Watch Tesla Model 3 Performance Race Challenger Model X Model S

Watch Tesla Model 3 Performance Crush Corvette At The Strip Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on September 15, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Tesla Model 3 Performance Hits 60 MPH In Record-Setting 3.13 Seconds 10 photos As we noted before, Thunder Mountain’s ~ 5,814-foot elevation gives a nice advantage to EVs. Traditional ICE cars will find performance hindered at higher altitudes due to the thinner air. This problem may be able to be solved by way of a turbocharged or supercharged engine, though the best solution is to drive a Tesla!In the first race, the Tesla Model 3 Performance faces off against the Model X 100D. You can probably guess how that one turns out. Next up, the 3P lines up next to a Dodge Challenger R/T, which is powered by a 375-horsepower Hemi V8. We won’t spoil that one for you either, however, we will say that if you’re a Tesla fan, you’ll be happy with the results.The final race features Erik in his Tesla Model 3 Performance versus a Tesla Model S P100D with Ludicrous. You’ll have to watch to see what happens in that one. Let’s just say, we think they’ll be doing it over again very soon.TESLA MODEL 3 PERFORMANCE Car And Driver Puts Tesla Model 3 Performance To The Test Source: Electric Vehicle News How do these three Teslas fare at the drag strip?Colorado-based YouTuber Erik Strait (DAErik) is back out at Bandimere Speedway, this time with his Tesla Model 3 Performance, a Model X 100D, a Model S P100DL, and a Dodge Challenger. Bandimere — known by the NHRA as Thunder Mountain — is located partly up the Rockies in Morrison, Colorado, not far from Denver.Check Out These Stories: read more

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Arcimoto Kicks Off Production Of Pilot Run Of Electric FUV

As the Beta hits the road, the company began manufacturing its new 25-unit Pilot Series. The last step will be series production for customers.“The Pilot Series, now in production, marks the transition to semi-automated manufacture of all custom frame and chassis components completely in-house at the Arcimoto Manufacturing Plant. These vehicles represent the final production series of the FUV before Retail Series production begins, expected by the end of 2018.”Arcimoto says that demand for FUV is strong with more than 3,000 pre-orders (at $100 refundable deposits each). The average price of FUVs is expected to be $15,000.Mark Frohnmayer, President and Founder said:“On-roading the Beta Series is a huge step forward for Arcimoto. Our pace of production has improved between the Signature and Beta Series, from more than a year for the ten Signatures to just over a quarter for the first drives of fifteen Betas. We expect a similar increase in pace with the Pilot Series. With each FUV we build, we learn invaluable lessons on how to refine and streamline our manufacturing process as we march toward Retail Series production, expected later this year. The starting line is in sight, and we couldn’t be more amped.” Arcimoto Flaunts Its First FUV At The LA Auto Show If You Don’t Watch This Arcimoto Q2 Video, You’ll Regret It Arcimoto  Fun Utility Vehicle spec.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Source: Electric Vehicle News Arcimoto Gets Amped, Delivers On Signature Series Promise See Also In the 12-month period following its September 21, 2017 IPO, Arcimoto has:Tripled the size of its staff, which now totals 77 full-time employees.Moved operations from a bodega design studio to the Arcimoto Manufacturing Plant (AMP).Improved manufacturing capabilities, demonstrating the ability to produce a finished vehicle from raw materials entirely in-house at the AMP.Completed production of ten Signature Series FUVs and begun a 15-unit Beta Series production run, reducing build time while improving vehicle quality.Announced the first two Arcimoto rental locations to open in Oregon and California, anticipated in Q4, 2018, which will combine rental operations and customer options.Grown pre-orders of the FUV to more than 3,000 units and counting.Demonstrated the FUV across the country, including major commercial auto shows, electric vehicle industry events, consumer ride-and-drives, and investor conferences.Rung the Closing Bell at the NASDAQ MarketSite in April 2018 Arcimoto moves from Beta to Pilot production.Arcimoto, the Oregon-based manufacturer of the three-wheeler electric vehicle – Fun Utility Vehicle – announced that it has completed first drives of its 15-unit FUV Beta Series.Betas will be used for rental purposes (5 in Oregon, 5 in California) or were purchased by Arcimoto Pioneers, a group of key, early pre-order customers.“The Company expects that the Beta fleet will be used primarily as rental vehicles. Five are planned for use at an Arcimoto rental location, expected to open in the fourth quarter in Eugene, Oregon. Five are planned for use as rentals by the Company’s partner, HulaCar in San Diego. The final five FUVs have been purchased by Arcimoto Pioneers, a group of key, early pre-order customers.” Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 6, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News read more

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US Department Of Energy Reports 1 Million PlugIn Vehicles Sold

first_imgSource: Electric Vehicle News Final Update: October 2018 U.S. Plug-In EV Sales Report Card The DOE based its report on cumulative data from Argonne National Laboratory. Argonne uses automaker sales data and compiles reports from multiple sources including J.D. Power and Associates, Electric Drive Transportation Association, Hybrid Cars Dashboard, Green Car Congress and InsideEVs.While we here at InsideEVs focus on vehicles with plugs, the research lab also looks at sales of hybrid and fuel cell vehicles. According to the data, hybrid vehicle sales have seen a significant drop off while plug-ins have seen dramatic increases in recent years. Although final hybrid data for 2018 will not be available until early next year.This forward momentum is likely to continue in 2019 and 2020 as more electric vehicles make it to market. It took roughly 10 years for plug-in vehicle sales to reach this point. The EV marketplace has certainly come a long way since the early days of the Nissan Leaf VS Chevy Volt. It wasn’t too long ago that Tesla was the scrappy underdog selling only the low volume Roadster and struggling to get the Model S into customer hands. That’s not even taking into account the early “modern” electrics like the EV1.It’s been a long road, getting from there to here. We expect the next million to arrive in a fraction of that time.Source: energy.gov Will The Tesla Model 3 Lead 2018 Global EV Sales? The Department of Energy (DOE) writes:As of October 2018, one million plug-in vehicles (PEV) have been sold in the United States. PEV sales began in December 2010 with sales of the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt. Other PEV models followed, but PEV sales remained below 5,000 per month until September 2012. Cumulative PEV sales reached 500,000 in September 2016. Sales have been greater than 20,000 per month since May 2018, with the highest being 45,000 in September 2018.center_img Renault Sold Over 5,000 Electric Cars In October 2018 Your plug-in vehicle is truly “one in a million”In the most recent “Fact of the Week” posted by the US Department of Energy, the government agency shared that 1 million plug-in vehicles (PHEVs and BEVs) have now been sold in the United States. This is of course not news to readers of InsideEVs since we had already estimated the lucky millionth plug-in would be sold in October. But further review and confirmation from the Department of Energy and Argonne National Laboratory certainly formalizes the occasion.More About Electric Vehicle Sales Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on November 29, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

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PSA Providing 550 Citroën CZero Peugeot iOn To Free2Move Paris

first_img Car2go Announces Car Sharing In Paris: 400 Smart EQ Fortwo Paris Will Resume Service Of 1,000 Autolib Charging Stations Source: Electric Vehicle News Renault & ADA Launch Moov’in.Paris Car Sharing Free2Move offers also free parking in Paris as well as access to authorized public places and dedicated electric vehicles spaces (for example, Autolib).It will be interesting to see how well the short-range EVs will cope in Paris (dedicated teams will regularly recharge the cars).Brigitte Courtehoux, Free2Move CEO, said:“Within just two years of its launch, Free2Move already has more than 1.5 million users in 12 countries and a fleet of 65,000 vehicles. We are delighted to launch our car sharing service in Paris and we are also planning to expand our offering to the surrounding metropolitan area very soon.”center_img Car sharing in Paris The void after Autolib is slowly filling up in Paris.On December 3, Parisians finally will be able to use the new electric free-floating car-sharing service as PSA Group launches Free2Move Paris.Initially, there will be 550 Citroën C-Zero and Peugeot iOn (based on the good old Mitsubishi i-MiEV).Cars can be located and rented through Free2Move Paris app in two plans:€0.32/minute with a monthly subscription of €9.90 (no commitment) for regular use€0.39/minute with no subscription for occasional use Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on December 1, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

