This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Obama Administration And Insurers To Unveil New Plan To Crack Down On Health Care Fraud The New York Times: Obama And Insurers Join To Cut Health Care FraudPresident Obama and health insurance executives plan to announce a new joint effort on Thursday to crack down on health care fraud by sharing and comparing claims data, administration officials say (Pear, 7/25).
The Wall Street Journal reports that consumers should start investigating the health law’s insurance exchange options. The Wall Street Journal: Prepare For Big Piece Of Health Law It’s time to get ready to buy insurance. The biggest part of the health-care law—online exchanges that offer insurance to individuals—kicks in next year. And beginning this October, states will start selling those health-care plans, which adhere to a new set of standards, though online marketplaces. But there already are many ways that you can start investigating options ahead of the rollout. This summer is prime time to educate yourself about your options, say health-insurance experts (Johnson, 6/8).Meanwhile, news outlets provide health law implementation news from D.C., California and Massachusetts – The Washington Post: D.C. Offers A Peek At The Health Insurance Prices Proposed For New ExchangeIn the first glimpse of what District residents and small business owners can expect to pay for health-care coverage under Obamacare, officials on Friday released a snapshot of the proposed plans from four major insurance companies. … officials say a preliminary look reveals a large range of options at prices consistent with current rates (Vargas, 6/7).Los Angeles Times: Town Hall Explains Healthcare Reform To Los Angeles ResidentsHundreds of L.A. County residents attended a town hall meeting at Cal State L.A. on Friday afternoon to learn about the state’s new insurance exchange, which will begin enrolling people this fall. Peter Lee, executive director of the health exchange called Covered California, explained what health plans were participating, what benefits were covered and how the enrollment would occur before taking dozens of questions from audience members (Gorman, 6/7).Boston Globe: State May Fill Gap In Federal Health Care CoverageA congressional mistake that could cause nearly 4 million people to be ineligible for federal subsidies in President Obama’s health care law has prompted Massachusetts officials to launch a new effort to try to close the gap. Under what has become known as a “glitch” in Obama’s health plan, eligibility for insurance subsidies will be based on how much it costs workers who buy an individual plan, not the far more expensive family plan. … Governor Deval Patrick’s administration has proposed a pilot program to allow workers at small businesses who cannot afford family coverage under their employer-sponsored health plans to qualify for subsidies (Jan, 6/10). In other state news related to the health law – Arizona Republic: Medicaid Expansion Gets Hearing In HouseFacing a looming budget deadline and a bitterly divided Republican caucus, the state House today takes up Gov. Jan Brewer’s plan to expand Medicaid along with a controversial abortion bill some say is designed to kill the governor’s top legislative priority. The House Appropriations Committee will hold what is expected to be a contentious hearing on the two bills, likely ending with the defeat of Senate Bill 1492, which outlines Brewer’s plan to broaden Medicaid eligibility under the federal health-care overhaul (Reinhart, 6/10). Counting Down To Online Insurance Marketplaces This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Reuters: Cancer Doctors Drop Pricey Drugs With Little Effect Reuters: Discussing Life Expectancy Gives Advanced Cancer Patients Realistic View This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Oncologists Skipping Expensive Cancer Drugs That Offer Little Or No Benefit Meanwhile, news outlets report on other cancer care developments like the impact of life-expectancy questions on patients and what elephant genes could teach researchers about fighting the disease. When doctors discuss prognosis with advanced cancer patients, those patients have more realistic views of their life expectancy and don’t seem to experience a decrease in emotional wellbeing, according to a new study. “That the vast majority of cancer patients who are dying say that they want to know their prognosis seems surprisingly courageous,” said senior author Holly G. Prigerson of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. (Doyle, 10/8) You’ve heard that elephants never forget, but did you know they almost never get cancer either? It turns out just 4.8% of known elephant deaths are related to cancer. For humans, cancer-related deaths are much higher — between 11% and 25%, scientists say. The low cancer rate among elephants is particularly intriguing because all things being equal, elephants should get more cancer than we do. (Netburn, 10/8) Los Angeles Times: What Elephants Can Teach Scientists About Fighting Cancer In Humans U.S. oncologists, aware that patients are paying more of the costs of expensive cancer drugs, are increasingly declining to prescribe medicines that have scant or no effect, even as a last resort. At least half a dozen drugs, including colon cancer treatments Cyramza, from Eli Lilly & Co, and Stivarga, sold by Bayer AG, aren’t worth prices that can exceed $100,000 a year, top cancer specialists said in interviews with Reuters. (Beasley, 10/8)
North Carolina Health News: NC To Mandate ‘Environmental Justice Reviews’ Of New Coal Ash Dumps This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Modern Healthcare: Florida Governor Signs Law Shielding Patients From Surprise Medical Bills The Associated Press: Ohio Governor Announces Suicide Prevention Initiatives State officials are hoping more research, access to around-the-clock crisis hotlines and efforts to end the stigma of suicide will help reduce the hundreds of lives lost when people kill themselves each year in Ohio. (Welsh-Huggins, 4/14) Low-income Minnesotans on Medicaid are much less likely to receive cancer screenings than people with other health coverage, new research has found. Minnesota nonprofit MN Community Measurement found that a little more than half of Medicaid recipients got recommended colorectal cancer screening, while three-quarters of people with other coverage were screened. (Zdechlik, 4/14) As a young surgeon, Dr. Jorge A. Enriquez watched his peers fly across the ocean to do charity work in far-flung places. But he was struck by the needs of his own community here amid the agricultural lands of the Central Valley. (Leigh Brown, 4/14) Detroit’s hard-pressed school system has found elevated levels of lead and copper in nearly a third of its elementary schools, contamination that one expert says could be found nationwide, wherever school authorities spend the time and money to look. The news gave parents in the 46,000-student district yet another reason to worry, and prompted the teachers’ union to appeal for help from autoworkers, who trucked bottled water to a school where some students were drinking from bathroom sinks after the water fountains were shut down as a precaution. (4/14) A new comprehensive mental health care center will provide 24-hour mental health and addiction urgent care, outpatient behavioral health treatment and beds for people in crisis. (Sisk, 4/14) St. Louis Post-Dispatch: No One Seems To Want The Top Job At St. Louis VA The Associated Press: High Copper Or Lead Levels Seen In 19 Detroit Schools’ Water More Georgia facilities run by a financially troubled nursing home operator are under federal and state regulatory scrutiny, a state health care agency said Thursday. Clyde Reese, commissioner of the Department of Community Health, made the disclosure during an interview with GHN. He did not specify the number or location of the nursing homes operated by New Beginnings Care that are being reviewed. (Miller, 4/14) The movement to protect consumers from surprise medical bills won a major victory Thursday when Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed a bipartisan bill that will exempt patients from having to pay balance bills from out-of-network providers in certain situations. (Meyer, 4/14) Minnesota Public Radio: Low-Income Minnesotans Less Likely To Get Cancer Screenings, Study Says The Denver Post: Catalyst Signs Three Big-Name Tenants For RiNo Health-Tech Campus STAT: Discounted Surgeries Bring The Uninsured New Hope In California The Department of Veterans Affairs continues to struggle to permanently fill the top position at the St. Louis VA medical system, with the second potential candidate over the last nine months leaving federal service before the job could be filled. The position of medical center director has been open for almost three years, filled by temporary administrators who rotate through every few months. Last summer, a top candidate for the job withdrew for personal reasons. More recently, one under consideration left public service before an offer could be made, according to Huntley. (Raasch, 4/14) Georgia Health News: Regulators Scrutinizing More Nursing Homes In New Beginnings Probe State Highlights: Fla. Gov. Signs Law To Protect Consumers From Surprise Medical Bills; Ohio Steps Up Suicide Prevention Efforts News outlets report on health issues in Florida, Ohio, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, California, North Carolina and Colorado. North Carolina Health News: Mental Health Crisis Center To Serve Caldwell, Alexander & McDowell Counties To better shield poor people and racial minorities from excessive impacts from Duke Energy’s statewide coal ash clean up, North Carolina will require “environmental justice” reviews of any landfills the state permits. The reviews, to be evaluated by outside environmental-justice experts, will explore adverse socioeconomic, environmental and health risks from the facilities on these groups. (Clabby, 4/14) A health-tech innovation campus planned for Denver’s River North neighborhood has snagged three big names in health care as tenants — University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Terumo BCT and the American Diabetes Association. (Rusch, 4/14)
