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  • November 05, 2020 2:05 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from the New York Post

    Rank miscreants are descending on Dutch war museums in highly organized operations to steal Nazi memorabilia, according to a new report by the Guardian.

    In recent months, museums in the provinces of North Brabant and Limburg were raided for antiques linked to Adolf Hitler’s Waffen-SS and the Nazi regime, including SS uniforms, parachutes, daggers, binoculars and firearms — worth well over one million euros in total.

    A recently stolen rifle once used by German paratroopers, called Fallschirmjägergewehr, is worth an estimated 50,000 euros ($60,000).

    Now, museums throughout the Netherlands are heightening security on the controversial artifacts.

    “Yesterday, I took stuff from the Hitler Youth, and uniforms of the SS are also being removed [from display],” said Frans van Venrooij, owner of the 1940-1945 War Museum in Loon op Zand. He also hid a number of forks from the cutlery collections of both Hitler and the SS leader Heinrich Himmler. An upgraded secure door was installed at the entrance as well.

    To prevent substantial heists, the Arnhem War Museum has reportedly laid roadblocks that keep out larger vehicles.

    Some institutions are taking the hot items off their hands altogether, such as the Overloon War Museum, who will return the Book of the Dead, from the Auschwitz concentration camp, to the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation in Amsterdam, from which the book was loaned.

    Jan de Jonge, owner of the Oorlogsmuseum in Ossendrecht, said thieves had “drilled holes in the door to get the handle down from the inside” and cut glass covering display cases. De Jonge, who lives in a home attached to the museum, heard nothing on his side of the wall.

    “You name it. There’s nothing left,” he said. The curator also pointed out that the stolen items were “German stuff. They didn’t take anything from the allies.”

    De Jonge also pointed out that his items were “private property and not insured” and “can be traded internationally.”

    At the Eyewitness Museum in Beek, some 1.5 million euros worth of “original pieces” were ransacked, according to owner Wim Seelen. He found the front door had been rammed down, and display cases filled with “a number of masterpieces that are very rare and precious” shattered inside the building. Security footage showed the raid was messy but thorough and only took only six minutes.

    “They knew what they were looking for,” said Seelen. “The only thing I can come up with is that someone ordered it. Many of the stolen items are so unique that you cannot sell them.”

    John Meulenbroeks, director at the Museum De Bewogen Jaren (“Museum of the Eventful Years”) in Hooge Mierde agreed, calling the trend “disturbing.”

    “It seems like this is on request. Maybe [the items] are already with a collector who is wealthy,” he guessed.

    Dutch detectives have announced no leads or arrests in any of the cases, the Guardian reported.

    See Original Post

  • November 05, 2020 1:57 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from U.S. Customs and Border Protection

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Miami International Airport intercepted an air cargo shipment containing ancient stone carvings from Cameroon known as “Ikom Monoliths”.

    Experts believe the artifacts date back between 200 A.D. and 1000 A.D. Investigators found that the stone sculptures had been exported to the United States using fraudulent documents.

    “CBP has a critical role in protecting cultural property and preventing illicit trafficking,” said Robert Del Toro, CBP’s Acting Port Director at Miami International Airport. “This is just the latest example of ever-vigilant CBP teams working with our federal partners to enforce cultural property import restrictions.”

    CBP regularly conducts operations at ports of entry throughout the United States and screens arriving international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products.

    CBP recorded 23 seizures of cultural property during 2019 with a domestic value of nearly $1 million. CBP partners with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the detection, interception, investigation and repatriation of cultural property. Find out more about ICE Cultural Property investigations.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations in Florida include travel and trade facilitation and securing over 1,200 miles of the coastal border.

    See Original Post

  • November 03, 2020 3:47 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Artnet News

    With coronavirus transmission rates bursting across Europe, Germany and France announced sweeping new rules yesterday, closing cultural institutions as they try to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

    In Germany’s so-called “lockdown lite,” restaurants, theaters, and a slew of other services must remain closed for most of November. Museums, which were not specifically mentioned in the new regulations, are awaiting further instruction, sources tell Artnet News.

