The following is the Feb. 9, 2023, Congressional Budget Office report, Availability and Use of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Fighter Aircraft.
Download the document here.
The cannabis industry is booming in Connecticut.
“Really strong increase in volume and sales. We anticipated that and prepared as much as we could,” Fine Fettle Dispensary pharmacist Ludwig Rosiclair said.
Adult-use cannabis was legalized in the state on Jan.10, 2023.
The Department of Consumer Protection announced sales for recreational and medical marijuana totaled more than $13.3 million between Jan. 10 and Jan. 31, 2023.
The adult-use market recorded $5.1 million in sales during the month of January, while the medical marijuana market recorded $8.2 million in sales for the same period, according to DCP.
One of the priorities when hybrid dispensaries opened was making sure medical patients are taken care of first.
“Medical has been great. I feel like a king walking past the line for recreational. There's always a line for it. Medical, you walk right in and you're out pretty quick,” Joshua Patrick, of Newington, said.
However, some patients and their families say product availability has changed.
“Ever since Jan. 10th was legalized, people cannot get edibles, they are products that they need,” Maryann Pasquence, of Meriden, said.
“Our selection as of today is 53 options for flowers. Where before recreational happened, we would have like 100,” Patrick said.
Dispensaries have received feedback from patients.
“We are hoping and expecting there will be more variety to provide to patients as time goes on but again, we are not in any type of shortage,” Rosiclair said.
DCP said they are aware of the concerns, reviewing complaints and talking to producers.
“Maintaining an adequate supply for a viable market, particularly the state's medical patients, is the department's priority. The department continues to monitor the supply of cannabis products, and will exercise its discretion to set transaction limits appropriately based on market needs as they arise," DCP said in a statement.
Mortgage credit availability decreased in January according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) that analyzes data from ICE Mortgage Technology.
The MCAI fell by 0.1% to 103.2 in January. A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of loosening credit. The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012. The Conventional MCAI decreased 0.3%, while the Government MCAI remained unchanged. Of the component indices of the Conventional MCAI, the Jumbo MCAI decreased by 0.4%, and the Conforming MCAI remained unchanged.
“Mortgage credit availability was essentially unchanged in January and remained close to its lowest level since 2013,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “Similar to December 2022, the availability of credit has been driven lower by declining originations and shrinking industry capacity as lenders have streamlined their operations to cope with lower volumes. Additionally, as mortgage rates declined over the past month, the share of adjustable-rate mortgages has fallen – consistent with a slight pullback in ARM offerings in this month’s results. However, there has been a revival in mortgage application activity over the past month and our forecast is for rates to continue to decline and housing activity – including home sales and new home construction – to gradually pick up as we approach the spring homebuying season. These developments could potentially change the credit availability landscape in the months ahead.”
The MCAI fell by 0.1% to 103.2 in January. The Conventional MCAI decreased 0.3%, while the Government MCAI remained unchanged. Of the component indices of the Conventional MCAI, the Jumbo MCAI decreased by 0.4%, and the Conforming MCAI remained unchanged.
To read the full report, including more data, charts and methodology, click here.
Spot resin activity slowed down a bit last week, reports the PlasticsExchange in its Market Update.
Prime polyethylene (PE) was the more heavily traded resin and prices picked up another penny in the process, largely fueled by ongoing outages and sparse spot supplies. Polypropylene (PP) transactions were more limited but still tacked on another two cents amid some notable market developments, including a renewed surge in feedstock pricing buoyed by ongoing propane dehydrogenation (PDH) outages. Nonetheless, prime resin availability continued to contract with some allocations and force majeure conditions for both PE and PP intact.
Exports to Latin America have been relatively strong so far this month and demand from Asia continued to ramp back up after the Lunar New Year. However, domestic resin demand continued to be the wild card. For the most part, it has remained disappointingly weak. Preliminary January resin data released by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) indicated that high- and low-density PE production levels snapped back substantially from dramatically reduced December levels. While domestic sales also markedly returned and exports stayed relatively strong, these two resin groups still posted somewhat small inventory builds. Linear-low-density PE data has not yet been released. Preliminary January PP data also showed much stronger production rates and an increase in domestic sales, while exports languished leading to a substantial inventory build. Some of these initial figures came as a surprise, and the PlasticsExchange expects some revisions to take place. For more specific data figures, the Chicago-based resin clearinghouse encourages readers to subscribe to the ACC directly.
