Category: yvfrzeti

College holds high school choir festival

first_imgWith 20 women’s choirs from Indiana, Michigan and Illinois, the High School Women’s Choir Festival held at Saint Mary’s College promotes female chorus groups, Nancy Menk, director of choral activities, said. “It’s for constructive criticism and help,” she said. “It’s not a competition. It’s just a festival.” Menk said the opportunity allowed feedback from a panel of three commentators. The festival, which began Thursday, also allowed each choir to listen to comparable women’s choirs to gain insight. The commentators this year were Paul Caldwell of Chicago, Sean Ivory of Grand Rapids, Mich. and Barbara Tagg of Syracuse, N.Y. According to Menk, each choir performed for the other choirs and the commentators. Following each performance, one of the three commentators worked directly with the choir to provide feedback on their performance. The choir will receive written comments from the other members of the panel. “They come here and each choir performs a short program for each other and for a panel of commentators that we bring in,” Menk said. “These are experts in the field. Following their performance one of the three commentators goes up on stage with a [microphone] and works with the choir, like in a workshop format, to improve some aspect of their performance.” The festival is a two-day event and will end today around 4:30 p.m. Menk said the Saint Mary’s College Women’s Choir performed each day to provide an example for the high school students. The annual festival is celebrating its 26th year. Menk said the festival is mutually beneficial for the high school students and the College. “It’s important for Saint Mary’s because it brings 800 prospective students to our campus, and its promoting good choral singing among high school women,” Menk said. “It’s promoting good quality repertoire for high school choirs, and it’s giving them a chance … to go to a festival and something that’s geared just toward them.” According to Menk, the festival hopes to improve singing and pride within each organization. “It should help them to feel good about what they’re doing. It should give them an aspiration, something to aspire to with their choir, to be able to work at a higher level,” she said.last_img read more

Tony Poll! Which 2015 Acceptance Speech Was Your Favorite?

first_imgThe 2015 Tony Awards were a total blast—we got to see awesome performances and we watched some very deserving performers win big. There’s nothing better than a great acceptance speech, and this year’s ceremony was chock full of them. Our favorites were Kelli O’Hara, Alex Sharp and Ruthie Ann Miles, just to name a few. Now it’s your turn—which acceptance speech was the highlight of your Tony night? Cast your vote below! View Commentslast_img

Huntington Bay Village Board Seeks Salary, Drawing Ire

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The Huntington Bay village board is considering a proposal to start paying the mayor and other volunteer elected and appointed village officials—an idea that has churned up a big debate in the tiny municipality of 1,600 residents and beyond.Huntington Bay Mayor Herb Morrow has been trying to make his job a salaried position for several years. He’s been proposing a bill that would provide compensation for him, the four village trustees, two commissioners and the five zoning board of appeals members. But critics question if the workload really justifies a salary for managing an annual budget of under $2 million.“If this is accepted up there, it will spread like wildfire to all these other villages,” says Desmond Ryan, executive director of Association for a Better Long Island, who is worried about the impact on state pension, health benefits and Social Security if these unpaid officials start to get public salaries. “When you take into consideration that we already have more government on Long Island than the old Soviet Union, who needs more salaries? For a mayor of a small village to ask for a salary? If you want the money, go get a job…. Most people take it as a civic duty.”Huntington Bays Deputy Mayor Dominic Spada, who is also the village’s police commissioner, said 21 of Suffolk County’s 33 villages pay their municipal officials and, on the state level, 87 percent of the villages responding to a survey conducted by the New York Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials said they also pay their elected officials.“We’re the minority,” says Spada. “We’re not blazing any new trails here.”Under the proposal, the mayor would get $18,000, the trustee-police commissioner $4,800, the trustee-road commissioner $4,800 and the trustee $2,400.Mayor Morrow, who is a consultant for staffing and recruitment firms, has told reporters that doing his job is not charity or volunteer work. He and his municipal colleagues say that the executive, legislative, policy and fiduciary responsibilities have “increased significantly over the past several years” as the village operations have “become more complex.”Morrow first joined the village board in 1993 as a trustee and was elected mayor a year later. Last June, he was elected to his 11th two-year term, reportedly with 65 percent of the vote. In his executive summary of the proposed budget, the mayor asserted that the village has kept the spending at the same level as 2009, and for the third year in a row it entails no village tax increases.Spada is proud of that accomplishment.“That wouldn’t happen if we didn’t put a lot of time, thought and execution into what we do,” says Spada, who’s been an elected official for four years. “So, this is a job and it really needs to be treated as such.”For comparison, Northport Mayor George Doll, a retired bayman, is paid $7,500 annually, for a municipality with roughly 7,000 residents within its incorporated borders. Mayor Gary Vegliante of West Hampton Beach, which has 55 year-round residents, is paid $80,000 annually.“I will tell you that mayors are the unsung heroes of Suffolk County,” says Paul Tonna, executive director of the Suffolk County Village Officials Association and a former Suffolk County presiding officer. He declined to take sides on the Huntington Bays vote. “There’s no Republican or Democratic way to deliver municipal services… The issue is home rule and self-determination.”If the proposal passes, opponents would reportedly have to organize a petition drive within the village and acquire signatures from at least 20 percent of the eligible registered voters to trigger a referendum to overturn it.The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Huntington Yacht Club, 95 East Shore Rd., Huntington Bay.last_img read more

