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


Mbappe contract renewal stalls over release clause

first_img Mbappe’s deal with PSG expires in 2022 and the Ligue 1 side want to tie him down to a longer contract to stop him leaving for nothing in just two years time. Los Blancos waited until the Belgian had just one year left on his deal at Chelsea to make sure they could sign him for less. as Hazard could have just waited a year and left for nothing. A new deal would tie him to the Parc des Princes for another few years and likely mean it would require a world record fee to sign the former Monaco forward. Liverpool have also been linked with the striker in recent times, with reports that Jurgen Klopp has spoken to the player’s father, though the manager has also ruled out a move saying it would be too expensive for the Reds. Kylian Mbappe has demanded a transfer release clause in any new contract at PSG, which could scupper Real Madrid’s future plans to sign him for cheaper than expected. The forward is already one of the best players in the world despite being just 21-years-old and has been heavily linked with a huge profile move, with both Real Madrid and Liverpool reportedly interested. According to Spanish outlet AS, the two sides are in talks but the deal has been held up with the player ‘demanding’ a transfer release clause is inserted in the deal to allow him to move should the price be met. Fans of PSG needn’t worry too much though, any release clause is likely to be higher than the £198 million that the French side paid Barcelona to activate Neymar’s clause in 2017, the deal that accelerated transfer prices worldwide. Read Also: Robben offered window to come out of retirement at 36 beIN Sports claimed that Karim Benzema has the highest release clause in world football, with the Real Madrid forward reportedly available to sign for an astronomical €1 billion. Barcelona seem to have learnt from their mistake with Neymar as Antoine Griezmann, who signed last summer, has an €800 million release clause, with club’s in Spain having to insert them into contracts. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 center_img The news will come as a blow to Real. The Spanish giants were hoping to follow their tactics which saw them buy Eden Hazard last summer in order to sign the Frenchman next year. Loading… Promoted ContentContemplate Life At These 10 Stargazing Locations7 Ways To Understand Your Girlfriend BetterCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable WayEver Thought Of Sleeping Next To Celebs? This Guy Will Show YouMost Amazing Advanced Robots That Will Change Our World7 Of The Wealthiest Universities In The WorldBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever MadeBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For Them10 Places On Our Planet Where The Most People LiveThis Guy Photoshopped Himself Into Celeb Pics And It’s HystericalYou’ve Only Seen Such Colorful Hairdos In A Handful Of Anime8 Shows That Went From “Funny” To “Why Am I Watching This”last_img read more


Trinidad and Tobago Red Force topple depleted Windward Volcanoes

first_imgRegional Super50 Tournament– rain has the final say as Canada-Windies B game abandonedThe defending champions Windward Islands Volcanoes succumbed to their fifth defeat in the Regional Super50 Tournament with an embarrassing loss against powerhouse Trinidad and Tobago Red Force.Trinidad and Tobago Red Force celebrateVolcanoes were blown away for a mere 78 in 22.1 overs, and Red Force batsmen enjoyed chasing down a small target as they completed the chase in 9.4 overs, winning by seven wickets.In a much-anticipated encounter at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Red Force won the toss and opted to field. Improved Trinidadian fast bowler Ravi Rampaul struck in his first over, rattling the stumps of Volcanoes opener Tyrone Theophile for 1. The Windward Islands Volcanoes continued to struggle as the Red Force skipper brilliantly opened the bowling, sending Kirk Edwards back to the dressing room with only seven runs to his name. Wickets continued to tumble as the Red Force bowlers chipped away with quick wickets. Left-arm spinner Khary Pierre wrapped up the innings in the 22nd over, bowling Alick Athanaze. Opener Girdon Pope was the only batsman offering resistance, stroking 37 from 44 balls – including five well-timed fours and one maximum off leg-spinner Imran Khan.Lendl SimmonsIn completing a comprehensive bowling effort, Khan picked up 3-13 from four overs, fellow spinner Pierre and seasoned fast bowler Rayad Emrit took two wickets apiece. Captain Dwayne Bravo, Rampaul and Jason Mohammed chipped in with one wicket each.Trinidad and Tobago Red Force opener Lendl Simmons blazed away to a quick-fire half century with his new opening partner, West Indies star performer Keiron Pollard, who lost his stumps to left-arm spinner Kavem Hodge for a duck. Hodge picked up all three Red Force wickets, but was unable to prevent a thumping victory by Red Force. Simmons and the consistent Nicholas Pooran were the not out batsmen, with Simmons taking 20 off four balls, rubbing salt into the Volcanoes’ wounds.The Trinidad Red Force have now moved on to 23 points, two points behind table toppers Guyana Jaguars. Red Force will clash with Windies B in their next encounter while Volcanoes will battle Guyana Jaguars today, October 19 at 11:30h local time.In the other encounter at the Queen’s Park Oval, rain once again had the last say as the match between Canada and Windies B was abandoned. (Brandon Corlette)last_img read more


