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Latest coronavirus: Pfizer chief plans to submit data on children’s vaccines



The head of one of Asia’s largest shipping companies has warned that governments may have to step in to “restore order” in a global logistics market plagued by chronic delays, supply chain disruptions. supply and record container rates.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Takeshi Hashimoto, chairman of Mitsui OSK Lines, part of Ocean Network Express, one of the world’s largest shipping alliances, said the industry miscalculated how long would last. the disorder of the coronavirus pandemic.

While some shipping companies had predicted normalization early next year after the initial shock of the crisis, Mitsui recently extended its forecast until the end of 2022.

Opinions within the shipping industry vary widely as to whether and what form greater government intervention is warranted.

Many leaders are strongly against the idea, but Hashimoto said the gravity of the situation means that some form of assistance or coordination may be needed to end the shipping crisis.

“If left entirely to the market economy, sole proprietorships and individuals who go out of their way to find the best solution for themselves will lead to more and more unrest and an uncontrollable situation,” he said. he declares.

Hashimoto added that while it was essential to respect the spirit of free market economy and competition, at the same time, global shipping was a kind of infrastructure industry that economies relied on. .

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3COIL Design Smashing Helmets immersive card game uses recycled cardboard for helmets »Gadget Flow


Have fun while live sustainably with the 3COIL Design Smashing Helmets immersive card game. This innovative game uses recycled cardboard to create combat helmets or toys for your children. In addition, the game is suitable for 2 to 6 players. Using discarded cardboard boxes and a kit full of tools, you must run to be the first to complete your armor and then engage in battle. Plus, you get 4 Warrior Models, Strap Slicer (Platinum Version), Darts Tool, Custom Bolts, and more. In fact, making your own helmet is easy because it has a two nut and bolt design. In addition, you face your opponents with cards and find the events immersive and fun. The goal of your teammates is to damage the straps on your helmet, each representing a point of health. Also, when the adults are done playing, they can use the tools to create forts and farms for future warriors.

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Sars claims 19 billion rand in “astronomical” taxes from company accused of smuggling tobacco



A recent South African Revenue Service (Sars) lawsuit against Verbena Freight and Logistics Management offers a fascinating window into the world of contraband tobacco and its staggering impact on the tax authorities.

The High Court in Pretoria has ordered the final liquidation of Verbena after Sars claimed nearly R19 billion in unpaid taxes.

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In an affidavit in court, Pule Mantso, director of operations in the debt management department that is part of Sars’ illicit economy unit, claimed that Verbena owed R18.99 billion. taxes – most (R18.88 billion) in the form of unpaid tariffs. You also have to pay 31.38 million rand in value added tax (VAT) and 73.65 million rand in income tax.

Verbena is described as a company specializing in cross-border transport and customs clearance and shipping across southern Africa. The company has its own fleet of vehicles and a sister company based in Zimbabwe.

SARS audit

Sars launched an audit of the company in 2019 and found that the company had imported 8.1 million kilograms of tobacco between March 2016 and February 2019, all supposedly “taking care” of eight other entities listed at customs.

Mantso says the Customs Act does not provide for the importation of goods “in the care” of a third party. Verbena also acted as a customs clearance agent for imported tobacco, which entered through the Beitbridge border post. Under the Customs Act, excise duty is payable on locally manufactured cigarettes.

Several requests were made to Verbena to provide details of imports “chargeable” to third parties, but no meaningful response was received.

In December 2020, lawyers representing Sars informed Verbena that it had been concluded that the imported goods had been moved to premises controlled by the company and had been used to make illegal cigarettes.

Verbena was asked to refute these claims, which she did not.

In March 2021, Sars issued letters of demand for R18.88 billion in unpaid tariffs, which Verbena has not paid.

Attached assets

Sars then obtained a judgment against Verbena and the sheriff seized eight trucks and other assets with a total value of 2.2 million rand.

“This is woefully insufficient to make the payment of the 18 billion rand owed to Sars in relation to the customs debt,” Mantso says.

