Category: society

Civil society gears up for big funds squeeze

A recent set of changes to India’s foreign donation laws, however, has put hundreds of small NGOs like Arpan in a spot. “Our work has come to a halt after the donor agency asked us not to use funds till rules (arising from the new laws) are framed,” said Renu Thakur, who heads the non-profit. “It looks like we will have to let go of some of our staff and curtail our geographic spread.”

In late September, India’s Parliament approved sweeping changes to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010. From now on, larger FCRA registered organisations are barred from transferring foreign donations to smaller non-profits (a practice known as sub-granting) who often find it difficult to access donors on their own. Also, all FCRA registered non-profits have been asked to limit their administrative expenses to 20% of donations (from the earlier norm of 50%) which is likely to force them to reduce staff as well as curtail research and policy advocacy work.

To tighten the screws further, FCRA registration can be suspended now after a summary enquiry and the period of suspension can extend up to a year (from 180 days earlier)—a provision which will give the government more time for enquiry and halt the organisation’s work for an extended period.

These changes will impact not just the availability of funds but also the very nature of philanthropic initiatives. The focus of donors may shift from rights, advocacy and research to service delivery; in a few years, foreign donors might also redirect funds to other countries, experts warn.

The restrictions on NGOs were least expected by civil society organisations that have been stretched after a gruelling past few months helping communities (like migrant workers) affected by covid-19. Also, it’s ironic since political parties can now access foreign funds through electoral bonds.

During 2018-19, Indian NGOs received 16,881 crore in foreign donations, accounting for about a fourth of the overall philanthropic spending in India. At a time when most donor funds are directed towards covid relief efforts, the amendments could squeeze the once-vibrant not-for-profit sector of funds. The crunch is also because a chunk of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds which NGOs depend on went to the PM-Cares fund, a new national corpus set up to mitigate the impact of emergencies like the ongoing pandemic.

An analysis of CSR spending outlook for 2020-21 by Sattva, a consultancy firm, shows that more than half of the annual CSR budget of Indian corporations, or about 7,863 crore, was allotted for covid relief by early July. About 68% of this allocation went to the PM-Cares fund ( 5,324 crore). “With an estimated 8,000 crore going to the PM-Cares by now, availability of domestic CSR funds for NGOs will be back to normal levels by the second quarter of 2022,” said Parul Soni, managing partner at Thinkthrough Consulting.

There’s obviously been a mixed response to the changes. Soni, for one, defends the recent amendments, saying they will bring in

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Salesforce Live – The Nottingham Building Society rethinks digital strategy in light of COVID-19

(Image sourced via The Nottingham Building Society Facebook )

The Nottingham Building Society was founded back in 1849 by a small group of Nottingham businessmen, led by local Quaker Samuel Fox. The first ever branch used to open between 6pm and 9pm on the first Tuesday of each month and the vision for the building society was to help people own their own home, as well as offer them a safe and secure place for their savings.

Since then The Nottingham (as it’s more commonly known) has grown to serve over a quarter of a million members across the UK and now has 67 branches across 11 counties. Gone too are the days of a three hour opening window once a month, with the building society expanding its use of digital services for members rapidly.

The Nottingham has had a digital strategy in place for over three years, which served it well in the initial fallout from COVID-19. But as CEO David Marlow outlined at the Salesforce Live UK & Ireland event this week, the rapid changes in consumer expectations and the workplace are forcing the building society to go deeper with its transformation.

Part of this involves moving to the Salesforce Financial Services Cloud to completely reengineer the organisation’s process for the digital, with the aim of creating an immersive experience for members.

Marlow explained that COVID-19 has shifted thinking at The Nottingham in two fundamental ways. Firstly, regarding the move to distributed working. And secondly, the additional expectations from consumers on digital services. He said:

I think the working from home element is a major item. Here I am at home, somebody who never worked from home over the last 20 years. How we make the most of that and leverage it is really important. Accommodating the changes that we see both positive and negative for people remote working. That implication has an enormous knock on effect to our business continuity arrangements, and we’ve got some big changes to put through in how we organise ourselves in business continuity terms. Just as example, historically we had a building on the outside of Nottingham that was just left empty. When we had a crisis we would all move out to that. Well, we don’t need that sort of capability any longer, we would all just work from home.

And then finally I think the major item for us has been the enormous shift in expectations from customers and members and the public at large around digital. Not only in terms of the access that they expect, but the richness of the service that they now see as the norm, not as a bonus.

