Merger OK’d by Garamendi

first_imgCalifornia Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, whose lone opposition held up a gigantic health care merger last year, on Monday approved the proposed $9.2 billion union of UnitedHealth Group Inc. and PacifiCare Health Systems Inc. UnitedHealth’s takeover of PacifiCare would be the second-biggest merger ever in the hospital managed care industry. The stock-and-cash deal would create one of the nation’s largest private health plan providers, with about 26 million subscribers. The companies agreed that the costs of the merger will not be borne by California consumers and they agreed to commit $250 million in investments and charitable contributions to medically underserved communities, the commissioner said. “I expect this merger to go forward,” Garamendi told a news conference. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake “They will follow through on this,” he added. “The agreement is enforceable by court order.” “We look forward for this opportunity … to apply our skills and ability to work for the advantage of Californians in providing increased affordable access to high quality health care,” said Mark Lindsay, a UnitedHealth spokesman. PacifiCare appreciates the “thorough approach” taken by the state “to insure that this merger is in the best interest of all Californians,” spokesman Tyler Mason said in a statement. The merger still must receive approval from the California Department of Managed Care, federal Department of Justice and other states in which UnitedHealth operates. Lindsay said the merger was already approved by regulators in Arizona, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Oregon, leaving Colorado, Texas and Washington state. Washington state was scheduled to discuss the issue Monday. None of the other states that approved the merger demanded the contributions and restrictions included in the California agreement, Lindsay said. The California insurance commissioner’s stamp was considered vital because for months he single-handedly held up the largest health care industry merger – the $16.4 billion purchase of Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based WellPoint Health Networks Inc. by Anthem Inc. of Indianapolis. Garamendi had argued that the deal would have pulled that much money out of California in the form of dividends and that the buyout it offered WellPoint’s chief executive was excessive. Garamendi only approved that deal last year after Anthem agreed to contribute some $400 million to the state public health system by, for instance, helping fund new hospitals. Garamendi said the WellPoint agreement was his template for negotiations with UnitedHealth. “It was a major hurdle for the company to surpass,” said K. Newton Juhng, an analyst with Piper Jaffray in New York, who covers UnitedHealth. “California was the big step that needed to be done. It should push things along quite a bit.” Juhng said the millions of dollars in charitable investments is not really a major concession because the company already makes similar investments as part of its portfolio. “The key here from the company’s point of view is the demands that the state made were relatively reasonable,” he said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

High achieving Donegal student awarded prestigious law scholarship

first_imgUniversity of Limerick student Patrick Carr has earned the prestigious Holmes O’Malley Sexton Law Scholarship for 2019.The Glencolmcille native, who is in his final year of a law and accounting degree at University of Limerick, was presented with the merit-based scholarship for his outstanding level of academic performance.Each year, Holmes O’Malley Sexton, the Limerick based firm of Solicitors, endows a scholarship to a law student who has attained a particularly high level of performance in his/her legal studies at the University of Limerick. The scholarship is valued at €2,500. (Pictured are, from left, Harry Fehily, Managing Partner, HOMS, Circuit Court Judge Tom O’Donnell, Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, Court of Appeal, UL School of Law student and HOMS Scholarship Recipient Patrick Carr, from Co. Donegal, Professor Shane Kilcommins, Head of UL School of Law, Donal Creaton, Partner, HOMS, Patrick McInerney, Partner, HOMS, and Robert Kennedy, Partner, HOMS, and president of Limerick Solicitors Bar Association. Photo by Diarmuid Greene / True Media)On receiving the award, Carr said that he was “delighted to be the recipient of the Holmes O’Malley Sexton Scholarship this year” and he hopes to continue his studies with a Masters specialising in Tax at National University of Galway next year.Commenting on the scholarship award, Holmes O’Malley Sexton Managing Partner Harry Fehily said, “Recognising dedication and hard work aligns with the Holmes O’Malley Sexton values. Each year we award a scholarship to a law student at University of Limerick that has performed exceptionally in their studies.  Patrick is a very worthy recipient this year and we wish him every success in his final year studies and career in law.”  High achieving Donegal student awarded prestigious law scholarship was last modified: April 17th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Holmes O’Malley Sextonlawpatrick carruniversity of limericklast_img read more