    In France, all museums and theaters will shutter for the month, and people have been told to remain home and to leave only for essential tasks.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron pleaded with the public to respect the rules. Germany had 15,000 new cases on Wednesday; on Tuesday, France clocked 33,000.

    “The virus is circulating at a speed that not even the most pessimistic forecasts had anticipated,” Macron said in a national address.

    As the new rules were being discussed yesterday in Berlin, thousands of culture and entertainment industry workers, including artists, marched on the capital, with signs proclaiming “culture is dying.”

    Merkel was frequently interrupted by lawmakers this morning as she defended the government’s new coronavirus measures.

    “Freedom isn’t being able to do whatever you want,” she said. “Freedom is taking responsibility.”

    Both nations have provided substantial bailouts this year. Germany handed out over €1 billion in cultural aid, in addition to bailouts for individuals issued earlier this spring.

    In France, unemployment benefits were extended and museums got a $2.4 billion aid package this fall.

    In Germany, each state must implement its own plan while according with national rues, allowing for some measure of interpretation. In Baden-Württemberg, museums will close, but the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, for example, is still waiting for instructions from the North Rhine-Westphalia state. The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, headquartered in Berlin, is also awaiting state instructions.

    “The situation is different from state to state, so we may not need to take the new regulations 1:1,” a spokesperson for Berlin culture minister Klaus Lederer told Artnet News. The Berlin senate will discuss its new regulations today.

    Meanwhile, Germany’s Museums Association released a strongly worded statement this morning pressuring governments to think carefully about forcing cultural institutions to close.

    “Museums have prepared themselves intensively for this crisis and they have successfully implemented distance and hygiene rules,” the statement said. “To close museums again now would be a serious injury.”

    Galleries in Germany, which are considered retail shops, will likely remains open. But trade fairs will be banned in November, which almost certainly spells the end of the already postponed Art Cologne fair. The event, which was set to open on November 18, declined to comment on the new regulations.

    While German cultural venues have until November 2 to make closure plans, French museums are already closing down. The Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Petit Palais all confirmed via Twitter that they would close this evening. The French ministry did not immediately respond to Artnet News’s questions about future bailouts.

    Belgium already announced the forced closure of most venues, including museums, this week, as it rushed to fight the highest infection rate on the continent. Spain, meanwhile, has yet again declared a state of emergency. And in Italy, theaters and other public venues were closed for another month, leading to protests in several major cities.

    See Original Post

  • November 03, 2020 3:41 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from AAM

    You may be grappling with the stress created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the prospect of prolonged uncertainty about the outcome of next week’s election, and 2020 generally. I certainly am, as are my colleagues at the Alliance. To help manage that stress, today’s post shares some of the resources we’ve collected to help combat fatigue, cultivate resilience, and manage stress in coming months.

    It would be great if you add your own suggestions to this list—here in comments on the blog, or on Twitter by tagging @futureofmuseums @aamers.

    –Elizabeth Merritt, Vice President, Strategic Foresight and Founding Director, Center for the Future of Museums

    Validating Your Experience

    In case it helps to know that you are not alone:

    This research from Pew Research Center confirms that “news fatigue” is a real thing, and that two-thirds of Americans feel worn out by the amount of news facing us each day. You might want to follow the advice of Kristen Houghton at Thrive Global who writes, “we do need to be informed but we also do not need the mind to be overwhelmed with dire situations all the time. Our always-on heightened level of concern is mentally exhausting and emotionally draining. Turn off the news and definitely turn off social media.”

    Managing Your Stress

    Research that suggests “Reading Too Much Political News is Bad for Your Well-Being.” Michelle Riba, M.D., M.S., psychiatrist and associate director of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center, recommends that you limit political content to fact-based, reputable or primary sources of information; be careful not to induce second-hand stress when talking about politics at home, work, or with friends; be open to learning about other points of view; and be willing to step away from conversations that make you uncomfortable. Also (and I think this very wise) assess why you consume political content, be aware of how it makes you feel, and prioritize your own mental health. As Gabby Bernstein puts it in her essay “How to Stay Calm When the News Stresses You Out,” “Do your part to stay informed, but be careful not to do it in a way that’s draining you and making you feel like you’re the victim of the world you see.”

