Panduit Board Names Shannon McDaniel as Next CEO

Tinley Park, Illinois, Dec. 07, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Panduit announced today that its Board of Directors has appointed Shannon McDaniel as its next Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President effective January 1, 2022. McDaniel, who currently serves as the company's chief financial officer, will succeed current CEO and President Dennis Renaud, who will retire at the end of 2021.

"As a results–focused leader, Shannon brings his collaborative mindset to the role, drawing from his commercial and financial background, while leveraging the power of Panduit to move the company forward," said Panduit Executive Chair Andrew Caveney. "Shannon has also built the trust of our employees, and the Board is confident that he will apply his deep industry knowledge and keen business acumen to lead Panduit."

Caveney added that McDaniel is taking over the role of CEO at an ideal time. "Our long–term investment horizon, outstanding employees, and agile business processes have allowed us to build business momentum through the downturn," he explained. "The digital economy, the drive for zero carbon emissions, and electrification trends are having a profound impact on our markets. Panduit is well positioned to apply our problem–solving mindset to solve technical challenges as new technologies transform our data center, enterprise, and industrial businesses."

"I am thrilled for the opportunity to serve as Panduit's CEO and lead the company into its next phase of growth," said McDaniel. "We have a great strategy, an incredibly talented and dedicated workforce, and an innovative culture that is continually looking to create value for our customers. I am very excited about our future and the opportunities in front of us."

McDaniel has served in a variety of leadership positions over his 30–year career. Prior to joining Panduit as CFO, he excelled in global financial leadership roles during his 14 years with Eaton Corporation, including serving as the company's Director of Finance for its EMEA electrical business and Vice President of Finance for the Americas systems and services group. McDaniel holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill.

Following his planned retirement, Renaud will continue supporting the transition in an advisory capacity through the first quarter of 2022.

"It has been my distinct personal and professional honor to serve Panduit for 10 years "" the last four as CEO. Panduit's unrivaled legacy of innovation, quality, service, and continuous improvement has fueled our business growth," said Renaud. "I'm proud of how Panduit's people embodied togetherness, inclusion, change, and a drive for innovative excellence throughout my tenure. The company is in experienced and capable hands with Shannon, the leadership team, and our outstanding employees."

"I thank Dennis for his contribution to the success of Panduit. Throughout his career, he has challenged our team to be focused and to always be innovating," said Caveney. "He has had a profound impact on our culture, from his passionate support of our diversity and inclusion program to his drive for use of 80/20 principles. Dennis has also displayed tremendous leadership during these unprecedented times, putting our employees and customers first and operating with transparency."

###

About Panduit

Since 1955, Panduit's culture of curiosity and passion for problem solving have enabled more meaningful connections between companies' business goals and their marketplace success. Panduit creates leading–edge physical, electrical, and network infrastructure solutions for enterprise–wide environments, from the data center to the telecom room, from the desktop to the plant floor. Headquartered in Tinley Park, Ill., USA and operating in 112 global locations, Panduit's proven reputation for quality and technology leadership, coupled with a robust partner ecosystem, help support, sustain, and empower business growth in a connected world. For more information, visit www.panduit.com.

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Nikkiso Clean Energy & Industrial Gases Group Announces a Complete Liquid Hydrogen Bunkering Installation for Unitrove

TEMECULA, Calif., Dec. 07, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Nikkiso Cryogenic Industries' Clean Energy & Industrial Gases Group (Group), a subsidiary of Nikkiso Co., Ltd (Japan), is proud to announce our participation in the bunkering installation design of a new complete Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) Bunkering installation with Unitrove.

Nikkiso CE&IG and Unitrove are working together to develop solutions for the future, particularly regarding LH2. For this project, the Group provided custom equipment from two of its Functional Units: a sump from its Heat Exchangers unit (Cryoquip) and Cryogenic Pumps unit (ACD).

"We are excited and proud to be part of one of the world's first liquid hydrogen (LH2) bunkering facility projects and the drive toward more energy–efficient solutions for the Marine market," according to Ole Jensen, Vice President, Europe, Nikkiso Clean Energy & Industrial Gases Group.

The Bunkering system is being showcased at the United Nations COP26 Environmental Conference in Glasgow, which runs through November 12, 2021. The installation is expected to be completed sometime in 2022.

This will be the first of several expected projects to be delivered in 2022.

ABOUT CRYOGENIC INDUSTRIES
Cryogenic Industries, Inc. (now a member of Nikkiso Co., Ltd.) member companies manufacture engineered cryogenic gas processing equipment and small–scale process plants for the liquefied natural gas (LNG), well services and industrial gas industries. Founded over 50 years ago, Cryogenic Industries is the parent company of ACD, Cosmodyne and Cryoquip and a commonly controlled group of approximately 20 operating entities.

For more information, please visit www.nikkisoCEIG.com and www.nikkiso.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Anna Quigley
+1.951.383.3314
aquigley@cryoind.com


Delphix, Unisys Transform California State University’s Digital Strategy With Fast, Secure Data for Application Development

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Dec. 07, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Delphix, an industry–leading data company for DevOps, and Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS), a global IT solutions company, today announced that they have accelerated California State University's (CSU) digital strategy by providing quick and secure access to data to support student application development.

The nation's largest four–year public university can now provide its 23 campuses with data on–demand to implement their own digital strategies. This kind of rapid access has enabled software engineers at the campuses to quickly develop innovative applications to enable Graduation Initiative 2025, an ambitious project that aims to increase graduation rates while eliminating opportunity and achievement gaps. The project also includes applications that enable students to check their grades, financial aid, graduation status, etc.

