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juillet 2014

With France’s Iliad, T-Mobile US takeover skips regulatory hurdles

WASHINGTON, July 31 (Reuters) – French telecommunications company Iliad’s surprise bid for U.S. wireless carrier T-Mobile US Inc would face a far easier U.S. review process than the offer long…

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Canaccord Genuity expands equity research group with addition to its US biotechnology practice

NEW YORK, July 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – Canaccord Genuity is pleased to announce
that Marko Kozul, M.D. has agreed to join its Equity Research team as a
Managing Director covering biotechnology companies.
"The addition of Dr. Marko Kozul complements our existing global
coverage of…

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Paul Ryan Isn’t Afraid to Send You to Bed Without Dinner if You Don’t Do Your Poverty Homework

The most eyebrow-raising part of Ryan’s poverty plan — which, as I wrote last week, has a lot of good parts — is his suggestion that low-income households write and execute a contractually binding "life plan" in exchange for government aid. As such, in a funny inversion, conservatives have spent the week arguing for more government bureaucracy and oversight, with liberals arguing against it.

I questioned the idea in part because it seemed to put a burden on poor families that no other recipients of government largesse face. In response, my friend Ross Douthat made a smart point: Many programs are reciprocal or conditional, and those that aren’t, conservatives largely want to do away with. You need to pay into Social Security to get its payout, for instance. 

If you’re going to attack the [Ryan plan] for placing conditions on government assistance that aren’t presently placed on aid to other, better-off constituencies, you should recognize that many conservatives who support conditional reciprocity in welfare policy are pretty much all-in for the idea that the idea that yes, those better-off constituencies are getting a sweet deal right now, and that gravy train should simply end: Not with new conditions for corporations or life contracts for rentiers, but with cuts and caps and sunsetting.

That’s a good point. And I agree that we would be having a different debate if the government had eliminated huge numbers of tax expenditures and spending programs that aid specific industries. But even so, I’m not sure that this is the right condition to place on poor families. 

Let’s ask ourselves two questions about the proposal: Is it good or bad? And is it right or wrong?

Last question first. As I wrote before, it strikes me as distasteful at best to have poor heads-of-households sit down, explain why they are poor, and map their way out of poverty. We do use conditions in other social programs. We ask recipients of unemployment insurance and welfare, for instance, to demonstrate that they are working or looking for work. It often involves checking in with a human being, tracking your time, and so on. But the “life plan” proposal takes that a gigantic step further — creating, in essence, poverty probation officers who decide whether the poor are working hard enough to receive government aide.

Onto the less thorny question of whether it is good or bad policy — that is, whether it would reduce poverty. We simply don’t know. We’ve never tried it. There’s no evidence. But here’s my gut: Yes, the presence of a social worker, stricter work requirements, and a time limit would help nudge a lot of families out of poverty. Incentives matter. But you would have losers as well as winners — families that get sanctioned, families that don’t make it above the poverty line before their assistance gets cut and then have nothing. I worry about the cost of creating a national network of social workers eating into the actual anti-poverty budget. I worry about the stigma of having to show up at a welfare office. I worry about deep poverty continuing to rise. I worry about the continued shift of money away from the truly poorest Americans. (Yes, aid has actually fallen for the poorest-of-the-poor single-parent families.) I worry about there being no safety net below the safety net. I worry about children being punished for the actions of their parents. 

That’s the big thing about conditionality that I think conservatives have failed to grapple with. You can ask an adult to come into an office and write a life plan and sit down with a coach in exchange for aid. You can punish that adult if she misses her targets. But the safety net isn’t just there for her. It’s there for her children. (Children make up one-third of the country’s poor.) You can’t take away her housing aid and food stamps without taking away her kids’ housing aid and food stamps.

Mom doesn’t do her Paul Ryan homework, and a kid goes hungry. That’s the paternalistic quid pro quo. And it’s the strongest argument for leaving some safety net programs — especially those providing assistance to the most vulnerable, like young single mothers — without conditions. 

Read more posts by Annie Lowrey

Filed Under: paul ryan
,poverty

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72-Hour Unconditional Humanitarian Cease-fire Reached in Gaza

The United States and United Nations have jointly announced a break in the fighting between Israel and Hamas, beginning at 8 a.m. local time on Friday and lasting at least 72 hours. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement that they have "received assurances that all parties have agreed to an unconditional humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza," although Israeli "forces on the ground will remain in place."

"This ceasefire is critical to giving innocent civilians a much-needed reprieve from violence," says the statement, which is here in full:

Joint Statement on the Humanitarian Ceasefire Announcement in Gaza

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and United States Secretary of State John Kerry announce that the United Nations Representative in Jerusalem, Special Coordinator Robert Serry, has received assurances that all parties have agreed to an unconditional humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

This humanitarian ceasefire will commence at 8 am local time on Friday, August 1, 2014.  It will last for a period of 72 hours unless extended.
During this time the forces on the ground will remain in place.

We urge all parties to act with restraint until this humanitarian ceasefire begins, and to fully abide by their commitments during the ceasefire.

This ceasefire is critical to giving innocent civilians a much-needed reprieve from violence. During this period, civilians in Gaza will receive  urgently needed humanitarian relief, and the opportunity to carry out vital functions, including burying the dead, taking care of the injured, and restocking food supplies.  Overdue repairs on essential water and energy infrastructure could also continue during this period.

Israeli and Palestinian delegations will immediately be going to Cairo for negotiations with the Government of Egypt, at the invitation of Egypt, aimed at reaching a durable ceasefire. The parties will be able to raise all issues of concern in these negotiations.

We thank key regional stakeholders for their vital support of this process, and count on a continued collaborative international effort to assist Egypt and the parties reach a durable ceasefire as soon as possible.

More than 1,400 people have been killed in Gaza so far, including at least 300 children.

Read more posts by Joe Coscarelli

Filed Under: war in the middle east
,israel
,palestine
,gaza
,ceasefire

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Alibaba invests $120 mln in Kabam in latest U.S. deal

NEW YORK, July 31 (Reuters) – Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has invested $120 million in San Francisco-based mobile games studio Kabam, the latest in a string of U.S. investments intended to build up the…

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Oaktree Plans Infrastructure Fund

Oaktree Capital Group plans to raise a new infrastructure fund early next year, Managing Principal John Frank said during a conference call Thursday discussing the firm’s second-quarter earnings results.

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Alibaba invests $120 mln in Kabam in latest U.S. deal

NEW YORK, July 31 (Reuters) – Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has invested $120 million in San Francisco-based mobile games studio Kabam, the latest in a string of U.S. investments intended to build up the…

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Highlander Partners Announces Sale of Custom Window Systems

http://ift.tt/WQahBZDALLAS, July 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Highlander Partners, L.P., a leading middle market private investment firm based in Dallas, Texas, announced that it has completed the sale of its portfolio company, Vidrio Holdings, Inc. and its operating subsidiary, Custom Windows Systems, Inc….

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Bank of the Ozarks, Inc. and Intervest Bancshares Corporation Enter into Definitive Agreement and Plan of Merger

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. & NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Bank of the Ozarks, Inc. (NASDAQ: OZRK) and Intervest Bancshares Corporation (NASDAQ: IBCA) jointly announced today the signing of a definitive agreement and plan of merger (“Agreement”) whereby Bank of the Ozarks, Inc. (“Company”) will acquire Intervest Bancshares Corporation (“Intervest”) and its wholly-owned bank subsidiary Intervest National Bank (“Intervest Bank”), with offices in Florida and New York, in an all-stock transaction. According to


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