Pasquale Aleardi & NaTasha Yvette Williams to Step Into B’way’s Chicago

first_img from $49.50 Chicago Williams takes over from Carmen Ruby Floyd, who also plays her final performance on November 30. She was last seen onstage as Queenie in the New York Philharmonic’s acclaimed production of Showboat. Her Broadway credits include A Night with Janis Joplin, The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and The Color Purple. Chicago also currently stars Amy Spanger as Roxie Hart, Amra-Faye Wright as Velma Kelly and Raymond Bokhour as Amos Hart. The Great White Way’s Chicago will welcome two new leading players to the cellblock on December 1. German stage and screen star Pasquale Aleardi will take over as Billy Flynn and Broadway fave NaTasha Yvette Williams will step into the role of Matron “Mama” Morton. The tuner is playing at the Ambassador Theatre. Related Shows With a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, the Tony-winning revival of Chicago is now the second longest-running musical in Broadway history. View Comments Aleardi replaces Christopher Fitzgerald, whose final performance in the production will be on November 30. He will play a limited week-long engagement with the Broadway company through December 7, after which he’ll return to Germany to star as Billy Flynn in the upcoming Stuttgart production of the classic tuner.last_img read more

Horse Owner’s Seminar

first_imgHorse owners will get the latest research-based information on how to care for their animals at the 10th annual University of Georgia Horse Owner’s Seminar and Trade Show set for Aug. 15 at the UGA Livestock Arena in Athens, Georgia.The one-day event will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. The 2015 Horse Owner’s Seminar includes a trade show from 9:50 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. A lunch break is scheduled from 12:30 p.m. until 2 p.m. A demonstration of the Wells Fargo Stagecoach will be presented during the lunch break, which will include rides on the coach. Registration opens May 1. Adult registration is $50, students 5-17 years of age pay $30, and children five and under are free. Tenth anniversary water bottles will are available for purchase before the event for $10 or the day of the event for $15. Registration includes lunch, a t-shirt, registration materials and a digital copy of all seminar proceedings. After Aug. 8, registration is $60 for adults and $35 for students. A 10 percent discount will be given to groups of 10 or more by emailing Andrea Massa This year’s topics will include equine eye diseases, fencing design and hay storage, performance horse treatment, large animal rescue, emerging viral diseases, fly control in barns and an update on research at the UGA Veterinary Medical Center. The two afternoon sessions will include a workshop on rescuing horses from dangerous situations, like being stuck in a ditch. This session will include demonstrations of techniques using a mannequin and rescue supplies. The other afternoon session will focus on trailer safety and equine transportation. Speakers include scientists from the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and representatives from Large Animal Emergency Rescue, Inc. Seminar sponsors are Southern States, Triple Crown, Zoetis, Seminole Feed, Georgia Quarter Horse Association and Wells Fargo. Support for the program comes from several industry sponsors who will be present at the trade show. The UGA student chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine present the seminar annually. For more information or to register online, go to or email To register by mail, send a check made out to UGA CVM scAAEP to Vivian McWilliams, 515 Buckeye Trail, Loganville, Georgia, 30052. Checks must be received by Aug. 1.last_img read more

