e-biz: 5-minutes Q&A

first_img Previous Article Next Article The fast-paced staffing process of an e-ventureYourTown covers new ground in recruitmentCarlo Donne Carlo Donne is CEO of YourTown-Today.com, a network of sites featuring a directory of local businesses. If you’re looking for a plumber in Edinburgh, for instance, you go to www.edinburgh-today.com and search for one. There are currently 47 towns covered in the UK and the company is moving into Europe. Donne came up with the idea for YourTown last November and 11 days later applied for venture capital. PT There wasn’t much time between coming up with the idea for YourTown and having to staff up. How quickly did you have to put the workforce together? CD This is certainly the fastest business growth I have ever experienced. In December the three founding directors worked on the feasibility and by the end of the month founded the company with three staff. By the time of the launch of our first city web site, Edinburgh, on 23 March, we had 12 staff. We now have 31.PT What is the strategy for staffing YourTown?CD Our strategy is to recruit the best talent and maintain a lean, flexible and enthusiastic staff. The three founding directors all have successful entrepreneurial backgrounds. First we recruited the key management team consisting of a financial controller, technical director, head of design, business development director and head of marketing. Next came technical and design staff and the sales team. We are not big enough to need an HR specialist so we split the functions. Our financial controller manages contracts of employment and health and safety issues. Line managers recruit and train staff. Our senior managers recruit direct sales staff.PT What are your plans to grow the workforce?CD Our plans involve expanding the national network of city sites from 47 to 115 next year. To do this we will adopt a franchise model, keeping a small headquarters for staff to co-ordinate the network. Most staff would therefore be employed by the franchisees.PT What difficulties did you face staffing YourTown?CD Finding the senior management team was largely a case of contacting former colleagues and explaining the opportunities. Scotland has a good supply of technical and design staff, both those still at university and those already in jobs. Getting the number of technical and design staff to match the company growth plans might have been a problem, but going the franchise route means that this expertise can be recruited locally across the country and, like any other organisation, we will always be looking out for good sales people.PT How do you keep the younger staff motivated: have you implemented any bonus/incentive schemes? And what is your retention strategy?CD We do seem to have a split between the experienced senior managers and the younger, largely technical and design staff. The younger staff are motivated by a combination of a wide job specification, the thrill of working for a new company, involvement in decisions, the demands of new technology and the culture of the firm which reflects the exciting pace of the industry. Our designers have the added challenge of working direct with customers when designing a new site. We are developing a Stock Option Scheme for all staff. Our retention strategy relies on providing challenging and exciting jobs with competitive rates of pay.PT Do you use on-line recruitment sites and what do you think of them?CD We have used Recruitment Scotland and our own sites to attract sales people. We also use regional newspapers and have found this to be most effective. But recruitment sites are the way of the future, particularly as more homes become Web-enabled.PT What’s next? We have just launched Student-today.com, an information portal for UK students. We have other niche sites on the drawing board. Plans are also being developed for expansion into continental Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. e-biz: 5-minutes Q&AOn 17 Oct 2000 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

