National summit to address business readiness for flu pandemic

first_imgFeb 1, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A national conference scheduled Feb 14 and 15 in Minneapolis will give business leaders an opportunity to learn from experts about the risk of pandemic influenza and help figure out how their industries can prepare for it. The long list of speakers for the conference includes Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Michael Leavitt; former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson; CIDRAP Director Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH; and writer and scholar John Barry, author of The Great Influenza, a lengthy account of the 1918 flu pandemic. Ted Koppel, former host of the ABC News show “Nightline,” will speak at a Feb 14 evening banquet. Planners describe the summit as the first of its type on a national scale. “I think it’s the first conference of its kind to bring together all the various industry sectors to actually work towards determining and addressing current gaps in planning” for the business community, said Osterholm. He added that some “solutions have been identified in one or more business sectors but not generally made available to other sectors.” Olson said he expects the meeting will attract mostly larger companies, giving them a chance to compare notes on their preparedness measures. “We’re hoping to share some of that information with small and medium-sized companies at a later date,” he said. “We can no longer assume that business continuity plans for both our multinational companies and small businesses, largely based on a concept of a regional event of a limited duration, will approximate the actual impact and consequence of an influenza pandemic,” Osterholm said in congressional testimony in December. “Rather, I believe an influenza pandemic will be like a 12- to 18-month global blizzard that will ultimately change the world as we know it today.” Beauchesne commented in a University of Minnesota news release, “Pandemic influenza needs to be on the minds of all organizations. It is not an ‘if’ but ‘when’ scenario. This is a critical event that should be a priority for all our members.” Besides those mentioned above, some of the other speakers and panelists are Ann Beauchesne, executive director of homeland security for the US Chamber of Commerce; former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson; Sherry Cooper, global economic strategist with Harris Bank and BMO Financial Group in Toronto; Richard Knox, science correspondent with National Public Radio; Jeffrey Levi, senior policy adviser at Trust for America’s Health; and Stewart Simonson, assistant director for public health emergency preparedness in the US Department of Health and Human Services.center_img David Olson, president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, said the conference will give businesses a chance to prepare for disasters in general. “We obviously hope that a pandemic flu situation never arises, but we think this is a great opportunity for businesses to plan for any kind of disaster, whether it be flood, fire, or tornado,” he told CIDRAP News. “If they’re going to be prepared for flu, my guess is everything else is going to be less [difficult] than that.” The premise of the conference is that pandemic flu is a major global threat and that traditional business security and disaster-response plans will not be adequate for dealing with it, according to CIDRAP officials. The conference will include expert speakers and panel discussions on topics affecting all industries, such as legal issues, healthcare, infrastructure, human resources, government support, and risk communication. After the general presentations, participants will gather with others from their own industry to discuss continuity planning. Sessions are planned for 11 different sectors, such as healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture and food, energy, transportation and warehousing, and construction and real estate. The meeting, called “Business Planning for Pandemic Influenza: A National Summit,” is being organized by the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), publisher of this Web site. The United States and Minnesota Chambers of Commerce are cosponsoring the event, to be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Osterholm said he hopes the meeting will be the beginning of an ongoing effort to help the private sector prepare for pandemic flu. “No one knows if the current situation [with avian flu] will lead to a pandemic, but regardless if it does, there will be another pandemic,” he said “Any preparedness efforts we can make in this global just-in-time economy will be an investment well spent.”last_img read more

Worley scores Mozambique LNG services deal from Total

first_imgAustralian engineering company Worley has been awarded two master service agreements (MSAs) by French major Total for services on the Mozambique LNG project.Illustration; Source: WorleyWorley said on Thursday that it would provide in-and-out of country services, including engineering, consulting and specialist engineering for delivery of onshore and offshore (subsea) facilities.According to Worley, the services will support the development of the new LNG facility.The company added that it would execute the services from its local Mozambique operation with support from its global businesses including Advisian.It is worth noting that the company has been involved in the LNG development located on the Afungi peninsula in Cabo Delgado province since gas was first discovered there in 2010.Andrew Wood, CEO of Worley, said: “We are pleased to continue providing services to the LNG development and to support one of Africa’s largest projects.“Through the MSAs, we will help Total and its partners in the Mozambique LNG Project meet the world’s changing energy needs.” Mozambique LNG was sanctioned in June 2019 by Anadarko and its co-venturers in Mozambique’s Offshore Area 1.Total bought Anadarko’s 26.5 percent operated interest in the Mozambique LNG project in September 2019 for $3.9 billion.Mozambique LNG is the country’s first onshore LNG development and includes the development of the Golfinho and Atum fields located within Offshore Area 1 and the construction of a two-trains liquefaction plant with a capacity of 12.9 million tonnes per year.Area 1 contains more than 60 Tcf of gas resources, of which 18 Tcf will be developed with the first two trains with the production scheduled to begin by 2024.Total is the operator of the Mozambique LNG with a 26.5 percent participating interest alongside ENH Rovuma Área Um (15 percent), Mitsui (20 percent), ONGC Videsh (10 percent), Beas Rovuma Energy Mozambique (10 percent), BPRL Ventures (10 percent), and PTTEP (8.5 percent).Offshore Energy Today StaffSpotted a typo? Have something more to add to the story? Maybe a nice photo? Contact our editorial team via email. Also, if you’re interested in showcasing your company, product, or technology on Offshore Energy Today, please contact us via our advertising form where you can also see our media kit.last_img read more

