Peruvian Army Commander Visits Military Units in the US

first_imgBy Marcos Ommati/Diálogo March 12, 2019 Far from being his first visit to the United States, it was a particularly significant one. In late February, General Jorge Orlando Céliz Kuong concluded his first trip to the United States—where he completed a Master in Business Administration— since assuming command over the Peruvian Army in November 2018. “This trip is extremely important to me and my staff who joins me, because it will help the institutional transformation process we are conducting in Peru,” Gen. Céliz told Diálogo. “Here, for instance, we see how the United States develops this same process, something that they have come far in implementing already.” Activities kicked off with a bilateral meeting with Major General Mark Stammer, commander of U.S. Army South (ARSOUTH), at Fort Sam Houston. Gen. Céliz was accompanied by a Peruvian Army delegation including: Lieutenant General Walter Enrique Astudillo Chávez, commander of Army Education and Doctrine; Major General Julio Cesar Castañeda Zegarra, commandant of Army Education and Doctrine; and Major General Edwin Patterson Monsalve, command general secretary. To conclude the meeting, Gen. Céliz and Maj. Gen. Stammer planned another bilateral meeting in April to discuss a potential ARSOUTH-sponsored regional conference hosted by Peru. Center for the Intrepid As part of the visit, Gen. Céliz stopped at the Center for the Intrepid. Located within the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in Fort Sam Houston, the cutting-edge medical rehabilitation clinic offers therapy, treatments, and reintegration services to U.S. military personnel. According to U.S. Army Brigadier General George Appenzeller, BAMC commander, the clinic was initially founded to assist U.S. service members who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. “Veterans from previous conflicts are also eligible to receive treatment, as well as military personnel who sustained injuries in other operations, training exercises, or non-combat situations,” he said. Military medicine At ARSOUTH, Gen. Céliz gave a presentation on the vision, guidelines, and current transformation process of his army. “We are committed to modernizing, creating real and effective capabilities, becoming a multi-mission army, however, always in compliance with the security needs of our society,” he said. Gen. Céliz also pointed out interoperability as a strategic effort between the armed forces and police to facilitate the fight against challenges that “affect nearly all nations of the Southern Hemisphere, such as narcotrafficking.” The Peruvian delegation also visited the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, Health Readiness Center of Excellence (AMEDDCS HRCoE). “The center is where the Army Medical Department formulates its medical organization, tactics, doctrine, and equipment. The school is where the Army educates and trains all its medical personnel,” said Oscar Ramos-Rivera, director of the International Programs Division at AMEDDCS HRCoE. As part of the visit, U.S. air medical pilots treated the Peruvian delegation to flight simulations in combat environments. Gen. Céliz concluded his stay in Fort Sam Houston meeting with various high-ranking U.S. officers to conduct initial agreements for training, non-reciprocal exchanges, and emergency treatments for members of the Peruvian Army. The delegation continued on to Columbus, Georgia, to visit Fort Benning. Military life and family balance In Georgia, the Peruvian delegation started its visit with a private meeting with Major General Gary Brito, commander of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence. The institution teaches and trains future members of units to be deployed to various U.S. combatant commands worldwide. Gen. Céliz showed special interest in learning about the center’s efforts to improve family and military life balance. The Peruvian delegation also visited the U.S. Army’s 198th Infantry Brigade—which strives to transform civilians into soldiers—and the warehouse where Stryker tanks are stored. There, Peruvian officers learned how to operate what U.S. service members refer to as “a platform of capabilities, not just a warfare vehicle.” The U.S. Army heavily relies on the Stryker family of armored vehicles for exercises and operational missions. WHINSEC A visit to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) was a must while in Georgia. Gen. Céliz, a WHINSEC instructor in the late ‘90s, caught up with former colleagues and conducted a lecture for the WHINSEC Command and General Staff Officer course on the Peruvian Army’s main challenges. “This institutional transformation is a very difficult and challenging initiative. Some things can be done immediately at no cost, such as shifting mentality or changing organizational culture,” Gen. Céliz concluded. “It’s important to know what other armies do, especially the U.S. Army, to analyze possible takeaways or what can be adapted for Peru. This trip was very productive.”last_img read more

