World Bank: Ebola regional impact could soon reach $33 billionThe economic impact of Ebola on West Africa could range from $3.8 billion to $32.6 billion by the end of next year, depending on how quickly it can be contained and how far it spreads in the region, the World Bank reported today in a press release.In a World Bank report, experts assessed two possible scenarios: an optimistic “low Ebola,” event in which the disease is contained by early 2015, cases stay around 20,000, and economic activity gradually increases; and “high Ebola,” in which cases reach 200,000 and the outbreak worsens significantly into mid-2015. Both scenarios assume at least some spread beyond the three main affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.In the “low Ebola” scenario, lost gross domestic product (GDP) for West Africa is estimated at $2.2 billion in 2014 and $1.6 billion in 2015. In the “high Ebola” possibility, estimates suggest $7.4 billion in lost GDP for 2014 and $25.2 billion in 2015, the report says.According to the World Bank’s analysis, the economic impact of Ebola is already very serious in the three affected countries—particularly Liberia and Sierra Leone—and could become catastrophic under a slow-containment, “high Ebola” scenario.World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, MD, PhD, said in the release, “With Ebola’s potential to inflict massive economic costs on Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and the rest of their neighbors in West Africa, the international community must find ways to get past logistical roadblocks and bring in more doctors and trained medical staff, more hospital beds, and more health and development support to help stop Ebola in its tracks.”Oct 8 World Bank press release Oct 7 World Bank full report FAO launches initiative to address Ebola-caused food issuesIn response to indirect impacts of Ebola, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today launched a program to urgently assist 90,000 vulnerable households in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone whose food supplies and livelihoods are threatened by the Ebola epidemic.The FAO’s “Regional Response Programme for West Africa” will ramp up the work the agency is already doing with governments, UN partners, and local networks of agriculture, veterinary, and forestry workers to slow disease spread, meet immediate and long-term food and nutrition security needs, and build resilience, according to an FAO news story.Program activities are organized around four key objectives, the agency said:Save lives by stopping the spread of the disease through social mobilization, training, and awareness-raising activitiesBoost incomes and agricultural production to safeguard livelihoods through rapid impact assessments and support to crop and livestock production and tradeBuild resilience of communities to disease threats by improving early-warning systems and emergency responseStrengthen coordination to improve response by addressing food security issuesThe FAO is asking for $30 million to support the program over the next 12 months and says addressing agriculture- and food-related issues cannot wait.Oct 8 FAO news story Full program report
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Participants in i-tri attended the kick-off retreat at Pierson High School in Sag Harbor on Saturday, March 23. The i-tri program fosters self-confidence in adolescent girls through physical fitness, nutrition, self-esteem workshops, and other activities. Share
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BREEAM is the world’s leading measure of the environmental, social and economic impact of buildings, and achieving its highest rating – ‘Outstanding’ – remains a significant challenge. explains how developers can alter their approach to overcome the most common challenges faced when targeting this score.An ‘Outstanding’ BREEAM rating is the ultimate measure of holistic infrastructure sustainability. It provides a framework to create environments that are not only attractive to investors, but mindful of the wellbeing of those who occupy them and protective of natural resources.Yet only 1.5 per cent of all buildings currently meet the top-level criteria – a rating of 85 per cent or above – with just 0.3 per cent scoring over 90 per cent. A key barrier to doing so is the prevailing industry approach to the framework, and to sustainable design in general. There are three key areas that are commonly overlooked.Don’t dismiss the lifecycle analysisThere is currently a huge drive in the industry to slash operational carbon – a key component of BREEAM scoring. But comparatively little thought is given to embodied, or intrinsic, carbon, which accounts for approximately 22 per cent of all emissions in a new development, according to the UK Green Building Council.Despite industry progress in reducing operational carbon, embodied carbon is expected to increase as a proportion of a building’s total emissions to as much as 40 per cent by 2050. As such, its significance to overall BREEAM ratings will grow as its significance to a building’s lifecycle increases.Lifecycle analyses (LCAs) provide an overview of a building’s environmental impact, along with recommendations on enhancing performance through new processes, products or materials. They can help developers actively reduce embodied carbon in new buildings and ensure that sustainability is embedded in each development stage.But despite carrying exemplary BREEAM credits, the importance of the LCA process is often overlooked, with no formal requirement to incorporate their learnings into overall building design. Making full use of LCA findings is a simple but effective means of boosting BREEAM ratings, ensuring a building’s environmental performance is the best it can be.This approach underscored the development of Bloomberg’s new European headquarters in London, the highest BREEAM-rated office building in the world. To tackle key areas of lighting, water conservation and airflow, Sweco considered a broad range of ‘what if’ scenarios involving applications as diverse as vacuum flushing toilets to piezoelectric flooring. This culminated in a process of advanced lifecycle modelling producing innovations that will deliver water savings of 73 per cent and energy savings of 35 per cent compared with a typical office.Innovation versus replicationToo often we see developers basing new builds on other high-scoring projects, leading design teams to overlook the unique requirements and challenges of their own scheme. Replicating buildings with ‘Outstanding’ score is tempting, but instead these projects should be used only as a learning tool to identify new opportunities for innovation.CollaborationOften it can appear more straightforward for individual team members to make decisions in isolation in the interest of efficiency. In practice, however, this approach is counterintuitive, as potential conflicts may remain undetected. This not only impacts on project timescales and cost, but means consideration of which BREEAM credits to target is not an intrinsic part of the process, and therefore less effectively executed.Any successful scheme should use BREEAM as a framework for pooling ideas and knowledge alongside shared aims, in order to target the right credits from the outset. By fostering collaborative working at every project stage, decisions are reached that suit all parties and provide optimal outcomes, leading to smoother applications and, ultimately, higher BREEAM scores.It is important to remember that BREEAM is, in essence, a design tool, not merely a box-ticking exercise to pay lip service to. To boost the number of new builds achieving Outstanding ratings, the industry must shift its mindset towards incorporating the framework into new projects from the very beginning of the design process. This would ensure the delivery of holistically sustainable buildings that carry far greater market value, and provide the optimal space to foster employee wellbeing and productivity.Kartik Amrania is head of building sustainability team at Sweco
