Tag Archive: emergency planning

CDC begins airport health screenings due to 2019 nCoV virus

CDC begins enhanced health screenings at LAX, SFO & JFK to detect ill travelers on flts direct from / through Wuhan, China due to new coronavirus. See email.

 

Supplemental Info:

 

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.


WUHAN CHINA NOVEL CORONAVIRUS


On 31 December 2019, WHO was informed of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. Since that date, at least 41 new cases have been identified, as well as one death. Chinese investigators conducted gene sequencing of the virus and have ruled out SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, influenza, avian influenza, adenovirus and other common respiratory pathogens (i.e. a possible new type of coronavirus).


Although the virus was initially thought to be transmitted by animals, the WHO says there is now evidence of human-to-human transmission.


On 13 Jan, the Thai Health Ministry in Bangkok reported that a 61-year-old Chinese woman who had traveled from Wuhan has been been quarantined with the mystery strain, the first time it has been detected outside China.

 

On 14 Jan, the World Health Organization began warning hospitals worldwide of the possible spread the novel SARS-like China coronavirus.

 

On 16 Jan, Japan’s health ministry reported their first confirmed case of the coronavirus in a man who had visited Wuhan.


CHINESE NEW YEAR

 

A major concern for public health officials worldwide is the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations, during which the largest annual human migration takes place as Chinese people head home to celebrate the Lunar New Year Spring Festival with their families.


The first day of Chinese New Year starts with the new moon, which for 2020 falls on 25 January.


While the legal holiday lasts 7 days (from the Lunar New Year’s Eve to the sixth day of the first lunar month), many companies and public institutions enjoy a longer holiday up to 10 days or more. It is also a public holiday in countries such as Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam.
During last year’s celebrations, it is estimated that 2.2 BILLION trips were made by automobile, 400 MILLION by rail, and 73 MILLION by air to and from points around the globe.

 

According to the Chinese travel services company Ctrip, the top five overseas destinations for Chinese New Year tourists are Thailand, Japan, the United States, Singapore and Australia.

_____

Public Health Screening to Begin at 3 U.S. Airports
for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (“2019-nCoV”)


Press Release

January 17, 2020


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will implement enhanced health screenings to detect ill travelers traveling to the United States on direct or connecting flights from Wuhan, China. This activity is in response to an outbreak in China caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (2019 nCoV), with exported cases to Thailand and Japan.


Starting January 17, 2020, travelers from Wuhan to the United States will undergo entry screening for symptoms associated with 2019-nCoV at three U.S. airports that receive most of the travelers from Wuhan, China: San Francisco (SFO), New York (JFK), and Los Angeles (LAX) airports.


“To further protect the health of the American public during the emergence of this novel coronavirus, CDC is beginning entry screening at three ports of entry. Investigations into this novel coronavirus are ongoing and we are monitoring and responding to this evolving situation,” said Martin Cetron, M.D., Director of CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.


Based on current information, the risk from 2019-nCoV to the American public is currently deemed to be low. Nevertheless, CDC is taking proactive preparedness precautions.


Entry screening is part of a layered approach used with other public health measures already in place to detect arriving travelers who are sick (such as detection and reporting of ill travelers by airlines during travel and referral of ill travelers arriving at a US port of entry by CBP) to slow and reduce the spread of any disease into the United States.


CDC is deploying about 100 additional staff to the three airports (SFO, JFK, and LAX) to supplement existing staff at CDC quarantine stations located at those airports.


CDC is actively monitoring this situation for pertinent information about the source of outbreak, and risk for further spread through person-to-person or animal-to-person transmission. CDC may adjust screening procedures and other response activities as this outbreak investigation continues and more is learned about the newly emerging virus. Entry screening alone is not a guarantee against the possible importation of this new virus but is an important public health tool during periods of uncertainty and part of a multilayered government response strategy. As new information emerges, CDC will reassess entry screening measures and could scale activities up or down accordingly.


On Jan. 11, 2020, CDC updated a
Level 1 Travel Health Notice (“practice usual precautions”) for travelers to Wuhan City and an updated Health Alert to health care professionals and public health partners with new and updated guidance is forthcoming.


