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first_imgOn Wednesday morning, the Postal Service it had completed the sweeps, and that they turned up only a “relative handful of ballots” — about 12 or 13, according to a U.S. Department of Justice lawyer Joseph Borson, who is representing the Postal Service. The judge’s dramatic Election Day order came as record numbers of Americans cast ballots by mail this year, with voters were anxious to avoid crowds at the polls during the pandemic — and at the end of a campaign season marked by fears that Postal Service changes and cutbacks under Mr. DeJoy, a Trump appointee, had caused extensive mail delays that could imperil ballots.“Why was it as of yesterday there were still ballots being delivered late?” Shankar Duraiswamy, the lead lawyer for the nonprofit coalition Vote Forward, which is suing the Postal Service to try to ensure all ballots are delivered, asked during Wednesday’s hearing. – Advertisement – A federal judge on Wednesday threatened to call Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to appear before him, expressing frustration with the Postal Service’s slow response in carrying out Election Day sweeps of postal facilities looking for undelivered ballots. “The postmaster is either going have to be deposed or appear before me,” said Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the District of Columbia, as he continued to monitor the agency’s performance delivering ballots, which can be counted for days after the election in many states. – Advertisement – “We’re very focused on the next set of deadlines,” he said. Mr. Duraiswamy also asked the Postal Service to investigate a report he said he’d received about “boxes of ballots” sitting delayed in Greensboro, N.C. Roughly 300,000 ballots that the Postal Service says it processed showed no scan confirming their delivery to ballot-counting sites, according to data filed recently in federal court in Washington, D.C., leaving voter-rights advocates concerned.Postal officials said that just because a ballot never received a final scan before going out for delivery, it did not mean that it wasn’t delivered. A machine scanning ballots for final processing can sometimes miss ballots that are stuck together or have smudged bar codes. And hand-sorted ballots typically do not receive a final scan before delivery.The Postal Service has also authorized expedited delivery of ballots that forego the normal process, but voting-rights advocates worried that without a scan verifying that the ballots went out for delivery, some could be sitting uncounted at various postal facilities around the country.The Postal Service said Wednesday morning said the agency had been conducting daily searches at all of its facilities for ballots that might fall through the cracks.In a statement, a Postal Service spokesman, David A. Partenheimer, contested claims about unaccounted ballots. He wrote that some ballots, expedited to election officials, had bypassed certain processing operations and did not receive a final scan.“The assumption that there are unaccounted ballots within the Postal Service network is inaccurate,” he said in a statement, reiterating the Postal Service’s commitment to “extraordinary measures” for ballot delivery. “We remain in close contact with state and local boards of elections and we do not currently have any open issues.” “I’m not pleased about this 11th-hour development last night. Someone may have a price to pay for that.”On Tuesday, Judge Sullivan had ordered inspectors to sweep facilities in 12 districts after the Postal Service said in court that some 300,000 ballots it had received had not been scanned for delivery. He said he was particularly concerned about ballot delivery in key swing districts with low on-time delivery scores, including Central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Detroit. The judge gave the agency until 3 p.m. to complete the sweeps, but the Postal Service said it would need until 8 p.m. to do the work without disrupting the processing of a flood of Election Day ballots. – Advertisement – He said the court must now focus on getting ballots to the 21 states in the country that accept ballots postmarked by or before Election Day in the days after the election. – Advertisement –last_img read more


first_imgOct 18, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – A study that tracked influenza cases by age-groups found that preschoolers led the annual parade of flu-related doctor visits, with sick adults following about 29 days later.The findings, which appear in the October issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, support the idea of vaccinating all preschool children, write the authors, led by John S. Brownstein at Boston’s Children’s Hospital. Current recommendations emphasize flu shots for 6- to 23-month-old children.The authors sought to identify the best populations for influenza vaccination by using real-time health-monitoring systems to pull age-group data on respiratory illness and look for relationships with overall deaths due to flu and pneumonia. The data were drawn from two real-time population health-monitoring systems,the Automated Epidemiologic Geotemporal Integrated SurveillanceSystem and the National Bioterrorism Syndromic SurveillanceDemonstration Project.Five healthcare populations were used. These included patients reporting to four different emergency departments that served different age-groups, including children, adults, or all ages. The fifth population consisted of patients who were members of a large health-maintenance organization (HMO) in Massachusetts and sought care for