Russian Naval Base in Sudan: Extending Moscow’s Influence in Middle East and North Africa

first_imgRussia is determinedly expanding its influence in Africa. On November 16, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order for the country to build a naval base on Sudan’s Red Sea coast, its first in Africa since the end of the Cold War. According to Putin’s instruction, the Russian navy is to build a base for 300 personnel and dock space for up to four warships, including nuclear-powered vessels (Pravo.gov.ru, November 16; see EDM, November 19). Sudan has leased Russia land for the naval “logistics center” for 25 years, with an option for decade-long extensions. Retired Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, a former chief of staff of the Russian Military-Maritime Fleet (Voyenno-Мorskoi Flot—VMF), estimates construction time for the facility to take three to four months (Interfax, November 17). The complex will be located near the Sudanese Navy’s main base at Flamingo Bay and just north of Port Sudan, the country’s main coastal port on the Red Sea.The base agreement builds upon earlier Russian diplomatic initiatives with Sudan. In November 2017, Sudan’s then-president Omar al-Bashir—facing personal pressure from the United States—discussed the possibility of creating a Russian military base in his country during meetings in Sochi with Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (Izvestia, November 25, 2017; see EDM, November 29, 2017 and December 6, 2017). Despite a 2019 coup that removed al-Bashir from power, discussions continued with his successor, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan. Two years later, on January 9, 2019, then–Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev approved a draft agreement with Sudan on a simplified procedure for the entry of warships into the ports of both countries as well as on broader bilateral military cooperation (RIA Novosti, January 9, 2019). Under the terms of the agreement, last month (October 2020), Russia transferred a UK-307 training boat from the VMF to Sudan (Vedomosti, November 11).It is important to note the relatively modest dimensions of the planned new naval facility, at least initially. According to Russian military expert and Middle East specialist Iuri Liamin, “Let us make it clear again: This is not quite a [full-fledged] naval base but a logistics support center. This concerns the numbers, infrastructure and equipment” (Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 12).The facility’s strategic importance outweighs its size, however, as a naval outpost in Sudan would expand maritime Russian influence in northeast Africa, along vital shipping routes in the Red Sea and in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. An interim stated task for Russian warships deployed there could be to participate in anti-piracy patrols off Somalia, where the European Union’s Naval Force Atalanta (EU NAVFOR) had been operating since December 2008. As the European Council extended the Atalanta mission only until the end of December, Russian Sudan-based warships could assist in filling the imminent power vacuum there (Eunavfor.eu, accessed November 25).Additionally, Russia’s naval facility at Tartus in Syria, which it has been expanding since intervening in the Syrian conflict, has altered the strategic equation of the Eastern Mediterranean by outflanking the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) control of the Turkish Straits. The new Sudan base will further augment Russia’s proximity to the Suez Canal, through which about 10 percent of all world maritime traffic passes, by providing a new naval stronghold south of that choke point.Moreover, the Sudanese port will provide a more convenient stop-and-resupply opportunity for Russian VMF surface warships transiting from the Indian Ocean or Gulf of Aden to the Mediterranean—no longer forcing them to first travel all the way up the Red Sea, through the busy Suez Canal, and onward across the Eastern Mediterranean. And if the base in Sudan genuinely proves able to support nuclear-powered vessels, it could become a significant new operational location for Russia’s nuclear submarines. This would permit Moscow to project force eastward, into the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, currently reachable most easily by ship from Russia’s distant Pacific bases. A second benefit of Russian naval projections into the Arabian Sea is, of course, to “fly the flag” and support one of its most important regional partners, sanctions-plagued Iran.The Russian government places its efforts in Sudan within the larger context of restoring influence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), lost after the 1991 disintegration of the Soviet Union. In October 2019, the Russian government hosted its first Russia-Africa summit in Sochi, attended by more than 54 African heads of state. A high-priority agenda item was deepening military contacts: Putin told participants, “Today, military personnel from 20 African countries are studying at higher education institutions of the Russian defense ministry. Our military and military technical cooperation [MTC] is aimed at strengthening African armed forces’ combat capabilities. Russia has MTC agreements with over 30 countries, which we supply with a wide range of armaments and equipment” (Kremlin.ru, October 24, 2019). Building on those summit’s initiatives, in February 2020, Russian ambassador to Khartoum Vladimir Zheltov discussed Sudan’s interest in establishing bilateral military-technical cooperation while explaining that Russia’s development of MTC with African states represents “an organic and logical manifestation of our country’s desire to return to this continent, taking into account the considerable backlog created during the Soviet period” (RIA Novosti, February 9).Moscow’s Sudan initiative should, thus, be understood as part of a larger Russian government agenda to reassert its authority in the MENA region as a counterweight to NATO and the United States. Russian naval efforts are further crowding a congested maritime arena—neighboring Djibouti, the US, Japan, China, France and Italy all already have a military presence in these waters. Whether Putin’s efforts can eventually rebuild the levels of Soviet regional influence remains to be seen. But there may just be enough Middle Eastern states, from Iran to Yemen, dissatisfied with current US and European policies that could provide a sympathetic hearing for Russian initiatives.last_img read more

