first_img Comments are closed. Thesecond article on sickness absence gives advice on how OH professionals canpositively influence an organisation’s sickness absence record.  By Linda Maynard What are the trends in managing sickness absence today? Before this questioncan be answered there is a need to understand whether sickness absence ratesare changing and to consider if the recording of absence has developedeffectively in order to provide worthwhile comparative data. The main findings of the Confederation of British Industry’s fifth annualabsence survey, published in July 2001 shows sickness absence is still a bigproblem. Data shows absence averaged 7.8 days per employee in 2000 which addsup to 192 million days or 3.4 per cent of total working time. Public sectorworkers continue to have a higher rate of absence, 10.2 days compared with 7.6in the private sector1. These absence rates have decreased over the past 10 years but theConfederation of British Industry survey shows a wide difference in therelative performance of employers. The lowest absence rates occur inorganisations which involve senior managers in the everyday management ofabsence. No consistent recording of absence One of the problems with these “snapshots” of sickness absencerates is that there is no consistent method of defining sickness absencebetween companies. Each organisation will have its own way of recordingabsence, normally the line manager’s role, which may then be fed to a centraloffice to produce a rate of absence. This makes comparative studies complex –even between organisations that work in the same industry. It also means thatassessment of whether management of absence is effective is notstraightforward. Dr Stuart Whitaker of the Institute of Occupational Health in Birmingham definessickness absence as, “Absence from work that is attributed to sickness bythe employee and accepted as such by the employer”2. Whitaker goes on to state that probably the most common way in the UK of determiningthe average (mean) rate of absence is to calculate lost hours over contractedhours, while not adjusting for annual leave, but excluding maternity leave.Other lost time such as doctor, dental or hospital appointments are discounted.These rates of absence do not reflect the pattern of absence, although someorganisations do record the medical reasons for absence and this helps toinform management of any trends. The usual method of standardising the medicalinformation is to use the medical coding book, the International StatisticalClassification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, ICD-10, published bythe World Health Organisation. However, this coding is thought by many to betoo complicated and of not use to managers coping with sickness absence. Thecodes also do not directly take into account those absences caused or relatedto work and therefore this specific information is normally not available. Some organisations are actively working on the issue of sickness absencedata collection in order to produce statistics that are useful for benchmarkingpurposes. The Black Country NHS Personnel Consortium, in conjunction with theInstitute of Occupational Health in Birmingham, is a good example, with nineNHS trusts having agreed a common approach to recording sickness absence data.They have a definition of sickness absence used by all the trusts involved andhave now produced data that are comparable between the nine organisations. Trends in managing absence Many organisations have now turned their approach to managing sicknessabsence to more positive “managing attendance” policies andprogrammes to help line managers deal with this issue. Comprehensive policies may include information on proactive OH involvement,”healthy workplace initiatives”, absence management training for linemanagers, return to work interviews and a more open approach to illnesses suchas mental health problems. Trigger levels are normally set relating to”unacceptable” amounts or frequencies of sickness, at which pointearly consultation with the worker should take place. Referral may be made to the occupational health department for anindependent opinion and advice. The emphasis is on keeping individuals at workand if necessary, temporarily redeploying them to a more suitable role orphasing their return to employment. If patterns of absence can be identified from the sickness absence rates,such as the reasons and duration of sickness analysed by occupational group, ornoted after a group of similar referrals, this can help managers make earlierreferrals to OH. It also helps to take a broader, proactive approach inreducing sickness generally. Analysis of data can help in identifying possiblecauses of absence such as an unsafe practice, exposure to hazardous substancesor organisational change. OH professionals normally see referred employees in order to offer impartialadvice concerning fitness and to assess if any appropriate interventions arenecessary to help rehabilitate the individual back to work. Workplace visitsmay be required, organised by the manager, in order to assess the environmentand any relevant health and safety training. The benefits of using this approach are usually measured usingorganisational targets against which to assess the reduction or otherwise inrates of absence. Disability awareness Legislation such as the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 continues toraise employer awareness of disabled employees in the workplace. The managementof individuals who become disabled as a result of sickness, may require thecompany to make “reasonable