USCG Chennai “Braves” Flood, Plans to Open With Limited Staff –ZOMG! (Updated)

Posted: 2:58 am EDT
Updated: 12:39 pm EDT
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Update: USCG Chennai has now posted the following announcement: 

In the interest of public safety, and due to the flooding in Chennai, the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai will be closed for normal Consular operations, including nonimmigrant visa appointments and non-emergency American Citizen Services (ACS), on Thursday, December 3, 2015 and Friday, December 4, 2015.

It has also issued an Emergency Message to U.S. citizens:

The city of Chennai and surrounding areas in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu as well as the adjacent Union Territory of Pondicherry (Puducherry) have experienced very heavy rains in recent weeks resulting in localized flooding, which has been severe in some areas. The Adyar River has overflowed its banks and rains are expected to continue for several days. U.S. citizens visiting and residing in the area should exercise caution. All flights into and out of Chennai International Airport have been temporarily suspended until at least Thursday morning. Power has been cut throughout Chennai, though some hotels and businesses continue to operate with back-up generators. Most hotels that remain open report that they are at capacity. The U.S. Consulate General in Chennai remains open with minimal staffing but has temporarily suspended visa services and non-emergency services for U.S. citizens. Travelers should consider deferring non-essential travel to the area.

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Chennai is currently suffering its worst flooding in a hundred years. The deluge is forcing airport and factory closures in the city. The US Consulate in Chennai says it is tentatively planning to open with limited staff although it is “urging” applicants to reschedule their visa interviews. Folks … this would be where “out of an abundance of caution” would really work.

Chennai Post: Due to the flooding in Chennai, the U.S. Consulate in Chennai strongly urges applicants with visa appointments scheduled for Wednesday, December 2 not to come to their scheduled appointment. While the consulate is tentatively planning to open with extremely limited staff, wait times will be long and due to the potential for an unexpected closure, we cannot guarantee applicants who come will be interviewed. We encourage applicants to reschedule their existing appointments at the Visa Application Center for biometric enrolment and their interview appointment at the Consulate by logging in to their profile after 8.00 a.m. Thursday, December 3.
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Chennai Visa Application Center: Due to unexpected weather conditions, the Visa Application Center in Chennai will not be able to honour your Biometric appointment on December 2, 2015. You will have to reschedule your existing appointment at the Visa Application Center for your biometric enrolment and your interview appointment at the Consulate. There is no need to contact the call center or customer support—simply login to your profile and reschedule both of your appointments.

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OPM Data Breach Victims Get New Verification Site Through DOD, ID Protection Services Through ID Experts

Posted: 1:23 am EDT
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OPM’s Cybersecurity Resource Center allows individuals impacted by the hack to sign up for protection services through ID Experts or verify if one is impacted by the data breach through DOD.

OPM says that while it is “not aware of any misuse of your information,” it is offering victims and dependent minor children who were under the age of 18 as of July 1, 2015, credit and identity monitoring, identity theft insurance, and identity restoration services for the next three years “through ID Experts, a company that specializes in identity theft protection.”

According to OPM, the identify thief insurance became effective on September 1, 2015 and the scope of the coverage includes all claims submitted on or prior to December 31, 2018. This insurance covers expenses incurred in restoring identity and is valid for amounts up to $1,000,000 with no deductible.

If you received a notification letter and PIN code from the Office of Personnel Management, OPM has determined that your Social Security Number and other personal information was stolen in a cyber intrusion involving background investigation records. You have to sign up for MyIDCare to access the protection if offers.

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OPM has published what its notification letters look like:

The Federal Government has also set up a verification center to assist individuals who have lost their PIN code or believe their data may be impacted but have not yet received notification letters. If you believe that you were impacted, but have not yet received your notification letter, OPM asks that you wait until mid-December before contacting the verification center. The Federal Government anticipates completing the mailing of notification letters by the end of the second week in December.

To verify by phone, call 866-408-4555 Toll Free; 503-520-4453 International; 503-597-7662 TTY or verify online here through DOD.

The https://opmverify.dmdc.osd.mil verification website offered through the Department of Defense says that its purpose is “To provide breach notification and facilitate the provision of breach mitigation services to individuals affected by the breach of information in the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) background investigation databases.”

DoD will also “use the data to respond to breach verification inquiries received from individuals using the link on OPM’s website that redirects individuals to a DoD website where they can enter their information to find out if they have been affected by this breach. These records may also be used for tracking, reporting, measuring, and improving the Department’s effectiveness in implementing this data breach notification.”

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Click here for the Frequents Asked Questions. If you have already enrolled and have questions or concerns about your post-enrollment services, you may call OPM’s 800-750-3004.

 

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Ann Calvaresi Barr: USAID’s Watchdog Now Officially On Duty

Posted: 12:21 am EDT
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