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Posts made in August, 2017

‘Our hearts are broken:’ Pittsburgh Zoo’s baby elephant, ‘Little Bit,’ has died

By on Aug 31, 2017 in Press Release | 0 comments

PITTSBURGH — An elephant that was born about 30 days premature and had a feeding tube inserted to help it gain weight has been euthanized, the Pittsburgh Zoo PPG Aquarium said Wednesday. Born in July, the calf was briefly put on exhibit to the public before her health took a turn for the worse earlier this month. Though she never had an official name, the baby elephant was known as “Little Bit” at the zoo, said Dr. Barbara Baker, president and CEO of the zoo. “Our hearts are broken. It’s just devastating,” said Baker. “She touched so many people in such a short time. We did everything we possibly could to care for her, but unfortunately in the end, it just wasn’t enough.” The calf’s mother, Seeni, rejected the baby, forcing keepers to feed it a combination of formula and elephant milk pumped from another female. When teething caused the baby to stop taking her bottle feedings, the decision was made to insert a tube so keepers and veterinary staff could provide her with the nutrients and vitamins she needed. The calf initially responded well, but did not gain weight consistently, Baker said. “The humane decision to euthanize the calf was made, and she passed away peacefully surrounded by her family of dedicated keepers,” a press release from the zoo read. The calf weighed only 184 pounds at birth, which is below the average weight of an African elephant. She was being cared for by zoo staff 24 hours a day. “We expect there will be criticism and accusations from those with limited information and no animal care experience. Sadly, these individuals seek to benefit their own agendas by misrepresenting the realities of a tragic situation and demanding action based on misinformation,” the zoo’s press release said. “Baker added that the zoo thanks all who expressed support, prayers and well wishes for the calf over the past several months. Get your news on the go: Download the WTAE mobile...

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The importance of an engaging press release

By on Aug 31, 2017 in Press Release | 0 comments

Two communications experts on how, in the age of social media, press releases are more important than ever The press release has traditionally been a vital tool in the announcement armory of the IR professional. But with the rise in social media, where does the traditional press release sit within the importance of IR announcements?  Mark Dowd, managing partner at Forefront Communications, a New York-based boutique marketing and PR firm specializing in capital markets, is in no doubt. ‘Press releases are more important than ever,’ he says. ‘Given the proliferation of social media and industry news aggregation sites, many announcements will be posted and shared, which allows you to communicate directly with your audience. ‘Also, with editorial staff having been cut so dramatically over the last 10-15 years, journalists are thinly stretched and consequently much more likely to lift out significant portions of your press release verbatim.’ Given both trends, Dowd stresses the importance of the language used in any release. ‘It’s imperative that your release be clear, concise and free of hyperbole, at least if you want it to be of value to those reading it,’ he says. ‘Ask yourself: are you avoiding excessive jargon and writing in plain English? Is there any context necessary for the announcement to make sense? Have you anticipated any logical questions a reader might have and answered them?’ His view are shared by Elliot Frankal, director of ESG Communications, a London-based PR agency. He notes that findings from Greentarget, a New York-based PR firm, show that journalists spend less than one minute reading a press release. ‘So keep it punchy, jargon-free and get it all on one page if you can,’ Frankal advises. ‘Use ‘pyramid writing’ to ensure the most newsworthy bits of information – the who, how, what, when and why – all feature in the first couple of paragraphs.’ There is also a real need to provide some validation for whatever claims you are making in the release, says Dowd: ‘Adding a quote from an end-user or industry analyst is helpful, as are any analyst statistics, which can position your news as part of a larger trend.’ A direct quote from a company spokesperson is an essential part of a...

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Concern about introduction of tax legislation ‘by press release’

