Voluntary Act – Solidaridad Y Voluntariado http://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/ Wed, 18 May 2022 09:30:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/icon-2.png Voluntary Act – Solidaridad Y Voluntariado http://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/ 32 32 EU Piracy Watchlist should focus on illegal acts, not copyright defense *TorrentFreak https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/eu-piracy-watchlist-should-focus-on-illegal-acts-not-copyright-defense-torrentfreak/ Wed, 18 May 2022 09:30:33 +0000 https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/eu-piracy-watchlist-should-focus-on-illegal-acts-not-copyright-defense-torrentfreak/ Following the lead of the United States, the EU began publishing its own piracy watchlist in 2018. The bi-annual Counterfeiting and Piracy Watchlist is compiled by the European Commission. As in the United States, it is based on submissions from groups of copyright holders who report problematic sites and services. Rights holders are happy to […]]]>

Following the lead of the United States, the EU began publishing its own piracy watchlist in 2018.

The bi-annual Counterfeiting and Piracy Watchlist is compiled by the European Commission. As in the United States, it is based on submissions from groups of copyright holders who report problematic sites and services.

Rights holders are happy to contribute. In addition to reporting sites and services that blatantly engage in copyright infringing activities, they also take the opportunity to seek broader cooperation from third-party services. In some cases, this leads to concrete suggestions that go beyond what the law requires.

List anti-piracy requirements

For example, in its latest submission, music industry group IFPI suggested that third-party services should implement strong “know your customer” policies. This also applies to the popular CDN and Cloudflare proxy service.

“CloudFlare should exercise due diligence to confirm who its customers are and establish their proposed and actual businesses,” IFPI wrote.

Other rights holder groups have made similar suggestions. For example, the film industry’s MPA pointed out that online intermediaries such as CDNs, domain registrars and hosting companies should stop offering their services to customers who are not properly verified.

These are understandable requests from rights holders, who can use every bit of information to track down the operators of problematic sites. However, these verification requests are not cemented in EU law, so the services are not legally required to screen all customers.

Cloudflare calls on EU to focus on ‘unlawful’ acts

This last point was also highlighted by Cloudflare, which sent a rebuttal to the European Commission after being flagged by several rights holders as a potential candidate for the piracy watchlist.

The San Francisco company has millions of customers worldwide. These include governments and copyright holders, but also many smaller sites that take advantage of the CDN and platform security features.

In its rebuttal, Cloudflare supports the watchlist initiative. However, he urges the EU to limit the sites and services listed to those that actually appear to be acting against the law, not those that violate the wishes of all copyright owners.

“The Commission should not publish any report – even informal – that is merely a mechanism for particular stakeholders to air their grievances that entities are not taking particular voluntary action to address their concerns or to advocate for them. favor of new policies.

Listing companies such as Cloudflare based solely on complaints from copyright holders could give the impression that the EU supports such claims, the company argues. This could potentially impact ongoing legal discussions and policy debates.

“Our view is that the Commission staff document and watchlist should be limited to allegations of unlawful behavior verified by the Commission, based on principled and fair legal standards,” Cloudflare notes.

“Verification is an indirect threat to security”

In addition to this broader criticism, the company also argues that some of the rightsholders’ claims could prove problematic. For example, a thorough verification process would involve significant costs, which could mean that the company is unable to maintain its free offer.

Therefore, smaller sites may lose the benefit of the free protection offered, as they cannot afford to pay for the service.

“Changing this online registration process, which complies with applicable law, to require manual review of new accounts would make it impossible to offer these free services at scale, degrading the Internet experience for all users and making much of the web more vulnerable to cyber attack,” Cloudflare writes.

The CDN provider also points out that it already goes beyond what the law requires to help rights holders. For example, it works with “trusted notifiers” that can request the originating IP addresses of problematic sites, when these are reported.

These and other voluntary measures have already been outlined in a separate communication to the US government. According to Cloudflare, the company is showing goodwill while complying with all applicable laws.

Several of the rights holder groups complaining about Cloudflare are also “trusted notifiers.” While it does indeed help to know where sites and services are hosted, they believe it is not enough.

The IFPI, for example, mentions that Cloudflare apparently does very little to address customers for which it receives a large number of complaints.

“[N]notifications or requests for information within the framework of the “trusted flagger” program must give rise to a significant action vis-à-vis the client. The program must feed a recidivism policy, but in the case of CloudFlare, there is no evidence that it does.

It’s clear that copyright holders and Cloudflare have different views on how to tackle the piracy problem. Whether the EU feels this warrants a mention on the piracy watch list remains to be seen.

Cloudflare was mentioned in the first EU watchlist in 2018, but was removed from the next release. If it depends on the San Francisco CDN provider, it will remain off the list in the future.

“The Watchlist is not the appropriate place to advocate new policies regarding what online service providers should collect from their users,” the company writes.

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Idaho loses millions in federal emergency rent assistance https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/idaho-loses-millions-in-federal-emergency-rent-assistance/ Thu, 12 May 2022 10:00:00 +0000 https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/idaho-loses-millions-in-federal-emergency-rent-assistance/ Julian Arreguin Vega of Boise holds a sign during a protest in January. Sarah A.Miller smiler@idahostatesman.com For the second time this year, Boise and Ada County have received millions in emergency rent assistance funds from the U.S. Treasury Department, and the city has approved another $6.5 million for help tenants. But local dollars pale in […]]]>

Julian Arreguin Vega of Boise holds a sign during a protest in January.

Julian Arreguin Vega of Boise holds a sign during a protest in January.

smiler@idahostatesman.com

For the second time this year, Boise and Ada County have received millions in emergency rent assistance funds from the U.S. Treasury Department, and the city has approved another $6.5 million for help tenants.

But local dollars pale in comparison to the amount of federal money that hasn’t been used by the state: The US Treasury clawed back $63.6 million in Idaho’s rental assistance funds.

A total of $23.8 million has now returned to the state at the local level through reallocation, according to the latest data. And that reallocation mostly benefited one place — 98% of federal rental assistance went to Ada County.

The state received about $176 million in federal assistance in February 2021 through a COVID-19 economic relief package that was passed under President Donald Trump’s administration. The money was intended to help struggling tenants.

Idaho was one of 13 states that then involuntarily clawed back unused federal aid from the U.S. Treasury Department due to funds not being used, and its total of $63.6 million was higher than that of all other states except one. South Dakota recovered $79.5 million.

The Treasury reallocated this money to local governments across the country. The most recent reallocation, in March, granted $7.2 million to Boise and $5.3 million to Ada County.

In the first round of reallocation, which took place in January, Boise got $7.2 million and Ada County got $3.6 million.

The only other Idaho agency to receive reallocated emergency rent assistance was the Nez Perce Tribal Housing Authority in Lapwai, which received $500,000.

On Tuesday, the Boise City Council approved $6.5 million to be paid to the Boise City/Ada County Housing Authority, which will distribute it to tenants who apply for assistance.

The city still has about $9.7 million in federal rent assistance — that includes money that came before Treasury reallocations — that the board has yet to approve for use.

Through the organization Emergency Rental Assistance Program, assistance will be given to those experiencing sudden financial hardship, housing instability, loss of income or who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization has set up a application portal on its website.

To qualify, household income must not exceed 80% of the median for the area, which is classified as low income. According to the Idaho Housing and Finance Association chartlow income in Boise applies to a one-person household earning $42,200 or less, a two-person household earning $48,200 or less, or a three-person household earning $54,250 or less.

The assistance, for up to 15 months, is sent directly to homeowners and utility companies.

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean said the city has already used $15 million in federal rental assistance to help more than 3,200 households.

“These are not numbers, these are families of workers who have been able to stay at home. Now we can do even more,” McLean said in a press release. “As we come out of this pandemic, people still need help with their rent.”

The U.S. Treasury Department has announced plans to begin recovering “excess funds” from rental assistance provided under another COVID-19 relief program, President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act.

Idaho originally received $124 million in ARPA rent assistance, according to Benjamin Cushman, communications coordinator for the Idaho Housing and Finance Association. Idaho received the first $50 million of that amount, but must meet “spending thresholds” to receive the rest, Cushman said.

In March, the Idaho Legislature authorized Idaho Housing and Finance to distribute $38 million of that $50 million beginning July 1, and the state indicated its willingness to work directly with Boise and the county of ‘Adah. Idaho has asked the US Treasury to approve a voluntary transfer of $16 million from the state fund to the city and county, according to Cushman.

“I want the public to understand that we are doing everything within our control and sphere of influence to ensure that as many emergency rent assistance dollars as possible stay in this state,” said Maureen Brewer, Boise real estate development manager, to the Idaho statesman in a telephone interview.

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STRATEGIC EDUCATION, INC. : MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL POSITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS (Form 10-Q) https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/strategic-education-inc-managements-discussion-and-analysis-of-financial-position-and-results-of-operations-form-10-q/ Tue, 10 May 2022 10:15:07 +0000 https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/strategic-education-inc-managements-discussion-and-analysis-of-financial-position-and-results-of-operations-form-10-q/ The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations is a supplement to and should be read in conjunction with our condensed consolidated financial statements and the related notes and other financial information included elsewhere in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and with our Annual Report on Form 10-K for […]]]>
The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of
operations is a supplement to and should be read in conjunction with our
condensed consolidated financial statements and the related notes and other
financial information included elsewhere in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q
and with our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021.

Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Statements


Certain of the statements included in this "Management's Discussion and Analysis
of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" as well as elsewhere in this
Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q are forward-looking statements made pursuant to
the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("Reform Act"). Such
statements may be identified by the use of words such as "expect," "estimate,"
"assume," "believe," "anticipate," "may," "will," "forecast," "outlook," "plan,"
"project," "potential" or similar words, and include, without limitation,
statements relating to future enrollment, revenues, revenues per student,
earnings growth, operating expenses, capital expenditures and the ultimate
effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company's business and results. These
statements are based on the Company's current expectations and are subject to a
number of assumptions, risks and uncertainties. In accordance with the Safe
Harbor provisions of the Reform Act, the Company has identified important
factors that could cause the actual results to differ materially from those
expressed in or implied by such statements. The assumptions, risks and
uncertainties include the pace of student enrollment, our continued compliance
with Title IV of the Higher Education Act, and the regulations thereunder, as
well as other federal laws and regulations, institutional accreditation
standards and state regulatory requirements, rulemaking by the Department and
increased focus by the U.S. Congress on for-profit education institutions,
competitive factors, risks associated with the further spread of COVID-19,
including the ultimate impact of COVID-19 on people and economies, the impact of
regulatory measures or voluntary actions that may be put in place to limit the
spread of COVID-19, including restrictions on business operations or social
distancing requirements, risks associated with the opening of new campuses,
risks associated with the offering of new educational programs and adapting to
other changes, risks associated with the acquisition of existing educational
institutions including our acquisition of Torrens University and associated
assets in Australia and New Zealand, the risk that the benefits of our
acquisition of Torrens University and associated assets in Australia and New
Zealand may not be fully realized or may take longer to realize than expected,
the risk that our acquisition of Torrens University and associated assets in
Australia and New Zealand may not advance our business strategy and growth
strategy, risks related to the timing of regulatory approvals, our ability to
implement our growth strategy, the risk that the combined company may experience
difficulty integrating employees or operations, risks associated with the
ability of our students to finance their education in a timely manner, and
general economic and market conditions. You should not put undue reliance on any
forward-looking statements. Further information about these and other relevant
risks and uncertainties may be found in Part II, "Item 1A. Risk Factors" of this
Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, Part I, "Item 1A. Risk Factors" of the Company's
Annual Report on Form 10-K and in the Company's other filings with the
Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company undertakes no obligation to
update or revise forward-looking statements, except as required by law.

Further information


We maintain a website at http://www.strategiceducation.com. The information on
our website is not incorporated by reference in this Quarterly Report on Form
10-Q, and our web address is included as an inactive textual reference only. We
make available, free of charge through our website, our Annual Report on Form
10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments
to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as soon as reasonably practicable after we
electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the Securities and
Exchange Commission.

Background

Strategic Education, Inc. ("SEI," "we", "us" or "our") is an education services
company that provides access to high-quality education through campus-based and
online post-secondary education offerings, as well as through programs to
develop job-ready skills for high-demand markets. We operate primarily through
our wholly-owned subsidiaries Strayer University and Capella University, both
accredited post-secondary institutions of higher education located in the United
States, and Torrens University, an accredited post-secondary institution of
higher education located in Australia. Our operations emphasize relationships
through our Education Technology Services segment with employers to build
employee education benefits programs that provide employees with access to
affordable and industry relevant training, certificate, and degree programs.

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Company response to COVID-19


The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant volatility and disruption
to the United States and international economies. SEI took early action to
protect the health and well-being of our students and employees in accordance
with government mandates and informed by guidance from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. Specifically, we instituted a work-from-home policy for
the vast majority of our workforce, closed physical campus locations, moved our
on-ground courses at Strayer University online, postponed large events such as
graduation ceremonies, and prohibited non-essential employee travel. As guidance
has evolved, we have begun to reopen campus and office locations and permit
business travel, after instituting a mandatory vaccination policy for all
employees who may be required to be on-site at a Company facility or at a
Company-sponsored event, subject to medical and religious accommodations (any
employee receiving an accommodation is required to test at least weekly before
being on-site).

We have taken measures to provide financial relief to our students and employer
partners negatively affected by the COVID-19 crisis, including payment
flexibility, scholarship opportunities, and other pricing relief. We expect that
these measures will enable more students to continue pursuing their education
during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. In the third quarter of 2020, we began
implementing a restructuring plan that included both voluntary and involuntary
employee terminations in an effort to reduce ongoing operating costs to align
with changes in enrollment. Our restructuring efforts have also included the
consolidation of underutilized facilities in response to changes in enrollment
trends and as a result of our work-from-home policies.

As the pandemic has continued, we have seen sustained weakness in demand,
especially in the United States, where total enrollment in our U.S. Higher
Education segment declined 13% in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the
same period in 2021. Enrollment in ANZ also has been impacted by the pandemic
and the related closure of international borders in Australia and New Zealand.

We believe that our current financial condition and expected results of operations, together with our ability to further control costs, are sufficient to support the continued operation of SEI in a manner that protects the health and well-being of our employees. , students and partners.

Company presentation

From March 31, 2022we had the following declarable segments:

WE Higher education sector


•The USHE segment provides flexible and affordable certificate and degree
programs to working adults primarily through Strayer University and Capella
University, including the Jack Welch Management Institute MBA, which is a unit
of Strayer University. USHE also operates non-degree web and mobile application
development courses through Hackbright Academy and Devmountain, which are units
of Strayer University.

•Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher
Education and Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning
Commission, both higher education institutional accrediting agencies recognized
by the Department of Education. The USHE segment provides academic offerings
both online and in physical classrooms, helping working adult students develop
specific competencies they can apply in their workplace.

• In the first quarter of 2022, USHE enrollment decreased by 13% to 78,172, compared to 89,482 for the same period in 2021.


•Trailing 4-quarter student persistence within USHE was 86.8% in the fourth
quarter of 2021 compared to 86.7% for the same period in 2020. Student
persistence is calculated as the rate of students continuing from one quarter to
the next, adjusted for graduates, on a trailing 4-quarter basis. Student
persistence is reported one quarter in arrears. The table below summarizes USHE
trailing 4-quarter student persistence for the past 8 quarters.

 Q1 2020      Q2 2020      Q3 2020      Q4 2020      Q1 2021      Q2 2021      Q3 2021      Q4 2021
  87.2  %      86.6  %      86.8  %      86.7  %      86.5  %      87.0  %      86.9  %      86.8  %

Education Technology Services Segment


•Our Education Technology Services segment is primarily focused on developing
and maintaining relationships with employers to build employee education
benefits programs that provide employees with access to affordable and industry
relevant training, certificate, and degree programs. The employer relationships
developed by the Education Technology Services division are an important source
of student enrollment for Strayer University and Capella University, and the
majority of the revenue attributed to the Education Technology Services division
is driven by the volume of enrollment
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derived from these employer relationships. Enrollments attributed to the
Education Technology Services segment are determined based on a student's
employment status and the existence of a corporate partnership arrangement with
SEI. All enrollments attributed to the Education Technology Services division
continue to be attributed to the division until the student graduates or
withdraws, even if his or her employment status changes or if the partnership
contract expires.

• In the first quarter of 2022, employer-affiliated enrollment as a percentage of USHE enrollment was 23.0%, compared to 20.7% for the same period in 2021.


•Education Technology Services also supports employer partners through Workforce
Edge, a platform which provides employers a full-service education benefits
administration solution, and Sophia Learning, which enables lower cost education
benefits programs through the use of low-cost online general education courses
recommended by the American Council on Education for credit at other colleges
and universities.

Australia/New Zealand Segment

•Torrens University is the only investor-funded university in Australia. Torrens
University offers undergraduate, graduate, higher degree by research, and
specialized degree courses primarily in five fields of study: business, design
and creative technology, health, hospitality, and education. Courses are offered
both online and at physical campuses. Torrens University is registered with the
Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency ("TEQSA"), the regulator for
higher education providers and universities throughout Australia, as an
Australian University that is authorized to self-accredit its courses.

•Think Education is a vocational registered training organization and accredited
higher education provider in Australia. Think Education delivers education at
several campuses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Adelaide as well as through
online study. Think Education and its colleges are accredited in Australia by
the TEQSA and the Australian Skills Quality Authority, the regulator for
vocational education and training organizations that operate in Australia.

•Media Design School is a private tertiary institution for creative and
technology qualifications in New Zealand. Media Design School offers
industry-endorsed courses in 3D animation and visual effects, game art, game
programming, graphic and motion design, digital media artificial intelligence,
and creative advertising. Media Design School is accredited in New Zealand by
the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, the organization responsible for the
quality assurance of non-university tertiary training providers.

• In the first quarter of 2022, Australia/New Zealand registrations fell 4% to 20,575 from 21,469 for the same period in 2021.


We believe we have the right operating strategies in place to provide the most
direct path between learning and employment for our students. We are constantly
innovating to differentiate ourselves in our markets and drive growth by
supporting student success, producing affordable degrees, optimizing our
comprehensive marketing strategy, serving a broader set of our students'
professional needs, and establishing new growth platforms. The talent of our
faculty and employees, supported by market leading technology, enable these
strategies. We believe our strategy will allow us to continue to deliver high
quality, affordable education, resulting in continued growth over the long-term.
We will continue to invest in this strategy to strengthen the foundation and
future of our business.

Significant Accounting Policies and Estimates


"Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of
Operations" discusses our consolidated financial statements, which have been
prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the
United States of America. The preparation of these consolidated financial
statements requires management to make estimates and judgments that affect the
reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses, and the related
disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities. On an ongoing basis,
management evaluates its estimates and judgments related to its allowance for
credit losses; income tax provisions; the useful lives of property and equipment
and intangible assets; redemption rates for scholarship programs and valuation
of contract liabilities; fair value of right-of-use lease assets for facilities
that have been vacated; incremental borrowing rates; valuation of deferred tax
assets, goodwill, and intangible assets; forfeiture rates and achievability of
performance targets for stock-based compensation plans; and accrued expenses.
Management bases its estimates and judgments on historical experience and
various other factors and assumptions that are believed to be reasonable under
the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments
regarding the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily
apparent from other sources. Management regularly reviews its estimates and
judgments for reasonableness and may modify them in the future. Actual results
may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.
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Management believes that the following critical accounting policies are its more
significant judgments and estimates used in the preparation of its consolidated
financial statements.

