MIAMI — Hurricane Nicole is heading toward Bermuda as a Category 2 storm.Nicole’s maximum sustained winds increased early Wednesday to near 155 kph. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says some strengthening is possible and Nicole could be near major hurricane strength later in the day.The storm is centred about 535 kilometres south-southwest of Bermuda, where a hurricane warning is in effect, and is moving north-northwest near 11 kph.UPDATE:Bermuda’s government dispatched crews to clear roads and engineers to inspect infrastructure as the British territory moved to recovery quickly from Hurricane Nicole, which battered the island as a Category 3 storm.SHurricane Nicole snapped trees, peeled off roofs and flooded homes as it roared across the island on Thursday. The storm also damaged boats that broke away from their moorings and knocked out power to more than 27,000 customers who live on the island, which has sturdy infrastructure and is accustomed to heavy weather.More news: Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at seaNicole has strengthened to a Category 4 storm late Wednesday as it approached Bermuda but lost steam overnight. Wednesday, October 12, 2016 Tags: Bermuda Another hurricane: Nicole heads towards Bermuda Share Posted by The Canadian Press << Previous PostNext Post >>
RelatedSpain ‘is tops’ among British holidaymakers this springSpain ‘is tops’ among British holidaymakers this springMore gap year students fly to South AfricaStudents are most likely to fly to South Africa on their gap year, according to new research from the Year Out GroupMost people have a ‘huge emotional high” on their summer breakTwo thirds of people experience a “huge emotional high” during their summer holiday More people are booking flights to Africa, with Tanzania and southern African countries proving the most popular destinations, new findings have revealed.Independent tour operator Somak Holidays has reported a 12.3 percent rise of year-on-year bookings to Tanzania and a six percent rise to southern Africa. The Zanzibar archipelago, 15 miles off the east African coast, has seen the biggest increase in foreign visitors.It is thought that the figures represent a wider trend of more Brits flying to African destinations, with the exchange rate in certain countries being touted as the main reason for increased passenger numbers.Commenting on the findings, Somak chief executive Ash Sofat said: “Africa represents real value at the moment, particularly in South Africa, where the rand has gone from 11.5 to 16.36 to the pound since January.”The findings come after some African travel agents said this week that fewer people would choose to fly to the continent because of the global economic crisis.Get the new Skyscanner Widget for your website or blog! ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map
DVR technology company TiVo is acquiring TRA, an advertising software company.TRA’s platform includes a database that links information from households about what viewers watch with what they buy. TRA matches television exposures from 1.5 million TV homes with specific purchase transactions.TiVo said the acquisition will give it insights that will offer the TV advertising industry internet-level measurement and accountability in the television analytics business. The unit will be known as TiVo Research and Analytics (TRA).Tom Rogers, CEO and president of TiVo said, “TV has long been the best medium for advertisers to influence what consumers buy. TRA has proven its platform can determine the effectiveness of TV advertising by connecting the exposure of ads to actual purchases, helping advertisers identify the right audience and get the most out of their ad dollars. TRA has driven a substantial client list of advertisers, agencies and networks with this proposition. With this new level of unique audience insights and analytics, TiVo will be able to provide insights nobody else has in an industry increasingly seeking alternative ways to measure audience behavior accurately while increasing efficiencies in media spending.”
Google and Amazon have restored their video services to each others devices after almost a year and a half of sparring. In a statement sent out on Tuesday, Amazon announced the launch of the YouTube app for Fire TV, complete with support for Alexa. Almost simultaneously, Google issued its own statement announced support for Amazon Prime Video on its Chromecast devices. The news was officially announced in April, the apps have now launched on their respective platform. There had always been tensions between the companies, but Google made the first move by stopping Echo Show devices from accessing YouTube in September 2017.This quickly escalated with Amazon taking products from Nest (the Google-owned smart home brand) off its storefront and removing Prime Video support for Chromecast, while Google removed the native YouTube app from Fire TV. However, the companies appear to have worked out their differences, with YouTube now available on Fire TV Stick (2nd Gen), Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Stick Basic Edition, and all Fire TV Edition smart TVs, and Amazon Prime Video on Chromecast and Android TV devices. One noteworthy omission from the list is the Echo Show, which was not included in either statement, nor was it mentioned in the first announcement in April. Echo Show users are able to access YouTube through an in-built browser, but there is no native app or Alexa functionality. Google creates its own Google Home direct competitor products to the Show.
Sponsor Advertisement By their very silence, the silver and gold mining companies are co-conspirators against all of their shareholders…us. The gold price was on the rise as soon as trading began in the Far East on their Monday morning…and was up eight bucks or so by shortly after 10:00 a.m. Hong Kong time. From there, it more or less traded flat into the Comex open…and that point jumped another five dollars or so before trading sideways until about 10:35 a.m. in New York.At that point there was another sharp spike that took gold up to its high tick of the day…$1,736.80 spot..about ten minutes before the London close. From that point it traded sideways once again before getting sold off a few dollars in electronic trading.Gold closed the Monday session at $1,731.90 spot…up $18.20 on the day. Net volume was very light…around 109,000 contracts.As usual, the silver price was more ‘volatile’. The price traded flat until just about 9:00 a.m. Hong Kong time…and at the point the price jumped almost 30 cents.From there, the price traded flat until about ten minutes before the Comex open. Then, the silver price began to rally…and jumped up the moment that trading began in New York. The ‘big’ rally only lasted about ten minutes…and then, like gold, traded flat until 10:35 a.m. Eastern before renewing its rally…albeit at a much slower pace. It appeared that the high tick of the day [$33.35 spot] came around 2:15 p.m. in electronic trading…and from there got sold off a bit into the 5:15 p.m. close in New York.Silver finished the day at $33.11 spot…up 80 cents. Net volume wasn’t overly heavy…around 34,000 contracts.The price patterns in platinum and palladium were more or less the same as gold and silver’s.The dollar index hit its 81.44 zenith on Friday morning at 11:30 in New York…and was in decline for the rest of that day. This trend continued right into the Monday trading session. There was a bit of a bounce at the 81.00 level around 11:30 a.m. in London, but the decline resumed at precisely 8:00 a.m. Eastern time…and three hours later, the index had fallen 27 basis points from its 8:00 a.m. peak.From that point the dollar index didn’t do a lot until 5:00 p.m. Eastern when the dollar spiked up into the New York close. The index, which had closed on Friday at 81.20…finished the Monday session at 81.03…down only 17 basis points…but had a bit of a wild ride between those times.I suppose the co-relation between the dollar index and the precious metal prices was more apparent on Monday…but the moves in the metals themselves was out of all proportions to the tiny moves in the currency index. Here’s the chart showing last Friday’s high…and all of Monday’s action.Not surprisingly, the gold stocks gapped up at the open…and stayed up for the entire day, closing almost on their highs. The HUI finished up 2.68%.The silver stocks turned in a similar performance, with a lot of the junior producers doing much better than their senior brethren. Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index closed up 3.28%.