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first_imgMore than half of federal transportation spending in fiscal year (FY) 2008 was directed to programs that contain subsidies, according to Subsidyscope, an initiative of Pew’s Economic Policy Group. The analysis comes from a new comprehensive online database on all spending on subsidy programs in the transportation sector. While Vermont received the lowest total amount, it ranked seventh in per capita funding, which was the highest in the Northeast.The project collected and aggregated data from USAspending.gov and other sources and built a searchable database of federal transportation spending; users can query by grant recipient, state, government program and many other parameters. The database includes information from 2000-2008.”Federal transportation subsidies cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars each year and are surprisingly hard to uncover,” said Subsidyscope project director Marcus Peacock. “At a time when lawmakers are concerned about the growing budget deficit, this information will help leaders make informed choices and set spending priorities.”In addition to creating the public database, Subsidyscope has produced several analyses of the sector. Some of the findings include:More than $45 billion of federal transportation spending in FY2008 was directed to programs that contain subsidies, an increase of around 20 percent since FY2000. The types of subsidies can be broken down into four categories: direct expenditures; tax expenditures; risk transfers; and contracts. Comparing direct expenditures by transportation mode, in FY2008, $30 billion was spent on highways, nearly $9 billion on mass transit, nearly $3 billion on aviation, $1 billion on rail, $387 million on maritime and $126 million was spent on other programs such as pipelines and recreational trails. Spending on tax expenditures and risk transfers totaled less than $4 billion.From fiscal years 2000 through 2008, California received the most transportation funding of any state – more than $38 billion. Vermont received the least, $1.5 billion (7th in per capita at $2,444). However, California received the least transportation aid per resident — $1,038. Alaska received the most money per capita, $8,183, almost eight times higher than California and nearly twice the next highest state (Wyoming $4,552). Higher subsidies per capita were generally found among the least populated states.The biggest transportation tax break is to employees for parking costs. In fiscal year 1998 the government lost an estimated $1.5 billion in revenue through this benefit. By fiscal year 2008, the number almost doubled to nearly $3 billion. By fiscal year 2014, it’s expected to reach almost $4 billion.Over the next several months, Subsidyscope will release spending and subsidy information on additional transportation-related programs, many of which have received little public scrutiny.Please visit www.subsidyscope.org(link is external) for access to all available databases as well as further information on federal subsidies.Subsidyscope is an initiative of Pew’s Economic Policy Group. The project aggregates information on federal subsidies from multiple sources and offers a comprehensive, searchable, open-source database of direct expenditures, which serves as a gateway for press, policymakers, advocates and the public. The project is guided by a broad and bipartisan advisory board of budget, fiscal and transparency experts and is assisted by its technology partner, the Sunlight Foundation.The Pew Charitable Trusts (www.pewtrusts.org(link is external)) is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life. We partner with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations and concerned citizens who share our commitment to fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society.Source: Pew Charitable Trust. WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —last_img read more

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Still due out this year is “Freedomland” – somewhere around his sixth film for 2005 – co-starring Julianne Moore. – Associated Press Samuel L. Jackson has been selected to receive the Achievement in Acting Award from the Hawaii International Film Festival. “He’s a minority American actor who has gone on to incredible international fame. … He’s wildly popular in Japan, Korea, for example, (and) just seemed like the perfect choice for us,” said Chuck Boller, executive director of the Pacific Rim-focused festival. Jackson has 80 films to his credit and is known for his roles in 1994’s “Pulp Fiction” and this year’s “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.” He just finished filming “Black Snake Moan” with Justin Timberlake and Christina Ricci in Tennessee. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

first_imgNFL commissioner Roger Goodell earned a fraction of his $44 million salary this week at a Super Bowl news conference and disinformation jamboree in Atlanta.If you blinked, you missed it.According to TMZ, Goodell was addressing reporters and a few NFL owners when he was asked about Colin Kaepernick’s enforced idleness. Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who in 2016 founded the silent take-a-knee protest — which created consternation up to and including the highest office in the land — …last_img read more