Revenue recognition - Like many traditional institutions, Strayer University and
Capella University offer educational programs primarily on a quarter system
having four academic terms, which generally coincide with our quarterly
financial reporting periods. Torrens University offers the majority of its
education programs on a trimester system having three primary academic terms,
which all occur within the calendar year. Approximately 96% of our revenues
during the three months ended March 31, 2022 consisted of tuition revenue.
Capella University offers monthly start options for new students, who then
transition to a quarterly schedule. Capella University also offers its FlexPath
program, which allows students to determine their 12-week billing session
schedule after they complete their first course. Tuition revenue for all
students is recognized ratably over the course of instruction as the
universities provide academic services, whether delivered in person at a
physical campus or online. Tuition revenue is shown net of any refunds,
withdrawals, corporate discounts, scholarships, and employee tuition discounts.
The universities also derive revenue from other sources such as textbook-related
income, certificate revenue, certain academic fees, licensing revenue,
accommodation revenue, food and beverage fees, and other income, which are all
recognized when earned. In accordance with ASC 606, materials provided to
students in connection with their enrollment in a course are recognized as
revenue when control of those materials transfers to the student. At the start
of each academic term or program, a contract liability is recorded for academic
services to be provided, and a tuition receivable is recorded for the portion of
the tuition not paid in advance. Any cash received prior to the start of an
academic term or program is recorded as a contract liability.

Students at Strayer University and Capella University finance their education in
a variety of ways, and historically about 75% of our students have participated
in one or more financial aid program provided through Title IV of the Higher
Education Act. In addition, many of our working adult students finance their own
education or receive full or partial tuition reimbursement from their employers.
Those students who are veterans or active duty military personnel have access to
various additional government-funded educational benefit programs.

In Australia, domestic students attending an ANZ institution finance their
education themselves or by taking a loan through the government's Higher
Education Loan Program or Vocational Student Loan Program. In New Zealand,
domestic students may utilize government loans to fund tuition, and in addition
may be eligible for a period of "fees free" study funded by the government.
International students attending an ANZ institution are not eligible for funding
from the Australian or New Zealand government.

A typical class is offered in weekly increments over a six- to twelve-week
period, depending on the university and course type, and is followed by an exam.
Student attendance is based on physical presence in class for on-ground classes.
For online classes, attendance consists of logging into one's course shell and
performing an academically-related activity (e.g., engaging in a discussion post
or taking a quiz).

If a student withdraws from a course prior to completion, a portion of the
tuition may be refundable depending on when the withdrawal occurs. We use the
student's withdrawal date or last date of attendance for this purpose. Our
specific refund policies vary across the universities and non-degree programs.
For students attending Strayer University, our refund policy typically permits
students who complete less than half of a course to receive a partial refund of
tuition for that course. For students attending Capella University, our refund
policy varies based on course format. GuidedPath students are allowed a 100%
refund through the first five days of the course, a 75% refund from six to
twelve days, and 0% refund for the remainder of the period. FlexPath students
receive a 100% refund through the 12th calendar day of the course for their
first billing session only and a 0% refund after that date and for all
subsequent billing sessions. For domestic students attending an ANZ institution,
refunds are typically provided to students that withdraw within the first 20% of
a course term. For international students attending an ANZ institution, refunds
are provided to students that withdraw prior to the course commencement date. In
limited circumstances refunds to student attending an ANZ institution may be
granted after these cut-offs subject to an application for special consideration
by the student and approval of that application by the institution. Refunds
reduce the tuition revenue that otherwise would have been recognized for that
student. Since the academic terms coincide with our financial reporting periods
for most programs, nearly all refunds are processed and recorded in the same
quarter as the corresponding revenue. For certain programs where courses may
overlap a quarter-end date, we estimate a refund or withdrawal rate and do not
recognize the related revenue until the uncertainty related to the refund is
resolved. The portion of tuition revenue refundable to students may vary based
on the student's state of residence.

For U.S. students who receive funding under Title IV and withdraw, funds are
subject to return provisions as defined by the Department of Education. The
university is responsible for returning Title IV funds to the Department and
then may seek payment from the withdrawn student of prorated tuition or other
amounts charged to him or her. Loss of financial aid eligibility during an
academic term is rare and would normally coincide with the student's withdrawal
from the institution. In Australia and New Zealand, government funding for
eligible students is provided directly to the institution on an estimated basis
annually. The
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amount of government funding provided is based on a course-by-course forecast of
enrollments that the institution submits for the upcoming calendar year. Using
the enrollment forecast provided as well as the requesting institution's
historical enrollment trends, the government approves a fixed amount, which is
then funded to the institution evenly on a monthly basis. Periodic
reconciliation and true-ups are undertaken between the relevant government
authority and the institution based on actual eligible enrollments, which may
result in a net amount being due to or from the government.

Students at Strayer University registering in credit-bearing courses in any
undergraduate program beginning in the summer 2013 term or graduate program
beginning in the summer 2020 term (fiscal third quarter), and subsequent terms
qualify for the Graduation Fund, whereby qualifying students earn tuition
credits that are redeemable in the final year of a student's course of study if
he or she successfully remains in the program. Students must meet all of Strayer
University's admission requirements and not be eligible for any previously
offered scholarship program. Our employees and their dependents are not eligible
for the program. To maintain eligibility, students must be enrolled in a
bachelor's or master's degree program. Students who have more than one
consecutive term of non-attendance lose any Graduation Fund credits earned to
date, but may earn and accumulate new credits if the student is reinstated or
readmitted by Strayer University in the future. In response to the COVID-19
pandemic, Strayer University temporarily allowed students to miss three
consecutive terms without losing their Graduation Fund credits. In their final
academic year, qualifying students will receive one free course for every three
courses that the student successfully completed in prior years. Strayer
University's performance obligation associated with free courses that may be
redeemed in the future is valued based on a systematic and rational allocation
of the cost of honoring the benefit earned to each of the underlying revenue
transactions that result in progress by the student toward earning the benefit.
The estimated value of awards under the Graduation Fund that will be recognized
in the future is based on historical experience of students' persistence in
completing their course of study and earning a degree and the tuition rate in
effect at the time it was associated with the transaction. Estimated redemption
rates of eligible students vary based on their term of enrollment. As of
March 31, 2022, we had deferred $51.2 million for estimated redemptions earned
under the Graduation Fund, as compared to $52.0 million at December 31, 2021.
Each quarter, we assess our assumptions underlying our estimates for persistence
and estimated redemptions based on actual experience. To date, any adjustments
to our estimates have not been material. However, if actual persistence or
redemption rates change, adjustments to the reserve may be necessary and could
be material.

Tuition receivable - We record estimates for our allowance for credit losses
related to tuition receivable from students primarily based on our historical
collection rates by age of receivable and adjusted for reasonable expectations
of future collection performance, net of recoveries. Our experience is that
payment of outstanding balances is influenced by whether the student returns to
the institution, as we require students to make payment arrangements for their
outstanding balances prior to enrollment. Therefore, we monitor outstanding
tuition receivable balances through subsequent terms, increasing the reserve on
such balances over time as the likelihood of returning to the institution
diminishes and our historical experience indicates collection is less likely. We
periodically assess our methodologies for estimating credit losses in
consideration of actual experience. If the financial condition of our students
were to deteriorate based on current or expected future events resulting in
evidence of impairment of their ability to make required payments for tuition
payable to us, additional allowances or write-offs may be required. For the
first quarter of 2022, our bad debt expense was 2.8% of revenue, compared to
3.7% for the same period in 2021. A change in our allowance for credit losses of
1% of gross tuition receivable as of March 31, 2022 would have changed our
income from operations by approximately $1.1 million.

Goodwill and intangible assets - Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase
price of an acquired business over the amount assigned to the assets acquired
and liabilities assumed. Indefinite-lived intangible assets, which include trade
names, are recorded at fair market value on their acquisition date. At the time
of acquisition, goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets are allocated to
reporting units. Management identifies its reporting units by assessing whether
the components of its operating segments constitute businesses for which
discrete financial information is available and management regularly reviews the
operating results of those components. Goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible
assets are assessed at least annually for impairment. No events or circumstances
occurred in the three months ended March 31, 2022 to indicate an impairment to
goodwill or indefinite-lived intangible assets. Accordingly, no impairment
charges related to goodwill or indefinite-lived intangible assets were recorded
during the three month period ended March 31, 2022.

Finite-lived intangible assets that are acquired in business combinations are
recorded at fair value on their acquisition dates and are amortized on a
straight-line basis over the estimated useful life of the asset. Finite-lived
intangible assets consist of student relationships. We review our finite-lived
intangible assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances
indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. If such
assets are not recoverable, a potential impairment loss is recognized to the
extent the carrying amount of the assets exceeds the fair value of the assets.
No impairment charges related to finite-lived intangible assets were recorded
during the three month period ended March 31, 2022.

Other estimates - We record estimates for certain of our accrued expenses and
for income tax liabilities. We estimate the useful lives of our property and
equipment and intangible assets and periodically review our assumed forfeiture
rates and ability to
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Achieve performance targets for equity-based awards and adjust as needed. If actual results differ from our estimates, revisions to our accrued liabilities, carrying value of goodwill and intangible assets, stock-based compensation expense and income tax liabilities profits might be needed.

