Admin Support – Servers Under The Sun Sat, 18 Sep 2021 01:18:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Admin Support – Servers Under The Sun 32 32 FDA Advisors Recommend COVID Boosters for People 65 and Over After Rejecting Broad Approval Sat, 18 Sep 2021 00:37:00 +0000

Sept. 17 (Reuters) – U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisers voted on Friday to recommend booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine for Americans 65 and older and those at high risk of serious illness, after overwhelmingly rejecting a call for broader approval.

The panel also recommended that the FDA include healthcare workers and others at high risk of occupational exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19, such as teachers.

Despite the reduced scope of the proposed authorization, the panel’s recommendation would cover most Americans who were vaccinated in the early stages of the US vaccination campaign.

“Today was an important step forward in providing better protection to Americans against COVID-19,” White House spokesman Kevin Munoz said. “We are ready to provide booster shots to eligible Americans once the process is completed at the end of next week,” he said.

The FDA is expected to make its decision on the third round of shooting soon. He is not bound by the panel’s recommendation but will take it into account.

Dr Paul Offit, an infectious disease expert at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the panel, said the recommendation was “a step backwards” from the Biden administration’s recommendation to generalize recalls to from September 20.

“That’s not it. It’s, ‘We’re going to test the water, one foot at a time,'” said Offit, who voted “no” on the original question of the widespread use of boosters and “yes” on the smaller offer of vaccines for those most at risk.

By a 16-2 vote, members of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biologics Advisory Committee declined to recommend a third dose of Pfizer (PFE.N) / BioNTech vaccine to anyone 16 years of age and older who received his second injection at least six months earlier.

Panelists suggested that the evidence supporting broad endorsement was inadequate, and they wanted to see more safety data, especially regarding the risk of heart inflammation in young people after vaccination.

Sister Barbara Sullivan, 84, receives a vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during a vaccination campaign for retired nuns at the Independent Living Center of the Sisters of Saint-Joseph de Carondelet in Los Angeles, California, USA, March 3, 2021. REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson

Panel members then unanimously endorsed the recommendation of a third shot for older, high-risk Americans, convinced by evidence showing they were at higher risk for severe COVID-19 and may be more susceptible. to have waning immunity after the first shots.

Advisors from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are due to meet on September 22 and 23 to discuss new recommendations on who is eligible for injections.

“We’re wondering how much of this restriction can be managed in the real world or how to stop people, but the point is it will be available to those who need it,” said Michael Yee, analyst at Jefferies.

Pfizer could always come back with more data to support a broader clearance or approval.

The drugmaker said it “will work with the FDA after today’s meeting to answer questions from the committee as we continue to believe in the benefits of a booster dose to a wider population.”

Pfizer shares closed down 1.3%, while US-traded shares of BioNTech ended the day down 3.6%.

Some countries, including Israel and the UK, have already started COVID-19 recall campaigns. The United States authorized additional injections for people with weakened immune systems last month and some 2 million people had already received a third injection, according to the CDC.

President Joe Biden has called for additional injections amid rising hospitalizations and deaths from the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, mostly among the unvaccinated, and increasing cases of infections among fully vaccinated Americans.

Recent polls have shown that most Americans who get vaccinated want a booster to boost their immunity.

Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla and Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru, Mike Erman in New York and Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago; Editing by Caroline Humer, Bill Berkrot and Sonya Hepinstall

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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FACT SHEET: Actions by the Biden-Harris Administration in Response to the Current Crisis in Northern Ethiopia Fri, 17 Sep 2021 11:19:29 +0000

“My administration will continue to press for a negotiated ceasefire, an end to abuses against innocent civilians and humanitarian access to those in need. ”

– President Biden

Today, President Biden is taking further steps to respond to the ongoing conflict in northern Ethiopia. This conflict has triggered one of the worst humanitarian and human rights crises in the world, with more than 5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and nearly a million living in conditions bordering on famine.

Parties to the conflict – including the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF) and Amhara Regional Forces – have committed human rights violations against civilians. There have been numerous reports of armed actors committing brutal acts of murder, rape and other sexual violence against civilian populations. The United Nations Population Fund has estimated that tens of thousands of women and girls in northern Ethiopia will need medical, mental health, psychosocial and legal services to begin rebuilding their lives as a result of the conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence.