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Assistant Director of Admissions

first_imgAt LSSC your success is our mission. We value People. Ouremployees are empowered to take actions that positively impact ourstudents and each other. We value Diversity. By embracing andcelebrating our differences, we offer an inclusive and supportivework culture. We value Forward Thinking. By encouraging innovationand a collaboration, we foster a creative learning environment forstudents and staff. If you are looking for a place with ampleopportunity to grow in your career, considerLSSC.   We are seeking an Assistant Director of Admissions who iscommitted to attracting, enrolling, retaining, and graduatingtraditional, non-traditional, international, transient, transfer,and Dual Enrollment students from the point of prospect, inquiry,application, and through orientation, registration, continuedenrollment, and on to completion. The Assistant Directorcollaborates to develop and implement a comprehensive marketing andrecruitment plan for prospective traditional and non-traditionalstudents in an assigned recruiting region. Establishes andcultivates positive College relationships with public and privatehigh schools, businesses, civic and community organizations,current students, parents, and alumni.   Stays up-to-date withcurrent and emerging LSSC academic programs and services in orderto provide accurate information to prospective students andemphasize the College’s commitment to providing educationalopportunities to a diverse community. Builds and maintainseffective relationships with area public and private high schools,including administrators, counselors, teachers, and other studentinfluencers.  Represents the college in a positive manner andserves as a role model on and off-campus. This position includessome night and weekend events.  The successful candidate is also responsible for demonstratingLSSC’s values of learning, people, student success, forwardthinking, commitment to excellence, accessibility, diversity,partnerships, and sound management practices.PRINCIPAL DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES:1. Develops and implements the annual Recruitment Calendar forall traditional and non-traditional recruiting efforts andmaterials, along with the Admissions Team.2. Designs and executes recruitment and marketing events, projectsand activities (e.g. Admissions Open Houses, High School CounselorsConference, Dual Enrollment Information Sessions, High SchoolSenior Days, Information sessions, National Nights Out, BusinessExpos, local Benefits Fairs and community events).3. Advises prospective students and parents about the admissionsprocess and procedures. Stays up to date with current and emergingLSSC academic programs and services.4. Builds and maintains effective relationships with area highschools in assigned region, including administrators, counselors,teachers and other student influencers.5. Coordinates on-campus group visits (e.g. EOP, AVID Program,etc.).6. Works collaboratively with other departments to ensure a smoothentry process for new students (e.g. Academic Advising, AcademicAffairs, Financial Services, Career Services, Student AccessibilityServices, Financial Aid, & Records Office.).7. Assist the Financial Aid Department with FAFSA completions inservice district.8.  Selects, trains, supervises, and evaluates assignedInformation Desk Student Employees.9. Collects all Admissions materials and makes initial Admissionsdecisions for Baccalaureate students, in accordance with LSSCpolicy and Florida Statute. Serves on the Baccalaureate Admissions Review Team.10. Serves on college campus committees and workgroups asneeded.11. Perform other duties as assigned.QUALIFICATIONS:EDUCATION: Required:Bachelor’s Degree with an emphasis in Education, Business,Marketing, Communications, Public Relations, OrganizationalManagement, Educational Leadership or related field from aregionally accredited higher education institution. Preferred: Master’s Degree in Education, Business,Marketing, Communications, Public Relations, OrganizationalManagement, Educational Leadership or related field from aregionally accredited higher education institution.  EXPERIENCE: Required:Minimum of two (2) years of professional postsecondary experiencein admissions, Enrollment Services, Recruiting, Advising, StudentActivities, Residential Life, or related area. Preferred: Demonstrated experience working directly withpostsecondary students, demonstrated professional experience in acollege recruiting, programming, advising role, and demonstratedexperience presenting to small or large groups.KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS & ABILITIES REQUIRED:* Knowledge of federal, state, and local admissionsrequirements, policies, and procedures of U.S., international andVA students.* Possess superior language skills, including verbal and writtencommunications.* Excellent interpersonal, communication, and teamwork skill.* Excellent organizational skills with the demonstrated ability tomulti-task and prioritize work,* Possesses a high level of energy, initiative, and motivation toachieve enrollment goals.* Ability to lift 35 pounds of boxed printedmaterials/publications.Excellent computer skills, such as word processing, spreadsheets,databases, desktop publishing, blog writing, and social networkingvia the Internet.* Possesses a high level of energy, initiative, and motivationto achieve enrollment goals.Valid Florida driver’s license with no vehicle violations withinthe past three years; ability to travel to high schools,businesses, Possess public speaking ability to communicate in alarge group setting with students, parents, administrators,faculty, staff, alumni, and community members.* Ability to plan, develop, implement, market, and evaluaterecruitment, marketing, and admissions events and services forstudents.last_img read more