NETHERLANDS: National passenger operator NS named CAF as preferred bidder to supply its Sprinter New Generation electric multiple-unit fleet on October 30. The Spanish firm beat a rival offer from Alstom.Expected to be finalised in December, the contract would cover approximately 120 EMUs worth €510m, with options for more. Entry into service is planned from 2018.The SNG trainsets would be part of CAF’s Civity family, and based on units proven in service in other countries. They are to have wide gangways and provision for the installation of ETCS. Following complaints about the lack of toilets on the current Sprinter Light Train fleet, the new units are to have a wheelchair-accessible toilet.NS also expects to shortlist potential suppliers for its Intercity New Generation trains by the end of the year. The ICNG trains are expected to enter service between Amsterdam and Rotterdam from 2021 to support a planned high-frequency timetable and the further integration of HSL-Zuid services with the wider network. Low-floor entrances and wide doors are required, and the desire for a service-proven train in the wake of the V250 debacle means that initial aspirations for a 249 km/h design have been scaled back to 200 km/h following preliminary discussions with potential suppliers.NS plans to source 50% of its traction energy requirements from wind power next year, and 100% from 2018.
South African President Jacob Zuma will face a question-and-answer session, the last this year, in the National Assembly on Wednesday.This will be Zuma’s first appearance in Parliament since he blasted the speaker for not “protecting him” during his sessions in the National Assembly.The president, who has not had an easy year in Parliament, will answer questions on ministers Mosebenzi Zwane and Des Van Rooyen’s bids to stop the release of the State of Capture report.“Whether he and/or his legal team instructed Zwane and/or van Rooyen, to lodge applications to interdict the release of the Public Protector’s report, entitled State of Capture, due to the specified persons’ alleged relationships with the Gupta family; if not, in each case, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the reasons in each case?” Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane wants to know.Zwane will again be in the spotlight with the president also expected to answer questions on the closure of Oakbay Investments’ accounts by major banks.
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Flow and Advantage Communications Ltd. (ADV) on Monday 7 March 2016 signed a partnership agreement that sets the stage for Flow’s multi-million dollar investment to repatriate its Customer Call Centre of Excellence to Jamaica, and create some 350+ jobs.Officials of both companies welcomed the move that will see more Jamaicans finding gainful employment in what is being described as a world class state-of-the-art Customer Call Centre of Excellence never before seen in this part of the world.“Clearly, this significant investment to bring back the call centre to Jamaica is a direct response to what our customers have been telling us. We are making a huge investment of some US$6M in Jamaica as we move to totally transform our customer experience. This is certainly a case of putting our money where our mouth is,” Garry Sinclair, CEO Flow Jamaica said at the official signing ceremony.Expressing his delight at the partnership with Flow Jamaica Joseph M Matalon, ADV Communications Director and Chairman of its parent Company ICD Group holdings, stated, “This is a proud moment for Advantage Communications; we see our role as a catalyst bringing together the critical elements that allow Flow Jamaica to achieve their customer-focused as well as commercial objectives.” Call Centre Agents at this morning’s signingScheduled to be fully operational by mid-2016, Advantage has completed the first phase of the programme: “we currently have over one hundred of the best and brightest Jamaicans, trained and developed to deliver unprecedented customer experiences, on the phones serving our Flow patrons,” Joe Matalon also said. The confirmation of the Call Centre of Excellence partnership marks a major milestone in the company’s journey towards delivering on its commitment to the people of the region.Flow’s Garry Sinclair also expressed confidence in the capacity of ADV to deliver on the already high expectations of the region’s leading telecommunications firm and their customers, and added, “Both Cable & Wireless and Columbus while we were still separate entities worked together to establish ADV’s network infrastructure that today supports their world class operations and which positions them to be able to deliver on this significant initiative.”The addition of the new operation will bring to two the number of Customer Call Centres of Excellence situated in the Caribbean for the CWC group. The centre will co-exist with Flow’s already operational Call Centre located in Port of Spain, Trinidad. However, calls originating in Jamaica will be channelled to the Jamaican agents – another compelling example of the company’s commitment to placing the customer at the heart of the business. BusinessNewsRegional FLOW’s customer call centre to create 350+ jobs by: – March 8, 2016 167 Views no discussions Tweet Sharing is caring! Share Share Share
Help keep Heritage Park in Farmington Hills beautiful by participating in the last volunteer day of the summer, held Saturday, August 17, from 10 a.m. to noon.Hosted by the Farmington Hills Nature Center, the monthly Volunteer Days have volunteers removing invasive plants, collecting seeds, planting native trees and wildflowers, and helping to maintain the trails and the Nature Center building.All ages and skill levels are welcome. No advanced registration is required, just show up at the Nature Center.For more specific information about the day’s activities, call the Nature Center at 248-477-1135. Volunteer groups of ten or more should call ahead. Reported by Farmington Voice Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)