Will Banks Benefit From Recent Non-Performing Loan Sales by GSEs?

first_img Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Share Save Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Related Articles Brian Honea’s writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master’s degree from Amberton University in Garland. Tagged with: Banks Delinquent Mortgage Loans Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Non-Performing Loans Home / Daily Dose / Will Banks Benefit From Recent Non-Performing Loan Sales by GSEs? Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Banks Delinquent Mortgage Loans Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Non-Performing Loans 2015-04-23 Brian Honea The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago About Author: Brian Honea  Print This Post Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago April 23, 2015 874 Views center_img The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Will Banks Benefit From Recent Non-Performing Loan Sales by GSEs? Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Chicago-based Fitch Ratings said that the recent non-performing loan sales by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could have positive implications for banks in the United States that are seeking to sell off non-performing loans from their own portfolios.The magnitude of the impact of NPL valuations and selling opportunities for banks will become clearer as more NPL buyers and pricing trends develop, according to Fitch.”Fitch believes that a deeper NPL market could help further extinguish the GSEs’ and banks’ crisis period residential mortgage asset quality issues. At a minimum, the GSEs’ NPL sales are an indication of further healing in the U.S. housing market,” Fitch said.While the demand for high-quality mortgage-backed securities has been slow since the housing crisis, Fitch said that more major institutional buyers that are hungry for new, higher-yielding investment opportunities have emerged as suitors for bulk NPL pools. Previously, distressed mortgage buyers tended to be specialized alternative investment firms.”Residential mortgage NPLs are far less of a threat to the GSEs and US banks relative to five years ago, but 90-plus day past due loans are still elevated relative to historical averages and relative to their contributions to total NPL levels,” Fitch said. “We believe this implies that both the GSEs and the banks remain motivated to address this lingering asset quality issue.”As of the end of 2014, FDIC-insured banks held about $61 billion worth of single-family residential mortgage loans that were 90 days or more delinquent, which was a 22 percent decline from 2013.  By comparison, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac held about $86 billion worth of 90-day plus delinquent loans at the end of 2014, a total that has been declining at about the same rate as that of FDIC institutions, according to Fitch. Those balances remain elevated compared to pre-crisis levels, however – between 2001 and 2004, residential mortgage loans that were 90 or more days overdue averaged just $4.8 billion and ranged from just one-quarter to one-third of the total number of 90-day or more delinquent loans held by U.S. banks. At the end of 2014, 90-day or more delinquent loans comprised about 80 percent of NPLs held by U.S. banks.Freddie Mac has conducted three bulk NPL sales in the last eight months totaling approximately $1.97 billion in UPB. The last such sale by Freddie Mac, completed on March 25, was its largest bulk NPL sale ever – it included nearly 5,400 loans totaling $985 million in UPB. Fannie Mae announced earlier in April the marketing of its first-ever bulk NPL sale, featuring about 3,200 deeply delinquent loans with a UPB of $786 million. in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Secondary Market Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Previous: Freddie Mac Prices Third STACR Offering of 2015 at More Than $1 Billion Next: DOJ Sues Quicken Loans for Alleged Improper Underwriting Practices Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily Subscribelast_img read more

‘Not A Time To Relax’: Telangana High Court Issues Directions To Ramp Up Testing, Prevent Congregations, Provide Tele-Consultation, Etc. To Curb Covid-19

