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FORTIS INC. Announces retirement of President and CEO Barry Perry

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DAVID HUTCHENS NAMED SUCCESSOR EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2021

#StJohns, Newfoundland, Canada – September 23, 2020 – Doug Haughey, Chair of the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of Fortis Inc. (“Fortis” or the “Corporation”) (TSX/NYSE: FTS) today announced the retirement of Barry Perry, President and CEO, from Fortis and the Board, effective December 31, 2020.

Barry Perry, outgoing Fortis Inc president

David Hutchens, currently Chief Operating Officer of Fortis and CEO of UNS Energy, will succeed Perry and join the Board, effective January 1, 2021. Perry made a personal decision to retire after a nearly 35-year career, over 20 of which were with Fortis. He has led the Corporation since 2015. Prior to his current position, he served as President from June 30, 2014 to December 31, 2014 and as Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Fortis for 10 years. The Board’s long-term CEO succession plan positioned the Corporation well for this transition and following a comprehensive process the Board confirmed Hutchens as Perry’s successor.

“I’m humbled to have spent the past two decades of my career with Fortis. It’s been an incredible journey to lead the company during a time of such transformational growth. Thank you to our employees, both past and present, for contributing to the success of Fortis,” said Barry Perry. “Fortis has become a North American utility leader focused on a cleaner energy future. I have absolute confidence that David and the team will continue to serve our customers well, advance our strategy and grow Fortis for years to come.”

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In expressing his support for Hutchens, Perry said: “David has decades of utility experience, including as CEO of our subsidiary UNS Energy in Arizona. He has a deep understanding of our business, strategy and culture, is forward-focused, an innovative thinker and most importantly, shares the values of Fortis.”

Hutchens was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Fortis in January 2020 while concurrently serving as the CEO of UNS Energy. In this position, Hutchens was integral in the development of the Corporation’s strategic business plan and led initiatives on safety and operational excellence. In his prior role, he served as Executive Vice President, Western Utility Operations with Fortis beginning in January 2018. In this role, Hutchens maintained his responsibility as President and CEO of UNS Energy and provided oversight of the operations of FortisBC and FortisAlberta.

“I would like to sincerely thank Barry Perry for his outstanding leadership and immense contributions over the past 20 years,” said Doug Haughey. “Barry led the Corporation’s acquisition of our largest business, ITC Holdings, the listing of Fortis on the New York Stock Exchange and, following our strategic expansion into the United States, he successfully pivoted the Corporation toward organic growth. Total shareholder return during Barry’s leadership of Fortis was 105%, or – 2 – approximately 12% per year. Furthermore, Barry advanced many priorities at the Corporation, including safety, diversity and inclusion, sustainability, investor relations and cybersecurity.”

David Hutchens, incoming President & CEO of Fortis Inc

“We are pleased to announce David Hutchens as the next President and CEO of Fortis,” said Haughey. “David has been a key leader in the Fortis organization and offers a unique combination of operational and regulatory expertise in both the electric and gas sectors. David is the right choice to advance the Corporation’s growth strategy and support a cleaner energy future.”

Hutchens has been with UNS Energy for 25 years, advancing through various management positions, overseeing wholesale energy trading and marketing, and energy efficiency and resource planning. He assumed the position of President and CEO, UNS Energy in May 2014. He earned a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Arizona and is a former nuclear submarine officer in the U.S. Navy. David is a member of the Edison Electric Institute’s Board of Directors, the Western Energy Institute Board of Directors and numerous other charity and civic organizations.

“I’m excited about leading Fortis into a new chapter of growth driven by our transition to a cleaner energy future,” said David Hutchens. “Our continued focus on energy delivery, our effective business model supporting our growth strategy, proven dividend track record and outlook, and our strong ESG profile make Fortis a premium North American utility. With my colleagues, I look forward to leading this incredible company, inspiring excellence in customer service and strengthening our partnerships with community and industry.”

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“Fortis will remain a Canadian-headquartered company and our success in this evolving industry will continue to be built on our strong foundation of safety, culture, responsibility, and commitment to our customers, employees and communities,” said Hutchens.

“I’d like to thank Barry for his tremendous contributions to Fortis,” said Hutchens. “His insights, passion and leadership are widely recognized in our industry and have been greatly appreciated by those of us fortunate enough to work closely with him.”

