Nigel Hall To Takeover L4LNOLA/L4LM Instagram Accounts For Album Release Party

first_imgCome tomorrow night, the one and only Nigel Hall will descend on the world-famous Tipitina’s venue in New Orleans to celebrate the release of his new solo album, Ladies And Gentlemen… Nigel Hall. The performance marks the debut of this new material in the Big Easy, and will more than certainly feature support from some of the best musicians around.Since we just can’t get enough of Nigel’s new tunes, we asked him to take over our Instagram accounts in honor of the run. Hall will be posting throughout the day tomorrow, as he prepares for, and performs his new material for the exciting album release party.Follow L4LM on Instagram here and L4LNOLA on Instagram here to catch all of the action!To purchase tickets to the Tipitina’s performance, head to the venue’s official website.last_img read more

Chilled Crowds Keep 200-plus ambulances busy

first_img“We had a DCFEMS firefighter/EMT riding on the vast majority of mutual-aid and AMR vehicles to ensure radio communications and guide the units; we didn_t want people using map books,” he says. “Then every unit could go to an assigned frequency for the”žEMS liaison officer who would assign a transport destination.” Pro Bono is written by attorneysDoug WolfbergandSteve WirthofPage,Wolfberg & Wirth LLC, a national EMS-industry law firm. Visit the firm_s Web site for more EMS law information.”ž According to Spear, performing an ultrasound “takes about 60 seconds, if [the provider has used the device regularly].” He_d like OFD paramedics to use the five devices more frequently than they do, including on all patients with significant trauma. “We wanted to ensure our 39 units remained untouched for citywide [day-to-day] responses, so we put out a request to the National Capitol Region for six EMS strike teams from Maryland and”žNorthern Virginia,” says DCFEMS Deputy Chief of Operations Larry Schultz. “We still felt we_d fall short, so we put in a request through”žFEMA for 120 ambulances for”žstandby.” Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) from several states also came in to help, and”žpark rangers from around the U.S. staffed 16 medical tents on the Mall. “We also had bike teams and 30 Gator teams out there,” Schultz says. Maryland EMS Director Bob Bass, MD, says his state deployed four strike teamsÆ’each with four ambulances plus a strike team leaderÆ’to D.C. from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. that day. “We had 30 ambulances from FEMA in Maryland for backfill and 50 more on standby, and D.C. had 60 from FEMA running,” he says. But Augustine_s worst fearÆ’a “crushing event” caused by a panicked crowdÆ’never materialized. Further, Schultz says, “I don_t”žthink we had a single run for violence.” Future planning for such events should focus more attention on the problems created by tight security, Augustine says. “People came very early [and weren_t allowed to carry] backpacks, blankets, food or water, the things people would usually bring for an outing when it_s in the teens. And then we sometimes had difficulty getting our people through.” The key: You must check your state_s laws carefully to determine if you_re covered and exactly what degree of liability protection you have. OFD Medical Director David Spear, MD, says, “Some people are intimidated; some people pick it up.” Spear sees prehospital ultrasound being as useful as an ECG. “You can scan to see if [an injury or pain] is a really, really bad thing,” he says, adding, “Sloshing belly blood in the back of an ambulance is easier to view.” Nuclear incident guidance at”ž To supplement the 39 ambulances and 14 standby units fielded by DCFEMS, the city declared an emergency, allowing activation of FEMA_s national disaster ambulance contract with AMR.”ž According to Schultz, EMS inaugural planning began June 1, 2008, when he assigned three people to a Secret Service planning team. In mid-November, DCFEMS assembled an internal incident management team that included EMS top brass. Besides working with federal and local officials, DCFEMS also integrated EMS leaders from Maryland and Northern Virginia into the planning and deployment. Both Maryland and Virginia stationed EMS representatives in the D.C. Office of Unified Communications on inauguration day to help track ambulances and hospital status in the entire region. Because of this, area hospitals never became overwhelmed. Schultz adds, “Our after-action plan must look at a more robust plan for warming.” Although some federal buildings were open for that purpose, “the number of people needing warming overwhelmed those buildings, so the medical tents were flooded with people