first_imgNews Updates’Not A Time To Relax’: Telangana High Court Issues Directions To Ramp Up Testing, Prevent Congregations, Provide Tele-Consultation, Etc. To Curb Covid-19 Akshita Saxena5 May 2021 2:54 AMShare This – xThe Telangana High Court on Wednesday issued a slew of directions to the State Government, the Police department and the Public Health and Family Welfare department, to break the chain and control the surge in Covid-19 cases. A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy pulled up the State over dwindling number of RT-PCR Testing and asked the authorities to conduct at least 1 lakh tests, daily. “This is not a time to relax for anyone in the State. It is a time to heighten the testing and see the reality,” the Chief Justice orally remarked. Ramp up testing The Director of Public Health and Family Welfare Department, Dr. G Srinivasa Rao sought to explain the decline by submitting that people have stopped turning up for testing. However, the Bench did not find any logic in the submission. In fact, it referred to several news reports of how people waiting in queues to get tested were sent back. It further observed that even if it is assumed that people are not approaching, the authorities should visit public places, micro-containment zones, etc. and conduct sample testing. “Not one of us has remained untouched by deaths in our circles. People are actually, mortally scared now. They are not reluctant in getting tested. But the State is not conducting tests and the figures have constantly plunged. This is worrisome for us. The State has in its wisdom imposed only a night curfew from 9pm to 6am. There is not even a weekend lockdown. So, people are gathering in markets, etc. and the State has ample time to visit these places and conduct tests. But instead of increasing sample testing, the numbers are dwindling. This is unacceptable. There is no reason why State can’t increase number of testing to 1 Lakh per day, especially when we are informed that there is no paucity of testing kits. Thus, State is directed to take immediate measures in this direction,” Chief Justice Kohli observed. The Court also issued a direction to ensure that the turn-around time for RT-PCR test does not exceed 24 hours, as far as possible. Oxygen Shortage During the hearing, the Bench was informed that as against the demand of 600MT Oxygen daily, the State of Telangana has been allocated only 430MT by the Centre. Of this, a substantial portion is to be procured from outside but, the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu is not cooperating. The Advocate General submitted that Tamil Nadu is blocking tankers that are destined to Telangana and a communication in this regard has been made to the Centre. The Court ordered, “Centre is directed to ensure that if 430MT Oxygen has been allocated to this State out of which a particular quantity is supposed to be supplied from a neighbouring State and the same is not being supplied, then immediate measure be taken to make good the deficiency by allocating more from any other state at the earliest.” ASG Surya Karan Reddy Thota, appearing for the Centre assured the Court that necessary steps will be taken. Cap Prices of Oxygen, Testing During the hearing, Advocate Mir Masood Khan drew the attention of the Court towards Private hospitals that are charging exorbitantly for Oxygen and drugs essential for treatment of Covid-19. “State must fix a particular rate for medicines, Oxygen supply and other such essential like CT scan and blood testing that are required for Covid-19. Secretary, Health and Family Welfare is directed to lay down guidelines regarding the maximum amount that can be charged uniformly by private hospitals for such critical facilities,” the Court ordered.Directions are also issued to check black marketing of life saving drugs like Remdesivir and Tocilizumab, and ensure a streamlined supply. Conduct Surprise Inspections at Public Gatherings The Division Bench has asked the State Government to issue an order, within 24 hours, capping the number of people allowed in a gathering, in open and closed spaces respectively. It has further ordered for constitution of Local Committees comprising of Revenue, Municipal and Police authorities to conduct regular and surprise inspections, to check if large congregations are still taking place in their jurisdictions. Compliance is to be ensured by 8th May. Provide Tele-Consultation in all Districts The Court noted the a COVID telemedicine consultation call centre has been launched in Cyberabad for providing free advice on mild COVID symptoms, guidance on treatment, need for hospital admission, etc. Appreciating the move, it has ordered the concerned authorities to establish similar call centres in each district, within a period of one week. Establish Police Helpdesks outside Covid-Hospitals The Court has asked the DGP, Telangana to deploy adequate Police personnel outside Covid-19 hospitals, for assistance of patients/ attendants arriving there. “We come across heartrending realities of both parents dying and children being left out, not knowing where to go…Deploy more officers outside hospitals where there is much more need of help and assistance of varied kind,” Chief Justice Kohli orally observed. She further directed the DGP to establish ‘Help Centres’ outside hospitals, with a prominent board for the public to reach out for assistance of any nature. It added that all information including telephone numbers of concerned authorities shall be kept available for assistance. Consider imposing Weekend Lockdowns The Court has asked the State Government that in addition to reviewing the need for night curfew, which is set to expire on 8th May, it should also and consider imposing additional restrictive measures, which may include extending hours of night curfew or imposing weekend lockdown so as to flatten the curve of Covid-19 infection. Dignified disposal of dead bodies In order to ensure dignified disposal of Covid dead bodies, the Court has asked the State Government to ensure that all dormant crematoriums are made functional. Further, keeping in mind the environmental concerns, it has asked the Government to operate electric crematoria. “We also have to take care of environment. How many trees will you cut at this time? Take steps to make electronic crematoriums operational,” the Court said. Prevent inappropriate masking In order to prevent inappropriate masking, the Court asked the State to consider if it can temporarily seize vehicles of those wearing masks inappropriately and thereby creating threat for those who are adhering to Covid-appropriate behaviour. Realtime-updates on bed availability The Court observed that despite direction issued on last date of hearing, the State is not giving real time updates about number of beds available in Covid-hospitals. It has directed the State to ensure that the same is done on a regular basis. Contain newly detected virulent strain During the hearing, Advocate Pujitha Gorantla informed the Court that a very virulent strain of Covid-19 namely L-440 has been identified in the neighbouring State of Andhra Pradesh. Keeping in view the huge inter-state movement between AP and Telangana, the Court asked the State Government to furnish a strategy for containing the said infection and adequately protecting the population of the State. The matter is now listed for hearing on 13th May. Click Here To Download/ Read OrderTagsTelangana High Court COVID-19 second wave Oxygen Supply RT-PCR COVID-19 test Shortage of Hospital Beds public congregation Medical Facilities #Proper Treatment of COVID-19 Patients and Dignified Handling of Dead Bodies in the Hospital Remdesivir Injection Tocilizumab Next Storylast_img read more

