New Organization – Nismo Club Sat, 06 Aug 2022 02:57:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 New Organization – Nismo Club 32 32 Charter a new course with the ESG framework Fri, 05 Aug 2022 23:35:21 +0000

Every few years, organizations have the opportunity to pause, reflect, and chart a new course. Strategic planning provides this opportunity.

Strategic planning best practices include assessing your organization’s current state, aligning with a vision for the future, establishing key performance indicators to measure your success, and mapping milestones to guide your shares.

The past two and a half years have brought to light new challenges to consider during the strategic planning process related to talent acquisition and retention, supply chain stability, business continuity , diversity and inclusion and cybersecurity.

There is a new framework that serves as a common thread between the factors listed above, encompassing corporate environmental management, social impact and adherence to governance best practices. It is called ESG.

ESG stands for “Environmental”, “Social” and “Governance”. The three terms are the pillars of corporate sustainability: a broader, forward-looking perspective for assessing risks and opportunities for operational improvement within a business.

Business factors that fall under each of the three categories include:

  • E : energy consumption, emissions, waste and recycling, use of natural resources, land use and impact on biodiversity
  • S: workforce engagement, community relations, diversity and inclusion, worker health and safety, customer relations and product quality and safety
  • g: shareholder engagement, board and management policies, business continuity planning, succession planning and data protection

The framework asks you to think critically about what the next 10, 20 or 30 years might look like in your industry.

  • Will your existing supply chain partners be there then?
  • Will your raw materials be available? Will their cost be lower, stable or higher?
  • Is your business prepared for increased volume and veracity of cyberattacks?
  • How would you be affected if a carbon emissions tax were introduced?
  • As Millennials and Generation Z become the largest segment of purchasing power in the country, how will consumer preferences evolve?

By considering these types of questions, you have the opportunity to make short-term improvements within your business while preparing for the future, giving you an edge over your competition.

Here are some practical examples of how ESG can translate into short- and long-term business outcomes that promote the sustainability of your business (and also benefit the planet).

  • STOCK: Integrate employee surveys or listening sessions for feedback using a tool like Officevibe
  • SHORT TERM RESULT: Understand the desires and issues of your employees related to work
  • LONG-TERM RESULT: Improve talent retention, increase the number of referrals and strengthen the value proposition of your employees
  • STOCK: Assess the quality of your energy program with free resources from ENERGY STAR
  • SHORT-TERM RESULT: Establish a baseline to develop an effective energy management program that improves your building’s efficiency
  • LONG-TERM RESULT: Save on energy costs

  • STOCK: Implement customer satisfaction surveys using a tool such as GetFeedback
  • SHORT-TERM RESULT: Uncover product quality issues before they arise and validate your ideal customer persona
  • LONG-TERM RESULT: Improve customer retention and improve your marketing ROI
Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. sat for depositions as part of New York probe into Trump Organization finances Thu, 04 Aug 2022 00:15:00 +0000 Trump Jr., who leads the Trump Organization with his brother Eric Trump, did not affirm the Fifth Amendment and answered questions from the state, one of the people said. It is not known what he was asked or how he answered the questions.

Former President Donald Trump is expected to testify later this month.

An attorney for Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump declined to comment, and representatives for the Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment. The New York Attorney General’s office declined to comment.

The depositions raise the legal stakes for members of the Trump family as they face two investigations, one civil and one criminal, into the accuracy of the Trump Organization’s financial statements.

The former president and the Trump Organization have previously denied any wrongdoing and called the civil investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, politically motivated.

In January, James’ office said it found “significant” evidence that the Trump Organization used false or misleading asset valuations in its financial statements to obtain loans, insurance and tax benefits.

Trump Jr.’s decision to answer state questions breaks with that of Eric Trump and former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, who both asserted their Fifth Amendment rights when they were submitted in 2020.

In a civil case, the jury can draw an “adverse inference” and hold it against people who don’t answer the questions.

That’s not the only math at play. There have been discussions about the stigma of asserting the Fifth Amendment and how that would play out politically, said one of the people familiar with the matter.

By answering the questions, Trump Jr. increases his potential legal exposure. He was involved with several properties, including 40 Wall Street, and certified the accuracy of financial statements from 2017, the attorney general’s office said. Ivanka Trump was a key liaison with Deutsche Bank, which loaned the Trump Organization more than $300 million.

The financial statements were prepared by accountants inside and outside the Trump Organization. There is also debate over how properties have been valued given the flexibility of assessments. The valuations were endorsed by longtime Trump appraiser Cushman & Wakefield, which is also under investigation.

The firm, which cut ties with Trump after Jan. 6, 2021, has denied any wrongdoing. The banks, which provided the financing, also did not lose money on the loans they took out.

The New York Attorney General’s investigation is at an advanced stage. Lawyers for the office have said publicly that they expect to take enforcement action, but will engage in discussions with the Trump Organization before a decision is made.

Investigators interviewed numerous current and former Trump Organization executives and employees, including Donald Trump’s former aide, Rhona Graff, and several finance and accounting department executives.
James’ office subpoenaed the Trumps late last year. They decided to block subpoenas in court, arguing that they shouldn’t have to sit for depositions while there was a criminal investigation. The court rejected their arguments, saying that a criminal investigation does not preclude a civil investigation from obtaining evidence. The former president was also charged with contempt and fined $110,000 for failing to comply with a subpoena. The judge lifted the contempt order in June.
The criminal investigation, led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, has slowed but not stopped. Earlier this year, Bragg would not allow prosecutors to present evidence to a state grand jury after expressing concerns about the strength of the case, CNN reported. A special grand jury hearing evidence in the case expired in April, but a new one could be seated in the future.