first_imgShanghai’s Juneyao Airlines has become the first airline to operate under a new “Connecting Partner” model that allows smaller regional carriers to sign up with Star Alliance without paying full membership fees.The deal offers Star Alliance Gold Status passengers benefits such as lounge access, fast track security, additional baggage and priority check-in but not necessarily frequent flyer reciprocity.But the additional connectivity made available by the deal is only part of the story. It is also the first plank in a new strategy by the 28-member Star Alliance to expand its options by allowing regional, low-cost or hybrid airlines to link into its network without having to become a full member.Juneyao began operating in 2006 and now flies more than 10 million passengers annually on 62 Airbus A320 family aircraft.  It operates from Shanghai’s Pudong and Hongqiao airports and flies more than 80 domestic routes as well as international services to Hong Kong, Macao, Taipei, Kaohsiung, Thailand, Japan and Korea.It will connect in Shanghai with Star Alliance members Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Asiana, Austrian, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, Lufthansa, SAS, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, THAI, Turkish Airlines and United  Airlines.Between them, the Star members operate more than 1,600 weekly services — 811 of them international —from the Chinese city to 64 destinations.“With Juneyao Airlines as a Connecting Partner we have achieved two important goals,’’ Star chief executive Jeffrey Goh said.  “First, as an alliance we can offer regional airlines an attractive way to connect to our global alliance network, without requiring full membership.“Going forward, this will enable us to strategically enhance our network.“Second, with Juneyao Airlines we strengthen our market position in Shanghai, a city which is already served by 17 of our member airlines and which will now offer even better connectivity to our customers.’’Stars says the connecting partners will be carefully selected and be required to high operating standards.The model also allows the partners to enter bilateral commercial agreements with individual Star members that can include frequent flyer benefits.In the case of Juneyao Airlines, frequent flyer members of Air Canada, Air China, EVA Air, Singapore Airlines and United will be able to earn and burn miles when travelling on the Chinese airline.Star is celebrating its 20th birthday with a network that offers more than 18,400 daily flights to 1300 airports in 191 countries.Its main competitors are the oneworld and SkyTeam alliances.last_img read more

first_imgThe new plant, which will be located 85 kilometres north of the town of Brits and adjacent to Continental Cement’s limestone deposits, will be designed to initially produce 2 500 tons of pure ordinary portland cement per day, with the capacity to significantly increase production according to market demand. Growing SA, China links Lower costs, job creation “We have significant experience in the developed and highly competitive Asian markets, where we have built plants that have added substantial capacity to the Asian cement industry,” said Jidong chairman Zhang Zengguang. The investment “will significantly increase South Africa’s cement production capacity, while also contributing to economic activity and job creation in Limpopo,” Women Investment Portfolio Holdings’ (Wiphold’s) Gloria Serobe said in a statement last week. The deal represents a significant foreign direct investment into the local cement industry, with an inflow of over R800-million from China, 45% of which will be equity investment and the rest in the form of commercial debt. Skills, knowledge transfer Jidong will both build and operate the plant, which will be based on the best technology available. She added that the project had significant black economic empowerment (BEE) spinoffs through Continental Cement’s existing BEE shareholders and Wiphold’s broad base of BEE beneficiaries. South Africa’s Women Investment Portfolio Holdings and limestone miner Continental Cement have announced a joint venture with the China-Africa Development Fund and Jidong Development Group to build a R1.65-billion cement manufacturing plant in Limpopo province. Jidong, a leading developer of cement plants and the largest cement producer in Northern China, and the China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund) are the majority shareholder in the joint venture, holding 51%. Wiphold holds 23.9% in the joint venture, with the remaining 25.1% stake held by Continental Cement. SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material The joint venture consortium expects to distribute most of the cement to the regional market in Gauteng, and believe they have a significant competitive advantage in that the cement plant will be closer to the province than any other cement plant, resulting in lower transport costs. “We are pleased that we will be able to transfer our knowledge, skills, best practices and efficiencies to South Africa.” “A large proportion of this labour contingent will be sourced from this community.” “The plant is in close proximity to the Raputi community which is dependent on the local farming community for employment. The plant will provide work for 600 people during the construction phase and 170 people during operation,” said Continental Cement CEO Anton Weavind. The venture follows an agreement between Wiphold and Jidong, signed in 2007, in terms of which Wiphold would import and distribute Jidong/Wiphold-branded cement into South Africa, Tanzania and Angola. 