The initiative is a part of the university's larger hybrid architecture strategy aimed at improving graduation rates, student experience and satisfaction, and eliminating equity gaps in graduation rates.

Hybrid architecture Strategy
Unisys enables CSU to leverage the Delphix DevOps Data Platform to accelerate and simplify its Hybrid–Architecture enablement. The platform's ability to easily spin up, refresh, and tear down private and public cloud–based data environments dramatically enhances the university's application delivery pipeline.

"Using Delphix and Unisys to implement our hybrid architecture strategy allows us, for the first time, to create a unified and secure data lake, populated daily with data from all 23 campuses. This makes the data easily accessible and quickly consumable at a large scale. Our data analysts, data scientists, and developers can now drive faster innovation and proactively establish student support programs to improve graduation rates," said Michael Berman, CIO at CSU.

The university's hybrid architecture strategy includes data migration from an on–premise Common Management System (CMS) to Amazon Web Services (AWS), across all campuses. The CMS serves nearly 500,000 students and 56,000 faculty and staff, and is critical to everything from student enrollment, student management, scheduling, and registration to human resources, financials, and employee compensation.

"We are pleased CSU and Unisys selected AWS as a strategic cloud provider to power its digital transformation," said Kim Majerus, Vice President, US Education, State and Local Government at AWS. "Moving to AWS can help CSU become more agile and empower them to use data more strategically to gain valuable insights that will improve the student experience. In addition, it can help the university system scale faster, reduce technical debt, realize cost savings, and manage operations more efficiently."

Impact on Cost and Efficiency
Delphix and Unisys work together with CSU to help the university reduce costs and improve operational efficiency.

Using Delphix and Unisys, CSU has saved over $4.5M per year and avoided future costs of over $7M per year in data storage expenditures, thus freeing up resources to fund innovation. The initiative has also significantly improved CSU's productivity measures.

  • The Delphix DevOps Data Platform delivers virtual masked copies of the CMS production data on–demand, using a fraction of the storage space compared to physical data storage. This has helped Unisys reduce CSU's physical storage consumption while allowing its campuses to use self–service to clone and manipulate their data.
  • Delphix's data automation helps Unisys deliver data faster and more frequently to CSU's campuses. The application teams can now instantly refresh copies with updated production data, rewind data to any previous point in time, and branch out data copies so data versions align with release versions, all of which dramatically improve productivity.

"We are proud to partner with Delphix to enable CSU's hybrid architecture strategy to provide improved data delivery, data access, and data integration to better support the digital strategies at CSU," said Rudy Gonzalez, Unisys CSU Program Director. "We remain committed to helping CSU have much greater agility to execute digital cloud strategies to better serve the campuses and improve the student experience."

Jedidiah Yueh, Delphix CEO, added, "Transformational automation is a game–changer, enabling 100x increases in innovation velocity. Modern data automation with integrated security and compliance enables CSU to improve student outcomes and experiences, spend less on infrastructure, and invest more in strategic initiatives."

About Delphix
Delphix is the industry leading data company for DevOps.

Data is critical for testing application releases, modernization, cloud adoption, and AI/ML programs. We provide an automated DevOps data platform for all enterprise applications. Delphix masks data for privacy compliance, secures data from ransomware, and delivers efficient, virtualized data for CI/CD.

Our platform includes essential DevOps APIs for data provisioning, refresh, rewind, integration, and version control. Leading companies, including Choice Hotels, J.B.Hunt, and Fannie Mae, use Delphix to accelerate digital transformation. For more information, visit www.delphix.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

About Unisys
Unisys is a global IT solutions company that delivers successful outcomes for the most demanding businesses and governments. Unisys offerings include digital workplace solutions, cloud and infrastructure solutions, enterprise computing solutions, business process solutions and cybersecurity solutions. For more information on how Unisys delivers for its clients across the commercial, financial services and government markets, visit www.unisys.com.

Follow Unisys on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Contact information:
Orlando de Bruce
VP of Corporate Marketing & Brand
Orlando.Debruce@delphix.com


Lantronix Named Member of the Qualcomm Automotive Solutions Ecosystem Program

IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 07, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Lantronix Inc. (NASDAQ: LTRX), a global provider of secure turnkey solutions for the Intelligent IT and the Internet of Things (IoT), today announced it has been named a member of the Qualcomm Authorized Design Center Program's automotive program. A long–time Qualcomm Advantage Network member, Lantronix joined the invitation–only program, which assists companies in accelerating innovation by connecting customers with an ecosystem of businesses that provide tools and deep expert design services. Lantronix will participate in the automotive program, referred to as the Qualcomm Automotive Solutions Ecosystem Program, by providing access to tools that are built around the 3rd Generation Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platform, a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

"We are proud to be named a member of the Qualcomm Authorized Design Center's Automotive Solutions Ecosystem Program, which will bring engineering and design expertise to our mutual customers while helping fast–track innovation," said Paul Pickle, CEO of Lantronix. "With the program, Lantronix is positioned to accelerate the commercialization of automotive products, which will include customization, optimization and other design and integration services built around the 3rd Generation Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platforms."

