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Broad health preparedness bill advances in Senate

first_imgJul 19, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A US Senate committee today approved a bill packed with a wide variety of provisions designed to improve the nation’s ability to handle public health emergencies, including pandemic influenza.The bipartisan “Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act” was unanimously approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, according to Laura Caudell, a spokeswoman for Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the bill’s author.”We passed it unanimously this morning out of committee, and now it’ll be put on the legislative calendar in the Senate,” Caudell told CIDRAP News.Among other things, the bill names the secretary of health and human services as the government’s leader for health emergencies, requires states to meet preparedness standards and to share some of the cost of preparedness, seeks to coordinate and strengthen the nation’s system of medical volunteers, and calls for tracking of influenza vaccine supplies so that doses reach high-risk groups.The measure reauthorizes the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, which was passed following the terrorist attacks of 2001. That law is set to expire at the end of September, according to a Jul 18 news release from Burr’s office.Burr, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness, said discussions with New Orleans health officials last week about Hurricane Katrina underscored for him the need for the legislation.”Everyone I met agreed we must ensure our hospitals and health care facilities are better prepared to respond to a disaster,” he said in the news release. “This legislation is a first step toward making sure our federal, state, and local governments and public and private health care systems have more tools to better manage an emergency be it a hurricane, a terrorist attack, or a pandemic.”The bill, introduced yesterday, is cosponsored by Sens. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.; Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; and Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. Caudell said the sponsors consulted with the Bush administration in developing the legislation and that it has the administration’s support.Enzi, chair of the Senate committee that approved the bill today, said in a news release that the measure “would integrate local, state, and federal public health infrastructures and create a clear chain of command.”Burr’s office cited five major objectives of the bill:To “put someone in charge” by designating the HHS secretary as the lead official for responding to public health emergencies. Caudell said current law doesn’t specifically assign that job to anyone.To “speed up coordinated responses to medical emergencies” by improving training, logistics, and planning for healthcare providers and by promoting the use of “mobile medical assets and alternative federal facilities” for accommodating surges of patients.To establish standards of preparedness for states. “The legislation requires individual states to meet performance standards developed by the Secretary of HHS to ensure all states have a basic level of preparedness for disasters,” the release states.To fund public health and medical preparedness. The bill authorizes $824 million for state and local preparedness and $474 million for hospital preparedness for fiscal year 2007, plus “such sums as may be necessary” for 2008 through 2011.To create a system to promote, organize, train, and support healthcare volunteers for emergency response work.Regarding funding, the legislation requires states to match federal preparedness grants at the 5% level starting in 2009. The states’ share would increase to 10% and then 20% in the two following years.To improve state accountability, the bill calls on HHS within 6 months to develop “measurable evidence-based benchmarks and objective standards that measure levels of preparedness.” In addition, HHS is directed to provide the states with criteria for an effective plan for responding to pandemic influenza.States that fail to meet standards or submit a pandemic response plan would lose 10% of their annual grant the first year. With continuing failures, the penalty would rise to 15%, 20%, and 25% in the second, third, and fourth years.Concerning flu vaccine supplies, the legislation directs HHS “to track and facilitate the distribution” of vaccines so that supplies can go to high-priority groups. It does not suggest how this should be done. The information gathered by HHS for this purpose must remain confidential.The legislation also calls for some changes in lines of responsibility for emergency response. In particular, it transfers the National Disaster Medical System from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) back to HHS, where it was before the DHS was established in 2002.In addition, the bill moves the management of the Strategic National Stockpile of drugs and medical supplies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the office of the HHS assistant secretary for public health emergency preparedness, according to Caudell. The name of the latter position would change to “assistant secretary for preparedness and response” under the bill.Concerning medical volunteers, the legislation “codifies” the existing system of local Medical Reserve Corps teams and puts them under a director appointed by the HHS secretary. The bill sets standards for the composition of the corps and the training and certification of its members.Also under the bill, HHS would tie existing state volunteer verification systems into a nationwide network of systems that could quickly verify volunteers’ credentials in an emergency.Sen. Enzi’s news release cited two other provisions of the bill as important:A clause promoting “public health situational awareness with a nationwide, near real-time network, built on existing surveillance systems, to detect and contain public health threats”A provision for grants to people who agree to serve in a state or local public health department in an underserved area.See also: Jul 19 news release from Sen. Richard BurrJul 18 news release from Sen. BurrNovember 2002 CIDRAP News article on establishment of the DHShttp://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/bt/bioprep/news/homelnd.htmlCDC information on the Strategic National Stockpilehttps://www.cdc.gov/phpr/stockpile/index.htmlast_img read more