Operating results


In the first quarter of 2022, we generated $258.9 million in revenue compared to
$290.3 million in 2021. Our income from operations was $13.4 million for the
first quarter of 2022 compared to $12.0 million in 2021, primarily due to lower
restructuring costs and amortization expense of intangible assets, partially
offset by lower earnings in the USHE segment. Net income in the first quarter of
2022 was $7.0 million compared to $9.6 million for the same period in 2021.
Diluted earnings per share was $0.29 compared to $0.40 for the same period in
2021.

In the accompanying analysis of financial information for 2022 and 2021, we use
certain financial measures including Adjusted Revenue, Adjusted Total Costs and
Expenses, Adjusted Income from Operations, Adjusted Operating Margin, Adjusted
Income Before Income Taxes, Adjusted Net Income, and Adjusted Diluted Earnings
per Share that are not required by or prepared in accordance with accounting
principles generally accepted in the United States of America ("GAAP"). These
measures, which are considered "non-GAAP financial measures" under SEC rules,
are defined by us to exclude the following:

•purchase accounting adjustments to record acquired contract liabilities at fair
value as a result of our acquisition of Torrens University and associated assets
in Australia and New Zealand and to record amortization and depreciation expense
related to intangible assets and software assets acquired through our merger
with Capella Education Company and our acquisition of Torrens University and
associated assets in Australia and New Zealand;

• transaction and integration expenses related to our merger with Capella Education Company and our acquisition of Torrens University and associated assets in Australia and New Zealand;

•severance costs and right-of-use asset impairment charges related to our restructuring;

•income/losses from partnership and other investments that are not part of our core business;

•separate tax adjustments related to stock-based compensation and other adjustments; and


To illustrate currency impacts to operating results, Adjusted Revenue, Adjusted
Total Costs and Expenses, Adjusted Income from Operations, Adjusted Operating
Margin, Adjusted Income Before Income Taxes, Adjusted Net Income, and Adjusted
Diluted Earnings per Share for the three months ended March 31, 2022 are also
presented on a constant currency basis utilizing an exchange rate of 0.7728
Australian Dollars to U.S. Dollars, which was the average exchange rate for the
same period in 2021.

When considered together with GAAP financial results, we believe these measures
provide management and investors with an additional understanding of our
business and operating results, including underlying trends associated with our
ongoing operations.

Non-GAAP financial measures are not defined in the same manner by all companies
and may not be comparable with other similarly titled measures of other
companies. Non-GAAP financial measures may be considered in addition to, but not
as a substitute for or superior to, GAAP results. A reconciliation of these
measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measures is provided below.

Adjusted results for 2021 exclude foreign currency exchange impacts and are
therefore not directly comparable to adjusted results previously reported for
the three months ended March 31, 2021. Adjusted income from operations was
$19.4 million in the first quarter of 2022 compared to $52.9 million in 2021.
Adjusted net income was $13.1 million in the first quarter of 2022 compared to
$37.0 million in 2021, and adjusted diluted earnings per share was $0.54 in the
first quarter of 2022 compared to $1.53 in 2021.


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The tables below reconcile our reported operating results to adjusted results (amounts in thousands, except per share data):

Reconciliation of reported and adjusted operating results for the three months ended March 31, 2021

                                                                                                        Non-GAAP Adjustments
                                                                                    Merger and
                                  As Reported         Purchase accounting           integration            Restructuring           Income from other                Tax                 As Adjusted
                                    (GAAP)               adjustments(1)              costs(2)                 costs(3)               investments(4)            adjustments(5)           (Non-GAAP)
Revenues                        $    290,336          $           2,223          $            -          $             -          $               -          $             -          $    292,559
Total costs and expenses        $    278,336          $         (19,407)         $       (1,012)         $       (18,267)         $               -          $             -          $    239,650
Income from operations          $     12,000          $          21,630          $        1,012          $        18,267          $               -          $             -          $     52,909
Operating margin                           4.1%                                                                                                                                                 18.1%

income before taxes $14,167 $21,630

     $        1,012          $        18,267          $          (2,783)         $             -          $     52,293
Net income                      $      9,577          $          21,630          $        1,012          $        18,267          $          (2,783)         $       (10,688)         $     37,015

Diluted earnings per share      $       0.40                                                                                                                                          $       1.53
Weighted average diluted shares
outstanding                              24,153                                                                                                                                                24,153


Reconciliation of Reported to Adjusted Results of Operations for the three
months ended March 31, 2022

                                                                                                          Non-GAAP Adjustments
                                                                                      Merger and
                                  As Reported          Purchase accounting            integration             Restructuring             Loss from other                 Tax                 As Adjusted
                                    (GAAP)               adjustments(1)                costs(2)                  costs(3)               investments(4)             adjustments(5)           (Non-GAAP)
Revenues                        $    258,855          $                -          $              -          $             -          $                -          $             -          $    258,855
Total costs and expenses        $    245,414          $           (3,738)         $           (410)         $        (1,858)         $                -          $             -          $    239,408
Income from operations          $     13,441          $            3,738          $            410          $         1,858          $                -          $             -          $     19,447
Operating margin                           5.2%                                                                                                                                                      7.5%
Income before income taxes      $     12,270          $            3,738          $            410          $         1,858          $              387          $             -          $     18,663
Net income                      $      7,029          $            3,738          $            410          $         1,858          $              387          $          (358)         $     13,064

Diluted earnings per share      $       0.29                                                                                                                                              $       0.54
Weighted average diluted shares
outstanding                              24,114                                                                                                                                                    24,114

__________________________________________________________________________________________

(1)Reflects a purchase accounting adjustment to record acquired contract
liabilities at fair value as a result of the Company's acquisition of Torrens
University and associated assets in Australia and New Zealand, and amortization
and depreciation expense of intangible assets and software assets acquired
through the Company's merger with Capella Education Company and the Company's
acquisition of Torrens University and associated assets in Australia and New
Zealand.
(2)Reflects transaction and integration expenses associated with the Company's
merger with Capella Education Company, including premerger litigation
settlement, and the Company's acquisition of Torrens University and associated
assets in Australia and New Zealand.
(3)Reflects severance costs and right-of-use lease asset impairment charges
associated with the Company's restructuring.
(4)Reflects income/loss recognized from the Company's investments in partnership
interests and other investments.
(5)Reflects tax impacts of the adjustments described above and discrete tax
adjustments related to stock-based compensation and other adjustments, utilizing
an adjusted effective tax rate of 30.0% and 29.2% for the three months ended
March 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively.
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The table below presents our adjusted operating results in constant currencies for the three months ended March 31, 2022 (amounts in thousands, except data per share):


                                                                                                    As Adjusted with
                                                                                                        Constant
                                                     As Adjusted          Constant currency             Currency
                                                     (Non-GAAP)             adjustment(1)              (Non-GAAP)
Revenues                                           $    258,855          $           2,886          $     261,741
Total costs and expenses                           $    239,408          $           3,150          $     242,558
Income from operations                             $     19,447          $            (264)         $      19,183
Operating margin                                              7.5%                                              7.3%
Income before income taxes                         $     18,663          $            (268)         $      18,395
Net income                                         $     13,064          $            (210)         $      12,854

Diluted earnings per share                         $       0.54                                     $        0.53
Weighted average diluted shares outstanding                 24,114                                            24,114


__________________________________________________________________________________________

(1)Reflects an adjustment to translate foreign currency results for the three
months ended March 31, 2022 at a constant exchange rate of 0.7728 Australian
Dollars to U.S. Dollars, which was the average exchange rate for the same period
in 2021.

Three months completed March 31, 2022 Compared to the three months ended March 31, 2021


Revenues. Consolidated revenue decreased to $258.9 million, compared to $290.3
million in the same period in the prior year, primarily due to declines in
enrollment. In the USHE segment for the three months ended March 31, 2022, total
enrollment decreased 13% to 78,172 from 89,482 for the same period in 2021. USHE
segment revenue decreased 13.6% to $195.8 million compared to $226.5 million in
2021 primarily as a result of declines in enrollment. Near term revenue in the
USHE segment is expected to continue to be impacted negatively by the ongoing
COVID-19 pandemic with weaker demand for enrollments. In the Australia/New
Zealand segment for the three months ended March 31, 2022, total enrollment
decreased 4% to 20,575 from 21,469 for the same period in 2021. Australia/New
Zealand segment revenue decreased 5.4% to $48.5 million compared to $51.3
million in 2021 as a result of declines in enrollment and revenue-per-student.
In the Education Technology Services segment, revenue for the three months ended
March 31, 2022 increased 16.4% to $14.6 million compared to $12.5 million in
2021 as a result of growth in Sophia Learning and higher employer affiliated
enrollment.

Instructional and support costs. Consolidated instructional and support costs
decreased to $144.6 million, compared to $152.8 million in the same period in
the prior year, principally due to lower facility costs and bad debt expense.
Consolidated instructional and support costs as a percentage of revenues
increased to 55.9% in the first quarter of 2022 from 52.6% in the first quarter
of 2021.

General and administration expenses. Consolidated general and administration
expenses increased to $94.8 million in the first quarter of 2022 compared to
$86.8 million in the prior year, principally due to increased investments in
branding initiatives and partnerships with brand ambassadors. Consolidated
general and administration expenses as a percentage of revenues increased to
36.6% in the first quarter of 2022 from 29.9% in the first quarter of 2021.