The 3rd Generation Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platforms are artificial intelligence (AI)–based and some of the most advanced automotive platforms from Qualcomm Technologies. Designed to support software–rich integrated cockpits engineered to meet stringent automotive industry standards, 3rd Generation Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platforms are engineered with immersive graphics, multimedia, computer vision and advanced AI capabilities. The Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platforms also provide fully scalable architecture with differentiated experiences, utilizing the same software architecture and framework to allow consumers to enjoy a harmonized user experience independent of the vehicle tier while utilizing the same software framework.

Lantronix's inclusion in the Qualcomm Automotive Solutions Ecosystem Program, as well as its team's proven expertise and collaboration over the years, reinforces its commitment to providing cutting–edge development services with Qualcomm Technologies for its global customers focused on the Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit platform.

About Lantronix

Lantronix Inc. is a global provider of secure turnkey solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT) and Remote Environment Management (REM), offering Software as a Service (SaaS), connectivity services, engineering services and intelligent hardware.

Lantronix enables its customers to accelerate time to market and increase operational up–time and efficiency by providing reliable, secure and connected Intelligent Edge IoT and Remote Management Gateway solutions.

Lantronix's products and services dramatically simplify the creation, development, deployment and management of IoT and IT projects across Robotics, Automotive, Wearables, Video Conferencing, Industrial, Medical, Logistics, Smart Cities, Security, Retail, Branch Office, Server Room, and Datacenter applications. For more information, visit the Lantronix website.

Learn more at the Lantronix blog, which features industry discussion and updates. Follow Lantronix on Twitter, view our YouTube video library or connect with us on LinkedIn.

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Any statements set forth in this news release that are not entirely historical and factual in nature, including without limitation statements related to our solutions, technologies and products. These forward–looking statements are based on our current expectations and are subject to substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results, future business, financial condition, or performance to differ materially from our historical results or those expressed or implied in any forward–looking statement contained in this news release. The potential risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, such factors as the effects of negative or worsening regional and worldwide economic conditions or market instability on our business, including effects on purchasing decisions by our customers; the impact of the COVID–19 outbreak on our employees, supply and distribution chains, and the global economy; cybersecurity risks; changes in applicable U.S. and foreign government laws, regulations, and tariffs; our ability to successfully implement our acquisitions strategy or integrate acquired companies; difficulties and costs of protecting patents and other proprietary rights; the level of our indebtedness, our ability to service our indebtedness and the restrictions in our debt agreements; and any additional factors included in our Annual Report on Form 10–K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") on September 11, 2020, including in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in Item 1A of Part I of such report, as well as in our other public filings with the SEC. Additional risk factors may be identified from time to time in our future filings. The forward–looking statements included in this release speak only as of the date hereof, and we do not undertake any obligation to update these forward–looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.

2021 Lantronix, Inc. All rights reserved. Lantronix is a registered trademark. Other trademarks and trade names are those of their respective owners.

Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platform is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. Qualcomm Authorized Design Center Program, Qualcomm Automotive Solutions Ecosystem Program, and Qualcomm Advantage Network are programs of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Qualcomm and Snapdragon are trademarks or registered trademarks of Qualcomm Incorporated.

Lantronix Media Contact:
Gail Kathryn Miller
Corporate Marketing &
Communications Manager
media@lantronix.com
949–453–7158

Lantronix Analyst and Investor Contact:
Jeremy Whitaker
Chief Financial Officer
investors@lantronix.com
949–450–7241

Lantronix Sales:
sales@lantronix.com
Americas +1 (800) 422–7055 (US and Canada) or +1 949–453–3990
Europe, Middle East and Africa +31 (0)76 52 36 744
Asia Pacific + 852 3428–2338
China + 86 21–6237–8868
Japan +81 (0) 50–1354–6201
India +91 994–551–2488


Time for Public Conversation, Justice after ‘Blasphemy’ killing in Pakistan, say Rights Activists

Many in the crowd taking videos of the extrajudicial killing in Sialkot.

By Zofeen Ebrahim
KARACHI, Dec 7 2021 – Mukhtiar’s heart sank when he saw the grisly incident of lynching of a man in the industrial city of Sialkot, in Punjab province.

The videos, taken on cell phones and put online, showed 49-year-old Priyantha Kumara Diyawadanage, a Sri Lankan national and manager of a garment factory, showing him being punched, kicked, hit with stones and iron rods, and killed. Not content, they then dragged his dead body out of the factory and set it on fire.

It was the same city which 11 years ago, had witnessed mob lynching two brothers, 22-year-old Hafiz Muhammad Mughees Sajjad and Mohammad Muneeb Sajjad, 16, in 2015, with support of the local police, on charges of theft. Later their bodies were hung upside down in the city square.

“There must have been no less than 2,000, men, mostly young, charged and in a frenzy, chanting ‘Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah’ (Here I am at your service, O Messenger of Allah), a slogan used by a far-right Islamic extremist political party, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP),” said Sakhawat Mughal, a reporter working for Hum News, a private television channel, recalling what he saw.

“Many men had batons in hand. The police looked on and waited for backup,” he said, adding: “Had the handful of the law enforcers reacted, many more lives would have been lost.”

People from all walks of life have been shocked and condemned the incident.

“The Sialkot incident is a horrible example of the growth of extremism and violent mob lawlessness,” said the National Commission for Human Rights chairperson, Rabiya Javeri Agha. “The government should ensure speedy and equitable justice, and perpetrators must face the full force of law.”

