US government agrees on $25bn bailout for airlines as pandemic halts travel

The Guardian | April 14, 2020

US government agrees on $25bn bailout for airlines as pandemic halts travel
The US government agreed a $25bn bailout for the beleaguered airline industry on Tuesday as the coronavirus pandemic brings travel to a virtual standstill. Passenger airline companies are receiving direct aid as part of the $2.2tn Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (Cares Act) economic relief package passed last month in order to allow them to continue paying salaries and benefits to employees in the coming months. Details of the aid package are expected later on Tuesday. With the coronavirus now spread across more than 100 countries and every continent except for Antarctica, air travel has all but ground to a halt.

Spotlight

The viewpoint put forth in this position paper is intended, among other challenges, to effectively capture divergent views on the present debate regarding 21st century skills. The opinion which follows is anchored in recent research findings by respected policy analysts and incorporates views both from the private sector and from a wide variety of educational professionals from across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It also has the benefit of direct feedback from individuals aligned closely with both sides of the national debate, including the president of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and the executive directors of Massachusetts-based Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research and the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, among others.


Other News

Judge Grants Pentagon’s Request for Corrective Action on JEDI Cloud Contract

The Defense Department | April 17, 2020

Federal Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith Friday granted the Defense Department’s March request for a 120-day stay to take corrective action on parts of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract, which it awarded to Microsoft in October. Amazon Web Services, which protested the award, had asked the judge in previous motions to force the Pentagon to take more expansive correction action, accusing the government of attempting to “gerrymander” revisions to the procurement. In the order, which is under seal, Campbell-Smith grants the Defense Department’s motion for remand so that “it may reconsider the aspects of the procurement challenged in this protest action,” though the 120-day remand could be lengthened or shortened upon motion and subsequent judge’s decision.

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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

GovOS Acquires Advanced Workflow Technology from Seliom

GovOS | January 14, 2022

GovOS, a leading provider of digital transformation solutions for local governments, announced today it has acquired Seliom's advanced business process automation and workflow platform in an asset purchase transaction. Seliom technology will be integrated into the suite of GovOS solutions so that local governments can use the highly customizable workflow processing functionality to enhance their digital capabilities and make life easier for employees and citizens. Seliom technology adds to the growing GovOS digital transformation platform with its elegant and detailed workflow automation capabilities. By replacing human-based workflows and rote decision-making, the product will effectively free government staff from routine, time-consuming tasks in lieu of tackling the more complex processes and decisions that require a human touch. "The ever-evolving landscape of local government requires the public sector to be more effective and more efficient in providing services to constituents," said Kevin Lafeber, President, GovOS. "As such, we continually evaluate opportunities that make GovOS solutions more useful for our customers. Seliom's next-gen workflow platform was an obvious product fit that will immediately benefit agencies using GovOS technology to accelerate digital transformation and effect real change in their communities." This new workflow functionality provides GovOS solutions with integrations to most popular ERP, CRM and HR systems, making it possible to maintain data continuity without replacing entire systems. The technology also enables validation of data/actions against a third-party data source, a next level solution integration requiring much less reliance on monolithic solutions. "We liked that Seliom was specifically engineered to streamline standardized and dispersed operations that consume time better spent elsewhere," said Chachi Camejo, Senior Vice President of Product, GovOS. "With these capabilities fully integrated, government staff can further automate processes to get more done with the same resources." GovOS workflow technology will become an integral part of the GovOS digital transformation platform, including Business Licensing, Online Civic Services, STR (Short-Term Rentals), Tax Filing, Records, Remote Applications, and much more. About GovOS GovOS is the leading digital transformation platform for local governments. Headquartered in Austin, TX, GovOS serves government agencies of all sizes across the United States. Through its secure and integrated suite of cloud-based solutions, governments can automate and streamline operations, provide seamless access to resources and information, and deliver cutting-edge digital services to businesses, residents and agencies.

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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