PE trading continued to lag while spot supplies tightened further. Off-grade availability, again, was sporadic and suppliers did not openly offer prime railcars into the spot market, but they could be sourced for the asking. The bulk of transacted PE volume at the PlasticsExchange trading desk was for high-density material, as force majeure conditions endured, sending processors to the spot market to fill in their supply gaps. Numerous deals were struck in high-molecular-weight material for film, as well as high-density PE for blow molding and injection. Some low-density PE film grade business was sprinkled in, while interest in linear-low-density PE was scarce. January PE resin contracts settled up $0.03/lb, and February increases averaging $0.06/lb are on the table.
There seems to be a concerted effort to keep upward pressure on the market and try to implement another $0.03/lb hike this month, according to the PlasticsExchange. While resin availability is still limited, it feels that exports have dulled and resin production, while still throttled back from typical averages, might have been overdone in January. Since demand is still lackluster and market momentum has yet to follow through, advancing contract prices further in February could become a tall order unless there is a massive surge in demand.
In the PP market, there was a fairly heavy flow of off-grade homo-polymer and, to a lesser extent, good co-polymer railcars in the spot market. Prime cars were only available by ordering them. Limited volumes of prime packaged resin were available across the full slate of PP grades.
PP prices rose another two cents on the heels of a nearly five-cent gain in spot polymer-grade propylene (PGP). The fact that resin prices have not been able to keep pace with rising feedstock costs highlights both the lack of outright resin demand as well as disbelief that these higher price levels will be sustained, writes the PlasticsExchange. Indeed, spot PGP costs ran up past $0.50/lb during the first part of January amid PDH outages before settling back nearly a dime as the monomer supply outlook improved. PP producers ran their reactors much harder in January than they did in December, also pushing up monomer costs. Downstream resin demand could not support the extra volume, however, and all of the added costs could not be passed through, nor could all of the freshly produced resin be sold, resulting in sizable PP inventory in January.
PP contracts finalized last month at an $0.08/lb increase, which included an $0.11/lb cost-push increase partially offset by $0.03/lb of margin erosion. Spot PGP prices packed that dime right back on into the low $0.50s/lb during early February as PDH problems persisted. It will be interesting to see this month if producers will again chase the expensive monomer or ratchet reactor rates back to Q4 levels to offset the mismatch between January’s supply and demand, writes the PlasticsExchange. Producers are looking to regain the past two months of margin erosion with a $0.06/lb February margin increase in addition to the change in PGP contracts, which is already trending toward a $0.08 to 0.10/lb jump.
In order to re-establish meaningful margins, PP producers will need to regain the production discipline they had in late 2022 and also purge a chunk of their surplus inventories into the export market like they did in December.
Read the full Market Update, including news about PGP pricing and energy futures, on the PlasticsExchange website.
A Texas lawsuit with a key deadline this month is posing a threat to the nationwide availability of medication abortion, which now accounts for the majority of abortions in the U.S.
The case filed by abortion opponents who helped challenge Roe v. Wade seeks to reverse a decades-old approval by the Food and Drug Administration.
If a federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump sides with them, it could halt the supply of the drug mifepristone in all states, both where abortion is banned and where it remains legal.
FDA TO PERMIT SOME RETAIL PHARMACIES TO DISPENSE ABORTION PILLS
"It could have an immediate impact on the country," said Mini Timmaraju, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. "In some ways this is a backdoor ban on abortion."
On Friday, a group of 22 Democratic-led states weighed in, saying the consequences of reversing the approval could be "nothing short of catastrophic. A similar-sized group of Republican states also filed briefs supporting the reversal, saying the ability to order pills by mail undermines their laws banning abortion.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk has not indicated exactly when or how he will rule, but groups like Timmaraju’s have been preparing for a possible decision shortly after a Feb. 24 filing deadline. There is scant precedent for a lone judge overruling the FDA’s scientific decisions. A swift appeal of any ruling is likely.
The lawsuit was filed by the group Alliance Defending Freedom, which was also involved in the Mississippi case that led to Roe v. Wade being overturned.
"Our representatives in Congress created the FDA and gave the FDA the responsibility to make sure that drugs are safe before they’re allowed on the market … the FDA failed that responsibility," said Julie Blake, senior counsel for the group.
They argue the FDA overstepped its authority in approving mifepristone by using an accelerated review process reserved for drugs to treat "serious or life-threatening illnesses."
But in its legal response, the agency said it didn't accelerate the drug’s approval, which came four years after the manufacturer first submitted its application to market the pill.