Obama’s Transgender Student Directive a ‘Huge Victory’

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Rashed Mian and Jaime FranchiThe Obama administration on Friday issued a directive to all public schools in the nation proclaiming that transgender students must be allowed to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity.The joint declaration by the Department of Education and Department of Justice cannot be enforced by law, but school districts could lose federal funds if they’re found to be discriminating against students based on their gender. The directive makes it clear that the administration sees transgender inclusion as a basic civil rights issue—and as such, officials could be held accountable if transgender students’ rights are denied.On Long Island, the White House’s directive, which also includes school locker rooms, was dubbed a “huge victory” by one of the leading gay and transgender rights groups in the region.“This is a huge step forward for the transgender community, especially the transgender youth who are attending our schools,” Robert Vitelli, chief operating officer of LI-based LGBT Network, told the Press.The news comes amid a growing debate over transgender rights spurred by a politically charged law passed in North Carolina earlier this year prohibiting transgender people from using restrooms that don’t align with their gender given at birth. Civil liberties groups have slammed the law as hateful and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the law was nothing more than “state-sponsored discrimination.” Supporters of the law have claimed their decision is based on public safety and not anything nefarious.In response to controversy, a host of businesses either moving to North Carolina or with plans to expand there have decided not to move forward, and a handful of entertainers cancelled concerts in the Tar Heel State. President Obama has called for the law to be repealed, but North Carolina’s Republican governor was unmoved. Their bitter disagreement will now play out in court after both the DOJ and North Carolina filed counter-lawsuits over the issue.The federal government’s directive comes nearly a year after the New York State Department of Education issued its own guidelines last year to educate administrators about transgender rights. Vitelli said it was significant that the federal government was following up on what the state has already done. He cited startling statistics that show harassment of LGBT students is remarkably high.More than one-third of LGBT students report being harassed, he said, and more than 50-percent of transgender youth will attempt suicide at least once by the age of 20. If a transgender student is fortunate enough to receive support from family and friends, the likelihood of them attempting suicide drops considerably, Vitelli noted.For Michael Hynes, superintendent of schools at Patchogue-Medford School District, inclusivity is paramount. Hynes, a vocal critic of federal government overreach into the public school system, welcomed the directive.“No student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling like they don’t belong at school…or in life for that matter,” Hynes told the Press.Hynes noted that the new federal guidelines provide administrations, teachers and parents the tools they need to “protect transgender students from any harassment and to identify and address policies school districts have in place.”Ryan Cassata knows first-hand what it’s like for school staffers to tell him which bathroom he could use. At 14, Cassata, a singer-songwriter from Bay Shore, came out as transgender on Larry King Live.“When I was in high school, the staff was very confused about which bathroom I should use,” he told the Press. Cassata wasn’t permitted to use either the boys or girls bathroom at Bay Shore High School. The confusion also extended to gym class.Cassata said he had to “fight” just to be able to use the nurse’s bathroom. Now 22, Cassata believes the wheels of change are churning in the right direction.“Some of the staff didn’t know how to handle transgender students,” Cassata said. “Today, that changes. That changes for the entire country.“It brings me the greatest pleasure to hear about what the Obama administration has done for the transgender community,” Cassata continued. “This is a step in the right direction, a step toward equality, a step toward transgender people feeling more comfortable at school, a step toward transgender people not committing suicide because of the oppression.”At the collegiate level, Stony Brook University Dean of Students Tim Ecklund said the college is already in the process of transitioning its student activity building restrooms to all-gender, which would be a first among SUNY colleges.Ecklund also noted that all-gender restrooms will be installed in all newly constructed buildings on campus.“Our transgender students, like all of our student body, are very important to us,” Ecklund told the Press. “We want to offer them the best possible experience at Stony Brook and will do our best to support them in any we can.”The new directives comes a little more than a week after the New York State Assembly once against voted in favor of an anti-discrimination bill that would protect transgender people looking for housing, employment or education. The legislation, however, has for years stalled in the state Senate and is likely to fall short again this legislative session.last_img read more