respiratory illness at an ambulatory care clinic.Several years’ worth of data were sorted by age-groups: 0-2; 3-4; 5-11; 12-17; 18-39; 40-64; and older than 64. The researchers compared these data with influenza surveillance findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and with CDC data on overall deaths due to flu and pneumonia in New England.A pediatric emergency department had the earliest peak in cases of respiratory illness, usually 38 days before the peak in flu-related mortality. Three- to 4-year-olds were seen before other patients, with a mean lead time of 34 days (95% confidence interval, 14.5 to 53.5). Adult emergency department, general emergency department, and community populations offered the shortest warning of flu deaths, with a mean lead time of 2 weeks, the report says. Each healthcare population was found to be a statistically significant predictor of mortality (p<0.0001)."What we think is most likely is that 3- and 4-year-olds are early spreaders of influenza because of the preschool setting," Brownstein told the Associated Press for a story earlier this month.Overall, children's illnesses were the best predictors of pneumonia and flu deaths across all the healthcare sites studied, the authors wrote. They concluded that patient age is a key determinant of timing of visits for respiratory illness and that respiratory illness in patients younger than 5 is significantly associated with flu and pneumonia deaths."Pediatric populations are sentinels of infection, andthey signal the consequent burden of illness," the report states. "Although this finding does not necessarily prove that preschool-age children are driving the yearly influenza epidemics, they intriguingly suggest that preschool-age children are the initial group infected and may be important in the subsequent spread." The vulnerability of this age group, coupled with the healthcare-seeking behavior of their parents, may help make them such effective sentinels, the researchers add.The study strengthens arguments for recommending universal vaccination of preschoolers, the authors conclude. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is currently considering such a recommendation. However, one limitation of the study was that few children had laboratory testing to confirm that their illness was flu.Brownstein JS, Kleinman KP, Mandl, KD. Identifying pediatric age groups for influenza vaccination using a real-time regional surveillance system. Am J Epidemiol 2005:162(7):686-693 [Abstract]last_img read more


first_imgFeb 15, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers yesterday to avoid certain peanut butter brands linked to a slow but sustained Salmonella outbreak that has sickened 288 people in 39 states since August.The peanut butter implicated in the outbreak is contaminated with Salmonella enterica serovar Tennessee and comes from a ConAgra plant in Sylvester, Ga., that produces Peter Pan and Great Value brand products with a product code on the lid that begins with the number 2111, the FDA said in a press release.Consumers who have any jars of the two brands with the 2111 code purchased after May 2006 should discard the product, the FDA said. ConAgra has voluntarily recalled the affected products and has stopped production until the contamination cause can be identified and eliminated.”Although none of our extensive product tests have indicated the presence of Salmonella, we are taking this precautionary measure because consumer health and safety is our top priority,” said Chris Kircher, spokesman for ConAgra foods, in a press release yesterday.The outbreak appears to be ongoing, the FDA said.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in an alert sent to public health workers today, said illness onset dates are known for 140 patients and range from Aug 1, 2006 to Jan 21. Up to two new cases were reported nationwide each day in January, the CDC said.Two closely related DNA fingerprints of S Tennessee have been associated with the outbreak, the CDC said. The DNA patterns were identified through PulseNet, a national network of public health laboratories. S enterica typically causes fever and nonbloody diarrhea that resolves in a week.The CDC said that of 120 patients for whom clinical information is available, 31 (26%) were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Five Minnesota patients, one of whom was hospitalized, have been connected to the outbreak, said Buddy Ferguson, a Minnesota Department of Health spokesman. Illness onsets are known for four patients and ranged from September to January, he told CIDRAP News.Extensive epidemiologic studies allowed the CDC to identify Peter Pan peanut butter with the 2111 product code as the likely cause of illness, but Great Value peanut butter with the same product code is produced at the same plant and is believed to be at risk for contamination, the FDA said.The FDA said its investigators are at the ConAgra plant reviewing records, collecting product samples, and conducting tests for S Tennessee.The current outbreak is the second known instance of Salmonella contamination in peanut butter. In 1996, 15 people were sickened after eating peanut butter that was contaminated with S enterica serovar Mbandaka, according to a 1998 report published in the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. Investigators traced the contamination source to roasted peanuts.Pasteurization, shelf-life issues raisedHealth officials and peanut butter industry representatives are examining peanut butter production methods and how the products involved in the recall might have become contaminated, the CDC said.Israeli researchers