All States ~ Corporate Income Tax: Georgetown SALT Conference Examines Audits, Restructurings

first_imgCCH Tax Day ReportThe Georgetown University Law Center held its 39th annual Advanced State and Local Tax Institute on August 4 and 5, 2016. Many of the corporate income tax sessions focused on audits and restructurings. Other sessions covered apportionment, protecting confidential taxpayer information, issues facing state tax administrators, and tax policy “myths and realities.”AuditsDuring the first of two sessions on audits, the panel of experts urged tax practitioners to take advantage of early resolution opportunities. According to Shirley Sicilian (KPMG), there is more “openness across the states” with regard to “early resolution on an ad hoc basis.” She also noted that early mediation “reduces administrative costs for both state and taxpayers.” The time it takes to complete an audit can also be reduced, according to Harry Leonard (NYC Department of Finance), if the parties can get to the significant audit issues earlier. However, Michael Fatale (Massachusetts Department of Revenue) noted that significant advancement of pre-audit resolution opportunities might require some “new thinking” from auditors, litigators, and taxpayers in some instances.The panel also discussed different methods of obtaining a pre-audit resolution, such as private letter rulings and voluntary disclosure programs. With regarding to rulings for individual taxpayers, the panel noted several problems. For example, since they do not go through a formal notice and hearing process, these rulings do not have the force of law. As a result, while the state tax department may follow the ruling, courts are not obligated to do the same. The “battle over the facts” was also cited as a potential problem area, since the specific factual situation will often determine the legal aspects of the ruling. However, as both Leonard and Fatale noted, the state tax departments do not always know if the facts are correct. The discussion of voluntary disclosure programs concentrated on a taxpayer’s ability to remain anonymous and negotiate the look-back period.The second audit-related session provided practical advice for handling audits, with a lot of attention being paid to documentation and taxpayer-auditor relations. Alysse McLoughlin (McDermott Will & Emery) noted that taxpayers should start preparing and collecting relevant documents when the transaction is occurring (instead of waiting until the audit begins). There was also a lot of back-and-forth between panelists and the audience (both taxpayers and auditors) regarding broad requests for documentation from auditors. With regard to dealing with auditors, Darron Copeland (Graphique Couture, LLC) emphasized good communication skills and the ability to “lead the auditor to a conclusion” (e.g., taxpayers should explain how their business works, how transactions are structured, etc.). Rob Porcelli (PricewaterhouseCoopers) also suggested closely reviewing returns and bringing up mistakes right away to establish good relations with auditors. The panel also discussed common corporate income tax audit issues, such as nexus, business vs. nonbusiness income, intercompany transactions, combined reporting, payroll, and sales factors.RestructuringsDay 2 of the conference concentrated on the state tax implications of mergers, acquisitions, and other business restructuring transactions with several sessions devoted to the topic. In the first session, the presenters pointed out some if the differences between state and federal tax provisions that can trap practitioners dealing with restructurings. For example, Bobby Burgner (General Electric) reminded the audience that S corporations are pass-through entities under federal law, but are treated the same as C corporations in some states. Burgner also noted that there are “eight or nine taxes to consider” for every state, and that practitioners “must look at every jurisdiction and every tax” to see if a restructuring transaction is taxable. He also encouraged practitioners to look for tax incentive opportunities related to restructurings. A fact pattern to be used in multiple sessions throughout the day was also presented and explained during the introductory session on restructurings.After the introductory session, Art Rosen (McDermott Will & Emery) and Alexandra Sampson (Alston & Bird) led an interactive breakout session dealing specifically with corporate franchise and income tax implications of restructurings. They urged state tax practitioners to get involved in the planning of restructuring transactions early if possible. On a substantive level, Rosen noted that “how to account for gain in the various states” is one of the most important state tax aspects of a restructuring. This not only includes the recognition of gain (which might be different than under federal law), but its apportionment or allocation as well. Sampson covered the treatment of net operating losses (NOLs) and tax credits, including which party in a restructuring can use them. Compliance requirements, nexus, acquisition indebtedness, water’s edge elections, unitary combined reporting, and IRC §338(h)(10) deemed asset sales were also discussed.The final session on restructuring transactions provided a final analysis of the topic. Corporate income tax-related issues discussed included:– whether tax savings in one jurisdiction are a valid “business purpose” in another jurisdiction;– differences between entity sales and asset sales;– compliance requirements, such as filing due dates, elections, etc.; and– tax clearance certificates following sale of a unitary group member.Other Corporate Income Tax SessionsWhile the conference agenda was heavy on audits and restructurings, other state corporate income tax topics were highlighted as well. For example, one session covered the reporting, audit, and litigation aspects of apportionment. Among other things, the panel discussed challenges in capturing data to be used in determining apportionment percentages, zero-factor returns, auditor information requests, and common issues in apportionment litigation.Another session dealt with protecting a taxpayer’s confidential information. During this session, Edward Killen, Director of Privacy, Governmental Liaison and Disclosures for the IRS, provided an overview of IRC §6103, which establishes the federal confidentiality and disclosure rules for returns and return information. Data breaches (hacking), state unauthorized disclosure laws, and identity theft leading to fraudulent refund claims were also discussed.One of the liveliest sessions featured three current state tax department heads – Courtney Kay-Decker (Iowa), Julie Magee (Alabama), and Kimberly Robinson (Louisiana) – talking about the challenges they face in administering their state’s tax laws. All three agreed that the use of technology is critical, especially with tight state budgets. With regard to tax incentives often used to lure businesses to her state, Magee admitted that new employers usually come to Alabama for other than tax reasons. In addition, when asked about Louisiana’s recently enacted single-sales factor apportionment formula, Robinson stated “I don’t know if I like it yet.”During the conference’s final session, Doug Lindholm (Council On State Taxation) and Prof. Richard Pomp (University of Connecticut School of Law) delivered a fast-paced, back-and-forth debate on several “myths and realities” of state tax policy. On the question of whether businesses pay their fair share of state taxes, Lindholm frequently noted that, even though some corporations do not pay much in corporate income taxes, businesses pay about 45% of all state taxes collected nationwide. With respect to the recent decline of state corporate income tax revenue, Lindholm said that the corporate income tax is “working exactly as designed” as lower revenues are expected in harder economic times. He also expressed frustration with the amount of time and effort states spend on corporate income tax matters when the tax only accounts for approximately 8% of all state taxes collected. On the issue of offshore profits, Pomp noted that the average effective tax rate for the United States and other countries were both around 27%. Pomp also argued that the need for state tax haven legislation could be eliminated by bringing back world-wide combined reporting. Pomp also suggested requiring public disclosure of state corporate income tax credits and incentives (if not corporate income tax returns outright).Georgetown Advanced State and Local Tax Institute, Washington, D.C., August 4 and 5, 2016last_img read more