According to rights activist Usama Khilji, director of Bolo Bhi, a civil society organisation geared towards advocacy, policy, and research in civic responsibility and digital rights, the TLP has managed to infiltrate the middle class disenchanted with mainstream political parties. The party stirred up ordinary people’s sentiments using tools of “religious passion and hatred towards any perceived act of anti-Islam” to drum support for itself and respond with violence when called upon to cause mischief.

What was even more disturbing was that not only did the people join in throngs to watch the horrendous incident, but they also filmed it and even took selfies showing Diyawadanage body burning in the background.

“Today, sections of the middle-class youth feel proud of lynching on a genocidal level, believing killing alleged blasphemers is an act of valour,” lamented Khilji.

Sitting 130 kilometres away in Lahore, the capital city of the Punjab province, and belonging to the Christian community, the breaking news from Punjab, for Mukhtiar, who goes by one name, was even more disturbing.

Along with the footage of the mob and burning of Diyawadanage body, the various television channels also showed archival photos of his late daughter Shama, and her husband, Shahzad. They were lynched by a mob in 2014 and pushed into a burning brick kiln where the husband worked, in Kot Radha Krishan’s village of Chak 59, near the city of Kasur, also in Punjab. They were punished for allegedly burning pages of the Holy Quran.

“Her three kids who are living with me were disturbed and cried a lot on seeing their parents’ faces plastered on the screen, as the older two remember the incident quite clearly,” said the grandfather, talking to IPS over the phone.

“The incident that happened yesterday (Friday, December 3) was a criminal act, as was my daughter’s and son-in-law’s lynching,” he said, adding: “Do you think any civilised person would want to carry out a sacrilegious act against any faith?”

“Nothing that happened on the part of Diyawadanage constitutes the offence of blasphemy as is the case in nearly all cases prosecuted under these laws,” pointed out Peter Jacob, executive director of Centre for Social Justice. Initial investigations by police suggest the manager had removed posters of a religious moot, as the factory would be whitewashed.

Peter Jacob, executive director of Centre for Social Justice addressing a crowd of protestors in Lahore. He and other rights activists have condemned the killing.

Mukhtiar further pointed out the consequences of committing blasphemy against Islam in Pakistan were “far too grave” for anyone to dare.

Statistics also point that one does not have to belong to a religious minority to be accused of blasphemy and face vigilante violence. The majority of the accused are Muslims.

At least 1,890 persons have been accused of committing blasphemy, under various clauses of the blasphemy law, from 1987 to 2021, said Jacob, who has been collecting data for the last 30 years, adding: “The year 2020 saw the highest number of accused.”

Of the 75% Muslims accused this year, 70% belonged to the Shia sect, he said, and 20% belonged to the Ahmadi community, 5% were Sunni, 3.5% were Christians and 1% Hindus. Religions of 0.5% could not be ascertained, Jacob told IPS over the phone from Lahore.

From 1992 till December 4, 2021, there have been 81 extrajudicial killings on suspicion of blasphemy and apostasy, 45 were Muslims, 23 Christians, nine Ahmadis, two Hindus and two persons whose religious identity could not be ascertained, Jacob noted.

In 2017, Mashal Khan, a Muslim student studying at Abdul Wali Khan University, in Mardan, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was killed by his peers for allegedly posting blasphemous content online. The accusation was later proved to be fabricated.

Even in Shama and Shahzad’s murder, rights activists later found the attack was instigated by the brick kiln owner who had an altercation with Shahzad over a money dispute.

The Prime Minister terming the incident a “horrific vigilante attack” promised that all those responsible would be punished with “full severity of the law”. News reports say police have arrested over a hundred, including 19 who played a “central role” in the brutal killing.

For Mukhtiar, these promises ring hollow.

“There will be a lot of promises for a few weeks, and then when the public’s attention is diverted, the perpetrators will be released, you wait and see,” he said.

“Of the five men charged with murder and sentenced to death, two have been released,” he said. After seven years, he was tired of doing the court rounds or seeking justice. “I’m old and a heart patient, and I have the responsibility of these three kids too!”

Khilji also remained sceptical whether justice will be “dispensed to the mob” given Pakistan’s “dismal track record” in such cases.

“Entire police stations have been burnt down for perceived inaction towards blasphemy-accused people by the TLP,” he said, giving the example of the state caving into this group that exudes “massive street power”.

And this “capitulation” to those demanding, inciting, encouraging, and perpetuating violence, pointed out Saroop Ijaz, senior counsel with Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, has reinforced the “legitimacy of violence” in the public consciousness.

A December 5 editorial in Dawn said: “… on the last day of his life, Mr Diyawadanage came face-to-face with the consequences of the Pakistani state’s decades-long policy of appeasing religious extremists.”

“The Sialkot incidence is yet another reminder that violence and impunity are now embedded in society on the issue of blasphemy,” Ijaz told IPS, emphasising the urgent need for holding a “national conversation on violence” and, in particular, on how religion is often used to incite violence.

But, he was not sure if the government was “ready and willing to provide an enabling environment for such a conversation” to be had.

Omicron & Developing Countries – Where Threats are the Greatest

A woman receives a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at a health clinic in Garowe, Somalia.
As scientists continue to investigate the Omicron COVID-19 variant, the World Health Organization (WHO) last week urged countries not to panic but to prepare for its likely spread. Credit: UNICEF/Ismael Taxta

By Alexander Kozul-Wright
GENEVA, Dec 7 2021 – On 25 November, news emerged from South Africa of a new COVID-19 variant. It has since been identified as Omicron, a Greek alphabet derivation the World Health Organization (WHO) reserves for virus variants “of concern”.