adjustments” before they can return tothe job. Appropriate and efficient rehabilitation is a key target in the documentRevitalising Health and Safety jointly produced by the HSC, HSE, and DETR in2000. The Government is looking to strengthen the retention and rehabilitationservices for workers who become disabled or have persistent sickness.”Vocational rehabilitation” is defined as “the process wherebythose disadvantaged by illness or disability can be enabled to access, maintainor return to employment, or another useful occupation”3. So often return to work is delayed because there is a wait for NHStherapies. Some companies will pay for an employee to have a course of physiotherapy,for example, in order to aid the return to work. But not all organisations arein a position to offer this help. It is acknowledged that the longer individuals are off work the less chancethey have of returning and that few workers return to any job if they areabsent for one to two years3. A case-management approach Many organisations with good sickness absence frameworks now practise a casemanagement approach by reviewing longer-term cases on a regular basis. Caseconferences are held, usually attended by OH, the line manager and humanresources. This provides an excellent opportunity for all parties to be kept up todate, offer advice and agree on the appropriate action to be taken. A recent report, published by the British Society for RehabilitativeMedicine3 entitled Vocational Rehabilitation – the Way Forward highlights anincreasing separation of employment and health services in rehabilitatingpeople back into work. The emphasis has changed to a focus on promoting generalindependence rather than getting back to work. As well as NHS professionals facilitating return to employment, it pointsout the potential value of OH services in this area. But there is alsorecognition that there are often uneasy relationships between OH professionals,GPs and hospitals, as well as patchy OH provision. Among the mainrecommendations a call is made for closer liaison with OH services and thatearly, professional and accessible vocational rehabilitation should beequitably available early following illness or injury. The report supports the effectiveness of the case management approachparticularly for people with complex disabilities. One of the most effective approaches to managing sickness absencehighlighted in the CBI survey1 quoted earlier, appears to be in focusing thehuman resource policies of the organisation on the actual causes of sicknessabsence in the company. But how are all the true causes identified? Wider, often interactive factorsother than disease may affect why an individual may become “sick” andtherefore takes absence from work. Whitaker2 argues that new and innovativeapproaches which involve managers, the OH service, HR and workers’representatives are needed which recognise these often non-medical psychosocialfactors. The different perspectives, originating from different disciplines such associology and organisational psychology, include: – Social insurance systems, benefits payments and medical certificationpractices. Employers are now bearing more of the initial costs of sicknessabsence. In some companies employees have become self-employed making themresponsible for their own sickness absence costs – Job security, availability of alternative employment and the economicclimate – Organisational factors such as the size of the enterprise, HR policies andmanagement procedures – Companies with proactive policies and procedures, for example, thatpromote family friendly actions may influence absence figures – Job satisfaction, motivation to attend, workplace stress and thepsychosocial work environment – Individual factors – personality, social support and circumstances, sex,marital status and ill health. OH professionals have long acknowledged that these broader issues, particularlythe human factors, may affect the health of the workers. Bailey4 states themain interactive human factors affecting attendance at work are motivation,personality and work design, and the perceived structure of the work climate. He goes on to argue that by measuring the relationship between themotivation to attend work as a satisfying experience along with the personalityof the individual employees and the design of their jobs and the work climate,employers are better placed to introduce stress management interventions in theworkplace. In working alongside managers and other stakeholders in the business,occupational health professionals can positively influence attendance issues.Continuing the HSE theme “good health is good business” means beinginvolved if possible at a senior level and understanding the organisation andthe economic climate within which the company is operating. Progress There does appear to be progress in developing useful rates of sicknessabsence data based on an agreed definition, which can be used to increaseawareness of patterns and inform appropriate action. The important role of rehabilitation in returning individuals to work is atlast being acknowledged with the inclusion of the occupational health professional.The OH role in supporting organisations also appears to be growing to enableemployers to consider the broader factors that may be having an effect onhealth and absence, and to be proactive in dealing with these broader, oftenexternal influences. The role of occupational health in providing advice on individual cases isvaluable but the wider picture needs to be remembered. References  1. http://www.cbi.org.uk2. Whitaker, S. (2001) The