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Administration of Veritas NetBackup 7.5 for Windows
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You should rarely need to tune any factory-default settings. If you determine that degraded system performance warrants an examination of certain configurations such as memory, take the following steps.

If you encounter any issues following these directions contact Veritas Support for further guidance.

  1. Before modifying your configuration, make a copy of all files you plan to edit.

  2. Consider tuning to be a process--that is, increase/decrease a number slightly, then monitor system performance. If your modification results in improvement, you may consider additional adjustments later.

  3. Whenever you undertake this tuning process, consider the potential negative impact of settings that are either too high or too low, within the resource constraints of your environment.

Mon, 04 Jul 2022 12:00:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.veritas.com/support/en_US/doc/140670999-147631156-0/pgfId-1015658-147631156
Killexams : The Only Disaster Recovery Guide You Will Ever Need

Disaster recovery (DR) refers to the security planning area that aims to protect your organization from the negative effects of significant adverse events. It allows an organization to either maintain or quickly resume its mission-critical functions following a data disaster without incurring significant loses in business operations or revenues.

Disasters come in different shapes and sizes. They do not only refer to catastrophic events such as earthquakes, tornadoes or hurricanes, but also security incidents such as equipment failures, cyber-attacks, or even terrorism.

In preparation, organizations and companies create DR plans detailing processes to follow and actions to take to resume their mission-critical functions.

What is Disaster Recovery?

Disaster recovery focuses on IT systems that help support an organization’s critical business functions. It is often associated with the term business continuity, but the two are not entirely interchangeable. DR is part of business continuity. It focuses more on keeping all business aspects running despite disasters.

Since IT systems have become critical to business success, disaster recovery is now a primary pillar within the business continuity process.

Most business owners do not usually consider that they may be victims of a natural disaster until an unforeseen crisis happens, which ends up costing their company a lot of money in operational and economic losses. These events can be unpredictable, and as a business owner, you cannot risk not having a disaster preparedness plan in place.

What Kind of Disasters Do Businesses Face?

Business disasters can either be technological, natural or human-made. Examples of natural disasters include floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, landslides, earthquakes and tsunamis. In contrast, human-made and technological disasters involve things like hazardous material spills, power or infrastructural failure, chemical and biological weapon threats, nuclear power plant blasts or meltdowns, cyberattacks, acts of terrorism, explosions and civil unrest.

Potential disasters to plan for include:

  • Application failure
  • VM failure
  • Host failure
  • Rack failure
  • Communication failure
  • Data center disaster
  • Building or campus disaster
  • Citywide, regional, national and multinational disasters

Why You Need DR

Regardless of size or industry, when unforeseen events take place, causing daily operations to come to a halt, your company needs to recover quickly to ensure that you continue providing your services to customers and clients.

Downtime is perhaps among the biggest IT expenses that a business faces. Based on 2014-2015 disaster recovery statistics from Infrascale, one hour of downtime can cost small businesses as much as $8,000, mid-size companies $74,000, and large organizations $700,000.

For small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), extended loss of productivity can lead to the reduction of cash flow through lost orders, late invoicing, missed delivery dates and increased labor costs due to extra hours resulting from downtime recovery efforts.

If you do not anticipate major disruptions to your business and address them appropriately, you risk incurring long-term negative consequences and implications as a result of the occurrence of unexpected disasters.

Having a DR plan in place can save your company from multiple risks, including:

  • Reputation loss
  • Out of budget expenses
  • Data loss
  • Negative impact on your clients and customers

As businesses become more reliant on high availability, their tolerance for downtime has decreased. Therefore, many have a DR in place to prevent adverse disaster effects from affecting their daily operations.

The Essence of DR: Recovery Point and Recovery Time Objectives

The two critical measurements in DR and downtime are:

  • Recovery Point Objective (RPO): This refers to the maximum age of files that your organization must recover from its backup storage to ensure its normal operations resume after a disaster. It determines the minimum backup frequency. For instance, if your organization has a four-hour RPO, its system must back up every four hours.
  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO): This refers to the maximum amount of time your organization requires to recover its files from backup and resume normal operations after a disaster. Therefore, RTO is the maximum downtime amount that your organization can handle. If the RTO is two hours, then your operations can’t be down for a period longer than that.

Once you identify your RPO and RTO, your administrators can use the two measures to choose optimal disaster recovery strategies, procedures and technologies.

To recover operations during tighter RTO windows, your organization needs to position its secondary data optimally to make it easily and quickly accessible. One suitable method used to restore data quickly is recovery-in-place, because it moves all backup data files to a live state, which eliminates the need to move them across a network. It can protect against server and storage system failure.

Before using recovery-in-place, your organization needs to consider three things:

  • Its disk backup appliance performance
  • The time required to move all data from its backup state to a live one
  • Failback

Also, since recovery-in-place can sometimes take up to 15 minutes, replication may be necessary if you want a quicker recovery time. Replication refers to the periodic electronic refreshing or copying of a database from computer server A to server B, which ensures that all users in the network always share the same information level.

Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP)

Try the Veritas Disaster Recovery Planning Guide

A disaster recovery plan refers to a structured, documented approach with instructions put in place to respond to unplanned incidents. It’s a step-by-step plan that consists of the precautions put in place to minimize a disaster’s effects so that your organization can quickly resume its mission-critical functions or continue to operate as usual.

Typically, DRP involves an in-depth analysis of all business processes and continuity needs. What’s more, before generating a detailed plan, your organization should perform a risk analysis (RA) and a business impact analysis (BIA). It should also establish its RTO and RPO.

1. Recovery Strategies

A recovery strategy should begin at the business level, which allows you to determine the most critical applications to run your organization. Recovery strategies define your organization’s plans for responding to incidents, while DRPs describe in detail how you should respond.

When determining a recovery strategy, you should consider issues such as:

  • Budget
  • Resources available such as people and physical facilities
  • Management’s position on risk
  • Technology
  • Data
  • Suppliers
  • Third-party vendors

Management must approve all recovery strategies, which should align with organizational objectives and goals. Once the recovery strategies are developed and approved, you can then translate them into DRPs.

2. Disaster Recovery Planning Steps

The DRP process involves a lot more than simply writing the document. A business impact analysis (BIA) and risk analysis (RA) help determine areas to focus resources in the DRP process.

The BIA is useful in identifying the impacts of disruptive events, which makes it the starting point for risk identification within the DR context. It also helps generate the RTO and RPO.

The risk analysis identifies vulnerabilities and threats that could disrupt the normal operations of processes and systems highlighted in the BIA. The RA also assesses the likelihood of the occurrence of a disruptive event and helps outline its potential severity.

A DR plan checklist has the following steps:

  • Establishing the activity scope
  • Gathering the relevant network infrastructure documents
  • Identifying severe threats and vulnerabilities as well as the organization’s critical assets
  • Reviewing the organization’s history of unplanned incidents and their handling
  • Identifying the current DR strategies
  • Identifying the emergency response team
  • Having the management review and approve the DRP
  • Testing the plan
  • Updating the plan
  • Implementing a DR plan audit

3. Creating a DRP

An organization can start its DRP with a summary of all the vital action steps required and a list of essential contacts, which ensures that crucial information is easily and quickly accessible.

The plan should also define the roles and responsibilities of team members while also outlining the criteria to launch the action plan. It must then specify, in detail, the response and recovery activities. The other essential elements of a DRP template include:

  • Statement of intent
  • The DR policy statement
  • Plan goals
  • Authentication tools such as passwords
  • Geographical risks and factors
  • Tips for dealing with the media
  • Legal and financial information
  • Plan history

4. DRP Scope and Objectives

A DRP can range in scope (i.e., from basic to comprehensive). Some can be upward of 100 pages.

DR budgets can vary significantly and fluctuate over time. Therefore, your organization can take advantage of any free resources available such as online DR plan templates from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. There is also a lot of free information and how-to articles online.

A DRP checklist of goals includes:

  • Identifying critical IT networks and systems
  • Prioritizing the RTO
  • Outlining the steps required to restart, reconfigure or recover systems and networks

The plan should, at the very least, minimize any adverse effects on daily business operations. Your employees should also know the necessary emergency steps to follow in the event of unforeseen incidents.

Distance, though important, is often overlooked during the DRP process. A DR site located close to the primary data centre is ideal in terms of convenience, cost, testing and bandwidth. However, since outages differ in scope, a severe regional event may destroy both the primary data centre and its DR site when the two are located close together.

5. Types of Disaster Recovery Plans

You can tailor a DRP for a given environment.

  • Virtualized DRP: Virtualization allows you to implement DR in an efficient and straightforward way. Using a virtualized environment, you can create new virtual machine (VM) instances immediately and provide high availability application recovery. What’s more, it makes testing easier to achieve. Your plan must include validation ability to ensure that applications can run faster in DR mode and return to normal operations within the RTO and RPO.
  • Network DRP: Coming up with a plan to recover a network gets complicated with the increase in network complexity. Ergo, it is essential to detail the recovery procedure step-by-step, test it correctly, and keep it updated. Under a network DRP, data is specific to the network; for instance, in its performance and networking staff.
  • Cloud DRP: A cloud-based DR can range from file backup to a complete replication process. Cloud DRP is time-, space- and cost-efficient; however, maintaining it requires skill and proper management. Your IT manager must know the location of both the physical and virtual servers. Also, the plan must address security issues related to the cloud.
  • Data Center DRP: This plan focuses on your data center facility and its infrastructure. One key element in this DRP is an operational risk assessment since it analyzes the key components required, such as building location, security, office space, power systems and protection. It must also address a broader range of possible scenarios.

Disaster Recovery Testing

Testing substantiates all DRPs. It identifies deficiencies in the plan and provides opportunities to fix any problems before a disaster occurs. Testing can also offer proof of the plan’s effectiveness and hits RPOs.

IT technologies and systems are continually changing. Therefore, testing ensures that your DRP is up to date.

Some reasons for not testing DRPs include budget restrictions, lack of management approval, or resource constraints. DR testing also takes time, planning and resources. It can also be an incident risk if it involves the use of live data. However, testing is an essential part of DR planning that you should never ignore.

DR testing ranges from simple to complex:

  • A plan review involves a detailed discussion of the DRP and looks for any missing elements and inconsistencies.
  • A tabletop test sees participants walk through the plan’s activities step by step. It demonstrates whether DR team members know their duties during an emergency.
  • A simulation test is a full-scale test that uses resources such as backup systems and recovery sites without an genuine failover.
  • Running in disaster mode for a period is another method of testing your systems. For instance, you could failover to your recovery site and let your systems run from there for a week before failing back.

Your organization should schedule testing in its DR policy; however, be wary of its intrusiveness. This is because testing too frequently is counter-productive and draining on your personnel. On the other hand, testing less regularly is also risky. Additionally, always test your DR plan after making any significant system changes.

To get the most out of testing:

  • Secure management approval and funding
  • Provide detailed test information to all parties concerned
  • Ensure that the test team is available on the test date
  • Schedule your test correctly to ensure that it doesn’t conflict with other activities or tests
  • Confirm that test scripts are correct
  • Verify that your test environment is ready
  • Schedule a dry run first
  • Be prepared to stop the test if needed
  • Have a scribe take notes
  • Complete an after-action report detailing what worked and what failed
  • Use the results gathered to update your DR plan

Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS)

Disaster recovery-as-a-service is a cloud-based DR method that has gained popularity over the years. This is because DRaaS lowers cost, it is easier to deploy, and allows regular testing.

Cloud testing solutions save your company money because they run on shared infrastructure. They are also quite flexible, allowing you to sign up for only the services you need, and you can complete your DR tests by only spinning up temporary instances.

DRaaS expectations and requirements are documented and contained in a service-level agreement (SLA). The third-party vendor then provides failover to their cloud computing environment, either on a pay-per-use basis or through a contract.

However, cloud-based DR may not be available after large-scale disasters since the DR site may not have enough room to run every user’s applications. Also, since cloud DR increases bandwidth needs, the addition of complex systems could degrade the entire network’s performance.

