NASA rover Curiosity fulfills dream drills into Mars clay

first_img Comments NASA Mars rover Curiosity spots peculiar pebbles NASA: ‘Cannonball’ spotted on Mars isn’t what it seems 2 Enlarge ImageThe Curiosity rover drilled into this clay-bearing unit on Mars. NASA/JPL-Caltech The Curiosity rover is living its best life on Mars. NASA chose the Gale Crater as the vehicle’s stomping ground in part because of the siren call of the crater’s “clay-bearing unit.” The rover has now finally drilled into that area, nearly seven years after landing on the red planet.”Don’t let your dreams be dreams,” the rover team tweeted. “I finally got beneath the surface of those clays. Science to come.” “Certain minerals, including some Curiosity may find in the clay and sulfate-rich layers near the bottom of Gale’s mountain, are good at latching onto organic compounds and protecting them from oxidation,” NASA said at the time. Curiosity now finally has its chance for a closer look. This is a time of great excitement for scientists and Mars fans alike. Curiosity has weathered technical glitches and damaged wheels to get here. This new chapter, carved into clay, is just beginning.  “This is a moment that the mission has been waiting for since Gale Crater was chosen as our landing site,” wrote Curiosity team member Scott Guzewich in a mission update. The bedrock target is nicknamed “Aberlady.” Curiosity will investigate the drill hole and composition of the rock powder as it seeks to learn more about this region of Mars. When NASA announced in 2011 that Gale Crater would be Curiosity’s home away from home, the space agency highlighted the likely history of water in the region and how it plays into the search for signs of organic compounds. Curiosity explores Mars Tagscenter_img Share your voice 43 Photos Don’t let your dreams be dreams.Back in 2011, before I launched for #Mars, Gale Crater was chosen as my landing site in part because of intriguing clays seen from orbit. I finally got beneath the surface of those clays. Science to comehttps://t.co/eNNcHi4X7f#MondayMotivation pic.twitter.com/YHk7DZJKig— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) April 8, 2019 41 weird objects seen on Mars, explained Sci-Tech Mars rovers NASA Spacelast_img read more

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2019-09-10

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Reliance Defence to raise up to Rs 1200 crore via rights issue

first_imgReliance Defence and Engineering Limited (Reliance Defence), an Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group company, plans to raise up to Rs. 1,200 crore via a rights issue to augment long-term resources and retire debt. The company informed the stock exchanges that a decision to the effect was made at its board meeting on Friday.The price and the entitlement ratio will be decided after consultations with bankers and advisors to the issue, the company said in its regulatory filing to the BSE.”The proceeds of the issue would enable RDEL (Reliance Defence) to exit from the corporate debt restructuring (CDR) and strengthen its financial position. Further, the resources would equip RDEL to undertake strategic business from the ministry of defence in line with the ‘Make in India’ programme,” it said.Meanwhile, the company has applied for approval to make defence equipment at its special economic zones (SEZs) in Mihan near Nagpur in Maharashtra, and Pithampur near Dhar, Madhya Pradesh.”The proposals of Reliance Defence Ltd for grant of industrial licences for manufacturing of defence products… is placed before the BoA (Board of Approval) for a decision,” the Commerce Ministry said in a note, reported PTI.The request will be considered at an inter-ministerial meeting on April 28, the agency added.The company was formerly known as Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company Limited.The company’s losses for the December 2015 widened to Rs. 293.60 crore on a turnover of Rs. 50.54 crore. It had incurred a loss of Rs. 70.46 crore for the December 2015 quarter and Rs. 170.22 crore for the September 2015 quarter.The Reliance Defence stock closed at Rs. 68.05 on Friday, up 1.04 percent from its previous close.last_img read more

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2019-09-05

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Infosys new CEO Salil Parekh will be earning just 25 of Vishal

first_imgSalil Parekh took charge as managing director and chief executive of IT major Infosys.Twitter InfosysThe newly inducted Infosys chief executive officer (CEO), Salil Parekh will earn only a quarter (25 percent) of the salary package given to his predecessor Vishal Sikka. Parekh will be receiving Rs 16.2 crore annually, according to the company postal ballot filed in Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).Parekh’s salary is way short of what Vishal Sikka drew in fiscal 2017. In the last one year Sikka earned Rs 45.1 crore before he quit in August after a yearlong battle between co-founders and management.The company has also given the details of severance pay terms; as severance pay, Parekh will be getting half his compensation of the previous 12 months and vesting of outstanding stock options till that period.This is in line with the fundamental ideas set forth by the co-founders of the IT major. N R Narayana Murthy had flagged the issue of higher salaries the top executives were getting.Another co-founder, now the non-executive chairman, Nandan Nilekani had also said earlier that he would like see a low profile senior executive to execute a vision of focused delivery for customers.According to the company’s postal ballot, Parekh will get an annual fixed salary of Rs 65 lakh and variable pay of Rs 97.5 lakh that would be compensated based on achieving metrics set by the company. The Bengaluru-based IT exporter has also offered stock options worth Rs 97.5 lakh that would be vested over two years.With Parekh taking over as the head of India’s second largest software exporter, interim CEO Pravin Rao has been redesignated as chief operating officer (COO).On January 2, Parekh was inducted in a low-key manner with hardly any of the top executives or founders present in company’s Bengaluru headquarter.Speaking to employees in video call, the new CEO said that he is delighted to lead the company and excited to lead the company at a time when technology is changing at a fast and disruptive pace.last_img read more

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2019-09-05

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IITKGP expresses interest in Kanyashree project willing to work with government

first_imgKolkata: IIT Kharagpur is willing to work with the Bengal government on its Kanyashree project and provide technological upgradation for further enhancement of the quality of learning for girls.”We have developed National Digital Library of India (NDLI) where all types of books are available in a single platform. If we can integrate this digital library with the Kanyashree project, we will be able to assess the progress of education of girls and accordingly provide them with the correct input to enhance their education level,” IIT Kharagpur director Dr Partha Pratim Chakrabarti said. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsHe further maintained that IIT KGP has come up with a research centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) on its Kharagpur campus and is coming up with another centre for emerging technologies like AI, Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine Learning at Rajarhat.”Emerging technologies like AI can be used in Kanyashree project and this will improve learning, hence, contribute to the development of a girl child in the real sense of the term. We want to contribute in a big way to this development so we are looking forward to work with the Bengal government,” Chakrabarti said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe project, which was rolled out in March 2013, presently has 4,84,8970 beneficiaries. IIT Kharagpur had once extended their help when there was a problem in the smooth functioning of the project.Kanyashree is the pet project of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the upliftment of girls from the poor families and enables them to pursue higher studies, which they are unable to do due to economic constraints. It is a targeted conditional cash transfer scheme aimed at retaining girls in schools and other educational institutions. It also aims towards skill development and prevent child marriage. The United Nations in June last year awarded the Bengal government for its “Kanyashree” scheme.The project won the first place for Public Service at the World Forum out of a total of 552 projects from 62 countries, which were nominated for the award.last_img read more

