News Article | February 15, 2017
Global Online Conversation Aims to Improve Teaching-of-Teachers Around the World RENSSELAERVILLE, NY--(Marketwired - February 14, 2017) - Registration is open for Action for Teachers of Refugees, a global online convening to be held March 14 through 16 at learning.careyinstitute.org. Registration in the worldwide text-based conversation is free, but space is limited. It is anticipated that hundreds of learning practitioners and leaders from around the world will participate. Action for Teachers of Refugees is hosted by the Center for Learning in Practice at the Carey Institute for Global Good and co-sponsored by Teachers College, Columbia University and the Teachers in Crisis Contexts Working Group. The event will collect and analyze crowdsourced insights from practitioners around the world, with emphasis on teachers and teachers-of-teachers of pre-K to college age students who work in refugee host and destination countries. "Every child in the world has a right to education. We have seen, all too often, the devastating impact of displacement, whether by conflict or natural disaster, on children and their education," said Carey Institute President and CEO, Gareth Crawford. "With 1 in 200 children in the world a refugee, this is something we cannot ignore. The economic consequences of interruption to education are horrendous. We cannot afford to have another lost generation. The Teachers of Refugees initiative at the Center for Learning in Practice will ensure that these men and women have an online community for continued discussion and exchange in their effort to give a brighter future to marginalized children." The event directly responds to the UN Sustainable Development Agenda's fourth goal to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. Action for Teachers of Refugees aims to increase the supply of qualified teachers by adopting the recommendations of the International Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) which include: developing, applying, measuring and institutionalizing standards for teacher professional development; creating professional development opportunities that promote teacher collaboration; and providing teachers with ongoing support, and using information and communication technology (ICT) to provide access to content, professional development and professional learning communities. "The world will be short 69 million teachers by 2030 and the teacher professional development currently available is not yielding the impact on quality teaching that is universally desired. We have to figure out not just what to teach, but how to teach-the-teachers of refugees," said Center for Learning in Practice Director, Dr. Diana Woolis. "Teacher prep has to look very different than it does today. For example, it will need to be personalized, standards driven, use micro-learning strategies and be practice-based, not just content-based." Quoting Diana Laurillard, professor of Learning With Digital Technologies at UCL Institute of Education in London, Woolis says, "teaching is not rocket science. It is much harder than that." "We have to work hard, fast and smart to avert the impending crisis," explains Woolis. "The Center for Learning in Practice hopes to accelerate learning to do just that." Action for Teachers of Refugees will focus on the opportunities at the intersection of sustainable processes and effective methods for teachers of professional learning. There are multiple methods of engagement including the rapid, brief sharing of evidence-based practices known as peer-sourcing, discussion forums and a practice lab. Teachers, learning designers, technologists, principals, content experts, providers, standards and assessment developers, analysts, researchers and more from every time zone are invited to engage in facilitated conversations. Guest discussion hosts include the center's advisory council as well as representatives from organizations including United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Rescue Committee (IRC), USAID, UNICEF and more. Participants are welcome to join the conversation at any time throughout the event. Register and learn more by creating a user account at learning.careyinstitute.org. The Carey Institute for Global Good is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2012 by Wm. Polk Carey and is dedicated to making the world better by contributing to a strong, educated and just society. Through its programs, the Institute strives to bring together innovative and dynamic people from around the world to address the most pressing issues of the day.
News Article | February 23, 2017
Coming off the indie film festival circuit in six cities, Kensho at the Bedfellow written and directed by Brad Raider will be widely available on iTunes, March 9, bringing an intensely personal message of inspiration to audiences looking for subversive and transformative entertainment. Set in New York City, Kensho (a Zen term meaning “awakening”) follows playwright turned doorman of The Bedfellow Hotel, Dan Bender (Raider), as he’s reeling from the death of his little sister. In a sex-and-drug filled odyssey through Manhattan, his desperate search for fulfillment reunites him with childhood love Kate Darrow (Kaley Ronayne in a star-making performance), and ultimately, catalyzes a consciousness-expanding journey of hope and self-discovery. The “extraordinary” and “deeply cinematic, visual odyssey” (Seattle Screen Scene) was shot on a $200k micro-budget in 29 days on two coasts with 35 locations including the Highline Elevated Park, the Duane Street Hotel, the International Rescue Committee, and the Rubin Museum of Art in which the film recently played at the museum’s inaugural film of its BRAINWAVE: Perception series. “My intention as a filmmaker has been to craft not only a fiercely entertaining story, but also a transformative film that has the potential to enliven the awareness of a global, multi-demographic audience,” said filmmaker Brad Raider. “Cinema has the unrivaled power to shift perspective -- even, perhaps, to expand human consciousness. What do filmmakers say when they have the attention of an audience? And to what extent is it their responsibility to say something of value? “Dan Bender’s journey in the film is our collective one. His search for freedom and fulfillment is universal as we navigate an increasingly complicated (though not necessarily connected) world. Telling his story expresses my resolve that motion pictures can uplift, inspire, and catalyze a profound examination of our human experience.” Stars of the film and their recent work include: Kathryn Erbe and Mara Davi - both on Broadway, Kaley Ronayne on Public Morals, Gotham, and Quarry, Danny Deferrari starring in Madoff, Grainger Hines on The Knick, and Dana Ashbrook in the new Twin Peaks. Kensho at the Bedfellow picked up two Best Feature Film awards at the Spirit Quest Film Festival in Pennsylvania and the Equality International Film Festival in California. Kensho was also one of only a handful of films worldwide asked to participate in the first Conscious Film Convergence at the Illuminate Film Festival in Arizona -- a summit designed for filmmakers whose intention is to make consciousness-driven (and consciousness-expanding) films. The film is proud to have partnered with the The International Rescue Committee based on their depiction of this exceptional organization in the film: “When we partnered with The IRC back in 2013, I committed to giving a percentage of net profits in the film to their incredible, humanitarian work around the world,” said Raider. “Their refugee resettlement program (which is a central storyline in Kensho) is the gold standard in over 40 countries and 29 US cities, helping millions upon millions survive, recover, and regain control of their future. In light of recent news, I’m even more emboldened today to make that contribution meaningful.” Raider’s work as an actor, filmmaker and theatre artist is rooted in a deep fascination with consciousness expansion and its practical integration with daily life. Having practiced and studied the art of meditation for the last decade as protégé to Vedic master Thom Knoles, he now teaches individuals and companies to meditate through his company MDT8. As a leader in the Vedic Meditation community, Raider has a vast network of meditators and yogis (many of whom contributed to and are supporters of the film). The meditation community is growing exponentially and the film's cast, crew, producers, and investors are populated by meditators as their practice became an integral part of the film’s genesis, production, and completion. A graduate of Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, Raider also serves as co-artistic director of his LA based theatre company, Red Dog Squadron (co-founded by Psych’s James Roday). His film and television credits include starring roles on short-lived series, network pilots, and independent features. Click here for the EPK: http://bit.ly/kenshoepk2017 Click here for stills: http://bit.ly/kenshopublicity And click here for the trailer: https://vimeo.com/192185861 For more information, or to be put in touch with the filmmaker, please contact: Elizabeth Johnson, 213-713-4865, elizabeth(at)mwebbcom(dot)com
