Wednesday, November 26, 2014

FBI: SCAM ALERTS, November 20, 2014



NOVEMBER 20, 2014

This report, which is based upon information from law enforcement and complaints submitted to the IC3, details recent cyber crime trends and new twists to previously-existing cyber scams.


The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has received numerous complaints from businesses, charitable organizations, schools, universities, health related organizations, and non-profit organizations, reporting an online donation scheme. The complaints reported subjects who had donated thousands of dollars, via stolen credit cards. Once donations were made, the subjects immediately requested the majority of the donation back, but credited to a different card. They claimed to have mistakenly donated too much by adding an extra digit to the dollar amount (i.e., $5000 was ‘accidently’ entered instead of $500). However, very few complainants actually returned the money to the second credit card. Many, through their own investigations, discovered the original card was stolen, or the credit card company notified them of such. Also, some of the organizations’ policies did not allow funds to be returned to a different credit card.

For more information regarding online scams visit our Press Room page for the most current Public Service Announcements.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

2015 Global Economic Outlook: Better Than 2014—but Not By Much (BusinessWeek)

2015 Global Economic Outlook: Better Than 2014—but Not By Much

OK, everybody, let’s get excited about 2015. Sure, there’s Ebola and Vladimir Putin and Islamic State terrorism. Western Europe is back in an economic rut, Japan’s recovery is faltering again, and China looks as if it’s headed for its slowest growth since 1990. But there are good things happening, too. Like, well, strong sales of recreational vehicles made in northern Indiana! “We’re in the recovery—we’re recovered,” says Derald Bontrager, chairman of the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association. “Obama visited this area three times. We were referred to as the ‘white-hot center of the economy.’ ” Bontrager, the chief executive officer of family-owned Jayco in Middlebury, Ind., predicts the industry will tie unit sales records in 2015 and break them in 2016, thanks to rising U.S. employment and continued low interest rates.
The good times aren’t confined to northern Indiana, the hub of RV manufacturing. The U.S. as a whole is emerging as the most likely candidate to power world growth in 2015. North Dakota is crazy busy with shale oil production. Seattle is swamped with Boeing (BA) orders. In Silicon Valley, Apple (AAPL) is selling tons of iPhones. New York City has more jobs than ever, as tech companies such as Google (GOOG)(with more than 4,000 employees in the city) lead the way.
It’s a welcome turnabout for the U.S., which until recently was the planet’s pariah. Japan called the 2008-09 financial crisis the “Lehman shokku,” and France dubbed it “la crise des subprimes.” After political brinkmanship brought the federal government within a whisker of default in 2011, China’s Xinhua news agency warned, “It is time for the naughty boys in Washington to stop chicken games before they cause more damages.”
Now it’s the rest of the world that’s botching things. The International Monetary Fund called global growth “mediocre” in October in its latest outlook. Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard wrote that “secular stagnation in advanced economies remains a concern,” and emerging markets can’t grow as fast as they used to without inflation.
Whether you’re the CEO of a multinational or a sole proprietor, it pays to have a sense of where the opportunities lie and the dangers lurk in 2015. That’s what this special issue is about. In the following pages, we offer a detailed look at key people, industries, and regions, along with the most important emerging trends. This introduction focuses on the macroeconomic picture—in other words, the conditions that will help or hinder all you strivers in 2015.