The FDA approved mifepristone — in combination with a second drug — as a safe and effective method for ending a pregnancy in 2000. Common side effects include cramping and light bleeding. Cases of more severe bleeding requiring emergency care are very rare.
Halting access to the drug more than 20 years after approval would be "extraordinary and unprecedented," federal attorneys stated in a legal filing.
Kacsmaryk, who previously ruled against a program providing free birth control to minors in Texas, could also issue a ruling rolling back regulators' decisions to ease restrictions on the pill’s availability. Those have been based on scientific studies showing women can safely use the drug at home.
In late 2021, the FDA removed a requirement that women pick up the drug in person. Last month the agency dropped another requirement that prevented most pharmacies from dispensing the pill.
20 STATE AGS WARN CVS, WALGREENS THAT DISTRIBUTING ABORTION PILLS VIOLATES STATE, FEDERAL LAW
Medication abortion accounted for over half of abortions before Roe v. Wade was overturned, according to research from the Guttmacher Institute. It’s grown more important since then, said Elizabeth Nash, state policy analyst for the science-based research group that supports abortion rights.
"The clinics that are open in the receiving states are stretched thin, they don’t have a lot of give in their capacity and being able to provide medication abortion is very, very important," she said.
Abortion medication is approved for use up to the 10th week of pregnancy. Mifepristone is taken first, swallowed by mouth. The drug dilates the cervix and blocks the effects of the hormone progesterone, which is needed to sustain a pregnancy.
Misoprostol, a drug also used to treat stomach ulcers, is taken 24 to 48 hours later. It causes the uterus to cramp and contract, causing bleeding and expelling pregnancy tissue. The combination has been shown to be more than 95% effective in ending pregnancies up to 10 weeks.
If mifepristone is pulled, providers could prescribe misoprostol alone instead, an approach that is used in many parts of the world, but would be a big shift in U.S. practice and has not been found to be quite as effective.
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Such a ruling could also increase the need for surgical abortion and further increase wait times at clinics, which are already weekslong in some cases after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe, Nash said.
Home values in Naples, according to Zillow, are up nearly 30% from last year.
Collier County realtor Nick Sweat told WINK News that May or June may be your best bet for a good deal. Around that time, visitors from up north tend to leave the area. And a handful chooses to offload their properties before heading out of town.
But buyers shouldn’t expect a drastic decrease in prices any time soon.
Sweat told WINK News buyers looking around in Naples are in luck regarding options.
“The increase in inventory is huge,” Sweat said.
This time last year, Sweat explained less than 850 Naples homes were on the market. But just a year later, nearly 3,000 are up for grabs in the city. And there might not be much of a fight for the house you want.
According to Redfin, the Naples housing market is not very competitive. Homes in Naples receive two offers on average.
“I think as inventory rises, I think prices will, you know, will level off. But I think as long as people are flooding down here, I don’t see the sharp decline,” Sweat said.
Sweat said buyers would pay a fair price for a ready-to-go move-in ready property. If not, even if it seems like a good deal, there are some questions to ask.
“If it needs work, one thing buyers really need to look for, and you know, hopefully, their agent knows this check the age of the roof. Are they in a flood zone? Those are two big, big issues with the insurance prices going up. If the current seller has a flood policy already, and they can transfer that to the new buyer, that is a huge, huge bonus. So little things like that. I hope people’s agents are asking these questions and looking out for their buyers,” Sweat said.
Another realtor WINK News spoke with said that over the last seven days in Collier County, there have been more than 300 price drops. This raises Sweat’s point again, ensuring you know what work the home needs and do your homework on the flood policy no matter the numbers.
Microsoft Corp.’s GitHub unit today made Copilot for Business, its artificial intelligence code generation service, generally available.
The service is based on a tool called Copilot that GitHub first previewed in 2021. Both offerings are designed to increase developer productivity by automatically generating software code. But whereas Copilot is geared toward individuals, the newly launched Copilot for Business focuses on the enterprise market.
“For an organization, developers fixing bugs faster means your product and supply chain is more secure,” GitHub Chief Executive Officer Thomas Dohmke wrote in a blog post. “Developers being able to learn and onboard new technologies means they can deliver better solutions for your customers.”
GitHub has added several new features to Copilot for Business on occasion of its release into general availability. According to the Microsoft unit, the features will help developers write code faster and more easily detect software vulnerabilities.
