Speech: Baroness Dido Harding’s speech to the CBI Annual Conference

first_imgSpeech by Baroness Dido Harding, Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health ProtectionIf it is okay, I will start as you suggested by looking back a second. Clearly, this is a very difficult point for the country, on the weekend the Prime Minister alongside Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance were really clear that this second national lockdown is not what anyone would have wished, but it is necessary to protect our NHS capacity and protect lives. And if we look back I would like to talk briefly about what has been achieved in the last 6 months.I know that it is hard to see it, but the picture of the country coming into this activity, coming into this second set of national measures, is very different to the last one. Our schools and universities are open, the NHS is not yet overwhelmed, and we have the data and insight to see what is coming so that we are able to act earlier.As a country we are trying to balance the health of the population with the health of the economy, and society’s and individual’s needs, as Mathew just said, in terms of educating our children and our own mental wellbeing. These are clearly incredibly difficult decisions, and I have quite a large job, but those decisions are not for me, those are decisions outside of NHS Test and Trace. Those are ones for our elected leaders both nationally and locally to take.Let me step back a step. COVID-19 is the greatest public health challenge we have faced in modern times, and NHS Test and Trace has been built in an extraordinarily rapid way to address that. We have built a system the size of Asda, from scratch, in 5 months. We are working around the clock to keep expanding and improving it.To give you a sense of the scale, we have built a network of NHS, private and not-for-profit laboratories to take testing capacity from 2,000 tests a day in March to over 500,000 test a day today. Historically, this is more per head than Germany, Italy, Spain and the US. It is the largest diagnostic network the UK has ever seen, and I suspect it is the fastest growing public service we have ever built.Yesterday we hit our target of 500,000 tests a day, from over 600 locations. So (I’m an ex-retailer), we have opened 600 shops in 5 months. We’ve now processed close to 32 million tests. We have also built the largest outbound call centre in the UK. So our contact-testing services are dealing with 7 times the volume it was 7 weeks ago, and so far we have contacted 1.4 million people and have asked them to isolate.And we also have a digital wing, so you know we launched the COVID-19 app which has now had 19 million downloads in its first month, so 40% of the eligible population of the UK have it on their phones and that is a better performance than any other country where downloading isn’t compulsory.And the response from business has been extraordinary to the app: over 700,000 QR posters are up and about across the country. None of this would be possible without public, private, national and local partnership. So we are, as a nation, throwing everything at this, and this is a combination of national insight and firepower with local intelligence and experience.We have tripled the size of our local health protection teams to trace the virus and support businesses, and public sector employers locally when there are outbreaks. And we have got increasingly integrated teams which have developed some very strong relationships with local leaders and local businesses. But – and it is a big but – there is clearly more that we need to do.This virus is incredibly difficult to deal with. And it is deadly, with millions of people carrying the virus around the world but not displaying any symptoms. Every country is grappling with the same problem, and despite everyone’s best efforts and all of the work of our team in the NHS Test and Trace to be the second line of defence, after Hands, Face and Space, the virus is spreading far too rapidly and too widely.So if that’s where we are now and we look ahead as we go into another a really challenging period for us as a country, it is time for the organisation that I lead to take the next big leap forward. As lockdown slows us from the virus, we will be focusing on improving NHS Test and Trace, so that when England emerges from lockdown we are better able to live with COVID through the winter and beyond. We are thinking about that.The work we have got to do is in 4 main areas.The first one is scale. As I said, we built this extraordinary thing in 6 months but it needs to be substantially bigger and it will keep growing. We have been innovating and investing in new technologies, so these new mass testing, rapid testing technologies will give us the potential to scale testing much further. We have pilots in hospitals, schools and universities, which are showing some positive results already. As we announced last night into this morning, we will be working with Liverpool, the first city to deploy testing as a combination of the traditional swab testing and the new rapid turn around lateral tests that are quite like pregnancy tests.So we have got to scale up testing, and as we find more and more positive cases we’ve got to scale up contact tracing as well. We are already the largest outbound calling centre in the UK, but it’s got to get bigger as we find more people with the disease, and we’ve got to get faster. Our turnaround times for both testing and contact tracing are improving, but this is the ultimate perishable good. We need to find people who have been in close contact with people who have got the disease within 24 to 48 hours. So there is a big job of work for my team to do to keep speeding up. And we can only do this as I have said through partnership.This is about working in partnership with the public and the private sector, with national and local organisations and with everyone in the country. And I’m sure that many people watching this have read that Stan McChrystal’s book ‘Team of Teams’, this is the ultimate team of teams – we are actually 60 million people on the team. We have all got to change our behaviour just a little bit to come forward with the testing to isolate when we are told to. That’s how you break the chains of transmission.And the fourth area we are working on is how we get even better at using the data in the analysis to drive insight in action we can stamp on outbreaks faster and faster. We know so much more than we did 6 months ago about how the disease is spreading. We’ve got the data from Test and Trace, we’ve got the data from waste water. We’ve got data from all these surveys using the testing capacity we have built. We are all learning how to use that to stop it spreading.And I know that it is really tough and horrible for everyone as we head towards Thursday. But I am actually quite hopeful that we have more tools in the armoury than we had before. As a society we have learnt about the first line of defence, washing our hands, keeping our distance and wearing our face mask. Test and Trace did not exist in March. It is a scale organisation the same size as Asda and it will get even bigger. And so our second line of defence is growing, and technology will help us through a combination of vaccine, mass testing and better treatment. There is a lot for us actually to be optimistic about that we will crack this.last_img read more