Bragg told CNN in an April interview, “Anytime you have a parallel civil and criminal investigation, if there’s any testimony in that proceeding, obviously we’ll look at it.”

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect that Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. were scheduled to sit for depositions in July. He was also updated with additional background information.

New research reveals risk factors for business success in a post-pandemic world Tue, 02 Aug 2022 10:00:00 +0000

Economist Impact survey of 2,000 business leaders, sponsored by Cognizant, shows top challenges include competing priorities, valuing technology investments, downsizing talent and skills, and pursuing ESG actions

  • About 90% of respondents cited competing strategic imperatives, including data-driven ways of working, digital business models, and aligning operations with these new ways of working.
  • More than 60% of respondents are planning or have already started to adopt advanced technologies such as quantum computing, blockchain and robotics. Yet nearly 50% say they are not getting significant value from existing technology investments.
  • Nearly half of respondents, or about 46%, acknowledge that they lack the internal talent needed to implement and use advanced technologies.
  • An overwhelming majority of nine out of 10 respondents agree that attention to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues is an essential aspect of modern business; only 35% currently integrate ESG into the company’s strategy.

TEANECK, NJ, August 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ —

Cognizant today presented The Future-Ready Business Benchmark, an Economist Impact study, commissioned by Cognizant. This comprehensive survey of business leaders from eight industries and 10 countries aims to understand the state of modern business and how leaders are preparing for long-term success in a post-pandemic world. The research identifies three critical interrelated areas for leaders to prioritize to create a resilient, future-ready business: 1) fully leverage accelerated technology adoption, 2) revise workforce strategies, and 3) bridging the gap between thought and action in the face of growing environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

“Resilience is the new capability that is essential for any organization that expects to thrive in times of intensified competition, ever-accelerating digital technology, and unpredictable global events,” said Euan Davis, Cognizant Research Manager. “To succeed as a modern business, leaders must be prepared for anything, and prioritization is key when everything seems equally critical. The ESG program is a central focus for leaders to focus on. Successful CxOs Build resilient, future-ready businesses by ensuring their organizations continually learn, adapt and evolve.

Economist Impact surveyed 2,000 senior executives in 10 countries across North America, Europeand Asia Pacific to assess and benchmark their business across a range of measures.

Highlights of the survey include the following information:

  • Strategic clarity is confused. More than 90% of business leaders surveyed say adopting a data-driven approach and creating a digital-first business model is a strategic priority, with 37% citing both imperatives, as well as the need to align operations with these new ways of working, as “business critical”.
  • Technology investments are accelerating beyond what has become the standard shopping list for cloud, advanced analytics, IoT and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), even as respondents say they are not yet taking full advantage of existing investments. In addition to these foundational technologies, which the vast majority of respondents, 80%, say they have adopted or plan to adopt, there is a growing appetite for a set of emerging technologies; more than 60% of respondents say they are considering or already adopting quantum computing, blockchain and robotics.
  • Labor and talent management strategies need a major overhaul to prepare workers for new ways of working. Nearly half of respondents, or 46%, agree that they lack the skilled talent needed to productively use advanced technologies. When asked about the biggest barriers to implementing new processes, products, services and technologies over the past 12 months, the top two challenges were related to the workforce: a lack of skilled staff and a chronic lack of focus on preparing workers for new methods. of work. For example, only a third, or 33%, of respondents use data to identify and understand training needs and cultivate talent.
  • Business resilience is at risk for companies that recognize ESG as a critical consideration but fail to take steps to embed ESG across the organization. Nine out of 10 decision makers, or 90%, agree that considering ESG issues is an important aspect of a modern business. However, there is a massive disconnect between recognition and action, with only 31% having dedicated ESG staff and resources, and only 35% integrating ESG into company strategy. . A slight majority, 54%, say they set and act on specific environmental goals, while only 44% currently measure social impact.

“Many businesses today are struggling to prepare for the next month, let alone years to come,” noted Vaibhav Sahgal, Director at Economist Impact. “Companies that truly embed the future-readiness principles of our Future-Ready Business Benchmark into their operational realities will maintain and grow their competitive advantage. juggling a wide range of often competing priorities Our advice is to start where the gaps are greatest and focus on people; the benchmark offers concrete calls to action for companies in all countries and sectors. A failure to embrace the volatility that is here to stay, and prioritize business plans and investments accordingly, puts your business at risk of losing relevance.”

Study methodology
The Future-Ready Business Benchmark, a study by Economist Impact, supported by Cognizant, examines the state of businesses today in light of the needs of tomorrow. It was developed through a rigorous process of research, expert consultation, data collection and analysis. The benchmark reflects a series of key considerations and measures of the future readiness of multinational enterprises from 10 developed economies and eight sectors, covering the external environment, business readiness factors and current performance, and focused on cross-cutting themes, including business fundamentals, talent, technology and innovation capacity, and ESG.

Learn more about what it takes to be a future-ready business here.

