Newswire : Deadline looms for scam victims to get money back from Western Union

By Khalil Abdullah, Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from New America Media

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – If you, a friend, or a relative, were scammed by a con artist and sent hard-earned money by a Western Union wire transfer, there is a real chance of getting that money back — but only if you act quickly.
February 12, 2018 is the final date to submit a claim form to the Federal Trade Commission. Western Union has set aside $586 million dollars to repay consumers who used their wire transfer service. However, only those who sent and lost money between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 are eligible to receive a refund. (For information on how to file a claim: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/11/getting-your-money-back-western-union)
The repayment fund results from a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice and the FTC. Among other counts, Western Union was charged with not supervising employees and not sufficiently educating customers about the various schemes that con artists use to successfully scam the public. The essence of the lawsuit, explained Todd Kossow, the director of the FTC’s Midwest Region who also supervised the litigation, is that Western Union “did not do enough to protect people.”
In a teleconference briefing for ethnic media sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission, Kossow was joined by Lois Greisman, the FTC’s Associate Director, Division of Marketing Services.
Kossow walked attendees through the “how to” of filing a claim. That information is readily available on the FTC website with clearly marked options to assist those who have already filed a claim and those who will be rushing to meet the February deadline.
There are a few important things to note. While the Department of Justice will seek to verify each claim, it will also check with the U.S. Treasury Offset Program to see if the claimant owes money to the U.S. government. In addition, the actual amount paid out to each claimant will not only depend on verification, but also on how many valid claims are received.
Most individuals filing a claim in the United States will likely have an SSN (Social Security Number) or an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number), but even non-U.S. citizens who have neither can file a claim.
One reporter sought assurances that individuals with an unresolved immigration status would not be putting themselves at risk to actions by other federal agencies. Kossow explained that the Department of Justice “operates the [claim} website” and that the customer information provided is “used only for this purpose and not shared with ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) or for any other purpose.” Ultimately, Kossow said, “It is their choice whether they want to file a claim.”
Both Kossow and Greisman addressed the nature of various scams. For grandparents, it may have been an e-mail from a grandchild that said: “I’m in trouble. I’m in a foreign country. I need money.” For those who thought they had won a sweepstakes, a scam artist may have convinced them to wire money to pay the taxes due before they could collect the non-existent prize.
And the scammers are scattered across the globe. Jamaicans have become associated with the sweepstakes scam; Nigerians with the romance scam, where long-distance love affairs may result in multiple transfers of money.
Western Union has a huge international footprint and offers other financial services as well. The settlement with the FTC and DOJ is limited only to the use of the company’s wire transfer services. The opportunity for consumers to get reimbursement from wire transfer frauds is rare, Kossow noted, because the money can be digitally moved so quickly it is hard to trace and recover. “Most people will lose their money with no chance of getting it back.”
Ethnic communities are prime targets for fraud, according to the FTC’s 2016 data, compounded by the fact that fraud is an under-reported crime. Greisman said continuing consumer education is the key to combatting it. Victims need to call the FTC with complaints so the agency can build fraud profiles as well as detect emerging and ever shifting trends in scam techniques. (For fraud complaints, call the Federal Trade Commission: 877-FTC-HELP.)
Greisman said she is sure that scammers’ “eyes opened wide” when they heard or read about the pot of $586 million. “Be wary of anyone who says they can assist you in filing a claim ‘so you can get your money back,’” she cautioned, because nobody has to put up any upfront money to go through the claims process. “Say ‘no’,” Greisman reiterated, to requests of this nature. “All they want is your money.”
For information on the settlement, go to: FTC’s settlement with Western Union

