IOSCO, Harvard announce training program for securities regulators

first_img Related news James Langton Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Keywords Continuing educationCompanies International Organization of Securities Commissions IIROC proficiency committee seeks members New course eases fund reps’ access to alt fundscenter_img The first week will focus on current securities regulation and provide an overview of the regulatory frameworks in different jurisdictions, IOSCO says. The second week will examine ways of ensuring compliance with securities regulations. In December, a one-week session at Harvard will examine emerging regulatory issues. To attend the program, which includes online training alongside the classroom sessions, students must be staff of an IOSCO member organization. “This program is a unique opportunity to bring together securities regulators from all over the world to share experiences and to learn techniques and regulatory information and strategies that are practical, innovative, and represent the very latest thinking with respect to enhanced securities regulation,” says Paul Andrews, secretary general of IOSCO, in a statement. “We are excited to work for the first time together with a global standard setter in shaping the securities regulators of tomorrow and increasing and enhancing their regulatory skills in protecting investors and ensuring the integrity of the capital markets and strengthening financial stability,” adds professor Hal Scott, director of the program on financial systems at Harvard Law School. IIROC conferences going virtual Commissions (IOSCO) and the Program on International Financial Systems at Harvard Law School (PIFS-HLS) on Tuesday announced the launch of a joint Global Certificate Program for Regulators of Securities Markets. The new program will be officially rolled out in October with two one-week sessions to be conducted at IOSCO’s headquarters in Madrid. Facebook LinkedIn Twitterlast_img read more

Government Issues List of Additional Items Subject to GCT

first_imgGovernment Issues List of Additional Items Subject to GCT Finance & Public ServiceApril 27, 2009 RelatedGovernment Issues List of Additional Items Subject to GCT RelatedGovernment Issues List of Additional Items Subject to GCT FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, has announced the revisited list of items for which General Consumption Tax (GCT) has become applicable as of Monday, April 27, 2009.The Minister pointed out that GCT exemptions will continue for the following items:(1) Live birds, crustacean, mollusk or any other animal of a kind generally used as, or yielding or producing food for human consumption and draught animals;(2) Formerly, all printed matter (excluding newspapers) were exempt. Now, only printed matter for religious and educational purposes will be exempt. (The Commissioner of Inland Revenue is charged with the responsibility of certifying which printed matter is for religious and educational purposes).In addition, computers for educational institutions, approved by the Minister of Education, will receive relief/waiver from the Ministry of Finance.IMPORTED SERVICES:Mr. Shaw said that GCT would now also apply to “imported services” as provided for under Section 23B of the GCT Act. While it was put into the Act December 2003, it was not enforced. He emphasised that that this provision will now be enforced.ADDITIONAL ITEMS THAT WILL BE SUBJECT TO GCT:GOODS:Automatic Data Processing Machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, not elsewhere specified or included.1 (Tariff heading No. 84.71).Parts and accessories of the machines of Tariff heading No. 84.71. (Tariff heading No.8473.30). For the purposes of this Part, the definition of “automatic data processing machines” contained in paragraph 5 of the Notes to Chapter 84 of the First Schedule to the Customs Tariff (Revision) Resolution, 1972 shall apply.Printed matter (including newspapers), articles and materials classified under Tariff Headings Nos. 49.01 to 49.05 which are not for religious and educational purposes and which the Commissioner of Inland Revenue has not certified as being for religious and educational purposes.Fish, cock and noodle soup, in aluminium sachets.Syrup as specified under Tariff heading No. 21.06 of the First Schedule to the Customs Tariff (Revision) Resolution, 1972.Motor Spirit and lubricating oil which are sold for Commercial fishing.Rolled oatsSalt. Services:Imported Services as provided for under Section 23B of the GCT ActThe GCT Act (inserted December 2003) in Section 23B specifically mentions these services as follows:23B. Payment of tax in respect of imported services.223B. Where a taxable activity consists of the supply of imported services by a person who is not a resident in Jamaica, the recipient of those services shall, for the purposes of that supply, be deemed to be a registered taxpayer and shall pay the tax chargeable in respect of that supply to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue, in accordance with the provisions of section 33 (1).This legislation is in place and will now be enforced.center_img RelatedGovernment Issues List of Additional Items Subject to GCT Advertisementslast_img read more