Amortization of intangible assets. Amortization of intangible assets decreased
to $3.7 million in the first quarter of 2022 compared to $19.4 million in 2021,
due to the finite-lived intangible assets acquired through the merger with
Capella Education Company being fully amortized as of the third quarter of 2021.

Merger and integration costs. Merger and integration costs decreased to $0.4
million in the first quarter of 2022 compared to $1.0 million for the same
period in 2021, as a result of lower integration expenses associated with the
acquisition of ANZ.

Restructuring costs. Restructuring costs decreased to $1.9 million in the first quarter of 2022 compared to $18.3 million in 2021, mainly due to $16.4 million right-of-use rental assets and fixed asset impairment charges associated with the vacating of leased space in the first quarter of 2021.


Income from operations. Consolidated income from operations increased to $13.4
million in the first quarter of 2022 compared to $12.0 million in the first
quarter of 2021, principally due to lower restructuring costs and amortization
expense of intangible assets, partially offset by lower earnings in the USHE
segment. USHE segment income from operations decreased 67.6% to $15.5 million in
the first quarter of 2022, compared to $47.8 million in the first quarter of
2021, primarily due to lower enrollments and increased investments in marketing
initiatives. In the Australia/New Zealand segment, loss from operations was $0.7
million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to a $2.9 million loss in the
first quarter of 2021, primarily driven by a $2.2 million purchase
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accounting reduction in 2021 related to contract liabilities acquired in the
acquisition. In the Education Technology Services segment, income from
operations for the three months ended March 31, 2022 decreased 19.9% to $4.7
million compared to $5.9 million in 2021 as a result of increased investment in
outreach to corporate partners, partially offset by growth in Sophia Learning
and an increase in employer affiliated enrollment.

Other income (expense). Other income (expense) decreased to $1.2 million of
expense in the first quarter of 2022 compared to $2.2 million of income in the
first quarter of 2021, as a result of a decrease in investment income from our
limited partnership investments. We incurred $0.9 million of interest expense in
the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021.

Provision for income taxes. Income tax expense was $5.2 million in the first
quarter of 2022, compared to $4.6 million in the first quarter of 2021. Our
effective tax rate for the quarter was 42.7%, compared to 32.4% for the same
period in 2021. The
increase in the effective tax rate in 2022 was primarily due to a $1.3 million
tax shortfall recognized through share-based payment arrangements.

Net revenue. Net profit decreased to $7.0 million in the first quarter of 2022 compared to $9.6 million in the first quarter of 2021 due to the factors discussed above.

Cash and capital resources

To March 31, 2022we had cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities of
$321.5 million compared to $298.8 million to December 31, 2021 and $274.0 million to March 31, 2021. To March 31, 2022most of our cash was held in demand deposit accounts with high quality financial institutions.


We are party to a credit facility (the "Amended Credit Facility"), which
provides for a senior secured revolving credit facility (the "Revolving Credit
Facility") in an aggregate principal amount of up to $350 million. The Amended
Credit Facility provides us with an option, subject to obtaining additional loan
commitments and satisfaction of certain conditions, to increase the commitments
under the Revolving Credit Facility or establish one or more incremental term
loans (each, an "Incremental Facility") in an amount up to the sum of (x) the
greater of (A) $300 million and (B) 100% of the Company's consolidated EBITDA
(earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, and noncash
charges, such as stock-based compensation) calculated on a trailing four-quarter
basis and on a pro forma basis, and (y) if such Incremental Facility is incurred
in connection with a permitted acquisition or other permitted investment, any
amounts so long as the Company's leverage ratio (calculated on a trailing
four-quarter basis) on a pro forma basis will be no greater than 1.75:1.00. In
addition, the Amended Credit Facility provides for a subfacility for borrowings
in certain foreign currencies in an amount equal to the U.S. dollar equivalent
of $150 million. Borrowings under the Revolving Credit Facility bear interest at
a per annum rate equal to LIBOR or a base rate, plus a margin ranging from 1.50%
to 2.00%, depending on our leverage ratio. An unused commitment fee ranging from
0.20% to 0.30% per annum, depending on our leverage ratio, accrues on unused
amounts. We were in compliance with all applicable covenants related to the
Amended Credit Facility as of March 31, 2022. As of March 31, 2022 and 2021, we
had $141.7 million and $141.8 million, respectively, outstanding under our
Revolving Credit Facility. During the three months ended March 31, 2022 and
2021, we paid $0.4 million and $0.7 million, respectively, of interest and
unused commitment fees related to our Revolving Credit Facility.

Our net cash provided by operating activities for the three months ended
March 31, 2022 was $56.6 million, compared to $78.8 million for the same period
in 2021. The decrease in net cash from operating activities was primarily driven
by lower earnings in the USHE segment, partially offset by favorable timing of
payments of working capital.

Capital expenditures decreased to $9.7 million for the three months ended
March 31, 2022compared to $12.7 million for the same period in 2021, due to the timing of capital projects.


The Board of Directors declared a regular, quarterly cash dividend of $0.60 per
share of common stock in February 2022. During the three months ended March 31,
2022, we paid a total of $15.0 million in cash dividends on our common stock.
During the three months ended March 31, 2022, we paid $4.0 million to repurchase
common shares in the open market under our repurchase program. As of March 31,
2022, we had $246.0 million of share repurchase authorization remaining to use
through December 31, 2022.

For the first quarters of 2022 and 2021, bad debt as a percentage of revenue was 2.8% and 3.7%, respectively.


We believe that existing cash and cash equivalents, cash generated from
operating activities, and if necessary, cash borrowed under our Amended Credit
Facility will be sufficient to meet our requirements for at least the next 12
months. Currently, we maintain our cash primarily in demand deposit bank
accounts and money market funds, which are included in cash and cash equivalents
at March 31, 2022 and 2021. We also hold marketable securities, which primarily
include tax-exempt municipal
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securities and corporate debt securities. In the three months ended
March 31, 2022 and 2021, we earned interest income of $0.2 million and $0.3 millionrespectively.

© Edgar Online, source Previews

]]> Statutory deposits in Mca Go Interactive https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/statutory-deposits-in-mca-go-interactive/ Sun, 08 May 2022 17:40:47 +0000 https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/statutory-deposits-in-mca-go-interactive/ The incorporation of companies and the filing of statutory documents under the Companies Act are expected to become interactive with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs preparing a new version of its compliance platform for companies in a few months. The ministry’s new compliance portal ‘corporate module’ will have chatbots to facilitate filings and will have […]]]>

The incorporation of companies and the filing of statutory documents under the Companies Act are expected to become interactive with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs preparing a new version of its compliance platform for companies in a few months.

The ministry’s new compliance portal ‘corporate module’ will have chatbots to facilitate filings and will have web-based forms rather than portable document format (PDF) forms and will deploy artificial intelligence to guide the user through throughout the filing process, someone familiar with the project says so. The idea is to make the portal more responsive and increase the ease of doing business, especially for small businesses that may not have the resources to hire compliance professionals. The ministry, which recently rolled out a similar module for limited liability companies (LLPs), expects the new companies module to be fully operational in two months.

A more responsive and interactive technology interface with regulatory authorities – Registries of Companies (RoC), Regional Directors and Official Liquidators – will be extremely useful to companies and professionals given that over 1.4 million active companies use the ministry’s MCA21 portal to comply with the law. In FY21, more than 1.2 million annual returns were filed and more than 3.1 million corporate documents were viewed online, according to official data. The number of incorporated businesses is also increasing with approximately 12,000 to 14,000 new businesses being created every month.

“With further improvement in the ease of doing business, compliance would require less time and resources, which will help entrepreneurs focus on their core business,” said a second person, who also spoke as covered with anonymity.

The new ranking system will also influence the government’s administration of the regulatory framework under the Companies Act as the new module will use artificial intelligence and data analytics to extract information to spot trends. in the corporate sector that might warrant the attention of regulators or policy makers. Earlier this month, the department solicited bids from private researchers to analyze its database to shed light on corporate behavior in key areas such as the extent of leverage and whether funds collected from the public have been used for the stated purpose.

The department has already linked its technology platform with other departments such as labor and employment and revenue, as well as some state governments and banks to offer a host of services including issuing a permanent account number (PAN), the tax deduction and the recovery account number (TAN), registration with the employee provident fund (EPFO) and registration for business tax.

The department is also in the process of introducing a centralized facility for processing applications for voluntary business closures, which is currently handled by RCs in different states, the second person quoted above said. This would make voluntary exits faster for companies.

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Voluntary acceptance of higher value exempts importer from liability for confiscation and redemption fine: reiterates CESTAT Mumbai https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/voluntary-acceptance-of-higher-value-exempts-importer-from-liability-for-confiscation-and-redemption-fine-reiterates-cestat-mumbai/ Thu, 05 May 2022 06:04:02 +0000 https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/voluntary-acceptance-of-higher-value-exempts-importer-from-liability-for-confiscation-and-redemption-fine-reiterates-cestat-mumbai/ The Mumbai Bench Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appeals Tribunal (CESTAT) reiterated that voluntary acceptance of a higher value and willingness to pay customs duties at the increased rate would exempt the importer from the forfeiture and redemption penalty under the Customs Act 1962. The single bench of members Dr. Suvendu Kumar Pati (Judicial Member) […]]]>

The Mumbai Bench Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appeals Tribunal (CESTAT) reiterated that voluntary acceptance of a higher value and willingness to pay customs duties at the increased rate would exempt the importer from the forfeiture and redemption penalty under the Customs Act 1962.

The single bench of members Dr. Suvendu Kumar Pati (Judicial Member) held that an importer cannot be said to have entered into a bond or contract for payment of a greater value, so as to render him liable for a breach of “civil obligations” for the purpose of imposing a penalty under the Customs Act.