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Senior class ends 1st NCAA tournament run in loss to No. 8 Penn State

first_img Published on December 1, 2018 at 10:36 pm Contact Eric: estorms@syr.edu STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The raucous Penn State crowd roared as the Nittany Lions (25-7, 14-6 Big Ten) earned the match-winning point to sweep Syracuse (18-9, 14-4 Atlantic Coast) in straight sets, 3-0. But as Penn State players left the court after the post-game handshake line, every SU player and coach gathered a bit somberly in a circle for several minutes.For the Orange’s six seniors, it was their final game.“We worked hard all season guys, do not hang your heads,” senior Santita Ebangwese said on what was talked about in the gathering. “We made history. We made the tournament and we made it past the first round and we put up a hell of a fight against Penn State. There’s nothing we should be sad about and make sure we build upon this in the following years for the upcoming players.”On top of SU seniors’ first tournament run, Ebangwese earned first-team All-ACC honors this season and Amber Witherspoon made it onto the second team. Jalissa Trotter accounted for 885 assists. Led by Amber Witherspoon’s 162 blocks and Ebangwese’s 144, the Orange entered the weekend ranked second in the country in blocks per set.Leading Syracuse to its best record since 2015 (when they were freshmen), the Orange qualified for its first ever NCAA tournament. Last night against Yale, with instrumental performances from the seniors, SU earned its first ever tournament win.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I think our record speaks for itself,” head coach Leonid Yelin said on the impact of his seniors. “We are here because of our senior class.”For Witherspoon, a former basketball player, the four years as part of Syracuse’s volleyball gave her a chance to learn the game at a very high level. She said post-game that it meant a lot to her.But, she hoped she gave back to the program in return.“I just hope that the legacy, like I’ve been saying, the seniors before us left, that we have done that much for our freshman and incoming Orange women,” Witherspoon said. “It means that a lot and means a lot that everyone’s hard work, we finally got a reward for it. And it’s good that we can finally see where we can go.”Despite the strong season and career for the seniors, the Orange struggled on Saturday night. The match started to spiral in the first set for the Orange as an early 9-4 lead put Penn State up 14-6. It didn’t get much better as Penn State won the set, 25-13.The second set was much closer, with the Orange at one point up 15-10.“These four years we’ve had struggles, we’ve had ups and downs but it taught us to be the people we are today,” Ebangwese said. “Especially for our class we learned how to fight. We might be tired, push through it. We might have to pick up our teammates but that’s okay because in the real world stuff like that’s going to happen, too.”However, Penn State fired back, turning SU’s lead into a quick deficit. The Nittany Lions would finish on a 7-3 run, taking the set 25-22.In the third set, a 10-2 run by Penn State widened to 16-8, too large a lead for the Orange to surmount in a straight-set loss. But as the game wound down, Ebangwese remained smiling and continued to infect her teammates with her energy.“If you know her as a player, that’s her everyday, every game,” Witherspoon said. “And that’s why she’s so great because she’s smiling all the time no matter what.”During a timeout near the end of the match, Ebangwese looked around the arena, crouched over to catch her breath. But she said she was not thinking about her career nearing its end.Ebangwese said she just wanted the team to go out with a fight, to give it all she is capable of on the collegiate game’s biggest stage.“So that’s why I was smiling,” Ebangwese said. “We were playing balls to the wall and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.” Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img read more

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Akinwumi, Oparanozie to Speak at Ladies in Sports Conference

first_imgOther speakers include media personalities Benny Bonsu (Ghana/Great Britain), Usher Komugisha (Uganda) and Janine Anthony (BBC Nigeria).With the theme, Keeping the Barriers Down, the Ladies in Sports conference will lead conversations into how women athletes, administrators and marketing/media professionals can take advantage of opportunities in the expanding global sports industry.Head of CSR, Kikky Boboye said: “Be9ja is always seeking ways to empower Nigerians economically, to help more people achieve their dream of enhanced livelihood.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram The 2019 edition of the Ladies in Sports Conference, a leading annual gathering for women in the sports industry is set for Friday at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, and will have Bet9ja as it headline sponsor.The conference will feature speakers like the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) President Micky Lawler, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) 1st Vice President Seyi Akinwunmi and former South African Women’s National Team player Amanda Dlamini.The other speakers lined up for the conference include Super Falcons striker, Desire Oparanozie and former African Women’s Player of the Year, Gaelle Enganamouit, Kenyan former 800m World Champion Janeth Jepkosgei, Botswana’s former 400m World Champion Amantle Montsho, Ghanaian football coach and former player Mercy Tagoe and Nigeria’s Afrobasketball Champion, Nkechi Akashili.last_img read more

