Business

  • U.S. seen losing its share of world’s highly skilled migrants

    The United States has always been known as a nation of immigrants and a top destination for scientists and other highly skilled professionals. That ability to attract the world’s most educated and innovative people to its shores has often been credited with powering the U.S. economy. Strikingly, a new study of worldwide migration patterns suggests the United States is losing its reputation as a mecca for professionals as its global share of the most highly educated migrants declines. The result raises the question of whether the country can remain competitive in attracting top talent in an increasingly globalized economy.

  • Miami Beach pushing beachfront development -- collecting storm-water fees to fight sea-level rise

    City planners and real estate developers in Miami Beach are fight the threat of climate change by continuing to encourage the development of new beachfront properties, including hotels and residential condos. Revenue from real estate taxes and fees will fund a $300 million storm-water project. Florida has no income tax, and much of South Florida’s public infrastructure projects are supported by property taxes. By 2020, Miami Beach will have built eighty new storm pumps which will collect and remove up to 14,000 gallons of seawater per minute back into Biscayne Bay.

  • United States must seize opportunity to build sustainable energy system: IEA

    The United States is in a strong position to deliver a reliable, affordable, and environmentally sustainable energy system, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said, as it released a review of U.S. energy policy. To do so, however, the country must establish a more stable and coordinated strategic approach for the energy sector than has been the case in the past.

  • Insurance firms, developers face uncertainty now that TRIA has expired

    Insurance firms and commercial property developers are uncertain about how the commercial real estate industry will react now that the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) has expired. Many commercial property developers relied on TRIA to fulfill their loan requirements. Analysts predict real estate projects and construction jobs in Maryland, for example, will be affected by the failure to extend TRIA.

  • Project cuts phosphorus levels in river

    A 7-year pilot project in the 12,000-acre Pleasant Valley subwatershed of the Pecatonica River in southwestern Wisconsin has helped to reduce the amount of phosphorus and sediment entering the river after major storms by more than a third. The project involved changing practices on just ten of the valley’s sixty-one farms. Certain practices, such as reducing tillage and planting crops that leave more residue to protect the soil, caused the estimated annual amounts of phosphorus and sediment entering the river to drop by 4,400 pounds and 1,300 tons, respectively.

  • Businesses brace for more, and more sophisticated, cyberattacks in 2015

    The recent Sony Pictureshack is one more reason for industries to prepare for a series of cyberattacks which will likely occur in 2015. From massive data leaks to distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, hackers will continue to find vulnerabilities within targeted network systems. “In 2015, attackers will continue to look for new vulnerabilities so that they can ‘hack the planet’,” says one cyber expert.

  • FUJIFILM completes acquisition of Kalon Biotherapeutics

    Morrisville, North Carolina-based FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies U.S.A. Inc. (FDBU), a FUJIFILM Corporation subsidiary, has completed its acquisition of College Station, Texas-based Kalon Biotherapeutics LLC. The two companies say this is another step toward making the Texas biosciences industry into a center for development and manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Kalon is a biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing organization (CMO) with advanced technologies and facilities, developing and manufacturing medical countermeasures to protect public health in emergencies, including incidents of bioterrorism or an outbreak of pandemic influenza.

  • Judge orders review of insurance companies’ processing of Sandy-related damage claims

    Several insurance companies contracted to handle Hurricane Sandy claims on behalf of the National Flood Insurance Program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), are facing lawsuits filed by homeowners in New York and New Jersey, who claim that insurance firms improperly reduced flood-damage payments. More than 1,000 lawsuits allege that homeowners received less than they should have for storm- related damages because of altered engineering reports that insurance companies knowingly accepted as part of the claims-adjustment process. The judge described the work done by one engineering firm on behalf of an insurance company as “reprehensible gamesmanship.”

  • DHS-funded app-vetting firm shows market promise

    DHS recently announced it would continue funding technology company Kryptowireso the company could further pursue private sector clients. Kryptowire sells software which identifies security vulnerabilities in mobile applications and archives the results. Kryptowire already has a client list that includes the Justice Departmentand a few entertainment and gaming companies, many of which use Kryptowire to review the safety of their apps before offering it to staff and customers.

  • Insurance industry rattled by Congress's failure to reauthorize terrorism insurance backstop

    Major commercial insurers and lenders serving the real estate, tourism, and construction sectors were surprised by Congress’s failure to reauthorize the federal government’s terrorism insurance backstop,or at least extend it into 2015, when the new Congress can then reach a consensus. The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act(TRIA) was established in November 2002 as a federal backstop to protect insurers in the event an act of terrorism results in losses above $100 million. It has been extended and reauthorized twice. The insurance industry had hoped that TRIA would be renewed for another six years. The bill — the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2014 — was passed by the House, but Senate Republicans and Democrats remained in disagreement through the end of the legislative session.

  • Fixing e-mail vulnerabilities in your organization

    E-mail is by far the most widely used and the least secure form of communication. The reason why e-mail is so vulnerable to attacks is because most organizations simply do not take any steps to secure it. Some often believe that e-mail messages are like private letters — securely sealed while in transit, and can only be opened when they reach the recipient. In reality, unsecured e-mail can be compared to a postcard which can be easily intercepted along the way.

  • Overcompensating customers affected by a data breach may make it worse

    Information systems researchers, who studied the effect of two compensation strategies used by Target in reaction to a large-scale data breach which affected more than seventy million customers, have found that overcompensation of affected customers may only raise suspicions rather than satisfy customers’ sense of justice. The study follows a spate of data breaches experienced by large retail firms, such as Home Depot, Sony, and eBay, which, in addition to Target, use so-called “big data” and analytics better to serve customers and drive sales performance.

  • Industry: Multiple redundant and back-up systems make nuclear plants safer than ever

    Nuclear plants receive what supporters of nuclear power regard as an unfair amount of scrutiny and concern for their safety, but industry experts say that plant equipment and plant operations are highly regulated to minimize risks.All U.S. nuclear plants are now storing emergency pumps, generators, battery banks, chargers, compressors, and hoses at off-site locations near the plants to protect against floods, industry insiders say.Working in a nuclear plant is much safer than working in a paper mill or a chemical plant, according to Jim Krafty, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) resident senior inspector at the Beaver Valley nuclear power plant in Shippingport, Pennsylvania.

  • U.S. says evidence ties North Korea to Sony cyberattack

    U.S. intelligence agencies said they have concluded that the North Korean government was “centrally involved” in the attacks on Sony’s computers. This conclusion, which will likely be confirmed today (Thursday) by the Justice Department, was leaked to the media only hours after Sony, on Wednesday, canceled the Christmas release of the comedy — the only known instance of a threat by a nation-state pre-empting the release of a movie. Senior administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the White House was still debating whether publicly and officially to accuse North Korea of the cyberattack.

  • Sony cancels Christmas release of “The Interview”

    Sony Pictures announced it has cancelled the Christmas release of “The Interview,” the a film at the center of a hacking campaign, after dire threats to moviegoers and a decision by major movie theater groups to cancel screenings in the United States. “Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private e-mails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale — all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like,” the company said in a statement.