A solid foundation

As noted above, The Nottingham has been working on its digital strategy for three years now and Marlow said that this put the organisation in a good position when demand for its services increased during the height of the pandemic. However, he added, that with the enormous shift in customer expectations, he soon

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Rodgers Bar Society hearing concludes

GUYSBOROUGH – “Anyone that knows me, I think, would be proud of how I defended myself,” Adam Rodgers told The Journal about a recent hearing of the Nova Scotia Barristers Society (NSBS). The hearing involved allegations of professional misconduct made against Rodgers related to activities at the Boudrot Rodgers Law firm in 2018.

In October of 2018, Jason Boudrot, managing partner of the Port Hawkesbury law firm Boudrot Rodgers, contacted the NSBS to report that he had “some issues with his trust accounts,” as stated in a NSBS hearing committee document in September 2019. That statement unlocked an avalanche of information and a settlement agreement between NSBS and Boudrot that saw the lawyer disbarred in 2019.

On August 18, 2020 the NSBS announced it would, “hold a hearing, at a date and time to be determined, respecting charges against Adam Rodgers, a member of the Society.” The hearing was held on October 5 and 6 in Port Hawkesbury with no witnesses called other than Rodgers; all other evidence – documents and transcripts of statements – were provided by the Society’s investigator.

Inquiries made by the Guysborough Journal to the NSBS about the hearing received the following response from Tilly Pillay QC, NSBS Executive Director, on behalf of the Society: “Adam Rodgers was aware that false time entries of his were entered to create inflated Work in Progress Reports to be filed with a lender on a quarterly basis for purposes of supporting credit extended to the firm, and failed to stop this practice. Adam Rodgers was aware of the firm’s practice of posting unsupported disbursements on client files for the purpose of supporting the extension of credit by financial institutions and failed to stop this practice.

“The evidence supporting this charge comes from interviews with employees and associates of the former law firm and from Client Ledgers generated from the firm’s accounting system that the Society reviewed as part of one or more Lawyers’ Fund for Client Compensation claims, as well as other information we received in the course of our investigation,” wrote Pillay.

When asked if it is alleged that Rodgers had knowledge that money was being moved in and out of trust funds without the client’s knowledge, Pillay responded, “Yes, it is alleged that Mr. Rodgers had knowledge of this practice.”

For his part Rodgers denies any wrongdoing. Addressing the assertion made above by the NSBS he stated, “I addressed this allegation at the hearing, and described it then as a red herring in all this. The data entries that the Society was questioning were done for a legitimate purpose, which was to estimate the total work in progress for the firm. They were not for billing clients and have no relation to the money taken by Mr. Boudrot.

“He (Boudrot) was the managing partner and everything he did was designed not to be detected. And the evidence at the hearing showed the fact that Mr. Boudrot had been stringing our accountants along for at least 10 months

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Law Society Condemns Plans For Economic Crime Levy

Law360, London (October 14, 2020, 1:51 PM BST) — The government’s plans for a financial crime levy on law firms and other regulated businesses is “a special tax on the legal profession” that could make companies less willing to invest in Britain, an industry body warned on Wednesday. 

The Law Society, the professional body that represents more than 140,000 practicing solicitors in England and Wales, said the industry already devotes significant resources as it complies with its obligations to counter money laundering and financial crime.

Simon Davis, the society’s departing president, said that pushing up the cost of doing business would hit the competitiveness of the legal sector in the international market…

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Lipocine Announces Presentations at the 21st Annual Fall Meeting of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America

SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Lipocine Inc. (NASDAQ: LPCN), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on metabolic and endocrine disorders, today announced it will present results from studies suggesting that low testosterone levels may play an important role on the clinical outcomes of COVID-19 in men as well as the safety and efficacy of TLANDO™, an oral testosterone replacement therapy without a dose titration requirement, at the 21st Annual Fall Scientific Meeting of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (“SMSNA”). Lipocine will outline the possible mechanisms and clinical evidence that suggests men with low testosterone have poor COVID-19 outcomes, and the rationale of using an oral testosterone therapy for men with COVID-19. Results from the previously completed dose validation (“DV”) study of a fixed dose TLANDO in hypogonadal males will also be presented at the meeting.  The presentations will take place virtually on November 9, 2020 from 7:00 p.m.9:00 p.m. EST during Session 2 (Androgens and Ejaculation/Orgasm Disorders). 