The map gives a snapshot of what’s ahead, based on the latest IMF forecast. South America is a mess, with Argentina and Venezuela leading the losers’ parade and Brazil not far behind. Russia and Western Europe are weak. All three economies of North America are looking pretty solid. The strongest growth is projected to be in South and East Asia as well as much of Africa, which is starting from a low base. Then there’s Greenland, which is  …  large. (The Mercator projection exaggerates the polar latitudes.)
The unifying theme is that the global economy is taking longer than expected to recuperate from the bursting of the debt bubble during the last decade. Three years ago, the IMF projected that the world economy would be back on track by 2015, growing at 4.8 percent. The U.S. has pretty much met the IMF’s (diminished) expectations. The disappointments, says the IMF, have been the BRIC nations—Brazil, Russia, India, and China—as well as parts of the Middle East, Europe, and Japan.
That’s led the IMF to reduce its forecast for 2015 global growth to 3.2 percent. It projects 3.1 percent growth for the U.S. next year, just 1.3 percent in the euro area, and 0.8 percent for Japan. China’s projected 7.1 percent growth, high compared with other nations’, would be the country’s lowest in 15 years. China isn’t geared for such a slowdown: Indebted investors such as property developers could default on a large scale if expansion comes in much below their expectations. The disparity in growth rates among the big four economies—the U.S., China, Japan, and the euro zone—was what Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew was referring to in October when he told Bloomberg, “You need all four wheels to be moving, or it isn’t going to be a good ride.”
Expect continued dissonance among economic policymakers in 2015. A taste of that came in late October, when the Federal Reserve announced it was ending its third round of bond buying—and two days later, the Bank of Japan said it was expanding its own bond purchases. Quantitative easing, as the bond purchases are called, is designed to drive up the market price of bonds. When prices rise, yields fall, lowering the rates for mortgages and other loans that matter to consumers and businesses. Next year, the European Central Bank may embark on its own quantitative easing over the objections of Germany’s conservative Bundesbank. That “remains our expectation for early next year,” economists at Barclays (BCS) wrote on Oct. 31.
Fights over taxing and spending will probably heat up next year, especially in the euro zone, where France and Italy are clashing with Germany over how big their budget deficits can be. The European Commission in Brussels allowed the French and Italians to run oversize deficits in October but warned that all euro countries will get an in-depth assessment in mid-November. Germany’s insistence on austerity makes it hard for euro nations to spark economic growth, says Dennis Gartman, author of a daily market commentary. “I tend to be a far right-winger,” says Gartman, “but there are times when you can’t run balanced budgets. When you have 15 percent unemployment, that’s one of the times.”
Some things about 2015 are known, such as the continued warming of the planet. Others are unimportant, like who wins the Super Bowl on Feb. 1 in Phoenix. (Sorry, football fans.) Keep an eye on things that are unknown and important: Will Russia’s and China’s clashes with their neighbors escalate into armed conflict? Will the Ebola epidemic break out of West Africa on a large scale? Will China snuff out Hong Kong’s democracy movement? Will British elections in May increase pressure on the United Kingdom to drop out of the European Union? Will one of the conflicts in the Middle East boil over? Any one of those could make 2015 a very ugly year.