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General Power Threatens Formation of Kru Defense Force

first_imgFlashback: Ex-rebel General Power (a.k.a. Augustine Nagbe) leads riot police and government sympathizers to rescue Freedom FM, following the shutdown of Roots FM.…Says, “I will organize the Kru people to defend Pres. Weah”Augustine Nagbe, alias “General Power,” who is named in the True and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report as  the rebel fighter who forced a woman at gunpoint in the West Point community, outside Monrovia, to eat a whole can of human feces (Pupu), has promised to organize the Kru ethnic group to defend President George Weah.President Weah is also a member of the Kru ethnic group, who hails from Grand Kru county, Southeastern LiberiaGeneral Power added, “I don’t trust personnel of the state security, therefore, I will form a Kru Defense Force to protect ethnic Krus and the President.”The notorious ex-general, on a local radio talk show in Monrovia on Thursday, November 21, 2019, threatened that his ethnic group will form a force that would rise in defense of President Weah if anyone tries to attack him.Gen. Power, who boasted of being a proud Kru man, said he is prepared to use his military training to defend the Kru people, who include President Weah.Though a top source in the National Security Agency (NSA) has confided in the Daily Observer that General Power is the Deputy Director of the agency, he denied working with the government.General Power said he is a Kru warrior, and does not care how anybody takes his position, but said inasmuch as there is a Kru man in power, “I will not allow people to talk to him anyhow.” He maintained that: “President Weah is the Commander-in-Chief of Liberia, so I will defend him, and if anybody tries to molest him, the way they had Lofa Defense Force, you will see the Kru Defense Force.”Up to the publication of this story, the government was yet to react to Power’s threat.In a statement on social media, Representative J. Fonati Koffa of Grand Kru County District #2 had this to say: “I feel compelled in no uncertain terms to condemn my kinsman whose nom de guerre is General Power and urge him to cease and desist from talks of urban militarism. Similarly i condemn all those engaged in incendiary rhetoric in the name of free speech. The Liberian state and people have endured much. Our common challenges must be faced with clasped hands one to another, not clutched fists.”The Lofa Defense ForceHis mention of the erstwhile Lofa Defense Force (LDF) brings to mind the formation of the LDF, which was a rebel group that participated in the Liberian Civil War. It was a local group that crossed the northern border from Guinea to attack armed positions, mostly those of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy-Kromah faction (ULIMO-K) in early 1994.The LDF was led by Francois Massaquoi, Taylor’s Minister of Youth and Sports, and was formed in 1993.  Massaquoi was from the Lorma ethnic group. The LDF was estimated to have 750 combatants, mainly drawn from within Lofa County and the Lorma ethnic group. Their mission was to protect their Lorma villages from being attacked and looted by armed bands of ULIMO’s ethnic Mandingo fighters. Francois Massaquoi died April 16, 2001, reportedly from gunshot wounds after the helicopter he was flying in came under fire in the troubled northern border region of Lofa county. There were unconfirmed reports at the time that Massaquoi was allegedly shot at close range by General Momo Geebah otherwise known as “Bulldog”. Jibah has since denied the claim.The Liberia Peace CouncilAnother rebel faction, the Liberia Peace Council (LPC), was a group that participated in the Liberian Civil War under the leadership of George Boley, now an elected lawmaker in the 54th Legislature.The LPC emerged in 1993, partly as a proxy force for the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), which was then factionalized. It made substantial gains against the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) in southeastern Liberia, vying for control of commercial operations in timber and rubber.A predominantly ethnic Krahn organization, it drew supporters from the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) and the AFL, but also from other ethnic groups, who suffered under NPFL occupation.It had about 2,500 militants in its ranks. Like all groups that participated in the civil war, the LPC committed serious human rights abuses, including murder, torture, and looting, particularly of some major investment facilities around the Roberts International Airport (RIA), including facilities of EXCHEM, a multi foreign investment, in an effort to terrorize and depopulate rural areas held by the NPFL. LPC did not only loot or vandalize the company’s facilities, but killed its general manager, Sanford Dennis, Jr., and his production supervisor, Mark Williams.In a related development , General Power had earlier, in response to a story written in the Daily Observer’s October 11th edition, Captioned: “General Power” Leads Roots FM Shutdown, denied any involvement in the closure of the radio station, though he was captured in a photo being heavily protected by plain-clothed security agents during the closure of the radio station, which is owned by Henry Pedro Costa, a fierce critic of the government.Gen. Power, who was captured on video instructing the LNP to violently take the radio off air for “violating section 15 of the Telecommunications Act of 2007, and Chapter 11 section 11.2(d) of the criminal procedure law,” was himself reportedly removing some broadcast equipment, while ordering the police to arrest on sight anyone  making an attempt to defend the station.His action caused a police officer to respond angrily, saying, “Whose instructions are we following today, because our bosses came and told us to do different things, while other people bring different instructions with their own securities protecting them, some of whom we do not even know.”Gen. Power claimed that the station was operating without a valid license as well as illegally using its broadcast equipment to tarnish the good character of the government and its officials.The ex-general declared that  Henry P. Costa, manager of Roots FM, cannot keep using the station to incite citizens against the government while operating illegally.He said if Costa keeps insulting the President and preaching hate massages, “I, Gen. Power, will arrest him to bear the full weight of the law because Liberia is not a lawless country.” Power’s statement was greeted with mixed reactions from curious onlookers, some of whom scolded him while others, mainly government supporters, applauded him.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more