recently tested the heat tolerance of three Salmonella strains in peanut butter and found that current peanut butter pasteurization processes, with temperatures from 158 to 167ºF (70 to 75ºC) applied for up to 20 minutes, don’t consistently destroy the organism. They found that some Salmonella survived, even when the peanut butter was heated to 194ºF (90ºC) or for longer periods, up to 50 minutes. Their results appeared in the November 2006 issue of the Journal of Food Protection.They noted that Salmonella organisms might have increased heat resistance in foods that have low water and high lipid content, such as peanut butter or chocolate.The findings raise important food safety concerns, the authors wrote, particularly when outbreaks indicate that only a few cells may be enough to cause disease when consumed in foods that have little water.Such foods are common snacks for young children, the authors pointed out. “Increased consumption of these food types could result in more frequent outbreaks of salmonellosis unless appropriate management steps are taken,” they wrote.Heating peanut butter for longer periods or to higher temperatures could denature or brown the peanut butter, the researchers said. They concluded that food processors should investigate other Salmonella inactivation methods to make their products safer.Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Georgia have found that Salmonella can survive in peanut butters and spreads, depending on their formulation, throughout their 24-week shelf life when stored at 41ºF (5ºC). They tested five peanut butters and two spreads. All tested positive for Salmonella when stored at 41ºF; when stored at 69.8ºF (21ºC) for the shelf life, all but one spread tested negative for the pathogen.See also:Feb 14 FDA press releasehttp://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2007/ucm108845.htmCIDRAP overview of salmonellosishttp://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/fs/food-disease/causes/salmoview.htmlScheil W, Cameron S, Dalton C, et al. A South Australian Mdbandaka outbreak investigation using a database to select controls. Aust NZ J Public Health 1998 Aug;22(5):536-9Shachar D, Yaron S. Heat tolerance of Salmonella enterica serovars agona, enteritidiis, and typhimurimum in peanut butter. J Food Protec 2006 Nov;69(11):2687-91 [Abstract]Burnett SL, Gehm ER, Weissinger WR, et al. Survival of Salmonella in peanut butter and peanut butter spread. J Appl Microbiol 2000 Sept;89(3):472-7 [Full text]last_img read more


first_img Nov 6 CIDRAP News story “US food safety plan calls for FDA recall power” Exporters of food to the United States will be required to register with China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and agree to annual inspections to ensure that their products meet US standards. HHS’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will maintain an online list of registered firms, and the AQSIQ will notify the FDA of firms that have lost their registered status. Nov 7 CIDRAP News story “Food safety plan taps others for inspection help” Asserting that the accords will make “scores” of imported household items safer, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said in a statement, “The agreements satisfy our firm principle that any country that desires to produce foods for American consumers must do so in accordance with American standards of quality and safety. To help accomplish this, the two documents apply a three-pronged strategy of registration, certification, and verification.” Dec 11, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Under a food safety agreement announced today by US officials, the Chinese government pledges to register exporters of food to the United States, inspect shipments before they leave China, and set up a system to trace food products through the production system. To contain and resolve safety problems, China will “implement a system to trace products from the source of production or manufacture to the point of exportation.” The agreement announced today by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also provides for increased information sharing between the two countries and better access for US officials to inspect food processing sites in China, HHS officials said in a news release. The pact was triggered by a series of tainted-import incidents in recent months, including chemically contaminated pet food and seafood containing unauthorized drugs. HHS simultaneously announced an agreement with China to enhance the safety of Chinese drugs and medical devices exported to the United States. Each country promises to “notify the other within 48 hours of the emergence of significant risks to public health related to product safety, recalls, and other situations.” The AQSIQ “will assist and facilitate” FDA inspections of farms and food-processing sites in China, and the two countries will develop joint training programs for food safety inspectors and enforcers. HHS and the AQSIQ will appoint a working group to meet within 60 days to spell out implementation activities and set performance measures.center_img Leavitt said the new agreement is in line with the Action Plan on Import Safety he unveiled on Nov 6. That plan was the product of the Cabinet-level Interagency Working Group on Import Safety, launched by President George W. Bush in July in the wake of various problems with goods imported from China. Announcement of the agreement with China comes little more than a week after a report by the FDA’s Science Board said decades of inadequate funding and rapidly growing responsibilities have left the FDA struggling to fulfill