Then again, there could be happy surprises. In the U.S., fracking and horizontal drilling continue to exceed expectations, raising domestic crude oil production more than 50 percent in just four years. Not only has the oil and gas boom shrunk the U.S. trade deficit and lifted the economies of Texas, North Dakota, and other oil patches, it’s also boosted consumers and the manufacturing sector. “The U.S. will someday have the lowest cost of energy in the world,” says Keith Nosbusch, CEO of Rockwell Automation (ROK). As a bonus, falling oil prices have diminished the power of countries such as Russia and Iran to finance troublemaking abroad. Iran’s government runs deficits when Brent crude drifts below $138 a barrel.
The oil boom is a victory for drilling technology, much of which was invented in the U.S. and is being deployed worldwide. That’s an example of an important theme for 2015: Business investment spurred by innovation may rescue the world from its protracted slump. Consumers are still having a hard time paying down debt because their inflation-adjusted incomes have fallen since the 2007-09 recession. Business is in a better position to lead the recovery. Companies are sitting on record amounts of cash because, with demand weak, they don’t feel any pressure to update their plants, equipment, and software. Great new technologies could set off a burst of capital spending by convincing CEOs they must have the next new thing to get ahead of the competition or avoid falling behind it.
Capital spending is the most volatile sector of the economy and often what turns slumps into booms. Michael Englund, chief economist of Action Economics in Boulder, Colo., says there’s rapidly rising demand for drilling and mining technology, medical gear, and efficient passenger jets. It so happens that U.S. companies such as Halliburton(HAL)Medtronic (MDT), and Boeing are leaders in those areas, but the benefits accrue to the buyers of the new technologies around the world, not only to the sellers.
New fuel-efficient jets from Boeing and its European rival, Airbus (AIR:FP), are an example. Airlines are shelling out billions for new fleets because their upfront cost is more than balanced by future savings, even at today’s lower prices for jet fuel. It helps that air travel growth has been strong—passenger-miles rose 6.7 percent in the 12 months through August. From a macroeconomic perspective, the important thing is that this investment boom doesn’t depend on strong overall economic growth, says Englund.
For the U.S. economy, the most critical unknown is whether 2015 will be the year the Federal Reserve finally begins to raise the federal funds rate, which it has locked at zero to 0.25 percent since the end of 2008. The lowest funds rate in history was perceived as an emergency measure during the financial crisis, but the economy still hasn’t shown that it can thrive without it. Critics say that cheap money is inflating asset bubbles and that the unemployment rate—5.9 percent in September—is as low as it can get without generating dangerous wage inflation.
The median forecast of the members of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee is for the funds rate to reach 1.25 percent to 1.5 percent by the end of 2015. Traders in the futures market are skeptical. They’re collectively betting that the funds rate will be only about 0.5 percent by then. That’s either a vote of no confidence in the U.S. economic recovery or a sign that traders think Fed Chair Janet Yellen is a dove who will keep rates low even after the economy gains strength, or maybe a little of both.
A Fed hike, whenever it comes, could affect growth, inflation, and exchange rates around the world. All else equal, higher interest rates in the U.S. would tend to attract more investment to the country, pushing up the value of the dollar vs. other currencies. That probably wouldn’t be enough to damage U.S. competitiveness significantly; even with its recent rebound, the dollar is still cheaper than it was a decade ago. If U.S. rates rise, countries such as India and Brazil that are fighting high inflation might be forced to raise their own rates to keep their currencies strong and avoid a spike in import prices. On the other hand, Europe and Japan, which have no fear of inflation, might welcome a drop in their currencies, which could spur exports and raise growth. “Devaluing is a mechanism to push deflation abroad,” says Stephen King, chief global economist atHSBC (HSBC) in London. “It’s a 21st century beggar-thy-neighbor policy.”
“America—still the world’s tallest midget,” read a headline on a report in late October by David Rosenberg, chief economist at asset manager Gluskin Sheff (GS:CN). The shorter midgets regard the U.S. with envy. In the euro zone, the straitjacket of a single currency works as the gold standard did before countries abandoned it during the Great Depression: It prevents weaker economies such as Greece and Portugal from depreciating their currencies, which can be a quick way for a nation with high labor costs to boost its exports and juice its economy. As for Japan, a sharp increase in consumption taxes walloped its economy this spring. A second increase is scheduled for 2015, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may seek to delay it if the economy remains weak. “The Japanese are throwing anything they can at the wall to make something stick to ward off deflation,” says David Morton, a partner at Rocaton Investment Advisors.
China is suffering its own brand of deflation. Wholesale prices have fallen every month since April 2012. Although President Xi Jinping has vowed to promote consumer-led growth, which would please the public by raising living standards, his efforts have fallen short. Business investment accounted for 49 percent of GDP last year, up from 35 percent in 2000, according to World Bank data. So much spending on plants and equipment leads to excess production capacity, which encourages price slashing that destroys profitability. China is a major importer of raw materials, so a slowdown in 2015 would continue to harm resource-rich nations in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Chinese authorities are likely to try to help specific sectors like agriculture and small and midsize enterprises, but “their levers are becoming less effective,” says Andrew Polk, resident economist at the Conference Board China Center for Economics and Business in Beijing. “The downward pressure on the economy is too powerful to be offset by slight policy adjustments.”
One drizzly day this fall, Carnival (CCL) UK Chairman David Dingle sat in a lounge of the Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2, which was docked in Brooklyn, N.Y. He said demand for sea travel was good despite news reports about Ebola. “For a discretionary business such as ours,” Dingle said, “seeing what we hope is the final end of a recessionary period is very good. It’s really been a period where we had to tighten our belts considerably.” Pricing overall was still “bumpy,” he said, but it was beginning to recover at Cunard, a luxury brand.