Management of Sickness Absence Occupational andEnvironmental Medicine 58(6), Jun I, 420-424 3. British Society of Rehabilitative Medicine (2000) VocationalRehabilitation. The Way Forward. London: BSRM 4. Bailey, R. (1998) Attendance Allowance Occupational Health April 23-25 A standardised approach– The standard approach to sicknessabsence used by the Black Country NHS Personnel Consortium records as follows: 1. Lost hours over contracted hours 2. No adjustment for annual leave3. Maternity leave is excluded4. Partial shift absences, hospital appointments, etc, arediscounted– Data is collected by line managers and fed to a centralsystem in each trust– The information collected is the most reliable comparablesickness absence data currently available in the NHS– HR personnel select a particular ward and time period toaudit data collected and compare to that already captured?  Results are fed back to managers, includinginformation on over and under-reporting of absences– Reason for absence is currently being piloted in three of thetrusts. The system aims to capture hours of absence and medical reason forabsence. Ten categories (e.g. musculoskeletal problems, mental health problems,etc.) subdivided into defined problems Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Absent without leaveOn 1 Oct 2001 in Musculoskeletal disorders, Personnel Todaylast_img read more

first_imgShifting growth trends in oil and gas drillingWhile onshore projects will account for most of this activity in terms of pure numbers – 61,700 wells are expected by 2022 – the most notable growth will be seen offshore, where drilling is expected to surpass 2019 levels over the next two years to reach more than 2,700 wells annually.“In contrast to previous years, when the North American shale sector led production growth, we expect the onshore and offshore shelf in the Middle East and the deepwater market in South America to be the main drivers of growth going forward,” said Rystad research analyst Daniel Holmedal.Hit hardest by last year’s market collapse, the vast US onshore sector has largely settled in for a period of capital discipline and near-term production restraint – a strategy that is “pushing most activity out to 2022 and beyond,” the analysis noted.In its latest oil market report, the International Energy Agency highlighted capital spending across the US shale sector fell by 50% last year, and “guidance suggests a recovery of less than 5% in 2021” – indicating new production activity will remain subdued.“While operators tout their ability to respond quickly to higher prices, the focus of the short-term strategy is clearly survival by debt management and sustaining, rather than growing, output,” the energy watchdog added.Meanwhile, sizeable offshore projects in Brazil and Guyana are moving ahead, and these two regions are expected to dominate medium-term production activity, outside of the Opec+ alliance.Holmedal said: “To recover production levels, operators will have to launch new drilling plans in tandem with maintenance and enhancement programmes for existing wells, opening significant opportunities for well service suppliers in the years ahead.” Around 54,000 wells are expected to be drilled worldwide in 2021 (Credit: Aleksei Zakirov/Shutterstock) Oil and gas drilling activity is bouncing back quickly following last year’s market crisis, but despite a forecast for two consecutive years of growth a return to pre-pandemic heights is not expected just yet.A rebalancing of market fundamentals as fuel demand begins to return and Opec+ production cuts ease the pressure of oversupply is encouraging exploration and production companies to restart planning and operations after a challenging 2020.Analysts at Rystad Energy expect roughly 54,000 wells to be drilled globally this year – a 12% year-on-year increase – with a further 19% annual rise anticipated in 2022 to around 64,500 wells.This overall figure remains below the 71,000 wells drilled in 2019, and “it still looks like drilling needs some more time to recover to pre-pandemic levels” the consultancy said. Analysts say oil and gas drilling growth is returning after a challenging 2020, but there will be a shift in emphasis towards offshore activitieslast_img read more

first_imgIndiana’s unemployment rate stands at 3.2 percent for October and remains lower than the national rate of 3.6 percent. The monthly unemployment rate is a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicator that reflects the number of unemployed people seeking employment within the prior four weeks as a percentage of the labor force.Indiana’s labor force had a net increase of 567 over the previous month. This was a result of a decrease of 1,397 unemployed residents and an increase of 1,964 employed residents. Indiana’s total labor force, which includes both Hoosiers employed and those seeking employment, stands at 3.38 million, and the state’s 64.4 percent labor force participation rate remains above the national rate of 63.3 percent.Learn more about how unemployment rates are calculated here: http://www.hoosierdata.in.gov/infographics/employment-status.asp.October 2019 Employment ChartsEmployment by SectorPrivate sector employment has grown by 16,500 over the year and has decreased by 2,000 over the previous month. The monthly decrease is primarily due to losses in the Manufacturing (-4,000) and the Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-2,100)sectors. Losses were partially offset by gains in the Leisure and Hospitality (2,100) and the Professional and Business Services (1,500) sectors. Total private employment stands at 2,734,500, which is 2,400 above the December 2018 peak.Midwest Unemployment RatesOctober 2019 Midwest Unemployment Rates EDITOR’S NOTES:Data are sourced from October Current Employment Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics – U.S. Bureau of Labor StatisticsOctober employment data for Indiana Counties, Cities and MSAs will be available Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, at noon (Eastern) pending U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics validation.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