About Cognizant
Competent (Nasdaq: CSP) modern business engineers. We help our customers modernize technology, reinvent process and transform experiences so they can stay ahead of our fast-paced world. Together, we make everyday life better. See how to or @cognizant.

For more information contact:


Once Called National Landing, Amazon’s Arlington Area Tries “NaLa” Sun, 31 Jul 2022 15:00:00 +0000


At first he appeared on freebie Bottles of water. Then he made his way on rainbow t shirts for pride month.

In June, he popped up on Instagram as a hashtag, and this month he was suddenly glued to the surfboard and the silver Airstream set up in a grassy patch of Arlington, telling commuters, dog walkers and strutting joggers that their neighborhood has earned a whole new nickname: NaLa.

Yes, “National Landing” — the term coined by local economic development officials to lure Amazon to Northern Virginia four years ago — is shortened and SoHo-ized, reduced to a two-syllable abbreviation that says it all, and nothing. , all at once.

“Nala? asked Mohsin Abuholo, sitting on a bench near a fake lifeguard hut advertising the NaLa Beach Club on a wet evening this week. “I guess it’s a name for a woman. Like Anala?

“It must be a new thing they’re doing?” wondered Allison Gaul, 38, a lawyer walking her 10-year-old Dalmatian, Dotty, nearby. “I don’t know what ‘NaLa’ means.”

“I had to try to figure that one out. I mean sure, I guess,” said Johnathan Edwards, 40, who returned to the area a year ago for his work at Amazon. “I’m not a big fan of it, to be honest.”

National Landing, the combined generic name for this collection of Northern Virginia neighborhoods — Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard — was the subject of much confusion when it debuted in 2018, with many longtime residents refusing to d ‘adopting a label they said felt like a business creation for Amazon. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Now, just like AdMo (Adams Morgan) and CoHi (Columbia Heights) before it, or NoMa before it, the area seems to be trying the kind of shorthand that, depending on who you ask, is synonymous with peak yuppiness or a new genre of urban cool.

Amazon’s HQ2 Neighborhood Rebranding: Alpacas, Mocktails, and Flower Crowns for Dogs

Tracy Sayegh Gabriel, executive director of the National Landing Business Improvement District (BID), made it clear that “NaLa” was nothing more than a series of events her organization was hosting this summer.

Along with the beach club – which urges neighbors to “close their eyes and enjoy that summer getaway with your toes in the sand” – there’s NaLa Fit, with outdoor barre, HIIT and yoga classes, and NaLa Fridays at the Park, a weekly concert series featuring local musicians.

“It’s more of a shortcut that’s meant to be fun and impactful,” said Sayegh Gabriel. “There is no intention to introduce a new name for the district.”

But others have also adopted the abbreviation, uninvited: A dentist’s office in Old Town Alexandria – officially outside the boundaries of National Landing – recently changed its name to NaLa Smiles, in part to attract some of Amazon’s new customers as patients. (“It was a better abbreviation on signs and signage, and it sounds better,” said Hisham Barakat, the office owner.)

And on the other side social mediaa few residents and small businesses have also begun using the shorthand to refer to a rapidly changing area that is already seeing an influx of new apartment buildings, restaurants, and business moves.

“We have a lot of community pride, equity and social capital in the names we have. We are therefore very committed to maintaining the regular use of ‘Crystal City’, ‘Pentagon City’ and ‘Potomac Yard’, as well as the generic name of ‘National Landing’,” added Sayegh Gabriel. “This is the destination we are building.”

This does not mean that everyone sees it the same way.

“A cultural shortcut”

The logic behind “NaLa” is nothing new to the DC region or beyond. As long as there have been neighborhoods, there have been suitcases meant to sell those neighborhoods and their potential trend.

“It’s kind of a cultural shortcut,” said Jeffrey Parker, an urban sociologist at the University of New Orleans. “Places with this kind of name, this kind of nomenclature are associated with certain types of amenities and certain types of commerce. … It’s very silly, but it’s branding. It’s boosterism.

One of the earliest examples in the United States, he said, is New York’s SoHo. Once a deteriorating light industrial area, it was renamed by city planners as they sought to rezone the area for artists to take over its spacious lofts.

It didn’t hurt that the new name evoked a hip London neighborhood, and copycat versions followed in Lower Manhattan: Tribeca. Nomadic. FiDi.

But more than half a century later, as New York real estate agents tried to peddle nicknames like “SoHa” (South Harlem) and “SoBro” (the South Bronx) far outside of downtown city, some said it had gone too far: One lawmaker even proposed a bill that would punish brokers who use made-up names to sell property.

The trend – and the resulting stack – entered the Beltway soon after. “North of Massachusetts Avenue” was successfully rebranded as “NoMa,” with a stop on the Red Line subway to seal the deal. Other attempts failed amid the backfire: neither SoNYA (south of New York Avenue), nor GaP (between Georgia Avenue and Petworth), nor SoMo (south of Adams Morgan) seemed to hold.

“It’s something that’s really easy to make fun of,” said Parker, the urban sociologist, but “people see something work once, and they hang on to it.”

So it’s perhaps no surprise that the two-syllable craze has reached South Arlington, where this rapidly changing neighborhood has been trying for four years to figure out its identity — and what it should be called.