China health officials report that most of the patients infected with 2019-nCoV have had exposure to a large market where live animals were present, suggesting this is a novel virus that has jumped the species barrier to infect people. Chinese authorities additionally report that several hundred health care workers caring for outbreak patients are being monitored and no spread of this virus from patients to health care workers has been seen. They report no sustained spread of this virus in the community, however there are indications that some limited person-to-person spread may have occurred. CDC is responding to this outbreak out of an abundance of caution, ready to detect people infected with 2019-CoV.


For the latest information on the outbreak, visit CDC’s
Novel Coronavirus 2019 website.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/p0117-coronavirus-screening.html

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

via: Alerts USA


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Virginia governor declares state of emergency – is National Guard deployment next

Is this the excuse to use National Guard some feared.

 

Per the Emergency Services and Disaster Law:

Mutual assistance in this compact may include the use of the states’ National Guard forces, either in accordance with the National Guard Mutual Assistance Compact or by mutual agreement between states.

Governor says intelligence groups report chatter echo’s Charlottesville rally, governor says.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued a state of emergency on Wednesday that bars any weapons from the Richmond’s Capitol Square from Friday to Tuesday, after he received credible intelligence that hate groups and armed militias are planning violence at next Monday’s Lobby Day against gun control legislation.

Northam, who discussed the threats at a news conference, said the state’s law enforcement analysis found that the chatter on the internet and other venues mirrored similar messages seen around the time of the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally, which left three dead and more than 30 injured.

The governor declined to give exact details about the threats and the persons making them, but said that these groups, who were coming from outside of the state, talked about storming the Virginia Capitol.

“They are not coming to peacefully protest, they are coming to intimidate and to cause harm,” he said of the outside groups.

The announced weapons ban will include sticks, bats, chains, projectiles, and firearms, similar to the prohibitions issued on airlines and in courthouses, Northam said. State, Capitol and Richmond police officers will coordinate the safety in the square and set up checkpoints to make sure everyone adheres to the weapons ban.

“It makes no sense to ban every other weapon but allow firearms when intelligence shows a threat of an armed militia groups storming our capital,” Northam said.

Gun rights advocates from around the country plan on attending the state’s Lobby Day on Monday to speak out against new gun control legislation that is moving forward under the newly Democratic-controlled Virginia House of Delegates and state Senate. Some of the bills include universal background checks on guns, an assault rifles ban and a “red flag” law that would give judges the authority to order an individual to temporarily turn in their weapon if they are deemed a threat.

Seventeen states including New York and Florida, as well as Washington, D.C., have previously passed red flag laws.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League, VCDL, a group that describes itself as a “non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the fundamental human right of all Virginians to keep and bear arms,” plans on holding a rally. Northam said he respects the rights of Virginians to protest and speak their mind about the gun control bills, but emphasized that he will not condone any threat of violence.

He called on the VCDL and other gun rights groups to stick to peaceful protests.

“I call on them to disavow anyone who wishes to use Monday’s rally to advance a violent agenda,” Northam said. “Hate, intimidation and violence have no place here.”

Representatives for the VCDL didn’t immediately return messages for comment.

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

via:  abcnews


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WHO warns hospitals re novel SARS-like China coronavirus

WHO warning hospitals worldwide of poss spreading of novel SARS-like China coronavirus. Chinese New Year approaching. Links to clinical guidance via email.

Supplemental Info:

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

WUHAN CHINA NOVEL CORONAVIRUS

On 31 December 2019, WHO was informed of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. Since that date, at least 41 new cases have been identified, as well as one death. Chinese investigators conducted gene sequencing of the virus and have ruled out SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, influenza, avian influenza, adenovirus and other common respiratory pathogens (i.e. a possible new type of coronavirus).
Although the virus was initially thought to be transmitted by animals, the WHO says there is now evidence of human-to-human transmission.
On 13 Jan, the Thai Health Ministry in Bangkok reported that a 61-year-old Chinese woman who had traveled from Wuhan has been been quarantined with the mystery strain, the first time it has been detected outside China.

CHINESE NEW YEAR

A major concern for public health officials worldwide is the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations, during which the largest annual human migration takes place as Chinese people head home to celebrate the Lunar New Year Spring Festival with their families.