Newswire : Cyril Ramaphosa picked as new African National Congress leader

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(TriceEdneyWire.com/GIN) – After a bruising battle for votes within the governing African National Congress, billionaire tycoon Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa edged out his rival in the final minutes of the ANC’s 54th national elective conference in Johannesburg, opening the prospect of his winning the presidency in 2019.
Ramaphosa, 64, won in a squeaker against Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, one-time minister, doctor, and former chair of the African Union Commission who campaigned on a platform of youth development and “radical economic transformation” aimed at transferring more wealth to the black majority. In the final days before the vote, President Zuma also added his pledge to make higher education free for all South Africans.
There were 2,440 votes for the business-friendly Ramaphosa to Dlamini-Zuma’s 2,261, indicating not only the closeness of the race but also the deep divisions within the party after 10 years under President Jacob Zuma.
Ramaphosa was briefly Nelson Mandela’s choice for deputy president but overlooked in favor of Thabo Mbeki, he left politics in 1997 to devote himself full time to business. In 2015, Forbes estimated his net worth at $450-million.
Ramaphosa’s victory this week thrilled the business sector who heard his reassuring call for “partnership” and “improved investor confidence.” The rand soared to its highest level against major currencies in months as news broke of Ramaphosa’s election.
A former labor leader, he must now renew his negotiating skills to win back the party’s main constituency which has grown increasingly skeptical of the promises of racial and economic equality that swept the party into power in 1994.
Mr. Ramaphosa’s election deals a blow to the 75-year-old Mr. Zuma, who is battling the reinstatement of charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering linked to a 1999 arms deal that were dropped before he was elected president in 2009.
Last week, a court ordered the creation of a commission of inquiry into separate allegations that the president allowed one of the country’s most prominent business families to hold undue sway over his government and steal hundreds of millions of dollars from state-owned enterprises.
Mr. Zuma and the prominent Gupta family have denied wrongdoing.
Finally, claims of alleged extramarital affairs with eight women have brought Ramaphosa supporters to his defense. Faisal Suleman of the South African Muslim Network called the behavior “a human frailty” that “Cyril is working on with his wife.” Dr. Thamsanqa Ngcana, a bishop with the Council of African Independent Churches said they did not condone immorality but “These things happen to the best of us. There is forgiveness and we pray for Cyril. No doubt God will forgive him.”

Greene County votes: Jones 3,340 to Moore 462 Doug Jones wins U. S. Senate race with strong support and turnout of Black voters

 

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The Black Belt had strong turnout and support for Jones, who won a bigger margin there than Clinton did last year.

 

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News Analysis
By: John Zippert Co-Publisher

Doug Jones won a tightly contested special election yesterday for a U. S. Senate seat in Alabama, vacated by Jeff Sessions, when he became U. S. Attorney General.
Based on unofficial statewide returns, Doug Jones the Democratic candidate received 671,151 votes (49.9%), to 650.436 (48.4%) for Republican Roy Moore. 22,819 voters (1.7%) wrote in another choice.
In Greene County, Doug Jones led with 3,340 votes (87.6%) to 462 (12.1%) for Roy Moore and 9 write-in votes. Jones carried every precinct box in Greene County.
In neighboring Sumter County, Jones received 3.527 votes (81%) to 814 votes (18.7%) for Moore. In Macon County, Jones received 5,780 (88.1%) to 758 (11.8%) for Moore. Across the Alabama Black Belt, which has a predominantly Black population, Jones scored overwhelming wins, in many cases exceeding the 2012 turnout for Barack Obama.
Doug Jones won in all the major cities of Alabama, including Birmingham, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, Mobile and Huntsville, with strong Black voter support. Moore’s vote in rural and suburban parts of Alabama did not meet expectations and in some cases Moore underperformed his own vote totals and percentages in 2014, when he ran for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
The election officials in each county will have 14 days to certify the official results, which includes counting military, provisional and other uncounted ballots. These officials will also have to certify that the write –in candidates, were qualified to hold the office of U. S. Senator, or these vote will be disqualified.

So votes for Mickey Mouse or someone residing in another state will not count, changing the percentages of the vote that each candidate received.
A mandatory recount of votes will be order only if Doug Jones margin of victory falls below one half of one percent (0.5%). Jones currently has a margin of 1.5%. If Moore wishes to pay for a recount, at his expense, he can request one, as soon as the results are officially certified.
National political observers view Doug Jones victory as an upset since Alabama was considered a deeply red Republican state that had not elected a Democratic U. S. Senator, in a quarter of a century, since 1992. Moore’s loss was attributed to his record of being dismissed from the Alabama Supreme Court twice for ethical violations, his opposition to gay and Muslim people, his theocratic view of political office and recent allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls, forty years ago.
Moore’s defeat was also a defeat for his major backers including Steve Bannon and President Donald Trump, who weighed in with a last minute rally in Pensacola, Florida and robocalls on election day. Trump, who like Moore, faces questions of sexual misconduct with many women and a difficult path forward on tax reform and other issues, faces dwindling support from his right wing conservative base.
Doug Jones campaign put together a coalition of Black voters, younger voters, college educated and women to overcome Moore’s assumed Republican voter majority in the state. Jones says, he wants to give fair representation to every zip code in the state and work together with Republicans on the “kitchen-table issues of healthcare, wages, education and criminal justice that affect all Alabamians.”
Jones also inherits the task of rebuilding the Democratic Party in Alabama from the uncoordinated efforts of his campaign with Black, young, educated and women voters to pull together a winning strategy and campaign for the upcoming 2018 races, which include the Governor and all constitutional offices as well as the full State Legislature.