Colombia Arrests 20 Members of Network Sending Cocaine to U.S. and Europe

first_imgBy Dialogo November 01, 2010 In various locations around the country, the Colombian authorities arrested twenty members of a network that was sending cocaine by ship to the United States – by way of Central American ports – and to Europe, Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera affirmed. In a joint operation by the Colombian police and the Colombian public prosecutor’s office, twenty alleged members of the drug-trafficking cartels ‘La Oficina de Envigado’ and ‘Los Rastrojos’ were arrested “simultaneously,” Rivera said. The detentions took place in the cities of Cartagena and San Andrés (in the Caribbean region) and Medellín and Turbo (in the northwest), he specified, adding that among those arrested are individuals in the service of Colombian drug trafficker Maximiliano Bonilla, alias ‘Valenciano,’ a liaison with Mexican cartels. “The majority of those arrested are a series of persons, including workers at shipping firms and port guards, security personnel, and mechanics, who facilitated the contamination of containers” with cocaine, Rivera emphasized. “The gang brought the drugs into the port moments before the vessel departed and camouflaged them in canvas bags with a capacity of up to thirty kilos each. Then they broke the security seals, introduced the alkaloid into the containers, and sealed them again with copies of the seals,” he recounted. According to the official account, the drugs introduced onto the ships were headed for the United States by way of ports in Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. In other cases, the gang members also introduced the alkaloid onto vessels headed for Europe. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) believes that ‘Valenciano’ has direct ties to the Mexican ‘Los Zetas’ cartel. Drug-trafficking and money-laundering charges have been pending against him in a New York court since 2008. Until 2009, Colombia was the world’s leading producer of coca, but it has been displaced by Peru, according to a study by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released in June. Those arrested were charged with criminal conspiracy and with manufacturing and trafficking narcotics.last_img read more

Ronald Bower Granted Parole After Nearly 23 Years; ‘Highly Unlikely’ Committed Sex Crimes, Says AG’s Office