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Midtown landlord sues to stop foreclosure by Maverick

first_img Full Name* This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Now Email Address* R&B Realty’s Aron Rosenberg and Maverick’s David Aviram of Maverick with 28 West 36th Street and 32 West 39th Street (Google Maps)The owner of two Midtown office buildings claims its bank threw it to the wolves after promising to help it weather the pandemic.R&B Realty Group told a state court in Manhattan last week that Signature Bank did not honor a verbal pledge to extend forbearances on 28 West 36th Street and 32 West 39th Street, instead declaring loans on those buildings in default and selling the debt to distressed-asset buyers.The landlord alleges that Maverick Real Estate Partners, which purchased the mortgages, is taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to grab R&B’s buildings for a song.“Among other things, [Maverick] is charging a default interest of 24 percent on each of the loans, and seems intent to continue to do so in order to … acquire the buildings on the cheap,” R&B’s complaint states. (Rates above 25 percent are subject to New York’s usury law.)R&B, which has owned the buildings for nearly 20 years, claims it had $800,000 of undrawn credit with Signature, making the bank’s default declaration invalid.The landlord said it has been unable to pay principal or interest on its loans since May 2020 because rent collection was only 30 percent to 40 percent from April to February. That would be dramatically lower than the roughly 95 percent collection rate enjoyed by large office landlords including SL Green, ESRT and Vornado.Since buying the loans from Signature, Maverick has told tenants at the West 36th Street building to pay it rent directly, the lawsuit asserts. R&B called the action an “end run” around Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bans on commercial evictions and foreclosures, telling the court Maverick’s attempt “should not be permitted.”The bans on evictions and foreclosures are expected to be extended at least through May.Signature Bank and Maverick did not return requests for comment.Maverick has publicly touted its strategy of purchasing distressed real estate assets since at least 2018 when it announced a $200 million fund for that purpose. It separately bought $40 million in loans that year from Signature Bank that were backed by 31 properties controlled by controversial Brooklyn investor Cheskel Strulowitz.In a separate case, Maverick sought to foreclose last week on a Chelsea apartment building at 416 West 25th Street, alleging the owner had defaulted on a loan in May 2019. A judge had previously stopped the foreclosure.Contact Orion Jones Message*last_img read more