Revving up for success

first_img Comments are closed. Each year, hundreds of employees from Honda’s franchised dealer network areimbued with the corporate culture at the Honda (UK) Institute. Guy Sheppardtalks to its head, Pauline WisemanThe range of products is huge, starting with lawnmowers on one side andending with a solar-powered car on the other. In between are row upon row ofmotorbikes, all-terrain vehicles, marine engines, generators andconventionally-powered cars. This is the centrepiece of the Honda (UK)’s £3mtraining and development centre at Colnbrook, near Slough. If nothing else, itunderlines Honda’s claim to be the largest engine maker in the world. Called the Honda (UK) Institute, its role is to elevate people development amongthe almost 10,000 people employed by the company’s franchised dealer network.Its inspiration is Soichiro Honda, who founded the company before the SecondWorld War. He believed an organisation’s success depended on the skills,knowledge and enthusiasm of its employees. Although most of the people trainedat the institute are not Honda employees, they do represent the public face ofthe company. Before the institute was founded three years ago, training was handledseparately by each product division. By merging under one roof, the aim hasbeen to both expand and tailor it more to the needs of the company. PaulineWiseman, head of the institute, says the founder’s guiding principle ofcreating a company that both customers and society want is still retainedtoday. “The idea of the institute was born out of the desire to provide apositive experience for customers; ensuring no inconvenience for customers isextremely important for us.” Providing opportunity This could sound trite but Wiseman is persuasive as well as easy-going,talking with a recognisable Northern Irish lilt even though she has lived onthe UK mainland since going to university. She is clearly passionate about theinstitute’s role of providing opportunities for career development and personalgrowth as well as motivation about working for Honda. Every employee of its dealer network attends a one-day induction programmeso they can absorb the founder’s corporate values which originated in the 1940sand 50s. “It’s very important for them to soak up the whole of Honda andunderstand its history,” says Wiseman. “The institute is somewherepeople can learn about this.” She says it is just as important that theleast qualified people in the dealerships attend the induction programme as itis for technicians and managers. “A car cleaner probably gets the job ofdelivering cars to customers occasionally so they are in the front-line of thecompany. If that person is not enthusiastic and motivated in his or her job,the customer experience will not be as positive. It’s extremely important to usthat people go away with a positive feel about Honda and that this translatesinto their everyday working life.” New recruits are often addressed by senior management from Honda (UK), whoseheadquarters is at nearby Langley. This proximity underlines the importancethat training has within the company, which is responsible for sales anddistribution but not manufacturing. Wiseman reports directly to the managing directorand meets weekly with other departmental heads to shape corporate strategy. “I believe that this positioning sends a clear message to our dealersabout how important training is,” she says. “Last year, there was notan awful lot of investment in training in the motor industry but we opened thisplace, which cost about £3m. I’m told that spending here is on a much greaterscale than our competitors have spent.” All dealers are expected to have apersonal development plan for each of their employees. “We will work withthe dealers to bring these plans to life,” adds Wiseman. Although the institute is an on-going investment by Honda, the dealers haveto pay for all forms of training it provides, apart from new product trainingand induction. Courses are charged at a daily rate which is designed to coveroverheads. An exception is made for technician training because these skillshave to keep pace with technological change, so dealers pay a levy instead. Wiseman says dealers can go elsewhere for training if they want. “Wecharge what we believe is a competitive rate for training in the industry. Ibelieve that if training is to be of value to a business, it must be perceivedto be of value. If the training isn’t worth anything to the dealers because we’renot getting it right, they just won’t come.” In fact, 12,500 days worth oftraining is provided by the institute each year, giving it a utilisation rateof 85 per cent. Courses cover areas such as time management and computer and presentationskills as well as management and technical training. One of the main innovations over the past 18 months has been to create aqualification structure based on skills rather than job status. Every employeejoins the company as an associate and can progress upwards to become a member,senior member and then a fellow of the institute. There are currently about 35fellows who come from a variety of job backgrounds. Wiseman says the idea is toencourage personal motivation, quoting research showing that the two main reasonspeople stay in a job are opportunities for personal development and a feelingof being valued by the organisation that employs them. “It really is justabout prestige, although extra skills will enable you to do your job better andthe likelihood is that you will get more satisfaction out of the job and getmore pay.” She says an apprentice technician could become a fellow withinthree years. Although the institute’s core role is training, it has other functions aswell. There are one-off events, such as a talk given last month to around 300people by the leadership development guru Stephen Covey. In 1999, the institute launched a dedicated recruitment service, calledPeople First, to reduce staff turnover and thereby save on training costs. Themost spectacular results have been among car sales staff, where turnover usedto be almost 50 per cent a year, just below the industry average. “Sincewe started, we have recruited 290 people into the dealer network and staffturnover is now between 8 and 9 per cent,” she says. “By puttingadverts in, telephone screening the candidates and doing other basic HRprocedures, we took a lot of pain out of the recruitment process.” Shesays People First has resulted in a noticeable drop in staff turnover acrossother jobs as well. New products The institute employs a dozen managers and administrators as well as threespecialist trainers, who develop training for each new product during the earlystages of its development. External consultants are used for specific subjects.However, some training takes place away from the institute, with managementcourses held in hotels and new product training often provided in thedealerships themselves. Everyone in each dealership is briefed about thevirtues of a new model, and a competitor model is often brought in as well toillustrate this. The institute, originally based in Chiswick, is now in a 46,000 sq ftconverted industrial unit with seminar rooms, computer-equipped work stationsand workshop bays with specialist tools. The central display area is designedto instill a sense of pride in the company as well as provide opportunities forhands-on training with all the models. Over the last two years, the institute has piloted the development ofindividual skills training for Honda worldwide so that trainees can study attheir own pace and thereby reduce the amount of time spent away from theworkplace. “Traditionally, most training is done in the classroom, buthere the bulk of the training is done at the work station,” explainsWiseman. “Depending on their ability, they can proceed through each modulemuch quicker and get more personal feedback from the facilitator. It’s a veryspecific, practical method of training.” Because of its success, the concept may now be adopted throughout Europe.Wiseman says the UK operation acts as ‘the mothership of Europe’ which meanstraining is generally piloted ahead of the continent. Honda’s modern apprenticeships for technicians last three years and involve25 weeks at either the institute or the company’s regional training facility atDoncaster. More than 150 people are currently going through the scheme, whichis run by three dedicated trainers. Wiseman is “fairly happy” withthe requirements laid down by the Government for modern apprenticeships butsays the use of outside organisations to run it was abandoned last year, partlybecause Honda is dealing with so many different products. “Outsiders could not get their heads around what we were trying todo,” she says. Management training is generic to all types of dealer.”We don’t own these businesses but can support them with all sorts oftraining right up to leadership itself, helping them to plan for succession,develop their staff and recruit new staff,” she says. Ways of ensuring that qualifications are recognised throughout the motorindustry are currently being explored. Technical courses are already accreditedby the Institute of the Motor Industry and Wiseman is working to ensure salesand management qualifications are also included. As chairwoman of the education and development committee of the Society ofMotor Manufacturers and Traders, Wiseman is closely involved in an effort toestablish accreditation for management qualifications through the Retail Forum.”In this country, there is no set of management qualifications whichtranscend all franchises. It’s a major project.” Training evaluation Evaluation of training within the institute is run at four distinct levels,ranging from verbal feedback from trainees through to whether the organisationthey work for has moved forward as a result of the training. “We have aplanning manager and part of her job is evaluation of our trainingdelivery,” says Wiseman. Having run the institute since its launch, Wiseman could claim much of thecredit for its achievements but says the organisation stands or falls on itsmanagement and administration staff. “The experience of everyone who comesthrough the doors is down to them. My greatest pride is the positivity andenergy of those people and the pride they take in the institute. You can’tover-estimate the effect that has,” adds Wiseman. She says that one of the biggest challenges is a likely change in the lawwhich will mean franchised car dealers will no longer be tied to selling onetype of car. “It’s very difficult to say what exactly will happen but wecould end up having to spread the offer much more widely.” As with so much of the institute’s work, inspiration will probably come fromfounder Soichiro Honda, who died in 1991. One of his aphorisms, quoted in a brochure about the institute, seemsparticularly apt: “No matter how difficult the task, to the person with expertise, it isthe easiest work to do.” CVPauline Wiseman2001: took on additionalresponsibility for Honda (UK)’s parts division1998: head of Honda Institute1995: Honda (UK) head of finance 1993: Honda (UK) dealer development manager 1991: joined Honda (UK) to set up business developmentdepartment for car retail network1988: business manager with Peugeot-Talbot in Slough1986: accountant with John Martyn Group, an Edinburgh-based cardealership1985: worked for chartered accountants in Edinburgh aftergraduating from Dundee University with a degree in accountancy Revving up for successOn 1 May 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Comparison of the cold hardiness of two larval Lepidoptera (Noctuidae)