coming in to get warm.” DCFEMS Medical Director Jim Augustine, MD, says, “With our own fleet handling the normal, day-to-day calls, this fleet was brought in, placarded and oriented, and put into the dispatch system as units reserved for inaugural activities.” According to Augustine, the majority of inauguration-related calls were for hypothermia, “exacerbation of asthma from walking long distances in crowds and the cold,” diabetic emergencies, chest pains, and respiratory and cardiovascular problems. EMS also responded to three cardiac arrests, at least one of which was a save. In Brief: CDC_s Personal Medical Information Form “We trained 15 people on two of our busiest medic units,” says LFR EMS Chief Wayne Zygowicz. But he reports training was a challenge, because paramedics must look at a lot of images to become proficient in reading them. “We did a ton of images before [the crews] were comfortable.””ž “Most of the time, medics have too many other things to do,” says Dylan Luyten, MD, an emergency physician at Swedish Medical Center in Denver who was the LFR medical director”žduring the study. But Luyten still sees potential for ultrasound, especially for identifying ectopic pregnancies and abdominal aortic aneurysms in the field.”žÆ’Ann-Marie Lindstrom”ž “ž Chilled Crowds Keep 200+ Ambulances Busy”ž MS agencies in and around the nation_s capitol are used to huge events, but the inauguration of President Barack Obama, which brought some 2 million people to Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, posed special challenges. Besides the tremendous crush of people standing for hours in bone-chilling cold, EMS responders had to deal with the greatest security deployment D.C. has ever experienced. “It was very well coordinated,” Bass says. “We hope this lays the groundwork for us to track hospital and EMS-system status across the region on a day-to-day basis.”“ž Æ’Mannie Garza”ž Paramedics Use UltrasoundThe Littleton, Colo., and Odessa, Texas, fire departments have trained paramedics to use handheld ultrasound in the field. Littleton Fire Rescue (LFR) put two SonoSite handheld ultrasound”ždevices into the field in 2006 with stern warnings to paramedics not to drop the $10,000 transducers. The Odessa Fire Department (OFD) has been using the devices since 2000. They have trained 25 paramedics, and all ambulances carry the devices.”žcenter_img Pro BonoDon_t Count on”žImmunity LawsA study published Jan. 15 in the American Medical Association_s journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness notes that the U.S. lacks clear liability protections for emergency medical responders. “Good Samaritan” or “Qualified Immunity” laws are established on a state-by-state basis to provide limited liability protection”žto emergency responders acting in that capacity (e.g., as EMTs or”žparamedics) and liability protection for citizens and other health professionals who assist soon after an emergency occurs. However, these laws generally haven_t kept up with the changing times.”ž But months of careful planning, coordination and collaboration among agencies, and hard work for long hours by hundreds of EMTs and paramedics, allowed EMS to respond to more than 1,800 calls and transport nearly 250″žextra patients between 4 a.m. and 4 p.m. that day. (D.C. Fire & EMS [DCFEMS] normally receives some 450 EMS calls and transports approximately 270 patients each day.) Even if your state has immunity laws, never rely on them to determine how you conduct yourself as an EMS responder. Let us know at”ž Zygowicz cites two examples of how the ultrasound “made a big difference in people_s lives.” A girl who fell off a horse was waiting in the emergency department during a particularly busy time. The paramedic involved approached a doctor with the ultrasound he_d done in the ambulance, saying, “You might want to look at this.” The image of the girl_s bleeding spleen took her to the top of the triage list.”ž Out-of-town ambulances were staged at four sites convenient to the Mall and parade route. “When it got very, very busy, it was difficult to handle responses over the radio because they came in such clumps,” Augustine says. “So we went to dispatching units off the ramp. One captain would pass on information on five or six calls and hand-dispatch each medic unit who would respond to those calls.”