NPR NewsRick Gates pleads guilty and begins cooperating with Mueller’s Russia investigationFebruary 23, 2018 by Carrie Johnson, NPR Share:Updated at 5:28 p.m. ETRick Gates, the business partner of Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, pleaded guilty on Friday to two charges and will begin cooperating with federal prosecutors investigating the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.Gates appeared in federal court on Friday afternoon. He told Judge Amy Berman Jackson he was making the plea of his own free will.Under U.S. sentencing guidelines, Gates could get between four and six years in prison, but prosecutors said they would consider Gates’ cooperation with their investigation and could later ask the court to be lenient.According to new court documents filed in the case, Gates has pleaded guilty to two charges.The first is conspiracy against the United States for “impeding, impairing, obstructing and defeating the lawful governmental functions of a government agency, namely” the Justice Department and the Treasury Department.The second is making false statements. According to court documents, Gates lied to the special counsel and the FBI on Feb. 1 about a meeting that took place in March 2013 and was attended by Manafort, a “senior lobbyist” who is unnamed and a member of Congress who is unnamed.Gates acknowledged lying about there being no discussions about Ukraine at the meeting.The member of Congress was California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and the lobbyist was former member of Congress Vin Weber, now a partner with the firm Mercury.A spokesman for Rohrabacher, Ken Grubbs, said Rohrabacher has long acknowledged the meeting took place.“The three reminisced and talked mostly about politics,” Grubbs said. “The subject of Ukraine came up in passing. It is no secret that Manafort represented [then-Ukrainian President] Viktor Yanukovych’s interests, but as chairman of the relevant European subcommittee, the congressman has listened to all points of view on Ukraine. We may only speculate that Manafort needed to report back to his client that Ukraine was discussed.”The superseding indictmentsGates’ guilty plea on Friday followed a new indictment from Thursday evening in which prosecutors led by special counsel Robert Mueller leveled even more charges against Manafort and Gates than they had been facing before. The two men were accused of laundering millions of dollars from overseas, hiding money from the IRS and other crimes.Manafort plans to continue fighting the charges.“Notwithstanding that Rick Gates pled today, I continue to maintain my innocence,” he said in a written statement on Friday.Continued Manafort: “I had hoped and expected my business colleague would have had the strength to continue the battle to prove our innocence. For reasons yet to surface he chose to do otherwise. This does not alter my commitment to defend myself against the untrue piled up charges contained in the indictments against me.”On Friday evening after Gates’ plea in federal court, the special counsel’s office unveiled another superseding indictment against Manafort. The new charges against the onetime Trump campaign chairman include conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act and making false statements.Neither Manafort nor Gates has been charged with conspiring with Russia’s attack on the 2016 election. Gates’ change in plea, however, raises the prospect that Manafort’s legal situation also could change again.Prosecutors could use testimony from Gates to make what would be essentially a case against Manafort for colluding with the 2016 Russian election interference effort, if there is one to be made.Gates’ evidence may increase the likelihood of a conviction on the charges already leveled against Manafort. Gates also could have additional information about Manafort that could result in new charges against him.One possibility is that Manafort and his lawyers, cognizant of these perils, might change his plea and ask for their own deal with prosecutors. If that happened, the special counsel’s office might ask Manafort to give evidence about other people in the Trump campaign orbit.Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.Share this story:
Tags drug abuseFDAopioids By David Armstrong Nov. 18, 2015 Reprints Federal health officials have pushed for the development of the spray as the country’s opioid crisis has worsened. In 2013, nearly 25,000 people died from overdoses of heroin and prescription painkillers such as OxyContin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has cited the expanded use of naloxone as one of the most important ways to respond to the heroin epidemic. Deaths from heroin overdoses increased 286 percent between 2002 and 2013.Health officials hope the nasal spray will make it so easy to administer the drug that friends, family members, and members of the general public will be able to render quick aid to overdose victims. The nasal spray requires only a simple push of a button and there is no assembly of parts involved.advertisement A critical drug used to reverse opioid overdoses will now be sold as a nasal spray, a development that will likely broaden use of the antidote among family members and friends of addicts caught up in a growing national epidemic of drug abuse.The Food and Drug Administration approved the spray form of naloxone Wednesday. Naloxone has been an effective lifesaver when quickly administered to addicts overdosing on heroin or prescription painkillers. Until now, the only approved versions of the drug have been injections that people without medical training were often reluctant to use.