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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Watch live: Dr. Anthony Fauci and Norah O’Donnell talk COVID-19 surge and government response

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, is speaking with “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell in an interview that will be streamed live on Wednesday. They are expected to speak about the fall coronavirus surge and the government’s response in the interview, which will stream at 3:30 p.m. Eastern on CBSNews.com.

Viewers are invited to text Norah their questions at 202-217-1107.


How to watch Norah O’Donnell’s interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci

  • What: Norah O’Donnell interviews Dr. Anthony Fauci
  • Date: October 14, 2020 
  • Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: via Zoom
  • Online stream: Live on CBSNews.com in the player above and on the CBS News app

Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has publicly diverged from President Trump’s coronavirus messaging in recent days. 

After Mr. Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis and return to the White House earlier this month, the president described the treatment he was given as a “cure.” There are no known cures for COVID-19. Fauci told CBS News the term could lead to unnecessary “confusion.” “We don’t have any indication — I think you really have to depend on what you mean by a ‘cure,’ because that’s a word that leads to a lot of confusion,” Fauci said. “We have good treatments for people with advanced disease who are in the hospital.” 

Fauci has also taken issue with the president’s unauthorized use of his comments in a 30-second ad. Fauci said the decision to use his comments without consent, and out of context, is a form of harassment. “By doing this against my will they are, in effect, harassing me,” he told The Daily Beast in a report posted on Monday. 

Fauci has identified the White House ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett as a “super spreader” event. At least 24 people in Mr. Trump’s orbit, not all whom attended the event, have tested positive for COVID-19. 

“I think the — the data speaks for themselves,” Fauci said of mask-wearing. “We had a super-spreader event in the White House and it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks. So the data speak for themselves.”

He warned that coronavirus cases are on the rise in a majority of states, with only three seeing fewer cases. “It’s going in the wrong direction right now,” Fauci said. “So if there’s anything we should be doing, we should be doubling down in implementing the public health measures that we’ve been talking about for so long. Which are: Keeping a distance, no crowds, wearing masks, washing hands, doing things outside as opposed to inside.”

Portions of Norah O’Donnell’s interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci will air on the “CBS Evening News” Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m. ET on CBS and 10 p.m. on CBSN.

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Haiti – Politic : The PM in Thomonde


Haiti – Politic : The PM in Thomonde
14/10/2020 10:15:44

Haiti - Politic : The PM in Thomonde

On Monday, the Haitian Prime Minister Mr. Joseph Jouthe and the Minister of the Environment Mr. Abner Septembre visited the commune of Thomonde (Dept. of the Center). During this tour, these authorities as well as other technical executives of the delegation visited the school of the sisters of Thomonde, the police station of the commune where the PM gave a vehicle to the person in charge and the river of Thomonde which threatens the city. It was also an opportunity for the members of the delegation to receive the complaints of the leaders of the commune, during a community meeting at the presbytery of Thomonde.

This community meeting allowed the members of the population to present the major priority challenges of the commune which require urgent responses from the Government. The market, the public square, the problem of birth registration, employment for young people, the reforestation of the slopes of the sources, the sanitation of the city and the access to water to irrigate the land are among others the problems identified by the population.

At the end of the day, technicians from the Ministry of the Environment visited sites for the possible installation (after study) in the commune of two solar-powered water pumping systems. With a pumping capacity of 1300 gallons of water per minute and watering 150 hectares of land, these solar pumps, which will be installed in the commune of Thomonde, will help improve the living conditions of the general population.

It should be noted that the delegation from the Ministry of the Environment will spend three days in the Center department, in order to continue with the exploration visit.

HL/ HaitiLibre


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Question marks over England trip to South Africa after government row

England’s proposed trip to South Africa next month is in doubt after the country’s government served notice of its intention to intervene in the Proteas’ cricket administration.

South African Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa has written to the acting president of Cricket South Africa, Beresford Williams, highlighting long-running dissatisfaction at the governing body and an alleged “failure of leadership to effectively manage its affairs”

While Mthethwa says he sees “no value in any further engagement with CSA”, he has also offered it until October 27 to respond and argue against the intervention.

A statement from the department of sports, arts and culture read: “Minister Mthethwa strongly believes that there is great merit in creating an environment where sports problems are handled within the sports movement and accordingly wishes to offer them every possible opportunity to demonstrate their stated commitment to cooperate on a way forward for cricket.