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High-Level Fed Committee Overruled Carmen Segarra’s Finding on Goldman

first_imgA committee that includes senior Federal Reserve officials reviewed and overturned a bank examiner’s finding that Goldman Sachs lacked a firm-wide policy to prevent conflicts of interest, according to a top Fed official.Bill Dudley, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, disclosed the action by the “Operating Committee” in a little-noticed aspect of his testimony last month before the U.S. Senate. Dudley said the panel was part of a new effort by the Fed to raise standards across the board by comparing  the practices and health of the nation’s banks against each other.In his testimony, Dudley provided the Fed’s most detailed account to date of how it reversed the conclusions of Carmen Segarra, a New York Fed bank examiner who asserted that Goldman lacked the Fed’s recommended firm-wide policy to prevent conflicts of interest. Dudley told the senators that the Operating Committee had “fully vetted” Segarra’s finding but said “there was this lack of willingness to agree.” He said that while he encourages examiners to speak up, their views must be “fact based.”New documents and secret recordings shed more light on the facts Segarra marshaled to support her position. The examiner, for example, compared Goldman’s approach to conflicts with that of Barclays and Morgan Stanley. She found that, unlike with Goldman, the policies of both banks were detailed, specific and clearly addressed to the entire firm.ProPublica also found that:Goldman executives acknowledged to Segarra that they had no single firm-wide policy on conflicts of interest, according to official meeting minutes she kept.Segarra formally presented her findings in a session with specialized Fed examiners stationed at nine of the too-big-to-fail banks. They agreed that Goldman did not have the sort of policy recommended in Fed guidelines, according to Segarra and another examiner who was present.In disputing her finding just before she was fired, the senior Fed official overseeing Goldman Sachs pointed to the code of conduct for employees displayed on Goldman’s website, saying it amounted to a firm-wide policy. Goldman’s code of conduct at the time did not contain characteristics that were found in the conflicts policies of other banks that experts consider best practices. The Goldman code addressed conflicts involving employees’ personal holdings but not those that could arise from the firm’s deals.Segarra was not called to testify at the Senate hearing. And in his appearance, Dudley did not detail specifically what evidence the Operating Committee considered in overruling Segarra, on what basis the decision was made, or whether it considered any of Segarra’s documentation or examination findings.“I think the position of the senior supervisors was that there was a conflict-of-interest policy, and that is what the debate was about,” Dudley said.As ProPublica and This American Life previously reported, Segarra secretly recorded 46 hours of internal meetings while at the Fed after encountering resistance to her examination into Goldman.At the hearing, David Beim, a Columbia University professor, testified that the recordings “illustrated in Technicolor” the problems he found in the 2009 study of the New York Fed’s culture that Dudley had commissioned. Among other things, the study said examiners were afraid to speak up and that findings were being watered down by higher-ups and an over-reliance on consensus.“It does suggest to me that not as much change has happened as I would have hoped and that indeed, there is a continuing cultural problem and culture is slow to change,” Beim told the senators.Partly in response to concerns about examiner independence raised by Segarra’s case, the Federal Reserve Board has launched two reviews into whether information from frontline examiners is being heard by top decision-makers at the New York Fed and other regional reserve banks.Asked about the issue, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen voiced strong support of Dudley. But Yellen also said that when examiners are at odds about what’s taking place in a bank, “it is important that there be channels by which they can make sure that disagreements are fed up to the highest levels.”At the heart of the dispute over Segarra’s findings is one of the most vexing and prevalent problems on Wall Street: conflicts of interest. Among its peers, Goldman stands out for its frequent run-ins over the issue.This month, the bank was among 10 Wall Street firms that were fined a total of $43.5 million for allegedly using the promise of favorable research, which was supposed to be impartial, to win business for their investment-banking divisions. The firms paid small fines without admitting wrongdoing.During a hearing in November, senators accused Goldman of deliberately pushing up the price of aluminum and giving confidential information to traders in the metal, providing them an unfair advantage. Goldman denied the allegation; two other firms also were criticized at the hearing.In 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission hit Goldman with a record $550 million fine related to conflicts in structuring mortgage bonds. The next year, the firm faced a shareholder lawsuit over a deal involving its advisory role to energy company El Paso in its sale to Kinder Morgan. Goldman held a $4 billion stake in Kinder Morgan. A judge harshly chastised the bank for its handling of the conflict.Segarra started at the New York Fed on Oct. 31, 2011, as a senior examiner for legal and compliance issues. Her bosses instructed Segarra to examine Goldman’s conflicts-of-interest policy as of Nov. 1, 2011, after the bank’s issues with conflicts landed in media reports.Conflicts not only can result in fines or lawsuits; they also can threaten a bank’s reputation, potentially imperiling its safety and soundness. Official guidance from the Fed recommends that banks have a global policy—that is, one that applies firm-wide—to deal with conflicts of interest.Five experts interviewed by ProPublica said the best policies have common characteristics: They define what a conflict is; explain how everyone in the firm is covered; identify roles and responsibilities; offer examples; provide ways to escalate conflicts to senior management; and track compliance.