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York • NYS Attorney General’s Office tells Parole Board it is “highly unlikely that Bower committed the crimes”• Parole Board grants freedom but blasts AG for no exoneration• March 25 and April 3 hearings• Family and lawyer still seek justiceRonald Bower, a 52-year-old father of two from Queens who’s spent the past 22 years behind bars for heinous crimes many believe he did not commit, will finally be coming home to his family.Bower, whose plight has been the subject of three Long Island Press cover stories, a letter-writing campaign instigated by the newspaper and a Facebook group “Free Ronald Bower” created and maintained by the newspaper, has been granted parole in large part due to a letter written in December from Thomas Schellhammer, the bureau chief of the New York State (NYS) Attorney General’s Office Conviction Review Bureau, urging his release and telling the Parole Board at Clinton Correctional Facility it is “highly unlikely that Bower committed the crimes.”Schellhammer’s recommendation, however, falls short of tossing out Bower’s convictions or granting exoneration. Thus, Bower—who was convicted of sodomy, sexual abuse and attempted robbery for two sexual attacks in Nassau and Queens—must register as a sex offender and adhere to stipulated guidelines that range dependent upon his risk-level assignment, which will be determined through two NYS Sex Offender Registry Act hearings: March 25 in Nassau and April 3 in Queens. He’ll be released sometime afterward. The NYS Parole Board was consequently saddled with the awkward task of releasing a convicted sex offender who has not been cleared of his crimes by the judicial system—something they hammered NYS Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s Office and Nassau and Queens district attorneys’ offices about during the parole hearing. Prosecutors from both Nassau and Queens district attorneys’ offices complained to the attorney general’s office, stating they were never informed of intentions to parole Bower nor contacted for their respective offices’ case files—a charge Schneiderman’s office strongly refutes.Schellhammer, an assistant attorney general and former homicide prosecutor in the New York County District Attorney’s Office, is the latest in what has been a growing number of law enforcement officials who’ve supported Bower’s unwavering claims of innocence throughout the years, a list that includes current and former members of the NYS Inspector General’s Office of the state Department of Correctional Services (DOCS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and even members of the very sex crimes unit that originally arrested and charged him.Regardless of the hubbub between the Parole Board and the three agencies, both Bower’s family and his longtime attorney Jeremy L. Goldberg—Appeals Bureau Chief at the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County, who’s been working on Bower’s case pro bono for the past 20 years—are “jubilant,” says Ronald’s older brother Steve that he is finally coming home and commend the attorney general’s office for helping make that a reality. Neither, however, say they will rest until Bower has been fully cleared of the crimes he’s been convicted.“We’re happy about his release but we are not going to rest until he is exonerated and justice is done,” says Steve, who has been fighting for his brother’s release since his arrest and caring for their elderly mother ever since.“I’m very happy that my father’s coming home, but I’m not going to stop all efforts until his name is cleared and he’s exonerated,” vows his daughter Kristy, who was just a toddler when her father was incarcerated and is now a paralegal working for New York City. “I want him to have all the freedom he deserves, and parole is a blessing, but I really want exoneration so that he doesn’t have to fall within the restrictions and the stigma behind being a parolee. It’s just not fair.”“What does it take for the authorities to recognize his innocence when so many people, their own people, already have?” asks Goldberg. “The big picture, to me—it’s about my client and it’s about ultimately getting him exonerated.”Double Vision: (L) Former NYPD Officer Michael Perez and Ronald Bower. Police allowed Perez to change out of the hooded sweatshirt he was arrested in and into a suit and tie for his mug shot, while demanding Bower put one on for his. (Long Island Press)“I’M INNOCENT!”Bower had been picked up by Queens sex crimes detectives on May 10, 1991 during his shift at the Douglaston Mall, where he worked as a security guard. The then-30-year-old father of two, who had no prior criminal record, was arrested, made to wear a hooded sweatshirt similar to the one victims described their attacker as wearing, photographed, paraded through several police lineups and eventually charged with two crimes Queens sex crimes unit investigators dubbed the work of the “Silver Gun Rapist”—an assailant eyewitnesses described as having considerably similar physical characteristics to Bower who accosted young women and girls in a series of at least nine sexual attacks through a corridor of eastern Queens and western Nassau counties in the vicinity of Union Turnpike between 1990 and 1991.The perpetrator’s M.O. was to approach his victims—sometimes two at a time—while they walked or as they entered their vehicles, force or drive them to secluded areas and demand them to perform oral sex on him at gunpoint.Sometimes, he’d also rape them. Victims described the weapons used as a small silver handgun and a snub-nose .38-caliber revolver. Internally, cops labelled the crimes as “Pattern #1/91.”Retired DOCS senior investigator Timothy Huff, whose visit with Ronald Bower in prison nearly 20 years ago sparked an investigation into who really committed the heinous sex crimes Bower was convicted of. (Long Island Press)While Bower was in custody, the crimes continued, and unbeknownst to he and his attorneys at the time, another man, a New York City police officer named Michael Perez, who had a striking resemblance to Bower, was also arrested and facing trial, accused of raping and sodomizing two women. When police pulled Perez over for erratic driving in relation to one of the incidents, a fully loaded, silver .38 caliber six-shot revolver with a 2-inch barrel was recovered from beneath the driver’s seat.Perez was off-duty at the times of each pattern attack and eventually became the subject of an Internal Affairs Bureau investigation. He was caught peeping into apartment windows and also in the act of having sex with a prostitute, according to court documents, and resigned shortly afterward.Yet while Perez was acquitted in both cases—and allowed by police to change into a suit and tie for his mug shot and lineups—Bower received an 18- to 54-year sentence for sodomy, sexual abuse and attempted robbery, with an official maximum expiration date of May 3, 2041.He has insisted his innocence ever since, which has often led to added friction within various prisons throughout New York State; because of his professed innocence, he refused to participate in mandated rehabilitation classes for sex offenders.Schellhammer outlined his reasoning for Bower’s release in his Dec. 30, 2013 letter, explaining that his bureau had been investigating Bower’s claims of innocence “for some time,” a probe that included speaking with investigators and witnesses associated with the crimes he was convicted of in an attempt to reconstruct those events “to the best of our ability.”