News Article | February 23, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Feb 23, 2017) - Michael « Mick » Moran, qui a aidé à sauver des milliers d'enfants victimes de matériel pédopornographique depuis qu'il a commencé à travailler sur le terrain en 1997, a défié l'industrie de l'Internet de faire plus pour protéger des enfants innocents, alors qu'il recevait aujourd'hui le prix M3AAWG Mary Litynski. Moran, directeur adjoint de la Division des communautés vulnérables d'INTERPOL a, lors de la 39e réunion générale du Groupe de travail portant sur la messagerie, les logiciels malveillants et la lutte contre les abus par voie mobile, été honoré pour son engagement personnel dans ce travail difficile et pour avoir encouragé la coopération internationale pour lutter contre l'exploitation en ligne. Le Prix M3AAWG Mary Litynski récompense les réalisations des personnes dont le travail a contribué de façon significative à la sécurité de la communauté en ligne. Dans sa présentation d'acceptation et dans une vidéo du M3AAWG diffusée sur YouTube, Moran a mis en relief certaines des stratégies changeantes dans la lutte contre le matériel pédopornographique et a offert des suggestions sur la façon dont l'industrie peut mieux protéger ses réseaux. Jusqu'à il y a quelques années, le traitement du matériel pédopornographique était fondamentalement une entreprise commerciale dont les photos ou films étaient largement diffusés en ligne. Mais les efforts de l'industrie, tels que le contrôle du flux de spam utilisé pour faire circuler des liens vers ces matériaux, l'ont largement éconduit du Web ouvert et vers les courriels privés, le stockage sur le nuage et les événements en direct, explique M. Moran. « Jusqu'à 95 % du matériel pédopornographique est aujourd'hui échangé à l'identique, sans qu'aucune monnaie ne change de mains, la monnaie réelle étant la douleur des enfants. Mais chaque image, chaque film, implique un véritable enfant et à INTERPOL, nous sommes devenus très centrés sur les victimes. Nous nous éloignons du travail superficiel consistant à arrêter quelqu'un pour possession ou distribution et pensons maintenant à ce que nous pouvons faire, en tant que force de l'ordre, pour identifier cet enfant et arrêter ainsi l'abus », a-t-il dit. À partir de cette stratégie centrée sur l'enfant, la base de données internationale sur l'exploitation sexuelle des enfants est utilisée pour identifier et localiser les victimes. INTERPOL maintient l'ICSE, qui relie cinquante pays et leur fournit des informations actualisées sur les enfants vulnérables. Les données de l'ICSE aident à identifier une moyenne de six victimes par jour dans le monde dont l'âge, selon M. Moran, va des nourrissons aux pré-adolescents. S'agissant de la façon dont l'industrie peut mieux protéger cette population vulnérable, M. Moran a déclaré : « À mon avis, quiconque possède un réseau porte la responsabilité de s'assurer qu'il n'est pas utilisé par de mauvais acteurs. Je dirais que vous faites preuve de négligence si, en tant qu'administrateur système, vous permettez aux agresseurs d'enfants d'utiliser votre système. « Pourquoi pouvez-vous scanner vos systèmes pour détecter les logiciels malveillants mais n'analysez-vous pas les matériaux d'abus envers les enfants? Pourquoi vous assurer que vous ne laissez pas de relais ouverts sur vos serveurs de messagerie, mais ne pas vous assurer que ces serveurs ne sont pas utilisés pour transmettre ou stocker du matériel d'abus d'enfant? Bien qu'il existe quelques grandes entreprises qui gèrent cette question d'une manière responsable, pour une entreprise qui le fait, il en existe dix, quinze ou vingt qui ne font pas », a-t-il dit. M. Moran a également exhorté l'industrie à renforcer la sécurité dans les nouvelles plates-formes et les applications depuis la phase de conception initiale. « Nous devons reconnaître que les personnes malveillantes abuseront de nouveaux services dès que ceux-ci sont en ligne. Si nous pensons à cela lors de l'étape du codage, il sera possible d'arrêter l'exploitation dès le début », a-t-il déclaré. Des salles de discussion au nuage Moran a commencé sa carrière dans l'application de la loi dans la Garda Síochána, la police d'Irlande, à laquelle il est affilié. Il est détaché auprès d'INTERPOL depuis 10 ans et est stationné à Lyon, en France, où est basée sa division des communautés vulnérables. Moran a commencé à travailler contre le matériel pédopornograpique dans les premières salles de discussion IRC, suivant les agresseurs alors qu'ils s'orientaient vers le Web et d'autres technologies pour distribuer des matériaux. Au fil des ans, il a apporté son soutien et son expertise aux organisations privées sur le terrain et à d'autres organismes d'application de la loi à l'échelle mondiale, en forgeant une communauté internationale qui coopère au sauvetage des enfants exploités, et il s'exprime souvent sur ce sujet, à la fois devant des professionnels et devant le grand public. En annonçant le prix, Michael Adkins, président du M3AAWG, a déclaré : « Nous reconnaissons les efforts inlassables de Michael au cours des vingt dernières années pour protéger ces victimes tout en travaillant dans un domaine très exigeant, son engagement à protéger leur dignité et sa volonté de protéger autant d'enfants que possible. Mais ce prix est aussi un appel au réveil pour l'industrie. Nous devons tous suivre l'exemple de Mick et assumer la responsabilité de ce problème de société. Nous avons tous besoin de faire plus pour le garder hors de nos systèmes et réseaux. » Le prix 2017 a été présenté lors de la 39ème Assemblée Générale du M3AAWG, qui s'est ouverte le 20 février à San Francisco. Plus de 500 experts en sécurité, FAI, chercheurs, représentants des politiques publiques et fournisseurs participent à la réunion de quatre jours qui regroupe plus de 50 séances sur la cybersécurité et l'échange d'informations. Le M3AAWG tient trois réunions chaque année dont une en Europe, afin développer les meilleures pratiques et autres travaux qui protégeront les utilisateurs en ligne. La prochaine réunion du M3AAWG se tiendra du 12 au 15 juin à Lisbonne, au Portugal. À propos du M3AAWG (Groupe de travail portant sur la messagerie, les logiciels malveillants et la lutte contre les abus par voie mobile) Le Groupe de travail portant sur la messagerie, les logiciels malveillants et la lutte contre les abus par voie mobile (M3AAWG) rassemble les acteurs du secteur pour lutter ensemble contre les bots, les logiciels malveillants, les spams, les virus, les attaques par déni de service et d'autres cas de cyberexploitation. Le M3AAWG (www.m3aawg.org) représente plus d'un milliard de boîtes de réception appartenant à certains des plus grands opérateurs de réseaux du monde. Le groupe s'appuie sur le sérieux et l'expérience de ses membres à travers le monde pour s'attaquer aux abus sur les réseaux existants et au sein des nouveaux services émergents en exploitant la technologie, la collaboration et les politiques publiques. Ce dernier se consacre également à la sensibilisation des décideurs mondiaux aux questions techniques et opérationnelles liées à l'abus en ligne et à la messagerie. Basé à San Francisco, en Californie, le M3AAWG est axé sur les besoins du marché et soutenu par des grands opérateurs de réseau et des fournisseurs de messagerie. Conseil d'Administration du M3AAWG : AT&T, CenturyLink, Cloudmark, Inc., Comcast, Endurance International Group, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mailchimp, Microsoft Corp., Orange, Return Path, SendGrid, Inc., Charter Communications, Vade Secure et Yahoo! Inc. Membres à part entière du M3AAWG : 1&1 Internet AG, Adobe Systems Inc., Agora, Inc., AOL, Campaign Monitor Pty., Cisco Systems, Inc., CloudFlare, Dyn, Exact Target, Inc., IBM, iContact, Internet Initiative Japan, Liberty Global, Listrak, Litmus, MAPP Digital, Sparkpost, Mimecast, Nominum, Inc., Oracle Marketing Cloud, OVH, PayPal, Proofpoint, Rackspace, Spamhaus, Sprint, Symantec et USAA. Une liste complète des membres est disponible à l'adresse https://www.m3aawg.org/about/roster.