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Chris Christie endorses Donald Trump

first_imgChris Christie announced his endorsement of Donald Trump on Friday in Fort Worth, Texas, calling him the best candidate to beat Hillary Clinton in the general election.“I am proud to be here to endorse Donald Trump for president of the United States,” he said, noting his relationship with the candidate’s family.“He’s a real talent,” Trump said, before receiving the endorsement. In a statement released by Trump’s campaign, Christie said, “Donald is a leader. He is a successful person that, like me, isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Our system is broken and it won’t be fixed from the inside. I am proud to offer my endorsement of his candidacy for President.”Christie also took shots at Marco Rubio during the announcement, calling him part of the “D.C. establishment.”The announcement came ahead of a rally, an event that Trump teased on Twitter earlier in the morning. “Will be at Fort Worth (Texas) Convention Center at 11:30 A.M. Big crowd – get there early! Big announcement to be made!” he tweeted. Also On POLITICO 7 times Chris Christie suggested Donald Trump shouldn’t be president By Nolan D. McCaskill The announcement was another stunning development in a wildly unpredictable presidential race. Trump has repeatedly said that he doesn’t seek endorsements, but he already staged a splashy event to reveal the support of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and he has touted the endorsement from evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr.Christie’s support comes as Trump is increasingly looking like the unstoppable frontrunner, after three consecutive and decisive wins. Super Tuesday next week could all but lock down the nomination for Trump.The New Jersey governor said he met with Trump on Thursday morning. “Yesterday morning I met with Donald, we sat and talked, and he said, ‘How about coming out on the road to Texas with me?’, and I said, ‘Happy to do it, whenever you’re ready, sir.’ So we did it, and that’s how the process went,” he explained.Christie said he could “guarantee you that the one person that Hillary and Bill Clinton do not want to see on that stage is Donald Trump,” remarking that the Clintons “do not know the playbook of Donald Trump because he is rewriting the playbook.”“I’m happy to be on the Trump team and I look forward to working with him,” said Christie, who dropped his own presidential bid on Feb. 10.Speaking to reporters at a press conference, Trump addressed his comment earlier this week that “endorsements mean very little,” adding that this was one exception.last_img read more

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US House approves Russia sanctions that handcuff Trump

first_img“[I]t seems we may be on the floor before we ironed out all the differences with the other body,” Engel said of the Senate. “I hope that’s not the case.”Andrew Hanna contributed to this report. Also On POLITICO Brussels prepares to bite back at US over Russia sanctions By Ryan Heath Russia sanctions deal reached without changes Trump sought By elena schor and Heather Caygle The House’s 419-3 vote on the sanctions bill saw only three dissenters: Republican Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, John Duncan of Tennessee and Thomas Massie of Kentucky. Even Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Russia’s staunchest defender on the Hill, revealed hours before the vote that he would support the measure out of support for its penalties against Tehran and Pyongyang.Lawmakers in both parties hailed the vote and pressed the White House to publicly support the bill, after the administration had tried to secure more Trump-friendly changes after the Senate passed an earlier version on a 98-2 vote.“Senate Republican leaders should move this bill as soon as possible, so that it can be on the president’s desk without delay,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “Passing the bill on a bipartisan basis will send a strong signal to the White House that the Kremlin needs to be held accountable for meddling in last year’s election.”After the House and Senate reached a bipartisan deal to move forward on Saturday, the White House signaled it would back the bill after other alterations were made to ease its impact on industry. But new White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that the president would have to “study that legislation and see what the final product looks like.”In addition to giving lawmakers veto power over any relaxation of sanctions on Russia, the bill also converts some existing penalties into law, thus making them more difficult to remove. The legislation’s sanctions against Iran are designed to target its supporters of terrorism and its missile development capabilities.The North Korea sanctions were a late addition to the package, spearheaded by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and track with those included in a bill the House passed 419-1 in May. But the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, New York Rep. Eliot Engel, suggested in a floor speech ahead of the vote that the Senate may have lingering issues with the approach the House took on that bill. The U.S. House of Representative on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, with the Republican-controlled chamber advancing a significant new constraint on President Donald Trump’s foreign policy.The sanctions legislation, which allows lawmakers to block Trump from any attempt to roll back sanctions against Moscow, is expected to pass the Senate in similarly bipartisan fashion before next month’s recess.The White House has yet to say definitively whether Trump would sign the bill, which his administration had criticized for failing to give him necessary “flexibility” to work on warmer relations with Russia. But it appears the votes would be there for Congress to override any veto from Trump.last_img read more