Man shot to death

first_imgOfficers of the Cauayan municipalpolice station have yet to identify the suspect and the motive in theincident./PN Recovered from the crime scene werefour empty shells of a .45-caliber firearm, the report added. According to police investigators,Devilay was driving a motorcycle when an unidentified suspect peppered him withbullets around 6 p.m. on Thursday. Devilay was rushed to the CauayanDistrict Hospital where the attending physician declared him “dead onarrival.”  center_img The 34-year-old resident RoneloDevilay died of gunshot wounds on the body, a police report showed. Bacolod City – A man was shot to death in Barangay Man-uling, Cauayan,Negros Occidental.last_img


Bond Exchange secures growth capital

first_img11 September 2008The Bond Exchange of South Africa (Besa) has secured the necessary approvals in support of its rights issue to raise new capital, with underwriting partners that include the New Zealand Exchange, local banks and other financial institutions securing the transaction.“We are tremendously excited by what the fresh capital injection and new partners will deliver for our business,” Besa chief executive Garth Greubel said in a statement last week.“The effect of this transaction is to significantly strengthen our shareholder and capital base, with certain strategic partners also being represented on the board, while maintaining our commitment to the bond market and existing shareholders.”The rights issue is the second phase of Besa’s development strategy, following the exchange’s demutualisation in 2007.After the rights issue, at least 30% of Besa’s equity will be held by strategic partners, providing valuable support in order to execute the exchange’s vision of building better markets. Formalities relating to the transaction will be concluded at Besa’s annual general meeting towards the end of September.BondClear projectAccording to Besa, a project that will contribute significantly in driving growth is BondClear, a new central counterparty clearing house that it is presently establishing. BondClear will provide clearing and central counterparty (CCP) services to South African financial markets, initially for interest-rate derivatives listed on the bond exchange.“We are optimistic about BondClear, in which NASDAQ OMX is a direct shareholder,” Greubel said. “NASDAQ OMX is one of the world’s largest exchange companies, with trading technology capabilities across six continents.”Shareholder and market support for the rights, the BondClear project and other strategic initiatives that Besa is undertaking have been positive, while company management has already received irrevocable commitments in writing from shareholders, in excess of the necessary requirements, approving the capitalisation transaction.Strong market performanceAccording to Besa, these initiatives are being undertaken against the backdrop of strong market performance in the exchange’s core bonds franchise.Annual bond market turnover topped R13.8-trillion in calendar 2007. During 2008 bond turnover surged, with a record monthly figure of R1.486-trillion reported in February.This has since been consistently exceeded from May through to August, when turnover reached a new record R1.956-trillion for the month. It is anticipated that turnover will top R17-trillion for 2008, representing an annualised velocity of 28 times market cap.Besa now faced one of the most exciting and ambitious phases in the company’s development as an exchange, Greubel said.“Our new capital will leave us well positioned to drive value through our existing core business and extend our set of products and services to financial market participants, as well as accelerating financial market infrastructure development in South Africa,” he said.“We are excited by what the future holds for us as a business and the positive contribution it will make towards strengthening competition in South African financial markets.”SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more