“This easy-to-use intranasal formulation will no doubt save many lives,” Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said in a statement. The FDA expedited its review of the nasal spray, taking less than four months to approve it.advertisement The nasal-spray version of Narcan, which was approved by the FDA. Adapt Pharma, Inc. HealthFDA approves nasal spray that reverses opioid overdose Emergency responders have also pushed for a nasal spray: Not only is it simpler to administer, but it also eliminates the risk of being pricked by a contaminated needle. In some cities, emergency workers have been using adapters placed on the tip of the syringe to convert the injectable into a spray.The new nasal spray product will be sold by a unit of Adapt Pharma, a Dublin-based company that will market the product under the brand name Narcan. The nasal spray should be available in a matter of weeks, said Adapt Chief Executive Seamus Mulligan. The spray will have a “public interest price” of $37.50 for a single unit and $75 for a package of two for entities such as government Medicaid programs that insure low-income people, emergency medical services, and public health organizations, he said. He would not disclose the list price for other purchasers, such as those using private health insurance, but said it would be comparable after taking into account copayments and other discounts.“We are making sure this is priced in a way that is responsible,” Mulligan said. “We have watched as the noise level and price for naloxone has been ramping up.”Last year, public health agencies and emergency responders complained of a sudden and rapid increase in the price of naloxone as the opioid crisis intensified. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office said the wholesale price of naloxone doubled from less than $15 a dose to more than $30 in late 2014. Some first responder agencies reported paying as much as $65 for a single unit of the drug. In August, Healey’s office reached an agreement with naloxone manufacturer Amphastar Pharmaceuticals to pay $325,000 to a state fund used to purchase the drug.A second company, Indivior, is also seeking approval from the FDA for a nasal spray version of naloxone.
Kelly and Farrell lead the way as St Joseph’s claim 2020 U-15 glory Facebook Here are all of Wednesday’s Laois GAA results GAA GAA GAA Home Sport Other Sport Turner takes home gold at the Swimming World Series in Berlin SportOther Sport Laois Paralympian Nicole Turner has brought home a haul of three medals back to Portarlington with her after the final leg of the Para Swimming World Series in Berlin.Nicole started off this competition getting to the 100m Breaststroke final, where she recored her best time of the season to date with a 1:45:88 to finish sixth overall.Undoubtedly her highlight of the competition came after he won the Gold medal in the 50m Butterfly junior competition.Sixteen year old Nicole has Achondroplasia, which causes dwarfism, and has previously competed in the 2014 Paralympic Games in Brazil. Aged only 14 at the time, she qualified for an amazing five finals in Brazil.The Colaiste Iosagain student Sixteen year old Nicole has made such an impact on the sport that she is one of eight Irish athletes who are ambassadors for Dare to Believe, which is organised by the Olympic Federation of Ireland.Nicole is among athletes such Olympian Thomas Barr (Hurdles) and World Champion Kellie Harrington (Boxing), which aims inspire the young people of Ireland to “Dare to Believe” in themselves.Nicole’s performances are continuously on an upward curve.In May 2017, she received a civic reception in Laois County Council for her glowing contribution to paralympic and Laois swimming. 2017 also saw her receive the title of ‘Para Swimmer of the Year.’Last year, the Portarlington teenager earned herself a silver medal in the women’s 50 metre butterfly in the European Para Swimming Championships in Dublin.SEE ALSO – Women in Sport: WATCH – Irish Paralympian Nicole Turner on her dreams for Toyko 2020 Previous articleCall for volunteer mentors to support local young peopleNext articleHow Things Stand: Semi finals and finals on the horizon in Laois hurling leagues Siun Lennonhttp://heresosiun.blogspot.ie/2016/09/the-lekkie-piccie-experience.htmlSiún Lennon joined LaoisToday in a full-time capacity after studying Journalism and New Media in the University of Limerick. She hails from Rosenallis and her interests vary from news, sports and politics. Twitter TAGSNicole TurnerParalympics. Nicole Turner Pinterest WhatsApp RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Pinterest WhatsApp Twitter Facebook Turner takes home gold at the Swimming World Series in Berlin By Siun Lennon – 12th June 2019 2020 U-15 ‘B’ glory for Ballyroan-Abbey following six point win over Killeshin
