State Declares New Business Mandates, Other Measures Amid Virus Fight

first_imgImage by the New York State Governor’s Office / Flicker.com.ALBANY – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Thursday signed an executive order mandating businesses that rely on in-office personnel to decrease their in-office workforce by 75 percent.This follows the Governor’s directive yesterday that all businesses implement work-from-home policies.Exemptions will be made for essential service industries, including shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions, and other industries critical to the supply chain.The Governor also announced the Department of Financial Services has issued a new directive to New York State mortgage servicers to provide 90-day mortgage relief to mortgage borrowers impacted by the novel coronavirus. The directive includes: Waiving mortgage payments based on financial hardship;No negative reporting to credit bureaus;Grace period for loan modification;No late payment fees or online payment fees; andPostponing or suspending foreclosures.Additionally, the Governor has asked DFS to instruct state chartered banks to waive ATM fees, late fees, overdraft fees and fees for credits cards to help lessen the financial hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic on New Yorkers.“We know what we have to do to contain the spread of this virus – reduce density and person to person contact – and based on new facts we are getting every day, we’re taking further steps to keep more New Yorkers at home while keeping essential services running,” Governor Cuomo said. “At the same time, we know there is going to be an economic impact across the state and we are taking new actions to support the thousands of New Yorkers and small businesses who are suffering. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be disruptive, but we will get through this together.”The Governor also announced an executive order allowing the State Department of Health to identify space within existing hospitals to increase bed capacity. This builds on the Governor’s efforts to increase the state’s hospital surge capacity and help ensure our healthcare system can handle an influx of patients due to COVID-19.Furthermore, Governor announced new measures to free up staff and speed up the admission and discharge process at hospitals for 90 days. The Department of Financial Services will issue a directive to health insurers allowing scheduled surgeries and admissions without insurer preapproval and allowing inpatient hospital services without insurer approval.Image by the New York State Governor’s Office / Flicker.com.Under the measure, insurers will pay inpatient hospital services and emergency services without waiting to review for medical necessity. It will also allow the discharge of patients to a rehabilitation center or nursing after an inpatient hospital stay without insurer preapproval, and encourage self-funded plans to adopt these same provisions. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant respected Michael Jordan’s preparation with the Wizards

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error WASHINGTON >> The man studied seemingly every one of Michael Jordan’s moves. Kobe Bryant emulated Jordan’s fadeaway jumper. They showed similar on-court mannerisms. They both became obsessed with winning.But Bryant also studied the end of Jordan’s NBA career closely. After averaging 30.1 points per game en route to five NBA MVP awards with the Chicago Bulls, Jordan’s scoring output in his last two seasons with the Washington Wizards dipped in both 2001-02 (22.0 points) and 2002-03 (20 points).Yet, Bryant still admired how Jordan handled his craft even as his skills declined.“He did everything he could to prepare, much the same way he did in Chicago,” Bryant said following the Lakers’ 108-104 win over the Wizards on Wednesday at Verizon Center. “He studied the game and got his body ready to play. Nutrition was a big thing for him. He just did whatever he could to prepare himself. I do the same thing.” Bryant posted a season-high 31 points on 10-of-24 shooting in 36 minutes against the Wizards. But he has averaged 15.8 points, while shooting a career-low 30.1 percent from the field. Jordan represented one of the first people Bryant informed last summer about his plan to retire following the 2015-16 season.“We just talked generally about the game and what it feels like to play the last year,” Bryant said. “But nothing specific.”Moving onLakers guard Jordan Clarkson continues to remain motivated that he was not selected until the 46th pick of last year’s draft. But Clarkson insisted he has no strong feelings against the Wizards for trading his draft rights to the Lakers.And yet …center_img “I still see those guys that got drafted before me,” said Clarkson, who posted 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting. “I’m still trying to prove myself everyday that I’m an NBA player.”Day of mourningSomething bothered Lakers coach Byron Scott far more serious than the Lakers’ struggles or a player’s performance. At least 14 people were killed and 17 others were injured by as many as three shooters on Wednesday at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.“Anytime you see something this senseless where people just go in and shoot up innocent bystanders, it’s crazy,” Scott said. “It seemed like every day our world is getting crazier for whatever reason. Life is not precious for some people as it is to others.”Bryant also offered his sympathy.“Being in California, we know quite a few people,” Bryant said. “The first thing we did was reach out and make sure everybody was safe and sound. Obviously our thoughts and prayers are out there for all the families.”Riding the pineA day after describing the Lakers as “a circus,” Nick Young sat on the bench of Wednesday’s game against Washington. But Scott said there was “no reason” for the benching beyond wanting to feature Metta World Peace at small forward and Larry Nance Jr. at power forward. last_img read more