Signs of hope in East Africa, as control campaign tames locust upsurge

first_imgSigns of hope in East Africa, as control campaign tames locust upsurge In this Q&A interview, FAO Senior Desert Locust Forecaster Keith Cressman and Cyril Ferrand, Manager of FAO’s Desert Locust response in East Africa, discuss progress made in containing the threat posed by the voracious pest in East Africa.What is the locust situation in East Africa right now?Cressman: At the moment, swarms are declining rapidly across the Horn of Africa thanks to the large-scale control operations mounted by governments and supported by FAO over the past 14 months and poor rains.Swarms in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia remain immature and continue to become smaller. Without rainfall, they will not mature and breed. The upcoming rainy season that is expected to be drier than normal should contribute to a further decline in locusts.So, there is cautious optimism that the upsurge is winding down in the Horn of Africa, especially if poor rainfall limits breeding this spring, and then equally poor rains occur during the summer in northeast Ethiopia and Somalia.Ferrand: I would add that, compared to the mega swarms of 2020, the swarms now being treated by government teams run from a few hectares to 30 hectares and contain far fewer insects. Remember last year there was one swarm in northern Kenya that was around 2 000 square kilometres in size. Now, daily missions in Kenya are down to one or two a day at the very most, compared to 20 at the peak of the upsurge last year.Are you saying the locust crisis is over?Cressman: Absolutely not! Given the right conditions, Desert Locusts are a biological time bomb. They are also professional survivalists and know how to manage weather conditions in a changing climate. We have been surprised twice during this upsurge by atypical weather that dumped unusually heavy amounts of precipitation out of season and sparked an explosion of reproduction.It would be a fatal error to scale down the response now. On the contrary, surveillance missions should be ramped up, to lock in gains and detect any upticks in locust activity, if the weather does have any more tricks up its sleeve. The maximum number of ground teams must be out actively searching for locust infestations. All control teams must remain ready to react. If current trends continue, operations might be able to come off “high alert status” perhaps after the summer.Ferrand: Exactly. So much has been gained. But we see that the governments of the region are determined to safeguard these achievements now that the people of East Africa are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now, countries have systems in place, teams in place, and are maintaining a state of full readiness.What happens if surprise weather does provoke another round of breeding?Ferrand: The countries in the region are ready. In one year they went from having very little expertise or capacity to deal with desert locust invasions to a state of very high preparedness. So an enduring legacy of this joint campaign is a very enhanced national locust response preparedness capacity that will benefit East Africa in the future.How are environmental and safety concerns associated with anti-locust pesticides addressed?Ferrand: First of all, of course FAO and the affected countries understand concerns over the environment and safety. This has been a top priority from before the operations even began.Before an air control operation is conducted, the environment is mapped, including settlements, water bodies, wildlife and conservancies for example. Wind direction and speed are assessed and factored in. If swarms are too close to water bodies or the wind direction risk to drift pesticides to water bodies, the operation is cancelled. Spraying has taken place largely on arid land, avoiding potential leaching to water systems. On many occasions operations have to be aborted because the proper conditions are not met.Cressman: Managing Desert Locusts in order to prevent plagues is one of FAO’s original mandates since our founding in 1947, so we have deep experience in this challenging issue.Over the years, FAO and a range of partners working on Desert Locust management have developed standard operating protocols to guide the planning and execution of control campaigns. Best practices call for exact targeting, precision spraying, and close monitoring so that control operations apply pesticides in a responsible, effective and safe way. Control teams use ultra-low volume formulations very tightly targeted and follow a range of protocols and standard best practices. These are the recommendations we have been driving home from day one.Are there alternatives?Cressman: It is widely accepted that the only effective strategy for responding to a Desert Locust upsurge of this magnitude is one that utilizes approved-for-use pesticides. There is just no other way to do it, and the consequences of inaction in terms of the destruction to food crops and pastures in a region already beset by high levels of food insecurity are just unacceptable.Yes, chemical pesticides used in control can pose risks to human and animal health. Risks can be managed by taking the necessary precautionary measures and strictly following the correct application methods.Biological alternatives do exist, but they may not be available in suitable quantities and fast enough when swarms are so vast. By the way, FAO and our government partners did use biopesticides in this current upsurge, when circumstances made use of this slower-acting solution viable.Moving forward, extensive research is underway on biological control and other means of non-chemical control of locusts. The current focus is on pathogens and insect growth regulators. Thus far, control by natural predators and parasites is limited, as locusts easily outnumber their enemies during upsurges and swarms easily migrate away, leaving them behind.Ferrand: I would just add that we have worked closely with the government teams to provide training in best practices. Something like 4 000 training manuals and leaflets were distributed across the region after users and actors were exposed to standard operating procedures. Environmental impact assessments have been ongoing. A partnership involving FAO, other UN agencies and regional NGOs has developed community information material in various local languages on safety and best practices. Things like posters, radio announcements, booklets, animations and text messages have been widely disseminated.Again, we completely understand the concern. All concerns or reports from communities have been carefully investigated and we are pleased to report that we did not face environmental or health incidents in the region. But I would also point to what these operations have achieved in terms of preventing human suffering.Locust control operations prevented the loss of 4 million tonnes of cereal and 790 million litres of milk production, protecting the food security of 34.2 million people and avoiding $1.54 billion in cereal and milk losses. /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:Africa, Agriculture, biological, environment, Ethiopia, explosion, FAO, Government, interview, Keith, Kenya, operation, production, reproduction, Somalia, surveillance, UNlast_img read more

