld.com does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETEnergyworld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.
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Posted: at 12:51 pm
The International development sector is fast realizing the value and utility of geospatial information for achieving the Global Development Goals. Thanks to the document Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, that includes guidelines for appropriate use of geospatial and Earth observation data for measuring, monitoring, reporting and achieving the SDGs, the momentum towards free, open access to geospatial data, building resilient geospatial infrastructure, making informed decisions based on geospatial data and integration of geospatial with statistical information is rapidly gaining ground.
However, we still have a long way to go before geospatial technologies are used to their potential. Even when data and services are made available for development goals, their optimal use may not necessarily be that easy for the non-profit sector and the road to geospatial adoption could be fraught with several challenges. For one, to benefit from such systems, NGOs and INGOs need to adopt a geospatial strategy, which needs to be in synergy with their digital strategy. Further, they need to invest in fit-for-purpose infrastructure, train human resource, adopt standards, build partnerships and collaborations and have an innovative approach to address these issues.
True potential of geospatial technology lies in it being used as an integrator platform that can assimilate datasets from various sources to provide predictive and prescriptive analytics for informed decision making that can save lives, resources and create a better world.
For now, use of geospatial technologies has proven to be effective for achieving development milestones. Governments and the non-profit sector have been able to plan and implement programs in an informed manner because of the visualization and analytics offered by geospatial and Earth observation technologies. A variety of datasets are generated and being made available for free or at price points that make sense to the non-profit sector, theres been an increase in the use of innovative tools and technologies to solve some real-life challenges on ground from health care access, to providing resources to farmers, to monitoring climate and how it impacts life on Earth. When combined with other technologies, like drones and AI, geospatial technology gets further enhanced in its effectiveness. Geospatial technologies are also being utilized for creating innovative reporting platforms by the UN and member states.
Withthe intention to enable the movement of the development sector into becominggeospatially ready and adept, and to ensure optimal utilization of geospatialinformation for achieving the SDGs, Geospatial Media has been organizing the Geo4SDGsseries of seminars at Geospatial World Forum (GWF), which providesspace for interactions, deliberations and learning for both the geospatial aswell as the development communities and builds stronger synergies between thesetwo sectors.
Thenext edition of Geo4SDGs at GWF is scheduled for 7-9 April 2020 in Amsterdam,The Netherlands. If you are a professional working in the development sectorinterested to explore how geospatial information can benefit your work, or havealready started using this tool and want to expand your relations with thegeospatial community or if you are a geospatial enthusiast who wants to make adifference to the world through your work, and help the global community achievethe Sustainable Development Goals, join us at GWF 2020. With the themeTransforming Economies in 5G Era The Geospatial Way, the 12th edition ofthe conference will continue to initiate thought-provoking discussions andadvocate for technology innovation and good practices in the geospatialindustry.
Other than Geo4SDGs, the conference shall highlight the value of geospatial technology in digital economy and its integration with emerging technologies such as 5G, AI, Autonomous Vehicles, Big Data, Blockchain, Cloud, IoT and LiDAR in various user industries, including digital cities, construction & engineering, defense & security, telecommunications, and business intelligence.
To know more please visit http://www.geospatialworldforum.org
Posted: at 12:51 pm
The Nelson Star kicks off the year with a revisitation of our business column, The Business Buzz, and a familiar face. Longtime local journalist Darren Davidson will be penning The Buzz. Davidson has been a fixture in local media and communications since the mid-90s, having worked with the Nelson Daily News, Weekender, Kootenay and Coast Mountain Culture magazines and Kootenay Co-Op Radio. Take it away Double D
Hi and Happy New Year. Well deviate from the standard Business Buzz format of small stories on local business issues and happenings, and instead start the year off with a big ol round up an A-B-C look back and forward of Nelsons business landscape and economy, in this, the year 2020. Yup, 2020. Wow.
A After 33 years in its past venue, Art of Brewing has a new home, in the West Arm Plaza. Well have a bit more on that in our next column. Still no word yet from Amandas Restaurant owners Wing and Gina Kwan on the North Shore diners reopening, following the November fire at the Villa Motel.
B Baldface Lodge is given er on a new building downtown, on Vernon and Stanley. In its 20th season, the five-star cat skiing nirvana will use the building as a new base of operations, including its burgeoning e-comm division, retail, hospitality/hosting area, offices, conference room and third storey deck.
C Kudos to principals Graeme Leadbeater, Lukas Armstrong, Rob Stacey and the 15-person crew at Cover Architectural Collaborative for their belief in the future of Railtown, as evident by their new office at the fledging districts gateway. Cover was recently awarded the Selkirk College child care facility project at the Silver King campus.
D Dearly departed. Sadly, the sun has set on two shining stars from the Nelson business cosmosGary Ockenden and Jason (Dicky) Draginda left us late in 2019. Gary and his firm Withinsight Services worked within the public sector and with NGOs like Amnesty International. He was also an advisor with the Columbia Basin Trust.
Draginda, founder of The Ripping Giraffe and a driving force behind Tribute Board Shop, was a visionary, seeing the citys adventure tourism sector for what it has now become. For years starting in the 90s, Dicky was a well known Nelson ambassador throughout North Americas outdoor industry. Both he and Gary will be dearly missed by many.
E Economic know how. What a great resource the region has in the Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership. Part of the Central Kootenays Community Futures network, the partnership, led by executive director Andrea Wilkey, has loads of insight, analysis and connections for anyone looking to build on entrepreneurial endeavours within the City of Nelson and RDCK electoral Areas E and F.