ž After 18 months of testing the devices, Zygowicz concluded that ultrasound is more fitting for air ambulances and ground services with long transport times than for LFR. With five hospitals and a Level 1 trauma center within a 10-mile radius, LFR_s transport times are very short. “It_s not a priority skill with short transport times; [there_s] just not enough time to do it,” he says. LFR paramedics used another ultrasound performed in the field to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy in a woman complaining of abdominal pain. JEMS For more on EMS-related legal issues, For reviews of handheld ultrasound devices, Quick TakesArmy Puts WoundStat on HoldIn October, the U.S. Army distributed some 18,000 packets of WoundStat to soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan after a U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research study concluded that the product_s granules poured into wounds were better than other hemostatic products at controlling bleeding and saving lives. But two months later, after another study concluded WoundStat could cause harmful blood clots, the Army Medical Command warned medics not to use the granules until more testing determines whether it_s safe. WoundStat manufacturer, Trauma Cure Inc., told the Associated Press it would cooperate with the U.S. military on more research. But the company stressed that the new study involved putting the granules on surgical incisions in pigs, adding, “There have been no reported incidents or adverse outcomes in humans.””ž Always function within your “scope of practice” or certification level;Function in accordance with the accepted protocols in your EMS community;Seek medical command or input from your medical director when you_re in doubtÆ’the system medical director is a good source because they_re ultimately responsible for how emergency medical care is provided in your community; andFully and accurately document your assessment and care of every patient.”ž”ž”ž”ž”ž In addition, no state immunity laws will prevent a lawsuit for negligence, although they may give you an added “defense” against liability if you_re sued. Most immunity statutesÆ’if applicable to your situationÆ’will raise the negligence standard from “ordinary negligence” (the failure to act as a reasonable EMS provider would act under similar circumstances) to that of “gross or willful negligence” (meaning you must act with willful disregard for the consequences of your actions). Gross or willful negligence is much harder for the plaintiff to prove in court.”žTo protect yourself:”ž “We had a lot of slip-trip-and-fall [patients] and some anxiety patients,” Schultz says. “For example, the Third Street tunnel that goes under the Mall got filled up quick, and some people began to”žfeel claustrophobic and panicked, so we had to get in and help.””ž ControversyShould EMS Draw Blood for DWI Testing?The Texas legislature is considering a bill that would allow EMT-intermediates and paramedics to honor a police officer_s request to draw blood to see if someone is driving while intoxicated (DWI). Current Texas law explicitly excludes EMS personnel from such blood draws. The legislation would also remove language requiring blood to be drawn “in a sanitary place,” although it provides liability protection only if the specimen is “taken according to recognized medical procedures.” Does your state allow EMTs and paramedics to do DWI tests? Do you think paramedics should draw blood at highway scenes? EMT-Is? EMT-Bs? Immunity from liability is established by state statute, and every state is different. Some states provide blanket “protection” from liability for patient-care activities for all providers (career and volunteer), but others only cover “volunteers.” Some states include immunities for disaster-response situations, while others do not. EMS providers from government agencies often enjoy greater immunity protection than those who work for private EMS agencies.”ž In 1996, The National Association of State EMS Officials drafted model immunity language for states to consider as part of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws_ “Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act.” This model legislation was approved and recommended for enactment in all 50 states, but states have been slow to act.”ž FEMA”žon YoutubeFEMA joined YouTube in March 2006, and by Feb. 10, 2009, the channel had 159 subscribers and had generated 16,481 page views. The most popular of the 54 videos posted on was the seven-minute Jan. 14, 2009, farewell message from retiring FEMA Administrator David Paulison, “Where FEMA Was, Is Now, and Where It Is Going.” When he took the job after Hurricane Katrina, he found FEMA_s employees dedicated and highly motivated, but with low morale due to poor leadership and a lack of staff and funding. He tapped professionals he knew to provide new leadership for FEMA and won support from Congress to hire more people, more than doubling the size of FEMA from less than 1,500 employees to almost 4,000.”žlast_img read more

