Ethnic Adoption – Brain Ethics Sat, 18 Sep 2021 04:36:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ethnic Adoption – Brain Ethics 32 32 Presidency 2023: Danjuma, Yakasai, Sani fault of the governors of the South on the zoning | The Guardian Nigeria News Sat, 18 Sep 2021 04:15:00 +0000

[FILES] governors of the south

Angered by the Nigerian Southern Governors Forum’s insistence that the country’s next president should come from the south of the country, some northern leaders said nothing could prevent a Nigerian from running for the 2023 presidential election.

The governors of the south at their meeting in Enugu last Thursday reaffirmed the position they had taken at their meeting in Asaba, Delta State, earlier in the year.

But some Arewa leaders, who spoke to The Guardian about development, declared the move unconstitutional, saying Nigerians should not allow ethnic or regional considerations to determine who becomes president in the 2023 general election.

They argued that it was the adoption of these parochial parameters as a basis for selection in other areas of the country that delayed Nigeria’s progress.

Former Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) General Secretary Elder Anthony Sani and Arewa Youth for Development and Progress (AYDP) National President Danjuma Sarki, who spoke in Kaduna, said that the call of the governors of the south should not be taken seriously by Nigerians if the country is to move forward after the general elections of 2023.

Speaking in an interview, Sani said, “The constitution allows any Nigerian to aspire to any office. So if southerners aspire to produce the president in 2023 democratically, that is their right as Nigerians. What the constitution did not provide is the rotation of the President of Nigeria by rotation between North and South.

According to the head of the ACF, “in order for the North and the South to come together and produce the president, the constitution provides that the candidate must not only garner majority votes, but must also obtain at least 25 percent of the votes in the country. at least two-thirds of the 36 states and FCT. And because no region has all 24 states, it becomes necessary for political parties and their presidential candidates to travel across the country, breaking down barriers and building bridges in the execution of their winning game plans.

Sani said that “in a way, correct practices of our multiparty democracy can go a long way in uniting the nation in peace and prosperity.”

He added: “The governors of the south are not justified in insisting on producing the president in an undemocratic manner. That is, if they want it to be done in an undemocratic way through affirmative action. But if they want it through our multiparty democracy as provided for in the constitution, then there is no qualms. Especially since under the nascent democracy, the South will have governed for 13 years and the North for 11 years by 2023.

“Either way, I think the president’s rotation and the zoning of public office is a tacit admission of leadership failure to provide fair, just and equitable access to national employment resources,” appointments, projects and major contracts to their constituencies.

“As a result, Nigerians are led to believe that such access to domestic resources should be a turn-based approach. And they long for the politics of identity with a gleeful disregard for the fact that there are multiple lines of demarcation of regions, religions, ethnicity, gender, and generation of young people and adults.

Sani continues: “We have seen such practices supplant the performance identity policy, which has no place at the polls. Note that Ethiopia, which has never been colonized, practices ethnic federalism and is still experiencing problems. Lebanon, which practices a policy of religious divisions with a Christian president, a Sunni prime minister and a Shiite speaker, is never without challenges.

He added: “Nigeria faces challenges that naturally accompany the nation-building process that is underway.

But difficult times should bring national greatness, determined leadership and the best in everyone, and not stir up divisions by promoting the nation’s cleavages along ethnic, religious and regional lines.

“We had better come together and unleash our potential for synergy against collective challenges for the good of all. Our situation is never beyond redemption.

Speaking in a similar vein, AYDP National President Sarki Danjuma said the governors in the south were fighting for their personal interests.

“The resolve of the governors of the South can be seen in the light of the struggle against a regional cause, but I want to tell you that there is no other interest opposed by the governors of the South apart from the personal interest.

“We know there are a lot of these southern governors who want to aspire to the presidency. Governor Umahi has never hidden his interest in aspiring to the presidency of Nigeria. We also have in the PDP someone like Governor Wike. If we look at issues critically, southern governors do not aspire to a southern presidency based on objectivity or rational reasoning; it is loaded with certain selfish interests, ”he said.

Danjuma said that, “given the state of the nation today and how the Buhari administration has beaten Nigeria and pushed us back, I think the current turmoil for the regional presidency is not is not the best idea “.

He added, “For people to limit Nigeria’s presidency to a particular area will not bode well for our country. In fact, we currently need a leader in 2023 who is truly a nationalist who is patriotic and who is able to reposition the country. If we limit the choice of the presidency to one region, it is as if we are going to put the Nigerians in a cage and resist their choice.

For his part, an elderly statesman and founding member of the ACF, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, who spoke in Kano, advised southern governors to employ persuasion in their quest.

Yakasai noted that neither of the country’s two main parties could decide which zone would produce Nigeria’s next president, adding that it was a matter of numbers and persuasion.

He said he has since put all his weight into the quest for the Southern presidency in 2023, but frowned on the path and the way the governors went about it.

“You don’t have common ground on something that isn’t quite your own birthright. You have to resort to broader consultation with other stakeholders to get what you want.