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2019-08-31

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Poster row Cops taking steps against errant youth

first_imgKolkata: Kolkata Police is taking steps against the youth who put up a poster in the city that has allegedly fanned religious sentiment.The city police have taken immediate step soon after noticing the poster. The poster has been removed.In a Facebook post, the Kolkata Police has stated that necessary steps would be taken after identifying the people, who had put up the poster and “attempts to fan religious sentiments willnot be allowed”.It may be mentioned that police maintain vigil to avoid any sort of rumours so that the law and order situation in the state does not get disturbed. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsPolice also create awareness among people by circulating messages through social networking sites and urge people not to give ears to any rumour. Chief MinisterMamata Banerjee has also urged common people to not listen to rumours and inform police in case they find any rumour mongers in their area.It may be mentioned that police take immediate steps in this connection and necessary legal actions to ensure that there is no deterioration of the law and order situation.It may be recalled that a fake notification over Eid holidays had got circulated on social media a few days ago. Hence, police are preparing a video to create awareness and urge thatthey should only forward messages on social media only after verifying the truth.last_img read more

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2019-08-31

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Borghetti to integrate V Australia into Virgin Blue

first_imgVirgin Blue CEO John Borghetti plans to change the fortunes of the company’s loss making, long-haul offshoot V Australia by bringing it back under the direct control of the main airline group. Under the changes, Virgin Blue and V Australia will fall under a single brand which is expected to be announced shortly. The integration of the two airlines is said to be part of Virgin’s strategy to take on Qantas in the business travel market and reposition the company away from its budget carrier roots. Borghetti also outlined plans to increase his senior executive team from six to eight in a memo to staff yesterday.Virgin’s commercial chief Liz Savage will take on the combined roles of network and revenue management across the entire group. Next month her team will complete a review of Virgin’s entire international and domestic networks. As reported earlier this week, Borghetti has poached two of his former colleagues at Qantas, Will Owens and Jane McKeon. Qantas’ former head of government and international relations, Jane McKeon will be in control of government relations, while QF’s former head of pricing, Will Owens, will be head of yield management with Virgin. Keith Neate will stay on as chief financial officer and Richard Tanner will retain his position as human resources chief.Former Creative Holidays MD Justin Montgomery has also joined the Virgin Group as the head of sales (excluding Virgin Atlantic). Andrew David will be in charge of Group executive operations and V Australia’s general manager, Scott Swift will report directly to David. In a statement, Virgin Blue said that its new group executive for product and guest services, Martin Daley, will give customers “a seat at the table” among Virgin Blue’s executive ranks.Virgin Blue is expected to have a strong presence at the upcoming NTIA Awards next week, with John Borghetti also expected to be in attendance. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Flast_img read more

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2019-08-17

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The UKs Office of Fair Trading OFT has referred

first_imgThe UK’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has referred Ericsson’s buyout of Red Bee Media to the Competition Commission over fears that the deal could drive up the cost of playout services in the UK. In a statement, the UK’s consumer and competition authority said that it was concerned that the deal “might lead to an increase in prices or a worsening of service levels in the supply of linear playout services in the UK.”The OFT, non-ministerial government department, said that a number of broadcasters and competitors have also complained about the merger and “the loss of choice it entails.”Though a minority of broadcasters provide playout services themselves, the OFT added that it did not consider the threat of taking these back in-house would stem price rises in the short and medium term.“Not only is there the possibility of price rises as a result of the merger, there is a risk the most complex channels will suffer a reduction in quality in their service levels. We are therefore referring the anticipated merger to the Competition Commission for an in-depth investigation,” said OFT chief executive Clive Maxwell.Ericsson agreed to buy UK-based TV technology and media services company Red Bee Media from Macquarie Advanced Investment Partners in July. The move will see it further strengthen its broadcast services business, which it started in 2007 and expanded in 2012 with the acquisition of Technicolor’s Broadcast Services Division.The deal, which is expected to close later this year if it meets regulatory approval, will give Ericsson an additional 1,500 employees, as well as media services and operations facilities in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Australia.Linear playout services ensure that television programmes, advertising, and other television content are lined up and ready for broadcast, according to the programme schedule. Playout service providers also manage the fluctuations around the schedule according to the broadcaster’s wishes, for example in reaction to live sports.last_img read more

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2019-08-07

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In This Issue Fed loses patience Lower pr