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report was a blank page yesterday. There were no contracts of any metal posted for delivery on Wednesday.The GLD ETF showed a smallish withdrawal of 13,891 troy ounces, which may have been a fee payment of some kind. And, for the third day in a row, an authorized participant withdrew about 1.5 million ounces of silver from SLV. This time it was 1,452,093 troy ounces. All withdrawals for the last three days have been within 50 troy ounces of the above number. On Thursday it was 1,452,135 troy ounces…and on Friday it was 1,452,117 troy ounces. Does it mean anything? Beats me!There was a smallish sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday. They sold 1,500 ounces of gold eagles…along with 32,000 silver eagles.Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Friday, they reported receiving 623,635 troy ounces of silver…all of it went into the JPMorgan Chase depository, which now sits at 25,654,294 troy ounces. Nothing was shipped out. I’d sure love to know who the owners are. Is it JPM itself, or does it belong to its customers? The link to Friday’s activity is here.Here’s a nifty chart that Washington state reader S.A. stole from somewhere yesterday. It shows a ‘cup and handle’ technical formation. If you can believe T.A. in a rigged market, it may mean something…or not!(Click on image to enlarge)It was a busy weekend for stories…and I have a lot today…so I hope you can find the time to read/watch the ones of most interest to you.I would calculate JPMorgan’s concentrated short position in COMEX silver futures to now be 33,000 contracts, only 1,000 contracts below their recent peak. After removing spread positions from the new data, JPM’s silver position is 32.9% of the true net total market. This is so off the charts as to defy comprehension. Nothing else comes close to being the critical factor in silver. If we all live long enough to see any legitimate position limit regime in silver, JPMorgan’s current dominant position would not be allowed. That position is more than six times larger than the loose-as-a-goose limits proposed by the CFTC…and more than twenty times the 1,500 contract position limit proposed by thousands of public comments. – Silver Analyst Ted Butler…17 November 2012It was nice to see all the precious metals pop up in price yesterday. I’m sure some of it was currency related but, considering the low volume, I’d guess that there may have been a bit of short covering during the Comex trading session in New York as well. Whatever it was, we may or may not find out in Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report.The preliminary volume and open interest numbers from the CME that were posted on their website in the wee hours of this morning, indicates otherwise…and I’ll be very interested in what they show when the finals are posted later this a.m. New York time.I have nothing to add to what I’ve been saying for the last ten days or so. Nothing would surprise me…up or down. I’d love to be a fly on the wall at JPMorgan Chase or Scotia Moccata…as I get the impression that there are big changes going on under the surface that we have hints about…but we’re certainly not privy to.But one thing that did come as a big surprise, was how just how far the story of JPMorgan Chase and the silver price management scheme has spread world-wide. The reach that Russia Today has is truly astounding. GATA in gold…and Ted Butler in silver…can only get so far even with the Internet helping out. Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert carry a very big stick…and I wouldn’t bet much on JPMorgan and Scotia Mocatta being able to keep up this price management scheme much longer with this kind of public exposure…which is getting bigger with each passing day.But when the end finally comes, it won’t be because of anything that the gold and silver mining companies did on our behalf…and the same holds true for the World Gold Council and the Silver Institute. Any person who works, or has worked for either of these organizations, is not the slightest bit interested in finding the truth…even though they all know full well what’s going on. By their very silence, the silver and gold mining companies are co-conspirators against all of their shareholders…us. All we can do is wait it out and be prepared emotionally for whatever happens. The only thing I can add at this point is that price activity is going to get more volatile as the year winds down…and I shan’t hazard a guess as to which direction it might take.Very little happened in Far East trading on their Tuesday…and the same can be said for the first two hours of London trading as well. Volume is light in both metals, with very few roll-overs…and the dollar index is not doing a lot, either.As is usually the case, I would expect that things will change once New York begins trading. If you subtract the American Thanksgiving holiday from the equation, there aren’t a lot of days for the remaining December contract holders to decide on what they’re going to do with their current positions. And the longer they wait, the more frantic the trading activity will become as the month winds down.For that reason alone, the rest of the month could be full of surprises…and I await the 8:20 a.m. Comex open this morning with great interest.See you on Wednesday. Pelangio Exploration Inc. (PX:TSX-V; PGXPF:OTC) announced the results of seven diamond drill holes totaling 1,574 metres from its ongoing drilling program at the Pokukrom East zone on the Manfo Property in Ghana. Highlights of the results included:· 1.19 g/t gold over 113 metres, including 9.05 g/t gold over 7 metres; · 2.60 g/t gold over 64 metres, including 11.94 g/t gold over 10 metres; and · 16.72 g/t gold over 4 metres.The results continued to confirm a higher grade, shallow north plunging core of Pokukrom East zone with an open plunge of 600 metres from near surface in previously reported hole SPDD-088 (7.01 g/t gold over 19 metres) to 210 metres depth in the holes reported this week. Warren Bates, Senior Vice President Exploration, commented: “These are our best holes on the Manfo Property to date. These holes represent the north-plunging core of higher grade mineralization at Pokukrom East, now demonstrating an open plunge length of 600 metres.” Please visit our website to learn more about the project and request additional information.
When patients come to Dr. Molly Quinn for infertility treatments, they usually aren’t too interested in hearing about the possible downsides, she says. They just want to get pregnant.Still, she always discusses the risks. For example, there’s an increased likelihood of twins or triplets — which increases the chances of medical complications for both moms and babies. And stimulating the ovaries to ripen extra eggs can, in a small number of cases, cause the ovaries to rupture.Quinn, an infertility specialist and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, Los Angeles, now has a new hazard to consider. According to research published this month in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, children conceived through certain infertility treatments may be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Parents shouldn’t panic, the study’s authors say: The findings are preliminary, and the study cohort was fairly small. Still, they say, it means that families who used infertility treatments should be particularly vigilant about screening for high blood pressure in their children and help them avoid other cardiovascular risk factors, such as smoking, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.”Fertility clinics should really … counsel about potential risks for their kids,” says Dr. Urs Scherrer, a visiting professor at the University of Bern in Switzerland and a senior author of the study.Scherrer and his colleagues followed the health of children conceived through assisted reproductive technology for more than a decade. ART is an umbrella term that covers a number of different types of procedures, including in vitro fertilization, in which sperm and eggs are mixed in a lab dish, and intracytoplasmic sperm injection, in which sperm are inserted directly into eggs. Today, roughly 2 percent of all births in the U.S are conceived via ART.In 2012, the same team of scientists published a major paper showing that 65 healthy kids born with the help of ART were more likely than their peers to have early signs of problematic blood vessels. The current study, comparing 54 of those original children with 43 age- and sex-matched peers, shows those early irregularities — signs of “premature vascular aging”, the scientists say — persist into adolescence and young adulthood.Kids in the study who were conceived via ART are now 16 years old, on average, but have blood vessels resembling those of middle-aged adults, the scientists found.And those differences seemed to be enough to boost the teens’ blood pressure. Everyone in the study underwent round-the-clock blood pressure monitoring for 24 hours, and the differences between a group conceived by ART and teens in the control group were significant. The ART group had markedly higher blood pressure; about 15 percent met the criteria for hypertension.The study