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first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article High-profilejob campaigns are helping to rebrand the public sector and are part of HR’sdrive to tackle a vast recruitment problem. Rob McLuhan reportsThe public sector is a different beast from the commercial world and offersspecial challenges for recruiters. Some areas are improving slowly,particularly the NHS where better pay deals for nurses have helped and theinflux of £40bn of new money is at least creating a higher profile. But for the UK’s 467 local authorities the trend is worsening: last year 84per cent reported difficult or severe problems with recruitment and retention,according to a survey by local government management body the EmployersOrganisation. This represents a massive leap from 39 per cent only five yearsago. The number of affected occupations has more than trebled in the same period,and there are problems filling vacancies in social work, teaching,environmental health, fire and other services. So what is the scale of the problem and reasons behind it? What tactics arepolicy makers and recruiters using to plug the gap? And what strategic approachesare HR people in the sector developing to exploit the positive aspects ofpublic service and transform the image of the sector for job candidates? Some idea of the scale of the problem is shown by the latest figures fromthe Department for Education and Employment. They show there were almost 5,000unfilled teaching posts in England in January 2001, and the vacancy rateincreased 1.4 per cent from 0.8 per cent in 2000. Vacancies for social workerswere running at 16 per cent last year, with two-thirds reporting recruitmentdifficulties. The Government has helped in some areas, particularly teaching. Around £80mhas been allocated to help local authorities’ recruitment and retention, mostlyin London and the Southeast where problems are most severe. Other incentivesfor teacher recruitment include golden hellos, grants and salaries fortrainees, and support for those returning to the profession. In the NHS, pay has improved slightly, and although the 3.6 per cent dealannounced in January did not go as far as many would have liked, there is asense things are changing for the better, says John Stock, senior researchofficer at the Royal College of Nursing. Surveys show a subtle degree ofimprovement in morale, with individuals showing more job satisfaction and morefaith in employers. Marie Cleary, HR manager at Poole Hospital NHS Trust says: “Pay isabsolutely key where we are competing for young talent against other types oforganisations. “We have to value talent in monetary terms, paying competitive salariesand ensuring development and progression are available in order to retainstaff.” However, pay is not the only issue in the NHS, where the sheer volume of newgovernment initiatives is hitting staff morale and retention. Grant Taylor, arecruitment consultant specialising in public sector appointments at MacmillanDavies Hodes, says: “The number of directives employees receive make itdifficult for them to do their jobs. One man who went into the NHS recentlysays he is frustrated at having to prioritise the initiatives, and many justget binned.” A short-term solution is to bring in interim contractors to fill gaps. Thatprovides flexibility but eats into budgets, Taylor says. “If employers putmore effort into building up salaries they would retain more people, and spendless on recruitment,” he points out. Some desperate recruiters in local authorities are also offering a marketsupplement of an extra £2,000-3,000 on top of the basic salary. But again, thissimply enables a council to poach from its neighbours and does nothing toalleviate the overall shortage. Where public sector pay is concerned, problems are more complex. Forinstance, where pay scales are negotiated nationally, as they are withfirefighters, it is more difficult to recruit in the South East where the costof living is highest. As property inflation soars ever upwards, there is a problem with the lackof affordable housing that cannot be addressed by simply raising pay. Mick James, deputy head of people skills and development at the EmployersOrganisation, says: “Even if you doubled everyone’s salary in localgovernment, it would simply drive up the housing prices, so that’s not theanswer.” The organisation is looking at various options, such as identifyingpublicly-owned housing stock that can be made available for workers or creatingnew housing specifically for them: one north London authority is even said tobe thinking of putting up prefabs on public land. But all these would take timeto take effect, James points out. Another way of easing pay difficulties is to provide discounts. Someauthorities have negotiated deals with local suppliers that enable theiremployees to get goods and services at reduced rates. The easing of the labour market in an economic slowdown might be expected toassist recruiters in attracting individuals from the private sector. Howeverany benefit tends to be less in the service professions such as teachers andnurses than in administration, particularly at the middle and top levels wherebusiness expertise is highly valued. Modernisation projects aimed at makingservices more competitive and dynamic help in this regard, and many localauthority and NHS recruiters are widening their net to attract commercialtalent. Virginia Bottomley, a former cabinet minister now chairing thenot-for-profit practice at headhunters Odgers Ray & Berndtson, says:”There is a growing perception that the delivery of great public servicesis a critical issue in our generation, and finding people to move from theprivate to public sector can be encouraged with the right information.” But it is not always easy to find people who can cope with the complexity ofthe public sector, or to overcome negative perceptions. “Many worry that abureaucratic environment will inhibit their room for manoeuvre,” Bottomleyadds. “They believe it to be risk averse and are concerned that if things gowrong the blame culture may damage their long-term career.” But however successful recruiters are in luring talent from the businessworld, they know much of it will return when the economy starts to grow morestrongly. Any long-term solution, they recognise, must play to the publicsector’s strengths. On the plus side is the public service ethos, with the idea that individualscan make a difference in their own community. “That is really underplayedand we should be doing more to promote it,” says Andreas Ghosh, head ofpersonnel and development at the London Borough of Lewisham, and director ofrecruitment and retention at the Society of Chief Personnel Officers (Socpo). Research shows that the opportunity to provide good service, together with afriendly atmosphere and interesting work, now outranks pay as a chief concern,Ghosh adds. Another advantage to play up is the fact of being a local employer:in Lewisham, more than half of council employees live locally and a further20-30 per cent in neighbouring boroughs. Ghosh also argues that local authorities undersell the considerable trainingand development opportunities they provide, particularly for HR managers.”Often we end up providing skills that they can use in other sectors,which is very useful for them,” he says. “HR professionals can also be attracted by the fact that we are apeople business, with a great emphasis on strategic management as opposed toadministration.” However, these strengths are not always understood publicly. “Localgovernment needs to market itself and what it does,” says EmployersOrganisation’s James. “A lot of what we do in terms of protecting peopleand the quality of the food they eat, providing social services and housing forthe homeless, tend to appear in the press when things go badly wrong, and youdon’t hear so much about the successes.” This is a serious disadvantage when it comes to attracting young people intothe public sector, an increasingly urgent matter, as local government suffersfrom an ageing workforce. Only 5 per cent are under 25 compared with around 16per cent in the wider economy, and there will be a bulge in numbers of localgovernment employees expecting to retire over the next decade. One solution is to talk more to school children to explain how interestinglocal government can be. Ideally, James concedes, this would be done less bymiddle-aged men, as tends to be the case, and more by younger council employeesof both sexes and diverse ethnic groups, who are easier for young people toidentify with. However, despite the continuing serious shortages, there is a sense that thepublic sector is turning the corner in creating a better perception of what itis and does. HR has a big opportunity to seize the initiative to put the sector on a moreequal footing with the private sector in the employment stakes. Case study: Blackpool Borough CouncilLike many authorities, BlackpoolBorough Council has been experiencing difficulties recruiting for certainoccupational fields, such as social workers, environmental health and plumbers.However, it has made a concerted effort to broaden its approach, makingintensive use of new media and spreading its net wider to find individuals withdifferent backgrounds and commercial skills. The authority recently partnered with Monster.com, one of thelargest global internet recruitment sites. This offers significantly biggercatchments than the specialist local government site it previously used, whichdid not extend to the range of skills the authority seeks. The budget has been stretched by cutting the size of pressadvertisements and training recruitment managers to write shorter text.The weblink has been publicised by local mailings andadvertising to raise awareness of the new recruitment channel. Visitors who logon can download a short video of presentations by senior executives talkingabout what it is like to work for the council. In less than two years the internet response has grown to 30per cent. “We have seen a lot of benefit from that, as we have started tohear from many people who wouldn’t have applied in the past,” says head ofpersonnel Carol Mills. One recent appointment was for a zoo keeper fromAustralia.The authority has also produced a CD to help recruit a newchief executive, which attracted some useful publicity. As well as increasing the range of recruitment drives, the useof new media is a better way to get the attention of young people thanadvertising in the press or sending out printed mailings, Mills says.”Young people are completely switched on in terms of IT and the internet,and the fact that we use it helps to counteract their view of local governmentas boring and bureaucratic.”Future plans include pooling resources with neighbouringcouncils to get a better deal with advertising agencies. The chosen partnerwould be encouraged to add extra investment, for instance by creating a specialsite to attract social workers and teachers to the north. Comments are closed. Altered imageOn 2 Jul 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