Together with its allies, partners and international organizations, the United States calls on all parties to end hostilities, allow and facilitate unhindered humanitarian access, ensure accountability for human rights violations and initiate a inclusive dialogue to preserve the unity of the Ethiopian state. We also call on the Ethiopian government and the TPLF to begin discussions without preconditions to achieve a negotiated ceasefire and a political resolution of the conflict. In remarks to the UN Security Council in August, the UN Secretary General was clear: “All parties must recognize one simple truth: there is no military solution.

The United States is committed to helping Ethiopia meet the challenges of today, building on the deep and historic ties between our two countries. Under President Biden’s leadership, the United States is actively pursuing measures to promote an end to the fighting, protect human rights, and help meet humanitarian needs:

Sanction those who prolong the conflict and commit abuses

Today, President Biden signed an Executive Order (EO) establishing a new sanctions regime that gives the United States Department of the Treasury (Treasury), in conjunction with the United States Department of State (State), the power to request accountable to members of the Ethiopian government, the Eritrean government, the TPLF and the Amhara regional government who are responsible or complicit in prolonging the conflict, obstructing humanitarian access or preventing a ceasefire. fire. The Treasury is ready to take measures within the framework of this EO to impose targeted sanctions against those responsible for the current crisis.

While imposing sanctions under this EO, the United States will take steps to mitigate the unintended effects on the Ethiopian people and the wider region. The United States will work to ensure that personal remittances to unsanctioned people, humanitarian assistance to populations at risk, and longer-term assistance programs and business activities that meet basic human needs continue. to flow to Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa region through legitimate and transparent channels.

This executive order follows sanctions and visa restrictions that the United States has already imposed. In August 2021, the Treasury Department sanctioned General Filipos Woldeyohannes, Chief of Staff of the Eritrean Defense Forces, in accordance with OE 13818, which is based on and implements the Magnitsky Global Accountability Law. human rights. In May 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a policy under section 212 (a) (3) (C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act imposing visa restrictions on those suspected of ‘be responsible or complicit in undermining the resolution of the crisis. in Tigray.

The United States has imposed defense trade restrictions on exports to Ethiopia amid the ongoing conflict and has reported human rights violations. The United States urges other countries to implement similar measures to stop the flow of arms to all parties to the conflict and support a negotiated ceasefire.

The actions of those involved in the conflict will determine whether the US government imposes sanctions. The United States is ready to impose sanctions if there is no progress towards a resolution of the conflict. If there is progress, the United States stands ready to work with the international community to mobilize essential aid to Ethiopia to recover from this conflict, reorganize its large debt and revitalize its economy.

Facilitate ceasefire negotiations and a political resolution of the conflict

Together with its allies and partners, the United States pledged to support the Ethiopian government and the TPLF to negotiate a lasting ceasefire and peaceful resolution of the conflict. At the Carbis Bay summit in June, G7 leaders called for “an immediate cessation of hostilities” and the search for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. In August, a majority of UN Security Council members publicly supported the Secretary-General’s call for the parties to “immediately end hostilities without preconditions and seize the opportunity to negotiate a ceasefire.” sustainable ”. More broadly, the United States encourages an inclusive and credible national dialogue in which all Ethiopians have a say in their common future.

In March 2021, President Biden sent Senator Coons and a high-level delegation to meet with Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy and offer to help resolve the conflict peacefully. In April 2021, the administration appointed Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman as the United States’ special envoy to the Horn of Africa. Special Envoy Feltman is leading a diplomatic effort to address the region’s interrelated crises. To this end, the United States will continue to work closely with our partners in the region, including the President of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Abdallah Hamdok, and welcomes the appointment by the Commission of the African Union of former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as its High Representative for the Horn of Africa.

The United States has also supported local efforts in Ethiopia to promote dialogue and reconciliation across political and ethnic divisions.

Investigate and document human rights violations

Responsibility for the atrocities committed during the conflict is necessary for peace and will help deter a resurgence of violence. The United States is committed to supporting the investigation and documentation of human rights violations in the ongoing conflict to lay the groundwork for future accountability efforts.

The United States has provided financial support for the ongoing joint investigation by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. The United States co-sponsored the European Union’s resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in July to strengthen this investigation. The United States expressed further support for the work of OHCHR during the Human Rights Council’s interactive dialogue on Ethiopia on September 13.

The United States supports the ongoing Commission of Inquiry of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The United States has also pledged and is planning financial support for an additional third-party-led human rights documentation initiative focused on transitional justice and ensuring accountability for atrocities committed by all parties to the ongoing conflict. .