adds to a small but growing body of research suggesting that children conceived this way may have an elevated risk of hypertension and its health complications.Scientists say they don’t yet know why that would be true, but they hypothesize that epigenetics — the interplay of environment and genes — plays a role. Something about the manipulation of the eggs and sperm in the lab might affect which genes are turned on or off as embryos develop.Medical specialists who study high blood pressure in kids called the research striking.”The fact that these kids already have abnormal vasculature is quite concerning,” says Dr. Joseph Flynn, a pediatrician who helped write the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines about blood pressure management. “I think the fact that they saw these changes at an early age and that they’re still persisting into adolescence is worrisome for these kids.”Still, he says, it’s unclear what the long-term effects on their cardiovascular health will be. Conception through ART, Flynn says, may confer the same amount of risk as, say, teenage smoking or alcohol use.Quinn says she would like to see more longitudinal research that tracks long-term consequences of infertility treatments.”We need to connect these kinds of studies,” she says. Such research can be more difficult to do in the United States, she notes, because there is no unified medical record, so it’s hard to track the babies who are conceived through ART.Still, she says, it’s important for all doctors working in the infertility field to acknowledge that the techniques they use are still evolving.”We appreciate that there is quite a bit unknown about we do on a day-to-day basis,” says Quinn. “We have to be humble.”For now, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that every child over the age of 3 get a yearly blood pressure test at the doctor’s office — whether or not their parents underwent infertility treatments. Mara Gordon is a family physician in Washington, D.C., and a health and media fellow at NPR and Georgetown University School of Medicine. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Rural hospitals close when they don’t have enough paying patients to care for, but they’re also dinged when the same patients show up over and over again. That puts outlying medical facilities in the precarious position of needing to avoid repeat customers.Charlotte Potts is the type of patient some hospitals try to avoid. She lives in Livingston, Tenn. — a town of 4,000, tucked between rolling hills of the Cumberland Plateau.”I’ve only had five heart attacks,” Potts says with a laugh. “I’ve had carotid artery surgery. Shall we go on? Just a few minor things.” She jokes that she’s “a walking stent.”The heart trouble has affected the way Potts deals with her health problems. She spends much of her day in a recliner in her apartment, tethered to a pulsing oxygen machine, and listening to the radio.Fortunately, her apartment sits within spitting distance of Livingston Regional Hospital — a 114-bed facility large enough to have a dedicated cardiac unit. But the hospital doesn’t want to see her every time her heart flutters.So last time she landed in the ER, they helped her connect with a few companies that could provide care at home.”If I’m going to have certain things going on here in my chest, I call for help, and they’re there,” Potts says of the home care team she chose.A new era in hospital managementThere were days when the hospital might have viewed a home health agency as a competitor. Not anymore.”When I started this almost 40 years ago, the mission was different,” says Tim McGill, CEO of Livingston Regional. “We wanted patients in the hospital. That was the incentive. We were paid for it. Now you’re not.”Hospitals used to run on a so-called fee-for-service model with virtually no limit to how many times they could see a patient. But, under pressure from private and government insurance programs, that model is transitioning to one in which hospitals are rewarded for safety and efficiency — which often results in a patient spending less time in the hospital.Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare began to ding hospitals if too many patients are readmitted to any hospital within 30 days of discharge. The measure is broadly unpopular with the hospital industry, since so much falls outside a hospital’s control. Medicare has even walked back the rules for safety-net facilities, which tend to treat a sicker population.The penalty is meant to encourage hospitals to get it right the first time. In Livingston, the hospital operates on the thinnest of margins — just 0.2 percent in the most recent figures. And “readmissions” have been a drag on the bottom line.One in five patients with heart failure was back within the month. The hospital has paid the maximum penalty in some years — nearly $200,000. So leaders started asking a basic, unifying question of other providers in town, McGill says: “What can we do together so they’ll stay out of the hospital and stay healthier in their home setting? That’s where the work is.”Collaborating instead of competingThe work took the form of quarterly lunch meetings at the local library.Mary Ann Stockton, a nurse at the hospital, invites all the home health agencies as well as hospice providers and the leaders of nursing homes.At one meeting, she applauds the other providers for increasingly meeting patients inside the hospital before they’re discharged. She says it helps patients and families accept these home health workers.”We know in our area, people don’t like to have a total stranger come into their home,” she says.The group brainstorms how to generate the same kind of acceptance for hospice care, which — as one doctor in the meeting puts it — some families view as assisted suicide.And on this day, the groups spends much of its time reviewing the value of flu shots, especially for the staff in nursing homes. Stockton says elderly patients with bad lungs become a hospital emergency room’s “frequent fliers.””Flu starts off, goes into pneumonia, COPD exacerbation — and they are a revolving door in our hospital,” Stockton says. “They’re hitting that ER a couple of times a week.”Advance directives are on the agenda for next time — another way to keep people near the end of life from becoming ER regulars.Livingston’s parent company, LifePoint Health, is launching this community approach in many of its 80-or-so markets, which are primarily in the Southeast and almost all rural. LifePoint vice president Cindy Chamness helps hospitals find willing partners.”We were very frustrated for many years,” Chamness says, “because we weren’t able to impact readmissions just working on it by ourselves, as a hospital.””Are we saving ourselves right out of business?”The solution looks different from one town to another. In Lake Havasu, Ariz., paramedics now visit discharged patients to make sure they’re following doctors’ orders. The house calls also cut down on government-funded ambulance rides.It’s not just rural hospitals — all hospitals can be penalized for readmissions now. And threatening the bottom line in that way does seem to be effective. Readmissions have been falling across the board, according to the latest research.But rural hospitals, which already treat fewer patients than urban hospitals, wonder if they’ll have enough patients to survive, says Michael Topchik of the Chartis Center for Rural Health.”[A] CEO from Montana said to me, ‘The problem is, when we do the right thing, are we saving ourselves right out of business?’ ” says Michael Topchik of the Chartis Center for Rural Health.The focus on cutting readmissions — by definition — cuts overall admissions too, he notes.”So, this is the real inherent tension and challenge: Hospitals get reimbursed for doing ‘sick care,’ ” Topchik says. “But more and more they’re being asked to do population health, and really focus on ‘wellness.’ “To make up the volume, the Livingston hospital is expanding its maternity ward and general surgery offerings.There is also some immediate financial upside to reducing readmissions: Livingston Regional has cut readmissions more than any other rural hospital in Tennessee and even the nation, according to data compiled by Chartis.As a result, the hospital’s Medicare penalty in the coming year will be reduced to 0.3 percent of its reimbursements — down from the maximum of 3 percent, which was roughly $200,000 a year.That’s all because patients like Charlotte Potts now can safely stay home.”I got a real bad tightness in the chest,” Potts recalls about a recent episode. She’d questioned whether to call an ambulance. “I was very uncertain about what was going on.”But she phoned her home health agency, took a nitroglycerin pill as the agency advised, and instead of going to the ER, was able to get back to sleep. Copyright 2018 Nashville Public Radio. To see more, visit Nashville Public Radio.