Montana Governor Cuts Ties to Oil Spill Command Post

first_img Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. BILLINGS – The state of Montana has cut its ties to a joint Exxon Mobil-government command post overseeing an oil spill along the Yellowstone river, after the state’s Democratic governor said the group was defying state open government laws by denying public access.The move underscores mounting tensions between the state and one of the world’s largest energy companies over its handling of pipeline rupture that spewed tens of thousands of gallons of oil into the scenic river.Gov. Brian Schweitzer was to travel to Billings Friday to announce the opening of an alternate state-run oil spill coordination center.Exxon Mobil security workers have closely guarded access to the command post on the second floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Billings, where the EPA and other federal agencies also are stationed. Attempts by The Associated Press to talk to government officials there have been denied.“The state will no longer have a presence at the Crowne Plaza because Exxon Mobil tells us they can’t respect the open government laws we have in Montana,” Schweitzer told The Associated Press. “I can’t allow state employees to be in meetings at the Crowne Plaza talking about this cleanup without having it open.”Schweitzer said the move would not impede the state’s ability to respond to the spill.Exxon Mobil spokesman Alan Jeffers said the company was not in charge of the command post, a joint operation led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.“We do not run the unified command. We are providing security services for the unified command, just like we are providing cleanup serves for the unified command,” he said.EPA spokesman Matthew Allen said in an email to the AP that the agency was still directing the cleanup and would continue “to work hand-in-hand with the state of Montana, other federal agencies, and local government to ensure the spill is cleaned up and the environment restored.”“We’ve committed to the governor and the people of Montana that we’re staying until the job is done and we stand by that commitment,” Allen said.Indoor air, cropland soils and residential wells downstream of the July 1 oil spill will be tested for contamination after residents raised concerns about hazards from the tens of thousands of gallons of crude that poured into the watercourse, the Environmental Protection Agency said.EPA and local officials said they do not expect to find significant health dangers but were acting as a precaution. Some residents in oil-stained areas have complained of nausea, dizziness and shortness of breath that have lingered for days.An estimated 1,000 barrels of oil, or 42,000 gallons, have fouled areas along the scenic Yellowstone since Friday after a 12-inch pipeline operated by Exxon Mobil Corp. broke near the south-central Montana town of Laurel.George Nilson, 69, of Billings, said the fumes from oil that washed into his neighbor’s property have been overwhelming.“I’ve been in it for five days now, and the only way I can breathe is to have all the windows open,” he said.Contractors for the EPA and Exxon Mobil were to collect air samples beginning Thursday or Friday, and the results would take about a week, said EPA on-scene coordinator Steve Merritt. Twelve homes would be tested initially, with possibly more to follow.Crude oil contains dangerous chemicals including benzene and hydrogen sulfide. But officials said much of those substances would have evaporated quickly after the initial spill, meaning the long-term health risk is low.Air sampling along the river has not detected either of the chemicals, and water sampling shows no petroleum hydrocarbons that exceed drinking water standards, the EPA said in a written statement late Thursday.“The air is not inundated with these potentially harmful chemicals,” said Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton. “We can smell things that are no longer creating the same level of hazard.”Soil from agricultural areas and water from hundreds or residential wells also will be tested in coming days, Merritt said. Exxon Mobil’s contractors will collect duplicate samples so their results can be verified by government scientists, he said.Authorities in Yellowstone County said they would ease travel restrictions along a road near the spill site after some area residents and members of the media complained about a lack of access.Those restrictions at times have been enforced by private security contractors working for Exxon Mobil, who turned away reporters or blocked them from areas where cleanup work was going on.