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Maine ~ Multiple Taxes: 2017 Personal Income Tax Rates, Relief for Hurricane Victims, Auto Buyback Settlement, and More Discussed

first_imgCCH Tax Day ReportMaine Revenue Services (MRS) has issued a Tax Alert that includes information regarding (1) the 2017 Maine personal income tax rate schedules, standard deduction, and personal exemption amounts; (2) tax filing relief for taxpayers affected by Hurricane Matthew; (3) the due date for pass-through entity withholding forms; (4) sales tax implications of the Volkswagen and Audi buyback settlement; and (5) changes to the prepaid wireless fee.2017 Personal Income Tax Rates, Standard Deductions, and Personal ExemptionsThe Tax Alert contains the 2017 personal income tax rate schedules, which are based on statutory rates of 5.8%, 6.75%, 7.15%, and 10.15%. The top rate is imposed on taxpayers with taxable income over $200,000. In addition, MRS announced that the 2017 standard deduction is $11,600 for married taxpayers filing separately, $11,600 for single taxpayers, $17,400 for heads of households, and $23,200 for married taxpayers filing jointly. The personal exemption amount is $4,050 for the 2017 tax year.Tax Relief for Hurricane VictimsMRS also announced that Maine tax filing relief is available for taxpayers located in the federally declared disaster areas affected by Hurricane Matthew. Taxpayers who reside or have a business located in the Hurricane Matthew disaster area will have until March 15, 2017, to file tax returns and submit tax payments that were due on or after October 4, 2016, and before March 15, 2017. The relief applies to all taxes administered by MRS, which will abate interest and any late filing or late payment penalty that would otherwise apply. However, the extended due dates do not automatically apply to Maine Form W-3ME and information returns, such as Forms W-2 and 1099. Extensions for filing these forms will be granted on a case-by-case basis for reasonable cause.To qualify for relief, affected taxpayers should write “HURRICANE MATTHEW” across the top of their return. Businesses or individuals located in the federally declared disaster area who receive penalties and interest for filing returns or paying taxes late during the relief period should contact MRS at 207-626-8475 (income tax programs) or 207-624-9693 (sales tax programs) for a waiver of the penalties and interest.If the IRS grants relief to other areas affected by the hurricane or grants an additional relief period, MRS intends to grant similar relief to affected Maine taxpayers.Due Date for Pass-Through Entity WithholdingMaine generally conforms to the federal changes to the original and extension due dates for corporate and partnership returns for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2016. However, that for the 2016 tax year and thereafter, Form 941P-ME is due by March 15 each year, even if the entity operates on a fiscal year basis. If an entity has an extension from the IRS for filing its federal information return (Form 1065 or 1120S), the due date for filing Form 941P-ME is automatically extended for an equivalent period of time (generally up to six months, but no longer than eight months). If any pass-through entity withholding is due, that amount must be paid by March 15, 2016 (no extension to pay is allowed). Fiscal year entities must complete Form 941P-ME on the basis of entity information for the fiscal year that ends during the calendar year for which the form is filed. For example, an entity with a fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, would complete the 2016 Form 941P-ME by March 15, 2017, on the basis of the entity’s information for the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2016.Sales Tax on Buyback SettlementWith regard to the Volkswagen and Audi buyback settlement, MRS reminded taxpayers that sales tax will be due on the purchase of the replacement vehicle. The buyback is not a trade-in.Prepaid Wireless FeeFinally, the Tax Alert notes the increase to the prepaid wireless fee, effective January 1, 2017, from $1.01 per retail transaction to $1.16 per retail transaction.Maine Tax Alert, Vol. 26, No. 8, Maine Revenue Services, December 2016, ¶200-853last_img read more