“Unfortunately, due to the passage of time and the loss of some crucial evidence, we are unable to completely do so,” he writes. “Some witnesses have been uncooperative with the Conviction Review Bureau procedures. Accordingly, we are unable to fully close our investigation at this time.”“This position is based upon several factors,” the letter continues. “a) His physical resemblance to another person who committed identical crimes at about the same time as these in question, some of which occurred after Bower was in custody; b) the possible mis-identification of Bower as the perpetrator of these crimes by the victims; c) the lack of a propensity or any other prior indicator that Bower was inclined to commit offenses of a sexual nature; and d) the probability that Bower had an alibi for the nights in question.”“In light of these factors, I urge the Parole Board to grant Mr. Bower parole at its earliest convenience,” Schellhammer adds, noting that Bower’s is the only case to date that his office, which was created in 2012, has asked the Parole Board to consider granting parole to an inmate. “As a prosecutor, I am aware of the elements that the Parole Board looks to when considering granting parole, and I am aware that Bower has never fully accepted responsibility for these crimes. Considering what the Bureau has learned about the facts of these crimes, I believe there is ample reason for Bower not to do so. In any event, given that Bower has now been incarcerated for twenty years, I believe that society’s best interests are served by granting him parole.”The Parole Board at Clinton Correctional Facility, however, did not grant Bower’s freedom without first blasting the Attorney General’s Office at Bower’s Jan. 21, 2014 parole board hearing for putting them in the uncomfortable position of releasing a convicted sex offender and for failing to seek full exoneration.Anguish, personified: (L) Ronald Bower’s 84-year-old mother, Margaret, holds a photo of her imprisoned son as his brother, Steven, watches over her. (R) Ronald Bower in July 2004, behind bars, serving part of his 18- to 54-year sentence. (Long Island Press)“JUST DISMISS THESE CHARGES”“I am greatly disturbed that a prosecutor—and unlike any other attorney in the system, not even a judge—a prosecutor is charged with doing justice,” slammed Commissioner James Ferguson, according to a transcript of the proceeding. “That means doing the right thing. If they feel so strongly about this, I’m shocked and dismayed that they have not had—let me say it politely—the fortitude to come forward and just dismiss these charges.“Instead, they’re trying to convince the Parole Board to take the responsibility for releasing you on a pretty egregious offense because they don’t have—again, I’ll say it politely—the fortitude to come forward and basically release you or dismiss the charges or petition the court for your release,” he told Bower. “So that’s to me very disappointing.”“I am dismayed, if they feel so strongly, they have not taken their own action to secure your release, hoping that the Parole Board would give this weight to the letter that they have submitted and make a decision,” Ferguson reiterated.Commissioner Lisa Beth Elovich also weighed in, taking additional aim at Nassau and Queens district attorneys’ offices.“I too as a former prosecutor and someone that’s been involved in the criminal justice system for 23 years, find this shocking and I find this very, very disturbing the way this has been handled by the judicial system, the DA’s office, and anyone else involved in this,” she said. “What they are virtually doing is putting the Parole Board in a terrible position because as a Parole Board, we are charged to assume that the person that is in prison is guilty of what they’re in prison for because we do not have the resources to retry a case.“We don’t have the witnesses—we don’t have sworn witnesses, we don’t have documentation, we don’t have the evidence, we can’t cross-examine people. We don’t have any of those things at our disposal,” Elovich continued. “So there is a reason why we don’t retry a case. The District Attorney’s Office, however, has those resources in terms of what they have as sworn testimony, documentation, evidence.“So the fact that the DA’s office and all other prosecuting entities that have been involved in this have not taken a stand either way, to go ahead and say that this person is not guilty of what they’re in here for, I find that extremely disturbing,” she told Bower, “and the fact that an Attorney General…would personally write a letter saying that they feel that you are not guilty of the crime that you’re in here for and their only recourse they think is the Parole Board to release you, is a very deep concern. I don’t understand why this would not have been taken to a judge or some other judicial forum that would have the authority to release you based on lack of evidence or any other reason they can think of why you would not be guilty of what you’re in here for.“It does put the Parole Board in a very bad position.”Devastated: Ronald Bower’s oldest daughter, Kristy, and his mother Margaret react to a judge’s 2005 decision against reversing his convictions. (Jerry Martin/Long Island Press)Nassau and Queens prosecutors are also perturbed. Neither were copied on the Attorney General’s letter or apprised of the office’s conclusions, writes Nassau County Chief Assistant District Attorney Madeline Singas in a Feb. 28, 2014 letter to Chief Deputy Attorney General Harlan Levy, Esq. Neither were contacted by the Attorney General’s Office in order to review Bower’s files, either, she contends—a claim that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office “vigorously disputes,” according to the New York Law Journal, which published an article about Bower and his release in their most recent issue.“While we applaud the Attorney General’s creation of this new bureau, it is troubling that this review was undertaken without a review of the case files held by the District Attorneys of Queens or Nassau County,” she blasts. “Mr. Schellhammer’s letter to the Parole Board contains a single paragraph to support his conclusion that ‘it appears highly unlikely that Bower committed the crimes for which he was convicted.’ While those claims of innocence have been substantially reviewed and rejected by the prior Nassau County District Attorney’s administration, the Queens District Attorney’s Office, and examined and rejected by both state and federal courts, this office is prepared to fully re-examine this case immediately if warranted.“Thus far, when we have asked to provide the office with any new or exculpatory evidence in order to facilitate any appropriate release of Mr. Bower from custody, you have declined to do so,” Singas continues. “Once again, I respectfully request that your office immediately share with us the evidence that supports the findings outlined in Mr. Schellhammer’s letter.”Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s Office only became aware of the Attorney General’s correspondence with the Parole Board and its conclusion, she writes, from a media inquiry—the Law Journal’s.Bower, whose horrific tours around the most brutal prisons throughout the state—Auburn, Gowanda, Green Haven, Sullivan, Clinton—have wrought him and his family immeasurable pain and anguish, told the Parole Board at his hearing that: “I’ve been crying almost every day.”“I’m innocent!” he told this reporter, his eyes welling up with tears during a jailhouse interview at one of those hellish facilities. “You have to believe me… I never hurt anyone.”last_img read more

