A Trump Appointee Stands Between Biden’s Team and a Smooth Transition

first_imgBut there is no specific provision for when Ms. Murphy must act.Pamela D. Pennington, a spokeswoman for the G.S.A., said in a statement on Monday that “an ascertainment has not yet been made. G.S.A. and its administrator will continue to abide by, and fulfill, all requirements under the law and adhere to prior precedent established by the Clinton administration in 2000.”- Advertisement – But once Ms. Murphy signals that the transition can begin, that office space will be expanded and equipped with computer systems that give the new administration access to classified systems and information, in addition to a secure location to have secret conversations.If that does not happen in days, the Biden administration has other options. Transition officials have private office space they can continue to use, and Mr. Biden and his team will continue to operate remotely. When the president-elect met with his pandemic advisory board on Monday, he was in Delaware and the board members were on a big screen, calling in from their homes or offices. The coronavirus pandemic has made office space less critical for the Biden transition team, which has been mostly meeting remotely for the past several months and will continue to do so, according to a transition official. There is a skeleton staff at the office space that was provided by the government before the election. In an earlier statement, Ms. Pennington said that “the G.S.A. administrator does not pick the winner in the presidential election,” adding that “the G.S.A. administrator ascertains the apparent successful candidate once a winner is clear based on the process laid out in the Constitution.”Aides to Mr. Biden say they expect Ms. Murphy to act within a few days, but they are bracing for the possibility that political pressure from the president and his Republican allies will prevent that. In a statement on Twitter, Jen Psaki, a transition official, gently prodded Ms. Murphy to make the announcement.“Now that the election has been independently called for Joe Biden, we look forward to the GSA Administrator quickly ascertaining Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the President-elect and Vice President-elect,” Ms. Psaki wrote. “America’s national security and economic interests depend on the federal government signaling clearly and swiftly that the United States government will respect the will of the American people and engage in a smooth and peaceful transfer of power.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement – – Advertisement – Updated Nov. 9, 2020, 7:57 p.m. ETlast_img read more

Biden online harassment plan could affect Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