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MICAH MOSLEY — Many thanks deserved during National Teacher Appreciation Week

first_img Our Technology Staff continues to step up big by distributing devices to those in need. NISD provided our students that needed a device to complete the year with Chromebooks and/or iPads. Kudos to all of you, especially our Tech team getting everything ready for distribution.Our Teachers and Administrators came together, developed and rolled out a flexible education program to keep our students engaged and learning throughout the remaining school year.They continue to develop lessons weekly, all the while supporting their own families at home.Our team stuffs and mails over 1,200 paper packets to students that are unable to do the online learning or do not have Internet access. The online virtual meetings, coordination, frustration and questions to result in the best outcome possible for our students… all unprecedented! Coronavirus, Covid-19, “The Rona,” etc.There are many different names, but we will all remember the same pandemic for the rest of our lives. Whether it’s the many extra weeks off from school or work, the extraordinary safety measures or the terrible deaths of many, many Americans and people around the World, the virus and its effects will forever be ingrained in our memories.On a more focused local scale, one thing I will always remember is how the Nederland ISD Teachers, Support Staff and Administrators responded during the crisis: Our Child Nutrition Staff has passed out over 35,000 meals and continues daily. This exceptional team prides themselves on taking care of our students, especially those that may not have access to a solid meal day-to-day.They continue to come in, put together two solid meals for our students, distribute meals while wearing all of their PPE in rain or shine, show up the next day to repeat and all with a proud smile. Awesome job!Our Custodial Staff and Maintenance Team continues to keep operations going by regularly cleaning and sanitizing our buildings and working to ensure they are safe for essential work. We appreciate you!center_img So many times I have seen and read of parents and guardians thanking all of you for your video lessons, feedback and “thinking outside the box” to keep students engaged. Amazing work!I want to also thank the parents, grandparents and guardians for stepping up, assisting and keeping track of their student’s progress. Your efforts to keep them on track are more than appreciated!Last but certainly not least, our students. Their lives have been turned upside down.All of the schedules, rules and familiarity they have known are gone.They are experiencing something none of us ever had to experience at their age. I am proud to see their resiliency and ability to adapt to online learning, having parents as teachers, and spending more time with siblings than I am sure they would like.Being a part of hard discussions regarding the pandemic, family financial situations, and so much more. They will be leading our country one day and I, for one, can’t wait to see what they do!These are unprecedented times with unprecedented responses. I am so thankful and grateful to all of the Nederland ISD staff for rising up to the challenge, committing to excellence, and following Mr. Mallory’s mantra of “Adjust and Overcome.”When all of this is behind us, I look forward to seeing our District continue to excel, raise the bar, and exceed our motto of “Every Student. Every Day!”In the spirit of Teacher Appreciation Week and on behalf of the NISD Board of Trustees, simply but sincerely… Thank You!”Micah Mosley is president of the Nederland ISD Board of Trustees. He can be reached at [email protected]last_img read more

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SymQuest names Meg Fleming president