first_imgBroadway vet Leigh Zimmerman will join the West End transfer of Noel Coward’s Relative Values as Miranda Frayle. Directed by Trevor Nunn and starring the previously announced Patricia Hodge, Caroline Quentin and Rory Bremner, the Theatre Royal Bath production will play a limited engagement March 19 through June 21. Press night is set for April 14 at the Harold Pinter Theatre. View Comments There is consternation at Marshwood House when the young Earl announces he is to marry a Hollywood film actress…. but the family is well and truly flummoxed when it comes to light that the starlet’s sister is none other than Moxie, the Earl’s mother’s maid. In an attempt to cope with this deeply embarrassing situation, Moxie is dressed up in her ladyship’s cast-offs as the family endeavours to pass her off as one of their own. Returning to the production from Bath are Steven Pacey as Peter, Timothy Kightley as Admiral Sir John Hayling, Amanda Boxer as Lady Cynthia Hayling, Sam Hoare as Nigel and Rebecca Birch as Alice . Olivier winner Zimmerman has appeared on Broadway in Chicago, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Crazy For You and The Will Rogers Follies. Recent London stage credits include A Chorus Line and A Love Affair from A2Z .last_img read more

first_imgUnion Bank,At the annual staff meeting held yesterday after the close of business, President and Chief Executive Officer Kenneth D Gibbons announced the results of the Board of Directors’ search for his successor as President of Union Bank (the ‘Bank’) and Union Bankshares, Inc. David S Silverman, 49, a Senior Vice President of the Bank and Vice President of the Company, was unanimously selected by the Boards of both companies at a joint meeting on November 3. Silverman was also appointed a director of the Bank by the Bankshares Board, as of November 17.In accordance with the management succession plan adopted by the Board last July, Silverman will become President of both companies on April 1, 2011, and CEO in May 2012. Gibbons will become Board Chair upon the retirement of current Board Chair, Richard C Sargent, at the annual meeting of shareholders in May 2011, and will remain as CEO during the management transition year of May 2011 to May 2012. It is also expected that Silverman will stand for election to the company’s Board of Directors at the 2011 annual meeting.Silverman began employment with Union Bank in 1986, and over the years has progressed through various departments and positions to his current Bank positions of Senior Vice President, Senior Lending Officer and Head of Marketing. He has also served as a Vice President of the Company since 2008. Silverman holds a BA in Business Management from Johnson State College and is very active within the community, currently serving as Chair of Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley. He previously has served as Treasurer and Executive Committee member of the Stowe Area Association, member of the Morristown Development Review Board and past Board member of Lamoille County Mental Health.Silverman resides in Morrisville with his wife, Janet.‘The Board and I are particularly pleased with David’s selection as my successor. He possesses not only a solid knowledge of the banking business, including credit underwriting and administration skills, but also possesses invaluable institutional knowledge about the Company and familiarity with our employees, customers and market area. David’s skills and insights will help to ensure a smooth transition and provide continuity, which is important during any transition of this nature,’ stated Ken Gibbons, President and CEO.Commenting on this phase of the Company’s succession plan, Board Chair Richard Sargent said, ‘Ken has provided exceptional leadership for the Company during his 20 years at the helm, shepherding it through both high-growth and recessionary times. The Board is confident that David shares these strong leadership qualities. We look forward to working with Ken and David to implement a smooth and successful leadership transition in the next year and a half.’Union Bankshares, Inc, with headquarters in Morrisville, Vermont, is the bank holding company parent of Union Bank, a full service bank offering deposit, loan, trust and commercial banking services throughout northern Vermont and northwestern New Hampshire. As of September 30, 2010, the Company had $451 million in consolidated assets, $377 million in consolidated deposits and operates 13 banking offices and 29 ATM facilities in Vermont, a branch and ATM in Littleton, New Hampshire, and a loan center in South Burlington, Vermont.Statements made in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned that all forward-looking statements necessarily involve risks and uncertainties, and many factors could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those contemplated in the forward-looking statements. When we use any of the words ‘believes,’ ‘expects,’ ‘anticipates’ or similar expressions, we are making