its mission. News coverage in recent months has suggested that problems with imported Chinese food have been frequent and persistent. For example, a Washington Post report published May 20 said the FDA had detained 107 Chinese food shipments at US ports in April. Examples included dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical, catfish containing banned antibiotics, scallops and sardines coated with “putrefying” bacteria, and mushrooms laced with illegal pesticides. Also, an Associated Press report published in April said the US Department of Agriculture determined that only about 6% of Chinese farm products were considered pollution-free in 2005. The major elements of the food and feed agreement, according to HHS, include the following: See also: Dec 11 statement by HHS Secretary Leavitthttp://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2007pres/12/20071211a.html China will set certification requirements to help ensure that products for export meet US standards. AQSIQ inspectors will check shipments and issue certificates with identification numbers that will also be sent to the FDA. The two countries will cooperate to set up a secure system to prevent counterfeit certificates. Dec 5 CIDRAP News story “Report says stingy funding has put FDA in crisis”last_img read more


first_imgThe Mimara Museum, organized by the Association of Croatian Tourist Guides, which brings together 15 of the 19 tourist guides in Croatia and actively cares for the protection of their rights, promotes the identity, cultural heritage and reputation of the Republic of Croatia, held a thematic evening “Protected sites”. presented by ten local tour guide societies. Thus, tourist guides spent the evening guests through Korčula, Split, Trogir, Šibenik, Zadar, Kvarner, Pula, Rovinj, Karlovac, Zagreb, Varaždin and Vukovar.President of the Community Kristina Nuić Prka highlighted the obligation imposed by the European Commission as the reason for organizing this thematic evening; allowing foreign guides without education to talk about our country, except for protected sites. “The European Commission imposes an obligation to allow foreign guides without education to talk about our country, except for protected sites. What is the area of ​​a protected site, where the representation of our country can only be performed by educated licensed tourist guides, is not clearly defined or criteria for determination, but also depends solely on the interpretation of the European Commission that wants to reduce these areas. Considering these are areas of national interest, ZDTVH has launched several actions that indicate the specifics of the work of tourist guides, as well as how important it is to properly show protected sites, our cities, cultural heritage, tell the truth about the Homeland War, explain traditions, customs and convey emotions and spirit, pride and defiance of the people living in those areas. This can only be done by those who feel, experience and know the area and are appropriately educated for the job of a guide. ” Nuić Prka pointed out and added that she suggested that the entire area of ​​the city of Vukovar be included in the area of ​​protected sites as a place of special reverence.In accordance with the EU directive and the new Law on the provision of services in tourism, which proposes the introduction of a national license for all tourist guides that could lead to catastrophic consequences for our tourism, because we must care what story we tell our tourists. And it is precisely the new EU directive, which seeks to give access to all guides in the EU that they can lead anywhere, that leads to globalization and the loss of our identity and our authentic story. Only local tourist guides guide us and the sea, ie tell a story about local authentic stories. Anyone can learn a form from a book or Google, but there is no real authentic content, no real story to tell – and only local guides can know that.Photo: Portaloko.hr”Without Croatian tourist guides in the real sector there is no cultural tourism in Croatia” points out Vinko Bakija, Master of Science, senior lecturer at the Department of Tourism and Communication Sciences, University of Zadar, and adds “The territory of the Republic of Croatia is so rich in remnants of tangible and intangible heritage that generations of our ancestors left us for safekeeping and careful management that we proudly leave them to our heirs, that it is simply impossible to imagine an escort from Germany, Slovenia, Austria or Hungary a quality way to conduct guidance throughout Croatia. ” Bakija concludes.Being a tour guide should be an honor. Yes, an honor because, by definition, tourist guides are ambassadors of Croatian tourism.Tourist guides tell stories about destinations, increase the daily consumption of tourists, generate quality additional content of the destination, as well as “sell” with their advice all the activities and experiences of the destination. Also, tourist guides are the good spirit of the destination and a friend of tourists who know and tell local stories that are not in the tourist brochures.So important for our tourism, and so underestimated, especially in the context of the development and promotion of tourist destinations. They are storytellers, selling emotions and experiences, and certainly one of the key factors in the final decision of the guests: Return to the destination or not?If you think I’m exaggerating, don’t forget that the motive for the arrival of tourists is not the hotel, but the experience and content of the destination. Unfortunately, their contribution is not recognized as much as it should, and as in other tourism sectors, chaos reigns. From licenses to education and final performance. And performance is key! So important that it must not be left to chance. “Tourist guides interpret cultural heritage, and it is cultural heritage that sets us apart from globalization.”Concludes Nuić Prka.Do we care about the story we tell our tourists? Do we care about our identity, history, heritage…? Related news: WITHOUT CROATIAN TOURIST GUIDES IN THE REAL SECTOR THERE IS NO CULTURAL TOURISM IN CROATIADO WE CARE ABOUT THE STORY WE TELL TO OUR TOURISTS?DO YOU KNOW THE STORY OF TOURIST GUIDES HANS AND JANEZ?last_img read more