Clark County Fire & Rescue to hold virtual town hall meetings on Woodland annexationPosted by ClarkCountyToday.comDate: Tuesday, June 9, 2020in: Community Newsshare 0 The contract to provide fire suppression and emergency medical services to the citizens of Woodland has been in place since 2013Clark County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) Chief John Nohr will hold virtual town hall meetings to discuss the upcoming vote on the City of Woodland annexing into the fire district. The meetings will take place at 7 p.m. on Tue., June 9; Tue., June 23; Tue., July 7 and Tue., July 21 utilizing Zoom (see the meeting link below). Clark County Fire & Rescue covers 125 square miles of northwest Clark County, and includes the cities of Ridgefield and La Center (already annexed into the district), the Cowlitz Indian reservation, the city of Woodland (by contract), and the unincorporated neighborhoods of Meadow Glade, Dollars Corner, Duluth, Sara, Charter Oak, Lewisville, Rock Creek, Pine Grove, Highland, and Pioneer. Photo courtesy of Clark County Fire & RescueThe contract to provide fire suppression and emergency medical services to the citizens of Woodland has been in place since 2013. Annexation into the fire district will ensure long-term fire protection and emergency services for both entities while leveraging partnerships with regional agencies. There have been over 20 fire district annexations and mergers in Washington since 2017.The vote for annexation will take place during the Aug. 4 primary election. A majority of voters in Woodland and in CCFR must vote for annexation in order for the proposition to pass.For more information, attend one of the virtual town hall meetings or call Fire Chief John Nohr at (360) 887-4609.Zoom Meeting Link:https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89939794019?pwd=T3hKR3o2ZVVZaU9neENpeFhpMEc2Zz09Meeting ID: 899 3979 4019Password: 26639Information provided by Clark County Fire & Rescue.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textTags:Clark CountyWoodlandshare 0 Previous : Vancouver Parks and Recreation sets dates for summer youth programming Next : Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is beginning to increase recreational access to park grounds and trailsAdvertisementThis is placeholder text
Published: Aug. 11, 2002 This Friday, Aug. 16, is the 25th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, and University of Colorado at Boulder art historian and author Erika Doss is documenting what the date means in American society. In 1999, Doss wrote “Elvis Culture – Fans, Faith, & Image,” an examination of Presley’s enduring presence in popular culture. The book takes a hard look at how the performer’s image is related to sex, religion and racism in the lives of his fans. Doss was first inspired to research Presley’s celebrity and his admirers more than a decade ago after observing how his images remained ubiquitous long after his death. The tradition continues, she notes, citing his music’s central part in the recent Disney movie, “Lilo and Stitch.” In addition to her work as fine arts professor, Doss is director of the American Studies program at CU-Boulder. She also is the author of “Looking at LIFE Magazine” (2001) and “Twentieth-Century American Art” (2002). Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail
World studies pave way to a stellar career Alex Becker, a 2006 International Affairs Program graduate, embodies a global‐minded, entrepreneurial spirit. He says CU‐Boulder opened introduced him to a host of new opportunities. “But I never thought I would be doing anything like this,” he says in an email sent from aboard a catamaran as first mate. Read more Creating life’s building blocks CU Boulder Alum is named one of MIT’s Innovators Under 35 for her work with amino acids. Read more Related Articles Grad forges good life with cocktails and compost CU Boulder environmental studies alumnus helps make Maui sustainable Read more Published: April 6, 2020 • By Kenna Bruner Alumnus worked in lab of Distinguished Professor Marvin Caruthers assisting in the development of pioneering technologySecond-generation CU Buff and Boulder native Lincoln McBride helped pioneer technology used to test for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and he credits his success in part to scientists at his alma mater.McBride earned a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Colorado Boulder in 1985 and worked in the lab of Distinguished Professor Marvin Caruthers, the founder of Amgen (one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies) and one of four CU professors to have won the National Medal of Science.Recently, McBride learned that the FDA had approved COVID-19 testing using technology he pioneered while working at Applied Biosystems Inc. (ABI). He founded and led that technology program from 1991 to 1997.His team shipped its first prototype in 1995 to Genentech (Roche). The Model 7700 TaqMan Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction Sequence Detection System was then commercialized in 1997. This technology allowed scientists to detect and quantify the presence of minute amounts of genetic material with unmatched speed, sensitivity and accuracy. The latest generation of this technology is proving invaluable worldwide for COVID-19 testing during this pandemic, McBride said. He recently answered questions about his work and his time at CU Boulder. The