News Article | February 27, 2017
TOKYO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (TOKYO:4519) announced that Chugai Pharma Taiwan Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Chugai, obtained approval from the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA), for the anti-cancer agent, alectinib hydrochloride (brand name: Alecensa®) for the treatment of people with “anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) positive, advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have progressed on or those intolerant to crizotinib.” “We believe that the approval of Alecensa by the TFDA would bring the great news to Taiwanese patients who are fighting against this disease,” said Dr. Yasushi Ito, Chugai’s Senior Vice President, Head of Project & Lifecycle Management Unit. “We are pleased that Alecensa created by Chugai will contribute to the treatment of ALK-positive NSCLC.” Taiwan’s approval was based on two clinical phase I/II studies, as summarised below: - The NP28761 study is a phase I/II North American, single arm, open-label, multicentre trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of Alecensa in 87 people with ALK-positive NSCLC whose disease progressed on crizotinib. (Data cut-off: January 22, 2016) - The NP28673 study is a phase I/II global, single arm, open-label, multicentre trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of Alecensa in 138 people with ALK-positive NSCLC whose disease progressed on crizotinib. (Data cut-off: February 1, 2016) - People in the phase II studies received 600 mg of Alecensa orally twice daily. In both trials, the primary endpoint was objective response rate (ORR) according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours (RECIST v1.1), and evaluated by an Independent Review Committee (IRC). Secondary endpoints included duration of response (DOR) and safety. - Alecensa demonstrated a safety profile consistent with that observed in previous studies. - The most common Grade 3 or higher adverse events were an increase in muscle enzymes (increased blood levels of creatine phosphokinase; five percent), increased liver enzymes (alanine aminotransferase; 4.8 percent, and aspartate aminotransferase; 3.6 percent) and shortness of breath (dyspnoea; 3.6 percent). Alecensa is a highly selective oral ALK inhibitor discovered by Chugai. It has been reported that approximately five percent of patients with NSCLC express a chromosomal rearrangement which leads to fusion of the ALK gene with another gene.1) ALK kinase signalling is constantly active in cells with such fusion genes, resulting in uncontrolled growth of tumour cells and transforming the cells into tumour cells.2, 3) Alecensa exerts its anti-tumour effect by selectively inhibiting ALK kinase activity to inhibit tumour cell proliferation and induce cell death.4) In addition, Alecensa is not recognized by the active efflux system in the blood brain barrier which actively pumps molecules out of the brain. Alecensa is able to remain active in the central nervous system and has proven activity against brain metastases. Alecensa is currently approved in the United States, Kuwait, Israel, Hong Kong, Canada, South Korea, Switzerland, the EU and Taiwan for the treatment of advanced (metastatic) ALK-positive NSCLC whose disease has worsened after, or who could not tolerate treatment with, crizotinib. In Japan, Alecensa is available to patients with “ALK fusion gene positive unresectable, recurrent/advanced NSCLC” and is marketed by Chugai. Chugai Pharmaceutical is one of Japan’s leading research-based pharmaceutical companies with strengths in biotechnology products. Chugai, based in Tokyo, specializes in prescription pharmaceuticals and is listed on the 1st section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. As an important member of the Roche Group, Chugai is actively involved in R&D activities in Japan and abroad. Specifically, Chugai is working to develop innovative products which may satisfy the unmet medical needs, mainly focusing on the oncology area. In Japan, Chugai’s research facilities in Gotemba and Kamakura are collaborating to develop new pharmaceuticals and laboratories in Ukima are conducting research for technology development for industrial production. Overseas, Chugai Pharmabody Research based in Singapore is engaged in research focusing on the generation of novel antibody drugs by utilizing Chugai’s proprietary innovative antibody engineering technologies. Chugai Pharma USA and Chugai Pharma Europe are engaged in clinical development activities in the United States and Europe. The consolidated revenue in 2016 of Chugai totalled 491.8 billion yen and the operating income was 80.6 billion yen (IFRS Core basis). Additional information is available on the internet at https://www.chugai-pharm.co.jp/english.
News Article | February 21, 2017
TOKYO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (TOKYO:4519) announced that F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. obtained conditional marketing authorization from the European Commission (EC) , for the anti-cancer agent, alectinib hydrochloride (brand name: Alecensa®) for the treatment of adult patients with “anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) positive, metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have progressed on or those intolerant to crizotinib.” “Alecensa was created by Chugai, and in July 2014, Japan became the first country in the world to receive regulatory approval. We believe that the approval of Alecensa by the EC will bring great hope for patients in the EU living with this disease,” said Dr. Yasushi Ito, Chugai’s Senior Vice President, Head of Project & Lifecycle Management Unit. “We are extremely pleased that Alecensa can contribute to the treatment of patients with ALK positive NSCLC in each country.” EU approval was based on two clinical phase I/II trials, as summarised below: - The NP28761 study is a phase I/II North American, single arm, open-label, multicentre trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of Alecensa in 87 people with ALK positive NSCLC whose disease progressed on crizotinib. (Data cut-off: October 24, 2014) - The NP28673 study is a phase I/II global, single arm, open-label, multicentre trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of Alecensa in 138 people with ALK-positive NSCLC whose disease progressed on crizotinib. (Primary data cut-off including safety: August 18, 2014, updated Independent Review Committee (IRC) data cut-off: January 8, 2015) - People in the phase II studies received 600 mg of Alecensa orally twice daily. In both trials, the primary endpoint was objective response rate (ORR) according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours (RECIST v1.1), and evaluated by an IRC. Secondary endpoints included duration of response (DOR), progression-free survival (PFS) and safety. - Alecensa demonstrated a safety profile consistent with that observed in previous studies. - The most common Grade 3 or higher adverse events were an increase in muscle enzymes (increased blood levels of creatine phosphokinase; eight percent), increased liver enzymes (alanine aminotransferase; six percent, and aspartate aminotransferase; five percent) and shortness of breath (dyspnoea; three percent). Alecensa is a highly selective oral ALK inhibitor discovered by Chugai. It has been reported that approximately five percent of patients with NSCLC express a chromosomal rearrangement which leads to fusion of the ALK gene with another gene.1) ALK kinase signalling is constantly active in cells with such fusion genes, resulting in uncontrolled growth of tumour cells and transforming the cells into tumour cells.2, 3) Alecensa exerts its anti-tumour effect by selectively inhibiting ALK kinase activity to inhibit tumour cell proliferation and induce cell death.4) In addition, Alecensa is not recognized by the active efflux system in the blood brain barrier which actively pumps molecules out of the brain. Alecensa is able to remain active in the central nervous system and has proven activity against brain metastases. Chugai has out-licensed the rights of Alecensa to Roche in overseas countries including Europe and the US. Alecensa is currently approved in the United States, Kuwait, Israel, Hong Kong, Canada, South Korea, Switzerland and India for the treatment of advanced (metastatic) ALK-positive NSCLC whose disease has worsened after, or who could not tolerate treatment with, crizotinib. In Japan, Alecensa is available to patients with “ALK fusion gene positive unresectable, recurrent/advanced NSCLC” and is marketed by Chugai. 1) Biomarker committee of The Japan Lung Cancer Society, Guidelines for ALK gene tests in lung cancer patients 2) Soda et al., Nature. 448: 561-566 (2007) 3) Takeuchi et al., Clin Cancer Res. 15: 3143-3149 (2009) 4) Sakamoto et al., Cancer Cell. 19: 679-690 (2011) Chugai Pharmaceutical is one of Japan’s leading research-based pharmaceutical companies with strengths in biotechnology products. Chugai, based in Tokyo, specializes in prescription pharmaceuticals and is listed on the 1st section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. As an important member of the Roche Group, Chugai is actively involved in R&D activities in Japan and abroad. Specifically, Chugai is working to develop innovative products which may satisfy the unmet medical needs, mainly focusing on the oncology area. In Japan, Chugai’s research facilities in Gotemba and Kamakura are collaborating to develop new pharmaceuticals and laboratories in Ukima are conducting research for technology development for industrial production. Overseas, Chugai Pharmabody Research based in Singapore is engaged in research focusing on the generation of novel antibody drugs by utilizing Chugai’s proprietary innovative antibody engineering technologies. Chugai Pharma USA and Chugai Pharma Europe are engaged in clinical development activities in the United States and Europe. The consolidated revenue in 2016 of Chugai totalled 491.8 billion yen and the operating income was 80.6 billion yen (IFRS Core basis). Additional information is available on the internet at https://www.chugai-pharm.co.jp/english.