The 10 priciest Hamptons homes sales of 2020

first_imgMessage* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Full Name* Tags2020 in Reviewhamptons-weeklyLuxury Real EstateResidential Real EstateThe Hamptonstristate-weekly Ken Griffin and 650 Meadow Lane (left) and 15 West Dune Lane (Photos via Google Maps; Compass; Citadel)UPDATED Dec. 21, 2020, 6:40 pm: It’s no secret that Hamptons buyers went ham this year.Wealthy New Yorkers fled the city in droves, flooding into surrounding suburbs and vacation destinations and setting those housing markets on fire. Sprawling oceanfront homes in the Hamptons were an immediate target of the influx of deep-pocketed buyers willing to pay sky-high prices for an isolated oasis.The most 10 expensive deals this year came to a total of $450.55 million, up 48 percent from the $303.5 million for the top 10 in 2019. The Real Deal’s analysis of deals in the Hamptons through Dec. 15 relied on data from Redfin and OneKey and confirmation from Saunders & Associates and Compass.To illustrate the difference a pandemic makes: The top home sale last year was $39 million by natural gas billionaire Michael S. Smith in an off-market deal. In 2020, the priciest was a stunning $84.4 million sale to real estate-hungry billionaire Ken Griffin, who last year bought the most expensive home in the U.S. for $238 million in Manhattan’s 220 Central Park South.Here is more on that sale and the rest of the Hamptons’ 10 priciest of the past year:1. 650 Meadow Lane | $84.4 millionBillionaire Ken Griffin went into contract to buy Calvin Klein’s Southampton compound in February just as the pandemic was beginning. The 7-acre property includes a modern-style home that Klein built from the ground up and was said to be “all about the views.”2. 15 West Dune Lane | $67 millionThe 3.4-acre East Hampton estate includes two mansions boasting a combined 14,000 square feet and 14 bedrooms. When the unknown buyer went into contract in September the price tag was $70 million. The compound includes a waterfront pool and frontage along Wiborg Beach.Read more220 Central Park South dominates NYC’s priciest resi sales of the yearKen Griffin in contract for Calvin Klein’s Hamptons compoundThe 10 priciest Hamptons home sales of 2019center_img 3. 26 & 32 Windmill Lane | $45 millionThe former beachfront getaway of the late Union Pacific chairman James H. Evans sold in April. The property spans 6.7 acres and comprises two lots. The main house is 5,500 square feet, though the undisclosed buyer may view it as a teardown as zoning now would allow a home up to 12,500 square feet, according to the Wall Street Journal.4. 1050 Meadow Lane | $40.9 millionThe 3.4-acre estate in Southampton Village sold at the end of January, according to 27 East. The property features 535 feet of ocean frontage, a heated outdoor pool, a chef’s kitchen and an elevator that goes to all three floors of the 9,000-square-foot home. Built in 2003, the not-so-humble abode has six bedrooms and a private dock.5. 1400 Meadow Lane | $39.5 millionThe nine-bedroom home in Southampton sits on a roughly three-acre lot. The oceanfront house sprawls over 11,000 square feet and was built in 2018. The home has a 2,870-square-foot marble terrace, a tennis court and infinity pool overlooking the ocean, according to the listing.6. 24 and 28 Gin Lane | $38 millionThe two parcels formerly owned by a Woolworth heiress traded in February. The property’s main house spans 7,300 square feet with 12 bedrooms, with a nearby carriage house and a protected beachfront, according to the listing, which marketed the property as a “development opportunity.” The unknown buyer could build a home up to 15,000 square feet and add a pool and tennis court.7. 1116 Meadow Lane | $36 millionJust down the road, the eight-bedroom residence on this nearly three-acre estate spans 12,800 square feet. The two-level home was built in 2012 with an open floor plan, according to its listing. The estate has an oceanside pool and a multitude of terraces and decks.8. 27 Drew Lane | $35.75 millionDesigned by architecture firm COOKFOX, the 13,600-square-foot mansion on the East End of Long Island sits near a smaller residence for a caretaker, a yoga pavilion and lap pool. The home was built in 2007, according to the architect.9. 317 Murray Place | $35 millionThe Southampton mansion styled like a French chateau, complete with imported stone, is part of the Murray Compound with 200 feet of beach frontage and a 2.8-acre lot. The 9,200-square-foot home has an elevator and wine cellar. The property includes a heated pool and room for the new owner to build a tennis court, according to the listing. It was initially marketed in conjunction with a second home that had made up late financier John F. Sullivan’s six-acre compound. The second home, previously listed for $35 million, was not on the market at the time of the sale, according to the Wall Street Journal.10. 55 Coopers Neck Lane | $34 millionThe 11-bedroom mansion was built this year on a 4.5-acre estate. The Southampton Village home spans 12,400 square feet and includes a gym, home theater, pool and tennis courts, according to its listing.Honorable mention | 91 Fowler Street | $33 millionThe 13,000-square-foot mansion includes eight bedrooms, four fireplaces, double-height living areas and a roof deck overlooking the ocean. The newly-built home faces Phillips Ponds. The 3.2-acre property has a heated infinity pool, spa building and tennis court. It was last asking $42.9 million before going into contract, according to 27 East.Contact Erin Hudson Email Address* Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

Open Space Plan for Ocean City Near Completion

first_imgA plan that will guide future open space acquisition and usage in the city is almost complete, Ocean City Environmental Commission Chairman Pete Ault reported to City Council on Thursday.The Commission expects to present the plan to the Ocean City Planning Board this summer. The research started with an August 2012 grant and included a public input process in which 307 people responded to a survey.The top five “needs” identified by the public:Bike pathsHiking and walking trailsConservation areasAccess to waterwaysFamily picnic areasAult said the plan will help as the city applies for grants and it will help the city manage existing open space. He said the plan recognizes the density of development in Ocean City and seeks creative solutions — something as simple as widening sidewalks could create a running path … or the purchase of contiguous partial lots could create a small open space usage.The report will be available at ocnj.us/openspace in the next week.***In other business, City Council approved the appointment of Anne Gallagher to the Local Assistance Board.Council also passed a resolution in recognition of Municipal Clerk’s Week. All council member and members of the public individually praised the work of City Clerk Linda MacIntyre and her entire staff.last_img read more