Here are a few stats for starters: according to the partnerships 2019 report card, as of Nov. 30, the region has 1,466 active business licences, 510 building permits approved worth $61.5 million, and a population growth rate of 3.3 per cent between 2011 and 2016. Visit futures.bc.ca/community-economic-development/naedp for more.
F Its been a brutal year for many B.C. forestry companies, due to high stumpage, tough markets, and a complex international business environment in general. That said, the 14 mills represented by the Interior Lumber Manufacturers Association are fairing relatively better.
The regions independent, specialty and value-added mills, pillars in the West Kootenay economy for over a century, are doing what theve done for a long time digging in and branching out. Companies like Kalesnikoff are spending millions on the design of mass timber products: glued lam beams and cross-laminated timber that provide unrivaled quality, cost savings and less waste.
G Granite Pointe. One of the citys most important development projects in the years ahead, the 17-acre parcel has now been rezoned to build the 300 units over the next 10 years. Those are good jobs. But worries over Rosemont traffic, density, demographics remain. The next step? Find a developer.
H Holy hospitality! With the revitalized Royal and Broken Hill, Nelson palates and those with a penchant for partying are seriously blessed when it comes to new places and old to tip a pint, tumbler or the scales, which is likely what well all be doing if we eat out all the time. What a remarkable dining, drinking and dancing scene in this city. Mind and menu-blowing diversity.
I Infills. The city is aiming to encourage laneway housing development. Yup, Nelsons once famous heritage-meet-hippy hoods are changing before our eyes. Contractors and building suppliers are hoppin. The citys second rounds of design selection for its laneway housing competition is close to complete, with three designs to be chosen in February and available to the public by March.
J Join together. Have you heard of the West Kootenay Boundary Community Investment Co-op? With 11 board members representing Nelson/Castlegar, Arrow/Slocan/Upper Kootenay Lake, the Lower Columbia region and Grand Forks/Boundary, the organization is a member-owned association that allows its folks to invest into local businesses with an aim to promote economic, social, environmental and community projects.
K Kutenai Landing. Also a big ticket for the city with promising implications for local trades, realtors and development professionals, the near three hectare parcel is prime real-estate in a part of Nelson that will further define the citys character for years to come. Its been returned to standard zoning for the central waterfront, in accordance to the City of Nelsons Official Community Plan. The new but old rezone allows for waterfront mixed use, commercial and residential, park and recreational use, and water use zone and a marina.
L Local. One word. Gotta shop here in town folks. Support your neighbours and your fellow Nelsonites. Chamber of Commerce boss Tom Thomson tells it like it is: Local businesses continue the need to be supported they contribute approximately 25 per cent to the citys tax base. Chamber initiatives such as Customer Appreciation Day and the Think Local First marketing campaigns helped the cause this past year.
M Media. A few legendary West Kootenay journalists have signed off after superlative careers. Jayne Garry of the ever-effervescent Wayne and Jayne morning show on EZ Rock has moved on after 23 years in broadcasting. Shes moving over to community relations leader at Teck, after 16 years on the show. Wayne Kelly is celebrating 20 years with the station as of this week.
Prodigious sports reporter and news editor extraordinaire Guy Bertrand has retired from the Trail Times after 27 years.
In magazines, following the retirement of founder Keith Powell, Koocanusa Publications has ceased all print versions of Kootenay Business, launched in 1985, going all digital. Cranbrook-based Kootenay Life has rolled out its third issue, with a look thats part urban mag, part outdoor adventure.
Kootenay Mountain Culture and its coastal publication, Coast Mountain Culture have set up shop in the restored CP Rail building, home to the Nelson Visitor Centre and Nelson Innovation Centre, slated to open later this year.
N Speaking of the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce, thanks to board members Karen Bennett, Mike Borch, Tammy Darough, Tanya Finley, Scott Grimshaw, Bob Hall, Stephen Harris, Rebeckah Hornung, Randy Horswill, Sheyla Kallas, Ed Olthof, Scott Robertson and Paul Wiest for their volunteer service. The chambers 2020 AGM, which may see a few director positions open, is in March.
Well be back with the rest of our alphabetical anything-but-exact economic overview next week. Your thought for day, courtesy Main Jet Motorsports Kevin Westerhaug: Youve only got one lap in this life. Make it a good one.
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Posted: at 12:51 pm
The Government has approved a decision to develop the Grand Canal Innovation District - a national initiative, spearheaded by Trinity College Dublin in collaboration with other universities.
The 1 billion plan will be a hub for innovation,world class university research facilities and a start up ecosystem, with a university campus acting as a connector.
The university owns a site adjacent to Grand Canal Quay, and it plans to build a campus close to tech firms such as Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook which are already located there.
The project was first launched by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in July, 2018.
Dr Diarmuid O'Brien, Trinity's Chief Innovation and Enterprise Officer, said, "The government has commissioned a group called Grand Canal District Advisory Group, and that group has recommended that their government commits 150 million towards the development of this campus."
"We will be working now very closely with the government over the next couple of months, to identify where that funding will come from and how that will enable the plans," he said.
Similar hubs haveworked in other citiessuch as Paris andLondon.
"There is about 80 other different innovative districts growing up around the world at the moment," he said.
In a statement, the Government said any decision regarding Exchequer funding for the project will be taken in compliance with the Public Spending Code.
The Provost of Trinity, Patrick Prendergast, said statefunding will becrucial to unlocking support from the private sector.