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Tennessee ~ Sales and Use Tax: Construction of Fiber-to-the-Home Network Infrastructure Is Taxable

first_imgThe lump-sum price that a taxpayer charges for the engineering, procurement, and construction of a fiber-to-the-home network is subject to Tennessee sales and use tax. The issue of whether an item of tangible personal property becomes part of realty depends upon the application of the law of fixtures to the particular factual circumstances. Whether an item is considered a fixture is determined by the intent of the parties. Fixtures are so attached to the freehold that, from the intention of the parties and the uses to which they are put, they are presumed to be permanently annexed, or a removal of the fixtures would cause serious injury to the freehold. If the property is intended to be removable at the pleasure of the owner, it is not a fixture. However, when property is installed upon real property pursuant to a non-ownership interest in the real property, such as a lease or easement, the key question is whether the parties intend that the owner of the property being installed has the ability to remove the property from the land, so that the installed property remains separate and apart from the freehold. In the instant case, the taxpayer sells and installs tangible personal property that remains tangible personal property after installation. The taxpayer installs conduit, fiber, and other necessary appurtenances, on real property under lease agreements and easements in which the taxpayer’s client has an interest. The client’s legal right to remove the materials from the aerial poles and the ground at any time shows, according to the Tennessee Department of Revenue, a clear intention that the client retain ownership of the materials so that the materials remain personalty after installation. Consequently, the materials do not become affixed to the real property upon installation and remain tangible personal property owned by the client.Revenue Ruling No. 17-09, Tennessee Department of Revenue, June 21, 2017, ¶401-692last_img read more

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Illinois Enacts Invest In Kids Credit

first_imgIllinois has enacted the Invest in Kids credit that may be claimed against income tax liability for contributions to organizations that grant scholarships. In addition, Illinois has amended the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL).Invest in Kids CreditBoth corporations and individuals may take the Invest in Kids credit. Taxpayers will receive an Invest in Kids credit from the Department of Revenue when:they make a contribution to a nonprofit organization;the organization uses at least 95% of the contributions received each year for scholarships; andthe organization gives the scholarships to low-income elementary or high school students.The credit is effective for tax years starting January 1, 2018, and ending December 31, 2022.S corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies (LLCs) classified as partnerships for income tax purposes may claim the credit. If they do, the credit will pass through to shareholders, partners, and members.Contributions by corporations, S corporations, partnerships, and trusts, will not qualify for the credit if they directed to a particular:subset of schools;school;group of students; orstudent.Individuals can take credits for contributions directed to a particular subset of schools or a particular school. However, they may not take credits for contributions directed to a particular group of students or a particular student.Credit AmountThe credit equals 75% of the total amount of qualified contributions made by the taxpayer during a tax year. However, the credit cannot exceed $1 million. The total amount of all credits the department may award in any calendar year may not exceed $75 million. If the annual cap is not reached by June 1 of a given year, remaining credits will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.Application ProceduresA taxpayer must apply to the department for a contribution authorization certificate before making a contribution to an organization that grant scholarships.Recordkeeping RequirementsTaxpayers must maintain records each tax year of:contribution authorization certificates obtained from the department; andcertificates of receipt from organizations that grant scholarships.Carryforward ProvisionsTaxpayers can carry forward and apply unused credits to their tax liability for up to five years.Federal Tax DeductionTaxpayers cannot claim the Invest in Kids credit for a contribution if the taxpayer claims a federal income tax deduction.Property Tax Extension Limitation LawThe PTELL amendment allows a school district to reduce its extension for educational purposes under certain circumstances. The issue must be submitted to and approved by voters. The reduced extension cannot either be:more than 10% lower than the amount extended for education purposes in the previous levy year; orcause the school district’s adequacy target to fall below 110% for the levy year for which the reduction is sought.Once the question is submitted to voters, it may not be submitted again for the same school district at any of the next two consolidated elections.P.A. 100-0465 (S.B. 1947 ), Laws 2017, effective August 31, 2017 and as notedLogin to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

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OK Ballot Question on Gross Production Tax Legally Sufficient

first_imgAn Oklahoma ballot question on whether to increase the gross production tax was held legally sufficient by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Initiative Petition No. 416, State Question No. 795 will ask voterswhether to levy an additional 5% gross production tax on certain oil and gas wells during the first 36 months of production.for education.The court found the ballot question and initiative petition legally sufficient in three opinions.Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association v. PottsOpponents to the ballot question in this case argued that the ballot measure:unconstitutionally created a retroactive tax; andviolated the one general subject rule.Their argument was unsuccessful.The Ballot Question Was ConstitutionalThe additional tax was proposed by means of adding Article XIII-C to the state constitution. However, the ballot question stated the tax would apply to the first 36 production months of wells spudded after July 1, 2015, “from and after the effective date of this Article XIII.” Opponents argued that the ballot measure created an impermissible retroactive law because Article XIII had been in effect for decades. They argued that this would create retroactive effect back to July 1, 2015. However, they conceded that “Article XIII” instead of “Article XIII-C” may have been a typo. Proponents argued the new article would apply to wells spudded after July 1, 2015, for however much of their 36 production months remained after the effective date.The court found that the proponents interpretation avoided retroactive application. In addition,the court found that “from and after the effective date of this Article XIII” (emphasis added) in the initiative petition made clear “Article XIII-C” was meant. Finally, the court resolved all doubt as to the initiative’s construction in the initiative’s favor because the right of initiatives is precious. Therefore, it held that the ballot measure did not create a retroactive tax in violation of U.S. Const. amend. V.One General Subject RuleThe court also held that the ballot measure did not violate the one general subject rule of Okla. Const. art. 24, §1. It instead found each of the proposed article’s sections reasonably interrelated and geared toward one goal of increasing education funding. Finally, it found the effect on appropriations that the ballot measure could have was merely speculative. It was not a constitutional defect.Oklahoma Oil & Gas Assoc. v. ThompsonIn this case, the court again ruled that the ballot question did not violate the one general subject rule of Okla. Const. art. 24, §1. The question proposed amending the state constitution in order to levy the tax. Opponents argued it combined multiple subjects, including a raise for educators and an expansion of Board of Equalization powers.Germaneness TestBecause the question would add a new constitutional article, the court followed the germaneness test of In re Initiative Petition No. 403, State Question No. 779, Oklahoma Supreme Court, No. 114425, January 12, 2016, ¶201-177. This test for violation of the one general subject rule determines if changes are all germane to a singular common subject and purpose.The court found the germaneness test was still good law, and the ballot question was legally sufficient based on its decision in companion case Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association v. Potts.McDonald v. ThompsonFinally, in McDonald v. Thompson, the court held legally sufficient the gist of the initiative petition and ballot question.The Gist of the QuestionOpponents had argued that the gist failed to state the new tax would apply retroactively to wells drilled after July 1, 2015. The court disagreed and found the omission of the July 1, 2015, date not fatal to the gist’s legal sufficiency. The tax would apply to oil and gas wells:spudded after July 1, 2015;during the first 36 months of production;beginning with the first month of production; andfrom and after the effective date of the new article.The omission was also not deceitful or misleading. The court found instead that the gist stated the tax would apply to wells during the first 36 production months.The court found that the gist of the ballot question for the proposed gross production tax increase properly brought attention to the new article’s changes if voters approved. It provided enough information to make an informed decision about the proposed constitutional change. Further, the gist properly mirrored the petition by stating the new article “increases compensation for all certified personnel, including teachers.” In addition, gists are not subject to the same stringent statutory requirements as ballot titles.Finally, the court found opponents’ argument that the raises would not be merit-based a mere a policy argument.Oklahoma Oil & Gas Assoc. v. Thompson, Oklahoma Supreme Court, No. 116682, March 19, 2018, ¶201-240; McDonald v. Thompson, Oklahoma Supreme Court, No. 116680, March 19, 2018, ¶201-241; Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association v. Potts, Oklahoma Supreme Court, No. 116679, March 19, 2018, ¶201-242Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