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Audi Teases ETron Sportback Prototype Testing In Finland Video

first_img More Audi E-Tron Sportback Electric Spy Photos Surface Audi e-tron Sportback in motion.After spy photographers already caught the Audi e-tron Sportback prototype from every angle, Audi decided to release an official video of the car being test driven in cold weather in Finland.There are no new details on the car though. All we know is that it’s a derivative of the Audi e-tron SUV with coupe-like style. Production (in Brussels, Belgium) and sales should begin by the end of 2019.Audi prototypes Source: Electric Vehicle News New Version Of More Powerful Audi E-Tron Spied: E-Tron Allroad? This Sportback version of the e-tron simply adds to the SUV e-tron in that it enables Audi to increase production and sales of the car, thereby driving down costs.Earlier today, Audi debuted its Q4 e-tron at the Geneva Motor Show. That rides on the MEB platform though and it a whole different type of car.Audi e-tron Sportback concept (2017) specs:95 kWh battery pack500 km/310 miles of range (NEDC)370 kW of powerdual motor all-wheel drive0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 4.5 seconds Audi E-Tron Sportback Electric Car Spied Winter Testing Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 5, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

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Honda e Prototype Is Beyond Adorable PhotosVideos

first_img Honda e Prototype Video Roundup: Cute, Tiny, Probably Pricey 4 photos Source: Electric Vehicle News Honda E Prototype To Spawn Into Family Of Small Electric Cars 24 photos Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 27, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle Newscenter_img Honda e Prototype previews a new EV for EuropeThe Honda e Prototype shown at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show is on the outside a cute and sporty little car, while at the same time cozy and modern on the inside. The style combines retro design with the future.Sales of the production version should start in Europe by the end of this year. Honda will introduce the EV also in Japan.Honda news Those who didn’t have the opportunity to see the electric Honda in Geneva maybe can visit Milan Design Week (Milan Design Week) where e Prototype also will be present.Below we gathered all the images and videos with Honda e Prototype.Honda e Prototype specs:over 200 km (125 miles) of range in undisclosed test cyclebattery cells supplied by Panasonicrear-wheel drivefast charging to 80% in 30 minutes Honda E Prototype Revealed: Production-Bound Small, Sporty EV .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }last_img read more

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Market Share Of NCM 811 LithiumIon Cells Increased To 2

first_imgIn China, NCM 811 already reached 4% market share in New Energy Vehicles. Globally, it’s at 2%.Source: Electric Vehicle Newslast_img

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Australia Should Say No To DPAs For Foreign Bribery Offenses

first_imgThe Australian Attorney General’s Department (AGD) recently released this public consultation paper in which the Australian Government seeks “a more effective and efficient response to corporate crime by encouraging greater self-reporting by companies” and a “key focus of this consideration is a possible deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) scheme.”Set forth below is the text of my letter to the AGD urging it to reject DPAs.This letter responds to the request of the Attorney General’s Department for submissions regarding a proposed model for a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) scheme in Australia.While the AGD’s DPA proposal concerns a variety of crimes, it is probable that a significant percentage of DPAs, if implemented, will be used to resolve foreign bribery enforcement actions as has happened in the U.S. where a significant percentage of DPAs and related non-prosecution agreements (NPAs) have been used to resolve Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) enforcement actions. Given that my primary area of expertise is the FCPA and related anti-corruption laws, I confine my comments to potential application of DPAs to resolve foreign bribery enforcement actions.To begin, I applaud the AGD (as I likewise applauded the U.K. Ministry of Justice) for its rejection of non-prosecution agreements (“NPAs”) to resolve allegations of foreign bribery.  I can only hope that the U.S. Department of Justice sees the wisdom of your decision and likewise abolishes NPAs in the FCPA context as I have long advocated.I am concerned however that in its consultation paper the AGD relies upon several unfounded assertions regarding DPAs including that adoption of DPAs will: (i) yield “a more effective and efficient response to corporate crime by encouraging greater self-reporting by companies”; (ii) “enhance the accountability of Australian business for serious corporate crime.”Alternative resolution vehicles such as DPAs and NPAs were first used in the U.S. FCPA context in 2004, however, there is no reliable evidence to suggest that use of such resolution vehicles has yielded “a more effective and efficient response to corporate crime by encouraging greater self-reporting by companies.” Indeed, the U.S. Department of Justice’s launch of an FCPA Pilot Program in April 2016 – which remains in effect – to further motivate companies to self-report FCPA offenses should be seen as an acknowledgment that the DOJ’s long standing efforts spanning over a decade, including through use of NPAs and DPAs, to motivate self-reporting was not successful.Likewise, there is no reliable evidence to suggest that alternative resolution vehicles used to resolve alleged FCPA offenses has enhanced the accountability of business organizations resolving such offenses. Indeed, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”) report on FCPA enforcement observed that the “actual deterrent effect [of NPAs and DPAs] has not been quantified,” and it requested that the U.S. “[m]ake public any information about the impact of NPAs and DPAs on deterring the bribery of foreign public officials.” The DOJ’s response to this request stated:“Scholars have recognized that quantifying deterrence is extremely difficult. This is equally true for the deterrent effect of DPAs and NPAs. Thus . . . measuring ‘the impact of NPAs and DPAs in deterring the bribery of foreign public officials’ would be a difficult task, save providing certain anecdotal and other circumstantial evidence. One of the best sources of anecdotal evidence demonstrating that DPAs and NPAs have a deterrent effect comes from the companies themselves. The companies against which DPAs and NPAs have been brought have often undergone dramatic changes.”This is a most curious statement given the following fact. Even though alternative resolution vehicles have only been used in the FCPA context since 2004, several companies (Aibel Group Ltd., Marubeni Corp., Biomet Inc., and Orthofix International) that resolved FCPA enforcement actions via such resolution vehicles have already become repeat offenders.The AGD consultation paper states that DPAs will only be used “in appropriate cases.” From a comparative perspective, that is similar to what the U.S. Department of Justice stated in 2008 when NPAs and DPAs were first explicitly mentioned in official policy documents. Specifically, the DOJ stated:“In certain instances, it may be appropriate . . . to resolve a corporate criminal case by means other than indictment. Nonprosecution and deferred prosecution agreements, for example, occupy an important middle ground between declining prosecution and obtaining the conviction of a corporation.”Far from being used only “in certain instances” or functioning as a “middle ground,” since 2010 approximately 90% of DOJ corporate FCPA enforcement actions have used, in whole in part, alternative resolution vehicles.In addition to the above concerns, my primary concern with Australia looking to the U.S. for support in considering DPAs is the material differences between Australia and U.S. corporate criminal liability principles including in the bribery context.Under the U.S. principle of respondeat superior, a business organization can face criminal liability based on the acts of any employee or agent to the extent the individual’s conduct was in the scope of their duties and was intended to benefit, at least in part, the organization. U.S. adoption of alternative resolution vehicles largely developed out of a sense of injustice (given that the U.S. does not recognize pre-existing compliance policies and procedures as a matter of law) when this principle was applied to organizations based on isolated conduct or conduct that occurred despite the organization’s good faith compliance efforts.Unlike the ease in which a business organization can be subject to criminal liability under U.S. law, Australian law is materially different. As you know, “bodies corporate’ can be liable for offences committed by “an employee, agent or officer of a body corporate acting within the actual or apparent scope of his or her employment, or within his or her actual or apparent authority” where the body corporate ‘expressly, tacitly, or impliedly authorised or permitted the commission of the offence.” Pursuant to the Criminal Code: authorisation or permission by the body corporate may be established in [the following] ways:The board of directors intentionally, knowingly or recklessly carried out the conduct, or expressly, tacitly or impliedly authorised or permitted it to occur;A high managerial agent intentionally, knowingly or recklessly carried out the conduct, or expressly, tacitly or impliedly authorised or permitted it to occur;A corporate culture existed that directed, encouraged, tolerated or led to the offence; orThe body corporate failed to create and maintain a corporate culture that required compliance with the relevant provision.However, under the Criminal Code, “if a high managerial agent is directly or indirectly involved in the conduct, no offence is committed where the body corporate proves that it ‘exercised due diligence to prevent the conduct, or the authorisation or permission.’”In short, Australia’s standard for corporate criminal liability is materially different than the U.S. principle including Australia’s recognition in certain instances of a so-called compliance or adequate procedures defense.Given this material difference, I pose the following questions the AGD should consider during its consultation process. Why does a legal regime that only ascribes criminal liability to a body corporate based on the acts or omissions of high-ranking corporate officials and a legal regime that recognizes in certain instances a compliance defense need the third option of a DPA (the first two options being prosecute vs. not prosecute)?If a body corporate faces legal liability based on the acts or omissions of high-ranking corporate officials, this seems like a just and reasonable result and a DPA would seem to represent “under-prosecution” of egregious corporate conduct. On the other hand, if a body corporate does “create and maintain a corporate culture that required compliance with the relevant provision,” yet an isolated act of bribery by a low-ranking employee or agent nevertheless occurs, the body corporate would not face prosecution under existing law. This too seems like a just and reasonable result and there is no need for a third option of a DPA in such a case.Finally, the AGAs consultation papers makes much of the fact that a substantial majority of submissions received in connection with a similar 2016 request for public consultation on adopting DPAs “endorsed, or conditionally endorsed, the [DPA] proposal subject to further development of the details of the scheme.”This is hardly surprising given that the substantial majority of these submissions were received from government, business interests, law firms, and civil society groups. Government obviously likes DPAs because it makes its job easier and will lead to a greater number of enforcement actions. Business interests obviously like DPAs because they will allow body corporates to escape the most serious consequences of violating criminal laws. Law firms obviously like DPAs because they will lead to a greater number of enforcement actions and thereby expand the market for legal services including post-enforcement action compliance services. Civil society groups, who frequently prioritize quantity of enforcement over quality of enforcement, obviously like DPAs because they will lead to a greater number of enforcement actions and create the (false) impression that bribery is being reduced.For all of the above reasons, Australia should say “no” to DPAs to resolve foreign bribery offenses. Support This Free Public Website FCPA Professor is widely regarded as a leading source of FCPA news and commentary. All of this takes time, money, and substantial effort. Thus, if FCPA Professor adds value to your practice or business, please consider a donation. Donatelast_img read more