Mammoth catfish caught on Clear Lake could break world record

first_imgAn avid fisherman recently made an annual return to Clear Lake and wound up reeling in a potential all-tackle world record.Vacaville native and chiropractor Sean Moffett was fishing for trophy bass on his boat Saturday morning accompanied by his wife Stacy to celebrate their 29th wedding anniversary.Instead of a monster bass, however, he unexpectedly caught a mammoth catfish that was far too big for his 18-inch net. “I saw the tail come out of the water and it was a dinosaur,” Moffett said. …last_img

SA Internet access set to grow

first_img5 January 2004The rollout of Internet access services by South Africa’s second telecommunications operator is one of three factors which will kick-start growth in Internet access in the country in 2004, according to a study of South Africa’s Internet industry by independent technology research organisation World Wide Worx.The licensing of the second national operator (SNO) by the government means that the monopoly currently enjoyed by Telkom will soon come to an end.According to The Goldstuck Report: Internet Access in South Africa 2004, the rollout of high-speed or broadband wireless access by Sentech, and the healthy rand-dollar exchange rate, will also significantly contribute to increased access in the country.Sentech has been granted a wide-ranging licence to provide access services, while the stronger rand will reduce the costs of equipment to build infrastructure.“From having no choice at all, the South African market will suddenly be faced with two new players who are both eager to supply Internet access needs”, says World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck, who led the research in collaboration with IT outsourcing organisation Netsurit and internet service value-added applications provider Systemsfusion.The last three years has seen a dramatic slowdown in Internet access growth in South Africa. According to the report, 3.1-million South Africans had access to the Internet at the end of 2002.Growth in Internet access in 2002 was around 7%, the slowest since the Internet became available to the South African public in 1993, and the first time it had been below 20%.In 2003 growth was set to be only 6%, with 3.28 million South Africans expected to have access to the Internet by the end of 2003. This is a mere 1 in every 13 South Africans, marginally up from 1 in 15 at the end of 2001. (South Africa’s total population, according to Census 2001, stands at 44.8-million.)For the first time, the annual survey included a survey of small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) usage of the Internet, which saw research partner Netsurit surveying more than 2200 SMMEs with Internet access.Almost half of SMMEs reported e-mail as their primary use of the Internet, while a third cited banking as their primary online activity.The survey also found that small businesses with Internet connections were increasingly pursuing high-speed connectivity, with only one out of five using traditional dial-up modem access.On the technology front, the report concludes that 2004 will see the biggest explosion yet of technology options available to Internet users in South Africa.“From broadband wireless supplied by Sentech to ADSL and ISDN from Telkom, to a range of creatively packaged technology options from a variety of ISPs, it’s like 1994 all over again”, says Goldstuck.“Once again, the challenge will be an educational one for the existing market, and affordability for those who are still not connected.”Nevo Hadas, VP of marketing for survey support partners Systemsfusion, warns that this poses a huge challenge to ISPs. “They have to make their offerings not only simple to use, but also simple to understand”, he says.“The Internet user wants a fast, reliable connection, rather than a technically brilliant way for it reach the computer. The industry has to be technically brilliant in such a way that the user doesn’t even know about it.”Other significant findings of the report were:The size of the dial-up market passed the one-million mark for the first time in 2002, largely due to the marketing campaigns of Telkom and Absa’s Internet services, while the subscriber base of traditional ISPs fell for the first time. ISPs tended to be more focused on serving existing customers than on chasing growth in users, and this in turn resulted in the most profitable year yet for the access industry, despite the slowdown in user growth. The leased line market for corporate access remained healthy, largely thanks to companies focusing on the reliability of their networks and putting more backup systems in place. As a result, the number of lines grew faster than expected, but growth in users with access to such lines was slower than expected. Schools connectivity will receive a boost in 2004 as a range of long-awaited projects are finally implemented SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