SA ‘ahead of schedule for 2010’

first_img“Working with other stakeholders such as the 2010 Local Organising Committee, we are glad to announce that we have made significant progress in pursuit of our goal to host a successful 2010 Fifa World Cup,” Motlanthe said. South Africa ‘on course’ Source: BuaNews “We have also started to pay focused attention to all the 2010 legacy projects, so that the facilities are used for the maximum benefit of our people and our country beyond 2010,” he said. South Africa will meet its infrastructure deadlines well ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe told Parliament in Cape Town this week. “We are, however, confident that the economic benefits flowing from the 2010 Fifa World Cup competition will soften some of the cutting effects of this economic crisis,” he said. There are only three matches left before the curtain is drawn on Fifa’s “Festival of Continental Champions” – a test run for staging the World Cup – and no major incidents have been reported. Budget overrunscenter_img He pointed out that oversight visits conducted by members of the inter-ministerial committee had helped to ensure that the government and other stakeholders met their deadlines on infrastructure programmes. Motlanthe cautioned, however, that budget overruns by some host cities, especially in light of the current economic difficulties, needed to be addressed urgently so as to ensure that their expenditure was within budget. Motlanthe said that if anything was needed to confirm South Africa’s readiness to host world soccer’s showpiece event, the Confederations Cup under way had demonstrated that the country was on course to meet its objectives. 25 June 2009 The tournament “has also helped us identify areas that require improvement to deliver the best World Cup ever,” Motlanthe said, adding that the government was convinced that Bafana Bafana would continue improving ahead of 2010. The government had also noted concerns over delays in the construction of the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, and discussions with the affected parties were taking place to resolve all outstanding matters.last_img read more