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Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.

first_imgDuring the week of November 26, senior tax staff on the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees doubted Republicans’ catch-all tax and IRS package’s chances of success. The IRS released guidance granting automatic consent to accounting method changes to comply with new Code Sec. 451(b), as added by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97).CongressSenior tax staff on the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees doubt Republicans’ catch-all tax and IRS package’s chances of success, (TAXDAY, 2018/11/30, C.1).House Republicans’ blazing, 297-page tax package of IRS reforms, tax extenders, disaster relief, retirement savings, and corrections to last year’s tax reform received an icy reception from congressional Democrats, (TAXDAY, 2018/11/29, C.1).The House was expected to vote this week on a 297-page tax and IRS oversight package, (TAXDAY, 2018/11/28, C.1).IRSRevenue Procedure. The IRS released procedures granting automatic consent to accounting method changes to comply with new Code Sec. 451(b), as added by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97), (Rev. Proc. 2018-60; TAXDAY, 2018/11/30, I.1).Notice. Insurers, self-insuring employers, other coverage providers, and applicable large employers have until March 4, 2019, to provide individuals with Forms 1095-B, Health Coverage, or Forms 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, (Notice 2018-94; TAXDAY, 2018/11/30, I.2).LB&I. The IRS Large Business and International Division (LB&I) issued a directive providing instructions to LB&I examiners for cases when a taxpayer files an amended return or claim for refund relating to Code Sec. 199, (TAXDAY, 2018/11/30, I.3).Loans and Hardships Procedures. Victims of Hurricanes Michael and Florence could now benefit from the IRS’s streamlined loan procedures and liberalized hardship distribution rules, (IR-2018-236; TAXDAY, 2018/11/30, I.4).FEMA. An October 15, 2018 notice in which the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that certain areas in Virginia were eligible for assistance from the federal government, was amended, (TAXDAY, 2018/11/30, I.6).Tax Tip. The IRS provided tips on tools and resources available on its website, (TAXDAY, 2018/11/30, I.7).Foreign Tax Credit Regulations. Highly anticipated foreign tax credit regulations were issued to provide guidance on the significant changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97) to the foreign tax credit rules, (NPRM REG-105600-18; IR-2018-235; TAXDAY, 2018/11/29, I.1).Filing Methods. The IRS advised taxpayers that they would profit from deciding their filing methods for the 2018 return at the earliest, (IR-2018-234; TAXDAY, 2018/11/29, I.2).Tax Tip. The IRS provided tips on a new tax credit that benefits employers, (TAXDAY, 2018/11/29, I.3).Advice Memorandum. The IRS issued a memo that sets forth guidelines for determining if an employer’s reasons for furnishing meals to employees are substantial noncompensatory business reasons and whether the meals are excludable from income as meals provided for the convenience of the employer, (TAXDAY, 2018/11/28, I.1).Tax Tip. The IRS provided tips on changes to the child tax credit, (TAXDAY, 2018/11/28, I.2).Safe Harbor. A safe harbor was provided that allows taxpayers to treat certain infrastructure trades or businesses as electing real property trades or businesses not subject to the Code Sec. 163(j) business interest deduction limit, (Rev. Proc. 2018-59; NPRM REG-106089-18; IR-2018-233; TAXDAY, 2018/11/27, I.1)Notice. The IRS provided interim guidance for the 2019 calendar year on income tax withholding from wages and withholding from retirement and annuity distributions, (Notice 2018-92; TAXDAY, 2018/11/27, I.2).Safekeeping of Records. The seventh issue in a series of reminders to help taxpayers Get Ready for the upcoming tax filing season provided information for taxpayers about tax records, (IR-2018-232; TAXDAY, 2018/11/27, I.3).Per Diem. The U.S. State Department released a listing of maximum travel per diem allowances for travel in foreign areas, (TAXDAY, 2018/11/27, I.4).Tax Tip. The IRS provided tips on using its tax exempt organization search tool, (TAXDAY, 2018/11/27, I.5).Notice. The IRS released its annual “Required Amendments List” for 2018 for individually designed qualified retirement plans, (Notice 2018-91; TAXDAY, 2018/11/26, I.1).RRTA Tax Rates. The IRS released the tier 2 Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA) tax rates for 2019 for railroad employees, employers and employee representatives, respectively, (TAXDAY, 2018/11/26, I.2).Standard Deduction. The IRS informed taxpayers that the doubling of the standard deduction due to tax law changes is likely to reduce the number of taxpayers who normally itemize, (IR-2018-230; TAXDAY, 2018/11/26, I.3).Deadline for Forms. The IRS reminded employers that the due date for filing Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, and Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, for their employees for calendar year 2018 is January 31, 2019, (IR-2018-231; TAXDAY, 2018/11/26, I.4).I.R.B. The IRS released I.R.B. 2018-48, dated November 26, 2018, (TAXDAY, 2018/11/26, I.5).FEMA. An October 11, 2018 notice in which the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that certain areas in Florida were eligible for assistance from the federal government, was amended, (TAXDAY, 2018/11/26, I.6).Tax Tip. The IRS provided tips on reconstructing records after disasters, (TAXDAY, 2018/11/26, I.7).Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