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Obvious Parallels To Certain FCPA Enforcement Actions In The SECs Recent Report

first_imgAs to the FCPA’s books and records provisions:“This provision is intimately related to the requirement for a system of internal accounting controls, and we believe that records which are not relevant to accomplishing the objectives specified in the statute for the system of internal controls are not within the purview of the recordkeeping provision. […] Nor could a company be enjoined for a falsification of which its management, broadly defined, was not aware and reasonably should not have known.”As to the FCPA’s internal control provisions:“The Act does not mandate any particular kind of internal controls system. The test is whether a system, taken as a whole, reasonably meets the statute’s specified objectives. ‘Reasonableness,’ a familiar legal concept, depends on an evaluation of all the facts and circumstances.”[…]“Private sector decisions implementing these statutory objectives are business decisions. And, reasonable business decisions should be afforded deference. This means that the issuer need not always select the best or the most effective control measure. However, the one selected must be reasonable under all the circumstances.”[…]“The accounting provisions principal objective is to reaching knowing or reckless conduct.”“The primary thrust of the Act’s accounting provisions, in short, was to require those public companies which lacked effective internal controls or tolerated unreliable recordkeeping to comply with the standards of their better managed peers. That is the context in which these provisions should be construed.”The 1981 guidance then addresses “four of the most important” interpretative questions concerning the FCPA: “first, the degree of exactitude in recordkeeping mandated by the Act; second, the deference it affords business decisions concerning internal controls; third, whether a particular state of mind is necessary for a violation to exist; and finally, liability for compliance by subsidiaries.”As to the “degree of exactitude”:“I turn first to the question of whether the Act’s text or purpose mandates that business records and controls conform to a standard of absolute exactitude or that a company’s control system meet some absolute ideal. The answer is ‘no.’ Both of the Act’s accounting provisions, it should be noted are modified by the key term ‘reasonable.’ […] In essence, therefore, the Act does provide a de minimus exemption, though not in absolute quantitative terms.[…]“Reasonableness, as a standard, allows flexibility in responding to particular facts and circumstances. Inherent in this concept is a toleration of deviations from the absolute. One measure of the reasonableness of a system relates to whether the expected benefits from improving it would be significantly greater than the anticipated costs of doing so. Thousands of dollars ordinarily should not be spent conserving hundreds. Further, not every procedure which may be individually cost-justifiable need be implemented; the Act allows a range of reasonable judgments.”As to the “specific recordkeeping requirement” in the FCPA:“This provision is not an independent unrestrained mandate to the Commission to establish novel or unprecedented corporate recordkeeping standards; it is, rather, an integral part of Congress’ efforts to assure that the business community records transactions and assets in such a way as to maintain adequate control over them. And this leads to two important conclusions: First, the Act does not establish any absolute standard of exactitude for corporate records. And, second, records which are not related to internal or external audits or to the four internal control objectives set forth in the Act are not within the purview of the Act’s accounting provisions.”As to “deference” with respect to “issuer liability for recordkeeping violations,” the guidance states that the SEC “will look to the adequacy of the internal control system of the issuer, the involvement of top management in the violation, and the corrective actions taken once the violation was uncovered.”It then states as follows:“If a violation was committed by a low level employee, without the knowledge of top management, with an adequate system of internal control, and with appropriate corrective action taken by the issuer, we do not believe that any action against the company would be called for.”The guidance next turned to the “state of mind needed to violate the Act’s accounting provisions” and reiterates that the “Act’s principal purpose is to reach knowing or reckless misconduct.” It states:“Depending on the circumstances, intentional circumventions of a company’s system of records and of accounting controls by a low-level employee would not always be considered violations of the Act by the issuer. No system of adequate records and controls – no matter how effectively devised or conscientiously applied – could be expected to prevent all mistaken and improper transactions and disposition of assets. Given human nature, regardless of the adequacy of the system, a bookkeeper may still erroneously post entries, an overzealous agent may make unauthorized payments, or an unscrupulous employee may falsify records for his own purposes. The Act recognizes each of these limitations. Neither its text and legislative history nor its purposes suggest that occasional, inadvertent errors were the kind of problem that Congress sought to remedy in passing the Act. No rational federal interest in punishing insignificant mistakes has been articulated. And, the Act’s accounting provisions do not require a company or its senior officials to be the guarantors of all conduct of company employees.”[…]“The test of a company’s internal control system is not whether occasional failings can occur. Those will happen in the most ideally managed company. But, an adequate system of internal controls means that, when such breaches do arise, they will be isolated rather than systemic, and they will be subject to a reasonable likelihood of being uncovered in a timely manner and then remedied promptly. Barring, of course, the participation or complicity of senior company officials in the deed, when discovery and correction expeditiously follow, no failing in the company’s internal accounting system would have existed. To the contrary, routine discovery and correction would evidence its effectiveness.”As to the SEC’s enforcement policy, the guidance states.“The genius – and challenge – of [the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions] , it should be remembered, is their reliance on private sector decisionmaking – rather than specific federal edicts – to address an area of public concern. The Act’s eventual success or failure will, therefore, depend primarily upon business’s response. The Commission’s obligation, in turn, is to provide a regulatory environment in which the private sector can address these issues meaningfully and creatively. In this regard, we must encourage public companies to develop innovative records and control systems, to modify and improve them as circumstances change, and to correct recordkeeping errors when they occur without a chilling fear of penalty or inference that a violation of the Act is involved.”Can you imagine what the current FCPA enforcement climate would look like if the SEC actually acted consistent with this guidance – guidance it recently cited in its report of investigation? I’ve long believed that in certain instances, the SEC should use its Section 21(a) report of investigation powers to address emerging Foreign Corrupt Practices Act issues rather than bring an actual enforcement action.Recently the SEC did just that in this report “regarding certain cyber-related frauds perpetrated against public companies and related internal accounting controls requirements.”As highlighted below, in the report the SEC cites FCPA legislative history, prior SEC FCPA guidance, and otherwise takes positions in the report that seemingly undermine its internal controls enforcement theories in many traditional FCPA enforcement actions involving alleged foreign bribery.As stated in the intro of the SEC’s report:“The United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“Commission”) Division of Enforcement (“Division”), in consultation with the Division of Corporation Finance and the Office of the Chief Accountant, investigated whether certain public issuers that were victims of cyber-related frauds may have violated the federal securities laws by failing to have a sufficient system of internal accounting controls.[…]In connection with the investigation, the Commission considered whether the issuers complied with the requirements of Sections 13(b)(2)(B)(i) and (iii) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) [the FCPA’s internal controls provisions]. Those provisions require certain issuers to devise and maintain a system of internal accounting controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurances that transactions are executed with, or that access to company assets is permitted only with, management’s general or specific authorization. As the Senate emphasized over four decades ago when passing these provisions, “[a] fundamental aspect of management’s stewardship responsibility is to provide shareholders with reasonable assurances that the business is adequately controlled.” While the cyber-related threats posed to issuers’ assets are relatively new, the expectation that issuers will have sufficient internal accounting controls and that those controls will be reviewed and updated as circumstances warrant is not.The Commission has determined not to pursue an enforcement action in these matters based on the conduct and activities of these public issuers that are known to the Commission at this time. The Commission, however, deems it appropriate and in the public interest to issue this Report of Investigation (“Report”) pursuant to Section 21(a) of the Exchange Act to make issuers and other market participants aware that these cyber-related threats of spoofed or manipulated electronic communications exist and should be considered when devising and maintaining a system of internal accounting controls as required by the federal securities laws. Having sufficient internal accounting controls plays an important role in an issuer’s risk management approach to external cyber-related threats, and, ultimately, in the protection of investors.”As noted in the report, “the Division’s investigation focused on the internal accounting controls of nine issuers that were victims of one of two variants of schemes involving spoofed or compromised electronic communications from persons purporting to be company executives or vendors. […] Each of the nine issuers lost at least $1 million; two lost more than $30 million.”According to the SEC, there were two schemes: “e-mails from fake executives” and “e-mails from fake vendors.” As to the former, the SEC stated:“These were not sophisticated frauds in general design or the use of technology. In fact, from a technological perspective they only required creating an email address to mimic the executive’s address.”As to the later, the SEC stated:“Unlike the fake executive scams, the spoofed vendor emails had fewer indicia of illegitimacy or red flags. In fact, several victims only learned of the scam when the real vendor raised concerns about nonpayment on outstanding invoices. Because vendors often afford issuers months before considering a payment delinquent, the scams, in certain circumstances, were able to continue for an extended period of time.”The discussion portion of the report states in pertinent part:“In light of the risks associated with today’s ever expanding digital interconnectedness, public companies should pay particular attention to the obligations imposed by Section 13(b)(2)(B) to devise and maintain internal accounting controls that reasonably safeguard company and, ultimately, investor assets from cyber-related frauds. More specifically, Section 13(b)(2)(B)(i) and (iii) require certain issuers to “devise and maintain a system of internal accounting controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurances that (i) transactions are executed in accordance with management’s general or specific authorization,” and that “(iii) access to assets is permitted only in accordance with management’s general or specific authorization.” As the Senate underscored when these provisions