first_imgPresident-elect Joe Biden on Nov. 9, 2020 at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware.Joe Raedle | Getty Images News | Getty Images “I think this particular task force plan aims to address a real need,” said Lisa Fazio, a professor of Psychology and Human Development who studies the effects of misinformation at Vanderbilt University. “We know these platforms are consistently the source of online harassment and threats to women and there’s a connection to extremist consequences.”Confronting transparencyBiden’s plan emphasizes “accountability,” which experts say is a must for tech companies that are historically secretive about how they establish and enforce their policies. Experts pointed to mixed-messaging by companies like YouTube, which has been selective or evasive in its policy explanations.John Redgrave, CEO of abuse detection software company called Sentropy, which is backed by investor and Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, said there’s always a concern around companies’ ability and willingness to moderate harassing content but those concerns have escalated in recent months.“We have so little transparency so it’s really impossible to evaluate the measures being taken,” Redgrave said. “There’s always the question of what’s enforcement going to be like? What’s the length of time it takes for them to attach labels and policies that breach policies? A label applied several hours late is only marginally better than no label at all.”Experts said they hope for a “reality check” for both the public and for social media companies. Joan Donovan, Research Director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, said YouTube may have the toughest time.“You see people using harassment as entertainment and a way to drive their audiences’ attention, and we see vectors that go right from YouTube to other networks very quickly,” Donovan said. “That and its enforcement information is really difficult to get at for researchers. One of the pain points in researching technology companies is how secretive they all are in what their capabilities are. You’re not going to find out until they do something that shows that certain actions are possible.”Carley said she’d imagine a task force thinking of long-term proposals for things like auditing companies. “I Imagine there could be proposals for something like the IRS but, instead of encouraging auditing finances, it would be algorithms or policy enforcement.”Concerns the tech companies may water it downWhile experts praised Biden’s plan for stating the task force will include folks outside of the traditional tech crowd, they say they’re particularly concerned about what role companies may play in it.“If they go with all the big companies and the current think tanks, they’re going to get the wrong people in this,” Carley said. “This has been studied very well for over a decade by experts and I don’t think there should be a social media company presence unless it’s to consult on the interworking of their algorithms that are important. It needs representatives from all walks of life and I wouldn’t just put it into the hands of the usual Washington policy types.”Experts said they’d ideally like the companies to be in a listening role with the exception of requests for consulting on their technology capabilities.“I don’t trust them to make real changes,” said Fazio, adding that she’d want to see social scientists, women of color and historians included on this task force. “They’ve had many opportunities to make change on their own. They’ve shown they are more interested in protecting their profits.”Donovan cautioned companies may be “an important collaborator but they cannot take center stage.”She also said she can see a potential for companies to play a role in funding counter-measures, pointing to mobile apps like Circle of Six, which won an Obama-era White House technology challenge aimed at countering domestic violence. “Policy isn’t a one-all,” she said, adding: “They’d also have to think of counter technologies.”WATCH NOW: President-elect Biden begins transition after election victory – Advertisement – Although it may not get as much attention as his plans to stem the spread of Covid 19 or change the tax code, President-elect Joe Biden is also planning to confront another problem: Online harassment.On its presidential campaign site, the Biden-Harris team said it would convene a task force to recommend how governments, social media companies, schools, and other public and private organizations should address online harassment. That includes addressing the links between online harassment like revenge porn and deepfakes and offline acts of aggression, including mass shootings.“The Biden Administration will shine a light on the online harassment, stalking, and abuse that now is a too-frequent reality for Americans, particularly for young people and women,” Biden’s website states. “Culture change must extend to our online lives, whether clamping down on ‘cyber exploitation,’ online stalking, or intimate partner digital abuse.”- Advertisement –center_img The task force, which is listed as one of several efforts under the president-elect’s “Plan to Protect Women,” represents the most aggressive attempt to address online abuse by a U.S. administration. It could lead also to new confrontations with tech companies.In recent months, social media companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google‘s YouTube have faced increased pressure to contain viral misinformation, violence, harassment and extremist content. While platforms have cleaned up more in the last year, the same problems persist across the internet, which came to the forefront in 2020 and during the U.S. elections, experts told CNBC.“It’s something that, without specific effort, won’t be alleviated,” said Kathleen Carley Ph.D, professor of the Societal Computing Ph.D. Program at Carnegie Mellon University. “I think the task force could be very important because it’s very clear there is a lot of online disinformation and hate speech and we’ve seen how that’s been a significant way to harm women and vulnerable groups such as a children and minorities.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

MacBook Air with M1 is the first Mac to use Apple Silicon » Gadget Flow

first_imgThe Apple MacBook Air with M1 is the first of its kind as it uses Apple Silicon’s first chip: M1. This means you get a super efficient and powerful machine. And that’s not just industry jargon. Designed specifically for Mac, this chip optimizes CPU performance per watt for incredible features and power efficiency. Boasting an eight-core CPU, this device has four cores for high performance and four for high efficiency. What’s more, its eight-Core GPU ensures that this computer has seriously advanced graphics processing abilities and faster integrated graphics. Of course, that’s not all. Running on macOS Big Sur, this computer now instantly wakes from sleep—just like your iPhone and iPad. A 13-inch notebook, the 2020 MacBook Air has a 16-core neural engine that boosts performance. Designed without a fan, the MacBook Air with M1 is completely silent. This is the next generation of Mac. – Advertisement –last_img read more

Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord Joins Thor: Love and Thunder Cast: Report

first_imgChris Pratt is the first Guardians of the Galaxy member to come on board the Thor: Love and Thunder cast, according to a new report. Pratt will reprise his role as Peter Quill/ Star-Lord. This was expected given Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) presence on the Guardians of the Galaxy spaceship at the end of Avengers: Endgame, and the fact that Vin Diesel — who voices Groot in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — had revealed that the Guardians of the Galaxy would be part of Thor: Love and Thunder.The Hollywood Reporter brings word of Pratt’s hiring on Thor: Love and Thunder, which is currently in pre-production and prepares to begin filming in January 2021 in Australia, where another Marvel film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings recently wrapped. Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi is returning to helm the fourth Thor movie, which also stars Natalie Portman as Jane Foster / Mighty Thor, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Christian Bale as a villain, and Waititi as Korg.- Advertisement – This confirms what Diesel had said back in March, that Waititi had told him the next Thor film would incorporate some of Guardians of the Galaxy, before adding: “Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything.”If you will recall, Thor left New Asgard — now on Earth — in the capable hands of Valkyrie at the end of Endgame, decided to embrace who he was, and boarded the Guardians ship to discover pastures anew. Describing the new group as the Asgardians of the Galaxy, Thor then toyed with Star-Lord over who really had control of the ship. Marvel fans will be glad to see more of that banter on Thor: Love and Thunder, though the extent of Pratt’s role remains unclear.The fourth Thor movie will be the fifth film in the MCU’s Phase Four, after Black Widow (May 2021), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (July 2021), Eternals (November 2021), and Spider-Man 3 (December 2021). It will be followed by Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (March 2022), Black Panther II (May 2022), and Captain Marvel 2 (July 2022). Several other MCU entries — Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Ant-Man 3, and Blade among others — are in development.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –center_img Thor: Love and Thunder is currently set to release February 11, 2022 in cinemas worldwide.last_img read more

USDA releases sequences of 150 avian flu viruses

first_imgJun 2, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the release of complete genetic data for 150 avian influenza viruses in an effort to connect genetic information with the biological effects of the viruses and to improve diagnostic tests.USDA announced the release of the viral genetic sequences to GenBank, the National Institute of Health’s public genetic sequence database, on May 30. The viruses, mostly from North America, represent nearly all avian flu subtypes and were collected from the 1930s to the present, according to David Suarez, research leader of the Exotic and Emerging Avian Viral Diseases Research Unit at the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory (SEPRL) in Athens, Ga. The lab is part of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.”This sequence information, deciphered by our large team, will help researchers better understand virus biology and improve diagnostic tests for avian influenza viruses,” Suarez said in a USDA news release. He said SEPRL’s goal is to fully sequence 900 avian flu viruses.The viruses in the latest release include both poultry and wild-bird isolates from many countries, but mostly from North American poultry, Suarez told CIDRAP News.”Probably the largest number of them have come from live-bird market surveillance, primarily conducted by APHIS [the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service], through our collaboration with the National Veterinary Services Laboratory,” he said.Researchers at the University of Georgia, Ohio State University, and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks also contributed isolates for the project, the USDA said.The sequence data includes about 10 or 15 viruses collected in the 1930s and held at the USDA laboratory at Plum Island, New York, Suarez reported. There are also isolates from the 1970s and 1980s, but most are from the 1990s and 2000s, he said.”Some of these viruses are not necessarily very recent viruses, but we’re going back and systematically getting more information on these earlier isolates,” Suarez said. “Ultimately we hope to link the phenotype with the genotype. This is a big first step to get the genetic information available. As we go back and get more biological information, we hope ultimately to make a coherent story out of that.”Most avian flu subtypes are included in the 150 isolates, Suarez said. Influenza viruses are named for which of the 16 types of hemagglutinin (H) and 9 types of neuraminidase (N) they carry.The highest percentages of the viruses are H5 and H7 subtypes, but the isolates also include most of the other hemagglutinin types, Suarez said. “Probably the only ones we don’t have are [H]14 or [H]15,” he added.The genetic sequencing project is coupled with research on the biological effects of the viruses, Suarez said. That involves inoculating chickens, ducks, and turkeys with the pathogens and observing to what extent they replicate and cause disease.Suarez said having more genetic sequences available should make it possible to improve diagnostic tests, especially polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, for avian flu. PCR testing relies on the use of short man-made pieces of DNA (primers) that match DNA sequences on the ends of a gene of a virus or organism being tested for.”In the past some of the diagnostic tests haven’t worked as well as expected because of missing sequences,” Suarez said.After the viral isolates were prepared at the USDA lab, sequencing of the viral genes was done by SeqWright Corp. in Houston, according to the USDA news release. SEPRL then reviewed and annotated the resulting information before releasing it to GenBank.See also: May 30 USDA news releasehttp://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2008/080530.htmNIH information on GenBankhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Genbank/last_img read more