https://www.smsna.org/V1/2020/program/scientific-program?where_person=44
https://www.smsna.org/V1/2020/program/scientific-program?where_person=42

“We know that while COVID-19 infection rates are comparable between men and women, men are developing severe symptoms and dying at a significant higher rate than women. Furthermore, men with comorbidities commonly associated with lower testosterone are at greater risk for severe disease and death,” said Dr. Mahesh Patel, Chairman, President and CEO of Lipocine Inc.  “The presentation on COVID-19 highlight key clinical evidences suggesting that low testosterone levels may play an important role on the clinical outcomes of COVID-19 in men. Based on the published data, the use of oral testosterone with the goal of achieving physiological testosterone levels should be evaluated in clinical trials of COVID-19.”

Dr. Anthony DelConte, Chief Medical Director of Lipocine further stated, “TLANDO will be the first oral testosterone for treatment hypogonadism without titration requirement. It is expected to be easy to prescribe and use.” Dr. DelConte added, “The SMSNA presentation on TLANDO highlights the key safety and efficacy data from multiple clinical studies supporting TLANDO’s ability to effectively restore testosterone levels in hypogonadal men without need for any dose adjustment.”

Is Oral Testosterone a Potential Treatment for COVID-19 in Men? (Benjamin J. Bruno et al)

The authors performed a literature search to understand the possible mechanisms and clinical evidence concerning testosterone levels in COVID-19 patients.  A recent clinical study investigating testosterone levels in men with COVID-19 found 80% of men who died due to COVID-19 had low total or bioavailable testosterone levels at the time of hospital admission. Those with severe Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (“ARDS”) had acutely depressed total testosterone compared to patients who did not exhibit severe ARDS. The mean total testosterone levels for men who required invasive ventilation was 29 ng/dL (normal range ~300-1100 ng/dL), whereas those who were discharged from the ICU had mean total T of 254 ng/dL at the time of ICU admission.

In comparison to other routes of testosterone administration, oral testosterone therapy may be the most convenient and suitable for acute treatment of COVID-19 in

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Society condemns ‘special tax on legal profession’ | News

Government plans for a levy to fund the fight against financial crime amount to a ‘special tax on the legal profession’, the Law Society said today. In a strongly-worded response to a consultation on the economic crime levy announced by the chancellor earlier this year, Chancery Lane said any levy based on income would be especially harmful to the profession.

‘The legal profession is fully committed to supporting the fight against economic crime and takes anti-money laundering responsibilities very seriously,’ outgoing Law Society president Simon Davis said. ‘Law firms already play an important role in tackling money laundering, as demonstrated by the substantial costs and resources allocated by the profession to comply with its anti-money laundering (AML) and financial crime obligations.’

He noted that further increasing the cost of doing business would hit the international competitiveness of the legal sector and the willingness of law firms to invest in the UK.

‘With the UK in recession, the predicted future state of the economy being so uncertain and the legal sector already struggling in so many areas, imposing a tax on the profession is an unjustified step too far,’ Davis said. 

The Treasury has proposed that the economic crime levy, designed to collected £100m a year, be imposed from 2022/23. It is based on the idea that the costs of further action to tackle money laundering should not be borne solely by the general taxpayer but rather by a ‘joint public-private partnership’. Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in his March budget that firms already in the ambit of money-laundering regulations should be required to pay. This would potentially affect 90,000 businesses, including many legal practices.

The consultation, on the design principles of the levy, proposed that ‘revenue from UK business should form the basis of the levy calculation’. The Law Society disagrees, saying that if the levy goes ahead it should be calculated according to the number of suspicious activity reports (SARs) that a firm submitted the previous year. This would be ‘simple, cheaper and fairer than a revenue-based levy’. However the consultation document argued that this method of calculation could incentivise non-reporting and entrench poor reporting behaviour.  

The consultation closed yesterday. The Treasury said it would announce further steps in due course.

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TikTok inks multi-year licensing deal with Dutch collecting Society Buma/Stemra

TikTok has signed a multi-year deal with Dutch Collecting Society Buma/Stemra, securing royalty payments for the songwriters, composers and publishers represented by the organization.

The agreement follows last month’s news of TikTok’s 100 million monthly active user milestone in Europe in addition to a similar number in the United States.