were passed, “[t]he expected benefits from the conscientious discharge of these responsibilities are of basic importance to investors and the maintenance of the integrity of our capital market system.”Virtually all economic activities now take place through digital technology and electronic communication, leaving business transactions and assets susceptible to a variety of cyber-related threats. This is a growing global problem, and cyberscams like the ones described above that target an issuer’s assets are an ever-increasing part of the cybersecurity threats faced by a wide variety of businesses, including issuers with Section 13(b)(2)(B) obligations. The financial and other impacts of these frauds can be significant, as the instances described above attest.As noted above, these frauds were not sophisticated in design or the use of technology; instead, they relied on technology to search for both weaknesses in policies and procedures and human vulnerabilities that rendered the control environment ineffective. Having internal accounting control systems that factor in such cyber-related threats, and related human vulnerabilities, may be vital to maintaining a sufficient accounting control environment and safeguarding assets.These examples underscore the importance of devising and maintaining a system of internal accounting controls attuned to this kind of cyber-related fraud, as well as the critical role training plays in implementing controls that serve their purpose and protect assets in compliance with the federal securities laws. The issuers here, for instance, had procedures that required certain levels of authorization for payment requests, management approval for outgoing wires, and verification of any changes to vendor data. Yet they still became victims of these attacks. The existing controls could be (and were) interpreted by the company’s personnel to mean that the (ultimately compromised) electronic communications were, standing alone, sufficient to process significant wire transfers or changes to vendor banking data. To that end, after falling victim to these frauds, each of the issuers sought to enhance their payment authorization procedures, and verification requirements for vendor information changes. Moreover, as noted above, many of these issuers only learned of the fraud as a result of third-party notices, such as from law enforcement or foreign banks. Thereafter, these issuers took steps to bolster their account reconciliation procedures and outgoing payment notification processes to aid detection of payments resulting from fraud.”The SEC’s report also concludes, no doubt with the benefit of hindsight, that there were things the issuers could have done better and states:“Systems of internal accounting controls, by their nature, depend also on the personnel that implement, maintain, and follow them. In the context of the business email compromises the Division reviewed, the frauds succeeded, at least in part, because the responsible personnel did not sufficiently understand the company’s existing controls or did not recognize indications in the emailed instructions that those communications lacked reliability. For example, in one matter, the accounting employee who received the spoofed email did not follow the company’s dual-authorization requirement for wire payments, directing unqualified subordinates to sign-off on the wires. In another, the accounting employee misinterpreted the company’s authorization matrix as giving him approval authority at a level reserved for the CFO. And there were numerous examples where the recipients of the fraudulent communications asked no questions about the nature of the supposed transactions, even where such transactions were clearly outside of the recipient employee’s domain and even where the employee was asked to make multiple payments over days and even weeks. In two instances the targeted recipients were themselves executive-level employees—chief accounting officers—who initiated payments in response to fake executive emails. To this end, while most of the issuers had some form of training regarding controls and information technology in place prior to the scams, all of them enhanced their training of responsible personnel about relevant threats, as well as about pertinent policies and procedures following the frauds.”In conclusion, the report states:“By this report, the Commission is not suggesting that every issuer that is the victim of a cyber-related scam is, by extension, in violation of the internal accounting controls requirements of the federal securities laws. What is clear, however, is that internal accounting controls may need to be reassessed in light of emerging risks, including risks arising from cyber-related frauds. Public issuers subject to the requirements of Section 13(b)(2)(B) must calibrate their internal accounting controls to the current risk environment and assess and adjust policies and procedures accordingly.Ultimately, issuers themselves are in the best position to develop internal accounting controls that account for their particular operational needs and risks in complying with Section 13(b)(2)(B). In performing this analysis, issuers should evaluate to what extent they should consider cyber-related threats when devising and maintaining their internal accounting control systems. Given the prevalence and continued expansion of these attacks, issuers should be mindful of the risks that cyber-related frauds pose and consider, as appropriate, whether their internal accounting control systems are sufficient to provide reasonable assurances in safeguarding their assets from these risks.”In this SEC release, Stephanie Avakian (Co-Director of the SEC Enforcement Division) stated:“In light of the facts and circumstances, we did not charge the nine companies we investigated, but our report emphasizes that all public companies have obligations to maintain sufficient internal accounting controls and should consider cyber threats when fulfilling those obligations.”There are obvious parallels in the SEC’s report to certain FCPA enforcement actions and seeming contradictions between its no-enforcement approach to many traditional FCPA enforcement actions involving alleged foreign bribery.In the report, the SEC stated that the issuers were “victims” of fraud.Well, in certain FCPA enforcement actions a legitimate conclusion to draw is that the issuer was a victim of fraud by a small group of employees or outside third parties. By way of example (several other enforcement actions could be cited as well), consider the SEC’s enforcement action against Nordion (see here and here for prior posts). The salient findings were as follows.Approximately 16 years prior to the enforcement action, Mikhail Gourevitch (a dual Canadian and Israeli citizen who was fired years ago by Nordion) represented to the company that “his purported childhood friend from Russia” could help the company’s business in Russia.Gourevitch and this eventual agent “conspired to use a portion of the funds Nordion paid the Agent to bribe Russian government officials to obtain approval for TheraSphere” a liver cancer therapy.Gourevitch also received kickbacks from the Agent and otherwise “hid the scheme from Nordion” through, among other things, misrepresentations to his employer. In the words of the SEC, through his conduct Gourevitch “secretly enrich[ed] himself” and received “at least $100,000 for his role in the arrangement which was not disclosed to Nordion.”Nowhere in the SEC’s recent report are the words “prevent or detect” and that is with good reason because those standards do not even exist in the FCPA’s internal controls provisions. Why then, as has been highlighted for years on these pages, does the SEC frequently invoke the “prevent or detect” standard in FCPA enforcement actions? (See here for instance).The SEC’s recent report cites FCPA legislative history. Now that the SEC has a new found appreciation for the FCPA’s legislative history, how about SEC recognition of the following relevant excerpts from the legislative history:“The committee recognizes, however, that management must exercise judgment in determining the steps to be taken, and the cost incurred, in giving assurance that the objectives expressed will be achieved.  Here, standards of reasonableness must apply.  In this regard, the term ‘accurately’ does not mean exact precision as measured by some abstract principle.  Rather it means that an issuer’s records should reflect transactions in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles or other applicable criteria.  While management should observe every reasonable prudence in satisfying the objections called for [in the books and records and internal controls provisions] the committee recognizes that management must necessarily estimate and evaluate the cost/benefit relationships to the steps to be taken in fulfillment of its responsibilities … The size of the business, diversity of operations, degree of centralization of financial and operating management, amount of contact by top management with day-to-day operations, and numerous other circumstances are factors which management must consider in establishing and maintaining an internal accounting controls systems.”[…]“The conference committee adopted the ‘in reasonable detail’ qualification to the accurate and fair requirement in light of the concern that such a standard, if unqualified, might connote a degree of exactitude and precision which is unrealistic.”In 1988, the FCPA’s books and records and internal control provisions were amended specifically as to an issuer’s responsibility for the books and records and internal controls of minority subsidiaries, an important issue in this new era given that issuers often operate in foreign markets through subsidiaries or other indirect relationships.  The relevant provision added to the FCPA generally states, as to issuers which hold 50% or less of the voting power with respect to a firm, that the books and records and internal control provisions:“require only that the issuer proceed in good faith to use its influence, to the extent reasonable under the issuer’s circumstances, to cause such [firm] to devise and maintain a system of internal accounting controls consistent [with the books and records and internal controls provisions].  Such circumstances include the relative degree of the issuer’s ownership of the [firm] and the laws and practices governing the business operations of the country in which such firm is located.  An issuer which demonstrates good faith efforts to use such influence shall be conclusively presumed to have complied with the requirements [of the books and records and internal controls provisions.”As to the above provision, a 1988 House Conference Report stated:“[The provision] recognizes that it is unrealistic to expect a minority owner to exert a disproportionate degree of influence over the accounting practices of a subsidiary.  The amount of influence which an issuer may exercise necessarily varies from case to case.  While the relative degree of ownership is obviously one factor, other factors may also be important in determining whether an issuer has demonstrated good-faith efforts to use its influence.”The FCPA’s books and records and internal control provisions were further amended in 1988 by defining the terms “reasonable assurance” and “reasonable detail” to mean such level of detail and degree of assurance as would satisfy prudent officials in the conduct of their own affairs.”  Legislative history states as follows:“The prudent man qualification [was adopted] in order to clarify that the current standard does not connote an unrealistic degree of exactitude or precision.  The concept of reasonableness of necessity contemplates the weighing of a number of relevant factors, including the costs of compliance.”The SEC’s recent report cites its prior 1981 FCPA guidance (technically a speech by the SEC Chairman that was thereafter adopted as a formal statement of SEC policy – a document that has been discussed for years on these pages). Now that the SEC has a new found appreciation for this prior FCPA guidance, how about SEC recognition of the following relevant excerpts from this policy document. Save Money With FCPA Connect Keep it simple. Not all FCPA issues warrant a team of lawyers or other professional advisers. Achieve client and business objectives in a more efficient manner through FCPA Connect. Candid, Comprehensive, and Cost-Effective.center_img Connectlast_img read more