Business looks to Zuma’s address

first_img12 February 2013South African business will be looking to President Jacob Zuma’s 2013 State of the Nation Address (Sona) to spell out out how the private sector can play a greater role in the country’s infrastructure drive and National Development Plan, says Business Unity SA (Busa).Zuma will deliver his address to a joint sitting of in Parliament in Cape Town at 7pm on Thursday. The speech will be broadcast live on SABC and e.tv, as well as on the radio.“There are relatively low levels of investor and business confidence, but the Sona and the Budget speech may improve business mood,” Busa policy adviser Raymond Parsons told reporters in Johannesburg on Monday.Zuma’s address comes after the Cabinet’s recent adoption of the National Development Plan, which makes far-reaching proposals to direct the country’s development.“We would like to hear more details as to how the private sector will be part of the National Development Plan,” Parsons said.“There will be trade-offs and there will be tough decisions, but we must take the long view. This is the opportunity to take the country with you and share the vision.“We want to see the roll-out of the infrastructure programme more aggressively to improve state capacity and activate the private sector, because infrastructure development will make a great impact on our growth.”Parsons said the overarching concern for business was to ensure that South Africa narrowed the gap between policy formulation and implementation.He said business felt that Zuma’s speech on Thursday, and the 2013 National Budget, to be tabled by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan later this month, should help prevent another ratings downgrade.“Negative investor perception could result in higher borrowing costs and decline in short-term capital inflows needed to finance the trade deficit,” he said.Despite a bumpy 2012, Busa believes the economy will stabilise and start creating new jobs in 2013, projecting gross domestic product (GDP) growth of about 2.6 percent for the year, but with downside risks.South Africa’ economic performance was “disappointing” last year, Busa said, for both internal and external reasons, including the negative impact of the slowdown in the eurozone on SA exports.Recruitment company Adcorp’s employment index, released on Monday, fell by an annualised 3.2%, reflecting that the economy shed 51 495 jobs in January.Busa said it was crucial that there was buy-in from all partners for the successful implementation of the National Development Plan, with the aim of maximising development and job creation.Busa CEO Nomaxabiso Majokweni said the organisation hoped to see policies focused on realising the NDP.“Implementation of the NDP should therefore start to reflect in the budget allocations. The proposals in the NDP have a major impact on state expenditure, and yet the NDP itself lacks the overall financial framework in which the planned expenditure will take place,” Majokweni said.She added that the NDP would only work if the private sector could create jobs quickly enough.Source: SANews.gov.zalast_img read more

Once You Choose to Compete on Price

first_img Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now The problem with choosing to compete by having the lowest price is that it eliminates the ability to compete on anything else.You Can’t Be Best and CheapestYou can’t innovate and create new products without capturing enough of the value you create to make the necessary investments. You can’t create experiences, or compete on exceptional service and legendary support, without being able to put money into achieving those outcomes. And you can’t create the kind of solutions that come from a relationship with a strategic partner, because that requires people and money.You can’t be better and cheaper. You have to pick a lane. By choosing price, you have eliminated other choices.Pick a LaneWith enough money, you can be better and faster. Without the investment, you can only be cheaper. If you choose to be better, you have to charge more so that you have the ability to create greater value.Most sales organizations don’t spend enough time explaining to their sales force the competitive strategy they have chosen and why they have chosen it. This leaves many salespeople with the belief that they should have the best product, service, or solution while also having the lowest price. This mythical and unobtainable competitive strategy exists in only two places on earth: in the minds of some clients and some salespeople.The truth is, you have to make a choice of strategies, and choosing one eliminates the other.The Truth About Low PriceThe truth about low price is that it doesn’t make selling easier. It makes selling more difficult. Once you have eliminated the ability to be better, you’ve lost the ability to compete by solving the problems and eliminating the risks that come with choosing the lowest price. When you can’t be better, then there is only one way to compete, and that is by being even cheaper still.The lowest price is often called “value,” but the only real value being created is the low price of acquisition, for the sales organization and the client. You don’t value what is cheap. You value what is exceptional, what is precious, what is worthy of being valued. The lowest price produces none of these, and so you aren’t valued either.last_img read more