Email Sponsored By: Twitter MONTREAL — Former SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime has pleaded guilty to a charge of helping a public servant commit breach of trust for his role in a bribery scandal around the construction of a $1.3-billion Montreal hospital.Duhaime was the last defendant in a major corruption and fraud case involving the McGill University Health Centre project. His trial had been scheduled to start next week.Yanai Elbaz, a former MUHC senior manager, pleaded guilty in December to accepting a bribe and was sentenced to 39 months in prison. Former SNC-Lavalin executive Riadh Ben Aissa pleaded guilty to a charge of using forged documents last July and was sentenced to 51 months in prison.Duhaime left SNC-Lavalin in March 2012 after an independent review found that he had approved $56-million in payments to undisclosed agents.In an agreed statement of facts presented in court in Elbaz’s case, the former MUHC official admitted to giving privileged information to SNC-Lavalin to help its submission for the contract to build a massive hospital complex in west-end Montreal.Elbaz also admitted to denigrating SNC’s competitors in front of the hospital’s selection committee.Elbaz and Arthur Porter, the former CEO of the MUHC who died a fugitive in Panamanian custody in 2015, received a total of $22.5 million to rig the bidding process to favour SNC-Lavalin, the statement of facts said.Porter created a shell company that received the $22.5 million from the engineering firm. Elbaz then created his own shell company and received his share of the cash, the document said. Elbaz admitted that all the money in the shell companies was proceeds of crime.Police raided the MUHC’s offices in September 2012. The following February, Quebec’s anti-corruption unit issued warrants for the arrests of Duhaime, Ben Aissa, Elbaz and Porter. Duhaime had initially faced charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and using forged documents.Porter’s wife, Pamela, was arrested later and in 2014 pleaded guilty to laundering the proceeds of crime. Facebook February 1, 201910:46 AM EST Filed under News FP Street The Canadian Press What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Join the conversation → Comment Share this storyFormer SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime pleads guilty in bribery case Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Recommended For You’We were experiencing headwinds’ — Canopy Growth stock heads south on poor sales ramp-upDefining the future of Canadian competitiveness: How partnerships between industry and educational institutions can help lead the way forwardTrans Mountain construction work can go ahead as National Energy Board re-validates permitsDavid Rosenberg: Deflation is still the No. 1 threat to global economic stability — and central banks know itBank of Canada drops mortgage stress test rate for first time since 2016 Reddit 5 Comments More Featured Stories advertisement ← Previous Next → Former SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime pleads guilty in bribery case Duhaime was the last defendant in a major corruption and fraud case involving the McGill University Health Centre project Former SNC Lavalin president and CEO Pierre Duhaime arrives at the courthouse for a preliminary hearing on the bribery case in Montreal March 16, 2015.Canadian Press
Most of the fresh fish exported by Louisbourg Seafoods Ltd. makes its way to the United States, which has long been the company’s largest buyer of halibut, haddock, sole and other groundfish. But like many smaller Canadian companies, Louisbourg’s dependence on the U.S. is beginning to shift.The company, named after the Cape Breton Island town it is based in, currently generates roughly $65 million in revenue, but it has begun to find new potential buyers for its groundfish in markets such as the U.K. and South Korea where it once only sold shellfish products. It has also discovered demand in Asia for products it hadn’t previously sold like sea cucumber and whelk.“There is a whole variety of markets that we’ve never had before here in North America,” said Dannie Hansen, a vice-president at the company, which produces far more than 15 million tons of lobster, shrimp, crab and groundfish products every year.‘I just want to scream’: Trump’s metal tariffs send corporate Canada reeling in disbeliefPoloz encouraged by strong business investment data amid NAFTA uncertaintyPhilip Cross: Canada’s losing jobs when we should be booming economically. Guess whyThe reason for the company’s increasingly global expansion efforts: the uncertainty surrounding the North American Free Trade Agreement, which U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to rip up, and his increasingly hostile attitude toward trade with Canada and other allies.Hansen said the company has always looked for new markets, but has increased those efforts ever since Trump began proposing tariffs on various imported products. On June 1, the U.S. escalated matters by levelling import tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada, Europe and Mexico, citing security concerns, in a move Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called “frankly insulting.”Louisbourg has boosted its marketing budget in recent years to around $2.6 million, Hansen said, much of which would have been previously spent on domestic lobbying activities. The company has begun gradually expanding its reach into Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands, the U.K., Belgium and other markets.“When you have all that uncertainty, it’s never good for anybody,” Hansen said. “We had to accelerate a little faster our research into new places.”Louisbourg’s efforts to branch out are emblematic of a wider attempt to shift away from the U.S., said Peter Hall, chief economist at Economic Development Canada. Companies have been “shaken to their cores” by trade disruptions during Trump’s tenure, he said, causing them to rethink their heavy dependence on the U.S.Louisbourg Seafoods vice-president Dannie Hansen says the Cape Breton Island company is looking beyond the U.S. to the U.K. and South Korean to sell its groundfish. Recommended For YouAurora Cannabis wins contract to supply medical cannabis to Italy, one of the most strictly regulated markets in the worldThe Latest: Pence says US working to reach China trade dealGrounded Boeing Max fleet tightens airline capacity, drives Canadian airfare prices higherThe Latest: Pence says US working to reach China trade dealHow the Boeing 737 Max groundings made Swoop’s operational problems even worse June 15, 201812:45 PM EDT Filed under News Economy Comment Email Jesse Snyder Steve Wadden for National Post Share this story’Shaken to their cores’: Small firms in Canada pivot away from U.S. amid imploding NAFTA talks, tariffs Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Reddit Facebook 0 Comments More Twitter “I’ve heard the word ‘diversification’ more in the last year than in a long while,” Hall said. “They have been thinking about their China strategy, their East Asia strategy, their Europe strategy.”The growing trade spat between Canada and the U.S. is also causing companies to look elsewhere when securing supplies.Waterloo, Ont.-based Clearpath Robotics Inc., which builds autonomous robot systems for multinational enterprises, is looking more closely at dealing with domestic companies, both when buying and selling products.Around 10 months ago, the company began buying its wheel hubs from Demtool Inc., an Ontario-based manufacturer, instead of its previous supplier based in Mississippi, after costs for the parts doubled. It has also begun buying steel brackets from a Canadian company rather than the Illinois one that used to to supply them, largely as a result of increased anti-dumping tariffs between Canada and the U.S. Tariffs on the brackets have been as high as 150 per cent in recent years.“We buy a lot more local than we used to,” said Ryan Wicklum, former head of supply chain management. “It just doesn’t make financial sense to buy from the States anymore, for metals specifically.”I’ve heard the word ‘diversification’ more in the last year than in a long whilePeter Hall, chief economist at Economic Development Canada Clearpath’s decision is partly in response to Trump’s “America First” strategy, which has compelled more U.S. companies to buy from local suppliers. In early April, Trump proposed tariffs on roughly 1,300 tech products, mainly to stem cheap imports from China. The move sent ripples across the wider tech-based supply chain in North America, prompting companies to increasingly rethink their supply chains and look outside the U.S.Clearpath depends on the U.S. for roughly 90 per cent of its sales, mostly to behemoths such as General Electric Co., Caterpillar Inc. and Deere & Co., which manufactures John Deere equipment. It is now looking to expand its reach into Japan and Germany, where it already sells some products, as well as other markets overseas.“We need a plan B, plan C and plan D,” Wicklum said.According to Statistics Canada, Canadian companies exported $483-billion worth of goods in 2017, up $30 billion from 2016. Small and medium-sized companies accounted for 54 per cent of the increase, led by energy companies. The number of exporting firms in 2017 grew by 191 to 43,480.EDC’s Hall said Canada’s exports remain healthy overall, despite trade worries, but they are still largely driven by a U.S. economy that has finally emerged fully from the economic recession 10 years ago.Hall said companies, particularly large U.S. ones, are finally beginning to put real capital towards growth after a decade of chronic underinvestment. The U.S. Institute for Supply Management now expects capital spending by U.S. factory firms to rise 10 per cent in 2018, up from its earlier forecast of two per cent, largely due to U.S. tax reforms.But companies in Canada and elsewhere have remained more hesitant to invest given that ongoing trade disputes have tempered growth.“Regular businesses are just sitting on that money,” Hall said. “That’s economic activity that we’ve kissed goodbye, for now.”There are some signs of improvement. In an interview with Bloomberg News on June 4, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said trade worries had already restricted business investment, but it is still “making a significant contribution to growth.”Meanwhile, companies are recalibrating their relationship with Canada’s largest trading partner as NAFTA talks pass the one-year marker.“It concerns me greatly,” said Stan Gorzalczynski, president of Wabi Iron & Steel Corp., a small manufacturer in New Liskeard, Ont., that designs and manufactures conveyor and elevator systems, mainly for the mining sector.He said the U.S. market is “almost like a lifeline” for his company, accounting for about 40 per cent of sales and 50 per cent of its supply chain. The firm buys chromium, nickel and other minerals from U.S. suppliers. Replacing them could prove a challenge.“U.S. suppliers are very competitive, even with the currency exchange,” he said.Gorzalczynski said Wabi’s bottom line has not been influenced by the trade disputes, and said it will manage to reorient itself if NAFTA talks implode.To that end, the company has already begun looking for new markets, particularly on the sales side, and recently found a new buyer in a Canadian steel producer. Gorzalczynski said the company has made inroads into new markets such as Australia, Chile, Peru and the European Union.Louisbourg’s Hansen also sees little reason to fret, saying the company would find a way forward even if NAFTA was shredded outright. He said the Canadian seafood industry is unlikely to be targeted in a Canada-U.S. trade dispute.“We’re not panicking over these little spats,” he said.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: jesse_snyder Join the conversation → ‘Shaken to their cores’: Small firms in Canada pivot away from U.S. amid imploding NAFTA talks, tariffs Small companies are rethinking their heavy dependence on the U.S. as trade disruptions escalate