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ALJ Dismisses SEC Allegations Against Houston Investment Firm

first_img Remember me Lost your password? Password An administrative law judge for the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission has exonerated Houston-based Robare Group and two of its executives of all charges the agency brought against them last September . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content.center_img Username Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook.last_img

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Texas Securities Offerings 2016 – The Lawyers Firms and Issuers – Q1Q4

first_img Remember me Lost your password? . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Passwordcenter_img Username Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook.last_img

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New Restrictions on Formaldehyde Wood UseConstruction Leads Wenatchee Area Job GrowthCherry Creek

first_imgA new rule put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency this month will protect consumers from formaldehyde in wood products. Formaldehyde is used to bind wood in products such as cabinets, flooring and even R-V paneling. However, excessive use of the product can hurt people’s health. While the E-P-A created tougher standards in 2016, agency head Scott Pruitt delayed their implementation. Earthjustice challenged that decision, and in March a judge ordered enforcement of those rules by June 1st. Patti Goldman, Northwest managing attorney at Earthjustice, calls the decision a major win for consumers, especially given the harm formaldehyde can do.“There are a lot of materials that off-gas formaldehyde, which is very dangerous. It’s a respiratory irritant. It’s linked with leukemia and other cancers. It exacerbates childhood asthma. So it’s really a good thing that we will be protected from excessive formaldehyde emissions.”The severe health effects from formaldehyde were on full display in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when families living in emergency housing started complaining of splitting headaches, breathing problems and other reactions. Goldman says this was mainly due to imported wood products used to make the temporary housing. Most manufacturers in the United States have already been complying voluntarily with tougher standards.Jackson Morrill is president of the Composite Panel Association, which represents more than 90 percent of the industry’s manufacturing capacity in the United States. He says this move has been a long time coming and marks a major milestone that levels the playing field for domestic wood-product manufacturers.“This is a great outcome for consumers and we certainly believe it marks the beginning of a new generation of safer wood products in the U.S. And certainly the North American producers are going to be at the forefront of that, leading the way – where they’ve been for the last 30 years.”In 2010, Congress passed bipartisan legislation adopting California’s stance on tougher standards for formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products. That 2010 statute eventually led to tougher regulations in 2016 and their enforcement this month.last_img read more