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James’ Art & Culture Revival: FELA! & Rich Medina’s Jump N Funk Afterparty

first_imgFELA! The hit Broadway musical comes to Philly!(Courtesy of FELA!) So, here’s a true confession. One of my biggest arts-related regrets is missing the 2009 Broadway premiere and 15-month run of FELA! The Musical. I simply kept waiting, and then it was gone. But now, thanks to the folks at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, this critically acclaimed, three time Tony Award-winning musical will be in Philly next week! I know I say this a lot, but seriously don’t miss it! Trust me. FELA! tells the true story of the legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, whose soulful Afrobeat rhythms ignited a generation and changed the world. Fela Kuti used his extraordinary big-band, electrifying brass infused music as a medium to create biting, revolutionary songs protesting the military regimes in his native Nigeria. Fela often paid a steep price for his music with over 200 arrests and countless beatings that left scars all over his body. But even these beatings couldn’t stop him, and the impact his music would have on the world. This triumphant tale of courage, passion and love features the amazing performances by a breathtaking cast, Fela Kuti’s original captivating music and the visionary direction of Tony Award winner Bill T. Jones. The show also boast an impressive list of celebrity producers, including Jay-Z, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Philly 360° Creative Ambassador Questlove of The Roots. I was very intrigued by a  New York Times review of FELA! which read, ”There should be dancing in the streets. When you leave the theater after a performance of “Fela!,” it comes as a shock that the people on the sidewalks are merely walking. Why aren’t they gyrating, swaying, vibrating, in thrall to the force field that you have been living in so ecstatically for the past couple of hours?” That’s where international DJ extraordinaire and Philly 360° Creative Ambassador Rich Medina enters the picture. Rich Medina, The Kimmel Center and Philly 360 have all joined forces to bring you the official FELA! World Tour Jump N’ Funk Afrobeat Afterparty. So, after the opening night show on Tuesday, March 20, everyone will head to Fluid Nightclub and dance the night away as Medina spins the hottest afrobeats sounds in honor of FELA!. This exciting smash musical will only be in town for five short days, and tickets have been selling fast! So, make sure you get your tickets now and join in the celebration of afrobeat, dance, song, art and FELA!. FELA! Tuesday, March 20 – Sunday March 25 Academy of Music 240 South Broad Street Jump N’ Funk – The FELA! World Tour Afterparty Tuesday, March 20 10 p.m. ($5 / Free admission with FELA! ticket stub) Fluid Nightclub 613 S. 4th Streetlast_img read more

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US and Venezuela opposition to discuss ways to oust Maduro

first_img(AP) – The United States is planning new ways to pressure Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to give up power and other means to provide assistance to the people of the economically devastated South American nation.Vice President Mike Pence travels Monday to the Colombian capital to meet with members of a regional coalition and Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido to discuss the next steps aimed at ousting Maduro.A senior administration official says Pence is expected to announce “clear actions” to restore democracy and get humanitarian aid into the country.Pence’s appearance before the Lima Group of nations comes after a U.S.-backed effort to deliver humanitarian across the border ended in violence. Forces loyal to Maduro fired tear gas and buckshot on activists accompanying supplies, killing two and wounding at least 300.last_img read more

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Special prosecutor looking at Ian Thomas investigation

first_imgA special prosecutor is now reviewing the criminal investigation of Columbia city councilman Ian Thomas.ABC 17 reports Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight decided to back away, citing a close relationship with city police and Thomas’s in-laws.Thomas has apologized and reported himself to the Missouri Ethics Commission for some dealings with a developer late last year. He promised to vote for the Oakland Crossings plan, if the developer gave money to Columbia Community Land Trust for affordable housing.Cole Countys prosecutor Locke Thompson is now looking at the investigation.last_img

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Gov. Parson announces new members of Missouri Conservation Commission

first_img(AP) Half of the members of the Missouri Conservation Commission will be new the next time the panel meets.Gov. Mike Parson announced on Friday that he had appointed Steven Harrison, of Rolla, and Mark McHenry, of Kansas City, to the four-person commission that oversees hunting, fishing and forestry management.They replace Marilynn Bradford, of Jefferson City, and David Murphy, of Lewis County, whose terms expired July 1.last_img

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Intel IT goes live with the Expert Center on BlogTalkRadio!