OverviewWith all eyes on the Hyundai Kona EV at the moment, it could be easy to overlook Hyundai’s other electric offering, the Ioniq Electric. That would be a mistake because this car has a lot to offer. And, the entire Ioniq line-up has a particularly important task, that being to take on the Prius. To show just how serious Hyundai is about dethroning Toyota’s efficiency mainstay, they match the hybrid and plug-in hybrid models but go one further by offering a fully electric version – something that Toyota has yet to do.Additional Hyundai IONIQ Content: 14 photos I hadn’t driven an Ioniq since the initial release a year and a half ago. Those vehicles were all pre-production examples so, with the forthcoming release of the Kona, it seemed like a good time to reacquaint myself with the electric version of the Ioniq. Hyundai was kind enough to pony-up an example decked out in Limited trim. So, what’s it like? Here are a few takeaways. Nissan LEAF Goes Head-To-Head Against Hyundai IONIQ Electric Hyundai IONIQ Electric Could Get Performance N Version What do you get?As it stands now, the Ioniq Electric comes equipped with an 88 kW drivetrain (118HP) that draws energy from a 28 kWh, 360V Lithium-Ion polymer battery. That’s fed by a 6.6 kW onboard charger along with CCS quick charging. All told, this all translates to an EPA rated 124-mile range. MPGe is 150 city, 122 highway with a combined 136. This makes the Ioniq the most efficient EV sold in the US.What’s also of particular interest is that battery is offered with a Lifetime Electric Battery Warranty. That states that “if the lithium-ion polymer battery fails, Hyundai will replace the battery and cover recycling costs for the old battery free of charge to the original owner.”Now a first glance, aside from efficiency, none of these numbers really push the EV envelope. But, that’s not the mission here. That mission is to be one part compliance car and one part commuter/city car. And, in my week with the car, I can report that the results are a compelling and useful car that can serve as a daily driver and, given the appropriate charger infrastructure, useful for longer trips as well.Yes, the battery is only 28 kWh but, where other EVs tend to gulp electricity, the Ioniq sips. Driving in Eco mode in town without climate control, it’s fiendishly easy (okay, for a hypermiler) to achieve 7 miles per kWh and even at highway speeds, seeing numbers in the 5.5 range isn’t unusual. This drivetrain is remarkably efficient and that allows the Ioniq to achieve range numbers that are comparable to cars with larger batteries.The drivetrain is well developed and smooth and, like most EVs, it’s pretty spritely. There are three driving modes; Eco, Normal, and Sport. Each of these modes is served up by varying the throttle response and that provides a noticeable distinction from one another. Each also gets its own version of the speedometer which caters to the mission of the drive mode. Those come served up on a 7-inch LCD instrument cluster that also integrates a 4.2-inch LCD trip computer.Adjustable regen is handled via steering wheel paddles and can be completely turned off or set to one of three modes. In the most powerful setting, one pedal driving is almost possible. It’s almost possible because, once the speed drops to around 10 mph, the regen diminishes noticeably. At speeds greater than 10 mph and in either of the two most powerful modes of regen, the brake lights operate simply by lifting the foot off the accelerator but turn off once speed drops to 10 mph.Interestingly, the Ioniq defaults to low-speed creeping which is really nice in traffic. That can be turned off as well. Speaking of defaults, each drive mode has a default regen setting so if there’s a preference beyond that setting, it has to be reselected each time the car is started. It’s not the worst thing with which to contend, but it would be nice to be able to set it and forget it.So, what does all of this get you? Well, it gets you a very serene and very normal driving experience. There’s a low-speed hum that dissipates as speed increases but, overall, it’s easy to forget that you’re driving an EV. The handling is neutral and there’s practically no torque-steer evident. In short, there’s nothing that disrupts the serenity of the driving experience. Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 17, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Conclusions Okay, this car has a battery that falls to the smaller side, but the range is pretty good because of the sheer efficiency of the drivetrain. The Honda Clarity has almost as big a battery but can only muster an 89 mile EPA rating. With the speed of CCS charging and the increasing number of chargers available, I wouldn’t hesitate to take this car on a 250-mile trip – maybe even further. It feels like a really good balance of efficiency and battery size. Combine a price of $36,885 for the top of the line Limited trim and the $7500 tax credit and this car falls readily into the affordable range. And, with the excellent battery warranty, one begins to see that there’s real value here.What you get in the Ioniq Electric is a car that feels like a normal car. It’s easy to forget you’re driving an EV. From the appearance to the easy to figure out controls, everything is normal and there’s a comfort in that because, as we move further away from the early adopter mentality, there needs to be something that resonates with car buyers who just want to get around and don’t care about making a statement at every stoplight. This, my friends, is their car. And that is what will keep the Ioniq relevant.HYUNDAI IONIQ ELECTRIC Hyundai Says Next Year’s Ioniq Electric Will Get A Range Boost Interior ImpressionsWhat you get in the interior is a very handsome and traditional dash. There’s no constant reminder that you’re in an EV like there is in a Leaf or a Bolt and practically nothing stands out as gimmicky. The dash is immediately recognizable and understandable – especially if you’re familiar with Hyundai or Kia products. The only thing that could come close to being described as gimmicky would be the shift mechanism. That’s handled via four buttons where the standard shifter sits in the hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. But, even that becomes familiar very quickly and feels normal. Seating is particularly good and even the back seat offers comfortable accommodations for two and three in a pinch. The back seats fold down to provide a level load floor and the lift over in the hatch in minimal. In Limited trim, the seating surfaces are leather and the front seats are heated with the driver’s seat having power adjustment, a memory, and an exit feature.There’s also Smart Cruise Control, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless smartphone charging, Hyundai’s Blue Link Connected Services, an impressive Infinity Premium Audio system along with an 8-inch touchscreen display that relays all the EV related information to help the driver get the most from what’s available. Exterior ImpressionsFor every time someone has said to me “Why do electric cars have to look so weird?” and my only response was “Well, there’s the Focus Electric”, I’m glad to say that, in my week with the car, only one person identified it as electric – and that’s because she saw the Electric badge on the tailgate. That’s one of two things on the exterior of the car that gives it away as an EV. The other is a very attractive black gloss insert that replaces the grill on the internal combustion engine equipped Ioniq models. Other than that, it could be any Ioniq. That being said, the design is tidy and well proportioned without any of the busy lines and awkward shapes that make the Prius so polarizing. There’s nothing visually stunning or jarring. It’s just a very handsome four-door hatchback. Source: Electric Vehicle News ChargingWith a 6.6 kW onboard charger, a full charge can be had in 4 hours. At an Electrify America installation using their CCS plug, I saw a peak of 68 kW during which the battery went from 45% state of charge to 83% in twelve minutes. That’s pretty impressive. Hyundai and Kia first drives stream in and the consensus is these EVs feel “normal” and “conventional,” in a positive way.
Source: Charge Forward Tesla has carefully hidden an extensive ‘Back to the Future’ Easter egg in its mobile app software and it was discovered this week. more…The post Tesla hides extensive ‘Back to the Future’ Easter egg in latest software appeared first on Electrek.
Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine Sponsored by KeysightAutomotive radar sensing technology is now rapidly evolving towards high-frequency and wide bandwidth. With higher resolution and range, automotive radar leads to safer driving in any conditions. High-frequency wideband radar is the best option for Autonomous Driving and road safety, today and tomorrow.Learn about the improvements delivered by the higher frequency, wider bandwidth advanced automotive radar systems and how to test them by downloading the white paper.Download now
Source: Charge Forward A new bi-partisan bill would reform the federal tax credit for electric vehicles resulting in Tesla and GM buyers getting access to $7,000 on the next 400,000 electric vehicles. more…Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and the podcast.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVp0Cr2Pg4gThe post Tesla and GM could get back federal tax credit for another 400,000 electric cars with bi-partisan bill appeared first on Electrek.