“It is impossible for a group to decide that the presidency should come to an area; it is a question of size, number and understanding. I have seen some governors decide for APC, but I don’t know what their reasons are, ”he added.

Yakasai insisted that in a multi-party democracy, supporters of one or two parties could not dictate who the next president would be.

Another prominent politician in Kano, Alhaji Haruna Musa Fatahi, also called the demand for the presidency to be zoned in the South undemocratic.

Two-time House of Representatives Fatahi insisted the majority should win the vote.

He argued that in a democratic dispensation, “you are not imposing any presidential candidate on anyone.”

“It is against the principles of democracy,” he noted.

He added that zoning is neither in the Nigerian constitution nor in the constitutions of the APC or the PDP, stressing that politics is a numbers game.

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Controversial bill to force high school ethnic studies on California legislature Fri, 10 Sep 2021 19:03:00 +0000

The California State Capitol in Sacramento. Photo credit: Wayne Hsieh / Flickr

A bill that would make California the first state in the country to require high school students to take an ethnic studies course for graduation was passed by the state legislature on Wednesday, the latest turning point in ‘a controversial multi-year process on the proposal.

Assembly Bill 101 (AB 101), which now awaits Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature before becoming state law, has been challenged by some Jewish groups, who have argued that it would allow schools adopt previously proposed curricula that included anti-Semitic and anti-Israel material.

In 2020, Newsom criticized the first draft of an Ethnic Studies Curriculum (EMSC) model as “offensive in many ways,” and then vetoed an earlier measure requiring its passage in California schools.

The version of the mandate adopted on Wednesday was hailed by the California Jewish Legislative Caucus for including “important clarifying amendments” which they said addressed concerns raised by the Jewish community.

Related coverage

September 10, 2021 5:19 pm

“These amendments – which expressly prohibit the use of a program that was rejected because of concerns about anti-Jewish and anti-Israel bias – reinforce the strong safeguards included in AB 101 and leave no doubt about the fact that hatred and fanaticism against Jews, Israelis or any other community is prohibited by law and cannot be taught in our classrooms, ”the caucus said.

“Over the coming months, the Jewish Caucus will continue to remain actively engaged in ensuring that the teaching of ethnic studies is free from any anti-Jewish bias or discrimination and adheres to the highest educational standards. “

A leading critic of AB 101, AMCHA Initiative Director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, argued on Thursday that the wording of the bill would only advise against, not strictly prohibit, schools from teach the rejected project of the EMSC or other versions of the program presented by some of the same. authors.

“Despite the efforts of the Jewish Legislative Caucus and some Jewish organizations, the reality is that there is no way these amendments could prevent anti-Semitic programs like the First Draft or even the more overtly anti-Semitic Liberated program from finding their way. in California classrooms, especially as their support from the state’s leading teacher unions and the ethnic studies higher education community, ”she said.

The head of the anti-Semitism watchdog also criticized the bill’s public scrutiny procedure for using a program other than the state-approved version, which she said “requires parents to challenge alternatives assessed by individual school districts.

“The only way to ensure that these anti-Semitic programs don’t end up in classrooms on a large scale is for the governor to veto this bill, which we urge him to do,” Rossman-Benjamin said. .

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Who is Mullah Hassan Akhund? What does the Taliban’s choice of interim prime minister mean for Afghanistan? Wed, 08 Sep 2021 03:56:30 +0000
Image source: AP

Who is Mullah Hasan Akhund, the Acting Prime Minister of Afghanistan

The Taliban announced on Tuesday that Mullah Hasan Akhund had been appointed interim prime minister of Afghanistan. The Taliban have also assigned key roles to prominent members of the insurgent group, including a specially appointed global terrorist from the dreaded Haqqani network as interior minister. Mullah Hasan, head of the powerful Taliban decision-making body ‘Rehbari Shura’, will be acting prime minister while Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be his deputy in the “new Islamic government”, said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid at a press conference. in Kabul.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, a specially appointed global terrorist and son of notorious anti-Soviet warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani who founded the Haqqani network, is the new interim interior minister in the 33-member cabinet that has no women.

The Taliban had promised an “inclusive” government that represents Afghanistan’s complex ethnic makeup, but there is no Hazara member in the Cabinet.

The caretaker government’s announcement comes days after the chief executive of Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lt. Gen. Hameed, traveled to Kabul for an unannounced visit last week.

It was earlier reported that the new government in Kabul would be based on Iranian leadership lines, with the group’s top religious leader, Mullah Hebatullah, as Afghanistan’s supreme authority. However, it was not yet clear what role Mullah Hebatullah will play in the new government.

Who is Mullah Hassan Akhund?

Mullah Akhund is a fascinating but relatively enigmatic figure of the Taliban. He has been an influential figure in Afghanistan since the creation of the militant group in the 1990s. But unlike other Taliban leaders of this period, he was not involved in the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s. While the founder of the Taliban Mullah Mohammad Omar and his deputies fought with the Mujahedin – a loose network of anti-Soviet Afghan fighters – Akhund did not.

