England tiptoes out of full lockdown as economy plunges

first_imgEngland tentatively began easing its coronavirus lockdown on Wednesday, with some people who cannot do their jobs at home urged to return to work, as stark economic data showed the disastrous impact of the pandemic.The worst-hit country in Europe with more than 40,000 deaths from COVID-19 according to official data, Britain has been in extensive lockdown since March 23. As of Wednesday morning, people in manufacturing and certain other sectors were being asked to return to work if they could.GDP data released on Wednesday showed the economy shrank by a record 5.8% in March compared with February, and the April data is likely to be even worse as the country was under lockdown for the entire month. The government is loosening restrictions very gradually, for fear of triggering a second peak of infections. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described the process as a “supremely difficult” balancing act.Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which have semi-autonomous governments, are sticking with a “stay at home” message for now, leaving England, the most populous UK nation, to take the lead in sending some people back to work.The government has faced a barrage of criticism that its new guidance – Stay alert, control the virus, save lives – was confusing. Appearing on Sky News TV, transport minister Grant Shapps was asked why estate agents were being allowed to restart house viewings when people could not have their own relatives to visit.”The truth of the matter is, you have to start somewhere. The lockdown message was very straightforward – it was just stay at home. Now as we start to unlock, of course, there have to be decisions made,” Shapps said. “There is no perfect way of doing this, and we’d ask people to use their common sense … Right now, there has to be a cut-off somewhere.”Workers were being advised to avoid public transport if at all possible, and schools remained closed, prompting questions about how parents and people who could not get to work by other means were supposed to apply the new guidance.Employers faced the daunting task of creating safe environments for their staff, with detailed guidance on one-way systems at entry and exit points and in stairwells, spacing out workstations and other minutiae.For those still working from home or unable to work, there was only a very slight change in the regime. People were now allowed out to exercise more than once a day, and two people from separate households were allowed to meet outdoors as long as they kept 2 meters apart.Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said officers would still be encouraging people to go home if they were out for reasons other than the authorized exercise, shopping for essentials, health or work.Fines for transgressions have been increased.”Everybody will carry on hopefully working in the spirit we’ve had for the last seven weeks,” he told BBC TV.”It’s not for the police to police people being 2 meters apart, that’s about everyone’s individual responsibility. If there are those people who refuse to abide by the new regulations then we will move to enforcement if that’s what we have to do,” he said, describing that as a last resort. center_img Topics :last_img read more

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BLOG: What the Wolf Administration Has Done to Combat the Heroin Crisis

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Government That Works,  Substance Use Disorder,  The Blog Governor Tom Wolf joined legislators, local leaders, and medical officials at the West Reading Hospital last week to discuss local and statewide efforts to lead the nation in combatting the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic in Pennsylvania.In an effort to confront this epidemic collaboratively, Governor Wolf is conducting roundtables statewide to discuss the initiatives of his administration, the state legislature, county agencies, treatment centers, hospitals, medical schools, and more.The magnitude of the addiction and overdose death epidemic in Pennsylvania is shocking: at least seven Pennsylvanians die every day from a drug overdose.With nearly 2,500 overdose deaths in Pennsylvania in 2014 and estimates that the 2015 total will be higher, a collaborative effort on the federal, state, and local levels is crucial in combating this crisis.Some of the administration’s current and ongoing initiatives include:Drug Take-Back Boxes:The Wolf Administration, through DDAP, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) and the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association (PDAA), developed a statewide drug take-back system to address the problem of excess prescription drugs.The program has placed over 300 boxes resulting in the collection of over 40,000 pounds of prescription drugs.Naloxone Distribution:The Physician General, Dr. Rachel Levine, signed two standing orders to make naloxone, a drug that temporarily reverses the symptoms of an opioid overdose, available.The first standing order made naloxone available to all first responders.The second made it available to all Pennsylvanians.Thanks to those orders, the Pennsylvania State Police have started carrying naloxone. To date, police departments have made over 740 reversals.Additionally, the Wolf Administration has partnered with Adapt Pharma to offer free naloxone to schools.Expedited Behavioral Health Coverage:Behavioral Health Managed Care Organizations (BHMCOs) provide behavioral health, substance use disorder (SUD), and recovery-oriented supplemental services in the Medicaid System.DHS and DDAP are collaborating to ensure that individuals in need of SUD treatment are able to access those services immediately through an expedited enrollment process.This means persons have BHMCO coverage as soon as their Medicaid is approved.A particular emphasis is placed on facilitating immediate BHMCO coverage for individuals being released from state and county correctional institutions and transferring directly to Residential Drug and Alcohol Treatment Facilities to ensure Medicaid covers the cost of care.Warm Handoff Policy:“Warm handoffs” refer to health care professionals are transitioning patients from primary physician care to specialized drug and alcohol treatment programs.Through DOH, health care professionals are being trained in warm handoffs, learning how to provide facilitated referrals that support individuals with SUD and increase the odds of a successful recovery.Behind-the-Walls Treatment:The Department of Corrections (DOC) is working to reduce criminal behaviors through individualized SUD treatment and education for inmates.This will result in successful community reintegration.DOC provides comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment to inmates through a variety of services, including assessment, outpatient care, inpatient care or aftercare.As part of this ongoing mission, DOC is also conducting a pilot program using Vivitrol, a long-acting injectable form of naltrexone that blocks certain receptors to prevent a ‘high.’ By: Sophie Stone, Deputy Press Secretary BLOG: What the Wolf Administration Has Done to Combat the Heroin Crisiscenter_img Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf April 27, 2016last_img read more

