Experts at HHS webinar cite key pandemic planning issues

first_img HHS Pandemic Influenza Plan At the beginning of the webcast, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt made some opening remarks that focused on what the agency has accomplished, especially since the release of the HHS’s Pandemic Influenza Plan in 2005. Osterholm said the private sector has so far failed in its pandemic planning efforts, because businesses haven’t taken their plans to the next level, such as establishing back-up plans in case supply chains collapse, which could have more severe effects than the pandemic virus itself. “They have to play like a chess master, and plan the next 8 to 10 moves down the board,” he said. On the vaccine-sharing issue, Leavitt said he understands the concerns that Indonesia and other countries have about access to affordable H5N1 vaccines, but he said Indonesia’s apparent demand of financial compensation for sharing virus samples is a “dangerous proposition” that could open the door to endless demands. Some of the online viewers asked the panelists how individuals and corporations can better prepare for a pandemic. Leavitt and Osterholm advised viewers to keep the issue alive by keeping dialogues on the topic going with local and state government officials. “I think we can finish our service better prepared, especially since 2005, but there is still a great deal to do,” he said. Finish work on new vaccine facilities. Remind states, businesses, and families about their responsibility to help prepare for an influenza pandemic. In terms of pandemic preparedness, Leavitt emphasized a list of the agency’s accomplishments, which include an H5N1 vaccine with aggressive efforts under way to expand vaccine production technology and capacity, an antiviral stockpile that has been amplified by a state purchase incentive plan, new diagnostic testing systems, and an array of regional pandemic planning summits and formal exercises. The compensation demand promotes a vaccine scarcity mentality, Leavitt said, “but we need to pursue an abundance mentality.” See also: Continue work on countermeasure distribution, which he said is currently the “Achilles heel” of bioterror response planning. Leavitt said he has four recommendations for the next HHS secretary, “sort of a note on the desk,” he said: Strongly defend the global influenza virus-sharing network. Leavitt also spoke to the transitions that will likely occur over the next few months as the Bush administration winds down and a new administration takes over. He said during his tenure, the HHS has planned for 15 different disaster scenarios, including pandemic influenza. After Leavitt spoke he joined the panel discussion group, which included Maggie Fox, health and science editor for Reuters news service, Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, which publishes CIDRAP News, and William Raub, PhD, Leavitt’s science advisor. He said two events loom large during his years as HHS secretary: the re-emergence of H5N1 avian influenza virus and hurricane Katrina. The storm response was, “a remarkable shakedown of our national response plan,” Leavitt said. “We’re due for a pandemic, but regrettably, we’re still somewhat underprepared,” he said. Leading the nation’s pandemic preparedness efforts has required a delicate balance, Leavitt added. “You want to stimulate preparedness, but not panic.” Oct 29, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today hosted an online conversation among experts, government officials, and members of the public that touched on emerging issues in pandemic planning, such as anticipating supply chain interruptions and keeping the momentum going during tough economic times.last_img read more