Business group, Ibec has also welcomed the approval of the plan. "The economic and population growth currently underway on the island of Ireland makes planning for the future now even more important. The scale of our growth is an enabling factor that will allow the island to compete for international business at a new level," said Danny McCoy, Ibec CEO.
"The economies that invest properly in their future will drive economic prosperity and job creation. Our ability, as a small open economy, to continue to attract investment and grow its own successful global businesses is more than ever linked to the amount of research that originates here.
Dublin Chamber said the creation of the proposed new Grand Canal Innovation District would be a real statement of intent regarding Ireland's desire to be a world leader in R&D and entrepreneurship.
The St Andrews Resource Centre says that the project has major implications for the area, which it says has already undergone dramatic changes over recent years.
The centresays international experience shows that innovation districts based on research campuses and high tech investors can crowd out, or drive out, local communities, especially traditional inner city communities. For that reason, the centresays it was welcome that the Government set the needs of the local community as part of the priority objectives of the advisory group, and that this is reflected in the report published today.The centre says education, employment and above all social and affordable housing are crucial if the traditional community is not only to benefit from the planned Innovation District, but even to survive.
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We never allow others to take over our economically significant resources: President – Lanka Business Online
Posted: at 12:51 pm
Jan 03, 2020 (LBO) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa says that he will never allow other countries to take over Sri Lankas economically significant geographic regions or physical resources.
Addressing the Parliament at the ceremonial sitting, he reminded that the countrys unique position has resulted in considerable attention being given towards Sri Lanka in global geopolitics in recent times.
We follow a neutral foreign policy. We must strive to maintain friendly relations with every country. However, we can never give up our independence, he said.
We must establish honourable governance that will allow this country to maintain its sovereignty, security, national pride, and deal with all nations on equal terms, without demonstrating weakness in our diplomatic or trading relationships.
Rajapaksa said that in order to safeguard the security, sovereignty, stability, and integrity of the country, it is essential that changes be made to the existing constitution.
Whilst preserving the positive characteristics of the proportional representation system, electoral reforms are needed to ensure the stability of the Parliament and to ensure the direct representation of the people, he said.
Even though elections can be won through numbers, an unstable Parliament that cannot make clear decisions and remains constantly under the influence of extremism is not one that suits the country.
Full text of the speech:
Honourable Speaker, Honourable Prime Minister,
Honourable Leader of the Opposition,
Honourable Ministers, Honourable State Ministers,Honourable Members of Parliament,
I have this opportunity to address you as the Head of Stateof the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka consequent to the historic victorygranted to me by the people of this countryon the 16th of November.
Iexpress my gratitude to all citizens, institutions and all politicalparties who were committed to a peaceful, free and fair election.
Irrespective of the politicalparty you, the Honourable members in this august Assembly belong to,together all of us have as our prime responsibility to work for the bettermentof the people of this country.
I have served this nation as an ArmyOfficer for twenty years,
and as Secretary of Defence for nearly another ten years.
Even though I was not activelyengaged in politics, I have experienced what service to the people is, from anearly age.
My fathers elder brother, D. M.Rajapaksa, began his politicaljourney in the State Councilin 1936, representing the Hambantotaelectorate. After his demise in 1945, the people of Hambantota elected my father, D. A. Rajapaksa, to the State Council. Later,he was elected throughthe popular vote as a Member of the countrys first Parliament.
Fromthattime until now, manymembersof the Rajapaksa family, hailing from the ruralvillage of Medamulana in Giruvapaththuwa,Ruhuna, have served as electedpublic representatives. There havenot only been Members of Parliament, DeputyMinisters, Cabinet Ministers,a Deputy Speaker of Parliament, a Speaker of Parliament, a Leader of theOpposition and a Prime Minister, but also two Presidents elected to office bythe people, who reposed their trust in us.
Fromthe first day the honourable D. M. Rajapaksa, known as the Lionof Ruhuna, appeared in the State Council, he wore a maroon coloured shawl.
Whathe symbolized throughthis maroon shawlwere the milletfarmers of Giruvapaththuwa.
Following D.M. Rajapaksa, my father D. A. Rajapaksa and each member of the Rajapaksa family who was elected to Parliament wore themaroon shawl.
Even though I do not wear this shawl,I stand for the same profound philosophy of constant dedication to the poorthat is symbolized by the maroon shawl.
It is this same philosophy that isembodied in the Policy Statement I presented during my Presidential electioncampaign.
HonourableSpeaker, I now take this opportunity to table the Visions
of Prosperityand Splendour Policy Statement.
The people ofthis country gave me a clear mandate at the Presidential election held on 16th November 2019. That mandate wasgranted because of the trust the people had in me. I, together with myGovernment, stand committed to honour the trust of the people and implement theprogramme of developing a prosperous nation that we promised to them.
The peoplewho elected me to office desired a profound change in the political culture ofthis country. They rejected political agendas founded on race. The majorityof the people proved that it is no longerpossible for anyone tomanipulate and control the politics of this country by playing the role of king maker.
I invite the politicians concerned tounderstand this reality. I call uponall to join together in the national undertaking to develop this country, andto reject the politics based on petty agendas that have sown division in oursociety in the past.
We must always respectthe aspirations of the majorityof the people. It is onlythen that the sovereignty of the people will be safeguarded.
In accordance with our Constitution,I pledge that during my term of office, I will always defend the unitary statusof our country, and protect and nurture theBuddha Sasana whilstsafeguarding the rightof all citizens to practice a religion of their choice.