first_imgSymQuest,Vermont Business Magazine SymQuest Group, Inc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc(link is external), and regionally based IT services and office technology provider, has announced the appointment of Meg Fleming as President of SymQuest effective April 1, 2017. Fleming will succeed Co-Founder, and acting President and CEO, Larry Sudbay, after 21 years of service with SymQuest.Meg Fleming Symquest March 2017“I am very excited to announce Meg’s new role in our organization. Throughout her 25 year tenure with first McAuliffe Office Products, then SymQuest, Meg has shown exemplary leadership among her peers. Her ability to problem solve and manage large scale strategic objectives has shaped her skillset as an executive,” Sudbay said. “In addition to her professional leadership, her vision for client service delivery excellence will serve SymQuest well in the years to come.”Prior to her appointment as President, Fleming served in various positions within the company including: Chief Operating Officer, Client Support Manager, Service Manager, Director of Service and Regional Director of Sales. In addition to her professional experience, Fleming believes in giving back to the community. Fleming has previously held positions as Board Member for the St. Michael’s College Alumni Association, Board Member for the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, and acting Co-Chair of the Cambridge Conservation Commission – among other service activities. “I am honored to serve SymQuest as President. Our organization is comprised of exceptional employees focused on providing an outstanding customer experience to our clients,” Fleming said. “I believe our next step as an organization will be to innovate the way companies do business by providing solutions that bolster efficiencies and cost recovery through automated workflows, connected devices, and cloud services.” Fleming will be responsible for all departments and strategic initiatives throughout SymQuest’s nine office locations; and will be based in SymQuest’s dual-headquarters, located in South Burlington, Vt. and Westbrook, Maine. Fleming received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology from St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt., and successfully completed Leadership Champlain, Northern Vermont’s premier leadership training program supported by the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. To learn more about SymQuest visit www.SymQuest.com(link is external).About SymQuest Group, Inc.Founded in 1996, SymQuest designs, installs, and hosts network infrastructures and printing environments of all sizes. SymQuest is a regionally based subsidiary of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A with locations in South Burlington and Rutland, VT, Plattsburgh and Watertown, NY, Keene and West Lebanon, NH and Westbrook and Lewiston, ME.  SymQuest has developed a national reputation for service excellence and innovation and is ranked Northern New England’s #1 managed IT services and copier provider by MSPmentor©. Learn more about our solutions at www.SymQuest.com(link is external). About Konica MinoltaKonica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. is reshaping and revolutionizing the Workplace of the Future™ (www.reshapework.com(link is external)). With our comprehensive portfolio, we deliver solutions to leverage mobility, cloud services, and optimize business processes with workflow automation. Our All Covered IT Services(link is external) division offers a range of IT strategy, support, and network security solutions across all verticals. Konica Minolta has been recognized as the #1 Brand for Customer Loyalty(link is external) in the MFP Office Copier Market by Brand Keys for ten consecutive years and is proud to be ranked on the Forbes 2016 America’s Best Employers list. Konica Minolta, Inc. has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for five years in a row. We partner with our customers to give shape to ideas and work to bring value to our society. For more information, please visit: www.CountOnKonicaMinolta.com(link is external) and follow Konica Minolta on Facebook(link is external), YouTube(link is external), and Twitter(link is external)@KonicaMinoltaUS(link is external).Source: South Burlington, Vt. (March 03, 2017) – SymQuest Group, Inclast_img read more

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Rule would require lawyers to personally sign all trust checks