Putting Data in Motion

first_imgPutting Data in Motion in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Print Features Share Editor’s Note: This feature originally appeared in the December issue of MReport.Your mortgage loan officers learn more about their customers throughout a single transaction than any other financial services provider. From contact information to credit score to annual income and spending habits, loan officers have all the data necessary to create a comprehensive composite of their customers—not their ideal customers but their actual customers.But there’s a problem.Most companies have so much data they don’t know what to do with it. So, it sits there collecting digital dust.The availability of user data has the power to give marketers and producers greater access to consumer insight than ever before—but only if they know how to find it and leverage it to deliver the right message at the right time to the right person.How can your organization— and your loan officers—turn growing mountains of data into insights and revenue?The immediate opportunity for organizations is to first focus on aggregating and analyzing the data at their disposal, which often lives in various silos unconnected across the organization. Only from here can an organization’s loan officers begin to develop insight-driven campaigns that provide consumers with the high-tech, high-touch experiences they crave.AggregateYour producers use many technology solutions across the lending process: CRM, LOS, POS, and product and pricing engines to name a few.The problem that starts to emerge as you add to your technology stack is that they don’t communicate with each other.The problem that starts to emerge as you add to your technology stack is that they don’t communicate with each other.In fact, according to STRATMOR, one year ago, 50 percent of lenders didn’t have an enterprise Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, which doesn’t mean they don’t have big data—but that they have many sources and their data is hard to use.Enter the open API.APIs allow two different software solutions to communicate with each other and share data. Open APIs use a common language or structure to promote universal access.An open API demonstrates a commitment to your continued growth in an evolving industry and offers you greater flexibility as you build out the right technology stack to suit your unique business requirements. Not all software solutions in mortgage have them, but it is becoming increasingly common and is a must if you want your data to flow seamlessly between your solutions so you can access it to influence behaviors and increase profits.AnalyzeAccording to research from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and RedPoint Global, 43 percent of 250 marketers surveyed agree they are not lacking data but are missing the ability to transform that data into real-time action. Being able to interpret data correctly is critical to generating actionable insights to apply to marketing strategies that will impact business results.Many marketers and producers struggle to work with data because it’s easy to get lost in the numbers. Where should your producers focus their attention? Which numbers will help them demonstrate their contribution to the company’s bottom line?It helps to take a strategic approach when you interpret data by tying it back to your business goals and initiatives.Actionable insight also requires context and clarity. Loan officers will only move forward on insights if they can appreciate why the data they’re being presented with is important and what they stand to gain if they act on it. Loan officers care about two things: increasing their productivity and closing more loans. They want to know how much they’ve closed, how much they need to close, and what they need to do to meet their goals. Providing them with insightful data ensures action, not unwarranted objections and skepticism.AdaptActionable data in hand, loan officers and marketing administrators should be using it to build strong, personalized marketing initiatives that generate revenue. According to recent Epsilon research, 80 percent of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers a personalized experience. When creating personalized messaging, it is essential to resonate with your target audience at an emotional level, too, according to a Forbes article by Dipanjan Chatterjee, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester. In his article titled “Emotions Fuel Your Brand’s Energy,” Chatterjee explains that when Forrester surveyed 4,500 respondents to create their brand energy framework, they found emotion was the biggest contributor to brand energy above “salience” and “fit.” Doing so can be difficult: nearly every individual wants something different, and they all want to feel special. By tailoring messaging to individuals, however, producers have a better shot at attracting new customers and retaining