News Article | February 23, 2017
CICERO, Ill., Feb. 23, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Broadwind Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ:BWEN) reported sales of $48.2 million in Q4 2016, up 28% compared to $37.6 million in Q4 2015 as a result of significantly improved production at the Company’s Abilene, Texas tower facility. The Company reported income from continuing operations of $.4 million, or $.03 per share, in Q4 2016, compared to a net loss from continuing operations of $10.7 million, or $.73 per share, in Q4 2015. The $.76 per share improvement was due to significant operational improvements in the Towers and Weldments segment and successful cost management actions across the Company, notably in the Gearing segment. The Company reported a net loss from discontinued operations of $.1 million, or $.01 per share, in Q4 2016, unchanged from the prior year quarter. The Company reported non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, share-based payments and restructuring costs) of $2.5 million in Q4 2016, compared to a non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA loss of $8.1 million in Q4 2015 (please refer to the reconciliation of GAAP measures to non-GAAP measures at the end of this release). The $10.6 million improvement was mainly attributable to the factors described above. Broadwind CEO Stephanie Kushner stated, “Broadwind had a solid fourth quarter, culminating in our first profitable year. We exceeded our targets for every metric that we set at the beginning of the year. Orders in 2016 totaled $275 million, nearly triple the orders in 2015. We removed $9 million from manufacturing overhead and operating expenses in 2016, which was $1 million more than our target. Our tower production was on schedule in both plants, and productivity in our Abilene plant improved dramatically during 2016, ending the year at a record level with record low overtime. This is a reflection of the process improvements we made throughout the year and the strong team we have in place. Our Gearing segment managed well through a challenging year. On 30% lower sales, we were able to cut the segment’s operating loss by $5 million and generate positive net cash flow.” Ms. Kushner continued, “Late last year, our Board approved a strategy whereby we plan to double our sales over the next three years by growing our existing businesses and expanding our presence in clean tech. We plan to accomplish this by a combination of organic growth and bolt-on acquisitions including the recently announced Red Wolf transaction. The Abilene tower plant expansion will be complete by mid-2017 and will offer us important operating flexibility and a 30% increase in capacity at this plant. For FY 2017, we expect revenue of $210-220 million and EBITDA of approximately $14-16 million. For Q1 2017, we expect revenue of $54-56 million and EBITDA of approximately of $3 million. Income guidance is highly uncertain pending a third-party determination of purchase accounting for Red Wolf. We will update income guidance following Q1 17.” For FY 2016, revenue totaled $180.8 million, compared to $199.2 million for FY 2015. The 9% reduction was due primarily to lower Towers and Weldments revenue, attributable to lower steel and other material costs, which are generally passed through to the customer, and lower Gearing revenue related to reduced demand from oil & gas and mining customers. Net income from continuing operations for the twelve months ended December 31, 2016 was $1.3 million, or $.09 per share, compared with a net loss from continuing operations of $12.2 million, or $.83 per share, for the twelve months ended December 31, 2015. The increase was due to significantly improved operating efficiencies in the Towers and Weldments segment and successful cost containment efforts Company-wide. The net loss from discontinued operations for FY 2016 totaled $1.0 million, or $.07 per share, compared to net loss from discontinued operations of $9.6 million, or $.65 per share, for FY 2015 due to the sale and wind-down of the unprofitable Services segment. The Company reported non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA of $9.6 million for FY 2016, compared to a non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA loss of $.4 million for FY 2015 (please refer to the reconciliation of GAAP measures to non-GAAP measures at the end of this release). The Company booked $32.3 million of net new orders in Q4 2016, up significantly from $5.0 million of net new orders booked in Q4 2015. Towers and Weldments orders, which vary considerably from quarter to quarter, totaled $29.4 million in Q4 2016, up substantially from $2.8 million in Q4 2015. Gearing orders totaled $2.9 million in Q4 2016, compared to $2.1 million in Q4 2015. FY 2016 net new orders totaled $275.0 million, up sharply from $94.0 million for FY 2015. 2016 orders included a $137 million multi-year tower order booked in Q2. At December 31, 2016, total backlog was $188.7 million, more than doubling backlog of $93.9 million at December 31, 2015. Towers and Weldments Broadwind Energy produces fabrications for wind, oil and gas, mining and other industrial applications, specializing in the production of wind turbine towers. Towers and Weldments segment sales totaled $42.3 million in Q4 2016, compared to $31.9 million in Q4 2015. The 32% improvement was due to significantly improved production at the Abilene facility compared to the prior year when the plant experienced severe production issues associated with a challenging contract with a long-term customer. The Towers and Weldments segment operating income totaled $2.8 million in Q4 2016, compared to an operating loss of $5.8 million in Q4 2015. The substantial improvement was due to significantly improved operations compared to the prior year when the segment experienced low throughput and losses related to labor overruns and increased logistics and contractor fees associated with the contract referenced above. Net income for the segment totaled $1.8 million in Q4 2016, compared to a net loss of $3.8 million in Q4 2015. Non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA totaled $3.9 million in Q4 2016, compared to a non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA loss of $4.2 million in Q4 2015 as a result of the factors described above (please refer to the reconciliation of GAAP measures to non-GAAP measures at the end of this release). Towers and Weldments segment sales for FY 2016 totaled $160.2 million compared to $170.5 million for FY 2015. The decrease is due to lower steel and other material costs of $16 million, which are generally passed through to customers, partially offset by a 6% increase in volume in the current year attributable to consistent production flow. FY 2016 operating income totaled $12.8 million compared to FY 2015 operating income of $4.7 million. The $8.1 million improvement was due to significantly improved operating efficiencies, including higher labor productivity and better cost management. Net income for the segment totaled $8.5 million in 2016 compared to net income of $3.1 million in 2015. Non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA for FY 2016 totaled $17.2 million, compared to $9.5 million for FY 2015, as a result of the factors described above (please refer to the reconciliation of GAAP measures to non-GAAP measures at the end of this release). Gearing Broadwind Energy engineers, builds and remanufactures precision gears and gearboxes for oil and gas, mining, steel and wind applications. Gearing segment sales totaled $5.9 million in Q4 2016, up slightly from $5.8 million in Q4 2015. On essentially flat revenue, the Q4 2016 operating loss narrowed to $.2 million compared to an operating loss of $2.9 million in Q4 2015. The significant improvement was due to a higher-margin mix, better operating performance including improved productivity, lower scrap and successful cost management that led to an overall $.7 million decrease in cash manufacturing overhead and operating expenses, and also due to a $.6 million reduction in depreciation expense. The net loss for the Gearing segment totaled $.2 million in Q4 2016, compared to a net loss of $2.8 million in Q4 2015. Non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA for Q4 2016 totaled $.5 million compared to Non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA loss of $1.5 million in Q4 2015. (please refer to the reconciliation of GAAP measures to non-GAAP measures at the end of this release). The sharp improvement was due mainly to the factors described above. FY 2016 Gearing segment sales totaled $20.6 million compared to FY 2015 sales of $29.6 million. The 30% decrease was due to weaker demand from oil & gas and mining customers. Despite lower revenue, the operating loss for FY 2016 narrowed to $3.2 million compared to an operating loss of $8.2 million for FY 2015. The improvement was due to successful cost management which led to a $3.3 million overall decrease in cash manufacturing overhead and operating expenses, a $2.5 million reduction in depreciation expense and the absence of a $.9 million environmental remediation expense that was recognized in Q3 2015. FY 2016 Gearing segment net loss totaled $3.3 million compared to a net loss of $8.2 million in 2015. The Non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA loss totaled $.6 million in 2016 compared to a