Midway through Georgia’s legislative session there’s a buzz around the Georgia State Capitol in downtown Atlanta. Crowds of lawmakers, engaged citizens and lobbyists come in from across the state to help conduct the state’s business each day, and this week they were joined by 25 up-and-coming leaders in the agriculture and forestry industries. The current class of the University of Georgia’s Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture and Forestry spent Thursday and Friday meeting with Georgia lawmakers and leaders in Atlanta. The trip, divvied between meetings with media representatives, legislators, agricultural advocates and state leaders like Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black and Gov. Nathan Deal, was designed to introduce them to the inner workings of state government. “We want participants to understand on a practical level the process of how things are done at the capitol, how policy is made and the role that they have to play in that process,” said Lauren Griffeth, director of the AGL program and a leadership specialist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Warnell School of Forest Resources. “This visit really debunks a lot of the myths about what happens here. You can have a negative opinion about lawmaking and policy making, but after engaging with law makers and seeing the process in action, you know that there are a lot of people here who are just trying to do the best thing for Georgia.” Organized by the CAES and the Warnell School, the purpose of AGL is to educate and empower Georgia’s agricultural leaders to become effective advocates for the largest economic drivers in Georgia — the state’s agricultural and forestry industries. Participants include foresters, farmers and nursery managers, as well as businessmen and businesswomen, representatives from agricultural advocacy groups and government agencies. With such diverse backgrounds, some participants are familiar with the process of talking to their elected officials. But, for others, this was their first trip to the capital and their first time watching a legislative session in process. “We were able to see the movers and shakers who make a difference as far as policy goes and who are responsible for ensuring that agriculture and conservation are successful and sustainable as we move into the future,” said AGL participant Ameila Dortch, a state public affairs specialist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Before their graduation in 2017, AGL’s current class will visit the Port of Savannah, row crop farms, UGA research plots, agritourism destinations and manufacturing hubs — all in an effort to gain a larger understanding of how the agriculture and natural resource industry impacts every sector of Georgia’s economy. The experiences are meant to build their knowledge and confidence, so they can be better leaders in their businesses, farms or agencies, and so they can more effectively advocate for the industry as a whole. That’s exactly what the group gained by visiting the capital, Dortch said. In 1993, community and state leaders across Georgia participated in the first leadership development program, formerly known as “Agri-Leaders.” Since then, 350 business leaders, farmers, foresters, educators and other stakeholders have completed the program to become more effective leaders and advocates. Graduates of AGL say they have experienced transformational leadership development that has positively impacted their professional capital and the agriculture and forestry industries. For more information about Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture and Forestry, visit agl.caes.uga.edu.