first_imgIn This Issue. * Fed loses patience * Lower projections * Dollar took a big hit * Norges and SNB hold And Now. Today’s A Pfennig For Your Thoughts.Roller Coaster Ride.Good day.And welcome to Thursday morning. I’ll let Frank Trotter greet you this morning, so take it away Frank. “San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina – The day dawned early for us in Cafayate, and brilliant.  To the west behind our villa the snow-capped peaks of the Andes made a rare appearance.  Cachi Mountain, 90 miles north at the head of the valley stood imposing.  A rain last night in the Quebrada provides some excitement as I drove to the airport.  Mud and rock slides had been mostly cleared by crews leaving pools of water and slippery spots on the winding canyon road.  Glad we didn’t meet a tour bus or a semi in the midst of one of those surprises. A scene at the airport made me think of the late Hy Minsky, a former colleague and well known and respected economist.  According to my posthumous application of his research, the run up in housing prices well above the inflation rate that caused the crisis in 2008 was created by a series of events.  First, major changes to government policies concerning acceptable mortgage transactions in 1992 and 2008.  Additional regulatory changes on the same topic in 1997 and 1998 added fuel to the fire.  Second, the fiscal deficit expansion starting in 2002 generated by the otherwise welcome tax cuts that have been covered so frequently here, threw on a few more logs allowing individuals to spend the extra income including buying homes at higher and higher prices.  Next the monetary base expansion post 2001, accompanied by a sporty multiplier worked as traditionally modeled helping to boost prices generally, including housing.  Finally let’s not forget credit – they lynchpin of Minsky’s work.  Banks and other lenders reacted to clients requesting liquidity from their newfound home values providing loans based on the newly inflated values, and of course some lenders pushed this way too hard as we have seen.  So we have all the pieces in place – unjustified asset price increases, significant government stimulus, and a massive credit expansion creating a top heavy leverage.  The story is told time and time again. In Salta at the airport there is a protocol.  Everyone sits at the gate inside security until it is almost time to board.  Then we passengers are to line up in three places based on our seat assignment, and standing.  It’s a little like the Southwest Airlines A, B, and C lines before they instituted the line-up by number protocol.  The Minsky Moment comes when the first person (that would be me) stands and joins the appropriate line.  Inside of 2 minutes everyone is on their feet and in line – a truly entertaining spectacle that I love to create.  In financial markets there are a few who exit early – maybe they sold their homes in 2007 in wonderment of the price irrationality.  Then a few more, then almost everyone has a for sale sign in the yard creating a tumbling price market.  When the asset is highly leveraged this effect compounds, in the USA creating 2008 for example.  Looking out over the landscape I note that we have seen 6 excellent years in the equity markets, accompanied by an increasing leverage that I spoke about in the Pfennig last Sunday.  Do the markets keep on their upward path or does someone rise from their seat and get into the B line?” What a difference a day makes! As soon as I saw the headline where the Fed removed patient from their language, I was prepared for the worst. The trading screens lit up like a Christmas tree, but all of the action wasn’t consistent with how the script was supposed to play out, according the most market pundits leading up to the meeting. Yes, the numerous calls that patient was to be removed came to fruition but the Fed really shook things up when they came off as having a dovish undertone. Chuck took some time out of his vacation and had this to share with us. “I thought I would throw my 2-cents in this whole FOMC meeting yesterday.  Well, I see that the FOMC and their fearless leader, Janet Yellen, has lost her patience with the kids.  But, also said that she and her band of merry Fed members decided that they were going to remain cautious on a timeline for raising key interest rates.  They are still wanting to see inflation, as measured by the stupid CPI, reach 2% (it’s presently lagging below that number, somehow. )  and the economic data strengthen before moving rates higher. so why drop the word that so accurately describes what they are being?  Patient?   At the last meeting, they threw out using the phrase “considerable time” and now they’ve thrown out “patient”, one would think that they are simply greasing the tracks for a rate hike at the next meeting, why wait until June?   But then there’s that use of the word “cautious” .  And here’s where I think the FOMC is hedging their bet.  For if the data including inflation doesn’t respond accordingly, the FOMC could point to it and say, “wasn’t it good that we were cautious?”  And if the data does, miraculously respond accordingly, then they can simply say, ” it didn’t hurt that we were cautious”.  As I’ve told you before, my dad used to say to me, “Chuck, money talks, and B.S. walks”.  I don’t know why that saying just came to me, for I would never tie that to what is being said about rate hikes.  Never! Never I tell you! You can’t make me! No way! I’m not going to do it!… And the markets? Well, the dollar got sold like funnel cakes at a state fair after the Fed’s admission that the economy had slowed. It was quite the scene.  And last I looked Gold rallied $23.  But you have to ask yourself this. Why on earth would traders throw their positions in dollars away, when they put all their convictions into believing the Fed is going to hike rates this year eventually? Well, have you ever heard of a short squeeze?  It’s all about being short and having to cover, which leads to a price rise and that causes other shorts to have to be closed out and before you can shake a stick, the short positions have been squeezed out.   That’s what all this looks like to me, no change of heart, no having a V-8 head slap that the dollar’s rally has all been fabricated. At least not yet. that is.” Thanks again Chuck. Aside from the Fed meeting, it was a quiet day for data since a report of last week’s mortgage apps was the only other player in the lineup. Obviously, the Fed meeting far outweighed the drop in mortgage apps, but I at least wanted to mention it. We don’t have any US data due out tomorrow, so today’s weekly jobs numbers, current account balance, and leading indicators will wrap it up for this week. Moving back to the Fed, removal of the magic word (patient) had been interpreted as a rate hike was only two months away but downgrades made to both growth and inflation expectations pretty much ruled that out. With that said, calls for a June hike are now being pushed to September or December. In a portion of its statement, the Fed said the committee anticipates that it will be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate when it has seen further improvement in the labor market and is reasonably confident that inflation will move back to its 2% objective over the medium term. They went on to say inflation has declined further below the committee’s longer run objective. As far as inflation is concerned, its pretty tough for a central bank to justify a rate hike when inflation is being reported as low as it is. The big market mover was the new look of the dot chart in which all of the Fed members plot where they see interest rates going forward. The median estimate for the Fed funds rate projection for year-end dropped nearly in half to 0.625% from the previous 1.125% forecast. The 2016 figures were also chopped as they now see rates at 1.875% instead of the previous estimate of 2.5%. In other words, interest rates are expected to increase, but not nearly as much or as steep. As far as the currency market is concerned, I saw a report saying the dollar had its worst one day performance six years. With the way currencies had been getting beaten up, yesterday’s reprieve was very much needed. Just about every currency had gains of at least 1% on the day and more than a handful of them put up over 2% gains. As Chuck mentioned, the weeks leading up to this meeting saw the market getting overloaded on long dollar positions so the closing of those trades that were made with the anticipation a June hike was a sure thing had fueled a majority of the large gains yesterday. At one point, the euro was in the top spot among the various currencies as it traded over 1.09 and a sat on a 3% gain. Prior to the Fed statement, the Brazilian real was down about 1% and fell to a 12 year low as Fitch said they are reviewing the nation’s credit rating so there’s concern its current investment grade status could be in jeopardy. The Swedish krona was also firmly entrenched in negative territory during early trading after the central bank cut rates again and pushed the benchmark repo rate further into negative territory to -0.25%. Even with the bad news, both currencies still put up over 1% gains yesterday. Other than that, the Fed meeting was in the captain’s seat steering the currencies higher. As I came in this morning, the initial knee jerk reaction of the Fed meeting is behind us and the market has attempted to digest the happenings of yesterday. The dollar has been able to gain back a good chunk of ground so far this morning as the euro is trading around 1.0720 and the dollar index has settled in the mid-98 range. After all of the dust settled, the markets are back to counting their chickens before they hatch as rate hike prospects are still on the table. The Fed didn’t specifically rule out a June hike, but some economists are still hanging on to that glimmer of hope for some reason, but the expectations are that we will see at least one rate increase this year. The Norwegian krone has honors this morning with a 1.36% gain, and the only currency in positive territory, as their central bank, Norges Bank, surprised the markets by keeping rates on hold at 1.25%. Policy makers said if economic developments are broadly in line with projections, the prospects for a reduction in the key policy rate are present. In other words, we are going to see a rate cut as soon as the next meeting. The Swiss National Bank met as well and kept rates on hold but cut growth and inflation expectations. It was also mentioned they will remain active in the foreign exchange market, as necessary, in order to influence monetary conditions and was in response to the rise in the franc after the cap was lifted. This translates into we don’t want the franc to appreciate.That does it for today, so until tomorrow, have a great day!Currencies today 3/19/15. American Style: A$ .7656, kiwi .7386, C$ .7864, euro 1.0649, sterling 1.4837, Swiss $ 1.0070,  . European Style: rand 12.2705, krone 8.0872, SEK 8.7216, forint 285.01, zloty 3.8837, koruna 25.755, RUB 60.12, yen 120.91, sing 1.3859, HKD 7.7595, INR 62.59, China 6.1460, pesos 15.3135, BRL 3.2598, Dollar Index 98.96, Oil $42.81, 10-year 1.94%, Silver $15.84, Platinum $1,114.10, Palladium $771.10, and Gold. $1,162.40Mike Meyer Vice President EverBank World Marketslast_img read more