Governors group identifies states’ pandemic-preparedness gaps

first_imgOct 16, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – State pandemic preparedness has improved over the past few years, but gaps remain, particularly in areas that don’t relate directly to healthcare such as continuing government operations, maintaining essential services, and coordinating with the private sector, according to a recent report from the National Governors Association (NGA).The 18-page report, posted on the NGA’s Web site, details what the group learned from participants during nine regional pandemic preparedness workshops that involved all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four of five US territories. According to the NGA report, which was released in mid September, the workshops focused on areas that are common to all states: healthcare, commerce, education, and public safety.In 2006 the NGA released a pandemic primer for states, and in March the US Department of Health and Human Services published a comprehensive pandemic planning guide for states.The authors of the NGA report said their analysis of the workshop proceedings includes a major caveat. “Accurately assessing state preparedness for a pandemic outbreak is a moving target. There currently is no baseline, nor any agreed metric, against which state pandemic preparedness can reasonably be measured,” they wrote.Also, the authors of the NGA report said that states have lost some of their pandemic planning momentum for two reasons: States have already achieved some pandemic planning successes, which they said is encouraging. But at the same time the spread of H5N1 avian influenza seems to have slowed in animals and humans, which has led to waning interest in the issue.Chris Logan, program director for the NGA’s Homeland Security and Technology Division, said in a Sep 15 press release that though this issue has largely fallen off the public’s radar, states recognize that successfully managing a pandemic outbreak requires a sustained effort. “The conclusions of this report serve a vital national service: they demonstrate both the extent of our readiness as well as the gaps in our current preparedness,” he said.Healthcare concernsThe pandemic challenges that states seem most aware of involve the healthcare sector, the authors reported. One area that represents a strength and weakness is how states have focused on antiviral drug stockpiling.The NGA said that though many states have robust stockpiles, the effort has come at the expense of other preparedness components such as planning for surge capacity. However, the group reported that other states have voiced concerns about over-reliance on the drugs, and that financial constraints are forcing others to limit their supplies.Gaps threaten commerce flowOn the topic of commerce, the NGA said communities and states with international borders face unique challenges, because a pandemic would hamper the flow of supplies and workers. The authors reported that states acknowledged they were unprepared if a concurrent event such as a hurricane or earthquake were to strike during a pandemic.State officials said they worried most about small and medium businesses, which not only have fewer resources to prepare and respond to a pandemic, but would be hit hard by worker illnesses because the firms’ operations are less automated.Most states aren’t prepared to manage the economic impacts of a pandemic because they haven’t estimated them, the report said. However, some states and territories, such as California, Maine, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, have outlined how travel restrictions and reduced tourism could affect their economies.Maintaining food supplies was another gap identified. “No state reported having agreements with private sector food distribution and retail system to ensure the reliability of the food supply, nor has any state developed or deployed any type of monitoring system that would provide state officials with situational awareness,” the report’s authors wrote.Issues affect public safetyStates felt public safety would be less impacted than other areas in a pandemic setting. Law enforcement agencies generally have well-defined structures that are helpful in emergencies, and many have strong relationships with other community groups such as volunteer and faith-based organizations.State officials predicted that community mitigation measures during a pandemic could stall some judicial system activities, and that some are already considering suspending jury trials during pandemic emergencies.Challenges for schoolsEducational systems will likely be severely affected by a pandemic, but the NGA authors pointed out that schools are well suited to manage a range of problems. “Schools serve as a strong source of cohesion, and of information, for the communities they serve, and public agencies have a long history of working through schools to send messages to the public,” the authors wrote.One major gap, however, is a lack of situational awareness that administrators need before recommending closing or reopening schools. “The lack of federal and, in some cases, state coordination of school policy is likely to exacerbate those challenges,” they wrote.Solutions for statesThe NGA authors made several recommendations based on the workshop findings. For example, they advised states to:Develop and test policies that encourage government and private workers to perform their duties, both in traditional and alternate settingsCraft human resource policies that allow workers to stay home and care for sick family membersEstablish strategies of closing and reopening schoolsAddress challenges of colleges and universities, particularly dorm living that could facilitate the spread of the disease and international students who may be stranded due to travel restrictionsInvolve the public, not only on topics such as stockpiling but also on issues such as school closures and ethical decision-makingReach out to small businesses to see that they are prepared and aware of available resourcesSee also:NGA state pandemic preparedness reportSep 15 NGA press releaseJul 19, 2006, CIDRAP News story “Governors group issues planning guide for states”Mar 14 CIDRAP News story “HHS issues pandemic planning guide for states”last_img read more

