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HHS budget proposal cuts state preparedness, boosts food safety

first_imgFeb 4, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The Bush administration today unveiled a $3.1 trillion budget for the 2009 fiscal year that cuts a number of public health initiatives but includes an increase for the Food and Drug Adminstration’s (FDA’s) food safety efforts.The proposed spending plan would take effect in October 2008, the start of the next fiscal year. Details of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) component of the budget were announced at a press conference today by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. “We have crafted a fiscally responsible budget at a very challenging time,” he said.The HHS share of the budget is $737 billion, an increase of $29 billion from 2008, HHS said in press release today. However, the amount decreases discretionary spending by $2.2 billion.Proposed cuts for CDCTrust for America’s Health, a nonprofit health advocacy group based in Washington, DC, expressed concern over what it described as an overall 7% cut for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The cutback, TFAH said in a press release today, represents a 6-year low for discretionary funding for the agency.”At a time when healthcare costs are skyrocketing, we should be investing more to keep Americans healthy instead of cutting funds for disease prevention,” said Jeff Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH, in the press release.The cuts would impair state and local preparedness efforts, TFAH said. Cuts of $97.2 million from the Prevention Health and Health Services Block Grant program would dry up funding that states use to run disease prevention programs, the group said. The new budget would cut $136.7 million from state and local bioterrorism and emergency preparedness efforts and reduce hospital emergency preparedness programs by $61.9 million, according to TFAH.”The administration has cut these programs over the past 5 years, reducing the funding level by one-third,” said TAFH in its press release.More for FDA food monitoringThe budget proposal includes a $42 million increase for food safety initiatives announced by the FDA in November 2007, raising total FDA food safety spending to $662 million, according to HHS. The initiatives were spurred by recent cases of tainted imports as well as contamination in domestic food products, such as Salmonella in peanut butter and Escherichia coli in fresh produce. The funding would expand staffing and resources at food production and handling sites, the FDA said today in a press release. The budget provisions would increase the total number of full-time FDA staff by 526.At a press conference today, budget officials from the FDA said the proposal would establish an FDA food safety office in China.The proposed budget provides $29.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support research. But TFAH said the administration’s plan would “flat-fund” biomedical research at the NIH.The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), in a 29-page budget briefing today, reported that funds for biodefense and emerging infectious disease research would drop by $7.5 million. The agency said it would move funds in those research areas from research and development contracts to the intramural research program to partially offset projected increased operating costs for new biodefense containment facilities that will be opening in Ft Detrick, Md., and Hamilton, Mont.For bioterrorism preparedness, the budget allocation of $4.3 billion includes $250 million for developing medical countermeasures for the national stockpile. It also sets aside $53 million to establish five new international quarantine stations and fully staff all 20 domestic stations, according to the HHS press release. Also, the budget includes $30 million to expand, train, exercise, and coordinate medical emergency teams, including two Commissioned Corps Health and Medical Response (HAMR) teams designed to respond to real or potential threats, HHS said.Pandemic preparedness fundsThe budget contains $507 million for the next phase of the administration’s influenza pandemic preparedness plan, including funds to expand egg-based vaccine capacity and buy medical countermeasures and supplies for HHS employees and patients, according to HHS. In addition, $313 million is proposed for ongoing pandemic preparedness efforts at the CDC, FDA, NIH, and the Office of the HHS Secretary.In a 120-page budget briefing today, HHS said Congress did not appropriate $870 million requested by the president last year to implement the nation’s pandemic preparedness plan. “The Administration is still considering options regarding this funding, and will reach out to Congress soon,” HHS said.The 2008 omnibus spending bill passed by Congress in December earmarked