Secretary of Administration Michael K. Smith Announces August 2004Revenue Results For The State Of VermontGeneral FundSecretary of Administration Michael K. Smith released September 7 General Fund revenue results forthe month of August, the second month of fiscal year 2005. General Fund revenues totaled$68.18 million for August 2004, $4.86 million or 7.7 % more than the $63.32 million consensusrevenue target for the month. August results were also $9.59 million (or 16.4%) more thanGeneral Fund revenues in August 2003. Year to date, General Fund revenues totaled $148.65million.Secretary Smith noted, We are encouraged that after two months, General Fundrevenues are $9.03 million or 6.5% ahead of expectations.The monthly targets reflect the updated fiscal year 2005 Consensus Revenue Forecast that wasagreed to by the Emergency Board on July 15, 2004. The States Consensus Revenue Forecast isupdated two times per year in January and July.Monthly Personal Income Tax receipts, which are reported Net-of-Personal Income Tax refunds,exceeded target by $1.69 million (or 6.5 %) in August. Personal Income Tax Receipts, by far thelargest single state revenue source, were also up 13.9% from August 2003.All personal incometax revenue categories had positive results except refunds, which were higher than expected.Secretary Smith noted results for the other major General Fund revenue categories were alsoencouraging.Receipts in the Sales and Use Tax were substantially ahead of expectations inAugust (+$1.89 million or 12.5 %), reflecting actual purchases in July. Rooms and Meals taxeswere essentially on target. The Corporate Income Tax also surpassed (+$0.28 million or 30.6%)forecast.Among the other General Fund revenue categories, Insurance and Liquor Taxes surpassed thelatest targets. Estate and Property Transfer Taxes fell short of the forecast for August, althoughboth are ahead of expectations for the first two months of the fiscal year.Secretary Smith concluded the discussion of General Fund results by noting that, We areencouraged to continue the broad-based revenue success which started the fiscal year.General Fund By Major Element (In Millions)Tax Component FY04 YTD FY05 YTD % Change Aug-03 Aug-04 % ChangePersonal Income $63.26 $68.71 8.6% $24.23 $27.60 13.9%Sales & Use $37.43 $36.01 -3.8% $17.09 $16.98 -0.6%Corporate $1.27 $2.65 108.3% $0.63 $1.19 89.2%Meals & Room $14.51 $19.05 31.3% $7.76 $9.99 28.7%Insurance Premium $5.04 $6.07 20.5% $4.76 $5.78 21.4%Inheritance & Estate $1.96 $3.90 99.2% $0.70 $0.32 -54.6%Real Property Transfer $1.78 $2.17 21.9% $0.61 $0.98 60.2%Other $6.53 $10.08 54.5%* $2.81 $5.34 90.1%Total $131.78 $148.65 12.8% $58.59 $68.18 16.4%*Please note that comparisons from prior year are difficult, given the change in tax componentdistribution from FY04 to FY05.Transportation FundSecretary Smith also announced revenue results for the Transportation Fund. TransportationFund receipts for the month were $18.98 million, which surpassed the revenue target by $0.25million or 1.35 %. Total Transportation Fund revenues surpassed August 2003 receipts by $1.01million or 5.6 %. Revenues surpassed projections in Gasoline, Motor Vehicle Fees, and theOther Fees category. Diesel Taxes substantially lagged expectations, while Motor VehiclePurchase and Use Tax revenues were slightly below projections for the month.Transportation Fund By Major Element (In Millions)FY2004 FY2005 % Change August-03 August-04 % ChangeTax Component Y-T-D Y-T-DGasoline $8.79 $11.44 30.1% $4.24 $6.21 46.3%Diesel Fuel $1.85 $1.98 7.0% $1.08 $1.11 3.4%MV Purchase & Use $11.18 $9.34 -16.5% $6.72 $5.25 -21.9%Motor Vehicle Fees $8.22 $9.47 15.2% $4.65 $4.73 1.7%Other $2.50 $3.20 27.9%* $1.27 $1.67 31.5%Total $32.54 $35.42 8.8% $17.97 $18.98 5.6%*Please note that comparisons from prior year are difficult, given the change in tax componentdistribution from FY04 to FY05.Education FundIn announcing the Education Fund results for August, Secretary Smith reported that collectionstotaled $12.84 million in August, up substantially from last year. Due to Act 68 EducationFinance Reform Legislation passed in 2003, the Education Fund now receives two percentagepoints (1/3 of the 6% tax) from the Vermont Sales Tax, and the motor vehicle purchase and usetax.Although Sales and Use taxes were ahead of projections, the motor vehicle purchase anduse tax performed below projections for August, said Secretary Smith.ConclusionThe State of Vermont continued fiscal 2005 ahead of forecast for the General Fund,Transportation Fund and Education Fund, concluded Secretary Smith.