Green Pizza Box Breaks Down Into 4 Serving Plates and Storage Container

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore E.C.O., Incorporated is marketing its first product, a green pizza box. The Green Box is innovative not for its 100% recycled material, but because the top of the box breaks down into convenient serving plates, eliminating the need for disposable plates and the bottom of the box converts easily into a handy storage container, eliminating the need for plastic wrap, foil or bags. The perforations and scores that create this functionality allow for easy disposal into a standard-sized trash or recycling bin. Made from a standard pizza blank, the Green Box requires no additional material or major redesign and can therefore be produced at no additional manufacturing cost. The design company, Environmentally Conscious Organization, Incorporated,owns the utility patent on the Green Box, and is dedicated to improving more outmoded, outdated and wasteful food packaging. Check out the website at and see the demonstration video below. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

Phantom Star Hugh Panaro, Tony Winner Lillias White & Kinky Boots’ Annaleigh Ashford Join Broadway Salutes

first_imgThe Phantom of the Opera’s Hugh Panaro, Tony winner Lillias White and Audience Choice Award winner Annaleigh Ashford will join Emmy winner Holland Taylor at the fifth annual Broadway Salutes on September 24. The free public event begins at the Times Square Visitor Center at 4PM. View Comments Panaro is one of Broadway’s longest-running Phantoms. White won a Tony Award for her featured performance The Life. Ashford is currently performing on Broadway in the Tony-winning musical Kinky Boots. Broadway Salutes honors theater professionals who have worked 25, 35 and 50 years in their respective theatrical craft. The afternoon’s presentation, hosted by Taylor and directed by Marc Bruni, will also include special recognition of three classic musicals, a 25-year inductee, a 35-year inductee, and a 50-year inductee. Panaro will perform a number from Phantom of the Opera (25 years), White will sing a song from Ain’t Misbehavin’ (35 years) and Ashford will take on Fanny Brice from Funny Girl (50 years). The event is presented by the Broadway League and the Coalition of Broadway Unions. Star Files Hugh Panaro Annaleigh Ashfordlast_img read more