A regulator failed to find a single nurse “not fit to practise” despite more than 220 complaints about face-to-face disability benefit assessments carried out for government contractors, its own figures have revealed.The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) figures show it dealt with 224 complaints about the way nurses carried out personal independence payment (PIP) assessments and work capability assessments (WCAs) in 2016 and 2017.But not one of those complaints led to the regulator concluding the assessor was not fit to continue to work as a nurse.In 2016, of 88 complaints dealt with, 87 were closed in the initial “screening” process and one nurse was found to have “no case to answer”.The following year, of 136 complaints, 129 were closed in screening, four nurses were found to have no case to answer, while one led to the conclusion that the nurse’s fitness to practise was not impaired, and two complaints had not been concluded.Only two months ago, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) said it had found widespread mishandling by NMC of complaints it had received about the way nurses had carried out PIP assessments.PSA found a string of failings, including a refusal to consider all the concerns raised by complainants.It also found that NMC relied on the findings of government PIP contractors Atos and Capita to justify closing cases about their employees, and failed to consider crucial documentary evidence, often ignoring the evidence of the person who had lodged the complaint, and failing to ask them for further information.NMC also told some complainants that the role of PIP assessor was not relevant to the nurse’s fitness to practise, unless it involved dishonesty.The new figures suggest NMC’s problems extend to complaints about nurses who have carried out WCAs on behalf of the government contractor Maximus.Disability News Service (DNS) spent months investigating allegations of dishonesty by PIP assessors in late 2016 and throughout 2017, hearing eventually from more than 250 disabled people in less than a year about how they had been unfairly deprived of their benefits.It continues to receive such reports today, more than two-and-a-half years after the investigation began.NMC released the new figures under the Freedom of Information Act to Andrew Hill, from Norfolk, who has himself lodged a complaint with the regulator about the nurse who carried out his face-to-face PIP assessment in 2017 on behalf of Capita.An appeal tribunal found the nurse had been “unreliable” and that her “incorrect and inaccurate findings” about his mental health condition contributed to him having his benefits cut.Hill has diabetes, and has had one leg amputated, and has further serious diabetes-related impairments which are “fluctuating and unreliable” and have left him with significant support needs.He had asked for a reassessment of his PIP because his health had deteriorated and he had lost his partner and carer.But the nurse’s assessment instead led to him losing his PIP enhanced rate of mobility, as well as points on his daily living component – for which he had previously been granted the standard rate.A subsequent mandatory reconsideration of its initial decision by the Department for Work and Pensions restored him to the enhanced mobility rate of PIP but left his daily living component unaffected.An appeal tribunal last July allowed his appeal and confirmed his enhanced rate of mobility as well as awarding him the enhanced rate of PIP daily living for the first time.Meanwhile, he has lodged a complaint with Capita and the NMC about the nurse who assessed him.NMC is still investigating his complaint. Capita has not yet ruled on his complaint against the nurse.Matthew McClelland (pictured), NMC’s director of fitness to practise, said: “After the PSA published its report, we acknowledged that our approach to PIP-related cases fell short of what is expected. We didn’t get things right and I am sorry for that.“Since 2018, we have taken action to address these concerns. We have reviewed our processes, improved our quality checks, and enhanced management oversight of cases.”DNS has now asked for NMC’s 2018 figures through a freedom of information request. A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…
The two competitions will come together when the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup Final shares the stage with the men’s semi finals in a triple header at the University of Bolton Stadium on Saturday July 27.The men’s Coral Challenge Cup Final will be held at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 24.“This is a really significant day both for the Challenge Cup, and for women’s Rugby League,” said Ralph Rimmer, the RFL chief executive.“The men’s Challenge Cup is one of the iconic competitions and trophies of British sport, with more than 120 years of history, and the famous Wembley final televised live to the nation and the world by the BBC.“The Women’s Challenge Cup may not have that history, but Coral’s enthusiasm for it to be part of a joint sponsorship deal confirms our determination that it is set for a really exciting future.“With Coral’s name now linked to both the men’s and women’s Challenge Cups, it’s equally exciting to be able to extend the double header for the men’s semi finals that proved such a big hit last year, and now incorporate the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup Final.“The University of Bolton Stadium proved a popular venue for the sold-out double header last summer, so we’re delighted to be going back for a triple header in 2019.“We are confident that thousands of the supporters of the teams who reach the semi finals of the men’s Coral Challenge Cup will also take the opportunity to watch the outstanding spectacle provided by our best women’s teams – and that will ensure their skills and athleticism are seen by the record audience they deserve.”Adrian Osman, the Head of Sponsorship and Events at Coral, said: “The Rugby League Challenge Cup and the final at Wembley are flagship events in British sport, and we are delighted that Coral’s name will now be associated with them in this significant deal. In addition, the opportunity to get involved with women’s sport and the development of women’s Rugby League as the first title sponsors of the Women’s Challenge Cup is hugely exciting for us – and combining the final with the semi finals of the Coral Challenge Cup should produce another great event. We’re really looking forward to seeing the two competitions unfold through the spring and summer.”Leeds Rhinos are the Women’s Challenge Cup holders, having beaten Castleford Tigers in a classic final at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium last summer.The RFL also confirmed today that the 2018 Wembley winners Catalans Dragons will defend the Coral Challenge Cup, after reaching an agreement with the French club to end recent uncertainty about their participation.They will enter the competition at the Sixth Round stage in May, having finished in the top eight of the Super League in 2018.The teams who finished in the bottom four will enter in the Fifth Round in April.The Road to Wembley begins this weekend, with 52 community clubs competing in First-Round ties from Portsmouth to Wallsend, and featuring Sunday’s meeting on the Cumbrian coast between the oldest amateur club in the country, Millom, and the Challenge Cup newcomers Red Star Belgrade – which will be streamed live on the BBC Sport online platforms.The Trans-Pennine battle between Orrell St James and Holmfirth’s Underbank Rangers will be shown live on the RFL’s Our League membership App and Website the previous day.Tickets for the triple header at the University of Bolton on Saturday July 27 go on sale today, and are available here.Tickets for the Coral Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 24 are available here.Coral Challenge Cup, 2019First Round Jan 26-27, Second Round Feb 9-10, Third Round March 9-10, Fourth Round March 30-31, Fifth Round April 13-14, Sixth Round May 11-12.Quarter Finals June 1-2.Semi Finals – Saturday July 27, University of Bolton Stadium (triple header, also including Coral Women’s Challenge Cup Final)Final – Saturday August 24, Wembley Stadium, 230pm.(Dates for earlier rounds of Coral Women’s Challenge Cup to be confirmed shortly)