After decades of being known as some sort of soulless maze of concrete, the neighborhoods of Crystal City (named after a chandelier in the lobby of a local building) and Pentagon City (after the nearby house of the American army) were immediately propelled into urban stardom when Amazon announced in November 2018 that it would be moving its second headquarters there.

But when officials celebrated the company’s new neighborhood as “National Landing,” an umbrella term that also looped through part of Alexandria’s Potomac Yard, the resounding reaction was: What?

“Never heard of National Landing? asked a local blog. “You’re not alone.”

Stephanie Landrum tells her origin story: When Northern Virginia economic development officials came together in 2017 to submit a joint bid for Amazon’s second headquarters competition, the proposal was known as a “Alexandria-Arlington”.

She and her colleagues created a 285-page booklet extolling the virtues of this booming region to send to Amazon, and just before printing, they realized they were missing something: anything – more convincing to label it.

“We’ve literally spent so much time forging words about a vibrant and connected community,” said Landrum, president and CEO of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, “that we’ve kind of come to the last day and had to make a decision.”

City of Crystal? It was just a neighborhood. Potomac landing? It didn’t stick. Landrum said she was texting her counterpart in Arlington, each with a celebratory glass of wine in hand, when they settled on “National Landing.”

The name, meant to evoke nearby Reagan National Airport as well as the area’s long list of transportation options, quickly became ubiquitous in the respective offices as they engaged in secret talks with Amazon over the Next year.

When they finally made the announcement, “we kind of forgot that the rest of the world didn’t know we created this nickname,” Landrum said.

Yet the BID and developer JBG Smith have both embraced it, increasingly using the name as the neighborhood began a physical and cultural transformation: In addition to Amazon offices, the area is now home to the new Boeing headquarters and, soon, the new Virginia Tech college campus. . There will be a new Yellow Line station at Potomac Yard (PoYa?), the first filler stop added to the subway system in decades, and a pedestrian bridge connecting the airport to the rest of the neighborhood.

Sitting on a picnic table near the NaLa Beach Club, Robert Vainshtein, a 36-year-old federal employee, burst out laughing when asked about the neighborhood’s two new nicknames.

“What’s wrong with ‘Crystal City’?” asked Vainshtein, 36, an Alexandria resident who commutes here for work. “It’s always been ‘Crystal City’. I don’t think people are going to get away with it all at once. »

Across from him, 27-year-old Lauren Callahan said “NaLa,” not to mention “National Landing,” hasn’t clicked for her yet, either. But the changes that have accompanied these names are hardly troublesome.

She’s a fan of the free bananas Amazon hands out near the infamous Crystal City underground mall, she noted, and the iced coffee the BID hands out weekly at the facility a few yards away.

“They are doing great things for the region. It’s a very trendy thing to do,” Callahan pointed out. “Who knows? Maybe ‘NaLa’ will be more successful than ‘National Landing’.”

“Yeah,” Vainshtein objected, “but it’s made up.”

“Well,” she asked, “what isn’t made up?”

]]> What the New York polio case tells us about the end of polio Fri, 29 Jul 2022 09:00:00 +0000

No one who studies poliomyelitis knew more than Albert Sabin, the Polish-American scientist whose vaccine against the debilitating disease has been used around the world since 1959. Sabin’s oral vaccine confers lifelong immunity. It has a downside, which Sabin, who died in 1993, fiercely disputed: In rare cases, the weakened live poliovirus in the vaccine can mutate, regain its virulence and cause poliomyelitis.

These rare mutations — one of which appears to have paralyzed a young man from Rockland County, New York, who belongs to a vaccine-resistant Hasidic Jewish community, officials reported July 21 — have taken center stage in the global polio eradication campaign, the largest international public health effort in history.

When the World Health Organization-led campaign began in 1988, its goal was to rid the world of polio by the year 2000.

In 2015, poliomyelitis was nearly eradicated everywhere except Pakistan and Afghanistan. But by 2020, cases had been reported in 34 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Although the numbers have fallen over the past 18 months, a few cases have emerged in Ukraine and Israel, poliovirus was detected in sewage in London last month, and now there is the case in northern New York , the first US case since 1993.

But the nature of the polio threat has changed. “Natural” or “wild” polio only circulates in a few war-torn areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where gunmen have killed dozens of polio vaccinators.

Almost all the other cases in the world, paradoxically, derive from mutations of the weakened virus that constitutes the vaccine. Sabin designed the vaccine virus to infect people’s intestines without making them sick, but in rare cases the vaccine virus mutates into a dangerous form while passing through the intestine of the vaccinated person.

In these cases, it goes in like a lamb but comes out like a lion, able to paralyze unprotected people who ingest the virus due to imperfect hygiene, after contact with things like diapers or bath towels that contain traces of feces from an infected person. .

Poliovirus has three types. Type 2, the version that causes nearly all vaccine-associated polio cases, paralyzes only one in every 1,000 people it infects. Others may not get sick at all or have typical viral symptoms like a runny nose or diarrhea.

Rockland County officials say their polio case may have been infected in the United States, but the virus must have originated in a country where the oral polio vaccine is still administered — usually in Asia or Africa. In the United States, since 2000, doctors have been administering a different vaccine, a vaccine invented by Dr. Jonas Salk in 1955, which contains killed or inactivated poliomyelitis viruses.