“This is not hard,” Segarra said in an interview. Before joining the New York Fed, she had worked for years helping banks comply with rules and regulations. “Most big firms have this.”The national business ethics survey consistently ranks conflicts of interest as one of the top three types of misconduct observed by employees, according to Patricia Harned, CEO of the Ethics and Compliance Officer Association. “The conflicts-of-interest policy should apply from the board of directors to the first level employee,” said Harned. “You need to spell out what you have to avoid.”The basis for Segarra’s examination of Goldman was a Fed Supervision and Regulation Letter known as SR 08-8 that specifically called for firm-wide policies in key areas including conflicts. In 2009, a review by the Federal Reserve Board had found fault with the New York Fed’s efforts to ensure that banks followed the guidance.In the course of her examination, Segarra said she asked her peers at other big banks to provide her with the conflicts-of-interest policies for the firms they covered. Her goal was to do the kind of comparisons Dudley praised in his recent Senate testimony.The New York Fed typically teams up banks based on common characteristics. The idea is to identify best practices and expose shortcomings. If one bank is weaker than its twin in a specific area, the laggard can be encouraged to raise its game. For example, big retail banks JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup are compared. Foreign banks are also paired: Deutsche Bank with Barclays; Credit Suisse with UBS. Goldman, as a broker dealer, is paired with another large broker dealer, Morgan Stanley, according to former examiners.ProPublica obtained Morgan Stanley’s policy, dated April 2011. It contained most of the best practices identified by experts. It was firm-wide and posted on the company’s intranet for every employee to see. Called “Morgan Stanley Global Conflicts of Interest Policy,” it applied to all employees of Morgan Stanley, offered a definition, spelled out roles and responsibilities, described how potential conflicts should be escalated and provided for annual reviews. The policy featured 20 different examples of potential conflicts.Segarra said she knew that Goldman was capable of writing a similar global policy because she had seen one. The firm’s policy for vendors, for example, was called “Goldman Sachs Firmwide Vendor Management Program” and had many of the same features found in Morgan Stanley’s conflicts policy.When Goldman was asked for its conflict-of-interest policy, a bank executive said it did not have a single policy, according to official minutes taken by Segarra in a meeting between supervisors and bank executives. It took months and several requests, Segarra said, before Goldman responded to her request for “copies of conflicts of interest policies, procedures, and risk assessments applicable to all [six] GS divisions … as of November 1, 2011.”Goldman eventually provided hundreds of pages of documents. The bank said that as part of recommendations from the firm’s Business Standards Committee, it was updating its policies. Two of its six divisions had new conflict-of-interest policies as of December 2011. The Investment Management Division was “in the final stages of completion,” and a full policy was unavailable.Based on these and other documents, as well as meetings with the firm’s executives, Segarra concluded Goldman did not have a policy that was firm-wide and that covered all divisions, and certainly did not have one on Nov. 1, the operative date specified in her examination.A pivotal meeting on the matter took place on April 25, 2012.Segarra and other New York Fed officials, along with regulators from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and New York State Banking Authority, gathered with top Goldman executives to discuss how the firm handled conflicts generally and particularly in the El Paso-Kinder Morgan deal.Segarra and an examiner with the New York banking authority had prepared 65 questions for the Goldman executives. At the last moment, Segarra said, the New York Fed’s senior supervising officer stationed at Goldman, Michael Silva, told her she couldn’t ask the questions about the El Paso deal and needed to confine herself to queries about how the firm handled conflicts generally.Silva’s lawyer said his client declined to comment for this story due to a wrongful termination lawsuit by Segarra, which names New York Fed, Silva and other supervisors as defendants. The case is on appeal after being dismissed earlier this year on technical grounds.Segarra secretly recorded the April 25 meeting, where she asked Gwen Libstag, who headed Goldman’s conflicts group, when the investment management division’s policy would be ready.“I don’t know,” she responded in the recording Segarra shared with ProPublica. A Goldman executive then promised to provide the information at a later date while Libstag told the officials that the investment management division was operating under an older policy.Documents provided to Segarra by Goldman listed only three businesses within the investment management division that were using these older procedures. Two significant parts of the division, Goldman Sachs Asset Management and parts of its bank’s private wealth management group, did not appear to have any conflict-of-interest policy. As the two-hour meeting continued, Goldman executives said they did not provide employees with a definition of conflicts of interest nor did they give them examples.  The Goldman executives said they didn’t want bankers thinking about what would constitute a conflict because there were too many different possibilities.Instead, bankers were expected to refer any deals that involved possible conflicts to Libstag’s group, called the Business Selection and Conflicts Resolution, which would then decide if a conflict existed and if so what to do about it, the recording shows.