Greenville, South Carolina resident, Ron Babington, just might be the friendliest of the one hundred or so participants to ride the Tour Divide race this June, but it’s going to take more than a smile and a generous demeanor to accomplish his goal, or even finish, the grueling 2,745 mile self-supported mountain bike race.That’s right . . . over 2,500 miles with no support crew to bring water, food, or aid over the world’s longest non-paved bike route along the western Continental Divide. Come race start on June 14, Ron will subject himself to over 200,000 feet elevation gain from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico on the Mexican border. That’s like summiting Mount Everest from sea level seven times. The website caveat to any who would take the challenge reads, “ . . . it’s the hardest form of bike racing, period.”It gets better. Most cyclists choose a geared bike to accomplish such a feat, but every year there are a few (like maybe ten) hardy souls who seek to tackle the already grueling race sans derailleur. Ron is one of them. “Besides finishing the race, my ultimate goal is to win the single speed division and beat the single speed course record,” says Ron. Eighteen days would be a record ride. “I fully realize how improbable that sounds and the perfect ride it would require. Although I’m not a powerhouse, my strength is more mental than physical. My hope is to push through when others may choose not to. My biggest fear is leaving something out there. I’d rather race it and scratch than just tour it and finish.”There is proof in the peddling when you view Ron’s previous accomplishments in adventure racing and particularly his solo hiking the entire Appalachian Trail in four months, battling through giardia and trench foot, and in the second wettest year on record for AT hikers. His mental metal will come in handy in order to execute his goal as he will need to log an average of 160 miles per day of rigorous mountain pass plodding.What will Ron get for his efforts? Surely the racers win some sort of cash prize, trophy, medallion, years worth of protein powder, or coveted technical tee? Nope. Nothing. Nada. The satisfaction of having achieved the race is itself the reward.For the gearheads out there, here is some of what will keep Ron moving day in and day out:Niner Air9 carbon bike, full rigid, singlespeed (32/17)Revelate Designs bags, ultralight bivy + cuben tarp combo for sleeping.Dynamo front hub that generates electricity to power his headlight.Navigation: GPS track of the official route.To follow Ron on is ride in real time, just follow the blue dots on www.trackleaders.com.Ride on, Ron! We are behind you . . . albeit a long way.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Lloyd Harbor village police officer accused of attacking a 64-year-old man in Massapequa last month remains on active duty while his case is pending in Nassau County criminal court, authorities said.Dennis Guariglia pleaded not guilty Wednesday at First District Court in Hempstead to harassment, a violation punishable by up to 15 days in jail, one year of probation and a $250 fine. The 35-year-old Kings Park man surrendered to Nassau police, who issued him a summons on April 22, court records show.“Due to the fact that it was a violation, he is still on active duty,” Lloyd Harbor Village Police Chief Charles Flynn told the Press. He confirmed that the department, which has a staff of about 13, is conducting an internal investigation, but declined further comment.Nassau police said in court documents that Guariglia was off-duty, driving his Jeep Grand Cherokee on Veterans Boulevard near the Long Island Rail Road station when he honked at Nicholas Caccavale, got out of his SUV, flashed his badge and pushed him at 12:23 a.m. April 5.Caccavale told investigators that he fell to the ground, hit his head and broke his glasses. He was treated at a local hospital for contusions to the back of his head and arm. His friend and girlfriend who witnessed the altercation confirmed his account to police, according to their statements.“I left the scene before police responded believing the incident was over,” Guariglia told a Seventh Squad detective. He admitted to Nassau police that he pushed Caccavale, but said that he did not see the victim fall.Caccavale and his friends disagreed with Guariglia’s account of what sparked the confrontation and who was the aggressor.Guariglia alleged that he honked twice at Caccavale for him and his friend to move out of his way, that one of them gave the officer the middle finger and the officer heard a thump as he drove passed, according to the officer’s statement. The officer said in the documents that when he got out of the truck, Caccavale “got up close to me,” smelled of alcohol and “was acting very aggressive.”A witness recalled Caccavale asking “what is he beeping at?” Caccavale, who turns 65 next week, said that Guariglia “called the victim a ‘retard’” before shoving him, according to the documents.Guariglia said in his statement that an LIRR worker “had to physically hold back the guy.” Caccavale’s girlfriend told police that the man was holding back Guariglia, not Caccavale. She added that when she saw her boyfriend on the ground with Guariglia standing over him, “it looked like he was going to hit Nicholas again,” according to her statement.Guariglia was released without bail after Judge Joy Watson issued a order of protection requiring Guariglia stay away from Caccavale. Guariglia is due back in court May 19. He earned $168,076 last year, records show.