Given the rarity of polio infection leading to paralysis, the Rockland County case suggests that other people in the community may be carrying the virus. How many are under investigation, said county health department spokeswoman Beth Cefalu. Scientists have detected poliovirus in the county’s sewage but have no idea how many others are infected, Cefalu said in a July 26 news release.

If the patient contracted the virus in the United States, “that would suggest that there could be significant transmission at least in that region,” said Dr. Walter Orenstein, a professor at Emory University who led the program. vaccination from 1988 to 2004. This puts pressure on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find the best way to stop any chain of infection, he said.

As of July 22, county health officials had set up inactivated polio vaccination clinics and sent 3,000 letters to parents of children in the county whose routine vaccinations — including polio — were not up to date. day.

However, although the Salk vaccine prevents paralysis and is very effective in protecting a community from infection, in situations where polio is circulating widely, a person vaccinated with Salk could still carry polio germs in their intestines and transmit to others.

Depending on how many people are infected in the community, the CDC may consider introducing a new live vaccine, known as the new type 2 oral polio vaccine, or nOPV2, which is less likely to mutate into a virulent form, a said Orenstein.

However, the new oral vaccine is not licensed in the United States and would require considerable bureaucratic movement to be approved under emergency clearance, Orenstein said.

To complicate matters further, outbreaks of vaccine-derived polio have increased, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, after world health officials said type 2 poliovirus had been eradicated from the wild and removed this type of vaccine virus. Unfortunately, type 2 mutant forms from the vaccine continued to circulate and outbreaks multiplied, Orenstein said. Although nearly 500 million doses of the new vaccine have been administered, according to Dr. Ananda Bandyopadhyay, head of the polio program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, some regions where mutant viruses circulate have not yet started using the new vaccine.

The chances of a major outbreak linked to the Rockland County case are slim. The virus can only spread widely where there is low vaccination coverage and poor surveillance of polio cases, said Dr David Heymann, professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and former director of the global polio eradication effort.

Rockland County has extensive experience dealing with vaccine-preventable outbreaks. In 2018 and 2019, the county battled a measles outbreak of 312 cases among followers of anti-vaccine Hasidic rabbis.

“Our people have overcome measles, and I’m sure we’ll eliminate the last health issue as well,” County Executive Ed Daly said at a July 21 news conference.

Scientists believe polio can be eradicated from the world by 2026, Bandyopadhyay said, but at a cost of $4.8 billion – and much of that remains to be raised from donor countries and charities.

The polio case in the United States offers a not-so-subtle reminder, he said, “that polio is potentially a plane ride away as long as the virus still exists in some corner of the world.”

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The 8 economists who decide whether the United States is in a recession Wed, 27 Jul 2022 10:03:34 +0000


Democrats and Republicans began to question whether the U.S. economy is in a recession ahead of key data releases on Thursday. But the official statement will ultimately fall to a little-known group of economists selected by the National Bureau of Economic Research called the “Business Cycle Dating Committee”, which stubbornly takes its time and tries to protect itself from political interference or attempts to turn its discoveries.

The stakes for the group are high, in part due to the extraordinarily unusual economic conditions two years after the last recession, at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The economy contracted in the first quarter of the year, and many Republicans say a recession is already here, with Thursday’s release expected by many analysts to show a second consecutive quarter of negative growth. But from President Biden, administration officials instead point to other indicators showing the economy remains strong and insist the committee would be wrong to declare a recession.

The labor market is starting to show cracks

Political haggling isn’t supposed to matter to the eight economists who decide when recessions start. Their decision is almost certainly months away, if at all: the committee typically waits long after a recession begins to declare it, only acting when the evidence has become overwhelming, sometimes even after the recession has ended. This puts the pressure on the organization from the outside – to quickly deliver a verdict on one of the most important questions facing economic decision makers – directly at odds with its mission to provide unassailable empirical decisions.

As a result, what seems like a simple question: Is the US economy in recession? — is partly decided on a subjective basis at a later date, sometimes when it no longer seems relevant, by experts meeting behind closed doors of a private commission.

“By far the most important thing to try to convey is that the committee is not trying to do real-time dating on whether we are in a recession,” said MIT economics professor James Poterba, chairman. of the NBER and member of the committee, in an interview. “There is often tremendous interest in this issue and what many people hope for, but the task of the committee is to create a coherent history of the turning points – the peaks and troughs of the American economy.”

The group’s calculus could become increasingly difficult in the coming months, amid confusing economic conditions that defy easy characterization. The political ramifications for the committee could be significant as the Biden administration faces growing public anger over high inflation and its economic management. Congressional Republicans will also be keen to seize on a ruling that the economy is in a recession, trying to capitalize on voter discontent ahead of this fall’s midterm elections.

Asked about upcoming economic numbers, Biden on Monday challenged the idea that a recession was imminent. It’s part of a broader campaign by the administration in recent weeks to refute GOP claims that a recession has already begun. Top economic officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen and White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, appeared on cable news Sunday and Monday to reiterate their view that the US economy isn’t technically in a recession – and wouldn’t be even if GDP figures show a second straight quarter of contraction.

There are risks to this strategy, however, because if the United States enters a recession later, its current assurances will seem misguided, especially after the administration already wrongly dismissed the threat of inflation last year.