“We don’t want bankers or anybody else making their own decisions,” Libstag said at the meeting. “There are so many different variations and case-specific facts that our judgment is that it’s better to analyze them case by case and make sure senior people are focused on them.”The SEC representatives questioned Goldman executives about one controversial aspect of the El Paso-Kinder Morgan deal: Why hadn’t Goldman notified El Paso that its lead banker advising the energy firm, Steve Daniel, had a personal investment of approximately $340,000 in Kinder Morgan?Goldman executives said they did not have a system in place to check personal holdings of bankers for conflicts. They were evaluating what to do about it, the executives told the regulators.(This past September, Goldman announced a new plan to restrict investments by employees who act in an advisory capacity or receive confidential information. The bank declined to say whether this was a result of Daniel and the El Paso-Kinder Morgan deal. Daniel is no longer at Goldman.)Segarra was fired on May 23, 2012. She said she left without ever receiving updated Goldman policies.Goldman declined to respond to detailed questions about the April 25 meeting or its conflict-of-interest policy at the time. “SR-08-8 states that a compliance program should establish a “framework for identifying, assessing, controlling, measuring, monitoring, and reporting compliance risks across the organizations…” and that is exactly what Goldman has put in place, “a comprehensive framework for managing compliance risks and potential conflicts across the firm,” the firm said in a statement.As Segarra proceeded with her examination, she updated colleagues who were doing the same work at other big banks. They met weekly for progress reports back at New York Fed headquarters. The group consisted of specialized examiners who had training in legal and compliance issues. As part of the Dodd-Frank financial system reforms, the New York Fed for the first time was stationing these specialized examiners inside the largest banks, whose failure could damage the entire financial system.Dudley highlighted the new effort in his testimony. “We embedded the risk specialists in the examination teams so that they were more involved with the bank and understood the bank’s risk taking activity,” he said.Two months before Segarra was fired, the legal and compliance risk specialists met for an all-day session to present their findings to peers and their managers. Their conclusions would eventually be factored into internal ratings for their respective banks. Since everybody was knowledgeable about the subject matter, the floor was open to questions and give-and-take, according to Segarra and another examiner present at the time.Segarra presented her findings on Goldman’s general policies as well as her conclusion that the firm did not have a conflicts-of-interest policy.“Everyone heard her arguments and nobody ever said ‘I disagree with your finding,’” said a former examiner, who continues to work in finance and asked for anonymity to discuss confidential Fed deliberations. “There was no policy, and anybody who looked at it could tell that.”A week later, Segarra met with Silva who, she said, had earlier received copies of the Morgan Stanley and Barclays documents. Again, she presented her findings to Silva and his deputy. She said neither objected to her conclusion that Goldman lacked a firm-wide conflicts policy.In mid-May, Silva informed Segarra in an email that Goldman had a conflicts-of-interest policy—the company code of conduct posted on its website. “Repeated statements that you have made to me that GS [Goldman] does not have a COI [conflict-of-interest] policy AT ALL are debatable at best, or alternatively, plainly incorrect,” the email states.The code of conduct Silva cited provides no guidance on how employees should deal with possible conflicts involving firm activities. It does not mention Libstag’s Business Selection and Conflicts Resolution Group, which was supposed to play the key role in reviewing such issues. It does refer to the need to avoid personal conflicts of interest and includes one illustrative example. Goldman did not give the code of conduct to Segarra when she asked  for its policies and procedures on conflicts.By comparison, Segarra found that Morgan Stanley had a detailed, firm-wide conflicts policy with numerous examples. Its separate Code of Conduct from the same period included a section on conflicts that involved both “potential business conflicts” and “potential personal conflicts.”Key details about how the Fed handled the Goldman issue remain unclear. At some point—the Fed declines to say when—the Operating Committee rejected Segarra’s finding.  Segarra never appeared before the committee and it’s not known what, if any, of the evidence she collected was provided to its members.The Operating Committee that Dudley referred to in his Senate testimony is a 20-person subset of the Fed’s Large Institutions Supervisory and Coordinating Committee. The full committee includes supervisory staff from the regional Federal Reserve banks and the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C. The New York Fed currently has five members on the operating committee.“This was a question about whether Goldman Sachs had a conflict-of-interest policy or not, and Mike Silva and other senior people on the supervision side at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, and, in fact, up to the Operating Committee that consists of people well beyond the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, concluded that Goldman Sachs did, in fact, have a conflict-of-interest policy,” said Dudley, who prior to joining the Fed was a partner and managing director at Goldman.A spokesman for the New York Fed declined to respond to questions about whether the Operating Committee had reviewed Segarra’s evidence. Segarra said no one on the committee spoke with her.Now, in light of Segarra’s case and reports that New York Fed supervisors blocked examiners from access to information at JPMorgan Chase, the Federal Reserve Board has asked its inspector general to review the communication flow from examiners to senior managers.Contacted by ProPublica, a spokesman for the inspector general said the agency is still determining how to approach the review and did not have an expected timeframe for completion.Related stories: Read more of reporter Jake Bernstein’scoverage of the Federal Reserve.ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter. Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York last_img read more