I remember my father being at thisParliament, during my childhood. I often used to watch Parliamentaryproceedings from the public gallery.The Parliament we had then was exemplary. The discourse that took place in itwas of great importance. The debates were replete with logic and richarguments. School children and adults were eager to come to Parliament tolisten to those debates. Members of Parliament always behaved in a way that upheld the dignityof the Parliament and the officethey held. The people then had great respect for the Parliament. They respectedpeoples representatives. Unfortunately, latterly, that respect gradually waned.
This Parliament should once againbecome an exemplary institution where the real issues of the peopleare discussed, wherematters concerned with nationalpolicy are subjected to debate, and where the responsibilitiesof the legislature are duly fulfilled. The responsibility of ensuring that theParliament once again becomes an institution winning the respect of the peoplelies with the Members who are in this House.
There is a social, economic andpolitical crisis in the country today. Even after 70 years of Independence, we cannot be satisfied with thecountrys development. We all have a responsibility to change this situation.We must be prepared to make the sacrifices required for this.
The primary responsibility of apeoples representative is service to the people. We should all remember thatthe offices we hold are not privileges, but responsibilities.
To develop the country, the right vision and plans areneeded. The Policy statement, Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour, placedbefore the people at thePresidential Election by me contains a national programme that was craftedduring a period of nearly four years by incorporating my vision with the ideasand recommendations of national organisations such as Viyathmaga, the findingsof the Conversation with the Villageprogramme conducted by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, the discussions heldwith other political parties, and the ideas contributed by the general public.
In accordancewith that programme, we have already taken several steps including the easingof taxes that were unduly burdening the public, introducing a high degree oftransparency and efficiency to the government administration, and curtailingunnecessary government expenditure.
In ourpolicy, National Security occupies the foremost place.
We havealready taken steps to strengthen the national security apparatus. Talentedofficers have been given appropriate responsibilities again. We have takensteps to ensure proper coordination between the Armed Forces and the Police,who are collectively responsible for maintaining national security. The networkof national intelligence agencies has been reorganized and strengthened.
We will take all necessary stepsto make our motherland a safe country free of terrorism, extremism,underworld activities, theft and robbery, extortionists, the drug menace,disruptors of public order, and the abuse of women and children.
Our primarypurpose is to create a productive citizen, a happy family, a disciplinedsociety and a prosperous nation.
The Government must take the initiative to make every healthy citizen of employable age a useful andproductive citizen. What we need is for all of them to contribute to thenations economy.
We must ensure that the benefits of development reach everygroup of people. We must employmodern methodologies and indicators to gauge whether the needs of the peopleare truly being met, and whether they are happy.It is no longer necessary to wait for elections to find out how peoplefeel about the work programme of the Government.
We need everyones support for ourefforts to reduce the cost of livingof the people. The corporate sector must ensure that some percentage of thebenefits of the tax concessions recently provided to them are passed onto the public as well. Accordingly, we expect a reduction in the priceof all goods and services on which taxes have been reduced.
Eliminating povertyis a priority of ourGovernment. We must understand the causes of povertyand find solutionsto eliminate such causes. We willbe able to alleviate povertyby finding practical approaches to issuessuch as the lack of proper education or skills, the lack of land forcultivation, or the lack of capital for self-employment.
We have made plans to find employmentopportunities for 100,000 young men and women from low incomefamilies within the next month. My government is prepared topresent practical solutions to resolve unemployment, with the public sector andthe private sector working together.
One of ourmain themes during the last election was the development of a virtuous, lawabiding and disciplined society. The public has given us a mandate for thispurpose.
Ours is acountry with an ancient history, and a society nurtured by Buddhist teachingsand the teachings of other world faiths. We must always safeguard our cultureand our values.
Our target isto make Sri Lankaa developed country. It must be a sovereign, independent nation. Also, it mustbe a safe, and a peaceful country. Sri Lanka will be a prosperous nation only when all of these are achieved.
We have introduceda people-centric economicpolicy through the
Vistas ofProsperity and Splendour manifesto.
Its main aimsare to ensure economic stability for all citizens, provide equal opportunitiesto all who seek to improve themselves, to establish a clean and efficient state sector that is committedto public service,and to protect and empowerlocal entrepreneurs.
In order tosuccessfully establish a people-centric economy it is important that everyofficial from the highest to the lowest level of government becomes aware ofour vision and aims. That will enable them to perform their duties moreproductively.
We must also implement a special programme to combatcorruption and fraud. Legal action must be taken promptly againstall who engagein corrupt practices, irrespective of their status.
Today, most countries have employed technology as a means ofenhancing the efficiency of the state sector. Through this, it will also be possible to provide equal opportunitiesfor all. As such, we will pay special attention to increasing the use oftechnology in government institutions.
We must plan for the future, based on the geographiclocation, natural resources and human resources of our country.
Sri Lanka has been an international trading hub for merchants fromGreece, Rome,Arabia, China and various other nations forthousands of years. One of the main reasons for Sri Lankas renowned standing wasour countrys unique location in the ocean connecting the east and west. We canbenefit from this advantage in the same way today.
During theperiod from 2005 to 2014, the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa plannedto develop Sri Lanka intothe commercial hub of South Asia.
The Mattala Airportwas built adjacent to the Hambantota Port with
the aim ofestablishing an industrial city in the south.