Instead, he’s seen much more of a religious influence among the Taliban. He served on the boards of the Taliban Shura, the traditional decision-making body made up of religious scholars and mullahs – an honorary title bestowed on those who have received training in Islamic theology.

Akhund is probably best known as one of the architects of the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, the giant statues on the cliffs destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.

Initially, Omar did not intend to destroy the statues. But the founder of the Taliban was furious to see conservation funds made available for the UNESCO World Heritage site while failing to secure UN humanitarian aid for Afghanistan.

As such, Omar sought the advice of his shura, and Akhund was part of the council that ordered the destruction of the sixth-century statues.

Akhund played a political role in the Taliban government of the 1990s, as Minister of Foreign Affairs; however, its importance lies more in the development of the religious identity of the group. He, like Mullah Omar, was educated in a sort of strict Islamist ideology known as Deobandism.

After the Taliban were driven out of Afghanistan in 2001, Akhund remained an influential presence, operating mainly from exile in Pakistan.

From there, he would provide spiritual and religious advice to the Taliban throughout the 2000s and 2010. In this role, he provided the ideological rationale for the ongoing insurgency against the United States and the state-backed Afghan government. -United.

Today, there are broadly two factions within the Taliban – a military wing that leads the day-to-day campaigns, and a conservative religious elite rooted in Deobandism that acts as its political wing. Mullah Akhund aligns himself very much with the religious faction of the Taliban.

What does his appointment tell us about the Taliban?

There appears to be a power struggle behind Akhund’s appointment. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who served as Omar’s deputy during the first years of the Taliban before assuming the post of de facto leader after Omar’s death, had been viewed by many Afghanistan experts as a leader. potential state. But there are political tensions between Baradar and the powerful Haqqani network – a family-owned Islamist group that has become the Taliban’s de facto diplomatic arm in recent years and has managed to garner support for the group among other local groups.

The Haqqanis are among the most militant factions of the Taliban. And Baradar’s recent conciliatory speech on issues such as women’s rights, working with the international community, and amnesty for members of the former government runs counter to the ideology of the Haqqani Network.

Akhund appears to be a compromise candidate between Baradar supporters and the Haqqani network.

The delay in his appointment – the Taliban has repeatedly rejected the announcement – could be an indicator of internal divisions within the Taliban.

When the announcement came, it was accompanied by reports that Baradar was his deputy, while two members of the Haqqani network were also serving in the Afghan government.

Whether this arrangement is permanent or temporary remains to be seen, but the compromise could be a test of Taliban waters – to see how effective Akhund is as a unifying figure for the group.

What does Akhund’s appointment mean for Afghanistan?

Akhund is a conservative religious scholar whose beliefs include restrictions on women and the denial of civil rights for ethnic and religious minorities. Its decrees in the 1990s, passed by the Taliban, included banning the education of women, enforcing gender segregation, and adopting strict religious dress. All of this could be an indicator of what is to come.

Despite the Taliban’s conciliatory language of late, I think it’s likely that we will see a return to some of the rules that were in place when the Taliban previously held power, including a ban on education for women.

We have already seen the Taliban on September 5 ordering university students to wear the abaya. The abaya is similar to a burka, but it differs from it in that the coverings are almost always black. The abaya is not Afghan, but a more common style of dress in the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

In the 1990s, the Taliban were truly an island nationalist group with the goal of bringing its brand of Islamist rule to Afghanistan.
Today, Akhund appears to be seeking to position the Taliban alongside international partners – an ambition that is also reflected in the Taliban’s recent diplomatic relations with the governments of Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan.

(With PTI entries)

Read also | China, Pakistan and Russia try to figure out what to do with the Taliban: Biden

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Can virtual team building games increase team motivation from a distance? Tue, 31 Aug 2021 19:09:11 +0000

At the start of the pandemic, employees rejoiced to work flexible hours from the comfort of their own homes.

There’s no time wasted traveling, more time with family and less time attending meetings. The workforce has also shifted from being concentrated in urban jungles to smaller towns, to reduce expenses and escape urban routine. However, that started to change eventually. Employees didn’t appreciate the constant zoom calls, the lack of work-life balance, juggling family and work responsibilities, and personal trauma from the pandemic. Employees also suffer from Zoom fatigue and exhaustion. These are most evident in employees working permanently remotely and with large teams. As a result, employees appear to be largely demotivated and unengaged.

While some companies use bonuses and rewards to keep employees motivated, monetary benefits cannot support employee motivation. Instead, a commitment to employee well-being, mental health, and team bonding will motivate employees. Virtual team building games can have a significant impact on employee well-being and team cohesion. These games can help employees stay in touch with the organization, its culture, and their colleagues. They can also keep employees engaged by increasing creativity and communication.

