Y2K Update

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

Dear Ann
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Hoping to convince a largely indifferent public of the need to prepare for possible Y2K disruptions, two U.S. senators turned to the most widely syndicated advice columnist in the world.
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Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) and Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), leaders of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, wrote to columnist Ann Landers, asking her to publish the committee's list of Y2K preparedness tips. She did so in a column released August 11.
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Among the senators' suggestions: "Keep track of your finances." Stressing that the "bank is still the safest place to keep your money," the lawmakers nonetheless advised bank customers to "[s]ave receipts and obtain paper copies of bank and loan statements and other financial transactions, especially deposit slips."
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Consumers also were urged to talk with their local police and fire departments about what they've done to prepare and to check with doctors, pharmacists, grocers, "and others who provide you with valuable services."
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In addition, the senators said consumers should practice "prudence in the pantry" by having "a flashlight and batteries, warm blankets, and a couple of extra cans of food."
The preparedness suggestions offered by the two senators also are posted on the Senate Y2K Committee's Web site.

Concerns about chemicals
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Sens. Bennett and Dodd also sent a letter to the head of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, expressing concerns about the Y2K readiness status of the nation's more than 69,000 hazardous chemicals facilities.
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"The Y2K bug has the potential to disrupt the operation, transport, maintenance, and control activities at chemical facilities," the senators wrote. "We rely on these systems to ensure our citizens enjoy a safe and healthy environment."
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In the letter, the two lawmakers urged the Y2K Council to convene a chemical industry summit on Y2K readiness. "A White House summit will help us better understand what the industry is doing to keep those safeguards in place," they said.
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The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), an independent agency of the U.S. government, immediately endorsed the call for a summit. "A chemical safety summit will help redouble efforts to prevent releases of hazardous materials from year 2000 technology problems," said Gerald V. Poje, who oversees Y2K issues for the CSB.
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A March 1999 report on the chemical industry's Y2K readiness, released jointly by the Senate Y2K Committee and the CSB, identified "significant gaps" in federal guidelines regarding Y2K chemical safety and a lack of information from small and medium-sized chemical facilities.
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Today's sermon courtesy of your local banker
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Worried about the possibility of Y2K-induced bank runs, the American Bankers Association (ABA) is hoping to enlist help from the pulpit. The ABA has written a sermon aimed at easing Y2K concerns and is trying to enlist local bankers to pass the sermon on to pastors.
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"Churches play an important role in most communities, and people put a lot of credence in what they say," Kathleen Murphy of the ABA told American Banker Online.
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The sermon draws a comparison to Orson Welles' famous 1938 radio broadcast of "War of the Worlds." That broadcast induced some people to panic, believing that space aliens were invading New Jersey.
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The Y2K sermon, which the ABA says isn't intended to be used verbatim, urges church members to "get the full story" before burying their "money in the backyard."
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Noted economist leaves recession forecast unchanged
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Despite the latest reports of substantial progress in fixing Y2K glitches, award-winning economist Ed Yardeni is sticking with his forecast, made last summer, that Y2K problems have a 70 percent probability of causing a worldwide recession.
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In an August 10 report on his Web site, the chief economist of Deutsche Bank wrote that he is "leaning toward a slightly more optimistic stance on the severity of a recession" but that he is "not changing [his] probability assessment for now."
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Although Mr. Yardeni says he is "heartened by progress reports," he remains concerned that most such reports "are not independently verified and validated. Even more worrisome is the lack of any good information on preparations around the world," he wrote. "I still am finding lots to worry about."
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Survey: Most large businesses won't make the deadline
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A poll of information technology directors and managers at 144 major U.S. corporations found that only 48 percent of the companies surveyed expect to be fully Y2K ready by the end of the year.
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The poll, one of a series conducted by the technology-consulting firm, Cap Gemini America, also found that about one company in five likely will have 75 percent or less of its critical systems "completely tested and compliant" by December 31.
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Y2K problems aren't waiting for the calendar rollover, however. Three-quarters of the respondents said their companies already had experienced at least one "Year 2000-related failure." Most such failures were related to "financial miscalculation or loss," although 34 percent of respondents reported "logistics/supply chain problems" related to Y2K.
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Preparedness items selling well again
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After a six-month lull, sales of Y2K-related preparedness items are heating up again. USA Today reported that surplus stores, food suppliers, and makers of flashlights and battery-free radios are doing big business.
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"People are 80 percent convinced nothing will happen, but they're buying stuff as insurance," Randy Acton, owner of Kentucky-based surplus store U.S. Cavalry, told the paper. \plain\lang1033\f2\fs23\cf0

For more information go to Christian Financial Concepts.
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