Support the Ethiopian people

Ethiopia has made significant progress in development in recent years, but the conflict threatens this progress and the well-being of the Ethiopian people. The United States has a long history of partnering with the Ethiopian people to promote development, and although we have placed restrictions on certain economic and security assistance due to the human rights situation, we continue to provide important aid to the Ethiopian people. Ethiopia remains one of the top recipients of U.S. humanitarian and development assistance globally, covering areas such as agriculture, health, clean water, food and nutrition security, l basic education and support for women and girls. This aid benefits all regions of Ethiopia.

The United States is Ethiopia’s largest humanitarian aid donor, providing nearly $ 900 million in total humanitarian aid over the past year. USAID has provided nearly 65% ​​of all donor contributions to date to the humanitarian response in northern Ethiopia. In August 2021, USAID Administrator Samantha Power visited Ethiopian and Ethiopian refugee camps in neighboring Sudan and pledged to keep assistance ongoing.

The United States has also pledged to help Ethiopia cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States has provided more than $ 185 million in COVID-19 related assistance to Ethiopia, in addition to donating nearly 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine delivered to date. This support has included efforts to strengthen the capacity of the local health system for infection prevention control; reduce morbidity and mortality by strengthening the management of COVID-19 cases; accelerate widespread and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as the delivery of these vaccines; and mitigate the secondary humanitarian impacts of COVID-19 through emergency food assistance to affected populations.

Listen to and partner with U.S. stakeholders, including Ethiopian U.S. leaders

The Administration is committed to strengthening the deep and historic ties between Ethiopia and the United States. The United States benefits immensely from a large and vibrant Ethiopian-American community. We celebrate the rich contributions people with connections to the Horn of Africa make to all aspects of our nation, including academia, the arts, business, healthcare, sports and more. The administration is reaching out and creating opportunities for dialogue with Ethiopian-American leaders and stakeholders. We welcome their unique ideas and contributions to promote understanding and healing across ethnic and political lines as we seek to achieve the common goal of a united and peaceful Ethiopia.

“The United States has a deep and enduring commitment to the people of the Horn of Africa. We will continue to speak out against violence and inhumane treatment of any group of people, and we will continue to support the response to humanitarian needs in the region. We believe Ethiopia, a large and diverse nation, can overcome its current divisions and resolve the ongoing conflict, starting with a negotiated ceasefire. Building peace will not be easy, but it can and must begin now with dialogue and the search for unity in our common humanity.

President Biden, September 10, 2021


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Western University President, Faculty Support Planned Student Walkout Amid Sexual Assault Allegations Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:02:42 +0000

Western University students’ walkout against gender-based sexual violence has won support from Western University president and faculty.

The walkout is scheduled to take place at 12 noon on Friday at US Hill at Western. The event follows reports on social media that female students living in housing on campus were drugged and some were sexually assaulted over the weekend.

London Police held a press conference on Tuesday, in which Chief Steve Williams confirmed that he had opened an investigation into “reports circulating on social media that a number of Medway-Sydenham Hall students have been drugged and sexually assaulted over the weekend – some reports suggest 30 or more students may have been victimized.

Police also confirmed that they were investigating three other incidents of sexual assault involving four female victims, which occurred the previous week.

Reports of sexual assault in the first week of school sparked outrage among students and the community, leading several students to organize Friday’s event to take a stand against gender-based violence.

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Western University students plan walkout Friday amid sexual assault allegations

“We see this as a positive step forward in publicly affirming a collective commitment to end sexual gender-based violence. It’s an opportunity to work together on Western culture and make sure everyone feels safe on campus, ”said Western President Alan Shepard.

“We fully support members of the campus community who wish to participate in Friday’s event.

The event also received support from the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA), which represents faculty members, university librarians and archivists of the university.

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“We encourage our members who are not teaching tomorrow afternoon to join this march for student safety, and to consider accommodation for students who leave the classroom or lab to join the event,” the association said on Twitter on Thursday.

Read more:

Western University and London police urge survivors to come forward amid reports on social media of student and drug abuse

The group of students planning the walkout has issued several calls to action, including asking the school to immediately prepare and implement “coherent and mandatory training modules on gender-based violence education and sexual ”.

King’s University College at Western University on Thursday announced the cancellation of all classes Friday and Monday to allow students to reset and acknowledge their distress.

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Since launching an investigation into the incidents over the weekend, police said no one had made a formal complaint about the allegations online.

Western University is also working with Anova to provide walk-in counseling and peer support to students following reports of sexual assault.

Anova is an organization that works to combat gender-based violence, providing shelter for victims and support in cases of sexual assault.

Wednesday through Friday this week, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Sydenham Hall in Western, Anova will offer one-on-one counseling, peer support and calming activities.