NEWS SCAN: Surgeon general nominated, past pandemic viruses evolved stealthily

first_imgRural doctor and ‘genius grant’ winner nominated as surgeon generalPresident Barack Obama today nominated an Alabama family physician and MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” winner to be surgeon general. Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA, founded a health clinic to serve tiny Bayou La Batre, Ala., home to poor, mostly uninsured African-American and immigrant Asian fishermen, and rebuilt it three times after two hurricanes and a fire. She is a faculty member at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.[Reuters story, Macarthur Foundation bio]Viruses of past flu pandemics circulated undetected for yearsThe influenza strains that caused the three pandemics of the 20th century did not emerge suddenly, but circulated for months or years, researchers from Tennessee and China say in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Applying a “molecular clock” calculation to viral isolates from the 1918, 1957, and 1968 pandemics, the researchers estimate that each strain evolved through a series of reassortments that included at least one flu virus contemporaneously circulating in swine or birds. Current surveillance programs will not detect such reassortments, they say.[PNAS abstract]last_img read more

It is high time that we start to take health tourism seriously and strategically

first_imgPolyclinic Bagatin has been named the leading dermatological clinic in Europe according to the latest analysis of European dermatological clinics, which is done Global Clinic Rating – international accreditation body for medical institutions.The fact that a total of 2.368 dermatology clinics were included in the analysis, with an average quality score of 3.15, shows that this is a serious competition and a high ranking.Because medical and aesthetic services are highly individualized, the goal of the GCR is to bring the standardization and categorization of the institutions it certifies closer to all its users and potential patients, and the criteria for medical institutions are set based on patient satisfaction. GCR is the only internationally independent organization that serves patients as well as owners of polyclinics and clinics worldwide.Source :: Global Clinic Rating”The overall international clinical reputation of the Bagatin Polyclinic for 2018 was rated very high at 4.55, which placed us at the very top. This indicates an increasing health standard throughout Europe, but also in Croatia. ” they point out from the Bagatin Polyclinic and add that by combining technology and an individual approach, they create a complete and ideal program for clients, with which they achieve the best and long-lasting results.Global Clinic Rating (GCR) is an international accreditation body that evaluates medical institutions based on 4 criteria: staff expertise, technological equipment and quality of medical and non-medical units, range and quality of medical and non-medical procedures and services, and patient reviews and evaluations on independent websites ( like Google and Facebook).The success of the Bagatin Polyclinic is just another in a series of successes of our polyclinics, specialized hospitals, surgeries on the competitive market of Europe and proof that it is high time to start seriously and strategically dealing with health tourism.From year to year, the Bagatin Polyclinic receives recognitions and awards from the profession and patients, in various healthcare activities offered on the market, and is ranked among the best polyclinics in Europe, as evidenced by the aforementioned GCR recognition. In addition to the Bagatin Polyclinic in Croatia, we also have other excellent and recognized clinics that are excellent in their fields, such as St. Catherine’s Special Hospital, Svjetlost Special Hospital, Medico Polyclinic, Rident… and many other smaller practices that are leading in the region and among the best in Europe.So, we have an excellent foundation for health tourism from Rijeka, Zagreb, Osijek and other cities on the Adriatic that are slowly rising, we have the most important clinics that are among the best and leading in the region and Europe. However, the clinics themselves do not constitute health tourism, this must be taken care of by tourist destinations, ie tourist boards headed by the CNTB and the Ministry of Tourism, to complete the whole cycle and story about health tourism.The private sector has long since made its own, from various clinics, specialized hospitals and surgeries that are the main base and prerequisite for the development of health tourism, but again we fall for a system that obviously does not know or want to round it off as a tourism product. We have everything, from hotels, clinics, spas, suitable climates, connectivity, restaurants, tourist stories, but again the system is slowing down and not at the level it should be.How long do we have to wait for something to really move from a standstill? We live in the 21st century where change is getting faster and faster, where there is strong competition, where it is getting harder and harder to stand out and get attention, and we still prefer competition in the environment because we are sluggish, inert and content with the sun and by the sea.Health tourism is one of the focuses of the Master Plan for Tourism Development until 2020, but a lot is written on paper of various strategies and master plans – the paper suffers everything, and unfortunately there are still no concrete changes in the field. Entrepreneurs are shouting loudly and sending an appeal to tourist institutions to get involved and for health tourism to become part of the integrated Croatian tourist offer. It is obviously time for some concrete changes and actions, because we do not have another ten years to wait for some concrete changes to happen and to arrange a quality story about health tourism in Croatia.According to estimates, the total revenues that are generated globally in the field of medical tourism today exceed 60 billion dollars, and in just a few years that number will exceed 100 billion dollars. Although there are about 1.100 medical tourism service providers in Croatia, only five percent of tourists (patients) come from foreign markets, primarily from Italy, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.We are constantly talking about potentials, it is time to concretize those potentials. Right now and now, because when if not now – when Croatian tourism is a trend in the focus of global tourists and the media.We have everything and everything is up to us.</p>
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In August, 52,4% of tourist arrivals and 60,1% of tourist nights were realized

