Laffer’s International Tobacco Taxation Handbook Gives Governments Roadmap to Optimize Tax Revenues

LONDON, July 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — As excise taxes become increasingly important throughout the world, Dr. Arthur Laffer today released his international tobacco tax handbook, cautioning that “one size does not fit all” in tobacco tax policy and offering governments practical examples and case studies to consider in order to optimize tobacco excise tax revenues. 

“Tobacco taxes represent an essential source of tax revenue for most countries across the globe,” Laffer said during today’s release of his Handbook of Tobacco Taxation – Theory and Practice. “Governments levy excise taxes on tobacco to achieve fiscal and public health objectives. Because the goal of reducing smoking incidence cannot be understated, this handbook is for everyone interested in setting tobacco tax policy as it focuses on using tax as the solution to the tobacco consumption problem.” 

Laffer found that the unique aspects of tax structure and economic environments make taking a blanket approach to tax levels or tax systems unadvisable. Instead, governments should tailor their approach to tobacco taxation, taking into consideration a range of factors.

“It’s important to think twice about the mounting pressure on the international level to create an overarching tobacco tax structure and level for every country across the globe,” Laffer also said.  “One size does not fit all.  Tobacco regulation and taxation are complex matters that require consideration of a number of political, economic, and demographic factors prior to deciding on tax structures and levels.”

The Laffer Curve illustrates the relationship between tax rates and tax revenue. In most instances when tobacco rates are increased, government revenue increases. However, there are increasingly examples of countries, including the UK and Ireland, whose rates have entered the so-called “prohibitive range” of the Curve. 

“When setting tax levels, dramatic increases can be counterproductive,” Laffer said. “Once tax levels are in the prohibitive range of the Laffer Curve, tax revenues will fall.  If consumers shift to lower taxed or black market products, the tax increase may not even lead to less smoking.”

Laffer’s handbook advises governments to construct their tax systems based on four principles.  These include:

  1. CLEAR PRODUCT CATEGORIES – So that revenue is not lost in “loophole products,” setting precise tobacco product category definitions while amending and updating these categories.
  2. SOLID TAX STRUCTURES – The excise tax structure should support stable and predictable collections and ensure, as much as possible, that excise tax increases translate into government tax revenue increases.
  3. CORRECT TAX LEVELS – To prevent consumers from turning to lower priced products on the black market following tax increases, ensure the correct tax level is applied to each category.
  4. EFFICIENT COLLECTION SYSTEM – To minimize administrative burdens on tax payers and tax collectors, and ensure efficient payment of tobacco taxes by all manufactures and importers.

Two Teachers from Indonesia Joined the 10th Anniversary of Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy

JAKARTA, July 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Binar Sejati and Melva Manalu, two science teachers from West Java, were among more than 200 teachers from around the world to receive a scholarship  for Honeywell (NYSE: HON) program called Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy (HESA) — the “game-changing” experience celebrating its 10th anniversary of inspiring teachers who, in turn, inspire students to pursue science and math education and careers.

Created in partnership with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC), Honeywell (NYSE: HON) developed the award-winning scholarship program to help middle school math and science teachers become more effective educators in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). During the past ten years, Honeywell has awarded scholarships to 2,176 teachers from 56 countries.

“Inspiring students begins with inspiring teachers,” said Alex J. Pollack, president of Honeywell Indonesia. “HESA gives teachers an engaging and unforgettable learning experience that heightens their ability to become even more effective educators. I am glad that more Indonesian teachers are getting the opportunity to join this terrific program.”

This year, 204 teachers from 27 countries attended one of two five-day programs offered over consecutive weeks from June 11-24 at the USSRC in Huntsville, Alabama. Teachers were given rigorous training focused on science and space exploration including astronaut-style exercises like high-performance jet simulation, scenario-based space mission, land and water survival training, and interactive flight dynamics programs.

Both Sejati and Manalu said the program exceeded their expectation and they have learned a lot during the best week of their lives.  

