Wagdy Ghoneim http://wagdyghoneim.com/ Wed, 04 Aug 2021 19:20:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 http://wagdyghoneim.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/wagdyghoneim-icon-70x70.png Wagdy Ghoneim http://wagdyghoneim.com/ 32 32 EXCLUSIVE-Biden plans to change arms export policy to promote human rights -sources http://wagdyghoneim.com/exclusive-biden-plans-to-change-arms-export-policy-to-promote-human-rights-sources/ Wed, 04 Aug 2021 19:11:11 +0000 http://wagdyghoneim.com/exclusive-biden-plans-to-change-arms-export-policy-to-promote-human-rights-sources/

US President Joe Biden’s administration is preparing an overhaul of arms export policy to place more emphasis on human rights, a departure from former President Donald Trump’s priority on economic benefits for US defense contractors, said four people familiar with the initiative.

Defense companies and activists are examining these policies to better understand the administration’s position as it balances the business interests of exporters like Lockheed Martin Co and Raytheon Technologies with the country’s stated commitment to human rights. man. Two State Department deputy assistant secretaries will brief Congress staff on Biden’s proposed Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) policy on Friday, two of those familiar with the situation said, with an official unveiling expected as early as September. .

The administration briefed a smaller group of congressional assistants about two weeks ago, underscoring the State Department’s desire for a “more robust” review of arms sales with more contributions from the rights office. of the department man, said an administrative source and a congressional aide who attended. Details of the proposed change have yet to be finalized and are being released to other more export-friendly agencies like the Defense Ministry, the people said. The Pentagon has traditionally advocated putting weapons in the hands of the allies so that US forces can rely more on them in conflicts abroad.

A congressional aide involved in the briefings on the issue said he expected any policy change to have the greatest impact on sales of smaller weapons such as assault rifles and equipment. surveillance, which can be used by the police or paramilitary forces against national populations. A senior administration official confirmed that the new CAT policy is under development and “will help us build and maintain strategic partnerships that best reflect US values ​​and interests.”

The new policy would also make it possible to “discuss more firmly” the links between arms transfers and human rights, the official said. The revamped policy could affect sales in countries like the Philippines, where human rights groups have called for an investigation into police use of lethal force in raids.

Sales of major systems, such as air defense systems or naval systems, could be slowed down, although they would likely continue to grow. “In some cases, it will add an extra layer to get the yes on a particular case,” said the congressional aide.

PROGRESSIVE PRESSURE Supporters of a stronger focus on human rights have said the change could affect sales to countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, especially given the pressure from the United Arab Emirates. Biden’s progressive wing of the Democratic Party on the civilian toll of their raids in the Civil War. in Yemen.

“A new American approach to arms sales is absolutely necessary. We need to move beyond approaching arms sales as a transaction, ”said Rachel Stohl, vice president of the Stimson Center in Washington. “Overall, the Biden people seem to be in the same fashion as the Trump people in promoting arms exports,” the congressional aide said, noting that the pace of arms sales under the Biden administration is roughly the same as under Trump.

The United States is by far the world’s largest arms dealer, selling more than $ 100 billion in arms, services, and training annually. Trump, a Republican who promoted arms sales as a way to create jobs in the United States, deployed in 2018 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-arms/trump-launches -effort-to-boost- us-weapons-sales-abroad-idUSKBN1HQ2E6 a new version of the CAT policy that gives as much weight to commercial concerns as to human rights in the decision to approve or not the sales weapons.

US arms makers have backed Trump’s strategy https://www.reuters.com/article/cbusiness-us-usa-trump-arms-insight-idCAKBN1HO2PT-OCABS, which called on Cabinet secretaries to act in as close to major arms deals and sent top government officials to promote US arms at international air shows and arms bazaars. Trump himself has promoted arms deals in meetings and conversations with foreign leaders, including urging the Emir of Kuwait to move forward with a $ 10 billion fighter plane deal. .

He controversially rejected Congress’ consideration of major arms deals to push through a massive sale of smart bombs and other weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, despite concerns over the war in the United Arab Emirates. Yemen and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump said Riyadh was spending billions “buying military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other major US defense contractors” and that canceling the contracts would be “foolish.”