first_imgRule would require lawyers to personally sign all trust checks Rule would require lawyers to personally sign all trust checks It might cause some problems for small firms and sole practitioners, but a proposed rule amendment requiring that lawyers personally sign all trust account checks — and not sign blank checks — is the right thing to do, according to the Bar Board of Governors.The board, at its May 28 meeting, approved amendments to Rule 5-1.2. If approved by the Supreme Court, the rules specifically would prohibit attorneys from signing blank trust account checks, prohibit allowing nonlawyers to sign checks, and prohibit the use of a signature stamp on trust account checks.The board also approved a policy change that could see fewer public reprimands administered at board meetings.Board member Andy Sasso, chair of the Disciplinary Procedure Committee which proposed the trust account change, said the revision was generally supported by lawyers, although some small firm practitioners have expressed concern.“Almost all of them are saying, ‘That’s a great rule. Why didn’t we have that before?’” Sasso said. “But there is a segment of the Bar, sole practitioners who do residential real estate work, who are opposed. They’re delegating a lot of that real estate closing work to nonlawyers. What they’re saying is if this rule passes, they won’t be able to do real estate work while they’re on vacation or out of town.”Board member Dan DeCubellis said he’s worked in small firms for most of his career and thinks the rule is needed.“The idea of closing deals. . . where you don’t have any idea what’s happening should not be allowed, anyway,” he said. “You can do it [comply with the proposed rule], but it requires advance planning. I don’t see where we are going to be taking away anyone’s livelihood doing this. I think this is a rule we should have had for a long time.”Board member Ray Abadin agreed, noting there are a variety of documents, not just trust account checks, that a lawyer is personally required to sign and has to make arrangements for when traveling or on vacation.“I see this as one of the responsibilities that we have that emanates from our license,” he said. “We have responsibilities that go with our practice.”Board member Mary Ann Morgan, though, said the board should get input from the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section.“If you’ve got a small practice and you want to go to Europe on that 10-day trip, or you’re going to be gone for three months, you can’t do it,” Morgan said. “I’m a small firm practitioner and I can see it would be a hardship.”She said one law office used a CPA firm to write its checks, and while that meant it was done by a nonlawyer, CPAs are licensed and have fiduciary and professional obligations similar to lawyers.The board approved the change by voice vote, with some dissent. Public Reprimands The public reprimand issue saw the board amend Standing Board Policy 15.92, which requires that all public reprimands be administered by the Bar president at a board meeting. In the past, some reprimands were allowed to be done by judges in local courtrooms, and board members questioned whether all public reprimands, which are also published in Southern Second, needed to be personally administered as well.Debate on the board in past meetings focused on whether reprimands are an effective deterrent to bad behavior or merely humiliate the recipient, and whether they need to be personally administered in all cases. That led to the DPC working on a change to make the required appearance optional in some cases — a policy the board has been informally following for a year or so.As amended by the board, the new policy would leave the decision to the board member acting as the designated reviewer in the case, with advice from Bar staff counsel.Some board members expressed concerns the new policy might be too lenient. Board member Carl Schwait said he favored having all reprimands require a public appearance before the board.Board member Chobee Ebbets said he had mixed feelings.“It’s a scary thing to see. It is a sobering thing to see,” he said. “When I saw my first public reprimand [as a board member], I thought, ‘Dear God, that’s the last thing I want to happen to me.’”Bar President Jesse Diner summed up the debate: “Is it a deterrent, or is it a public flogging that shouldn’t happen?”He added, “This is still going to be a work in progress. You may want to pass the policy and see how we’re going to proceed with it.”The board voted 24-14 for the new policy.center_img June 15, 2010 Regular Newslast_img read more

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How the brain recognizes objects

first_imgLinkedIn When the eyes are open, visual information flows from the retina through the optic nerve and into the brain, which assembles this raw information into objects and scenes.Scientists have previously hypothesized that objects are distinguished in the inferior temporal (IT) cortex, which is near the end of this flow of information, also called the ventral stream. A new study from MIT neuroscientists offers evidence that this is indeed the case.Using data from both humans and nonhuman primates, the researchers found that neuron firing patterns in the IT cortex correlate strongly with success in object-recognition tasks. Share on Facebook Share Emailcenter_img “While we knew from prior work that neuronal population activity in inferior temporal cortex was likely to underlie visual object recognition, we did not have a predictive map that could accurately link that neural activity to object perception and behavior. The results from this study demonstrate that a particular map from particular aspects of IT population activity to behavior is highly accurate over all types of objects that were tested,” says James DiCarlo, head of MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, a member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and senior author of the study, which appears in the Journal of Neuroscience.The paper’s lead author is Najib Majaj, a former postdoc in DiCarlo’s lab who is now at New York University. Other authors are former MIT graduate student Ha Hong and former MIT undergraduate Ethan Solomon.Distinguishing objectsEarlier stops along the ventral stream are believed to process basic visual elements such as brightness and orientation. More complex functions take place farther along the stream, with object recognition believed to occur in the IT cortex.To investigate this theory, the researchers first asked human subjects to perform 64 object-recognition tasks. Some of these tasks were “trivially easy,” Majaj says, such as distinguishing an apple from a car. Others — such as discriminating between two very similar faces — were so difficult that the subjects were correct only about 50 percent of the time.After measuring human performance on these tasks, the researchers then showed the same set of nearly 6,000 images to nonhuman primates as they recorded electrical activity in neurons of the inferior temporal cortex and another visual region known as V4.Each of the 168 IT neurons and 128 V4 neurons fired in response to some objects but not others, creating a firing pattern that served as a distinctive signature for each object. By comparing these signatures, the researchers could analyze whether they correlated to humans’ ability to distinguish between two objects.The researchers found that the firing patterns of IT neurons, but not V4 neurons, perfectly predicted the human performances they had seen. That is, when humans had trouble distinguishing two objects, the neural signatures for those objects were so similar as to be indistinguishable, and for pairs where humans succeeded, the patterns were very different.“On the easy stimuli, IT did as well as humans, and on the difficult stimuli, IT also failed,” Majaj says. “We had a nice correlation between behavior and neural responses.”The findings support the hypothesis that patterns of neural activity in the IT cortex can encode object representations detailed enough to allow the brain to distinguish different objects, the researchers say.Model performanceThe researchers also tested more than 10,000 other possible models for how the brain might encode object representations. These models varied based on location in the brain, the number of neurons required, and the time window for neural activity.Some of these models, including some that relied on V4, were eliminated because they performed better than humans on some tasks and worse on others.“We wanted the performance of the neurons to perfectly match the performance of the humans in terms of the pattern, so the easy tasks would be easy for the neural population and the hard tasks would be hard for the neural population,” Majaj says.The research team now aims to gather even more data to ask if this model or similar models can predict the behavioral difficulty of object recognition on each and every visual image — an even higher bar than the one tested thus far. That might require additional factors to be included in the model that were not needed in this study, and thus could expose important gaps in scientists’ current understanding of neural representations of objects.They also plan to expand the model so they can predict responses in IT based on input from earlier parts of the visual stream.“We can start building a cascade of computational operations that take you from an image on the retina slowly through V1, V2, V4, until we’re able to predict the population in IT,” Majaj says. Share on Twitter Pinterestlast_img read more