For now, scientists are still racing to understand Omicron’s virulence. There is, however, growing concern that its high number of mutations make it more transmissible and more resistant to existing vaccines (or previous infections) than other variants.

Currently, these worries are based on preliminary analysis emerging from South Africa, where the new variant was first detected. Further data monitoring will be needed to inform countries about appropriate policy responses. But irrespective of whether Omicron panic is justified, economic shockwaves have run ahead of the disease.

The virus has already sent jitters through financial markets in advanced economies and complicated the policy stance of central bankers in Europe and the USA. In the global South, meanwhile, some regions are likely to be more affected than others. Three key observations underscore where economic risks are the greatest.

The first is a threat of renewed country lockdowns. To date, COVID-19 has tightened the fiscal space available to many developing countries. Recent inflationary pressures have also put paid to further monetary policy loosening.

Lockdowns would be particularly damaging in Latin America, therefore, as macro-financial policies across the continent are approaching an upper-bound.

Although Omicron has not yet been detected in China, its presence there would almost certainly prompt Beijing to double-down on its ‘zero tolerance’ strategy, resulting in local lockdowns and reduced consumption.

If authorities decided to reimpose restrictions comparable to those observed in August 2021, following an outbreak in Nanjing, the toll on growth would be considerable – economists slashed China’s quarterly growth expectations at the time due to city-wide closures.

While other countries lack China’s willingness to choke off economic activity, under-funded health care systems may force developing country governments to impose social distancing to try and limit pressure on hospitals.

Here, countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are least well prepared, as vaccine rates remain particularly low (from 1-30 percent).

The second factor relates to trade. Omicron could dampen the recent gains in global trade, which UNCTAD forecasts will increase by 23% in 2021 from the year before, due to the easing of pandemic restrictions and economic stimulus packages.

However, UNCTAD’s forecast did not consider an outbreak of Omicron. A fresh wave of lockdowns would be particularly damaging in East Asia, where intra-industry value chains are deeply connected. With global supply chains still vulnerable, further supply disruptions across China – which accounts for roughly one-fifth of world merchandise exports – would pare back world trade.

Tourism could take a big hit over the coming weeks if governments continue suspending travel routes. Shrinking foreign exchange earnings would be especially hard felt in the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, where tourism makes up a relatively large share of national income, compared to other developing country regions.

The third angle relates to financial market fluctuations. The VIX index, a measure of Wall Street’s expected volatility one month into the future, has risen by 47% since 24 November. Meanwhile, the yield on 10-year US Treasury securities, which move with in line growth and inflation expectations, fell 13% over the same period.

Jitters have been apparent in a broad array of financial market barometers. The prices of developing country currencies and commodities – both considered risky assets – have nosedived over the past two weeks, with oil benchmarks on both sides of the Atlantic down 10-15% since the discovery of Omicron.

A sustained period of falling energy prices would undermine OPEC countries’ net export and fiscal balance positions.

The upshot is that a slump in global risk appetite would undermine developing countries’ growth prospects. What’s more, any shift to higher pandemic spending would lead to a rise in bond yields, causing financial conditions to tighten even further. This would be especially problematic for countries with large external financing costs like Ghana and Turkey.

On the other hand, concerns it may also stall the rebound in advanced economies could delay the normalisation of monetary policy by the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, which would ease the pressure on developing countries to adopt more aggressive monetary tightening.

The COVID-19 crisis continues to expose the disparity in fiscal and monetary firepower available to developed vs. developing economies. And while the severity of Omicron remains in doubt, this latest variant risks further undermining global growth convergence.

Alexander Kozul-Wright is a consultant for the Third World Network (TWN)

 


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Climate Change: Adapt for the Future, Not the Past

By Anis Chowdhury and Jomo Kwame Sundaram
SYDNEY and KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 2021 – Funding for developing countries to address global warming is grossly inadequate. Very little finance is for adaptation to climate change, the urgent need of countries most adversely affected. Also, adaptation needs to be forward-looking rather than only addressing accumulated problems.

Anis Chowdhury

Suicide pact?
Climate change poses an existential threat, especially to poor countries with little means to adapt. Rich countries’ failure to deliver promised financial support has only made things worse. COVID-19 has dealt another knock-out blow, worsened by rich countries’ “health apartheid”.

The COP26 deal was undoubtedly a “historically shameful dereliction of duty” and “nowhere near enough to avoid climate disaster”. Glasgow’s failure shows up lack of real progress and inadequate policy responses. Worse, no significant new resources came with the “Glasgow Suicide Pact”.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)’s Trade and Development Report 2021 laments rich countries’ unwillingness to address grave challenges facing developing countries. After all, Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development was in trouble even before COVID-19.

Climate policy responses involve both mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation seeks to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through more efficient energy use, and by using renewable energy instead of fossil fuels. Adaptation involves strengthening resilience and protection to minimize adverse effects on human lives.

National adaptation needs get far less international funding than mitigation for the world. Thus, poor countries struggle alone addressing global warming mainly caused by others. Adaptation challenges are also wide-ranging, due to varying country vulnerabilities.

Risky approach to risk
Governments have been advised to reduce vulnerability to shocks by improving data and risk assessment. Most measures to strengthen resilience use conventional financial risk management methods. These seek to better protect existing assets, and to provide temporary financial support when shocks happen.

Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Climate adaptation is thus addressed via disaster risk assessment, early warning systems, improved ecosystem management and better social safety nets. But the approach hardly distinguishes climate change from other risks.

Relying on past experience, the conventional approach is hardly forward-looking in addressing new challenges. Recommended measures tend to deploy scarce resources to address past and current effects of climate change.

Focussing on current vulnerabilities enables adapting to extant climate threats. This may provide some temporary resilience and relief. But it does not prepare for new threats. Thus, the approach ignores future problems, not providing much protection from or reducing vulnerability to emerging threats.

Counting on pricing and other market techniques for climate adaptation risk assessment is also limiting. The approach tends to focus on what is predictable and incremental, rather than on what is more uncertain and systemic.

With its roots in financial risk management, the approach favours returning to some assumed norms of normality and stability. It thus rejects considering new possibilities, including a more dynamic approach to sustainable transformation.

Furthermore, returning to ‘normal’ for many communities implies exploitation and precarity. Preservation and coping are also favoured by the approach. Typically, these are hardly enough to address the complex challenges faced. Worse, they may inadvertently cause maladaptation.

Avoid maladaptation
A transformative approach to climate risk is needed instead. The only lasting solution may be to reduce developing countries’ reliance on climate sensitive activities, such as cattle breeding, through far reaching changes to create more resilient economies.

This requires moving away from de-risking in favour of a more integrated and systemic approach to diversify economies for greater resilience. More diversified economies are more supportive of sustainable development, and much less vulnerable or likely to be disrupted by external shocks.

In recent years, this has been clear from the greater vulnerability of primary export-dependent economies to economic shocks originating elsewhere. But it is also true of climate shocks. Thus, climate adaptation requires a new vision of common goals, instead of merely avoiding risks and worst-case scenarios.

Diversification crucial
Thus, climate adaptation in the global South needs to be addressed through development. Moving from de-risking to diversification requires a developmental state committed to ‘green’ industrial policy – involving investment and technology – to do so.

Diversification involves two cumulative processes working in tandem. First, shifting from primary production to manufacturing and higher value services. Second, moving resources from less to more capital-intensive activities.

Developing countries have to pursue sustainable development, keeping emissions and resource consumption within ecological limits. This requires economic diversification, raising productivity and improving social conditions.

Such new transformation strategies must recognize ecological and climate constraints. Developing country policymakers have limited means to address such challenges. With uneven ‘neo-liberal’ globalization, they are also handicapped by institutional weaknesses, e.g., even in mobilizing domestic resources.

Multilateralism key
Some rich countries – e.g., the UK and Australia – have cut their aid budgets and not deployed their unused Special Drawing Rights to help developing countries. They have done little to encourage private creditors to enable developing countries to invest to develop out of the multiple crises they face.

Thus far, measures for debt relief are very modest and grossly inadequate, “kicking the can down the road”. Deferring debt simply means borrowings are due to be paid later, as compound interest accumulates. Meanwhile, debt burdens continue to grow.

The UNCTAD report warns that measly climate funding is accelerating global warming, undermining prospects for decarbonizing the world. It highlights the need for pro-active multilateralism and support for developing countries to address the climate and pandemic induced crises.

“Global challenges clearly require multilateral responses”. But so far, only the IMF has provided some real relief by cancelling debt service obligations for 28 countries – worth US$727 million – between April 2020 and October 2021.

The end of the first Cold War undermined the felt need for UN-led multilateralism. If US President Biden really seeks to emulate President Roosevelt, he can begin by reviving the UN-led multilateralism FDR envisaged, instead of recklessly pursuing the new Cold War favoured by neo-conservatives in his team.

 


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Refugee Voices Matter – Nothing about Us, Without Us

By Anila Noor, Eliasib Amet Herrera and Shaza Alrihawi
Displaced, Dec 7 2021 – Over the past two years, the global refugee response has been tested. The world is being rocked by the greatest pandemic in over a century, while waves of refugees have fled from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Belarus, and Tigray. So, where do we go from here? Next week, the international community will convene to take stock of the successes and shortcomings of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), a unique multilateral mechanism built to ensure the protection of one of the most vulnerable populations. This marquee Compact is up for review, but unlike other review processes, the participation of the people whose lives are shaped by the decisions to be made in the review process will be marginal. Unfortunately, only 1 in 50 of the invited attendees at the UNHCR High-Level Official’s Meeting (HLOM) to discuss the GCR are refugees.

Anila Noor

Decades of sideling refugees in discussions around migration and policies that impact their lives and futures has resulted in many failed policies. Refugees have been deprived of civil and political rights – and are therefore regularly excluded from multilateral arenas by their host country and/or their country of origin. The exclusive structures of international diplomacy exacerbate this culture of exclusion. Thanks to the work of the Global Refugee-Led Network (GRN), other refugee-led organizations and their allies, we are achieving more meaningful participation. Yet the fact that UNHCR’s highest-level meeting this year only includes 2% refugee representation indicates that we have considerable work to do to realize the GCR’s commitment to meaningfully engage refugees in policy processes. For us at the GRN, meaningful engagement requires active participation and inclusion in international and domestic conversations and policy decisions to account for a fuller range of the refugee experience and identities.

