The Key to Drilling Wells with Staying Power in the Developing World Sep 2, 2014 12:50PM

STOCKHOLM, Sept. 2, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- What happens after a well is drilled, fitted with a hand pump, and a community celebrates having access to clean water for the first time? Half of them break down in a year.

When a community lacks sufficient resources and training, these wells would be rendered unusable; however, a new study by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's (UNC) Water Institute and Water and Sanitation for Africa, a Pan-African humanitarian agency, found that if local water communities collect fees for repairs and train community members to fix the wells, they can remain in use for decades.

The study found that nearly 80 percent of wells drilled by the Christian humanitarian organization World Vision – which integrates local water committees, usage fees and repair teams into its model of delivering clean water – were still operational after more than two decades. The research, funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, will be presented at the World Water Week meeting in Stockholm, Sweden. The foundation has provided $80 million over more than two decades to enable water access to an estimated 2 million people.

"The results of this study are very encouraging," said Steven M. Hilton, Chairman, President and CEO of the Hilton Foundation. "Strategic investments targeted at developing the capacity of local communities ensure that water systems remain reliable and long-lasting."

"The good systems are the ones that are maintained and repaired when they fail," said Jamie Bartram, Don and Jennifer Holzworth Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's Gillings School of Global Public Health and lead researcher on the study. "And they can fail and be repaired time and time again for decades."

Bartram and his colleagues studied 1,470 wells in the Greater Afram Plains region of Ghana. A total of 898 of those wells were drilled by World Vision. The study found that wells were significantly more likely to be functioning if the community had both a local water committee and fee collection system in place. 

In communities where World Vision operates, local water, sanitation and hygiene committees are established to manage every new water point. The committees, comprised entirely of local residents, collect fees for the usage and repair of the wells. World Vision also provides the committees with tool kits and comprehensive training on maintaining and repairing wells when they inevitably break down.  The formation and training of committees is now standard practice across many government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and this study appears to strongly validate this approach.

Models for fee collection vary among communities, with some opting for monthly fees and others charging a few pennies for every water jug that is collected.

The study found that 45 percent of all wells broke down in the past 12 months; however, the majority of the wells drilled by World Vision were repaired and remained operational for years to come.

"World Vision is to be congratulated," said Bartram. "This study showed a high level of functioning of World Vision wells based on having a water committee and charging a small fee to ensure funds were available for their repair."

More than 1,600 children die each day from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation and hygiene practices. This is more children than die from HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.

"Ensuring that people living in poverty have access to clean water has life-and-death implications," said Greg Allgood, vice president of water at World Vision. "Children can't go to school because they are sick, women walk for hours each day to retrieve water and ultimately people die from waterborne illnesses."

Bartram and Allgood agree that local ownership and accountability as a key to ensuring that access to clean water remains after charities and NGOs leave, noting one particularly memorable encounter Allgood had with the leaders of a water committee in Ghana.

"I asked the chairman and the secretary of the water committee who owns the well, and they were clear in telling me 'This is our well'," Allgood said. "World Vision provided the well to them, but now it's theirs." 

World Vision is the largest nongovernmental provider of clean water in the developing world – reaching one new person with clean water every 30 seconds. Its program in West Africa has provided sustainable access to clean water for millions of people, contributing to a dramatic reduction of diarrheal illness and trachoma and the eradication of guinea worm in Ghana.

MEDIA RESOURCES:

Video (results): https://vimeo.com/album/2832974/video/104144072

Video (personal impact): https://vimeo.com/album/2832974/video/99355016

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140902/142053

SOURCE World Vision U.S.


Aberdeen Israel Fund, Inc. Announces Performance Data And Portfolio Composition Sep 2, 2014 12:47PM

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Aberdeen Israel Fund, Inc. (the "Fund") (NYSE MKT: ISL), a closed-end equity fund, announced today its performance data and portfolio composition as of July 31, 2014.

The Fund's total returns for various periods through July 31, 2014 are provided below.  (All figures are based on distributions reinvested at the dividend reinvestment price and are stated net-of-fees):    

Cumulative as of 07/31/14

Annualized as of 07/31/14

1 Month

3 Month

YTD

1 Year

3 Years

5 Years

10 Years

Since Inception

NAV

-0.4

0.4

4.7

17.4

6.1

10.1

10.0

7.8

Market Price

1.3

0.8

7.4

22.2

5.9

9.5

10.7

7.1

TA-100

-0.5

0.6

4.5

18.4

3.9

9.4

11.2

7.7

On July 31, 2014, the Fund's net assets amounted to US$83.5 million and the Fund's NAV per share was $20.35.