questions and answers follow:What did you work on in Marvin Caruthers’ laboratory while at CU?I helped identify and develop methods for structural optimization, synthesis and purification of phosphoramidites, the key building blocks for solid-supported, automated DNA synthesis, which has helped fuel the biotech revolution.How do you best describe the technology that you worked on at Applied Biosystems?The University of Colorado granted ABI the licenses to the Caruthers group’s phosphoramidite DNA synthesis patents. ABI recruited me with my understanding that I would define and develop new products. Unexpectedly, my first months at ABI were spent frantically solving a crisis with their existing phosphoramidite manufacturing. As a new research and development employee, I was quickly initiated by introduction to a highly commissioned and desperate sales force.Eventually, my dream was fulfilled at ABI to define and lead a new product line aimed toward DNA diagnostics. The short pieces of synthetic DNA made by phophoramidite chemistry invented in Dr. Caruthers’ lab in the early 1980s were, and still are, used worldwide for inventing and performing myriad revolutionary biotechnology applications. One of which, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), makes millions of copies of any short genetic target. This amplification takes place in a few drops of buffered water containing, most importantly, Taq Polymerase as well as two short pieces of synthetic DNA designed to uniquely stick or “prime” to a target’s unique DNA sequence. This “cocktail” is put in a small vapor-tight container and placed on a rapidly heating and cooling plate called a thermal cycler. Taq polymerase is an enzyme that not only survives, but also makes copies of DNA at the elevated temperatures required for thermal cycling. The two synthetic “primers” direct the polymerase to the target to be copied.Each time the thermal cycler completes one heating and cooling cycle, taking about a minute, the number of target copies made doubles. So, 20 minutes later, as many as 2 to the power of 20—or 1 million—copies of the original genetic target are made. Hypothetically, if a given test sample originally contained two virus particles, 20 cycles of PCR amplification would produce as many as 2 million copies of the targeted DNA fragment. Real-Time PCR technology places an integrated fluorescence detector over the thermal cycler to detect in real time the copies being made during PCR amplification. Fluorescence is made possible by adding a synthetic fluorescent DNA probe to the PCR cocktail. We made our fluorescent “TaqMan” probes with the DNA synthesis chemistry invented in Marv’s lab. ABI’s fluorescence technology originally was developed in the late 1980s for their DNA Sequencers that were used to sequence the first human genome. Many of us at ABI were so enthused by the promise of fluorescent probe-based real-time PCR for both research and diagnostics that we agreed to merge with Perkin Elmer as their junior partner in order to have their rights for key PCR patents. Immediately after the merger, I formed and led the combined ABI and Perkin Elmer product team through commercialization. The Model 7700 led to a multi-billion-dollar product line for ABI.How is that technology now being used to fight COVID-19? Twenty-five years after shipping our first prototype, my team and ABI as a whole can still be proud. For a virus as a detection target, fluorescence, probe-based real-time PCR has proved to be the most sensitive and rapid way to measure its presence in myriad sample types. The latest generation of this technology commercialized by Thermo Fisher, which now owns the ABI brand, was recently granted emergency permission by the FDA to test for this coronavirus. More recently, Roche and Abbott have been also granted emergency permission for their current product versions of real-time PCR. What were some of your experiences while at CU?Sharing these memories with teammates at ABI and key instructors has been more rewarding than any bonus or promotion ever was. Writing here to thank the University of Colorado and professors for my education is equally gratifying. Professor Barney Ellison, a physical organic chemist, was our freshman chemistry graduate class “shepherd.” We freshmen needed to commit to a thesis advisor by Christmas. I was recruited by CU as a physical organic chemist presumably because of my affinity for math and hands-on organic chemistry experience. Christmastime came, and I had cold feet, unable to choose. I remember like it was yesterday the knot in my stomach when meeting with Professor Ellison where he offered, “I don’t see a big O (for organic chemistry) branded on your forehead. Go over to MCDB (molecular, cellular and developmental biology) or walk up to the third floor and talk to the biochemistry groups.” How selfless was that! So, thanks to Professor Ellison, and my deceased chemistry Professor Kurt Kaufman at Kalamazoo College, that I stumbled upon my great thesis advisor, Marvin Caruthers and his group’s revolutionary work on solid supported DNA synthesis. Who at CU made a significant impact on your career?Over the years I’ve tried to pinpoint the qualities that make Marv so successful. Of course, he has good ideas and intuition, but what sets him apart