We need something more sweeping than Dodd-Frank for pharma, Howard Dean says

The pharmaceutical and health-care industry needs reform “far more sweeping” than what Dodd-Frank did for the financial industry, former Vermont governor Howard Dean said Friday.

His remarks were in response to the recent controversy over Mylan’s $608 EpiPen.

“We pay for medicine on a fee-for-service basis in this country. As long as we keep doing that, we’re going to keep encouraging this kind of stuff,” Dean, who is also a doctor, said in an interview with CNBC’s “Power Lunch.”

Fee-for-service medicine is a method where health-care providers are paid for each service performed on a patient. Critics say the payment model pushes up costs.

“You pay us to do as much as we possibly can whether it works or not,” said Dean. “The only way you are going to get budgetary predictability by the payers, both private and public, is to get rid of fee-for-service medicine and do all this . . . at a capitated basis.”

On Thursday, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch addressed EpiPen’s repeated price hikes in an interview with CNBC. She said she was “frustrated” and said middlemen added to the ultimate cost.

She also said she hoped the issue was an inflection point for the country.

“Our health care is in crisis. It’s no different than the mortgage financial crisis back in 2007,” Bresch said.

Despite his calls for changes in the health-care system, Dean wasn’t indicting the entire pharma industry. He called Bresch an “outlier CEO.”

“This is predatory behavior by a particular drug company, and there’s really not an excuse for it. I don’t see the other pharmaceutical companies doing this kind of predatory behavior and these kinds of outrageous price increases,” said Dean.



The Donald Trump campaign has brought on board Republican operative Bill Stepien, sources tell NBC News.

According to those familiar with the process, Stepien will serve in the role of a National Field Director to guide the campaign on voter turnout in these finals weeks.

Bill Stepien, former campaign manager for Governor Chris Christie

Amy Newman | The Record of Bergen County | AP Photo
Bill Stepien, former campaign manager for Governor Chris Christie

The decision was made by CEO Steve Bannon with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner involved in recruiting Stepien.

More from NBC News:
Hillary Clinton tries to drive racial wedge between GOP and Trump
How Trump spent $8.4 million to play digital catch-up
Beyond Trump: Where will GOP go after 2016?

Stepien previously served as a top political aide to New Jersey Gov.Chris Christie, but was fired in January 2014 in the wake of the “Bridgegate” controversy. Christie claimed at that time Stepien had not been truthful with him. Christie and Stepien have not been in contact since, according to aides.

Stepien, who previously headed the NJ state GOP, has been running the PAC for NJ Lt Gov Kim Gaudagno.


From berries to cheese, farm sector reaping millions through Depression-era program


Many American farmers pride themselves on being self-reliant. But this year, they’re getting more federal money from a Depression-era food purchasing program that’s designed to combat a supply glut and low prices.

Uncle Sam has already spent around $313 million in the year ending in September on Section 32 of the Agriculture Act of 1935, which allows the secretary of agriculture to purchase domestically produced food to balance out supply and demand. That surpasses last year’s total of $306.3 million. It’s also the largest amount spent on the program since the throes of the recession in fiscal 2009, when $319.5 million was shelled out.

“It’s not typical but we’re having some issues in a lot of the commodity markets,” said Mykel Taylor, a professor in farm management at Kansas State University. “Everybody is cycling down from big record incomes and now they’re sitting on big supplies.”

Yet not everyone is convinced that the program, funded at taxpayer’s expense, provides a lasting boost on spot and wholesale prices — or on farmers’ wallets.

Daniel Sumner, a professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California at Davis, said he’s “quite skeptical” about whether the program has a substantial benefit on the agricultural industries. Instead, he views Section 32 as a means for drumming up publicity for the USDA.

“It may be some sort of very temporary little price blip,” he said.

“This is essentially window dressing.”

Political pressure

Section 32 is usually limited to commodities like fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, poultry and eggs. Often, the USDA makes the surplus purchases after getting a letter requesting aid from a member of Congress or a trade group. Not every request is granted, and sometimes the USDA doles out less funding than is originally sought.

That’s what happened earlier this week, when the department said it would tap into a contingency fund to buy cheese, berries, eggs and meats.

Last month, about 60 members of Congress wrote a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting the agency “make an immediate market injection and offer financial assistance” to help the U.S. dairy industry. The letter pointed out that milk prices were down 40 percent since 2014 and the nation’s cheese stocks were at higher-than-normal levels.