Sars also placed liens on several other assets owned by the company, but discovered that several of them had been unlawfully removed from the premises, constituting a criminal offense.

Sars officials then attempted to locate other assets in Musina in Limpopo, but three of the listed addresses could not be found and a fourth was a residential address, with the occupants knowing nothing of Verbena.

Verbena’s lawyer responded to Sars on July 12, claiming that most of the company’s vehicles were either in poor condition or had been exported out of SA, and as such it was not plus the owner of the exported vehicles. No proof of transfer of ownership or export was provided, Sars says, although eNatis documents showed Verbena was still listed as the owner of the vehicles.

Sars says he assumes Roy Muleya and Ruth Dhliwayo are responsible for running the business.

Intensification of investigations into illicit contraband tobacco

Sars says he has stepped up his investigations into the illicit cigarette trade which is expected to cost the tax authorities billions of rand a year in lost revenue. Its investigations show that large volumes of tobacco are imported into South Africa under the pretext of being re-exported, but in reality the tobacco is used to make cigarettes which disappear into the local economy and avoid paying excise duties.

Read: The cigarette war goes radioactive

“Import officials, such as [Verbena], just refuse to provide details, documents or information regarding the whereabouts of the tobacco, ”according to Mantso’s affidavit.

“When Sars finally demands the rights, he is unable to recover the substantial amounts owed because the transgressors have concealed or dissipated their assets. This makes the collection of unpaid debt extremely difficult and, in most cases, impossible. ”

Verbena was repeatedly asked to explain to Sars what had happened to the imported tobacco, but refused to do so.

What is known is that the tobacco is gone and millions of rand have gone into the company’s hidden bank account, Sars says.

According to court documents, Verbena has been exporting trucks and other SA assets since 2014, and Sars is asking the court for an urgent liquidation order to prevent any further dissipation of assets.

“Flagrant offense”

By acting as it did with imported tobacco, and by removing containers held in detention in flagrant violation of customs law, Verbena has shown that it has little respect for the law, Mantso says.

“In this context, there is a real risk that the respondent has [of] these vehicles to his Zimbabwean brother, a move that would make it virtually impossible for Sars to liquidate these assets in order to satisfy the judgment against the respondent.

Sars is of the view “that there is a serious and emerging risk that the vehicles and possibly additional assets will be concealed or moved across the border so that the respondent can evade payment of his substantial tax debt.” That is why it was of the utmost importance to grant an urgent final winding-up order.

During his audit of the company, Sars said Verbena disclosed two bank accounts but withheld information on a third, an Absa bank account, on which taxable income of R68.4 million was calculated.

Sars should be “recommended”

Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) chairman Sinenhlanhla Mnguni said Sars, together with other law enforcement agencies, should be commended for making significant strides in the fight against illicit trade in cigarettes and other tobacco products.

“In recent times, we have highlighted the increase in the number of illicit cigarettes smuggled into the country via our neighboring countries, especially following the ill-advised five-month ban on the sale of tobacco. ”

Mnguni continues: “We are continuing our advocacy that the relevant authorities continue to monitor the situation at our various border posts, particularly in Beitbridge, as there appears to be collaboration between the criminals involved in the smuggling of these cigarettes and some officials from stationed service. at these border posts.

“We strongly believe that better checks and balances must be put in place by the government to ensure that the system is foolproof and incapable of being easily manipulated.”

Failure to nip this in the bud will in all likelihood lead to the eventual demise of the legitimate local tobacco industry and reduce government taxes on the tobacco business, Mnguni says. “We are, however, very encouraged by the latest efforts by various law enforcement agencies to combat this scourge, and we hope that by working together we can successfully eradicate this threat to our society.” ”

“Get this dishonest importer to name his payers”

According to the founder of Tax Justice SA, Yusuf Abramjee: “These actions demonstrate that a determined new Sars team finally appears to be tackling one of the largest illegal cigarette markets in the world and this is good news for all. South Africans.

“The breathtaking tax demand of R19 billion is double the revenue Sars will actually receive in the form of excise duty on cigarettes this year,” Abramjee said.