24 May 2010 “This deal underlines the growing links between South Africa and China, and an increasing appetite for South African and Chinese institutions to provide export credit and debt finance,” said CADFund CEO Chi Jianxin. “This creates increased opportunities for projects between our two nations.”last_img read more

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced updated factors for prevented planting coverage that will strengthen the integrity of the federal crop insurance program. The updates were made to address the recommendations of a 2013 USDA Office of Inspector General (OIG) report, and are supported by the data from a subsequent third-party study commissioned at the urging of the OIG. These improvements will ensure that the program continues to be a well-run program that provides a strong safety net for producers.Prevented planting coverage provides producers protection if they are unable to plant an insured crop by the final planting date.  When adverse weather prevents planting, a prevented planting payment is made to compensate for the producer’s pre-planting costs generally incurred in preparation for planting the crop. These costs can include purchase of machinery, land rent, fertilizer, actions taken to ready the field, pesticide, labor, and repairs. The prevented planting factor is a percentage of the individual insurance guarantee and varies by crop, based on an estimate of pre-planting costs.These updates were required to address the recommendations in OIG’s 2013 report: RMA Controls Over Prevented Planting. The OIG recommended that the agency review the prevented planting factors and make changes if necessary. RMA commissioned a third-party evaluation of prevented planting coverage, which provided recommendations for determining prevented planting factors.  The evaluation was available for public comment from Jan. 30, 2015, to April 15, 2015.  RMA evaluated the public comments and determined that adjustments to the evaluation’s recommendations were necessary.RMA reviewed prevented planting factors for barley, corn, cotton, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans and wheat for 2017 as part of an effort to ensure that prevented planting factors most accurately reflect the pre-planting input costs of producers. Today’s rulemaking will improve RMA’s ability to manage the prevented planting factors moving forward. While the prevented planting factors will be reviewed and updated for all crops with prevented planting coverage, these first seven crops are being updated for the Spring 2017 planting season. Over time, the prevented planting factors may go up or down depending upon changes in input costs. RMA will evaluate the effectiveness of the recent changes and modify them as needed in coming years. Below is a table that lists updated prevented planting factors.The changes build upon recent improvements that protect the integrity of the federal crop insurance program. Due to an improved sampling methodology and other efforts, the crop insurance improper payment rate for 2015 was half that of the government-wide improper payment rate average. The program’s longstanding loss history demonstrates that rates are actuarially accurate. RMA continues to utilize technology and data mining to ensure that the crop insurance program is well-managed and free of fraud, waste, and abuse.Prevented Planting Coverage FactorsCropCurrentRecommendation from EvaluationFinalCorn60%50%55%Soybeans60%60%60%Wheat60%60%60%Cotton50%35%50%Grain Sorghum60%60%60%Barley60%60%60%Rice45%45%55%last_img read more

first_imgMany stars swear by acupuncture to assist in conceiving children and maintaining good health during pregnancy. After battling infertility for years, Celine Dion combined acupuncture with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to successfully conceive twins.Dion passed this advice on to Mariah Carey, who attributes acupuncture in helping her conceive her twins in 2010 without having to resort to IVF. Actress Natalie Portman reportedly received acupuncture treatments throughout her pregnancy to reduce stress and promote physical well-being. It is said that “Titanic’ actress Kate Winslet relied on acupuncture to alleviate pain while she was giving birth.Back home in India, acupuncture is gaining respect and popularity for treating a wide variety of diseases with great successMechanism of Acupuncture in treating InfertilityAccording to Dr. Sunita Kapur, Senior Consultant, Dept. of Medical Acupuncture at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, acupuncture can stimulate the body’s hormonal system to do what it is supposed to – secrete the right hormones at the right time in a woman’s cycle.In  2002, a headline appeared in many newspapers and on internet which said- “Acupuncture could help women undergoing fertility treatment conceive.”  