non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA loss of $2.1 million in 2015 due mainly to the factors described above (please refer to the reconciliation of GAAP measures to non-GAAP measures at the end of this release). Corporate and other expenses totaled $1.9 million in Q4 2016, compared to $2.4 million in Q4 2015. The decrease was due mainly to the absence of a $1.2 million cost incurred in 2015 related to the separation of the Company’s former CEO, and the favorable impact of cost management efforts, partially offset by higher incentive compensation and medical expense. During Q4 2016, operating working capital (accounts receivable and inventory, net of accounts payable and customer deposits) increased $.6 million due to lower accounts payable at year end. Capital expenditures, net of disposals, in Q4 2016 totaled $2.7 million, bringing FY 2016 expenditures to $6.2 million. Expenditures included investments to upgrade the coatings systems in the tower plants, and outlays associated with the expansion of the Abilene tower plant which will be operational in mid-2017. Cash assets (cash and short-term investments) totaled $21.9 million at December 31, 2016, compared to $24.3 million at September 30, 2016. Subsequent to year end, on February 1, 2017, the Company announced the acquisition of Red Wolf Company, LLC for a closing cash payment of $16.5 million, subject to adjustment and additional earn-out payments. Debt and capital leases totaled $4.1 million at December 31, 2016, including the $2.6 million New Markets Tax Credit loan which is expected to be substantially forgiven when it matures in 2018. The Company’s credit line with The Private Bank was undrawn at December 31, 2016. About Broadwind Energy, Inc. Broadwind Energy (NASDAQ:BWEN) is a precision manufacturer of structures, equipment and components for clean tech and other specialized applications. From gears and gearing systems for wind, oil and gas and mining applications, to wind towers and industrial weldments, we have solutions for the clean tech, energy and infrastructure needs of the future. With facilities throughout the U.S., Broadwind Energy's talented team is committed to helping customers maximize performance of their investments—quicker, easier and smarter. Find out more at www.bwen.com Forward-Looking Statements This release contains “forward looking statements”—that is, statements related to future, not past, events—as defined in Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), that reflect our current expectations regarding our future growth, results of operations, financial condition, cash flows, performance, business prospects and opportunities, as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to, our management. Forward looking statements include any statement that does not directly relate to a current or historical fact. We have tried to identify forward looking statements by using words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “expect,” “intend,” “will,” “should,” “may,” “plan” and similar expressions, but these words are not the exclusive means of identifying forward looking statements. Forward looking statements include any statement that does not directly relate to a current or historical fact. Our forward-looking statements may include or relate to our beliefs, expectations, plans and/or assumptions with respect to the following: (i) state, local and federal regulatory frameworks affecting the industries in which we compete, including the wind energy industry, and the related extension, continuation or renewal of federal tax incentives and grants and state renewable portfolio standards; (ii) our customer relationships and efforts to diversify our customer base and sector focus and leverage customer relationships across business units; (iii) our ability to continue to grow our business organically and through acquisitions; (iv) the sufficiency of our liquidity and alternate sources of funding, if necessary; (v) our ability to realize revenue from customer orders and backlog; (vi) our ability to operate our business efficiently, manage capital expenditures and costs effectively, and generate cash flow; (vii) the economy and the potential impact it may have on our business, including our customers; (viii) the state of the wind energy market and other energy and industrial markets generally and the impact of competition and economic volatility in those markets; (ix) the effects of market disruptions and regular market volatility, including fluctuations in the price of oil, gas and other commodities; (x) the effects of the recent change of administrations in the U.S. federal government; (xi) our ability to successfully integrate and operate the business of Red Wolf Company, LLC and to identify, negotiate and execute future acquisitions; and (xii) the potential loss of tax benefits if we experience an “ownership change” under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “IRC”). These statements are based on information currently available to us and are subject to various risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause our actual growth, results of operations, financial condition, cash flows, performance, business prospects and opportunities to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, these statements. We are under no duty to update any of these statements. You should not consider any list of such factors to be an exhaustive statement of all of the risks, uncertainties or other factors that could cause our current beliefs, expectations, plans and/or assumptions to change. Non-GAAP Financial Measure The Company provides non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation, amortization, and stock compensation) as supplemental information regarding the Company’s business performance. The Company’s management uses adjusted EBITDA when it internally evaluates the performance of the Company’s business, reviews financial trends and makes operating and strategic decisions. The Company believes that this non-GAAP financial measure is useful to investors because it provides investors with a better understanding of the Company’s past financial performance and future results allows investors to evaluate the Company’s performance using the same methodology and information as used by the Company’s management. The Company's definition of adjusted EBITDA may be different from similar non-GAAP financial measures used by other companies and/or analysts.
News Article | March 1, 2017
When Jim Crawford released a browser game named Frog Fractions in 2012, half the people who played it called him a genius; the rest thought he was deranged. What most of them seemed to agree on however, was that they loved it. When influential site Rock Paper Shotgun covered the game, it did so under the header: “Frog Fractions might be the greatest game of all time”. Unpredictable and absurd, Frog Fractions starts out under the guise of a piece of edutainment software in which you control a frog sat on a pond scooping up bugs and defending fruit. Then after buying a few upgrades, you’re suddenly riding a dragon through an underground tunnel that takes you into Crawford’s own bizarre version of video game wonderland. Many read it as a comment on the absurd conventions of video games. Many others read it as weird frog game. Whatever the case, most players thought Frog Fractions would be a one-off, a weird, singular piece of outsider art. However, in December 2016, Crawford announced his intention to release Frog Fractions 2. He’d spent two and a half years working it out, going back through the past 20 years of his life, surfacing everything he could to bundle everything up into a single video game. By the time it was released, Frog Fractions 2 was practically an interactive autobiographical portrait of the author. Who would do something like this? Currently living with his fiancee in Castro Valley, California, the 37-year-old Crawford isn’t quite the colourful clown you might expect him to be. Humble and ponytailed, he speaks over his glasses as he cranks out a stream of one-liners about really, really liking soup (one of his elaborate running gags). He pursues his lifelong interest in making games from home, or at least whenever he can manage to focus on doing so. “I’ve been a hardcore dilettante all my life,” he shrugs. He’s a man with an erratic attention span, who has a history of getting bored by a project and moving to the next one without finishing it, a man who spends his time hopping between hobbies. He doesn’t know why he can’t sit still. If there’s one constant in his life it’s his love of programming. He can trace his interest back to sixth grade, when he randomly picked up a book that listed code for games made in BASIC. “I remember skimming through it and getting excited that it all seemed pretty intuitive to me, and that I wanted to do this sort of thing,” he says. “My divorced parents conspired together to get me a Commodore 128, and programming was instantly my primary hobby from then on. “Programming clicked for me in a way that felt very primal, like acquiring an additional sense, becoming one of the fundamental ways I interact with the world.” What helped to keep programming at the forefront of Crawford’s interests is its application in other creative fields. His understanding of programming widened in 1992 when he encountered the demoscene – artists and programmers who create impressive audiovisual sequences under tight computer