​European Commission’s Lueder sets out strategy for asset management

first_imgHe cited the reporting requirements in the AIFM Directive as one result of that tendency in asset management.“We have seen the peak in that, and that there will be a new focus on the internal market,” he said.“We can see that with the way the European Commission’s structure has been reformed, and the capital markets union was added to Lord Hill’s portfolio for that very reason.”Jonathan Hill was recently named as commissioner for Financial Services Stability, Financials Services and Capital Markets Union, a move broadly welcomed in all sections of the industry, including asset management.Lueder’s main focus was on creating new business outside the EU, and particularly in China.“I don’t think there is any agenda for creating new passporting schemes,” he said.“It’s more credible to start to work on third-country schemes that exploit the structures we have already established in the form of UCITS, ELTIF, AIFM and European venture capital schemes.“UCITS has been a great success that gives us a headstart in places like China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Chile.“We have one of the few pieces of European legislation that has become the global standard, the default model for businesses selling funds in third countries.“UCITS is the model we could build on for capital markets union, for raising capital in multiple jurisdictions – not just throughout the EU, but worldwide.”Lueder offered an insight into his detailed discussions with the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the People’s Bank of China and the Chinese asset management community, following on from initial contact made by commissioner Michel Barnier.The favoured structure would see Chinese investors obtain a domestic investor quota to convert part of their renminbi holdings into the investment currency of a UCITS – the opposite of the QFII arrangements, which involve foreign investors getting a quota for investment in China.In terms of the types of products Chinese investors will look for, Lueder reported a lot of interest in the use of UCITS to liberalise and increase convertibility of the renminbi.He cited the example of foreign-currency denominated investments in import or export businesses with exposure to the renminbi, cases where the conversion back to renminbi on redemption provide potential extra return or a hedge for the investor.He added that the liquidity afforded by UCITS was an advantage for these kinds of investment.“Investors in China want UCITS that are complementary to what they already have access to,” Lueder added.“They don’t want European money market funds. They want smaller, specialised, niche investments in their UCITS – this could be a big opportunity for Europe’s smaller asset managers.”Both messages played well with the NCI members in London.Dominic Johnson, chief executive at emerging market boutique Somerset Capital, and NCI’s co-founder and chairman, said: “It’s terrifically heartening to hear from Tilman Lueder that his part of the European Commission is focused on fostering true European capital markets integration, assisting our members – and firms like them – to compete better globally.” Tilman Lueder, head of the European Commission’s asset management division that oversees EU rules applicable to collective investment schemes (UCITS) and alternative investment fund managers (AIFMs), has set out an industry-friendly strategy that focuses on taking European investment vehicles to Chinese institutional investors.Speaking in London at an event hosted by the insurance brokers JLT after a day spent in dialogue with the New City Initiative, a trade body representing owner-managed financial services firms, Lueder was keen to emphasise a shift in focus for the incoming Commission.“There is a new team of commissioners coming in, and the portfolio set-up has been organised in line with the focus on jobs and growth,” he said.While he emphasised that the asset management division had always been much less focused on crisis-response, macroprudential regulation, such as Solvency II and the banking union project, he conceded that after 2008 there was a tendency to see the internal market as problematic because of the systemic interconnections it creates.last_img read more

Mark Ferguson Retirement

first_imgAt the end of this current school year, Mark Ferguson will retire as the Batesville Athletic Director.  Mark has been the A.D. at Batesville for the passed 21 years.  During this time, not only has the number of the student body increased, but so has the number who participate in one or more sport activities.  There are 19 high school sports alone for which Mark has to schedule, hire officials, and hire enough workers for the home contests.  Add to this the liability issues that are so prevalent today, which means that every athlete must have a complete health record on file at the school.  It is the A.D.’s job to make sure every coach has a copy of these at every event.  A few years ago, the Middle School duties were added to the high school A.D.’s job description.  This complicates the job, because they are in different buildings.Ask any coach at Batesville and they will tell you that Mark has been a student/athlete advocate; and if you can justify a need that will help the athletes perform better, he will do everything he can to provide it.  I worked for two A.D.’s at BHS and was very lucky because both Mark and his predecessor, Glen Butt, made my job easy.  Good luck, Mark, in your retirement.  I hope they find someone to fill those large shoes.last_img read more

