first_img ADC AUTHOR The Army will launch a new merit-based promotion system for enlisted personnel that advances qualified soldiers but will also force out those who fail to meet new standards, Military.com reported.Officials hope to have the system in place by 2021, which would include 90-day advance notice period for all promotions from sergeant to sergeant major, according to the report.“This is the first major overhaul to our enlisted centralized promotion board in the 50 years we’ve conducted them,” Sgt. Maj. Dan Dailey said. “This change now truly rewards the most qualified soldiers who are seeking advancement instead of simply promoting people based on seniority.”Soldiers rated below the new standards would be warned that their service could be at risk. If a soldier is deemed “not fully qualified” by a selection board the second time in the same grade, the Army would set a mandatory separation date six months out.Army photo by Sgt. Leo Jenkinslast_img

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first_imgWithin hours of NASA’s call for photos on Sunday, Twitter users the world over flooded the service with images of flowers, animals, bumblebees, dragonflies, sunsets, grasshoppers, national parks, foreign countries, seashells on the beach and more. Share your voice Lawn universe(picture taken in southern Germany) #PictureEarth pic.twitter.com/3Z4Uc7a0lg— Katka in the Valley (@KatjaKolibri) April 22, 2019 Coast of Scotland, somewhere near St. Andrews #PictureEarth pic.twitter.com/qWrptnleQQ— Robbenstein (@robbepunkt) April 22, 2019 1:40 NASA’s Mars helicopter passes flight tests Post a comment Now playing: Watch this: Tags “Post a close-up photo on social media of your favorite natural features, such as crashing waves, ancient trees, blooming flowers, or stunning sunsets,” NASA said on its website. Upload your photo on social media, say where the photo was taken and include the hashtag #PictureEarth. NASA didn’t immediately respond to a request for additional comment.  Go greener with these cool eco-friendly products Google Doodle goes to new heights for Earth Day #PictureEarth South Mountain State Park, North Carolina pic.twitter.com/GkNxpLLse2— Nikki Moretz (@Salkrenta) April 22, 2019 More Earth Day Crested Cactus leading up to Horseshoe Lake in Arizona.#PictureEarth pic.twitter.com/B6MB6guS6U— Niccole Kowalski (@niccolester) April 22, 2019 NASA invites everyone to celebrate Earth Day. NASA In honor of Earth Day, NASA wants to remind everyone how great the planet is with the #PictureEarth social media campaign. NASA will feature some of the photos on Earth Day on its  Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages. Below the west rim of the Grand Canyon. One of the most magnificent views I have ever seen. Happy Earth Day! #PictureEarth pic.twitter.com/hAtm2G8eZ0— andrea feathers (@andreafeathers) April 22, 2019 Stop to smell the roses 🌹… and then take a picture! This #EarthDay while we’re showing the love for our planet, we want to share photos taken by you! Snap your best close-up using #PictureEarth & see how your 📸can be featured: https://t.co/93W09gEtrH pic.twitter.com/0S7LNcnlop— NASA (@NASA) April 22, 2019 0 Onlinelast_img

first_imgU.S. drugmaker Pfizer said on Sunday it had raised its offer for British rival AstraZeneca to 69.3 billion pounds ($116.6 billion), or 55 pounds a share, and would walk away if AstraZeneca did not accept it.But the latest bid was still viewed as falling short of properly valuing AstraZeneca and the company is likely to publicly reject it as early as Monday, according to the Financial Times, which cited people familiar with the matter.Pfizer wants to create the world’s largest drugs company, with a headquarters in New York but a tax base in Britain, where corporate tax rates are lower than in the United States. It has met entrenched opposition from AstraZeneca, as well as many politicians and scientists who fear cuts to jobs and research.The U.S. group said its new offer was final and could not be increased. It said it would not make a hostile offer directly to AstraZeneca shareholders and would only proceed with an offer with the recommendation of the AstraZeneca board.Pfizer also increased the cash element in its offer to 45 percent, with AstraZeneca shareholders set to receive 1.747 shares in the enlarged company for each of their AstraZeneca shares and 24.76 pounds in cash.The new offer represents a 15 percent premium over the current value of a cash-and-share approach made on May 2 – worth 50 pounds a share at the time – which was swiftly rejected by AstraZeneca.Nonetheless, two analysts – Raghuram Selvaraju of Aegis Capital and ISI Group’s Mark Schoenebaum – said they believed the sweetened offer would boost Pfizer’s earnings quickly, with Schoenebaum predicting an uplift from 2015.Pfizer also revealed it had written to AstraZeneca’s chairman on May 16 offering 53.50 pounds a share – 40 percent in cash – but had been told that this still substantially undervalued the company, prompting it to make the latest last-ditch offer.”We believe our proposal is compelling for AstraZeneca’s shareholders and that a Pfizer-AstraZeneca combination is in the best interests of all stakeholders,” Pfizer Chief Executive Ian Read said in a statement.He expressed frustration at AstraZeneca’s refusal to engage in talks and urged the British company’s shareholders to pressure its board to start discussions.”Following a conversation with AstraZeneca earlier today, we do not believe that the AstraZeneca board is currently prepared to recommend a deal at a reasonable price,” Read said. “We remain ready to engage in a meaningful dialogue but time for constructive engagement is running out.”According to the Financial Times, AstraZeneca executives also