Regional investment agencies

first_imgWebsite: more: Invest in the Western Cape SAinfo reporter Reviewed: 13 May 2013 Website: more: Investing in Gauteng Gauteng Growth and Development Agency The Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) is an investor’s first port of call for developing business relations in Gauteng and the rest of Africa. The GGDA was formed in mid-2012 after the former Gauteng Development Agency and Blue IQ merged. It is responsible for developing key economic strategies and to grow Gauteng as a globally competitive city region. Website: more: Investing in the Northern Cape Free State Development Corporation The Free State Development Agency provides a broad range of business services and development initiatives in high opportunity sectors. Its primary focus is on small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and co-operatives. Website: Read more: Investing in Mpumalanga Are you an entrepreneur or a business owner? Are you looking for a market, either locally or internationally? Or are you seeking a potential investor for your project or business? Here’s a guide to regional investment agencies in South Africa. Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIK) aims to identify and package investment and export trade opportunities in the province, provide a professional and comprehensive service to potential and current investors and exporters, and to ensure easy access to investment and export trade opportunities. Trade and Investment Limpopo Trade & Investment Limpopo (TIL) was established in September 1996 as the official investment and trade promotion and facilitation agency of the Limpopo provincial government. Its business development network offers local companies and international investors opportunities and leads for expansion and footholds into new markets in Africa. Website: more: Investing in Limpopo Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency The Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency’s chief focus is to drive increased SMME activity within the province and to develop a sustainable SMME sector in Mpumalanga over the long term. center_img Website: more: Investing in the Free State Northern Cape Economic Development Agency Presentation of investment opportunities in areas such as mining and minerals, fishing and mariculture, agroprocessing and tourism. The objective of the agency is to ensure enterprise development that will significantly contribute to economic growth and development within the province. Website: more: Investing in KwaZulu-Natal Eastern Cape Development Corporation Official economic development agency for the government of the Eastern Cape province. Its vision is to be a primary contributor to the socioeconomic prosperity of the Eastern Cape through innovative and conscious private-sector development. Invest North West The North West province’s location offers prospective investors a cost-effective proximity to the trading environments of the Southern African Development Community. Focus sectors include manufacturing, mining and mineral beneficiation, renewable energy, agriculture and agri-processing as well as services, information technology and tourism. Western Cape Investment and Trade Promotion Agency This rapidly growing regional economy in South Africa offers a diverse range of exciting investment opportunities on one of the world’s main trade routes. With a world-class business and physical infrastructure, the Western Cape is an ideal location for businesses seeking to serve African markets. Website: more: Investing in the Eastern Cape Website: more: Investing in the North West Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more


Does crabgrass really hate you?

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest You may have heard the rumor that crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis) hates you. Those who profit from the sale of lawn care products may like you to believe that, but despite the claims, it really isn’t true. Each year crabgrass works toward accomplishing the goal of all living things, to reproduce, and if it had a life motto it might be something like: “Life is short, so live it!” Any plant out of place can be considered a weed and in the eye of many, crabgrass fits this description. However in a forage system, crabgrass can be the right plant, in the right place, at the right time.Crabgrass is an annual warm-season grass that reproduces by seed and completes it’s lifecycle in a timeframe offset from that of commonly used cool-season grasses like tall fescue, orchardgrass, and ryegrass. It begins germinating when soil temperatures reach 58 degrees F and can thrive while other species lay dormant in the summer heat. It has few known pests and pathogens and can grow well on marginal sites. Intentionally utilizing crabgrass as forage could lead to opportunities for extending the grazing season and producing high quality hay during the warmest periods of Ohio summers.In 1849 crabgrass was introduced by the U.S. government for use as forage and has since spread across the nation. The Noble Foundation has been conducting research on crabgrass as forage in Ardmore, Oklahoma since the 1970s. In the 1980s the Noble Foundation released the first cultivated crabgrass variety, “Red River,” later followed by the variety, “Quick N’ Big.”Universities and producers have also experimented with these varieties and have found that they produce forage of excellent nutritive value with high intake and rate of gain by livestock, particularly beef cattle. Under good growing conditions and management to reduce seed head development, values of up to 15% crude protein (CP) and averages of 10% CP from June through September have been observed for crabgrass ‘Quick N’ Big’. Rotational grazing has proven more efficient for dry matter production and animal gains than continuous grazing. If managed for hay, crabgrass should yield at least two substantial harvests per year. Care should be taken to keep crabgrass vegetative during production through removal of seed heads, thereby preserving good nutritive value throughout the summer.Well drained soil is best for crabgrass. It is tolerant of soils with 5.5-7.5 pH. Seed should be broadcast on a tilled soil surface or drilled at ¼ inch at a rate of 3-5 pounds of pure live seed per acre and cultipacked. If crabgrass has established well and is allowed to reseed for the next season, lower seeding rates may be effective in subsequent years. With adequate moisture, seeds will germinate in a few days and be ready for grazing in about 30 days. Crabgrass is highly responsive to nitrogen, so split applications can generously increase dry matter yields. Defoliation heights can be tolerated to as low as 3 inches, stands can be ready to graze at 6 inches, and cutting for hay should occur during early boot or about 18 inches high. Crabgrass hay may take longer to cure than other popular forages. Dry matter yield typically ranges from 2-5 tons/acre. It can be incorporated in crop rotations with other annual crops, used as an emergency forage, or allowed to intermix with other forage species. It is unlikely that you will find crabgrass seed on the shelves of your local Ohio seed dealer, but it can be ordered from the supplier and variety developer, R.L. Dalrymple of Oklahoma.Your neighbors may think you are crazy if you decide to grow crabgrass on purpose, but in truth it would be crazy to pass up the opportunity to boost forage production, animal gains, and profitability. So while your neighbor tends to the pursuit of the perfect lawn, you can tend to the pursuit of perfect forage for your cattle, which may include the undue black sheep of forage, crabgrass.last_img read more