“We have been frustrated since the spill took place because we’ve burned up time waiting for Exxon officials or other authorities to respond to our request for information and access,” said Steve Prosinski, editor of the Billings Gazette. “We realize cleanup is their primary focus but they have a responsibility through us to communicate how the cleanup is going.”Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder said his deputies were working in conjunction with the company but had not ceded any authority to it. Linder said the restrictions were meant to protect public safety.“They’re not calling the shots down there as far as access,” Linder said of Exxon Mobil. “They’ll let us know when there is a safe time or not a safe time. We’re working together, is what we’re doing. If it’s a safety issue, we will address it. If it’s not, we will work with them to make sure everybody has access.”Jeffers said the company was trying to be transparent and has worked over the week to improve media access to cleanup areas.Federal regulators have ordered Exxon Mobil to make safety improvements before re-starting the 20-year-old pipeline, including re-burying the line as much as 25 to 30 feet deep to protect against external damage and assess risk where it crosses a waterway.There is still no definitive word on how far downriver the spill could spread.There have been confirmed reports of oil as far as 80 miles downstream, although most is concentrated in the first 30 miles, according to the EPA. Allen said the agency didn’t expect to find much more oil beyond the 80 mile mark, aside from “small, isolated quantities.”An estimated 350 federal and Exxon Mobil contractors were cleaning contaminated areas of riverbank by Thursday, said Exxon Mobil Pipeline Co. President Gary Pruessing.“It’s not soiled everywhere but there are pockets of it,” Pruessing said. “It’s going to take a while as we try to get our hands around where the contamination is and then clean it up.”The cause of the July 1 pipeline rupture remains under investigation.The Department of Transportation had stated in documents released earlier this week that the company reported on June 1 that the line was buried under “at least 12 feet of cover” where it crosses the river near Laurel.A DOT spokesman on Thursday clarified the 12-foot figure as applying to the section of pipeline beneath the bank of the river.The depth of the section beneath the central portion of the riverbed was measured by the company in December at 5 to 8 feet. Determining its depth when the pipe failed will be part of the federal investigation into the spill.The depth was measured after officials in Laurel raised concerns about the safety of the pipe because of erosion along that stretch of the river. In 2009, a Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Co. natural gas line that crossed in almost the same spot ruptured during high waters. Emaillast_img read more

News / Wincanton chief gets top job at Swissport as Utnegaard quits for Bilfinger

first_img Per Utnegaard, the CEO of Swissport, who has been touted as the next chief of engineering and services firm Bilfinger, has finally found his way out. This morning the handling company announced that it has appointed Eric Born as the next president and CEO.The news is good for the cargo arm of the company, which some sources indicate was neglected under Mr Utnegaard’s rule. Mr Born has a history in logistics, and has been CEO of Wincanton since 2010, after a promotion from his role as COO. He also has experience in the aviation sector, with roles at both Gategroup and John Menzies.As Swissport was announcing its news, Bilfinger said that it had appointed Mr Utnegaard as chairman of its executive board from 1 June, as anticipated in March. He will also become vice chairman of the board of directors of Swissport International.In a statement, Swissport said: “The Board of Directors … is very pleased to announce that Eric Born has accepted to join the Group as president and CEO. Eric has a very strong track record in creating value and delivering sustainable results in private equity owned and publicly listed organisations across retail, logistics and aviation services.”Wincanton has appointed Adrian Coleman, finance director as CEO. By Alex Lennane 23/04/2015last_img read more

