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Governor Cuomo Announces New York’s Age-friendly Policies Initiative Wins National Public Health Innovation Award




Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that the National Network of Public Health Institutes has recognized New York’s Health Across All Policies/Age-Friendly NY Initiative with its 2019 Public Health Innovation Award. The award is bestowed on an organization that has taken a risk or developed an out-of-the-box solution resulting in new approaches, scalable ideas and ways of working together. The NNPHI cited New York for the strong partnerships, strategic vision, innovative approach and creative financing that this initiative demonstrated.

“New York State leads the nation in implementing positive healthy aging policies, and this award recognizes our bold commitment to public health and older New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo said. “By creating livable communities for all ages, we are addressing health needs while promoting economic prosperity and social equity.”

Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York was designated the first age-friendly state in the nation in 2017 by AARP and the World Health Organization. This means that the State has committed to embedding AARP’s Livable Communities Principles into government programs, planning and procurement.

Governor Cuomo recently issued an Executive Order directing all state agencies to adopt and incorporate the principles of age- and health-friendly communities into their programs, policies, spending and reporting. The Executive Order builds on the New York State Prevention Agenda, the blueprint to improve the health of all New Yorkers and reduce health disparities. The vision of the Prevention Agenda is for New York to become the healthiest state in the nation. The State has made significant progress with this goal—in 2011, New York ranked 24th in public health outcomes, according to “America’s Health Rankings”; in 2018, the State climbed to 10th.

Healthy, age-friendly communities employ smart growth planning principles, such as walkable and bikable streetscapes, compact, mixed-use zoning, reliable transit, accessible public spaces and a variety of housing choices. They also use preventive health themes, such as physical activity, public safety, access to healthy food, social interaction for better mental health, air and water quality, and socio-economic equity, to improve overall population health and address social determinants of health.

Several state agencies have already embraced age-friendly principles in their programs. The Department of Health, Office for the Aging, and Department of State have created a grant program to help counties and communities become age-friendly certified and implement the Governor’s Executive Order on the local level. Further, the Office for the Aging will submit its federal four-year plan in July that will include actions and activities to support age-friendly communities and healthy aging. County offices for the aging four-year plans that are due in 2020 are also required to include these elements. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has included a focus on age-friendly communities in its most recent Adirondack/Catskills Smart Growth Grant Program to help make the two parks more accessible to older New Yorkers.

“Here in New York, we are proud of how we invest in residents at every stage of life,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “Our commitment to older adults is unprecedented, and as more and more people live longer, fuller lives it becomes increasingly essential to ensure their needs are met and that they’re active in their communities. As the nation’s first age-friendly state, we are proud to be recognized for our efforts and committed to continuing our health and smart growth initiatives to ensure all New Yorkers lead their best lives.”

NYS Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said, “Caring for older New Yorkers and ensuring they have access to safer, more livable, healthy communities is a cornerstone of public health. This latest recognition honors our commitment to Governor Cuomo’s Health Across All Policies and further enhances our designation as the nation’s first Age Friendly State.”

NYS Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “Governor Cuomo has made smart, sustainable community planning and development a key part of how we operate in New York State. The New York Department of State is proud to contribute to the ongoing efforts that are raising the bar for the rest of the nation.”

NYS Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen said, “Governor Cuomo recognizes that the only way to improve overall population health and create communities that are great places to grow up and grow older is through a coordinated, multi-agency approach. Under the Governor’s leadership, New York is nationally recognized for being the first age friendly state in the nation. And through the Prevention Agenda and the Health Across All Policies approach, marrying health care, preventive health, and community-design, in concert with addressing social determinants of health, will continue to yield positive results for all New Yorkers, young and old.”

Jo Boufford, M.D., Vice Chair of the NYS Public Health and Health Planning Council, said, “The NYS Public Health and Health Planning Council is delighted at the national recognition of the State’s commitment to policies and practices to make NY the heathiest state for persons of all ages. We applaud Governor Cuomo’s leadership and are gratified to serve as the public body charged to oversee implementation of NYS Prevention Agenda, the Governor’s Executive Order to implement Health Across All Policies of state agencies and implementation of the State’s commitment to being the nation’s first Age Friendly state.”

Judith A. Salerno, MD, MS, President, The New York Academy of Medicine, said, “The New York Academy of Medicine is proud to be a trusted partner and advisor to the State of New York in the development and implementation of the Health Across all Policies and Age-Friendly initiatives. The recognition of these efforts by NNPHI confirms Governor Cuomo’s vision and leadership in making health a Statewide priority. Alongside our partners at the State Department of Health, the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York, and AARP, we are committed to building public-private partnerships that support health for people of all ages.”