The American Farm Bureau Federation and others wrote similar letters on behalf of the dairy industry, requesting as much as $150 million in purchases. When the USDA responded late Tuesday, it said it would purchase 11 million pounds of cheese valued at $20 million.

“Agricultural incomes are at a low point right now, and for the USDA to try to step in and try to do something is not necessarily out of the norm,” said John Newton, the farm bureau’s director of market intelligence. “They have these funds available to them every fiscal year to do something if they so choose to.”

Section 32 money is a permanent appropriation equal to 30 percent of the previous calendar year’s customs receipts from duties on both agricultural and nonagricultural products.

The program’s purchases serve two purposes, according to a spokesperson at the USDA. They remove surplus food from the markets, which helps stabilize markets. They also provide “wholesome, quality foods” to those who need it most. That’s because the purchased foods are distributed to schools, food banks and other community charities.

Yet experts say it’s unclear if the government purchases provide more than a short-term boost in spot and wholesale prices. Sometimes the market reacts just the opposite, by taking profits on the news.

That was the case this week, when the USDA announced its cheese purchase. Traders had already anticipated government’s intervention, after news of the request letters went public. So the day after the USDA’s announcement hit, spot cheese prices on the CME fell to their lowest level in several months.

“Once the government program is announced, the wind gets sucked out of that,” said Robert Chesler, vice president of the dairy group at FCStone, a commodity risk management company.

Craig Cox, senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources for the Environmental Working Group, called the program “the tip of iceberg” in decadeslong efforts to boost farm income by trying to raise prices artificially or guaranteeing income.

“None of this investment has resulted in lasting change and in most cases [has] actually exacerbated the problem by encouraging overproduction and at the same time producing widespread environmental degradation,” he told CNBC in a statement.

It isn’t just dairy

Dairy has been in a protracted bear market on a global basis for more than a year. Milk production domestically was up last month while the average retail price for a gallon of milk fell almost 11 percent in July.

As for eggs, the USDA recently authorized for Section 32 purchases of $11.7 million of shell egg and egg products for surplus removal. The egg industry, which lobbied for help, is struggling after the avian influenza outbreak last year that killed an estimated 40 million birds and resulted in a brief spike in egg prices.

Egg supplies have recovered this year, though demand remains weak. Some analysts are concerned the market may be slower to return to equilibrium despite the upcoming fall season, which historically has meant more demand.

Egg farmers and processors are experiencing “some of the lowest prices in years,” United Egg Producers President and CEO Chad Gregory said in a release. “We are also pleased USDA will purchase both shell eggs and processed egg products.”

Fred Tanneau | AFP | Getty Images

One of the biggest beneficiaries of the government’s largesse is berry farmers. The cranberry industry received almost one-third of the USDA’s total spending last year on Section 32. In that industry, foreign production has contributed to the oversupply. After receiving $98.6 million in purchases last year, another $27.5 million worth of cranberry concentrate buys was announced this summer.

The USDA’s surplus purchases “had a substantial positive impact on cranberry growers who are facing hard times,” said Michelle Hogan, executive director of the Cranberry Marketing Committee, in an emailed statement. “The most recent purchase resulted in the equivalent of 300,000 barrels of fruit being removed from inventory and helps (to) continue the industry’s momentum in bringing supply and demand back in balance.”

In January, Maine’s delegation to Congress urged the USDA to buy surplus blueberries from growers in the state. Through a series of purchases the government has allotted nearly $13 million for Maine’s blueberry growers. The USDA this week authorized separate Section 32 purchases of another variety of blueberries, representing what is likely to be another $15 million for growers.

“We had an oversupply situation which affected prices,” said Nancy McBrady, executive director of the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine. “We’re trying to do everything to drive demand and even out that paradigm so that we can meet demand with the amount we have.”


XIMB PhD Admissions 2016: Apply online

XIMB PhD Admissions 2016

Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar (XIMB) has invited applications for admission into the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme offered in Management for the academic session 2017. The interested candidates can apply latest by February 14, 2017.

Educational qualification:
The candidates should have acquired a Master’s degree in any discipline from a recogised university or institute.

Selection procedure:
The candidates will be shortlisted on the basis of their academic records and SOPs. The shortlisted candidates will be required to appear for Xavier Research Aptitude Test (X-RAT), and personal interview. The candidates who have qualified UGC-NET  will be exempted from appearing for the X-RAT.