Thedecision to developthe Colombo Port City was taken with the aim of making Sri Lanka a hub for finance and commerce in Asia.We must carry forward these projectsthat were designed according to achieve long term objectives.
If we workaccording to a proper plan, we will be able to encourage internationalbusinesses to locate themselves in Sri Lanka and supply goods andservices to regional neigbouring countries. Toencourage such investors, wemust be prepared to swiftly provide all the facilities they require within Sri Lanka.
For economicdevelopment to occur, it is important that we accelerate improvements to theroad network, including the expressways, so that travel from any one part of the countryto another in a few hours becomes possible. The development of thetrain service is an integral part of this programme. We can also help alleviate the grave problem of heavy roadcongestion through an efficient and comfortable train service.
Urbanisationbrings both good and bad results to a country.We need a restructuring programme to ensure that the benefitsof development reach every region of the country. Thiswill help us reduce congestion, pollution and the cost of living.People dispersed throughout Sri Lanka should have access to facilities foreducation and healthcare, and opportunities for employment, within theirown area. The development of the roads and rail network together with theprovision of high-speed internet and telecommunication facilitiesthroughout the country is essential for this.
Thecost of electricity is an important factor in economicdevelopment. It particularly affects the attracting of investors to theindustry sector. We needshort-term and long-term solutions to generate power at a reasonable price. Inlooking at long term solutions, our principle is to pay special attention to the use of eco-friendly renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydro-power.
Although our country is rich in gemand mineral resources, relevant value-added industries have not yet developed to international standards. Each year, the countryis deprived of significant foreignexchange earnings
through the export of these natural resources withoutvalue addition. We should establish a world class marketplace in which gemsfrom not only Sri Lankabut even from African nations can be sold after value addition.
While we should provide newtechnological facilities for conducting oceanic and geological surveys, we mustprovide special incentives to encourage investments in industries that willprovide value addition to Sri Lankas mineral resources.
We will not allow various laws,permits and restrictions to impose unnecessary and unfair limitations on someof Sri Lankastraditional livelihoods, including the gem industry, tile industry, brickindustry, carpentry and handicrafts.
When planning for the future, moreattention than at present must be given to the agriculture, plantation and fisheries sectors.As a country that possessesa large oceanic economic zone in temperate waters, we can develop theseindustries much further.
We need to increase earnings fromagricultural produce such as spices,
fruits, vegetables, grains, meat and fish,for which thereis export potential.
One third ofthe countrys population is engaged in agriculture, plantation industries and the fisheriessector. We must raise their standard of living.
There is a need for new technology-based approaches that can develop these industries beyondtraditional farming methods.
Encouraging the production of foodfree of pesticides and chemicals, by increasing the use of organic fertilizerfor agriculture is part of our policy. We must prepare plans to encourageSri Lankas entire agriculturesector to shift to using only organic fertilizer within the next decade.Increasing domestic production of organic fertilizer should be included inthese plans.
Theproblems that had been causedto growers of export-oriented crops through the allowing of unlimited re-exportswere addressed by the new Government soon after its assumption of office. Instructions have already
been issued to completely stop the re-export ofagricultural products.
Moreattention has to be paid to the ocean economy.We will introduce asystematic programme to improve the fisheries sector through the introductionof new technologies and equipment. Existing harbours will be improved and newharbours developed to cater to the requirements of multi day vessels that engage in deep water fishing.
Introducing new technologies to furtherdevelop the inland fisheries sector is also part of our plan. Protecting thenatural environment for our futuregenerations is one of our fundamental responsibilities. We will pay special attention to environmental protection in theformulation and implementation of governmentpolicies.
We hope to make Sri Lanka oneof the worlds leading nations in achieving the United Nations SustainableDevelopment Goals.
Our most valuable resource as anation is our future generation. As such, we have identified the development ofour human capital as one of theprimary responsibilities of the government.
We have to pay special attention toensuring that our future generationwill become productive citizens by nurturing them with the required knowledge,skills and abilities. The opportunities young people have to pursue highereducation and technical education should be broadened. The infrastructurefacilities needed for this must be developed within a short time frame. Thenumber of students entering tertiary educationcan be increased through more effective utilization of the capacities ofstate universities and other higher educational institutions.
Some of the coursestaught in universities today are not in consonance with market requirements. Inthe near future, we intend to introduce short-term courses to equip ouruniversity students to meet the needsof the modern job market, which they can opt to attend whilst pursuingtheir current courses of study. Universities and other higher educationinstitutions should be given more freedom in the enrollment of students and in the restructuring of their syllabito meet theneeds of themarketplace.
Institutions in the country that currentlyteach diploma levelprogrammes must be gradually enhanced to the level of degree awardinginstitutions. As a preliminary step, we look forward to upgrading teachertraining schools and nursing schools to degree awarding level. The shortage oftrained graduate teachers continues to be a problem in the education sector. Further, by upgrading the existing3-year diploma programme in Nursing into a 4-year degree, and by improving theEnglish knowledge of nurses, we will createopportunities for them to even seek work abroadby providing services that meet international quality standards.
Colleges which provide technical andindustrial training need to be strengthenedto cater to more students who have studiedup to the Ordinary Levelexaminations but not progressed beyond the Advanced Level examinations. Thefunding and facilities provided to these institutions need to be increased.This will not only enable us to create a workforce that has received vocationaltraining in line with global standards, but also enable such trained personnelto seek high wage employment in the fast-evolving marketplace both here and abroad.