only $76 million for influenza pandemic preparedness funding, far below the Bush administration’s $870 million request. The House and Senate appropriations committees had said their reason for cutting the 2008 pandemic budget was that $1.2 billion was left over from previous appropriations, according to previous media reports. However, Rich Hamburg, director of governmental relations for TFAH, said at the time that the $1.2 billion represented one-time funding that was mostly intended for buying vaccines and antiviral medications.At the press conference, Leavitt said the budget proposal provides for an initiative to improve the nation’s inadequate supply of ventilators, which he said cost from $8,000 to $10,000 apiece and require highly trained operators. He said the budget includes $25 million to develop a new generation of ventilator that will be portable, will cost 90% less, and will not require specialized training to operate.”This effort will help fill the gap to ensure our nation has an adequate number of ventilators in the event of a public health emergency,” HHS said in its press release.See also:Feb 4 HHS press releaseFeb 4 TFAH press releaseDec 20, 2007, CIDRAP News story “Congress slashes pandemic preparedness funding”last_img read more

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PM Johnson back to work as UK virus problems mount

first_imgTopics : British Prime Minister Boris Johnson returns to work on Monday more than three weeks after being hospitalized for the coronavirus and spending three days in intensive care.Johnson, one of the highest-profile people to have contracted the virus, returned to 10 Downing Street on Sunday evening and will chair a meeting on Monday morning of the coronavirus “war cabinet”, his colleagues confirmed.Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary who has deputized in Johnson’s absence, told the BBC on Sunday that his return would be a “boost for the government and a boost for the country”. In a video message after leaving hospital, Johnson thanked “Jenny from New Zealand and Luis from Portugal” for helping him recover.On medical advice, he has not been doing official government work during his convalescence but has spoken to Queen Elizabeth and US President Donald Trump on the phone.The British leader was diagnosed with the virus late last month but initially stayed at Downing Street and was filmed taking part in a round of applause for health workers in the days before he went to hospital. Raab also claimed the prime minister was “raring to go”.Johnson, 55, was admitted to hospital on April 5 suffering from “persistent symptoms” of the deadly disease. His condition worsened and he later admitted after being put in intensive care that “things could have gone either way”.He was discharged on April 12 and has been recuperating at his official residence, west of London. Back but facing problems Some critics have described the government as being rudderless in his absence.Britain has been one of the countries worst affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, with the number of deaths reaching 20,732 in the days before Johnson’s return.The actual toll could be much higher when deaths in the community are taken into account, particularly at care homes.The rise in fatalities put the spotlight on the government’s approach and led to questions about shortages in protective equipment and a lack of widespread testing, particularly for frontline health staff.One major decision Johnson will face is whether or not to relax strict social distancing rules which he introduced on March 23.This was extended on April 16 and a review is due on May 7, with pressure building from political allies and foes for the government to make clear its intentions over extending or relaxing the lockdown.On Sunday, Raab said lockdown rules would “be with us for some time” and were the “new normal”, adding that ministers could not “allow the coronavirus to get a grip back on the country”.Johnson faces calls from within his own party to ease restrictions and will also find a letter in his in-tray from new opposition Labor party leader Keir Starmer asking for details on a potential lifting of the lockdown.And he will be confronted with a political row over the role played by his chief adviser Dominic Cummings after it emerged he attended meetings of a supposedly independent scientific group advising ministers on the coronavirus. last_img read more

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Monster Weekend for UWF Soccer, Cross Country, and Volleyball