Cunard saves money on fuel by propelling its hulls through the waves at a slower pace. Trans-Atlantic voyages that decades ago took five and a half days are now taking eight, Dingle said. It’s an apt metaphor for the world economy in 2015: slower than it once was but moving forward. Hours after Dingle provided his upbeat outlook, the QM2—the ocean liner, mind you, not some exotic form of quantitative easing—set sail for the Canadian Maritimes. Slowly.
Coy is Bloomberg Businessweek's economics editor. His Twitter handle is@petercoy.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Liberals Lose Their Cool in the Supreme Court Fight Over Obamacare (BusinessWeek)

Liberals Lose Their Cool in the Supreme Court Fight Over Obamacare

On Nov. 7, the Supreme Court said it would entertain the latest legal assault on President Obama’s health-reform program. Leading liberal analysts worry—reasonably—that the justices will cripple Obamacare. Unfortunately, these defenders of the program are making their case by preemptively accusing right-leaning members of the high court of bad faith and rank partisanship.
Paul Krugman of Princeton and the New York Times has has called the argument that a syntactical glitch ought to doom the premium-subsidy provision of the 2010 Affordable Care Act a “cruel absurdity.” Any justice adopting this argument won’t merely be wrong, Krugman continued, he will be “corrupt”—“willing to pervert the law to serve political masters.”
Linda Greenhouse of Yale Law School and the Times branded the high court’s agreement to hear the Obamacare challenge “a naked power grab by conservative justices who two years ago just missed killing [PDF] the Affordable Care Act in its cradle.” Greenhouse (disclosure: She’s an old friend) finds the arrival of the new case on the court’s docket “profoundly depressing” because it confirms that the justices are “just a collection of politicians in robes.”
In fact, the fight over Obamacare involves a real—if highly technical—flaw in the underlying 2010 law. Given our polarized, litigation-happy culture, it seems unsurprising, to say the least, that conservative activists would exploit every statutory weakness to seek to reverse the president’s signal legislative achievement. Rather than hysteria or depression, the better response is calm refutation.
The fight concerns the meaning of five words: “exchange established by the state.” To understand why that phrase is so important, let’s digress for a quick refresher on the Affordable Care Act. The law has three pillars: It bans insurers from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions.; it mandates that everyone buy insurance to assure that healthy people participate; and to make the mandate workable, it subsidizes less-well-off consumers.
Despite conservative warnings of incipient socialist dictatorship, among other dire side effects, the program seems successful. Millions of previously uninsured people now have coverage. Carriers are offering affordable premiums. Following initial software snafus, Americans are enrolling via state- and federal-sponsored exchanges at higher-than-expected levels.
The Supreme Court challenge, however, isn’t about whether Obamacare works. The case addresses who can get those critical tax subsidies, without which the mandate would collapse, probably causing the program to unravel.
Read literally, the law provides subsidies for policies purchased on state-run insurance exchanges, not those run from Washington. The problem with that language is that only 14 states have set up their own exchanges. Republican politicians refused to go along with Obamacare, meaning that residents of 36 states have to seek insurance on federal exchanges.
Charged with interpreting Obamacare, the Internal Revenue Service concluded that Congress couldn’t have intended to gum up the statutory machinery with this state-versus-federal distinction. In the normal course of judicial business, courts defer to agency readings of ambiguous statutory verbiage. If I were justice-for-a-day, I’d uphold health reform on this basis: It’s pretty clear what Congress was trying to do, and the experts at the IRS deserve deference. Next case!
The Obamacare challengers disagree. They contend that the state-exchange language isn’t ambiguous. The justices, they argue, lack authority to rewrite an important piece of legislation. If sloppy lawmakers wish to see their handiwork repaired, according to this view, they have to do it themselves. (With Republicans now in control of both chambers of Congress, of course, the notion that a revised version of Obamacare would find its way back to the president’s desk seems facetious.)
Contrary to Krugman’s slashing analysis, it’s not “corrupt” to read a clunky statutory provision according to its literal meaning, as opposed to inferring a more logical intention on the drafters’ part. It might be wrongheaded and mechanistic, but it doesn’t seem deceitful to oblige Congress to speak clearly when it is establishing a far-reaching economic and social policy.
Greenhouse maintains that it was dishonorable and disillusioning for the high court to take up the Obamacare challenge because there isn’t a lower-court split over the state-exchange language. The trouble with this position is that the justices are often quirky in deciding whether to accept a case. Lower-court confusion is one common basis for granting an appeal. On the other hand, the need to clarify national legal standards on vital issues—whether or not there is a lower-court split—sometimes suffices. Just one example: The absence of lower-court division hasn’t impeded liberals from urging the justices to intervene in defense of gay rights. What I’m alluding to here is the ancient Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence of goose and gander.
To sum up: Obamacare could be in trouble at the high court. The justices upheld the individual mandate by a razor-thin 5-4 vote. Conservative justices appointed by Republicans are less likely to be sympathetic to Obama’s agenda than are liberal justices appointed by Obama or other Democrats. Still, arguments on the merits are more likely than ad hominem invective to affect the outcome.
Barrett is an assistant managing editor and senior writer at Bloomberg Businessweek. His new book, Law of the Jungle, tells the story of the Chevron oil pollution case in Ecuador.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Data Privacy: National auto dealer groups support the new protect consumer privacy