Governor Holcomb vetoes bill that puts new limits on his emergency powers

first_img Twitter Governor Holcomb vetoes bill that puts new limits on his emergency powers WhatsApp Facebook By Network Indiana – April 10, 2021 2 195 Google+ WhatsApp Pinterest Twitter Facebook Pinterest Google+ IndianaLocalNews (Photo supplied/Governor Eric Holcomb) As expected, Governor Eric Holcomb has vetoed the bill that would put new limits on the emergency powers of his office.The bill was passed overwhelmingly by both the House and the Senate.It would take only a simple majority to override the veto. Holcomb argues the bill violates the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches.Specifically, he says it usurps a “power given exclusively to the governor” by allowing the legislature to call itself into a special session.The legislation was prompted by objections to Holcomb’s orders mandating mask-wearing and restrictions on businesses during the pandemic. Previous articleVictims of State Road 2/Quince Road crash identifiedNext articleBilly Joel concert at Notre Dame Stadium postponed until 2022 Network Indianalast_img read more

Colorado Musicians To Join Forces For Ecuador Earthquake Benefit Concert

first_imgAfter a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Ecuador on April 16th, 2016, Ever Upward Entertainment put together a benefit concert. The response from local performers was overwhelming, as Digg band, Dyrty Byrds, Booster, Whiskey Tango, Displace, Mama Magnolia, and Lady and The Gentlemen will all be performing. The show takes place tomorrow, July 20th, at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom Other Side in Denver, CO.All proceeds from the show will go to Saving Ecuador, a non-profit organization focused on providing aid to the country. Additionally, thanks to our sponsor Fiction Brewing, there will be free craft beer if you get there before 9PM! With great music, free beer and an important cause, there’s no reason to miss this event.You can find details in the poster below, or via the Facebook Event.last_img read more

Guitar Auctions At Dead & Co’s Wrigley Field Tour Closer Set To Bring In Big Bucks For Charity

first_imgThis Saturday, July 1st, during Dead & Company‘s tour closer at Chicago’s iconic Wrigley Field, a pair of special one-of-a-kind D’Angelico guitars will be auctioned off to benefit a variety of charitable foundations hand-selected by members of the band. The auctions are part of the “Participation Row” social action “village” the band brings to each tour stop, co-organized by music-oriented voter registration non-profit HeadCount and environmental group REVERB. Both guitars are Premier Weir SS models, which Bob Weir and D’Angelico designed and developed together, and each one is signed by all six members of Dead & Company (Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Chimenti). They are expected to net tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of dollars for charity.Dead & Co Surprises Fans With Free Webcast Of Beautiful Blossom Show [Full Show Pro-Shot]The first guitar being auctioned off may look familiar to those who have caught the band live this summer: it has been displayed (and available to bid on) at Participation Row at each stop throughout the 2017 summer tour, and already has received bids of nearly $50K. The second guitar will feature a special design to specifically commemorate the Wrigley Field run. Bids will be accepted at “Participation Row” at Wrigley Field throughout Friday night’s show and through the first set of Saturday’s tour finale. The winners will be determined at set break on Saturday night. You can see pictures of both the Summer Tour 2017 D’Angelico Premier Weir SS and its Wriglet Field counterpart in all their glory below:On this summer’s Dead & Company tour, three D’Angelico guitar auctions (of Fenway Park, Shoreline Amphitheatre, and Folsom Field variations of the special edition design) have already generated $70,000 for the band’s various charities, which include HeadCount and REVERB as well as The Rex Foundation, The Jerry Garcia Foundation, The National Parks Conservation Association, Positive Legacy, the Hawai’i Alliance for Progressive Action and the Veterans Health and Integration Program. Nightly signed poster auctions this tour have also generated an additional $25,000 toward the various charities involved in the “Participation Row” efforts. By the time the band takes the stage for the last time this summer, the total charitable contribution could easily surpass $250,000.HeadCount Co-Founders Marc Brownstein & Andy Bernstein Discuss Effecting Change, One Show At A TimeHeadCount has ran several similar charitable guitar auctions for various events over the past few years. At 2015’s Fare Thee Well shows in Chicago, a D’Angelico guitar signed by members of the Grateful Dead was auctioned off for an eye-popping $526,000. Similar efforts on last summer’s Dead & Co tour netted over $160,000 in contributions. HeadCount also helped produce an event last month where Jerry Garcia’s “Wolf” guitar was sold for $1.6 million, generating a total of $3.2 million for the Southern Poverty Law Center after an anonymous donor match.Jerry Garcia Wolf Guitar Raises $3.2M For Charity While Joe Russo’s “Friends With Benefits” Rock Out On It [Photos/Videos]“Dead & Company and their fans are incredibly generous,” said HeadCount executive director Andy Bernstein. “They’ve helped turn Participation Row into an active and loving home for all the various causes tied to this community.” Dead & Company concert attendees have also taken nearly 20,000 socially-conscious actions on “Participation Row” throughout the tour, including writing postcards to Congress, registering to vote, and taking quizzes about environmental impact. Any fan who takes three actions is rewarded with a limited edition Dead & Company pin from Participation Row sponsor Clean Energy Advisors. Fans also get a chance to win one more D’Angelico guitar signed by the band in a free drawing.last_img read more