first_img Share Nov. 1, 2007PENSACOLA, Fla. – The University of West Florida is bracing for a weekend of superb athletic events. The Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams are hosting the Gulf South Conference Championships here in Pensacola, and both teams are the #1 seeds. The Men are ranked 3rd in the nation, while the women are 9th in the nation. Meanwhile, the 25th ranked Volleyball team is hosting West Alabama Friday night for Senior Night, and the team has already set school records for most overall wins and conference wins in a season. Saturday morning, the men’s and women’s Cross Country teams are in Huntsville, Alabama to compete in the NCAA Regional Championships.The Men’s and Women’s soccer programs are looking to become the first school ever to have both teams win back to back Conference championships in the same years. The men could become the first back to back champions since Alabama Huntsville in 1996 and 1997. The women could be back to back champions for the second time in school history, as they repeated in 1998 and 1999. The only other Women’s program with back to back championships is Christian Brothers.Cross Country:Both the men and women are participating in the 2007 NCAA Division II South Region Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Sharon Johnston Park in New Market, Ala.The races begin at 9 a.m. with the women’s 6K, followed by the men’s 10K championship at 10 a.m. The UWF men’s team enters the event as the 7th ranked team in the region, while the Argonaut women are ranked 5th in the region.The top three teams in each race, as well as the top two individuals from each race, not a part of a qualifying team, will advance to the Division II National Championships on November 17th in Joplin, Mo. Last year, Michael Padilla represented UWF at the National Championships. This season, both the men’s and women’s programs finished a strong 3rd place in the Gulf South Conference championships, and are ready to run for more at the Regional meet.The Argos placed four runners on the All-Conference team, with Senior Diana Sitar (Las Vegas, Nev.) making 1st team All-Conference, while Brian Gowin (Sr. / Pensacola, Fla.), Nicholas Maedel (Fr. / Orange Park, Fla.), and Margaret Harter (Jr. / Milton, Fla.) each made the 2nd team All-Conference. The regional meet is a longer distance than the 5k and 8k distances that the conference meet was scheduled for. The men will run a 10k (6.2 miles) and the women run a 6k (3.7 miles). Coach Dobson is confident in his team, “We have to run smart with the longer distance, but three of our guys and three of our girls have run the course before and that should help us be prepared for the hilly course.”The girls are ranked 5th currently in the region, and Coach Dobson feels like a couple teams right in front of them are within reach. “The third place finish at conference has really given our girls a lot of confidence that they can run with anyone, and they have a chance to finish higher in the regional meet than they have in several years. The girls are the healthiest they have been all season and we are looking to do well.”The men are ranked 7th in the region; however the 4th thru the 7th place teams in the rankings are virtually even on paper. Coach Dobson likes his teams’ chances, “The guys are in the best shape they have been in all year, we will have Brian (Gowin) and Jordan (Theuerkauf) at full strength, and the freshmen have been coming along great. If the third ranked team has a slightly off day, and one of the next four teams, which could be us, runs well, that could easily be the difference in advancing. Overall, we are well rested and ready to do well.”The outstanding Fall Sports programs representing West Florida are not done yet, so stay tuned for post-season results.Men’s Soccer:The third ranked Argonauts have a nucleus of Seniors that are very focused, and could make this an extremely special post season. UWF takes on Harding in the conference semifinal match at 7:00 pm on Friday evening at Brosnaham Park, and the winner plays in the championship Sunday at 4:00 pm. The Argos have won a team record 16 matches in a row, and have had four different players win the Conference Player of the Week awards. Senior Keith Savage (Gulf Breeze, Fla.) has won the offensive POW award twice, and Jimmy McHenry (Sr. / Tallahassee, Fla.) was also a recipient of the Offensive Player of the Week. Both Nolan Intermoia (Jr. / Pensacola, Fla.) and Goalkeeper Juan Garcia (Jr. / Colombia) have received Defensive POW awards this season.Coach Bill Elliott is proud of the Senior leadership, “A lot of credit goes to the Seniors, they have been fantastic. Anytime you win 16 matches in a row, it is a credit to the team leaders.” Elliott wants to keep his team focused on one match at a time, “We cannot overlook any opponent now, it’s the post-season, and every team here is a very good team and will rise to another level. We must bring emotion and match our opponents’ enthusiasm. The challenge is on the players, they must come ready to play.”The Argos have already beaten the opponents that they are going up against this weekend, but even the #3 Argonauts know that every team here for the post season has a chance