Pros and cons of mergers and acquisitions at CUES’ Mergers & Acquisitions Institute

first_img 5SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Good or bad, mergers and acquisitions continue to dominate our industry’s headlines — and probably will continue to do so for quite some time. It’s a huge trend that’s only getting bigger as credit unions evolve.To keep credit unions well educated on the pros and cons with this trend, CUES is introducing a new institute at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business called: CUES’ Mergers & Acquisitions Institute.We invited University of Chicago Booth School of Business faculty member Steve Morrissette, who will be leading the institute, on the program to discuss how credit unions can take advantage of these lucrative growth opportunities. continue reading »last_img read more

Facility Solutions: Building consensus for the branch experience

first_imgEven with the best operations input and branding and design consultation, a new branch and brand experience project will fail if consensus has not been built among your credit union’s key stakeholders.In my early years, I witnessed such projects stall or outright fail as a result of not including the right participants in the process and focusing on design alone rather than engaging the whole credit union team. These experiences taught me who needs to be involved—and the process required—to ensure consensus and operational follow-through.The credit union team must include executives, management across departments—from HR to lending to security, any consultants, front-line staff and even board members when appropriate. Anyone who has final say on the project must be in all the project meetings. Occasionally, CEOs will say they do not participate, but if they have final approval of the project, they must be involved or they may force additional input or express issues too late in the process that cause rejection of a new branch prototype. (I have a few painful stories about this.) The same can be true of the board: If the board has expressed interest in the design, one representative should be included. It’s also important to include a front-line staff member. Creating consensus and selling the resulting project to all other staff requires buy-in. Including one or two rising stars from your branch staff helps ensure the people who operate the branch can add new insights that help enrich the resulting prototype. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