first_imgIn August 2020, 52,4% of tourist arrivals and 60,1% of overnight stays were realized compared to last August, according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). In the group Hotels and similar accommodation, there were 67 thousand rooms and suites available to tourists (which is 17,8% of the total number of available rooms and suites) with 141 thousand permanent beds (which is 14,2% of the total number of available permanent beds) . The average occupancy of rooms was 51,6% and permanent beds 58,9%, while in August 2019 the average occupancy of rooms was 84,8% and permanent beds 98,0%. All “sea” counties, except Šibenik-Knin County, where overnight stays are at the same level as in August 2019, achieved an increase in arrivals and overnight stays of domestic tourists. Domestic tourists realized 412 thousand arrivals and 2,2 million overnight stays in August 2020, which is an increase in arrivals by 18,9% and an increase in overnight stays by 16,3% compared to August 2019. In rooms, apartments and holiday homes, the highest number of tourist nights was realized, 10,7 million overnight stays, which is 63,9% of the total number of overnight stays in commercial accommodation. Compared to August 2019, the number of tourist arrivals in this type of accommodation decreased by 41,8%, and the number of overnight stays by 33,0%. In the group Camps and camping areas, 84 thousand rooms, apartments and camping places were available to tourists (which is 22,4% of the total number of available rooms, apartments and camping places) with 253 thousand permanent beds (which is 25,5, XNUMX% of the total number of available permanent beds). In the first eight months of 2020, tourists made 6,2 million arrivals and 36,6 million overnight stays in commercial accommodation facilities, which is a decrease in arrivals by 60,3% and a decrease in tourist nights by 52,0% compared to the same period in 2019. The highest number of overnight stays of domestic tourists in August 2020 was realized in Zadar County (498 thousand overnight stays) and Split-Dalmatia County (478 thousand overnight stays). This is followed by overnight stays of domestic tourists realized in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (395 thousand) and Šibenik-Knin County (269 thousand). In the County of Istria, foreign tourists realized the most overnight stays, 4,3 million. This is followed by overnight stays of foreign tourists in Split-Dalmatia (3,1 million overnight stays), Primorje-Gorski Kotar (2,7 million overnight stays) and in Zadar County (1,9 million overnight stays). In the group Resorts and similar facilities for short vacations, tourists had at their disposal 225 thousand rooms, apartments and camping places (which is 59,7% of the total number of available rooms, apartments and camping places) with 599 thousand permanent beds. 60,2% of the total number of available permanent beds). Overnight stays of tourists from Germany, Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic make up 68% of overnight stays of foreign tourists In rooms, apartments and holiday homes, domestic tourists realized the highest number of overnight stays in August 2020, 1,4 million, which is 16,1% more than in August 2019. This is followed by overnight stays of domestic tourists in hotels, namely 391 thousand, which is 25,4% more than in August 2019, and 218 thousand overnight stays in campsites and camping sites, which is 17,8% more than in August 2019. Double-digit increase in arrivals and overnight stays of domestic tourists in August 2020 compared to August last year In August 2020, 2,5 million tourist arrivals and 16,7 million tourist nights were realized in commercial accommodation facilities. Compared to August 2019, it is a decrease in tourist arrivals, by 47,6%, and a decrease in overnight stays, by 39,9%. In the structure of the total realized overnight stays of tourists, 13,0% are overnight stays of domestic tourists, and 87,0% are overnight stays of foreign tourists. In the first eight months of 2020, tourist overnight stays decreased by 52% compared to the same period last year In the group Resorts and similar facilities for short breaks, most accommodation units are available The highest number of overnight stays by foreign tourists in August 2020 was realized by tourists from Germany, namely 5 million overnight stays (34,2% of the total number of overnight stays by foreign tourists). This is followed by overnight stays of tourists from Poland (14,9%), Slovenia (10,8%), the Czech Republic (8,5%), Austria (4,6%) and Italy (4,4%). Of these foreign countries, only tourists from Poland increased the number of overnight stays in August 2020 compared to August 2019, by 4,1%. In the group Camps and camping sites, there were 425 thousand tourist arrivals and 3,3 million overnight stays, which is a decrease in arrivals by 51,3% and a decrease in tourist nights by 47,1% compared to the same period last year. In the group Hotels and similar accommodation, there were 520 thousand tourist arrivals and 2,5 million overnight stays, which is a 2019% decrease in arrivals and a 55,5% decrease in overnight stays compared to August 50,6. In August 2020, there were 376 thousand rooms, apartments and camping places with 995 thousand permanent beds available to tourists. Domestic tourists in that period realized 1,1 million arrivals and 4,6 million overnight stays, which is 29,2% less arrivals and 19,5% less overnight stays of domestic tourists than in the same period last year. Most overnight stays in August 2020 were realized in rooms, apartments and holiday homes In Continental Croatia in August 2020, the increase in domestic tourist nights compared to August 2019 was realized in the following three counties: Međimurje (10 thousand nights, which is an increase of 50,8%), Karlovac (12 thousand nights, which is an increase of 17,9%) and Krapina-Zagorje County (22 thousand overnight stays, which is an increase of 14,5%). Foreign tourists, on the other hand, realized 5,0 million arrivals and 32,0 million overnight stays, which is a decrease in arrivals by 2019% and a decrease in overnight stays by 63,8% compared to the same period in 54,6. Most overnight stays of foreign tourists were realized by tourists from Germany (32,5), Slovenia (14,4%), Poland (12,1%), the Czech Republic (9,0%) and Austria (6,1%). All the mentioned countries had fewer tourist arrivals and overnight stays in the first eight months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Foreign tourists realized 2,1 million arrivals and 14,5 million overnight stays in August 2020, which is 52,9% less arrivals and 43,9% fewer overnight stays compared to August 2019. Cover photo: Filip Filipović, Pixabay.com / Source: CBSlast_img read more