is that he was an amazing leader, ahead of his time. I believe it’s a badge of honor for him to have assembled such talented, diverse and even somewhat unruly teams. He’s stated to me on several occasions that this style creates the most. He’s not afraid of failure, nor afraid of brainstorming where even one of his latest ideas may initially seem silly, risking loss of credibility with some technical folks.During my stay, he led our “primordial soup” group with a soft touch and profound results. In my estimation, he’s a strong candidate as a modern-age Nobel laureate, notably for all the far-reaching contributions his technical leadership style has given us.Where do you live, and what do you do in your current line of work?I’ve retired from the corporate world and have spent many years raising our sons Max and Leo while renovating our homes, including where Claire and I now live in Belmont, California.Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?My parents were CU undergrads, and I was born in Boulder. My father, William R. McBride, graduated in 1958 with an electrical engineering degree, and it’s my understanding he was an All-American gymnast and performer and president of CU’s high-flying gymnastics and juggling traveling show called the Pentagon. My parents moved to Michigan where my father invented the first fully automated coin sorters, counters and wrappers in the 1960s. My mom, Sharon K. Zubler, had me in February of her sophomore year. She was valedictorian of her 1956 class at Monticello High School in Iowa. Her major was a brand new one at CU—physical therapy. She dropped out in 1958 to take care of me when my parents moved to Michigan. She would have made an amazing healthcare CEO. For more information, contact Lincoln McBride at [email protected] Tags:AlumniChemistry Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail
Advertisements Related980 Persons Processed and Released By JCF Related980 Persons Processed and Released By JCF Related980 Persons Processed and Released By JCF FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has announced that it has processed and released approximately 980 persons, who were detained during the joint police/military operation in West Kingston.At a special briefing this morning (May 29) with JIS News at the Police Commissioner’s headquarters on Old Hope Road, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Charles Scarlett, said operations at the National Arena have been shut down as of 11 o’clock today.He said that anyone detained later would be taken to the Mobile Reserve on South Camp Road.DCP Scarlett told JIS News that most of the detainees were processed and released within 48 hours and in cases where persons were held longer, it was because of discrepancies in the information they gave to the police.He informed that there were 67 juveniles and four women among those detained and priority was given these groups, to ensure that they were not held for prolonged periods.“When the juveniles were released, they were released in the care of two persons in the West Kingston area. We provided the transportation that conveyed them to the community; two trips were made. It is to my certain knowledge that we got no complaints in relation to any mistreatment,” he stated.He noted that one of the juveniles was released into the custody of the Child Development Agency (CDA) because there were problems establishing guardianship.DCP Scarlett told JIS News that personnel from the CDA, the Peace Management Initiative and Jamaica Red Cross were allowed to visit the detention centre and make assessments regarding the condition under which the detainees were held.A medical team, led by a senior doctor from the Ministry of Health, also visited the facility and offered full medical care to those with health complaints.DCP Scarlett said that the police “did all that was possible to minimise discomfort, to ensure that the place was hygienic and we provided all the facilities that would alleviate all unhygienic practices”.He noted that the police was diligent in processing the detainees, including checking their databases, and have identified about 10 persons, who are of interest to the police in relation to murders, burglary and larceny and other offences. These persons have been taken into custody for further interrogation. 980 Persons Processed and Released By JCF National SecurityMay 29, 2010
RelatedJamaicans Get Ready to Celebrate Independence in South Florida RelatedJamaicans Get Ready to Celebrate Independence in South Florida FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail MIAMI — Jamaicans in South Florida are gearing to celebrate the nation’s 49th anniversary of Independence across the tri-county area – Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. The planned events include a number of cultural presentations, such as church services, galas and concerts to commemorate the event. On Saturday, July 30, patrons will celebrate at the annual Grand Independence Ball to be held at the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure Hotel in Weston. Guest speaker will be Professor Jane Cross, Shepard Broad Law Centre at the Nova Southeastern University in Davie. Proceeds will benefit needy children of Jamaica and the United States. Parishioners at the Kendall Community