“It is imperative that the authorities ask this dishonest importer to name his payers and that a national investigation be carried out into our tobacco trade. ”

Questions were emailed to Verbena and its lawyers, but no response had been received at the time of publication. Moneyweb also contacted Verbena and its lawyers by phone, to no avail.

Read: British American Tobacco demanded to tell the truth about espionage allegations



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COVID-19 pandemic has reduced life expectancy for most since World War II – Reuters study



2/2
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Crosses are seen outside a church as each cross represents a life lost due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the state of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States, April 10, 2020. REUTERS / Carlos Barria

2/2

By Victor Jack

LONDON (Reuters) – The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced life expectancy in 2020 in the most significant way since World War II, according to a study released by the University of Oxford on Monday, life expectancy of American men declining by more than two years.

Life expectancy fell by more than six months from 2019 in 22 of 29 countries analyzed in the study, which covered Europe, the United States and Chile. There have been reductions in life expectancy in 27 of the 29 countries in total.

The university said most of the reductions in life expectancy in different countries could be linked to official deaths from COVID-19. So far, nearly 5 million deaths from the novel coronavirus have been reported, according to a Reuters tally.

“The fact that our results highlight such a large impact which is directly attributable to COVID-19 shows what a devastating shock it has been for many countries,” said Dr Ridhi Kashyap, co-lead author of the article, published in the International Journal. of epidemiology.

There have been larger declines in life expectancy for men than for women in most countries, with the largest drop in US men, who have seen their life expectancy drop by 2.2 years. compared to 2019.

Overall, men have shaved for more than a year in 15 countries, compared to women in 11 countries. This reversed the advances in mortality that had been made in the previous 5.6 years.

In the United States, the increase in mortality mainly affects people of working age and those under 60, while in Europe, deaths of people over 60 contribute more significantly to the increase in mortality .

Kashyap called on more countries, including low- and middle-income countries, to make mortality data available for further study.

“We urgently call for the publication and availability of more disaggregated data to better understand the impacts of the pandemic on a global scale,” she said.

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Indonesian tech startups drop deal plans with US Spac in favor of local approach



The successful nationwide listing of Indonesian e-commerce group Bukalapak has prompted other start-ups in the country to abandon plans for overseas equity offerings in favor of a local one, signaling a payday for their foreign donors.

International investor interest in Indonesia’s tech sector has increased, with groups including Facebook, Microsoft, Tencent, Alibaba, Google, and private equity firms KKR and Warburg Pincus cram into local start-ups.

The largest economy in Southeast Asia, Indonesia has the region’s largest harvest of unicorns, or private start-ups, valued at over $ 1 billion.

Up to Bukalapak’s $ 1.5 billion listing as of August, however, none had made it public, a critical step in a startup’s lifecycle for global investors.

Today, other Indonesian tech groups are seeing the Indonesian Stock Exchange (IDX) as a credible alternative to international IPOs. Conglomerate MNC Group, founded by a billionaire Hary Tanoesoedibjo, dropped plans to list its video streaming service in the United States through a merger with a blank check vehicle this month.

“When you have a date like this [Bukalapak], it attracts the attention of late stage funds, ”said William Bao Bean, general partner of global venture capital fund SOSV. “Not only was it successful and he fired the starting shot, [but] we should [also] see an influx of funding into the market from international investors. ”

The IDX has sought to attract more tech names through the introduction of regulations to adapt to the industry, such as dual class stocks that would give founders and existing shareholders more control over their businesses.

Bukalapak, an online marketplace backed by Microsoft, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma Ant Group fintech and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, enlarged its IPO from an initial target of $ 300 million to $ 1.5 billion, making it the largest stock exchange listing in the country.

The early days boosted prospects for other tech companies slated to go public in Indonesia. GoTo, a “super app” that offers e-commerce, rideshare, delivery and payment services, is planning a dual listing in Indonesia and the United States targeting a market valuation of over $ 40 billion.

GoTo backers include Tencent, Google, SoftBank, Alibaba, Visa, and Warburg Pincus.