Veteran-Owned Startup Awarded Multi-Year Federal Task Order for Cybersecurity

Aquia Inc | January 04, 2022

Aquia Inc., a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in cloud and cybersecurity professional services, announced today that it has joined the RevaComm team on a five-year contract with Government Services Administration (GSA) supporting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for the Office of Information Technology's Continuous Authorization and Verification Engine (batCAVE) initiative. CMS is the largest agency in the federal government by expenditure and is responsible for the personally identifiable and personal health information for more than 177 million people. In partnership with RevaComm, Aquia will develop and lead the following programs for CMS: Platform Security: Aquia is responsible for security engineering and architecture in support of batCAVE Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) development, including guardrail development & integration, Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) & pipeline security, and development of DevSecOps tooling & automation. These efforts will help to shift security left and ensure the security and compliance of cloud-based application environments for CMS Application Development Organizations (ADO)'s. Purple Team: Aquia will be providing joint offensive (Red) and defensive (Blue) cybersecurity capabilities, otherwise known as a Purple Team. This team will be focused on identifying, exploiting and remediating security vulnerabilities related to the batCAVE platform, ensuring a robust and resilient platform for CMS stakeholders. Compliance Automation: Aquia will use innovative technology to support and foster a culture of Continuous Compliance and Governance with the goal of moving towards a Continuous Authority-to-Operate (cATO) for batCAVE platform. David Maskeroni, Aquia's Chief Executive Officer, had this to say when discussing the batCAVE initiative, "This is a great opportunity to bring cloud-based application delivery to the Federal Civilian government, with security baked into the very heart of the initiative. We are very proud to be a critical member of this team." About Aquia Inc. Aquia Inc. is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business based in Millsboro, DE. Aquia is a developer-centric company founded in 2021 by military veterans with passion for the intersection of security/velocity and decades of experience driving transformational change across public sector, enterprise and top-tier technology companies. At Aquia, we value trust, accountability, transparency and diversity; and we've built these tenants into the DNA of our company.

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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

Merck and Ridgeback Announce U.K. Government to Purchase Additional 1.75 Million Courses of Molnupiravir

Merck | December 22, 2021

Merck , known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics today announced that the United Kingdom Government will purchase an additional 1.75 million patient courses of molnupiravir (MK-4482), an investigational oral antiviral COVID-19 medicine. In the U.K., LAGEVRIO® is the planned trademark for molnupiravir; the trademark for molnupiravir in other countries has not been approved. With this additional procurement agreement, which follows a previously announced agreement for 480,000 courses of treatment, the U.K. Government has now committed to purchase a total of 2.23 million courses of molnupiravir. In early November, molnupiravir received conditional marketing authorization in the U.K. for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults with a positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test and who have at least one risk factor for developing severe illness. Molnupiravir is currently available in the U.K. and patients have started to receive treatment. An application for Emergency Use Authorization for molnupiravir is under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Merck has entered into advance purchase and supply agreements for molnupiravir with governments of more than 30 countries worldwide, including 21 agreements with countries in Europe. About Merck’s Global Efforts to Accelerate Access to Molnupiravir Following Regulatory Authorizations or Approvals Global access has been a priority for Merck and Ridgeback since the inception of their molnupiravir collaboration. The companies are committed to providing timely access to molnupiravir globally through our comprehensive supply and access approach, which includes investing at risk to produce millions of courses of therapy; tiered pricing based on the ability of governments to finance health care; entering into supply agreements with governments; and granting voluntary licenses to generic manufacturers and to the Medicines Patent Pool to make generic molnupiravir available in more than 100 low- and middle-income countries following local regulatory authorizations or approvals. Supply: In anticipation of the results from MOVe-OUT and the potential for regulatory authorization or approval, Merck has been producing molnupiravir at risk and expects to produce 10 million courses of treatment by the end of 2021, with at least 20 million courses to be produced in 2022. To date, Merck has shipped molnupiravir to 12 countries; in countries where it is approved or authorized, patients have begun to receive the drug. Supply agreements: Merck entered into a procurement agreement with the U.S. Government under which the company will supply approximately 3.1 million courses of molnupiravir to the U.S. Government, upon Emergency Use Authorization or approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Merck has entered into advance purchase and supply agreements for molnupiravir with governments for over 30 countries worldwide, including Australia, Canada, Korea, Japan, Thailand, United Kingdom and United States, pending regulatory authorizations, and is currently in discussions with additional governments. Merck plans to implement a tiered pricing approach based on World Bank country income criteria to reflect countries’ relative ability to finance their health response to the pandemic. Voluntary licenses: As part of its commitment to widespread global access, Merck previously announced that it has entered into a licensing agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool to increase broad access for molnupiravir in low- and middle-income countries. Additionally, Merck previously announced that the company has entered into non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements for molnupiravir with established generic manufacturers to accelerate availability of molnupiravir in more than 100 low- and middle-income countries following approvals or emergency authorization by local regulatory agencies. Merck continues to discuss additional measures and collaborations to accelerate broad, global access to molnupiravir. About Molnupiravir Molnupiravir (MK-4482) is an investigational, orally administered form of a potent ribonucleoside analog that inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19. Molnupiravir has been shown to be active in several preclinical models of SARS-CoV-2, including for prophylaxis, treatment, and prevention of transmission. Pre-clinical data suggest that molnupiravir has a high barrier to the development of resistance.

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Spotlight

The viewpoint put forth in this position paper is intended, among other challenges, to effectively capture divergent views on the present debate regarding 21st century skills. The opinion which follows is anchored in recent research findings by respected policy analysts and incorporates views both from the private sector and from a wide variety of educational professionals from across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It also has the benefit of direct feedback from individuals aligned closely with both sides of the national debate, including the president of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and the executive directors of Massachusetts-based Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research and the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, among others.

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