In San Antonio and South Texas

first_imgin San Antonio and South TexasNestled in the heart of south-central Texas, San Antonio has gone from the sleepy Spanish mission whose fall galvanized Texican revolutionaries to the seventh-biggest U.S. city, an international mix of heady glitz and down-home hospitality. The influences of Native Americans, Old Mexico, Germans, the Wild West, African-Americans and the Deep South can be seen and felt in the city’s rich history and bright future.The second-largest metropolis in Texas — only Houston has more people — the Alamo city is a bustling hive of business, culture, sports, transportation and media. A high quality of life paired with a relatively low cost of living makes San Antonio attractive both to go-getters and retirees.In 2010, under orders from the Base Closure and Realignment Commission, the Army’s Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base and Randolph Air Force Base consolidated into Joint Base San Antonio. Supporting almost 400,000 people, JBSA is the largest single DOD installation, and just under 108,000 veterans live in the community. Approximately 150 miles away, Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio supports several thousand active-duty service members, civilians, family members, contractors and veterans in the area.Enlist the help of a reputable real estate agent to help you sort through the area’s home options. The Texas Association of Realtors is a central source of local real estate information and services. Visit to find expert and professional services for those who’d like to buy their new home.SAN ANTONIOIn 2017, the city had an estimated 1.5 million residents, according to the U.S. Census, with a total of 2.4 million people calling the extended metropolitan area home. Between 2014 and 2015, the city added almost 30,000 people, making it the fourth-fastest-growing U.S. metropolis. Population density in San Antonio was 2,473 per square mile in 2010, the census found. The city sits on about 460 square miles of land and enjoys a humid subtropical climate, with mild winters and hot, muggy summers. The year’s coldest month usually is January (average low 38.6 degrees), the warmest, July or August (average high just under 95 degrees), and the annual average temperature is just a shade over 69 degrees. The city is 74 miles southwest of Austin, the Texas capital. Area elevation is 772 feet, the highest point being Mount Smith at 1,892 feet, where the Edwards Plateau lifts the northeast part of Bexar County.The city is divided into 10 council districts and organized by a council-manager form of government. Each district elects a representative to the council, with the mayor chosen in a citywide vote. The council functions as the city’s legislative body and hires the city manager, who oversees day-to-day operations and executes council ordinances.For everyday recreation, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department maintains 235 public parks and other facilities, including a sunken garden theater, a wilderness park known for rare birds and terrestrial orchids, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gymnasiums, historic cemeteries, sports facilities, recreation centers, the Japanese Tea Garden, and a botanical garden and conservatory. More than 15,338 acres of parkland are laced with 150-plus miles of walking, hiking and biking trails. Learn more about the city’s network of facilities and find those close to you at information about city services, go to its website, Antonio gives newcomers plenty of choices when selecting a home. The median gross rent was $882 and median selected monthly owner costs for housing units with a mortgage were $1,271 in 2016, the census calculated. Mean travel time to work in 2016 was about 24 minutes.Following are some of San Antonio’s better-known neighborhoods.DowntownThe heart of the city, San Antonio’s downtown is a popular destination for tourists and locals visiting the Alamo; the Tower of the Americas; the River Walk; the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center and Rivercenter Mall; La Villita Historic Arts District; the San Antonio Public Library, called “Mexican Modernist” by historians and “Enchilada Red” by locals; and HemisFair Park, site of 1968’s World’s Fair. Downtown, the 1929 landmark Majestic Empire Theater with its extravagant design and canopy of twinkling stars hosts national touring acts, musical theater and dance companies all year long.MidtownMidtown’s neighborhoods range from working-class Beacon Hill (Victorian) to hustling Five Points to upper-middle-class Monte Vista (French Eclectic, Neoclassical and Italian Renaissance), and divide Downtown from Alamo Heights. The old Pearl Brewery is here, now reincarnated as a multi-use property of apartments, restaurants, retailers and businesses and a twice-weekly farmers market, as are Trinity University and historic Temple Beth-El.Alamo HeightsBordered by Olmos Basin Park and its path-lined creek, this section of San Antonio is in the north-central corridor, 4.5 miles north of downtown. Highlights include the McNay Art Museum, first modern art museum in Texas; the Witte Museum; Brackenridge Park and the San Antonio Zoo; the Botanical Gardens; the San Antonio Country Club and Quarry Golf Club; and the Japanese Tea Garden.South SideThis art-heavy area just south of downtown embraces the King William Historic District atop old irrigated farmland that once fed the Mission San Antonio de Valero — better known as the Alamo — to the north. By the late 1800s, prosperous German families were moving in, building imposing homes in Greek Revival, Italianate and Victorian styles. Restoration began in earnest in the 1950s, and now the whole area is on the National Register of Historic Places. Many residents enjoy the trails and picnic spots of the Medina River Recreation Area.Northeast SideThe suburban Northeast Side is the region closest to Randolph Air Force Base