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2019-08-04

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Cancer drugs that speed onto the market based on e

first_imgCancer drugs that speed onto the market based on encouraging preliminary studies often don’t show clear benefits when more careful follow-up trials are done, according to research published Tuesday. These cancer drugs are granted accelerated approval to give patients faster access to the treatments and to allow drug companies to reap the economic rewards sooner. As a condition of this process, the Food and Drug Administration requires drug companies to conduct more research, to confirm whether the medications actually work and are safe.In 2018, the FDA looked back on 93 cancer drugs granted accelerated approval and touted that only five had been removed from the market over a 25-year span. A research team at Harvard Medical School’s Program on Regulation, Therapeutics and Law dug deeper to see what had happened with the rest.In the follow-up studies, only 19 of the 93 drugs clearly extended the lives of the patients taking them, according to the study, published in the latest JAMA Internal Medicine. For example, Genentech’s Avastin, or bevacizumab, won accelerated approval to treat the deadly brain cancer glioblastoma, but the drug did not extend the lives of patients in a follow-up study.Sometimes patients value drugs because they improve their quality of life. This drug didn’t do that either, yet the FDA left it on the market as an approved treatment for glioblastoma.”So that was the most baffling thing,” says Bishal Gyawali, an oncologist on the research team. “I find it very difficult to understand.”The researchers said follow-up studies for these cancer drugs often didn’t even use overall survival or improved quality of life as the benchmark.Instead, many used the same measure that formed the basis for their preliminary approval — for example, tumor shrinkage. Those targets, called “surrogate endpoints,” often don’t predict who will live longer or more comfortably. “How can we use the same surrogate endpoint and say they have clinical benefit in a confirmatory trial?” Gyawali asks, when that endpoint clearly wasn’t sufficient for full approval of the drug at the outset. (Gyawali is now at Queens University in Ontario.) “The reason for giving these approvals should be transparent,” he says, but the FDA doesn’t explain its reasoning.A second study in the same issue looked at cancer drugs approved based on a specific surrogate endpoint called “response rate.” Response to a drug can be anything from spectacular and complete remission to weak and transitory shrinkage of a tumor. And these responses don’t necessarily mean people will live longer or be more comfortable.The study looked at 59 cancer drugs approved initially on the basis of their response rate and found that just six eventually won regular approval based on their overall survival benefit.Studies based on response rate don’t include a comparison group, so the scientists at Oregon Health and Science University argue that it’s difficult to say whether these new drugs are better than other drugs already on the market.Sometimes there is no comparison group because these are rare cancers, or the drug targets a rare mutation in a common cancer, so it’s difficult to pull together a study that randomizes patients into different treatment groups, says Dr. Richard Schilsky, the senior vice president and chief medical officer at the American Society of Clinical Oncology.But for other circumstances, “if we put the investment in it we would be able to do randomized controlled trials,” says Emerson Chen, an oncology fellow at OHSU. Those studies often add another year or more to a follow-up study, he says, but he advocates for them because they provide “more definitive information about the survival and the inpatient-reported outcomes.””One of the reasons we don’t do those kinds of studies is that people say these drugs are so potent it would be wrong to do those kinds of studies … ethically or practically,” says oncologist Vinay Prasad, senior author of the paper. “But I think what we find is these drugs unfortunately are not that potent.”In a commentary, Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania write that there “is no good reason for the FDA to rely so heavily on accelerated approval using response rates or other unreliable surrogate end points.” “Drugs with unproven effectiveness sell false hope to desperate patients, who are likely paying thousands of dollars out of pocket for them,” they write, adding, “Approval of ineffective drugs also crowds out innovation that might produce effective treatment.”The FDA gets pressure both from patients and from drug companies to accelerate approval of new cancer drugs and constantly needs to strike a balance between innovation and caution, ASCO’s Schilsky says.Randomized trials are the gold standard for cancer research, but he says they can be challenging if a drug is already on the market.”When the preliminary results with some of these new treatments are looking very promising, it’s particularly difficult to get patients to accept randomization to a standard therapy that may be far inferior — or at least appear to be far inferior — to the new treatment,” Schilsky says.He also pushes back against the “sweeping generalizations” in these two studies. “Regulatory decisions have to be made on a case by case basis and in a particular context,” he says. But he agrees that the FDA should be more transparent about its decisions, so scientists can better understand them.The FDA did not provide NPR with details about its decision to leave Avastin on the market for brain cancer. In a statement, an agency spokeswoman notes that the FDA weighs risk and benefits, saying, “It has been widely accepted that benefit can be demonstrated by a number of endpoints, not just overall survival.”You can contact NPR science correspondent Richard Harris at rharris@npr.org. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