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Intelligence

first_imgAustralia: Patrick Stevedores launched a thrice-weekly rail shuttle on April 29 to convey maritime containers between Melbourne and Adelaide; the wagons are hired from AN, which provides crews jointly with V/Line.Queensland Railways has launched a network of dedicated ’Cattletrain’ services to 40 key cattle producing areas, using a fleet of 250 wagons. This follows an A$10m investment in holding and spelling facilities over the past five years. Austria: Transport Minister Caspar Einem and his Hungarian counterpart Karoly Lotz have launched a feasibility study for electrification of the cross-border Graz – Szentgotthard – Szombathely line.Azerbaijan: Deputy Prime Miniser Abid Sharifov signed a protocol with representatives from Georgia and Ukraine on April 8 for creation of an international joint stock company to run rail and train ferry links between the three countries.Canada: Canadian National is installing its computerised Intermodal Terminal Management System at Toronto and Montréal after field testing in Vancouver.CN began an intermodal shuttle between Halifax and Boston on April 29. The New England Clipper is worked jointly with New Brunswick Southern Railway and Guilford Rail System.Czech Republic: The Transport Ministry has put forward proposals to privatise the branch line serving the Dukovany nuclear power station; Loko-Trans of Strelice has expressed interest in taking it over. Europe: On April 24 Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that Eurostar patronage between London and Paris had overtaken air. In 1996 air traffic fell 10% to 2·9 million passengers, whilst rail loadings rose 70% to 3·6 million.The two pylon caissons to support the high bridge section of the Øresund fixed link between Denmark and Sweden were submerged on each side of the Flinte channel on April 6 and 16, after being towed from Malmlast_img read more

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​Swedish Pensions Agency says special funds too costly for premium pension