The appellant M/s Neno Crystal, an importer, filed an inward declaration for the clearance of specified goods. Upon examination by an expert, at the request of the customs official, the value of the item was found to be much higher than declared.

The contracting authority found the goods liable to forfeiture under the Customs Act 1962. The authority also redetermined the value of the goods under Rule 5 of the Customs Valuation Rules 2007, authorized the reimbursement of the imported goods against the payment of a fine and sanctioned the owner of the appellant company. Against this order, the appellant appealed to the Commissioner of Customs (Appeals).

The Commissioner of Customs (Appeals) found that there was no deliberate undervaluation or misrepresentation by the appellant to avoid duty and that there was no evidence that the importer/caller had submitted a false invoice. The commissioner had ruled that since the revenue department’s allegations of undervaluation were not supported by physical evidence, the re-determination of value could be considered a self-declaration by the importer under section 108 of the Customs Act 1962. However, the commissioner upheld the confiscation order finding that the establishment of mens rea is not necessary to impose a sanction for breach of “civil duty”.

However, the commissioner had substantially reduced the amount of the fine and the penalty, considering that it should be proportionate to the offense committed by the appellant and not severe or excessively disproportionate.

The appellant Mr/s Neno Crystal appealed the order of the Commissioner of Customs (Appeals) to the CESTAT, challenging the legality of the confirmation of the fine and the sanction.

The appellant argued before the CESTAT that the imposition of a redemption fine had no legal basis. The appellant argued that in view of the decision of the Madras High Court in the case Commissioner of Customs (Sea), Chennai-I v MR Associates (2013), the forfeiture and penal provision invoked by the Commissioner (Appeals) cannot stand since the the increase in the value of the imported goods was based on a voluntary declaration under Section 108 of the Customs Act 1962.

The Department of Revenue argued that mens rea is not a prerequisite to the imposition of a penalty for breach of “civil duty” and the fine was imposed on the appellant to wipe out the profit margin. The Department of Revenue maintained that the Commissioner (Appeals) had rightly confirmed the fine and the penalty while reducing its quantum, so as to make it proportional to the offense committed by the appellant.

CESTAT considered that, in accordance with the law enacted by the High Court of Madras in Commissioner of Customs (Sea), Chennai-I v MR Associates (2013), the criminal provisions of the Customs Act cannot be invoked if the increase in the value of the goods is based on a voluntary declaration by the appellant/importer concerning the acceptance of the value of the goods, and the forfeiture of the goods does not nor can it be made in lieu of a refund fine.

The CESTAT ruled that the term “civil obligations” means the performance of certain actions under the obligation of the law which gives the other person the right to compel its performance in the event of a breach.

The CESTAT found that the applicant had filed an entry declaration on the basis of the description of the article mentioned in the import document by the supplier. The appellant agreed to pay value-added duty after the imported item was found to be a different size.

The CESTAT considered that the appellant cannot be said to have entered into a bond or contract for the payment of a higher value, so as to render him liable for a breach of “civil obligations” for the purposes of his impose a penalty under the Customs Act. CESTAT added that voluntary acceptance of a higher value and willingness to pay customs duties at the increased rate would exempt the appellant from the forfeiture and redemption penalty under the Customs Act.

The CESTAT thus upheld the appellant’s appeal and set aside the order made by the Commissioner of Customs (Appeals) regarding the confirmation of the penalty reduction and refund fine under the Customs Act. customs.

Case Title: M/s Neno Crystal v Commissioner of Customs (Import), Mumbai

Date: 06.04.2022 (CESTAT Bombay)

Appellant’s representative: ND George, lawyer

Respondent’s Representative: Bhushan Kamble, Assistant Commissioner, Respondent’s Authorized Representative

Click here to read/download the order

]]>
NYC Amends Pay Transparency Law; Effective November 1, 2022 – Employee Rights/Labour Relations https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/nyc-amends-pay-transparency-law-effective-november-1-2022-employee-rights-labour-relations/ Tue, 03 May 2022 06:07:49 +0000 https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/nyc-amends-pay-transparency-law-effective-november-1-2022-employee-rights-labour-relations/ May 03, 2022 Herrick, Feinstein LLP To print this article, all you need to do is be registered or log in to Mondaq.com. On April 28, 2022, by a vote of 43 to 8, the New York City Council approved an amendment to the NYC Job Postings Salary Transparency Act (“the Act”). As […]]]>

To print this article, all you need to do is be registered or log in to Mondaq.com.

On April 28, 2022, by a vote of 43 to 8, the New York City Council approved an amendment to the NYC Job Postings Salary Transparency Act (“the Act”). As noted in our previous alert, the law, which was to take effect on May 15, states that it will be an unlawful discriminatory practice under New York City human rights law to post a job offer. job that does not include the minimum and maximum wage. offered for the position. After much reaction from the business community, New York City Council voted in favor of an amended bill (the “Amendment”) which, if signed into law by Mayor Eric Adams, would amend the date of entry into force of the law from May 15 to November 1. 2022, giving business owners more time to comply.

The amendment clarifies that advertisements for any job, promotion or transfer opportunity will have to include a statement of either a minimum and maximum annual salary or a minimum and maximum hourly salary and will apply to advertisements aimed at both exempt employees who earn a salary, not – exempt employees, who can be paid by salary or by the hour. The amendment also clarifies that the requirement will not apply to positions that “cannot or will not be filled, at least in part,” in New York City. The City Council clarified that fully remote positions that could potentially be filled by a New York resident are not exempt from the pay transparency requirement. A copy of the City Council press release regarding the amendment is available here: Council votes to clarify and improve pay transparency law – Press (nyc.gov).

A notable change brought about by the amendment is that a person would not be able to sue an employer based on this law unless that person is a current employee who is suing his employer for advertising a job, promotion or transfer without posting a minimum and maximum hourly wage or annual salary. Thus, job applicants who are not current employees could not sue for infringement; rather, they would be limited to filing complaints with the New York City Commission on Human Rights (the “Commission”). Finally, the amendment clarifies that the penalty for the first violation of this law would be $0 provided employers remedy the violation within 30 days to the satisfaction of the Commission, although such relief would constitute an admission of responsibility.

Summary and takeaways for businesses:

  • The law applies to all employers with four or more employees.

  • If the law is enacted, it will be an illegal discriminatory practice for an employment agency, employer, employee or agent thereof to advertise a job, promotion or transfer opportunity without stating the minimum annual salary and maximum or hourly wage for that position in this advertisement. .

  • In indicating the minimum and maximum annual salary or hourly salary for a position, the range may extend from the lowest to the highest annual salary or hourly salary that the employer believes in good faith at the time of posting that he would pay for the advertised job, possibility of promotion or transfer.

  • Salary includes base salary or rate of pay. Salary does not include other forms of compensation or benefits offered in connection with the advertised employment, promotion or transfer opportunity (that is to say., advertising does not have to include: health insurance, time off, severance, overtime, commissions, tips, bonuses, stocks, 401(K) plans).

  • An advertisement is a written description of an available job, promotion, or transfer opportunity that is broadcast to a group of potential candidates, regardless of medium (that is to say., includes internal bulletin boards, Internet advertisements, printed flyers distributed at job fairs and newspaper advertisements).

  • The law allows employers to remedy a first offense before a fine is imposed by the Commission, although such a remedy would constitute an admission of liability.

  • The law does not apply to positions that cannot or will not be held, at least in part, in New York City.

  • The law applies to job offers for virtual positions – (remote positions are only excluded if no part of the work can be done in the city).

  • The law does NOT apply to a temporary job offer at a temporary help company as defined by labor law.

  • The Commission is the exclusive agency responsible for enforcing the law and assessing fines, but current employees retain the ability to take legal action in relation to job offers from their employers.

  • While the Amendment and a 2 page fact sheet issued in March by the Commission answer some questions about the law, ambiguities remain and the Commission may issue further guidelines and clarifications before the effective date.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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Fire officials want to create a powerful new body to enforce statewide wildfire building standards https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/fire-officials-want-to-create-a-powerful-new-body-to-enforce-statewide-wildfire-building-standards/ Fri, 29 Apr 2022 22:14:49 +0000 https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/fire-officials-want-to-create-a-powerful-new-body-to-enforce-statewide-wildfire-building-standards/ Currently, the idea is being proposed as an amendment to a existing Senate bill which creates a new climate preparedness office and expands other disaster recovery programs. But lawmakers are in their last days on the job this year, and moving this forward likely won’t be easy. “I think local governments are really not happy […]]]>

Currently, the idea is being proposed as an amendment to a existing Senate bill which creates a new climate preparedness office and expands other disaster recovery programs. But lawmakers are in their last days on the job this year, and moving this forward likely won’t be easy.

“I think local governments are really not happy about the state telling them what their building code should be,” Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno of D-Commerce City said in a recent briefing with reporters from the Capitol.

The proposal for a wild lands code committee came from the wild lands urban interface subcommittee of the fire commission, a group comprised of fire and safety officials as well as local government officials and commercial interests. The group met at Requirement Governor Jared Polis, who tasked the commission with evaluating the best regulatory and “incentive” options for land use planning, development and building resilience in wildfire-prone areas.

The subcommittee envisioned the council taking two years to pass a set of minimum wildfire regulations, develop policies and procedures, and hold public hearings on the proposed rules. It would then determine a timetable for the enactment of the new rules and set deadlines for local governments to comply.

Parts of the proposal are already drawing fire.

The proposal has yet to make it through the legislature, but it is already being pushed back by groups that wield great influence under the Golden Dome.

Kevin Bommer, executive director of the Colorado Municipal League, said the organization supports the idea of ​​a new state board that would release model wildfire building and land-use standards and offer incentives, advice and training to towns and villages that wish to adopt them.