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of the cloud DR is that you have little control over the process; thus, you must trust your service provider to implement the DRP in the event of an incident while meeting the defined recovery point and recovery time objectives.

Costs vary widely among vendors and can add up quickly if the vendor charges based on storage consumption or network bandwidth. Therefore, before selecting a provider, you need to conduct a thorough internal assessment to determine your DR needs.

Some questions to ask potential providers include:

  • How will your DRaaS work based on our existing infrastructure?
  • How will it integrate with our existing DR and backup platforms?
  • How do users access internal applications?
  • What happens if you cannot provide a DR service we need?
  • How long can we run in your data centre after a disaster?
  • What are your failback procedures?
  • What is your testing process?
  • Do you support scalability?
  • How do you charge for your DR service?

Disaster Recovery Sites

A DR site allows you to recover and restore your technology infrastructure and operations when your primary data center is unavailable. These sites can be internal or external.

As an organization, you are responsible for setting up and maintaining an internal DR site. These sites are necessary for companies with aggressive RTOs and large information requirements. Some considerations to make when building your internal recovery site are hardware configuration, power maintenance, support equipment, layout design, heating and cooling, location and staff.

Though much more expensive compared to an external site, an internal DR site allows you to control all aspects of the DR process.

External sites are owned and operated by third-party vendors. They can either be:

  • Hot: It's a fully functional data center complete with hardware and software, round-the-clock staff, as well as personnel and customer data.
  • Warm: It’s an equipped data center with no customer data. Clients can install additional equipment or introduce customer data.
  • Cold: It has the infrastructure in place to support data and IT systems. However, it has no technology until client organizations activate DR plans and install equipment. Sometimes, it supplements warm and hot sites during long-term disasters.

Disaster Recovery Tiers

During the 1980s, two entities, the SHARE Technical Steering Committee and International Business Machines (IBM) came up with a tier system for describing DR Service levels. The system showed off-site recoverability with tier 0 representing the least amount and tier 6 the most.

A seventh tier was later added to include DR automation. Today, it represents the highest availability level in DR scenarios. Generally, as the ability to recover improves with each tier, so does the cost.

The Bottom Line

Preparation for a disaster is not easy. It requires a comprehensive approach that takes everything into account and encompasses software, hardware, networking equipment, connectivity, power, and testing that ensures disaster recovery is achievable within RPO and RTO targets. Although implementing a thorough and actionable DR plan is no easy task, its potential benefits are significant.

Everyone in your company must be aware of any disaster recovery plan put in place, and during implementation, effective communication is essential. It is imperative that you not only develop a DR plan but also test it, train your personnel, document everything correctly, and Strengthen it regularly. Finally, be careful when hiring the services of any third-party vendor.

Need an enterprise-level disaster recovery plan for your organization? Veritas can help. Contact us now to receive a call from one of our representatives.

The Veritas portfolio provides all the tools you need for a resilient enterprise. From daily micro disasters to a “black swan” event, Veritas covers at scale. Learn more about Data Resiliency.

Fri, 28 Feb 2020 15:12:00 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.veritas.com/information-center/disaster-recovery-guide
Killexams : Colleges Modernize Disaster Recovery in the Cloud

Wheaton College near Boston consistently ranks as one of the nation’s top liberal arts institutions. But behind the scenes, leaders in the IT department knew the college could do a better job of protecting the systems that serve its nearly 2,000 students. Although backup systems protected student information and other critical data, Wheaton’s decentralized disaster recovery strategy would have required weeks to fully restore operations if a catastrophic, systemwide failure ever occurred.

To prevent that scenario, Roy Galang, director of technology infrastructure and information security, and Brian Gibson, senior systems administrator, took action. They initiated a range of new disaster recovery capabilities, including a cloud-based Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) solution. “We now have a formal DR procedure that would supply us greater confidence if we ever had to do a full restore,” Galang says.

Creating Better Back Up Insurance

The process Wheaton followed offers key lessons for other institutions, especially those that are still using tape backup as a cornerstone of data protection, but find themselves in need of a more modern, efficient strategy.

As at most colleges and universities, server virtualization has significantly altered Wheaton’s data center over the past decade. But before the DRaaS move, the college used a handful of different backup solutions for its infrastructure, including a data recovery appliance for Windows systems, along with custom scripts and tape drives for an enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform running the AIX operating system. Other machines used Linux and the Macintosh OS, each with separate replication procedures.

“If we ever had a massive disaster, it would have been a challenge trying to remember how to restore each of those individual systems,” Galang says. “We needed to have a better insurance policy in place.”

So in 2015, the IT managers decided it was time to consolidate the college’s backup and DR under a single product. Wheaton chose the Veritas NetBackup portfolio as a solution that would be able to protect both physical and virtual environments. Wheaton teamed that with EMC’s Data Domain 2500, a storage appliance that has built-in deduplication capabilities to keep data volumes at manageable levels. Both technologies supported the full range of Wheaton’s operating systems.

For secondary backup, Wheaton mirrors certain data to tapes, which it sends to a commercial storage facility each week for safekeeping. Eventually, Wheaton plans to eliminate tape from the backup process. This past spring, the college took a step in that direction by going live with the NaviSite Data Domain hosting service, which replicates data from the onsite appliance to the cloud. “Now, our data is stored both locally and in the cloud,” says Gibson.

Faster restores are the primary incentive for the DR changes, he says: “We can restore a complete 50-gigabyte virtual machine in about 5 to 10 minutes.” Gibson estimates that if the college ever endured a catastrophic outage, it could accomplish a full system recovery in about five days — a feat that previously would have taken months.

What’s more, the cloud solution lets Wheaton test DR procedures as often as it likes. “If someone asks, ‘Is my data really there?’ we can definitively tell them, ‘Yes,’” says Galang. “The fact that we can test our backups and prove they’re viable gives us more confidence than ever about our restore capabilities.”

Putting Recovery to the Test

Greater reliance on technology is motivating many institutions to rethink their DR strategies. St. John’s University in New York City launched DRaaS last year when IT leaders decided it was a natural complement to ever-growing percentages of virtualized servers and Software as a Service–based educational applications. The university uses VMware vCloud Air to back up core applications, such as the school’s ERP and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms.

Since switching to the service, the university hasn’t needed it to recover from a disaster. But Joseph Tufano, vice president and CIO, still sees positive outcomes to the move. His staff has run three comprehensive tests to assess the service’s efficacy and uncover areas that would benefit from process updates.

Testing is essential for disaster recovery because even if a plan looks great on paper, you can’t be sure it works until someone sits at a computer and confirms we can register a student, post a grade, or process a bill,” he says. “Universities make changes to their systems every day, and the only way to ensure they’re all being reflected in the recovery operations is through testing.”

In the past, the university conducted trials much less frequently, in part because it strained IT staff resources.

Although testing gives Tufano confidence in DRaaS, St. John’s will continue to back up its systems to tape. “We may re-evaluate that practice at some point,” he says. “But data is one of our main assets, so we still want to keep our hands on it.”

SOURCE: Gartner, “Magic Quadrant for Disaster Recovery as a Service,” June 2016; CREDIT: Nastco/ThinkStock

Supporting Student Success

DRaaS is part of a larger cloud strategy at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. “Our goal is to transition the vast majority of our production workloads to the cloud over the next 24 to 36 months,” says CIO Brian Baute. “At that point, our systems will be either fully cloud-native or they’ll be backed up to the cloud.”

The university began using VMware vCloud Air last year. It augments the primary DR resource, an onsite implementation of EMC’s Avamar deduplication technology and a backup appliance that runs in a campus building away from the main data center. ERP, CRM, intranet and other critical resources are now backed up to the disk-based appliance and the DRaaS solution.

“DRaaS gives us the extra layer of protection we’d need if we had a catastrophic outage that impacted our data center and our primary disk-based backup,” Baute says. “We’d be able to recover our business operations within hours rather than the weeks it would take to restore an on-premises data center.” He sees other benefits to DRaaS too: “It’s a big step forward to becoming a fully cloud-native organization.”

But the biggest payoff may be in supporting the university’s primary mission: successful student outcomes. “Cloud providers are experts in creating a DR infrastructure. We’re the experts in providing great educational experiences for our students,” Baute says. “We want to focus on that core competency and then leverage partners who have expertise in those other areas.”

Wed, 17 Aug 2016 03:52:00 -0500 Alan Joch en text/html https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2016/08/colleges-modernize-disaster-recovery-cloud
Killexams : Veritas Capital Announces Strategic Investment in Epiq Solutions

NEW YORK & ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul 26, 2022--

Veritas Capital (“Veritas”), a leading technology and government investment firm, today announced that The Veritas Capital Vantage Fund, L.P. (“Vantage Fund”) has made a strategic investment in Epiq Solutions, a leading provider of software defined radio and turnkey radio frequency (“RF”) solutions for governments and enterprises. Epiq Solutions is now a portfolio company of the Vantage Fund, which targets opportunities in the middle market. Co-founders John Orlando, Aaron Madsen, and Michael Shogren will continue to lead the company and will retain a significant ownership position. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2009, Epiq Solutions provides small form factor, SWaP-C (size, weight, power and cost) optimized software defined radio and turnkey RF solutions for mission-critical military and commercial embedded computing applications. The company offers a portfolio of commercial-off-the-shelf hardware and differentiated software solutions that leverage open-architecture standards, allowing government and enterprise customers to rapidly insert technology and accelerate modernization efforts.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Veritas, a premier technology investor with decades of experience, to accelerate our growth,” said John Orlando, CEO of Epiq Solutions. “Veritas’ deep network, expertise investing at the intersection of technology and government, and collaborative approach will support our continued investment in product advancement and our rapid expansion into new markets. We look forward to delivering enhanced, best-in-class technology and powerful, mission-critical solutions to an expanded set of customers in the years to come.”

“Epiq’s contemporary, market-leading open architecture solutions and unwavering commitment to its customers have positioned it at the forefront of the industry,” said Hugh Evans, a Managing Partner of Veritas Capital. “With strong customer traction, the company is well positioned to meet its customers’ diverse and evolving needs and scale its national platform amid strong industry tailwinds. We look forward to partnering with John and the talented team to support the company’s continued growth, both organically and through targeted acquisitions.”

Latham & Watkins served as legal counsel to Veritas. Raymond James served as financial advisor to Epiq Solutions and Miles & Stockbridge served as legal counsel.

About Veritas Capital

Veritas is a longstanding technology investor with a focus on companies operating at the intersection of technology and government. The firm invests in companies that provide critical products, software, and services, primarily technology and technology-enabled solutions, to government and commercial customers worldwide. Veritas seeks to create value by strategically transforming the companies in which it invests through organic and inorganic means. Leveraging technology to make a positive impact across vitally important areas, such as national security, healthcare, and education, is core to Veritas. We are proud stewards of national assets, protecting our nation and allies, improving the quality of healthcare while reducing cost, and advancing our educational system.

The Vantage Fund is a $1.8 billion fund targeting opportunities in the middle market. The Vantage Fund seeks to leverage the integrated platform, unique capabilities and demonstrated intellectual property of Veritas. For more information, visit www.veritascapital.com.

About Epiq Solutions

Epiq Solutions develops cutting edge RF tools that provide situational awareness and detailed insight into RF environments. With more than a decade serving governments and enterprises, and thousands of devices fielded, Epiq Solutions understands speed, cost, and performance for mission-critical applications. Epiq’s radically small, state-of-the-art software defined radio solutions and turnkey RF tools lead the way in minimizing size, weight, and power consumption. For more information, visit www.epiqsolutions.com.

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220726005453/en/

CONTACT: MediaFor Epiq Solutions:

Chris Whalen

VP of Sales

cwhalen@epiqsolutions.comFor Veritas Capital:

FGS Global

Jenny Gore / Suzanne Byowitz

VeritasCapital-SVC@sardverb.com

KEYWORD: ILLINOIS NEW YORK UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: CONSULTING PROFESSIONAL SERVICES OTHER TECHNOLOGY TECHNOLOGY SOFTWARE

SOURCE: Veritas Capital

Copyright Business Wire 2022.