The first day of Chinese New Year starts with the new moon, which for 2020 falls on 25 January.
While the legal holiday lasts 7 days (from the Lunar New Year’s Eve to the sixth day of the first lunar month), many companies and public institutions enjoy a longer holiday up to 10 days or more. It is also a public holiday in countries such as Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam.

During last year’s celebrations, it is estimated that 2.2 BILLION trips were made by automobile, 400 MILLION by rail, and 73 MILLION by air to and from points around the globe.

WHO GUIDANCE FOR HOSPITALS

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, acting head of WHO’s emerging diseases unit, told a Geneva news briefing earlier today that the agency had given guidance to hospitals worldwide about infection control in case of spread, including by a “super-spreading” event in a health care setting. “This is something on our radar, it is possible, we need to prepare ourselves,” she said.

[ As this virus is so new, some of the guidance below appears to be re-purposed from past related outbreaks. ]

Case Definitions

https://www.who.int/publications-detail/surveillance-case-definitions-for-human-infection-with-novel-coronavirus-(ncov)

Laboratory Guidance (PDF)

https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/330374/WHO-2019-nCoV-laboratory-2020.1-eng.pdf

Clinical Management for Suspected Novel Coronavirus

https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/clinical-management-of-novel-cov.pdf

Infection Prevention and Control (PDF)

https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/330375/WHO-2019-nCoV-IPC-v2020.1-eng.pdf

Risk Communications

https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/330377/WHO-2019-nCoV-RCCE-v2020.1-eng.pdf

Readiness Checklist

https://www.who.int/publications-detail/national-capacities-review-tool-for-a-novel-coronavirus-(ncov)

Disease Commodity Package

https://www.who.int/publications-detail/disease-commodity-package-for-novel-coronavirus

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via: Alerts USA


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Do you have a backup generator or Social Security? Think about both.

The news headlines read, “Deadly 6.4 Magnitude Earthquake Plunges Puerto Rico into Darkness”; and “Powerful Puerto Rico Earthquake Knocks Out Entire Island’s Power.”

It was enough to prompt a friends mother to call, four times, to make sure he was OK.

There’s been a string of fairly strong earthquakes lately in Puerto Rico… which is incredibly unusual for this part of the world. It’s been more than a century since the island was rocked by anything of this magnitude.

But as he explained to his parents that the press had blown things out of proportion as usual. They were running video footage that made it seem as if the island had been blasted back into the Stone Age.

It’s true that there were some displaced families and property damage near the epicenter.

But most of the island was not substantially affected. None of the major news organizations bothered to show footage of busy shopping malls, crowded restaurants, and packed movie theaters teeming with consumers.

It’s also true that the electrical grid went down: the island was without power for some time. In his community, the power came back on after 2 days. Some people had it on after a day, some after 3 or 4 days.

But here’s what people don’t realize– the electricity problems in Puerto Rico have a lot less to do with the seismic activity, and a lot more to do with the island’s decade-long economic depression.

Puerto Rico’s economy has been in the dumps since at least 2006. The government is bankrupt and defaulted on many of its debts as far back as 2015. And Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority (PREPA) is bankrupt as well, having defaulted on billions of dollars worth of bond obligations.

All of this financial insolvency means that neither the government nor PREPA has the resources to invest in the electrical grid.

And most of PREPA’s electrical production assets are in desperate need of replacement.

The largest power plant in Puerto Rico is the 820 MW Costa Sur facility, and according to PREPA, it was built in the 1950s!

This makes Costa Sur more than twice as old as the average power plant in the US.

They simply don’t have the money to modernize or upgrade their facilities. And people who live here understand this reality: the electrical grid in Puerto Rico is incredibly weak.

I’m serious. Power outages are commonplace here. The power at my house goes out at least 2-3 times a month, usually for a couple of hours.

That’s because every time a mouse farts on this island, something goes haywire at the electrical plants and the power goes out.

But again, Puerto Ricans know this. They have little confidence in their government, and even less confidence in the electrical grid.

So everyone who has the means in Puerto Rico owns a generator. It’s their Plan B. The power goes out, the generator comes on, and everything is OK.

My friends house is equipped with a huge generator… plus a backup cistern in case the water company goes down too.

This isn’t some wild conspiracy theory. In Puerto Rico, there’s nearly a 100% certainty that the system is going to fail… so having a backup generator is a perfectly sensible precaution to take.