“I think it’s great to have votes, but if we’re talking about a council that has enforcement power over local governing bodies, then that’s a loser,” Bommer said.

Colorado Counties, Inc., a nonprofit organization representing county commissioners, participated in the subcommittee meetings where the wildfire code board proposal was developed. Executive Director John Swartout said members of the organization have yet to take a formal position on the proposal and related legislative amendment, but noted that state mandates are often difficult for counties with of a land use authority.

“Having said that, we’ve been working hard to see if we can find an appropriate balance,” Swartout said.

In a statement, Ted Leighty, CEO of the Colorado Association of Home Builders, said the organization is reviewing the proposal to ensure it takes into account the additional costs these regulations could add to home construction, as well as existing efforts by local governments and landlords. to reduce the risk of forest fires.

Some wildfire safety experts, including the National Fire Protection Association, say voluntary actions by individuals and communities are not enough to counter the growing danger of wildfires fueled by climate change and population growth. They plead for the obligation statewide building and planning regulations.

Statewide wildfire regulations could also make Colorado more competitive for some Federal Emergency Management Agency grants that favor states that have passed them, Sen. Chris Hansen said. D-Boulder.

In January, Hansen said Colorado applied for, but failed to obtain, more than $50 million in federal grants.

A handful of states already have mandatory statewide wildfire planning and building codes. Of these, only four wrote explicitly for the wild-urban interface, according to Insurance Institute for Business and Home Security. Across the country, dozens of local governments — including Boulder, which was devastated in late December by the Marshall Fire, now considered the most destructive in Colorado history — have enacted rules aimed at hardening communities against forest fires.

Less strident moves toward statewide wildfire planning and building codes in Colorado have been defeated in the past.

After a devastating 2012 wildfire season that left six people dead and more than 640 buildings destroyed, a state task force advised Colorado is creating a model ordinance for homes built in wildfire risk areas that would either be mandatory in high risk areas or required by local governments. This effort has run out of steam under pressure home builder organizations.

The latter approach would give a wide range of powers to the proposed forest fire code committee. It would certify local officials and contractors to carry out inspections, collect fees and provide technical assistance. Once certified, local governments would enforce the minimum statewide wildfire regulations within their jurisdictions.

The board would also establish a process for reviewing changes to statewide standards. The council itself would act as the enforcement authority in locations without local code officials and in areas ‘unable or unwilling’ to enforce wildfire regulations under the commission-approved proposal. fires.

Council members would likely include fire and emergency services, building code and home construction professionals, land use planning experts and local government officials, as per the proposed recommendation approved by the fire commission.

Even though the proposed new wildfire code board survives the legislative gauntlet largely intact, and even though it was later signed into law by a governor whose administration often favors regulatory incentives over environmental issues , it will have to overcome other practical obstacles. One is the lack of a single, agreed-upon map delineating the boundaries of Colorado’s wildland-urban interface that would outline areas that must comply with new wildfire regulations.

CPR reporters Bente Birkeland and Veronica Penney contributed to this story.

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Colorado AG rushes into tech sector | Opinion https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/colorado-ag-rushes-into-tech-sector-opinion/ Thu, 28 Apr 2022 06:15:00 +0000 https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/colorado-ag-rushes-into-tech-sector-opinion/ Joel Dusek Attorney General Phil Weiser seems to have never encountered a problem that didn’t have an excessive government solution. And this is particularly evident in its approach to technology policy. Whether it’s data privacy, broadband and 5G access, social media regulation or antitrust abuse, Weiser is always looking for the nails to hit with. […]]]>






Joel Dusek


Attorney General Phil Weiser seems to have never encountered a problem that didn’t have an excessive government solution. And this is particularly evident in its approach to technology policy. Whether it’s data privacy, broadband and 5G access, social media regulation or antitrust abuse, Weiser is always looking for the nails to hit with. his government gavel.

He told a 5G trade group in 2019: “What governments also need to engage with industry on is this concept of social license to operate.” I don’t know what agency one visits to acquire a “social license”, or if the wait is as long as at the Department of Motor Vehicles, but the idea that governments have the right to oversee industries in order to shape and shaping society falls squarely within progressive Wilsonian concepts of administration. Weiser would ask governments to determine what is best for individuals and civilizations, then force corporations to conform to that narrative.

Thanks to Colorado’s new privacy law, only the third such privacy law in the country, Weiser and the AG’s office can now set rules for service providers. Colorado data. In a free market, consumers always have the choice of whether or not to use a data provider’s service, find alternatives, make substitutions, and determine their own best interests. Service providers are well equipped to meet the demands and desires of their users, and Apple, Google, Facebook and others have made data privacy a major component of their products. even in the absence of government interference. The Colorado legislature doesn’t seem to think so, and Weiser relishes the opportunity to set rules he thinks we should all follow. The one law that is still ignored by progressives is the “law of unintended consequences.” The government is a disinterested third party between suppliers and customers and the rules have a way of restricting the voluntary exchange that is the basis of a free market.

Weiser also doesn’t like the fact that people are free to engage in discourse he doesn’t like, as evidenced by his support for social media regulation. “Disinformation” is anything that governments disagree with, and every point of misinformation is branded as a “threat to democracy”. Of course, the solution to bad information is good information, as well as the ability of informed consumers to determine what is true. Or wrong. Weiser does not believe in the free sharing of information, nor in people’s intelligence to determine what is correct, or perhaps both. As Milton advised, “Let the truth and the lie attack each other.” But regulators like Weiser can’t risk the truth winning out and their lies being lost.

And beyond his issues with social media platforms, he’s been the spearhead nationwide in countless antitrust lawsuits against tech companies, attacking everything the way they do. structure their research functions the way they manage their app stores. With digital platforms offering more value than they ever had, it seems Weiser has completely abandoned the “consumer harm” standard that has long defined antitrust enforcement. And beyond the shaky legal case Weiser’s office must make, it’s worth noting the considerable time and resources it has devoted to these lawsuits over the past two years. when, as we all know, they could have been better spent elsewhere.

And, finally, he strongly supports municipal broadband, an idea that ended faster than the speed of ones and zeros. While city and state agencies have tried to treat municipal broadband as the next big utility, the industry has overtaken them with fiber optic infrastructure and 5G wireless. Fort Collins and Greeley are just two local examples of the failure of the idea that government can provide better-than-free-market broadband service. To provide consumers with what they want or need is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

The Attorney General’s Office is the state’s primary law enforcement office. They should focus on enforcing existing laws, such as reducing violent crime, illegal immigration and drug laws. Phil Weiser seems more determined to create tech policies that align with his vision of the anointed rather than true enforcement and freedom for Coloradans. It is neither the role nor the power of government to provide “social licenses” to technology providers and consumers. In the case of the CPA where it was tasked with creating rules, those rules should not punish tech companies that cater to customer desires by daring to innovate, burdening them with additional costs that will be passed on to consumers. The purpose of the AG is to enforce laws that protect citizens in life, property, and natural rights.

Joel Dusek is an Aurora voice network engineer who has spent 29 years in the telecommunications industry. He is also an elected councilor for the conservative social media site CaucusRoom.com.

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Lawn of the Dead – MSU Denver RED https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/lawn-of-the-dead-msu-denver-red/ Mon, 25 Apr 2022 22:09:32 +0000 https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/lawn-of-the-dead-msu-denver-red/ As the historic drought persists, so does Colorado’s dependence on lawn grass. Some lawmakers want to pay you to tear it up. Twenty years later, Colorado’s historic mega-drought shows no signs of abating. Across the American West, reservoirs are shrinking, parched populations are growing, and several states are locked in conflict on rapidly diminishing water […]]]>

As the historic drought persists, so does Colorado’s dependence on lawn grass. Some lawmakers want to pay you to tear it up.

Twenty years later, Colorado’s historic mega-drought shows no signs of abating.

Across the American West, reservoirs are shrinking, parched populations are growing, and several states are locked in conflict on rapidly diminishing water supplies.

Meanwhile, huge areas of Colorado — residential lawns, strips of sidewalk, freeway medians, commercial frontages — are blanketed in heavily irrigated plush grass that gobbles up millions of gallons of water every year.

“More than 60 percent of Colorado’s water is currently applied outdoors, much of it to ornamental lawns,” said Jennifer Riley-Chetwynd, co-director of MSU Denver. One World One Water Center and director of marketing at Denver Botanic Gardens, which jointly operates the OWOW center. “Turf is the second most irrigated resource in our country after corn, and last time I checked, we weren’t eating it.”


RELATED: Where Did All The Water Go?


Indigenous gardens

The situation is so dire that some state capitol lawmakers recently launched a bipartisan effort, House Bill 1151to implement a statewide turf replacement program.

Their big idea? Pay homeowners and business owners to ditch their lawns in favor of native plants and landscapes that will thrive in the state’s semi-arid climate and, most importantly, use far less water.

But will the Coloradans opt for such a plan? Many residents seem locked into the aesthetic that green lawns are good and everything else is dry and unattractive.

“They couldn’t be more wrong,” Riley-Chetwynd said. “Our state’s native landscape gardens can actually be truly beautiful. And compared to the monotony of green lawns, each one is totally unique – a multicolored world in itself.

Proponents say that for those who are open to the idea of ​​change, becoming a native garden represents a triple win: it drastically reduces water waste, lowers the astronomical water bills that many homeowners currently face, and introduces plants suited to the region that will naturally thrive in the dry climate. .

Becoming a native garden reduces water waste, lowers water bills, and introduces locally adapted plants that thrive in the dry climate. Photo by Scott Dressel-Martin

water success

Several states in the American West that were forced to act earlier — due to drier and hotter climates — have already made huge strides.