Four new cases push H5N1 total past 400

first_imgJan 26, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Health ministries in China and Egypt reported four new human H5N1 avian influenza cases over the past few days, including three from different parts of China, two of which were fatal.Today’s World Health Organization (WHO) confirmation of a case in a 2-year-old Egyptian girl pushed the global H5N1 case count to 400. If the WHO confirms all of the new cases and deaths, the total will rise to 403 cases, 254 of them fatal.The Chinese cases bring the number reported in China since Jan 1 to seven, including the case of a Beijing woman who got sick Dec 24 and died Jan 5. (The WHO classified her illness as a 2008 case because of the onset date.) The 2-year-old girl represents Egypt’s second case of 2009.Reporting China’s most recent death from the virus, the country’s health ministry announced that an 18-year-old man from Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in south-central China near the Vietnamese border died today, according to Xinhua, the state news agency. The man got sick on Jan 19 in Beiliu city and was transferred to Yulin Municipal Red Cross Hospital on Jan 24.The health ministry said the man had contact with dead poultry before he got sick, according to a report today from Reuters.Yesterday China’s health ministry announced that a 29-year-old man from Guizhou province in the southwestern part of the country was in critical condition with an H5N1 infection, according to a report today from Agence France-Presse (AFP).The ministry said the man became ill on Jan 15 after he was exposed to live poultry, AFP reported.In the third new Chinese case, a local health official said a 31-year-old woman from Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwestern China died on Jan 23, according to a report yesterday from Xinhua.Wang Xiaoyan, deputy director of the region’s health department, said the woman, who lived in Urumqi, the region’s capital, got sick on Jan 10 after visiting a poultry market.Some public health officials have raised concerns about the potential spread of the H5N1 virus in China during the Lunar New Year, when celebrations often feature chicken dishes. The celebration begins today and lasts for 15 days. The WHO has urged people to observe routine safety precautions by thoroughly cooking chicken and washing hands after contact with raw meat.Meanwhile, the health ministry in Egypt today announced that a 2-year-old girl from Shebin Elkom district in Menofia governorate in the northern part of the country got sick on Jan 23 and was hospitalized immediately, according to a WHO statement. She was in stable condition, the agency said.An investigation into the source of the girl’s infection suggests she had recent contact with sick and dead poultry, the WHO said.See also:Jan 26 WHO statementlast_img read more