“I was impressed that the entire program relied heavily on interdependence,” said Sejati who is teaching at the Darul Hikam International School. “I realised that the STEM learning is one that will bring students attention, passion, and curiosity. If we combine that with team work, the result will be magnificent. I look forward to integrate my learning in my class.”

Manalu from the SDK Plus BPK Penabur said, “Everything in this program enhanced our understanding not only about space, but also about math, chemistry, technology, and even history. I learned about the authentic integration of science, math and other subjects, the importance of team work, and how to develop enthusiasm among students.”   

Since 2004, educators have shared their experiences and knowledge to more than 2 million students, inspiring many to pursue STEM education and careers. From winning grants from local and federal governments, to entering students in international and NASA educational projects, to creating STEM-focused after school programs, the impact of the program is continuing beyond the classroom. To help mark the program’s decade-long run, 10 HESA alumni were selected, one representing each year, to be the guests-of-honor at the graduation ceremony on June 23.

“This program is all about re-igniting passion in teachers,” said Tom Buckmaster, president of Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company’s global citizenship initiative responsible for HESA. “STEM subjects are some of the most challenging to teach, but this experience helps teachers discover new ways of delivering lesson plans to the next generation of engineers, programmers, mathematicians and astronauts.”

Brandma.Co Received Strategic Investment from Seinosuke Sato

HONG KONG, July 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Brandma.Co Limited, the leading brand management and protection expert in China, announced on July 16, 2014 that Mr. Seinosuke Sato has made an early-stage strategic investment to the company. The deal was completed last week in Hong Kong with the terms undisclosed.

Mr. Sato is a renowned entrepreneur and investor in Silicon Valley and Tokyo. His most recent venture is BrainPad Inc., an industry pioneer in the Big Data field, which offers cutting-edge analytical services and solutions to large-scale web portals, as well as serving retail, finance, telecom, and e-commerce enterprises in Japan. “I firmly believe Brandma has already seized the window of opportunity in the China market,” said Mr. Sato. “The team has demonstrated terrific power of execution and is fulfilling the demanding needs for brand protection in China. I will assist Brandma by enhancing its data processing and analytics capability, upgrading its online brand monitoring and fraud detection mechanism, as well as accelerating Brandma’s global expansion strategy.”

“It’s our honor to earn distinguished investors like Sato-san’s recognition of Brandma’s value and share our vision,” said Mr. Ching Chiao, Founder and the CEO of Brandma.Co. “With Sato-san’s guidance and experience, Brandma is advancing to become a world-class technology company. Our existing customers and partners can rest assured that Brandma continues to offer a reliable, scalable and secure platform for protecting their domain names, trademarks, as well as other digital brand assets. Most importantly, we will keep acting proactively and aggressively in acquiring customers to sustain our market leader position in this competitive market.”

Mr. Chiao also serves as an ICANN GNSO Councilor who oversees the global top-level domain name policies, and a Board Member of .asia TLD registry. He founded Brandma.Co Limited in early 2013 and the company has operations in Beijing, Chengdu, Hong Kong, and Taipei.

Media contact:

Ms. Cathy Peng
+86-10-650084677 (CN)

Simbionix’s Innovative Solution for Patient Specific Simulation Receives Further Global Recognition

CLEVELAND, July 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Medical simulation technology provides an excellent approach to training physicians, nurses and allied health personnel. However, medical simulation development and utilization does not have to stop with training. Simbionix USA Corporation advances the concept of using its proprietary technologies and capabilities to turn the simulation experience into an essential part of pre-operative surgery planning.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120502/529202-a)

The company’s revolutionary PROcedure Rehearsal Studio™ (PRS) steps up simulation by enabling physicians to rehearse a complete endovascular procedure on a virtual 3D anatomical model based on a specific patient’s CT data. The virtual model can be used for simulating, analyzing and evaluating pre-operative surgical treatment options prior to performing an actual case, which may increase a physician’s confidence in the upcoming procedure.