And people who take this precaution are well-protected in the event that disaster strikes.

This way of thinking can obviously be applied to a lot of things… like retirement planning.

It’s no secret that government pension funds around the world are woefully underfunded.

University studies, non-profit research groups, mainstream financial press, and even government agencies themselves have reached the same conclusion: national, state, and local pension funds are trillions of dollars in the hole.

They simply do not have enough cash, nor will they have enough cash in the future, to pay the retirement benefits they owe.

Social Security in the United States is a great example.

Social Security’s Board of Trustees, which includes the United States Secretary of the Treasury, states quite plainly in their annual reports that Social Security’s primary trust funds will run out of money in 15 years.

Specifically, on page 5 of the 2019 Social Security Trustees Report, they state:

“Trust Fund asset reserves become depleted and unable to pay scheduled benefits in full on a timely basis in 2035.”

This isn’t some crazy conspiracy theory either. This is the US Treasury Secretary stating that in just 15 years, Social Security’s trust funds will be out of money and unable to pay the benefits that they’ve been promising people for decades.

This is just like Puerto Rico’s electrical issue: you know there’s nearly a 100% certainty that the program is going to run out of money.

I mean, seriously, the people in charge of program are telling you that it’s going to run out of money. It couldn’t be any more clear than that.

So it seems fairly sensible to have a backup generator for your retirement.

Everyone has a different situation– but there are plenty of options.

In the US, for example, tax deferred structures like a SEP IRA or Solo 401(k) can help you put away $50,000+ each year for your retirement in a really tax efficient way.

It’s even possible to use these structures combined with a side business like selling products on Amazon, renting out Airbnb units, etc. This means that you can channel income from your side business into your retirement account, helping you accumulate the savings you need to be comfortable in the future.

And, hey, even if Social Security is magically bailed out by benevolent space aliens, or some other crazy scenario, it’s not like you’ll be worse off having more retirement savings.

This is definitely worth considering and speaking to your tax adviser about.

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


via:  SovereignMan.com


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Fort Bragg’s 82nd Airborne deploys to the Middle East

FORT BRAGG, N.C.  For many of the soldiers, it would be their first mission. They packed up ammunition and rifles, placed last-minute calls to loved ones, then turned in their cell phones. Some gave blood.

The 600 mostly young soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were headed for the Middle East, part of a group of some 3,500 U.S. paratroopers ordered to the region. Kuwait is the first stop for many. Their final destinations are classified.

“We’re going to war, bro,” one cheered, holding two thumbs up and sporting a grin under close-shorn red hair. He stood among dozens of soldiers loading trucks outside a cinder block building housing several auditoriums with long benches and tables.

Days after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the drone killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, raising fears of fresh conflict in the Middle East, the men and women of the U.S. Army’s storied 82nd Airborne Division are moving out in the largest “fast deployment” since the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

U.S. Army Major General James Mingus waded through the sea of camouflage-uniformed men and women as they prepared to leave the base near Fayetteville on Sunday. He shook hands with the troops, wishing them luck.

  • FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, walk toward an awaiting aircraft prior to departing for the Middle East from Fort Bragga man in a military uniform: U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division board an aircraft bound for the U.S. Central Command area of operations from Fort Bragga group of people on a beach: FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, walk toward an awaiting aircraft prior to departing for the Middle East from Fort Bragga group of people in military uniforms: FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, prepare for departure for the Middle East from Fort Bragg


One soldier from Ashboro, Virginia, said he wasn’t surprised when the order came.“I was just watching the news, seeing how things were going over there,” said the 27-year-old, one of several soldiers Reuters was allowed to interview on condition they not be named. “Then I got a text message from my sergeant saying ‘don’t go anywhere.’ And that was it.”

Risks seemed to be pushed to the back of the minds of the younger soldiers, though many packed the base chapel after a breakfast of eggs, waffles, oatmeal, sausages and 1,000 doughnuts.

One private took a strap tethered to a transport truck and tried to hitch it to the belt of an unwitting friend, a last prank before shipping out.

‘THIS IS THE MISSION’

The older soldiers, in their 30s and 40s, were visibly more somber, having the experience of seeing comrades come home from past deployments learning to walk on one leg or in flag-draped coffins.