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Swinomish Opposes Cooke Aquaculture Net Enclosure | New http://wagdyghoneim.com/swinomish-opposes-cooke-aquaculture-net-enclosure-new/ Wed, 04 Aug 2021 18:00:00 +0000 http://wagdyghoneim.com/swinomish-opposes-cooke-aquaculture-net-enclosure-new/

Just off the Swinomish Preserve and north of Hope Island in Skagit Bay, a net pen owned by Cooke Aquaculture is expected to contain 365,000 sterile native rainbow trout.

For Swinomish President Steve Edwards this pen is a threat.

“As a long-time tribal fisherman, I know that nothing is more important to the Swinomish tribal community than the cultural and natural resources that we have managed and have been fortunate enough to discover since time immemorial,” said Edwards said in a press release. “The Hope Island mesh enclosure interferes with our way of life, and it needs to be removed, not revived. “

Although the state Department of Fisheries and Wildlife allows the company to stockpile the enclosure, the state Supreme Court will assess the legality of the permit in two months after an appeal from environmental groups. Cooke Aquaculture’s ground lease with the state’s Department of Natural Resources expires in 2022, and the agency has yet to determine whether to renew the lease.

Edwards said in the statement that “it is extremely troubling” that the company is able to stockpile the pens before the Supreme Court and Natural Resources have made decisions on the permit and lease.

Cooke Aquaculture spokesperson Joel Richardson said in an email their operations had undergone a year of potential risk analysis with input from scientists, tribes and the public, and operations would be safe.

“The Hope Island farm has been inspected and analyzed by a third-party engineer who has certified it to be safe. Cooke has worked closely with (Natural Resources) to ensure he has confidence in his operations, ”said Richardson. “The agencies have reviewed the technical certification and have no concerns about the condition of the installation.”

In 2017, approximately 240,000 non-native Atlantic salmon reached Puget Sound after a Cooke aquaculture enclosure collapsed near Cypress Island. The state legislature has passed a law that will phase out the breeding of non-native fish by 2022.

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Point of sale providers compete to be a one stop shop http://wagdyghoneim.com/point-of-sale-providers-compete-to-be-a-one-stop-shop/ Wed, 04 Aug 2021 15:50:22 +0000 http://wagdyghoneim.com/point-of-sale-providers-compete-to-be-a-one-stop-shop/

The point of sale (POS) name may suggest just one step in the process, but restaurant point of sale providers go far beyond the point of payment. On Tuesday, August 3, FinTech and payment firm Fiserv’s Clover point-of-sale system announced the launch of Clover Station Solo, a device that aims to consolidate front and back home operations. At the same time, the cloud-based point-of-sale system Appetize announced Appetize Plus, which bundles the company’s software, hardware, and payment tools into one subscription, allowing businesses to upgrade their technology without the often prohibitive cost of the initial purchase of each.

You might also like: Fiserv’s Clover gross payment volumes up 96pc with 2 million devices in service

“Appetize Plus is a game-changer for our corporate customers because, historically, businesses have been known to save for years to upgrade their point-of-sale systems,” said Kevin Anderson, chief strategy officer and co-founder of Appetize, in a statement. He added that the subscription plan allows businesses to “immediately reap all the benefits of a faster, easier to use system” and offers the “peace of mind” of “knowing they will always have the service. latest technology “. . “

As restaurants continue to upgrade their technology, whether to stay ahead of the curve or to catch up, the market for cloud-based solutions continues to grow. Grand View Research report reveals that the global restaurant POS terminal market size was $ 15.5 billion in 2020, and the demand for mobile POS terminals will grow by more than 5% each. year to 2028. Businesses that can go beyond credit card processing, tie payment functionality to a suite of connected services like Clover and Appetize do, have the potential to become restaurant essentials.

One point-of-sale system that could take hold in the coming years is Olo Pay, a payment processing tool from digital ordering and delivery software provider Olo, which is expected to launch in 2023.

“[Olo Pay] is our effort to have an Olo payment offering as a component of our product modules, so that things like mobile wallet, things like chargebacks and fraud protection are built into the offer ” , Olo founder and CEO Noah Glass told Karen Webster. Given the company’s wide range of offerings and its existing partnerships with dozens of major restaurant chains, the feature could quickly become a major player among point-of-sale providers aiming to be a one-stop-shop for restaurants. .