Elevate Your Research Elevate Your FCPA Research There are several subject matter tags in this post. However, only subscribers to FCPA Professor’s premium search feature can see and use them in research. Efficient and cost-effective FCPA research is just a click away. For many years, the DOJ has advanced the policy position that DPAs and NPAs “have had a truly transformative effect on particular companies and, more generally, on corporate culture across the globe.” (See here for the prior post). Specifically in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act context, the DOJ has stated that “the companies against which DPAs and NPAs have been brought have often undergone dramatic changes.” (See here for the prior post).As highlighted here, in March 2012 Biomet resolved an FCPA enforcement action involving alleged conduct in Brazil, Argentina, and China by agreeing to pay approximately $22.8 million ($17.3 million via a DOJ deferred prosecution agreement, and $5.5 million via a settled SEC civil complaint).Since then, FCPA Professor has chronicled (here, here and here) how Biomet’s DPA was extended, how the DOJ ultimately came to conclude that Biomet had breached its DPA based on subsequent improper conduct, and how an additional FCPA enforcement was expected.Last week, the DOJ and SEC announced (here and here) the additional FCPA enforcement action against Zimmer Biomet Holdings (in 2015 Zimmer Holdings acquired Biomet) and Biomet. As highlighted below, a portion of the improper conduct involved the same distributor in Brazil that gave rise to the 2012 FCPA enforcement action.The enforcement action involved this superceding criminal information against Zimmer Biomet Holdings, this criminal information against JERDS Luxembourg Holding S.A.R.L, this deferred prosecution agreement against Zimmer Biomet Holdings, and this SEC administrative order against Biomet Inc.The overall settlement amount was approximately $30.4 million ($17.4 million paid in connection with the DOJ enforcement action and approximately $13 million paid in connection with the related SEC enforcement action).The remainder of this post goes in-depth into the enforcement action.DOJZimmer Biomet Holdings Superceding InformationThe superceding information against Zimmer Biomet Holdings concerns business conduct in Brazil and Mexico and states, under the heading “The Unlawful Schemes” as follows.At all relevant times, Biomet exported products to, and sold those products in, countries with a high risk for corruption, including Mexico and Brazil. Despite being aware of red flags and prior corruption-related misconduct at Biomet’s subsidiaries in Mexico and Brazil, and despite entering into the 2012 DPA both in connection with corruption in Brazil and other countries relating to Biomet’s distributors, and as a consequence of its failure to implement internal accounting controls, Biomet knowingly failed to implement and maintain an adequate system of internal accounting controls designed to detect and prevent bribery by its agents and business partners. As a result, Biomet’s subsidiary in Mexico paid bribes to customs officials through an agent and its sub-agents. Biomet further did not conduct appropriate due diligence on proposed agents and business partners or require adequate controls for payments to third parties, which also resulted in bribes being paid in Mexico, as well as the use of a distributor in Brazil whom Biomet knew had previously paid bribes on its behalf.Specifically, in connection with the 2012 DPA, Biomet knew that Brazilian Distributor [described as the principal owner of Brazilian Distributor Company A and at relevant times controlled Brazilian Distributor Company B] previously had paid bribes to win business for Biomet through Brazilian Distributor Company A, and as a result, Biomet had prohibited its employees from using all companies affiliated with Brazilian Distributor. Despite knowing this, Biomet, through its employees and agents, including Biomet Executive [described as an attorney at Biomet and Biomet International during the relevant period who became a high-level attorney during that period. Biomet Executive’s responsibilities included ensuring that Biomet had effective internal accounting controls, such as third-party due diligence, and implementing Biomet’s internal accounting controls. Biomet Executive was also responsible for addressing the requirements of Biomet’s FCPA monitor with respect to Biomet International], allowed Brazilian Distributor to sell, import, and market its products through Brazilian Distributor Company B and took steps to conceal Brazilian Distributor’s relationship with Brazilian Distributor Company B.In Mexico, despite being aware of red flags and issues concerning due diligence, and its obligations under the 2012 DPA, Biomet’s employees failed to implement due diligence procedures or payment authorization controls to ensure that payments were made in accordance with Biomet’s policies. As a result, Biomet’s subsidiaries used a customs broker whose 5 subagents bribed Mexican customs officials to allow Biomet to export mislabeled products to Mexico. Between in or around 2010 and 2013, 3i Mexico paid approximately $980,774 to the customs broker’s subagents knowing that at least part of this amount would be passed on to customs officials, and falsified corporate records to disguise the bribe payments.”[3i Mexico is described as being owned by JERDS Luxembourg Holding S.ar.l. (“JERDS”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of IIH [Implant Innovations Holdings, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Biomet in Florida]. 3i Mexico marketed and sold Biomet 3i’s products in Mexico. 3i Mexico’s financial statements were consolidated into JERDS ‘s financial statements, which were eventually consolidated into Biomet’s financial statements.]The information states:“Between in or around 2009 and 2013, Biomet earned approximately $3,168,000 in profits from sales of its products in Brazil through Brazilian Distributor and Brazilian Distributor Company B, some of which Brazilian Distributor Company A had imported for Brazilian Distributor Company B.”[…]Between in or around 2010 and 2013, 3i Mexico paid approximately $980,774 to Mexico Customs Broker in connection with clearing Biomet 3i products.Between in or around 2010 and 2013, 3i Mexico and Biomet’s Mexican subsidiary earned approximately $2,652,100 in profits from sales of products in Mexico that were shipped through Texas.”Under the heading “Biomet’s Internal Accounting Controls,” the information states:“During the relevant period, even though Biomet was aware of high corruption risks and having entered into the 2012 DPA based in part on corruption in Argentina and Brazil relating to its distributors and its failure to implement internal accounting controls, Biomet knowingly and willfully failed to devise and maintain an adequate system of internal accounting controls. In particular, and as relevant here, Biomet had inadequate internal accounting controls to, among other things: (a) ensure that the company would conduct adequate due diligence for the retention of third-party consultants and agents; (b) ensure that Biomet not continue to contract with or use directly or indirectly third-party consultants and agents who Biomet determined had engaged in corrupt practices and were prohibited from importing, storing, promoting, distributing, or marketing its products; (c) implement oversight of the payment process to ensure that payments were made pursuant to appropriate controls, including those that verified that payments were made only when invoices accurately described the goods or services rendered in exchange for the payment and the party rendering the goods or services; (d) ensure that standard contracts were used when retaining third parties who interacted with government officials; and (e) ensure that third parties did not retain subagents without Biomet’s approval, especially in high-risk areas where the third parties interacted with foreign government officials.For example, in connection with the Brazil scheme, senior Biomet employees allowed Brazilian Distributor to purchase, import, and market Biomet’s products in Brazil even after Brazilian Distributor had admitted to bribing HCPs and after Biomet terminated its relationship with Brazilian Distributor and prohibited its employees from working with Brazilian Distributor.Furthermore, Biomet’s inadequate due diligence on Brazilian Distributor Company B failed to identify that Brazilian Distributor used Brazilian Distributor Company B to hide Brazilian Distributor’s continued marketing of Biomet’s products.In addition, when Biomet’s internal audit team learned that Brazilian Distributor controlled Brazilian Distributor Company B, Biomet did not terminate its relationship with Brazilian Distributor Company B until several years later and failed to implement controls to ensure that Brazilian Distributor was not paying bribes on behalf of Biomet.Further, in connection with the Mexico scheme, Biomet did not require 3i Mexico to conduct adequate due diligence on third parties, especially those that worked in high-risk areas, such as third parties that interacted with customs officials in Mexico.Biomet also did not prohibit third parties, including its customs brokers in Mexico, who interacted with Mexican government officials from hiring subagents to perform work for Biomet without Biomet’s approval or without Biomet’s ability to conduct due diligence.Moreover, Biomet did not implement controls to ensure that 3i Mexico made payments only when invoices accurately described the goods or services rendered in exchange for the payment and the entity that performed the service.”Based on the above, the information charges Zimmer Biomet Holdings with one count of knowingly and willfully failing to implement a system of internal accounting controls sufficient to satisfy the FCPA’s requirements.JERDS Luxembourg Holding S.A.R.L Criminal InformationJERDS is described as follows.“JERDS was a wholly-owned subsidiary of IIH, which in turn was a subsidiary of Biomet. JERDS had its headquarters in Luxembourg, and owned several subsidiaries, including Biomet 3i Mexico S.A. de C.V. (“3i Mexico”), that marketed and sold Biomet 3i’s products overseas. 