McGrath could miss the rest of the league – Ryan

first_imgNoel McGrath may miss the rest of the National Hurling League, according to Tipp manager Michael Ryan.He picked up a thumb injury against Wexford two weeks ago, and didn’t feature in Tipp’s 3 point win over Cork yesterday – but he won’t need surgery.However, it’s not all bad news as John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer has rejoined the panel. Michael Ryan says he’s a joy to watch in training…last_img

When A Government Customer Does Not Pay

first_img Connect Save Money With FCPA Connect Keep it simple. Not all FCPA issues warrant a team of lawyers or other professional advisers. Achieve client and business objectives in a more efficient manner through FCPA Connect. Candid, Comprehensive, and Cost-Effective. Examining the root causes of certain Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions is not meant to rationalize or condone the conduct at issue, but just to better understand the circumstances given rise to the enforcement action in the first place.For instance, like several other FCPA enforcement actions highlighted in this post, a root cause for a portion of the conduct alleged in the recent PDVSA related individual enforcement action is that Venezuela was unable to pay its bills and that alleged “foreign officials” offered to pay the outstanding bills (among a stack of many no doubt) in exchange for things of value.It is difficult to square the enforcement theory that seeking what one is legally entitled to receive equates to a violation of the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions with several actual legal elements.Corrupt intent? Congress tells us in the FCPA’s legislative history that “the word ‘corruptly’ connotes and evil motive or purpose.” How can seeking what one is legally entitled to receive evil?Obtain or retain business? In U.S. v. Kay, the 5th Circuit did conclude that payments outside the context of foreign government procurement “could” violate the FCPA, but only if payments were intended to lower a company’s cost of doing business enough to assist the company in “obtaining or retaining” business.  Specifically, the court stated:“If the government is correct that anytime operating costs are reduced the beneficiary of such advantage is assisted in getting or keeping business, the FCPA’s language that expresses the necessary element of assisting in obtaining business would be unnecessary, and thus surplusage – a conclusion we are forbidden to reach.”How can seeking what one is legally entitled to receive satisfy the “obtain or retain business” element?Facilitating payments? The FCPA expressly excludes from the anti-bribery provisions payments made “to expedite or to secure the performance of a routine government action by a foreign official.” How can seeking what one is legally entitled to receive not fit within the exception for “secur[ing] the performance of a routine government action”?Back to the recent PDVSA individual enforcement action in which the DOJ alleged in the indictment:“Beginning in at least 2010, Venezuela began to experience a liquidity crisis as the profits earned through PDVSA, which historically had been a significant source of revenue to the Venezuelan government as a result of its oil reserves, were insufficient to meet the government’s expenses. Numerous analysts began to speculate that PDVSA could default on its debt, and the government made public commitments for PDVSA to increase oil production.Given these liquidity problems, PDVSA was unable to pay all of its vendors in a timely manner, but remained under pressure to continue to escalate oil production.In or about 2011, Rincon and Shiera [individuals previously charged with violating the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions in connection with the same core conduct] were approached by a group of individuals who consisted of then-current PDVSA officials and individuals outside PDVSA with influence at PDVSA, including De Leon, Villalobos, and Istruriz, referred to as the ‘management team.’ The management team offered to give Rincon’s and Shiera’s companies payment priority over other PDVSA vendors, ensuring that Rincon’s and Shiera’s companies would get a least partial payment on outstanding PDVSA invoices, and to provide Rincon’s and Shiera’s companies with assistance in winning future PDVSA business, in exchange for providing a bribe to the management team in the amount of 10% of all payments Rincon and Shiera received from PDVSA. The management team made offers to other vendors known and unknown to the Grand Jury. In addition, individual members of the management team solicited additional bribe payments from Rincon and Shiera. (emphasis added).De Leon and Villalobos explained that the bribe proceeds would be split and would be shared among De Leon, Villalobos, Rincon, Istruriz, Reiter [and other officials].Rincon and Shiera agreed to make the payments to the management team in exchange for payment priority and assistance in winning future PDVSA contracts.”The recent PDVSA individual enforcement action is not the first time the dubious enforcement theory that seeking what one is legally entitled to receive equates to a violation of the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions has been used.In 2013, the DOJ and SEC extracted $54 million from Archer Daniels Midland Co. and related entities.  