Judging the campaign finance ruling

first_imgGazette: Is there anything to be read into the fact that this began as a fairly narrow case but wound up having such broad implications?Shugerman: The Supreme Court had in front of it a potentially narrower and more minimalist way to resolve this case without overturning precedent. This is the big deal about this case. This sends a larger signal about the Roberts court. When Chief Justice [John] Roberts was confirmed in the confirmation hearings, he talked about deference and a cautious approach and seeking more consensus. And we have seen that that is not his approach in practice. So today what we’re looking at is an irony. To pass a law in Congress takes a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate. But to strike down a law today takes a one-vote majority in the Supreme Court — and a decision that overturned precedent. … The larger context of the Roberts court’s aggressiveness and lack of concern about consensus is something that we should be paying more attention to. Gazette: Any final thoughts on the decision?Kamarck: Will both customers and shareholders object to corporate spending in political campaigns? This will be different depending on the kind of corporation. Corporations like Starbucks or Target or corporations that are really dependent on customers liking their brand will probably be pretty careful about playing in political campaigns. By getting involved in divisive issues or divisive campaigns, you could have people saying, “Well the heck with this, from now on I’m going to Peet’s, and I’m forever boycotting Starbucks.” So some companies will probably be very, very careful about this. There will be other companies, particularly highly regulated companies, who might see this as a way to enhance what is their already substantial lobbying capacities in Washington.Keyssar: I think you can start imagining how campaigns will change. For example, given all of the recent discussion of an issue like health care, you can now imagine what the pharmaceutical companies or the health insurance companies are going to do now that they can involve themselves very directly in campaigns.Shugerman: The next question is whether the Supreme Court will move beyond outside political advertising, issue advocacy, or independent spending, and move from striking down regulations on outside spending to striking down regulations on direct donations. That’s a big deal. So if a corporation can go today and now spend money on its issues, that’s one thing. But there are longstanding precedents that set limits on what individuals and groups can donate to candidates. If there’s now an ability to make direct donations to candidates without limits, that will be a major change. The court case originally focused on a narrow question of campaign finance. But the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. FEC sent reverberations throughout the political world. By removing restrictions on election spending by corporations, the ruling promised to change the way that campaigns are waged. The Gazette asked members of the Harvard faculty to discuss the significance of the case:Gazette: How do you think that this decision will reshape elections?Alex Keyssar, the Matthew W. Stirling Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy at Harvard Kennedy School: It may reshape elections quite dramatically. I think that what we’re going to see is a very, very significant infusion of corporate funding into advertisements supporting an opposing candidate. What the ruling focuses on is not contributions directly to campaigns, but using funds to support candidates. But what I think we’re going to see is something that we haven’t seen in this country in decades, which is a huge infusion of corporate money, which is going to change the fundraising landscape.Elaine Kamarck, lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs: It is as significant, if not more significant in the long run, than Scott Brown winning in Massachusetts. This is a real earthquake. What it basically does is it allows elections to become a financial free-for-all. … In a generic sense, you would think it’s a help to the Republican Party, which it probably is, but I think it will play out more issue by issue. So, for instance, look at health care, look at climate change. This really has big consequences for political campaigns.Gazette: What are the implications here for labor unions and nonprofit institutions? Can they also start to play a more direct role in campaign politics?Jed Shugerman, assistant professor of law at Harvard Law School: From a reading of this decision, labor unions and other nonprofits are free to spend more. There’s nothing in the opinion that forecloses it or makes this distinction. So it seems like there will be more money coming from labor unions. Labor unions are opposed to this decision because they know, in the balance of power, the corporations will be able to spend more money than the unions can. But at least it seems evenhanded in allowing both. And there’s no reason to think that they would distinguish between the First Amendment rights of corporations but not extend those rights to labor unions.Gazette: What will be the impact on individual voters?Keyssar: It’s quite tricky to predict the impact on voters. We live in a political culture where, for about a half century, large numbers of eligible voters have not participated, and according to lots of polling data and other data that we have, one reason is that they don’t think that their individual voice matters very much — that the country is basically run by large, powerful interests. If this does unleash the wave of advertising that I suspect that it will, this will intensify that sentiment. … The rationale for restricting corporate contributions, which goes back to the turn of the 20th century, is in effect that the political arena, the arena of democracy, should be one where individuals’ voices are equalized as much as possible, and this runs directly counter to that.Gazette: What do you see as the ramifications of giving corporate speech the same weight in society as individual speech?Kamarck: It just strikes me that it is serious imbalance in power. Corporate speech already has a big voice at the table. And some of that is for legitimate reasons, right? I mean corporations provide jobs; congressmen and congresswomen are inclined to listen to corporations because they don’t want to do things that end up costing jobs. … There’s plenty of attention paid in the American political system already to the health of corporations for obvious reasons. They provide jobs. But this seems to be taking this one step further, and really giving them a power that they, frankly, don’t need.last_img read more