memory restrictions. Crawford’s uncle showed him the demo Unreal, made by Finnish demogroup Future Crew, and that was it, he was hooked. “I was exactly the right age and temperament to be blown away by this sort of thing,” says Crawford. “Watching talented people strain against the limitations of an underpowered CPU is goddamned inspiring. “At the time I saw Unreal, I lived in Princeton, New Jersey and, presumably by some security oversight, the university just let people wander into their computer rooms and use the hardware. I spent a lot of time there. After I figured out that I had to set the FTP client to binary mode, I downloaded all the demos and all the source I could find, and dove into real-time graphics programming. I got good enough to impress my friends, but never felt like I was good enough to really be a part of the scene.” The next programming deviation came in 1995, when Crawford discovered Scream Tracker 3, and used it to make electronic music that he shared with friends. He got so into it that he joined the #trax IRC channel and attended a few demo parties, but he grew frustrated with his inability to make proper friends in that community, and eventually drifted away. Since then, Crawford has dabbled in learning various musical instruments, but only ever got anywhere with drums. He also spent a while building his own electronics, some of which he began making music before he moved on to his next pursuit. Over the years he’s continued to jump between hobbies like this, picking up new skills and interests, which explains why Frog Fractions is structured like it is. Once its mad descent begins, it starts to cycle through game genres before you can get a grip on any one of them: it’s a shoot ’em-up, no it’s a courtroom drama, oh wait now it’s a text adventure. This smorgasbord of game mechanics and scenarios is a direct imprint of Crawford’s wavering attention span. Without that chaos, it’s likely that Frog Fractions wouldn’t even exist. It came at a crucial time in Crawford’s life, not long after the life-changing promise he made to himself in 2010: “I decided it was a priority for me to actually ship games and actually have people play them,” he says. This was unprecedented. As a child, Crawford spent years reiterating the same platformer engine, never actually making a game with it, “because when it came time to actually take the engine and make a finished game out of it, it was a bunch of art and level design work I was scared of.” Despite struggling to finish making games, Crawford dreamed of being paid to do it full-time, and he pursued this ambition until 2005, the year he landed a position at a game middleware startup. “It had the combined stresses of a startup and an R&D department doing cutting-edge work,” he says. “I just didn’t have it in me to dedicate the time and energy it demanded. I was let go after six months, and I relegated game dev to hobby status.” What changed in 2010 to encourage Crawford to make that promise of finishing games to himself was that the web design company he worked for in San Diego, California was slowly cutting his hours as it went out of business. He realised he had to do something to break his habits and railroaded his goal by working in Flash, “the lowest barrier to entry platform for players at the time”. He concentrated on projects small enough to hold his attention span, and by forcing himself to stop dwelling on code quality. “The first thing I shipped, Futility Pong, took about a day of work. The next, Futilitris, was probably a week’s worth of man-hours, spread over a month,” Crawford says. “I also did a bunch of game jams at the time, which helped reinforce the ethos of getting lots of small things done fast.” At some point, Crawford began to weave his small games together under a single identity. “I stumbled into Frog Fractions as a larger scale project that could keep my attention, by sheer dint of its variety,” says Crawford. “If I felt like building a text adventure, I damn well could, and it’d fit the project.” Everything seemed to come together. He was even able to use some of the music he had made between 2001 and 2012 as the game’s soundtrack. When it came to making Frog Fractions 2 in 2014, however, some of the energy that pulled together the multiple parts of the first game had been lost. One issue was that Crawford had decided to hide the game inside another one, a fairy-themed city builder called Glittermitten Grove. Unfortunately, this made it difficult for him to introduce a protagonist capable of carrying the rest of the game forward. This was only the start of the difficulties. The development process of Frog Fractions 2 was somehow more intentional and yet more chaotic. The original had made Jim Crawford the Frank Zappa of video games, and expectations were high, but Crawford was confident he could deliver due to the improvements his life had seen. “Frog Fractions was itself a huge inflection point in my life, because the reputation it gave me as a designer gave me the means to make games on my own terms – with creative control, and with working hours appropriate for a human being,” he says. In April 2014, Crawford used that reputation to raise $72,107 (£58,254) on Kickstarter towards the development of Frog Fractions 2. That meant he had people actively invested in the game being finished and it being entertaining, which added to the pressure. Crawford was not really set up for that. “I haven’t had a consistent work schedule since I was laid off from my day job in mid-2012,” he says. He does have a few “constraints” in his daily life: a co-working event at The MADE every Tuesday, a podcast with the Kingdom of Loathing developers on Wednesday evenings, a fiancee to spend time with outside of her day job. But the rest is what Crawford describes as a “free for all”. He had to battle the distractions of his mind while managing to properly dedicate time to work on Frog Fractions 2, as well as oversee the two alternate reality games (ARG) that accompanied it. These involved 23 other indie games on Steam, with developers hiding puzzle pieces about Crawford’s sequel in their own projects. In one incredibly staged moment, the ARG broke out into real life, with a letter from a “time traveler” turning up in a library book in Berkeley, California. The time traveller then kidnapped Crawford in front of spectators who managed to piece together the clues to the surreal piece of marketing theatre. In the end, those two ARGs were taken over by designers Justin Bortnick and Erica Newman. Crawford had moved on. “I suspect I’d be more productive if I had a fixed schedule, but I also suspect I’m happier like this,” Crawford says. “There was a pattern I’d observed in my late 20s, when I was comfortably in day-job mode, that time seemed to be accelerating, and that I might be on my deathbed and it would all feel like an eye-blink. “I haven’t felt that way since Frog Fractions, and I suspect it’s the tumultuousness and unpredictability of my life,” Crawford continues. “Some of that comes from the drama that falls out of the Kickstarter, of course, but also a lot of it is just that I don’t really plan my life: it just happens to me, and I don’t really know what to expect.” Frog Fractions 2 was born out of contained mayhem. Crawford initially spent a year working on a number of small prototype games that were unrelated and varied in their quality. “My usual mode of operations is to create chaos and try to tie it together into something coherent only when absolutely necessary,” he says. Seeing that his work was getting out of hand, he eventually sat down in early 2015 to organise it into a single package, ensuring Frog Fractions 2 would have a build for PAX 2015. At this time, the sequel was playable but not necessarily something that anyone other than Crawford could comprehend. That sounds like it was a failure but, in part, it was meant to be that way. “It’s probably meaningful that Frog Fractions was ‘outsider art’, and after Frog Fractions, I suddenly became very much an insider, and I mentally compensated for this by making my allusions more wide-ranging and esoteric,” says Crawford. “That’s why the hub world [in Frog Fractions 2] is a mashup of ZZT, Insanity, and DROD, three PC games that I loved, but very few people have played.” Moving out from that hub world, Frog Fractions 2 only becomes more obscure as genres are picked up and dropped suddenly, and story arcs are cut off without warning. Some reviewers found it too stretched and confounding, others loved the maelstrom of ideas. One moment you were playing a Flappy Bird pastiche, the next it was asking you to install your Mass Effect 2 save. Nobody really makes games like this. William Pugh and Davey Wreden have questioned game tropes and broken the fourth wall in titles like Stanley Parable and Beginner’s Guide, while titles such as Jazz Punk and Thirty Flights of Loving play with conventions. But Crawford brings in the surrealist anarchy of psychedelic rock. At some point, while playing through Frog Fractions 2, the references and digressions will probably lose you; it steers itself into complete chaos and drags you in with it. This is where Crawford wants you, it’s where he’s most comfortable, as it’s from there that he can engineer moments of true surprise. If there’s one thing you can rely on when playing one of Crawford’s games, it’s that, if you’re lost, then you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.