How to apply:
The eligible candidates should apply thorough the official website, ximb.ac.in

Application fee:
The candidates can make the payment of Rs 1,30 through the payment gateway.

Important date:

  • Last date for applying online: February 14, 2017

About XIMB:
The institute was established in 1987. It offers the following academic programmes:

  • Master of Business Administration – Business Management (MBA-BM)
  • Master of Business Administration – Rural Management (MBA-RM)[7]
  • Master of Business Administration – Human Resource Management (MBA-HRM)[8]
  • Executive Master’s degree Programme in Business Management (Executive MBA)
  • Master’s degree Programme in Global Management and Leadership (MBA-Global)[9]
  • Integrated Doctoral Programme in Management ( MBA&PhD (Integrated PhD) )
  • Doctoral Programme in Management (PhD)

For any query, the candidates can visit the official website.

CHECK: Xavier Institute of Management (XIMB) Admissions Open for UG courses: Apply now

CHECK: Jamia Hamdard University Admissions 2016: Apply now for Distance BBA/BCA courses

For more updates, follow India Today Education or you can write to us at


JSSC Special India Reserve Battalion Constable Competitive Examination 2015: Download admit cards

JSSC Special India Reserve Battalion Constable Competitive Examination 2015

The admit cards for Jharkhand Staff Selection Commission (JSSC) Special India Reserve Battalion Constable Competitive Examination 2015 have been finally released. All those candidates who had registered for the same, may download it from the official website www.jssc.in.

The exam is scheduled to be conducted on September 4 at various centers located in Ranchi.

(Read: Dr Abdul Kalam UG Scholarships 2017: Apply at University of Sydney, Australia)

Steps to download the admit card

  • Log on to the official website www.jssc.in
  • Click on ‘ Admit Card for Special India Reserve (PrimitiveTribes) Battalion Constable Competitive Examination – 2015’
  • In the provided fields, enter your application number and date of birth
  • Click on login
  • Your admit card will be displayed on the screen
  • Download the same and take a printout for future reference

Those candidates who are unable to download the admit card due to some or the other reason, are required to report in person at the office of commission between August 29 and September 3, 2016.

About JSSC:

The commission may recommend for appointment to all the posts of group C and non-gazetted general/technical/non-technical service/cadres of the state government in group B, where there is provision of direct appointment partially or in full, and selection on which is not done by Jharkhand Public Service Commission.


Technology helps bring back muslim children to madrassas

Representational image, image source: robinwyatt.org

Technology is playing a pivotal role in preventing high dropouts and absenteeism observed in various madrassas across West Bengal.

Abdul Lashkar, a class-9 student, visited the new computer lab in Dar-Un-Neda Siddiquia Madrassa in Hooghly district after his science class to look up on food habits of Prophet Muhammad on the internet. With the help of his classmates, he then came up with a digital story on how favourite foods of the Prophet nourished his body with vitamins and other nutrients.

Linking nutrition to Islam:

Madrassa teacher Sugata Dey told PTI, “If we tell them about nutrition, they won’t find it interesting but when we link it with Islam then the topic becomes interesting for them. It helps them relate to their education with the community they are coming from.”

This idea of integrating ‘dini’ (religious) and ‘duniyavi talim’ (worldly education) with modern technology has been conceptualised by educator Amina Charania from Tata Trusts.

(Read: IIM to be set up in Jammu: HRD Ministry signs MoU with state government)

Positive effects:

It was in the year 2014 that the madrassa adopted the new pedagogic framework for integrating technology in teaching and learning. Since then, enrolment has doubled for class five students.

“I don’t see any dropouts happening now. On the other hand the enrolment has increased and so has attendance in classes,” said Babita Dutta Majumder of Vikramshila Education Resource Society who is working for the development of the minority education institutions.


Vivek Choudhary bags first position in CS 2016

CS topper

The results of the Company Secretaries (CS) executive programme (old and new syllabus) were declared by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) on Thursday. Vivek Choudhary, a 21-year-old student, has bagged the first position in the examination with flying colours.