The National Automobile Dealers Association, National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers and the American International Automobile Dealers Association are trying to protect consumers privacy with a new commitment. Those groups, representing domestic and international automakers, announced that they support the Privacy Principles adopted by the Auto Alliance and Global Automakers ("Principles") and believe that they are a clear and strong demonstration of the automotive industry's firm commitment to transparency and leadership with respect to consumer privacy. 
Representatives said that automobiles are undergoing some of the most exciting and profound technological changes in the last 100 years, and “consumers must not only understand the ever-increasing complexity and functionality of their cars and trucks, they also must understand what information their vehicle now collects about them and how that information is treated”. 
They tried to defend themselves of and said that “they understand that while consumers enjoy and appreciate those exciting new features, they may also have concerns about vehicle data and want to know what choices they have about how it is used. The Principles address those very valid concerns and allow consumers worry-free enjoyment of their vehicles”.
In a press release, automobile dealers asspciations decalred they  will continue to fulfill the central role in educating consumers not only about the features on the vehicles they buy, but also about their choices with respect to their personal and vehicle information throughout the car buying and ownership experience.
Finally, they announced: "America's dealers applaud the Principles outlined today and will continue to work with their manufacturer partners to ensure that the entire automotive industry remains at the forefront of consumer privacy and that customer and vehicle data are treated with the highest levels of care, respect and security".

Friday, November 14, 2014

Hacking...think twice about security...(Regions Security)

Protect Your Organization! Protect Yourself!

E-mail! Ever imagined life without e-mail? You'd actually have to use your hand to write a letter on paper, stick a stamp on it, and drop it into a postbox (gasp!). All right, so recognizing how critical e-mail is to business and personal life, hackers consider it a prime target. It is important to know how to stay safe. Read More

Home Depot hackers got 53M email addresses

A payment card data breach at the Home Depot Inc. netted more than just payment card data -- criminals also got separate files containing about 35 million email addresses. Read More

Kmart says it was hacked, cards may have been compromised

Kmart, a unit of Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings Corp., acknowledged that a data breach from last month may have compromised an unknown number of customers' credit and debit cards. Read More

Thursday, November 13, 2014

214,000 More Jobs Are Great. But Where Are the Raises? (BusinessWeek)

214,000 More Jobs Are Great. But Where Are the Raises?

The U.S. economy added 214,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate fell to a six-year low of 5.8 percent, but average earnings rose just 3 cents an hour, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The three-pennies-an-hour raise kept the pay increase over the last 12 months to just 2 percent.
The lack of inflationary pressure from wages gives the Federal Reserve breathing room to keep monetary policy loose for a while longer. But it’s bad news for Americans whose living standards remain squeezed long after the end of the 2007-09 recession.
“When Will Americans Ever Get a Raise?” is the headline on an article by my colleague Allison Schrager in the current issue of Bloomberg Businessweek. On one side, she writes, are those who think the unemployment rate needs to fall even more for wages to begin rising. Dartmouth economist Daniel Blanchflower told Schrager that the labor market is in worse shape than the unemployment rate suggests. An accurate gauge of the market, he says, must include people who’ve given up looking for work and those working in part-time or low-paying jobs because they can’t find anything else. Blanchflower says pay won’t increase until the slack is absorbed, and he can’t predict when that might happen.
On the other side are those who say that wages are bound to start rising soon because the labor market is already getting tight. Here is a chart created by Jim O’Sullivan of High Frequency Economics, who stopped by Bloomberg yesterday. It shows a measure of pay that doesn’t often get cited, the personal income data for the private sector in the monthly data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Dividing that by the number of hours worked gives a figure for hourly pay that has risen 3.3 percent over the past year, O’Sullivan says, substantially more than the increase in average hourly earnings. That figure is also well above the rise in the Consumer Price Index, indicating that workers are already getting substantial pay hikes.

