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Federal Contractors Argue Cyber Insurance Isn’t a Safe Bet for Better Security

A broad range of federal contractors fear a watchdog report on the government’s role facilitating coverage of cybersecurity risks—included in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act—will lead to a mandate that their companies hold related insurance policies.

In a recent letter to leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees, the Professional Services Council opposed a provision in the House bill calling for the Government Accountability Office to produce recommendations after studying the state of the insurance industry and the extent to which it’s tied to minimum standards for cybersecurity.

The provision—Sec. 1710A—doesn’t require federal contractors to have cyber insurance policies, but it is grouped together in the letter with a number of other proposals around cyber threat hunting and intelligence sharing that are based on recommendations of the public-private, nonpartisan, congressionally established Cyberspace Solarium Commission. 

The commission’s lawmakers—who represent the political spectrum—are trying to get as many of its recommendations as possible to survive conference negotiations and make it into the final annual defense authorization bill.  

“PSC appreciates the extensive work of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission and believes that the report and many of its recommendations will significantly improve cybersecurity and cyber hygiene,” the group wrote. “That said, the inclusion of these specific provisions would require significant contractor community investments while providing few if any benefits to cybersecurity.” 

The commission proposes a whole new ecosystem of government and government-adjacent structures based on its preference for financial incentives instead of regulatory mandates. For at least a decade, policy makers on both sides of the aisle have posited that given a boost, cybersecurity insurance could perform the same role of government regulations in improving organizations’ cybersecurity practices. One way they saw of helping the market along, then and now, is to use the government’s purchasing power. 

“Insurers will require a

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Lowe’s donates over $9 million to help keep homes safe and affordable in Charlotte

Lowe’s Home Improvement store is donating $9.25 million in funding, products and gift cards to organizations in Charlotte to keep “homes safe, healthy and affordable” amid the coronavirus crisis.

Lowe’s announced Tuesday it is making the donations in a combination of funding, products and gift cards to nearly 30 local charitable groups and businesses for affordable housing, skilled trades training and technology, the company announced Tuesday.

The Mooresville-based company is extending how it thinks about the word home, company executive vice president of human resources Janice Little said.

Little told the Observer the donations are another step in the company’s efforts to help with community projects. Lowe’s also has an employee volunteer program that has been focused on affordable housing and skilled trades over the last year.

“We really need to make sure that we can support all members of our community,” she said.

Some of the Charlotte hometown projects supported through the donation, according to Lowe’s, include:

? $1.67 million to Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region to support home repair, new home construction and two new apprentices for its apprenticeship program. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, Habitat Charlotte Region has moved 26 families into newly completed homes.

• $1.33 million grant to the city of Charlotte for its Safe Housing Home Rehabilitation Program in the Beatties Ford Road Corridor to help with home repairs. It also helps older residents age in place and low- and moderate-income families be able to stay in their homes.

• $1 million to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation to create the Lowe’s Technology Lab at the new main branch offering technology help and classes.

? $50,000 donation to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Foundation’s Connect for Tech program to help close the connectivity gap for local students during the pandemic.

• $200,000 in gift

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Is Home Depot a Safe Bet During the Pandemic?

With fiscal second-quarter sales growth of 23.4%, it’s safe to say Home Depot (NYSE: HD) has performed quite well during the coronavirus pandemic. As an essential business, the home improvement behemoth was able to keep its doors open to serve the needs of millions of shoppers.

Its stock price has risen 30% so far this year, driven by impressive results from the do-it-yourself (DIY) segment. But for Home Depot to position itself for long-term success, its Pro business is the key.

Pandemic-fueled growth

From fiscal 2009 through fiscal 2019, Home Depot’s sales increased at a compound annual rate of 5.2%. The company has largely left its store growth unchanged with less than 50 net additions in that 10-year period, but management introduced initiatives like the One Home Depot strategy to boost efficiency within its existing store network. The company has reported positive comparable-sales growth for 10 years running.

Then, the coronavirus pandemic took hold earlier this year, closing down large swathes of the U.S. economy and at the same time creating an advantageous environment for Home Depot. With Americans stuck inside their homes, many chose to prioritize home improvement projects over other leisure and entertainment spending that has not been available in 2020.

coronavirus headlines sitting on top of 100 dollar bills

Image source: Getty Images.

In the quarter ended Aug. 2, the company generated record-breaking sales of $38.1 billion. Supported by government stimulus measures, including deposits of $1,200 made to most Americans’ bank accounts, Home Depot’s DIY segment outpaced its Pro segment in the quarter. The money not spent on dining out and travel instead went toward fixing up the home.

Professional customers

The success with the DIY customer is promising for Home Depot, but its future relies on the Pro segment. In 2017, the company began a multiyear, $11 billion program to bolster its digital offerings and

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Home Improvement: Safe and effective ways to clean up leaves – Salisbury Post

Metro Creative

Removing leaves from the yard is a task that homeowners must perform each fall. Thousands upon thousands of leaves can drop from a single tree. Multiply that by the number of trees on a property, and it’s no surprise the task of leaf cleanup can seem so daunting. Furthermore, not all leaves are shed at the same time, so several cleanup sessions may be necessary before the last leaf is banished from the yard. Just like removing snow, leaf cleanup can be a taxing job if done by hand. For people unaccustomed to exercise, cleaning up leaves can turn into quite a workout.

According to the Discovery Health Calorie Counter, raking leaves for one hour can burn nearly 292 calories. Shoulders and arms will feel the burn. Raking leaves is considered moderate physical activity, similar to brisk walking. Those who find themselves straining or out of breath should take a break, and these tips also make the job safer and easier.

• Wear layers when cleaning up leaves. It may be cool at first, but it’s easy to work up a sweat after raking for awhile. Layers can be peeled off so as not to get overheated or risk hypothermia from sweating in chilly temps.

• Pay attention to your posture while raking. James Weinstein, chairman of the Department of Orthopedics at Dartmouth Medical School, recommends forming a wide base with the feet and holding the rake slightly toward the end of the handle with one hand three-quarters of the way down the handle from the other. Do not twist the spine; move your entire body. Avoid overuse of muscles on one side of the body by switching sides periodically.

• Do not try to rake or blow leaves on windy days. Wind will only make the task

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