forward-looking statements. The following factors, among others, could cause actual results and events to differ from those contemplated in the forward-looking statements: uncertainties associated with general economic conditions; changes in the interest rate environment; inflation; political, legislative or regulatory developments; acts of war or terrorism; the markets’ acceptance of and demand for the Company’s products and services; technological changes, including the impact of the internet on the Company’s business and on the financial services market place generally; the impact of competitive products and pricing; and dependence on third party suppliers. For further information, please refer to the Company’s reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission at www.sec.gov(link is external). Source: Union Bank/Union Bankshares, Inc. Morrisville, Vermont, November 19, 2010 (NASDAQ: UNB) ‘last_img read more

first_imgIn September, the district’s school board voted to continue with remote learning for most students through the end of the semester, citing health concerns, despite Ms. Felder’s recommendation to implement a combination of in-person and online classes.To help students connect, the district has distributed over 1,500 hot spots, often several to each family. Yellow buses outfitted with Wi-Fi regularly rumble outside apartment complexes and housing developments. And for weeks, shuttered school cafeterias, once redolent with the scent of chicken nuggets and quesadillas, functioned as internet hubs.But with no child care provided, few parents brought their children, prompting the district to close them last month.Today, many parents use a map of public Wi-Fi locations to help their children get online, and students can often be seen hunched over laptops in cars parked within the invisible range of wireless routers. “It just adds insult to injury when you’re forced to sit in a McDonald’s parking lot to learn,” Ms. Felder said.For months, Ms. Felder and other local officials have been lobbying the state for systemic solutions, rather than Band-Aid fixes like hot spots. “We need cell towers and broadband,” she said. “That’s something we cannot build ourselves. We need the government to step in and make this happen.” The challenge of closing the digital divide can be particularly daunting in states like North Carolina, home to the nation’s second-largest rural population and a geography that spans mountains, swamps and barrier islands.About 100,000 of the state’s 1.5 million K-12 students were unable to connect to online services in August, according to the Department of Information Technology. More than 75,300 cellular hot spots were provided to schools by late October, and the state is trying to connect other students with public Wi-Fi locations and community grants for broadband infrastructure.But politics has also hampered the state’s connectivity. In 2016, Republican state lawmakers won a legal battle to halt the spread of municipal broadband providers, which had increased competition by serving residents where commercial networks had been unwilling to go.In Orange County, which is home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and just west of some of the state’s biggest cities, more than 5,200 households lack broadband internet access, including an estimated 1,100 students in the local school district, said Monique Felder, the superintendent.She noted with frustration that the district is just a few miles away from the state’s prominent Research Triangle Park, where IBM, Cisco and dozens of other information technology companies employ thousands of people. The strain is even more profound two hours’ drive south in Robeson County, where coronavirus test positivity rates have consistently been more than double the state’s 5 percent benchmark for reopening, leading the school board to extend remote learning through December, a district spokesman said. “It’s un-American,” said Ms. Felder, who pointed to unaffordable pricing and a lack of cell towers as having contributed to the problem. “I can’t wrap my head around the fact that we live in a place where you have all this technology, yet we have families who can’t access the internet in the comfort of their home.” The technology gap has prompted teachers to upload lessons on flash drives and send them home to dozens of students every other week. Some children spend school nights crashing at more-connected relatives’ homes so they can get online for classes the next day. “It’s not fair,” said Shekinah, 17, who, after weeks trying to stay connected to classes through her cellphone, was finally able to get online regularly again last month through a Wi-Fi hot spot provided by the school. “I don’t think just the people who live in the city should have internet. We need it in the country, too.”Millions of American students are grappling with the same challenges, learning remotely without adequate home internet service. Even as school districts like the one in Robeson County have scrambled to provide students with laptops, many who live in low-income and rural communities continue to have difficulty logging on.About six million K-12 students lived in households without adequate online connectivity in 2018, according to a study of federal data by Common Sense Media, an education nonprofit that tracks children’s media use.