As explained in the article “Why You Should Be Alarmed by the ADM FCPA Enforcement Action,” the principal feature of the enforcement action was that ADM and its shareholders were victims of a corrupt Ukraine government which refused to release value-added tax refunds legitimately owed to the company.  In the words of the DOJ, “the Ukrainian government did not have the money to pay VAT refunds that it owed to companies that sold Ukrainian goods outside of Ukraine.”  Likewise, the SEC acknowledged that the “Ukrainian government determined to delay paying the VAT refunds owed or did not make any refunds payments at all.”Prior to the ADM action, there was a 2010 SEC action against Joe Summers concerning conduct in – you guessed it –  Venezuela.  The title of this previous post was “Paying to Secure Receivables Is Now Bribery?” and it began as follows.“Attention to companies (and employees) operating around the world. If you are party to a contract, and a mid-level employee at the entity receiving services under the contract holds up payment of money the company is legitimately entitled to receive, but the mid-level employee requests payment in order to release the funds, and you make the requested payment, you are violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”As highlighted in the previous post, part of the SEC’s allegations included the following.“Following widespread strikes and civil unrest in Venezuela in late 2002, Pride […] and other companies performing work for PDVSA (PDVSA is the Venezuela state-owned oil company) had difficulty collecting outstanding receivables from PDVSA. By early 2003, Pride […] had significant unpaid receivables for services that it had provided to PDVSA. In or around March or April 2003, Pride […] received information that a mid-level PDVSA accounts payable employee was holding up the payment of funds owed to Pride […] and wanted a payment of approximately $30,000 in order to release the funds due. In or around March or April 2003, Summers authorized a payment of approximately $30,000 to a third party, believing that all or a portion of the funds would be offered or given by the third party to an employee of PDVSA for purposes of securing an improper advantage in receiving payment from PDVSA. Shortly thereafter, in or around April 2003, Pride […] received overdue payments from PDVSA for work that Pride […] had performed.”A third example of an FCPA enforcement action being based on a dysfunctional government not paying a company money it was legitimately owed was highlighted in this previous titled “One of the More Dubious FCPA Enforcement Actions of All-Time” concerning a 1994 DOJ enforcement action against Vitusa Corporation and its President Denny Herzberg.As highlighted in the previous post, the DOJ alleged that Vitusa (a New Jersey corporation engaged in the business of selling commodities and other goods) “entered into a lawful contract to sell milk powder to the Government of the Dominican Republic.”The DOJ then alleged as follows.“Although Vitusa delivered the milk powder to the Government of the Dominican Republic, the Dominican government did not pay Vitusa promptly for the milk powder received and, in fact, maintained an outstanding balance due for an extended period of time.  Vitusa, therefore, made various efforts to collect the outstanding balance due, including contacting officials of the United States and Dominican Governments to obtain their assistance in securing payment in full.”According to the DOJ, “during the pendency of the contract, Servio Tulio Mancebo (a citizen of the Dominican Republic) communicated to Herzberg a demand made by a foreign official [a senior official of the Government of the Dominican Republic] which called for the payment of a ‘service fee’ to that official in return for the official using that official’s influence to obtain the balance due to Vitusa for the milk powder contract from the Dominican Government.” According to the DOJ, “Herzberg agreed to Mancebo’s proposal that Vitusa would pay a ‘service fee’ indirectly to the foreign official.”  Thereafter, the DOJ alleged that the Government of the Dominican Republic made payment of $63,905.12 to Vitusa on the contract, but that following Herzberg’s instruction, “Mancebo retained $20,000 from that payment.” According to the DOJ, Vitusa and Herberg knew “that all or a portion of the money would be given to the foreign official for the purpose of inducing the official to use that official’s position and influence with the Government of the Dominican Republic in order to obtain and retain business, that is, full payment of the balance due for Vitusa’s prior sale of milk powder to the Government of the Dominican Republic.” Based on the above allegations, the DOJ charged Vitusa with violating the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions.In recent years, it has become popular to talk about the “victims” of FCPA enforcement actions and feel good proposals have even been made suggesting that “victims” (you know, the citizens of country x  which served as the locus of an FCPA enforcement action) are deserving of compensation from the FCPA settlement amount.As the above examples highlight however, sometimes the “victims” of FCPA enforcement actions may be the companies or related individuals resolving the actions because they were legitimately owed money by a dysfunctional government that refused to pay.last_img read more