Turnout is the key to victory in next Tuesday’s special election

 

Ballot Box

Ballot Box Vote December 12

News Analysis By: John Zippert, Co-Publisher and Editor

Most Alabama political pundits agree that voter turnout will be the key to victory in next Tuesday’s special election between Doug Jones and Roy Moore for the U. S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he became U. S. Attorney General.
Because Alabama is a deep red state, in the Heart of Dixie, very few political observes gave Doug Jones, a progressive Democratic candidate much of a chance. The polls have been all over the place but most show a tied race or a close race within the margin of error.
Most of the commentary dwells on the lopsided white Republican vote in Alabama but does not take into account Moore’s extremist religious stands which contest the ‘rule of law’ and had him removed twice from the state’s Supreme Court for unethical and unconstitutional behavior.
All of this was before the recent revelations that Moore sexually abused young women in the Gadsden area, some as young as 14, when he was a 30 year old assistant district attorney. Moore, following the example of Donald Trump, has denied all of the accusations by the women despite their believability and corroborating evidence.
The pundits also overlook and discount the efforts of Black organizations to mobilize the Black vote for Doug Jones in the rural Black Belt counties and inner city urban areas of Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Mobile.
Since Labor Day, Black voter organizations in Alabama have been mobilizing under the banner of the ‘Vote or Die Campaign’ to awaken, register and organize Black voters to turnout in support of Doug Jones on December 12th. Alabama New South Alliance, the SOS Coalition for Democracy and Justice, NAACP chapters, Alabama Democratic Conference and others have been working at the grassroots to enlighten and empower Black voters to take part in the special election.
In the first primary on August 15, Doug Jones won the Democratic primary by 109,000 out of 165,000 total votes. In the second primary between Luther Strange and Roy Moore, Moore received 262,204 votes to 218,000 for Strange.

The turnout in both of these races was below 20%.
Next Tuesday’s election will be held in the midst of the Christmas holiday shopping season. Many people in Alabama just don’t realize there is an election going on and this will contribute to a low turnout.
Statewide in Alabama there are 3.2 million registered voters with 2.1 million active white voters and 760,000 Black voters. There are 1.5 million Republican voters, 1 million Democrats and the rest Independents.
If Roy Moore receives a third of the Republican vote – 500,000, that roughly corresponds to the Evangelic Christian vote which is dedicated to voting for him, then Doug Jones must put together a turnout of over half of the Black vote say 400,000 and enough white Democratic and Republican votes to win over Moore. Putting this type of coalition together is within his grasp but it depends on a strong Black voter turnout together with white voters who feel and know that Moore is and will be a continuing embarrassment to the state.
President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and other far right conservatives have jumped into this election on Moore’s side but they are late arrivals. Jones has outraised by Moore by $10 million to $2 million in election funds. Jones has been dominating the TV airwaves until recently.
Trump seeks to nationalize the election by portraying Doug Jones as a ‘liberal Democrat’ who win not vote for Trump’s tax cuts, immigration wall, military budget and other issues. Trump’s leaning in late may help solidify the opposition to Moore and support for Doug Jones as the more progressive reasonable candidate, who shares Alabama’s progressive views on these ‘kitchen table issues’.
When you get and read this paper, there will only be a few day left before the Special Election on Tuesday, December 12th, go and vote and show that turnout is the key and will be the difference in this election.