    Another resource from Gabby is her interview with monk Jay Shetty, who offers six lessons to managing anxiety, including my favorite—a “forward-future” meditation technique to help you avoid regret for what you did or did not do in 2020.

    On Holding Difficult Conversations with Friends and Family

    For me, perhaps for you as well, one big stress is talking about anything political (a growing category) with friends or family who may radically disagree with my worldview. For some wisdom on having these difficult conversations, I recommend this article by my colleague Andrew Plumley and his former colleague Kristen Lucas, written when they both worked at ProInspire. In addition to providing advice about when and how navigating these conversations, they also assembled a collection of Resources for Crucial Conversations in Difficult Times.

    Another source of tools for conversations about race, equity, and social justice is Rachel Ricketts, a racial justice educator, attorney, healer, speaker, and author. Her website offers a bunch of useful resources, such as a list and links to a variety of racial justice resources, including essays, books, and podcasts, with a subsection devoted to “Healing for PBI&WOC”; and a collection of grief resources addressing racism and gender, stress and burnout, death, and a guided meditation.

    Additional Content & Resources

    Good Inc is “on a mission to help people and organizations be a force for good, together.” Their publication Good Is is pitched at “people who give a damn,” while Upworthy is devoted to “stories worth sharing.” These publications feature their share of pandemic and political stories, but include a hefty dose of positive news about people helping each other, and random good things happening in the world.

    Intelligent Changes is a coaching and productivity company devoted to “a more mindful way of living.” Their free weekly email “Intelligent Tuesday” is a “curated newsletter of personal development tips on happiness, productivity, relationships, and more.”

    The Gretchen Rubin website and blog include information on topics including timely book lists, voting and voter engagement, maximizing understanding of personality type, and focus, energy and health.

    The Marie Forleo blog covers topics of grief, joy, sadness, trauma, productivity and mindset with various guests.

    The Skimm offers resources, information and lists ranging from quick coverage of daily news, deeper dives on more complex stories, and breaking down “the complicated and unsexy topics when it comes to your career, your health, and your wallet.” Their site includes a “one-stop shop for non-partisan info on the candidates and the issues so you can vote with confidence.”

    The Unlocking Us podcast from Brené Brown, dedicated to “Conversations that unlock the deeply human part of who we are, so that we can live, love, parent, and lead with more courage and heart,” including this recent episode – Brené with Bishop Michael Curry on Love & Hope in Troubling Times.

    I hope these resources help you manage your stress in the coming days and weeks. Take care of yourself, people—remember you have to put your own oxygen mask on before you can take care of others.

    See Original Post

  • November 03, 2020 3:37 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from USA Today

    An organization that fights for racial and social justice published secret audio recordings Thursday that uncover aspects of how one American white supremacist group seeks to recruit from the U.S. military and law enforcement and encourages its members to hatch violent plots and undertake paramilitary training to start a race war. 

    The Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) recordings, published as part of a podcast series called "Sounds Like Hate," provide insight into the recruiting tactics and terrorism ambitions of a neo-Nazi white supremacist group called The Base, whose American-born-and-raised leader Rinaldo Nazzaro is believed to be living in Russia. 

    "We want things to accelerate, we want things to get worse in the United States," Nazzaro says in the recordings, as he interviews a potential new recruit. 

    "Our mission's very, very simple. It is training and networking, preparing for collapse. We want to be in a position where we’re ready, we're prepared enough, ready enough that we can take advantage of whatever chaos, power vacuum, that might emerge. We want to try and fill that power vacuum and take advantage of the chaos."

    The law center's three-part podcast – parts two and three publish later this month – takes listeners through 83 hours of secret recordings as 100 men apply for membership. The recordings were made on an encrypted app called "Wire" by a Canadian journalist who infiltrated the group and via a separate confidential source who provided the recordings unsolicited. The authenticity of the recordings was verified by subject matter experts who recognized Nazzaro’s voice from previous audio appearances and were able to verify other corroborating details. 

    Much of the conversation makes for disturbing listening and includes racial slurs, offensive language and discussions about how to precipitate the collapse of American civilization and engineer their fantasies of a white ethnostate.

    USA TODAY could not independently verify the identities of those featured on the podcast.