Panasonic’s pandemic-related move fuels questions, concern

first_imgFeb 10, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – News reports that Panasonic Corp. has asked some of its overseas employees to send their families home to Japan because of the threat of pandemic influenza fueled puzzlement and speculation today about the global H5N1 risk and whether other companies might follow suit.Bloomberg News reported that in December 2008 Panasonic asked employees in some of its Asian offices (excluding Singapore), Africa, Eastern Europe, and South America to send their families back to Japan by September.Akira Kadota, a Panasonic spokesman, told Bloomberg that the request to employees is an element of its pandemic planning. “We chose areas after considering the prevalence of bird flu and the capability of medical facilities and access to them,” he said.Earlier this month, Panasonic announced that it was cutting 15,000 jobs and anticipated a loss this year. However, Kadota told Bloomberg that bringing the employee families home from certain areas wasn’t a cost-cutting measure.China and Egypt have recently reported human H5N1 cases, a typical pattern during cooler seasons, but avian flu experts have not reported any mutations that would make the virus more transmissible among humans, and global health officials have not raised the H5N1 alert level.Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for the World Health Organization (WHO), told CIDRAP News that there has been no change in the perceived pandemic threat level that might explain Panasonic’s action.”We are still at pandemic phase 3,” Hartl commented by e-mail. “The behavior of the virus remains the same now as in past years: an upturn in cases in the northern hemisphere winter months, but with the epidemiology remaining the same (little if any human to human transmission, and no sustained human to human transmission within the community). There is no public health justification for acting differently now from in previous years.”A senior US government official who asked to remain anonymous told CIDRAP News today that though the pandemic threat persists and the need for preparations is critical, officials see no increased threat that would prompt any revisions of their pandemic advice or warning messages to Americans living abroad.Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of CIDRAP News and the CIDRAP Business Source, said he fielded a number of calls today from people in several business sectors who were worried about the significance of Panasonic’s move. “They wanted to know if this is for real,” he said.Penny Turnbull, PhD, senior director for crisis management and business continuity planning for Marriott International, Inc., said she was surprised and perplexed by Panasonic’s decision, given that there has been no significant change in the number, location, or transmission of avian flu infections in humans. She said the implications for other companies aren’t clear.”Companies might wonder on what intelligence Panasonic based this decision, but I find it hard to believe that any will be following suit in the near future, though they might start monitoring the news more closely for some time to come,” said Turnbull, who is also an editorial board member of the CIDRAP Business Source.Osterholm said heightened concern over the Panasonic news is a reminder that a company’s decisions can have far-reaching unintended consequences and that in the early days a pandemic is likely to generate hysteria, not factual or science-based information.He also said that Panasonic’s decision isn’t a breaking news story, because the company reportedly issued the new policy in December. “If this was a real pandemic concern, companies would have minutes to hours, not weeks to months, to prepare for this,” he said.Panasonic’s decision to repatriate the families of employees in some of its locations raises more questions about the company’s motives or if its risk assessment is seriously flawed, Osterholm added. “This tells me how ill prepared some of these companies are,” he said.Bloomberg News published its initial story on Panasonic’s request to its foreign employees last night, citing a Nikkei news story that did not quote any Panasonic sources. That prompted a handful of editors from prominent pandemic flu blogs, such as Avian Flu Diary and A Pandemic Chronicle, to swing into action, said Sharon Sanders, editor-in-chief of FluTrackers, a well-known Web message board that focuses on avian flu developments.The editors met online late last night to coordinate their coverage of the story and ask their contributors to translate foreign-language information on the Panasonic development, Sanders told CIDRAP News. She said she connected with Panasonic’s spokesman in Japan last night to flesh out some of the facts, which Bloomberg obtained and reported in today’s updates of its stories.last_img read more