“This is the mission, man,” said Brian Knight, retired Army veteran who has been on five combat deployments to the Middle East. He is the current director of a chapter of the United Service Organizations military support charity.

“They’re answering America’s 911 call,” Knight said. “They’re stoked to go. The president called for the 82nd.”

There was lots of wrestling holds as the troops tossed their 75-pound (34 kg) backpacks onto transport trucks. The packs hold everything from armor-plated vests, extra socks and underwear, to 210 rounds of ammunition for their M-4 carbine rifles.

A sergeant pushed through the crowd shouting for anyone with type-O blood, which can be transfused into any patient.

“The medics need you now. Move,” he said, before a handful of troops walked off to give a little less than a pint each.

UNCERTAINTY PREVAILS

While members of the unit – considered the most mobile in the U.S. Army – are used to quick deployments, this was different, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Burns, an Army spokesman.

“The guys are excited to go but none of us know how long they’ll be gone,” Burns said. “That’s the toughest part.”

Soldiers were ordered not to bring cell phones, portable video games or any other devices that could be used to communicate with friends and family back home, out of concern that details of their movements could leak out.

“We’re an infantry brigade,” Burns said. “Our primary mission is ground fighting. This is as real as it gets.”

A sergeant started rattling off last names, checking them off from a list after “heres” and “yups” and “yos.”

For every fighter, there were seven support crew members shipping out – cooks, aviators, mechanics, medics, chaplains, and transportation and supply managers. All but the chaplains would carry guns to fight.

A senior master sergeant, 34, said: “The Army is an all-volunteer force. We want to do this. You pay your taxes and we get to do this.”

The reality of the deployment wouldn’t sink in until the troops “walk out that door,” he said, pointing to the exit to the tarmac where C-4 and C-7 transport planes and two contract commercial jets waited.

His call came when he was on leave in his hometown of Daytona Beach, Florida, taking his two young daughters to visit relatives and maybe go to Walt Disney World.

“We just got there and I got the call to turn right around and head back to base,” he said. “My wife knows the drill. I had to go. We drove right back.”

On a single order, hundreds of soldiers jumped to their feet. They lined up single file and marched out carrying their guns and kits and helmets, past a volunteer honor guard holding aloft flags that flapped east in the January wind.


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via:  msn


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Acting Secretary Wolf Issues Homeland Security National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin

Acting Secretary Wolf Issues Homeland Security NTAS Bulletin

WASHINGTON – Today, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf issued a new National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin pertaining to the changing threat landscape following the successful U.S.-led airstrike in Iraq that eliminated Qaseem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

“At this time there is no specific, credible threat against the homeland. The Department issued this bulletin to inform, share protective measures, and reassure the American public, state and local governments, and private sector partners that the Department of Homeland Security is actively monitoring and preparing for any specific, credible threat, should one arise” said Acting Secretary Wolf. “The Department is operating with an enhanced posture and various operational components are taking protective measures where prudent and necessary. We have been in constant communication with Congress and interagency partners. The American people should feel assured the entire Department is working for them to keep them safe.”

You can read the new NTAS Bulletin here.


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Statement on the successful U.S.-led airstrike in Iraq that eliminated Qasem Soleimani

Private Sector Update


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Office of Public Affairs


Statement from Acting Secretary Wolf

WASHINGTON- Today, Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf issued the following statement on the successful U.S.-led airstrike in Iraq that eliminated Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

“I commend the President’s decisive action to protect American lives both abroad and at home. The Department of Homeland Security stands ready to confront and combat any and all threats facing our homeland. While there are currently no specific, credible threats against our homeland, DHS continues to monitor the situation and work with our Federal, State and local partners to ensure the safety of every American.

“As a result of yesterday’s military action, I convened senior DHS leadership last night and earlier this morning to assess potential new threats and component actions to respond to the constantly evolving threat landscape. The entire Department remains vigilant and stands ready, as always, to defend the Homeland.”

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Multiple stabbing victims at Murray Hill shopping center and nearby Wells Fargo Bank. – 12/18/19

Multiple people were stabbed at the Murray Hill shopping center and nearby Wells Fargo Bank in Beaverton, police tweeted.