US policymakers brushed off the inflationary threat until it was too late

“We’re not going to be in a recession, in my opinion. The [unemployment] the rate is still one of the lowest we’ve had in history,” Biden said Monday. “Hopefully we will move from this rapid growth to steady growth.”

At the heart of the challenge facing the committee of economists is that it relies on more than half a dozen criteria to measure the onset of a recession. The general impression many Americans – and some commentators – have is that a recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. But that’s not how the NBER, or most economists, think of it. Instead, the committee weighs factors such as payroll levels, retail sales, industrial production and personal income in a comprehensive assessment to determine whether the economy is in recession. The committee points out on its website that “there is no set rule about what measures inform the process or how they are weighted in our decisions.”

As Deese told CNN, “In terms of the technical definition, it’s not a recession – the technical definition takes into account a much wider range of data points.”

What is a recession? Answers to your economic questions.

Traditionally, all these different economic measures move in tandem, which facilitates the work of the committee. Usually, when growth declines, employment, consumer activity, and other measures of economic health also decline. But the economy since the start of the pandemic has confounded previous patterns and could do so again. Economic growth could end up declining for two straight quarters – although the first quarter in the United States was negative largely due to technical factors, such as a temporary increase in overall imports – even as unemployment remains among the lowest levels in American history. Consumer spending also remained strong, unlike a typical recession. If unemployment remains low even as growth contracts, NBER economists could face a thorny challenge in deciding how to categorize the situation.

Predicting the decision of the committee is made more difficult by its mode of operation. As part of the NBER, the Business Cycle Dating Committee is run by a private, nonprofit group — not the federal government or state statistical agency. Its members are chosen by the chairman of the NBER “in consultation” with the chairman of the committee, according to Poterba.

Committee meetings are not made public. They are standing in a closed conference room on the third floor of the Cambridge, Mass., office building where the NBER is headquartered. They don’t meet on a set schedule: Stanford board chairman and economist Bob Hall is responsible for calling the meetings. During long periods of steady economic growth, the board may go years without having anything to discuss and, as a result, may not hold any meetings. It wouldn’t even confirm when past meetings took place.

“The committee doesn’t announce its meeting schedule, and that’s something we don’t talk about,” Poterba said.

Its last public statement was on July 19, 2021 – when the committee said there was a recession between February and April 2020, the shortest in US history.

The eight economists on the committee are among the most respected in their field. Some have served in Democratic administrations, but former members have also included GOP appointees. In addition to Poterba and Hall, the members are Christina Romer and David Romer of the University of California at Berkeley; James Stock of Harvard; Robert Gordon, North West; Valerie Ramey, University of California San Diego; and Mark Watson of Princeton.

The NBER has its roots in the post-World War I era, after a Colombian-educated economist who worked for labor and trade organizations and AT&T’s chief statistician formed a new organization after realizing that they had little shared empirical data with which to conduct policy debates. . In the early 1960s, the Commerce Department began publishing a summary of trading conditions that cited the NBER’s work on the ups and downs of the business cycle, giving it a kind of federal imprimatur, according to Poterba.

Poterba stressed that the board is aware of the public’s thirst for advice on a recession, but does not let it dictate its decisions. Economic data is often revised afterwards, and the committee is careful not to announce a verdict contingent on data that may change later.

“The NBER really tries to provide benchmarks for researchers; he’s not trying to provide short-term political talking points for either side,” said Steve Miran, who served as a senior Treasury Department official in the Donald Trump administration and co-founder of Amberwave Partners, an investment fund. “We would all like it to be binary – 0 to 1, recession or not – but the truth is that it is much more of a continuum. It requires an interpretation of the duration, depth and speed of contraction, as well as sectors of the economy that are contracting and why…. And that requires an element of judgment.

This does not mean, however, that the members of the council are always in agreement. Harvard economist Jeffrey Frankel, who served on the committee for about 25 years, said there’s generally unanimity on the big questions of whether a recession is starting or ending, but differences can emerge over the month. precise where a recession started or ended.

“There are times when the right answer isn’t clear, and the kind of thing there can be disagreement about is someone wants more data – like revisions to the [gross domestic product], for example — and someone else saying, “It’s already been 11 months, and if we wait any longer, people will think the news will be too stale,” Frankel said. “That tension is always a problem.”

]]> Russian investigator says he wants a new court for Ukraine Mon, 25 Jul 2022 00:43:00 +0000

July 25 (Reuters) – The head of Russia’s investigative commission said Moscow had charged 92 members of Ukraine’s armed forces with crimes against humanity and proposed an international tribunal backed by countries including Bolivia, Iran and Syria.

The government’s Rossiiskaya Gazeta quoted committee head Alexander Bastrykin on Monday as accusing “more than 220 people, including representatives of the high command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, as well as commanders of military units who shelled the civilian population.”

Ukrainians were involved in “crimes against the peace and security of mankind, which have no statute of limitations”, he said. Bastrykin, whose committee investigates major crimes, said 92 commanders and their subordinates had been charged and 96 people, including 51 armed forces commanders, had been declared wanted.

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Reuters could not independently verify the committee’s claims. Ukrainian authorities were not immediately available for comment.