reported this week on research by Joseph LaVorgna of Deutsche Bank Securities, who found that the “insured” unemployment rate, a leading indicator, is pointing toward an unemployment rate of just 4.7 percent by the end of 2015, if current trends continue. A jobless rate that low would almost certainly cause wages to start rising strongly.
Jeff Wesley, chief financial officer of Two Men and a Truck, said this morning that the moving company has had to raise pay substantially to attract talent. The fast-growing company today is more like 8,500 Women and Men and 3,000 Trucks. The base pay for movers and drivers is $12 to $13 an hour, and that’s not counting tips. “It is challenging to find enough people, actually, in this market,” Wesley says.
One solution would be an increase in participation in the labor force. In other words, people who stopped looking for work because they couldn’t find anything need to look around again, because things have changed. That’s not happening much so far. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that “the civilian labor force participation rate was little changed at 62.8 percent in October and has been essentially flat since April.”
Coy is Bloomberg Businessweek's economics editor. His Twitter handle is @petercoy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

In Liberia, Ebola Survivors Find They Have Superpowers (BusinessWeek)

Dr. Darin Portnoy
Dr. Darin Portnoy

Yesterday, Dr. Darin Portnoy, a family physician from the Bronx, completed his first rounds—60 patients, five of them children—in an Ebola ward of a treatment center in Paynesville, about 250 miles southeast of Monrovia, Liberia. He’s been impressed from the start by the efficiency of the clinic, but what struck him the most was watching as an Ebola survivor, a man he describes as looking a little like Mike Tyson, scooped up an 11-year-old boy in the infectious stages of the disease, carried him to a washbasin, and gave him a sponge bath, before carefully returning him to his cot.
Survivors, Portnoy says, are playing an increasing role in caring for the sick and the effort outside the wards to halt the epidemic. Ebola survivors are immune to the virus for as long as three months–or longer. Research indicates an immunity to re-infection by the same strain of Ebola virus could last 10 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means they can risk getting close to those with symptoms, and even touch them—something that’s especially helpful with children, a number of whom are separated from their families. “It’s kind of like a superpower,” Portnoy says of the survivor’s immunity. “Even those who are not fully recovered, but that you can tell are going to clear the virus, they’ll help other patients before they’ve finished convalescing,” he adds.
This is Week One of Portnoy’s four-week stint at ELWA3, an Ebola treatment center with 250 beds in Paynesville. ELWA3 is operated by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, the privately funded relief organization often known simply as MSF. The center’s staff totals around 700, about 100 of whom are from outside West Africa. MSF has similar, smaller facilities in the neighboring countries of Sierra Leone and Guinea, where Ebola remains out of control.
Photograph by Malin Lager
Portnoy has just arrived as a volunteer. On his rounds, he isn’t working solo, of course. A nurse and sanitation aide, also suited head-to-toe in personal protection equipment (PPE), accompany him; assistants are available, as well, to help clean patients and disinfect around them. “I had a couple of dry runs, where we put on the PPEs, took off the PPEs,” the 52-year-old doctor says. “Then I did one round where I only spoke to patients.”
There is no cure for Ebola, but Portnoy provides his patients with anti-malaria and anti-nausea medicines, generic Tylenol and antibiotics, and hydration salts. Severe dehydration is the underlying, grave danger with hemorrhagic fevers. “Sometimes we prescribe morphine, too,” he says. “It can be very painful.”
Via phone, Portnoy confirmed the press reports and World Health Organizationfigures showing that, for the first time in weeks, there are fewer new cases of Ebola in Liberia. At ELWA3, empty beds outnumber the patients, and only about 80 to 85 confirmed cases remain. Did this decline strike those who’d been there all summer as cause for optimism that there won’t be, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned, as many as 5,000 new cases a week by January?
Photograph by Malin Lager
“It would be great to think so. It’s the best news,” Portnoy says, but no one at ELWA3 believes it’s over yet. “For us, it’s more a chance to prepare, build capacity, train as many people as we can, and be ready.” To hear him tell it, ELWA3 is becoming the world’s first Ebola-treatment teaching hospital.
The reason it was too soon to declare victory, he says, is that “a lot of things that should be working are not. Contact tracing”—tracking those who may have been exposed—“is not working. The ambulances are not functioning. It’s hard to tell if safe burial practices are really being observed. So we are keeping an eye on it and staying vigilant.”
As for the survivors, getting clear of the virus is just part of a long journey.
“Some [survivors] want to return to their communities kind of anonymously, because there’s still a lot of stigma,” says Athena Viscusi, a New Yorker who ran the mental health intervention center at ELWA3 until last week. (MSF mental health workers provide grief counseling to families and help to caregivers, too, as the work is often traumatic.) “Usually, though, Ebola’s affected several members of the family, and the neighbors know there’s been an infection in the house, so they can’t return quietly,” Viscusi says. “And they find they’re more comfortable coming back to the Ebola centers, because we’re very welcoming of them.” MSF hires some of these returning survivors to work with patients.
Of the man who helped the child, says Portnoy: “You know you hear about things like that, but when you see it—that whatever someone is going through, their humanity remains intact. It’s magnificent.”
Wieners (@bradwieners) is an executive editor for Bloomberg Businessweek.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Peace and Progress in Colombia...University of Miami, November 18, 2014