The stabbing suspect has been detained and is no longer a threat to the public, according to Beaverton police. The stabbing victims have been sent to the hospital, but the status of their injuries is unclear at this time.

Officers are on the scene at Southwest Murray Boulevard and Teal Avenue. The Washington County Major Crimes Team is also responding.

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How Robert De Niro ended up with three passports—should think about another also?

Most people might be surprised to learn that Robert De Niro has more passports than he has Academy Awards.

Come to think of it… most people probably have more passports (one), than they have Academy Awards (zero).

But De Niro has two Oscars: the first for playing Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II, and the second for his starring role in Raging Bull.

Yet he has three passports (that we know about).

De Niro was born in New York City, making him automatically a US citizen at birth because of the nationality laws in the United States.

Almost anyone born on US soil becomes a US citizen at birth; the only exception is children born to foreign diplomats who are in the United States on official business.

This law isn’t unique to the United States; nearly every country in the Americas, from Canada to Argentina, plus a few ‘random’ countries like Tanzania, grants citizenship to anyone born there.

So right from day one, De Niro was a US citizen.

But it turns out that De Niro has Italian ancestry as well. And Italy is one of a multitude of countries that grants citizenship to people who can prove their ancestry. (Others include Ireland, Poland, Germany, and a number of other countries in Europe.)

So De Niro was able to obtain an Italian passport back in 2006.

This is really valuable; a European second citizenship gives you the right to live, work, and do business in all 28 European Union countries– like France, Spain, Germany and Sweden. It’s a great Plan B.

Even if you don’t have European ancestors, Spain takes it a step further and allows citizens of former Spanish colonies (most of Latin America) to obtain Spanish citizenship after living in Spain for just two years as a legal resident.

De Niro’s third passport is from the Caribbean island nation of Antigua. Even more specifically, De Niro holds a Diplomatic Passport from Antigua with the title of ‘Special Envoy’.

And because of his diplomatic credentials, De Niro is entitled to a great deal of special privileges and amenities that even movie stars don’t normally receive.

Based on the 1969 United Nations Convention of Special Missions, special envoys like Robert De Niro are eligible to receive tons of travel benefits.

Diplomats always skip the line at airports. And under Article 26 of the convention agreement, it’s illegal for foreign customs officials to search a special envoy’s bags.

Then there’s diplomatic immunity; a special envoy “immunity from the criminal jurisdiction” of the foreign country where he is carrying out his duties. And his residence/office are protected as if they were the soil of a sovereign nation.

And if all that weren’t enough, the 1969 United Nations Convention on Special Missions even includes a host of tax benefits; special envoys are eligible for exemption of income tax, social security tax, and customs duties.

It’s a pretty great deal if you can get it. And apparently if you’re Robert De Niro, you can.

But Antigua is one of a handful of countries with an “economic citizenship” program, which awards citizenship to foreigners who invest a certain sum of money in the country.

For anywhere between $100,000 up to $1 million or more in some countries, you can obtain citizenship. But in most cases you’ll never see that money again, so it’s more of a ‘donation’ than a true ‘investment’.

For people who aren’t eligible for citizenship by ancestry, though, these economic citizenship programs are a fast and easy way to obtain another passport.

There are nearly 200 different countries in the world, so that’s a lot of options for a second passports and citizenship.

And obviously some are much more valuable than others.

My team created a global passport ranking, to systematically assess which passports are best.

We took into account criteria like how many countries a passport gives you visa free access to, and how much of the global GDP, population, and surface area it gives you access to.

15 of the top 20 ranked passports, for example, are from European nations. These all give you visa free entrance into at least 157 countries, which account for 77% of global GDP.

It makes sense why so many people want to obtain a second passport from a European country. Any second citizenship will give you another option for where to live and work– a major component of any solid Plan B.

And the nice thing about European countries is that it’s fairly straightforward to obtain citizenship through another means: legal residency.

Portugal, for example, has one of the lowest barriers to become a legal resident in the country. You have to demonstrate just €14,600 in savings or liquid investments. And after five years of residency you are eligible to apply for naturalization and obtain a passport from Portugal.

Belgium will grant residency if you start or move your business there. And like in Portugal you’ll become eligible to apply for a passport after five years.