We urge the international community to raise the bar. UNHCR should commit to 25% refugee participation in the 2023 Global Refugee Forum and create a refugee seat in UNHCR’s governing body, EXCOM, by 2023. As representatives of affected populations, refugees add a unique perspective to the global debate on refugee policy that is not represented by Member States, UNHCR, or NGOs. By increasing our representation fully and meaningfully in these high-level discussions and bodies, we can help to shape policies that are informed by our lived experiences and drive systemic changes. Inclusive refugee policies and meaningful participation must span gender and sexual identities, religion, ethnicity, those with disabilities, youth and elders, those affected by sexual and gender-based violence, among other identities.

Eliasib Amet Herrera

If COVID-19 has taught us anything it’s that the best way to implement lasting solutions is to include and address the needs of the most vulnerable. Refugee policy is no exception. The conditions of forced displacement provide a perfect incubator for COVID-19, leading to a devastating impact on the refugee population. For this reason, we are calling for secure, equal, quality health treatment for forcibly displaced people, including access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

While COVID-19 made improving the global response to the refugee crisis more urgent, it also demonstrated the importance of refugee-led organizations (RLOs) in the refugee response. There is documented success in the power of including RLOs in the global vaccine rollout for refugees. In Uganda, the Refugee-Led Organisations Network, which brings together 34 RLOs in Africa, is on the frontlines of the COVID response, providing life-saving support to refugees and helping them to access vaccines. In the absence of specific government campaigns targeting refugee access to the vaccine, these groups have kept their community informed and protected – challenging vaccine misinformation, to translating crucial information about COVID-19 into refugees’ native languages. These kinds of refugee-led initiatives around the world are vital to fighting vaccine hesitancy and making sure refugees are protected.

Refugee engagement in the Afghanistan response once again demonstrated in real-time how including refugees can lead to better-informed policies. The Taliban’s recent seizure of Afghanistan put thousands of Afghans in grave danger, many of whom scrambled to flee the country to seek asylum abroad. This crisis is an existential test of the GCR, as the UN projects that up to half of a million Afghans could flee the country by the end of the year, which will require a global, coordinated refugee response. RLOs, like GRN’s Asia chapter, Asia Pacific network of Refugees (APNOR), have been using their personal experience and professional expertise to support Afghan refugees. APNOR was a first responder – coordinating legal aid, facilitating a hotline for psychological counseling, and supporting evacuation efforts for Afghans in danger. Having fled Afghanistan in the 90s, the refugee leaders had vital information from the ground about how the situation is progressing, as well as a unique understanding of the danger Afghans face under Taliban rule, and in the journey to seek asylum.

Shaza Alrihawi

However, it is groups like ours, formed within and profoundly committed to serving each other, that are most underfunded and under consulted. We need a global commitment to quickly alter systemic barriers and end the exclusion of affected communities from the spaces where their present and future are being debated. In global and regional fora, travel and visa issues are creating divisions in which only refugees resettled in the Global North are able to participate in decisive meetings held in Geneva, New York and the like. At local levels, safety issues also exclude girls, women, LGBTIQ+ persons, and other members of the refugee population. To promote inclusion across demographics, decision-makers must provide RLOs with flexible and direct funding to support women, youth, LGBTQI and other excluded refugee groups.

Until we are included in all decisions about the lives we lead, policies will continue to fail. Our request for broad-based inclusion of refugees and resources to meet the full range of our experiences and identities is the only form of participation that will create sustainable change and enable a more effective global refugee response.

Anila Noor, Eliasib Amet Herrera and Shaza Alrihawi are steering committee members of the Global Refugee-led Network (GRN), a Refugee-Led Organization (RLO) composed of refugees groups in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, MENA, and the Asia Pacific.

 


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Eternity Technologies Launches “Quasar” a new generation of Carbon Nano Motive Batteries Made in UAE

Leading industrial battery manufacturer Eternity Technologies is launching QUASAR, a new range of Carbon Nano Motive batteries to deliver more power, longer run times and faster recharge versus conventional lead batteries.

Designed mainly for the heavy–duty material handling market such as electric forklift trucks, QUASAR batteries can be fully charged in just four hours and with opportunity charging capabilities offering even greater flexibility. QUASAR Carbon Nano motive batteries are ideal for material handling equipment operating in multi–shift, outdoor and cold storage applications with up to 50% more power. Equally, QUASAR is an ideal battery for extremely high temperatures indoor or outdoor.

The QUASAR positive plate utilises Thin Tube technology, which offers greater energy density and higher discharge performance. It also incorporates a market leading phenolic resin separator which can meet the heavy–duty operating demands and provides excellent oxidation resistance. The QUASAR negative plate contains Carbon Nano Tube (CNT) technology, which increases its fast charge capability, without any degradation to the life of the batteries.

Using the latest manufacturing production processes and equipment, Eternity Technologies' QUASAR batteries are now made in its UAE factory and can deliver an enviable 99% recycling rate further supporting a sustainable and truly circular economy.

Dr Mark Stevenson of Eternity Technologies, explains: "QUASAR, is our new premium battery range and a great addition to our already extensive battery offering. After very successful trials and qualifications by our customers we are ready to serve the global motive markets and offer a strong value proposition."

About Eternity Technologies

Eternity Technologies deliver the most reliable, sustainable and available industrial battery solutions for the Motive and Network Power markets.

With unique state of the art manufacturing facilities in place, Eternity Technologies has operations in United Arab Emirates, Germany, Spain, USA, Chile and South Africa and is today one of the fastest growing industrial battery companies.