Issued by FortisTCI, Press Release

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Health

[Excerpt] from an Mental Health & Well Being Open Consultation; United Kingdom

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May 19, 2022 – “Approximately 1 in 6 people aged 16 and over in England were identified as having a common mental health condition in 2014, according to survey data.  In 2020 to 2021, there were around half a million people with more severe mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. We have seen worrying trends for children and young people, with rates of probable mental health disorders in 6 to 16-year-olds rising from 11.6% in 2017 to 17.4% in 2021. More people than ever are receiving support for a mental health crisis and, tragically, the numbers of those ending their life through suicide have broadly increased over the past decade. We know that two-thirds of people who end their life by suicide are not in contact with NHS mental health services.

For many of us, the experience of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – and its wide-ranging impacts on individuals, families, society and the economy – have brought these issues into sharper focus. Around 1 in 5 adults in Britain experienced some form of depression in the first 3 months of 2021, over double pre-pandemic figures.

These problems aren’t felt equally by all of us. We know there is an uneven distribution of mental ill-health across society. People facing social and economic disadvantage are at a much higher risk of developing mental health conditions. They are also more likely to receive care and support much later as their conditions escalate to crisis point. In 2020 to 2021, people living in the most deprived areas of England were twice as likely to be in contact with mental health services than those living in the least deprived areas.

There are also disparities by ethnicity, age, sexuality, and sex, and for people with learning disabilities, neurodiversity, and long-term physical health conditions. Risks of mental ill-health are also higher for people who are unemployed, people in problem debt, people who have experienced displacement, including refugees and asylum seekers, people who have experienced trauma as the result of violence or abuse, children in care and care leavers, people in contact with the criminal justice system (both victims and offenders), people who sleep rough or are homeless, people with substance misuse or gambling problems, people who live alone, and unpaid carers. People may belong to several disadvantaged groups at once, which is likely to compound the risk of experiencing mental ill-health. Addressing these disparities is critical to deliver the government’s ambition to level up the country and tackle disparities in health. We will set out more detail on our plans to reduce the gap in health outcomes between different places and communities across the country in our forthcoming health disparities white paper. See Annex A below on mental health disparities for more detail, which can be used as a point of reference when responding to our questions.

The impacts of mental ill-health on individuals, communities, society and the economy are substantial. Children and young people’s mental health conditions incur annual short-term costs estimated at £1.58 billion and annual long-term costs estimated at £2.35 billion.

Around 50% of mental health conditions are established by the time a child reaches the age of 14, and 75% by age 24.

Adults with mental health conditions are much more likely to be out of work, to have lower incomes, increased problems with their physical health, and increased involvement in the criminal justice system, both as victims and perpetrators.

The total annual cost of mental ill-health in the workplace to government has been estimated at between £24 billion and £27 billion. The overall annual loss to the economy has been estimated at between £70 billion and £100 billion. Losses are greater in places and among groups that experience mental health disparities.

Health is essential to a stable and functioning economy.

Our strong economic foundation going into the pandemic and the support provided throughout means we have made good economic progress.

However, we must continue to build back better as we begin to rebuild the economy. By improving mental health across the country, we can improve lives and livelihoods whilst reducing the demand on the NHS and pressure on other public services, and at the same time supporting economic growth.

A healthier and happier population is also more likely to access employment opportunities, which will reduce inactivity and improve productivity.

Reducing disparities in mental health between local areas is therefore critical to ensuring more equal access to opportunities and supporting the government’s Levelling Up agenda.”

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Africa

Natural Immunity less powerful against new Omicron strains in South Africa as Fifth Wave looms

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Africa, May 19, 2022 – South Africa is undergoing a massive covid surge with cases jumping by 50 percent in just 24 hours on May 5th. 9,757 new cases were reported on the 5th, 3,587 more positive results than the 6,170 recorded the day before.  For context, on April 5th, a month earlier 1538 new infections were recorded.

Since that 50 percent increase on May 5th daily new infections have consistently been above 2,900 reaching as high as 10,017 on May 11th. South Africa recorded over 86,000 new cases and over 550 deaths between May 5th and 16th in a time frame of less than 2 weeks.