first_imgFrom the desk of Kelsey Witherow… Topic: Listen in as your hosts talk with Dave McCray, Intel’s IT Program Manager. Intel IT is a leader in the activation and use of AMT. They have activated & provisioned over 10k machines – hear how they did it, why they are doing it & how to make your integration better based on Intel IT’s best known methods. Also get a scoop on what you’ll find in the coming year. Date/Time: 8/4/2008 3:30PM Call-In Number: (347) 326-9831 You can also visit Open Port Radio or Stream this Show Online !http://communities.intel.com/openport/servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/38-11384-1651/btrbetalogo.gif! The vPro Expert Center’s BlogTalkRadio show is hosted by Josh Hilliker, Russ Pam, and Jeff Torello. This bi-weekly informal show covers a variety of topics and is a perfect avenue to get your questions answered. Listen in live, give your two cents, or just download the show after it has aired. Make sure not to miss out on this awesome opportunity to learn and engage with the vPro experts. Can’t join us live? Have no fear, blogtalkradio let’s you listen to the show whenever you have the time. Visit the Open Port Radio site (link is above) to hear previous shows and even catch a glimpse of what’s to come!last_img read more

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Welcome to the Server Solutions Insider

first_imgIndustry Perspective – We’re working with the server ecosystem to bring you a wide range of experiences and perspectives.  Join one of the upcoming live chats in The Server Roomon 4/2 @ 10am pacific. Visit Open Port Radio to listen to podcasts from industry insiders, or comment on and contribute to blogs and discussions.Become a Contributor/Submit an Article –Simply register and follow the “write a blog” or “create a document” links in the Action Box.Stay on top of the latest developments and key new content through Twitter.Access our XEON® 5500 Wikithat will include the best content available for Intel® Xeon® 5500 processor based Systems and Solutions including Case Studies, Best Practices, Known Solutions, Tools, Top Blogs, References, and Video links.More frequent polling to better understand your needs and desires and ensure that the community content hits the mark based on the community needs.And of course, we’re maintaining our popular “Ask an Expert” forum and other well established features from The Server Room. I’m excited to welcome you to our new Server Solutions Insider blog. Our goal is simple. We want to create a community where industry insiders debate insights and industry newcomers plug into what’s possible with the next generation of server technology. So I hope that you’ll join me and become a Server Solutions Insider.Here are a few of the new exciting capabilities you’ll find: Boyd . By:  Boyd Davis, General Manager, Server Platforms Group Marketing, Intel Corporation Click around. Check out the content and tools. Provide your point of view. Share your experiences. Invite others to join the conversation. And most importantly, let us know how we can make this a more valuable forum for you.last_img read more

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From data to knowledge – black cat, dark room

first_imgRecently, I’ve helped to define some transformation rules for the raw data as collected by our storage management system (see my previous post).With this system, we collect tens of thousands of “facts” about our storage per day. These facts have to be analyzed in some way to support business-specific decisions.  They can’t be processed on-demand every time, as it would result in significant delay for the analyst to get the report.To make it successful:Someone has to understand the business topic (storage, in our case), to define what type of decisions should be made. For example:  should we order new storage capacity based on current utilization, staleness and trend?Someone has to understand the limitations and capabilities of the existing collecting system – what types of data are collected, how and how often are they collected, how data quality can be assessed, etc. For example, the data is collected once a day, usage is collected in megabytes, per each filesystem.And now one has to define how to bridge the gap between these two views within our BI infrastructure. The analysis is not always straightforward. The transformation rules should result in significant reduction of the original data set – but this reduction should not be too drastic. What details are not related to the specific business question and can be dropped?..Now, as there are always multiple business questions which could be asked – should the transformation model strive to be as extensive and as complicated as possible to address all of them, including the ones to be defined in the future? Or, it would be easier to maintain multiple separate transformation models – one per question? In the latter case, it may result in extra transformation resources – but the actual reports would be much faster. And, ideally – how one would be able to provide “ad hoc” query capability on the data set as granular as possible, which would still complete in some reasonable period of time?Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to find someone who can equally represent all the views above – in this case, transformation rules definition may become extremely painful, and require too many iterations.I wonder if others have similar experience – do you?last_img read more

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Going Green With Your Data Center Strategy

first_imgFor an enterprise attempting to maximize energy efficiency, the data center has long been one of the greatest sticking points. A growing emphasis on cloud and mobile means growing data centers, and by nature, they demand a gargantuan level of energy in order to function. And according to a recent survey on global electricity usage, data centers are sucking more energy than ever before.George Leopold, senior editor at EnterpriseTech, recently dissected Mark P. Mills’ study entitled, “The Cloud Begins With Coal: Big Data, Big Networks, Big Infrastructure, And Big Power.” The important grain of salt surrounding the survey is that funding stemmed from the National Mining Association and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, but there were some stark statistics that shouldn’t be dismissed lightly.“The average data center in the U.S., for example, is now well past 12 years old — geriatric class tech by ICT standards. Unlike other industrial-classes of electric demand, newer data facilities see higher, not lower, power densities. A single refrigerator-sized rack of servers in a data center already requires more power than an entire home, with the average power per rack rising 40% in the past five years to over 5 kW, and the latest state-of-the-art systems hitting 26 kW per rack on track to doubling.”More Power With Less EnergyAs Leopold points out in his article, providers are developing solutions to circumvent growing demand while still cutting carbon footprint. IT leaders can rethink energy usage by concentrating on air distribution and attempting assorted cooling methods. This ranges from containment cooling to hot huts (a method pioneered by Google). And thorium-based nuclear reactors are gaining traction in China, but don’t necessarily solve waste issues.If the average data center in the U.S. is older than 12-years old, IT leaders need to start looking at the tech powering their data center and rethink the demand on the horizon. Perhaps the best way to go about this is thinking about the foundation of the data center at hand.Analysis From the Ground UpIntel IT has three primary areas of concern when choosing a new data center site: environmental conditions, fiber and communications infrastructure, and power infrastructure. These three criteria bear the greatest weight on the eventual success — or failure — of a data center. So when you think about your data center site in the context of the given criteria, ask yourself: Was the initial strategy wise? How does the threat proximity compare to the resource proximity? What does the surrounding infrastructure look like and how does that affect the data center? If you could go the greenfield route and build an entirely new site, what would you retain and what would you change?Every data center manager in every enterprise has likely considered the almost counterintuitive concept that more power can come with less energy. But doing more with less has been the mantra since the beginning of IT. It’s a challenge inherent to the profession. Here at Intel, we’ll continue to provide invaluable resources to managers looking to get the most out of their data center.To continue the conversation, please follow us at @IntelITCenter or use #ITCenter.last_img read more