Eternity Technologies sells to over 100 countries worldwide offering a wide range of industrial batteries, chargers and services for material handling equipment, electric forklifts, renewable energy storage or off grid solar systems.

For more details about products from Eternity Technologies, including the new QUASAR batteries, visit the website www.eternitytechnologies.com

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Belarusian Journalists Keep Reporting From Exile – Here’s How

Credit: Yousef Alfuhigi / Unsplash

By Hanna Valynets
VILNA, Dec 7 2021 – Independent journalism has come increasingly under attack in Belarus, as the country has become a regional hotspot of media repression. Lately, as many as six media outlets have closed shop to ensure the security of their staff. Some media workers have fled the country.

Among those who have left were employees of the country’s largest media outlet, TUT.BY. The site shut down in May, after government officials raided the newsroom’s offices and the homes of some employees. Fifteen staffers were arrested on criminal charges, and currently are being held in jail.

The TUT.BY site was blocked, and the government declared over 20 years of their published reporting extremist material. Under penalty of administrative and criminal sanctions, their reporting can no longer be disseminated or reprinted in Belarus, the publication’s logos cannot be used, and the TUT.BY name can’t be mentioned.

After the site was blocked, the newsroom’s journalists began to publish their reporting on Telegram. In early July, some of these reporters launched a new project called Zerkalo.io. Now registered in Ukraine but still reporting for a Belarusian audience, the Zerkalo team considers itself the successors to TUT.BY.

Looking back, Pushkina believes that TUT.BY’s editors made a critical mistake — one that she personally regrets. They hadn’t anticipated the dire turn of events inside Belarus: “I would advise all media outlets that find themselves in a similar position in other countries to try to answer the question: How far might the repressive crackdown go?”

“I consider our [relocation] case noteworthy, but it’s not by any means positive,” said Alexandra Pushkina, Zerkalo’s public relations manager. Approximately 30 members of TUT.BY’s 260-person team now work for Zerkalo, she explained. They’re based across five countries.

The employees who left the country are safe — an especially meaningful development in light of the Belarusian government bringing a second criminal case against TUT.BY employees in early October.

“I feel guilty for every day that my colleagues spend in prison. I would gladly swap places with them,” said Pushkina. “But I manage the country’s largest media outlet, and I’m responsible for keeping it alive.” She added that the editorial staff’s current objective is to “make clear that [the government] can’t simply flip a switch and stop the flow of information.”

Zerkalo went live two months after the government raids of TUT.BY. Upon deciding to launch the new site, the Zerkalo team discussed it with the owners of TUT.BY, registered the new outlet in another country (Ukraine), bought the domain name, and designed and launched the new site, Pushkina explained. For journalists who find themselves in similar situations, she recommended making relocation arrangements ahead of time: buy a domain name, make a backup copy of your existing content, and safeguard it in another country.

Less than an hour after Zerkalo launched, Belarusian authorities blocked access to it. A month later, the court ruled that the site’s content is extremist. “Today, our average daily figure is 200,000 page views. According to Google Analytics data from September, the site has 2.9 million monthly visitors,” Pushkina said, noting that the numbers are growing. “Today, we [Zerkalo] are once again the largest media outlet covering politics. We are ahead even of the state-run media,” said Pushkina. Still, they are much smaller than TUT.BY’s readership was before it was shut down. In April 2021, for instance, 18.2 million unique visitors visited TUT.BY.

The relocation provided critical advantages for Zerkalo. “The editorial staff are in greater safety, and nobody has been arrested since the new site was launched,” Pushkina said.

Zerkalo continues to prioritize security. The newsroom doesn’t have a physical office that can be bugged, or where its employees could be detained. Reporters’ names are kept off the record, and their articles have no bylines. To safeguard information, employees communicate via secure messaging apps.

Zerkalo has no journalists physically working in Belarus; the editorial staff receives information about developments inside the country from their readers. “Our staff are facing 12 years [of prison]. We get letters from the journalists who say they are ready [to work with us]. But I’m not ready to be responsible for anyone else who might end up in prison,” said Pushkina.

She noted that Zerkalo reporters maintain their editorial integrity, despite the challenges they’re up against. “When your colleagues are imprisoned, when many people are forced to leave their homeland, you want to defend yourself. But we decided to uphold the previous editorial policy because [we don’t want to depart from] high journalistic standards.”

Looking back, Pushkina believes that TUT.BY’s editors made a critical mistake — one that she personally regrets. They hadn’t anticipated the dire turn of events inside Belarus: “I would advise all media outlets that find themselves in a similar position in other countries to try to answer the question: How far might the repressive crackdown go?”

Journalists and newsrooms elsewhere that face efforts to silence their reporting might similarly consider relocating. Here are tips to keep in mind should the need arise:

  • Ensure that employees understand what they are signing up for — including the financial situation. For the first few months, Zerkalo employees worked without compensation because TUT.BY’s bank accounts had been frozen. It was impossible to implement commercial projects because the site’s content was identified as extremist, too. It might also not be safe for relocating employees to return to their home country.
  • Re-think your business model. Zerkalo editorial staff sought news ways to sustain themselves given the circumstances. This included soliciting donations and assistance from foundations that support free media.
  • Remember that, in addition to your editorial staff, your newsroom must have people who are familiar with the business side of the initiative, familiarity with legal issues, and experience in project management. It’s also important to identify who will be the chief decision-maker.
  • Define your editorial policy and communications strategy before launching.

 

This article was originally published by IJNet, International Journalists’ Network