first_imgDiapause larvae of the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis (Hubn.)) and the related Mediterranean noctuid Sesamia cretica Led. possess sufficient supercooling ability to avoid freezing over their normal environmental temperature ranges. In progressive chilling experiments (10 days acclimation at each 5° step in the temperature range from 15 to −5°C), mean supercooling points (measured at a cooling rate of 0.1°C min−1) were lowered from −20.4°C at 15°C to −24.0°C at 5°C (lower lethal temperatures: c.−28°C) in O.nubilalis, compared with −15.0 to −17.2°C (lower lethal temperatures: −15 to −17°C respectively) in S.cretica. Concentrations of glycerol and trehalose determined by gas chromatography of whole body extracts were consistently higher in the former than in the latter species at both 15 and 5°C, and may be responsible for the deeper supercooling in O.nubilalis larvae. Acclimation to 5°C increased glycerol levels in O. nubilalis extracts compared with 15°C, and this was enhanced in larvae exposed for a further 10 days at each of 0 and −5°C (glycerol being 438μmol ml−1 body water). Haemolymph glycerol concentrations showed a similar pattern to whole body extracts in this species. Fat body glycogen was reduced during low temperature acclimation in both species. Body water contents did not change with acclimation in O.nubilalis, whilst S.cretica, containing significantly more water, lost c.7% during acclimation from 15 to 5°C. Haemolymph osmolalities increased during acclimation, especially in Ostrinia larvae, probably as a result of the accumulation of cryoprotectants. The majority of O.nubilalis larvae survived freezing under the conditions of the cooling experiments, whilst larvae of S.cretica did not, thereby confirming an element of freezing tolerance in the former.last_img read more