Talent development for execs new to CUs

first_imgThe credit union landscape is rapidly changing.The competition for top talent is fierce.Combine these two thoughts and it’s not surprising that some credit unions are widening their executive searches, interviewing leaders from outside the industry and sometimes hiring them.In an upcoming CU Management magazine article on this trend, CUES member Dan McCarthy, CHRO of $483 million/70,000-member Del-One Federal Credit Union, Dover, Delaware, says:“I think every industry can sometimes get too caught up in industry experience when they hire to fill positions. It’s not like you’re born with credit union experience. I am the firmest of believers that you hire first for cultural fit, second for talent, and then third for industry and technical skills. Talented people who are a cultural fit can be top-level contributors in any organization.”Notably, McCarthy joined Del-One FCU in April 2019 from his previous post as COO of a regional real estate development and construction company.CUES recently took a deep dive into the experience of leaders who’ve been hired in from outside. The result is a new benefit of CUES membership, “Welcome to Credit Unions: A guide for executives who are new to the CU industry.”If you’re hiring leaders from other industries—or if you’re drinking from the new-to-CUs fire hose yourself, this guide is designed for you.The printable PDF starts with an explanation of the basics of credit unions in both the United States and Canada, including their “people helping people” philosophy, the legal foundations on which they’re built, and the strategic challenges and opportunities they face.Credit union leaders interviewed for the guide describe their experience in coming in from other industries. All say they love where they have arrived and talk about what helped them adjust to the differences—and to be the most effective in their new roles.To help leaders new to our industry get familiar with credit union lingo, the guide includes a list of key terms—spelling out credit union regulatory agencies, associations and organizations; key laws; and such common but industry-specific phrases as “credit union service organization.”CUES is here to help credit union leaders and aspiring leaders—whether new to CUs or industry veterans—reach their fullest potential. Check out all our membership options and offerings. 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,John Pembroke Since joining CUES in March 2013, John Pembroke has played a leadership role in developing and launching a new direction in CUES’ strategy, branding and culture. Under his guidance, CUES … Web: Detailslast_img read more

CUInsight Minute with Lauren Culp – August 14, 2020

first_imgWelcome to the CUInsight Minute, sixty seconds from our Publisher & CEO Lauren Culp with our favorite reads from the week.Mentioned:*CUInsight is hiring! Check out our job postings here.Board renewal and recruitment: A profound need to modernize the processby DEEDEE MYERS, DDJ MYERSThe COVID-19 environmental disruption, the call to enhance and expand member digital services, #blacklivesmatter, and the retirement of board members comprise a profound confluence of opportunities. These opportunities should not become issues with the right actions. Two years ago, a significant percentage of board members (30-40%) declared they would retire in three to five years. (read more)4 reasons your credit union needs the new CUAid appby LACEY YASICK, NATIONAL CREDIT UNION FOUNDATION (THE FOUNDATION)Unfortunately, we are in the thick of natural disaster season. As if 2020 hasn’t thrown us enough curve balls, this is the time of year where mother nature doesn’t hold back. If we, as an industry, have learned anything this year, it’s that being prepared for the unexpected is critical for business resiliency. (read more)Top 4 reasons to attend NAFCU’s Virtual Congressional Caucusby NAFCUHelp us push our bold advocacy agenda forward. Join NAFCU, your Washington Watchdog, online at NAFCU’s Virtual Congressional Caucus. Top 4 reasons to attend and a bonus! (read more) ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Lauren Culp Lauren Culp is the Publisher & CEO at leads the growing team at CUInsight, works with organizations serving credit unions to maximize their brand and exposure, connects … Web: Detailslast_img read more