RE St Q puts foot down on defections

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ESG roundup: NBIM among $3trn investor group pushing TCFD-reporting

first_imgThe investors, who are all UNEP FI investment members, are: Addenda Capital, Aviva, Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec, Desjardins Group, La Française Group, Nordea Investment Management, Norges Bank Investment Management, Rockefeller Asset Management, and Storebrand Asset Management.The UNEP FI project is not the only investor initiative on TCFD-aligned reporting. The City of London Green Finance Initiative, China Green Finance Committee and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) have also put together a group of financial institutions, including institutional investors, to trial reporting based on the TCFD recommendations.The UNEP FI said the group would not act in isolation, citing existing investor groups and initiatives such as the Institutional Investor Group on Climate Change and the Investor Agenda.FRC: Calling all pension funds The UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) wants to hear from pension funds to better understand their views on the Stewardship Code, which the public body is reviewing.Writing in a blog on the FRC’s website, its head of investor engagement Jen Sisson said the FRC wanted more asset owners to sign up to the code.“But we understand that there are competing issues that pension fund trustees need to balance, and that there is often limited time available to do so,” she added.The FRC has already outlined some of the changes it has considered making to the Stewardship Code. In the blog, Sisson said the accounting regulator wanted to know if it should provide more clarity on the expectations of those investing directly versus those investing indirectly, like many pension schemes, and if the code should more explicitly refer to environmental, social and governance factors and broader social impact.“As we move through the process of reviewing the UK Stewardship code we want to hear from you,” said Sisson.The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF), a £200bn (€227bn) association of UK public pension funds, has called for the FRC to be wound up and replaced with a proper statutory body.ISS takes over oekomoekom research, a Munich-based ESG research and ratings provider, has been bought by Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), a major US provider of corporate governance and ESG products and services.oekom research will be renamed ISS-oekom and complement the work of ISS’ existing responsible investment teams, according to a statement.“As institutions across the globe continue to seek out holistic responsible investment solutions and services, ISS is pleased to respond to those demands through this transaction,” said ISS chief operating officer Stephen Harvey.The move is part of an emerging trend of consolidation among ESG/corporate governance service providers.Public pension funds turn spotlight on ‘precarious work’  The LAPFF has set out its stall on “precarious work”, publishing a report that identifies it as an investment risk and calls for changes to regulation and oversight as well as company practice.It also includes guidance for investors on how to engage with companies on issues such as zero-hours contracts, slavery, and general working conditions.Ian Greenwood and Denise Le Gal, LAPFF vice-chairs, said: “Investors can no longer turn a blind eye to precarious work. This report not only demonstrates the reputational and legal risks, it also highlights a worrying trend of companies seeing workers as a cost to be cut rather than an asset to be invested in to create long-term value.”The report can be found here.The art of manager selectionAsset owners should be clear about their expectations for the “real economy impact” of their investments when going about manager selection, according to a new guide from the PRI.Clarity on this aspect “will help to align interests for a long-term commercial relationship,” it said.The PRI has been promoting more and better integration of ESG-related issues in manager selection for some time. It said its new guide provided more detail on what ESG-related issues asset owners needed to think about when looking to select an investment manager.The PRI said: “Among others, this new document makes a fundamental point around manager selection: If there is no cultural fit and understanding of ESG factors between an asset owner and a potential manager, there is little [foundation] to establish a long-term investment relationship.”The guide can be found here. A near-$3trn (€2trn) group of investors – including Norway’s giant sovereign wealth fund – has formed to promote action on climate reporting by the investor community.Together with the UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), nine investors will work towards providing a first set of information in line with the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).“The outputs and conclusions of the group will encourage and ease the adoption of the TCFD’s recommendations by the wider industry,” UNEP FI said in a statement.A report on the pilot project is expected to be published by the end of 2018.last_img read more