Read more: Olo’s Noah Glass Fuels $ 1.6 Trillion ‘Eats’ Ecosystem

The space becomes more competitive every week. In mid-July, Hospitality-focused point-of-sale provider Squirrel Systems announced Squirrel Cloud POS Independent Restaurant Edition, which in addition to consolidating orders across all channels and processing payments, also aims to ease the working difficulties of independent restaurants by allowing waiters to send orders to the kitchen. wherever they are in the restaurant, maximizing the time they can spend with customers. The following week, hotel tech startup Bbot announced a $ 15 million Series A fundraiser, bringing its total funding to $ 22.3 million, to expand its e-commerce platform, which includes a point of sale system as well as contactless orders and loyalty rewards.

See also: How consumers live in the connected economy

Using point-of-sale technology as an entry point into a wider range of functionality, all of these ResTech companies are finding ways to deepen their relationships with restaurants, providing restaurants with access to a range of digital experiences. connected and becoming essential to their customers. in today’s connected economy.

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PYMNTS DATA: 100 HEALTH EXECUTORS DECLARE USE OF AI TO FIGHT FRAUD, WASTE AND ABUSE

About: Healthcare companies lose 12% of their annual revenue to fraud, waste and abuse (FWA), but few are using artificial intelligence (AI) to solve these problems due to cost concerns. In AI In Focus: Targeting Fraud, Waste and Abuse In Healthcare, PYMNTS surveyed 100 healthcare executives to find out how AI could actually help businesses save money by limiting costly misrepresentation and false positives.

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How to pay those next college bills http://wagdyghoneim.com/how-to-pay-those-next-college-bills/ Tue, 03 Aug 2021 14:00:00 +0000 http://wagdyghoneim.com/how-to-pay-those-next-college-bills/

The day has finally come to send Junior to college and let’s face it. You didn’t save much for it. In fact, if you’re like many parents, you might not have saved anything at all.

If you don’t want your child to be struggling with student debt and have extra savings that you don’t need for retirement, where exactly should that money come from? This is a question we get all the time. Here are some considerations.

Does your child have assets?

If so, there are several reasons why you might want to tap into these assets before others. First, they have the greatest impact on eligibility for financial aid since 20% of their value is counted in the aid formulas. (This does not apply to assets in a 529 savings account, which are considered parental assets, nor to Coverdell education savings accounts or any money your child may have in a Roth IRA, which are not included at all.)

Second, once your child reaches the age of majority in your state, he or she can spend that money however they want and their idea of ​​how to use that money well may not be the same as yours. For these reasons, you may want to use that money to purchase personal items like a new computer before you complete the FAFSA and your child’s 18th birthday. (Even if the age of majority in your state is 21, it may be 18 in the state where your child is attending school.)

Do you have money in education savings plans?

If you have been successful in saving money for education, obviously you will want to use that money for this purpose. This way the winnings can be withdrawn tax free. Otherwise, they would be subject to a tax and possibly a 10% penalty if you use the money for other purposes.

However, if a 529 savings account is in someone else’s name (such as a grandparent), you’ll want to wait and use that money for the last year of school if possible. This is because the assets will not be taken into account in the financial assistance formulas until they are withdrawn. At this point, they will have the greatest impact on reducing aid by being counted as income for your child, which can reduce eligibility by 50%! By the time last year’s bills arrive, the last FAFSA will have been filed and you won’t have to worry about financial aid anymore. (Plus, eligible withdrawals from 529 savings plans won’t even count for financial aid eligibility starting in the 2024-2025 school year.)

Do you have taxable assets?

As these do not have the tax advantages of retirement accounts and are accounted for in the financial assistance formulas, taxable assets have priority over withdrawals from retirement accounts. If you have US government savings bonds and meet certain income and other requirements, you may be able to cash them out and use the money tax-free for your child’s education. If you have assets that have lost value since you bought them, you can use the losses to offset other taxes, including up to $ 3,000 a year from your regular income taxes for losses. greater than your earnings. You can carry forward any loss greater than $ 3,000 indefinitely.

What about assets other than savings bonds that have appreciated more than losses? One solution is to give them to your child and ask them to sell them. They will still have to pay capital gains tax, but at a potentially lower rate. For 2021, your child will have the first $ 1,100 of non-taxable investment income and the next $ 1,100 will be taxed at their tax rate (which is also probably zero). However, any amount over $ 2,200 will then be subject to your highest marginal tax rate, which will likely be higher than the capital gains rate you would have paid if it were in your name, you don’t want. therefore not having to earn too much on behalf of your child.

Can you borrow against your house?