Life! Live It

first_imgWhat is life?If you would have asked me a few years ago, I would have said life is a curse. During those years, my life was like a parabola. Sometimes it would give me happiness and sometimes chills. Especially living with anxiety, it made it worse. But if you ask me today, my views have changed. I have learned that you can’t get anything until and unless you take responsibility for your actions. You need to accept all the criticisms and use them positively in order to attain success.So here is something I have written about life,Live in the moment, Just take it all inPay attention to everythingright there and right then. Life is crazy, And totally unpredictableIt’s going to  push you over,Kick you while you are down,And hit you when you try to get back up. Cherish this momentAnd give it your best. Laugh till it hurts,Let the tears dropFill up each momentWith all that you’ve got. Life is a gift.Appreciate all the rewards, And jump on every opportunity. Not everyone’s going to love youBut who needs them anyway? Forget all the unnecessary,But remember everything.Bring it with you everywhereyou go.Learn something new and appreciate criticism. Life is Just moments, So precious and few.Whether valued or squandered, It’s all up to you. The Simplelast_img read more

Transmission for Texas wind power could cost $3-9bn

first_imgRenewablesWind Linkedin By chloecox – Using larger, 765 kv power lines could raise that cost to $9 billion, ERCOT said. CPV says it has developed 400+ MW of renewable capacity on former coal mines 4.3.2008 Previous articleSouth Africa terminates $645m AES contract for gas power plantsNext articleRussian Power Reform: Five Years On chloecox Facebook TAGSERCOT After identifying the areas with the best potential for new wind generation, the commission ordered the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to design routes to move 5,100 MW to 17,500 MW to the state’s big cities. The most expensive plan, to bring more than 24,000 MW of wind generation to the eastern half of the state, could cost from $5.75 billion to $6.38 billion, the report said. A more ambitious plan to bring as much as 18,400 MW into populated areas could cost $4.93 billion, the report said. Twitter Southern Power acquiring 118-MW Oklahoma wind project developed by Vestas’ NA unit Transmission companies interested in building new lines include units of Babcock and Brown, ITC Holdings Corp., FPL Group, AES, BP Wind, Shell WindEnergy, CenterPoint Energy and privately held Sharyland Utilities and Energy Future Holdings Corp. 3 April 2008 — The Texas electric grid operator said the price tag to build new power lines to bring wind power to the state’s biggest cities could range from $3 billion to $9 billion, in a report filed with state regulators. Renewable project management firm Bradley acquired by Bureau Veritas Facebook No posts to display Transmission for Texas wind power could cost $3-9bn Twitter RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR ERCOT said two scenarios to gather and transfer a total of 12,000 MW on 345 kV lines could cost from $2.95 billion to $3.78 billion, depending on the number of lines built. Linkedin Following legislation passed in 2005, the Texas Public Utility Commission began working to speed up construction of high-voltage transmission lines to tap into renewable power. Wind farms are located across a sparsely populated west Texas, far from Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, where electric demand is concentrated.last_img read more

100 days in ‘hell’: NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo on his pandemic performance