The advantages of patient specific planning have long been recognized in other fields within the healthcare industry, such as medical imaging. Simbionix is pleased to announce the signing of a collaboration agreement with the market leader in medical image analysis software, Pie Medical Imaging BV. The company manufactures and distributes the 3mensio software, a clinical application that enables the visualization and analysis of patient CT scans in both 2D and 3D modes.

The collaboration will enable exporting the 3mensio Vascular™ model into the Simbionix simulation environment to form a comprehensive planning solution that combines 3DR, data analysis and simulation on the same platform. The solution will allow physicians and clinical specialists to rehearse a procedure in a complete virtual environment without the need for physical tools. This will take users of the 3mensio software to the next level of preparedness for endovascular procedures, as it will allow added simulation insights. Cases created by the software may also be imported to the ANGIO Mentor simulator for full procedure practice using fluoroscopy, guidewires, catheters, and other equipment that is used in the cath lab.

Simbionix recently received the CE marking of conformity for its patient specific simulation, an important step towards launching this innovative technology and expansion of its use in the clinical practice. The PRS CE mark demonstrates the product’s compliance with stringent requirements related to the quality, safety, and performance of medical devices determined by the European Union legislation.

In addition, Simbionix PRS has recently been granted a patent in China. The company now has patents for this technology in three key countries: the USA, UK and China. These patents represent recognition for Simbionix’s comprehensive line of products, which provide innovative solutions to advance medical performance and ensure patient safety.

Gary Zamler, Simbionix CEO added that “Growing interest from the image analysis market, which 3mensio is part of, demonstrates the need for more comprehensive planning solutions. The ability to evaluate surgical treatment options using simulation anytime, anywhere, is a major factor in achieving the goal to increase patient safety and improve procedure outcomes. The collaboration agreement, CE mark and additional patent are all examples of the company’s key position as a market leader and innovator in the field of medical simulation.”

Visit: http://www.simbionix.com, FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

Contact: Rebecca Levy, Rebecca@simbionix.com, +1-216-2292040

Max Bupa Recognized as ‘Model Insurer Asia of the Year’ for Effective Implementation of Technology Enabled by Newgen

SINGAPORE, July 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Max Bupa Health Insurance has been recognized as the Celent Model Insurer of Asia for 2014, one of the most coveted honour in APAC region, for effective technology usage in insurance. With a strong focus on utilizing technology to deliver the best in class service, Max Bupa is creating a benchmark in the industry through innovative IT practices. Max Bupa’s focus from the time of inception has been to evolve and transform customer experience, by offering exceptional customer service through smart and hassle free processes.

Max Bupa implemented Newgen Software Technologies’ BPM solution to automate core processes like New Business, Claims, Healthcare Provider Enrolment, Agent Licensing, and Renewals. These solutions together enhanced customer experience through improved interactions, and reduced customer response timelines. Newgen’s mobility application ZapIn enabled end to end automation of the highly critical New Business process thus providing a uniform end user experience. Through this implementation, Max Bupa became the first insurer in India to introduce a mobility application into its customer acquisition process.

Commenting on the win, Somesh Chandra, Director – Customer Service, Operations and Technology, Max Bupa said, “It is an honour to be recognized for our technological prowess by Celent. At Max Bupa, we have a strong focus on utilizing technology to deliver the best in class service and a seamless experience to our customers, partners and employees. We have a clear roadmap to ensure our technology implementation maintains a competitive edge and addresses evolving customer needs. The innovative IT solutions by Newgen have helped us streamline and automate our customer facing business processes.”

Puneet Nath Kapil, Vice-President (IT), Max Bupa added, “We needed a solution to bring about overall improvement in terms of process efficiency, SLA adherence and customer engagements. Newgen with its vast domain expertise, robust product platforms and invigorating business solutions helped us significantly improve our customer response rate.”