Copilot for Business generates software code using an AI model called Codex. According to GitHub, developers can write a text prompt describing a software task and have Codex automatically generate the code necessary to perform that task. The AI model supports multiple programming languages.
Copilot for Business is rolling out into general availability with a new, improved version of Codex. GitHub says the upgraded AI model can now deliver more relevant code suggestions and generate them faster than before.
The Microsoft unit has also made Copilot for Business more secure. In theory, configuration flaws may sometimes cause the service to generate insecure code. To address that risk, GitHub has added a mechanism for blocking AI code suggestions that might contain vulnerabilities.
GitHub says Copilot for Business can detect several types of security issues. It’s capable of spotting code that may facilitate SQL injections, a type of common cyberattack involving malicious database queries. Copilot for Business also spots other vulnerabilities, including cases where sensitive data snippets such as encryption keys are stored in an insecure manner within an application’s code base.
Another set of improvements detailed today focuses on VS Code. Developed by GitHub parent Microsoft Corp., VS Code is one of the most popular code editors in the developer ecosystem. Copilot for Business can be embedded into the tool’s interface.
GitHub has enhanced the VS Code integration with a feature that promises to make AI code suggestions more relevant. The feature collects data about developers’ workflow, such as how often they dismiss recommendations made by Copilot for Business. It then uses this data to find ways of providing better code suggestions.
The Microsoft unit rolled out an initial version of the feature last year. That initial version helped reduce unnecessary code suggestions by 4.5%, it says. Copilot for Business now includes a newer version of the feature that promises to further Improve code suggestions.
“In the coming years, we will integrate AI into every aspect of the developer experience — from coding to the pull request to code deployments — so developers can build their best in a world where all organizations will be more dependent on their success than ever,” Dohmke detailed.
Termites are social insects of the infraorder Isoptera and are widely distributed across tropical and subtropical ecosystems. These insects are the most important soil bioturbators and have been called "soil engineers." Phosphorus concentrations are usually low in highly weathered tropical acid soils, but termite nests form bioaggregates that serve as carriers for P protection and stabilization. However, few studies have focused on the changes in the composition and availability of aggregate-associated phosphorous within termite mounds.
In a study published in Plant and Soil, researchers from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences showed that the presence or absence of fungus-growing termite nesting had contrasting effects on soil aggregate stability and distribution of aggregate-associated phosphorous fractions in a mature rubber plantation.
The researchers studied fungus-growing termite mounds (active and abandoned), both above- and below ground, in a 24-year-old rubber stand. They then measured the mass distribution and stability of the aggregates and the phosphorous-fraction concentrations in soil aggregates of termite mounds, as well as their correlations with key chemical properties.
Active belowground chambers showed greater stability and less erodibility due to more aggregates > 1 mm in size than aboveground mounds. In active aboveground mounds, the concentrations of labile P and non-labile phosphorous were higher than in other types. However, H2O-Pi and NaHCO3-Pi in most aggregates were enriched in active belowground chambers relative to aboveground ones.
Furthermore, middle-sized aggregates (0.25–2 mm) stored more phosphorous and represented the highest phosphorous storage capacity, especially for active belowground chambers.
The results suggest that although termite activity reduces aggregate stability above ground, the effect of promoting phosphorous availability is beneficial.
"Our study provides an important reason why mound soils can be considered as fertility amendments for agroforestry practices in phosphorous-deficient tropical soils," said Liu Chengang of XTBG.
More information: Fangmei Lin et al, Termite mounds affect soil aggregate stability and aggregate-associated phosphorus forms in a tropical rubber plantation, Plant and Soil (2023). DOI: 10.1007/s11104-023-05880-4
Citation: Termite activity promotes phosphorous availability in rubber plantations (2023, February 8) retrieved 19 February 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-02-termite-phosphorous-availability-rubber-plantations.html
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NEW YORK, Jan. 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- automotiveMastermind (aM), part of S&P Global Mobility and the leading provider of predictive analytics and marketing automation solutions for dealerships, has signed a contract to join the Reynolds Certified Interface Program to directly integrate Mastermind, aM's flagship automated sales and marketing platform, with the Reynolds and Reynolds ERA® and POWER Dealer Management System (DMS).
Once certified, the new integration will enable the following:
Automatic data syncing. This feature will ensure that select customer and dealer information is automatically synced from Reynolds to Mastermind. This enables more accurate in-market predictions with Mastermind's Behavior Prediction Score,® leading to more relevant marketing offers.