3i Mexico, which was incorporated in Mexico, was owned by JERDS. 3i Mexico marketed and sold Biomet 3i’s products in Mexico. 3i Mexico’s financial statements were consolidated into JERDS’s financial statements, which were eventually consolidated into Biomet’s financial statements.”The conduct alleged in the information is the same Mexico conduct alleged by the DOJ in the above-described Zimmer Biomet Holdings Superceding Information. JERDS was charged with one count of violating the FCPA’s books and records provisions.Zimmer Biomet Holdings DPAThe criminal charge against Zimmer Biomet Holdings was resolved via a DPA based on the following facts and circumstances.a. In June 2015, Zimmer Holdings, Inc. acquired Biomet, Inc. (“Biomet”), the company that entered into the 2012 DPA, and changed its name to Zimmer Biomet. Zimmer Biomet thus knowingly assumed the rights and the obligations of Biomet under the 2012 DPA, including the 2012 DPA’s requirement of an outside compliance monitor to reduce the possibility of recidivism of its FCPA violations, and became Biomet’s successor-in-interest for purposes of the 2012 DPA and the conduct in the Statement of Facts attached to this Agreement;b. Biomet failed to meet the compliance obligations of the 2012 DPA, as follows:Biomet had agreed to the compliance monitorship for an initial term of 18 months, which was later extended under the DPA to a three-year term;At the end of the term, the independent compliance monitor found that based on Biomet’s conduct it could not certify that Biomet’s compliance program met the standards set forth in the 2012 DPA, and the Fraud Section agreed with that assessment and extended the monitorship and 2012 DPA for an additional year to give Biomet another opportunity to be able to build the required compliance program;At the end of the additional year, the independent compliance monitor again could not certify that Biomet’s compliance program met the standards set forth in the 2012 DPA, and the Fraud Section concurred in that assessment;c. During the DPA, Biomet continued to engage in criminal conduct, specifically Biomet informed the Fraud Section of: (1) internal controls failures related to Mexico between 2010 and 2013, which resulted in Biomet’s earning approximately $2,652,100 in profits; and (2) the continued use, between 2009 and 2013, by Biomet of a Brazilian distributor who had been engaged in the underlying criminal conduct that led to the 2012 DPA, which resulted in Biomet’s earning approximately $3,168,000 in profits; Biomet executives were aware of the continued use of the prohibited distributor and red flags related to corruption in Mexico that Biomet did not address; Biomet executives ignored recommendations by Biomet’s internal auditors and a company-wide requirement to cease all business with the Brazilian distributor;d. as a result of [the] above, on or about April 15, 2016, the Fraud Section notified the Company that it had breached its obligations under the 2012 DPA;e. although Biomet disclosed the conduct described in the Statement of Facts to the Fraud Section during the term of the 2012 DPA, Zimmer Biomet did not receive voluntary disclosure credit because the 2012 DPA obligated Biomet to disclose the conduct described in the Statement of Facts, and some of the conduct described in the Statement of Facts predated the 2012 DPA;f. the Company received full credit for its cooperation with the Fraud Section’s investigation, including conducting a thorough internal investigation, making regular factual presentations to the Fraud Section, voluntarily making employees available for interviews, and collecting, analyzing, and organizing voluminous evidence and information for the Fraud Section;g. by the conclusion of the investigation, the Company had provided to the Fraud Section all relevant facts known to it, including information about individuals involved in the misconduct;h. the Company has been designing and is implementing an effective compliance program and system of internal accounting controls, has committed to ensuring that these will be implemented in a manner that satisfies the elements set forth in Attachment C to this Agreement (Corporate Compliance Program), and has agreed to engage the Monitor pursuant to the terms described herein;i. the Company has engaged in remedial measures, including: (1) terminating or causing the resignation of five employees who participated in the misconduct described in the Statement of Facts; (2) terminating one employee who failed to identify issues with the use of a prohibited distributor in Brazil and failed to take appropriate steps to mitigate risks; (3) disciplining two employees who failed to detect the misconduct, failed to supervise effectively those who were engaged in the misconduct, and failed to take appropriate steps to mitigate corruption and compliance risks, including by placing an official letter of reprimand in their employment files, reducing their bonuses, and requiring them to take additional anticorruption training; (4) conducting individualized training for certain remaining employees; (5) adopting heightened controls related to their third-party intermediary policies; (6) increasing their resources devoted to compliance, particularly in Latin America; and (7) requiring improved FCPA training;j. the nature and seriousness of the offense, including the involvement of a high-level executive in the criminal conduct recounted in the Statement of Facts during an ongoing deferred prosecution agreement with the Fraud Section;k. the Company has agreed to continue to cooperate with the Section as set forth in this Agreement in any investigation of the Company and its officers, directors, employees, agents, business partners, and consultants relating to violations of the FCPA;l. the Company has agreed to disgorge the profits from the misconduct described in the Statement of Facts, in the amount of $5,820,100, to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; and accordingly, after considering (a) through (l) above, the Company will enter into the Agreement, pay a criminal penalty at the middle of the United States Sentencing Guidelines fine range, and agree to the imposition of an independent compliance monitor, and JERDS Luxembourg Holding S.ar.l. will plead guilty pursuant to the plea agreement related to this matter.”The DPA contains an advisory Sentencing Guidelines fine range of approximately $11.6 to $23.3 million and states:“The Company and the Fraud Section further agree that the appropriate resolution in this case is a criminal penalty of $17,460,300, and disgorgement of the Company’s profits in the amount of $5,820,100, plus prejudgment interest on the disgorgement of $702,705. The Company agrees to pay a monetary penalty in the amount of $17,460,300 to the United States Treasury no later than ten business days after the Agreement is fully executed. The Fraud Section agrees to credit the $5,820,100 disgorgement and $702,705 prejudgment interest paid by the Company in connection with its settlement of this matter with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The Fraud Section also agrees that any fine imposed on JERDS Luxembourg Holding in connection with the Plea Agreement related to this matter shall be credited against the $17,460,300 penalty to be paid by Zimmer Biomet.”Pursuant to the three-year DPA, Zimmer Biomet agreed to a variety of compliance undertakings and to imposition of a corporate monitor.In the DOJ release Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell states:“Zimmer Biomet had the opportunity to avoid criminal charges but its misconduct allowed the bribes to continue. Zimmer Biomet is now paying the price for disregarding its obligations under the earlier deferred prosecution agreement. In appropriate circumstances the department will resolve serious criminal conduct through alternative means, but there will be consequences for those companies that refuse to take these agreements seriously.”Stephen Richardson (Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division) states:“Zimmer Biomet failed to rectify their misconduct and get back on track in compliance with the law, and now they are facing the consequences of their corrupt actions. The FBI will not stand idly by when companies operate outside the law and attempt to play by different rules in the marketplace. We remain vigilant and committed to holding those accountable who disregard the rule of law in the United States.”SECThe SEC’s administrative action was based on the same core conduct alleged in the DOJ action. In summary fashion, the administrative order states:“These proceedings arise from violations of the FCPA by Biomet, Inc., a global medical device company with operations around the world. From approximately 2008 through 2013, Biomet, through its subsidiary and third party customs brokers, made unlawful payments to Mexican customs officials to facilitate the importation of Biomet’s unregistered and mislabeled dental products into Mexico. In addition, from 2009 to 2013, Biomet improperly recorded transactions with a known prohibited distributor in Brazil as transactions with another distributor. Biomet had prohibited the use of the distributor after determining the distributor made improper payments to public doctors in Brazil from 2000 to August 2008 to obtain sales of Biomet products, which was the subject of Biomet’s 2012 settlement with the Commission and criminal authorities for FCPA violations. Biomet could not account for the prohibited distributor’s use of certain funds nor determine if the prohibited distributor had continued the same improper conduct. Biomet failed to appropriately record the transactions in Mexico and Brazil in its books and records. Biomet also failed to devise and maintain a sufficient system of internal accounting controls.”Under the heading “Anti-Bribery Violations,” the order states:“Biomet subsidiary 3i Mexico engaged Mexican Customs Broker and certain subagents to pay bribes to Mexican customs officials for the purpose of circumventing Mexican customs laws regarding importing unregistered and improperly labeled products into Mexico. Biomet the parent saw numerous red flags indicating that the Mexican subsidiary’s customs agents were using bribes to resolve the known Mexican customs issues. Biomet had already instructed Biomet Mexico and 3i Mexico to terminate a relationship with Texas Customs Broker after numerous red flags were identified indicating Texas Customs Broker was likely smuggling unregistered products over the border. 