‘Reconciler, Not a Weakling’

first_imgThe President Pro-tempore of the Senate, Armah Z. Jallah, has described as incomprehensible the recent outburst by Nimba County Senator Thomas Grupee, describing him as inefficient and weak with regard to the way he is running the Senate. The Nimba County Senator who chairs the Senate Committee on Internal Affairs, Good Governance and Reconciliation, on September 27, 2016, during the 65th day sitting of the Senate caused an uproar in the Chamber when he accused the Pro Temp’s administration of sheer weakness and efficiency, and compromising issues at the Senate and allowing himself to be used by others. But in a strongly worded statement through his office, Pro Temp Jallah said he finds it incomprehensible Senator Grupee’s statement of weakness and inefficiency attributed to his administration.“Senator Grupee chairs the Committee on Internal Affairs, Good Governance and Reconciliation; we are yet to see a proposal from his committee on how the objectives of this committee can be achieved, especially when it comes to good governance at the Senate. It is unthinkable and disappointing that the Senator would choose to be severely critical of a body that he is an integral part of and should be highly involved in making it proactiveand efficient.”The outburst of the Nimba lawmaker, who until that Tuesday morning was considered one of the strong confidantes of Jallah, came about after he realized that a communication written by him and two other Senators, asking the Senate Plenary to invite Education Minister George Werner and the President of the National Teachers Association to speak on the ongoing strike actions by public school students and teachers, was not mentioned on the day’s agenda. The Pro Temp’s statement clarifies that Senator Grupee’s communication was received at 5:48 p.m. on Monday when the agenda had already been approved by the 27th Senate Session and the Pro Temp was already on his way home. What makes Senator Grupee’s utterance even more convoluting, Pro Temp Jallah noted, is his perception that when a leader is accommodating and respects democratic principles, then he/she is considered weak and or a failure.“Perhaps we all need a concise definition and/or interpretation of the clause ‘allowed to be used by others’ and delineate weakness and failure in the context of the work at the Senate and a clarification on whether achievements are accomplished at the Senate by the Pro-temp alone or jointly by the leadership and the entire Senate,” the Pro Temp’s statement continued. It then went on to recall the success story of the Pro Temp uniting a fragmented Senate among three candidates vying for the Pro Temp post and how, with the help of his colleagues, he endeavored to keep the independence of the Senate and made it a dignified body.Jallah recalled approving the first ever Senate Staff Association to be established in the Senate to seek the welfare of staffers and gave out of his personal budget US$100,000 to raise staffers’ salaries and has been giving motivations both in cash and kind on holidays to staffers.On the diplomatic scene, the Pro Temp’s statement recalled his talks with heads of diplomatic missions accredited near Monrovia, including those from the United States, Israel, Cuba, Sweden and Cote d’Ivoire, “to lift Liberia’s plight and encourage more aid to help Liberia in the areas of infrastructure… and investment in the Liberian economy, accentuating the need for collaboration with the Senate.”Meanwhile, the Gbarpolu County lawmaker has disclosed that under his administration, the Senate is now working with the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) to set up an accounting system at the Senate that will ensure internal controls are followed and respected, something that is unprecedented. “Already the IAA has conducted risk analysis to determine the strength and weakness of the financial system of the Senate, while at the same time the Chamber of the Senate has received the first electronic voting system installation,” said the Pro Temp.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Robinson not giving up on Motherwell’s top six chances