Diwakar Nigam, MD & CEO, Newgen Software said, “Every implementation we undertake comes with a unique set of challenges. We have, over the years strived to find invigorating solutions to these challenges. Max Bupa’s win is a testimonial of our success.”

Celent is a leading research and consulting firm focused on the application of information technology in the global financial services industry. Max Bupa won this honour amongst the 18 other insurers.

Media contact: Asif Khan, +65-6221-8432, Asif.khan@newgen.co.in

Singapore Based Capillary Technologies Raises $14 Million Series B Funding Led by Sequoia Capital and Norwest Venture Partners

SINGAPORE, July 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ —

Cloud-Based Integrated Marketing Platform Leader Expands Presence and Partner Ecosystem to Help Retailers Drive Sales through Capillary Intelligent Customer Engagement™ Suite 

Capillary Technologies, the market leader in cloud-based retail customer engagement management, today announced that it has closed a $14 million Series B round of venture financing. This new investment adds to the $17 million of Series A funding received in 2012, providing a sizable balance to fund continued growth. Sequoia Capital and Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) led this round.   The funding will be used to enhance Capillary’s cloud-based integrated marketing platform and grow its partnership ecosystem, which already includes Blue Label Engage in South Africa and the American Express US Global Merchants Services group.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130228/599759)

“Continued funding by both Sequoia and NVP is a vote of confidence in our vision and continued traction in the marketplace. By harnessing the power of Capillary’s Intelligent Customer Engagement™ Suite, retailer marketers are forming successful and personalized relationships with their customers based on insights from our customer analytics platform across multiple channels,” said Aneesh Reddy, co-founder and CEO of Capillary Technologies. “Retailers realize a 15% increase in Average Basket Value and 30% increase in their customer retention rate by implementing our solutions, which is the reason we continue to grow so rapidly around the world.”

Capillary’s insights-driven, integrated marketing platform helps retailers to quickly and easily manage their customer data, gain insights and personalize engagement across multiple channels, driving a significant increase in sales and loyalty.  Capillary’s Intelligent Customer Engagement™ (ICE) suite of software solutions incorporates everything that retail marketers require to engage with their customers, weaving social and mobile experiences into any e-commerce platform or point-of-sale device from legacy terminals to the latest POS devices, mobile tablets, and online shopping platforms.

With the announcement of funding also comes the announcement of a new partner, Agilysys. Agilysys is a leading developer and marketer of proprietary enterprise software, services and solutions to the hospitality industry and operates extensively throughout North America, Europe and Asia.  “We are excited to have them on board and our partnership will allow us to bring innovative solutions to companies of all sizes in the hospitality industry,” said Anant Choubey, Vice President of the APAC region at Capillary Technologies.

Notable new customers include Marks & Spencer, a leading apparel retailer with stores in Europe, Middle East and Asia, KFC, the world’s most popular chicken restaurant chain, Lacoste, a leading French bridge-to-luxury brand, Keedo, a leading children’s clothing manufacturers in South Africa, and Courts, one of the top electrical, IT and furniture retailers in Southeast Asia.”

“We want to continue to provide innovative shopping experiences for our customers.  Capillary’s insights-driven approach has allowed us to more precisely target prospects in six European countries who will be most receptive to our expanded product line,” said Zdenek Hasek, Head of Marketing at Marks & Spencer for Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Baltics.    

As evidence of its continued success, Capillary and its Customer Engagement Management platform has been honored with awards such as one of the 20 Most Promising Digital Marketing Solutions by CIO Review Magazine, Always On Global 250 Top Private Companies, Winner of Top 50 Startups by TiE Silicon Valley, Innovative 100 by Inc. Magazine’s India, and CIO Asias 20 Most Promising Product Companies.

Contact Capillary Technologies:  
Vaibhav Khamesra
Director of Marketing, AP and MEA
+65-9005-7483
press@capillarytech.com