Manyyoung people arecurrently deprived of employment opportunities due to their lack ofproficiency in English. We willintroduce a special programme to improvethe facilities providedfor English educationin all schools, and torecruit the required teaching staff.
We intend to entrust our foreignMissions with special responsibilities to seek new employment opportunities for our youth.We can enhance Sri Lankas image in the global job market and earn more foreign incomeby sending trained and qualified workersin all fields to work abroad, instead of untrained workers.
The educationsector can be a significant foreign exchange earner. A large number of Sri Lankan studentspresently study at higher educational institutes in Asia. Instead of sending our students abroad for highereducation at a high cost, we should introduce a programme to attract foreignstudents to Sri Lanka.We must prepare short term and longterm programmes to improve the global ranking of our universities.
Sri Lanka is still referred to as a developing country even after70 years of our achieving independence. We mustidentify the opportunities that would allow us to move away from this situationand to become a developed country.
With a population of over 5 billion,Asia is undergoing an economic boom and the centerof gravity of the globaleconomy is movingtowards it.
The fastestgrowing middle class with high purchasing power is in thisregion.
That is why we must encourage ourlocal entrepreneurs to seek new markets in Asia.
The 21st Century is known as theKnowledge-centric Century.
New technologies such as ArtificialIntelligence, biotechnology, robotics, 3D printing, and the Internet of Things,amongst others, are continually changing the world.
Mostdeveloping nations have grasped this reality. They are spending substantiallyto attract technology centric investments.
We must payattention to this in the formulation of our investment policies. We mustunderstand what type of investments we need to spur future economicdevelopment. We must provide special incentives and concessions to encourageinvestors who are capable of introducing new technologies to the country.
It is also very important to directour youth to learn these new technologies and undertake research relevant tothem. We must assist our educationsystem to speedilyprepare to facilitate this change without delay.We must also take steps topromote English education as well as Information Technology usage amongst our youth.
Itis important to understand that we have market opportunities beyond technology heavy sectors. One sector we can very swiftly developis
the tourism industry. This sector, which earned 4.4 billion USDollars in 2018, has space to grow toone that can earn revenue in excess of10 billion US dollars within the next few years. We will introduce a systematic programme to achieve this.
For us toreap the fullbenefits of democracy,the government
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Posted: at 12:51 pm
With global economic growth vulnerable to a Donald Trump tweet stoking trade hostility and losses to the property market earlier in the year, one could forgive the cautious among us opting to hide gold bullion under the bed.
And in the billion-dollar field of investing for high-growth return, this answer isnt too far from the truth.
RELATED: How to get started on the Australian share market
Over the last 10 years, gold miner Northern Star (NST) has been a standout performer on the Australian securities exchange.
Shares in the resource company were worth just 3 cents at the end of November in 2009 but surged nearly 33,000 per cent to early December 2019, according to data collected by Bell Direct.
An investment of just $500 at the start of this period would have provided a whopping return of nearly $164,000.
Theyve seen some monumental gains, Bell Direct market analyst Jess Amir told news.com.au.
The gold miner has a market cap of more than $8 billion after acquiring several operations in Western Australia and North America.
In December it bought into the Kalgoorlie Super Pit, the largest open gold mine in Australia, while its executive chairman told investors in October the company was pushing ahead with its Pogo operation in Alaska.
Theyve also had a record year for growth and theyve been growing their earnings, Ms Amir said.
Northern Stars growth was more than double that of the next best, but the top six performing companies also pocketed significant returns.
Behind the gold miner was the electronic circuit board producer Altium (ALU), which jumped more than 15,000 per cent from 24 cents to more than $37.
A $500 investment would now be worth more than $76,700.
A key member of Australias group of high-performing tech companies dubbed WAAAX Wisetech, Altium, Appen, Afterpay and Xero it has deals with some of the worlds largest companies and institutions including Microsoft and NASA.
And while many of the decades stocks to record high growth have likely hit their ceilings, Ms Amir says Altiums recent push into China may continue to prove profitable for investors.
This one has shot the lights out the most of the WAAAX companies, she said. Its a standout over 10 years.
Investment firm Magellans (MFG) share price leapt from more than 74 cents to nearly $53 over the decade, a jump of more than 7000 per cent.
In the investment world, theyre going against the grain and theyre seeing lots of growth of funds under management, Ms Amir told news.com.au.
The firm continued to grow right through to December after it reported a boost to its net inflows, and its total funds under management rocketed to nearly $98 billion.
Tech company Appen (APX) and lottery gamer Jumbo Interactive (JIN) climbed nearly 4800 and more than 4200 per cent respectively over the 10 years, but Polynovo (PNV) is a particularly interesting company.
Its another that surged from just 3 cents, but the medical device company only launched on the ASX in 2015 and has gained nearly 6000 per cent since.
An investors original outlay of $500 would now be worth more than $29,900 from the company that helps victims with horrific burns and general accident injuries.
If you invested in them youve not only made a handsome return but theyre also helping people, Ms Amir said.
WORST STOCKS OF THE DECADE
The six biggest losers in share price value over the 10 years is a dirty laundry list of underperforming companies joined by AMP.
The once institutional wealth manager has spiralled lower and lower after its fees-for-no-service scandal emerged during the financial royal commission in 2018.
AMP began the decade at more than $6 but lost 68 per cent to be less than $2 in December.
Ms Amir, however, focused on two of the underperforming companies as sources of potential future growth.
Lithium miner Galaxy Resources (GXY) suffered the heaviest losses to its share price over the decade, falling 77 per cent from more than $4 to just 93 cents based on the volatility of the chemical elements value.