first_imgMotherwell manager Stephen Robinson has said he remains hopeful his side can snatch a top six spot from under Hearts’ nose.The Steelmen let two points slip as Rangers fought back to claim a point at Fir Park on Saturday from two goals down, while Hearts drew at Dundee the following day to edge six points clear of the Robinson’s men with two games until the Premiership splits.To finish above Hearts Motherwell must overcome Aberdeen and St Johnstone and hope the Dons win at Tynecastle, all the while securing an eight-goal swing on goal difference across the two fixtures.While Robinson is confident his team can at least complete their half of the bargain, he acknowledges they only have an outside chance of completing the turnaround. Ahead of Tuesday’s league fixture with the Dons, he added: “Every game will be on an individual merit, but what I do know is you’ll have two managers trying to win the game.“Derek obviously got a big incentive to get second place, they have had a fantastic season.“We just have to keep winning our games. We have two games before the split and we have to win both of them. We will both set out to do that.“I think our boys have belief anyway, especially here, we can beat anybody.“If we do take that win I suppose it will be a bonus to take into it (the semi-final), but we will judge this game on its merit.“There is still an outside chance of top six for us so we have to make sure we are not left going ‘if only’.“We have to just make sure we win this game and we will take the semi-final on its own merits.” “Football is a strange game,” he said. “You can only take care of your bit, and if we take care of getting three points on Tuesday night and again on Saturday, then who knows.“Of course it’s an outside chance and it’s in Hearts’ hands, but we have to do our bit. And, more to the point, we have to continue the run we are on and build momentum.”Motherwell face Derek McInnes’ side again in less than a fortnights time in the Scottish Cup semi-final.Robinson has told his players they must take it one game at a time in the interim period and avoid shifting their focus towards the Hampden showdown.last_img read more

Exempt Organizations with Multiple Unrelated Businesses Can Rely on New Rules

first_imgExempt organizations with multiple unrelated businesses may rely on portions of new guidance and transition rules to calculate the unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) of each trade or business separately and without regard to the specific deduction of $1,000.UBTI BackgroundThe Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) (P.L. 115-97) added new rules for exempt organizations that operated more than one unrelated trade or business. Specifically, the organization cannot:use deductions from one unrelated business to offset income from another; orclaim the specific $1,000 deduction from unrelated business taxable income for more than one of the businesses.In addition, the unrelated business taxable income of any particular unrelated business cannot be less than zero.Multiple Unrelated BusinessesUntil the IRS proposed regulations are issued, exempt organizations should use reasonable, good-faith interpretations of the relevant statutes to determine whether it has more than one unrelated business. The organization should use this standard to decide whether to separate:debt-financed income,income from a controlled entity, andinsurance income earned through a controlled foreign corporation.The organization’s reliance on NAICS 6-digit codes is a reasonable, good-faith interpretation.Aggregating Income from Partnership InterestsMost exempt organizations may aggregate unrelated business taxable income from an interest in a single partnership with multiple trades or businesses. However, the organization’s directly-held partnership interest must satisfy either a de minimis or a control test.An interest satisfies the de minimis if the organization directly holds no more than:two percent of the partnership’s profits interest,two percent of the capital interest.An interest satisfies the control test if:it is no more than 20 percent of the partnership’s capital interest, andthe facts and circumstances show that the organization has control or influence over the partnership,.For both tests, the organization may rely on the information on its Schedule K-1.In addition, a transition rule allows an organization to aggregate income within each direct partnership interest acquired before August 21, 2018.Other Points of RelianceTaxpayers may also rely on a rule that clarifying that an organization’s income from a trade or business does not include the nondeductible amount of certain fringe benefit expenses.In addition, when calculating unrelated business taxable income, the organization must treat any global intangible low-taxed income like Subpart F income. Thus, the income is treated as a dividend.Nonreliance RulesThe new guidance also provides additional rules that taxpayers cannot rely on. These include:how to calculate net operating losses; andspecial rules on exempt function income for social clubs, voluntary employees’ beneficiary associations, and supplemental unemployment compensation benefits trusts.Notice 2018-67Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

Intel Goes Platinum for OpenDaylight Project (ODL)