By on Aug 30, 2017 in Press Release | 0 comments

A seemingly growing practice to introduce new tax legislation with effect from the date of announcement, but before final promulgation, creates significant uncertainty for taxpayers, and could deter investors from doing business in the country at a time when South Africa desperately needs to encourage investment, a tax practitioner has warned. The practice, referred to as “legislation by press release”, is an effort by National Treasury to stop taxpayers from taking preventative action as soon as they become aware of changes in tax legislation scheduled for a future date, Arnaaz Camay, senior executive for tax at Baker McKenzie, explains. It is also used to correct technical errors or to clarify present legislation to show the initial intention, she adds. Camay cites two recent examples – the announcement in the Budget Speech in February that government was hiking the dividend withholdings tax rate from 15% to 20% as well as proposals regarding share subscription and repurchase transactions in the Draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill published in July. Both amendments came into effect on the date it was issued. Although government wants to protect the tax base with this practice, these efforts have to be weighed against the uncertainty it creates. Taxpayers have no guarantee that there won’t be significant changes to the legislation prior to formal promulgation, which effectively leaves them in limbo, she argues. “Introducing ‘legislation by press release’ places taxpayers in an impossible position as they [are] expected to proceed on the basis that these changes will become law, effective as of the announcement date, yet taxpayers do not know if they can rely, with certainty, on the introduction of the proposed amendments nor do they know what final form such amendments will take, as generally, the draft legislation undergoes various changes before being finally promulgated by parliament.” Camay says for someone who wants to invest in South Africa, or who already has a company in South Africa and who wants to sell shares or conclude other transactions, this creates a predicament. She expects the practice to be used increasingly, especially since the recent Pienaar Brothers court case confirmed that parliament has the legal power to introduce changes to tax legislation retrospectively. Yet, the practice is not in line...

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Press Release: More Kidney Transplant Surgeries Performed at …

By on Aug 30, 2017 in Press Release | 0 comments

St. John’s, Antigua, August 29, 2017 – A surgical team at Mount St. John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC) last week performed two successful kidney transplants. The transplants were done on August 21st and 22nd. “The operations were successful and both the donors and the recipients – daughter (donor) and father (recipient) in the first case and son (donor) and mother (recipient) in the second case – are now at home and recovering well.” said Ian Thomas, M.D., Transplant Nephrologist at MSJMC. “It was a fantastic team effort from beginning to end. Everyone played a critical role in ensuring success in the transplant cases in January and again last week. MSJMC anesthesiology team, nursing staff in dialysis, operating theatre, recovery room, education department and medical wards, physiotherapists, pharmacists, laboratory technicians and biomed technicians all worked cohesively. Administrative support personnel and leadership at MSJMC, St. John’s Health Centre, Medical Benefits Scheme and Ministry of Health offered outstanding support.” The transplant, which comprised two carefully synchronized operations to remove a healthy kidney from a donor and implant the organ into a patient suffering from chronic kidney failure, took place in two adjacent operating rooms at the hospital. The procedure to extract the organ, which is called a donor nephrectomy, was performed by Obi Ekwenna, M.D. and Dwayne Thwaites, M.D. and the transplant surgery was done by Michael Rees, M.D. and Steve Richards, M.D. with assistance from Ekwenna. According to Thomas, the operation, referred to as a living donor laparoscopic nephrectomy, is less invasive than the traditional surgical method used to extract a kidney. This allows a donor to spend less time in hospital and recover more quickly from their operation. The traditional method used to extract a kidney from a live donor involves the surgeon making a 9-inch cut below the ribcage. But with laparoscopic nephrectomy, small incisions – each one measuring only half an inch in length – are made in the body through which a fiber-optic camera and surgical instruments are passed to excise the kidney from the surrounding tissue. The kidney is then removed through a small incision at the lower abdomen and passed to a second surgical team to insert into the recipient. Due to the less invasive nature...

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Trump: Mexico will pay for wall

By on Aug 29, 2017 in Press Release | 0 comments

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday renewed his pledge to make Mexico pay for a border wall between the U.S and Mexico, days after threatening to trigger a government shutdown if congressional Republicans don’t include funding as they take on a spending bill due Sept. 30. “With Mexico being one of the highest crime nations in the world, we must have THE WALL,” Trump posted on Twitter. “Mexico will pay for it through reimbursement/other. …” The president did not elaborate on how Mexico would cover the cost. The White House previously has suggested that one possibility is a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico. Mexico’s Foreign Ministry issued a news release that didn’t leave any question about the country’s response. [PRESIDENT TRUMP: Timeline, appointments, executive orders + guide to actions in first 200 days] “As the government of Mexico has always maintained, our country will not pay, in any way or under any circumstances, for a wall or physical barrier built on US territory along the Mexican border,” the release said. “This determination is not part of a Mexican negotiating strategy, but a principle of national sovereignty and dignity.” The release said that violence and the trafficking of drugs and arms is a “shared responsibility,” and it even expressed “full solidarity with the people and government of the United States for the damages caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas” with the offer of help from the Mexican government. Trump has asked for $1.6 billion to begin border wall construction, but not all congressional Republicans agree about the merits of a fight to spend potentially billions of dollars more on a border barrier as they seek tax cuts. At a rally last week in Phoenix, Trump said, “If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall,” and that “one way or the other, we’re going to get that wall.” A leading House conservative said Friday that he could support a short-term bill to fund the government after Sept. 30 and delay the fight over wall funding until December. “I’m willing to do it whenever it makes sense,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.,...

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