The Educational Crisis Now at Boiling Point, Threatening the Peace

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf must know that the education crisis sparked by the so-called “outsourcing” of the nation’s school system, has now reached boiling point, seriously threatening the nation’s fragile peace.The threat to peace started several months ago when Education Minister George Werner and his brand new team at the Education Ministry decided, with presidential concurrence, to outsource certain parts of the nation’s education system to private “for profit” companies, Bridge International Academies (BIA) and Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL). This decision appears to have been unilateral, for clearly, it did not include key stakeholders, such as the High Schools Principals Association (HSPA), and even more critically, the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL), which has been in existence even before the advent of the Tubman administration. The NTAL was established in 1938, 78 years ago!When the decision to outsource education was first announced, this newspaper wondered who Minister Werner had consulted before embarking on such an unprecedented, even perilous path. We openly opposed the outsourcing decision and predicted that it would do more harm than good. We urged the government NOT to proceed with it. Failure to listen, however, led to a blind acquiescence to Minister Werner’s decision.Now here we are, at a time when the administration and the entire nation should be focusing on the final, most important remaining task of this government—to organize the successful holding of the 2017 presidential elections—the nation is now embroiled in a totally unnecessary educational crisis, which is seriously threatening our fragile peace.It is unnecessary to stress the importance of the forthcoming elections because everyone knows how serious they are. For the first time in a very long time there will be a vacancy in the Liberian presidency. Why?Because in 2011 the sitting President, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was running for re-election, so technically there was no vacancy. In 2005, Mr. Charles Gyude Bryant was the sitting Head of State as Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL). So those elections were held under his watch.In the 1997 presidential elections, there was a sitting Interim President, Madam Ruth Perry. During the 1985 elections a military dictator, Head of State Samuel K. Doe, was firmly in charge of the government. This military dictatorship started when the sitting President, Dr. William R. Tolbert, elected in 1975, was killed in a military coup d’état on April 12, 1980.President William V.S. Tubman came into office in January 1944 after being elected in 1943 following the voluntary retirement of President Edwin J. Barclay. So it was Edwin Barclay who steered those elections that year that ushered Tubman into office. That was exactly 73 years ago. That is why the coming 2017 elections are so crucial. For the first time in 74 years (in 2017) there will be no sitting president. After January 16, 2018 Ellen will automatically not be able to stay one more day in office. So we must elect her successor in October 2017, setting the stage for the first smooth presidential transfer of power in Liberia in 75 years. The ordinary Liberian person on the street will ask, “75 years da small tin?” No, it is not! And in this we cannot fail, lest we provoke not only a constitutional crisis, but a serious threat to our peace. We here invoke a line from the Liberian National Anthem, “With God above our rights to prove, We will o’er all prevail.”So now is not the time to indulge in confusion of any kind in our country. There is too much to do; too much at stake for us to fool around with anything.That is why it is most unfortunate that the President, immediately upon her return from foreign travel, without asking a single question or holding a single consultation—not with the teachers, not with the students—proceeded to take such rash actions, in an ill-advised attempt to embolden her Education Minister, by taking stern action against the protesting teachers and students.We must here make it crystal clear that we think the students were patently wrong in blocking the Robertsfield highway and threatening the economy by stopping international travelers from traveling. They were also wrong for engaging in violence. These students have forgotten what happened to the Nimba students who attacked ArcelorMittal Liberia two years ago. Even so, we here commend the new Police Director, Gregory Coleman, who acted much more maturely by calling for talks between all the parties, toward a peaceful resolution of the crisis. This is indeed all we need right now, not fighting fire with fire and igniting an even more flammable conflagration. “O History!” Edwin Barclay cried in his immortal poem, Human Greatness, cautioning against repeating history. Surely Ellen is not asking, as did President Tolbert and Justice Minister Oliver Bright, for another April 14.We think it is not too late for the President to call the teachers and students, separately, in an attempt to resolve this crisis. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more