Britain Aims for Deep Cuts in Carbon Emissions

first_imgIt has been a busy week for Chris Huhne, Britain’s secretary for energy and climate change. On Tuesday he announced the government’s commitment to a 50% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. On Wednesday, he said the government would submit, for ratification by Parliament, guidelines for developing major energy infrastructure projects, including those based on nuclear power.As noted in a recent post by energy-and-metals news source Platts, the infrastructure-planning guidelines, called National Policy Statements, provide a framework for decisions on planning applications for such projects.Huhne has been mentioned by GBA for his advocacy of the Passivhaus standard, which he has said he would like to see adopted as the convention, rather than the exception, for new-home building in the U.K. as it strives to bring all new homes to zero-carbon performance.An attempt at green innovation in difficult economic timesHuhne now has his hands full, in any case. The U.K.’s attempts at economic recovery – while the government simultaneously imposes stringent budget-austerity measures and sets challenging energy conservation goals – are being closely watched. Meanwhile, Britain’s treasury department and some of the country’s business interests have pushed back against the emission-target commitments over worries they would reduce the U.K.’s growth prospects and international competitiveness.As noted in a recent overview posted by The Independent, the government also has cut funding for clean-energy technologies such as solar power, and the coalition government’s newly announced “green bank” – an entity established specifically to invest green technologies – will not be able to borrow money for renewable-energy projects until 2015 (although it does already have about $4.85 billion to invest).Still, the secretary has vowed to make the transformation to low-carbon living as economically palatable for businesses as possible, in part through shifts to nuclear power and offshore wind farms as the country reckons with its inventory of aging power plants.“We are demonstrating our desire to drive the changes needed to turn the U.K. into a dynamic, low-carbon economy that is attractive to investors in the new and growing low-carbon sectors,” Huhne said as he announced the carbon-reduction commitments during an address before the House of Commons. “We are also sending a clear signal to the international community: that the U.K. is committed to the low-carbon economy.”The next step will be to go from the legally binding commitments to concrete plans. It will be an interesting process every step of the way.last_img read more