‘There was nothing planned’

  • “The feeling of seeing the word ‘Pass’ on the mark sheet is a very big achievement in itself as it is one of the most competitive examinations of the country. I did not expect to get any rank. For me, becoming a company secretary itself was a huge success,” Choudhary said toHindustan Times

Difficulty level of paper:

  • “Unlike most professional courses, CS has a very comprehensive syllabus. There are nine subjects, multiple laws and thousands of provisions which sometimes get on your head. But all that is required to ace this challenge is a commitment, hard work, focus and a lot of sacrifices in terms of social media, parties, etc.”

‘My parents are my ideals’

  • “My first call was to my mother as she has been a constant support and a source of inspiration to me. My parents are my ideals as they have given me guidance at every point of time in my life. Whatever I have achieved today is because of their blessings,” he added

Future plans:

  •  Vivek wants to become an investment banker. He further says, “But that is not my ultimate goal in life. My dream is to contribute towards the development of the society through education. I believe education is the guiding light for improved standards of living. If I am asked to define my ultimate goal concisely, it would be to bring out a revolution in education.”

In order to check the results, the candidates can click here.

The candidates must note that the institute will not provide physical copy of the result-cum-marks statement of the Executive programme to candidates. In case candidates fail to receive the physical copy of result-cum-marks statement for professional programme within thirty days of declaration of result, they can contact the Institute at: [email protected].

About ICSI:

The institute was constituted under the act of Parliament the Company Secretaries Act, 1980 (Act No. 56 of 1980). Its headquarters at New Delhi and four regional offices at New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai.

For more details, candidates are requested to check the official website.

Courses offered by ICSI:

  • Integrated Company Secretaryship Course (Full-Time)
  • Company Secretaryship Qualification Course
  • Post Membership Qualification (PMQ) Courses
  • Certificate Courses: Certified Banking Compliance Professional Course, Certificate Course on Valuation
  • Corporate Compliance Executive Certificate
  • ICSI-III Compliance Governance and Risk Management in Insurance
  • ICSI-IGNOU Course
  • ICSI – ICSA London Course
  • ICSI-CISI Membership & Qualifications
  • source”gsmarena”


android device assist primary

Google giveth, and then it taketh away. The latest casualty to undergo the Mountain View culling is the Device Assist app, which was built to offer quick tips, troubleshooting suggestions, and quick access to Google support.

Now when you fire up the app you’ll see a notice that it’s going away under the Detected Issues section. Touch the card and you’ll get a link for more information. That’ll send you over to an official Google tips page, where ironically the current featured tip is for iPhone users.

device assist app

The most critical issue you’ll see is that the Device Assist app is shutting down.

The app is still available from the Play Store, but surely this won’t be the case for long. If you have a Nexus phone and need help from Google, your best bet is to head to thesupport page where you can get assistance via chat or a phone call.

The story behind the story: Google has become pretty quick about giving the axe to products that don’t gain traction. A recent example is the eliminating of the ”Together” feature from Android Wear. However, it wouldn’t be impossible to see some of these features come back in some form with the next Nexus phones, as Google has promised additional software features to make the Nexus line stand out.


Five to Try: Opera VPN secures your web browsing, and Riptide GP: Renegade revs up

fivetotry aug26 lead

We’re nearing the end of summer, and whether you plan on enjoying the warm weather outside or curling up on the couch this weekend, you should make sure you’ve got some cool new apps and games on your phone. This week’s Five to Try column is headed up by Opera VPN, a free service that lets you get around regional browsing restrictions, check the security of your Wi-Fi network, and even block ad trackers.

Nike Run Club reboots the familiar Nike Running app with new features this week, as well, and if you’re looking for fresh games to enjoy, Riptide GP: Renegade, MLB 9 Innings Manager, and the ultra-goofy Hidden My Game By Momare all worth a try. Read on for more on these hot new releases.

Opera VPN

fivetotry aug26 operavpnAnyone eager to relive the glory days of Wave Race 64and Hydro Thunder has been able to do it on Android with the great Riptide GP and Riptide GP2, and now Vector Unit is tweaking the formula a bit with Riptide GP: Renegade ($3). It’s still all about raucous waves, bumping foes, and grabbing huge air off of ramps, but now you’ll do so in something of a Fast and the Furious-gone-aquatic world of illicit jet ski racing.

Tossed out of the official league, you’ll take part in underground (well, above water) races that bring in new terrain for the series and sometimes have you outrun the cops. Besides the theme, nothing’s terribly different here, but that’s no issue: Renegade looks great, plays well, and has eight-player online battles for when you tire of the story mode.