Here are some other reasons why virtual team bonding games can help increase employee motivation:

The best confidence techniques for busy leaders

Build trust, integrity and empathy

Trust, integrity and empathy are crucial factors in increasing employee motivation. When employees trust their employer, they are willing to go beyond their roles and responsibilities to get things done. In a remote working environment due to the limited interactions between managers and employees, building trust has been a key issue. Virtual team bonding activities can help leaders stay in touch with employees and build trust. Some examples are icebreakers, virtual lunches, bucket lists, virtual tours of workspaces, silly virtual charades, etc. These games also help employees be more empathetic and more human towards each other. Some executives worry about being vulnerable when participating in team building games where personal interactions are required. However, these activities make employees empathetic to each other rather than vulnerable. Empathetic leaders are more able to motivate and engage employees than others.

Align with the organization’s vision and mission

Employees are highly motivated when they find direction at work. Alignment with the organization’s vision and mission is crucial to steer their work in the right direction. Teams that work in highly collaborative environments are known to be aligned with their organization’s vision. Activities such as virtual escape rooms, puzzles, online board games help teams align with a collective goal and work strategically on it. It is important for management to participate in these activities alongside the teams to make them very inspiring.

Promote inclusion, equality and diversity

Due to technological upheavals, teams are now global and significantly larger. Teams as large as 200 members are not surprising. In large and diverse teams, inclusion is often a concern. Additionally, due to diverse skills, backgrounds, genders or ethnicities, large global teams have problems collaborating initially. Virtual team bonding activities that break down barriers and promote inclusion, such as virtual happy hours, icebreakers, experience sharing, etc. bring together diverse teams. Also, for large and diverse teams, it is important to conduct these activities in small groups rather than for the whole team at once. It can help them get to know each other on a personal level. For ethnically diverse teams, virtual games like cooking, ethnic dress-up, virtual celebration of ethnic festivals with a team can help be more inclusive.

Help find a goal

When employees find their work important and purposeful, they are more likely to be motivated. Remote teams often struggle to be motivated and focused when there is a lack of communication about how their work is meaningful. Virtual team building activities that facilitate open communication between managers and team members can be very beneficial in this regard. Some examples are escape rooms, obstacle-solving puzzles, mystery games, emotions, etc.

In permanent remote teams, virtual team building activities can be organized regularly to keep employees motivated. They can be organized effortlessly with the help of a good facilitator or online kits. It’s important that organizations and leaders stay connected with their teams throughout the process. Organizing virtual activities at a mundane level to tick off the checklist will not impact employee well-being. Employees also reported feeling bored and tired during virtual team building activities when they were poorly organized. To be engaging, it is important to involve teams through activities, from their organization to their participation. In conclusion, monetary recognition or rewards alone do not keep employees motivated. Organizations that are truly inspiring, determined and committed to the well-being of all stakeholders motivate employees.

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Wheelchair racing legend McFadden wins 18th Paralympic medal Sat, 28 Aug 2021 05:30:20 +0000

American wheelchair racing legend Tatyana McFadden said she was “on cloud nine” after winning her 18th Paralympic medal on Saturday, four years after blood clots nearly ended her career.

McFadden won bronze in the women’s 5,000m T54 to extend her streak of podiums in every Paralympic race she has competed since 2008.

But she said just competing in Tokyo was a victory in itself, having been diagnosed with a blood clotting disorder in 2017 from which it took almost two years to recover.

“I am in seventh heaven,” said the 32-year-old woman, born in Russia and raised in an orphanage until adopted at the age of six.

“I was in a very dark situation because it took me 20 months to recover, and everyone was improving in those 20 months. I kept fighting, I kept believing in me and I continued to train really hard. “

McFadden said she couldn’t even sit in her wheelchair for more than 30 minutes after being diagnosed with the disease, but she gradually regained her strength and returned to competing.

“It’s really amazing that I’m here, that I’m on the podium,” she said after finishing the race behind her gold-winning teammate Susannah Scaroni.

McFadden is set to take part in four more events in Tokyo and could add the relay to his schedule as well.

More medals would solidify her position as one of the greatest Paralympians of all time, and she is determined to use her status to raise awareness of disability.

McFadden praised Team USA’s decision to award Paralympic medalists the same cash prize as Olympians in Tokyo for the first time.

“These Games are monumental for us,” she said.

“If the United States can do it, the world can follow. I want us to be the leader.”

– ‘Transforming the world’ –

McFadden also believes that increased media coverage of the Tokyo Paralympic Games can “transform the world”.

“Every banner, every T-shirt that a volunteer wears, you see the Olympic and Paralympic logos,” she said.

“This is the first time this has happened at a Games, and it’s really important to us. We really live in the present and it feels like it’s only going to get better.”

McFadden was born with spina bifida and is paralyzed from waist to toe.

She was abandoned in an orphanage in St. Petersburg and did not have a wheelchair, so she learned to walk on her hands.

She was adopted at the age of six by Deborah Mcfadden, who served as Disability Commissioner under US President George W. Bush.

She then moved to the United States and began to run in a wheelchair, before making her Paralympic debut at the Athens Games in 2004.