Raghav Maliah, global vice president of investment banking at Goldman Sachs, said Indonesia has the “largest addressable market” and is at the forefront of global investor demand.

Barrett Comiskey, CEO of Migo, a start-up that enables consumers to download movies and television broadcasts on their cell phones through a machine installed in convenience stores, said a shore listing made “a lot of sense” in the wake of Bukalapak’s IPO.

“Our leading investors have always encouraged us to go to the market where the investor base understands best,” he said. Migo’s investors include Singaporean public investment fund Temasek and YouTube co-founder Steve Chen.

MNC Group this month ended an agreement to merge its subsidiary Asia Vision Network, the holding company of local streaming platform Vision +, with the Nasdaq-listed special-purpose acquisition company, Malacca Straits Acquisition. Company. MNC cited “the growing enthusiasm of IDX investors” for digital businesses.

Willson Cuaca, co-founder of the heavily Indonesian-focused venture capital firm East Ventures, said a number of companies in his portfolio are considering selling shares in the country.

“It’s about scarcity value; there aren’t many public technology companies listed in Indonesia, ”he said.

However, Indonesia still has a long way to go to catch up with the United States or other markets in demand for tech start-ups.

The IDX ranks 23rd in the world in terms of market capitalization of its companies listed at around $ 500 billion, behind Singapore and Thailand in the region, according to World Bank data. Trade also remains predominantly retail focused, making stock prices volatile.

“There is still a lack of institutional investors providing stability, although that could change if we get a series of successful IPOs,” said Hwee Ang, founder of financial advisory group Anagram Advisors.

Political risks are another problem, she added. “There is always a question of the longevity of government in Southeast Asian countries, and how policies might change.”

And while Bukalapak rose sharply in its trading debut, its stock has since fallen back to near its IPO price.

Last month, the parent company of Kredivo, Indonesia’s “Buy Now, Pay Later” app, agreed to go public through a $ 2.5 billion merger with a Nasdaq-listed Spac company.

While Kredivo had no plans to pursue an IPO in the United States, founder Akshay Garg said: “We believe that it is always better, as a strategy, to do a capital market quote. most [the] WE.”

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Buy Bitcoin free of charge on Strike App. Looks like I won’t be buying from Cashapp anymore ..: Bitcoin



A community dedicated to Bitcoin, the Internet currency. Bitcoin is a distributed, global and decentralized digital currency. Bitcoins are issued and managed without any central authority: there is no government, company or bank in charge of Bitcoin. You might be interested in Bitcoin if you are into cryptography, distributed peer-to-peer systems, or economics. A large percentage of Bitcoin enthusiasts are libertarians, although people of all political philosophies are welcome.



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Nersa offers complete overhaul of Eskom pricing



A discussion paper published by energy regulator Nersa on the occasion of Heritage Day on September 24 calls for a complete overhaul of Eskom’s tariff setting methods.

He proposes moving away from the current revenue-based approach to determining electricity tariffs in South Africa to a cost-of-service approach that could benefit large electricity users who subsidize residential customers for years. years.

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Read: Eskom is fighting tooth and nail for a massive price increase

Stakeholders have until October 29 to submit written comments, after which Nersa will hold public hearings through Microsoft Teams. The regulator hopes to finalize the new methodology by mid-November.

It is expected to decide next week whether or not to reject Eskom’s tariff request for the next three fiscal years, which was submitted in early June. This request was drafted according to the rules of the current tariff period, called Multi-Year Tariff Determination 4 (MYPD4).

If Nersa approves this proposal from her own Electricity Subcommittee (ELS) to send Eskom back to the drawing board in terms of new rules, she will have to design an interim measure to determine at least the 2022/23 tariffs, as she It takes about a year for Eskom to write a rate request.

The issue was discussed by the ELS behind closed doors last week.

Time limit

Eskom’s tariffs for 2022/23 are due to be finalized by March 15, when the utility is due to table the tariffs in parliament. Tariffs come into effect on April 1 for direct Eskom customers and municipalities increase their tariffs for end users on July 1.