by: Henry MeierAs expected, at yesterday’s board meeting the NCUA proposed raising the cap below which a credit union is considered a small credit union for regulatory relief purposes from $50 to $100 million. According to NCUA, the increase means that an additional 745 credit unions will be eligible for potential relief from future regulations for a total of approximately 4,869.Great job by the agency in coming forward with the proposal; but we won’t really know how much this helps the industry for some time to come. First, the agency has already exempted credit unions below the threshold from onerous mandates including those dealing with enhanced protections against interest rate risk and the proposed enhanced Risk-Based Capital framework. Second, many of the biggest mandates are out of NCUA’s hands. For example,the CFPB has been willing to extend mandate relief to institutions with as much as $2 billion dollars in assets, but these exemptions come with strings attached – such as a requirement that exempted institutions hold most of their mortgages. Thirdly, the fact that NCUA justifiably feels the need to dramatically raise the small credit union designation after having raised it from $10 million approximately two years ago shows you how quickly the industry is changing and not for the better. NCUA examined rates of deposit growth, rates of membership growth, rates of loan origination growth, and the ratio of operating costs to assets and determined that credit unions below $100 million are at a “competitive disadvantage” to their peers.The branch is dead! Long live the branch!I actually found myself muttering in disagreement as I read a report issued by the FDIC yesterday. It concluded, based on an analysis of bank branching patterns from as far back as 1935, that: continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
continue reading » NAFCU Board of Directors Chair Jeanne Kucey, during testimony yesterday on the NCUA’s proposed budgets for 2019 and 2020, reiterated NAFCU’s recommendation of expanding eligibility for an extended 18-month exam cycle for all well-run, low risk credit unions “to reduce burdens and achieve additional savings.”“Expanding eligibility for extended exams could materially decrease the agency’s operating budget,” Kucey said. “It must also be noted that Congress recently expanded extended exam cycles to more banks above $1 billion as part of S. 2155. The NCUA should follow suit and take action to do so for credit unions as well.”NCUA Chairman J. Mark McWatters, following witness testimony, said the NCUA is looking at the extended exam cycles issue and might consider a hybrid approach to what was approved for banks in S. 2155. NCUA headquarters ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
As credit union boards and executives refresh their strategic plans, some will take a similar approach to what bankers are doing. They will focus on growth and market share, driven by improvements to the member experience; investments in mobile technology; talent retention; brand marketing and risk management. And the holy grail will always be to do all of this while becoming very cool and popular with the membership of the future found in the millennial and Gen Z generations.But to be clear, a high percentage of most credit unions’ target field of membership is underbanked, or put differently, they are financially struggling and underserved. And many, if not most, progressive credit unions will realize the need for proactive service strategies for this group as well.The Filene Research Institute just published a thought-provoking, must-read paper titled, “The Credit Union of the 21st Century.” In this report, the Filene team compiled feedback from credit union leaders with academic research to reach the following conclusions that relate to credit union strategic planning:No matter the service niche chosen by individual credit unions, each should realize that the credit union of the future should be relationship-rooted, a platform-based concierge and a one-stop shop for financial services. They should also consider investments in “ambient” banking with a skillful mix of artificial intelligence–driven chatbots and human handoffs.Dramatic socioeconomic trends and new technological capabilities will change the way that credit unions must approach financial services, and change should happen quickly.Workforce transformations to more part-time and contract workers in a gig economy, growing income volatility and fragility, and increased automation have altered the financial needs of Americans.Millennials will have less need for traditional branches and much greater interest in a one-stop mobile financial institution. The role of payments is becoming the key entry point into financial relationships.Changes to credit union laws and regulations will be needed to help credit unions adapt to this new environment and to help them be the community-centric cooperative providers of affordable financial services in the future. 43SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Dave Adams Dave Adams is President / Chief Executive Officer of CU Solutions Group. The CUSG office is located in Livonia, Michigan.Mr. Adams joined the Michigan Credit Union League in August of … Web: www.CUSolutionsGroup.com Details I find it interesting that there is a surprising amount of overlap when considering relevance to both millennials and the underbanked. There are 83 million millennials in the U.S., a quarter of the population, and an estimated 30 percent are underbanked, 21 percent have never written a check, 27 percent would consider a branchless, digital bank, and they account for over 40 percent of all retail sales today.This “next generation” for credit union membership does not typically place the same value on home and car ownership and other big-ticket items as their parents and grandparents did. So, as futurists predict that autonomous cars and ride-sharing will become even more prevalent, credit unions’ bread and butter home and auto lending may become hyper-competitive and challenging in the future.And millennials are glued to their smartphones, accounting for 41 percent of total time Americans spend there. So, although today many credit unions are very loaned out with an emphasis on mortgage, auto and credit card loans, in the future, opportunities for small-dollar, short-term loans should be considered.The Filene study describes the precarious future of work in the U.S. by pointing out that 94 percent of net employment growth between 2005 and 2015 was in the form of freelance, contract, on-call or temp agency jobs. And 20 percent of all workers today are contractors, usually not receiving benefits from their employers. They predict that in the next 10 years, a majority of workers will fit these criteria.And with respect to income volatility and difficulty saving, the Filene report revealed that Federal Reserve data showed that one-third of Americans reported some kind of monthly income variation in recent studies. Other financial wellness data reinforce the point that being “underserved” in financial services