Everyone’s situation is different. But there are many excellent options to obtain a European citizenship and a passport if you are lucky enough to have ancestors from Europe or are willing to invest time or money.

You can start with this free in-depth article my team just put together– The Three Ways To Obtain a European Citizenship & Excellent Second Passport.

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

via:  SovereignMan.com


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How to Skin and Prepare a Rattlesnake for the Table

It’s best to leave them alone, but if you do get a fresh rattlesnake, you might as well eat it.

I’m a realist. I know that venomous snakes and small kids, or pets, or livestock just don’t mix.  While I might not kill a rattlesnake unless I have no other option, I’ll dang sure eat one if I get the opportunity.

Rattlesnake meat is white, tender, and tastes like a cross between frog legs and turtle. While there are a lot of rib bones, a big rattlesnake will have a backstrap like muscle that runs the entire length of the backbone. Once cooked, that muscle will peel out easily, giving the diner a boneless bite of goodness.

Think you might want to try one in the future? Here’s how to process a rattlesnake for the table, T2T style. Save the skin for a hat band, a nifty wall display, or do like Joe and use it as a decorative backing for a self-bow.

1. Always remove the head before handling a rattlesnake

Always remove the head before handling a rattlesnake

Step 1. Remove the head. Dead rattlesnakes can still bite. It’s a nervous system deal, similar to a turkey gobbler that flops around for a few minutes after a fatal shot. I can’t stress this enough, don’t mess with the head. Don’t take any chances. If the head wasn’t removed by a shotgun blast, use a long-handled hoe or a machete to remove it from a distance. Use a long-handled shovel to pick it up and dispose of it safely, away from curious pets or kids. If you can’t remove the head from a safe distance, just don’t mess with it at all. While rattlesnake meat is great to eat, it isn’t worth receiving a bite. Just like wild mushrooms, you might only get one chance to mess this up. If you aren’t confident in your ability to do it safely, find someone that is. We are not responsible for any injuries incurred in this step. Besides safety concerns, it’s important to always check your state and local regulations when it comes to killing or possessing a rattlesnake. They are a protected species in many areas. If you plan on gifting a rattlesnake to a friend in another state or area, check the regs in both places. Transporting a rattlesnake across state lines where they might be protected can result in federal wildlife violations.

 

2. Where gloves to protect from salmonella.

Gloves will protect against salmonella when processing a rattlesnake.

Step 2. Don a pair of latex gloves. Snakes, like raw chicken or turtle, can carry salmonella. Since you probably aren’t next to a sink and soap while you are cleaning them, gloves offer protection. Just like chicken or turtle, rattlesnake meat should be cooked to at least 165 degrees internal temperature for safety.

 

3. Use a pair of scissors to open the snake’s belly.

Use a pair of scissors to open the snake

Step 3. Use a pair of scissors to open the snake’s belly starting where the head USED TO BE (before you SAFELY removed it), down to the tip of the tail.

 

4. Use a sharp blade to start removing the skin at both the head and tail ends.

Use a sharp blade to start removing the skin at both the head and tail ends.

Step 4. Use a sharp knife to loosen the skin around the neck area of the snake to start separating it from the meat. Move down to the tail and loosen the skin in front of the rattles the same way so that it doesn’t tear when you get down to that part in the skinning process.

 

5. Peel the skin away from the meat over the full length of the rattlesnake.

Peel the skin away from the meat

Step 5. Grasp the rattlesnake in your left hand and get a grip on the skin at the neck with either your right hand or a pair of pliers. Peel the skin downward, just like peeling a banana. Roll the skin and place in the freezer, or stretch it, scales down, on a long board and apply salt or Borax liberally, covering every square inch of skin.

 

6. Remove the entrails from the body cavity.

Remove the entrails from the body cavity.

Step 6. Remove the entrails from the body cavity. They should pull out in one long piece, leaving the cavity clean.

 

7. Cut the snake into cross sections for cooking and serving.

Cut the rattlesnake into cross sections for easy cooking and serving

Step 7. Cut the rattlesnake in cross sections, about 2 to 3 inches in length. I leave the narrow sections of the neck and tail longer, since there isn’t as much meat on those. The thicker sections from the center of the body get cut into shorter lengths so that everything cooks in the same amount of time.

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

via:  realtree

 


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