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2019-08-03

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A judge has failed to treat the murder of a disabl

first_imgA judge has failed to treat the murder of a disabled man who was imprisoned and tortured to death by his killer as a disability hate crime, raising fresh concerns about flawed legislation that is supposed to ensure higher sentences for such offences.Newcastle Crown Court heard during an eight-week trial how James Wheatley, 29, of Studdon Walk, Kenton Bar, Newcastle, repeatedly kicked, punched and stamped on Lee Irving in attacks that took place over nine days, leaving him with multiple broken bones and other injuries.Irving (pictured), 24, who had learning difficulties, thought Wheatley was his friend and was living in his house at the time of the attacks.But Wheatley and his co-defendants targeted Irving for his money and possessions, with Wheatley signing him up to online banking so he could empty his account.After the final attack that led to his death, Irving’s body was taken on a pushchair through a housing estate and dumped on a patch of grass near the A1.Gerry Wareham, chief crown prosecutor for the north-east, said after the trial that Wheatley had “exploited the friendship of Lee Irving in the worst way imaginable”.He said: “Lee only wanted friendship but, instead, became the target of Wheatley’s aggression.“After the attacks on Lee Irving, the defendants made every effort to hide what they had done: sedating and imprisoning him in their home, moving his body after death and removing key evidence.“Even those defendants not directly involved in the attacks would have recognised that the extent of his injuries required immediate medical attention. Not one of them tried to assist Lee or to prevent further injury to him.”Wheatley was found guilty on Friday (2 December) of murder, and sentenced to life in prison, where he will have to serve a minimum of 23 years.But the offences Wheatley committed were not treated as hate crimes by the judge, Mr Justice Soole, under section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act.If they had been, he would have had to serve at least 30 years in prison.Three other defendants – Wheatley’s mother Julie Mills, 52, girlfriend Nicole Lawrence, 22, and lodger Barry Imray, 35 – were convicted of conspiring to pervert the course of justice, as was Wheatley, and of causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult, and all three were jailed.Both Northumbria police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had treated Irving’s death as a hate crime, but Mr Justice Soole, in sentencing Wheatley, decided there was not enough evidence to prove the killing was motivated by disability-related hostility.Lee Irving’s death now becomes the latest in a lengthy line of brutal crimes in which disabled people have been targeted because of their impairment, but which have not been acknowledged as disability hate crimes because of the flawed criminal justice system.One of them was the murder of Brent Martin, another man with learning difficulties, who was killed in nearby Sunderland by three young men who took turns to see which of them could knock him out for a £5 bet.But his killing in 2007 was never treated as a disability hate crime by Northumbria police, the same force that investigated Lee Irving’s death, or by the courts.In July this year, CPS was criticised for failing to treat as a disability hate crime a case in which a man with learning difficulties was forced to live in a shed for 35 years, and work for a pittance, and was beaten if he failed to work hard enough.And last year, the criminal justice system was again criticised after a court failed to treat the brutal murder of Peter Hedley as a disability hate crime, when again the judge merely took account of Hedley’s “vulnerability” in sentencing.The failure to sentence Lee Irving’s murderer under disability hate crime legislation will provide further fuel for disabled campaigners who have been pushing the government for years to ensure that it takes the issue seriously.Northumbria police had failed to comment by noon today (8 December).But a CPS spokesman confirmed that its lawyers had treated Lee Irving’s murder as a disability hate crime.He said in a statement: “We always apply to increase sentences where disability is an aggravating factor but ultimately it is the court’s decision.“The proportion of sentence uplifts applied in 2015-16 was the highest it has ever been and we are working with the judiciary and the courts in support of their consistent application.”CPS said that where there was not enough evidence of disability hostility for a section 146 uplift, but disability was a factor in another way – such as the victim’s perceived “vulnerability” – it can present evidence to the court of these other “aggravating” factors that can increase the seriousness of the offence and the sentence.A public consultation on CPS’s policy on prosecuting crimes against disabled people is due to end on 9 January 2017.last_img read more

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2019-07-31

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Disabled people who employ personal assistants PA

first_imgDisabled people who employ personal assistants (PAs) will not be exempt from a new government scheme designed to ensure that sleep-in care workers receive the minimum wage back pay they are due, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has confirmed.Disability News Service (DNS) has been told by HMRC that some individual employers of PAs are still being investigated over their failure to pay the full national minimum wage (NMW) to PAs who had worked overnight “sleep-ins”.And HMRC has made it clear that any arrears owed by disabled employers of PAs will eventually have to be paid.But it is not clear whether those arrears will be the responsibility of local authorities who funded direct payments that paid for PAs, or if individual disabled employers will have to meet that liability themselves.Other disabled employers of PAs may have funded that support themselves.The government announced this week that it was launching a new “compliance scheme”, which will give social care employers up to a year to identify how much they owe to staff who have been incorrectly paid below the legal minimum wage for sleep-in shifts.At the end of this period, employers who have identified arrears will have up to three months to pay workers what they are owed.Those who decide not to opt in to the scheme will be “subject to the full HMRC investigative process”, which could lead to financial penalties, public naming and shaming, and prosecution.The government had previously waived further penalties for sleep-in shifts underpayment that took place before 26 July 2017, and temporarily suspended enforcement action between 26 July and 1 November 2017.That action in July followed a high-profile tribunal ruling involving the disability charity Mencap, which found in April that many care workers should have been paid at least the minimum wage for the hours when spent on an overnight shift.An HMRC spokesman told DNS this week that his department was not able to say how many individual PA employers were being investigated for non-payment of sleep-in NMW arrears.But he said: “The government is aware that individuals who have used their own money, or direct payments, to fund sleep-in shifts could be personally liable for NMW arrears.“These individuals are themselves extremely vulnerable, and the government is committed to doing all it can to prevent them from suffering financial difficulties as a result of this issue.“However, the law states that all employers must pay NMW for sleep-in shifts, and this includes cases where an individual becomes an employer.“The government is working with local authorities to develop solutions that enable these arrears to be paid to workers without causing financial hardship for individuals.“Personal budget holders who have NMW arrears will be eligible for the social care compliance scheme as part of the government’s efforts to make sure that vulnerable individuals receive the support they require.”But he added: “The Care Act sets out a number of duties on a local authority to ensure a personal budget adequately reflects personal needs.”Asked whether this meant that HMRC believed it could be the responsibility of local authorities to meet the arrears faced by PA employers who receive direct payments, he said the government had “engaged local authorities to ensure personal budget allocations take into account the rules on NMW and when time spent asleep is working time for NMW purposes.“The government will work with local authorities to provide appropriate support on a case by case basis and intends to carefully monitor any additional local authority spending as a result of supporting individuals and the effect on local authority finances.”But he had not been able to clarify by noon today (Thursday) whether HMRC believed local authorities who funded direct payments could now be responsible for meeting the sleep-in shift NMW arrears of individual PA employers.Meanwhile, Sue Bott (pictured), deputy chief executive of Disability Rights UK, has warned that some disabled people are now having to cut back on their day-time support in order to be able to pay NMW rates during the night.She said: “Although employers will have longer to deal with any underpayment of sleep-ins, the government announcement fails to get to the heart of the problem. “Of course, PAs and other social care staff should be paid the proper rate for the job, but a direct payment must be sufficient to cover the costs. “Unfortunately, what we are seeing is that people are having to reduce the support they have in the day to pay for support at night. “The hole in social care funding just gets deeper every day with disabled people and older people having to pay the price through lack of essential support.”Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “The fact that employers won’t have to settle any back-payment for sleep-in costs until March 2019 is helpful and buys some much-needed time to further understand the size and potential impact of the historic liability.“But this announcement does not end the uncertainty for providers, care workers, the people they care for and their families, and those who pay for their own care or employ a personal assistant through a personal budget.“It was misleading government guidance in the past which caused the confusion over whether national minimum/living wage should apply for sleep-in shifts.“Now the government has clarified the position, it needs to provide genuinely new funding to deal with back-payment.”last_img read more