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How to Convince Tuberculosis Patients to Take Their Medicine?

first_imgPay them. But how do you know they’ve done it?Public health experts have long struggled to persuade drug-resistant tuberculosis patients to continue taking their drugs after they get better in order to eradicate resistant strains. But keeping track of compliance has been horribly difficult. A new, brilliant solution? Having patients urinate onto paper chemically treated to reveal a secret word or code if the urine contains evidence of the drug. The patient then calls a number and receives cash or other prizes as an incentive. It’s the brainchild of MIT scientists.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)(Hat tip to Steven Levitt.)last_img read more

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U.K. Seeks to Adapt to Changing Environment

first_img“We are determined we are going to do the hard science which actually is of value to people in a rapidly changing world.” That’s how ecologist Andrew Watkinson describes the £100 million U.K. research package launched today by Living With Environmental Change (LWEC), a recently formed partnership between Britain’s research councils, governmental departments, and nongovernmental organizations. Watkinson last year took on the directorship of LWEC, whose purpose is to coordinate the U.K. response to environmental change, primarily that caused by the global warming expected in the future. The research efforts announced today at a media briefing include more than a dozen programs that will tackle scientific issues such as how to achieve a low-CO2-emitting society, how to ensure food, water, and energy supply on a global scale, and how to increase the resilience of areas affected by the changing environment, Watkinson explains. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)LWEC includes and combines research in the natural sciences as well as economics and social sciences. Coming up with new knowledge and technology just isn’t enough, Watkinson notes. Research into how to best inform and explain the findings and how to ensure that the changes necessary to make society sustainable are acceptable to the public is also needed. Such research will be conducted within a new Research Centre on Sustainable Behaviours.By promoting interactions between scientists from different areas and policymakers, LWEC hopes to ensure that scientists are working on the most pressing issues and that politicians make well-informed decisions. “We are really bringing together the science and policy agendas to make sure they are tackled efficiently and effectively in a way that just hasn’t happened in the past,” says Watkinson.Here’s a complete list of the research efforts funded by LWEC.last_img read more

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Feds Announce New Actions to Battle Asian Carp

first_imgFor years, Asian carp have been slowly moving up the Mississippi River. In addition to competing with native fish, they jump out of the water when startled—sometimes even posing a hazard to boaters.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Now, with the invasive fish nearing Chicago, the Obama Administration has announced a new strategy for preventing the carp from entering the Great Lakes, where they could threaten a sportfishing industry worth $7 billion. The plan also includes money for research on how to battle the fish. However, the move appears unlikely to end a feud between midwestern states over what to do about the carp. The state of Michigan is worried about the impact of Asian carp on sportfishing in Lake Michigan and other lakes. The state’s Attorney General sued Illinois to force the state to close a canal that connects the Mississippi River to the Great Lakes. But Illinois refused, arguing that such a move would harm industries that rely on shipping through the canal. Last month, the Supreme Court declined to resolve the dispute. In a press conference this afternoon, officials from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that $78.5 million would be spent to fight the carp, coming from EPA’s $475 million Great Lake restoration initiative. “It does represent a major investment,” said Cameron Davis, an EPA senior adviser on Great Lakes issues. Asian carp DNA has already been detected in Lake Michigan, suggesting that some fish already arrived—but perhaps not enough to establish a breeding population. Among the steps to be taken are construction of a third $10.5 million electric barrier in the canal to block more carp from arriving. The funding would also allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expand its monitoring in the canal and accelerate DNA testing. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will speed up their study of the feasibility of permanently closing the locks. And $1.5 million will be spent on research into possible controls of Asian carp, such as targeted poisons and ways to disrupt their spawning. “We can and will stop the Asian carp,” said Nancy Sutley, chair of CEQ. The announcement didn’t go over well with Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox. In a statement he described the plan as “full of half-measures and gimmicks when keeping Asian carp from devastating the Great Lakes $7 billion fishery requires only one step: immediately closing the locks.” Credit: Chris Olds, USFWSlast_img read more

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Arizona Proposition on Hunting Fails

first_imgA ballot initiative that would have guaranteed a right to hunt and fish has been shot down by voters. Proposition 109 would have given state legislators control over wildlife management and prevented citizen initiatives. But opponents, including wildlife biologists and environmental groups, said the proposition was vaguely worded and they feared that it might lead to a side-lining of scientific advice. The proposition was defeated 56% to 44%.last_img