It was published by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, based on studies by German researchers. The researchers stimulated acupuncture points that were meant to “relax the uterus according to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. Meridians were selected in an effort to create better blood perfusion and more energy in the uterus.  Ear points were used to stabilize the endocrine system, and points designed to promote patients’ general relaxation and well-being also were chosen.  advertisementThe women in the treated group received one acupuncture session before embryo transfer and one afterwards. Ultrasound testing six weeks after embryo transfer revealed that almost twice as many women from the acupuncture group than from the untreated group became pregnant. The two groups and their embryos were quite similar in all respects.Another study by Cornell University, published in the December 2002 issue of Fertility and Sterility, reported, ” The peripheral impact of acupuncture in improving uterine artery blood flow and hence endometrial thickness…provides encouraging data regarding its potential positive effect on implantation of embryo.”  Men also can benefit from the pituitary stimulating effects of acupuncture.  Acupuncture treatments can improve the concentration, volume, motility and quality of sperms.Dr. Sunita Kapur, herself a western medical doctor, now only practices Acupuncture and treats various types of disorders leading to male & female infertility in New Delhi, India. Polycystic ovarian syndrome, luteal phase defects, advanced maternal age, immunological reactions, endometriosis, fibroids, premature ovarian failures can be taken care of by acupuncture.  The success rate of conception with or without assisted reproductive techniques, becomes high after acupuncture treatment.Acupuncture has suddenly caught the attention of fitness freaks and sportspersons, who have greatly benefited from this therapyAcupuncture Efficacy and SupportAcupuncture has been used in China for thousands of years, as an integral part of medical treatment. Over the years acupuncture has become a respected treatment option in the West, although Eastern explanations of acupuncture differ from the explanations provided by Western scientists. Traditional Chinese medicine says that each body flows with energy called Qi. Poor health results when the Qi becomes blocked and is unable to flow properly. Acupuncture is a way to balance the Qi and keep it flowing by inserting thin needles into specific points of the body. Western scientists describe acupuncture as the stimulation of specific points in order to elicit a biochemical result.Millions of people have claimed that acupuncture has healed them of numerous ailments, but up till recently it was thought of as an alternative form of medicine that was inferior to Western medicine. This view has changed as more scientific studies have been conducted to learn more about exactly how acupuncture works on the body. A study published in the Journal of NeuroImage described how researchers used brain imaging to show that acupuncture causes an increased binding availability of opioid receptors in the brain, similar to how pain killers work in humans. The results of other respected scientific studies have led to the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare acupuncture as a safe and effective treatment option for a wide range of ailments.Acupuncture for WellnessFor a number of celebrities, acupuncture is a regular part of their health and wellness routine. Jim Carey has been quoted as saying that regular acupuncture treatments have “led to a marked change in my physical vitality and my general state of well-being.” Other stars using acupuncture as a way to maintain health and energy levels include Lucy Lui, Sandra Bullock, and Matt Damon.advertisementSports AcupunctureThe popularity of acupuncture is not confined to Hollywood. Many superstar athletes receive acupuncture treatments as a means to recover faster from injuries.  The New York Yankees and the San Francisco Giants both have acupuncturists on staff to treat players. Dwayne Wade, star NBA player, relies on acupuncture treatments to soothe knee pain. Pro athletes, who need their bodies to be in optimal condition, swear by acupuncture treatments. In fact, there are now acupuncturists on site at both the Winter and Summer Olympics.Dr. Raman Kapur is a renowned Medical Acupuncturist, widely recognized for developing the practice of scientific Acupuncture in India and curing many patients suffering from intractable diseases.  He is the recipient of the first “PADMA SHRI” in Medical Acupuncture awarded by the Hon’ble President of India Smt. Pratibha Patil, on 5th May, 2008.last_img read more