existing ones—creating customers for life.Listen to what your data is telling you to predict customer behavior and develop personalized promotional activities that engage prospects and customers across every channel.You can tailor your messaging to address segments based on:Stage of the customer journey: preapproval, house hunt, in process, post-closingMajor life milestones: marriage, new additions to the family, changes in employment, retirementDemographics: generation segments, ethnicity, single households, multigenerational householdsActivity or inactivity: expiring prequalification, rate change, beginning of a home searchHabits and behavior: in-person follow-up, lead capture, email openThese are only a few of the many homebuyer segments to keep in mind as you create more timely, relevant and personalized marketing materials to engage unique segments of your audience.When marketing to these segments, you need to address their unique characteristics and motivations to establish meaningful relationships. Sending a first-time homebuyer an email prompting them to refinance their home in not only ineffective but may prevent them from doing business with your loan officers at all. Whether your loan officers create their marketing materials or have access to a premium content library with branded templates, their chances of resonating with customers increases if they know what makes each group tick.As you tailor your messaging to specific segments, consider:What’s most important to themPreferred channels of communicationQualities they want in their loan officerReasons for buying a homeYour segments and brand messaging will continue to evolve, so it’s worth keeping up with the data. Update your segments frequently. Look—and listen—to what the data is telling you as you consider which campaigns are superior to others and track new ones to ensure your segmenting is engaging and effective.The digital era has handed consumers more power than ever before. They are tapping into that power, dictating not just more personalized marketing but a more personalized experience. As the competition for consumer attention intensifies, so too does the need to engage with them on their terms: how, where and when they want it.AutomationEvery lender and loan officer knows they have data they could be using to enhance the customer journey. Many producers don’t have the time it takes to gather their data in a single location, break it down into practical slices, and leverage it to engage prospects, customers, and co-marketing partners when and where they are.Better automation goes hand in hand with real-time access to customer data and behavior across all channels and devices. Technology advancements empower producers to put customers at the center of the experience—personalizing and delivering messages when prospects, customers, and co-marketing partners are most receptive to them. Intelligent automation further empowers producers by delivering the right message at the right time to the right person.Increased automation reduces the time and effort required in delivering communications to realize meaningful budgetary savings at a time when every department is feeling the constraints of margin compression. In addition, intelligent automation offers time-strapped loan officers a way to seize customer engagement opportunities with fast, personalized responses at scale. As customer expectations continue to evolve, organizations that can anticipate and meet the growing desire for timely, relevant touchpoints will create lifelong relationships and drive revenue.Personalized engagement is equally critical when customers venture offline. According to the latest annual “Conversion Rate Optimization” Report from Econsultancy and RedEye, only 15 percent of company respondents report personalizing their offline channels while 37 percent of those report a significant uplift in conversion rates as a result of doing so.In accompanying customers along the customer journey, triggering points of engagement no matter where the customer goes, loan officers can boost conversion as customers decide it’s time to transact.Take Marketing From Cost Center to Revenue DriverIf automation is the engine that can help your loan officers turn marketing into a revenue driver, data is the fuel. After all, what good is data if you can’t leverage it to enhance your marketing activities? Likewise, what good is automation if it’s not based on real behaviors and metrics?Data-driven marketing automation can propel your marketing and sales forward as we race toward 2019 and beyond. From greater efficiencies to making every interaction feel personal, loan officers can leverage automation to bridge gaps along the customer journey while boosting the bottom line.But, remember: It’s not how much data you have. It’s how you use it.center_img December 18, 2018 1,101 Views Borrowers Loan Officers loans mortgage platforms technology 2018-12-18 Radhika Ojhalast_img read more