In the sweltering Las Vegas Valley, for example, where a single square foot of grass can consume up to 73 gallons of water per year, homeowners got rid of more than 200 million square feet of turf over the past 20 years.

And Colorado didn’t really let up either. Existing local turf replacement programs currently cover about a quarter of the state’s population, with some notable successes. The Life after Lawn program in Greeley has replaced more than 150,000 square feet of turf in just four years, saving approximately 32 million gallons of water.

But despite such success, the 19 turf replacement programs spread across the Centennial State aren’t enough, Riley-Chetwynd said.

“Meaningful, long-term change will only come with the funding and momentum that follows statewide legislation.”

yellow yarrow in a field
With beautiful yellow, white, pink or orange flowers from June to October, yarrow thrives in both dry and wet conditions. Photo: Shutterstock

Positive change

Colorado Landscaping: A Beginner’s Guide

chocolate flower
(Lyrate of Berlyndiera)
This extremely hardy perennial from May to October not only smells like chocolate and cascades over rocks and walls, it is also an important pollinator plant.

Red birds in a tree
(Scrophularia macrantha)
This June-September perennial from New Mexico looks just like its name suggests. Besides needing very little water, it grows to four feet tall and really adds height to a garden.

Yarrow
(Achillea sp.)
With beautiful yellow, white, pink or orange flowers from June to October, this North American perennial thrives in very dry and wet conditions.

Baby Blue Bunny Brush
(Chrysothamnus nauseosus var. nauseosus)
Blending soft, fine texture with rugged toughness, this “tamed” version of a native Colorado shrub blooms bright yellow late in the season while providing a safe habitat for wildlife.

New Mexican Privet
(Forestiera neomexicana)
Featuring white bark, yellow fall color and blue berries, this strikingly beautiful native shrub can be pruned to show off its multi-stemmed trunk and used as a small ornamental tree.

Want to know more? You can plan your whole garden with this Plant search.

(Selections by Annie Barrow, Manager of Horticultural Outreach Programs at Denver Botanical Gardens.)

Another important factor when it comes to water issues is making sure people know the magnitude of the issues. That’s why MSU Denver OWOW Center educates Coloradans about precious water resources and empowers them to take positive action.

“We believe there is no problem that isn’t a water problem,” said Nona Shipman, co-director of OWOW. “Demonstrating that people can care about and defend the environment, whatever their subject of study, career goals or personal passions, is at the heart of everything we do.


RELATED: Cities and Suburbs Face Growing Wildfire Threat


As the OWOW Center approaches its 10and birthday, Shipman is encouraged by Coloradans paying attention to water issues in a way they simply weren’t a decade ago.

“These days, people send me articles and podcasts — with increasing frequency and interest — whenever something big happens in the world of water,” she said. “Furthermore, I have noticed an increased curiosity among our students; they also learn, engage and share in new ways.

Future plans

Riley-Chetwynd points out that the proposed Turf Replacement Act will retain “functional” green spaces, such as parks, recreation areas and sports fields. (Including, yes, Mile High Stadium.)

“The key target has always been the thousands of square miles of lawns, curbside medians and strips along the freeway that serve no purpose,” she said. “They are purely ornamental and not an efficient use of a limited resource.”

Riley-Chetwynd is confident that replacing lawns with native plants will become the norm in the future. “Oh that will be catch up. I’m convinced of that,” she said. “And if it’s not during a voluntary stage, it will eventually become a mandatory necessity.”

“As a semi-arid climate, Denver receives only 13 inches of rain per year,” she added. “It’s just not designed to support the turf from end to end. Our current way of life is simply not sustainable.

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Ramadan at its peak – By: MU NDAGI https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/ramadan-at-its-peak-by-mu-ndagi/ Sat, 23 Apr 2022 21:13:38 +0000 https://solidaridadyvoluntariado.org/ramadan-at-its-peak-by-mu-ndagi/ By the special grace of Allah, we are now in the most virtuous part of Ramadan; the last ten days of the month. This is when the believers are at the peak of all that is called ibadah in Islam. In this last period of Ramadan, there is one night which is worth more than […]]]>

By the special grace of Allah, we are now in the most virtuous part of Ramadan; the last ten days of the month. This is when the believers are at the peak of all that is called ibadah in Islam. In this last period of Ramadan, there is one night which is worth more than a thousand months. This virtuous night is called “Laylat ul-Qadr”; meaning ‘The Night of Power’. It was on this night that the Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) by the angel Jibril. Prophetic traditions encourage Muslims to spend much of this night in worship; seek mercy and forgiveness of their sins from Allah (SWT).

In His wisdom, however, Allah (SWT) has hidden the knowledge of the exact night of Laylat ul-Qadr from us (just as He hides other forms of knowledge mentioned in Quran 31:34 from us). Aisha (RA) reports that the Prophet (SAW) said: “Look for Laylat ul-Qadr in the last ten days of Ramadan”. Imam Malik (RA) reports in his Muwatta that Ziyad reported from Malik that he heard a man of knowledge say: “The Messenger of Allah (SAW) saw the lifespan of the people (who left) before him and it seemed that the life cycle of his ummah (community) had comparatively become too short for them (to have enough time) to perform as many good deeds as those who had preceded them.So Allah gave him Laylat ul-Qadr, which is worth more than a thousand months”.

According to scholars, Laylat ul-Qadr falls on the night of the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th, which are the odd days of the last ten days of Ramadan. Specifically, Muslims are advised to seek Laylat ul-Qadr the night before the odd days listed above. For example, today Saturday April 23, 2022 which is the 22nd day of Ramadan is also a night to seek Laylat ul-Qadr; being the night before the 23rd day of Ramadan. Many scholars believe that Laylat ul-Qadr occurs on the 27th day of Ramadan. A school of thought that shares this view goes further by explaining that the Arabic letters that make up the Arabic phrase “Laylat ul-Qadr” are nine in number and the phrase appears three times in the Holy Quran. This gives a total of 27 when nine is multiplied by 3; strengthening the 27th of Ramadan as Laylat ul-Qadr.

Muslims are generally urged by the Prophet (SAW) to intensify their acts of devotion during the last ten days of Ramadan. There are no restrictions imposed on a Muslim as to the particular form of worship to be practiced on the night of Laylat ul-Qadr. It is nonetheless gratifying if a Muslim diversifies his devotions to include Tilawah (recitation of the Holy Quran); observing the prayers of Nafilah (surrogatory); seeking forgiveness, asking favors, glorifying Allah through Tasbih (saying of ‘Suhana-llah’); or Takbir (saying of ‘Allahu Akbar’), or Tahlil (saying of ‘La ilaha ila-llah’), or Tahmid (saying of ‘Alhamdu lillah’, or similar expressions of glorification and gratitude to Allah (SWT). Aisha (RA) once asked the Prophet (SAW) what to recite on the night of Laylat ul-Qadr. The Prophet (SAW) replied: “Say: O Allah! You are Forgiveness; You love Forgiveness ; Forgive me”, the Arabic version of which reads as: “Allahumma Anta Afwun, Tuhibb ul-Afwa, Fa’fu anni”. Considering the value of Laylat ul-Qadr, we have no reason as believers in need of Allah’s mercy to ignore the spiritual opportunities it offers.

Another righteous act of devotion in this Ramadan season is I’tikaf. It refers to isolation in a mosque during the last ten days of Ramadan. A Muslim who observes I’tikaf is called Mu’takif in Arabic. I’tikaf aims to insulate a Mu’takif’s heart from anything but Allah (SWT). In order to get closer to Allah (SWT), all worldly activities are abandoned during I’tikaf. All thoughts and devotions of a Mu’takif are focused on Allah (SWT). And like the Prophet (SAW) mentioned in the thirty-eighth hadith of Annawawi’s collection of forty traditions, a Mu’takif would continue to draw closer to Allah (SWT) through voluntary acts of worship to such an extent that ” He (SWT) becomes the hearing with which his servant hears, the sight with which he sees, the hand with which he takes (things) and the foot with which he walks”.

The principles of I’tikaf require that it be observed exclusively in a mosque where congregational Friday prayer (Jumu’ah) is conducted. This is to avoid a situation where the Mu’takif would have to leave his seclusion mosque for another in order to observe the Jumu’ah congregational prayer. However, a Mu’takif may wish to observe I’tikaf in any mosque if he intends to spend a few days in seclusion, which would not extend to Friday. It is better for a believer to spend ten days in I’tikaf. The minimum number of days for a Mu’takif to remain in solitary confinement is one day and one night.

The time to enter I’tikaf is usually before sunset on the day the Mu’takif desires to begin seclusion. While in seclusion, the Mu’takif is prohibited from visiting the sick, attending funeral prayers, having marital relations, and buying and selling. Engaging in any of these acts vitiates I’tikaf. A Mu’takif is not required to engage in extensive study or writing. A worshiper of I’tikaf is encouraged to engage a lot in voluntary prayers, recitation of the Holy Quran and glorification of the most beautiful names of Allah.

A Mu’takif should avoid entering his family home or mingling with his family members. His interaction with the outside world should be kept to a strict minimum, except for reasons of answering the call of nature or taking care of a very important matter. He must, however, return to his I’tikaf place immediately after attending to such demands. A Mu’takif is required, on the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal (i.e. the day of Eid ul-Fitr), to go directly from the mosque in which he observed the I’ tikaf at the Eid prayer ground and not to return to his family until he has offered Eid prayers with other devotees. May Allah guide us to seek, find and enjoy Laylat ul-Qadr, amin. Ramadan Kareem!

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