“It’s such an exciting move and I’m so happy to be in the game,” said McFadden, who also competed in cross-country skiing competitions at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

“I think with my ability I can only ride from here. I have time in this sport so I’m so excited.”

amk / mtp

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Barrio Logan’s growing pains still unresolved after more than a decade of trying Tue, 24 Aug 2021 11:08:26 +0000
Illustration by Adriana Heldiz

Many American cities – despite their unique geographies and circumstances – share the same serious and complex issues: things like homelessness, housing affordability, disaster preparedness, and inequality. When we talk about San Diego Specials – a unique brand of problems – we are not talking about these. Rather, the term refers to long-lasting, resolved issues that have escalated here due to a lack of leadership and vision. These are often challenges that other cities (or even other communities in San Diego) took action on long ago, with far less of a headache. In this week-long series, we take a look at five San Diego specials and the factors that kept the solutions out of reach..


San Diego’s most polluted neighborhood may soon benefit from a new community plan, which finally attempts to separate Barrio Logan’s homes and its industrial businesses.

Then again, Barrio Logan has been trying for decades to update this plan for future growth, and it has suffered delays once again this year.

Basically, Barrio Logan’s problem is simple. Unlike all other parts of the city, industrial companies are allowed to open next to houses. Between that, the shipbuilding industry on Barrio Logan’s waterfront and the two year-old highways that run through the neighborhood, it has the lowest air quality in the area.

“This is the poster child for environmental racism,” said Diane Takvorian, executive director of the Environmental Health Coalition. “This is the plan that has continually been put on the back burner; the plan that no one wanted to deal with.

The neighborhood was here first, a community of refugees from the Mexican Revolution living in what was then a unified Logan Heights. Then World War II brought in the United States Navy and a shipbuilding and repair industry, converting the communal lands that bordered San Diego Bay into an industrial port. The government built Interstate 5 and the Coronado Bridge, forcing residents off their property and dividing the neighborhood into two – Logan Heights and Barrio Logan, closer to the waterfront.

“The disturbances are deeply a part of communities of color,” said Alberto Pulido, professor of ethnic studies at the University of San Diego and vice president of the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center in the greater Logan Heights area. “Our history was fragmented and disjointed, so how the hell are we going to be able to build continuity over time? “

The final blow was mixed-use zoning, which allowed free development for all, further fragmenting the neighborhood.

barrio logan
A school bus crosses the Barrio Logan. / Photo by Sam Hodgson

There has been a certain consensus for years that the status quo in Barrio Logan was not acceptable. But in true San Diego Special, that didn’t lead to a solution. This was especially true in a city-wide vote in 2014 that raised the question of whether there was in fact a consensus for change in the first place.

Then the main fight in Barrio Logan was about the zoning rules that dictate what types of things can be built where. Compromises between industry, conservationists and community leaders emerged in 2013, leading to city council passing a new community plan that fixed zoning, separating homes from industry. over time.

But the plan ultimately faced a politically charged and unprecedented city-wide referendum a year later, where it was quashed, and the issue has stalled ever since.

Barrio Logan’s community plan, which reportedly created a buffer zone between homes and some businesses, faced voters in June 2014 as props. B and C. The measures failed after aggressive lobbying by the business community. / Photo by Sam Hodgson

Once at odds, community leaders, environmental activists and the shipbuilding industry began to strike a deal in May on a new plan that expands residential neighborhoods and still allows the industry to thrive, but creates a buffer that defenders have long demanded between the residential area and the shipyards along the water. He settled the dispute that ultimately led to the 2014 referendum across the city.

Now, however, the Environmental Health Coalition is calling for more changes. He is looking for ambitious affordable housing requirements and anti-gentrification initiatives as part of the new community plan. Although it delayed the final vote on the plan, the Barrio Logan Planning Group ultimately backed a requirement that 15% of new housing in two residential villages (a new feature of the compromised zoning map) be reserved for residents in low income.

“We didn’t want (the plan) to take any longer, but it’s a plan that they will live with for a long time, so it has to reflect what the community wants it to be,” Takvorian said.

City staff are now working to add this requirement and anti-gentrification measures – like relocation benefits, the right of return for displaced tenants or outright booking of affordable housing for community residents. – in a new draft of the community plan. According to city documents, it could take another three to six months before Barrio Logan’s planning group can take a final vote.

This vote is the first step.

The plan still has to clear several hurdles, including a city council vote and state coastal commission approval, due to Barrio Logan’s proximity to San Diego Bay.

Mark Steele, chairman of the planning group, said while supporting the campaign for affordable housing, he acknowledged it was delaying a more immediate solution to the neighborhood’s environmental justice issues.

“Every day that they push hard is another day that someone can come in and do whatever they want at Barrio Logan,” Steele said. “The sooner the plan is made, the sooner these incompatibilities [between housing and industry] can stop.

City councilor Vivian Moreno, who represents the region, declined a request for an interview.

Community leaders hope she won’t vote against something the local planning group approves.

In 2013, Barrio Logan’s future turned into a political flashpoint when the mayor was elected between former city councilor David Alvarez, who represented the area and attributes his asthma to growing up there. bottom, and the final winner, Kevin Faulconer, who stood with the shipbuilding industry.

Each candidate supported a different zoning compromise. But the community status quo ultimately won when city voters tossed Barrio Logan’s community plan at the polls.