In North Korea, Hackers Are Handpicked to Be Part of Elite Spy Agency The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. December 5, 2014 Despite its poverty and isolation, North Korea has poured resources into a sophisticated cyber-warfare cell called Bureau 121, defectors from the secretive state said as Pyongyang came under the microscope for a crippling hack into computers at Sony Pictures Entertainment.A North Korean diplomat has denied Pyongyang was behind the attack that was launched last month but a U.S. national security source said it was a suspect.Defectors from the North have said Bureau 121, staffed by some of the most talented computer experts in the insular state, is part of the General Bureau of Reconnaissance, an elite spy agency run by the military. They have said it is involved in state-sponsored hacking, used by the Pyongyang government to spy on or sabotage its enemies.Pyongyang has active cyber-warfare capabilities, military and software security experts have said. Much of it is targeted at the South, technically still in a state of war with North Korea. But Pyongyang has made no secret of its hatred of the United States, which was on the South’s side in the 1950-53 Korean War.Military hackers are among the most talented, and rewarded, people in North Korea, handpicked and trained from as young as 17, said Jang Se-yul, who studied with them at North Korea’s military college for computer science, or the University of Automation, before defecting to the South six years ago.Speaking to Reuters in Seoul, he said the Bureau 121 unit comprises about 1,800 cyber-warriors, and is considered the elite of the military.”For them, the strongest weapon is cyber. In North Korea, it’s called the Secret War,” Jang said.One of his friends works in an overseas team of the unit, and is ostensibly an employee of a North Korean trading firm, Jang said. Back home, the friend and his family have been given a large state-allocated apartment in an upscale part of Pyongyang, Jang said.”No one knows … his company runs business as usual. That’s why what he does is scarier,” Jang said. “My friend, who belongs to a rural area, could bring all of his family to Pyongyang. Incentives for North Korea’s cyber experts are very strong … they are rich people in Pyongyang.”He said the hackers in Bureau 121 were among the 100 students who graduate from the University of Automation each year after five years of study. Over 2,500 apply for places at the university, which has a campus in Pyongyang, behind barbed wire.”They are handpicked,” said Kim Heung-kwang, a former computer science professor in North Korea who defected to the South in 2004, referring to the state hackers. “It is a great honor for them. It is a white-collar job there and people have fantasies about it.”The technology news site Re/code reported on Wednesday that Sony intends to name North Korea as the source of the attack. But when asked about the Re/code report, a Sony spokeswoman said no announcement from the studio was coming. The company declined comment on Thursday.Sony Pictures, a unit of Japan’s Sony Corp, is the distributor of “The Interview,” a forthcoming comedy featuring a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. North Korea has described the film as an “act of war”.Last year, more than 30,000 PCs at South Korean banks and broadcasting companies were hit by a similar attack that cybersecurity researchers widely believe was launched from North Korea.Months later, the South Korean government’s online presence was targeted, with the president’s website defaced with a banner reading “Long live General Kim Jong Un, president of reunification!”Neither attack was particularly sophisticated, but South Korean authorities said North Korea was to blame, even though ‘hacktivist’ groups – online activists who hack high-profile targets in order to spread political messages – first appeared to claim responsibility.Those attacks used rudimentary but effective malware which security researchers later dubbed DarkSeoul.Also known as the DarkSeoul Gang, the hackers have been involved in a five-year spree against South Korean targets, according to a report last year by computer security firm Symantec, which estimated the group included 10 to 50 hackers and described it as “unique” in its ability to carry out high-profile and damaging attacks over several years.Some security experts have cast doubt on North Korean involvement in the attack on Sony, citing the publicity-seeking hacktivist style of the attacks. However, the use of an unknown name by the group behind the Sony attacks, “Guardians of Peace”, is similar to previous attacks by the DarkSeoul gang.It remains unclear if the DarkSeoul gang are outsiders working on behalf of North Korea, or some of Pyongyang’s troops in the isolated country’s own ‘cyber army’.(Additional reporting by Jim Finkle and Ron Grover; Editing by Tony Munroe and Raju Gopalakrishnan) 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List –shares Add to Queue Hackers This story originally appeared on Reuters Reuters 5 min read Next Article Apply Now »
Add to Queue Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Laura Entis Airlines Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Register Now » Guest Writer 3 min read The Best and Worst Airlines for Customer Experience –shares March 20, 2015 Next Article JetBlue is flying high in the eyes of its customers. Out of the 10 airlines included in the 2015 Temkin Experience Ratings, which polled 10,000 U.S. respondents on 293 consumer brands, the airline comfortably landed in first place with an overall score of 75 percent, a 15 point percentage point climb from its 2014 rating. (For context, Temkin considers a score of 70 percent to be “good,” and a score of 80 percent and above to be “excellent.”)On the other end of the line-up: Spirit Airlines, which came in last by a wide-margin, with a customer experience rating of 47 percent.Related: After Earnings Nosedive, JetBlue Enters the Premium MarketThe two airlines’ ratings underscore their very different approaches to flying. Recently, JetBlue has revamped its image with the introduction of a premium service equipped with private cabins, the longest beds in the United States domestic market and a swanky new menu. Its ads are sleek and/or pointedly humorous.Spirit Airlines takes the exact opposite approach. “We’re not even Wal-Mart,” Spirit’s CEO Ben Baldanza recently told NPR. “We’re Dollar General. And we like being Dollar General, because we save people lots of money.” As for Spirit’s ads? Let’s just say that much was made of the discount airline’s recent acquisition of its 69th plane.While JetBlue offers travelers complimentary amenities such as snacks and beverages, Spirit isn’t looking to compete anything but price, Baldanza told the outlet. While it’s a strategy that gets people to book tickets and fly with the airline (Spirit is growing), it’s not an approach that makes them feel warm and fuzzy about the experience. Recently, Spirit came dead-last in a Consumer Reports survey, which Baldanza takes issue with. “That survey never asks people about the price of their ticket,” he told NPR. “Why doesn’t Consumer Reports put out a survey that says a Mercedes S-Class is better than a Ford Focus?”Related: Keeping It Classy: Spirit Airlines Uses Nude Celeb Pic Scandal to Sell TicketsFor its part, Temkin asks consumers to evaluate brands based on three components: success (did you accomplish what you wanted to?), effort (how easy was it to interact with the company?), and emotion (how do you feel about your interactions with the company?).Check out how other airlines stack up in the list below.1) JetBlue Airlines 75%2) Southwest Airlines 72%3) Delta Airlines 69%4) Alaska Airlines 69%5) Virgin America 63%6) American Airlines 57%7) United Airlines 56%8) US Airways 55%9) AirTran Airways 52%10) Spirit Airlines 47%Related: Porn Accident: US Airways Issues Worst Brand Tweet of All Time
U.S. Regulators Aim to Ban Founder of Blood-Testing Firm Theranos U.S. federal health regulators have proposed banning Theranos Inc. founder Elizabeth Holmes from the blood-testing business for at least two years after determining that the company failed to fix deficiencies at its California laboratory, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) said in letter dated March 18 that it planned to revoke the lab’s federal license and ban Holmes and Theranos’s president, Sunny Balwani, from owning other labs for at least two years, the WSJ said.The proposed ban would include Theranos’s only other lab, located in Arizona, which along with the California lab generates most of the company’s revenue, the Journal said.The Journal said CMS gave Theranos about 10 days to provide adequate evidence of why the sanctions should not be imposed. Theranos had responded and the CMS was reviewing the response, the WSJ said, citing a person familiar with the matter.A Theranos spokeswoman told Reuters that the CMS had not imposed any sanctions on the company as yet.Theranos had promised to shake up medical testing by conducting a wide range of tests with just one drop of blood in a user-friendly manner with quick results.The company has been in the spotlight after reports in the WSJ suggested that the blood-testing devices were flawed and had problems with accuracy.The CMS in January had said that deficient practices at the California lab posed an “immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety”.Around that time, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., the largest U.S. drugstore chain, said it would stop using the services of the lab until all issues raised by the CMS were addressed.(Reporting by Rosmi Shaji in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza) Next Article –shares Add to Queue Theranos founder and CEO, Elizabeth Holmes. This story originally appeared on Reuters Reuters The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Image credit: Theranos | Facebook Apply Now » Theranos April 13, 2016 2 min read