American National Life Insurance Company of New York Introduces Two New Accelerated Benefit Riders for Terminal and Chronic Illness in New York on its New York Life Insurance products Accelerated Benefit Riders
News Article | February 14, 2017
GLENMONT, N.Y., Feb. 14, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- American National Life Insurance Company of New York (American National) announces two new Accelerated Benefit Riders for Terminal Illness and Chronic Illness, available [February 1, 2017]. These industry leading innovative Accelerated Benefit Riders provide the potential to receive a partial or full accelerated life insurance benefit if the insured is diagnosed with a qualifying Terminal or Chronic Illness at no additional premium.1 The owner can choose to take a partial acceleration, paid in lieu of a portion of the policy’s death benefit. Multiple partial benefits are available if a partial benefit is taken. For example if 25% of the death benefit is accelerated, 75% of the death benefit would remain and could be accessed later, if needed. Or, the owner can choose a full acceleration, paid in lieu of the entire policy death benefit. The maximum total Death Benefit available for acceleration is $2,000,000 for issue ages 0-65 and $1,000,000 for issue ages 66+. This benefit will be available on the following New York life policies: Term Life: ANICO Signature Term-NY, ANICO Signature Term SI-NY3 Although life insurance policies primarily provide a death benefit, American National’s life policies have the additional advantage of providing living benefits for insureds diagnosed with a qualifying condition. When struck with an illness, bills can pile up and the ability to provide for a family’s needs can be dramatically affected. American National allows a policy owner to access living benefits when they are going through an illness and need them the most. The benefit is an unrestricted cash benefit and can be used however the insured decides. Because there are no restrictions on how the benefit is used, the insured can decide whether to pay for care of the insured, pay for household expenses, ease financial burdens of illness, or go on the trip of a lifetime. David A. Behrens, President and Chief Operating Officer of American National Life Insurance Company of New York stated, “American National Life Insurance Company of New York’s new Accelerated Benefit Riders for Terminal Illness and Chronic Illness will provide expanded options for life policy holders with more choices including partial or full acceleration of these living benefits.” American National Life Insurance Company of New York, headquartered in Glenmont, New York is licensed to conduct the business of insurance in the state of New York. American National Life Insurance Company of New York offers a broad line of Life Insurance and Annuity products and services, which include life insurance, annuities, health insurance, credit insurance and pension products. American National Life Insurance Company of New York has been evaluated and assigned the following ratings by nationally recognized, independent rating agencies. The ratings are current as of October 20, 2016. Ratings reflect current independent opinions of the financial capacity of an insurance organization to meet the obligations of its insurance policies and contracts in accordance with their terms. They are based on comprehensive quantitative and qualitative evaluations of the company and its management strategy. The rating agencies do not provide ratings as a recommendation to purchase insurance or annuities. The ratings are not a warranty of an insurer's current or future ability to meet its contractual obligations. Ratings may be changed, suspended, or withdrawn at any time. For the most current ratings view the full rating reports on American National Life Insurance Company of New York’s Internet site at www.anicony.com 1 A.M. Best’s active company rating scale is: A++ (Superior), A+ (Superior), A (Excellent), A- (Excellent), B++ (Good), B+ (Good), B (Fair), B- (Fair), C++ (Marginal), C+ (Marginal), C (Weak), C- (Weak) and D (Poor). 2Ratings from ‘AA’ to ‘CCC’ may be modified by the addition of a plus (+) or minus (-) sign to show relative standing within the major rating categories. For more information, including company news and investor relations information, visit the company’s web site at www.AmericanNational.com 1) The riders are offered for no additional premium; however, the accelerated death benefit payment will be less than the requested death benefit because it will be reduced by an actuarial discount and an administrative fee of up to $500. The amount of the reduction is primarily dependent on American National’s determination of the insured’s life expectancy at the time of election. 2) The maximum benefit that may be paid to you in a calendar year under the Chronic Illness rider may not exceed the annualized per diem amount that is in effect for long term care services. Please see 26 USC 7702B(d)(4) to determine the amount currently in effect for the current year. 3) Chronic Illness is not available in ANICO Signature Term SI-NY. See policy rider forms ABR14-CH(NY) and ABR14-TM(NY) for a full description of terms and conditions. Exercising an Accelerated Benefit Rider will reduce or terminate the death benefit available for your beneficiary. Accelerated life insurance benefits are not replacements for long-term care insurance. The Accelerated Benefit Rider for Terminal and Chronic Illness are intended to receive favorable tax treatment under 101(g) of the IRC. Receipt of an accelerated benefit could be a taxable event. Consult a tax advisor regarding the tax status of any benefit paid under these riders. Receipt of an accelerated benefit may affect eligibility for Medicaid, supplemental security income or other governmental benefits or entitlements. Before accelerating, consult an advisor to determine the impact on eligibility. The Accelerated Benefit Rider for Chronic Illness is a life insurance policy that accelerates the death benefit on account of chronic illness and is not a health insurance policy providing long term care insurance subject to the minimum requirements of New York Law, does not qualify for the New York State Long Term Care Partnership program, and is not a Medicare supplement policy. Forms: ART12(NY); EXEC-UL(NY); EXEC-ULU(NY); IUL14(NY); SGUL15(NY).
News Article | February 22, 2017
The image, inserted into a discussion about the Hulk Hogan sex video that Gawker had published, was part of a long-running joke between editors and reporters. Cook couldn’t have imagined at the time that three years later, he would have to explain and defend it to a court of law after Hogan filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit. The jury ruled in favor of the wrestler, Gawker is over, and Cook is now an editor for a retooled entity under Univision, the Gizmodo Media Group. But Cook’s messages did underscore a new reality for anyone who uses digital chatrooms to communicate with their colleagues: Chats that seem to be more ephemeral than email are still being recorded on a server somewhere. Amid concerns by a battered but determined press about privacy and the Trump administration’s quest to stop leaks, a growing number of journalists and editors are being forced to think carefully about how they communicate with each other. Newsrooms still use chatroom apps like Campfire and HipChat, but neither has been embraced by the tech and media industries quite like Slack has. In just a few years, the company has rocketed up to 4 million daily users, with 1.25 million of them paying for extra features. You’d be hard pressed to find a media organization that doesn’t have at least some Slack interactions; many companies use it as their primary way of communicating. “There are several dangers that I think journalists need to be aware of when they’re putting so much of their communications on Slack,” says Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Slack “has access to all of your chats,” he tells me, “[as well as] any internal communication you may not want in public,” including private conversations. The reminder extends beyond journalism too, to organizations like Timm’s, he notes: Indeed, even Freedom of the Press uses Slack. Slack’s ease of use is great for a busy newsroom. Reporters and staff can post links they’ve found online, leads they’ve uncovered, public records they want to request, or edits, in real-time and in one place. (Most of Fast Company‘s staff relies heavily on Slack.) New chatrooms or “channels”—either public or private ones—can be created on the fly. The app’s ease of use also means the virtual newsroom is a sort of digital watercooler, where reporters share the sort of gossip they would never want associated with their bylines. A release of this data—either by a court’s subpoena or a hacker’s intrusion—wouldn’t only require the public explanation of private jokes. It could risk compromising an already delicate trust between journalists and their audiences, and lead to the inadvertent disclosure of the identities of anonymous sources. This last part is of the utmost importance to reporters. The relationship between a source and an investigative journalist hangs on trust: Sources provide sensitive information under the assumption that writers will protect their identities. Despite the best of intentions, reporters using Slack and other digital platforms may be inadvertently breaking this pact. Sources like John Kiriakou, the first CIA officer to speak openly on waterboarding—and whose disclosure of classified information to investigative journalists helped send him to prison—serve as an example of how high the stakes can be. Beyond Gawker’s “penis-gate,” another recent incident highlights the risks of seemingly “private” chatrooms. This month, police in Washington, D.C., subpoenaed information from Facebook regarding users in the area who protested