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Justice Department Raises Doubt on Gene Patents

first_imgThe legal battle over gene patents took a surprising twist on Friday when the U.S. Department of Justice issued a brief saying that the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 should never have been patented. The reason, Justice says in an amicus curiae document, is that isolating these genes did not amount to an invention. “Genomic DNA that has merely been isolated from the human body, without further alteration or manipulation, is not patent-eligible,” according to the brief, because it is like coal taken from the ground: Indeed, the relationship between a naturally occurring nucleotide sequence and the molecule it expresses in a human cell-that is, the relationship between genotype and phenotype-is simply a law of nature. The chemical structure of native human genes is a product of nature, and it is no less a product of nature when that structure is “isolated” from its natural environment than are cotton fibers that have been separated from cotton seeds or coal that has been extracted from the earth. This line of reasoning, filed in connection with a case now under review by the U.S Court of Appeals, echoes an argument made by opponents of gene patenting, made by the Public Patent Foundation (PubPat) and the American Civil Liberties Union of New York City. They sued the U.S Patent and Trademark Office and Myriad Genetics of Salt Lake City over Myriad’s ownership of more than a dozen patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, data which the company uses to test people for breast cancer risks. In March, a U.S. district court in New York agreed with PubPat and its allies that key Myriad patents are invalid because “isolated DNA” is a product of nature and not an invention. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The biotech industry lobby disagrees with the New York court and the Justice Department. Biotechnology Industry Organization President and CEO Jim Greenwood said in a prepared statement today that the Justice brief is “inconsistent with the position” the U.S. government has taken at home and abroad for more than 2 decades. Greenwood warned of many consequences: “If adopted, the Justice Department’s position would undermine U.S. global leadership and investment in the life sciences, harm U.S. economic growth and competitiveness at home and abroad, and be counterproductive to the Administration’s own initiatives to fight cancer, develop renewable sources of energy,” and other objectives. Other independent reports, including one in The New York Times and a scathing review by Washington, D.C., patent attorney Kevin Noonan, have said that Justice’s new policy represents a break with the past. Noonan, for example, writes that the amicus brief “advocates a change in policy” whose authors “exhibit little evident background in science, technology, or patent law.” It is, he says, “disturbing as well as contrary to sound patent policy.” Others saw the Justice statement as less radical. It really is “not all that far-reaching, despite the rhetoric,” said Robert Cook-Deegan, an expert on genetics and patents at Duke University’s Center for Genome Ethics, Law and Policy in Durham, North Carolina. He commented by e-mail that, “for most companies, even in biotech, implementation of the [Justice] position would matter very little.” Cook-Deegan argues few biotech companies go to court to enforce claims on naturally occurring DNA sequences. And many of the younger firms, he argues, want fewer legal fences around genes because they are trying to create and market whole-genome technologies that use thousands of genes. Cook-Deegan notes that the Justice Department brief differs from the New York court’s decision in an important respect. It argues that some DNA-based patents should be kept intact—those that, in Justice’s view, clearly required human ingenuity. For example, Cook-Deegan says, Justice’s policy would not rule out patents on complementary DNA in therapeutic molecules, nor would it block patents on DNA-based vectors for therapy. PubPat’s founder and chief, Daniel Ravicher, says the Justice Department’s amicus brief is “good news for us.” He only wishes it had gone even further and adopted PubPat’s argument—that no patents at all should be granted on isolated DNA.last_img read more

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New Report Urges U.S. to Fund Research on Geoengineering

first_imgA group of scientists and policy specialists say it’s time to bring geoengineering research into the limelight. A new report, published by the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center, argues that the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) should begin to coordinate “climate remediation” studies across a range of agencies. “The government should start doing research,” Jane Long, co-chair of the center’s 18-member Task Force on Climate Remediation Research, said in a press conference today. “It’s very critical that we not proceed in ignorance.” The problem is that, on the federal level, “there’s no research program at all in a coordinated way,” panelist Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, told ScienceInsider. This report isn’t the first to call for further investigation into the potential of geoengineering strategies, which encompass techniques to cool the Earth or absorb existing greenhouse gases using technology or ecosystem-based methods. A 2009 report published by the U.K.’s Royal Society argued that such drastic efforts could become important short-term tools for reversing dangerous changes to the climate. But the report also highlighted how little is known about the impact of many proposals to tweak global temperatures. A 2010 climate report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences came to similar conclusions. 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Such extreme measures are also likely to be relatively inexpensive, making it easy for relatively small groups to toy with the world’s climate. “If [the U.S.] does not create a real research program in the next couple of years, other things will fill that vacuum,” says Keith. Geoengineering techniques are also wildly diverse, notes panelist David Goldston, director of government affairs for the National Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C., and a former chief of staff of the House of Representatives science committee. They include everything from planting new forests to painting houses white to using reflectors to bounce sunlight back into space. Although many government agencies should be involved, he says the White House is in the best position to coordinate the overall research agenda. “You need some kind of centripetal force,” he says. The report also recommends that OSTP form a panel of outside experts to address ethical concerns surrounding geoengineering efforts. Finding the money won’t be easy, Goldston admits. But he notes that government scientists are already exploring many of the basic questions underlying effective climate manipulation, such as how more opaque clouds may tweak rainfall. Other initial geoengineering studies may also be relatively cheap, since they’d largely be relegated to the lab. One controversy surrounding geoengineering, however, may revolve around the name itself. After some discussion, the panel opted for the term “climate remediation,” to avoid the negative connotations surrounding “geoengineering,” Caldeira says—the term may conjure up images of mad scientists. The report notes that some of the authors, however, preferred the old vocabulary.last_img read more

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