Seattle Educators Tour USS Howard

first_img Share this article View post tag: Educators View post tag: News by topic [mappress]Press Release, August 06, 2014; Image: US Navy Seattle Educators Tour USS Howard View post tag: Naval View post tag: Navy Authorities View post tag: americascenter_img August 6, 2014 View post tag: USS Howard The area high school and university educators were briefed by the three commanding officers who spoke on topics ranging from personal stories of their desire to serve to recruiting efforts and available opportunities. One of their main discussions centered on understanding on how Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) is incorporated in today’s modern ships.Following the luncheon, the visiting educators embarked on an exclusive tour of the bridge, combat information center and central control for engineering not offered to the general public.The luncheon was held in conjunction with Seattle’s 65th Annual Seafair festival. Howard, along with the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) and the guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) are the Navy’s vessels in this year’s visiting Seafair fleet.Seafair is an annual celebration that allows the local community to meet and interact with maritime forces from the U.S. and Canada while celebrating the rich history of maritime activity in the area. Back to overview,Home naval-today Seattle Educators Tour USS Howard View post tag: Tour View post tag: Seattle Nine Seattle area educators, along with leadership from Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Seattle and USS Momsen (DDG 92), visited Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83) for a tour during the 65th Annual Seafair celebration on July 31.last_img read more

Filming of Endeavour begins once more in Oxford

first_imgThe Oxford-based detective show, now entering its second series, will be filming in and around the university throughout October and November, with final production set to come to a close in January.In spite of the weather, bystanders were able to get a close-up of actors dressed in 1960s costumes and the collection of vintage cars parked on Radcliffe Square. Unfortunately for autograph hunters, Shaun Evans, who plays the young Inspector Morse, was not spotted.When asked why Oxford was such a popular location for detective dramas, one third-year Exeter historian surmised, “I suppose there’s a mystique about Oxford if you’re not familiar with the university. It seems like one of those places where there’s something really sinister and cult-like lurking beneath the surface. Of course in reality it’s all a bit boring, to the point where the occasional Morse murder mystery might actually liven things up.”James Castle, a second-year St Anne’s student, said, “The best bit about Morse is that the director didn’t care in the slightest whatsoever to the real-world geography of Oxford. You’ll watch the actors walk out of a door in Exeter and then see them reappear somewhere in Magdalen. It’s both hilarious and disturbing.”The original Inspector Morse series was an icon of British television for more than 10 years after it was first aired on ITV in 1987. The prequel Endeavour alsoproved a ratings-hit, with almost 7 million viewers tuning in to watch the return of young Morse earlier this year. The new series, made up of four 2-hour episodes, is set to hit our screens in early 2014.last_img read more

Oxford University Hospitals “on alert” following global ransomware attack

first_imgThe attack has affected businesses and government offices from Mexico to Russia on Friday, with experts, including the European security organisation, Interpol, calling it the biggest ransomware outbreak ever.Computers at NHS hospitals and GP surgeries were amongst those hit by the malware, which blocks access to any files on a PC until a ransom is paid. Oxford University Hospitals are “on alert” following the global ransomware cyber attack that has infected tens of thousands of computers in almost 100 countries, a spokesperson has said.“We were notified yesterday by NHS Digital about the cyber attacks on the NHS and we are on alert at present,” said Peter Knight, Chief Information and Digital Officer of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.He added: “So far, our strong security measures are holding solid. We continue to closely monitor the situation and have asked staff to be vigilant. Protecting patient information is our top priority.”Despite concerns that the University’s internal emailing system may have been affected by the breach, there have been “no reported issues” so far, a University source said.Students at some colleges have been instructed to update computers and be “extra cautious” with email attachments. Computers running software older than the latest version of Windows and Apple OS X are susceptible to the threat.In an email to Somerville students, the College IT Support officers said: “We are taking steps to double check that Somerville has the latest security patches installed on all the College servers and computers.”The email recommended that students ensure their software is up to date and update anti-virus software. It told students to “update [your] computers and be extra cautious with email attachments.”There are concerns that once installed on a network PC, the malware will spread to other computers connect to the University’s server. It is believed that the threat, which has caused a reported 45,000 attacks worldwide, is spread through spread initially via infected email attachments. A University spokesperson said: “The University takes a vigilant approach to  information security and has been monitoring for the threat of a similar attack since Friday afternoon.“At this point there is no evidence of an attack against the University, nor is there any evidence of malware infections. However the University will continue to monitor the situation and is ready to respond if required.“Guidance has been provided to IT staff to apply critical updates recently released by Microsoft, and to staff and students to remain vigilant and to be cautious of phishing and malicious emails.”last_img read more