As part of the deal, according a press statement, TikTok will work with Buma/Stemra’s members to deepen their “understanding of the platform and the opportunities it presents to those creating and also performing music”.

Buma/Stemra’s members include Dutch EDM stars and TikTok users such as Fedde Le Grand and Tiësto, as well as Martin Garrix, whose hit Ocean featuring Khalid has been used in over 1.4m video creations and Summer Days the soundtrack to 1.2m creations.

In addition, prominent Dutch artists, songwriters and producers Kris Kross Amsterdam, Broederliefde, Duncan Laurence, Sam Feldt, Quintino and Nicky Romero also use the platform.

“This deal with Buma/Stemra secures royalty payments to the Dutch song-writing and publishing community and underlines TikTok’s commitment to paying creators when their music is used.”

Ole Obermann, TikTok

Ole Obermann Global Head of Music at TikTok, said: “This deal with Buma/Stemra secures royalty payments to the Dutch song-writing and publishing community and underlines TikTok’s commitment to paying creators when their music is used.

“Through our platform, a global audience can appreciate and explore their own creativity, using the musical talent of renowned producers, DJs and songwriters from The Netherlands.

“I’m delighted we’ve built on our existing relationship and put this multi-year deal in place.”

“This is good news for our authors and publishers, especially in these days where our members income has diminished in other markets.”

Bernard Kobes, Buma/Stemra

Bernard Kobes, CEO at Buma/Stemra, added:: “We are very happy that the intense but constructive negotiations with TikTok have brought us this agreement.

“This is good news for our authors and publishers, especially in these days where our members income has diminished in other markets.

“We look forward developing this partnership deal further with TikTok and our members”.

 Music Business Worldwide

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Mothers are the ‘Shock Absorbers’ of Our Society

Without school, the calculation implodes. If you can even get child care, the high expenses continue, and during this pandemic, there is more housework to be done and more child-related tasks to complete. (For example, I spent at least 15 minutes last week trying to log into Seesaw — a string of words that would not have even made sense to me before March 2020.) Because men tend to outearn women, it is economically the more rational decision for some proportion of mothers to leave their jobs.

But that does not mean they’re happy about it, or that it’s good for marriages or long-term financial security. “Sacrificing market skills to help your family comes at a really big cost,” said Stevenson. “And potentially causes tensions in marriages, and when you put those two together, a generation of women may be pretty badly scarred by Covid.”

Calarco has been conducting a survey of over 100 Indiana mothers as part of the Pandemic Parenting Study since April, and she found that almost 40 percent of her respondents are reporting increases in pandemic-related frustrations with their partners, and child care is a major source of strife. Rather than ask their spouses to step up their domestic contributions, “mothers blame themselves for these conflicts and feel responsible for reducing them, including by leaving the work force, beginning use of antidepressants, or ignoring their own concerns about Covid-19,” Calarco and her co-authors noted in a pre-print of a new paper using data from their study.

As Muthulingam put it, women are the “shock absorbers of our system, and the poorer and more precarious you are, the more shock you’re expected to absorb.” She recognizes how lucky she is to even be able to cut down on work — something single mothers, like Jamie Brody, 38, of Boynton Beach, Fla., cannot do.

Brody has a 3-year-old daughter, and she lost her job as an account executive for an insurance company in May, which she described as “quite traumatic.” When she was unemployed and without consistent child care, she would spend all day teaching and playing with her kid. Then after she put her daughter to bed, Brody estimated that she spent three to five hours each night scouring job sites looking for work.

She finally found a job selling data visualization software, which she started two weeks ago, and Brody’s daughter is back in preschool, which makes her feel anxious. “I feel like I’m choosing between health and financial security,” she said. That’s a choice that no parent should have to make.

P.S. Follow us on Instagram @NYTParenting. If this was forwarded to you, sign up for the NYT Parenting newsletter here.

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Asia Society Hong Kong Thanksgiving Virtual Gala

This October 2020, Asia Society Hong Kong (ASHK) will celebrate its 30th anniversary.  We will hold a virtual Thanksgiving Gala on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. ASHK will take this momentous occasion to honor 12 visionaries who have been instrumental in the establishment of Asia Society in Hong Kong. We are delighted to honor Sir Q.W. Lee, Robert B. Oxnam, Jack Tang, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Robert and Chantal Miller, Mochtar Riady, Burton Levin, Nicholas Platt, Tung Chee-hwa, Chien Lee, Mary Lee Turner, and John S. Wadsworth Jr.