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A More Mindful Week Understanding Self and Others

first_imgby, NamarahTweet5Share9ShareEmail14 SharesHere’s a thought: Elders want to be seen as people.Don’t we all want to be known this way? As a young African American adult I can identify with this viscerally. It’s sad how desensitized I am from the quickly averted glances, the compliments on how surprisingly “articulate” I am, or even the go-to expert on black culture. Our society programs seamlessly the realm of otherness into our vernacular, lifestyle, and attitudes. In this category of otherness we distance ourselves from the humane and are more willing to pass judgements on identity, ability or personhood.“Most people are not able to look on each other as human beings, and in spite of everything, to treat each other that way. Until this happens, freedom is only an empty word.”  – James Baldwin, The Price of the TicketFirst, I encourage you all to read Baldwin’s writings – when you do, you will understand how much LIFE is just in his work… ugh (Okay, I’ll calm down now). Second, the universal truth shouts to us that fair treatment to some is not equality, equity or freedom. We hurt ourselves and damage our humanity by doing anything less than the standard of care we require for our own. When we commit crimes against the human soul; Black, Elder, LGBTQ, and all, how can you expect there to be positive change?The same way we are all human – despite our life experiences, gender, or sexuality – we all grow and age. Would YOU want to live in a nursing home? Would YOU want to be seen as disabled? Would YOU want to be seen as them, or a resident, or anything less than who you are? People… When did we become so unloving?It’s not an unfair question – we are so consumed with fortifying our comfortable realities rather than breaking down walls. We expect others to agree with our ideals without conceding that we must first hear and accept theirs. So I ask…  WHEN will we stop? I will.I choose to look you in the eye and smile.I will listen.I will hear.It is a daily action we must choose to be mindful of. Unfortunately, many of us fall into the practice of selfish living – I include myself! It’s almost second nature, but the beauty in being human is that we do not have to continue to live in such a way. Let’s try to be more mindful this week… Just take that step – I’m sure you’ll like the way it feels.Related PostsThe Fixes for AgeismAge discrimination affects our country’s business, economy, values, and human dignity. It’s time we transform our perceptions of aging, from dependency and weakness to one of proficiency and resourcefulness.What do you mean by “old”?Agism cuts both ways, discriminating against both the so-called ‘young’ and ‘old,’ and turns these two seemingly innocuous words into pejoratives. When ‘young’ and ‘old’ are used colloquially rather than as they were intended (as comparative markers of time) they become profane.About that OTHER WordI want to talk about another word that is used to demean and diminish older people. This time Kavan’s the one getting in dustups, with no less than Oprah and AARP.Tweet5Share9ShareEmail14 SharesTags: culture change generationslast_img read more

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UQ researchers examine moral reasoning in children

first_imgA team from the UQ School of Psychology examined moral reasoning in children aged 10 and under.Dr Dan Crimston said a child’s ‘moral circle’ becomes more inclusive with age.“A moral circle refers to how far we extend our moral consideration towards others and whether we care about their wellbeing,” Dr Crimston said.“Though slowly expanding over the course of history, for adults, our moral circle is generally pretty straightforward: we include loved ones, and we aren’t terribly concerned about objects or villains.Related StoriesInitiating dialysis at higher level of kidney function linked to lower patient survivalRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaPuzzling paralysis affecting healthy children warns CDC“Until now, we haven’t known when and how these patterns of moral decision-making develop in children.”The research team asked 151 children how much they cared about 24 items including humans, animals, nature and inanimate objects.They were instructed to put the items they cared about most in the inner circle, items cared about a little bit in the middle circle, and those they did not care about in the outer circle.Unsurprisingly, mum was rated number one in all age groups, with best friends, dolphins and dogs towards the top of all lists, while robbers and bullies were at the bottom.Other humans, such as teachers and policeman, didn’t fare as well, being mixed throughout the lists with farm animals, trees and lizards, depending on a child’s age.Children were rewarded with stickers for their participation, but were given the opportunity to donate some or all of their stickers to other children.PhD candidate and co-lead on the project Karri Neldner, said the research provided insight into what children cared about and how those preferences changed with age.“There were some surprising outcomes, such as four-year-olds’ seeming indifference towards sick people, who were rated equally with shoes – many parents could probably confirm that pre-schoolers care more about what’s in front of them than anyone in need,” Ms Neldner said.“As children got older they began to care more about vulnerable members of society, such as the sick and people with disabilities, suggesting they are becoming more inclusive as they grow.”“In addition, the preferences children reported predicted their real behaviour, as those who cared more about humans donated more of their hard-won stickers to others.“This act of charitable giving is a sign that children who care more in thought about others also care in deed.“This research sheds new light on the origins of compassion and prejudice in human development, and may help us determine new ways to encourage openness and reduce intolerance in our children.” Jun 1 2018Question: when is a chicken more important than a sick person? Answer: when you’re four years old, according to research from The University of Queensland. Source:https://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2018/05/caring-sick-and-casting-out-villains-moral-development-childrenlast_img read more

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Growing pains in CRISPR gene editing

first_imgJul 12 2018In the six years since its inception, CRISPR gene editing has experienced ups and downs, from giddy excitement over the technology’s potential to cure genetic diseases to patent disputes, ethical considerations and cancer scares. Despite recent setbacks, companies developing CRISPR therapies are forging ahead, reports an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly news magazine of the American Chemical Society.Related StoriesScientists deploy CRISPR gene-editing tool to engineer multiple editsIDT releases new ultra-high performance CRISPR Cas12a enzymeResearchers develop a more precise version of CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing systemThe CRISPR process makes double-stranded breaks at particular sites in DNA, specified by a guide RNA, with an enzyme called Cas9. The cell machinery then repairs the DNA break, while a CRISPR template DNA sequence introduces edits to restore a defective gene’s function. The first clinical trials of CRISPR will take place within the next year. However, since May 2017, a few studies in mice and human cell lines have raised safety concerns over the technology, writes Assistant Editor Ryan Cross.Last month, a pair of papers in Nature Medicine indicated that CRISPR doesn’t work in two human cell lines unless a protein called p53 is broken or missing. Because cancer cells often have defective p53, some media coverage linked CRISPR to cancer. However, representatives from companies developing the technology downplay these results because they are not using these cell lines for their therapies. They also note that an earlier report suggesting that CRISPR is not as precise as intended has been retracted because the alleged off-target effects of the technology were later attributed to natural genetic variation in the studied mice. Source:https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/presspacs/2018/acs-presspac-july-11-2018/crisprs-growing-pains.htmllast_img read more