Ideally, Eskom’s new tariffs should be known by December for municipalities to factor them into their budgets, which are implemented on July 1.

If Nersa does not approve Eskom’s tariffs on time, she cannot legally recover any income.

In his discussion paper, Nersa states that the current revenue-based methodology “has failed to deliver stable prices”.

Read: The same old funding model cannot keep South African cities in business or serve residents

Disastrous decade

Over the past decade, electricity prices have risen 175%, exceeding the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Read: Electricity: who pays more?

The availability of the Eskom generating station fell and the utility managed the stability of the grid by implementing gradual blackouts.

Escalating prices and unreliable supply have held back economic growth as customers have reduced demand, sought alternative energy sources, shut down or requested special tariff agreements.

Eskom’s sales fell 14.7%.

Source: Nersa

Nersa therefore argues that an appropriate new methodology must be developed to ensure price stability.

Messy system

The current methodology places the regulator in an impossible situation where it determines Eskom’s revenues and tariffs based on its costs and sales, while Nersa has no control over sales.

When the expected sales do not materialize, Eskom does not recover the promised revenues. This must then be recovered at a later stage through the Regulatory Compensation Account (RCA), resulting in a different price development than expected.

The current system also relies on cost aggregation to determine Eskom’s total revenue and average price.

“Because the individual retail price[s] which are then derived from the average costs bear no resemblance to the actual costs incurred by the utility to provide a service to groups of individual customers, it has in fact harmed customers, in particular industrial and industrial customers by making them pay costs that they do not contribute to. ”

Average pricing is not sending the right pricing signals to different users about the cost their consumption imposes on Eskom, Nersa says.

“The enemy of the current approach to electricity pricing is ‘averaging’, which results in inefficiencies, cross-subsidization and cost socialization, which is central in determining revenues.”

In the consultation document, Nersa proposes three essential principles:

  • Cost based on activity: desegregation of generation, transmission, distribution, network operation, market operations, trade and other ancillary services;
  • Cost of service type – different load profiles: base load or constant demand, average or semi-constant demand, peak or variable demand and ad hoc or emergency demand are satisfied by different production units and the associated costs differ ; Nersa says these should be recognized; and
  • Marginal pricing to set tariffs: The costs associated with the different plants used to meet a specific demand also differ, and the question is how these different plants are deployed. “The answer lies in how the market would have dealt with the problem, that the cheapest plants in each slice of service would be deployed first in order of their cost and the costs associated with the last plant which” balances »The market will determine the price of this service.

According to Nersa, the idea is that the provider of each service – for example, each power plant – will charge, depending on its cost, its own tariff, which will include a certain profit.

These individual tariffs will be restricted and, within the framework of an independent market and network operator, this marginal tariff will guarantee the efficiency and the appropriate control or deployment of the different production units.

The discussion paper also highlights other key determinants of the new methodology, namely the separation of trade from distribution, allowing bilateral contracts and the requirement that different services be priced and contracted separately.

The regulator asks 11 sets of questions on which stakeholders can comment.

Discussion paper can be downloaded here.



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China’s biggest air show to display self-reliance, military prowess By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The fifth prototype of the Chinese-built C919 passenger plane takes off for its first test flight from Shanghai Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China on October 24, 2019. Photo taken on October 24, 2019 . REUTERS / Stringer

By Stella Qiu and Yew Lun Tian

ZHUHAI, China (Reuters) – China’s drive to achieve self-sufficiency in aerospace and its growing military prowess will be on display at the country’s largest air show this week, in an event amid a pandemic coronavirus and trade friction with the West.

The normally biennial China Airshow in the southern city of Zhuhai, delayed for one year due to COVID-19, will primarily be a domestic affair due to strict quarantine rules.

“The fact that Airshow China is happening, when the global airshow schedule has been quite disrupted, allows China to show that it is back to normal post-COVID,” said Douglas Barrie, senior researcher in military aerospace at the International Institute. for Strategic Studies (IISS).