is more mainstream than ever. Fully 60 percent of U.S. households experienced a major financial shock last year, and 55 percent could not replace one month of income with liquid savings.So, who is serving the needs and perceived needs of this burgeoning group of underbanked and underserved consumers, including the millennial population that has 30 percent underbanked in its ranks?Traditional bank and credit union models seem to locate new branches in more upscale neighborhoods, looking for the moderate-to-higher income household that might be net savers and more likely to make big-ticket purchases financed by a credit union. The occupational-based offices, located close to the core FOM group, seem to be a model of the past, or one that is being replaced by community-based fields of membership and a more diversified membership comprised of both occupational groups and communities.Nobody can argue with the economic rationale behind these credit union growth strategies. But not-for-profit, tax-exempt credit unions also have a social responsibility to serve the underserved in lower-income, urban and suburban neighborhoods. This can also be done through great one-stop mobile offerings that help members with their basic needs of paying someone, getting quick access to credit, and saving and protecting their usually small nest egg for the future.The payday lending and check cashing industry has really only been around in the U.S. since 1993, and it has grown to over 15,000 stores, 83,000 employees and over 12 million customers, mostly low-income and financially challenged borrowers. It is a profitable business with over $11 billion in revenue and $1.4 billion in profit in 2018. The largest providers are national companies like Advance America and Check N’ Go, and they are both fast and mobile in their offerings.These providers are most-often focused on an excellent consumer experience in their urban and rural stores as well as their websites and mobile apps. While their reputation is poor due to the high fees charged for payday loans, regulations require transparent disclosure and place limits on egregious practices related to rollover loans and collection activities.Most of the big payday loan providers message trust, speed, clear rates and fees and customer satisfaction. They tout customer testimonials, cross-sell reloadable VISA debit cards as an alternative to checking accounts, offer faster access to paychecks, provide bill pay and money transfer options, and offer financial education. These are many of the same brand promises offered by the new neo-banks and challenger banks that are mostly funded by venture capital and large money-center banks.Many credit unions across the country offer payday alternative loans. For federal credit unions, they model the NCUA-approved and CFPB-exempted PALs program where members can borrow up to $1,000 for a $20 fee and 28 percent interest for terms of one to six months for three such loans in a six-month period. The APR on these loans is less than 76 percent, well below the APR rates of payday lenders.For state-chartered credit unions like One Detroit in Michigan, their members can use their MyPay loan product for a $70 annual fee, along with an 18 percent annual rate, and members are allowed to make multiple draws throughout the year. Seventeen percent of this urban credit union’s members use its MyPay loan product, and members pay roughly one quarter the cost charged by Detroit-area payday lenders.As the millennial generation shows less and less interest in home, auto and other big-ticket purchases, and as their credit scores and employment status make it more difficult to be served by traditional loan products, their needs for quick access to money may well be served by credit unions’ payday alternative loans like that offered by One Detroit Credit Union.And then consider the huge influx of neo-banks like Chime, MoneyLion, Varo, and Greendot and proprietary beta banks like Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Greenhouse by Wells Fargo and Finn by Chase. Jim Marous, co-publisher of the Financial Brand predicts that by the end of this year, over half of the top 10 U.S. banks will have fully digital mobile banks that provide customers with the one-stop financial services hub that Filene suggests credit unions will need to offer. Most of these providers emphasize alternatives to traditional checking accounts via a multi-feature reloadable debit card with instant alert cashback features, ATM access, bill pay features, lower fees and access to loan products in many cases.Interestingly, these banks realize that the separate mobile product is about creating a different mobile experience that blends financial education, low-fee services and remote tools for payments, borrowing and investing. Many of them will use the Greendot model of messaging that there are no pesky overdraft fees and provide the ability to get payroll deposit up to two days early and deposit cash at corner pharmacies, while also managing spending using a personal financial management platform.The takeaway for credit unions is that, as next-generation banking places more emphasis on speed of payments, quick and easy access to small loans, and creative ways to low-cost, trusted saving and investing, millennials and other tech-savvy consumers will demand a different type of banking. And a majority of these new members will be lower-income, underserved consumers looking for trusted, affordable financial services. The simple, consumer-friendly payday lending stores offer convenient storefronts in low-income neighborhoods that are less attractive to banks and credit unions, while also offering a strong web-based or mobile app for quick, convenient loans online. As payday lenders expand out into the world of the mobile neo-banks, perhaps credit unions should consider how they become more relevant in both areas of short-term small-balance lending as well as neo-bank services offered through the mobile channel.No provider should be better suited to doing this than credit unions. However, the key planning question will be whether that is where the 21st century credit union wants to go. It won’t be as profitable as serving middle- to upper-class financial services needs. But serving these needs will be more satisfying and more in keeping with the true mission of credit unions. I believe that most successful credit unions will work to proactively serve all income demographics but with strong conscious emphasis on the growing needs of the underbanked and underserved, especially millennials.CU Solutions Group has created a new FinTech company called LifeStep Solutions, LLC, and we plan to explore turn-key mobile solutions for credit unions of all sizes. These will help credit unions meet the service needs of millennials and the underbanked. Features will include mobile payments, short-term small balance loans and resources for financial wellness. We believe that credit unions will want to collaborate and invest together in these solutions, and we look forward to sharing that journey with our credit union partners and investors.