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Beckman Coulter offers largest range of single color CEIVD and ASR conjugated

first_imgBeckman Coulter has more than 30 years’ experience in conjugated antibody development and manufacturing which has seen them command a market leading position. The company also builds efficiency into its antibody labeling with the product specificity on the top of the cap label to speed up product identification and workflow. Dr Koksch referred to a recent study published in Nature which showed that monoclonal antibodies were among the most commonly used tools in life sciences but also the greatest source of false findings. Poor quality conjugated antibodies, their specifications and performance can significantly distort data interpretation, in particular when analyzing abnormal populations.He added: Jul 30 2018Beckman Coulter Life Sciences now offers its largest portfolio of single color CE-IVD and ASR (analyte-specific reagent) conjugated antibodies. With the recent launch of two Kappa and two Lambda polyclonal antibodies, the company has introduced more than 30 additional CE-IVD reagents and 10 new ASRs in the last year. The entire portfolio of single color antibodies for flow cytometry is manufactured under Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). The portfolio is featured at the 70th American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) Annual Scientific Meeting and Clinical Laboratory Expo (CLE), being held July 29 – August 2, 2018 in Chicago. Beckman Coulter Life Sciences, part of the Danaher Corporation, is exhibiting on booth #3612 alongside Beckman Coulter Diagnostics (another Danaher company).Dr Mario Koksch, Vice President and General Manager of Beckman Coulter’s Cytometry Business Unit, said: To be able to routinely run Lab Developed Tests (LDTs), a high-end lab needs skilled staff with significant expertise in data interpretation.  However, even with the right staff and robust procedures, poor reagent quality often leads to failed quality controls, challenges in interpreting data –  and can even lead to false results.The list of potential pitfalls associated with poor antibodies is long and can have a negative impact on a study’s outcome.This is because of lack of reproducibility across lots, poor conjugation quality, low binding affinity, and non-specific staining.” High standard, single color reagents are at the heart of robust and consistent lab-developed tests (LDTs). Even so, establishing robust, accurate and reproducible assays can be a challenge.Several studies show the inadequacy of non-clinical-grade reagents because of inferior performance and problems around reproducibility.” Source:https://www.beckman.comlast_img read more

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Researchers use PET tracer to identify ER expression differences in metastatic breast

first_img Source:http://www.snmmi.org/NewsPublications/NewsDetail.aspx?ItemNumber=29703 Aug 7 2018In metastatic breast cancer, prognosis and treatment is largely influenced by estrogen receptor (ER) expression of the metastases. However, little is known about ER expression across metastases throughout the body and surrounding normal tissue. Using a positron emission tomography (PET) tracer, researchers in the Netherlands have been able to identify differences in ER expression, which could help guide treatment for metastatic breast cancer patients. The study is featured in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine’s August issue.According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers, and it’s the second leading cause of cancer death for women (following lung cancer). Currently, the U.S. has more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors, and American women have a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer.Related StoriesBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerLiving with advanced breast cancerSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyFor the study, researchers used fluorine-18-fluoroestradiol (18F-FES) PET to assess ER expression heterogeneity in 91 patients with metastatic breast cancer. 18F-FES uptake was analyzed in 1,617 metastases, as well as in normal tissue.”The results showed that approximately 50 percent of the patients had one or more estrogen-receptor negative lesions, while the primary tumor was estrogen-receptor positive,” explains Geke A.P. Hospers, MD, PhD, professor of medical oncology at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands. “This heterogeneity of ER expression is, therefore, really common, and it likely affects treatment outcome.”A higher uptake was found in bone metastases compared to lymph nodes and lung metastases. In addition, in this largest study so far to examine background 18F-FES uptake in the normal tissue surrounding each organ, background uptake was also found to vary per organ, with uptake highest in the skeleton.Hospers points out, “We concluded that 18F-FES uptake in both tumor and normal tissue uptake is heterogeneous and influenced by the site of metastasis. By using cluster analysis on imaging characteristics and metastatic site, three distinct patterns of patients with ER positive metastatic breast cancer were identified.”She explains the significance, stating, “ER negative lesions will not respond to endocrine treatment, but other ER positive lesions may. The knowledge of this heterogeneity by means of 18F-FES PET may support future specific treatment of metastasis. For example, one ER negative lesion could be treated by radiotherapy, while the endocrine treatment is continued for the other ER positive lesions. The three distinct patterns in ER positive metastatic breast cancer that we identified with our analysis might be useful for future stratification in intervention studies and optimizing personalized treatment.”last_img read more

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Researchers focus on uncoupling obesity from diabetes

first_imgAug 15 2018About 422 million people around the world, including more than 30 million Americans, have diabetes. Approximately ninety percent of them have type 2 diabetes. People with this condition cannot effectively use insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas that helps the body turn blood sugar (glucose) into energy.The inability to use insulin, called insulin resistance, results in increasing levels of blood sugar, which, if not controlled, can significantly raise the risk of major health problems such as blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation. In 2015, the World Health Organization estimated that 1.6 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes. Until recently, this type of diabetes was only seen in adults, but it is now also occurring increasingly and more frequently in children.”Obesity is the most significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes and other metabolic conditions, and affects one in three adults worldwide,” said Dr. Sean Hartig, assistant professor of medicine and of molecular and cellular biology at Baylor College of Medicine. “Although medical consensus recommends making life style changes toward a healthy diet and increased physical activity to both prevent and help control diabetes, this strategy has shown to be difficult to implement and maintain by most people.”Hartig and his colleagues are exploring alternative ways to control obesity and type 2 diabetes that may involve the use of therapies that would complement the current efforts to educate the public about healthy diets and exercise routines. To achieve this goal, they are studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in fat metabolism using both genetic mouse models and human tissues.Subcutaneous white fat versus belly fat dictates metabolic health in obesityAlthough obesity significantly increases the risk of diabetes, about 30 percent of obese people do not show insulin resistance and do not develop type 2 diabetes or other metabolic conditions, such as fatty liver disease. What leads to obesity while maintaining insulin sensitivity is not well understood; however, scientists know that the condition is associated with the body’s ability to expand the storage of subcutaneous white adipose (fat) tissue.”Subcutaneous white fat represents 80 percent of all fat tissue in mice and people and it is stored in the hips, arms and legs. When energy intake (food) overwhelms the ability to store calories in subcutaneous white fat, fat ‘spills over’ into organs that are not specialized for storing fat, such as the liver, the pancreas and muscle,” said co-author Natasha Chernis, research technician at Baylor College of Medicine. “People who develop diabetes have more abdominal (belly) fat. Our idea is to find ways to expand subcutaneous white fat depots in obesity, so fat is not stored in places like the abdomen or the liver, where it can cause metabolic problems.”Another key player in the obesity and diabetes puzzle is the immune system. Obesity leads to developing a low-grade inflammatory response that can interfere with the metabolic functions of subcutaneous white fat tissue. This inflammatory microenvironment likely disturbs this fat tissue’s ability to respond to insulin, contributing in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. This is supported by findings that increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as interferon-gamma, correlate with insulin resistance, reduced subcutaneous white fat expansion and accumulation of abdominal fat. However, this brings the question, what is different in obese individuals who do not develop insulin resistance and diabetes?Related StoriesMothers with gestational diabetes transferring harmful ‘forever chemicals’ to their fetusMetformin use linked to lower risk of dementia in African Americans with type 2 diabetesDiabetes patients experiencing empathy from PCPs have beneficial long-term clinical outcomesAnother piece of the puzzle, miR-30a”When we started this project six years ago, our goal was to better understand fat metabolism and identify potential ways to help people lose weight,” Hartig said. “We found a microRNA called miR-30a – a small non-coding RNA molecule that regulates gene expression – that could stimulate pathways important for fat metabolism. Originally, we thought that expressing miR-30a would lead to weight loss because it would be driving fat metabolism, but we observed something different. We found miR-30a did not correlate with leanness; instead, it was associated with a form of obesity in which subjects actually maintained insulin sensitivity.”Hartig and his colleagues discovered that reduced miR-30a expression in fat tissue correlated with insulin resistance in both obese mice and obese humans. Interestingly, overexpressing miR-30a in subcutaneous white fat tissue of obese mice significantly improved insulin sensitivity, reduced levels of blood lipids and decreased buildup of fat in the liver without altering body weight. In addition, the researchers found that miR-30a expression reduced inflammation in subcutaneous white fat tissue.”We have provided evidence that expression of miR-30a protects fat cells by attenuating inflammation derived from mediators such as interferon gamma and leads to improved insulin sensitivity in obese mice,” Hartig said.These findings open the possibility of developing therapeutic entry ways for many forms of diabetes, not just diabetes aligned with obesity. For instance, targeting components of the immune system locally within adipose tissue may enable subcutaneous white fat to expand appropriately in lipodystrophies – conditions characterized by abnormal distribution of body fat – where diabetes occurs in patients without obesity.”We are interested in this idea that we can uncouple obesity from co-morbidities such as heart disease and insulin resistance,” Hartig said. “It has become clear in the past 10 years that obesity doesn’t mean diabetes. We are interested in learning how to manipulate the inflammatory response inside fat tissue of people with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes so they expand the subcutaneous white fat deposits and become metabolically healthy.” Source:https://blogs.bcm.edu/2018/08/14/healthy-fat-cells-uncouple-obesity-from-diabetes/last_img read more