and comprises the suburbs of Schertz, Converse, Universal City, Selma, Kirby, Windcrest and Live Oak. School districts serving this side of the city include Judson, Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City and North East. Northeast Side also houses The Forum, one of the state’s largest shopping centers with almost 70 stores, and Rolling Oaks Mall.Northwest SideNorthwest Side holds neighborhoods, suburbs, businesses and institutions, among them the main campus of the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Also in Northwest is the Medical Center District, with its South Texas Medical Center hospital and research district. Smaller divisions include the Bluemel Road, Oak Hills, Mockingbird Hill and Cinnamon Creek neighborhoods, along with notable parks such as Denman Estate Park and the jogging path through the San Antonio Medical Center District, the San Antonio Medical Foundation Trail.Inner West Side and Far West SideInner West Side was one of the first neighborhoods within the city’s original 36 miles and has a mix of modest mostly two- and three-bedroom homes dating from the early 1900s and post-WWII. The historic Our Lady of the Lake University with its soaring spires, St. Mary’s University and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower are landmarks.Much of Far West Side lies beyond San Antonio’s city limits but is served by Bexar County, and with homes starting in the low- to mid-$100,000s and proximity to JBSA-Lackland, it has increasingly drawn middle-class families and first-time home buyers to make it one of the fastest-growing areas in the metropolis. Christus Santa Rosa Hospital & Westover Hills serves the area.DEL RIOThe pretty, pleasant city of Del Rio is in what is historically one of the most colorful parts of Texas.Arid Val Verde County, with its broken ground so suited for ambushes, proximity to the Mexican border, solitary ranches and isolated springs bubbling up from the Edwards-Trinity aquifer, had the U.S. military already taking an interest by 1846, just as the Republic of Texas became a state. By 1852, the Army maintained a string of posts and forts from Fort Brown (now Brownsville, Texas) northwest to Fort Clark at Las Moras Springs east of Del Rio, where the government’s southern route to the California gold rush, the El Paso Road, crossed a Comanche raiding trail.In 1868, settlers established a community, San Felipe Del Rio, on San Felipe Creek near the Fort Clark garrison. The post office for what was now “Del Rio” opened in 1872, the first school started with 15 students in 1874, and the Episcopal diocese built the first church there in 1884, though a tornado blew it away almost immediately.In 1883, the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway came, and with easy access, so did more settlers. Sheep and cattle ranching were and remain important, though Angora goats also thrive on the rugged land, and the oldest stand-alone bull-riding event in the world, George Paul Memorial Bullriding, pays tribute to the region’s Western heritage.Two lakes from dammed-up waters of the Devils River, built in the 1920s for power and recreation, were submerged by the 89,000-acre Amistad Reservoir and Dam slung across the Rio Grande 12 miles northwest of Del Rio in 1969. Today, Amistad Reservoir, jointly owned by the United States and Mexico, draws boating, fishing, swimming, scuba diving and water-skiing enthusiasts year-round.The county seat of Val Verde County, Del Rio — just across the Rio Grande from its sister city, Ciudad Acuña, Mexico — had a little over 36,000 residents in 2017. Of those, 2,243 were veterans, the census says. The 20.2 square miles occupied by the city lie on the northwestern fringes of the South Texas brush country, semiarid in moisture, with hot and humid summers. Winter snow or freezing rain are surprising enough to raise comment. July and August are the hottest months (average high 97 degrees), December and January the coldest (average low 41 degrees) and the average annual temperature is 70.5 degrees. Population density in 2010 was 1,766 people per square mile.Median household income, 2012 to 2016, was $41,662. Major employers, in addition to Laughlin AFB, include federal agencies, the San Felipe Del Rio School District and Val Verde Regional Medical Center. It doesn’t take long to get to work; mean travel time, the census says, is about 18 minutes. On the whole, it’s cheaper to live in Del Rio than in much of the rest of the U.S.Median gross rent was $633 and selected monthly owner costs for housing units with a mortgage were $1,184 in 2016, the census said.The website is a good place to start for general information about the city.Following are some of Del Rio’s notable neighborhoods.San Felipe and South Del RioSettlers drawn to limpid San Felipe Creek and its crystalline springs created Del Rio’s oldest neighborhoods, where adobe or frame cottages nestle beneath lofty native pecans, oaks and sycamores. This area bounded by the creek is one of the most popular places in the city to live.ChihuahuaThe Chihuahua barrio, another popular place, is also on the south side of town. St. Joseph Church is the heart of the community, with UCO Park another local landmark.Buena VistaThis neighborhood includes several subdivisions, and the developer nodded to the region’s history with a Native American theme. Streets have names like Medicine Bow, Peacepipe, Arrowhead and Tomahawk.Ceniza HillsDel Rio’s newest subdivision lies on the city’s northern rim and is named after ceniza, or Texas purple sage, a silver-leafed plant that bursts into bloom when it’s going to rain.EastsideVal Verde Regional Medical Center and Star Park both are in Eastside, which got its neighborhood name from East Side Elementary School.WestsideWestside lies in the northwest part of the city, and its principal feature is Del Rio International Airport, a general aviation airport favored by Air Force student pilots.last_img read more