Dr. Marcia Pugh chosen to be new Administrator of the Greene County Health System

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The Board of Directors of the Greene County Health System (GCHS) has chosen Dr. Marcia Pugh to be its new Administrator/Chief Executive Officer. GCHS includes the Hospital, Residential Care Center (Nursing Home), Physicians Clinic and other components of the county health system.
The GCHS Search Committee received over 40 applications, interviewed 10 persons by phone and held one face-to-face interview in the process of selecting the new Administrator. The GCHS Board confirmed the selection of Pugh at its November meeting. Her first day on the job at the Hospital was Monday December 4, 2017.
Prior to joining Greene County Health System, Pugh served as Director of Grants, Research and Outreach of West AL (GROWestAL), a division of the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority based at Bryan Whitfield Hospital in Demopolis. She held a number of administrative and nursing positions with the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority at Bryan Whitfield in Demopolis, starting in 1992. Prior to her service in Demopolis, she worked with the Jefferson County Department of Health and the John A. Andrews Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama.
Pugh earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree from the Capstone College of Nursing at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, in 2010. She has a Masters of Nursing and Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Tuskegee University. She is an Adjunct Professor of Nursing at several colleges including Aurora University and Concordia School of Nursing of Wisconsin.

“In the resume, she submitted for the position, she listed five pages of Federal and foundation grants in the healthcare field that she had written or participated in during the past ten years,” said John Zippert, Chair of the GCHS Board of Directors. He added, “We hope that she will be able to develop similar grant programs for Greene County.”
“I’m excited and I’m humbled to be given the opportunity to lead this fantastic team of employees who put quality first in providing health services support to Greene County Health System stakeholders,” Pugh says.
“Our men and women at Greene County Hospital take pride in serving the families of this community, and I am proud to join this team.”
John Zippert, Chair of the Board of the Greene County Health System said, “We welcome Dr. Marcia Pugh and will work with her in any way possible to enhance and strengthen our Hospital and health facilities in Greene County.”
Pugh listed as her major goals for improving the status and facilities of the Greene County Hospital and Nursing Home:
•Achieve a balanced fiscal position where the Hospital, Nursing Home and Physicians Clinic will have sufficient patient income and external subsidies to cover operations;
•Expand the Emergency Care capabilities of the Hospital;
•Fill the 20 vacant beds in the GCHS Residential Care Center (Nursing Home)
•Recruit additional health care providers, i. e., physicians and nurse practioners to increase services to Greene County and surrounding residents;
•Improve the image and involvement of the Hospital and Nursing Home in the community.
Dr. Pugh has two children, Nakieta, a Clinical Psychologist and Barrown, II, a husband and devoted father. She lives in Demopolis.

Eutaw City Council discusses abatement of taxes for truck stop

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Shown above Chief Derick Coleman with two new officers Khadijah Williams and Bryant Snyder.

The Eutaw City Council met twice in November for its regular meetings on November 14 and 28, 2017.
Mayor Steele explained that he has been meeting with representatives of Loves Truckstop about constructing a major truckstop at the Interstate 20 and 59 exit for Eutaw, at the 40 mile-marker. “At first we were talking about 87 spaces for trucks, then it went up to 168 and now we are talking about 200 parking spots for trucks and other privately owed vehicles.
The truck stop will sell gas and related products, have a convenience store and two fast food franchise locations in the store.

The truck stop will operate 24 hours a day and employ as many as 40 people,” said Mayor Steele.
The City Council will need to consider giving the truckstop owners an abatement of one cent of the gasoline taxes as an incentive to locate in the city. The abatement generally lasts for a period of time and goes up to a certain dollar amount whichever is reached first. Mayor Steele said that he was still negotiating the details of the tax incentive agreement and would bring it up for a vote when the full proposal was ready but he wanted to alert the City Council of this development. The City Council approved applying for a TAP grant to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) for $800,000 with $180,000 in matching funds, which can be cash or in-kind services, to replace the sidewalks in the downtown area, put up decorative lighting, put up a railing along the edge of the sidewalk and plant trees and shrubs. The motion was approved. Councilwoman Sheila Smith voted against the proposal.
In other actions, the Eutaw City Council:
• re-named a street in honor of Ms. Johnnie E. Williams;
• approved making a proposal by the City of Eutaw to purchase Carver Middle School buildings for $215,000 from the Greene County Board of Education, to turn the facility into an afterschool park and recreation site for youth and adults;
• paid bills and claims for the months of October and November;
• holding one City Council meeting for the next month on Monday, December 18, 2017;
• approved two new police officers, Bryant Snyder and Khadijah Williams, who will be attending the police academy next month for training and certification.