The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Next Article 37shares 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Apply Now » Reuters The historic Sears Roebuck building, Hackensack, NJ. Sears Holdings Corp. could quickly expand a new, smaller-store format that is less than a tenth the size of its average department store if a pilot project delivers strong results, a senior executive at the retailer told Reuters.Leena Munjal said Sears planned to test the small format with a handful of openings this year, offering new details of a strategy that was first outlined at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday.The move comes as Sears tries to bounce back from a five-year stretch during which it lost more than $8 billion as it closed hundreds of stores and sales dropped sharply. The initial pilot store — due to open next week in Colorado — will be its first non-specialty store opening since 2005.”Obviously we want to move the needle,” Munjal, Senior Vice President, Customer Experience and Integrated Retail, said in an interview, referring to the potential for expansion. “This is very much a quick, scalable model.”The first location will be a 10,000 square-foot store specializing in refrigerators, ovens and other home appliances at a redeveloped mall in Fort Collins, Colorado. The average Sears store is 138,000 square feet.Appliances are a relative strength for Sears, making it a natural choice for the first small store. However, Munjal said when it rolls out other small format locations they may focus on different categories. She did not elaborate.Sears said the new Colorado store will carry the same assortment of appliances as in a typical Sears department store, including the top 10 brands of refrigerators, dishwashers and other products. It will also feature a 122-inch interactive display which customers can use to see how appliances would appear in various kitchen layouts.For years Sears has slashed costs and sold off assets in an attempt to establish a profitable business model centred on fewer stores, innovative online services and a data-driven loyalty program. So far those efforts have not succeeded.The smaller stores mark the latest attempt by Sears to rationalize floor space as shopping increasingly shifts online. In addition to accelerating store closings, it has been leasing out unproductive space in its stores to other retailers.Sears said the Colorado location would offer a service where customers can book an appointment with an appliance expert in the store, and in-vehicle pickup in which customers can have online purchases delivered to their car.(Reporting by Nathan Layne in Chicago; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman) May 12, 2016 3 min read Sears Eyes Quick Rollout of Small Stores if Test Is Successful Sears Add to Queue This story originally appeared on Reuters Image credit: EQRoy | Shutterstock.com
Add to Queue Reuters Alibaba Expects to Nearly Double Transactions Volume to More Than $900 Billion by 2020 Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Image credit: Reuters | Aly Song | File Photo –shares June 14, 2016 China This story originally appeared on Reuters 1 min read Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said on Tuesday it expects to nearly double its transaction volumes by 2020, signalling it still expects rampant growth as Executive Chairman Jack Ma pledged to intensify a crackdown on fake goods.At an investor conference at its headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, Alibaba said it expects to record 6 trillion yuan ($912 billion) in gross merchandise volume in fiscal 2020, nearly double 3.09 trillion yuan in fiscal 2016.Echoing that growth, Ma said Alibaba expects to have 2 billion consumers on its books by 2036, up from 423 million active buyers in 2016.Addressing concerns about the company’s efforts to remove counterfeit products from its online platforms, Ma said Alibaba will do “anything to stop the fake products.” The company has been dogged for years by accusations that its shopping platforms were conduits for counterfeiters.”I promise you guys that counterfeits, fake products, and intellectual property theft — we are more and more confident than ever that we can solve the problem,” Ma said.(Reporting by Yimou Lee in Hong Kong; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell) Next Article Register Now »
This story originally appeared on Reuters Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals The company’s reticence to explain censorship decisions has drawn criticism in many countries around the globe. Next Article –shares Add to Queue Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. Facebook Register Now » After Facebook’s removal of an iconic Vietnam war photo stirred an international uproar last month, the social network’s executives quickly backtracked and cleared its publication.But the image — showing a naked Vietnamese girl burned by napalm — had previously been used in training sessions as an example of a post that should be removed, two former Facebook employees told Reuters.Trainers told content-monitoring staffers that the photo violated Facebook policy, despite its historical significance, because it depicted a naked child, in distress, photographed without her consent, the employees told Reuters.The social network has taken great pains to craft rules that can be applied uniformly with minimal discretion. The reversal on the war photo, however, shows how Facebook’s top executives sometimes overrule company policy and its legions of low- and mid-level content monitors.Facebook has often insisted that it is a technology company — not a media company — but an elite group of at least five senior executives regularly directs content policy and makes editorial judgment calls, particularly in high-profile controversies, eight current and former Facebook executives told Reuters.One of those key decision-makers — Justin Osofsky, who runs the community operations division — wrote a Facebook post acknowledging that the removal of the war photo was a “mistake.”“Sometimes,” he wrote, “the global and historical significance of a photo like ‘Terror of War’ outweighs the importance of keeping nudity off Facebook.”Facebook spokeswoman Christine Chen declined to comment on the company’s use of the photo in training sessions.Facebook has long resisted calls to publicly detail its policies and practices on censoring postings. That approach has drawn criticism from users who have had content removed and free-speech advocates, who cite a lack of transparency and a lack of an appeals process for many content decisions.At the same time, some governments and anti-terror groups are pressuring the company to remove more posts they consider offensive or dangerous.High-level reviewThe current and former Facebook executives, most of them speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters in detail how complaints move through the company’s content-policing apparatus. The toughest calls, they said, rise to an elite group of executives.Another of the key decision-makers is Global Policy Chief Monika Bickert, who helped rule on the fracas over the war photo.”That was one we took a hard look at, and we decided it definitely belonged on the site,” said Bickert, a former federal prosecutor.She declined to elaborate on the decision-making process.Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg followed up with an apology to Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who had posted the photo on her own account after Facebook removed it from others in her country.In addition to Sandberg, Osofsky and Bickert, executives involved in sensitive content issues include Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s Washington-based government relations chief; and Elliot Schrage, the vice president for public policy and communications.All five studied at Harvard, and four of them have both undergraduate and graduate degrees from the elite institution. All but Sandberg hold law degrees. Three of the executives have longstanding personal ties to Sandberg.Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard drop-out, occasionally gets involved with content controversies, Bickert said.These executives also weigh in on content policy changes meant to reflect shifting social context and political sensitivities around the world, current and former executives said.Facebook officials said the five people identified by Reuters were not the only ones involved in high-level content decisions.“Facebook has a broad, diverse and global network involved in content policy and enforcement, with different managers and senior executives being pulled in depending on the region and the issue at hand,” Chen said.Chen declined to name any other executives who were involved in content policy.A war over free expressionThe company’s reticence to explain censorship decisions has drawn criticism in many countries around the globe.Last month, Facebook disabled the accounts of editors at two of the most widely read Palestinian online publications, Shehab News Agency and Quds. In keeping with standard company practice, Facebook didn’t publicly offer a reason for the action or pinpoint any content it considered inappropriate.The company told Reuters that the removal was simply an error.Some Palestinian advocacy groups and media outlets condemned the shutdowns as censorship stemming from what they described as Facebook’s improper alliance with the Israeli government.Israel’s government has pushed Facebook to block hundreds of pages it believes incite violence against Jews, said Noam Sela, spokesman for Israeli cabinet Minister Gilad Erdan.Sela said the Israeli government “had a connection” at Facebook to handle complaints but declined to elaborate on the relationship.“It’s not working as well as we would like,” Sela said. “We have more work to do to get Facebook to remove these pages.”Ezz al-Din al-Akhras, a Quds supervisor, said that Facebook’s head of policy in the Middle East had gotten in touch after the uproar over the shutdowns and that three of four suspended accounts were restored.