WHO pushes back on accusations as COVID-19 remakes Ramadan

first_imgThe World Health Organization (WHO) today pushed back against accusations that it ignored an early email from Taiwan and that it didn’t warn countries early about the threat of human-to-human spread; meanwhile, countries with Muslim populations brace for the impact of COVID-19 on Ramadan, and outbreaks escalated in newly hit areas.The global total today rose to 2,463,357 cases from 185 countries, and the fatality count climbed to 169,794, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.Groups seize on WHO-Taiwan tensionsTension between the WHO and Taiwan have been simmering since the outbreak began. Taiwan was one of the earliest-hit areas, and its public health system has been widely praised for a response that quickly contained its outbreak. However, Taiwan has pressed the WHO to recognize it as a sovereign state.Throughout the pandemic, the WHO has made its technical advice and experts available to Taiwan and has included its health officials on WHO expert groups, such as one on research and development. Taiwan is not a WHO member, because China says it owns the island and that it doesn’t have a right to membership in international organizations.The group has repeated several times that it does not have the power to recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state and that the decision rests with the World Health Assembly, the group—made up of 194 member states—that governs the WHO.Earlier this month, tensions bubbled over when WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, airing concerns about countries politicizing the pandemic, said he has fielded personal attacks and deaths threats, including some from groups in Taiwan.In an escalation of the tensions, the Taiwan health officials publicized an email it sent the WHO on Dec 31—about the same time ProMED Mail, media outlets, and infectious disease blogs carried reports of a mysterious pneumonia cluster in Wuhan. In the email, Taiwanese officials sought more information about the event.Taiwan’s health minister said the WHO’s stance on its membership has deprived it of timely information and that the WHO ignored its communications, Reuters reported on Apr 11. Critics of the WHO, including US President Donald Trump and some of his supporters, have seized on Taiwan’s accusations against the WHO, especially the one about the email.At a media telebriefing today, Mike Ryan, MD, head of the WHO’s health emergencies program, said Taiwan’s email didn’t reference anything other than what was already known about the outbreak and that Taiwan, like other countries, was asking for clarification in its email. He added that the WHO appreciated the emails it received about the outbreak from Taiwan and other sources. WHO officials today said there was no mention of human-to-human transmission in Taiwan’s email.Ryan said on Jan 1, the WHO asked China for more information, according to International Health Regulation protocols that require countries to respond within 24 to 48 hours. He said the WHO sent its first Tweet about the outbreak on Jan 4, and on Jan 5 it communicated detailed information to its focal point system, which includes Taiwan. Also on Jan 5, it posted its first public outbreak notice on the Wuhan cluster.WHO pushes back on transparencyAlso, some in the United States, including President Trump, have accused the WHO of keeping the country in the dark about the outbreak threat. At today’s briefing, Ryan said about 15 US officials are embedded in its operations in Geneva, two on a permanent basis—one on flu preparedness and the other in emergency readiness. “Many US government employees work with us in the frontlines, across all our expert networks, and we are hugely grateful,” he said.Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, technical COVID-19 lead, said the WHO has close partnerships with scientists at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health, including those who have worked on SARS and MERS-CoV, and were utilized quickly with the COVID-19 response.Tedros said nothing was hidden from the United States from day one. “That comes naturally for the WHO. It’s open. We don’t hide anything,” he said, adding that the group wants all countries to get the same message so that they can prepare well and quickly. Confidential information would be dangerous, Tedros said. “There are no secrets at WHO, because it’s about lives.”Ramadan rituals face COVID-19 changesAhead of Ramadan, which starts this week, religious officials in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said health workers treating COVID-19 patients are exempt from fasting and that Muslims shouldn’t congregate for prayers during the holy months, Reuters reported.Indonesia’s religious affairs ministry issued guidelines earlier this month advising people to have pre- and post-fast meals individually or with family. Prayers at the end of the month, typically held in large gatherings, were cancelled, Anadolu News reported.Iran has been the Middle East’s main COVID-19 hot spot, but cases have been steadily rising in other countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar.Several countries have religious observances this time of year. The WHO has posted information on safe practices, including guidance published Apr 15 on Ramadan.Singapore cases surge; New Zealand scales back distancingIn other international developments, Singapore’s cases jumped by 1,426 cases today, though 1,369 are related to a large cluster of infections in foreign worker dormitories. The health ministry said the number of cases is high, because workers are staying in their dorm rooms, where health officials are doing extensive testing, picking up many more cases. Most people who test positive have mild illness and are being monitored in isolation facilities or in hospitals.In Japan, cases are still climbing, and health officials said today the total has reached 10,751 cases, including 361 reported today. A health ministry official last night announced that the government has arranged for 210,000 hotel rooms across the nation to isolate those with mild symptoms and those who are asymptomatic, Kyodo News reported.New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, said today that the country will ease back on its lockdown measures starting on Apr 27, about 1 month after they went into effect, Reuters reported. Its health minister has said there is currently no widespread undetected community transmission.A concert and comedy event called “One World: Together at Home,” which was televised and streamed online on Apr 18, raised nearly $128 million for the global COVID-19 response, its organizer, Global Citizen, announced yesterday.last_img read more