As of July 31, 2014, the portfolio was invested as follows:

 

Portfolio Composition

Percent of

Net Assets

Health Care

20.7

Financials

19.4

Information Technology

18.7

Consumer Staples

14.0

Materials

13.7

Telecommunications

4.9

Industrials

3.8

Consumer Discretionary

2.5

Cash

2.3

The Fund's ten largest equity holdings as of July 31, 2014, representing 68.2% of net assets, were:

Stock

Percent ofNet Assets

Check Point Software Technologies

10.4

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries

10.3

Perrigo

10.0

OSEM Investment

6.6

Frutarom Industries

6.5

Israel Chemicals

5.7

Mizrahi Tefahot Bank

4.9

Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication

4.8

Ituran Location and Control

4.5

Rami Levy

4.5

Important Information

Aberdeen Asset Management Inc. has prepared this report based on information sources believed to be accurate and reliable.  However, the figures are unaudited and neither the Fund, Aberdeen Asset Managers Limited (effective March 1, 2012, the Investment Adviser), nor any other person guarantees their accuracy.  Investors should seek their own professional advice and should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before acting on this information. Aberdeen is a U.S. registered service mark of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC.

Closed-end funds are traded on the secondary market through one of the stock exchanges. The Fund's investment return and principal value will fluctuate so that an investor's shares may be worth more or less than the original cost. Shares of closed-end funds may trade above (a premium) or below (a discount) the net asset value (NAV) of the fund's portfolio. There is no assurance that the Fund will achieve its investment objective.

Total return figures with distributions reinvested at the dividend reinvestment price are stated net-of-fees and represents past performance.  Past performance is not indicative of future results, current performance may be higher or lower.  Holdings are subject to change and are provided for informational purposes only and should not be deemed as a recommendation to buy or sell the securities shown.  Inception date October 29, 1992.

If you wish to receive this information electronically, please contact: InvestorRelations@aberdeen-asset.com

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121106/NE07292LOGO

SOURCE Aberdeen Israel Fund, Inc.


Citizen Watch Company of America And USTA To Extend Comprehensive Long-Term Partnership With The US Open Sep 2, 2014 12:46PM

LYNDHURST, N.J., Sept. 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Citizen Watch Company of America announces that it has come to an agreement with The United States Tennis Association (USTA) to extend its long-standing partnership.  The new deal, set to commence in 2015, will provide Citizen with expanded brand visibility throughout the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (NTC) grounds and an enhanced presence on US Open digital platforms, while continuing their position as the Exclusive Timekeeper for the tournament.  Citizen will also become the Official Timekeeper of the Emirates Airline US Open Series and will have a presence at all U.S.-based Series' tournaments.  In addition to Citizen's presence within the US Open and Emirates Airline US Open Series, the brand will be integrated into the USTA's future "Home of American Tennis" within the Lake Nona region of Orlando, Florida.

"Citizen has been a valued partner of the US Open since 1993 and we are delighted that they will be on board through this next transformation of the National Tennis Center," said Lew Sherr, Chief Revenue Officer of the USTA.  "We are also excited to expand Citizen's integration with other USTA platforms and initiatives such as the Emirates Airline US Open Series and the new Home of American Tennis in Orlando."

Jeffrey Cohen, President of Citizen Watch Company of America said "We are very pleased to build on our powerful relationship with the US Open."  Cohen continued, "The spirit of this world renowned competition perfectly reflects the guiding principle of our brand: Better Starts Now."

Citizen has been a sponsor of the US Open for twenty-two years and this new deal will take the relationship beyond the 50th Anniversary of the US Open Era which will occur in 2018.

Citizen Watch Company of America holds the leading position in the mid-priced watch market in the United States, setting itself apart from its competitors with its ecologically friendly Eco-Drive technology.  Utilizing the power of light, Citizen Eco-Drive technology converts light into stored energy to power a watch for at least six months, even in the dark.  Powered by light. Any light. A watch that never needs a battery.

The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the United States and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level, from local communities to the highest level of the professional game.  A not-for-profit organization with more than 750,000 members, it invests 100 percent of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the Emirates Airline US Open Series, linking eight summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns approximately 90 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S. and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA's national charitable foundation, USTA Serves, provides grants and scholarships and helps underserved youth and people with disabilities. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com, "like" the official Facebook page, facebook.com/usta, or follow @usta on Twitter. 