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Medford Armed Home Invasion Probed

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Suffolk County police are investigating an armed home invasion in Medford last month.Two men armed with handguns knocked on the door of a Torrey Pine Lane home and when a resident opened the door, the duo pushed their way inside and stole cash at 6:23 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24.The victim and her brother were not injured. The suspects fled the scene.No arrests have been made and no description of the suspects was available.Fifth Squad detectives are continuing the investigation.last_img

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LIRR: Male Struck and Killed by Train at Amityville Station

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York MTA police are investigating the death of an unidentified male who was struck and killed by a train at the Long Island Rail Road’s Amityville station, the LIRR said. The victim was standing on the platform moments before he was struck by a Montauk-bound train at 12:45 p.m., LIRR spokesman Aaron Donovan said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The train involved in the incident left the Jamaica station at 12:10 p.m. and was due to arrive in Montauk at 3 p.m. Several trains have been delayed due to the incident. Service restored between Seaford and Babylon. Trains continue to bypass Amityville as police investigate the incident.— LIRR (@LIRR) February 28, 2015MTA police have yet to identify the victim.last_img read more

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Suspect Charged With Shooting, Killing Hempstead Girl

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A suspect was arrested for allegedly killing a 12-year-old girl who was inside her Hempstead home when she was hit by a gunshot he fired from outside it three months ago, Nassau County police said.Jakwan KellerJakwan Keller was charged Sunday with second-degree murder, criminal use of a firearm and criminal possession of a weapon.Homicide Squad detectives alleged that the 20-year-old Hempstead man fired the gunshot that struck Dejah Joyner in the head while she was in the living room of her Dartmouth Street home at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16.The victim was taken to a Winthrop University Hospital where she died the next day.Police had offered a $75,000 reward for information in the case.Keller will be arraigned Monday at First District Court in Hempstead.last_img read more

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The Masters: Best moments from the Par Three Contest at Augusta National | Golf News

first_img– Advertisement – This year’s Par Three Contest at Augusta National was cancelled but in its absence take a look some of the best moments from the event over the years; watch The Masters live on Sky Sports’ dedicated channel from Thursday to Sunday with Featured Group coverage from 12.30pm on Thursday Last Updated: 11/11/20 3:04pm The best moments from the Par Three Contest at Augusta National, which usually acts as a curtain-raiser for The Masters – Advertisement – 3:02 – Advertisement – – Advertisement –center_img The best moments from the Par Three Contest at Augusta National, which usually acts as a curtain-raiser for The Masters The Par Three Contest at Augusta National has been the traditional curtain-raiser for The Masters since 1960.However, the fun and family-friendly tournament was cancelled this year due to no patrons being in attendance, and there was no ‘competitive’ action at the course on the eve of the final major of the year, which gets under way on Thursday, live on Sky Sports.So in the absence of the usual Wednesday evening entertainment from the nine-hole course at Augusta National, we have compiled a video of some of the best moments from the Par Three Contest over the years, featuring stars of the past, the present and maybe the future. Get Sky Sports Golf for £10 a month All four days of The Masters exclusively live. Get our £10 golf offer. Find out more here. There are plenty of hole-in-ones (including from Jack Nicklaus and his grandson), lots of special family moments and the odd slip-up!To whet your appetite ahead of the start of The Masters, click play on the video above to watch the best of the Par Three Contest….Watch The Masters this week live on Sky Sports, with all four rounds exclusively live on Sky Sports’ Masters channel. Live coverage beings with Featured Groups from 12.30pm on Thursday. Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Irelandlast_img read more