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2019-07-31

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About 40000 Verizon Unionized Workers Strike Over Contract Talks

first_img April 13, 2016 Next Article Apply Now » –shares Add to Queue 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Verizon Workers Walk Off Jobs And Strike in Washington, DC. The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Verizon About 40,000 Verizon Unionized Workers Strike Over Contract Talks Reuters Tens of thousands of Verizon Communications Inc. workers walked off the job on Wednesday in one of the largest U.S. strikes in recent years after contract talks hit an impasse.The strike could affect service in Verizon’s Fios Internet, telephone and TV services businesses across several U.S. East Coast states, including New York, Massachusetts and Virginia.The strike was called by the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers that jointly represent nearly 40,000 employees, such as customer services representatives and network technicians in Verizon’s traditional wireline phone operations.Workers protested at various Verizon locations along the East Coast. Verizon said it had trained thousands of non-union employees over the past year to ensure no disruption in services.While the wireline unit represents Verizon’s legacy business, it generated about 29 percent of the company’s revenue in 2015 and less than 7 percent of operating income.Verizon’s Fios TV and Internet service is no longer growing and the company has been scaling back its landline network as it has shifts to the bread-and-butter wireless business and new efforts in mobile video and advertising.Verizon and the unions have been talking since last June over the company’s plans to cut healthcare and pension-related benefits over a three-year period.The workers have been without a contract since its agreement expired in August. Issues include healthcare, offshoring call center jobs, work rules and pensions.“It’s regrettable that union leaders have called a strike, a move that hurts all of our employees,” Marc Reed, Verizon’s chief administrative officer, said in a statement on Wednesday. “Since last June, we’ve worked diligently to try and reach agreements that would be good for our employees, good for our customers and make the wireline business more successful now and in the future.”The last contract negotiations in 2011 also led to a strike. A new contract was reached after two weeks.On Tuesday, Verizon said it has been approached by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. In the last round, the FMCS mediated their contract dispute.“The question of federal mediation is a distraction to the real problem: Verizon’s corporate greed,” the unions said in a statement, adding it has not yet contacted the FMCS.Verizon’s shares dipped 0.1 percent at $51.88.(Reporting by Malathi Nayak and Rishika Sadam; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty; and Jeffrey Benkoe) Image credit: Mark Wilson | Getty Images 3 min read This story originally appeared on Reuterslast_img read more

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2019-07-26

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Facetune2 Joins the Google Play Store Following the Incredible Success of iOS

first_img AIAndroid PlatformFacetune2LightricksMarketing TechnologyNewsZeev Farbman Previous ArticleNew Book Lifts the Veil on Amazon Advertising, revealing the secrets to Expand Your Brand Both Online and OfflineNext ArticleSurveyMonkey Advances Cloud Operations in Europe for Enterprise Customers with Launch of Data Centre Facetune2 Joins the Google Play Store, Following the Incredible Success of iOS App PRNewswireMay 26, 2019, 4:27 pmMay 27, 2019 Popular Photo Editor by Lightricks Isn’t Just for iOS Users AnymoreLightricks, developers of award-winning apps designed to bring creativity to everyone, announced today the company is making the next generation of its celebrated app, Facetune2, available to Android users. The new availability on the Android Platform will empower every smartphone user to achieve their professional-grade photo-editing goals from the palm of their hand, further fulfilling the company’s mission to democratize creativity.Facetune2 is powered by the latest image-processing technologies available, including advanced AI, machine learning, and face recognition, which will provide Android customers with first-class photo editing tools for seamless user experiences and results. In addition to both brand new and upgraded original features, Facetune2 is available as a free app with the ability to subscribe for added capabilities.Marketing Technology News: MicroStrategy Scores Highest in Four Use Cases in Gartner’s Critical Capabilities for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms Report“At Lightricks, we are committed to making fun and powerful creative tools accessible for everyone and are thrilled today to announce the highly anticipated launch of Facetune2 for Android,” says Zeev Farbman, Lightricks CEO. “The rapid growth we’ve experienced since Facetune2 for iOS was launched in 2016 has been incredible. We’re excited to see where this next step takes us.”The announcement follows Facetune’s success, where the original ranked as the #1 paid app in 130+ countries, was Apple’s most downloaded paid app in 2017 and in 2018 was deemed Google Play’s best app of 2014. Facetune2, available on iPhone only until today, has over 60 million downloads and over 1 million subscribers on iOS alone. The app is also acclaimed within the influencer community, and celebrity subscribers include Khloe Kardashian and Leah Remini, who describe it as “life-changing.” Together, Lightricks’ six app offerings boast over 110 million downloads.Marketing Technology News: Relativity Showcases a New Way to Analyze Short Message and Mobile DataLightricks is the creator of popular, award-winning image and video editing apps. Since the company hit the ground running with its flagship product Facetune, which has become a household term in countries around the world, Lightricks has now built an arsenal of powerful creativity apps used by millions.Marketing Technology News: Spectrum Equity Announces Sale of Ethoca to Mastercardlast_img read more