    Nazzaro repeatedly makes clear in the recordings that he favors recruiting members who have either served in the police or the military because of their experience with guns and/or combat expertise. Several of the candidates Nazzaro interviews claim to have such backgrounds, including some who claim to be on active military duty, although the SPLC acknowledges that some of the statements made by candidates to Nazzaro may be exaggerated to win his approval. An estimated 20% of potential recruits claimed to be connected to the military in some capacity. 

    "​Right. But I mean, you know, even when you do deploy, I'm assuming that you'll still be able to maintain contact with us," Nazzaro says to one candidate being interviewed, who claims to be responsible for operating weapons on tanks in the U.S. military. 

    Also discussed: bombings, arson and economic sabotage.

    Right-wing extremists responsible for 90% of U.S. terrorist attacks in 2020

    The U.S. Marine Corps. has confirmed that two of the 13 men charged by federal and state authorities in an alleged domestic terrorism plot to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer were Marine veterans. Some of the men are accused of scheming to storm the State Capitol building, take Whitmer and other government officials hostage and start a civil war over their anti-government views and grievances ranging from poor economic prospects to anger over coronavirus restrictions.   

    The alleged Michigan plot has renewed attention on warnings from security experts, U.S. lawmakers and extremism researchers about the growing threat of domestic terrorism from far-right groups, many of them with links to white supremacy extremists. 

    "Today, white supremacist terrorism is responsible for more deaths on U.S. soil than jihadist terrorism since 9/11," the Soufan Center, a New York-based global security think tank, noted in a recent report.

    In May last year, Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Michael McGarrity testified before Congress that of the FBI's 850 open domestic terrorism cases a "significant majority" were related to white supremacist extremists.

    And according to a report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, right-wing extremists were responsible for more than 76% of terrorist attacks and plots in the U.S. in 2019; 90% in the first half of 2020. 

    The Soufan Center says many of these extremists maintain strong transnational links to like-minded organizations and individuals all over the world from Australia to South Africa. But Russia and Ukraine, in particular, have emerged as a "hub in the broader network" where the leaders of American white extremist groups have traveled to learn recruitment, financing and propaganda techniques that in many cases imitate the "tactics, techniques and procedures of groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State."

    In 2018, several members of the Southern California-based Rise Above Movement (RAM) traveled to Germany, Italy and Ukraine to meet with members of white supremacy groups, according to an affidavit and criminal complaint against Robert Paul Rundo – RAM's founder – and three other members of the group unsealed by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. 

    The complaint charged Rundo and his associates with inciting and conspiring to commit violence in connection with several rallies, including the August 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to the death of protester Heather Heyer. Three RAM members were later given prison sentences for their part in conspiracies to riot at the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, and other alleged political rallies in California.

    Former Vice President Joe Biden said in late April last year that he decided in part to declare his candidacy for the Democratic nomination and presidency after hearing President Donald Trump say of the rally in Charlottesville that there were "very fine people on both sides." Trump later said he was quoted out of context. However, far-right groups such as the all-male Proud Boys have expressed admiration for Trump and the president has appeared inconsistent in condemning right-wing extremist organizations. 

    The SPLC and reporting from news outlets such as ProPublica and Britain's The Guardian have established that Nazzaro is 47-years-old, attended Villanova University and owns land in a remote corner of Washington state. He says he served in the U.S. military in Afghanistan and claims to have worked for American intelligence agencies as a contractor. At one point, he owned a security company registered in New York City.

    Nazzaro left the U.S. in late 2017 when he moved with his Russian wife and family to St. Petersburg, Russia. The Guardian has reported that the FBI is scrutinizing any links between Russian intelligence or its proxies and Nazzaro. It is believed he is originally from New Jersey. 

    New Jersey's Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness said in a statement that The Base will in 2020 "likely attempt to recruit new members in the region, rely on members with military expertise and training, and use intimidation tactics to terrorize its victims and spread its white supremacist ideology."

    Geraldine Moriba, a producer of law center's podcast, notes in the series that The Base's members and potential recruits who feature in the recordings "claim to live in 26 different states and participate in small, two-or-three person cells in every quadrant of America. An additional eight countries were represented on these calls."