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Tue, 26 Jul 2022 00:03:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.joplinglobe.com/region/national_business/veritas-capital-announces-strategic-investment-in-epiq-solutions/article_3c983b4b-9fff-5c5a-a5f2-36fcd571a459.html
Killexams : The Worst Perversion No result found, try new keyword!Garland’s Justice Department Joins Bogus Legal Assault on Pro-Life Laws Yes, there were Obama-administration scandals. Many, in fact. The Obama administration was full of scandal, though we have ... Tue, 02 Aug 2022 12:00:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/01/obamas-many-scandals-abuse-government-power-worse-sex-scandals/ Killexams : Judge says Erie postmaster can sue Project Veritas for libel over mail-in ballot claims

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include a comment from Project Veritas.

The Erie postmaster wrongly accused of backdating mail-in ballots in the 2020 presidential election can continue his legal effort to clear his name and collect damages in court.

The postmaster, Robert Weisenbach, can proceed with his libel lawsuit against Project Veritas, the conservative activist news organization that reported the unproven claims against him in November 2020 — claims that drew Erie into the national frenzy over the results of the presidential race and Donald Trump's attempt to overturn his defeat.

Erie County Judge Marshall Piccinini has ruled against the preliminary objections of Project Veritas and the other two defendants, allowing Weisenbach's suit to advance to the next stage, the evidence-gathering process known as a discovery, which includes depositions.

Piccinini ruled against Project Veritas; its founder, James O'Keefe; and Richard Hopkins, the now former postal employee who was the source of the claims against Weisenbach.

Project Veritas and the other defendants wanted the lawsuit tossed, claiming that the First Amendment protected Project Veritas' reports on Weisenbach. The defendants are contending, among other things, that the reports constituted opinion rather than fact.

Weisenbach in April 2021 sued Project Veritas, O'Keefe and Hopkins, who characterized Weisenbach as part of an anti-Trump plot to tamper with the mail-in ballots and throw the presidential election to Joe Biden. Weisenbach filed an amended civil complaint in August.

A trial or other resolution is still a long way off, but Piccinini in his ruling said that Weisenbach's claims, at this early point in the case, are "legally sufficient" for the suit to move forward in Erie County Common Pleas Court. He said Weisenbach's claims included adequate information to allege that the defendants acted with genuine malice, a key element for a plaintiff to prove in libel suits.

Claims and counterclaims:Free speech or libel? Erie postmaster, Project Veritas face off in court over election claims

"Whether Weisenbach will be able to offer adequate evidence to support his claims, and whether a jury would ultimately be willing to credit such evidence after hearing both sides of the story, remains to be seen," Piccinini said in a 58-page opinion filed on Friday.

"For now, it is enough to hold that the averments set forth in the Amended Complaint are sufficient as a matter of law to permit the action to proceed to discovery, where the truth of these claims can begin to be tested in the crucible of our adversarial system."

Piccinini also ruled that the proper jurisdiction of the case is Erie County Common Pleas Court. Hopkins wanted the case against him moved to federal court because he was a federal employee when he made the allegations against Weisenbach, his boss at the Erie General Mail Facility at 2108 E. 38th St. during the election on Nov. 3, 2020.

Constitutional questions

Piccinini based his ruling on court filings and arguments he heard at a three-hour hearing on Jan. 21. Among the defendants' main arguments was that the Project Veritas reports could not be considered defamatory under the First Amendment. Piccinini disagreed.

'The constitutional deck is not all stacked to one side," Piccinini said in his ruling.

He said court decisions — including the landmark 1964 U.S. Supreme Court case of New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, which set precedent for libel suits — "strike a careful balance between the standards of journalistic integrity that a pluralistic society dedicated to a free exchange of ideas must tolerate, and that which it need not. Weisenbach sufficiently avers that this case falls within the latter category."

Going to court:Erie postmaster files lawsuit against mail carrier, Project Veritas over ballot fraud claims

Project Veritas said it is confident it will prevail in the case in the end.

"This is a common procedural ruling, allowing Weisenbach to test his alleged and imagined claims," the press secretary for Project Veritas, R.C. Maxwell, said in a statement. "The ruling does not address the substantive merits of the suit and the judge cautioned that the 'difficulty may come in eventually proving subjective knowledge of falsity or probable falsity by clear and convincing evidence.'

"We welcome the opportunity to show, once again, that Project Veritas was well within its First Amendment rights in reporting this story to the American public and did so ethically. We will win. It will just take longer than it should have. In defamation suits waged against Project Veritas, we remain undefeated."

Weisenbach's legal team includes David Houck, of Pittsburgh, and lawyers with United to Protect Democracy Inc., a New York-based nonprofit that focuses on "advocacy efforts to confront threats to our democracy," according to its website. United to Protect Democracy is part of a group known as Protect Democracy, whose Law for Truth project is helping to pursue the lawsuit against Project Veritas and the other defendants.

"The court’s decision is a victory for Mr. Weisenbach, our system of government, and, more broadly, democracy itself," Protect Democracy said in a statement. "Deliberate lies — and especially lies about elections — undermine government and the functioning of our democracy. They also often inflict grievous harm on victims who've done nothing wrong."

Protect Democracy said it and the legal team "look forward to ensuring that Mr. Weisenbach and his family are made whole for the harm and suffering caused by defendants' lies."

Project Veritas said it is confident it will prevail in the case in the end.

"This is a common procedural ruling, allowing Weisenbach to test his alleged and imagined claims," the press secretary for Project Veritas, R.C. Maxwell, said in a statement. "The ruling does not address the substantive merits of the suit and the judge cautioned that the 'difficulty may come in eventually proving subjective knowledge of falsity or probable falsity by clear and convincing evidence.'

"We welcome the opportunity to show, once again, that Project Veritas was well within its First Amendment rights in reporting this story to the American public and did so ethically. We will win. It will just take longer than it should have. In defamation suits waged against Project Veritas, we remain undefeated."

Claims of a 'whistleblower'

Hopkins first appeared on Project Veritas' reports as an anonymous source on Nov. 5, 2020. He alleged to O'Keefe that on Nov. 4, 2020, he had heard Weisenbach and another supervisor discussing the backdating of mail-in ballots that arrived after Election Day, Nov, 3, 2020. With Democrats favoring the use of mail-in ballots over Republicans, the allegation was that the backdating had aided Biden over Trump.

Project Veritas, with offices in Westchester County, New York, circulated the claims on its social media platforms, dubbing Hopkins a "whistleblower." Hopkins' claims went viral as Trump and his supporters insisted the election was rigged against him.

Hopkins, still anonymous, also told O'Keefe on Nov. 5, 2020, that Weisenbach wanted the ballots backdated because Weisenbach is "a Trump hater" — an allegation that Weisenbach said is false. He said he voted for Trump, according to the lawsuit.

Mail-in ballots are sorted at the Erie County Courthouse on Nov. 4, 2020, the day after the presidential election. Officials found no evidence that mail-in ballots were backdated in Erie County, as Project Veritas alleged through a postal worker.

Initial claims:Conservative group claims mishandled ballots in Erie

On Nov. 6, 2020, the day after the first Project Veritas story ran, an unknown man confronted Weisenbach at his residence, according to the lawsuit. The man left after Millcreek Township police got involved, but Weisenbach and his wife were forced to temporarily abandon their home and take up refuge at a hotel two hours from Erie following the confrontation, according to the lawsuit.

Erie County Judge Marshall Piccinini ruled that a defamation lawsuit against the conservative media outlet Project Veritas can proceed.

Also on Nov. 6, 2020, investigators with the Postal Service's Office of Inspector General interviewed Weisenbach, Hopkins and others. A summary of their report, issued on Feb. 26, said Hopkins recanted his initial allegations. The investigators said Hopkins stated "he had not heard a conversation about ballots at all — rather he saw the Postmaster and Supervisor having a discussion and assumed it was about fraudulent ballot backdating."

USPS probe:Postal Service investigators: No evidence of mail ballot fraud in Erie

After his Nov. 6, 2020, interview with the Postal Service investigators, Hopkins revealed his identity in a new Project Veritas report and defended his claims. After another interview with the Postal Service investigators, on Nov. 9, 2020, he told Project Veritas in a Nov. 11, 2020, report that the investigators intimidated him and that he stood by his original account.

More investigation:Only 2 ballots that arrived late and had Nov. 3 postmark came from Erie postal facility

A day earlier, Nov. 10, 2020, Hopkins posted a video on YouTube declaring that, despite the news reports otherwise, "I did not recant my statements." Trump that day retweeted Hopkins' video and, on a Twitter post, called Hopkins a "brave patriot."

The Postal Service placed Hopkins on unpaid leave on Nov. 10, 2020, saying that "your actions may have placed employees and yourself as well as the reputation of the Postal Service in harm's way," according to a letter to Hopkins that was included in Weisenbach's lawsuit.

Hopkins resigned his job in April 2021, one of his lawyers said after the Jan. 21 hearing before Piccinini.

Weisenbach responds:Erie postmaster calls claims of mishandled ballots '100% false'

'Provably false accusations'

Among the arguments of Weisenbach's lawyers is that Hopkins' allegations appealed to Project Veritas because they fit the organization's "preconceived narrative" — its belief that the election was manipulated against Trump through the mishandling of mail-in ballots.

In reviewing Weisenbach's claims that Project Veritas published false information about him, Piccinini in his ruling discussed Hopkins' allegation that Weisebach was a "Trump hater."

Jan, 6 hearings and the election:OnPolitics: Steven Bannon's contempt trial begins after defying House Jan. 6 committee

Weisenbach, Piccinini said, had sufficiently made a claim that such a statement is a "factual assertion" that Weisenbach contends is "simply untrue." Piccinini referred to September 2020 photos included in the amended lawsuit that showed Weisenbach holding a "Trump: Make America Great Again" flag and another of him wearing a "Trump 2020" face mask, "evincing the provable falsity of Weisenbach's supposed animosity toward President Trump," Piccinini said in his ruling.

"By and large," he also said, "the defamatory statements alleged in the Amended Complaint do not consist of editorial commentary concerning supposed mail fraud at the Erie General Mail Facility or opinion as to the courageousness of the whistleblower, but provably false accusations levied against Weisenbach that he personally directed that mail-in ballots ... be backdated ... and that he did so because he was a 'Trump hater.'"

Contact Ed Palattella at epalattella@timesnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ETNpalattella.

This article originally appeared on Erie Times-News: Project Veritas denied request to toss Erie postmaster's libel lawsuit

Fri, 22 Jul 2022 23:12:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://www.yahoo.com/now/judge-says-erie-postmaster-sue-144524907.html
Killexams : Condor Announces Feasibility Study Level Metallurgical Test Results for La India Open Pit

SURREY, BC / ACCESSWIRE / August 4, 2022 / Condor Gold CNR; COG is pleased to announce that it has received the final results of metallurgical tests for a Feasibility Study (FS) being conducted on the La India Open Pit from Bureau Veritas Laboratories in Richmond, British Columbia. The most latest iteration of testing was focused on variability testing and confirmation of recoveries at the lower grades. The 2022 FS Study (the "FS" or "Feasibility Study") will bring the level of confidence for the Project to the industry-standard of engineering design, sufficient to support +/- 15% capital and operating cost estimates.

Highlights of Feasibility Study Metallurgical Test Results

  • The confirmatory testwork demonstrated that gold recovery is independent of grade and a fixed gold recovery of 91% assuming a 75 micron grind size will be used in the project economics of the forthcoming Feasibility Study.
  • Gold extraction from the 11 variability composites averaged 92.6% at the 75 micron grind size, which is reduced by 2% to allow for gold being locked up in the processing plant.
  • Gold extraction from the four low grade composites averaged 93.8% at the 75 micron target grind, indicating a gold recovery of 91.8% after a 2% reduction to allow for gold being locked up in the processing plant.
  • At a finer grind size of 53 microns an average gold extraction of 94.7% was achieved, indicating a potential upside gold recovery of about 93%.
  • The selection of the composites by both grade and approximate year of production provides confirmation that the mill recovery will not be materially affected over the life of the La India Mine.