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2006 SUMMIT COVERAGE: How will the infrastructure fare in a flu pandemic?

first_img Although telecommunications depend extensively on the power grid and therefore will be affected if the power goes out, Sanders emphasized that the industry can sustain capacity to serve customers for a limited period of time by, for example, relying on generator-based power. He also emphasized that the communications infrastructure is provided with priority assistance under the National Security Emergency Agency planning structure that was created under the Kennedy Administration in the 1960s. Echoing this concern, Anne Marie Kappel, Vice President, World Shipping Council, Washington, DC, reiterated the impact of a pandemic on a system (in this case, transportation) that is already stressed and that relies heavily on people. “If we talk about a pandemic that will impact 25% to 30% of the workforce and you have an industry that is structured with millions of dollars of assets, none of which can operate without people, this will have an impact on the system.” Any business that relies on goods has to factor this into their preparedness plans, she emphasized. “Can we handle unexpected demands on a system that is already stressed if a major global disruption occurs?” he asked. Among the most important areas of contingency planning for such an event is how to manage workers, both those who are ill and those who remain well. In addition, strong leadership is needed at all levels of government to help businesses prepare for such a pandemic, concluded participants in the panel, titled “Cross-Cutting Critical Infrastructure Availability and Business Continuity.” Feb 15, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Putting an additional stressor, such as a flu pandemic, on an infrastructure that is already stressed and running at a stretched capacity merits great concern, said experts convening yesterday at a national summit on business planning for pandemic influenza in Minneapolis. For Marshall C. Sanders, CPP, Vice President, Global Security, Broomfield, Colorado, a key point for businesses in pandemic planning is looking at the capacity requirements to support the 25% to 50% of the workforce that might be called upon to work remotely during a pandemic. Issues include identifying who the workforce is (eg, the percentage who need to work onsite, who can telecommute, and who need to be online), ensuring access to licenses in advance, making sure support services are available, and addressing privacy issues. Speaking on the vulnerability of the power grid to a pandemic flu outbreak, Massoud Amin, DSc, Director of the Center for the Development of Technological Leadership and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Minnesota, said that “the system is already close to the edge” in terms of available fuel sources as well as the entire infrastructure, including transmission, high voltage, and distribution. Former governor of Minnesota Arne Carlson agrees that leadership is key to successful pandemic planning. “The only institution that has the capacity to bring people together is government,” he said, adding that government needs to provide a clear, broad understanding about what the pandemic is, what its potentialities are, and what kind of role individuals need to play. As current chairman of RiverSource Funds, a large Minneapolis employer, Carlson said he has not yet received even one phone call regarding the pandemic. “That’s wrong,” he said, adding that businesses need to contact their state and federal government officials to get basic information about contingency plans in the event of a pandemic. According to Dr. Amin, one of the key concerns is the availability of enough people to operate systems if a pandemic occurs. “Organizations have gotten to a point where they have been downsized, right-sized, and they are nearly capsized,” he said. Given the already reduced workforce in businesses, what will happen in a pandemic that is projected to reduce the workforce by 35%? he questioned. Along with factoring in the reduced workforce because of illness, an equally important focus needs to be on how to manage workers who remain healthy. “Part of dealing successfully with the pandemic will be dealing with the healthy,” Kappel said, stressing the need for healthy transportation so workers can get to work. The message that it is safe for people to go to work in the midst of a pandemic must come from the government, according to Kappel, similar to what happened during the SARS episode when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stepped in to reassure cargo workers that they couldn’t contract SARS from handling cargo. She emphasized the need for strong leadership in mitigating this “fear factor” that would further reduce the workforce and slow operations. Steven Ross, MD, Director, Enterprise Risk Services, Deloitte & Touche LLP, New York, commented that developing a plan for how to deal with employees working remotely underscores the need to focus on good management versus planning. “The point is [that] this is not a planning issue, it’s a management issue,” he said, adding that the workforce can be made much more productive if people are given the ability to work from wherever they are. Also, if connectivity slows down during a pandemic, he noted, businesses can try to stagger workers so that, for example, some workers work mornings and some work afternoons. To best prepare for a pandemic, the need for all sectors of infrastructure to work together was emphasized by Dr. Amin who reiterated the need for integrated assessments and collaboration among sectors to prepare and deal with a pandemic. The Business Planning for Pandemic Influenza national summit, held Feb 14 and 15, was hosted by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of this Web site; the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce; and the US Chamber of Commerce.last_img read more