Church of God in Miami will stage the fifth annual Jamaica Independence Gospel Service on Sunday, July 31. Later that day, the annual cultural performance, ‘Culturama 2011 Mello-go-Round’, takes place at the Coral Springs Centre for the Arts in Coral Springs. The event will showcase a variety of Jamaican traditional folk art forms that include dance, song and drama performed by Jamaica Festival award winning students who will be joined by several local entertainers from South Florida. On Independence Day, Saturday, August 6, hundreds of Jamaicans and friends in the Diaspora are expected to join in celebration for the second annual Jamaica Flag Day to be held at the Lauderhill Sport Complex on Oakland Boulevard. At a flag-raising ceremony, officials of that City will present a proclamation to the Consul General to pay respect to the positive impact demonstrated by Jamaicans in the Diaspora. Lauderhill, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale in Broward County is home to one of the largest population of Jamaicans in Florida State. Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness is expected to be special guest at the Premiere Independence Ball to take place later that day at the Renaissance Hotel in Plantation. As is customary, the Consulate General of Jamaica in Miami will host the annual Ecumenical Church Service to be held on Sunday, August 7, beginning at 4:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale, downtown Fort Lauderdale. Guest preacher will be Bishop Delford Davis, Pastor of the Power of Faith Ministries in Portmore, St. Catherine. The officiating Minister will be the Reverend Karl Francis, Pastor of the Living Word Open Bible Church, Cooper City. Consul General, Sandra Grant Griffiths will deliver the welcome remarks and will also read the Independence message from the Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding. Proceeds from the service will benefit three outreach projects – the Power of Faith Ministries basic education programme, Food for the Poor, and the Coalition of Jamaican Alumni Associations (CJAA) in South Florida. The evening culminates with the staging of Jamaica’s 49th Independence and Cultural Celebration, which will take place at the Miramar Regional Park in Miramar. The rich cultural explosion will feature a variety of entertainment, music and foods. On Sunday, August 14, the Christian Awareness Association, will hold its Mass of Thanksgiving celebrating the nation’s anniversary of Independence at the All Saints Catholic Church in Sunrise. The Service will be officiated by the Reverend Father Walter Dorsey. Other activities of celebration will take place across Florida State, including Port St. Lucie, Palm Bay, Tampa and Orlando. By Cheryl Wynter JIS INFORMATION ATTACHEJAMAICAN CONSULATEMIAMI RelatedJamaicans Get Ready to Celebrate Independence in South Florida Jamaicans Get Ready to Celebrate Independence in South Florida CultureJuly 30, 2011 Advertisements
RelatedBPO to Yield 6,400 Additional Jobs RelatedGrowth Accelerating in Tourism Sector – Finance Minister FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail RelatedMore Tax Relief for PAYE Workers Story HighlightsFinance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, says six entities have expressed interest in operating the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) in Kingston, under privatization arrangements.Dr. Phillips, who made the announcement while opening the 2015/16 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on March 12, said it is expected that a preferred bidder will be chosen within the next six months.Regarding privatization of Kingston Container Terminal (KCT), Dr. Phillips said the matter is currently before the Cabinet, adding that the concession agreement will be signed during the first quarter of the next fiscal year. Six Entities Express Interest in Norman Manley Airport Privatization Budget 2015/2016March 16, 2015Written by: Athaliah Reynolds-Baker Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, says six entities have expressed interest in operating the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) in Kingston, under privatization arrangements.Dr. Phillips, who made the announcement while opening the 2015/16 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on March 12, said it is expected that a preferred bidder will be chosen within the next six months.“This is to be approved by the Cabinet, so that we can move to the Request for Proposal stage of the process,” he stated.In relation to the privatization of the Jamaica Railway Corporation (JRC), the Finance Minister advised that discussion with North American company, HERZOG Contracting Corporation, is advancing, “and their due diligence has commenced.”Regarding privatization of Kingston Container Terminal (KCT), Dr. Phillips said the matter is currently before the Cabinet, adding that the concession agreement will be signed during the first quarter of the next fiscal year.In the meantime, Dr. Phillips said infrastructural development represents an important and indispensable part of the Government’s growth strategy.In this regard, he said, one of the major projects being undertaken is the North-South highway by the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), representing some US$600 million in investment.The Finance Minister informed that while the project, as a whole, is expected to be completed by end 2016, another section of the highway, the Bogwalk to Treadways leg, is scheduled to open this fiscal year.