Mark Child, Chairman and Chief Executive of Condor Gold, commented:

"I am delighted that a net metallurgical recovery of 91% will be used in the technical economic models for the forthcoming Feasibility Study on the La India Open pit. Very comprehensive metallurgical test-work has been conducted to the highest standards as a Feasibility Study level is the technical document to which project finance is provided to the Project. 91% metallurgical recovery over the life of mine is a terrific result and represents a significant de-risking of one of the most important variables in the development of a new mine at La India Project and provides significant comfort to investors.

The application of both variability testing and confirmation of low-grade responses is consistent with best practices in the mining industry, while confirming the ability of the processing plant to achieve excellent recoveries down into the lower grade portions of the deposit, in a standard Carbon-in-Pulp cyanidation plant.

The higher gold recovery at 53 micron-grinds suggests an opportunity to recover an additional 2% of the contained gold from the La India material".

Background

During August of 2021 in preparation for the FS, Condor assembled eleven further variability composites from La India Open Pit, testing high grade, medium grade and low-grade composites as well as composites selected to represent individual phases and production years. Additional composites were selected to test responses of the lower grade ores (below 1.5 g/t Au) to ensure that the recovery parameters previously applied were valid at the lower grade ranges. This work was conducted by Bureau Veritas Laboratories (BV) in Richmond, British Columbia.

Discussion - Leaching Studies

The 2022 studies were conducted as a confirmation and check of earlier leaching test results obtained in December 2021, and to extend Condor's understanding of the response of the mineralized material at smaller grind sizes and lower grade ranges.

The variability test results are summarized below in Table 1.

Condor notes that the results of the current BV results are consistent with the results from the PFS study in 2014, which indicated a fixed gold recovery of 91%. It is notable that the current design parameters at a 75 micron grind support a total retention time of 48 hours versus the 30-hour retention time nominated in the PFS.

Table 1: Summary of Leach Test Results for 2022 Bureau Veritas - 11 Variability Composites

100 Micron Summary - 11 Variability Composites

Sample ID

Actual P80 Size

Measured Head*

Calculated Head

48h Extraction

mm

Au (g/t)

Ag (g/t)

Au (g/t)

Ag (g/t)

Au (%)

Ag (%)

High Grade Var Comp

103

5.16

12.67

5.43

14.20

88.74

64.79

Medium Grade Var Comp

99

1.76

9.00

2.29

9.33

87.65

57.11

Low Grade Var Comp

99

0.89

4.00

1.18

3.89

91.72

48.65

Starter Pit North Var Comp

98

1.84

10.33

2.77

10.01

90.32

60.03

Starter Pit South Var Comp

101

2.95

12.67

3.92

13.63

87.30

63.32

Phase 2 - Year 4 Var Comp

98

3.44

10.33

4.85

11.23

92.00

64.38

Phase 2 - Year 5 Var Comp

101

4.32

7.67

4.93

8.29

91.25

63.82

Phase 2 - Year 6 Var Comp

105

5.25

7.00

6.10

7.13

90.58

57.95

Phase 3 - Year 6 Var Comp

102

1.92

5.00

2.25

6.03

90.58

50.22

Phase 3 - Year 7 Var Comp

98

1.90

4.00

2.48

4.27

91.21

53.16

Phase 3 - Year 8 Var Comp

99

2.65

6.00

3.58

5.49

91.73

63.59

Average

100

2.92

8.06

3.62

8.50

90.28

58.82

75 Micron Summary - 11 Variability Composites

Sample ID

Actual P80 Size

Measured Head*

Calculated Head

48h Extraction

mm

Au (g/t)

Ag (g/t)

Au (g/t)

Ag (g/t)

Au (%)

Ag (%)

High Grade Var Comp

75

5.16

12.67

5.35

13.43

92.64

70.21

Medium Grade Var Comp

73

1.76

9.00

2.32

12.87

90.42

45.61

Low Grade Var Comp

74

0.89

4.00

1.11

3.99

93.79

49.82

Starter Pit North Var Comp

73

1.84

10.33

2.84

11.51

94.03

65.25

Starter Pit South Var Comp

73

2.95

12.67

3.83

14.07

89.93

64.47

Phase 2 - Year 4 Var Comp

73

3.44

10.33

4.16

10.79

94.10

62.93

Phase 2 - Year 5 Var Comp

72

4.32

7.67

4.86

8.21

92.37

63.46

Phase 2 - Year 6 Var Comp

72

5.25

7.00

6.13

7.55

92.46

60.26

Phase 3 - Year 6 Var Comp

78

1.92

5.00

2.17

5.30

93.01

62.27

Phase 3 - Year 7 Var Comp

78

1.90

4.00

2.54

4.29

93.07

53.34

Phase 3 - Year 8 Var Comp

77

2.65

6.00

3.70

5.76

93.54

65.29

Average

74

2.94

8.27

3.53

9.20

92.58

59.76

53 Micron Summary - 11 Variability Composites

Sample ID

Actual P80 Size

Measured Head*

Calculated Head

48h Extraction

mm

Au (g/t)

Ag (g/t)

Au (g/t)

Ag (g/t)

Au (%)

Ag (%)

High Grade Var Comp 54 5.16 12.67 5.61 13.11 94.57 77.11
Medium Grade Var Comp 68 1.76 9.00 2.28 7.90 91.63 74.67
Low Grade Var Comp 55 0.89 4.00 1.15 4.13 95.96 51.58
Starter Pit North Var Comp 52 1.84 10.33 3.04 10.99 95.37 72.70
Starter Pit South Var Comp 52 2.95 12.67 3.87 13.82 93.55 71.07
Phase 2 - Year 4 Var Comp 54 3.44 10.33 4.22 10.32 95.62 70.94
Phase 2 - Year 5 Var Comp 54 4.32 7.67 4.60 7.57 95.53 73.60
Phase 2 - Year 6 Var Comp 52 5.25 7.00 6.02 7.61 95.12 60.56
Phase 3 - Year 6 Var Comp 55 1.92 5.00 2.15 5.38 94.83 62.85
Phase 3 - Year 7 Var Comp 54 1.90 4.00 2.64 4.49 95.64 55.43
Phase 3 - Year 8 Var Comp 56 2.65 6.00 3.59 5.84 95.19 65.77
Average 55 3.06 8.74 3.66 8.98 94.69 68.34

* Measured Head is determined prior to the leach testing as determined from a split of the initial sample. Calculated head is based on the sum of the assays of both the leach solutions and of the residue. Calculated head is considered the more reliable measure of the contained gold and recovery.

Condor and its consultants also recognized the lack of metallurgical testing at the lower grade ranges, particularly at the break-even and marginal cutoff ranges. While not a significant contributor to overall project economics, the stockpiling of low and even sub-grade material offers the opportunity for capturing additional ounces at the end of mine- life. This recognition initiated the secondary investigation on the low-grade material.

The results of the low-grade investigations are presented in Table 2 below:

Table 2: Low Grade Recovery at 75 micron

Low Grade Composites - 75 micron target grind

Sample ID

Actual P80 Size

Measured Head*

Calculated Head

48h Extraction

mm

Au (g/t)

Ag (g/t)

Au (g/t)

Ag (g/t)

Au (%)

Ag (%)

Condor 0.5

78

0.48 3.00 0.59 3.10 93.49 35.53
Condor 0.75

82

0.74 3.00 0.86 3.75 94.96 46.66
Condor 1.5

78

1.23 4.67 1.55 4.97 93.08 59.79
Condor 2.0

70

1.81 6.00 2.32 5.65 93.48 64.58
Average response

77

1.06 4.17 1.33 4.37 93.75 51.64

For further information please visit www.condorgold.com or contact:

Condor Gold plc

Mark Child, Chairman and CEO
+44 (0) 20 7493 2784

Beaumont Cornish Limited

Roland Cornish and James Biddle
+44 (0) 20 7628 3396

H&P Advisory Limited

Andrew Chubb and Nilesh Patel
+44 (0) 20 7907 8500

BlytheRay

Tim Blythe, and Megan Ray
+44 (0) 20 7138 3204

About Condor Gold plc:

Condor Gold plc was admitted to AIM in May 2006 and dual listed on the TSX in January 2018. The Company is a gold exploration and development company with a focus on Nicaragua.

On 25 October 2021 Condor announced the filing of a Preliminary Economic Assessment Technical Report ("PEA") for its La India Project, Nicaragua on SEDAR https://www.sedar.com. The highlight of the technical study is a post-tax, post upfront capital expenditure NPV of US$418 million, with an IRR of 54% and 12 month pay-back period, assuming a US$1,700 per oz gold price, with average annual production of 150,000 oz gold per annum for the initial 9 years of gold production. The open pit mine schedules have been optimised from designed pits, bringing higher grade gold forward resulting in average annual production of 157,000 oz gold in the first 2 years from open pit material and underground mining funded out of cashflow.

In August 2018, the Company announced that the Ministry of the Environment in Nicaragua had granted the Environmental Permit ("EP") for the development, construction and operation of a processing plant with capacity to process up to 2,800 tonnes per day at its wholly-owned La India gold Project ("La India Project"). The EP is considered the master permit for mining operations in Nicaragua. Condor has purchased a new SAG Mill, which has mainly arrived in Nicaragua. Site clearance and preparation is at an advanced stage.

Environmental Permits were granted in April and May 2020 for the Mestiza and America open pits respectively, both located close to La India. The Mestiza open pit hosts 92 Kt at a grade of 12.1 g/t gold (36,000 oz contained gold) in the Indicated Mineral Resource category and 341 Kt at a grade of 7.7 g/t gold (85,000 oz contained gold) in the Inferred Mineral Resource category. The America open pit hosts 114 Kt at a grade of 8.1 g/t gold (30,000 oz) in the Indicated Mineral Resource category and 677 Kt at a grade of 3.1 g/t gold (67,000 oz) in the Inferred Mineral Resource category. Following the permitting of the Mestiza and America open pits, together with the La India Open Pit Condor has 1.12 M oz gold open pit Mineral Resources permitted for extraction.

Disclaimer

Neither the contentsof the Company's website nor the contents of any websiteaccessible from hyperlinks on the Company's website (or any other website) is incorporated into, or forms part of, this announcement.

Qualified Persons

The technical review of the SGS metallurgical results has been conducted by Eric Olin, a principal consultant with SRK Consulting (U.S. Inc., who is a registered member of SME and a "qualified person" as defined by NI 43-101. Mr. Olin has over 40 years' experience in extractive metallurgy including extensive experience with CIP and CIL gold extraction plants. Eric Olin is a full time employee of SRK Consulting (U.S.) Inc., an independent consultancy, and has sufficient experience which is relevant to the style of mineralization and type of deposit under consideration. Eric Olin consents to the inclusion in the announcement of the matters based on their information in the form and context in which is appears and confirms that this information is accurate and not false or misleading.

The technical and scientific information in this press release has been reviewed, Checked and approved by Gerald D. Crawford, P.E. who is a "qualified person" as defined by NI 43-101.

Technical Information

Certain disclosure contained in this news release of a scientific or technical nature has been summarised or extracted from the technical report entitled "Technical Report on the La India Gold Project, Nicaragua, October 2021", dated October 22, 2021 with an effective date of September 9, 2021 (the "Technical Report"), prepared in accordance with NI 43-101. The Qualified Persons responsible for the Technical Report are Dr Tim Lucks of SRK Consulting (UK) Limited, and Mr Fernando Rodrigues, Mr Stephen Taylor and Mr Ben Parsons of SRK Consulting (U.S.) Inc. Mr Parsons assumes responsibility for the MRE, Mr Rodrigues the open pit mining aspects, Mr Taylor the underground mining aspects and Dr Lucks for the oversight of the remaining technical disciplines and compilation of the report.