Improved service-to-sales capabilities. This includes real-time service arrival notifications that will inform dealers when a loyalty customer or a service-to-sales prospect is visiting the dealer's service drive. Dealers will also receive service appointment reports so they can plan for which loyalty and service-to-sales customers are visiting their service drive. These reports are available in Mastermind and are also emailed to the relevant salesperson with their customers' information, so they have everything they need in one place to keep building their relationship or make the sale.
Increased data security. RCI integration is the most secure way to share data between Mastermind and the Reynolds DMS.
"Data privacy and protection is extremely important when it comes to the data we provide our dealer partners, and this investment into the Reynolds Certified Interface Program reinforces our data security commitment to the industry," said Aaron Baldwin, chief product officer at automotiveMastermind. "Reynolds and Reynolds is one of the most renowned DMS providers in the industry, and we know many of our dealer partners are using the Reynolds platform. We're committed to increasing dealer efficiency and data security with best-in-class technologies that can integrate with key DMS providers in the automotive retail space."
Certification is expected in the summer of 2023.
Founded in 2012, automotiveMastermind®, part of S&P Global Mobility, empowers dealers to close more deals by predicting future buyers and consistently marketing to them. Its proprietary automated sales and marketing platform, Mastermind, helps dealerships generate success in loyalty, service and conquest portfolios through a combination of turnkey predictive analytics, proactive marketing and dedicated consultative services.
automotiveMastermind is headquartered in New York City. For more information, visit automotiveMastermind.com.
About S&P Global Mobility
S&P Global Mobility is a division of S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI). S&P Global is the world's foremost provider of credit ratings, benchmarks, analytics and workflow solutions in the global capital, commodity and automotive markets.
About Reynolds and Reynolds
Reynolds and Reynolds is a leading provider of automobile dealership software, services and forms to help dealerships deliver better business results and transform the customer experience. The company is headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, with major U.S. operations in Houston and College Station, Texas, Tampa, Florida, and Celina, Ohio, as well as operations in Canada, the U.K., and Europe. (www.reyrey.com)
View original content to obtain multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/automotivemastermind-joins-the-reynolds-certified-interface-program-301732128.html
The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles is making changes to appointment scheduling, office hours and technology to increase walk-in availability at its driver license offices across the state.
Beginning May 1, appointments, which can be booked at skiptheline.ncdot.gov, will only be available in the mornings. After noon, all customer services statewide will be provided on a walk-in basis.
"We’ve heard from the public that they want more walk-in availability, so that’s what we’re aiming to deliver," said NCDMV Commissioner Wayne Goodwin. "DMV introduced the ability to schedule appointments during the pandemic, but I believe now is the time to better maximize potential efficiencies by allowing for more walk-in capability, given that data indicates up to 25 percent of appointments are no-shows."
Even with this change, walk-in customers can still come in for morning-hour service if there is time between scheduled appointments or if a customer does not appear for a scheduled appointment.
Also beginning May 1, five additional offices will open an hour earlier at 7 a.m. Offices in Aberdeen, Graham, Kernersville, Mooresville and Washington will join 35 locations already providing an extra hour of service to customers.
"We continue to work on addressing our staffing needs," Goodwin said. "My goal is to keep adding more offices to these 40 with more hours so we can provide the services our residents need in a timelier manner."
A new feature will soon be available on the NCDMV office locations page to show the estimated wait time at driver license offices.
"I’m particularly excited about this new online tool that will show customers the estimated wait time at different locations so they can make the best decision on which office to go to or whether to try again another day," Goodwin said.
The NCDMV will offer Saturday hours this summer during its peak season. These 16 offices will open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays from June 3 to Aug. 26:
The NCDMV is also working to provide more services online. Currently state ID cards and level 3 full provisional licenses cannot be renewed online once they have expired. Changes are underway that would allow customers with these credentials to renew online up to one year after expiration. Driver licenses can be renewed up to two years after expiration.
"This should help shorten lines and wait times at our offices by getting folks that would previously have to come to the office out of the line altogether," Goodwin said.
A pilot program will deploy up to 20 self-service kiosks at strategic locations across the state. These devices will offer driver and vehicle service transactions to include driver license and vehicle registration renewals.
"My plan is to have these kiosks at various easily accessible, 24-hour locations like grocery stores and pharmacies by the end of the summer," he said. "If the public responds well to this pilot program, then I plan to make even more kiosks available statewide. All with the goal of shorter lines and shorter wait times for persons requiring an in-person appointment."