Anyone who has experienced sexual or gender-based violence can contact the Anova crisis line 24/7 at 519-642-3000, LAWC 519-432-2204 or the helpline for women victims of violence in Canada. 519-642-3000.

– with files from The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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This grid technology could make or break Biden’s solar plans Thu, 16 Sep 2021 11:17:00 +0000

Experts say President Biden’s plan to get 40% of the country’s electricity from solar power by 2035 hinges on developing a device that would replace fossil-fuel power plants in the heartbeat of grids electric.

Called a grid-forming inverter, the tool is a combination of electronics and software and could also allow solar panels in millions of homes to help restore a cut-off power grid like the one left in Louisiana and Mississippi after the hurricane. Ida. Today, solar panels can no longer fulfill this role.

Inverters are electronic devices that convert the direct flow of direct current from wind and solar generation, and batteries, into the tightly controlled rising and falling waves of alternating current that provide power to the grid. Solar and wind units are currently built with inverters with “smart” digital capabilities to support grid reliability. But they “follow” or adapt to the AC conditions of the existing network and do not have the “network formation” capabilities envisaged by the researchers.

At the end of last month, the Department of Energy awarded $ 25 million to a research consortium to create a standard inverter forming a network. Separately last week, the Biden administration released the Solar future study calling for doubling and then doubling the 2020 record solar installations by 2035 (Energy wire, September 9).

“The study sheds light on the fact that solar power, our cheapest and fastest growing clean energy source, could produce enough electricity to power every home in the United States by 2035 and employ up to 1.5 million people in the process, ”the Energy Secretary said. Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

Today, the alternating current of the grid is defined by the generators of conventional power stations – coal and natural gas units, nuclear reactors and hydropower. However, as their presence diminishes, wind and solar resources must be able to play this role as the grid approaches the high levels of solar energy demanded by Biden, said Ben Kroposki, director of the Center for Engineering of Solar Energy. electrical systems at National Renewable Energy. Laboratory (NREL), leader of the consortium supported by the DOE.

An inverter forming a grid would go beyond existing smart versions and have additional software controls that would allow it to “go first, not follow” existing grid conditions, helping to establish and maintain a stable flow of AC power. at precise voltage and frequency levels across the nation’s three vast synchronized power grids, like a conductor beating the tempo of an ensemble.

One of the key innovations needed to meet carbon-free energy commitments is the development of standardized and fail-safe advanced grid training inverters that utility engineers trust, the researchers say.

“The challenge really comes when you start to get much higher levels. [of renewable power] – no more than 50 percent of power based on the inverter. You don’t know if you have enough… conventional power plants left ”to maintain grid stability, Kroposki said.

The new inverters must be able to create the conditions on their own, Kroposki said.

“We need a significant portion of inverter-based devices to have this network training capability to maintain stable operations,” Kroposki said in an interview.

“We’re probably only about five years ahead of where we need to be,” he added, assuming solar power growth comes close to the Biden administration’s plan.

Advanced inverters could also allow solar or wind units of any size to help restart parts of the power grid shut down by natural disasters or cyber attacks, Kroposki said.

“Unfortunately, if you have solar power on your roof and inverters following the grid, but the grid is down, you won’t be drawing power from those panels,” he said. “Some of the newer inverters… may provide enough power to charge a cell phone, but it won’t power your home.

Other members of the new consortium include the University of Washington and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and it has support from other national laboratories, universities and industry researchers. Its aim is to create a standard for controls that all manufacturers will follow and to show the economic value of the technology to network operators.

“It is a unique piece that we are in the process of developing. We hope this will set the rules of the road, ”Kroposki said.

A senior official from a grid equipment manufacturer, who agreed to speak on the merits, questioned the potential of grid-forming inverters to maintain stable energy flows when renewable energy levels exceed 70 percent of production. “We have been experimenting with it for several years,” said the official. “This is just a start. I don’t know if there is a way to do this in a purely renewable system.”

The job of the new consortium is to answer these questions, said Daniel Brooks, vice president for integrated grid and energy systems at EPRI.

The initial grant from DOE is seed money to get the project started, he said. It will go towards testing and evaluation to determine how advanced inverters would perform in operation, so that large grids remain in sync and reliable, he added.

“After five years, the consortium is intended to be a stand-alone research entity that provides a centralized source of truth about inverters,” said Brooks.

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Governor Hochul announces $ 23.7 million in grants to end gun violence epidemic Wed, 15 Sep 2021 00:38:17 +0000

Governor Hochul and his administration worked with local leaders across the state to identify the most effective use of gun violence prevention funds in each community. Funding has been provided to support three gun violence prevention programs.