New Year – New Innovations: Introducing ECS 2.2

first_imgCustomers around the world are seeing great success with the ECS platform. Case in point: ATOS SE, a leader in digital services, has seen exciting results with ECS. ATOS’ 93,000 employees in 72 countries provide tech and transactional services to clients in a variety of industries. In 2015, ATOS was able to transform its services using ECS. Check out their story in this video.The momentum doesn’t end with customers. ECS is compatible with a growing number of ISV solutions such as Hortonworks, and has been certified on four levels of HDP. Check out what Hortonworks VP of Global Channels and Alliances, Chris Sullivan, has to say about ECS:“After rigorously testing and certifying Hortonworks Data Platform with EMC ECS, we are saving customers time to implement the solution, while providing them with an assurance of interoperability. With ECS, customers can benefit from a software-defined object storage system with HDP for analytics and unlocking business insights.”Want to learn more? Check out the ECS homepage, follow @EMCECS on Twitter or test out the ECS Free + Frictionless edition software. Today we are announcing general availability of the newest version of ECS (EMC Elastic Cloud Storage), v2.2. With the industry’s most complete suite of software-defined storage (SDS) solutions, EMC is firmly committed to helping organizations harness today’s digital transformation. A key part of EMC’s SDS portfolio, ECS is a software-defined, object-based cloud storage platform that provides global scale with up-to-exabyte capacity with compelling economics to customers.Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook recently announced his New Year’s resolution is to build an artificial intelligence system that will be able to control his home – way more interesting than the traditional “lose weight” resolutions! The amount of data created and ingested by this “Iron Man” influenced platform will definitely require a storage system with a modern, flexible and versatile architecture.You may not have the resources of a Tony Stark or Mark Zuckerberg, but for organizations trying to keep up with the blazing pace of digital transformation, ECS can help. ECS is built from the ground up to handle the massive burden generated by object data from mobile devices, social media and the Internet of Things (IoT), something many traditional storage platforms aren’t designed to handle.Announcing ECS version 2.2With new features under the hood, EMC ECS 2.2 delivers: Software Defined Storage: ECS can be deployed on certified hardware or as a turnkey appliance.A Multipurpose platform: With native support for multiple protocols (like AWS S3, OpenStack Swift, HDFS), ECS breaks down dedicated storage silos. With native NFS support, ECS can also support file data without the need for a file gateway.Smart storage: With ECS, users can search metadata across exabytes of unstructured data without a dedicated database. This enables data analytics that can harvest valuable insights while greatly simplifying cloud and IoT application development.”Low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): Today’s release further lowers the storage overhead for cold archive scenarios. A new single-pane-of-glass view that provides complete system health can help customers to reduce operational costs.Data Protection: With “data at rest” encryption support, users can apply protection to business-critical data. ECS also fully complies with SEC 17 a-4(f) and CFTC 1.31(b)-(c) regulations.last_img read more