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Nordic walking as a motive for coming? Yes, of course, find your niche

first_imgIn three days of the weekend, participants can expect an active and rich program on the trails that were designed as part of the project “Establishment of trails for Nordic walking and hiking in the Tourist Board of the city of Pag.” During the weekend, walkers will change as many as four locations – the town of Pag, Vlašići, Dinjiška and Šimune. Last week, the 2nd Walking Festival was held in Lika, which gathered over 1.000 visitors. Find your niche and be the best at it. “Through this event, we want to promote the possibility of hiking, announce an ongoing project and attract tourists in the pre- and post-season. Nordic walking, as one of the growing trends in active lifestyle and tourism, offers added value to hiking as well as walking for health ” stand out from the Pag Tourist Board. Photo: TZG Pag From September 27 to 29, the city of Pag will host the event “Nordic walking on the moon island”, which is being held for the first time this year.center_img The goal of this sports and recreational event is to promote an active lifestyle and introduce participants to the natural and cultural beauties of the city and the island of Pag as well as the gastronomic offer. Nordic walking is an activity suitable for people of all ages, and unlike ordinary walking, it activates the whole body through the use of special walking sticks. Nordic walking poles are made of lightweight materials, and can be telescopic or fixed. This form of recreation is very popular in the world and contributes to expanding the offer of hiking. It is recommended for people who find running too demanding, and still want to move and be active in a group and in the fresh air. Applications for participation in the event last until September 20, and you can apply HERE.last_img read more

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Quiet market belies rise of the small deal

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

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UK pensions infrastructure fund marks milestone on solar investment

first_imgA collective programme for UK pension funds to invest in infrastructure has reached a milestone as its second investment proposition received £131m (€182m) in commitments after its first round of raising.The Pensions Infrastructure Platform (PIP), organised and hosted by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), has now raised more than £600m from pension schemes for UK infrastructure projects.The platform’s addition of a solar investment was announced in February, managed by Aviva Investors, which joins Dalmore Capital as the PIP’s external managers.Investors in the Aviva fund include the £15.5bn Strathclyde Pension Fund, which announced a commitment of £20m in a meeting last month, alongside other Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS) and private sector defined benefit schemes. The fund is said to provide inflation-linked cashflows by investing in small-scale solar panel installations in the UK, and will provide a quarterly income to investors.Mike Weston, the PIP’s chief executive, said raising £131m in four months demonstrated the appetite for core infrastructure assets from UK pension funds.“It is also further evidence of the progress PIP is making in delivering a range of infrastructure investment opportunities tailored to the specific needs of UK pension schemes,” he added.The PIP was set up by the NAPF on a ‘for pension funds, by pension funds’ basis and began investing in public/private partnership (PPP) equity last year via Dalmore Capital.It operates on a not-for-profit basis and currently uses two external managers to invest pension fund capital into UK infrastructure projects.Dalmore has more than £500m in commitments in its PPP Equity PIP fund, from more than 10 UK pension funds brought in via the NAPF’s work.The new Aviva fund will soft close at the current level but continue raising up to £250m until the autumn.Matthew Graham, a business development director at Aviva Investors, said: “Since it was announced, this fund has attracted strong investor interest. “The proposition in infrastructure has been designed to respond to client needs, offering long-term, secure, inflation-linked income that can provide attractive risk-adjusted returns.”The PIP, which retains its capital target of £2bn, is currently working towards being authorised the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to build up an internal asset management team.The PIP is also set to launch a multi-strategy infrastructure investment fund, which has been already developed by the organisation and will be launched once FCA authorisation is given.Speaking in February, Weston said he expected the PIP to hold a mixture of direct and indirect investments over the long term – using the two external funds as a starting point.last_img read more

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