GAO urges more effort to gird US infrastructure for pandemic

first_img “While some discussion has occurred, there are opportunities to further address these issues through the increased federal and private sector use of the sector-specific and cross-sector coordinating councils,” the report states. Potentially confusing and conflicting messages from the many government agencies responsible for providing information on the pandemic issue Uncertainty about federal and state roles in areas such as state border closures and pandemic flu vaccine distribution Maintaining a focus on pandemic planning, given the unpredictable timing of a pandemic and the existence of more immediate problems, such as foodborne disease outbreaks The GAO reviewed preparedness efforts in the five sectors (other than public health and healthcare) that it deems most essential to maintaining society and the economy during a pandemic: transportation, food and agriculture, water, electric power, and telecommunications. A need for more funds for training and infrastructure and dealing with potential legal and regulatory issues Nov 2, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The federal government should step up efforts to prepare the nation’s key infrastructure industries, such as energy and transportation, for an influenza pandemic, Congress’s investigative agency said in a report this week. In some cases the federal and private sectors are using the coordinating councils to cooperate on infrastructure protection, but those efforts so far focus mainly on hazards in general rather than a pandemic in particular, the report says. Yet some specific pandemic preparations are under way. For example, the Communications Sector Coordinating Council has set up a working group to address telecommuting issues. The coordinating councils are advisory groups set up by DHS to foster collaboration within and between government and the private sector to protect the nation’s “critical infrastructure.” A government coordinating council and a sector coordinating council were set up for each of 17 industrial sectors, ranging from information technology and telecommunications to water and electric power. The agency interviewed officials from the federal agencies responsible for infrastructure protection related to the five sectors and also reviewed infrastructure protection plans, regulations, and guidance. A letter from a DHS official, included in the report, says DHS concurs with the GAO recommendation. More than 85% of the nation’s critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector, the report notes. It says that public-private partnerships are vital to ensure that essential services will continue during a pandemic or other national emergency.center_img The report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), released Oct 31, recommends that the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) take the lead in encouraging the “coordinating councils” for the infrastructure sectors to prepare for the challenges the sectors will face during a pandemic. Government and private-sector officials who were interviewed by the GAO reported a number of challenges they face in working together on pandemic preparedness: Sep 11 CIDRAP News story “GAO finds gaps in federal pandemic planning” DHS is in a good position to lead this endeavor, because it is responsible for coordinating infrastructure protection and is the lead agency for more than half of the critical industrial sectors, the GAO says. Accordingly, the agency recommends that the DHS secretary, working with other sector-specific agencies, “lead efforts to encourage the government and private sector members of the councils to consider and help address the challenges that will require coordination between the federal and private sectors involved with critical infrastructure and within the various sectors” before and during a pandemic. House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said the GAO report confirmed his view that DHS should make better use of the infrastructure coordinating councils, according to a Nov 1 report by CQ Homeland Security, published by Congressional Quarterly Inc. See also: GAO report: Influenza pandemic: Opportunities exist to address critical infrastructure protection challenges that require federal and private sector coordinationhttp://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0836.pdf The federal government and private sector have already taken some steps to prepare the nation’s infrastructure for a pandemic, such as developing general preparedness guidance and determining the number of workers necessary to maintain operations, the GAO says. Developing strategies to address “the crucial cross-sector interdependencies” in the nation’s infrastructure, “such as the electricity and telecommunications capabilities that are necessary to support all the other sectors”last_img read more


Ghana Premier League: Sponsor pays GHS1m for 2014-15 season

first_imgFirst Capital Plus Bank, headline sponsors of the Ghana Premier League, have presented a cheque worth over GHS 1 million to the Ghana Football Association.The amount represents 25 percent and the first tranche of the sponsorship sum for the 2014/2015 Premier League season.Chief Executive Officer of the bank, John Kofi Mensah, announced that this is to show its commitment to the Ghana Premier League despite its recent challenges.”This is to affirm our support for the First Capital Plus Premier League and to assure Ghanaians that this bank is deeply committed towards impacting society through football”, Mr. Mensah said at an event held to announce the payment in Accra.As part of the package, First Capital Plus Bank also presented brand new sets of Referee’s Jerseys to the GFA for distribution to the Ghana Referees Association.The wholly owned Ghanaian bank signed a five-year deal worth US$10 million with the GFA last year as headline sponsors of the league.last_img read more


2 get prison in slaying

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Sentencing for co-defendant Jose Medina, 25, who was accused of being the gunman, was postponed until Thursday because his attorney was at another trial. Barba’s mother, grandmother and sister attended the sentencing but did not make a statement, Osorio said. A fourth defendant, Jason Falcon, 26, was acquitted. Marron, Medina, and Vallejo were each also convicted of attempted murder in connection with a female passenger in Barba’s car, and jurors also found true gang and gun allegations against the three defendants. The victim and the three convicted defendants were gang members, but there was no evidence that Falcon was a gang member, prosecutors said. Two men have been sentenced to 50 years to life in prison in the gang-related slaying of a teenager who was gunned down in Lake Los Angeles as he drove away from a friend’s house. Eighteen-year-old Ernesto Barba was shot and killed in January 2004 after a fight with a group of men who had been standing outside a house where he went to retrieve a music CD. George Marron and Raymond Vallejo, both 24, were each convicted in November of first-degree murder by a Los Angeles Superior Court jury. “Because they chose to involve themselves in a gang fight resulting in the shooting death of the victim, both defendants will not be eligible for their first parole hearing until they are about 72 years old,” Deputy District Attorney Benny Osorio said after Friday’s sentencing. Barba had gone to a friend’s house in the 40500 block of 174th Street East early Jan. 3 to pick up the CD when he was confronted by the defendants, who challenged him by asking, “Where are you from?” prosecutors said. He responded with a gang name, the defendants replied with their gang affiliation, and a fight ensued, prosecutors said. Barba got into his car and drove off while Medina ran into the middle of the street and fired 13 shots. Barba’s car was found crashed two blocks away, and the victim had been shot in the back of the head, prosecutors said. Falcon held back one of the witnesses for several seconds while he was trying to help Barba, prosecutors said. Barba was a student at Desert Sands Continuation High School but had been preparing to start a new job in the next week. Medina was arrested in February 2004 in Texas after investigators learned he might have left California and alerted other police agencies around the country. The others were arrested in Lake Los Angeles in the two months after the killing. Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744 karen.maeshiro@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more