Indiana AG looks to tighten robocall rules

first_imgIndianapolis, In. — Attorney General Curtis Hill today called on the Federal Communications Commission to create new rules to allow telephone service providers to block more illegal robocalls being made to consumers in Indiana. He is part of a bipartisan coalition of 34 attorneys general issuing a formal comment to the FCC.The formal comment explains that scammers using illegal robocalls have found ways to evade a call-blocking order entered last year by the FCC. Despite the FCC’s order, robocalls continue to be a major irritant to consumers in Indiana and across the United States. In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission received 4.5 million illegal robocall complaints – two and a half times more than in 2014. The Office of the Indiana Attorney General receives thousands of complaints each year with respect to illegal calls, including scam calls, telemarketing complaints and robocalls.Following an initial win for American consumers last year by the bipartisan coalition, when the FCC granted phone service providers authority to block certain illegal spoofed robocalls, the attorneys general now seek added authority for the providers to work together to detect and block more illegal spoofed robocalls – including “neighbor spoofing.”“Hoosiers should be able to enjoy peace and privacy without the disturbance of unwanted calls interrupting their routines,” Attorney General Hill said. “We need stronger measures aimed at rooting out bad actors responsible for rampant robocalling.”“Spoofing” allows scammers to disguise their identities, making it difficult for law enforcement to bring them to justice. “Virtually anyone can send millions of illegal robocalls and frustrate law enforcement with just a computer, inexpensive software and an internet connection,” the attorneys general wrote in the formal comment filed with the FCC.One tactic on the rise is “neighbor spoofing,” a technique that allows calls – no matter where they originate – to appear on a consumer’s caller ID as being made from a phone number that has the same local area code as the consumer. This manipulation of caller ID information increases the likelihood that the consumer will answer the call.In the formal comment, Attorney General Hill and members of the coalition expressed support for the new initiative, which will give phone service providers the ability to authenticate legitimate calls and identify illegally spoofed calls and block them. The added authority sought by the attorneys general will allow service providers to use new technology to detect and block illegal spoofed calls – even those coming from what are otherwise legitimate phone numbers. Service providers will be ready to launch this new authentication method in 2019.To date, the FCC has not issued a notice of proposed rulemaking concerning additional provider-initiated call blocking. The attorneys general anticipate that further requests for comments will take place on this subject.The added authority which the attorneys general seek from the FCC is not in conflict with Indiana’s Do Not Call List, in which consumers sign up to avoid receiving calls from legitimate vendors. The initiative for which the attorneys general seek FCC approval concerns illegal robocalls – which are made to consumers regardless of whether or not they sign up for do-not-call lists.For a copy of the comment, click here.last_img read more