Vocational training and placement

New York grants $ 16 million to local workforce development councils to fund workforce training and job placement programs in the 20 cities most affected by gun violence in the state from New York. The programs were designed and reviewed by local leaders to provide skills training, accreditation and work placement services to connect at-risk youth to permanent, well-paying jobs. Unemployed, underemployed and out of school youth aged 18-24 in areas of cities affected by gun violence will be eligible. This is in addition to the $ 12 million already awarded to the Consortium for Worker Education to facilitate similar programs for young people in New York City. Interested young people can find out more and connect to these programs here.

Community activities

New York is providing $ 5.7 million in grants to deliver sports, arts, civic engagement, skills development and recreation programs in communities facing high gun violence. These after-school and weekend programs will provide young people with safe and rewarding activities in their community. The programs were recommended by county leaders and legislative authorities in each community.

Additional staffing for community-based gun violence response organizations

New York is providing $ 2 million to gun violence response programs across the state to hire and train 39 new street workers and violence interrupters. This funding will enable successful community-based firearms response programs to grow their staff of credible messengers, who engage and mentor at-risk youth, organize community events, work to distance youth from gun violence, and respond to violence. shootings to prevent retaliation. . Additional awards for hiring new outreach workers and switches will be awarded in the coming weeks.

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Governor Wolf’s request approved for declaration of major disaster for Ida Sat, 11 Sep 2021 00:07:46 +0000

Gov. Tom Wolf announced today that President Joe Biden has approved his request to declare a major disaster in Pennsylvania following heavy rains, severe flash flooding and Tropical Depression Ida tornadoes that affected Pennsylvania from August 31, 2021 to September 5, 2021.

“Pennsylvanians continue to recover from this deadly storm, which is why my administration has made seeking federal help quickly a top priority,” Governor Wolf said. “I am grateful to our president for reacting quickly and the federal government worked with state and local authorities to assess the damage and determined that the Pennsylvanians deserved this essential federal help. Pennsylvanians will now have the opportunity to receive financial assistance, which will go a long way towards replacing and restoring their property. ”

Major Disaster Declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will provide federal funding and services to eligible individuals and households through the Individual Assistance Program and to affected communities through the Grants Program risk mitigation.

“I would like to thank FEMA for working closely with our staff and local officials to quickly assess the damage in hard-hit communities and approve Pennsylvania for federal assistance,” said Randy Padfield, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. “I urge everyone affected by this historic storm to continue to document all damages and costs incurred with the cleanup so that you are prepared to apply for and receive financial support. ”

The governor’s request included a declaration of major disaster for individual assistance to the counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia and York and for the risk mitigation grant program to be made available to the 67 counties of the Commonwealth.

In the coming days, PEMA will work with its FEMA partners, as well as with county governments, to organize and open a number of disaster recovery centers in affected communities. FEMA will have staff available at these centers to assist residents with the appropriate documents and expedite the process of obtaining recovery assistance.

Governor Wolf and Director Padfield recently visited several areas of southeastern Pennsylvania that have been affected by severe flooding and rare tornadoes.

On August 31, Governor Wolf signed a Disaster Emergency Proclamation, which made it easier for state agencies to pre-position resources and respond more quickly to requests for state aid.

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Unemployment benefits expire for millions without Biden refoulement Tue, 07 Sep 2021 22:16:00 +0000

WASHINGTON – Expanded unemployment benefits that kept millions of Americans afloat during the pandemic expired on Monday, putting in place a sharp halt in aid to 7.5 million people as the Delta variant shakes the pandemic recovery .

The end of aid came without objection from President Biden and his top economic advisers, who found themselves embroiled in a political struggle for the benefits and are now banking on further federal aid and a fall recovery. of hiring to prevent vulnerable families from finding each other and food. lines.

The $ 1.9 trillion economic assistance package Mr Biden signed in March included extended and expanded benefits for the unemployed, such as a $ 300 a week federal supplement to state unemployment benefits, additional weeks of support for the long-term unemployed and the extension of a special program to provide benefits to so-called agency workers who traditionally do not qualify for unemployment benefits. The expiration date reached on Monday means 7.5 million people will lose their benefits entirely and another three million will lose the $ 300 weekly supplement.

Republicans and small business owners attacked efforts to extend aid, saying it had stalled economic recovery and fueled a labor shortage by discouraging people from looking for work. Liberal Democrats and progressive groups have pushed for another round of aid, saying millions of Americans remain vulnerable and need help.