If you have equity in your home, it might make more sense to borrow against your home rather than plunder your retirement account or have your child take out student loans. This is because interest rates are still near their historic lows and are likely to be lower than student loan rates and what your investments can generate in your retirement account. That being said, there is an obvious downside. If you can’t afford the payments, your home will be in jeopardy. Ask yourself if the interest savings are worth the risk.

Can you borrow from your pension plan?

The advantage of borrowing as part of your retirement plan is that you can put the money back into your account with the interest you pay. This does not mean that it is free, however. The real cost is the lost income you would have earned if that money had stayed invested. Another downside is that you usually have to pay it back over a relatively short period of 5 years, so you’ll want to make sure you can afford those payments while still putting food on the table and keeping the lights on. Finally, if you quit your job for any reason, the plans often require you to pay off the outstanding loan balance or this will be considered a taxable withdrawal and possibly a 10% penalty if you are under 59. 1/2 years old.

Do you have other retirement accounts?

You can make penalty-free withdrawals from traditional or Roth IRAs for qualifying education expenses. But unlike retirement plan loans, you cannot return that money. You will also have to pay taxes on any untaxed distributions. (This only happens for Roth IRAs after all contributions and converted balances have been withdrawn without tax or penalty.) If you have a retirement plan from a previous employer like a 401 (k) or 403 (b ), you can convert it to an IRA and then use it without penalty for education as well.

If your child has their own Roth IRA, the balance will not count toward financial aid eligibility. However, if they take a withdrawal from it, it could have a negative impact as it would be treated as income and count against them. This is why it generally makes sense to let the child’s Roth IRA continue to grow tax-free and avoid withdrawals (unless it’s for the final year).

Can you take a hardship withdrawal from your pension plan?

Many plans allow you to request a hardship withdrawal, but this should be a last resort. Not only will you have to pay taxes and if you are under 59 1/2 years old possibly a 10% penalty on the withdrawal, but you will not be able to repay that money which will definitely reduce your retirement savings. To add insult to injury, you may also not be able to contribute to your pension plan for a period of time after taking a hardship withdrawal.

Do you want to give or lend money?

Once you have decided where the money is coming from, you still have to decide where exactly it will go and how. Keep in mind that if you give your child money, any amount over $ 15,000 per year (or $ 30,000 if you are married) will require you to complete a gift tax return and reduce your lifetime exemption from unified inheritance and gift tax. You can work around this problem by paying school bills directly, as the donation tax does not apply to direct payments to educational institutions.

Instead of donating, you might want to lend money instead. With interest rates this low, you might be able to earn more on your savings than you would in the bank, even if your child pays you less interest than he would to a loan provider. students. It could be a win / win proposition. Just be aware that you might not get the money back. After all, it’s not exactly FDIC insured.

Should you even provide this money?

Keep in mind that no matter where you take the money out, you can use a retirement calculator to make sure it’s money you won’t need for retirement. After all, if you don’t provide the money, that doesn’t mean you don’t love your child or don’t want them to go to college. It just means that they will have to borrow the difference, as most students do. But if you don’t have enough savings for retirement, good luck finding someone willing to lend you the difference.

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Environment Ministry to receive additional NIS 625million to tackle climate change http://wagdyghoneim.com/environment-ministry-to-receive-additional-nis-625million-to-tackle-climate-change/ Tue, 03 Aug 2021 11:16:13 +0000 http://wagdyghoneim.com/environment-ministry-to-receive-additional-nis-625million-to-tackle-climate-change/

The two-year state budget approved by ministers on Monday includes for the first time a special allocation of NIS 625 million (nearly $ 195 million) to fight climate change.

The complex 2021-2022 national budget must now go through committee stages and three Knesset plenary readings by the November 4 deadline.

The money, which will be allocated over two years to help fund a five-year program, will allow the Department of Environmental Protection to advance initiatives in renewable energy, green transportation and clean air. , help local authorities create programs to deal with climate change and invest in environmental research and new technologies, among others, according to a statement from the ministry.

Other ministries, such as energy, transport, economy and education, and the Israel Land Authority will also receive undisclosed funds to help them implement a multi-year government plan to reduce emissions. linked to global warming which will be presented in the coming weeks.

It is not yet known whether these sums will be added to their base budgets or will be allocated within them.

All of this funding will be used to meet Israel’s updated greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change last week.