to win. Last season, the men made it all the way to the National Semifinals, and Coach Bill Elliott tries not to look ahead, but he also believes that this year’s team may even be better in some ways. “We have a lot of talent, and we had a lot of talent last year, but this year’s team is very balanced. To be successful, you need balance in scoring and balance in defense and hopefully that will pay dividends for us this year.”Senior Jimmy McHenry leads the Argos with 15 goals so far this season (7th best in school history), while Senior Keith Savage has recorded 14 goals (8th best in school history). McHenry also leads the team with nine assists, and has 39 points for the season (8th best in school history). Goalkeeper Juan Garcia has a goals-against-average of 0.73, which is the best in school history, breaking the record he set last year of 0.89. Garcia has great help from his defenders, Okang Nkosi (Sr. / Trinidad), Nolan Intermoia, Mason Hupp (Jr. / Fort Walton Beach, Fla.), Patrick McLean (Sr. / Conyers, Ga.), and Matt Williams (Jr. / Pace, Fla.). As a unit, they lead the conference with only 12 goals allowed. Garcia leads the entire conference in goals against average and save percentage.In the conference as a team, the Argos impressively lead in the following categories; shots, points, goals, goals per game, assists per game, goals allowed, and goals against average. In addition, they are only one shutout behind Christian Brothers and Montevallo. Overall, the men have made nine gulf south conference appearances with a 9-3-1 record in tournament play, and have been in the championship game five times, with four championships, which is the most in GSC history.Women’s Soccer:The ninth ranked Argonauts have displayed incredible defense this season, allowing only one goal in conference play, and have eight straight shutouts, including shutout wins over the last seven conference opponents. Remarkably, they have not been scored on in the last 790 minutes of play. They are about to reset the Conference records for least amount shots attempted on them and goals. The defense has only given up six goals all season, and has 13 shutouts in the 16 matches played this year.It is no mistake that four different Argonauts have received the Conference Defensive Player of the Week. Goalkeeper Courtney Jones has won the award twice, while Linda Ganehed (Fr. / Sweden), Marie Hastings (Sr. / Gainesville, Fla.), and Sheka Codner (Jr. / Dover, Del.) have all won the award once. The Women have also had three different offensive players win the player of the week award. Dernelle Mascall (So. / Trinidad), Brandi Adams (Sr. / Gulf Breeze), and Jodi Galucci (So. / Stuart, Fla.). In all, seven different women have won the conference player of the week awards.Coach Joe Bartlinski is extremely proud of this year’s team, “we are the No-Name team, with nine new starters, and virtually no one picked for pre-season accolades, we have risen up. The kids have responded very well, we lost to the #1 team in the country to start the season, and a hugh credit goes to the players, they took the challenge and went on the road and won two hugh matches (beating Rollins and Florida Southern, with both being shutouts). They have really come together and been very consistent.”Dernelle Mascall has set the Argos single season record for goals scored with 22. That also leads the conference, and is 4th best in the nation. Mascall has recorded three hat tricks this season (3 goals in a game), and she is third in the nation in points per game (3.38). Brandi Adams is currently third in the nation in assists per game (0.81), and Goalkeeper Courtney Jones is 4th in the nation for goals against average (0.39), and her save percentage of .891 is 5th in the nation. Amazingly, the team as a whole leads the conference in points, goals, goals per game, assists, assists per game, goals allowed, goals against average, shutouts, and corner kicks. The defense is lead by Marie Hastings, Linda Ganehed, Sheka Codner, Kaley Morris (So. / Gulf Breeze, Fla.), Anastasia Prescott (So. / Trinidad) and goalkeeper Courtney Jones, and as a unit they lead the entire nation in shutout percentage.Coach Bartlinski definitely stresses defense, “Our philosophy is defense, even the strikers play by that mindset. I am very proud that the kids are #1 in the nation in shutout percentage, and it is a credit to them coming together and being very consistent. We weren’t sure what to expect this year, but we never lowered the bar, and the kids rose to the challenge of the standards we set. This is the 7th straight year in the top ten, and we are pleased with the consistency of our program.” Bartlinski knows that the conference matches are very important. “We can host first round national tournament matches if we win the conference, so that is our focus.”The women are making their 11th appearance in the Gulf South Conference