Colombia Makes Progress with Humanitarian Mine Clearance

first_imgBy Myriam Ortega/Diálogo September 17, 2018 In mid-August, the Colombian Army announced that three areas in the east and center of the country were free of mines, making great progress toward its goal to clear 119 municipalities by the end of 2018. The Humanitarian Demining Engineer Brigade (BRDEH, in Spanish) cleared La Pradera municipality in Valle del Cauca department, as well as Villavicencio and Fuente de Oro municipalities in Meta department. “We cleared 37 municipalities in the first quarter and 35 [in the] second quarter,” Colombian Army Colonel Giovanny Rodríguez León, BRDEH commander, told Diálogo. “About 70 percent of our goal has been met in the first half of the year, and we expect to clear 50 municipalities in the second half.” The Colombian government’s goal is to free the country of antipersonnel mines by 2021. According to Descontamina Colombia, an office of the Presidency of the Republic of Colombia’s Administrative Department, the country has 264 municipalities and two departments free of mines. Three mine-free municipalities After six months of work from BRDEH’s Sixth Humanitarian Demining Engineer Battalion, La Pradera municipality was declared mine-free on August 17th. Soldiers cleared the last 12,700-square-meter area through manual clearance. According to the Army, the Sixth Battalion successfully cleared more than 91,000 square meters in Valle del Cauca department. On August 1st, the Fourth Humanitarian Demining Engineer Battalion finished clearing the municipalities of Fuente de Oro and Villavicencio in Meta department. The work benefited 30,000 inhabitants. In Villavicencio, units investigated and identified 27 areas with mine contamination risks, where 22 victims of antipersonnel mines were identified. In these areas, the battalion cleared more than 32,00 square meters. Accidents involving antipersonnel mines were recorded in three areas of Fuente de Oro. After collecting information, soldiers started removing and destroying the explosive artifacts. Socialization work “An interinstitutional agency made up of the [Colombian] Ministry of Defense and the director of Descontamina Colombia, conducts identification of areas according to criteria they use to carry out mine clearance,” Colombian Army First Sergeant John Alexander Ramírez Antonio, a member of BRDEH’s non-technical survey team, told Diálogo. “Once areas or municipalities where intervention is likely to take place are identified, they are assigned to the brigade.” Descontamina Colombia defines non-technical survey as the collection of information and data analysis obtained from available sources, as well as investigation on the ground to collect new evidence. This work is part of the first phase of humanitarian mine clearance. “The non-technical survey consists of going to every house in every small town and investigating based on the information obtained,” 1st Sgt. Ramírez said. “Depending on what is found in each visit, with national standard criteria and operational procedures, we determine whether it’s a potential danger for the community.” Socialization work, carried out with regional authorities, local Community Action Boards, and villagers, is fundamental to identify the areas where explosive artifacts are planted. Occasionally, locals even point out the places farmers, who abandoned their land, avoided. “Illegal groups planted the mines,” 1st Sgt. Ramírez said. “There are no maps or registries of how artifacts were installed, and the kind of device used. Any item you find might be an explosive artifact.” The second phase of humanitarian mine clearance consists of a technical survey, a thorough investigation to confirm or cancel the area in question. In the third phase, experts begin clearance to remove and destroy mines using three methods: manual, mechanic—with minesweeping equipment—or canine. “We now work with minesweeping equipment in [the departments of] Caquetá and Meta; [and] with canines in Caquetá, Putumayo, and Valle del Cauca,” Col. Rodríguez said. “In 90 percent [of the territories], the clearance is done manually.” Minesweeping equipment can cover up to 3,200 square meters in an hour, the officer said, while the manual method covers between 6 and 16 square meters a day. Statistics According to Descontamina Colombia, between 1990 and July 31, 2018, a total of 11,615 troops and civilians were victims of explosive artifacts in the country; 2,287 of them died. Authorities destroyed more than 6,000 explosive artifacts in that period. At a public hearing on July 31st, Sergio Bueno Aguirre, director of Descontamina Colombia, announced that the number of victims dropped drastically in 2018, thanks to the Peace Accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Between 2015 and 2018, Bueno said, the number of victims decreased by 60 percent. “Being able to meet the country’s goal to be mine-free and fulfill its commitment to the Ottawa Treaty has been one of this government’s priorities,” said Bueno. For his part, Col. Rodríguez looks forward to the future and projects to come. “Antipersonnel mines highly affected our farmers. This practice caused displacements and affected regional economies due to insecurity about going to the fields,” Col. Rodríguez said. “After humanitarian mine clearance is done, other state projects will be implemented, such as crop substitution, land restitution, and productive projects.”last_img read more