Vaccine uptake in South Africa is below slightly above 50 percent with only 35 million fully vaccinated individuals in a population of more than 59 million.

Shabir Mahdi, a scientist leading vaccine trials in the country had suggested that natural immunity was what was helping with lower hospitalizations when omicron initially appeared in the country.

This latest increase however, is being driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub variants, which may be more adept at evading natural immunity.

In a study carried out by the Africa Health Research Institute blood samples from people infected with omicron but unvaccinated, when tested against BA.4 and BA.5, neutralizing antibodies which fight Covid were eight times lower. In people who contracted omicron and were vaccinated it was three times lower.

The study has not yet been peer reviewed but the researchers say, “The low absolute neutralization levels for BA.4 and BA.5, particularly in the unvaccinated group, are unlikely to protect well against symptomatic infection,”

“This may indicate that… BA.4 and BA.5 have potential to result in a new infection wave.”

That study was carried out back in January when the variants were first detected.

When the Omicron fueled fourth wave hit South Africa in 2021 cases in the United States, Canada and parts of Europe quickly followed. BA.4 and .5 have been detected in the US, Canada, China and parts of Europe.

On May 12th the BA.4 and.5 variants were both upgraded to variants of concern by the European Centre for Disease Control.

The ECDC says variants of concern are ones for which, “clear evidence is available indicating a significant impact on transmissibility, severity and/or immunity that is likely to have an impact on the epidemiological situation in the EU/EEA.”

The possible spike in cases comes one year and five months since the first COVID jabs in the world were administered in the UK and the US,  one year and four months since the first vaccine was administered in the Turks and Caicos.

Though boosters have been available in many countries worldwide booster campaigns have not been as effective as initial vaccination campaigns. Without the stretched protection of boosters many more people may remain vulnerable to this building wave of BA.4 or BA.5 vaccines.

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Caribbean News

List of Demands for UK, presented by Overseas Territories at May 4-6 meetings

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#UnitedKingdom, May 19, 2022 – Speakers of the House from Overseas Territories in the Caribbean met with the UK House of Commons in the first ever Speaker-led conference to discuss issues relating to governance, climate and visibility in the House of Commons and provide the UK with an idea of what they say is necessary for OTs to survive.

The meeting held on May 4th to 6th was attended by Speakers from Anguilla, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Saint Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands, the UK House of Commons and a representative from Gibraltar.

A communique released after the event made it clear that democracy was of utmost import to the small island states.

“We reaffirmed the central role played by legislatures in democratic life, our commitment to the principles of democracy in our legislatures, the sacredness of democracy and the need for partnership to sustain it. As our legislatures bring together all components of society, they are the cornerstones of democratic governance; they represent the wills and expressions of the people through scrutiny and democratic process,” it said.

Governance

In order to support the legislature the OTs requested that the UK government provide funding for them to have a ‘dedicated building in which to carry out its activities and duties’ as well as investment in the training of officials and sharing of best practices. The Speakers also requested that funding be provided for any constitutional reviews should the issue arise.

To ensure that the overseas territories have a voice in legislation in the UK that affects them the UK Speaker promised to explore opportunities for OTs to scrutinise these laws . Additionally the UK Speaker said the house of commons was willing to help facilitate parliamentary representation of the Overseas Territories at the UK Parliament if the territories decided they wanted to.

The Speakers requested that outside of this the UK provide detailed Impact Assessments for any bill that would affect them

Climate Change 

Aptly described as a climate emergency in the communique the speakers noted that while the OTs were bastions of nature  the volatility with which climate change was occurring would directly impact overseas territories first and worst.

“The Overseas Territories are custodians of internationally important habitats, which span the globe from the Antarctic to the Caribbean, the South Atlantic to the Pacific and the Indian Oceans with different geographical challenges…We recognise that the Overseas Territories have multiple levels of vulnerability including economic constraints and challenges of infrastructure which mean the impacts of the climate emergency can result in huge environmental disasters and economic impacts” it said.

Thus the countries called for long term, strategic action by the UK including dedicated and transparent funding to replace lost EU funding caused by Brexit. They also thanked the UK for their commitment to biodiversity.

The territories ended on a firm note emphasising their right to self-determination saying, “We reiterate our shared belief that the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, as enshrined in the UN Charter, applies to the peoples of the Overseas Territories.”

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