first_img HOW MUCH IS THAT GATOR IN THE WINDOW?GAVEL GAMUT By Jim RedwineI like dogs. I like cats. And while I have no desire to get close and personal with most of the rest of Mother Nature’s critters, such as snakes and spiders, I still find them interesting. With such, my general attitude is let’s just go our separate ways.I do not know of any heroic acts by cats, but the positive actions by dogs are legion. In my family, our Chow dog was a firm babysitter that kept an eye on Mom’s four kids as she did the laundry. And my Uncle Bud’s dog, Whizbang, waited by the front gate of my grandparents’ farm every day for two years until Uncle Bud came back from the War.As for me, my dog Dandy was sometimes the only friend I had when I committed some sin such as failing to complete a chore Mom or Dad has assigned to me. Dandy was not judgmental. He kept wagging his tail at me even when the rest of the cruel world wagged its finger.And when it comes to depression, it hit home to Peg and me to have to say goodbye to our Schnauzer, Haley, after sixteen good years. We have not been able to try to replace her yet.I bring up these points to show you, Gentle Reader, I am sympathetic to people who rely on their pets for emotional and even physical support. Seeing-eye dogs and large dogs and small horses that help disabled persons to have independence by aiding peoples’ movement are truly a blessing.And, when it comes to Emotional Support Animals, I am fully supportive of allowing people in need to rely on a loving, loyal and well-trained, safe, animal, even in public. Now, as to sharing my seat on an airplane, bus or train with someone else’s overly protective or not quite potty-trained ESA animal, my position is the owner can probably make it through the trip alone as well as I can. Hey, we all have emotional problems dealing with public transportation.Anyway, a trend that appears to become an epidemic is the proliferation and diversification of the number and type of animals people claim are essential to their emotional health. Of course, these people and even those in charge of public transportation seem to have no concerns for the rest of the world who must accommodate the ESP folks. Also, what veterinary college or medical school did the doctors who certify some of these ESPers go to?For example, sixty-five-year-old (you might think he’d know better) Joie Henney of Pennsylvania and Joie’s medical doctor (go figure) have declared Joie needs the love and affection of an alligator for his ESP animal. Wally is what Joie named the five-foot-long gator with razor sharp teeth and a powerful tail. Joie takes Wally to public parks and Walmart on a leash. He also enjoys wrestling with Wally and getting whacked by his tail.Apparently, Wally has his own emotional troubles because Joie now has added a smaller, younger gator for his own and Wally’s depressed moments. Wally may grow up to sixteen feet long and 1,000 pounds. Joie pets Wally and even sleeps with him. And believe it or not, Joie has a real girlfriend and seventeen grandchildren. Well, he has them for now.Joie says the Gators make him feel better. Maybe so. But I suggest that a pet rock or a Chia Pet plant may work out better over time.Want to read other Gavel Gamut articles? Go to www.jamesmredwine.com Or “Like” us on Facebook at JPegRanchBooksandKnittingFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Press release: Highways England releases first sections of updated road design manual

first_imgHighways England today paved the way for improved road building with the much anticipated release of the first suite of new design standards.The publication of the first sections of the new ‘Design Manual for Roads and Bridges’ (DMRB) will ensure roads are designed, built and maintained to the very highest and safest standards.Accepted as the cornerstone of the delivery and management of motorway and all-purpose trunk roads across the UK, and a respected document worldwide, the DMRB was first published in 1992.Highways England, the Government company responsible for maintaining, operating and improving the country’s motorways and major A roads, is currently updating it to make it clearer, more consistent and easier to understand and implement. The update puts design requirements at its core and it will also make it easier to incorporate developments in design best practice. This will result in greater efficiency and innovation throughout the lifecycle of the assets, fewer departures from the requirements, and reduced time and associated cost.Highways England Chief Highway Engineer, Mike Wilson said:“This is an exciting time for the highways sector as we continue to successfully deliver the record £15bn investment in roads. The updated DMRB documents mark a historic moment for the design of the UK’s motorways and major A-roads.“I would like to thank the Devolved Administrations and our supply chain who have supported this significant review, which will ensure our roads are designed, built and maintained to the very highest, safest standards for the millions of drivers that use these roads every day.” Several leading UK consultants have supported Highways England with the update, and a new set of drafting rules has been used, which follows best practice from national and international standardisation organisations.The updated DMRB supports Highways England’s “The road to good design” vision.The DMRB re-drafting is being completed using a revolutionary online authoring tool purposefully built for the refresh of the document. This signals an important move to digital technology and unlocks the potential of digital innovations.The updated DMRB documents will be released in phases with completion due by March 2020.General enquiriesMembers of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.Media enquiriesJournalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer. The first four documents of the updated “Design Manual for Roads and Bridges” (DMRB) are: Experts at Highways England began the task of updating the complete suite of over 350 documents and associated interim advice notes (IANs) that make up the manual in April 2017 with the review due for completion by March 2020. This is a specific requirement of the Protocol attached to the Highways England Licence as part of the Government’s Road Investment Strategy.Changes in the updated document include:center_img a new structure of the volumes to be aligned to asset life-cycle stages, from appraisal to design up to disposal new numbering systems of documents reflecting the relevant asset life-cycle stage and the specific discipline covered by the document new style of individual clauses to make a clear distinction between requirements and advisory material incorporation of interim advice notes (IANs) into the DMRB as relevant consolidation of DMRB ‘A’ (advisory) documents with related ‘D’ (design) documents introduction of National Application Annexes attached to the DMRB to cover the specific requirements of the Overseeing Organisations Introduction to the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges Requirements for safety risk assessment Use of Compressive Membrane Action in Bridge Decks Management of Corrugated Steel Buried Structureslast_img read more