To show our appreciation at this time of giving, we will showcase ASHK’s diverse contribution to the city: Fireside chats with inspiring leaders of Hong Kong (12 highly respected honorees), in-depth and timely political discussion on the future of the Sino-American relationship under the new U.S. administration, and some special music performances. To conclude the evening, we will welcome guests to an after party from 8:30 to 9:15 p.m. True to our mission, we promise to inspire, unite and connect!

2020 has been challenging for Hong Kong, and ASHK is not immune to its effects. Despite the adversities, we continue to steer ahead and provide you with different programs and events in innovative ways. Proceeds from this gala will contribute significantly to our mission of educating people about the countries and culture of Asia and global issues that impact the region.

Please find more details on table sponsorship and ticket purchase here. Any donation will be matched 1:1 thanks to a matching initiative from the ASHK Board of Trustees.


Fireside Chat: The Future of U.S.-China Relations

At Asia Society Hong Kong Center, our mission is to promote mutual understanding and strengthen partnerships among peoples, leaders and institutions in Asia and the West. Being nestled in Hong Kong, a global city and geopolitical hotspot where East meets West, U.S.-China relations remain front and centre. As we come together for a revered American tradition to celebrate togetherness, join us for a dialogue for which we unite high-ranking U.S. and Chinese diplomats for an engaging conversation on the future of the Sino-American relationship under the new U.S. administration.


Menu

Thank you for considering supporting our gala. ASHK has partnered with a number of local Hong Kong restaurants. Acknowledging how hard they have affected by Covid-19, we hope to provide some much needed support to the Food and Beverage Industry while providing diverse dinner options for our guests.  


2020 Asia Society Hong Kong Gala Honorees

FOUNDERS

  • Sir Q.W. Lee (in memoriam)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


VISIONARIES

 

 

 

  • Robert and Chantal Miller

 

 

 

 

 

 


STATESMEN

  • Burton Levin (in memoriam)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


BUILDERS

 

 

 

 

 

 


Partners:


Sponsorship:

  • Table Sponsorship           HK$38,000
  • Individual Ticket               HK$4,000

For further information, please contact Ms. Anjali Grover, Head of Strategic Development at agrover@asiasociety.org or (852)2103-9536.

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Evelyn Mullen named American Nuclear Society Fellow | US Department of Energy Science News

13-Oct-2020

DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

Evelyn Mullen, chief operating officer for Global Security at Los Alamos National Laboratory, was named a fellow of the American Nuclear Society.


LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Oct. 13, 2020–Evelyn Mullen, chief operating officer for Global Security at Los Alamos National Laboratory, was named a fellow of the American Nuclear Society for her leadership in nuclear national security and ensuring the nation’s experimental capability in nuclear criticality.

“For more than 25 years, Evelyn Mullen has displayed outstanding leadership in nuclear and radiological threat response,” said Nancy Jo Nicholas, associate Laboratory director for Global Security at Los Alamos. “She has provided intellectual leadership for planning and executing science and technology for nuclear nonproliferation, detection, render safe, and attribution; foreign nuclear weapon analysis; and nuclear detonation response and recovery issues. Being named an ANS Fellow is a well-deserved honor for someone who has contributed so much to the field.”

Mullen was instrumental in developing plans for new diagnostic capabilities for subcritical plutonium-integrated experiments at the Nevada National Security Site that will become operational in 2025. Furthermore, she currently leads a major effort for recovery from a radiation source accident in Seattle, Wash.

Mullen joined Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1992. She holds bachelor and master of science degrees in nuclear engineering and is a registered professional engineer in the State of New Mexico. She currently serves on the Army Science Board. Mullen has volunteered with the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation on the scholarship and grants committees for many years and is a founding member of the Legacy Society. Mullen is also a founding member of the Los Alamos Community Foundation and has been recognized by the Los Alamos Engineering Council with their community service award.

Established in 1954, the American Nuclear Society is an international professional organization of engineers and scientists devoted to the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology. Its more than 9,500 members represent government, academia, research laboratories, medical facilities, and private industry. ANS’s mission is to advance, foster, and spur the development and application of nuclear science, engineering, and technology to benefit society.


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About Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is managed by Triad, a public service oriented, national security science organization equally owned by its three founding members: Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle), the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS), and the Regents of the University of California (UC) for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.

 

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