“CHEC has identified lands, in keeping with the toll agreement, where they intend to build three brand new hotels. We are in discussion with the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and the Ministry of Transport, Works, and Housing to ensure speedy conclusion to the process,” he stated.In relation to other critical infrastructure developments linked to the expansion of the Panama Canal, Dr. Phillips advised that detailed technical and feasibility studies are being concluded by the investor team for the Portland Bight Development Project. He said discussions are also ongoing with the Port Authority of Jamaica.“It needs to be understood that a billion U.S. dollar project, such as this, doesn’t just happen without extensive studies, technical preparation, and negotiation. An investment interest of this magnitude, expressed a year ago, would not have come to conclusion as yet,” he stated. Advertisements
Lawyering in the era of social distancing Mar 27, 2020 By Jim Ash Senior Editor Top Stories ‘To me, the biggest challenge is the uncertainty of everything’ So far, the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 epidemic has been challenging — but not daunting — for Florida’s 100,000-plus legal community and the clients they’re sworn to protect.Interviews with individual attorneys, Florida Bar leaders, and Bar staff, suggest that most lawyers are adjusting to the new reality by closing offices, working from home, and relying heavily on technology.Florida Bar Ethics Counsel Elizabeth Tarbert said questions coming into the Bar’s Ethics Hotline have changed little since the epidemic forced Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare a state of emergency.“Lawyers are obviously concerned for their clients, staff, and families, but the questions are normal questions about cases,” Tarbert said.One of the biggest concerns, especially for sole and small-firm practitioners, who make up 60% of Bar membership, is an economic downturn and potentially looming recession.With the U.S. economy ground to a halt and millions of businesses closed, unemployment is skyrocketing. Congress is about to shower the country with $2.2 trillion in stimulus, everything from airline bailouts and small-business incentives, to a $1,200 check for individual taxpayers.“To me, the biggest challenge is the uncertainty of everything,” said Tampa attorney Paige Greenlee. “How long are we going to have to keep these safety measures in place, whether clients are going to have the financial wherewithal to continue paying attorneys, and what lasting impact this is going to have on our profession.”Greenlee, a 13th Judicial Circuit representative on the Board of Governors, is a solo practitioner who occasionally relies on contract staff. She likes to maintain a brick-and-mortar office to sharpen the divide between her private and professional life.But Greenlee closed her office last week as the epidemic raced across the country and she read a Pennsylvania emergency order that listed law offices as “non-essential.”The week before she closed, Greenlee noticed a significant drop in phone calls and email traffic. That, and keeping a mostly paperless practice, made the transition to a home office relatively easy, Greenlee said.“Luckily, I used cloud-based services — document management, time keeping/billing — and have a virtual receptionist service, Ruby Receptionists,” Greenlee said.Less easy, Greenlee said, has been notifying clients about the epidemic’s impact on the courts.Explaining it to ClientsIn a series of administrative orders, the Supreme Court has canceled jury trials and most non-essential, in-person hearings, and stressed the need for using remote technology. Chief judges in each of Florida’s 20 judicial circuits have followed suit.“It can be difficult explaining to clients that their business litigation civil matters are not essential under the administrative orders, and therefore, necessarily, have to be delayed right now,” Greenlee said. “I am hopeful that if this lasts for any length of time, we will see more civil hearings going forward by phone or with the use of other technology.”Sarasota personal injury attorney Scott Westheimer feels fortunate that his 10-lawyer firm had been using advanced teleconferencing software and cloud-based technology for years, making the transition to remote work relatively seamless.A 12th Circuit representative on the Board of Governors, Westheimer is now working from home with his child-psychologist wife, who is maintaining her practice via telemedicine. The couple is expecting their second child and work in shifts while the other parent cares for their toddler.“These have definitely been interesting times,” Westheimer said.Westheimer is most concerned about his wife’s pending delivery, and the fallout for his clients, who he says have been understanding, but continue to have pressing needs.“Some of these cases are life-altering. They involve family law, personal injury; they impact their very livelihoods,” Westheimer said. “They want this to be wrapped up as quickly as possible.”Another concern, Westheimer said, are the attorneys who are paid by the hour.