MLB 9 Innings Manager

fivetotry aug26 mlb9innings
You can watch the sped-up games, but the real gameplay happens in the menus.

We might only be a few weeks away from the regular season, but it’s not too late to start playing a new baseball game on your phone. And if you’re into armchair management and following all of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering, then MLB 9 Innings Manager might be right up your alley. You’ll never swing the bat or toss a high heater in this one: it’s all about making the right moves for your team and then watching them succeed. Well, hopefully.

MLB 9 Innings Manager offers two primary ways to play: the managerial mode, which has you build a team and then make moves throughout the season, as well as a daily fantasy chase. In the latter mode, you’ll amass the best player cards you can and then earn points based on how those players perform in the real-life games each day. Stat junkies who want a die-hard sim might get more mileage out of MLB Manager 2016 ($5), but this freebie is worth a look for everyone else.

Nike+ Run Club

fivetotry aug26 nikerunclub
Get into a running routine before the cold starts coming back.

Previously known as Nike Running, the newly rebooted Nike+ Run Club brings in some fresh features designed to push you harder than ever, as well as use your community of family, friends, and fellow runners as a source of motivation. A fresh Material Design overhaul looks sharp, but it’s the adaptive coaching programs that may provide the biggest enhancement, offering routines based on your fitness level and goals.

Also new are tips from athletes like Olympic medalists Allyson Felix and Mo Farah, as well as the ability to add stickers and stats to your shared posts, plus you can tap into community hashtag challenges to help juice your enthusiasm. If the Olympics have you in the mood to get active, then maybe Nike+ Run Club can get you back into the swing of things.

Hidden My Game By Mom

fivetotry aug26 hiddenmygame
It’s strange, indeed, but Hidden My Game By Mom is actually pretty hilarious too.

While the title is atrocious, Hidden My Game By Mom is wildly entertaining—and so very, delightfully dumb as well. This low-rent affair casts you as a young child whose Nintendo DS-like handheld has been taken away by mom, so you’ll search each room to try and find it. At first, the solutions are obvious and the game merely appeals by being so odd.

But then it goes from odd to downright wacky, which is when Hidden My Game By Mom really shines. You’ll find mother hiding behind a lamp or folded up inside a cabinet, or see cyclists biking through your living room or gymnasts stacked tall in front of where your handheld might be. And not only does the game get sillier, but it also starts delivering actual puzzles in the process. Hidden My Game By Mom has all the production values of a lazily tossed-together Flash game, but this is one totally amusing freebie.


Twitter will soon let you use keyword filters to combat online harassment

twitter ios app

Online harassment on Twitter has gotten so bad that some users opt to never read their mentions, while others are driven to log off the platform forever.

Now, Twitter is addressing the problem with a new anti-harassment tool, according toBloomberg. Twitter is developing a feature that would allow users to filter out certain keywords from their timeline and mentions. This anti-harassment feature, which has been in the works for about a year, will give users the power to block certain offensive words and slurs.

This new tool is Twitter’s latest attempt to curb online harassment on its platform. Previously, Twitter made it easier for people to report a string of offensive Tweets, but this feature is the most control the company has ever given its users in the fight against harassment. In addition, the tool could expand to become a general moderation tool, according to Bloomberg, giving users the power to block out entire hashtags, not necessarily because they find them offensive.

Earlier this summer, Instagram gave its high-profile users and businesses a similar tool for filtering out certain keywords in their comments. Bloomberg notes, however, that Instagram’s moderation tool hasn’t been all-catching. Trolls have outsmarted it sometimes by misspelling certain slurs.

Why this matters: Online harassment on Twitter seems to be at an all-time high, giving the platform an unflattering reputation as a hub for haters and trolls. BuzzFeed called Twitter a “honeypot for assholes” because of how it prioritized free speech, even when it’s hateful.


Eldge @Sickayduh

NBC: remove all tweets with our olympics footage

Twitter: of course

Girl: a guy is harassing me

Twitter: we don’t have the tools for that




And it’s had some real consequences for the company. Journalists and celebrities havequit Twitter after being the targets of online abuse, which is the last thing you’d want when your company is suffering from years of stagnant user growth. Furthermore, Twitter has been criticized for being quick to ban users who posted unauthorized Olympics GIFs, while failing to ban known trolls and offensive accounts.

According to Bloomberg, curbing this type of harassment has become a priority for Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Twitter is expected to unveil more initiatives later this year.