- Advertisement – Sherry Park, the principal of South Robeson Intermediate School, said about 60 of her 310 students live in cell service “dead zones.” Every two weeks, their parents come to the school to exchange drives filled with completed schoolwork for new ones, uploaded with lesson videos and assignments.Sharon Hunt works 12- to 14-hour days teaching eighth-grade math at the school. In a voice frayed by exhaustion, she described a grueling schedule: teaching online in an empty classroom from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., after which she returns home to spend several more hours compiling flash drive presentations before grading assignments.Most of her students live in rural areas, and half of the students in one of her classes have no internet access. One family has to walk to the nearest crossroad to get cellphone reception. Ms. Hunt said she tries to answer their questions over the phone, but both teacher and students know it’s not the same.“You can tell in their voice that they’re struggling, but once we’ve kind of talked through some things, they sound better,” she said. “That’s all I have to go on until I get their work.”The lack of internet access has reshaped the home lives of some students. Clarissa Breedan, an unemployed cosmetologist, lives with her parents and two children in a double-wide trailer home outside the small town of Roland. This fall, her four nieces have also stayed there during the week, so they can get online for classes, only going home to their parents on weekends. In Baltimore, where a recent study found that nearly 20,000 households with school-aged children lacked broadband internet or computers, the public school system is providing internet connectivity to an estimated 44,000 students, or 55 percent of the district’s total enrollment, officials said. Josie Hunt lives on the outskirts of Roland; the only internet access there is via satellite for $140 per month. But she canceled her subscription in September after a barrage of extra charges incurred from remote classes made the service unaffordable. And a broadband provider said laying a cable to her home would cost $12,000.“I’d rather not ever have internet if I have to pay that much,” said Ms. Hunt, who is disabled and whose husband works odd jobs.Without it, her son Nehemiah, 14, has been forced to rely on flash drives to do his school work, with devastating results. “In school I made all A’s and B’s,” he said. “Now I’m failing.”center_img All the companies gave the same answer: Service is not available in your area.The response is the same across broad stretches of Robeson County, N.C., a swath of small towns and rural places like Orrum dotted among soybean fields and hog farms on the South Carolina border. About 20,000 of the county’s homes, or 43 percent of all households, have no internet connection. – Advertisement – Before the coronavirus, that was mainly an obstacle for students doing homework, and it was an issue that state and federal officials struggled to address. But the pandemic turned the lack of internet connectivity into a nationwide emergency: Suddenly, millions of schoolchildren were cut off from digital learning, unable to maintain virtual “attendance” and marooned socially from their classmates. Some of the girls sleep in reclining chairs because there aren’t enough beds. “We have to do what we have to do,” Ms. Breedan said. – Advertisement – Shekinah and Orlandria Lennon were sitting at their kitchen table this fall, taking online classes, when video of their teachers and fellow students suddenly froze on their laptop screens. The wireless antenna on the roof had stopped working, and it couldn’t be fixed.Desperate for a solution, their mother called five broadband companies, trying to get connections for their home in Orrum, N.C., a rural community of fewer than 100 people with no grocery store or traffic lights.- Advertisement – The Trump administration has done little to expand broadband access for students, both before and during the pandemic, said James P. Steyer, the chief executive of Common Sense Media. “There was no federal strategy, and it was left to the individual states to come up with a patchwork of solutions,” he said.When Congress passed a coronavirus relief package in March, it provided billions of dollars for emergency education needs, but none specifically for closing the digital divide. Despite advocacy from groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Steyer said, Republican leaders in Congress blocked efforts to add such funds.“The tragedy is this is not a Democratic or Republican problem,” Mr. Steyer said. “It is simply not fair that a poor family in a rural area or a low-income urban area does not have the resources to send their kids to school in this pandemic.”Desperate for workarounds, schools across the country have scrambled to distribute mobile hot spots and internet-equipped iPads. Districts everywhere from Wisconsin to Kansas to Alabama have transformed idle school buses into roving Wi-Fi vehicles that park in neighborhoods so students can sit nearby and log in to classes.last_img read more