Asian Games Indian para-athletes’ inspiring stories will make your heart swell with pride

first_imgNew Delhi: A full-fledged team of around 300 members including athletes, coaches, support staff, escorts, staff, and officials, is all set to represent India in the Asian Para Games 2018, slated to be held from October 6 to 13 in Jakarta. A warm heartfelt send-off ceremony was held in New Delhi on Thursday by the combined comity of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan and Paralympic Committee of India (PCI). The occasion also staged the expressions of the India Paralympic athletes including Deepa Malik, Mariappan Thangavelu, Amit Kumar Saroha, and Varun Bhati, among others, which clamps the magic of inspiring generations to come.Also Read | I am here for my selfish reasons: Shah Rukh Khan at the Indian para athletes send-off ceremonyDeepa Malik became the first Indian woman to achieve a medal in Paralympic games by securing a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Shot Put. The words of her bravery and courage fail to justify the immense virtue that is tagged along with her. The athlete was paralysed at the age of 30. Without losing the will to empower her goal, she began her swimming career when she was 36 while the crown of recognition was bestowed upon her only four years later.“Forty is an age for a woman where she goes through many changes. On one hand, there were identity crises spurting within me while I was paralysed and anchored to the wheelchair, on the other. However, when I sported the Indian tracksuit and stood below our National Flag, emblazoning my medal, everything changed as I had accomplished a profound identity,” expresses the 47-year-old athlete.“When an athlete wins a medal, it belongs to the country and not the individual. It becomes a medal of 1.3 billion Indians.”Arjuna Awardee and Asian Para Games medallist, Amit Kumar Saroha, is one of India’s top Para athletes and the first quadriplegic to represent India at a Paralympic Games (London, 2012). Hailing from Haryana, the sportsperson shared that he used to play hockey in his early days. Even after getting injured in 2007, the sportsmen spirit did not leave him. Amit says while addressing every para-athlete, “I wanted to see my country win medal and I wanted to be the one to make my nation proud. This motivation stays with me while I perform for my country.”Also Read | Rahul Gandhi in Madhya Pradesh: ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ to be changed if Congress comes to power’Mariappan Thangavelu, who has brought this country a huge pride, says the organisation has provided him a platform where despite the disability, he can contribute his best.Deepa expressed her gratitude to Shah Rukh who leads the Meer Foundation and Kolkata Knight Riders and said that his step towards encouraging the athletes will help to create an awareness about it among the masses. “I am thankful to Shah Rukh Khan for coming today and motivating us to do our best. Wherever he goes, he has the charm and personality that brings a lot of recognition. His association with us will raise the awareness about the game,” Deepa said.The words, the stories, and the struggles which the athletes shared will resonate through the soul of inspirations. It will motivate humanity to adorn the many struggles that life bestows upon them. These athletes are the true heroes of the country whose courage will lead the path towards the triumph.Also Read | How Sidharth Malhotra finds a perfect getaway for team ‘Jabariya Jodi’ in LucknowNews Nation wishes good luck to all the athletes representing India at the Asian Para Games 2018! For all the Latest Sports News News, Asian Games News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

Family of Ex-FBI Agent, Coral Springs Resident Bob Levinson Says He Died in Iranian Custody

first_imgMeanwhile, Iran’s government has never acknowledged arresting Levinson, who worked as a private investigator at the time of his disappearance.In 2016, four American hostages were freed from Iranian captivity in connection with money the Obama Administration sent to Iran as a weapons payment reimbursement.However, Levinson was not on that plane.Last November, Iranian officials sent a message to the United Nations, referring to Levinson’s case as “ongoing.”That occurred shortly after the U.S. government raised the reward for information leading to Levinson’s safe return to $25 million.Renewed Hope for Broward Family of FBI Agent Bob Levinson Held in Iran The family of Robert Levinson, an ex-FBI agent and Coral Springs resident who had been held captive in Iran for 13 years, says he has died in Iranian custody.Levinson’s family posted their statement on Twitter, adding that they recently received information from U.S. officials that has led them and the family to believe he passed away before the coronavirus pandemic.“It is impossible to describe our pain,” the statement reads. “Our family will spend the rest of our lives without the most amazing manwe have ever known, a new reality that is inconceivable to us. His grandchildren will never meet him. They will only know him through the stories we tell them.”Levinson was the longest held U.S. hostage in history.He was reportedly captured in the Iranian island of Kish in 2007.The family later admitted that he had been working for the CIA.last_img read more