President Trump’s inauguration. The subpoena, uncovered by CityLab, asks Facebook to appear in court and provide specific user information, including names and addresses of people who use the social network and were recently arrested by the Washington, D.C., police department during the protest. Facebook and Slack are not the same thing, but as communication and organizing tools, they serve similar functions. Facebook was used as a tool for protesters to share information. Slack serves a similar purpose for journalists who might use it to keep information about sources and material. Timm emphasizes that reporters’ fear of inadvertent disclosure isn’t new. In recent years, the Obama administration took steps to either indict journalists for withholding sources and whistleblowers or to have them subpoenaed to give information before a court of law. Timm has written about the groundwork that President Obama laid for Trump in this regard, using the Espionage Act–a World War I-era law intended to target spies–as a means to stem leaks and out sources. If authorities ask Slack for data about journalists, the company may be forced to comply. In its Data Request Policy, the company says, “Except as expressly permitted by the Contract or in cases of emergency to avoid death or physical harm to individuals, Slack will not disclose Customer Data, unless it is compelled by law to do so or is subject to a valid and binding order of a governmental or regulatory body.” It also says it will notify a customer before disclosing any of their data, “unless Slack is prohibited from doing so” or if the data is associated with “illegal conduct” or the risk of harm to people or property. As of last April, Slack said it had received four requests for user data, one from the government and three from third parties, but had responded to none of them. The company wouldn’t offer further information about these requests. Slack does not offer a warrant canary, a web page that some tech firms use to alert users to government data requests that are intended to be kept secret through gag orders. Part of the problem, as Timm sees it, is the allure of Slack and its slick interface. “Slack does make things so easy and enjoyable,” he says. “Often the people who are using Slack let their guard down.” Which is to say that they’ll assume the digital space is completely secure. “There really needs to be an increased awareness within news organizations,” he says, “about when it’s appropriate to discuss things on Slack or when you should go to a more secure channel.” To Adrianne Jeffries, senior editor of The Outline, “Slack is best for coordination and brainstorming,” she writes in an email. “Using it for editorial conversations can lead to hasty judgments, but sometimes you have to for expediency.” Reporters aren’t the only chatroom users who should be concerned about privacy. Anyone using Slack at work—even in private messages and in non-work-related semi-“safe spaces”—can be surveilled by an employer. If the employer is using a “Plus plan” and can demonstrate legal authorization to access employee chats, the company can access archives and conversations from private channels after submitting an application to Slack. And the risks aren’t relegated to Slack alone. Nearly every communication platform can pose a security risk. Gawker, for example, had its Campfire hacked in 2010 (an incident unrelated to the court order it received in 2016). “I’m not sure the risk is any greater than with email,” says Jeffries, who, as an editor at Motherboard, moved her staff off Slack for a week last year as an experiment in productivity. But, she adds, “I do think Slack is a big juicy target for hackers.” Slack says it takes security “very seriously,” and has recently made it possible for enterprise employees in health care and financial services to share documents using industry privacy standards HIPAA and FINRA. Still, user data on Slack—as on HipChat and Campfire—is encrypted only at rest and in transit, which to the chagrin of privacy advocates like Timm, is not as secure as end-to-end encryption. If Slack Were Like Signal And Snapchat There are a few things newsrooms can do to fortify their chatroom security. First, they can be very intentional about what they say and don’t say on platforms like Slack. If an editor and writer are sharing privileged information, it’s best to take that to a system where the information is end-to-end encrypted. Privacy-focused chat apps like Signal or Wickr offer that level of security, and for the more technically inclined, rigorous encryption methods and private servers can be used with IRC, the decades-old chat protocol. Timm mentions a Slack alternative made by SpiderOak called Semaphor, which is pretty much a privacy-first solution for workplace communication. Mattermost bills itself as a secure, open-source Slack alternative, and Wickr also offers a group chat app aimed at the Slack crowd. It’s in the media’s best interest to “have a very strict data retention policy.” More important is for organizations to implement policies that will protect them in the long run. For example, organizations can require all users to use two-factor authentication to sign in, and can choose to have their Slack archives deleted at regular intervals. (Fast Company‘s Slack archives are erased after 30 days.) It’s in the media’s best interest, says Timm, to “have a very strict data retention policy.” Additionally, there are things Slack can do to make its product better for journalists. For one, it could end-to-end encrypt its messages, better ensuring that the contents won’t be intercepted by a nefarious third party. A Slack spokesperson says the company may evaluate end-to-end encryption in the future. Slack could also offer the option for organizations to host their data on their own servers, something the company says it has no plans to do. (Slack currently hosts data on Amazon Web Services servers.) If it did allow self-hosting, individual organizations could be in charge of their own security and wouldn’t be in peril if Slack itself were to receive a subpoena, court order, or warrant—or if the company’s security was somehow compromised. Timm adds that either of these solutions could fit within Slack’s business model, provided it was not interested in mining user conversations for data. Slack’s rules on customer data are similar to many other digital platforms: It won’t share information with third parties unless given explicit consent from the user (this often means the corporate account holder, not the individual user). But the company also keeps track of all metadata, which it calls “other information”–including log data and well as device and geolocation information–to “research and analyze trends.” And last month, Slack announced it was using artificial intelligence to help users and managers “analyze content to address information overload.”
News Article | February 15, 2017
Les LED à filament signées Seoul Semiconductor sont en mesure de fournir une lumière de haute qualité proche de la lumière naturelle, et ce grâce à la technologie différenciée de conditionnement chip on board (COB). Elles produisent un éclairage spectaculaire et agréable au moyen d’une technologie par émission omnidirectionnelle combinée à une empreinte réduite avec un large angle de rayonnement. L’indice de rendu des couleurs (IRC) est d’au moins 80/100 et différentes LED présentant un flux lumineux compris entre 105 et 210 lumens sont disponibles. Tous ces éléments fournissent une température de couleur corrélée (TCC) de 2 700 kelvins. Par conséquent, elles sont utilisées afin de créer une atmosphère classique, grâce à une lumière de haute qualité, dans de nombreux espaces comme des cafés, des hôtels ou même des chambres et des salles de séjour : une alternative de taille par rapport aux ampoules à incandescence qui ne sont plus produites depuis 2014. Le développement de cette technologie chez Seoul Semiconductor a déjà commencé au début du nouveau millénaire, avant même qu’un marché de LED à filament ne voit le jour. Mais la production a été maintenue au plus bas jusqu’à ce que le marché soit prêt. Cette décision est un signe de la stratégie et la vision, clairement axées sur le long terme, de la société. Seoul Semiconductor détient aujourd’hui des centaines de brevets pour LED à filament : ceux-ci s’étendent de la fabrication de puces au conditionnement COB en passant par les processus de fabrication de modules et d’ampoules. Il s’agit de technologies clés pour la conception de LED à filament. Cette gamme de produits entraîne une forte protection de la propriété intellectuelle des clients utilisant les diodes électroluminescentes de la marque Seoul Semiconductor. Le marché mondial des ampoules électriques est estimé à 7 milliards de pièces par an, dont 2,5 milliards sont des ampoules destinées à des décorations variées, un marché concerné par les LED à filament. Leur application sur ce marché a commencé et elles peuvent être utilisées non seulement avec des ampoules globes de différentes formes, mais aussi pour des ampoules bougies, elles aussi dans des formes variées. Deux longueurs différentes de LED sont adéquates pour ces diverses applications : 38 mm et 50 mm. Seoul Semiconductor développe et commercialise des diodes électroluminescentes (LED) pour les marchés suivants : automobile, éclairage général, éclairage spécifique et rétro-éclairage. En tant que cinquième plus grand fabricant de LED dans le monde, Seoul Semiconductor détient plus de 12 000 brevets, propose une large gamme de technologies et une production à volume élevé de produits LED innovants tels que « Wicop », LED sans boitier simplement structurée, « Acrich », la LED “directe AC“ leader dans le monde, « Acrich MJT – multi-jonctions Technology », une gamme propriétaire de LED haute tension et « nPola », un nouveau produit LED, basé sur la technologie de substrat GaN et 10 fois plus lumineux que des LED classiques.