“We hope the Facebook campaign of suspending and removing Palestinian accounts will stop,” he said. “We do not practice incitement; we are only conveying news from Palestine to the world.”Facebook said the restoration of the accounts was not a response to complaints. It declined to comment on whether top executives were involved.The company has cited technological glitches in other recent cases where content was removed, then restored, including the takedown of a video that showed the aftermath of a Minneapolis police shooting.Chen declined to explain the glitch.She said the company was reviewing its appeals process in response to public feedback. Facebook currently allows appeals of company actions involving entire profiles set up by people or institutions, or full pages on those profiles, but not for individual posts.Thick rulebookTo manage the huge volume of content complaints — more than a million a day — the company employs a multi-layered system. It starts with automated routing of complaints to content-policing teams in Dublin, Hyderabad, Austin and Menlo Park, who make initial rulings, current and former executives said.These low-level staffers and contractors consult a thick rulebook that interprets the comparatively spare “community standards” that Facebook customers are asked to follow. The company trains front-line monitors to follow rules and use as little discretion as possible.When a removal sparks more complaints, regional managers function as a mid-level appeals court. Continuing controversy could then push the issue to top U.S. executives.Senior executives also weigh in on policy updates. Osofsky and Kaplan, for instance, wrote a blog post last week, in response to “continued feedback” on content removals, explaining that the company would start weighing news value more heavily in deciding whether to block content.In an earlier post, responding to the Napalm-girl controversy, Osofsky said Facebook’s policies usually work well, but not always.”In many cases, there’s no clear line between an image of nudity or violence that carries global and historic significance and one that doesn’t,” Osofsky wrote.The Vietnam war photo — depicting horrors suffered by a girl named Phan Thi Kim Phuc — was first removed from an account in Norway by a front-line monitor.In protest, the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten printed the image on its front page and posted it on Facebook, which removed it. That prompted the prime minister to post the photo — only to have Facebook remove it again.Facebook then issued a statement defending the action, saying it was “difficult to create a distinction between allowing a photograph of a nude child in one instance and not others.”The next day, executives reversed the call, with Sandberg telling the prime minister: “Even with clear standards, screening millions of posts on a case-by-case basis every week is challenging.”(By Kristina Cooke, Dan Levine and Dustin Volz; Additional reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb and Joseph Menn in San Francisco, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Terje Solsvik in Oslo; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Brian Thevenot) Image credit: Reuters | Ruben Sprich Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. October 28, 2016 Reuters 7 min read Facebook Executives Feel the Heat of Content Controversies
The World Health Organization prioritized a vaccine for Strep A in 2014, and in 2018 unanimously passed a resolution calling for action against rheumatic heart disease, including a vaccine against Strep A.MCRI’s Head of Infection and Immunity, Prof Andrew Steer, said there were concerns in the scientific community about the effectiveness of antibiotics to treat Strep A in the future as groups of Strep A had evolved to be resistant to the antibiotics azithromycin and clarithromycin.Related StoriesNew shingles vaccine reduces outbreaks of painful rash among stem cell transplant patientsNovel vaccine against bee sting allergy successfully testedScripps CHAVD wins $129 million NIH grant to advance new HIV vaccine approach”Already invasive Strep A infections like the notorious ‘flesh-eating bacteria’ and ‘toxic shock’ kill 150,000 people around the globe each year,” said Prof Steer, who is also an honorary fellow with the University of Melbourne.”But there is little awareness of Strep A among the public, policymakers, and even scientists – and so there has been little incentive for major vaccine manufacturers to get behind vaccine development.””IVI and MCRI have set up an international consortium to pool wisdom and resources to embark on an overdue process to develop one of the vaccines the world most urgently needs and most terribly underfunds.”Work to raise awareness and build global support for the development of a Strep A vaccine is supported by the new Wellcome grant. “We will create the means to advocate internationally for increased vaccine research and develop the cases for investment in Strep A vaccines at business and policy levels,” Dr Kim said. “By the end of the project, we also hope to have identified a major vaccine manufacturer.”Head of Vaccines at the Wellcome Trust, Dr Charlie Weller, said that vaccines are hugely powerful in preventing the spread of infectious disease globally.”Strep A bacteria causes many serious infections, including scarlet fever and rheumatic heart disease,” Dr Weller said.”It is among the top 10 causes of death worldwide, and concerns are growing about the effectiveness of the antibiotics we have to treat patients. With a Strep A vaccine huge numbers of lives could be protected, but this cannot happen without international collaboration and support.”We hope to accelerate development of the investment case for a Strep A vaccine and better understanding of the impact it would have on global public health.”Source: University of Melbourne Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 31 2019The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and Australia’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) will coordinate a global push to free the world of Group A Streptococcus (Strep A), the contagious bacteria that kills half a million people every year and is developing resistance to antibiotics.The British biomedical research foundation, the Wellcome Trust, has granted $2.25 million to IVI and MCRI to coordinate world efforts to develop a vaccine against Strep A and find manufacturers.Director General of IVI, Dr Jerome Kim, said that Strep A, a bacterial pathogen, is one of the most deadly infectious diseases – ranking with tuberculosis (TB), HIV, and malaria but globally very little had been invested in Strep A research. Strep A is one of the main causes of death from infectious diseases, claiming 500,000 lives per year; however few people are aware of it.Strep A usually begins with a sore throat, but if left untreated it causes the immune system to become overactive, resulting in rheumatic heart disease, which damages heart valves and over time causes heart failure and death. This affects more than 33 million people around the world, and the vast majority of deaths are in low-and-middle-income countries. A vaccine would be the most effective and cost-effective way to control infection.”Dr Jerome Kim, Director General of IVI
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Provided by CORDIS New Way of Measuring ‘Reality’ of Virtual Worlds Could Lead To Better Business Tools World drug usage is growing significantly every year. So is drug trafficking: Although the value of this market is difficult to calculate, experts evaluate it at approximately USD $400 billion. The amount of work this implies for investigators is mind-bending. It also means that, to be effective in their jobs, these investigators need to be well-trained in various disciplines, as well as have the means to cooperate with their peers in other countries. The LAW-TRAIN (Mixed-reality environment for training teams in joint investigative interrogation-Intelligent interrogation training simulator) project aims to fill existing gaps, with a virtual investigation training system jointly developed by universities, governments and relevant companies.”We know that training by role-playing is very beneficial. But doing it with a team of senior law-enforcement personnel from different European countries is very difficult: all are very busy and located in different places,” says Prof. Sarit Kraus, coordinator of the project for Bar Ilan University in Israel.Thanks to LAW-TRAIN, investigators will soon benefit from a virtual reality training platform that allows them to remain in their country while interacting with other team members across Europe. Each training session consists of four phases: individual preparation, where the trainee receives information about the case; joint preparation, where the trainee can exchange information and shape a joint strategy with his or her peers; investigative interview, where one or two trainees get to interview the virtual suspect in the presence of an equally virtual lawyer; and debriefing/evaluation. The use of virtual reality (VR) is focused on phase three and makes use of the Oculus Rift headset.”Recruiting a person to play the role of the suspect is difficult, so LAW-TRAIN provides a virtual suspect that the team can interview,” Prof. Kraus explains. “Besides, we provide various tools for the trainers: LAW-TRAIN supports many scenarios and enables the creation of new ones. It provides statistics on the trainees’ performance and includes a virtual trainer who can comment on the trainees’ performance and any deviation from the European ethical guidelines online.”These aspects of LAW-TRAIN make for as many different modules, all developed by project partners and mediated by an exchange server. Each module was, of course, developed in close cooperation with end-users. “They love it,” Prof. Kraus enthuses. “The system was presented at the MILIPOL conference to dozens of end-users who were enthusiastic and are now awaiting commercialisation.” The system will be available on various platforms. All it requires for working is a fast local computer and a secure Internet site for activities such as video conferences and information analysis. Before LAW-TRAIN makes it to the market, the team intends to continue testing the system with end-users and improving its modules until the project comes to an end in April 2018. “We are also looking for even more innovation beyond the goals set in this project, hoping to develop them as well in the future,” Prof. Kraus says. Since LAW-TRAIN has been designed as a generic engine, the development of scenarios for other types of illegal activities as well as other cross-border teamwork training is very likely. Explore further Citation: Virtual reality training to help catch drug trafficking (2018, February 9) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-virtual-reality-drug-trafficking.html More information: www.law-train.eu/