The shipbuilding industry has changed its tone since then.

Derry Pence, president of the Port of San Diego Ship Repair Association, reaffirmed his support for the signed written agreement on a zoning map established in 2020 between industry leaders, the Environmental Health Coalition and the Barrio Logan Planning Group. The new zoning “(will create) a healthier community and provide certainty for residents and businesses by setting a firm course for community growth and development,” Pence wrote in an email.

Steele hopes the council will vote on the plan in early 2022, around the same time he becomes the first chairman of the Barrio Logan Planning Group, which was launched after the referendum.

“There was a quiet period for a long time,” Steele said. “I spent the first few years trying to put everything together and settle down, and make a band that could be successful.”

The land that houses Steele’s own business, an architecture and planning firm on Newton Avenue, will eventually become space for new residential housing under agreed zoning rules.

(Her business will not be evicted, it will have grandfathered rights. But once the land changes hands, housing will have to be built there, under the new rules.) That’s fine with Steele. He said he sees the change as an improvement towards creating a more cohesive community.

Ultimately, generations of San Diegans who have seen the Barrio Logan neighborhood cut to pieces by industry and government projects over the generations hope the new plan will hold up.

“We were on the road to progress,” said Pulido. “But the people came back. This is what they did not expect.

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ESG investors struggle to find the right balance to do good – and solar panels show why Sat, 21 Aug 2021 12:08:00 +0000 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a stern warning this month that human-induced warming resulting from the burning of fossil fuels is causing climate change and that the removal of carbon emissions will stop warming.

This makes the transition to renewables like solar power even more urgent. However, reports that China has forced Uyghurs to work in labor camps to manufacture key ingredients for solar panels put socially responsible investors in an awkward position between weighing up climate disaster prevention and supporting human rights. the man.

Moreover, human rights defenders pushing for better treatment of the ethnic group inadvertently suffered a setback with the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Now that the Taliban has regained control of Afghanistan, China may have heightened concerns about a surge in militancy in Central Asia, near Xinjiang, home to Uyghurs, who are Muslims, a religious minority in China.

All of this underlines the limits of investing according to environmental, social and governance principles. Global supply chains are often murky and opaque, as many clothing manufacturers have learned. Some issues may be better resolved by governments rather than winning board seats or otherwise influencing company strategy. At the best of times, change can take years, but sometimes change never happens despite the efforts of activists. And ESG promoters must regularly weigh competing concerns, in this case environmental and social interests, and decide where they can have the most influence.

Read: “ESG” and sustainability mentions are made on thousands of business results calls

Labor allegations in China

While concerns that Uyghurs were working in forced labor camps had existed for several years, a report from Sheffield Hallam University earlier this year found a link to the solar industry. The report, “In Broad Daylight: Uyghur Forced Labor and Global Solar Supply Chains,” details accusations that the Chinese government has placed millions of indigenous Uyghur and Kazakh citizens of the Xinjiang region in labor camps to extract polysilicon , a key material in the manufacture of panels.

The Chinese government characterizes these camps as a voluntary, government-backed poverty reduction effort and a means of combating terrorism. Authorities repeatedly deny all allegations of human rights violations.

About 95% of solar modules depend on polysilicon, the raw material to create solar cells, and according to the report, polysilicon manufacturers in the Uyghur region account for around 45% of the global supply of solar grade. “In 2020, China produced an additional 30% of the world’s polysilicon in addition to that produced in the Uyghur region, a significant proportion of which may also be affected by forced labor in the Uyghur region,” the authors say.

The United States has recently started paying more attention to products imported from the region that could be turned into forced labor. In June, the Biden administration banned the import of solar panels and other goods produced by Hoshine Silicon 603260,
+ 10.00%,
a Shanghai-listed company that produces and sells silicon-based materials and operates factories in Xinjiang. The company has a market value of around $ 22.2 billion, but less than 13% of its shares are freely traded. It represents a small portion of US solar imports.

The United States has also imposed restrictions on four other silicon producers in Xinjiang, including Daqo New Energy Corp. 688303,
a $ 3.35 billion company that is one of the largest polysilicon producers in the world and has an ADR listing in the US DQ,
+ 2.53%

The Solar Energy Industries Association, a US industry group, is encouraging companies to move supply chains out of the region and sign a pledge to prevent forced labor, among other actions. To date, more than 280 companies have signed this commitment, including the utility Duke Energy DUK,
+ 0.31%,
Tesla TSLA,
+ 1.01%
(which acquired SolarCity in 2016 and is now part of Tesla Energy) and JinkoSolar US, the American subsidiary of Chinese panel builder JKS,
+ 7.15%.

ESG managers in difficulty

Chris Meyer, head of stewardship investment research and advocacy for Praxis Mutual Funds, a faith-based ESG fund, says the report’s findings help illustrate gray areas of investing and that global supply chains are complex and often opaque.

“This is not what we want to see associated with solar. I say we in the ESG community more broadly, and also at Praxis, but I think we’re better at knowing that because we can start dealing with it now, ”he says.