JSIF Helping Youth to Refocus

first_imgThe ongoing efforts by state agencies to curb antisocial behavior in schools, especially through the behavior modification therapy and violence prevention programme, financed by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), has helped a significant number of students in St. James, to rededicate themselves to learning and reduce violent behaviours. The initiative is funded by the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF), and seeks to modify disruptive behavior of young people in inner-city communities, while also helping parents to develop skills that can help the growth of children, and strengthening the capacity of guidance counsellors and deans of discipline. “I used to be angry with myself all the time; at school if students say anything to me I was ready to fight. My guidance counsellor told me about this camp, I never wanted to come…when I came I never socialized, I sat in a corner by myself, after I started to grow and talking with the others, and socializing,” St. James High School, Sade McIntosh revealed, while speaking at a recent closing out ceremony held at the Family and Parenting Centre, in the parish where the programme is administered.     “When I went back to school, I was not angry anymore. I was not ready to fight anybody anymore. I was just calm and gentle,” she added. The programme ran for some 12 months and catered for 360 students. It saw 216 youth from the cohort partially taken from the formal school system for five hours per week and given behavior modification therapy for two weeks. The participants were those who may have been suspended from schools, and those who were exhibiting behaviors indicating that suspension from school would be the next course of disciplinary action. The sessions included life skills development and pro-social behavior development. The project also incorporated training of 300 parents and caregivers in non-violent alternative disciplinary skills, and provided them with handbooks for future and long-term use. Mother of four, Miss Trivonnie Ajoe, said the programme taught her how to talk with her children, and “how to share and keep a relationship with them-we are encouraging people to come to this meeting (the Centre), don’t feel that life is done as you see it; there is much more ahead of you,” she said. Head of the Centre, Dr. Beverley Scott, reported that most of the participants had displayed variant normal behaviors, but after the modification intervention, screening revealed that most of them could return to the regular school system on a permanent basis, while three students were referred to other agencies for further intervention. “St. James High School was plagued by fights and violence. A number of my students that were giving problems I referred them there (the Centre), some of them I deliberately took them out of school for up to two weeks, had them attend the Centre before they came back to school. The Centre worked wonders for them,” stated Guidance Counsellor at St. James High, Radcliffe Virgo. For his part, Dean of Discipline at the Green Pond High School Donald Webley, said the intervention initiative allowed him to send students to the Centre, and also to have Dr. Scott conduct parent conferences and workshops at the school. Project Manager at JSIF for the JSDF, Ayanna Demetrius, said the programme administered for parents who are challenged and their offspring, was timely and “very much in line with the Ministry of Education’s thrust to incorporate parents with students and teachers as a means to promote good parenting and force parents to take equal responsibility  for their children’s education. “The pull-out component was the other element which was specially designed for youth in crisis, who had been temporally removed from formal school system. These students, some had been expelled from the formal school system, some were at home…had been suspended for an extended period and required the completion of therapy before being admitted back into the school system,” Mrs. Demetrius explained. The projected cost some $ 25million, and had participation of 24 guidance counsellors from the 12 participating primary and high schools in the parish. Mrs. Demetrius said after the successful “meeting of the programme goals,” every effort was made to reintegrate participants into the formal school system. “For some students who had been expelled, after the completion of the therapy, they are returned to school, referred to other schools, the Family Court, or in some cases, the hospital for mental health problems,” she said. Parents and guardians were trained to use non-violent discipline, and guidance counselors and deans of discipline were trained to detect and refer children for therapy in a timely manner. The project also included the provision of handbooks to both students and parents.last_img read more


RBIs Reference Rate for Dollar Today

first_imgThe Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday fixed the reference rate for the US dollar at 51.3090 rupees and the euro 67.9785 rupees.The corresponding rates of dollar and euro for the previous day (March 26, 2012) were 50.9055 rupees and 67.4035 rupees respectively.Based on the reference rate for the US dollar and middle rates of the cross-currency quotes, the exchange rates of British pound as against the rupee is 80.7718 as against 81.3658 on the previous day (March 26, 2012) and that of Japanese yen is 61.09 as against 62.13 the previous day.last_img


Professor Muhammad Samad made DU pro VC

first_imgDhaka UniversityMuhammad Samad, a professor of Institute of Social Welfare and Research of Dhaka University (DU) has been appointed as the new pro vice-chancellor (Administration) of the university.Confirming the information DU vice-chancellor Md Akhtaruzzaman said chancellor of the university president Md Abdul Hamid appointed him as pro-vice chancellor for next 4 years.The post fell vacant since 4 September of last year after the president appointed the former pro vice-chancellor (Administration) professor Md Akhtaruzzaman as acting vice chancellor of the university.Professor Muhammad Samad is the running convener of DU pro-Awami League Blue Panel Teachers and the president of Jatiyo Kobita Parishad.Immediately after his appointment pro-VC Muhammad Samad told UNB that he would try to develop the relation between teachers and students and promote the university educational systems.last_img read more