first_imgABC NewsBy CHRIS FRANCESCANI, SANTINA LEUCI and VICTORIA THOMPSON, ABC News(NEW YORK) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the federal government’s early coronavirus tracking a “terrible blunder” in an interview with ABC News’ Good Morning America, said he would not accept a cabinet position in a Joe Biden administration and insisted that his gradual but disciplined approach to shutting down New York state was the best course — then and now. “We went from the worst infection rate [in the nation] to the best infection rate,” Cuomo told ABC News’ Amy Robach in an interview Tuesday in Albany, New York, about the first 100 days of New York’s response to COVID-19 — which began with New York’s first confirmed case on March 1 and ended on a small note of triumph June 8, with the partial re-opening of New York City. Cuomo also credited New Yorkers for following his lead and sounded off on everything from needing a good hug from his mom to his darkest moments — when the crisis was so severe that he’d privately lean on his memories of his late father and predecessor as New York’s governor, Mario Cuomo. “There were many nights when … I would … get in bed and I couldn’t sleep, and I would just be staring at the ceiling,” Cuomo said. “And I would say to myself, ‘What would he say?’ And I could hear his voice, you know? And I knew what he’d say … and that gave me a lot of comfort, a lot of guidance … My father’s spirit lives in me. I know what he would say. I know his advice.” As for the three grueling months battling to contain the coronavirus from which he just emerged, Cuomo was obediently — if colorfully — concise. “In one word, can you describe the past 100 days?” Robach wondered. “Hell!” Cuomo replied, his expressive face broadening into a signature smile. “Can I say that?” Cuomo said he still doesn’t know the answer to his state’s $64,000 question: When will New York schools re-open? “And I don’t think that anybody knows,” he said. “And anybody who tells you what’s going to happen in September? I wouldn’t believe them.” ‘Exponential’ spread New York’s governor has been faulted in recent weeks for overseeing a too-gradual shutdown of New York state as the virus raged through the tri-state area earlier this year. Cuomo waited until March 20 to fully close down the state. By April 1, more than 2,000 New Yorkers would be dead.Even as far less dense urban centers like San Francisco closed schools on March 12 and issued the nation’s first shelter-in-place orders on March 17, Cuomo urged caution. California issued the first statewide shelter-in-place order on March 17, and three days later Cuomo followed suit. Critics have suggested Cuomo should have recognized the scope of the threat when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began screening incoming passengers from China on Jan. 17, more than two months before the first confirmed New York case. Yet the governor looks back on the early days of the pandemic from a different perspective. The U.S. West Coast “had cases much sooner than we did,” Cuomo said. “They had cases back in January. We didn’t have a case until March.” “No one really knew what they were talking about when this COVID crisis started,” Cuomo insisted. “We were all told that the virus was coming from China. Turns out the virus came from Europe and that’s why New York had such a bad situation initially – because no one was stopping the flights from Europe.” “It was just a terrible blunder, frankly,” he said. “But that’s why New York had a very high rate of infection” at first, Cuomo said. He laid the blame for early, severe outbreaks in New York City and Westchester County, at the feet of the federal government. “We knew in January that China had the virus,” Cuomo said. “We must have known – whoever in the federal government watches this – if the virus is in China, didn’t someone expect that the virus was going to get on a plane and travel? And it did. And it wasn’t in China anymore. It went to Europe … and then we all these Europeans coming here, January, February, March. And nobody knew anything … I mean, when you think back it was really just – an amazing mistake by the federal government.” The governor said the moment he knew he could no longer contain the blooming outbreaks in New York was in mid-March, when a New Rochelle attorney who became the state’s second confirmed case proved to be New York’s first case of “community transmission” — meaning the virus has silently taken root in a region and is spreading. “When I saw that explode — it just mushroomed. It was exponential. I knew that there was no containing the exposure,” he said. ‘Credibility of the government’ Cuomo has consistently argued in recent weeks that a gradual closure was vital to limiting New Yorkers’ panic and maintaining public compliance with unprecedented new restrictions on public movement. He told Robach that his strategy was necessary in today’s political environment. “If I had just stood up there and said to 19 million New Yorkers, ‘This is what you have to do: you have to stay home, you can’t go out, you can’t go to the movie, you can’t go to work, schools are closed’ … Let’s be honest: the credibility of the government is not where it was. So, I wanted to give them the facts. I wanted to earn their confidence,” he said. “So I worked at it every day – providing information, providing the facts, the updated facts. And then I would give my opinion … I was very clear to always separate the facts from the opinion,” he added.One of Cuomo’s greatest fears, he said, was widespread non-compliance. “If there’s no compliance, you’re in a really bad place,” he said. “You know, if the government stands up and says, ‘You must do this, this, this and this,’ and the people say, ‘No thanks, you haven’t made your case. I don’t understand why.’ Well, then, it’s a really bad situation.” New Yorkers lost Cuomo said he feels the pain and the loss though not necessarily the blame for the outsized numbers of New Yorkers that account for the national death toll, which on Tuesday evening was nearing 25,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. “New Yorkers who died did not die because we failed them,” he contended. “The goal should be, ‘make sure we don’t lose a life that we could have saved,’ [or] ‘make sure no one dies because we failed them,’ Cuomo said at another point in the interview. “What happened in Italy where the hospital system was overwhelmed and people died on gurneys and in hallways, where society failed, government failed. In New York, we’ve lost people, but we did not lose anyone who we did not give the best medical care to,” he said. “That’s how I put my head on the pillow at night and that’s how I sleep,” he added.Shortages Cuomo was reluctant to specify precisely how prepared with supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) New York was at the start of the pandemic but said that no state — including his own — was truly prepared for what hit hotspots like New York and the Seattle area early on. “Look, no one – we have the best health care system in the country, I believe,” he insisted. “I don’t believe any other state was more prepared than we were … now, where we did have issues was PPE, the masks, the gowns, etcetera. But that was every state in the country.” A ProPublica investigation into New York’s response to the coronavirus sought to clarify the size and scope of New York’s state emergency medical stockpile, but according to the non-profit investigative news outlet, administration officials declined requests to specify the exact contents of the state stockpile prior to the pandemic. Cuomo Vs. Trump Cuomo declined an offer to grade President Donald Trump’s response at the federal level to the COVID-19 pandemic. “He can grade himself — or a higher being or the people of this nation will grade him come Election Day,” Cuomo said. Cuomo has been heralded for his deft political management of the president’s fickle temperament. An April 3 New York Times headline declared that Cuomo Emerges as ‘Trump Whisperer’ During Coronavirus Crisis. Yet he readily acknowledged what has become apparent in recent weeks: His relationship with Trump — a fellow son of Queens from across the political aisle (at least as of 2012, when Trump changed his party affiliation for the fifth and final time, from independent to Republican) — may be long, but it’s complicated. “Yes, I know him from New York,” Cuomo told Robach. “But we had — politically, we had a very difficult relationship, always, since he was elected.” “We were open and honest in the relationship” at the start,” Cuomo said. “And when we agreed, we agreed. And when we disagreed, we disagreed. And I said to him from Day One, ‘Forget the past, forget the politics. I’ll call it straight the way I see it, he’ll call it straight. And when it worked, it worked and when it didn’t, I said it didn’t.”While Cuomo is characteristically cautious in criticizing the U.S. president, preferring to remain in his own political lane where possible, he makes a point of returning to his own governing playbook. “I take my position very seriously,” he told ABC News. “I put myself in a position where I said, ‘Look, I take all the blame. I’m accountable. Buck stops at — on my desk, whatever expression you want to use.” “I didn’t try to defer responsibility,” he continued. “I didn’t try and blame anyone else I didn’t point to — local officials or this one or that one. So — I did the job the way I think the job should be done. I respect the office. I respect the responsibility. So I assumed it. I never ran from it.” ‘A grain of salt’ One of Cuomo’s most heralded leadership qualities in recent months has been the compassion he’s demonstrated over months of often lengthy daily press briefings, where his seasoned oratorical skills have found a new national audience eager for an alternative to the chaos in Washington, D.C. New York’s hard-charging governor, widely considered a master political tactician, seemed gently dismissive of his recent portrayal in the national press as a stern but trustworthy figure. A Jezebel blogger published “Help! I Think I’m in Love with Andrew Cuomo???”. A week later, comedienne Chelsea Handler published a heartfelt letter of thanks to Cuomo for his leadership in Vogue, entitled: “Dear Andrew Cuomo, I Want to Be Your First Lady.”The governor said he takes it all in stride. “Look, it’s, it’s nice,” Cuomo said, “but — it is what it is … I’ve been around long enough to take everything with a grain of salt. You take the positive with a grain of salt; you take the negative with a grain of salt. But to the extent that people relied on me through this — that, I’m very grateful for.”Second wave? Cuomo was far more animated when talking about the threat of a second wave of outbreaks. “So many things we still don’t know,” he said. “I talk to global experts every day, people who have gone through China and South Korea and Italy … But nobody really knows, ‘Is there a second wave? Is there not a second wave?’” He called new spikes in COVID-19 cases in states that have begun to re-open “frightening.” “You look at what’s going on around the country with the spike[s] in the number of viral transmissions,” he said. “That is frightening. You know, New York is not an island. We can be doing a great job and getting the spread down and the rate of transmission down but – people travel from here to other states” and vice-versa. “And if it’s going up in other states and people get on an airplane and they come to New York we could be back in the same situation we were in,” he said. Cuomo recognizes that he can’t control the nation from the governor’s mansion in Albany, but he said he’s hopeful that what he perceives to be his disciplined model of containment will be replicated elsewhere, now that New York can boast the lowest new transmission rate in the nation. “We’re asking [New Yorkers] to do very difficult things,” he said. “I fight it every day because, you see other states reopening and you want to get on with life and the weather is warm and young people want to go to the beach and they want to hang out in a bar,” he said. “And I’m saying, you know, ‘Not yet. Not this. Not that. So, hopefully the trust will help us through this … it’s a struggle every day to do the right thing,” he added.Doing the right thing extends to his own family, Cuomo said. “When are you going to hug your Mom again?” Robach asked him. “I haven’t hugged my mom since this started,” he said. “I miss that.” Cuomo paused for a beat. “I don’t think she misses it,” he observed with a grin. “But I miss it!”Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Video: Father Sings To His Dying Newborn Son After His Wife Passes Away Giving Birth