3i Mexico subsequently failed to conduct adequate due diligence in the hiring of Mexican Customs Broker and its sub-agents as a replacement, or to require a written contract or fee schedule. Further, Biomet employees across multiple levels and departments were aware of importation issues arising in Mexico and failed to question how Mexican Customs Broker was managing to overcome such issues while other Biomet employees based in Mexico knew that bribes were being paid at the border. Biomet was on notice of substantial compliance risks based in part on the outside auditor report since as early as 2008, and failed to take steps to detect and prevent the ongoing bribery. As a result of the bribery of Mexican customs officials, Biomet violated [the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions].”Under the heading “Failure to Maintain Accurate Books and Records,” the order states:“In Brazil, over the period July 2009 to September 2013, Biomet improperly recorded in its books and records payments to Prohibited Brazilian Distributor as payments to another authorized distributor. In Mexico, a Biomet subsidiary engaged two agents, one who was unlicensed, to smuggle goods across the border. One of the agents paid bribes to Mexican customs officials. Biomet improperly recorded payments to both agents between 2010 and 2013 in excess of $1.5 million, including $981,000 in payments to sub-agents that was actively concealed in Biomet’s books and records. The payments were recorded as freight cost and as other legitimate costs, which did not reflect the true nature of those payments. Biomet violated [the books and records provisions] by improperly recording the transactions and payments in Brazil and Mexico in its accounting books and records.”Under the heading “Failure to Maintain Sufficient Internal Accounting Controls,” the order states:“Biomet failed to implement internal accounting controls sufficient to detect or prevent bribery and to ensure the accuracy of its books and records. Biomet’s ongoing business ties to Prohibited Brazilian Distributor were known to Biomet employees as early as December 2009 and Biomet failed to take appropriate steps to stop the continued prohibited relationship. Biomet improperly recorded its business transactions with Prohibited Brazilian Distributor as transactions with its authorized distributor. Biomet violated [the internal controls provisions] by failing to have internal controls in place to detect and prevent Biomet’s improper recording of transactions with the Prohibited Brazilian Distributor.Biomet further failed to devise and maintain internal accounting controls to prevent and detect 3i Mexico’s payments to Texas Customs Broker and Mexican Customs Broker to get product without valid registrations or proper labeling into Mexico, including improper payments to Mexican customs officials made by Mexican Customs Broker. Biomet directed 3i Mexico to terminate its arrangement with Texas Customs Broker and to hire a new broker. However, 3i Mexico failed to conduct due diligence on Mexican Customs Broker and failed to get a written contract or fee schedule. Biomet failed to address the numerous red flags that bribery was occurring to import its goods into Mexico. Biomet’s internal accounting controls did not prevent and detect the improper payments totaling approximately $981,000 between 2010 and 2013.”As noted in the SEC’s release Biomet agreed to pay more than $5.82 million in disgorgement plus $702,705 in interest and a $6.5 million penalty for a total of more than $13 million.In this SEC release, Kara Brockmeyer (Chief of the SEC’s FCPA Unit) stated:“Biomet didn’t entirely learn its lesson the first time around as it continued to use a prohibited agent in Brazil and engaged in a new bribery scheme in Mexico.”This Zimmer Biomet release states that “all of the Biomet conduct underlying today’s settlement announcement has been reported in the past and occurred years prior to Zimmer Holdings, Inc.’s acquisition of Biomet in June 2015.” In this release, Chad Phipps (Senior VP, General Counsel and Secretary of Zimmer Biomet Holdings) stated:“We are pleased to have reached this resolution involving legacy Biomet FCPA compliance matters. Zimmer Biomet is committed to upholding the highest ethical and legal standards in our business practices across the globe, and we look forward to continuing to integrate the legacy Biomet business operations into our robust corporate compliance program.”Guy Singer (Orrick) and Ryan Rohlfsen (Ropes & Gray) represented Zimmer Biomet.
Save Money With FCPA Connect Keep it simple. Not all FCPA issues warrant a team of lawyers or other professional advisers. Achieve client and business objectives in a more efficient manner through FCPA Connect. Candid, Comprehensive, and Cost-Effective. Connect Call me old-fashioned, but when paid journalists write about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act there is a duty to get things right. A duty to conduct basic research and verify or confirm the truth of the matter asserted.FCPA Professor has chronicled for years numerous “not so finest FCPA moments” of the media (see here, here, here, here and here) and the latest is courtesy of this Newsweek article.If the definition of fake news includes published material with objectively false information, then portions of the Newsweek article is fake news. This post is particularly timely following DOJ Compliance Counsel Hui Chen recently calling out certain compliance commentary for its lack of precision and intellectual rigor and her call for a #precisionmatters hashtag on social media.The Newsweek article is primarily about the “Combating Global Corruption Act of 2017,” a bill recently introduced in the Senate that was highlighted on FCPA Professor a few weeks ago (see here). The bill is hardly a “sweeping anti-corruption law” as the Newsweek headline proclaims, but that is an opinion statement and not objectively false.Like so many other media outlets have, the Newsweek article mentions the incredibly flawed March New Yorker Trump Organization article (see here and here for prior FCPA Professor posts) and states that, under the FCPA, “U.S. companies cannot benefit, even unknowingly, from a foreign partner’s corruption.” This is most certainly not an accurate description of the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions, but not the most egregious objectively false information in the Newsweek article.The most egregious is the following two sentences from the article:“In 1977, Washington implemented the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which prevents U.S. citizens and companies working abroad from bribing foreign entities. The first legislation of its kind, the FCPA also prevents foreign companies from doing the same in the United States.”There are three objectively false statements about the FCPA in these two sentences.First, the FCPA does not just capture U.S. citizens and companies working abroad. The FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions also apply to foreign companies with shares traded in the U.S. (of which there are many) as well as foreign companies and foreign citizens to the extent certain jurisdictional elements have been met.Second, the FCPA does not prohibit “bribing foreign entities.” For starters, that depends what the “b” word means, but the FCPA generally prohibits the offer or payment of money or anything of value to a “foreign official” to obtain or retain business. “Foreign official” is defined in the FCPA to mean “any officer or employee of a foreign government or any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof, or of a public international organization, or any person acting in an official capacity for or on behalf of any such government or department, agency, or instrumentality, or for or on behalf of any such public international organization.”Third, is the absurd statement the FCPA also “prevents foreign companies from doing the same [bribery presumably] in the United States.” The FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions have nothing to do with “bribery” of U.S. officials, there is a separate law for this, and again (as stated above) the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions require the existence of a “foreign official” in the alleged bribery scheme.*****And then there is this dandy article from Vox which bills itself as an organization that “explains the news [because] we live in a world of too much information and too little context. Too much noise and too little insight.”I completely agree and the Vox article is part of the problem.The article asserts “excessive ties to corrupt foreign governments can be a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, but (conveniently) the Trump administration is moving to scale back enforcement of that law across the board.”For starters, ties (whatever that means) to a foreign government (whether corrupt or not) is not a violation of the FCPA. As stated in even the DOJ/SEC’s FCPA Guidance: “The FCPA prohibits payments to foreign officials, not to foreign government.”As to the second assertion, I follow the FCPA as closely as humanly possible, but must have missed the fact that the “Trump administration is moving to scale back enforcement of [the FCPA] across the board.”Everything I’ve heard from Trump administration officials (see here and here for recent DOJ speeches) is contrary to this assertion, but then again I listen with my ears open.*****In short, why does the media have such difficulty accurately describing the FCPA?It really is not that difficult to conduct some basic research to verify or confirm the truth of the matter asserted.
