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Gulf migration at an inflexion point

Gulf migration at an inflexion point

Apr 25, 2016

By N Chandra MohanNEW DELHI, Feb 15 2016 (IPS) The steep fall in global oil prices has hit Gulf economies severely. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Bahrain are expected to run huge budget deficits as shrinking revenues from selling cheaper oil cannot fund their mounting expenditures. As they tighten their belts, the brunt of adjustment will be felt by migrants, who constitute the bulk of the labour force. Reforms include cutting fuel, power, water, education subsidies and a value-added tax (VAT). This will affect migrants and reports indicate family members are returning home. N Chandra Mohan As oil prices are likely to remain depressed — as global markets “drown in oversupply”, to borrow an expression of the International Energy Agency — the Gulf economies are looking to a future beyond oil. Saudi Arabia, for instance, is looking to diversify into mining and subsidy reforms. In an interview to The Economist, Muhammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince and defence minister stated “there were unutilised assets: expanding religious tourism, like increasing the numbers of tourists and pilgrims to Mecca and Medina will give more value to state-owned lands in both cities”. Other Gulf economies are thinking on similar lines. Among other options, UAE is investing big time into the India growth story. The crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE armed forces, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nayan made a three day- visit to India in February and inked many agreements including investing in the country’s infrastructure, energy and aviation. India intends to tap investments of nearly $75 billion from the sovereign wealth fund of this Gulf economy, besides intensifying greater cooperation on the security front. However, the crash in oil prices is not the only challenge confronting the Gulf. At an IISS Bahrain Bay Forum meeting last November, Bahrain’s minister for industry, commerce and tourism, Zayed Al Zayani stated that economic disorder and lack of opportunity are contributing to instability in the region. He emphasised the need for “unprecedented” economic reform across the Gulf in the wake of the lower oil revenues. These policies include the generation of millions of jobs for the youth in these...

Horse Owners Urged to Vaccinate against Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Horse Owners Urged to Vaccinate against Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Apr 25, 2016

Mature horses should receive an EEE booster vaccine every spring and fall.  Photo by Tyler Jones. Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is a disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes. EEE most often infects horses but can also infect humans.  There is no vaccine for humans and approximately 1/3 of those infected die of the disease. The majority of those who survive, suffer brain damage.  The mortality rate in horses is 70-90%, with most cases succumbing or being euthanized due to disease severity.  Fortunately for horses, there are vaccines available to help protect against infection. Dr. Amanda House, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine Clinical Associate Professor, advises, “It is critical that every horse in Florida be vaccinated for EEE at least twice a year.  Horses under 4 years of age, or those new to the state should be vaccinated three times a year.  EEE is a deadly disease that vaccination can help reduce or eliminate.” Mosquito control on the farm is also critical for decreasing the incidence of disease in both animals and humans. Dr. Carissa Wickens, University of Florida State Extension Horse Specialist, has this to say about mosquito control, “Management strategies that can help reduce exposure of horses to mosquitoes include: eliminating standing water around barns, paddocks, and pastures (e.g. cleaning water troughs regularly, emptying plastic wading pools, etc.) as removing standing water reduces mosquito breeding sites, housing horses indoors during peak mosquito activity (dusk to dawn), placing fans in the barn, and keeping barn lights turned off during the evening and overnight hours.” Both horses and humans are “dead end” hosts, meaning the disease is not transmitted from an infected horse or human to another horse or human. Instead, birds serve as the main vector of the virus.  A mosquito feeds on an infected bird and then feeds on a human or horse to transmit the disease.  Mosquitoes also transmit other diseases such as West Nile Virus (WNV).  This virus is similar to EEE, but has a lower mortality rate (approximately 33% in horses).  A vaccine is also available to protect horses against WNV and should be administered once or twice per year in Florida. Two additional core vaccines for horses...

What do you do for a living?

What do you do for a living?