NICHOLS, N.Y. (WBNG) — Tioga Downs Casino and Resort will open its doors on Wednesday instead of later in the week, the entity announced Tuesday afternoon. Originally, the casino and resort was set to open on Thursday. Sunday through Thursday, the casino will be open from 9 a.m. to midnight. On Friday and Saturday, it will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. The hotel and Tioga Downs will reopen on Sept. 11. Reservations can be placed on Sept. 9. FanDuel Sportsbook, Coasters Sports Bar, Java G’s Cafe and P.J. Clarke’s Restaurant will be open under New York State virus guidelines. However, the poker room, table games and simulcast will be closed. The casino and resort will open its doors at 4 p.m. pending regulatory approval.
Apr 20, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Egypt’s state media reported two new H5N1 avian influenza infections within 2 days of each other, in a 25-year-old woman and an 18-month girl.The state-run paper Al Ahram, quoting the country’s health ministry, reported on Apr 17 that the woman is from Qalubia governorate and was hospitalized in critical condition, according to report from Agence France-Presse.The woman is 33 weeks pregnant and began experiencing a fever and cough on Apr 6, according to an Apr 17 report from Strengthening Avian Influenza Detection and Response (SAIDR), an Egypt-based project funded by the US Agency for International Development. She was admitted to a Cairo hospital on Apr 11 and received oseltamivir (Tamiflu) 6 day later when her H5N1 infection was confirmed. The woman’s family reported she had close contact with sick poultry.Two days later MENA, Egypt’s state news agency, said the baby girl was hospitalized after having contact with infected birds and that she was treated immediately with oseltamivir (Tamiflu), Reuters reported today.The girl is from Kafr el-Sheikh, the same province as another of Egypt’s recent H5N1 case-patients, a 33-year-old woman who was in critical condition, according to an Apr 17 report from the WHO. On Apr 15 agriculture officials confirmed an H5N1 outbreak in backyard birds in Kafr el-Sheikh, according to a report from SAIDR.If the World Health Organization confirms the cases in the 25-year-old and the 18-month-old, Egypt’s H5N1 count will increase to 66 cases, of which 23 have been fatal.So far this year, Egypt has had 15 H5N1 cases, including the two latest ones, outpacing all other countries in 2009. However, none of the cases have been fatal. The preponderance of cases in children—only four patients have been adults—and number of new human cases have raised global speculation about possible subclinical cases or a change in the H5N1 virus in Egypt that might have made the virus more transmissible but somewhat less lethal.It was reported last week that the WHO planned to send a team to Egypt to investigate the avian flu situation there. Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for the WHO, told CIDRAP News that because of holiday observances in Egypt, the WHO team just left for that country today.