first_imgSupermarket competition Shoppers on the streets of Wuhan appeared unperturbed by criticisms of the city’s wet markets as dirty and dangerous, instead citing convenience as the reason for choosing supermarkets instead.One 40-year-old supermarket shopper surnamed Chen told AFP that she thinks the food at wet markets is “good and cheap.”She rejected criticism that China’s markets are unhygienic, saying it “just isn’t true.””Their stuff is always fresh,” she said.People in China traditionally prefer buying fresh food — as opposed to frozen or packaged food — although supermarkets have been vying to steal away consumers in recent years.In 2019, the majority of Chinese people said they preferred to shop at supermarkets compared to other types of food shops, according to Chinese research firm iiMedia.”There are just more things at supermarkets,” Jiang Yonghui, a 20-year-old Wuhan resident, told AFP. “I don’t think there’s any hygiene difference.” Wet markets are popular venues to buy fresh meat, vegetables and fish across Asia — most selling common, everyday produce to locals at affordable prices.Most don’t sell live animals, although some do. During visits to three Wuhan markets this week, AFP saw live turtles, frogs, fish and crustaceans for sale, but no fowl or mammals blamed for past diseases.Workers at Baishazhou said they were now required to disinfect their stalls several times a day. Yang keeps multiple bottles of disinfectant in her small office, alongside a box of masks.Nevertheless, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said this week the decision to reopen wet markets was “unfathomable”.”We need to protect the world against potential sources of outbreaks of these types of viruses,” he told Australian TV.The top medical specialist for the US government, Anthony Fauci, told Fox News earlier this month that wet markets should be shut down “right away.” ‘Doomed’ The nationalistic state-run Global Times launched a strident defense of China’s wet markets on Tuesday, attacking “preconceived ideas” and “ridiculous requests” to close them.While the World Health Organization has said governments must ban the sale of exotic wildlife and enforce food safety regulations, it has not called for any wet markets to be closed.Vendors at Wuhan’s markets say unaffordable rents and the lingering effects of the citywide shutdown are more immediate concerns than the threat of contagion.”Business is very bad,” said Zhang Zhizhen, a duck meat seller at Lanling market. “It’s because of the epidemic — there are still very few people on the streets.”Most Wuhan market sellers who spoke to AFP said they never sold wild animals.But at the city’s Tiansheng market, two freshwater produce sellers who declined to give their names said they had to stop selling certain types of frogs and turtles because of the new rules.”This definitely affects our income, but we have to overcome this. It can’t be helped,” one seller said.Low foot traffic at the market, which has locked all but one entrance and only allows customers in after a temperature check, remains their main concern.”We don’t know if we can survive,” the other seller said. “Do you see anyone here?” At a large food market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, signs forbid the selling of wild animals and live fowl, while announcements calling for “victory” over COVID-19 play on a loop from speakers.China’s “wet markets” have been slammed internationally as the coronavirus roils the world, with the disease having seemingly emerged from stalls selling live game in Wuhan late last year.The government has since banned the sale of wildlife for food, but the reopening of markets has drawn criticism from around the world as the death toll from the pandemic continues to mount.center_img Topics : Shut down during the lengthy quarantine that sealed off Wuhan until April 8, the city’s markets are now fighting for survival as customers have not been rushing back.”There’s no question, we’re doomed this year,” spice seller Yang, who runs a stall at the massive Baishazhou wholesale market, told AFP. “There have never been so few people at our market.”Yang, whose sales have fallen by a third from before the lockdown, dismissed criticism of markets as virus hotbeds as “unnecessary panic”.One market remains closed: The Huanan Seafood Market that sold a range of exotic wildlife and is suspected to be the cradle of the virus that jumped from animals to humans.last_img read more

first_imgEl Gobernador Wolf anuncia un programa de $450 millones en préstamos para hospitales con dificultades financieras Español,  Healthcare,  Press Release,  Public Health A la medianoche del día de hoy se registraban más de 19,000 casos de COVID-19 en el estado, y se espera que los números continúen aumentando. Esto deja ver la necesidad aún mayor de garantizar que los hospitales de Pennsylvania estén equipados para atender a los pacientes y a los trabajadores. Con el fin de ayudar, el Gobernador Tom Wolf anunció hoy un nuevo programa de préstamos, el Programa de Préstamos de Emergencia para Hospitales (o HELP, por sus siglas en inglés) que prestará ayuda financiera a corto plazo a los hospitales de Pennsylvania mientras se preparan para el creciente aumento de personas infectadas con COVID-19 y las repercusiones económicas de la pandemia nacional.“La combinación de mayores costos y menores ingresos ha perjudicado financieramente a muchos hospitales”, dijo el Gobernador Wolf. “Debemos brindar apoyo a nuestros hospitales durante este tiempo sin precedentes. Cuando esta pandemia finalmente termine, vamos a necesitar hospitales para atender nuestras necesidades médicas habituales, como infartos y huesos rotos. Este nuevo programa de préstamos llevará un alivio inmediato a nuestros hospitales, que están en la primera línea de esta pandemia”.El paquete de préstamos de $450 millones estará disponible para los hospitales estatales para brindar apoyo financiero inmediato con el capital de trabajo de manera de garantizar que estos centros médicos tengan suficiente personal, equipos y equipos de protección personal.La financiación fue distribuida por la Autoridad de Inversión en Infraestructura de Pennsylvania (PENNVEST) y será administrada por el Departamento de Desarrollo Comunitario y Económico de Pennsylvania a través del programa Pennsylvania First (PA First). Fue aprobada por el Tesorero Joe Torsella, quien desempeñó un papel crucial en la liberación acelerada de estos fondos de emergencia.