first_imgThis blog is a summary of a conversation between Uri Elzur, Director of SDN architecture and OpenDaylight Board Member and Chris Buerger, Technologist within Intel’s Software-Defined Networking Division (SDND) marketing team. It outlines the motivation and plans driving Intel’s decision to increase its OpenDaylight Project membership to Platinum.Chris: Intel has been a member of the OpenDaylight Project since its inception. We are now announcing a significant increase in our membership level to Platinum. Explain the reasoning behind the decision to raise Intel’s investment into ODL.Uri: At Intel, we have been outlining our vision for Software Defined Infrastructure or SDI. This vision is taking a new approach to developing data center infrastructure to make it more agile so it works in a more automatic fashion to better meet the requirements that shape the data centers of tomorrow.  Some of us fondly call the force shaping it  ‘cloudification. ’SDI is uniquely meeting customer needs at both the top and the bottom line. Top line refers to greater agility and speed to develop data center scale applications, which in turn allows accelerated revenue generation across a larger number of our customers as well as the introduction of new, cloud-centric business models. At the same time, SDI also uniquely allows for the reduction of total cost of ownership for both service providers and their end-user customers. Service Providers are under intense competitive pressure to reduce cost, be it the cost of a unit of compute or, at a higher level, cost for a unit of application where an application includes compute, network, and storage.Mapping this back to SDN and OpenDaylight, it is important to Intel to help our customers to quickly and efficiently benefit from this new infrastructure. To do that, we need to support both open and closed source efforts. OpenDaylight represents an open source community that has been very successful in attracting a set of industry contributors and that has also started to attract large end-user customers. At this point in time, we see our efforts across multiple SDI layers that also include OpenStack and OpenVSwitch in addition to OpenDaylight come together in a coordinated way. This allows us to expose platform capabilities all the way to the top of the SDI stack. For example, by allowing applications to ‘talk back’ to the infrastructure to express their needs and intents, we are leveraging the capabilities of the SDN controller to optimally enable Network Function Virtualization workloads on standard high volume servers. This gives cloud service operators, telecommunication providers and enterprise users’ superior support for these critical services, including SLA, latency and jitter control, and support for higher bandwidths like 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet. Among open source SDN controllers, OpenDaylight has shown healthy growth based on the successful application of open source principles such as meritocracy. We are excited about the opportunities to work with the OpenDaylight community as part of our wider SDI vision.Chris: As Intel’s representative on the Board of the OpenDaylight Project, what do you envision as the key areas of technical engagement for Intel in 2015?Uri: Keeping our customer needs and the wider SDI vision in mind, our first priority is to really exercise the pieces that the community has put together in OpenDaylight on standard high volume servers to deliver the benefits of SDN to end-users. We are also going to work with our community partners as well as end-user customers to identify, validate, and enhance workloads that are important to them – i.e. optimize the hardware and software on our platform to better support them. For example, take a look at the work being done in the recently announced OPNFV initiative. We are planning to take use cases from there and help the community optimize the low-level mechanisms that are needed in an SDN controller and further to the Chris:  The enablement of a vibrant ecosystem of contributors and end-users is critical to the success of open source projects. What role do you see Intel playing in further accelerating the proliferation of ODL?Uri: We think Intel has a lot to bring to the table in terms of making the ODL community even more successful. Intel has relationships with customers in all of the market segments where an SDN controller will be used. We have also demonstrated our ability to create environments where the industry can test drive cutting edge new technologies before they go to market. For SDI, for example we created the Intel® Cloud Builders and Intel® Network Builders ecosystem initiatives to not only test the SDN controller, but couple it with a more complete and realistic software stack (SDI stack) and a set of particular workloads as well as Intel platform enhancements to establish performance, scalability and interoperability best practices for complex data center systems. And bringing this experience to OpenDaylight accelerates the enablement of our SDI vision.Chris:  Software Defined Networking and Network Function Virtualization capabilities are defined, enabled and commercialized on the basis of a multitude of standards and open source initiatives. How do you see Intel’s ODL engagement fitting within the wider efforts to contribute to SDN- and NFV-driven network transformation?Uri: Our answer to this question has multiple parts. One change that we have seen over the last few months is a shift in organizations such as ETSI NFV that, while always considering SDN to be reasonably important, never placed much emphasis on the SDN controller. This has changed. The ETSI NFV community has come to terms with the idea that if you want scalability, a rich set of features, automation and service agility, then you need an SDN controller such as OpenDaylight as part of the solution stack. And we believe that ETSI represents a community that wants to use the combination of OpenDaylight, OpenStack and a scalable, high-performing virtual switch on low cost, high volume server platforms.We have also observed some interesting dynamics between open source and standards developing organizations. What we are witnessing is that open source is becoming the lingua franca, a blueprint of how interested developers demonstrate their ideas to the rest of the industry as well as their customers. Open source promotes interoperability, promotes collaboration between people working together to get to working code and then it is presented to the standard bodies. What excites us about OpenDaylight is that as a project it has also been very successful in working with both OpenStack and OpenVswitch, incorporating standards such as Openflow and OVSDB. Moreover, interesting new work on service chaining and policies is happening in both OpenDaylight as well as OpenStack. And all of these initiatives align with network management modelling schemas coming out of the IETF and TOSCA.All of these initiatives are creating a working software defined infrastructure that is automated and that helps to achieve the top and bottom line objectives, we mentioned. OpenDaylight is a central component to Intel’s SDI vision and we are excited about the possibilities that we can achieve together.last_img read more