But at the same time, he adds, “that’s no reason to avoid renewable solar power altogether. The world is in the process of climatic triage.

Praxis is working with utilities to phase out coal-fired power plants and switch to renewables in a way that supports utility workers and the communities where the power plants are located in a “just” transition that ensures that people in all walks of life participate in a carbon-free economy.

This is another reason why the Uyghur situation is delicate for ESG funds. Although the use of renewable energy is growing in the United States, “we don’t want it to come at the expense of people or the planet on the production side,” he says.

Meyer says Praxis is stepping up advocacy with its portfolio companies in the solar supply chain, but it’s difficult. He declined to name which companies. “It’s a pretty crude problem right now,” he says.

The limits of ESG investing

There are limits to what fund managers can do and the remedies are complex. A European environmental institutional fund manager who has no direct exposure to investments in Xinjiang says that normally ESG fund managers advocate with companies to improve company behavior for the benefit of all stakeholders, but this situation is different because the fate of the Uyghurs depends on the Chinese government. .

“There is absolutely no way that, because the US utilities are not using the polysilicon from Xinjiang, the Chinese government will change its policy,” the fund manager said, adding that even though solar power manufacturers leave the country, Uyghur life will not change.

The US government only recently voiced concerns about China’s treatment of Uyghurs. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration sought help from China in the fight against terrorism to fight al-Qaeda. In 2002, the Bush White House designated the “Islamic Movement of East Turkestan” as a terrorist organization, blaming it for terrorist attacks, including arson and assassinations in China. The group is a target of Chinese counterterrorism and has used it to justify the crackdown on the predominantly Muslim Xinjiang region. The US State Department removed the group from its terrorist list in November 2020, saying there was no credible evidence the group still existed.

Potential profit for US based solar generation

Of course, ESG investors could seek out other solar panel manufacturers to support their environmental interests. There is some push towards solar production in the United States, and in June, four Democratic senators introduced the Solar Power Manufacturing Act for America to give tax credits to American manufacturers while along the solar manufacturing supply chain to increase domestic solar generation capacity. But building an industry from scratch will take time.

Cindy Bohlen, research analyst at Riverwater Partners, an ESG financial advisor, says there could be an opportunity for a company like First Solar FSLR,
benefit from investor interest in a US-based solar panel manufacturer. First Solar, which has a market capitalization of around $ 9.9 billion, uses a thin-film manufacturing process, rather than polysilicon. However, it is more expensive to produce than polysilicon panels.

“It seemed to us that this whole situation would present a good opportunity for them,” said Bohlen, noting that his company had so far not invested in any solar stocks and continued to do their due diligence.

Meyer says the rate of renewable energy development may slow as the industry tries to make sense of the Uyghur problem, but that won’t stop the facilities. The price of panels may go up, but he still believes renewables will remain competitive with fossil fuels.

“I don’t think it’s going to significantly change the trajectory we’re on for the adoption of cleaner energy,” he says.

Debbie Carlson is a MarketWatch columnist. It does not own any of the funds or stocks mentioned in this article. Follow her on Twitter @ DebbieCarlson1.

More from Debbie Carlson

These under-the-radar actions fight climate change by reducing carbon emissions

Your ESG investment may be a “light” fund and not as green as you think

What New Amazon CEO Andy Jassy Needs To Do To Become A Sustainability Leader Like Apple

Goldman Sachs launches ESG ETF with one size fits all approach and any size

Vanguard strengthens its ESG staff – are more sustainable investment funds on the way?

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Guarantee fair access to next-generation oncology sequencing Fri, 20 Aug 2021 13:52:51 +0000 In recent years, next-generation sequencing techniques have revolutionized approaches to cancer therapy and care. Personalized medicine, also known as precision medicine, can make cancer treatment more effective, with fewer side effects. Precision medicine is an approach to the prevention and treatment of disease that seeks to maximize effectiveness by taking into account individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle. Personalized medicine includes targeted therapy and pharmacogenomics.

New targeted therapy approvals are occurring at a rapid pace, but a growing number of patients are still receiving chemotherapy instead of personalized therapies as first-line treatment. Despite all these advances, not all patients have access to personalized treatment. To enable the effective adoption of precision oncology in cancer treatment, next-generation sequencing is needed.

Compared to traditional methods, NGS offers advantages in terms of precision (sensitivity and specificity) and speed which have the potential to have a significant impact on the field of oncology. Since NGS can assess multiple genes in a single test, it eliminates the need to perform multiple tests to identify the offending mutation.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines recommend testing 10 specific biomarkers before starting treatment for non-late stage lung cancer (NSCLC), with an emphasis on EGFR in exons 19, 20 and 21. Other guidelines call for testing six biomarkers in colon cancer, including KRAS / NRAS and BRAF mutations, as well as HER2 amplifications and high repair status / mismatch (MMR) of microsatellite instability ( MSI) in people with metastatic colorectal cancer.