A new attraction in Barac’s caves will be built with EU money

first_imgThe public institution Barać’s Cave is the holder of the project proposal  Cave House Visitor Center as the main components of primary projects for the development of the Plitvice Valley destination.According to the Barać Caves Public Institution, this project has been underway for several years, and was presented in 2014 at the Plitvice Lakes National Park and the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection, whose support and monitoring of project preparation they have enjoyed for several years. This is a project that the Plitvice Lakes National Park Public Institution and the Barać Caves Public Institution jointly applied to the European Fund for Competitiveness and Cohesion. Promoting the sustainable development of natural heritage worth HRK 20 million. They see the public call as a great opportunity to receive a grant from the Cohesion Fund, which finances the project up to 85 percent of the total costs.”This is a great opportunity for us because we would not be able to realize such a big project on our own. The project was reported together with the Plitvice Lakes National Park, which is also designed by the Medveđak Visitor Center, which will be thematically and programmatically linked to the offer of Barać’s caves. The common goal is to contribute to the development of the entire region, and through the sustainable management of protected areas. We expect the results to be announced by the end of the year and we hope to pass, and work will begin next year. The project implementation time is four years”, Says Tihana Oštrina, director of the Barać Cave Public Institution, who last week signed an agreement on partnership in the project and co-financing of the project by the National Park with Anđelko Novosel, director of the Plitvice Lakes National Park Public Institution.Tihana Oštrina, director of the Barać Cave Public InstitutionTihana Oštrina points out that it is of great importance that after numerous meetings of Plitvice Lakes National Park on the topic of cooperation between the two institutions in sustainable management of visitors to Plitvice Lakes National Park and directing visitors from Plitvice Lakes National Park to Barać Caves. The director thinks that it is a fortunate circumstance that the author team had a unique opportunity to design the object according to the layout, instead of projecting the exhibition into the already given dimensions, which enabled an extremely imaginative and creative approach.The main attraction and reception point of the project is the visitor center which contains presentation and museum units, speleological-educational center with depot and library, multipurpose multimedia hall, catering space and office space, children’s playroom, souvenir shop, cloakroom and exterior area with presentation points and parking. , an area of ​​a total of 2000 square meters.By developing the Visitor Center, the director of the Barać Cave adds, they want to improve the infrastructure for visitors, achieve a unique, innovative and attractive presentation of cultural and natural values ​​of the Barać Cave site for all visitors, create a modern infrastructure for various educational and recreational activities and related added values.Use of modern technology to create experiences and interpret natural and cultural heritage, encourage local population and visitors’ interest in culture and nature and develop awareness of nature conservation and the importance of sustainable human-nature interaction.last_img read more

UHPA members generate more than 50 percent of the total organized turnover

first_imgThe annual gathering of travel agencies, members of the Association and their guests at the UHPA Days will be held from 22 to 24 March 2018 at the Hotel Omorika in Crikvenica, UHPA’s domestic destination of the year 2017/2018. yearsThe third Days of UHPA gathered more than 150 participants, travel agencies members of UHPA, representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Croatian Tourist Board, professional associations, media representatives and others.As part of the UHPA Day, the Assembly of the Association was held, where the President of UHPA Tomislav Fain pointed out that this year one of the biggest challenges for agencies is adapting and implementing new legal provisions and presented what activities UHPA will undertake to facilitate agencies adaptation to new legislation. Minister Cappelli stressed the importance of cooperation between the private and public sectors, emphasizing the quality of cooperation with UHPA, which is an important and reliable partner of the Ministry of Tourism in the creation, preparation and implementation of the tourist season. “Members of the Croatian Association of Travel Agencies realize more than 50 percent of the total organized traffic in Croatia and are extremely important for Croatian tourism; not only due to the fact that they are very often the first contact with our guests and thus represent Croatian tourism, but they are also an important factor in connecting stakeholders in tourism and destination development. Through the creation of quality and meaningful tourism products, especially in the domains of selective forms of tourism available throughout the year, travel agencies have the opportunity to specialize in certain niches in the markets that represent the future of tourism. Added value has become more important than accommodation. Today’s guests are looking for an experience, and that’s exactly what you’re offering them. “, Said Minister Cappelli.Members of the Croatian Association of Travel Agencies realize more than 50 percent of the total organized traffic in CroatiaThe two-day program included meetings of UHPA specialists and numerous presentations by partners at which the special benefits provided by UHPA for its members were presented. There was also a panel discussion on the topic “Legislation in the business of travel agencies – what awaits us in 2018.” “This year will be marked by changes in laws and regulations concerning the operations of travel agencies. It will certainly be the most demanding adaptation to European legislation (Directive (EU) 2015/2302 on travel in package and related travel arrangements and the Regulation on personal data protection). UHPA will provide its members with timely and quality adaptation to them.˝ pointed out Fain.The UHPA Days officially end on Saturday with a meeting of UHPA members with the directors of the Croatian National Tourist Board’s representative offices in the markets of Austria, Belgium (Benelux), France, Germany, Slovenia and Sweden. The aim of the meeting is to get to know each other, exchange experiences and information in order to ensure better cooperation in terms of bringing more guests from these emitting markets.last_img read more