Forward Looking Statements

All statements in this press release, other than statements of historical fact, are ‘forward- looking information' with respect to the Company within the meaning of applicable securities laws, including statements with respect to: the Mineral Resources, Mineral Reserves and future production rates and plans at the La India Project. Forward-looking information is often, but not always, identified by the use of words such as: "seek", "anticipate", "plan", "continue", "strategies", "estimate", "expect", "project", "predict", "potential", "targeting", "intends", "believe", "potential", "could", "might", "will" and similar expressions. Forward-looking information is not a guarantee of future performance and is based upon a number of estimates and assumptions of management at the date the statements are made including, among others, assumptions regarding: future commodity prices and royalty regimes; availability of skilled labour; timing and amount of capital expenditures; future currency exchange and interest rates; the impact of increasing competition; general conditions in economic and financial markets; availability of drilling and related equipment; effects of regulation by governmental agencies; the receipt of required permits; royaltyrates; future tax rates; futureoperating costs; availability of future sources of funding; ability to obtain financing and assumptions underlying estimates related to adjusted funds from operations. Many assumptions are based on factors and events that are not within the control of the Company and there is no assurance they will prove to be correct.

Such forward-looking information involves known and unknown risks, which may cause theactual results to be materially different from any future resultsexpressed or impliedby such forward-looking information, including, risks related to: mineral exploration, development and operating risks; estimation of mineralisation, resources and reserves; environmental, health and safety regulations of the resource industry; competitive conditions; operational risks; liquidity and financing risks; funding risk; exploration costs; uninsurable risks; conflicts of interest; risks of operating in Nicaragua; government policy changes; ownership risks; permitting and licensing risks; artisanal miners and community relations; difficulty in enforcement of judgments; market conditions; stress in the global economy; currentglobal financial condition; exchange rate and currency risks;commodity prices; reliance on key personnel; dilution risk; payment of dividends; as well as those factors discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's annual information form for the fiscal year ended December31, 2018 datedMarch 22, 2019, availableunder the Company's SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com.

Although the Companyhas attempted to identify importantfactors that could cause genuine actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate as genuine resultsand future events could differmaterially from those anticipated in such statements. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise unless required by law.

Technical Glossary

Abrasion Index

The Bond Abrasion Test determines the Abrasion Index, which is used to determine steel media and liner wear in crushers, rod mills, and ball mills. Bond developed correlations based on the wear rate in pounds of metal wear/kWh of energy used in the comminution process. Higher values indicate more abrasive rock.

Calculated Head

Calculated Head is an assay determined following the metallurgical leach testing and is based on the sum of the assays of both the leach solutions and of the residue, and is considered the more reliable measure of the contained gold and recovery (as compared to the Measured Head).

Carbon-in-Pulp (CIP) or Carbon in Leach (CIL)

A metallurgical process for extracting gold by leaching gold from the pulverized host rock with a cyanide solution. Gold is subsequently adsorbed onto activated charcoal for later recovery.

Measured Head

Measured Head is an assay determined prior to the metallurgical leach testing as determined from a split of the initial demo to be subjected to a leach test. It may vary from the calculated head. Calculated head is based on the sum of the assays of both the leach solutions and of the residue, and is considered the more reliable measure of the contained gold and recovery.

Mineral Resource

Mineral Resources are sub-divided, in order of increasing geological confidence, into Inferred, Indicated and Measured categories. An Inferred Mineral Resource has a lower level of confidence than that applied to an Indicated Mineral Resource. An Indicated Mineral Resource has a higher level of confidence than an InferredMineral Resource but has a lower level of confidence than a Measured Mineral Resource.

A MineralResource is a concentration or occurrence of solid materialof economic interest in or on the Earth's crust in such form, grade or quality and quantity that there are reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction.

The location, quantity, grade or quality, continuity and other geological characteristics of a Mineral Resourceare known, estimated or interpreted from specific geological evidence and knowledge, including sampling.

Material of economic interest refers to diamonds, natural solid inorganic material, or natural solid fossilized organic material including base and precious metals, coal, and industrial minerals.

The term Mineral Resource covers mineralization and natural material of intrinsic economic interest which has been identified and estimated through exploration and sampling and within which Mineral Reserves may subsequently be defined by the consideration and application of Modifying Factors.The phrase ‘reasonable prospects for eventual economicextraction' implies a judgment by the Qualified Person in respectof the technical and economic factorslikely to influencethe prospect of economic extraction. The Qualified Person should consider and clearly state the basis for determining that the material has reasonable prospects for eventualeconomic extraction. Assumptions should include estimates of cutoff grade and geological continuity at the selected cut-off, metallurgical recovery, smelter payments, commodity price or product value, mining and processing method and mining, processing and general and administrative costs. The Qualified Person should state if the assessment is based on any direct evidence and testing.

Interpretation of the word ‘eventual' in this contextmay vary dependingon the commodity or mineral involved. For example, for some coal, iron, potash deposits and other bulk minerals or commodities, it may be reasonable to envisage ‘eventual economic extraction' as covering time periods in excess of 50 years. However, for many gold deposits, application of the concept would normally be restricted to perhaps 10 to 15 years, and frequently to much shorter periods of time.

Inferred Mineral Resource

An Inferred Mineral Resource is that part of a Mineral Resource for which quantity and grade or quality are estimated on the basis of limited geological evidence and sampling. Geological evidence is sufficient to imply but not verify geological and grade or quality continuity.

An Inferred Mineral Resource has a lower level of confidence than that applying to an Indicated Mineral Resource and must not be converted to a Mineral Reserve. It is reasonably expected that the majority of Inferred Mineral Resources could be upgraded to Indicated Mineral Resources with continued exploration.

An Inferred Mineral Resource is based on limited information and sampling gathered through appropriate sampling techniques from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes. InferredMineral Resources must not be included in the economic analysis, production schedules, or estimated mine life in publicly disclosedPre- Feasibility or Feasibility Studies, or in the Life of Mine plans and cash flow models of developed mines. Inferred Mineral Resources can only be used in economic studies as provided under NI43-101.

There may be circumstances, where appropriate sampling, testing, and other measurements are sufficient to demonstrate data integrity, geological and grade/quality continuity of a Measured or Indicated Mineral Resource, however, quality assurance and quality control, or other information may not meet all industry norms for the disclosure of an Indicated or Measured Mineral Resource. Under these circumstances, it may be reasonable for the Qualified Personto report an Inferred MineralResource if the Qualified Person has taken steps to verify the information meets the requirements of an Inferred Mineral Resource.

Indicated Mineral Resource

An Indicated Mineral Resource is that part of a Mineral Resourcefor which quantity, grade or quality, densities, shape and physical characteristics are estimated with sufficient confidence to allow the application of Modifying Factorsin sufficient detailto support mine planning and evaluation of the economic viability of the deposit.

Geological evidence is derived from adequately detailed and reliable exploration, sampling and testing and is sufficient to assume geological and grade or quality continuity between points of observation.

An Indicated Mineral Resource has a lower level of confidence than that applying to a Measured Mineral Resource and may only be converted to a Probable Mineral Reserve. Mineralization may be classified as an IndicatedMineral Resource by the Qualified Person when the nature, quality, quantity and distribution of data are such as to allow confident interpretation of the geological framework and to reasonably assume the continuity of mineralization. The Qualified Person must recognize the importance of the Indicated Mineral Resource category to the advancement of the feasibility of the project. An Indicated Mineral Resource estimate is of sufficient quality to support a Pre-Feasibility Study which can serve as the basis for major development decisions.

Mineral Reserve

Mineral Reservesare sub-divided in order of increasing confidence into Probable Mineral Reserves and Proven MineralReserves. A ProbableMineral Reserve has a lower level of confidence than a Proven Mineral Reserve.

A Mineral Reserve is the economically mineable part of a Measured and/or Indicated Mineral Resource. It includes diluting materials and allowances for losses, which may occur when the material is mined or extracted and is defined by studies at Pre-Feasibility or Feasibility level as appropriate that include application of Modifying Factors. Such studies demonstrate that,at the time of reporting, extraction could reasonably be justified. The reference point at which Mineral Reserves are defined, usually the point where the ore is delivered to the processing plant,must be stated.It is important that, in all situations where the reference pointis different, such as for a saleableproduct, a clarifying statement is included to ensure that the reader is fully informed as to what is being reported.

The public disclosure of a Mineral Reserve must be demonstrated by a Pre-Feasibility Study or Feasibility Study.

Mineral Reserves are those parts of Mineral Resources which, after the application of all mining factors, result in an estimated tonnage and grade which, in the opinion of the Qualified Person(s) making the estimates, is the basis of an economically viable project after taking account of all relevant Modifying Factors. Mineral Reserves are inclusive of diluting material that will be mined in conjunction with the MineralReserves and delivered to the treatment plant or equivalent facility. The term ‘Mineral Reserve' need not necessarily signify that extraction facilities are in place or operative or that all governmental approvals have been received. It does signify that there are reasonable expectations of such approvals.

‘Reference point' refers to the mining or process point at which the Qualified Person prepares a Mineral Reserve. For example, most metal depositsdisclose mineral reserves with a "mill feed" reference point. In these cases, reserves are reported as mined ore delivered to the plant and do not include reductions attributed to anticipated plant losses. In contrast, coal reserves have traditionally been reported as tonnes of "clean coal".In this coal example, reserves are reported as a "saleable product" reference point and include reductions for plant yield (recovery). The Qualified Person must clearlystate the ‘reference point' used in the Mineral Reserve estimate.

Master Composite

A testing demo comprised of multiple sub-samples taken from multiple locations within an area of a deposit. This is a common practicewhen individual samplesare of insufficient size for a minimum demo requirement for metallurgical tests. Source sub-samples are selected to represent specific mineralization types or specific areas within a deposit.

Probable Mineral Reserve

A Probable Mineral Reserve is the economically mineable part of an Indicated, and in some circumstances, a Measured Mineral Resource. The confidence in the Modifying Factors applying to a Probable Mineral Reserve is lower than that applying to a Proven Mineral Reserve.

The Qualified Person(s) may elect, to convert Measured Mineral Resources to Probable Mineral Reserves if the confidence in the Modifying Factors is lower than that applied to a Proven Mineral Reserve. Probable Mineral Reserve estimates must be demonstrated to be economic, at the time of reporting, by at least a Pre-Feasibility Study.

Pre-Feasibility Study (Preliminary Feasibility Study)

The CIM Definition Standards requires the completion of a Pre-Feasibility Study as the minimum prerequisite for the conversion of Mineral Resources to Mineral Reserves.

A Pre-Feasibility Study is a comprehensive study of a range of options for the technical and economic viability of a mineralproject that has advanced to a stage where a preferred mining method, in the case of underground mining, or the pit configuration, in the case of an open pit, is established and an effective method of mineral processing is determined. It includes a financial analysisbased on reasonable assumptions on the Modifying Factors and the evaluation of any other relevant factorswhich are sufficient for a QualifiedPerson, acting reasonably, to determine if all or part of the MineralResource may be converted to a MineralReserve at the time of reporting. A Pre-Feasibility Study is at a lower confidence level than a Feasibility Study.

Relative Density / Specific Gravity

The weight of a given volume of material expressed as a ratio of the density of water. A specific gravity of 2.50 would indicate that a cubic meter of the material would weigh 2.5 metric tonnes.

SAG Mill Work Index - Short for Semi-Autogenous Grinding - (A x b) - The SAG Mill Work Index is a measure of the resistance of material to grinding in a SAG mill.

It can be used to determine the grinding power required for a given throughput of material under SAG mill grinding conditions.. The index has no units. Higher values indicate better performance through a SAG mill.