    But Cassie Miller, an SPLC analyst on extremism who is featured in the series, said that while Nazzaro appears at pains to make potential recruits believe the group is a "highly sophisticated terror network" with "strict internal discipline" and vetting methods, the opposite may be true. "They accepted almost everyone who applied," she said.

    Members of the public can report suspected terrorists to the FBI at tips.fbi.gov or 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324).

    See Original Post

  • November 03, 2020 3:31 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Pinnacol Assurance

    Healthcare professionals predict an increase in COVID-19 cases during flu season.

    Flu season brings additional anxiety this year, arriving during a global pandemic that threatens to worsen this fall and winter. Health care professionals predict rates of COVID-19 infection will increase as people spend more time indoors and children return to in-person school. 

    The climbing case counts will spark a rise in doctor’s appointments, emergency room visits and hospitalizations. 

    So far this year, more than 7,500 Coloradans have been hospitalized with COVID-19 and just over 2,500 have died. Modeling predicts national COVID deaths will peak at 2,800 per day by early December. 

    This spike in cases will coincide with the beginning of flu season, and those two things combined could strain the health care system. During the 2019-20 season, Colorado recorded 3,832 hospitalizations due to flu. 

    All this makes getting a flu shot especially important this year. The more Coloradans can minimize their impact on the health care system, the better. 

    Why getting a flu shot is critical to Coloradoans:

    “In normal years, influenza by itself stresses the health care system. Getting a flu vaccine will help to minimize demands on health care providers and resources when we already know that coronavirus is going to be a major — some public health experts say ‘catastrophic’ — challenge,” says Pinnacol Senior Medical Director Tom Denberg, M.D.

    Compounding the issue is that coronavirus and the flu share many of the same symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat and fatigue. Denberg warns that people developing these symptoms may become worried they have COVID and could have difficulty getting a test. 

    “There will be a sharply increased need for COVID testing, but these tests are already in very short supply, and in many places, results are often very delayed,” he notes. “Because flu and COVID symptoms overlap significantly, flu will place even greater demands on already limited COVID testing capacity.”

    While getting a flu shot doesn’t guarantee the recipient won’t get the flu, it does significantly reduce the likelihood. Those who do contract flu after getting the vaccine usually have a less-intense, shorter bout, making them less likely to require hospitalization. 

    Denberg suggests explaining to employees why receiving the flu vaccine is particularly important this year. “Encouraging and facilitating their ability to get a flu vaccine will reduce absenteeism, protect your entire workforce, help the economy more broadly, and demonstrate that you care about your employees on a personal level and about the well-being of the public at large,” he says. 

    Employers may boost the chances their employees will get flu shots by:

    Holding a flu shot clinic: 

    Hire someone to administer shots at your workplace if you are not working remotely. 

    Handing out information on how to get flu shot:

     Ask your health insurance provider for pamphlets or emails you can distribute. 

    Offering flu shot vouchers: 

    Direct employees to a local pharmacy to redeem the vouchers.

    Reimbursing the cost of flu shots: 

    Repay employees who submit a receipt for their shot. 

    Pinnacol has held an on-site flu shot clinic in the past, but with employees working remotely through at least year’s end, we are encouraging employees to get vaccinated through their medical providers under their employee-based health plans, and we are providing information about making those arrangements. 

    Routine flu season precautions for Colorado employers and their workers.

    Of course, during every flu season, businesses should also increase preventive habits such as washing hands and using hand sanitizers to decrease sharing the virus. Employers stepped up these measures to slow the spread of COVID starting last spring, and Denberg says remaining mindful of flu season best practices can help, too.

    ‍See Original Post

  • November 03, 2020 3:24 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from The Washington Post

    The change by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is likely to have its biggest impact in schools, workplaces and other group settings where people are in contact with others for long periods of time. It also underscores the importance of mask-wearing to prevent spread of the virus, even as President Trump and his top coronavirus adviser continue to raise doubts about such guidance.

    The CDC had previously defined a “close contact” as someone who spent at least 15 consecutive minutes within six feet of a confirmed coronavirus case. The updated guidance, which health departments rely on to conduct contact tracing, now defines a close contact as someone who was within six feet of an infected individual for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, according to a CDC statement Wednesday.