People likely to alter lifestyles to cut risk in a pandemic, study finds

first_imgJul 26, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – A recently published survey of Europeans and Asians showed that, when faced with an influenza pandemic, most would avoid mass transit and limit shopping to essentials, and many would avoid other public places, including restaurants, theaters, and the workplace.The study, published online Jul 20 in Emerging Infectious Diseases, found that “avoidance of public transportation was consistently reported across the region as the most likely precautionary behavior,” with about 75% of respondents choosing that option.Reactions to other risk-avoidance measures varied by region. For example, 79% of Europeans would likely avoid places of entertainment such as cinemas, restaurants, and theaters, while only 33% of Asians said they would. And 52% of Asians said they would stay home from work, compared with 35% of Europeans.The researchers also discovered that responses varied little for a hypothetically severe pandemic versus a milder one.Survey specificsIn late 2005, European researchers did telephone surveys in five European countries (Denmark, Spain, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Poland) and three Asian regions (Singapore, Hong Kong, and Guangdong, China). They chose the Asian locales specifically because they had experienced outbreaks of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in 2003, which may have influenced citizens’ perception of what might be high-risk activities during a pandemic.A total of 3,436 people answered the survey, which represented 42% of those called (ranging from 21% in Great Britain to 81% in Poland). The number of regional participants ranged from 401 in Great Britain and Hong Kong to 502 in Poland.Respondents were asked to choose the riskiest among six different places during a hypothetical pandemic:Public transportationEntertainment venuesStoresWork or schoolHospitalHomeThen, after given a scenario of either a mild or more severe pandemic, participants were also asked to choose which of these risk-avoiding behaviors they would likely adopt in a pandemic:Avoid public transportationAvoid going out for entertainmentLimit shopping to the essentialsTake leave from workKeep children out of school, even if it remains openLimit physical contact with friends and familyAvoid seeing doctors, even when sick from something unrelated to fluStay indoors at all timesTo prevent respondents from forgetting some of the options and to limit the length of the call, interviewers asked for feedback on only three randomly selected items from each of these lists. This reduced the pool of people who were asked about each potentially risky place to about 1,700, and to about 1,300 for each precautionary behavior. Only 349 were asked about keeping kids out of school, because this question was asked of only parents of schoolchildren.”The main limitation of this sampling method,” the authors write, “is that it effectively reduces our sample size, but we expect sampling bias to be minimal because options (risky places and precautionary actions) were allocated randomly.”Regional differences and similaritiesIn six of the eight countries, public transportation was seen as the riskiest place in a pandemic, followed by places of entertainment. In China and Singapore, those selections were reversed. But in all countries, the home rated as the safest place.As far as precautionary behaviors, 79% of Europeans and 74% of Asians would avoid public transportation; the same percentage of Europeans but only 33% of Asians would avoid public entertainment settings. Other measures ranked lower: limiting shopping (69% in Europe, 59% in Asia), staying home from work (35% and 52%), keeping children from school (59% and 39%), limiting contact with family and friends (45% and 52%), avoiding physicians (22% and 34%), and staying indoors (24% and 35%).The authors highlight several findings:Asians were far less prone than Europeans to avoid entertainment venues, in spite of rating such places as riskier during a pandemic than did their European counterparts (52% to 43%).Individual characteristics such as age, sex, vaccine status, and health status had little effect on what precautions people said they would take, with three notable exceptions:Younger respondents were less likely to avoid places of entertainment and less likely to show up for work.Compared with those not employed full time (eg, retirees, homemakers, and students), fewer employed respondents reported being likely to avoid places of mass transit, entertainment, and work, or to stay at home.Respondents with higher education levels were more likely than their less educated counterparts to avoid entertainment and shopping establishments.This survey of the general public found about the same percentage tending toward not reporting to work in a pandemic—about half—as a study among US healthcare workers published last year in BMC Public Health (see link below).The higher percentage of Asians expressing reluctance to visit a physician during a pandemic “may have been related to their increased awareness of SARS, which was often acquired in a healthcare setting,” the authors write.Respondents’ perception of risk was not associated with precautionary actions, except in the case of avoiding public transportation.Survey’s strengths and weaknessesThe authors list two limitations of this type of study, saying, “The main drawback of this type of survey is the difficulty validating results,” citing as an example the wide range of response rates: 21% to 81%. However, they mention that “the similarity in findings between regions suggests that the low participation rate in some regions did not bias the findings.”Second,” they write, “because of the hypothetical nature of the questionnaire, concluding that persons actually would respond in the way that they have indicated here is not possible.” They point out, though, that their findings coincide with unpublished data from a study conducted among the Chinese community in the Netherlands just after the SARS epidemic. In that study, many had avoided travel to SARS-affected areas and avoided large gatherings.”One of the strengths of our study,” the authors write, “was its multicountry approach; with few exceptions, the patterns of potential precautionary actions were similar among respondents in each region.”Estimating health and economic effects”Knowledge of what persons are likely to do,” the authors say, “can be used to estimate the health and economic effects of various pandemic influenza scenarios. We describe what proportion will take precautionary actions as well as the socioeconomic background of these persons, which would be useful for improving communication efforts by public health official and clinicians in response to an outbreak.”The authors conclude: “Although the quantitative nature of the results may be difficult to validate, the qualitative findings are likely more robust. A new influenza pandemic would most likely result in persons’ limiting their use of public transportation, entertainment, and shopping for nonessentials.”These findings coincide at least in part with a Mar 22 report from the Trust for America’s Health (see links below), which estimated that states most heavily dependent on entertainment and tourism dollars will be hit hardest economically by a pandemic.Sadique MZ, Edmunds WJ, Smith RD, et al. Precautionary behavior in response to perceived threat of pandemic influenza. Emerg Infect Dis 2007 Sep;13(9) [Full text]See also:2006 BMC Public Health article on survey of US healthcare workers for America’s Health report (links to news release and full report) 22, 2007, CIDRAP News story “Pandemic could cause deep, uneven recession, group predicts”last_img read more