felt that Pfizer failed to give assurances on other key terms of a deal, including commitments to the UK group’s research and development programs.Two banking sources earlier described 55 pounds a share as the “magic number” at which a deal could get done and Selvaraju of Aegis said Pfizer’s declaration that its offer was “final” would concentrate minds at AstraZeneca.”The main thing that will be likely to get AstraZeneca to engage is that Ian Read, who is a tough guy, has basically said this is our final offer,” he said.In the absence of further discussions or an extension of the deadline for making a firm offer under British takeover rules, Pfizer’s proposal will expire at 5 p.m. London time on May 26.An AstraZeneca spokeswoman said she had no immediate comment on Pfizer’s latest proposal, which would see Pfizer shareholders owning 74 percent of the combined company, with AstraZeneca shareholders holding 26 percent.The increased offer had been widely expected. Pfizer said last week it would consider a higher offer as it urged AstraZeneca’s board to enter talks.DRUG PIPELINE HOPESThe British firm has laid out details of its pipeline of new drugs and argues there is no inevitability about a Pfizer deal, although its management also acknowledges the board would have to consider a compelling bid.Investors have backed AstraZeneca in rejecting 50 pounds a share, but many have said they would want it to engage in discussions if Pfizer came back with an improved offer. They fear AstraZeneca shares will tumble if Pfizer walks away.There has been a mounting political backlash against the proposed deal in Britain, the United States and Sweden, where AstraZeneca has half its roots.The Swedish government launched a concerted effort on Friday against a merger it fears will lead to cuts in science jobs and research, echoing concerns aired by British lawmakers at two parliamentary hearings last week and fears for U.S. jobs in states where AstraZeneca has a large presence.Pfizer’s bid would be the largest foreign takeover of a British firm and is opposed by many scientists and politicians who fear it will undermine Britain’s science base.British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he wants more assurances from Pfizer, and science minister David Willetts said last week he would like to see longer guarantees on investment than the five years currently promised by Pfizer.The UK government has held exploratory discussions with Brussels about strengthening its ability to force Pfizer to honour commitments on jobs and research under European Union rules.But Cameron, head of the free-market Conservative Party, has also said Britain does not want to be seen to be pulling up the drawbridge to foreign companies.Although Pfizer has given a five-year commitment to complete AstraZeneca’s new research centre in Cambridge, retain a factory in northern England and put a fifth of its research staff in Britain, it has said this could be adjusted if circumstances change “significantly”.Pfizer’s Read said on Sunday: “We stand by our unprecedented commitments to the UK government.”The tax aspects of the deal, meanwhile, have sparked anger in the United States, where lawmakers are now considering legislation to prevent so-called corporate inversions, under which U.S. companies re-incorporate overseas to avoid U.S. taxes.Inversions have helped fuel a wave of deals in the pharmaceuticals sector in recent months, but buying AstraZeneca would allow Pfizer to carry out the largest such deal yet.($1 = 0.5942 British Pounds)last_img

first_imgSILVER SPRING, Maryland – Beginning in the mid-1970s, war and political turbulence led a large number of Ethiopians to flee their home country. Many of these emigrants came to the United States, with a particularly high number settling in the Washington region.Thanks to a welcoming environment and local educational institutions, as well as legislation over the decades that eased immigrant entry into the United States, many Ethiopians were eager and able to stay in the area and put down roots.Abyssinia Restaurant in Silver Spring, one of many Ethiopian eateries that have enriched the Washington region. (Mia O’Neill/Capital News Service)“This area became a hub for Ethiopians,” Dr. Getachew Metaferia, an Ethiopian native and professor of political science at Morgan State University, told Capital News Service. “They contributed to the dynamics of multiculturalism.”As this community has grown, it has infused within local neighborhoods vestiges of native Ethiopian culture, from music to language to art. Montgomery County even has a sister city in Ethiopia, the ancient former royal city of Gondar.Perhaps the most prominent contribution of Ethiopian immigrants to the Washington area, though, has been food.“A night out at an Ethiopian restaurant is as much a tradition here as an outing to a deep-dish pizzeria might be in Chicago,” Jessica Sidman wrote in Washingtonian magazine in January.Today, Ethiopian communities – and thus, restaurants – have spread from their traditional neighborhoods within the District of Columbia (Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights and, more recently, Shaw) to several of Washington’s suburbs, most notably Silver Spring.Here, Ethiopian cuisine has become a defining food staple, even in one of Maryland’s most ethnically diverse suburbs on the edge of the nation’s capital. (Thirty-four percent of Montgomery County, where Silver Spring is located, is foreign born, according to a Capital News Service analysis).Along the main blocks of Georgia Avenue and Fenton Street are dozens of Ethiopian restaurants, nestled among Chinese, French, Greek, Italian and other international dining options.For some Ethiopian restaurant owners, it was the success of existing establishments that prompted them to start their own businesses in Silver Spring.Solomon Abdella owns and manages Abyssinia Restaurant on Georgia Avenue. “I saw some Ethiopian restaurants being successful,” Abdella told Capital News Service. “(My wife and I) wanted to try it.”Now in its eighth year, Abyssinia has established itself as a comfortable, family-run business serving up authentic Ethiopian dishes: primarily vegetables and meat paired with injera, the traditional, pancake-like Ethiopian bread that comes with most meals.Despite the restaurant’s success so far, Abdella thinks achieving long-term staying power will depend on how well Abyssinia is able to cater equally to both Ethiopian and non-Ethiopian customers.