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140902/142035

SOURCE Citizen Watch Company of America


LHC Group Completes Previously Announced Acquisition of Life Care Home Health Sep 2, 2014 12:45PM

LAFAYETTE, La., Sept. 2, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- LHC Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: LHCG), a national provider of home health, hospice and comprehensive post-acute healthcare services, announced today that it has completed the previously announced asset purchase from Life Care Home Health, Inc. acquiring 13 home health agencies across six states for $10 million in cash. The transaction increases LHC Group's geographical footprint to 350 locations across 29 states. The transaction is anticipated to be accretive to LHC Group's 2015 earnings, with a neutral impact expected for 2014.

The combined service area of the 13 acquired agencies of Life Care Home Health, which began its home health operations in 1996, includes 44 counties with an estimated 65 and older population of 2 million in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Utah and Washington. The states of Tennessee and Washington are Certificate of Need (CON) states. The acquired home health agencies produced revenues of approximately $28 million for the trailing twelve months ended in June 2014, with approximately 90% coming from Medicare. Due to a different regulatory process and timeline, the acquisition of an additional Life Care Home Health agency in Rhode Island is expected to close later this year.

Life Care Home Health is a sister company of Life Care Centers of America, Inc., which provides nursing home care and long-term health care services for residents in a variety of settings, including skilled nursing homes, assisted living facilities, retirement living communities and home care.

About LHC Group, Inc.

LHC Group, Inc. is a national provider of post-acute healthcare services, providing quality, cost-effective healthcare to patients within the comfort and privacy of their home or place of residence. LHC Group provides a comprehensive array of healthcare services through home health, hospice and community‑based services agencies in its home-based and hospice-based divisions and long-term acute care hospitals in its facility-based division.

Certain matters discussed in this press release constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, such as statements about the Company's future financial performance and the strength of the Company's operations. Such forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as "continue," "expect," and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including changes in reimbursement, changes in government regulations, changes in LHC Group's relationships with referral sources, increased competition for LHC Group's services, increased competition for joint venture and acquisition candidates, changes in the interpretation of government regulations and other risks set forth in Item 1A. Risk Factors in LHC Group's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. LHC Group undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

CONTACT: Eric Elliott
         Investor Relations
         (337) 233-1307
         eric.elliott@LHCgroup.com

Source: LHC Group


LHC Group Completes Previously Announced Acquisition of Life Care Home Health Sep 2, 2014 12:45PM

LAFAYETTE, La., Sept. 2, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- LHC Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: LHCG), a national provider of home health, hospice and comprehensive post-acute healthcare services, announced today that it has completed the previously announced asset purchase from Life Care Home Health, Inc. acquiring 13 home health agencies across six states for $10 million in cash. The transaction increases LHC Group's geographical footprint to 350 locations across 29 states. The transaction is anticipated to be accretive to LHC Group's 2015 earnings, with a neutral impact expected for 2014.

The combined service area of the 13 acquired agencies of Life Care Home Health, which began its home health operations in 1996, includes 44 counties with an estimated 65 and older population of 2 million in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Utah and Washington. The states of Tennessee and Washington are Certificate of Need (CON) states. The acquired home health agencies produced revenues of approximately $28 million for the trailing twelve months ended in June 2014, with approximately 90% coming from Medicare. Due to a different regulatory process and timeline, the acquisition of an additional Life Care Home Health agency in Rhode Island is expected to close later this year.

Life Care Home Health is a sister company of Life Care Centers of America, Inc., which provides nursing home care and long-term health care services for residents in a variety of settings, including skilled nursing homes, assisted living facilities, retirement living communities and home care.

About LHC Group, Inc.

LHC Group, Inc. is a national provider of post-acute healthcare services, providing quality, cost-effective healthcare to patients within the comfort and privacy of their home or place of residence. LHC Group provides a comprehensive array of healthcare services through home health, hospice and community‑based services agencies in its home-based and hospice-based divisions and long-term acute care hospitals in its facility-based division.

Certain matters discussed in this press release constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, such as statements about the Company's future financial performance and the strength of the Company's operations. Such forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as "continue," "expect," and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including changes in reimbursement, changes in government regulations, changes in LHC Group's relationships with referral sources, increased competition for LHC Group's services, increased competition for joint venture and acquisition candidates, changes in the interpretation of government regulations and other risks set forth in Item 1A. Risk Factors in LHC Group's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. LHC Group undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

CONTACT: Eric Elliott
         Investor Relations
         (337) 233-1307
         eric.elliott@LHCgroup.com

Source: LHC Group


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