The New Santos Administration:
Pursuing Peace and Progress in Colombia


Political Prospects
Bruce Bagley
Department of International Studies
University of Miami

Economic Outlook
Alberto Bernal-León
Head of Research and Partner
Bulltick Capital Markets, LLC
Miami, Florida

Security and Peace Negotiations
Román Ortiz
Decisive Point
Bogotá, Colombia

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Conrad Miami
8:00 –  8:15 a.m. - Registration and Continental Breakfast

Lisbon Room B
1395 Brickell Avenue

8:15 – 10:00 a.m. - Presentations and Discussion 

Supporting Organizations:
CAMACOL, Enterprise Florida, Inc., Georgetown University Club of Miami, Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, Haitian American Chamber of Commerce of Florida, OWIT (Organization of Women in International Trade) - South Florida, Oxford University Society of Florida, United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, University of Miami Center for International Business and Education Research (CIBER), Uruguayan American Chamber of Commerce (Florida) Inc. and Venezuelan American Chamber of Commerce
Media Partners: 
AméricaEconomía, Hispanic Target Magazine, Latin Business Chronicle, LATIN TRADE, Latinvex and WorldCity

Program Fee:  $30; Academics and students – free admission with valid ID
Two ways to register:

1)      To register and pay by check, cash or as a guest (academics and students with valid I.D.):
Email registration form to or fax registration form to (305) 284-9871.
Payment by check:  Make check payable to Center for Hemispheric Policy. Mail check with registration form to:
Center for Hemispheric Policy; P.O. Box 248297; Coral Gables, FL 33124-6535.
Cancellation Policy: By email, fax or telephone, by 12:00 p.m., Monday, November 17, 2014.

2)      To register and pay by credit card:  Submit your registration and credit card information by clicking on the “Register and Pay with Credit Card” link for this program listing on the CHP website.
Cancellation and Credit Card Refund Policy: Registration fees are refundable by sending the “Cancellation Request Form” by email or fax by 12:00 p.m., Monday, November 17, 2014. No refunds will be issued after that time. Credit card refunds are processed within two weeks.

For more information, please call Michael Graybeal at (305) 284-9918, or visit our website at

Registration Form

(273B) The New Santos Administration: Pursuing Peace and Progress in Colombia — Tuesday, November 18, 2014

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