Capital & Centric unveils £50m plan to convert Littlewoods building into film complex

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Funding cuts proposed for police station work

first_imgThe Ministry of Justice has announced a consultation on funding cuts for police station and Crown court work aimed at ‘rebalancing’ the £2bn legal aid budget in favour of civil help. The reforms outlined in the consultation paper include reducing the fees paid for police station work in what the MoJ calls the ‘most expensive and oversubscribed’ areas of the country. It says costs in this area have been driven up by an ‘over use’ of duty solicitor schemes in some parts of the country, particularly where there are ‘too many firms competing for business’. The MoJ proposes cutting the fee rates for barristers in Crown court cases to bring them more into line with prosecution fees. On average barristers acting for the prosecution receive 23% less pay than those acting for the defence, it says, which could ‘create an incentive for barristers to favour defence work’. The paper suggests combining all committal work done by litigators into one fixed fee paid out of the Litigator Graduated Fee Scheme, rather than the current scheme which pays the litigator one fee to prepare the committal hearing, and a separate fee for consideration of the committal bundle. The MoJ says payments for criminal file reviews will end, to match the fee structure in civil cases. In addition, the MoJ has asked the Legal Services Commission to consider standardising payments made to experts in both criminal and civil cases. The LSC has also been asked to find an additional 5% saving from its administrative budget this year, and 10% next year, on top of the 30% cuts they have already been asked to make over the next five years. Legal aid minister Lord Bach said: ‘The UK has one of the best-funded legal aid systems in the world and it is a vital service for many people, particularly during the current economic downturn.’ ‘More and more homeowners, employees and those facing financial hardship, are vulnerable to civil law problems at this time. We need to do all we can to ensure that legal aid is prioritised effectively so that more people are able to access it to and resolve their legal problems.’ He added: ‘Legal aid practitioners provide a fantastic service and should be paid accordingly; and that means rebalancing some fee structures so that there is greater fairness across the board.’ ‘Today’s consultation paper sets out proposals to make better use of the legal aid budget and ensure access for as many people as possible.’ Law Society chief executive Des Hudson said: ‘Solicitors don’t create the demand for advice in police stations; they simply respond to requests from people who’ve been arrested. How can the government imply that the profession can somehow alter that – solicitors have no control over how many people are arrested. ‘Having access to legal advice in a police station is central to the working of our criminal justice system. It can result in early guilty pleas and can also ensure that innocent people are not prosecuted. It avoids the miscarriages of justice that were seen in the 1970s. Government should be investing in this to achieve future savings. Arbitrarily cutting the fees that are paid will reduce access to this vital service for the people who need it most.’ He added that it would be not just barristers, but also solicitor-advocates who would be affected by the decision to cut the rate of pay in Crown court cases. Hudson said: ‘For the criminal law solicitors whose businesses and livelihood are to be the subject of a best value tendering experiment in Bristol and Manchester this is deeply worrying. While they bid for work the Ministry of Justice introduces a flat rate countrywide fee. This consultation lacks thought for the long-term future of access to justice. ‘We are currently compiling a review into legal aid which we hope will be the base for the future of legal aid. We recognise that there is not a bottomless pit of money for legal services, but government needs to work with the professions to provide long-term solutions. We will be looking into these proposals in more detail and feeding back to the profession as soon as possible, but in the meantime we will be lobbying the government to delay implementation of the BVT experiments in Manchester and Bristol.’ The consultation will run until 12 November. It can be found at: read more

Keep off my land

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Globalink pipes up

first_imgThe pipes were received at Iraq’s Port of Umm Qasr, where Globalink used cranes to offload the pipes from the vessel into the storage area and handled the Customs clearance formalities.The cranes were then used to load the pipes onto trucks for transport to the jobsite. Due to security concerns, a convoy of escorts joined the road transport to the cargo’s final destination.Globalink is a member of The Heavy Lift Group (THLG).  www.globalinkllc.comwww.theheavyliftgroup.comlast_img