The lithium price made headlines two years ago in 2017 when its stocks were the talk of the town and they were the market darlings, the Bell Direct market analyst said.
Theyve lost their shine this year because the lithium price took a hit, but we think this company should ride out the lithium market weakness.
The demand for the chemical element is expected to grow as environmentally conscious consumers increasingly turn to electric cars coupled with the ubiquitous reach of mobile phones that rely on batteries made from lithium.
The other stock to watch is Elders (ELD).
The agribusinesss share price lost 47 per cent to $6.47, but Ms Amir expects it to construct a massive turnaround in 2020.
Already in 2019, this has proved to be a resilient company because it reported profit that beat expectations despite the drought being the worst weve seen in 100 years, she said.
Elders will also gain from improving demand for crop protection such as fertilisers as well as profiting from the high demand for Australian cattle in China.
WHERE TO MAKE MONEY IN 2020
The healthcare sector has already been an engine room for the ASX, particularly through market darlings CSL and Cochlear (COH).
Ms Amir says the countrys ageing population will only increase the potential value of the sector.
Regardless of whats going on in the economy, people will always have a healthcare need, she said.
A good option for novice investors is to consider the whole sector to help diversify their risks through an exchange traded fund.
The prevailing view among economists and financial commentators is the Reserve Bank will cut interest rates twice in 2020 but appears unwilling to go further.
This means the Federal Government will need to step in and contribute stimulus of its own, which will likely come in the form of boosting infrastructure spending.
Therefore, Ms Amir says investors should look at companies that focus on rail and road projects in the new year as well as utilities.
Infrastructure stocks and contracting companies in infrastructure are likely to do well, she said.
A key beneficiary of this looming fiscal policy will be toll road constructor and operator Transurban (TCL).
What will be the best stocks of the next decade? Get in touch | @James_P_Hall | email@example.com
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Amnion of Florida Announces Greater Geographic Reach for Their Regenerative Health Services by Partnering With Care First Medical Group – Business…
Posted: at 12:50 pm
ORLANDO, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Amnion of Florida, a leading provider of alternative medicine utilizing cryopreserved placental cell allograft for advanced bioactive facial rejuvenation, is pleased to announce a partnership to enhance patient outcomes for joint pain and anti-aging therapies.
Amnion announces a partnership with Care First Medical Group, Inc. to improve patients experience with managed medical care and provide non-pharmaceutical solutions for joint repair/pain management and anti-aging. The goals of the collaboration are to provide alternatives to medical care and to help patients seeking to eliminate chronic joint pain, look younger, and take a more active role in mapping their medical care to avoid illness in the future.
Sabriya Rogers, President of Care First, states, Our Board-Certified primary care providers specialize in managed health, thus patients can take a proactive approach in deciding the course of their care, which yields a lower cost to patients, while keeping families together, and maintaining a high degree of medical care.
The partnership will provide more location options for patients. With offices throughout greater Orlando, Sanford, Leesburg, Palm Coast, and Longwood, patients will find a location nearby that fits busy schedules.
Our team of medical professionals and aestheticians at Amnion are excited to partner with Care First to provide enhanced medical care and rejuvenation services at our partnership locations, said Eusebio Coterillo, President of Amnion.
In a constantly changing field, Amnion of Florida, under the guidance of an on-site medical staff, provides the highest level of quality products and procedures in regenerative medicine. They offer cutting edge treatments that are shown to be effective, use FDA cleared or registered products, and are widely published and peer endorsed. The collaboration with Care First will bring added benefits such as managed care, urgent care, and programmed care for long term issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma, and allergies in a full-service clinical setting.
More about Amnion of Florida
Amnion of Florida, based in Central Florida, is a leading provider of alternative medicine using cryopreserved placental cell transplants or allografts, processed from donated cellular birth tissue, which are natural alternatives to autologous regenerative medicine products. The primary function of our allogeneic regenerative treatments is to promote soft tissue joint/skin repair and regeneration mediated by growth factors and cells naturally found in placental tissue. These treatments have shown safety and efficacy in treating a variety of ailments including osteoarthritis, chronic ulcerative wounds, joint pain, skin rejuvenation, hair restoration, urinary incontinence, and ED. Learn more at http://www.amnion.us.
More about Care First Medical Group, Inc.
Care First, based in Central Florida, is focused on providing affordable healthcare for primary and urgent care needs through prevention, patient education, with the personal touch to improve communication with the patient, and patients overall health. Our vision is to transform the health care experience through a culture of caring, quality, safety, service, innovation, and excellence. Our goal is to be recognized by employees, physicians, patients and families, volunteers, and the community as a company that delivers results through our proactive approach to medicine. Learn more or schedule an appointment at (407) 449-0632.
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Posted: at 12:50 pm
New preclinical research in animal models finds that infusing a specific protein into scar tissue after a heart attack improves and speeds up the recovery of the heart.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), around 605,000 people in the United States have a new heart attack each year, and approximately 200,000 experience a recurrent attack.
Reperfusion, which is a technique that frees up the flow of oxygen to the heart's tissue, is a common form of treatment after a heart attack. However, up to one-quarter of people who undergo reperfusion develop heart failure within a year.
So, researchers led by James Chong an associate professor at the University of Sydney in Australia have explored an alternative treatment that targets the scar tissue that forms after a heart attack.
Chong and colleagues evaluated the therapeutic potential of a protein therapy called recombinant human platelet-derived growth factor-AB (rhPDGF-AB).