“If your business (serves) 50 percent Ethiopians and 50 percent Americans, you’ll be successful,” he said. “We’re going towards that.”One way Abyssinia is trying to appeal to non-Ethiopian diners is by offering more familiar American food options alongside native Ethiopian dishes. For example, with any meal, customers can substitute spaghetti or rice for the usual injera.It’s part of a growing trend of cultural fusion among Ethiopian restaurants in Silver Spring. In addition to traditional lunch and dinner places like Abyssinia and others, more and more alternative, Americanized Ethiopian eateries – from coffee shops to fast-food restaurants – are popping up in the area.In addition, the Ethiopian Community Center in Maryland hosts an annual Ethiopian Day Festival each summer, which gives participants a taste of Ethiopian culture through food, live music, dancing, comedy and more.For Abdella, who has lived in the United States since 1981, the rising interest from people of all backgrounds in Ethiopian culture is reflective of the welcoming, stable community he’s found in Silver Spring.“There are a lot of Americans and a lot of Ethiopians,” he said. “I have a very good connection with the community.”When the first wave of Ethiopians started coming to the United States, however, most didn’t intend to stay. Before the surge of Ethiopian immigration in the 1970s, an earlier group arrived in the 1950s – but only to study.After World War II, then-Emperor Haile Selassie began sending promising Ethiopian intellectuals to the United States for their educations, Metaferia said. Washington’s Howard University, in particular, emerged as a social and intellectual hub free of discrimination.“Howard University, because of its history, had open arms for people of color,” Metaferia said, adding that the historically black university embraced the notion of pan-Africanism (the idea of commonalities among all people of African descent).Still, most of these students planned to return to Ethiopia afterwards, Metaferia said. The goal, he said, was for the country’s brightest young minds to gather knowledge abroad, then return home with the aim to make Ethiopia stable and prosperous state.“Immigration was not in the DNA of Ethiopians,” he explained. “They just wanted to work in their country and help build the nation.”But things changed in 1974, when a brutal military dictatorship seized power in Ethiopia.“There were gross human rights abuses,” said Metaferia, who himself arrived in the country to study at Howard in 1977. Intellectuals and others who didn’t support the new socialist government were persecuted, he said.Within the United States, Washington became the primary destination to settle, thanks to this existing intellectual hub and the then-African American majority in the district – factors that allowed Ethiopians to feel less threatened by racial discrimination, Metaferia said.A sense of community and belonging is evident when dining at a restaurant like Abyssinia. Although owners like Abdella are working to cater to Americans as well, these restaurants also serve as a unique place for Ethiopians to discuss things like politics, Metaferia said.“These restaurants do not only provide food,” he explained. “They’ve become, also, a focal point where Ethiopians congregate and discuss about their country.”But Metaferia thinks these conversations could be more focused on American government and politics, given recent U.S. policies toward immigrants.As Ethiopia continues to suffer political turmoil under dictatorial rule, the Trump administration’s America-first agenda is making the United States a less and less appealing destination for Ethiopians looking to leave their home country, Metaferia said.Meanwhile in Silver Spring, there have been more immediate concerns regarding attitudes toward immigrants.Some said they’ve noticed a change in racial attitudes since the election of Donald Trump last November.“To be honest, people are afraid,” Seble Lemme, chef and co-owner of Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant, told the International Business Times in January.In the days following Trump’s election, at least two Silver Spring churches were vandalized with pro-Trump, anti-minority messages, according to the International Business Times. (One of the churches was heavily attended by immigrants; the other had a mostly white congregation, but was a prominent supporter of liberal movements such as Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ issues.)Still, many in Montgomery County have shown support for immigrants and minorities in the wake of Trump’s election. A number of local high school students, for example, participated in walkouts protesting the rhetoric of the administration.And for Abdella and many other Ethiopians, Silver Spring and Montgomery County remain a permanent and appealing place to live.“I’ve been here more than I’ve been back home (to Ethiopia),” Abdella said. “Silver Spring is my home.”last_img

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