first_imgA heart-wrenching video has gone viral this week, in which a grieving father sings “Blackbird” to his dying newborn son following the sudden and tragic death of his wife, Ashley, during childbirth. The video has amassed almost a million views and conjured up worldwide support in Chris Picco and son Lennon’s time of need.Chris said that during Ashley’s pregnancy, she would often feel baby Lennon move to music, so Chris asked if he could bring his guitar into the NICU and play for Lennon as he fought for his life.Tragically, Chris announced yesterday that baby Lennon did not make it. He “went to sleep in his daddy’s arms” just one day after this video was filmed. His statement reads:“Dear friends, family, and supporters; it is with an unbelievably heavy heart that I write this.My little fighter, Lennon James Picco went to sleep in his daddy’s arms late last night.He was surrounded by family, friends, and the best doctors, nurses and hospital staff in the world.He was dressed in an outfit that Ashley bought for him, with little guitars on it, and wrapped in a blanket made by a dear friend.I am so thankful for the four unforgettable days I got to spend with him.His mommy would have been so beyond joy to see him and to hold him, touch him, bathe him, sing to him – as I have had the privilege of doing.I have been so blessed and honored to love him before he was formed, to cherish him while mommy carried him, meet him face to precious face, and hold his perfect little body while we said “goodbye for now”.There are no words, but I wanted to keep you updated, as your love and support has meant more than anything in the world.All you need is love.”Our thoughts and prayers are with Chris in this terrible time, and we hope the power of music will help get him through it.last_img read more

Twists and turns: Inside Sonoma’s unique layout, location

first_img• The track length is 1.99 miles, and the road course itself features more than 160 feet of elevation change from the highest point (Turn 3a, 174 feet) to the lowest. (Turn 10, 14 feet).• Drivers who complete Sunday’s Monster Energy Series race will make 1,100 turns around the road course. The race is scheduled for 110 laps.• Nearly 4,000 sheep, housed at the raceway, provide, uh, natural land care and help maintain the facility’s grasses and fire lanes. So, yeah, animal lawnmowers.• The NASCAR configuration of the Sonoma Raceway road course is lined with 1,000 tire packs made up of 25,000 tires, 90,000 screws, 90,000 clips and 180,000 washers.• One of the more unique Victory Lane settings in the sport, winners in Sonoma celebrate with a sip from the Champion’s Goblet in the Wine Country Winner’s Circle. The goblet, which is handcrafted by a local glass blower from Sonoma, was introduced in 2006 and incorporates the raceway’s rich wine country heritage. Welcome to Sonoma Raceway, where the course is long and the turns are right. Sunday’s race (3 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is the first of two road course for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this year.To get ready, read on for a full track printout and five interesting facts about Sonoma.last_img read more