The United States and more than 40 other countries agreed earlier this month to coordinate investigations into alleged war crimes in Ukraine. Read more

Since launching what they call a special military operation in February, Russian forces have shelled Ukrainian towns and left bodies on the streets of towns and villages they occupied. Ukraine says tens of thousands of civilians have died. Moscow denies any responsibility.

There have also been reports of Ukrainians abusing Russian prisoners, although the vast majority of accusations documented by bodies such as the United Nations relate to alleged atrocities committed by Russian invaders and their proxies.

Bastrykin was asked about his committee’s investigations into the actions of Ukrainian security forces in the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, Moscow-backed separatist territories in Ukraine’s industrialized east, and whether any investigations could take place under the auspices of the United Nations.

Since the “collective West” openly supports Ukraine, he said it would be more appropriate to work with Russian partners from the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the BRICS group and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

It was “timely” to involve countries with an independent stance on Ukraine, “especially Syria, Iran and Bolivia”, he added.

Bastrykin said 1,300 criminal investigations had been opened against members of the Ukrainian military, political leaders, radical nationalist associations and armed formations, with more than 400 people held responsible so far.

Targets of the investigation included employees of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health whom it accused, without providing evidence, of developing weapons of mass destruction, as well as citizens of Britain, the United States, Canada, from the Netherlands and Georgia.

Eight criminal cases have also been launched in attacks on Russian embassies or other representations in the Netherlands, Ireland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and France, he said.

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Reporting by Elaine Monaghan; Edition by Lincoln Feast.

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Tabernacle Choir Appoints New Executive Director Fri, 22 Jul 2022 21:13:00 +0000

Alan D. Johnson has been appointed general manager of the Tabernacle Choir in Temple Square. The position was created in a series of structural changes that began when President Michael O. Leavitt and his advisers, President L. Whitney Clayton and President Gary B. Porter, were called in August 2021 to lead the choir.

As the new general manager, Johnson will work under the direction of the Tabernacle Choir presidency to oversee production, performance, marketing and research for the choir.

In a press release on about the announcement, President Leavitt said: “We believe Alan Johnson’s management experience and strong interpersonal skills will be instrumental in leading the choir organization. so that it fulfills its mandate to inspire, uplift and bring others to Christ through music.”

In February, Leavitt announced four new high-level goals, including aligning the choir with the Church’s mission and missionary efforts, expanding the choir’s digital audience, and increasing its global visibility.

Listen to Church News Podcast Episode 46: Former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt on his role in the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square

According to the advertisement when the position was created, the chief executive is expected to provide general management of staff and volunteers and oversee the Temple Square Orchestra, Temple Square Choir and Temple Square Bells.

Johnson most recently worked for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as director of the Museums Division of the Church History Department. He has held previous positions with the Church since 2006. He has also held leadership positions in the private and government sectors.

He has over 40 years of experience as a musical accompanist, teacher and performer. He lives in Cedar Hills, Utah, with his wife, Susan. They have five children and two grandchildren. Johnson will take up his new responsibilities at the end of July.

Read more: Tabernacle Choir ‘Logistics Wizard’ Barry Anderson Retires After More Than 2 Decades

Philadelphia 76ers’ $1.3 billion project calls for downtown arena by 2031-32 Thu, 21 Jul 2022 10:41:21 +0000

The Philadelphia 76ers are creating a new development company that will lead a $1.3 billion project to build a privately funded arena in the city’s downtown core, the team announced Thursday morning.

While the 76ers don’t plan to be in the arena until the 2031-32 season — the season after the lease at their current home, Wells Fargo Center, expires — and they won’t innovate at the new venue for several years, the team said it would partner with Macerich, the operator of the Fashion District Philadelphia, to bring the arena to life.

“We know that the best thing, we think, for the city, for our fans and for our organization, is to be downtown in a state-of-the-art facility that will be funded by our owning team,” the Sixers chairman said. . Tad Brown told ESPN. “And it’s going to create a whole new environment, a whole new environment, which is also going to really give a big economic boost in a boost to the development of a part of the city that really needs it.

“We think it’s a win-win situation for the city and for our organization. … It’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s a great day.”

Sixers co-owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer bought the franchise from Comcast in 2011 and have been considering building their own arena in Philadelphia for several years. This included an attempted plan to build one at Penn’s Landing on the east side of town along the Delaware River. The plan finally fell through two years ago when the city opted for a different development plan.

At that point, Harris and Blitzer decided to team up with David Adelman – a longtime 76ers fan, season ticket holder for over 20 years and real estate developer – to form a partnership to deliver a new arena. .

Adelman will serve as chairman of a new company, 76 DevCorp, which he, Harris and Blitzer are creating. The company will be responsible for bringing the new arena from plans to reality.

“Honestly, when Penn’s Landing happened, yeah, I think one of the shortcomings was that they realized there was no one person from Philadelphia leading the process,” Adelman told ESPN. “And no disrespect to New York or anywhere else, but like, you need locals, right?”

Adelman said it was a dream come true to do a “legacy project” in Philadelphia where “my children and grandchildren will know that I revitalized a part of Market Street that was not living up to its full potential. potential”.

“And to do that in this partnership is just awesome,” he said.

Brown said the 76ers learned a lot from their setbacks with the Penn’s Landing proposal and he applied those lessons to the new site. Brown and Adelman said they have already reached agreements with everyone involved needed to get the project off the ground, including Macerich.