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Our favorite upwardfacingdog photos More of your submissions so far

first_imgSubmitted by Amana Tan Submitted by @kegavrilov Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Submitted by @freshyill Submitted by @koolwave Submitted by @lykaios Submitted by @kimmy_darling ‹› Submitted by @marieandlady Submitted by @scufflebug Submitted by pat_peacock Submitted by @svignieri By Meghna SachdevApr. 27, 2015 , 3:00 PM Submitted by @DanClery Submitted by @katrinaholland Our #upwardfacingdog competition ends today! Thanks to all of you who have shared your charming, adorable, and goofy pets with us! We’ve been overwhelmed by the response, and quite frankly, we never want it to stop—all of these doggy photos have had a fantastic effect on office morale. (And now we know why.)But although you can keep the photos coming, today is the last day to enter your pup to win a (fake) Science cover and the chance at snagging a Science swag bag! Send your photos to sciphotos@aaas.org, or post them to @sciencemagazine on Instagram and Twitter using the tag #upwardfacingdog by the end of the day.In the meantime, check out some of the most engaging, entertaining, and doggone delightful entries we’ve gotten so far! Submitted by @nat94122 Our favorite #upwardfacingdog photos: More of your submissions so far Submitted by @scufflebug Email Submitted by Amana Tan For more on man’s best friend, see Science’s latest coverage of doggy science. Submitted by @DanClery Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Submitted by @dypsygypsy Submitted by @DrMurrayRudd Submitted by @mcuboid Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Submitted by @picsoritdidnthappen Submitted by @nikki_jay355 Submitted by @nat94122 last_img read more

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When will Alexa Google Assistant and other chatbots finally talk to us

first_imgA San Diego, California, family plays rock, paper, scissors with Amazon’s Alexa. Tribune Content Agency LLC/Alamy Stock Photo By Matthew HutsonJun. 20, 2017 , 12:45 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! 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What do these digital helpers—known as chatbots—have in store for us? Science talked with Alexander Rudnicky, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who studies human-machine conversations, about what chatbots can and can’t do, how they learn from us, and whether we can prevent them from adopting our worst behaviors. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.Q: Let’s start with a pretty basic question. What is a chatbot?A: Originally, they were dialogue systems that could have some sort of purposeful interaction with a human through text or speech. In the research community, the term “chat” has come to refer to non–goal-directed interaction, the way two people might talk to each other at a party. Q: How can chatbots learn from humans?A: The computer first needs to figure out that it doesn’t know something. Then it needs to figure out the right questions to ask. Think of it as an active form of learning—interactive, in fact. It’s modeling how humans learn from each other.Q: Are there other ways chatbots can actively learn from us?A: They could also use experimentation. If I’m rambling on about something and your attention wanders, I have to change what I’m saying to get you back in tune. You might give an automatic system the ability to note engagement, but then it has to find good strategies to get your attention back. It might learn to yell at you. Maybe that’s not such a good idea. But there are a lot of things it could try.Q: How do Siri and Alexa fit into all of this? A: I don’t consider Siri to be a chat system in the strict sense. I would call it merely an information access system. It allows you to call someone in your contacts, figure out what the weather is, or learn how to get somewhere. The programmers also did some clever stuff, like putting in answers to questions like “Will you marry me?” If you have a few hundred of those, people start thinking, “Wow, she’s really real.” Alexa has more skills, but it’s fundamentally the same thing.Q: What are the biggest challenges in programming chatbots?A: Historically, a developer would have to enumerate all the possible ways someone might say something. That was a big stumbling block for a very long time. More recent systems use what’s called “intent recognition” to get at the underlying meaning of what someone says. They use word associations, then find the closest known expression, and respond to that. Carnegie Mellon University When will Alexa, Google Assistant, and other ‘chatbots’ finally talk to us like real people? Another challenge is in being able to make use of context and world knowledge. So if I ask a system, “Hey, I’d like to go out to dinner with my friends yesterday,” what I said doesn’t make any common sense. There has to be a part of the system that says, “I should tell this person that I don’t understand that.”Q: How do we avoid offensive chatbots like Microsoft’s Tay, which began echoing Twitter users’ racist and anti-Semitic sentiments?A: That was a great case study of “Let’s build a bot that learns from people.” People started jerking it around. You can imagine that one thing missing there was a better model of what it ought to be learning about. On the other hand, people are really inventive when they want to cause problems. I don’t know if you can control it.Q: What problems are you trying to solve in your own research?A: I’ll describe one project. People do all sorts of complicated things with their smartphones. They might be using several apps at the same time. If you ask people what they’re doing, they might tell you things like, “I was planning an evening out with my friends, and I wanted to check up on restaurants and shows, message back and forth, look at a map, and so forth.” Would it not be interesting, or at least useful, if a chatbot could notice that you’re doing something purposeful across different apps, ask what it is, and then gradually start helping you out? The most minimal thing it could do is, the next time you say, “I want to organize a dinner,” it would know the apps to display. A more sophisticated task would be passing information from one app to another. It might put the restaurant information into a message to your friends, for example.Q: Is it possible for different chatbots to combine their knowledge?A: On some level, those are issues of standards. They all need to agree on the same representation of knowledge, called an ontology. If they do then in principle, yes, you can do that kind of sharing. But there are serious privacy issues with sharing knowledge. If I consistently use one of these agents, it’s going to know a lot about me, about my friends, about what kind of food I like. Maybe I don’t care, but maybe there’s other stuff that I really wouldn’t want others to know about me.Q: Do you worry about people mistrusting assistants that seem human, but aren’t quite human enough—what robotics researchers refer to as the “uncanny valley”?A: We can run into people and there’s just something really weird about them. They’re not quite following the conventions or the rules of interaction. They’re operating outside of our expectations, which is kind of disturbing. The uncanny valley thing is basically what happens when your models aren’t good enough, but just good enough to sort of pass. There’s nothing intrinsically interesting about it other than it’s a symptom of a shortcoming.Q: So when will Alexa finally seem real?A: What would seem real to me is a system that has much better context awareness, for example knowing not to offer things at the wrong times or talk about the obvious, and one that has better introspection, knowing when it doesn’t know something, admitting it, and asking for advice.last_img read more

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