“A lot of clients and potential clients right now are putting litigation matters on the back burner, and without new clients coming in the door, and without being able to attend hearings and depositions and conduct mediations, a lot of our hourly attorneys are going to be in a catastrophic situation soon.”The biggest silver lining, Westheimer said, is the speed with which senior members of his legal team are adjusting.‘Everything is Virtual’“We had attorneys that did not even have a personal computer at home, and now that everything is virtual, they’re attending partner meetings on Zoom and really embracing it.”For Tampa family law associate Kaley Ogren, adapting has meant helping her firm close its office in a downtown tower, forwarding work calls to her cell phone, and learning to use Zoom — especially the mute function, so her five-year-old’s occasional meltdowns don’t interrupt important meetings.“I hadn’t heard of Zoom before this,” she said. “I think the biggest challenge is just balancing family when you can’t really separate family from your normal work life.”Ogren feels lucky that grandparents are helping pick up the childcare slack while schools are shuttered. But Ogren has had to do more legal work before and after business hours so she can tend to her daughter’s home schooling.And Ogren has gained a new appreciation for ergonomic design. She was forced to bring office furniture home when she realized that her dining room chair was no friend to her bad back.“I’m in my 30s, but I feel like I’m getting old,” she said. “It really hurt.”Court constraints haven’t posed a major barrier for her clients, but it’s relatively early, Ogren cautions. Should the need arise, she’s confident that she could get a hearing for a protective order.“That’s a safety issue, and that’s still available,” she said.Some administrative orders are making life easier, Ogren said.“We’ve modified our pleadings a little bit,” she said. “You don’t want people running out frantically trying to get things notarized, so signatures are fine for now, as far as initial pleadings go.”The epidemic and the need for social distancing have somehow drawn her firm closer together, Ogren said, with colleagues holding daily check-in sessions on Zoom.The emergency has even made opposing counsel more cooperative about rescheduling hearings, she said.Embrace TechnologyBrian Burgoon, an out-of-state Florida Bar member who also serves on the Board of Governors, said he made a relatively smooth transition to working from home in the middle of March. A solo practitioner, he did not have to accommodate support staff.“Much of my contact with my clients is either over the phone or by email, so that has not changed,” Burgoon said.But Burgoon also serves as an arbitrator, and he said those hearings have had to be postponed. Some of his colleagues predict that widespread business closures will result in “employment issues” and contract disputes.“I expect to see litigation stem from those in the future,” Burgoon said.Barbara Leach, an Orlando family law attorney, recently became of counsel with a small, Central Florida firm while she runs for public office.Her group of a half-dozen lawyers and an administrative assistant gathered at the office on March 16 to plot their COVID-19 response plan.“On that Monday, everyone met at the office, and we laid out the protocol for downloading the necessary phone app, so calls would be transferred, just as though we’re in the office, and then, identifying the protocols for using Zoom meetings,” she said. “It’s just kind of business as usual for everyone, just on a remote level for us.”One new client requested an in-person consultation, but when he learned about the new protocols, he had no problem explaining his matter over the phone, Leach said.Leach said she feels lucky to be practicing in the Ninth Judicial Circuit, home to Chief Judge Donald Meyers, Jr., who has stressed safety and innovation, and Circuit Judge Lisa Munyon, who chairs the Florida Courts Technology Commission.“This is a chance for us to embrace technology, probably more because of necessity than desire,” Leach said. “But when the dust settles, I predict this technology pivot is going to make us more efficient and more effective.”Leach has tried to show her clients the same flexibility they’ve shown her during the epidemic. This month, she switched her billing cycle from monthly to every 14 days, so clients are seeing smaller invoices.“Are they going to pay a $750 bill to me, or are they going to pay a $250 electric bill? I don’t blame them for thinking that way,” she said. “I’m trying to make it more bite-sized manageable for them, but I still have a payroll and various other administrative costs associated with running the firm.”Two years ago, Leach secured access to a line of credit, a money stream she has yet to tap. Her business credit card is paid off monthly, and her practice is debt-free. The only question remaining, Leach said, is how long it will take for the economy to recover.“Between the money that I have in my operating account, and the access to the line of credit and the credit card, I’m confident that if we continue to be a lean shop, I probably have about six months that I can sustain it,” she said.