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Teaching children how to cope with life’s challenges

first_imgShare on Facebook Email Share on Twitter Share “What we have found with our work is that starting these conversations about coping early on helps children develop good coping habits,” says Associate Professor Frydenberg. “We need to teach children to manage those worries so they don’t become uncontrollable worries because that’s what poor mental health is – when you don’t feel you have the resources to manage situations that are challenging or difficult. It’s inevitable that we’ll have anxiety as we go through life but problems occur when it goes on for too long without being managed or dealt with.”How can parents help children develop helpful coping strategies?Associate Professor Frydenberg FAPS says parents can help children to cope by discouraging unhelpful strategies – like excessive crying, tantrums, blaming oneself and anger – and encouraging helpful strategies such as asking for help, saying sorry and staying calm.She says encouraging children to talk to an adult about their worries is particularly effective when it leads to conversations about coping. In fact, children as young as four and five have, on average, 36 ways of describing how they cope that can be used in conversations.“What parents can do is acknowledge the upset of children and talk about the different ways children can deal with a situation,” says Associate Professor Frydenberg. “We find that even saying that to children generally develops a positive reaction and generates some ideas about what they could do.”And as with all things parenting, modelling helpful coping skills is a powerful teaching strategy. “Adults are role models and children learn from adults,” says Associate Professor Frydenberg. “It’s important for adults to think about their own coping skills.”Assoc. Professor Frydenberg is presenting her work at the Australian Psychological Society Congress 2016, in Melbourne, 13-16 September.center_img Just like adults, young children have worries that cause stress. Adults may worry about job security or a fight with a partner, while children may stress about a friend moving away or losing their favourite toy. But in much the same way as grown-ups, children who use positive coping strategies are more likely to work through their worries, reduce stress and bounce back from difficulties. And children who develop these helpful coping strategies are more likely to become resilient, mentally healthy adults. Who are the best teachers of coping skills for children? You guessed it: parents.Why are coping skills important?Coping skills are what we think and do to help us get through difficult situations, which, as much as we wish they weren’t, are an unavoidable part of life. Psychologist Associate Professor Erica Frydenberg from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education says for children aged four to six these situations are often things like saying goodbye to a parent at kinder or school, having to try something new or wanting to belong to a group of friends.She says helping children to cope with these sorts of worries will equip them with skills to cope with adult-sized problems later in life and help to reduce the risk of mental health problems like depression and anxiety, which affect an estimated one in seven school-age children. LinkedIn Pinterestlast_img read more

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