As its name suggests, rhPDGF-AB is a recombinant growth factor-AB derived from human platelets. Platelets are small blood cells that rush to an injury site when they are needed to help the blood clot and start the healing process.
The researchers tested the new treatment in a porcine model of heart attack, and their promising results suggest that the therapy may soon help humans recover from heart attack.
The findings appear in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
The study was a randomized trial. Chong and team assigned 36 pigs to one of three groups:
Nine of the pigs who experienced a heart attack died before having the chance to receive any treatment.
A month after the intervention, the researchers used cardiac MRI and other methods to show that their treatment caused more new blood vessels to form, decreased abnormal heart rhythm, and boosted overall heart function.
Specifically, 28 days after the heart attack, the new procedure improved survival by 40% compared with placebo and improved the heart's ejection fraction in the left ventricle where the heart attack had taken place by 11.5%.
"By improving cardiac function and scar formation following a heart attack, treatment with rhPDGF-AB led to an overall increase in survival rate in our study," explains Chong.
"While the treatment did not affect overall scar size, importantly, we found that rhPDGF-AB led to increased scar collagen fiber alignment and strength. This improved heart function after a heart attack."
"This is an entirely new approach with no current treatments able to change scar in this way."
Chong explains how these findings build on the team's previous work, saying, "Our collaborator Prof. Richard Harvey, from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute [in Darlinghurst, Australia], had previously shown that the protein can improve heart function in mouse models following heart attack."
"This project has been developed over more than 10 years, and we now have compelling data in two species for the effectiveness of this treatment."
Chong places the findings in the larger context of the rise of heart disease as a leading cause of death:
"While we have treatment protocols in place, it's clear that there is an urgent, unmet need for additional treatments to improve patient outcomes, particularly after large heart attacks."
"Some further animal studies are required to clarify safety and dosing. Then we can start looking toward clinical trials in humans very soon," says Chong.
"RhPDGF-AB is clearly a promising therapeutic option and could potentially be used alongside existing treatments to improve heart attack patient outcomes and survival rates."
In the future, says Chong, "We [...] hope to further investigate the treatment, including whether it could be used in other organ systems impacted by scar tissue, such as the kidneys."
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Direct-to-Consumer Fertility Testing: A Viable Alternative or Confusing and Misleading? – Technology Networks
Posted: at 12:50 pm
A study investigating direct-to-consumer (DTC) fertility testing has revealed that consumers view it as a viable alternative to traditional medical testing. However, it was also found to be confusing and misleading, highlighting the need for education surrounding the purpose and accuracy of DTC tests. The paper is published in Social Science & Medicine.
Fertility testing outside of the clinic
Although their accuracy and reliability are the subject of much debate, DTC medical tests are on the rise; low costs, widespread availability and a population increasingly concerned about their health have seen people turning to DTC testing for information they may not so easily be able to receive from a healthcare professional.
This has extended to fertility testing for women; several companies now provide tests for anti-Mllerian hormone (AMH).
AMH levels in the blood are often used to provide an estimate of the ovarian reserve i.e. the remaining egg supply. This is primarily used as a diagnostic tool before ovarian stimulation, as part of the in vitro fertilization or egg freezing process. However, it can also potentially be used as an indicator of fertility.
Peoples desire to find out more about their fertility is understandable around 6.1 million women in the US have difficulty becoming or staying pregnant, according to the CDC. With other factors like a lack of insurance coverage potentially playing a role, DTC fertility testing could provide an accessible, alternative means of understanding individual fertility.
But do these tests provide genuine benefits to people looking into their fertility? Or are they misleading, taking advantage of health-concerned consumers?
Theyre attractive, but they dont deliver on their promise
To discover more about peoples experiences with DTC fertility testing, author Moira Kyweluk, Ph.D., followed 21 individuals who were interested in pursuing DTC ovarian reserve testing.
In an effort to ensure diversity, Kyweluk used ethnographic methods; participants stemmed from a range of groups, including those of different ethnicities, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation.
The study found that there were some positive views surrounding DTC testing. Particularly for LGBTQ+ individuals and single women, DTC ovarian reserve testing was viewed as an alternative method for family planning. Participants also stated that receiving testing outside of a traditional medical context felt empowering.
However, it was not all positive; some participants were uncertain about the accuracy of the test results. Others were unsure of what the next steps were supposed to be in order to confirm fertility status, or how to preserve it.
Consumers continue to desire these tests, and theyre attractive, but they dont deliver on their promise. said Kyweluk in a recent press release. Though there may be some benefits to consumers using DTC fertility testing, across the board participants were left with incorrect assumptions about the power of hormone testing to predict fertility.
Education, education, education
I view DTC testing as an entry point into what I term the new (in)fertility pipeline for women today, said Kyweluk. Because it is low cost and widely available, its reaching a larger demographic, people of diverse identities and backgrounds, and raising awareness of more advanced procedures and technologies like egg freezing.
However, Kyweluk emphasizes the need to improve consumers education around this kind of test, to make it clear what they are getting for their money, reduce confusion around result interpretation, and to increase understanding of fertility treatments in general.
No test or medical procedure guarantees future fertilityincluding egg freezingand these startups directly target women who are concerned about their reproductive futures, concluded Kyweluk.
Kyweluk. (2020) Quantifying fertility? Direct-to-consumer ovarian reserve testing and the new (in)fertility pipeline. Social Science & Medicine. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.112697
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