Apr 25, 2016

The Link Between Lean Healthcare and New Technology “What do you do for a living?” Some responses to that question are very easy – nurse, teacher, lawyer, store clerk, etc.  As a Lean Healthcare consultant, I typically get a follow-up question, “So, what do you actually do?”  My standard response goes something like this:  “I help hospitals and clinics who are renovating existing buildings, or building a new facility with process development for their new space.”  The typical responses I receive, are either a simple blank stare, the occasional “Oh, that sounds interesting,” or sometimes it leads into additional questioning.  It’s always fun talking shop with someone who understands the work you do, but I’ve found when the inquiring person has no understanding of Lean Healthcare, the conversation is sometimes difficult. Recently, a gentleman sitting next to me on the airplane started a conversation: “So, what do you do for a living?” I gave him my first-level response and continued to make small talk until takeoff.  As we were taking off, I reflected on the conversation.  He had shared a personal story of taking his family member to a healthcare appointment in a new hospital, and how amazed he was by the technology advances.  He wasn’t referring to testing equipment, but rather the use of apps to check-in from his phone, kiosks for patients to take their own vitals, and even real time locating systems that allowed hospital staff to know where the patient was at all times.  His experience was a positive one, which is what every healthcare organization is striving for. So, the next question, “What do you actually do?” What do I actually do?  Using the example above, I help healthcare organizations design and develop the processes to go along with all of this new technology.  Technology is great, as long as there is a well-designed process to go along with it.  In a Lean Healthcare setting, Lean principles are used to create these processes, with the following goals: Improve patient and staff satisfaction – focus on practices that add value, reduce wait times, improve communication, diminish process variation and eliminate waste Create system thinking – break down silos to support...

Locking up the key

Locking up the key

Apr 24, 2016

Identity protection is a huge and ever growing need in the knowledge economy. Ki, which was initially conceived as a hardware authentication token for password storage by its founders Priscilla Elora Sharuk and Antoine Jebara, is a Lebanese solution for identity protection. Executive caught up with Sharuk to see how the startup has progressed since we last met. E   When we met to evaluate Ki for the 2014 entrepreneurship list, you were about to travel to Helsinki for an accelerator program called Startup Sauna and were a bit worried about the Nordic temperatures there. How was your experience as a budding Lebanese entrepreneur there and what has happened since? PES: I survived the cold and the program was wonderful. It is one thing to gain credibility here and an entirely different thing to get it abroad, especially when it comes to a field like identity protection. Seeing the concept given credibility by people who have worked in this space internationally and hear them say ‘you are onto something big’ gave me the guts to come back and say that this deserves to be done all-out. From that point I went full-time myki, which is how we renamed ourselves from Ki for legal incorporation reasons and also to make it more personal. The biggest thing that happened since was a massive pivot from hardware to software. E   In what way? Ki was a hardware device, a token where I would swipe my fingerprint and select the service from a screen [for storing passwords]. Prototyping and editing the tokens here [in Lebanon] would take time and we found that it was very difficult [for logistics reasons]. In addition, our market research showed that people understood the value of the product but said they didn’t want to carry an extra token in their wallet. So we thought, why not take the same technology and incorporate it into the one item that you always have with you – your mobile phone. E   How did the change to a software solution impact your business proposition and costs? We are now totally focused on enterprise software as a service – SAS. This represents different challenges from hardware...

ESPN Power Rankings: Week 1

ESPN Power Rankings: Week 1

Apr 24, 2016

As in years past, Disciples of Uecker will be lending its voice to the ESPN Power Rankings, which come out on a weekly basis. This week, the Brewers appear at No. 25, two spots above their preseason ranking. Here are my comments to ESPN below: Though they weren’t blown out in every game, it’s a known fact that the Brewers won’t be contending this season. Opening Day starter Wily Peralta has struggled by going 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA, lowering hopes of a bounce-back year. Fans in Milwaukee have accepted the inevitable rebuilding phase, as new GM David Stearns commences a new era of Brewers baseball.  Now, I know what many of you are probably thinking: But the Brewers are .500! There’s too much negativity surrounding that paragraph! To my credit, ESPN required a deadline of yesterday at noontime, which came prior to first pitch. Had it been later, I definitely would have mentioned Jimmy Nelson, who earned the win by allowing only two runs on three hits while striking out nine. However, due to restraints (re: both word count and deadline), I decided to take the Wily route. I was at the forefront of hoping for a comeback season by Peralta. If you remember, I published an article a few weeks back on how he can improve his chances of being the headlining pitcher to this staff that so many desire him to be. I still hold out a sliver of hope regarding that necessary development occurring, but I’d be lying if I said I had not lost a large amount of hope in him. He just seems to never be able gather himself out on the hill. Consistency and composure are two adjectives that fail to define Peralta’s pitching, and two adjectives that go hand-in-hand when describing aces. Does he provide glimmers of fluent, agile pitching motions? Yes, but he fails to capitalize on it and keep the pattern progressing – which results in an unraveling of a whole bunch of problems (Ex: the back-to-back HR by Rasmus and White). Maybe Wily will see my comments about him in ESPN’s Power Rankings and decide he’s had enough of it. Who knows, maybe this mini-rant at DoU will...