“Los hospitales de Pennsylvania deberían centrarse en salvar vidas, no en preocuparse por cómo llegar a fin de mes hasta que lleguen los fondos federales de alivio dentro de unos meses”, dijo el Tesorero del Estado de Pennsylvania, Joe Torsella, cuya oficina debe aprobar toda inversión realizada por la Junta de PENNVEST. “Me enorgullece aprobar esta inversión prudente que aportará un financiamiento inmediato, de bajo costo y directo para permitir que los hospitales tengan suficiente personal en sus pisos, compren suministros de tratamiento y equipos de protección, y se preparen con éxito para el aumento de pacientes con COVID-19 en las próximas semanas. Felicito a la junta de PENNVEST por dar este paso, y al Gobernador Wolf por su liderazgo y compromiso constante para proteger a los residentes de Pennsylvania durante esta crisis”.Los centros médicos de Pennsylvania habilitados como hospitales por el Departamento de Salud de Pennsylvania en virtud de la Ley de Centros Médicos de 1979 que reúnen los requisitos para recibir subvenciones federales a través de la Ley CARES reúnen los requisitos para HELP. El monto máximo del préstamo es de $10 millones por hospital a una tasa de interés del 0.5 por ciento.Las solicitudes estarán disponibles en el sitio de Internet de DCED a partir de las 10:00 a.m. del 13 de abril al 20 de abril. Los costos deben realizarse entre el 1 de marzo y el 1 de septiembre.HELP permitirá a los hospitales tomar medidas de respuesta ahora mismo hasta que la financiación a través de la Ley federal de Ayuda, Alivio y Seguridad Económica por el Coronavirus (CARES, por sus siglas en inglés), que se promulgó el 27 de marzo de 2020, se distribuya por completo con el objetivo de aliviar la tensión económica de la pandemia y suavizar la transición al funcionamiento habitual de la atención médica.Los gastos permitidos según HELP reflejarán aquellos conforme a la Ley CARES, que permite a los hospitales cerrar su préstamo con fondos de CARES una vez que los reciben.Ver esta página en inglés. April 10, 2020center_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

first_imgRoyal Boskalis Westminster N.V. announced today that its subsidiary VBMS in consortium with NKT Cables has been awarded the Borssele Beta contract by TenneT for the installation of two 67-kilometer-long export cables that will connect the Borssele offshore wind farms 3 and 4 to TenneT’s onshore grid in the Netherlands.In addition, VBMS will install a seven-kilometer-long interconnector cable between the Borssele Alpha and Beta offshore substations. The contract value of Boskalis’ share is approximately EUR 70 million.In order to execute the project in a safe and efficient manner, Boskalis has taken full advantage of the expertise and capabilities within the group.To minimize maintenance to the cables during their operational lifetime, Boskalis will pre-sweep and dredge the shallow parts of the route, which will enable VBMS to simultaneously lay and bury the export cables at the required depth. Borssele Alpha will go into service in 2019 followed by Borssele Beta in 2020.According to Boskalis, this project is closely related to the development of generating renewable energy due to climate change and increasing energy consumption.last_img read more

first_imgLondon-based Stolt-Nielsen Limited expects a negative financial impact on its tanker business following a fire at Intercontinental Terminals Company’s facility in Houston.Namely, the company noted that its future performance is expected to be affected by the fire which erupted on March 17 at ITC’s petrochemical storage facility, leading to a chemical spill in the Houston Ship Channel.“The fire at ITC’s facility in Houston last month is already impacting the local chemical industry, including both transportation and storage,” Niels G. Stolt-Nielsen, CEO of Stolt-Nielsen Limited, commented.“We are at a minimum expecting a negative impact on Stolt Tankers, as parts of the Houston Ship Channel have been closed to traffic, causing delays. We continue to follow the situation closely, as the full impact is unclear at this point.”The Oslo-listed company reported USD 501.9 million of revenue for the first quarter ended February 28, 2019, compared to a revenue of USD 515.3 million reported in the same period a year earlier.Stolt-Nielsen’s net profit dropped to USD 6.6 million in the period from USD 38.8 million delivered in the first quarter of 2018.“Stolt-Nielsen Limited’s first-quarter results were in line with expectations,” Stolt-Nielsen said.“Freight rates and volumes overall were stable at Stolt Tankers. Results at Stolthaven Terminals were steady when excluding the impairments taken in the prior quarter, reflecting stable market conditions and operations. At Stolt Tank Containers, first-quarter results were down in line with seasonal expectations, though market softness remains, with intensified price competition.”Stolt Tankers reported an operating profit of USD 14.3 million, up from USD 7.7 million delivered in the previous quarter, mainly reflecting a USD 3.4 million bunker-hedge gain in the quarter.Stolthaven Terminals’ operating profit was at USD 18 million, up from USD 11.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, while Stolt Tank Containers reported an operating profit of USD 15.7 million down from USD 18.1 million quarter-on-quarter.last_img read more