“The ball is now firmly in the court of CSA.”

England are pencilled in for three one-day internationals and three Twenty20s in November and December, though talks about the tour are ongoing given the complications caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The matches could come into question for another reason if CSA does not find a way to stop the government intervention and makes a formal complaint to the International Cricket Council. The ICC requires national boards to be independently run but requires a protest to be lodged or to see
exceptional circumstances to begin investigating.

A spokesperson said: “The ICC has received a letter from the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture in South Africa giving notice of potential intervention into the matters of Cricket South Africa.

“At this stage, no complaint has been received from Cricket South Africa regarding government intervention and members are encouraged to resolve matters directly with their governments. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

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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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Comtech Telecommunications Corp. Receives $1.7 Million in Orders from Government Entity in Asia

October 14, 2020– Comtech Telecommunications Corp. (NASDAQ: CMTL) announced today that its Tempe, Arizona-based subsidiary, Comtech EF Data Corp., which is part of Comtech’s Commercial Solutions segment, received an aggregate of $1.7 million in orders for Up and Down Frequency Converters and Low Noise Amplifiers (“LNAs”) from a large government entity in Asia.

After a competitive request for proposal process and vendor evaluation, the government entity selected Comtech EF Data’s Frequency Converters and LNAs to support a significant network upgrade. The Comtech equipment will replace a mix of vendors’ installed equipment. The enhanced network infrastructure will support critical voice, data, and video applications, as well as inter-branch office communications.

Comtech EF Data has developed and manufactured an extensive line-up of Frequency Conversion and Amplifier solutions for over 25 years, with L-, C-, X-, Ku- and Ka-Band offerings. The indoor and outdoor products are field-proven, cost-effective and provide the reliability and performance needed to support fixed and mobile/transportable applications for commercial and government customers. The industry-leading Frequency Converters feature high gain and low phase noise performance along with a patented Daisy Chain Redundancy system that fits within minimum rack space.

“I am pleased that Comtech was selected to supply equipment for this government network,” said Fred Kornberg, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Comtech Telecommunications Corp. “This customer’s decision to exclusively utilize Comtech products is a testament to our demonstrated performance and quality.”

Comtech EF Data Corp. is a leading supplier of communications equipment with a focus on satellite bandwidth efficiency and link optimization. The high-performance satellite communications ground equipment is deployed globally to support mission-critical and demanding applications for government, mobile backhaul, premium enterprise and mobility. Service providers, satellite operators, governments and commercial users wanting to optimize communications, increase throughput and delight customers, are leveraging the performance and flexibility of the Comtech brand. The solutions are facilitating fixed and mobile networks in 160+ countries and across every ocean. For more information, visit www.comtechefdata.com.

Comtech Telecommunications Corp. designs, develops, produces and markets innovative products, systems and services for advanced communications solutions. The Company sells products to a diverse customer base in the global commercial and government communications markets.

Certain information in this press release contains statements that are forward-looking in nature and involve certain significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from such forward-looking information. The Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings identify many such risks and uncertainties. Any forward-looking information in this press release is qualified in its entirety by the risks and uncertainties described in such Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

PCMTL

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201014005209/en/

Contacts

Media Contact:
Michael D. Porcelain, President and Chief Operating Officer
631-962-7000
[email protected]

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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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Worker suspended for flying Trump flag from government truck

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida municipal worker was suspended without pay for flying a flag supporting President Donald Trump’s re-election from his government truck.

Palm Beach County suspended construction project specialist Randall Williams for five days for violating its rules against engaging in political activity during work hours.

“During a heated political season such as the one we find ourselves in now, it is imperative to remember that political activities must be done outside of working hours,” County Engineer David Ricks wrote in a staff memo Friday announcing the suspension.

A motorist spotted Williams, 61, driving his county truck with a Trump flag attached to the driver’s window last week and took a photo, The Palm Beach Post reports. The photo was forwarded to the county, which identified Williams.

Trump’s official residence, Mar-a-Lago, is in Palm Beach County.

Williams does not have a listed phone number and could not be reached for comment Wednesday. He could appeal his suspension.

The resident who spotted the truck told the Post in an email that Williams can support the president or any other candidate, but not by using a taxpayer-funded truck.

“Showing your political party, you can do it in your home, whatever, it’s your right,” Laurent Lesage said. “But on a county vehicle, I think it’s trying to do some provocation.”

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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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