With targeted therapies becoming the new standard of care in oncology, companion diagnostics based on the NGS are widely regarded as determining the selection of treatments to optimize patient outcomes in the future. In addition, NGS was applied to sequence circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in the area of ​​liquid biopsy. Since cDNA is made up of the DNA fragments released by tumor cells, it can provide a molecular profile of cancer. Liquid biopsy can be applied at all stages of cancer diagnosis and treatment, allowing non-invasive, real-time monitoring of disease development.

The use of NGS presents several challenges that will need to be addressed, especially for the community-based oncology practice where most patients reside. Streamlining NGS as well as interpretation and clinical genomic reporting, especially for sophisticated panels, remains time consuming and difficult. Other major limitations of genomic testing relate to the quality of the starting material for testing, the ability of a given sequencing method to generate usable results with the tissue sample, and the complex workflow involved in performing an NGS test. Cost is another concern and access in some areas.

At last year’s American Association for Cancer Research conference on the science of cancer health disparities among racial / ethnic minorities and medically underserved people, a study showed that molecular testing was less common among historically underrepresented groups, older patients, and those uninsured or insured by Medicaid. the patients.

In August, health plans regulated by the state of Illinois will cover biomarker testing from 2022. Biomarker testing, the medical technology used to determine medical risk factors like cancer, will now be covered by Medicaid as well as by state regulated insurance plans. Now, Illinois patients will be able to benefit from personalized therapy without worrying about the cost with biomarker testing, to help determine the right treatment at the right time to improve patients’ quality of life.

But how do you ensure that this model is adopted in every state, city and hospital in the United States? The goal is to provide clinicians with high quality, accurate and cost-effective IVD tests to enable better treatment decisions for cancer patients. Pillar’s automated primer design software, single tube lab workflow, and bioinformatics analysis platform provide a unique solution. Streamlined workflows are important, so testing can be performed by any lab that performs NGS testing. Affordable tests increase patient access, to provide the rapid turnaround time needed to guide physicians’ treatment decisions.

According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2020, around 600,000 people died of cancer. The most common cancers are breast cancer, lung and bronchial cancer, and prostate cancer. The hope is that with personalized medicine, more patients will have a better chance of beating cancer.

With these new technologies and emerging products, equity of care and access is important. Molecular testing should be available to all patients and much remains to be done. There are disparities between comprehensive cancer centers and community center hospitals, but each hospital and CLIA lab should all be eligible to perform NGS tests closest to the patient’s place of residence.

This hospital-based NGS test model enables the adoption of personalized medicine across a patient’s continuum of care. We need to create an inclusive standard of care, where all patients have access to personalized therapy.

Gang Song, Ph.D., is the Founder, President and CEO of Pillar Biosciences, which co-invented Pillar Biosciences’ SLIMamp technology. He subsequently co-founded Affyimmune Therapeutics, a cellular immunotherapy company, and is also a venture capital partner at ORI Capital. Previously, Dr Song held positions of increasing responsibility at LabCorp (formerly Genzyme Genetics) and IQuum (subsequently acquired by Roche Molecular Diagnostics). Dr Song completed his postgraduate training in Timothy Springer’s lab at Harvard Medical School and received his doctorate. from Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University, China.

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Statement by Representative Payne, Jr. on the 56th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 Fri, 06 Aug 2021 19:51:00 +0000

Statement by Representative Payne, Jr. on 56e Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act 1965

Washington DC – Representative Donald M. Payne, Jr. today issued the following statement regarding the 56e Anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The law banned electoral discrimination practices that had been enacted in many southern states in response to the 15e Amendment, which gave all Americans the right to vote regardless of race or color. The practices included voting taxes, literacy tests and other restrictions to prevent African Americans from voting or deny them the right to vote.

“It is important to commemorate the anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, as today we are seeing an increase in action in state legislatures nationwide to deny Afro the right to vote. Americans, ”said Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr.“ In the past it was local taxes. Today it is the elimination of ballot boxes and places in minority neighborhoods, the rejection of the vote by mail and even denial of water to voters while they line up to vote. We must immediately pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act (HR 4) to restore and protect the right to vote for all Americans, regardless of race or political affiliation. Every vote counts!

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Erie should follow New Castle’s lead and adopt a charter of autonomy Fri, 06 Aug 2021 10:44:09 +0000

New Castle, things have been difficult in your municipality. Currently you are in Act 47 and are planning to release in a few years. Here in Erie, we narrowly avoided such a designation. However, congratulations are not on your planned release from Act 47, but on the adoption of a Home Rule charter! You did the study to realize that the third-class city code with an optional charter for a strong mayor-council is a recipe for failure. You have realized that when Act 47 is released, you will need to create your own charter to be successful as a community.

Coming from Erie, I admire your determination. My town has spent so much time trying to avoid Act 47 that we haven’t looked at the third-class city code failure system that we share, at the moment, in your state. of distress. In Erie, we have spent time blaming the failure to close the income deficits of tax-exempt properties and support infrastructure for job-dependent commuters who do not contribute equitably to the systems that benefit them. Like you, we have a lot of neighbors who make fun of our residents while blaming them for having trouble paying the bill.