Local aerospace and defense companies have significantly increased their presence. Major Western suppliers like Airbus and Boeing (NYSE 🙂 will send their teams based in China, and there will also be a virtual component for those who cannot travel.

The country’s efforts to improve local aerospace technology will be in the spotlight at a time of growing strategic rivalry with the West.

“As China faces increasing threats from the West, it must improve its military-industrial, aeronautical and aerospace capabilities,” said Song Zhongping, military commentator and former PLA instructor on missile technology.

Trade frictions with the West are also accelerating China’s desire to reduce its dependence on foreign-made commercial products.

Commercial Aircraft Corp of China’s (COMAC) narrow-body C919 aircraft, due for certification this year, is made up mostly of Western parts, but the mix is ​​expected to change over time as Chinese technology advances, the engines being a key target for a possible national replacement. .

ARMS RACE

More than 100 planes have signed up for display in the air or on the ground as China shows off its military might and space ambitions, including a next-generation crewed rocket and heavy launcher.

State media reported that the J-16D electronic warfare version of the J-16 fighter jet would make its show debut.

The flight demonstrations will showcase some products that China wants to export, including the AG600, the world’s largest amphibious aircraft, designed for firefighting and rescue missions at sea.

The Wing Loong II, an armed drone similar to the US MQ-9 Reaper, has already been sold to customers such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan as China competes with its Western rivals for more military exports.

A new series of drone products named Feihong, including unmanned helicopter, floating missiles and a new generation of stealth drones, will debut at the show.

“Beijing intends not only to promote military aircraft and locally-made aerospace technologies, but also its ability to meet almost any military requirement,” said Kelvin Wong, Singapore-based defense technology analyst at Janes. .

The show comes as analysts warn Asia could slide into an accelerated arms race as countries respond to China’s military growth.

The United States and its Asian allies have expressed growing concern over Beijing’s military build-up, pressure on Taiwan, and deployments in the contested South China Sea.

Taiwan, claimed by China, has been complaining for a year or more about repeated thefts by the Chinese Air Force near the democratically ruled island.

The United States, Britain and Australia established a security partnership this month that will help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

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Watch President Pelosi destroy media myth of Divided Democrats



The mainstream media like to say Democrats are divided, but President Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Sunday shut down the false claim.

Video:

Transcript from speaker Pelosi on ABC this week:

George Stéphanopoulos. So, I just put together a pretty daunting list there. You called the next few days a period of intensity for Congress.

Have you ever taken up a challenge with so many stakes?

President Pelosi. Whenever we face a challenge, you say it’s a historic challenge, whether it’s the passage of the Affordable Care Act or some other law that we passed under the previous administration.

That’s all the wonderful legislative process that we have. But thank you for calling President Biden’s agenda because that’s exactly what it is. This is the president’s vision. And he said that while he wants to pass the infrastructure bill – and we will – he will not limit his vision for the future to this one bill, that it had to be. build back better.

And Building Back Better has the support of over 95 percent of our caucus. So when you say Democrats are divided – no, overwhelmingly, I’ve never seen, in fact, more than 95% of a caucus for anything. There are some who disagree, and I respect that, about the size of the package, and some in the Senate – a few in the Senate as well. And we have to find common ground, respectful of each other’s points of view.

But these are not moderates versus progressives. Overwhelmingly, our entire caucus, with the exception of a few whose judgment I respect, supports Joe Biden’s vision. And we’ll move on – making progress this week.

Democrats are not divided. Democrats are fighting over logistics.

Even the moderates who have expressed concerns about the bill worry only about the cost. They agree on legislative priorities. Progressives try to protect their interests and make sure that the moderates don’t shy away from them and let them go.

The ongoing dance is a delicate negotiation, but nothing has come to suggest that Democrats risk not pushing through the legislation.

The media loves the Democrats’ divided narrative and, as usual, is wrong.

Mr. Easley is the editor. He is also a White House press pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason holds a bachelor’s degree in political science. His graduate studies focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.

Rewards and professional memberships

Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Political Science Association



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