Lockdown not yet an option for Indonesia, says President

first_imgRead also: Stay home, President saysThey said a lockdown should be in place ahead of the Ramadan fasting month in April and the Idul Fitri holiday in May, arguing that mudik (annual exodus) during the major Islamic holiday might heighten the risk of a nationwide epidemic.The Jakarta administration on Monday imposed a restriction on the operational hours of public transportation to contain the virus’ spread, but the policy appears to have backfired with large crowds and long queues at Transjakarta and MRT Jakarta stations throughout the capital.City-owned bus operator Transjakarta is operating only 13 of its 248 routes, with an estimated 20-minute headway per bus. As a result, long lines that stretched onto streets and sidewalks formed at bus shelters, while the shelters became filled with waiting passengers.Crowds and long lines of passengers were also seen at MRT Jakarta stations. The operator was operating a reduced number of cars per train from the usual 16 to just four cars, which slashed the maximum passenger capacity from 300 to 60 people per car.”All major policies at the regional level should first be discussed with the central government before they are implemented,” Jokowi said.Indonesia reported on Monday a total of 134 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including five deaths. Regional heads in several areas – including Jakarta, Banten and West Java – have decided to temporarily close schools and public areas in an effort to contain the outbreak. (vny)Topics : President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo asserted on Monday that imposing a lockdown was not in the works for Indonesia or any of its 34 provinces, saying that citizens should instead practice “social distancing” to contain the spread of COVID-19.As Indonesian authorities scrambled to prevent wider transmission of the novel coronavirus that has spread to at least eight provinces, Jokowi stressed that the government was “not leaning toward issuing a lockdown policy” at this time.”I have to emphasize that issuing a lockdown policy, either at the national or regional level, is under the authority of central government. Such a policy cannot be issued by regional administrations,” he told a press conference on Monday. The President said what important was for the public to implement what infectious disease specialists called “social distancing” to curb the spread of disease – in the case of COVID-19, maintaining a distance of at least 2 meters to minimize close contact. He also advised the public to work, learn and worship from home. Jokowi said that all public transportation, including buses and trains, would continue to operate as normal to accommodate those who needed to venture out and to avoid passenger buildup.Experts and scientists earlier called for the government to impose a lockdown and restrict the movement of individuals in areas that had been deemed hot zones of the COVID-19 outbreak to prevent wider spread of the disease.last_img read more