SOURCE: Condor Gold plc

View source version on accesswire.com:


https://www.accesswire.com/710709/Condor-Announces-Feasibility-Study-Level-Metallurgical-Test-Results-for-La-India-Open-Pit

© 2022 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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Killexams : Resurrection of NIIA: A Review and Agenda Setting for Nigeria’s Foreign Policy

The Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) held a two-day Virtual Roundtable on Nigeria’s Foreign Policy on Monday, 12th and Tuesday, July 13, 2021. The theme of the Roundtable was ‘’Looking Back, Going Forward: Setting the Agenda for Nigeria’s Foreign Policy.’’ The methodological implication of the theme is not far-fetched: the need to draw lessons from the past using the present to define the new way forward. It also requires a holistic approach in the choice of which past issues to draw lessons from. And perhaps more significantly, it requires the articulation of which type of future is to be desired and which type of agenda will be good enough to enable the Government of Nigeria respond to the current challenges of a changing world of globalisation.

And true enough, the Roundtable was not simply a platform for academic reflections but, most significantly, a platform for the resurrection of the NIIA, which suffered an academic thrombosis inflicted on it by the NIIA Governing Council, chaired by General Ike Omar Nwachukwu. The NIIA slumbered, not to say dead, as a result of the thrombosis, but was brought back to life by the new Director General, Professor Eghosa Osaghae. The NIIA is gradually becoming again a living institution. It was under this recovery effort that the NIIA held the Roundtable and also an Ambassadorial Forum on Nigeria-Bangladesh Relations on July 26, 2021. The quality of the Roundtable, in terms of paper contributions, methodological approaches, theoretical analyses, and conjectural submissions, lend much credence to a new NIIA in the making.

The virtual Roundtable was structured into four main parts which were organised into two sessions per day: morning and afternoon. Twelve papers were scheduled for presentation on the first day, but eleven papers were actually presented. The ten papers were scheduled for presentation on the second day. This report focuses on some papers that bother more on the use of foreign policy as an instrument of national security, national development, national integration, and particularly for policy-making and implementation.

Some Problems of the Past

Professor Hassan A. Saliu gave an overview of the structures, processes, outcomes and reviews of Nigeria’s foreign policy since 1960 and noted that ‘the Presidency has, more or less, become the only face of Nigeria’s foreign policy and that the role of the unoffficial channels is diminishing by the day. Ditto for the research arms. The existence of these structures has not guaranteed much coordination of the foreign policy.’

More important, Prof. Saliu said the Nigerian Diaspora Commission ‘invades the policy environment without proper synergy with the Ministry of foreign Affairs,’ which still makes policy briefs, but its views under the current Republic, are sometimes not considered and (are) kept in (the) dark on some issues. Attendance at international fora has proven the point on lack of coordination in Nigerian foreign policy.’ On the way forward, he suggested doing away with ad hoc approaches to foreign policy, making greater efforts to resolve domestic problems, embarking on a comprehensive review of Nigeria’s foreign policy and paying more attention to Nigeria’s relations with the Western world.

‘’Nigeria and the Emerging Economies: China and India,’’ was the focus of the paper of Dr. Efem N. Ubi, the Director of Research and Studies at the NIIA. He began his presentation with a quotation that ‘the striking thing about the global economy is how little it relies on the United States as the main engine of growth. Since 2007, China’s rapidly expanding economy has provided the largest contribution to global growth, while half of the world’s expansion over the past year has come from three countries: China, India and Russia.’

In his analysis of Nigeria’s relations with China and India, Dr. Ubi noted at the level of India that India is Nigeria’s largest trading partner and Nigeria is also India’s largest trading partner in Africa. As he put it, ‘total bilateral trade between India and Nigeria during the year 2019-20 registered US $13.82bn, as against US $13.89b recorded during the year 2018-19.’

On relations with China, Dr. Ubi had it that ‘the turn of the Millennium saw a stronger Nigeria-China relation in socio-political and economic terms, especially in terms of the Nigeria-China strategic Partnership agreement, done in 2006 and which underscored the need for expansion of trade; investments in agriculture; telecommunications, energy; and infrastructure development. In this regard, Dr. Ubi strongly believed that Nigeria should harness its relationship with the Emerging Economies for its development.

As regards Dr. Tola Ilesanmi’s ‘’Gender and Nigeria’s Foreign Policy,’’ she provided an exegesis of the problems of policy making and implementation. Considering that Nigeria currently ranks number 139 out of 156 countries on the 2021 Global Gender Gap Report (vide World Economic Forum, 2021), she suggested a pro-gender approach in which more women are appointed into leadership positions within the foreign and security services; adoption of explicit gender equality policies, especially within the framework of the National Action Plans (NAPS on Women, Peace and Security; and the elevation of ‘gender equality to a foreign policy priority by establishing dedicated budget and stand-alone funds for women’s rights programs and organisations.’

She also placed a particular emphasis on the need for Nigeria to domesticate the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 which requires UN Member States ‘to ensure increased participation of women in peace keeping missions and in the security sectors.’ A basis for domestication can begin with the adoption of the First (2013) and Second (2017) National Action Plan as basis of implementation of the UNSCR 1325.

Dr. Habu Mohammed of the Political Science Department of Bayero University, Kano, noted in his own paper, ‘Economic Diplomacy and Nigeria’s Foreign Policy,’ that Nigeria adopted economic diplomacy in 1988 as a new direction to hasten economic revival and sustainable development, but under subsequent administrations, the policy ‘was either relegated to the background or its vigorous implementation reduced to near oblivion until its resurgence as a foreign policy framework of the new civilian administration in 1999.

The paper investigated what the changes and continuities in the conduct of Nigeria’s international economic relations were, with emphasis on the challenges and prospects in the current unipolar world. He observed that the introduction of economic diplomacy in Nigeria is a shift in the direction of the country’s foreign policy from its traditional posture of afrocentricism and that the shuttle diplomacy embarked upon by Foreign Minister Ike Nwachukwu ‘was more of a declaration of intent’ to the outside world, that investment opportunities abound in Nigeria, but ‘the gesture was rarely responded (to) by host countries largely because of the climate of the domestic environment.’

In his examination of ‘Nigeria and the European Union: the Cotonou Years and Beyond’, Professor Victor Adetula of the University of Jos, observed that ‘despite some critical remarks on Nigeria-EU relations, there are some positive aspects of the relationship, mainly traceable to the period of the Lomé Conventions. However, the benefits from the Cotonou Partnership Agreement and its impact on national development are negligible.’ He also noted the likelihood of the expired Cotonou Agreement being renewed and defined by the international system ‘which has become increasingly less charitable and characterised mainly by rising nationalism, a decline of multilateralism, and the continued fragmentation of global governance architecture and international regulation.’ Consequently, he submitted that the Nigerian government must pay more attention, reappraise its capabilities against its values and interests, and advance its interests in the international system. For instance, while the relationship with the EU is desirable, Nigeria needs to critically assess its membership of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and its relevance to its development needs and priorities.

Dr. Willie Aziegbe Eselebor wrote on ‘Border Security in Nigeria: a Strategic Variable in Foreign Policy,’ and noted that ‘border security remains a variable because an open (borderless) border or globalised border, without control cannot guarantee peace, security and development.’ Therefore he opined that Nigeria should ‘do a scenario analysis to determine what Nigeria realistically wants to do with its borders. He also submitted that what Nigeria ‘should address in agenda setting is how to … engage with UN-AU-ECOWAS in relation to peace and security; and/or the role of European Union and especially, France when it comes to the G-5 Sahel and in the Lake Chad Basin Commission. Nigeria must aim to play active roles through foreign policy making in AU and other regional blocks.’

Professor Alaba Ogunsanwo of the Center for Diplomatic Studies and Public Affairs, Lead City University, Ibadan, spoke on “National Values, Interests and Nigeria’s Foreign Policy in the 21st century,’ and drew attention to the fact that most countries have their values: Equality, Liberty and Fraternity for France; Harmony, Benevolence, Righteousness, Courtesy, Wisdom, Honesty, Loyalty and Piety for China; Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness, Common Good and Justice for the United states; Justice, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity for India; Protection of Human Dignity, Human Rights and Democracy for Germany, etc. Professor Ogunsanwo noted that these values are mostly aspirational and not necessarily respected by all citizens.

On the basis of the December 2019 document on National Security Strategy, Nigeria’s values are ideals of freedom; equality and justice; sanctity of human life; human dignity; democracy; rule of law; free enterprise; respect for human rights; and equal opportunity and access to justice. These are in addition to the values of respect for elders, honesty and accountability, cooperation, industry, discipline, self-confidence and moral courage articulated in the 2014 National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS).

Additionally, he differentiated between and among vital national interests, which are hinged on national survival and require that all resources be deployed; strategic national interests that are also important, but less than vital; and peripheral interests. As he put it, ‘regional security by way of combating terrorism, insurgency and other transnational crimes, also fall under this category of strategic interests. The defence of these interests will enhance the protection of Nigeria’s vital interests. Peripheral interests deal with Nigeria’s international obligations, assisting in humanitarian operations, etc.

Agenda Setting and Quo Vadis

In terms of agenda setting and way forward, in addition to the various recommendations noted above, Professor Ogunsanwo believes that the future of Nigeria’s foreign policy depends ‘to a large extent on the success or failure of present efforts to transform the economy, industry, energy, infrastructure and digitalisation.’ And perhaps, most notably, he said ‘it will be share hypocrisy to pretend that you can promote abroad values such as respect of human life and the rule of law when no such exists in Nigeria. Where there is selected criminal administration of justice and thousands of Nigerians in farming communities all over the country are killed with the government unable or unwilling to do anything, we cannot talk about promoting justice and the respect for lives and property abroad. He who goes to equity must go with clean hands. We should learn to do just that with our domestic affairs.’

From the perspective of Professor Femi Otubanjo, whose paper is entitled ‘’Is there a Doctrine and Orientation in Nigeria’s Foreign Policy?’’, it is argued that in the 60 years of Nigeria’s independence, ‘there have been as many doctrines as there have been regimes, but there has been only one significant change of orientation.’ A doctrine ‘is the articulation of a country’s vision of its preferred role and priorities in its relations with other countries or the general international system,’ while ‘foreign policy orientation is the predictable disposition of a state in its relationship with others and its preferences in the international system. It is the axis from which all policy choices and even, instruments radiate. Orientation is very much like a paradigm from which theories, hypothesis, doctrines and choices flow.’

In sum, Professor Otubanjo said ‘doctrines have been ephemeral in Nigeria, the orientation of Nigeria’s foreign policy has changed only once: from Balewa’s pro-western inclination to Gowon’s broadening of relations with the Eastern Bloc as a result of military necessity. All the attempts at doctrinal postulations, since then, have been based on the presumption of Nigeria’s robust relations with all nations and regions of the world.’

It is noteworthy that the submission of Professor Otubanjo is quite interesting and right on the basis of the good distinction made between a foreign policy doctrine and a foreign policy orientation. However, when he noted in his paper that ‘in spite of the grand declaration of non-partisanship in East-West ideological disputes, Balewa could not untie Nigeria from the umbilical cord of Nigeria’s colonial master and her allies,’ Professor Otubanjo is simply implying that the Balewa government was aligned contrary to the official policy of non-alignment. We hold a different understanding of the subject-matter.

In this regard, it cannot be rightly argued that the Balewa government was aligned or partisan without having factored into the partisanship Nigeria’s national interests. Nigeria’s policy of non-alignment does not and never meant that the Government of Nigeria could not or cannot align. What is noteworthy about the policy of non-alignment is that the decision to align or not to do so must be a direct and free decision of the Government of Nigeria, without foreign intrusions. It must not be by intimidation or pressure. The decision to align must be a resultant from, and a reflection of, the national interest. More importantly, the alignment must not be routine in character.

As explained by Tafawa Balewa, ‘it is better to state briefly the principles which we accepted as the basis of our policies in international relations. First, it is the desire of Nigeria… to remain on friendly terms with all nations and to participate actively in the work of the UNO… Africa must not be allowed to become a battleground in the ideology struggle. For this reason, the Congo situation must be a matter to be dealt with primarily by African States at the political level…’ Additionally, he noted that Nigerians ‘are willing to learn before we rush into the field of international politics, but we are totally unwilling to be diverted from the ideals which we think to be true. That is the reason we in Nigeria will not be found to align ourselves as a matter of routine, with any particular bloc. Indeed, I hate the very ideas of blocs existing at all in the United Nations.’ The implication of no routine alignment is that there would be alignment but not routinely. Consequently, Nigeria’s non-alignment policy is about the sovereign freedom to determine when to align and Prime Minister Balewa essentially did not breach Nigeria’s policy of non-alignment.