    The update comes as the United States is “unfortunately seeing a distressing trend, with cases increasing in nearly 75 percent of the country,” Jay Butler, the CDC’s deputy director for infectious diseases, said Wednesday at CDC headquarters in Atlanta, in the first news conference administration officials permitted in more than eight weeks. People may be tired of the advice, Butler said, but mask-wearing is more important than ever this fall and winter as Americans head indoors, where transmission risks are greater.

    The guidance about transmission of the coronavirus, which causes covid-19, had been discussed by CDC scientists for several weeks, according to a CDC official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share policy discussions. Then came unsettling new evidence in a report published Wednesday. CDC and Vermont health officials discovered the virus was contracted by a 20-year-old prison employee who in an eight-hour shift had 22 interactions — for a total of over 17 minutes — with individuals who later tested positive for the virus.

    “Available data suggests that at least one of the asymptomatic [infectious detainees] transmitted” the virus during these brief encounters, the report said.

    “This article adds to the scientific knowledge of the risk to contacts of those with covid-19 and highlights again the importance of wearing face masks to prevent transmission,” the CDC said.

    As many as half of all people who have the virus don’t show symptoms, “so it’s critical to wear a mask because you could be carrying the virus and not know it,” the CDC said. “While a mask provides some limited protection to the wearer, each additional person who wears a mask increases the individual protection for everyone. When more people wear masks, more people are protected.”

    Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, called the updated guidance an important change.

    “It’s easy to accumulate 15 minutes in small increments when you spend all day together — a few minutes at the water cooler, a few minutes in the elevator, and so on,” Rivers said. “I expect this will result in many more people being identified as close contacts.”

    She added: “This change underscores the importance of vigilant social distancing — even multiple brief interactions can pose a risk.”

    At the same time, Rivers said, it’s not clear whether the multiple brief encounters were the only explanation for how the prison employee became infected. Other potential pathways might have been airborne or surface transmission of the virus. She also noted that the new guidance “will be difficult for contact tracing programs to implement, and schools and businesses will have a difficult time operating under this guidance.”

    Tom Frieden, who was CDC director during the Obama administration, called the guidance “a sensible change.” But he also said that “whether someone is a contact depends on the exposure, environment and infectivity of the source patient.”

    Both presidential campaigns have relied on the CDC’s previous definitions of “close contact” to determine when candidates and staff members need to be quarantined. A spokesman for Vice President Pence, who was in a room with Trump two days before his positive diagnosis, said the vice president did not meet the new definition of “close contact” either.

    In the last week, both Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala D. Harris have been near charter airline workers who have tested positive for the virus. Harris also had a staff member test positive. Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said previously that none of those interactions qualified as “close contacts” under the old guidelines.

    At the Vermont prison, the correctional worker had multiple brief encounters on July 28 with six prisoners while their coronavirus test results were pending. The next day, all six individuals tested positive. The Vermont health and correction authorities conducted a contact tracing investigation and determined the officer did not meet the definition of a close contact, and he continued to work.

    But a week later, the employee had symptoms of covid-19, including loss of smell and taste, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, and loss of appetite. He got tested the next day and on Aug. 11 found out he was positive.

    Vermont authorities reviewed July 28 video surveillance footage and determined the employee never spent 15 consecutive minutes within six feet of any of the infected individuals. But the employee did have “numerous brief (approximately one-minute) encounters that cumulatively exceeded 15 minutes.” During his eight-hour shift, he was within six feet of an infected person an estimated 22 times, for a total of about 17 minutes of exposure, according to the CDC report.

    The officer wore a cloth mask, gown and eye protection during all of the interactions. The infected individuals wore masks during most interactions with him. However, they were not masked during several that took place in a cell doorway and a prison recreation room, the report said.

    The officer reported no other known close contact exposures to individuals with the coronavirus outside work, and did not travel outside Vermont during the 14 days before he got sick, the report said. Investigators said “his most likely exposures occurred in the correctional facility” through the multiple brief encounters.

    See Original Post

  • November 03, 2020 2:35 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from WISHTV8

    Police are investigating after they say a stray bullet hit The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Wednesday afternoon. 