Detailed guide: NHS Test and Trace in the workplace

first_imgThe government has published the COVID-19 response – spring 2021 setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England. This explains how restrictions will be eased over time.From 12 April 2021 some businesses are permitted to reopen.The rules on what you need to do when a group enters your venue have changed. You must ask every customer or visitor to scan the NHS QR code using their NHS COVID-19 app, or provide their name and contact details, not just a lead member of the group.This is to ensure that everyone receives the necessary public health advice in a timely manner. should make workers aware of the support available to help them to self-isolate Employers must continue to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees and other people in the workplace. This includes, but is not limited to: workers, agency workers, contractors, volunteers, customers, suppliers and other visitors.Ensuring your workers self-isolate where necessaryIt is an offence for you (as an employer) to allow a worker to attend the workplace if you are aware that the worker: get a coronavirus test guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection travelled in the same vehicle or a plane making workplaces as safe as possible (if working from home is not possible) Further guidance: face-to-face contact including being coughed on or having a face-to-face conversation within 1 metre not knowingly allow workers who are required to self-isolate to attend the workplace has had any of the following types of contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19: services provided for social, cultural and recreational purposes in community centres and village halls You are legally obliged to self-isolate as soon as you show symptoms of COVID-19, and must book a test within 5 days. If you get a positive test result, you must self-isolate for 10 days from the day your symptoms started. By self-isolating when told to do so by NHS Test and Trace, you are protecting your family, friends and local community, and helping to stop the spread of the virus.See further information on how NHS Test and Trace works.NHS COVID-19 appThe NHS COVID-19 app is an important part of NHS Test and Trace. App users can check symptoms, order a test, receive results and advice and check in to venues. The app sends anonymous alerts if the user has been in close contact with another app user who has tested positive and will notify them that they should self-isolate, thereby helping to break chains of transmission and keep people safe. may consider giving them the option to use their paid leave days has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and they have received a notification to self-isolate from NHS Test and Trace How businesses should use the app and NHS QR code poster has tested positive for COVID-19 Contacts: This NHS guidance sets out how long an individual must self-isolate for.If you know that a worker has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, it is your legal duty to not allow them to come into work or work anywhere other than where they are self-isolating (usually, their home) for their full self-isolation period. Failure to do so could result in your firm facing a fine, starting from £1,000.If a worker has received a notification to self-isolate via the NHS COVID-19 app, they should not attend the workplace as the individual may be infectious and could spread the virus.Close contactsA close contact is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. You can be a contact anytime from 2 days before the person who tested positive developed their symptoms, and up to 10 days after. This is when the virus can be passed to others.A contact can be anyone who: Collecting contact details for NHS Test and Trace and NHS QR code check-inCertain organisations are legally required to request contact details of customers, visitors and staff and display an official NHS QR code poster. Organisations within the hospitality sector are required to take reasonable steps to prevent entry to those who refuse to provide their details or scan the NHS QR code.This applies to establishments in the following sectors: supporting staff to work from home Check: been within 1 metre for 1 minute or longer without face-to-face contact working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) find your local health protection team in England Contact tracing can be paused within the app by moving the contact tracing toggle on the home screen. It’s important you turn the contact tracing toggle back on as soon as you are not in one of the above scenarios, for example, when you retrieve your phone from your locker. To help you, you will be given the option to pause the feature for different time periods – after which you will receive a reminder to turn the contact tracing feature back on. guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person COVID-19: cleaning in non-healthcare settings coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers must ensure they receive Statutory Sick Pay as a minimum, provided they meet the eligibility criteria Call: encouraging employees to download and use the NHS COVID-19 app if you are a healthcare worker working in a healthcare building such as a hospital or GP surgery NHS Test and Trace will not usually consider someone to be a contact if their interaction with a positive case took place through a Perspex (or equivalent) screen as long as there has been no other contact such as those in the list above.The wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) will not be considered as a mitigation when assessing whether a recent contact is likely to have transmitted the virus. Only full medical-grade PPE worn in health and care settings will be considered.If any of your workers test positiveEmployers should call the Self-Isolation Service Hub on 020 3743 6715 as soon as they are made aware that any of their workers have tested positive.Employers will need to provide the 8-digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID (sometimes referred to as a CTAS number) of the person who tested positive, alongside the names of co-workers identified as close contacts. This will ensure that all workplace contacts are registered with NHS Test and Trace and can receive the necessary public health advice, including the support available to help people to self-isolate.If workers cannot work from homeIf a worker cannot work from home, you: NHS Test and TraceNHS Test and Trace: sexual contacts guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes close contact services, including hairdressers, barbershops and tailors provides free testing for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus to find out if they have the virus alerts those contacts, where necessary, and instructs them to self-isolate gets in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any close contacts they have had should pay contractual sick pay, where appropriate lives in the same household as someone with COVID-19 symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19 This guidance explains how employers and businesses can support NHS Test and Trace and play their part to slow