In his paper on ‘Imaging Nigeria’s Foreign Policy: pinpointing the Ever Missing Link,’ Onoja Adagbo of the Department of Political Science of the Veritas University argued that ‘the fundamental crisis of Nigerian foreign policy is its crisis of representation practice of power in relation to hegemony in a world of States. In other words, it is not lack of industrialisation, military capability or a better organised Ministry of Foreign Affairs that are blocking Nigeria from being a case study in active, credible, influential and responsible state actor as much as the poverty of Nigeria’s representational practices and her subsequent low score in structural, institutional and coercive power in world politics.’

In addressing these problems, he made a number of recommendations: Government should not leave the framing of every foreign policy to chance; elaboration of training in discursive capability for Nigerians; organisation of the cultural domain; establishing a 24-hour global channel that is global technologically, coverage and narratives; integration of foreign policy instruments for the purposes of representational praxis in power politics, etc. Speaking, grosso modo and in evaluative terms, the Roundtable was a good development. It woke up the NIIA Research Fellows from their long academic slumber and also provided a renewal of opportunities for their peers in other institutions to share ideas with them on foreign policy. The major challenge, however, is the environmental conditioning of foreign policy agenda setting, which was only tangentially discussed by Professor Eghosa Osaghae and Professor Alaba Ogunsanwo. The Roundtable had little discussions on the dilemma of the domestic setting which has made intellectual activities very difficult. There is the need for agenda setting, for foreign policy, which is really not the problem. Agenda setting should, lato sensu, be for the foreign policy makers, as they are the noisome problems. Put interrogatively, what type of agenda setting can be helpful to Nigeria’s international image if there is selected criminal administration of justice, if thousands of farmers ‘all over the country are killed with the government unable or unwilling to do anything’ to borrow the words of Professor Ogunsanwo? What type of agenda setting is required when foreign policy institutions are being bastardised even by the Governing Councils and Foreign Ministry meant to be a supervisor and a guide?

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Killexams : Tension grips Abuja, environs over rising insecurity

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Killexams : Evaluating Web-Based Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Tests for Cancer Susceptibility

Falling costs of genetic testing in combination with growing public interest in personal genomics has driven the expansion of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing. Today’s market encompasses a broad range of offerings, from tests that pair users with wines to tests that reveal serious disease risks.1 This review focuses on one area of the rapidly expanding DTC market—genetic testing for cancer susceptibility. Within this space, DTC offerings vary considerably in size and scope. The narrowest is a test that screens for three specific mutations in two genes and the broadest is a whole-genome sequencing service that analyzes dozens of genes for mutations that could affect cancer risk.

Traditionally, DTC genetic tests were advertised—and sold—to consumers without involving a health care professional; however, in latest years, a new model of testing has come to dominate the market. In this model, tests are advertised to consumers but ordered by licensed physicians.2-5 A number of companies even allow consumers to choose between having tests ordered by their own physician or by a company-provided independent physician.

In both the academic literature and the popular media, there is a lack of clarity about which genetic tests count as DTC offerings.6 This uncertainty, as Hogarth et al7 explain, stems from ambiguity about the meaning of direct-to-consumer, a term that “has been used variously to refer to both advertising and sale of genetic tests.” According to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), DTC genetic tests “are marketed directly to customers via television, print advertisements, or the Internet, and . . . can be bought online or in stores.”8(p163) Under this expansive definition, tests that are advertised to consumers but ordered by licensed physicians—often referred to as the hybrid model—fall within the ambit of DTC genetic testing.2,5

CONTEXT

  • Key Objective

  • To provide an overview of available direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests for cancer susceptibility and to identify six aspects of the testing process that could affect consumers’ ability to make informed decisions about testing and interpret their results.

  • Knowledge Generated

  • Recent years have seen DTC genetic testing for cancer susceptibility change dramatically. Specifically, a new model now dominates the market where tests are advertised to consumers but ordered by physicians. Moreover, many of today’s tests are distinguished from earlier DTC offerings for cancer susceptibility by their scope and potential clinical significance. This review provides a comprehensive overview of available DTC genetic tests for cancer susceptibility and identifies aspects of the DTC testing process that could affect consumers’ ability to make informed decisions about testing and understand their results. Given how the DTC genetic testing market for cancer susceptibility has changed in latest years, it is essential that health care professionals and researchers working in this space appreciate both the range of tests being offered and the challenges that consumers may face as they navigate this evolving landscape.

  • Relevance

  • On the basis of our review of companies’ Web sites, consumers would benefit from more information about certain aspects of the testing process. Providing this information would help consumers make informed decisions about whether to use a particular DTC genetic testing service and, should they choose to pursue testing, understand the implications and limitations of their results.

Other than the shift toward physician-ordered testing, many of today’s tests are distinguished from their predecessors by their scope and potential clinical significance. Previously, in the mid-to-late 2000s, most DTC tests used single-nucleotide variation profiling to assess cancer risk, a process that involves screening a DNA demo for single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)—single base-pair differences that occur at specific positions in the genome—that may affect cancer risk.9,10 Single-nucleotide variation profiling, however, tends to have low predictive value for disease risk and limited usefulness in improving health outcomes (ie, clinical utility).

Today’s DTC companies have largely moved away from using single-nucleotide variation profiling. Instead, they tend to analyze specific genes for mutations that increase cancer risk. Yet this change has not eliminated uncertainty in cancer susceptibility genetic testing. For many of the genes included in larger tests, a positive result may be associated with uncertain risk estimates and/or unclear medical management strategies.11,12

Given how the DTC genetic testing market for cancer susceptibility has changed in latest years, it is essential that health care professionals and researchers working in this space appreciate both the range of tests being offered and the challenges that consumers may face as they navigate this evolving landscape. Part I of this paper provides an overview of available DTC genetic tests for cancer susceptibility as of July 2019. For each test, we discuss cost; who orders it; whether variants of uncertain significance (VUS) are returned; availability of genetic counseling; intended users; whether consumers are recontacted about variant reclassifications; whether the test is characterized by the company as being diagnostic, actionable, and clinically valid; molecular technique used to analyze DNA; and whether the test is Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified and College of American Pathologists (CAP) accredited.

In Part II, we identify six aspects of the testing process that we believe could affect consumers’ ability to make informed decisions about testing and understand the implications—and limitations—of their results.13 These are: how companies use certain terms (eg, medical grade or clinical grade); how companies use consumers’ health information during the ordering process; the extent of genetic counseling provided by companies; companies’ procedures for returning results; the role of company-provided ordering physicians; and companies’ procedures for communicating variant reclassifications. On the basis of our review of companies’ Web sites, we believe that consumers would benefit from more information about these aspects of testing.

Here we describe the array of DTC genetic tests for cancer susceptibility that were on the market as of July 2019 (Table 1). Given the Internet-based nature of DTC genetic testing, today’s consumers primarily receive and interact with DTC companies’ offerings through their Web sites. Thus, to better capture the information that consumers are likely to access when deciding whether to use a test, we only include information about testing services that is, or was, available on companies’ Web sites. It is worth noting that some companies do not explicitly define the terms diagnostic, actionable, or clinically valid. Whereas we describe how each company characterizes these terms and indicate when definitions are absent, inasmuch as our objective is to convey what companies report on their Web sites, we do not evaluate the accuracy of their claims.14

Table

TABLE 1. Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Tests for Cancer Susceptibility

23andMe

In 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning letter to 23andMe (Sunnyvale, CA) ordering the company to discontinue marketing its Personal Genome Service, which included reports for several hundred diseases and conditions, an SNP-based risk score for breast cancer, and a limited BRCA1/BRCA2 test.15 According to the FDA, 23andMe had failed to demonstrate that its service could correctly identify genetic disease risks, made misleading claims about the health benefits of tests, and failed to comply with the premarket review process for medical devices.16

Since that time, 23andMe has substantially revised its services. In March 2018, the FDA authorized 23andMe to market a BRCA test that screens for three specific BRCA1/BRCA2 variants, making it the first FDA-authorized DTC genetic test to report on cancer risk.17,18 Although there are more than 1,000 known BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations that are associated with an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer, 23andMe’s test only screens for three founder mutations—two in the BRCA1 gene (BRCA1 c.68_69delAG and BRCA1 c.5266dupC) and one in the BRCA2 gene (BRCA2 c.5946delT)—that are found almost exclusively in individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.17 The test, therefore, is unlikely to be useful to individuals from other ethnic backgrounds.19,20 As 23andMe acknowledges, its BRCA screen is not comprehensive and does not rule out the possibility that an individual carries one of the many BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations not covered by its report.21

In January 2019, 23andMe received FDA clearance to expand its cancer susceptibility testing to report on two MUTYH genetic mutations that are implicated in MUTYH-associated polyposis, an autosomal recessive hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome.22 The two variants that are included in the test—p.Y179C and p.G396D—are the most common pathogenic MUTYH mutations in individuals of northern European descent, although there are more than 100 pathogenic MUTYH variants.23 In the general northern European, Australian, and US population, the heterozygous carrier frequency for a pathogenic MUTYH variant is 1% to 2%.2 Individuals with a single MUTYH mutation are thought to have a slightly increased risk of colorectal cancer relative to the general population lifetime risk—approximately 4%.25-27 In contrast, individuals carrying mutations in both MUTYH alleles have a much higher cumulative risk of colorectal cancer—approximately 80% by age 70.28

23andMe’s BRCA report is included with its Health + Ancestry Service.29 Excluding special offers, the service costs $199. Consumers order their own tests and receive their results through an online account. If a consumer does not wish to view his or her BRCA result, they can opt to exclude it from the report. Although the company does not provide genetic counseling, consumers are encouraged to consult with a genetic counselor before and after testing. 23andMe uses genotyping to analyze DNA. The company states that its BRCA test meets FDA requirements for clinical validity, which it defines as “the degree to which a test accurately identifies or predicts a disease of interest.”30 23andMe maintains that its BRCA test “is not intended to diagnose any disease and does not describe a person’s overall risk of developing any type of cancer.”22 It also maintains that the test is not medically actionable and that “[r]esults should be confirmed in a clinical setting before taking any medical action.”22 All DNA samples are processed in CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited laboratories.

Veritas Genetics

Veritas (Santa Clara, CA) offers a whole-genome sequencing service called myGenome Standard that costs $599. For an additional $1,000, consumers can upgrade to myGenome Premium, which includes more diseases and carrier conditions. myGenome (standard and premium) can be ordered by the consumer’s own provider or, for an additional $129, by an independent physician affiliated with the telegenomics company Genome Medical. When the results are ready, Veritas notifies the consumer and the ordering provider, both of whom can then access the report through Veritas’ Web portal. If interested, consumers can pay an additional $99 to receive their raw data.

For myGenome (standard and premium), pathogenic and likely pathogenic results are reported, and benign, likely benign, and VUS results are not typically returned. Veritas does not state whether it will contact the ordering provider or the consumer about variant reclassifications. Through Genome Medical, Veritas offers a complimentary 30-minute return of results genetic counseling session for clinically actionable findings. Consumers can also pay $299 for Comprehensive Genetic Counseling, which includes access to pretest counseling and a 60-minute post-test session to review results.

According to Veritas, its service is intended to be a screening test for healthy individuals; however, myGenome is not meant to be diagnostic because “there is a chance that some of the variants that are associated with health conditions or disease risk could be missed.”31 As such, the test “should not be used to diagnose a known or suspected heritable disease in [the consumer] or [the consumer’s family].”32 Veritas does not state whether myGenome is a clinically valid test. It does, however, characterize myGenome as providing information that may “affect [the consumer’s] health and [is] actionable, be it with changes in diet and activity level, medical screenings, or enhanced vigilance.”33 Nevertheless, it is not clear that Veritas’ findings, at least by themselves, are intended to inform clinical care.34 This interpretation is supported by the company’s informed consent document, which states that “all variants considered clinically relevant in [the consumer’s] report should be confirmed with secondary testing before changes to [the consumer’s] healthcare are made.”32 Veritas uses next-generation sequencing to analyze DNA. The company’s US laboratory is CLIA certified and CAP accredited.