“I think we listened and we learned things that maybe we didn’t expect for Penn’s Landing,” Brown said. “That’s why we came back with a better infrastructure, with David Adelman in place. And also, you know, it’s all privately funded. So there’s nothing we’re going to ask of the state or the city that will enter this.

“[Asking for public subsidies] don’t play in Philadelphia. … We wanted to take that off the table and we want to build the best facility in the country with our own resources, so we can give something back to the city.”

Two important questions remain: Will the 76ers stay at the Wells Fargo Center for the full term of their lease — another nine seasons — and will the Flyers join them in the new venture?

Brown and Adelman insisted the 76ers had no intention of trying to speed up the process to enter the new building early.

As for the Flyers, Brown said conversations with their roommates at the Wells Fargo Center are ongoing. He said the 76ers would like the Flyers to join them in the new venture, but the project would go ahead regardless of the hockey team’s decision.

“But everyone knows what we’re looking for organizationally is what’s going to be in the best interest of the city, our fans and our organization,” Brown said. “Anything we can be as transparent and open with Comcast as possible as we move forward.”

Currently, Philadelphia’s four professional sports teams play at the same South Philadelphia complex that has housed them for half a century. The 76ers, however, believe breaking that tradition and building an arena downtown will give fans a much better experience.

“How many arenas have you visited in the urban core [of a city]? That’s where the puck goes,” Adelman said. “At the moment, the South Philly Sports Complex only has the Broad Street line, one line. We have all the lines.

“When you leave the Wells Fargo Center, you can’t go for a drink, you can’t eat anything. You have to go home and you have to sit in that funnel to get into traffic. Right now, our fans are forced to leave two minutes early, and we have to do something better. We have to give them that experience.”

CHA plans to lease public housing land from CPS for new Near South Side High School Mon, 18 Jul 2022 23:29:00 +0000

Chicago officials are moving forward with plans to repurpose former public housing land for a new Near South Side high school, reigniting frustrations with housing advocates who say the city is failing to deliver on its promises to black residents.

Neighbors and community leaders gathered Monday to protest a vote this week by the Chicago Housing Authority board that, if passed, would move toward leasing part of the land that made up the former Harold L. Ickes homes at Chicago Public Schools.

Group leaders called out elected officials, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot, for pushing the plan forward without enough public engagement.

“It’s been an issue with the city of Chicago,” Roderick Wilson, executive director of community organization Lugenia Burns Hope Center, said at a protest on Monday. “We thought we were going to get something different when we got Lori Lightfoot, but we have the same playbook.”

Tuesday’s CHA meeting is expected to see a vote to lease 1.7 acres of the former Harold Ickes site at 24th and State Streets – once a public housing complex until it was vacated in 2010 – to CPS for a new $120 million high school near the South Side. In exchange, CPS would secure two parcels across the street which make up a total of 2 acres and exchange that land with CHA.

The CHA meeting comes weeks after the plan appeared to have stalled.

Pedro Martinez, chief executive of CPS, withdrew the school district’s proposal at the eleventh hour last month, just before the school board voted on the project. It faced an uncertain fate, with some board members disapproving of the project due to its potential harm to nearby majority black schools and the community’s public housing issues – issues outlined in a Sun report. -Times and WBEZ. Martinez pledged to reintroduce the proposal after necessary public engagement; a CPS spokeswoman said Monday the district has yet to decide when that will happen.

One of the board members who planned to vote against the project said last week he believed Lightfoot had since ousted him from the board because of his opposition. It was replaced by the old Ald. Michael Scott Jr., a Lightfoot ally.

A CHA spokesperson defended the proposal, saying the school would “serve students from several CHA developments [and] would directly benefit families living in social housing for years to come.

“Schools complement housing and provide all families, including those living in subsidized housing, access to resources and opportunities to help them thrive,” CHA said in a statement.

The CHA is also set to vote to sell the land of the former site of Robert Taylor’s homes at West 44th and South Dearborn Street in Bronzeville, which has been vacant since 2005, for “new housing for sale”, according to the agenda for Tuesday’s board meeting. .

Lawyers called on Monday for the decision on 24 and state land to be postponed after a community meeting with the CHA is not scheduled until Thursday – two days after the vote. Wilson said attorneys and neighbors were notified of the decision to rent the property last week.

“Ultimately, what CHA is doing helps gentrify our community and helps displace black people,” Wilson said, urging the city to focus on keeping black families in Chicago by building more affordable housing before new schools.

The CPS said a new school would serve the communities of South Loop, Chinatown and Bridgeport, with the region’s Asian American population particularly hoping for a school that would meet the language and immigration needs of families. Officials and advocates predict the school will enroll about 40% Asian American children, 30% black students and 30% white children.

“We are CHA residents, and we are poor but we are certainly not stupid,” said Etta Davis, CHA resident and vice chair of the local advisory board for Dearborn Homes. “When black kids lined the State Street corridor for many years, they didn’t worry about us having a high school in that neighborhood. Now we know who this high school is for.

According to the CHA, the proposal is still in a “conceptual” phase and the organization will continue to consult with residents, despite claims from community groups that communication has not taken place.

“To our elected officials, come here and do what you are supposed to do. You’re supposed to be here in this hot sun with us,” Davis said, as the crowd behind her cheered. “Don’t come knocking on my door at election time.”