AI is Turning the Page of Digital Signage

first_imgIf you’re in retail, you’ve probably heard it before: Personalization matters. Tailoring the shopping experience to meet customers’ expectations and deliver what they need before they know they need it is key to success in a competitive retail environment. Because of this desire to meet — and exceed — customer expectations, there’s also a move in retail to bring the online experience into the physical store.That’s where digital signage comes in. Digital signage can provide customers with product and reviews, interactive experiences, tailored offers, and more. As the collection and analysis of customer data advances, artificial intelligence (AI) is starting to play a larger role in digital signage, too — a trend powered by Intel technologyOpens in a new window.AI Meets Digital Signage at the StoreYou’ve probably seen digital signage in a variety of places: hospitals, airports, and malls for starters. These signs have been used for years to convey information such as directions or promotions in places where people will see them. In some cases, these signs have allowed people to search for information or get answers to questions.In retail, digital signage has taken a leap forward with the help of new technologies and anonymous data analytics. Footwear maker Adidas, for example, created a Virtual Footwear WallOpens in a new window for some of the brand’s retail stores using a touchscreen digital display and Intel-powered technology. The wall allowed customers to select shoe models, view them from all angles, and see product information. Using anonymous, built-in video analytics, the company gathered data so it could provide customers with personalized experiences.Like Adidas, many retailers collect demographic data such as age and gender and use it to create relevant content for customers on digital signage. It’s common for retailers to use intelligent scheduling software that can present content based on trends in customer data. In some cases, customers will even see content chosen for them while they’re shopping in real time.The concept of AI being used for tasks like self-checkout and answering customer questions isn’t new. But as we can see, AI is also starting analyze more data in less time, produce deeper insights, and continuously learn how to adapt to customer audiences so retailers can use signage to create more personalized shopping experiences.Artificial Intelligence in Programmatic AdvertisingAI also plays an important role in advertising. We’ve already seen this technology roll out online for programmatic display ads. AI helps with online ad campaign managementOpens in a new window by employing machine learning algorithms that can deliver relevant content and make real-time bidding more efficient. AI generally serves to make advertisements online more personalized, presenting high-quality ads to the right consumers at the right times.AI has begun to play a similar role in advertising on digital signage, using data about sign viewers to display targeted ads and offers. Retailers can now participate in programmatic advertising, placing ads on digital screens out in the world, similar to the way they would online.Within their own stores, retailers also use demographic data to decide what ads or promotions to present to customers at certain locations. Other times, retailers even use video analytics to decide which ad to show to a person standing in front of a sign in real time.Why does this matter? Companies can start using digital signageOpens in a new window to target motivated customers already in stores. Take this example from Rite Aid: The company used a digital signage display to present coupons to customers based on demographic data. This meant they could show an ad for reading glasses, for example, to older shoppers entering the store rather than to teenagers, making it more likely the ad would lead to a purchase.As these applications demonstrate, many opportunities exist for retailers to use AI to deliver timely, appropriate advertisements, and it’s pretty certain we’ll be seeing more of this in the future.Build Better Digital Experiences With IntelRetailers want engaged customers, and shoppers want retailers to engage them. Digital signage with AI technology provides a platform for retailers to take shopping experiences to a new level, wowing customers with unique interactions and exceptional service. If retailers continue to take advantage of data and AI, their digital signage could play a key role in driving sales. To get started, learn more about Intel’s digital signage platformsOpens in a new window. Then head over to our retail solutions portalOpens in a new window to see all the ways Intel is working with retailers to transform the industry.last_img read more