first_imgOverall, however, the agency said it supported the 860-page proposal published in November.“We believe that the proposal for a procured fund marketplace will contribute to higher quality and lower costs for pension savers and pensioners,” it said, adding that having a smaller number of funds would simplify choices for pension savers.However, it disagreed with the proposed division of responsibilities between itself and AP7, which is to be given more tasks and change its name to the ‘Authority for the Premium Pension Fund Management’.The agency – which is currently responsible for the whole area of pension choice within Sweden’s general or state pension, which includes the premium pension – said putting the new authority in charge of designing the choice architecture for the new premium pension would make the development work very difficult.“For these reasons, we recommend that the responsibility be pooled at the Pensions Agency and reject the proposal to transfer responsibility for the choice architecture to the new authority,” it said.It also rejected the choice architecture’s proposed design, saying it had not been tested on pension savers.As for the idea of AP7 being in charge of setting requirements for fund trading and fund information, the agency said that it would hamper its ability to take operational responsibility for these two areas.“For this reason, today’s fund agreement should be replaced by two supplementary fund agreements, which each authority enters into with the fund manager,” it said.However, the Swedish Pensions Agency was on board with the principle of giving AP7 extra duties rather than forming and entirely new authority for the premium pension.Separately, in another consultation response published on the Ministry of Finance’s website, the Swedish House of Finance (SHOF), a financial research centre at the Stockholm School of Economics, questioned the whole notion of freedom of choice in the premium pension system. In the debate over the future of the Swedish premium pension system, a key government agency has spoken out against the inclusion of “special funds” – a Swedish category of alternative investment fund that includes hedge funds – on the platform offering investment options to pension savers, saying to do so would be too costly.In its consultation response to the sweeping changes being proposed to the first pillar defined contribution (DC) system, the Swedish Pensions Agency (Pensionsmyndigheten) said: “Allowing special funds with weekly trading and valuation would cause pension savers significant costs from building up support for this in the system, without providing corresponding benefits.”While special funds are not allowed onto the current platform – the funds marketplace (fondtorget) which is to be replaced by a more selective procured set of options under the reform plan – the proposal says it should also be possible to procure special funds and foreign equivalents of such vehicles for the funds marketplace.But the pensions agency rejected the idea, saying the new procurement rules for funds should be designed to work together with the agency’s mutual fund model and its need for daily valuation and trading. “A conflict of interests would arise if the authority should both run its own fund that competes with the funds in the marketplace, and at the same time select and monitor its competitors”Swedish House of Finance (SHOF)The proposal contained little information, it said, about why the new premium pension system should be governed by the principle of freedom of choice. But that at the same time, the think tank argued, this principle was being used to justify the very existence of a procured fund marketplace.“We find it problematic that the principle of freedom of choice is justified on the basis of its intrinsic value,” said SHOF.“If the sole purpose of the principle of freedom is to give individuals the opportunity to choose for themselves, it should be sufficient to offer savers a number of state-managed alternatives,” it said.The financial research centre also saw “a big problem” in the idea of having the fund marketplace managed by AP7.“A conflict of interests would arise if the authority should both run its own fund that competes with the funds in the marketplace, and at the same time select and monitor its competitors,” it said, adding that this became especially problematic when the procurement criteria were partly discretionary, and the decision on the number of funds was delegated.Political risk would grow, it said, as AP7’s default option within the system grew – an expansion that it said was likely to happen because the new regime would lead to more and more pension capital falling into the fund.“There is a risk that when the fund’s mission is broadened to include funds marketplace management, it will also be easier for future politicians to influence the fund’s investment strategy, which would be very problematic,” the institute said.last_img read more

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Middle School 4-Way CC Meet With Eagles, Bulldogs, Indians, & Shiners

first_imgThe Jac-Cen-Del Junior High Cross Country teams hosted a four way meet with Batesville, Milan and Rising Sun on Thursday (8/31).The JCD girls’ team finished 3rd. The JCD boys’ team was incomplete.JCD B M RS MS CC (8-31)The Batesville Middle School boys won their Cross Country meet against Milan, Jac-Cen-Del and Rising Sun on Thursday.  Ean Loichinger won the boys race, followed by Benjamin Moster, 2nd, Will Nuhring, 7th, Daren Smith, 8th, Vonley Hund, 9th, Aiden Geers, 10th, Lyle Oesterling, 12th, Cole Pride, 13th, Carter Walsman, 14th, Cayden Pohlman, 16th, Tacoma Nicholas, 18th, and Tyler Bedel, 19th.The Batesville Middle School girls won their meet against Milan, Jac-Cen-Del and Rising Sun. Lily Pinckley won the girls race, followed by Emma Weiler, 2nd, Ava Hanson, 3rd, Sophie Myers, 4th, Sarah Ripperger, 5th, Katie Olsen, 7th, Maria Lopez, 8th, Jada Day, 9th, Lily Meyer, 13th, Kaylin Hinners, 15th, Madelyn Pohlman, 16th, Alyssa Linville, 17th, and Josie Meyer, 18th. Courtesy of Eagles Coach Steve Narwold and Bulldogs Coach Derek Suits.last_img read more

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