Invitae Corporation

Invitae (San Francisco, CA) offers a cancer susceptibility panel—Invitae Cancer Screen—that consists of 61 genes associated with 10 types of cancer (breast, colorectal, gastric, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, renal cell, thyroid, uterine, and cutaneous melanoma). In addition, Invitae offers cancer susceptibility testing as part of its Genetic Health Screen, which consists of a 147-gene panel that also analyzes genes related to cardiac diseases and other inherited conditions. Neither test is intended to be diagnostic; both are considered proactive services that are intended for healthy adults without a strong personal or family history of cancer.

Invitae’s Cancer Screen and Genetic Health Screen cost $250 and $350, respectively, and can be ordered by the consumer’s own provider or by a company-provided physician. The ordering provider is notified via e-mail when the results are ready and receives a written report. Consumers who have their test ordered by an independent physician receive an e-mail when the results are ready, at which time they can review their results and schedule an appointment with one of Invitae’s genetic counselors. Post-test genetic counseling is available at no additional cost.

Invitae uses next-generation sequencing and does not report VUS findings for proactive tests. However, if a VUS is reclassified to likely pathogenic or pathogenic, Invitae will inform the ordering physician and issue an updated report. Invitae does not say whether it will contact the ordering physician and issue an amended report for other variant reclassifications. The company also does not state whether either proactive test is clinically valid, although it does provide links to validation studies.35 Regarding actionability, Invitae maintains that consumers can “take action based on [their] results” and “work with [their] provider to consider: increased or earlier screenings, lifestyle modifications, and early intervention to prevent the onset of disease.”36 Invitae’s laboratory is CLIA certified and CAP accredited.

Color Genomics

Color Genomics (Burlingame, CA) offers a test called Color Extended that analyzes genes related to cancer, cardiac disease, and medication response. The test costs $258.95 and includes 30 cancer predisposition genes associated with eight types of cancer (breast, ovarian, uterine, colorectal, melanoma, pancreatic, stomach, and prostate). Color Extended can be ordered by either the consumer’s own provider or by a company-provided independent physician at no additional charge. If the consumer’s own provider orders the test, the provider can choose whether the results are released to the consumer as soon as they are ready or after a delay. For tests that are ordered by an independent physician, information about the process for returning results is not available on the company’s Web site. Consumers who wish to discuss their results can access complimentary genetic counseling.

Color uses next-generation sequencing and reports VUS findings. If a VUS result is reclassified, Color will attempt to recontact the consumer. The company does not state whether Color Extended is a clinically valid test in its entirety. However, there is a section on the Web site where Color discusses the clinical validity of its tests with respect to certain conditions.37 Color Extended is described as being actionable, meaning that the consumer can “work with [their] healthcare provider to create a personalized screening and prevention plan, designed to reduce [their] risk of developing cancer.”38 Color maintains that its test is not diagnostic because “[p]ositive results do not necessarily mean that [the consumer] [has] that hereditary disorder or that [the consumer] will develop the disorder in [their] lifetime” and “[n]egative results do not eliminate [the consumer’s] risk of developing a disorder, and do not guarantee that [the consumer] will be healthy or will never develop any of the disorders that Color tests for.”39 Color’s laboratory is CLIA certified and CAP accredited.

Helix

Helix (San Carlos, CA) offers two tests—GenePrism and Prostate Cancer Genetic Risk Score—that evaluate cancer susceptibility. Whereas both tests are sold by Helix, GenePrism is administered by PerkinElmer Genomics, and Prostate Cancer Genetic Risk Score is administered by NorthShore University HealthSystem. The tests can only be ordered by a physician who is affiliated with the relevant partner company.

GenePrism analyzes the 59 genes included in the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics’ list of actionable genes, of which 26 are associated with an increased risk of cancer.40 The test costs $299.99, including a $30 fee that covers the ordering physician and genetic counseling services. The test is “intended to provide proactive health insights for those who do not have a significant family history associated with the health conditions that it includes.”41 The consumer is notified by e-mail when the results are ready to be accessed through the GenePrism Web site. Helix does not explicitly state whether the test is clinically valid. GenePrism is not a diagnostic test and “is not intended to diagnose any medical conditions” and “will not tell you if you currently have one of the conditions covered by the test, or if you definitely will or will not develop the condition in the future.”41 The test does not report VUS results. Helix describes the test as actionable, which, according to the company, means that “if [the consumer] learn[s] of a genetic risk from the test, [the consumer’s] risk is significantly increased over the general population, and there are actions [the consumer] or [the consumer’s] doctor can take to reduce [the consumer’s] risks based on established medical recommendations.”41 Helix does not explain its procedures for recontacting consumers about variant reclassifications, although the company does maintain that “[r]esults may change as research continues to allow us to better interpret what these and other genes mean for health.”41

Prostate Cancer Genetic Risk Score is an outlier among DTC cancer susceptibility tests. Unlike other tests that focus on single-gene mutations, Helix’s test provides a polygenic risk score based on an analysis of numerous SNPs that affect prostate cancer. The test costs $239.99, which includes a $40.00 fee that covers the ordering physician and genetic counseling services. Helix does not state whether the test is intended for individuals with a personal and/or family history of prostate cancer. Results are returned through secure e-mail. Helix maintains that the test is not a diagnostic product because “[a]n estimate of [the consumer’s] risk does not determine if [the consumer] will or will not get prostate cancer.”42 Helix does not state whether the test is clinically valid or whether results are medically actionable.

Helix uses next-generation sequencing to analyze DNA. For both GenePrism and Prostate Cancer Genetic Risk Score, genetic counseling is available through Genome Medical at no additional charge. Helix’s laboratory is CLIA certified and CAP accredited.

Meaning of Terms

In describing their offerings, several companies use terms that they do not clearly define. For example, Invitae characterizes its proactive tests as medical grade and diagnostic grade. Except to say that its proactive tests “offer the same clinical quality as a diagnostic test,” the company does not explicitly define either of these terms.43 Similarly, Color characterizes its offering as an “affordable clinical-grade test,” but does not specify what the term clinical grade means. Of note, despite describing these tests as medical, diagnostic, or clinical grade, both Invitae and Color maintain that their services are not intended to be diagnostic.39,43 Consumers who are unclear about the meanings of these terms, none of which are scientific or medical designations, may struggle to understand why a test that is marketed as medical-, diagnostic-, or clinical grade should not be used in a diagnostic capacity.

In addition, given that tests are often characterized as being medical, diagnostic, or clinical grade, consumers may wonder whether their results could expose them to potential insurance discrimination. According to the Genetic Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), it is illegal for US health insurance providers to use genetic information, including from DTC tests, to deny coverage or increase premiums. GINA, however, does not apply when an employer has fewer than 15 employees or to other forms of insurance (eg, disability insurance, long-term care insurance, and/or life insurance).44 Although all of the companies seem to provide some information on their Web sites about genetic discrimination, discussions about how consumers’ results could affect their access to different types of insurance is often covered during pretest counseling, which may be lacking in the DTC setting.

Companies could also be more transparent about whether their tests can accurately predict an individual’s risk of developing a particular disease—that is, whether they are clinically valid. Most DTC cancer susceptibility genetic tests analyze an array of genes that encompass a wide range of risk estimates. Whereas some of the genes included in these tests have well-established risk estimates, not all do. For example, Color and Veritas’ tests include the MITF gene.45,46 Although MITF mutations are suspected to increase the risk of melanoma and renal carcinoma, the extent to which a mutation carrier’s risk is elevated remains unclear.45,47 Overall, consumers might benefit from greater clarity about which genes in a test are considered clinically valid. Providing this information in a transparent and accessible manner could help consumers decide whether to pursue a test that may include genes with low predictive value for cancer risk.

Use of Consumers’ Health Information

Companies with testing services that can be ordered by a company-provided physician often ask consumers to answer a set of questions about their personal and family health history; however, it is not always clear how ordering physicians use this information. For example, Veritas maintains that consumers’ responses to these questions “are necessary to sequence [their] DNA and also helps [Veritas] better interpret [their] results.”48 Nevertheless, Veritas does not clarify how this information factors into the ordering process. As consumers consider whether to purchase a test, they may be interested in learning how their health information will be used. In particular, they might want to know whether the physician will follow up to discuss their health history before ordering testing. Consumers might also wonder whether company-provided physicians ever decline to order testing and, if so, for what reasons.

Genetic Counseling

Although all of the companies that offer physician-ordered DTC genetic tests seem to provide genetic counseling in some capacity, the extent, timing, and cost of these services is sometimes unclear. For example, Invitae maintains that “[o]ur team of board-certified genetic counselors is available on demand by phone during business hours to assist you with general questions about genetic testing and your results.”49 What remains unclear (for Invitae and some of the other companies) is the extent to which pretest counseling is comprehensive and individualized. In the clinical setting, pretest counseling is widely regarded as an important part of obtaining informed consent to testing.50,51 Companies could therefore help consumers make informed choices about whether to pursue DTC testing by including more information on their Web sites about pretest counseling.

Currently, companies differ in terms of how they provide genetic counseling. Helix, for example, outsources its genetic counseling to Genome Medical, which is a distinct corporate entity from Helix.41 Other companies, such as Invitae, offer in-house counseling that includes pretest counseling.49 This arrangement raises potential ethical concerns about whether a conflict of interest arises when companies provide pretest counseling services for their own tests.52,53

Procedures for Returning Results

Most of the companies that offer tests through the physician-ordered model do not include a detailed description of their process for returning results. On the basis of the companies’ online materials, it may not be clear whether procedures vary depending on the clinical significance of consumers’ results. Are positive and VUS results disclosed over the phone by a genetic counselor, while negative results are delivered through an online portal? Again, providing more information could help consumers make informed decisions about whether they are comfortable with a company’s model for returning results.

Role of Company-Provided Physicians

For some of the companies that offer company-provided independent physicians, it is unclear what role, if any, these physicians play beyond simply ordering tests. It is also not clear how companies conceive of the relationship between consumers and these physicians, some of whom may belong to an external physician network or separate company.54 For example, Helix states that the company “will share [the consumer’s] contact information and health history with PerkinElmer Genomics so a physician they designate can review and make sure this product is right for [the consumer].”41 Consumers may wonder whether they can contact the ordering physician with additional questions about the test or their results. Notably, will the ordering physician assume responsibility for a consumer’s follow-up care or refer the consumer to another provider? As of now, these questions are not easily answerable from companies’ online materials.

Variant Reclassification

As scientific understanding of variant pathogenicity evolves, genetic test results may be amended. Some changes could have significant clinical implications for disease risk and medical management (eg, a VUS that is upgraded to pathogenic). Nevertheless, information about companies’ procedures for handling amended results may not be readily available. Color’s Informed Consent, for instance, lacks specific information about how the company manages variant reclassification beyond stating that it may “at its sole discretion, amend or modify [the consumer’s] Test report” and will “attempt to notify (the consumer) of any material amendments or modifications.”39 Some companies, however, do not provide any information about variant reclassification. Helix’s informed consent, for instance, notes that “future information may change your results,” but does not specify whether the company monitors for variant changes or notify consumers about them.55 Given the potential clinical significance of variant reclassifications, consumers could benefit from more information about companies’ procedures for tracking variant changes and sharing amended results.

In conclusion, genetic testing for cancer susceptibility, once limited to the clinical setting, is now widely available through Web-based DTC genetic testing companies. To better understand whether test takers are knowledgeable about companies’ testing procedures, there is an urgent need to collect and study consumer outcome data.13 As the DTC market continues to evolve, outcome data should inform companies’ products and practices to ensure that consumers are equipped to make informed decisions throughout the testing process and understand their results.

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