Remember me Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook. Lost your password? The two-year feud between Hayman Capital Management hedge fund manager Kyle Bass and United Development Funding erupted publicly last week when UDF filed an explosive lawsuit accusing Bass and Hayman of illegally spreading false information about the Grapevine-based real estate development lender in an effort to destroy its business and reap financial gain by short-selling UDF stocks . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Username Password
« Canadian Extremists Want to Sue all the Oil Companies for Causing Climate Change Premier John Horgan of BC in Canada was joined by Finance Minister Carole James and Attorney General David Eby at a press conference in Victoria, BC, where they announced plans to move forward with a public inquiry in light of recent findings on money laundering.The real estate bubble in Vancouver was built on a tax-free principal residence exemption and greedy politicians who were eager to benefit however they could. Now that the bubble has burst, they need to blame someone other than themselves. They released a report claiming that dirty foreign capital was the cause of the real estate boom. The real estate market is now under investigation for money laundering. It had been obvious for a long time that capital was parking in Vancouver. Now the twist will be to investigate and see where the money came from. If they can determine it is tainted, they will confiscate the property. Now that the boom is over and money flow has ended, it is time to investigate everyone to see if they can pick up some extra cash with allegations of money laundering. That should help prices decline even further. Will Canada Participate in the Shift from Public to Private? » Categories: Canada Tags: Canada, Money Laundering, Real Estate, Vancouver, Vancouver Real Estate
« Market Talk – June 20, 2019 Categories: Market Talk ASIA / AUSTRALIA:The US has added five more Chinese companies to a US blacklist that restricts US companies from dealing with the companies on the list. Of those included on the list is a Chinese government-owned supercomputing company, with military applications and dealing with national security. The companies “pose a significant risk of being or becoming involved in activities contrary to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States,” the Commerce Department said. Also included is AMD’s Joint venture with a Chinese company which was also accused of acting contrary to the national security of foreign policy interests of the US. To say the trade deal is diffusing seems contrary to government actions.Elsewhere, President Xi of China is on a state visit to North Korea, and Kim Jong Un stated that the relationship China is “invincible.” China’s new ambassador to Japan revealed on Friday that Beijing and Tokyo are working to arrange a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping “in the spring” of next year to improve the relations between the two nations.Millions of pigs have been culled in China and Vietnam as a U.N. food agency urges Asian governments to make containing virulent African swine fever their top priority. The UN reported this to be the largest outbreak of an animal disease in history.The major Asian stock markets had a mixed day today. Shanghai increased 14.86 points or 0.50% to 3,001.98, KOSPI decreased 5.67 points or -0.27% to 2,125.62, ASX 200 decreased 36.60 points or -0.55% to 6,650.80, NIKKEI 225 decreased 204.22 points or -0.95% to 21,258.64, Hang Seng decreased 76.72 points or -0.27% to 28,473.71, and SENSEX decreased 407.14 points or -1.03% to 39,194.49.The major Asian currency markets had a green day today. AUDUSD increased 0.0005 or 0.07% to 0.6927, NZDUSD increased 0.0001 or 0.01% to 0.6586, USDJPY increased 0.1120 or 0.10% to 107.4020, and USDCNY increased 0.0051 or 0.07% to 6.8654.Gold increased 9.37 USD/t oz. or 0.68% to 1,396.99 and silver decreased 0.115 USD/t. oz or -0.75% to 15.2987.Some economic news:Japan:National Core CPI (YoY) (May) decreased from 0.9% to 0.8%National CPI (YoY) (May) decreased from 0.9% to 0.7%National CPI (MoM) decreased from 0.1% to 0.0%Manufacturing PMI (Jun) decreased from 49.8 to 49.5Australia:Manufacturing PMI increased from 51.0 to 51.7Services PMI increased from 51.5 to 53.3Indonesia:Car Sales (YoY) (May) increased from -17.80% to -16.30%Hong Kong:CPI (YoY) (May) decreased from 2.90% to 2.80%India:Bank Loan Growth decreased from 12.7% to 12.3%Deposit Growth decreased from 10.1% to 9.9%FX Reserves, USD decreased from 423.55B to 422.20BEUROPE / EMEA:There is not a clear consensus on who will run the European commission for the next five years. The outgoing European Commission President Donald Tusk says he will organize a meeting to discuss the future candidates before July 2 when the European parliament’s new members of parliament sit for the first time. A review process of is expected during that meeting of the Brexit situation with a no-deal scenario on the agenda. The UK has until the 31st of October to finalize plans.Chinese smartphone maker Huawei conceded that overseas smartphone sales dropped by 40% since the middle of last month. A large majority of those sales were in Europe as the prospect of a phone without Google services is catastrophic.Elsewhere, Russia has accused the U.S. of deliberately stoking dangerous tensions with Iran and pushing the situation to “the brink of war”. Europe is trying to maintain a neutral perspective, urging restraint on both sides. The Saudi defense minister tweeted, “We affirmed the kingdom’s support … which came as a result of continuing Iranian hostility and terrorism.”The major European stock markets had a negative day today. CAC 40 decreased 7.23 points or -0.13% to 5,528.33, FTSE 100 decreased 16.94 points or -0.23% to 7,407.50, and DAX decreased 15.47 points or -0.13% to 12,339.92.The major European currency markets had a mixed day today. EURUSD increased 0.0070 or 0.62% to 1.1361, GBPUSD increased 0.0033 or 0.26% to 1.2732, and USDCHF decreased 0.0050 or 0.51% to 0.9768.Some economic news:UK:Public Sector Net Borrowing (May) decreased from 6.15B to 4.46BPublic Sector Net Cash Requirement (May) increased from -6.323B to 10.663BFrance:French Manufacturing PMI (Jun) increased from 50.6 to 52.0French Markit Composite PMI (Jun) increased from 51.2 to 52.9French Services PMI (Jun) increased from 51.5 to 53.1Germany:German Composite PMI (Jun) remain the same at 52.6German Manufacturing PMI (Jun) increased from 44.3 to 45.4German Services PMI (Jun) increased from 55.4 to 55.6Spain:Spanish Trade Balance increased from -2.35B to -1.61BEurozone:Manufacturing PMI (Jun) increased from 47.7 to 47.8Markit Composite PMI (Jun) increased from 51.8 to 52.1Services PMI (Jun) increased from 52.9 to 53.4U.S. / AMERICAS:Vice President Mike Pence will delay his upcoming speech on China due to “progress of conversations,” according to a statement released by the White House this Friday. Pence’s speech was allegedly going to address Chinese human rights violations, such as the religious persecution and detainment of Muslim citizens. President Xi and President Trump will meet next week at the G20 summit in Japan, and the markets will certainly be listening in for any signs of progress.The U.S. will not retaliate against Iran after yesterday’s attack on an unmanned drone. At least, the retaliation won’t happen in the form of violence. Trump announced that the U.S. was preparing a counterattack on Thursday evening, but the commander in chief called off the attack. Trump wrote: “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world.” The president noted that tariffs will be placed on Iran, and firmly noted that “Iran will NEVER have nuclear weapons.”Americans donated $427.71 billion to charities in 2018, according to a report released by the Washington Post. Adjusted for inflation, the amount has decreased 1.7% YoY. Some analysts are citing decreased tax incentives for the drop in donations.The death toll for American tourists visiting Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is rising. At least 11 deaths have been reported, and they have all occurred under similarly unclear circumstances. Rep. Frank Pallone reached out to the State Department to urge them to reassess its travel advisory to the country. Although travel restrictions have not yet been placed on the Caribbean country, the FBI has announced that it is testing samples taken from hotel mini bars for signs of foul play. Dominican Ministry of Public Health spokesman Carlos Suero called the incidents coincidental “fake news” that are “aimed to hurt tourism.”Looking to Wall Street, the prospect of future rate cuts and progressing trade deals marked a successful week for U.S. indices, but the markets closed Friday slightly lower. The Dow dropped 34.04 points (-0.13%) to 26,719.13 in the day’s session (+2.41% this week); the S&P 500 slipped -3.72 (-0.13%) from yesterday’s historic high and closed at 2,950.46 (+2.4% this week); the Nasdaq lost 19.63 points (-0.24%) to 8,031.71 (+3.04% this week); and the Russell 2000 declined 13.87 points (-0.89%) to 1,549.63 (+1.78 this week).The Canadian indices closed the week in negative territory as well, with the TSX Composite down 49.40 points (-0.30%) to 16,525.43 and the TSX 60 down 3.30 points (-0.33%) to 988.75.Brazil’s Bovespa surged this Friday to a new record-breaking high of 102,012.64 after adding 1,709.23 points (+1.70%). Optimism regarding pension reform and a U.S. rate cut fueled the index’s positive momentum this week.ENERGY:With the US-Iran affair turning into a possible military conflict, the price of oil has pressed upward against a souring economic outlook. India announced that it is set to add Navy military personal onboard Indian crude oil carriers which enter and exit the Persian Gulf for extra precautions.The oil markets had a green day today: Crude Oil increased 0.78 USD/BBL or 1.38% to 57.4755, Brent increased 0.7 USD/BBL or 1.09% to 65.0337, Natural gas increased 0.004 USD/MMBtu or 0.18% to 2.1882, Gasoline increased 0.0708 USD/GAL or 3.96% to 1.8576, and Heating oil increased 0.0315 USD/GAL or 1.67% to 1.9190.Top commodity gainers: Gasoline (3.97%), Canola (2.59%), Orange Juice (3.41%), and Cocoa (1.90%). Top commodity losers: Oat (-2.20%), Cotton (-2.44%), Lean Hogs (-3.82%), and Coffee (-1.73%)The above data was collected around 14:42 EST on Friday.BONDS:Japan -0.16%(+0bp), US 2’s 1.78% (+5bps), US 10’s 2.06%(+6bps), US 30’s 2.58%(+6bps), Bunds -0.29% (+3bp), France 0.05% (+4bp), Italy 2.17% (+1bp), Turkey 16.08% (+19bp), Greece 2.59% (-58bp), Portugal 0.59% (+5bp), Spain 0.44% (+3bp) and UK Gilts 0.85% (+4bp). Market Talk – June 24, 2019 »
Source:https://www.nyu.edu/ May 3 2018A study co-authored by Dr. Michael A. Lindsey, Executive Director of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy & Research at the Silver of Social Work at New York University, has found that transgender people who are denied access to mental health treatment experience a higher risk of substance abuse and attempted suicide.The findings, published online in Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, hold critical implications for service access and delivery policies that protect transgender help-seekers in the health care system. An estimated 1.8 million Americans identify as transgender.Related StoriesBiden calling ACA ‘breakthrough’ for mental health parity highlights gapsGoing teetotal shown to improve women’s mental healthGender biases are extremely common among health care professionalsProfessor Lindsey’s study, with Meghan Romanelli of NYU Silver and Wenhua Lu of Rutgers, is titled “Examining Mechanism and Moderators of the Relationship Between Discriminatory Health Care Encounters and Attempted Suicide Among U.S. Transgender Help-Seekers.” The authors draw correlations between lower levels of mental health care access and its deleterious effects on transgender people from their analysis of the responses of 4,190 respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.The study findings indicate that about 25% of the survey respondents had been denied access to one or more health care settings, and 28% had been turned away from at least one setting. It is everyday discrimination that can lead LGBT people to seek out care in the first place, the study authors note.According to the study, the consequences of service denial are not directly associated with a heightened risk of attempted suicide. Rather, service denial, whether due to systemic barriers or low-quality care settings, contributes to increased rates of substance abuse as a coping method.The use of substances, in turn, contributes to the greater risk of attempted suicide evidenced by the survey data.