first_imgIt is estimated that one car in this system can replace more than ten private vehicles, and the value of this is especially evident in cities such as Dubrovnik, where the transport infrastructure is extremely busy. And the city of Dubrovnik will become the first city in Croatia with a 100% electric car sharing system. Thus, the first thirty Avant2Go vehicles will soon be deployed at seven locations in Dubrovnik. “The City of Dubrovnik is systematically working on solving the problem of traffic jams. In this sense, we have launched numerous projects, primarily aimed at our fellow citizens. Among them is the first comprehensive smart parking in Croatia, for which we were awarded the first prize in the Smart City category this year. This is a continuation of the story. The car sharing project completely fit into our vision of city development, so we supported its implementation in Dubrovnik, which thus becomes a pilot project and once again leads in introducing new technologies and smart solutions to raise living standards of its citizens. We believe that this service will help relieve traffic infrastructure and parking, which is currently one of our main focuses, and includes all other positive aspects that the City strives for such as sustainability, energy efficiency and environmental protection.”, Said Mato Franković, the mayor of Dubrovnik. Car sharing is a service intended for the residents of Dubrovnik, but also for their guests. It is tourist cities that must systematically develop the diversity and complementarity of mobility services. “At the same time, Dubrovnik is one of the most demanding cities in terms of traffic optimization, but also a jewel of cultural heritage. Services such as car sharing should therefore be in the service of mobility development, but also contribute to the sustainability of the city of Dubrovnik. This project strategically connects vital parts of the city with the most important traffic hubs. This connects Dubrovnik even more strongly and in an ecological way with the rest of the world”, Said Vladimir Markulin, director of Avant car in Croatia. The vehicle co-use service in Dubrovnik is called Avant2Go, and was introduced by the company Avant car, the leading provider of this service in the region. “Electric mobility and vehicle sharing are currently the biggest global trends in the automotive industry. We believe that 100% electric car sharing Avant2Go will respond to the needs of the people of Dubrovnik and their city. Among the main advantages of the system are: driving without noise and emissions, availability of the service to a wide circle of people, easy use of the service 24/7 via a smartphone and secured parking spaces”, Said Matej Čer, founder of Avant car. For starters, there will be thirty vehicles available, most Renault ZOE models, the fleet and the number of locations where vehicles are picked up and returned will increase according to user needs, Avant car points out. center_img Car sharing is recognized worldwide as a system of using personal vehicles that is a quality alternative to ownership, and an excellent upgrade to the public transport network. From the second half of November, the vehicles will be deployed at seven locations: at Dubrovnik Airport, Gruž port, near the cable car leading to Srđ, in the Public Garage, on Lapad and in the parking lots of the Rixos and One Suite hotels. Vehicles are booked, unlocked and paid for by the app from the smartphone. As an upgrade of public transport, car sharing will in an ecological way contribute to relieving the city’s transport infrastructure, and will enable citizens to use vehicles without the worries of ownership. Photo: City of Dubrovniklast_img read more


first_imgThe Croatian National Tourist Board announced a public call for grants to destination management companies at the beginning of this month, but due to new extraordinary circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic, as a result of which certain activities were temporarily postponed, the public call was suspended. All interested parties will be informed about the new start date of the “Vacation week worth” campaign when the decision is made to restart it, the CNTB points out. Ministarstvo turizma i Hrvatska turistička zajednica do daljnjega odgađaju promotivnu akciju „Tjedan odmora vrijedan“ zbog situacije vezane uz pojavu i širenje koronavirusa. According to the CNTB, the suspension is in force until a different decision is made, of which you will be notified in a timely manner. Respecting the measures issued by the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus, a decision was made to postpone the start of this tourist promotion. Also, the project was postponed “Tjedan odmora vrijedan” Podsjetimo, za jedan program korisniku se može odobriti potpora u bruto iznosu od 50.000,00 do 100.000,00 kuna, a ukupna vrijednost potpore koja se može odobriti po pojedinom korisniku može iznositi maksimalno 250.000,00 kuna.last_img read more

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