tournament with a record of 14-6, with 4 championships, and all six losses coming in the championship game, which means that every time they have qualified for the tournament they have reached the championship match.Volleyball:The only unbeaten team in the GSC this year, the 10-0 Argonauts have already clinched the #1 seed in the Gulf South Conference Tournament on Nov. 9th in Searcy, Arkansas. The 25th ranked Argos host West Alabama Friday night at 7:00 pm for Senior night. Sarah Harrison (Sinton, Texas), Isabela Gualberto (Belo Horizonte, Brazil), and Danielle Spitzer (Birmingham, Ala.) will be honored for their outstanding UWF careers. The Argos then play their final home match on Saturday at 3:00 pm against Montevallo.Coach Melissa Wolter has her team ready for this weekend. “I think we are excited to finish out our conference schedule at home. It is great for our Seniors to play their final matches on our home court against two very competitive teams this weekend. In fact, there is a very good chance that we will have to turn around and play West Alabama again next weekend in the conference tournament, so our team is ready to play. Our Seniors have had a tremendous impact on this year’s success, and it’s great to honor them.”Each of the three Seniors transferred to UWF to finish their careers as Argos. Sarah Harrison transferred to UWF after two season at UNC-Pembroke. Last year as an argonaut, she appeared in 88 games, and recorded 87 kills, and was third on the team with 78 blocks. This year, she is averaging 1.67 kills per game, and is second on the team in blocks per game at 1.05. She posted 6 kills and 4 blocks in her first West Florida match last season, and had 7 blocks in the upset win over Washburn last year. This year, sarah had 7 kills and 7 blocks in the season opener against Flagler.Danielle Spitzer transferred to UWF after two seasons at Western Carolina. Last year she lead the team with 124 blocks, which was the second highest single season total in Argo history. This year she has 91 blocks so far, which gives her 215 in her career, 4th best all-time at UWF. She also stands as the 3rd best in Argo career history for attack percentage at .234 entering today. Earlier this year, Danielle was the Gulf South conference Offensive Player of the week for September 25th, in which she had 37 kills in two matches, and hit an impressive .533 against West Georgia to break the wolves 17 game win streak.Isabela Gualberto transferred to UWF from Texas Wesleyan University. She has had an impressive season this year, as she leads the team with 390 kills, and is second on the team with 34 service aces. If the season were to end today, Isabela would have the 5th best all-time single season mark of kills, and her single season attack percentage of .303 would be the third best all-time. Gualberto was the GSC Offensive Player of the Week for the week of October 2nd, in which she had 41 kills for the week, including 20 kills against North Alabama. She also was the tournament MVP for the Comfort Inn-vitational Tournament this season leading her team to four wins in the tournament with a tournament high of 59 kills. Print Friendly Version Monster Weekend for UWF Soccer, Cross Country, and Volleyballlast_img read more

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ESPN President Skipper resigns to deal with substance addiction

first_img(REUTERS) – Walt Disney Co’s John Skipper resigned yesterday as president of ESPN, the company’s most important network, due to a problem with addiction.“I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction,” Skipper, who was also Disney Media Networks co-chairman,” said in a statement. “I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem.”George Bodenheimer will be the sports network’s acting chairman for the next 90 days, ESPN said in a statement. He had been its president from 1998 to 2011 and executive chairman until May 2014.An ESPN spokeswoman declined to comment on who may be considered as Skipper’s successor.Skipper’s departure comes within a few days after Disney struck a deal to buy film, television and international businesses from Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox Inc for $52.4 billion.Skipper, who became ESPN president in 2012, has led the network to a series of long-term distribution agreements with major rights holders, including the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball.But ESPN has also struggled with subscriber losses and ratings declines. Last month, it said it would lay off about 150 employees.Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger, who extended his stay at the company through 2021 to oversee integration of Fox’s businesses, lauded Skipper’s candour and backed his decision.Disney shares were down 0.2 percent at $111.09 yesterday afternoon.last_img read more

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