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2019-07-24

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Family acceptance of LGBT individuals sexuality linked to lower stress

first_img Source:https://www.ohio.edu/ucm/media/news-story.cfm?newsItem=4E553C95-5056-A874-1D0B24EB38C8D251 Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 24 2018Ohio University Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Peggy Zoccola has determined that those who identify as LGBT and have come out to their family carry less stress hormones than those who have not come out, which may ultimately benefit their health.The recent study by Zoccola and coauthor Andrew Manigault, M.S., published in the October issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, journal of the Psychosomatic Society, discusses how feeling able to comfortably talk about your sexual identity with family members specifically, appears to be most linked to output of the stress hormone cortisol, a hormone that if too much is produced, it can damage an individual’s health.Related StoriesUTHealth researchers investigate how to reduce stress-driven alcohol useStudy explores the effects of near-miss experiences associated with 9/11 terrorist attacksEarly life adversity and high levels of FKBP5 protein amplify anxiety-like behavior”The real stress punch seems to be with the family,” said Zoccola when referencing how greater disclosure of a LGBT individual’s sexuality to their family is strongly linked to lower cortisol.She points out that there has been sparse research on how the aspects of coming out by LGBT adults affect the release of stress hormones, however, some early studies have shown that if people who identify as sexual minorities feel acceptance from their families, they have higher self-esteem, lower depression and substance use rates and are less likely to think about suicide.For the study, Zoccola had 121 sexual minority adults ages 18 to 35 take a survey about their depression and anxiety levels, sociodemographic factors and how much support they felt. They were also asked how out they were to family, friends, acquaintances, coworkers and clergy in religious organizations, as well as provided their age when they came out. Following the survey, 58 individuals from the group were randomly selected to provide a saliva sample to show their cortisol levels.The results of Zoccola’s research showed that the more open people were to disclosing their sexuality with their family, the lower cortisol levels they had.”For these emerging adults, the family provides a foundation of support,” said Zoccola. “If they’re comfortable disclosing to their family, they seem to have a protective stress profile.”last_img read more

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2019-07-19

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Gene that makes some people susceptible to middle ear infections identified

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 25 2018Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have found multiple genetic variants within the FUT2 gene that makes some people especially susceptible to middle ear infections.”Middle ear infections are very common in kids,” said the study’s lead author, Regie Santos-Cortez, MD, PhD, associate professor of Otolaryngology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “By the time they are 1-year-old around half have fever, ear pain or pus/fluid in the middle ear due to infection. Some of these infections may recur or become chronic thus requiring surgery.”The FUT2 gene is expressed in the salivary gland, colon and lungs but its expression in the middle ear has not been described previously.Santos-Cortez and her colleagues discovered the role the gene played in middle ear infections or otitis media by initially examining DNA samples from 609 multi-ethnic families with the condition.The study was published online today in the American Journal of Human Genetics.Related StoriesResearch opens possibility of developing single-dose gene therapy for inherited arrhythmiasResearchers capture high-resolution, 3D images of gene-editing enzymesNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellThe researchers found common variants of the gene in Filipinos and South Asians and a rarer variant associated with recurrent middle ear infections in European-American children. The most common variant occurs in 30-50% of individuals in almost all population groups except East Asians.”A number of things predispose people to getting these infections including a lack of vaccinations, lack of breastfeeding and being around smoking caregivers,” said Santos-Cortez, who is also with the Center for Children’s Surgery at Children’s Hospital Colorado. “But even in the best case scenario, recurrent or chronic middle ear infections still happen in some kids, which may be due to genetic predisposition.”Those who possessed the genetic variants had a much higher chance of getting the infection. The researchers believe the gene modifies the microbiome of the middle ear in a way that makes it more susceptible to infection by specific bacteria.”If you have these mutations, you will have a slightly different microbiota which could elevate the risk of disease,” Santos-Cortez said.The finding could eventually lead to new ways of determining who is likely to get the infection.The study confirmed expression of FUT2 in the middle ear which is spiked within 24 hours of bacterial infection. But the FUT2 genetic variants decrease presentation of A antigen used by bacteria to gain access to the middle ear lining.That causes a decrease in some bacteria while boosting the numbers of bacteria known to play a role in chronic or recurrent disease.”The frequency of population-specific FUT2 variants makes this gene a potential target for preventative screening and future treatments for otitis media, including modulation of the middle ear microbiome,” the study said.Source: http://www.ucdenver.edu/last_img read more

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2019-07-19

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Amputees using powered prosthetics can avoid energetic costs by cranking up power

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 9 2018Amputees who use powered prosthetic ankles may be able to avoid the energetic costs typically associated with prosthetics by cranking up the power provided by their devices.A UCF engineering professor recently published a study in Scientific Reports that shows that people with transtibial amputations – the loss of a limb below the knee – may improve their walking ability if they change the power-setting on their devices. Hwan Choi, who received his doctorate in engineering from the University of Washington, is an assistant professor in the UCF department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, approximately 185,000 amputations occur in the United States every year and 49-95% of lower-limb amputees reportedly use a prosthesis. Most of those on the market are passive prosthetics. On average, amputees spend up to 30% more energy than unimpaired individuals when performing tasks such as walking. This could be due to the fact that most ankle prostheses are passive-elastic, meaning that they can store and release energy when they come in contact with the ground but are unable to perform positive net ankle work that allows for muscle shortening contractions to occur. In fact, these prostheses are only able to provide one eighth of the power of the intact gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, the key muscles that support and propel the body during walking.As passive prostheses increase the energetic demand on the user, individuals may have to compensate by increasing muscular effort in the residual or intact limb. Powered ankle prostheses, on the other hand, use actuators to reduce the increased metabolic costs placed on amputees by delivering positive work. BiOM (now known as EMPOWER), the only commercially available powered ankle prosthetic, uses a visual display that allows the wearer to tune the power setting on the device. Ideally, they would select a power setting between 0% and 100% that best approximates that of a healthy ankle at the user’s preferred walking speed. But the question remains: how much power should the prosthesis provide?Related StoriesMicrovascular disease associated with increased risk of leg amputationLow-income patients at increased risk of catastrophic amputation after knee joint replacementResearchers identify risk factors for severe infection after knee replacementToo little power and they may experience the same metabolic costs of those using passive prostheses, but too much and they may experience problems such as knee hyperflexion and increased energy absorption in the knee that can raise the metabolic costs of the user.Choi, along with coauthors Kimberly Ingrahm, David Remy, Emily Gardinier, and Deanna Gates from the University of Michigan, tested ten individuals with transtibial amputations. They measured the metabolic cost of transport (COT) and the BiOM’s net ankle work at different power settings, while the amputees walked on a treadmill with the BiOM ankle.Choi said that they discovered that the ideal power that reduced metabolic cost was actually greater than biological norms. In other words, the best tested setting actually decreased the amount of excess energy used by the subject more than the prosthetist-chosen power setting.”The key finding of this study was that none of the subjects had the minimum metabolic cost when they walk with unimpaired individuals work or power. When they had greater power, then the impaired individuals actually reduced metabolic cost.”Across participants, power settings greater than 50% resulted in lower COT, but the best tested power setting was actually higher than the prosthetist-chosen setting.In fact, on average, the power setting that minimized energy costs corresponded to approximately double the net ankle work of the biological ankle. So while powered ankles may be more beneficial than passive prosthetics, amputees can actually increase their activity level when prosthetists change their goal from achieving approximate biological ankle kinetics to minimizing metabolic costs.According to Choi, with minimized metabolic costs, transtibial amputees have a greater chance of remaining active, improving their quality of life, and preventing a number of health consequences, including diabetes and cardiac disease. Source:https://www.ucf.edu/last_img read more