These commit the state to reduce net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the economy by 27% by 2030 and 85% by 2050, compared to 2015.

Israelis take part in protest march demanding immediate action on climate change, Tel Aviv, March 29, 2019. The sign reads: “What green do you see?” (Adam Shuldman / Flash90)

In addition, a sum of NIS 550 million (approximately $ 170 million) will be allocated to enable the ministry to help Arab municipalities prepare for global warming and modernize their waste disposal systems with better oriented infrastructure. towards more recycling.

Of this amount, 300 million shekels will be new funds and 250 million shekels will come from the 625 million shekels allocated to climate change.

The Environmental Protection Ministry’s base budget for operating costs will be NIS 340 million ($ 105.5 million) per year for the two years, according to a ministry spokesperson.

In addition, money from the government’s Clean Fund, generated from landfill fees, will be used for ministry initiatives to reduce the use of disposable plastic and clean up beaches.

Volunteers in Israel’s Beach Cleanup Efforts, October 30, 2020 (Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel)

The Ministry of Environmental Protection also said various environmental reforms were spelled out in the Economic Arrangements Bill accompanying the state budget, which received preliminary approval on Monday.

The reforms include a carbon tax on emissions from global warming, initially sourced from fossil fuels, a tax on disposable plastic and the addition of 46 staff positions in the licensing unit.

The ministry’s ability to influence the terms of business licenses will, however, be drastically reduced with plans to reduce government-wide regulation by creating a new business licensing committee within the prime minister’s office.

The proposals, which have long been under development at PMO, aim “to remove barriers and accelerate business activity”, according to the text of the draft law on economic arrangements.

“The need for the current reform is due to the difficulty of companies facing strict and complex licensing requirements,” he said.

Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg warned last week that the move would leave the ministry “with responsibility but no authority”, posing a risk to public health and the environment.

Maya Jacobs, Director of the Marine Protection Organization, Zalul. (Dor Malka)

Maya Jacobs, director of marine conservation organization Zalul, said the government was destroying the ministry’s ability to protect citizens from air pollution caused by industry and was handcuffing the power of local authorities to limit industrial pollution in their communities. areas of jurisdiction.

“We don’t know which will kill us first, environmental pollution or the climate, but in any case it is a death penalty for public health and nature,” she said, adding that the government had bowed to pressure from the owners of polluting industries. .

The last state budget adopted was that of 2019, before Israel entered two years of political stalemate under then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. If the new budget is not passed by November, a key challenge for the coalition which holds an extremely narrow parliamentary majority, the Knesset would automatically dissolve and new elections would follow.

The climate crisis and responsible journalism

As an environmental reporter for The Times of Israel, I try to convey the facts and science behind climate change and environmental degradation, explain – and criticize – official policies affecting our future, and describe the Israeli technologies that can be part of the solution.

I am passionate about the natural world and disheartened by the dismal lack of awareness of environmental issues among most of the public and politicians in Israel.

I am proud to do my part to keep The Times of Israel readers properly informed on this vital topic – which can and must lead to policy change.

Your support, by joining The Times of Israel community, allows us to continue our important work. Would you like to join our community today?

Thank you,

Sue surke, Environment Journalist

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High Rock Booger’s Lizards Secure Second Place in National Envirothon Competition http://wagdyghoneim.com/high-rock-boogers-lizards-secure-second-place-in-national-envirothon-competition/ Tue, 03 Aug 2021 11:00:57 +0000 http://wagdyghoneim.com/high-rock-boogers-lizards-secure-second-place-in-national-envirothon-competition/

The five members of the High Rock Booger Lizards of Davidson County Homeschool are serious about conserving the environment, even if their names don’t reflect it.

The team, which also represented the state of North Carolina, placed second in the National Conservation Foundation’s 2021 Envirothon competition on July 28. Nebraska was the host state this year, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event took place online.

Want to know more about what’s going on in Davidson County? Support local journalism, subscribe to The Dispatch

The Davidson County team included home schooled students Sydney Loflin, Josie Freeman, Nathan Gobble, Alex Pope and Ellie Jones.

“Words cannot express how proud I am of the team,” said Lisa Loflin, team advisor. “Adequate preparation for competition forces students to make many sacrifices during their summer. Most of the top three teams are made up of recently graduated students. Our team was made up of three rising seniors and two rising juniors… And with a virtual competition with four out of five students who have never competed at the NCF level before; it is truly an achievement.