Explore further Some 60 companies including such leading brands as Subway, Sprint and the NFL are joining forces to help each other follow you around online. Less is more as companies explore shopping by voice © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This June 21, 2017, file photo shows Adobe software displayed at a store in Hialeah, Fla. A new service aims to help marketers follow you around by linking discrete activities online, such as visiting Subway’s website on a computer and checking the NFL’s app on a phone. Adobe announced the new initiative Wednesday, March 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File) Adobe, a company better known for Photoshop and PDF files, says the new Device Co-op initiative it is organizing will help companies offer more personalized experiences and make ads less annoying by filtering out products and services you have already bought or will never buy. Under the initiative, Adobe can tell you’re the same person on a home PC, a work laptop, a phone and a tablet by analyzing past sign-ins with member companies.The initiative comes amid heightened privacy sensitivities after reports that Facebook allowed a political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, to harvest data on millions of Facebook users to influence elections. Facebook also has been criticized for collecting call and text logs from phones running Google’s Android system.Adobe’s initiative underscores the role data plays in helping companies make money. Many of the initial uses are for better ad targeting.The company timed Wednesday’s announcement to a digital marketing conference it is hosting this week in Las Vegas. Adobe executives said they believed their initiative offers strong privacy safeguards and weren’t worried about a backlash in light of the Facebook scandal.”With this stuff coming out now around Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, the bar has to be so high in terms of privacy,” Adobe executive Amit Ahuja said.Adobe says no personal data is being exchanged among participating companies, which also include Allstate, Lenovo, Intel, Barnes & Noble, Subaru and the Food Network. Adobe says the program links about 300 million consumers across nearly 2 billion devices in the U.S. and Canada.The program would let Sprint, for instance, know that Bob is already a customer when he visits from a new device. Bob wouldn’t get a promotion to switch from another carrier, but might get instead a phone upgrade offer. Or if Mary has declared herself a Giants fan on the NFL’s app, she might see ads with Giants banners when visiting NFL.com from a laptop for the first time.All this might feel creepy, but such cross-device tracking is already commonly done by matching attributes such as devices that from the same internet location, or IP address. Consumers typically have little control over it.Adobe says it will give consumers a chance to opt out of such tracking. And it’s breaking industry practices in a few ways. Adobe says it will honor opt-out requests for all participating companies and for all devices at once. It’s more typical for such setups to require people do so one by one. All companies in the initiative are listed on Adobe’s website, a break from some companies’ practice of referring only to unspecified partners.”We’re doing everything we can not letting brands hide themselves,” Ahuja said.But in taking an opt-out approach, which is common in the industry, Adobe assumes that users consent. And it places the burden on consumers to learn about this initiative and to figure out how they can opt out of it. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: New service aims to follow users across multiple devices (2018, March 28) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-aims-users-multiple-devices.html
Credit: Metamorworks/Shutterstock This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Drivers, however, don’t suffer motion sickness because they are aware of the likely future motion of the vehicle, like helmsman on boats. As a result, they tend to do things like tilt their heads against the turn of the car, which counteracts the forces of motion (whereas passengers tend to tilt with the bend).The main solution to motion sickness is to look at a fixed object in the direction you are travelling so that your eyes send the same signal to your brain about how you are moving as your inner ears do. This means it will be difficult for driverless cars to include rear-facing seats from where you can’t see in the direction of travel.Other information that can tell us about the future movement of the vehicle can help minimise motion sickness. This can include voice cues from a satnav, directional lighting showing which way the car is going to turn, and virtual horizons that display where the real horizon would be.Stopping sicknessHowever, it may be possible to design driverless cars to reduce the chances of motion sickness in the first place. My colleagues and I have demonstrated technology that can reliably predict a passenger’s motion sickness from their vital signs, posture and data from the vehicle for past and predicted future motion. Using this, we can create a personalised recovery programme depending on the individual and what they are doing. We can then adapt the car’s control settings to minimise provocative motion further and maximise passenger comfort.We have also been researching how a small vibration device located just behind the ear can lengthen the time it takes the most sensitive people to start feeling motion sickness in a driverless cabin. Such a device could, for shorter journeys at least, enable you to avoid motion sickness without having to look out the window, and without the side-effects of medication.Future research will focus on how we can train people to gradually get used to riding and eventually multi-tasking in a driverless car so they experience less motion sickness. We also want to gather passengers’ biometric data in more remote and discreet ways, and use artificial intelligence to assess this information to work out how well they are doing with the training and adjust it accordingly. Hopefully by enabling passengers to do other things while riding, we can stop feeling sick from being a barrier to the driverless revolution. Provided by The Conversation But my Ph.D. research suggests we’ll never be as comfortable or productive as these visions portray without finding a way to combat motion sickness. Just as passengers in human-driven cars can easily feel sick if they don’t look out the window, giving up control to a self-driving vehicle to focus on something else will likely to lead to queasiness.In one recent experiment, my colleagues and I found that facing backwards in a driverless car increases motion sickness symptoms in 100% of passengers during normal urban driving. This echoes previous research that shows not being able to see out the front of a vehicle can worsen motion sickness.In another experiment, again echoing other research, we found that ability to perform a simple reading task was reduced by 40%, simply by being driven around at normal speeds on a normal urban route. However, we’ve also found that there might be technological ways to combat this problem.Motion sickness is caused by a conflict between the signals from our different senses. When our eyes observe the environment, our inner ears sense if we are moving. When the two signals do not match then we are more likely to develop motion sickness.For example, if you read a book in a car, your eyes see the stationary item but your ears tell your brain you are moving. The reverse is also true for so-called virtual reality sickness, where your eyes are immersed in a rich tapestry of information that tells you you are moving, but your inner ears can’t detect any movement, leading to similar symptoms to motion sickness.Everyone except the profoundly deaf or those with true vestibular dysfunction is susceptible to motion sickness. The extent of the problem can depend on age, ethnicity, gender and past experiences. For example, Chinese people are generally more sensitive than white Europeans, females are more sensitive than males, and 11-year-olds are the most sensitive. New patented system could prevent motion sickness while riding in self-driving cars Driverless cars will usher in a transport utopia, at least according to many of their proponents. Concept art for these futuristic vehicles often show passengers sat facing each other, reading, working or enjoying some other activity as their car does the driving for them. I would argue that one of the main attractions of an automated vehicle is being able to do something else while you’re safely and comfortably transported to your destination. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. Citation: Driverless cars will make you sick – but there’s a fix (2018, November 13) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-driverless-cars-sick.html Explore further
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