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2019-07-19

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Cranberry consumption modifies impact of animalbased diet on gut health

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 13 2018In a recently published feeding trial in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, scientists investigated the potential protective effect of cranberries on the gut microbiome with an animal-based diet. Consuming cranberry compounds modified the impact of an animal-based diet in study participants by restoring a healthier microbiota profile. The addition of whole cranberry powder lessened potentially carcinogenic secondary bile acids and blunted the decline in beneficial short chain fatty acids (SCFA) in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.”Among the 20 most commonly consumed fruits in the American diet, we chose to investigate cranberries and the gut microbiome as they are among the fruits with a high total phenol content,” said study author, Dr. Oliver Chen. Dr. Chen further explained the importance of the investigation because the gut microbiota is a key protector for human health. “An imbalance can increase the risk for several chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis, hypertension, kidney disease and type 2 diabetes,” added Dr. Chen. “Identifying foods – like cranberries – that can help shape and support a healthier gut microbiome could have a remarkable impact on public health.”Related StoriesHealthy high-fiber diet could reduce preeclampsia riskScientists examine hormonal links between diet and obesityDiet and nutrition influence microbiome in colonic mucosaAn international team led by researchers from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, conducted a randomized, double-blind, crossover study of 11 healthy subjects (7 males, 4 females) aged 25 to 54 years with normal digestive function. A control diet, comprised of meats, dairy products and simple sugars was compared to a treatment diet – the control diet plus 30 grams of freeze-dried whole cranberry powder – for two, 5-day periods with a 2-week washout in between. The cranberry diet showed fewer potentially negative microbiota changes than the control diet phase. It appeared that adding cranberries to the control diet reduced the rise in secondary gut bile acids that have been associated with colon and GI cancer. Cranberries also lessened the drop in beneficial SCFA thought to help maintain healthy GI cells. Overall, the treatment diet suggested that cranberry constituents may help support a healthy gut microbiome.”On behalf of the Cranberry Institute and cranberry growers and handlers, it is exciting and rewarding to see new diverse health research about the potential benefits of cranberry consumption,” stated Terry Humfeld, executive director of the non-profit Cranberry Institute – an organization established for cranberry research and education. “Scientists continue to dedicate their studies to exploring the inherent value of eating cranberries, so as an industry, we will proudly continue to support their efforts.” Source:https://www.cranberryinstitute.org/last_img read more

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2019-07-19

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Education Malaysia Global Services expresses regret over death of Nigerian student

first_imgPETALING JAYA: Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) expressed its regret and deepest condolences over the death of Thomas Orhions Ewansiha in its Instagram account on Friday evening (July12). Related News World 09 Jul 2019 Nigeria’s National Assembly on lockdown after shooting – Reuters witness Tags / Keywords: World 07 Jul 2019 Boko Haram kills at least five soldiers in northeast Nigeria – sources Education Malaysia Global Services , EMGS , Thomas Orhions Ewansiha “The case is currently under investigation and we will wait for the full findings of the authorities. Our thoughts and prayers go to Mr Thomas’ family,” it said in a post.Ewansiha, who was from Nigeria, was pursuing his PhD in management at the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology and was married with two young children.EMGS, a wholly-owned company of the Education Ministry, operates a one-stop centre for international student services together with the Immigration Department.  Related News {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more

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2019-07-16

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Bihar Over 1 lakh families await reimbursement promised for building toilets

first_img Indo-Asian News Service PatnaJuly 13, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 12:17 IST Image for representation (Image: PTI)As many as 1.87 lakh families in rural Patna are still awaiting to get the reimbursement promised under the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin scheme for constructing toilets in their houses.Poverty-stricken Dinanath Rai and Surajdeo Mahto constructed toilets in their house last year at their own cost but are yet to get back the money they spent. They have been running from pillar to post for over a year to get their money but nothing helped.”Some time officials point out that my Aadhaar card is not linked, some time they say my paper work is half done and ask me to visit again. It has become a common practice. I borrowed money from my relatives and constructed a toilet in my house last year at the assurance of an officer that I will be given back the amount soon after verification of the toilet,” said Dinanath Rai, a resident of a village in Danapur block in Patna district.”It appears that I did a blunder by believing them,” he said.Surajdeo Mahto, a resident of a village in Bihta block in Patna, said he had taken RS 12,000 on credit for construction of a toilet as he was sure to get reimbursement from the government agency. “It is now a long wait, I am yet to receive the money. It is a sad reality, he said.”Sanjay Kumar, District Nodal Officer of Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin, said 1.87 lakh people are yet to be paid the amount for construction of toilets. “We have decided to pay the amount and for that we are launching a campaign,” he said.In Patna, construction of toilets started in 2011 and by 2015-16, over one lakh families had constructed toilets and all of them were paid amount for it.But later, the process of verification by officials of block offices was delayed that resulted in non payment of amount to the beneficiaries, who had constructed toilets, a district rural development department official said.”Lack of staff for physical verification in villages are delaying payment of amount for construction of toilets. One staff has been assigned more than two or three panchayats for verification work to ensure that amount should go to those who constructed toilets,” the official said.According to the official data of the state government, there are 5.80 lakh families in rural Patna and of them 2.74 lakh families were selected to be paid for construction of toilets.Remaining families already had toilets in their houses.People in other districts like Aurangabad, Areal and Jehanabad are also yet to get their money reimbursed for constructing toilets.Till date, five of the 38 districts of Bihar were declared open defecation free (ODF) but Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has repeatedly announced to achieve the state ODF status by October 2, 2019.As per the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin, Bhagalpur, Kaimur, Begusarai, Khagaria and Kishanganj districts are ODF.Also read | From beautiful toilets to space missions, PM Modi delivers first Mann Ki Baat this year | 10 pointsAlso watch | Good news: Meet 2 entrepreneurs who converted discarded buses into toilets for women in PuneFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byAnumika Bahukhandi Tags :Follow biharFollow ToiletsFollow Toilets in biharFollow India toiletsFollow PatnaFollow Swachh Bharat Mission Bihar: Over 1 lakh families await reimbursement promised for building toiletsPeople in districts like Aurangabad, Areal and Jehanabad are yet to get their money reimbursed for constructing toilets.advertisement Nextlast_img read more

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2019-07-16

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