    According to Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department public information officer William Young, police were called to the museum around 4 p.m. when a bullet hit a portion of the building where there are no exhibits and where there were no people. 

    No one was hurt and no one was evacuated from the property. Police do not believe the museum was targeted.

    “Safety and security are of the utmost importance to the museum,” a spokesperson for the museum said in a statement released to News 8 Wednesday. “…We do not believe this was a malicious act directed at the museum.”

    The museum will replace the broken window soon and the museum plans to be open as normal on Thursday.

    See Original Post

  • November 03, 2020 2:29 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from The U.S. Department of State

    Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce and Italian Ambassador to the United States Armando Varricchio signed today a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding that renews protections for Italian cultural property.

    This renewal marks the 20th anniversary of the Memorandum of Understanding Between the Government of the Italian Republic and the Government of the United States of America Concerning the Imposition of Import Restrictions on Categories of Archaeological Material of Italy, and is an example of the United States’ enduring relationship with Italy in combating cultural property trafficking and preserving heritage items.  The agreement continues U.S. import restrictions on certain archaeological material originating in Italy and representing the pre-Classical, Classical, and Imperial Roman periods of its cultural heritage, ranging from approximately the 9th century B.C. through approximately the 4th century A.D.

    The United States has been unwavering in its commitment to protect and preserve cultural heritage around the world and to restrict trafficking in cultural property, which is often used to fund terrorist and criminal networks.  The cultural property agreement was negotiated by the State Department under the U.S. law implementing the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.  The United States has cultural property agreements with countries around the world, as well as emergency import restrictions on cultural property from Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

    See Original Post

  • November 03, 2020 2:24 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Pinnacol Assurance

    Following an unusually hot Colorado summer, many are welcoming the cooler temperatures that come with fall. 

    This year, the change in weather may be accompanied by increased levels of seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression more prevalent among women and young people

    SAD symptoms, such as fatigue, hopelessness, oversleeping and changes in appetite, develop with the decrease in sunlight as days grow shorter

    In 2020, more workers are witnessing fall’s change of scenery from a new location: their homes. 

    COVID-19 has forced many people to telecommute, with nearly 9% of all Colorado employees now working remotely, including 14.9% in Boulder. 

    Essential workers, who have experienced increasing mental and often physical stress amid the pandemic, and remote workers are especially vulnerable to SAD this season as they deal with greater isolation and other changes the past seven months have brought. 

    You can make this time of year easier for your employees by instituting policies designed to monitor worker wellness and mental health. Use our tips to reach out proactively to your workers, even when you no longer see them in an office every day. 

    Seven tips for helping workers navigate SAD

    1. Check PTO balances and encourage employees to take a vacation if they need it. 

    Workers are often reluctant to initiate a mental break without support from management. 

    2. Start a “care for yourself” challenge where employees share examples of self-care. 

    They can be as simple as exercising or eating healthy meals, two ways to treat SAD. 

    3. Create a virtual “cheer board” where workers can leave positive messages for each other. 

    Those with SAD benefit from giving and receiving compliments. 

    4. Allow workers to take breaks outside during the daytime. 

    Exposure to sunlight reduces SAD symptoms. 

    5. Train your leaders to know the signs of SAD and keep your employee assistance plan number on hand to share. 

    If you don’t have an EAP or want to refer your workers to other organizations, too, the Colorado Crisis Services and MentalHealth.gov are excellent resources. Make sure your check-ins include employees working virtually and in the office. 

    6. Invite organizations that provide mental health services to speak with your employees.

    Workers worry about superiors’ perceptions and the impact on their jobs when they ask for help. They may feel more comfortable approaching someone outside your company. 

    7. Start every meeting with a check-in asking workers to address how they feel about home and work by using the green, yellow, red system. 

    Red is overwhelmed, yellow is managing but stressed, and green is everything is good and the worker has bandwidth to help others. After hearing the results, follow up with a phone call or video meeting with those in yellow and red.

    It can take time to break stigmas related to mental health and asking for support when people haven’t done it before. 

    By making check-ins and encouragement part of regular team meetings and one-on-ones, you build trust with employees. 

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