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


ASA rejects complaints about anti-cannabis billboard

first_imgAdvertising Standards Authority rejects complaints about anti-cannabis billboardNewsHub 30 April 2019 The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rejected complaints about an anti-cannabis billboard.Family First New Zealand funded the billboard, which displayed on a building beside the Southern Motorway in Auckland.It reads “You can’t legalise marijuana and promote mental health,” in large letters.Underneath this, it reads “Don’t legalise.”On Tuesday, the Complaints Board ruled the advertisement “did not contain anything indecent, exploitative or degrading, did not cause fear or distress and was socially responsible.”The ASA also ruled the billboard was unlikely to mislead consumers.A previous billboard from Family First NZ received multiple complaints earlier this year.This billboard was emblazoned with the slogan “Marijuana has a kids menu,” with photographs of various cannabis paraphernalia, some of which appeared to look like lollies.Seven complaints were received about this advert, with concern being the billboard was misleading, unsubstantiated and played on fear.In February, ASA ruled the billboard did not contain anything indecent, or degrading. It also ruled the advert didn’t cause fear or distress, and was socially responsible.“Drug use is a major health issue, and that’s why the role of the law is so important,” said National Director of Family First NZ Bob McCoskrie in a statement on Tuesday.“The public of New Zealand are not getting this information. Our billboards are designed to raise these inconvenient truths – and to provoke debate and discussion.”Family First NZ is an organization that seeks to promote “strong families, marriage and the value of life.”The organisation is vehemently against the legalisation of cannabis, saying it would be “foolish.”“The illegality of the drug and other drugs is vital as we fight the devastation its use causes on the users, their families and society in general,” they said in a statement in February.Family First NZ also led the opposition to the 2007 anti-smacking law, and the 2013 same sex marriage bill.https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/04/advertising-standards-authority-rejects-complaints-about-anti-cannabis-billboard.htmllast_img read more


Tiger Woods to return in the Bahamas

first_imgJo Koy: My brain always wants to think funny OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ FILE – In this Friday, Jan. 27, 2017 file photo, Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the ninth hole of the North Course during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. Tiger Woods is returning to competition at his holiday tournament in the Bahamas the week after Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)Play it again, Tiger Woods.For the second straight year, Woods will return from back surgery at his holiday tournament in the Bahamas the week after Thanksgiving.ADVERTISEMENT Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Coco’s house rules on ‘Probinsyano’ set Kiss-and-tell matinee idol’s conquests: True stories or tall tales? N”I am excited to return to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge,” Woods said in a story on his website. “Albany is the perfect setting and it will be great to join this outstanding field.”The tournament has no cut.A year ago, Woods returned after 15 months recovering from two back surgeries. He made 24 birdies, but finished 15th out of 18 players. The tournament is not official on any tour, although it does award world ranking points.He made his first PGA Tour start at Torrey Pines and missed the cut, and then went to Dubai and didn’t make it past the first round before his back began acting up.Woods made the announcement just three days after he pleaded guilty to reckless driving in a deal that allows him to avoid jail time if he doesn’t violate terms of his probation.The deal stems from a Memorial Day arrest on a DUI charge when Woods was found asleep at the wheel of his car, which was still running and parked at an awkward angle about 15 minutes from his home in Florida.Woods attributed it to a bad combination of prescription medicine.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson Woods has not played since he withdrew from the Dubai Desert Classic on Feb. 3 with back spasms. Two months later, he had his fourth back surgery in just over two years.Woods will be part of the 18-man field at the Hero World Challenge, which starts Nov. 30 at Albany Golf Club. While sponsor exemptions are limited to the top 50 in the world, Woods is exempt as the tournament host.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSFederer blasts lack of communication on Australian Open smogHis latest procedure was a fusion surgery — the previous three were microdiscectomy surgeries — and Woods reported instant relief. He also said just one month ago at the Presidents Cup that he had no idea what his future held.Doctors gave him clearance to practice without limitations about a week later, and Woods had been posting video on Twitter of a full swing with an iron, a driver and then his signature stinger shot with the driver. According to a toxicology report, Woods had the active ingredient for marijuana, two painkillers, the sleep drug Ambien and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in his system.He completed a drug treatment program in July.Woods has 79 PGA Tour victories and 14 majors, both second all-time, though he has not won since the Bridgestone Invitational in August 2013 for his record 18th World Golf Championships title.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Margot Robbie talks about filming ‘Bombshell’s’ disturbing sexual harassment scene MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Astros, Dodgers connect, riveting World Series onto Game 6 View commentslast_img read more