the spread of the virus, protect the health and care system and save lives.Guidance for employersIt’s critical that employers take steps to keep workers and visitors safe. By following the COVID secure guidelines, employers can reduce the risk of co-workers having to self-isolate if a member of staff tests positive for COVID-19, or is identified as having had close contact with someone who has tested positive.Working from home, where possible, is essential to limiting mixing between households. People should work from home, unless it is not reasonable to do so. If necessary, workers can travel for work purposes and stay away from home.It is vital that employers play their part by: Employees in self-isolation are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay for every day of work missed for their self-isolation period, provided they meet all the eligibility criteria.Small and medium employers (with fewer than 250 employees) may be able to reclaim their costs for Statutory Sick Pay. NHS Test and Trace will provide evidence to your employee that they have been told to self-isolate, and how long for. You may ask your employee to follow the instructions on getting an isolation note if you require further evidence.Find out more about employment rights if someone needs to self-isolate or cannot attend work due to coronavirus.Action cardsThe managing and outbreak action card resources have now closed down. Please search GOV.UK for the guidance you need for your setting.The action card section of this page will be removed on 30 April 2021.Guidance linksConfirm: been within 2 metres of someone for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over 1 day) Download the app See the full list of organisations within scope in these sectors.Venues should ask every visitor to check in to their venue using the NHS COVID-19 app if they have it, or by providing their contact details. The NHS COVID-19 app is a quick and simple way to check in to a venue, and it means that visitors can receive public health information as soon as possible if necessary.Find out more about these requirements and what you need to do to comply with the rules.Guidance for workersWorking from home is essential to limit household mixing. You should continue to work from home, unless it is not reasonably possible to do so. If necessary, you can travel for work purposes.If you develop symptoms, you should order a free test as soon as your symptoms start.If the test is positiveIf you get a positive test result, you are legally required to self-isolate for 10 days from the day your symptoms started. You will be asked by NHS Test and Trace to provide details of anyone who you have been in close contact with. This will not automatically be all of your co-workers, but anyone who meets the definition of a close contact.NHS Test and Trace will notify those you had close contact with and instruct them to self-isolate. When NHS Test and Trace notifies contacts to self-isolate, it does not tell them the identity of the person who has tested positive. If you are identified as a close contact of a positive case, then you are legally required to self-isolate for 10 days beginning from the last time you were exposed to the positive case.If you are an NHS COVID-19 app user, please share your result anonymously with other app users so that people you have been in close contact with recently will be alerted.If you are told to self-isolate you must stay at homeIf you are told to self-isolate and are due to work somewhere other than your place of self-isolation, you have a legal duty to inform your employer as soon as possible before you are next due to work. Failure to do so could result in a £50 fine.If you need to provide evidence to your employer of a positive test result, or the fact that you have been in close contact with a positive case, you can request an isolation note from the NHS.If you are self-isolating because you are a close contact but you develop symptoms while you are self-isolating, then you must order a test as soon as possible.A negative test result does not mean that you can stop self-isolating as you may still be in the incubation period (the time between exposure to the virus and symptom onset), and you could go on to develop COVID-19 in the following days. Do not order a test if you do not have symptoms.Find out more about employment rights if you need to self-isolate or cannot attend work due to coronavirus.Financial support for people self-isolatingStatutory Sick PayIf it is not possible for you to work, you may receive Statutory Sick Pay, provided you meet the eligibility criteria.Some employers choose to offer more than the statutory minimum and provide additional financial support to their workers while they are unable to work. This is known as ‘contractual’ or ‘occupational’ sick pay.If you are not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, you may be able to claim for other welfare support, such as Universal Credit or New Style Employment and Support Allowance.Further guidance is available on what to do if you are employed and cannot work.NHS Test and Trace Self-Isolation Support Payment SchemeIf you are told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, you may be eligible for a payment of £500 from your local authority through the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme. This scheme is for people who are employed or self-employed, on a low income, unable to work from home and losing income as a result.More information on the scheme and eligibility criteria.You will need an NHS Test and Trace Account ID to submit an application.If you have not tested positive but are a close contact, your employer should call the Self-Isolation Service Hub on 020 3743 6715 to obtain an NHS Test and Trace Account ID for you.Your employer will need to provide the NHS Test and Trace Account ID of the person who tested positive and your name as a close contact. If you have not been registered with the Self-Isolation Service Hub you will not be able to claim for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.Financial support for the self-employedIf you are self-employed, you must continue to work from home if you can. If you cannot, you should follow the sector-specific advice.If your business has been affected by COVID-19, you may be eligible for a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.Using the NHS COVID-19 app as a workerOnce you have downloaded the app, it should be left on as much as possible to ensure you and your community are protected. If contact tracing is turned off then the app will not work as intended and you will not be notified if one of your close contacts later tests positive for coronavirus.However, there are some specific workplace scenarios when you should pause the contact tracing feature. These are: when you are working behind a fixed Perspex (or equivalent) screen and are fully protected from other people if you are a worker in health and social care and are wearing medical grade PPE such as a surgical mask How workers should use the app if you store your phone in a locker or communal area, for example while working tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas and amusement arcadeslast_img read more