Jul 26 2018Despite long-term profit expectations, many Germans shy away from investing their money in supposedly riskier forms of investment. Why? Together with colleagues from the USA and Switzerland, scientists at the University of Bonn have now developed a model that makes real-life stock buying behavior comprehensible for the first time. The researchers combined socioeconomic, psychological and neuroscientific data in an innovative way. It was found that the cortical regions of the “anterior insular” are more active among people who do not trade stocks. In experienced stock traders, the activity of this region of the brain was lower. The results will now be presented in the journal Scientific Reports.The scientists examined a total of 157 male subjects aged 29 to 50 years. “In this age group, we can assume that all participants have gained at least some experience with financial investments and that their decisions are more realistic”, explains first author Alexander Niklas Häusler, doctoral student at the Center for Economics and Neuroscience (CENs) at the University of Bonn. By limiting the study to male participants, gender-specific effects were excluded.The participants first answered questionnaires on their economic situation (do you have debts?), their investment behavior (do you yourself trade stocks?) and their willingness to take risks (how risk taking are you with respect to financial investments?). They then underwent a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scan whilst repeatedly answering the question: Should I buy a safe bond or perhaps make twice as much profit with a stock? After the decision was made by pressing a button, the stock outcome was displayed and the final sum of the experiment was later paid out to the participants. To allow for an adequate statistical evaluation of the results, each choice was repeated by the participants a total of 96 times.The experiment showed that one brain structure in particular played an important role: The “anterior insular”, which is found in both hemispheres of the cerebral cortex. Both the left and right variants of this brain region were particularly active when a more risk-averse test subject pressed the button to buy stocks. “The anterior insular cortex acts like a stop sign and thus cautions against risky decisions,” reports Häusler. However, the structure was significantly less active in subjects who had already bought stocks at some point in their lives than in subjects who generally shy away from financial risks.Related StoriesStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injuryAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaReward outcomes have little impactBy contrast, there was only little difference between stock buyers and conventional investors, when their stock trading resulted in substantial profits. “The attitude towards riskier or less risky decisions showed a stronger correlation to the actual behavior than the reward outcomes,” reports Häusler. Two factors are of essential importance for this attitude: risk optimism and risk tolerance. Individuals with more risk optimism are firmly convinced that investing in stocks leads to high profits. Anyone who enjoys the thrill of risky decisions has a high risk tolerance. Both factors also play an important role in the relationship between the “anterior insular” and the purchase of stocks in real life. Here, they act as a mediator between brain activity and the real-life stock trading behavior.The models calculated by the scientists showed that, in addition to already known economic factors such as income and education, risk optimism and risk tolerance in particular have a major influence on stock purchase decisions. “The exciting thing about our study is that it combines laboratory experiments with behavior in real life,” says Prof. Dr. Bernd Weber, head of the Center for Economics and Neuroscience at the University of Bonn and senior author of the study. “We are able to demonstrate that the collection of psychological and neuroscientific data helps us to better understand everyday behavior.” Source:https://www.uni-bonn.de/news/198-2018
Rachel Bluth: email@example.com, @RachelHBluth Aug 1 2018It came as something of a surprise when Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced that the administration was exploring the importation of prescription drugs to fight high domestic prices. Azar and Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, who also endorsed the new proposal, had previously opposed the idea.But drug prices in the U.S. have continued to rise and more than 80 percent of Americans say the government should take action. President Donald Trump has said drugmakers are “getting away with murder” and has angrily tweeted at companies about individual price hikes.Although the candidate Trump supported the idea of allowing patients to import medicines, since he was elected he has not mentioned that option — which is strongly opposed by drug companies.Now, determined to explore more avenues to curb price hikes, the administration is signaling that it is willing to consider what the industry regards as something of a nuclear option to address a recalcitrant problem. Carefully tailored to focus solely on specific situations where a high-priced drug is made by one company, it is finding support where broader proposals have failed.”They’re approaching it incrementally and wisely, they’re focusing on prices where there’s a need,” said Dan Mendelson, the founder of health care consultant company Avalere and an official in the Clinton White House. “It is certainly more narrow than the way others have conceptualized it.”Far from a blanket legalization of imported medicines, the working group Azar convened will study importation to combat sudden price increases in specific drugs. The focus is on temporarily bringing in cheaper similar or identical drugs to introduce competition into the U.S. market. The medicines must be off-patent and have only one manufacturer here.Azar’s memo said the effort is designed to avoid the kind of overnight increases seen with Daraprim in 2015. That price hike was engineered by “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, then CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. He purchased the rights to the single-sourced medication that treats parasitic infections and began charging $750 for a pill that formerly cost $13.50 and costs a little more than a dollar in much of the world. Turing was the only U.S. producer.”This is a workable solution to a discrete problem,” said Ameet Sarpatwari, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.But those who support more sweeping importation policies decried the plan’s limited scope and suspected the announcement was part theatrics and part a threatening signal to drugmakers.”This could just be a dog-and-pony show, where they’re calling in an expert group to explore avenues of importation — but when all is said and done, they find that they don’t want to do this,” said Gabriel Levitt, the co-founder of PharmacyChecker.com, a private company that verifies international online pharmacies and compares prescription drug prices for consumers.Related StoriesAntibiotic combination effective against drug-resistant PseudomonasResearchers completely eliminate all traces of HIV from infected miceMice cured of HIV in an experiment sparks new hope”At that point, we’ll learn that the exercise was lip service,” he added. “Frankly, there’s a good chance that that is the case.”This isn’t the first time officials have suggested importing drugs from other countries to find better prices. Bills have been offered in Congress to allow it, and George W. Bush administration officials investigated the issue and produced two reports questioning the safety of such efforts in 2004.Overall, the measure is by no means a silver bullet to the larger problem of rising drug prices, said Rachel Sachs, an associate professor of law at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.”It’s a really smart move to solve one of the many drug pricing problems we observe, but, of course, it won’t address every problem,” Sachs said.Mendelson suggested this working group might be an effort to placate patients who have seen little movement to bring down drug costs, despite the president’s repeated promises to provide help.”If the goal is to make policy changes that are visible and help with the 2018 and 2020 election, I think it’s right up there with a lot of the things they’re doing,” Mendelson said. “If the goal is truly to help consumers with drug prices, not so much.”In addition, since the group’s work applies primarily to the generic drug market, a new policy would stop short of taming the price spirals and high launch prices of blockbuster brand-name drugs, which Harvard’s Sarpatwari said were the “elephants in the room” of the drug pricing debate.Levitt pointed out that while a big overnight increase on a drug might trigger action to allow importation, the move would do nothing to stop the yearly increases that drug companies tack on to medicines. Depending on how possible regulations are written, such increases might even be encouraged. The administration has been pressuring pharmaceutical makers to hold down those rising prices but finding tepid support among the companies.Even if the policy targets just a slice of the overall problem, it could still make a difference for Americans struggling to pay for off-patent drugs and provide more competition.”If Azar is serious about this proposal, even though it’s very limited in scope, it could help deter the most egregious forms of drug price gouging where there are single-source meds,” Levitt said.KHN’s coverage of prescription drug development, costs and pricing is supported in part by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
A controversial U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) facility has been banned from launching new research projects until it takes steps to ensure the welfare of animals in its care, Reuters reports. The announcement, made today by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, concerns the agency’s Meat Animal Research Center, which has come under fire for allegedly causing suffering and death while trying to create larger and more fecund farm animals.Last month, in response to the revelations, Congress proposed new protections for farm animals, backing a bill called the AWARE Act that would expand the scope of the Animal Welfare Act. A draft report released by USDA today says “no instances of animal abuse, misuse, or mistreatment were observed” at the facility, but that the center had not provided proper oversight of animal care. Vilsack said no new research would be conducted until oversight is improved.