launched four months ago

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More than 100,000 New Yorkers have enrolled in the city’s municipal identification program, which launched four months ago to much fanfare from immigrant-rights advocates, and 83% of that number have actually received their cards, according to a report submitted Thursday by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration.

Since its launch in January, the city has made 353,861 appointments with residents to obtain ID cards; 101,063 New Yorkers have had their applications processed by the city, and 83,285 have actually received their municipal ID cards. Of those still waiting to get their cards, 90,000 have been approved, with 7,000 cards “slated for imminent printing.”

Only two instances of fraud were detected by the city, both involving individuals attempting to obtain an ID card using a different person’s identification records. Both applications were denied.

The city lists a group of credit unions and banks that have agreed to accept the card as proof of identity for the purposes of opening a bank account: Amalgamated Bank, Bethex Federal Credit Union, Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union, Carver Federal Savings Bank, Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union, Melrose Credit Union, Municipal Credit Union, Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union, Popular Community Bank, Spring Bank, University Settlement Federal Credit Union and Urban Upbound Federal Credit Union.

Missing from the list are any major banks or financial institutions, likely because global firms like JPMorgan Chase and Citi Group, for example, find it difficult to make time for local initiatives such as the municipal ID program. But there have been no reports of any of these banks rejecting an ID holder from opening an account, the mayor’s office said. In fact, some individual employees at major banks have accepted the new IDs as sufficient proof of identity to do business, a spokeswoman for the mayor said.

“The city continues to work closely with federal regulators to ensure that all financial institutions accept the IDNYC card for purposes of opening a banking account in the near future,” the report says.

Some civil liberties groups have highlighted concerns about the retention of documents by city agencies, especially concerning undocumented immigrants and other vulnerable communities. In its report, the city says no documents were requested by agencies unaffiliated with the ID program, nor shared by agencies affiliated with the program.

“Privacy and security of applicant data are foremost priorities for the IDNYC program,” the report states.

Because of high demand, the city has moved to triple enrollment capabilities, with additional expansion planned for the coming weeks, the report states. New enrollment centers will open soon in the South Bronx and Brooklyn’s Coney Island, while the center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, will expand. Additional pop-up enrollment centers will open as well.

Of the 101,063 enrollees, 34,616 are from Queens, 30,805 from Brooklyn, 17,153 from the Bronx, 14,976 from Manhattan and 3,513 from Staten Island. A little under 2% of the total number of people who have received ID cards, or 1,401, are minors under the age of 17.

Discounts, free memberships at cultural institutions and other perks continue to be offered by the ID program to entice wider participation by citizens and documented immigrants. Thirty-three museums, galleries, zoos and other institutions are offering free one-year memberships to anyone signed up before Dec. 31. Discounts at Broadway theaters, supermarkets and pharmacies are also under works.

Idnyc Quarterly Report 03-31-15 link

Read more at Crian’s NY


Saudi Arabia

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(Reuters) – Senegalese President Macky Sall has asked the Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to help his West African country tap the Islamic finance market for a second time as it seeks to organise financing for infrastructure projects.

The arid Sahel country launched its first Islamic bond through a 100 billion CFA franc ($166 million) sukuk placement in June last year.

“I hope the IDB will help us mobilize Islamic finance, notably sukuk, to implement strategic infrastructure projects, such as a regional express train linking Dakar to the new international airport Blaise Diagne,” Sall told national television on his return from a visit to Saudi Arabia. Read more



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JANUARY 27, 2015 

Age of first menses has decreased substantially since the early 20th century, and studies have shown that younger age of menarche is associated with increased risk of breast and endometrial cancer in later life.Here is another mark against sugary drinks: A new study has found that drinking them is associated with lowered age of menarche.


The study, published online in Human Reproduction, used data on 5,583 girls ages 9 to 14 who had not yet attained menarche at the start. They filled out diet questionnaires yearly from 1996 to 1998. By 2001, 159 still had not yet had their first period.

After controlling for birth weight, maternal age at menarche, physical activity, and many dietary and behavioral factors, they found that girls who drank one-and-a-half 12-ounce cans a day of nondiet soda or sugared iced tea had their first period an average of 2.7 months earlier than those who drank less than two cans a week.

The lead author, Karin B. Michels, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard, said that the contribution of sugary drinks to early menarche was independent of the well-known contribution of obesity.

“Our findings are robust,” she said, “and not dependent on body mass index. Sugared beverages are not healthy to begin with, and there should be heightened attention to avoiding them.”