James Harden has Rockets rolling with visit to Warriors looming

first_imgSerena Williams wins Perth season-opener ahead of Grand Slam tilt Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) congratulates guard Austin Rivers (25) after Rivers’ three-point basket late in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018, in Houston. Houston won 113-109. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)James Harden and the Houston Rockets were one half away from the NBA Finals last time they played at Oracle Arena.The way the Rockets are rolling now, they might just get another shot at the champs this postseason.ADVERTISEMENT PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue View comments LATEST STORIES The Rockets try to wrap up a perfect month at home Monday against Memphis, then visit Golden State for the first time since the Western Conference finals, having recovered from a rough start thanks to Harden’s torrid stretch.He has scored 40 points in three straight games and 35 or more in seven straight, the longest streak since LeBron James did it in nine in a row in 2006. The NBA scoring leader’s quest to repeat as MVP is clearly on track.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionAnd after a poor start, so are the Rockets (20-15). They have won four straight and nine of their last 10 games overall, and are 8-0 at home in December after dropping their first four games at the Toyota Center.Just like Game 6 of the West finals, when they blew a double-digit lead, they will play at Golden State for Thursday’s nationally televised game without Chris Paul because of a hamstring injury. But instead of what had been a shaky season getting worse, the Rockets have surged in his absence because of Harden. SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion BREAKING: Corrections officer shot dead in front of Bilibid TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games openingcenter_img LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño Deandre Ayton will finish his strong December by testing himself against the NBA champions. Then he opens January against a different kind of test — perhaps the toughest in the league at his position.The rookie center squares off for the second time against Joel Embiid on Wednesday when the Phoenix Suns host the Philadelphia 76ers.Luka Doncic might already have too much hype and highlights to be caught in the Rookie of the Year race, but Ayton’s strong play certainly shouldn’t be overlooked. The No. 1 pick scored a season-high 33 points on 16-of-20 shooting and added 14 rebounds Saturday in a 122-118 loss to Denver, after he came into the game averaging 16 points and nearly 12 boards for the month.“You can feel game-to-game he is getting better,” coach Igor Kokoskov said last week. “He is working on his game. He is a very dedicated player. It was just a matter of time.”That improvement has helped the Suns go 5-4 in their last nine games — one more victory than they had during a brutal 4-24 start.After facing Golden State on Monday, it’s on to his second matchup with Embiid, one of the league’s biggest talkers who was already chirping about Ayton even before he’d played his first game. After the former Arizona star was compared to him in June, Embiid wrote on Twitter: “Don’t compare Ayton to me either. I play DEFENSE.” He then told ESPN in a preseason interview that Ayton was “about to get his (butt) kicked.”Embiid had 33 points to Ayton’s 17 in the 76ers’ victory in Philadelphia in November.___ “Somebody said the other day that we can only win if he scores 40. OK, that’s kind of a bad thing, but the good thing is he can score 40 every night, so we’re OK with that,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said.“Tell him to keep going.”NEW YEAR, OLD HOMEKawhi Leonard’s first trip of the new year is to his old home.The Toronto Raptors visit San Antonio on Thursday for what became one of the most anticipated games of this NBA season this summer when the Spurs gave Leonard the exit he had been seeking, trading him to the Raptors.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Leonard was the NBA Finals MVP when the Spurs won their last championship in 2014 and had become one of the league’s most complete players by last season. But he was limited to nine games because of a quadriceps injury and his relationship with the organization became strained.The Spurs dealt him along with mainstay Danny Green to Toronto, getting All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan back.Leonard led Toronto to the best record in the league for most of the season and the two-time Defensive Player of the Year’s absence has shown on the Spurs’ defense, long one of the league’s best but well back in the rankings now.While the game Thursday is the most newsworthy, it’s not the most important of the week for Toronto. The Raptors follow it Saturday by visiting the Milwaukee Bucks, who have inched ahead of them for the NBA’s best record and have won both meetings this season.OTHER GAMES TO WATCH THIS WEEK:Orlando at Charlotte, Monday. Magic coach Steve Clifford returns to face the team he coached for five seasons.Oklahoma City at Lakers, Wednesday. Chance for Californians Russell Westbrook and Paul George to put on a show for the fans back home.Atlanta at Milwaukee, Friday. Mike Budenholzer’s move from Atlanta to Milwaukee couldn’t look much better.Dallas at Philadelphia, Saturday. The reigning Rookie of the Year (Ben Simmons) against the player (Luka Doncic) who could succeed him.AYTON IN ACTION Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? MOST READlast_img read more