Newswire : Report: HBCUs generate $14.8 Billion in economic impact

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

 

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Graduates of Howard University

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) generate $14.8 billion in economic impact annually, which is equivalent to a ranking in the top 200 on the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations, according to a stunning new report by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

The report, conducted by the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business Selig Center for Economic Growth, revealed that Miles College in Birmingham, a 1,634-student Alabama school generates $67 million for its local region.

In total, the nation’s HBCUs generate $14.8 billion in economic impact annually; that’s equivalent to a ranking in the top 200 on the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations. This estimate includes direct spending by HBCUs on faculty, employees, academic programs and operations, and by students attending the institutions, as well as the follow-on effects of that spending. • Public HBCUs account for $9.6 billion of that total economic impact, while private HBCUs account for $5.2 billion.

The economic impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) on their local communities has never been stronger, especially at Miles College in Fairfield, Ala.

A new report funded by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and

Fact sheets for the economic impact of individual HBCUs are available at https://www.uncf.org/programs/hbcu-impact.

“It’s the first time that we’ve had a study conducted by such a professional institution to recognize the importance of HBCUs and particularly the impact on our community,” Miles College President Dr. George T. French, Jr., told the NNPA Newswire. “We’ve talked in general terms, but to quantify this is important so that our partners can understand the value of our institution. It’s a win-win for our region and for government partners who look to partner with us.”

The landmark study titled, “HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” makes clear that the benefits also flow to the local and regional economies connected to Miles College.

The study is a precursor to a larger report that UNCF plan to release on Tuesday, November 14, about the overall impact of all 105 of the nation’s HBCUs.

“The presence of an HBCU means a boost to economic activity, on and off—and even well beyond—campus. Stronger growth, stronger communities, more jobs and a more talented workforce,” UNCF authors wrote in the report.

The benefits flow to Miles College’s graduates, who’ll enter the workforce with sharper skills and vastly enhanced earning prospects, according to the report.

For every $1 spent by Miles College and its students, $1.48 is generated in initial and subsequent spending for the local and regional area, authors of the report said.

Miles College tuition for in-state and out-of-state students is $11,604 annually and the school offers courses in accounting, communication, education, humanities, social and behavior sciences, natural sciences and mathematics.

The study found that the school generates 730 jobs in its area, a total that includes 377 on campus positions and 353 off-campus workers.

For each job created on campus, another 0.9 public-or-private-sector job is created off campus because of Miles College-related spending, researchers found.

Each $1 million initially spent by Miles College and its students creates 16 jobs, according to the report.

“It’s eye-opening and, in addition to the 730 jobs created, there’s a 1-to-1 match for every full-time job at Miles, we create another job in our region,” French said. “So, we have about 377 employees on campus, but because of that, we’ve created 350 off-campus jobs.”

Miles College also plays a major role in the economic success of its graduates by enhancing their education, training and leadership skills, according to researchers.

As an example, the 196 Miles College graduates from 2014 can expect total earnings of $497 million over their lifetimes—a stunning 77 percent more than they could expect to earn without their college credentials.

Viewed on an individual bases, a Miles College graduate working full-time throughout his or her working career can expect to earn $1.1 million in additional income due to a college credential.

“What you’re looking at is, when you round it to 200 students, they already have over $2 million more in earning potential in their careers which increases by $1.1 million, because of having a degree from Miles College,” French said. “I think it’s important to have this conversation for young people, who must decide if college is worth it. At the end of the day, it’s a great economic decision.”

The figures also allow college officials to approach state and local government officials, when funding for recruitment and other programs are needed, French said.

French said, adding that because of the report he believes the city will be even more cooperative with Miles College. “With this study, we can go to the government and say we need additional money for cutting-edge programs and recruitment,” he said. “We’ve requested and will have a meeting with the city to compare our master plan with what the city is doing. Here we are, this economic engine with a $52 million annual budget and we can be helping the city with its master planning and their master plan can be intersecting with what we’re doing.”