Beth Finkel, AARP New York State Director, said, “Health is key to happy and successful aging, and AARP New York is proud to have collaborated with Governor Cuomo and the state Health Department, the New York Academy of Medicine, and the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York to develop this innovative approach to health care for an aging population. We are grateful to the Governor for making New York the first state in the nation to commit to joining the AARP-World Health Organization Network of Age Friendly States and Communities. As the centerpiece of that commitment, the ‘Health Across All Policies’ initiative demonstrates Governor Cuomo’s vision and leadership in recognizing the increasing importance of health in all aspects of the lives of New Yorkers of all ages.”

Nora OBrien-Suric, Ph.D., President of the Health Foundation of Western and Central New York, said, “The Health Foundation for Western & Central NY is honored to be recognized along with our esteemed partners in receiving this award. When Governor Cuomo launched an initiative to advance “Health Across All Policies,” and made a pledge to make New York the first Age-Friendly State, the Health Foundation recognized the opportunity for partnership. There is a strong connection between the Governor’s mandate and the Foundation’s emphasis on addressing the social determinants of health for children and older adults. The work of HAAP/Age-Friendly New York is based on a recognition that there are many interacting determinants of healthy aging. Many of those determinants must be addressed at the community level, which is why collaborations are essential in achieving desired outcomes. Our collaboration with the Department of Health, AARP and the New York Academy of Medicine demonstrates the type of collaboration needed to effect systems change. We thank the National Network of Public Health Institutes for recognizing our partnership with this award.”


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Israel election: Exit polls show race too close to call




esrael selection

Vote counting is under way in Israel after millions took part in an election widely seen as a referendum on the fate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu, who became Israel’s longest-serving prime minister in July, is seeking a record fifth term in office. He is competing against his toughest challenger in years, former army chief Benny Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White party.

According to the first round of exit polls, which are unofficial and can be unreliable, Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition bloc have failed to secure the 61-seat majority they needed.

Two exit polls put Gantz’s party in a narrow lead. A Channel 12 exit poll said it would win 34 seats, with Netanyahu’s Likud one seat behind. The poll had Arab Joint List – an alliance of four Palestinian parties – winning 11 seats with eight for former Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s far-right Yisrael Beiteinu.
Meanwhile, an exit poll on Channel 13 put Likud at 31 seats, trailing Gantz’s party by two seats.

Official preliminary results will be announced on Wednesday, with final results due on September 25.

Speaking to cheering supporters in Tel Aviv early on Wednesday, Gantz said it was necessary to wait for the official results, but was clearly confident.

“Netanyahu has not been successful in what he set out to do,” he told the crowd. “We, on the other hand, proved that the idea called Blue and White – a venture we started a little over six months ago – was successful.”

Speaking shortly afterwards, Netanyahu took the stage at Likud’s party headquarters in Tel Aviv.

He told his supporters that coalition talks had already begun.

“Israel is entitled to a strong government, a stable government, a government that ensures Israel is the nation of the Jewish people, and that it cannot, will not, be a government which is formed of parties which hate the nation,” he said, apologising for a croaky voice and sipping on water.

Majdi Halabi, an analyst and expert on Israeli affairs, said the initial unofficial results were a “slap in the face” for the prime minister.

Some 31 parties were competing for the 120 seats in the country’s 22nd Knesset.

Turnout rises
Although many observers expected election fatigue to set in as voters headed to the polls for the second time in less than six months, early turnout was the highest in decades and long queues formed during the afternoon on Tuesday outside polling stations in the capital Tel Aviv.

The more than 11,000 polling stations across the country closed at 10pm (19:00 GMT).

Israel’s election commission says the final turnout was 69.4 percent, compared with 68.5 percent in April, with a total of 4,440,141 votes cast.

Netanyahu rallied his supporters throughout the day, using various social media platforms, phone messages, and direct engagement with voters on the streets of several major cities.

“We are fighting to the last minute. Every vote is important. Get out and vote for Likud. Bring everyone you can to the ballot box,” Netanyahu told his followers via Twitter in the final hour before voting closed.

Netanyahu is also facing a pretrial hearing in connection with three separate corruption cases – bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He denies any wrongdoing.

In a statement, Israeli police said they had detained or arrested 20 people for various offences, including one man in the Negev Region who allegedly tried to disrupt voting at a polling station.

Netanyahu vs Gantz
Coalition governments are the norm in Israel as no single party has won a majority of seats in the Knesset and the negotiations ahead are likely to be difficult.

Lieberman has said he would not join an alliance that included ultra-Orthodox parties – Netanyahu’s traditional partners.

Gantz has ruled out participating in an administration with Netanyahu if the veteran politician is indicted on the corruption charges.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin will decide who will be given the mandate to form a new government – usually the leader of the party that wins the most seats.
If Rivlin thinks this person is unlikely to garner enough support from smaller parties to control at least 61 seats in the Knesset, he may give the task to someone else.