While campaigning in a diner in Oakland, Calif., Biden told a voter that “hopes are high” that he would meet the 15% threshold needed to collect delegates in liberal California. Failure to do so could cement Sanders’ lead in the race.Sanders, a US senator from Vermont who has vowed to make the wealthy and corporations assume a heavier tax burden, is hoping progressives, Latinos and young voters turn out to make his second bid for the Democratic nomination successful.But fewer than two of 10 voters in the Super Tuesday states are first-time primary voters, the polls showed. Sanders has argued his grassroots political revolution would ignite a surge of new voters.Sanders has heavily outspent Biden on ads and in building a campaign organization in the Golden State, where 415 delegates will be awarded. At least 1,991 delegates are needed to become the nominee at the party’s convention in July.The rush of primary elections on Tuesday, in which one-third of the delegates are up for grabs, may provide some clarity in a muddled race with several candidates rising and falling, leaving many Democratic voters torn and uncertain.Biden, who was President Barack Obama’s vice president, has emerged as a top threat since his South Carolina win on Saturday opened the floodgates on endorsements from Democratic officials worried that Sanders’ proposals to restructure the economy would doom the party’s prospects in November.Biden is trying to build a bridge between progressive Democrats’ desire for big structural change and more moderate Democrats yearning for a candidate who will be able to win over enough independents and Republicans to oust Trump.That effort gained fresh momentum on the eve of Tuesday’s voting as moderate presidential rivals Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, endorsed Biden after withdrawing from the race.Leslie Cohen, a retired teacher in Sacramento, California, said she had planned to support Buttigieg but would now vote for Biden.”Once he dropped out and Amy Klobuchar dropped out, my decision was made because I don’t want Bernie Sanders. I don’t think he can beat Trump,” Cohen said.Siphoning votes Biden’s goal on Tuesday will be to stay within reach of Sanders in the delegate count, giving him a chance to make up ground as the campaign possibly becomes a two-candidate race.Tennessee is one of the states where Biden hopes to do well on Tuesday. A powerful, killer tornado in the Nashville area delayed the opening of polls there by an hour, and forced officials to relocate some polling locations.The billionaire Bloomberg remains a wild card as he joins the competition for the first time. The moderate skipped the first four contests and spent more than $500 million of his own money to bombard Super Tuesday and later voting states with ads, but has seen his poll numbers slip after a poor first debate.Asked by a reporter in Miami if he thought he risked spoiling Biden’s chances of winning the nomination, Bloomberg responded: “You think I’m going to siphon (votes) from him? He’s siphoning them from me.”Jeff Sunderland, 39, of Arlington, Virginia, said he voted for Sanders because he believes more needs to be done to improve the plight of workers. “I think that the working people of this country deserve better from our government,” he said.Senator Elizabeth Warren, who was briefly the front-runner in the race last year, also remains in the hunt and hopes to score a victory in her home state of Massachusetts. Opinion polls show her trailing in other states.The pace of the Democratic race begins to accelerate after Super Tuesday, with 11 more states voting by the end of March. By then, nearly two-thirds of the delegates will have been allotted.Sanders lead Sanders headed into Tuesday with 60 delegates to Biden’s 54 in the state-by-state nominating fight. Sanders managed a virtual tie with Buttigieg in Iowa and wins in New Hampshire and Nevada.Besides leading in polls in California, Sanders also is ahead of Biden by a smaller margin in polls in Texas. Sanders’ strength with Hispanics should pay dividends in that state, where Latinos comprise one-third of the Democratic electorate.Biden, whose South Carolina win affirmed his popularity with black voters, hopes to win five states where African Americans make up at least a quarter of the Democratic electorate: Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Arkansas.Other states voting on Tuesday are Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Utah. The US territory of American Samoa was holding a caucus contest, and Democrats living abroad began voting in a primary set to run until March 10.The first polls will close in Vermont and Virginia at 7 p.m. EST (midnight GMT). The last will close in California at 8 p.m. PST (0400 GMT on Wednesday).The next contests, on March 10, will be in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington state. Early exit polls by Edison Research showed relatively few voters in California and second-biggest state Texas, about two in 10, made up their minds in the last few days, which could minimize Biden’s recent momentum.But in Virginia and Massachusetts, about half of voters decided recently while one third of voters in North Carolina decided in the last few days, the polls showed.Voting on Tuesday was taking place against the backdrop of an escalating political and economic crisis over the global outbreak of coronavirus, which has infected some 90,000 people worldwide and killed more than 3,000, mostly in China.Super Tuesday voters named healthcare as their leading issues, and more than half support a government-run single-payer system, Sanders’ signature proposal, the exit polling showed. US Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden took his resurgent campaign to California on Tuesday in a last-minute push to blunt front-runner Bernie Sanders’ momentum as Americans voted in the largest round of state nominating contests.California, the most populous state, is a tantalizing prize in Super Tuesday elections in 14 states that are the first national test for candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to face Republican President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 election.Biden aims to muscle aside upstart Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, and consolidate support from moderates. He has been re-energized since a blowout win in South Carolina on Saturday, and polls show him gaining in some states on Sanders, a democratic socialist. Topics :