“If Netanyahu doesn’t clear the 61-seat threshold, Rivlin may still give him the mandate to form a government,” Eli Nissan, an Israeli political analyst told Al Jazeera.

“But if he fails to form a government within the next few weeks – like what happened after the April vote – the President may give Gantz the opportunity to do that instead,” he added. “If he fails as well, the president may push for a unity government.”

Israel has not had a unity government since Netanyahu came to power in 2009.

Palestinian vote
According to experts, voter turnout among Palestinian citizens of Israel was expected to be higher than the April vote which saw only 49.2 percent of eligible voters among Palestinians cast their ballot.

“There was a higher voter turnout among Palestinian citizens this time, most of whom voted for the Arab Joint List,” said Haifa-based analyst Diana Buttu.
“We also saw a large number of Jewish voters support the Joint List,” she added referring to the alliance which had split into two competing groups in April but regrouped again in advance of this election.

Oudeh Bisharat, a Nazareth-based political analyst, agreed.

“Palestinian voters went out in bigger numbers this time because the Arab Joint List was united again and because they wanted to challenge Netanyahu’s racism and incitement against them,” Bisharat told Al Jazeera.


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This is what Edward Snowden says it will take for him to return to the U.S.




edward snowden

Edward Snowden says he’d like to return to the U.S. — on one condition.

That’s what the former National Security Agency contractor told CBS News in an interview that aired Monday on “CBS This Morning.” Snowden has been living in exile in Russia since leaking classified information about the government’s mass surveillance of U.S. citizens in 2013.

“I would like to return to the United States,” Snowden told CBS. “That is the ultimate goal. But if I’m gonna spend the rest of my life in prison, the one bottom line demand that we have to agree to is that at least I get a fair trial. And that is the one thing the government has refused to guarantee because they won’t provide access to what’s called a public interest defense.”

That type of defense would allow a jury to consider Snowden’s motivations, which he says the government opposes.

“It’s not hard to make the argument that I broke the law,” he admitted to CBS, but said the government has not shown how his leaks caused harm. “They never show evidence for it even though we’re now more than six years on, it would be the easiest thing in the world to show.”

Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that the NSA was considering shutting down the once-secret surveillance program that he exposed because it lacks operational value.

In a separate interview aired Monday on MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour” with Brian Williams, Snowden said he was trying to “reform,” not destroy, the NSA.

Snowden, now a privacy advocate, added that he was alarmed by how governments and companies can now access vast amounts of personal data through digital devices such as cell phones.

“Anything you can do on that device, the attacker ⁠— in this case, the government ⁠— can do,” Snowden told MSNBC. “They can read your e-mail, they can collect every document, they can look at your contact book, they can turn the location services on.”

“They can see anything that is on that phone instantly,” he said, “and send it back home to the mothership.”

Not coincidentally, Snowden has a new memoir, “Permanent Record,” coming out Tuesday.


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Opinion: President Trump Claims He Was At Ground Zero On Sept. 11. But Was He?




trump 11 september

News organizations now refer to President Trump’s whoppers — from the size of his inaugural crowds to a hurricane threatening Alabama — as routinely as referring to rain in Seattle.

But, there was still some surprise this week when at services to mark the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the president insisted, “Soon after, I went down to Ground Zero with men who worked for me to try to help in any little way that we could … We were not alone. So many others were scattered around trying to do the same. They were all trying to help.”

Richard Alles, battalion chief of the New York Fire Department at the time of the attacks, spent several months in the smoking, choking ruins at ground zero. He told PolitiFact this summer, “I was there for several months — I have no knowledge of his being down there.” He added that there would be a record of Donald Trump sending a hundred or more workers to aid in the harrowing recovery efforts at Ground Zero; there is not.

We might remember that 18 years ago, the wreckage and rubble at Ground Zero was considered sacred ground. It held the remains of thousands of loved ones, including police and firefighters who perished as they tried to save lives. It was a place for rescue and recovery workers — not amateurs, gawkers or celebrities.

Producer Peter Breslow and I were in Lower Manhattan in the days following Sept. 11, when a haze of pulverized steel, glass and death hung in the air, and scores of photos of mothers, fathers and lost loved ones were taped on buildings and lampposts asking, “Have you seen … ?”

But we couldn’t go past the security perimeter outside ground zero. My wife and I would stand outside that perimeter along Canal Street at night where thousands of people stood to cry, pray and cheer for the workers in hard hats, heading in to do the hard, heavy, hazardous work there.

There is a phrase for the offense committed by impostors who wear phony medals and try to pose as combat veterans: stolen valor.

At a Republican debate in 2016, Sen. Ted Cruz decried what he called “New York values.” And Donald Trump replied: “New York is a great place, it’s got great people, it’s got loving people, wonderful people. When the World Trade Center came down, I saw something that no place on Earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than New York.”

It was all he needed to say: then and this week.


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